|posted on 26-Oct-2002 11:40:07 AM by SansuCry|
Banner by Sugarplum17
Title: Tricks and Treats
Rating: PG-13, some parts R for violence and language
Category: AU, M/L.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Roswell or any one associated with it.
Summary: My own little Roswell world. No Isabelle. No Tess. No shooting. It’s Halloween time, and Liz Parker is going to learn all about monsters and aliens and soulmates. My apologies to all the Kyle lovers out there…he just makes a great villain.
A/N: I know, I know. Another story. Well, I’m hoping this will be just a few short parts, but you know how that goes….I’ve got a million ideas for fics written down, some complete with outlines, but somehow I end up writing the ones that just pop into my head. Like this one.
October 23, 2000
“Way to go, Valenti!” Tommy Sanders called out across the quad.
“Good one, man. Good one,” Paulie Smith added with a thumbs up sign.
Kyle raised his right arm to his friends in a victory wave as he pulled Liz into his side. “Thank you. Thank you very much,” he returned in a very bad Elvis impersonation.
“Kyle, what’s going on?” Liz asked with a concerned frown. Kyle was one of the most popular juniors at West Roswell, but even this kind of attention was unusual to say the least.
“Nothing, babe,” he said as he gave her a peck on the cheek. “Just celebrating this past fine and glorious weekend.”
“Oh,” she said as they walked toward the room where her first class was held. She knew that the football team had won the game Friday night by a landslide. Of course she had been there. Her boyfriend was co-captain of the team after all, but she couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling that Kyle’s jovial attitude and growing popularity had nothing to do with the team’s victory. Before she had a chance to question him further, the bell rang and they had to part ways.
Even for a Monday morning, English class buzzed with an excessive amount of chatter, and as Liz strained to pick up on some of the latest scuttlebutt she swore she heard a few people quietly muttering the name Max Evans. Strangely enough, all eyes involved in the conversation seemed to immediately shift to her after each incantation.
“C’mon, guys and girls, settle down. I know you’re all wanting to gossip about your oh so busy weekend, but the next hour is my time,” Mrs. Matthews directed. “Now does anyone remember where we left off in Romeo and Juliet?”
Liz’s mind quickly drifted away from anything related to Mrs. Matthews or William Shakespeare. Max Evans. Even now, just hearing his name made her heart race as much as it had the first time she had seen him. He was the new kid when they had begun the third grade, living alone with his widowed father in a nondescript part of town. She had noticed him the minute he had set foot on the playground, his feathered bangs draped across his forehead as his face studied the asphalt near his shoe. To this day she still remembered the absolute peacefulness and sense of completion that had flowed through her the first time that his warm, amber eyes stared at her, glimpsing into her very soul as he allowed her to experience the beauty and gentleness of his.
She had felt that same comforting sensation many times a day, every day, during the next four years, yet she and Max hadn’t spoken more than a handful of words to each other over that same time frame. It wasn’t as if she hadn’t tried to talk to him, but every time she did he shied away from her, just as he did with everyone else in the school. Then as soon as she would walk away he would gaze at her with such a sense of longing that his eyes would be practically begging her to come back to him. With each reluctant rejection she had begun to wonder whether his self-imposed isolation was actually something that was beyond his control, but then she would scoff at herself for such foolishness. He was just a timid loner, plain and simple.
Of course his shyness was misinterpreted as conceit by some of their classmates and, as they changed from children into ‘young adults,’ the taunting and snide remarks become a daily occurrence. The spitefulness toward the boy who preferred to sit by himself and read grew a little worse each day until one morning half of the mesmerizing amber gaze that she had begun to revel in wasn’t visible past his swollen blackened eyelid. Someone had beaten him up. Through the Roswell Junior High rumor mill, and the Maria grapevine in particular, Liz found out that Kenny Sanders had attacked Max on the walk home from school the previous afternoon. Peculiarly enough, Maria had commented, Max hadn’t lifted a finger to fight back.
Up until that point Liz had done the best she could to defend Max to her classmates without getting too involved, taking the teasing in stride while championing his cause even as he continued to remain stoically silent. However, this full out assault on such a quiet, gentle soul was the last straw for her. If he wasn’t going to put an end to their abuse, she would do it for him. That afternoon during P.E. class, it was a matter of pure luck that Kenny had been chosen as the opposing team’s catcher for the class’s baseball game. Unfortunately for him luck had nothing to do with the fact that Liz’s hands couldn’t keep a tight enough grasp on the wooden bat when it came time for her to hit the ball. Kenny’s nose had been broken, and as all the other kids rushed to get a better view of the blood pouring from the startled boy’s face, two sets of eyes shared the knowledge that the accident had been anything but accidental.
The next morning Liz had found a single white rose in her locker, and as she rushed to her classroom to thank Max she had been surprised to see that he was not sitting at his desk. He didn’t return the next day either, and after a week of absences Liz found out through the Maria grapevine that Max’s father, citing the school’s penchant for violent incidents, had pulled his son from Roswell Junior High in favor of home schooling him. Max had left the public school system in the middle of the seventh grade, never to return.
Which made Liz all the more curious to find out why his name was being mentioned in school today, nearly four years later. Everyone knew that Max and his father still lived in Roswell in the same nondescript house, but no one had ever actually seen him since that fateful day in junior high. Sure, there would be rumors that his father had locked him up in the basement and starved him to death, that he had gone insane and had been sent to a mental institution, that he had killed himself, but still others swore they saw him lurking in the shadows of the night sometimes, aimlessly wandering the lonely, empty streets of the town as if searching for something or someone. In any case, there had never been as much buzz about him as there currently was, and Liz wanted to know what had happened to him and why everyone kept giving her the same strange look. The only problem was that each time she tried to ask, everyone would clam up as though she were a foreign spy in the middle of a CIA convention.
It wasn’t until lunchtime with Maria that she finally hoped to get some real answers, but even her chatty best friend was oddly silent on the subject.
“Please, Maria, you have to tell me what is going on,” she begged.
“You mean you haven’t talked to Kyle?” Maria asked suspiciously.
“Talked to Kyle about what?” Liz pleaded in frustration. “Maria, what does Kyle have to do with Max Evans?”
Maria gave a regretful sigh. “Look, I don’t know all the details, so you’ll have to ask Kyle about most of it. All I know is that Saturday night he and his buddies played an early Halloween prank on Max Evans.”
[ edited 19time(s), last at 15-Feb-2003 8:16:11 PM ]
|posted on 27-Oct-2002 11:45:50 AM by SansuCry|
|Thank you all for the wonderful feedback. I truly appreciate it.|
Let me just say that I plan to have this fic completed on Halloween or the day after, so I may end up posting more than one part a day, depending on where a good ending point happens. Obviously this means I won't be going into the epic detail that EoF seems to be known for, but I promise that most of your questions will be answered in time.
Here's the next part. Tell me what you think.
“What did you do to him?” Liz demanded as she and Kyle stood by her locker at the end of the day.
“Do to who?” Kyle scoffed.
“It’s ‘to whom’,” she corrected, “and don’t play dumb with me. Everyone has been talking about it all day. You played some kind of prank on Max Evans and I want to know what it was.”
Kyle took her hand in his. “C’mon, babe. You shouldn’t get your nose all bent out of joint. We were just having a little harmless fun. Nothing major.”
“Then tell me what you did,” she commanded as she yanked her hand away from him.
“I egged and ‘t.p.ed’ his house, ok?” he reluctantly admitted. “Don’t make such a big deal out of it, Liz, or you’re going to make me think everyone is right when they say you still have a thing for the weirdo,” he said bitterly.
“What is that supposed to mean?” she protested.
“Nevermind,” he waved her off as he moved closer to her. Putting his hands on her shoulders, he explained, “The guys and I went out and partied a little too much Saturday night, and we ended up at Evans’ house. We were just trying to get into the Halloween spirit, and I knew you’d flip out when you found out it was him. That’s the only reason I didn’t tell you this morning.” He leaned his forehead against hers, “Liz, babe, I don’t want to fight with you. Tell me what I have to do to make things right with you.”
Liz couldn’t look Kyle in the eyes. Practical jokes were a part of Halloween, so maybe she was overreacting. “Just promise me you won’t do it again,” she requested.
Kyle held up his hand. “Scout’s honor.”
Liz’s shoulder relaxed underneath his remaining hand, but when he leaned in for a kiss, she turned away. “I’ve gotta get going or I will be late for my shift.”
“Relax. Coach gave us today off for kicking ass Friday night, so I can give you a lift,” he suggested.
Liz shut her locker door and bent down to grab her bookbag, shrugging off his hand in the process. “No thank you. I think I’d rather walk today.”
And with that, she left a dumbfounded Kyle Valenti standing at her locker.
She hadn’t been down this street since the end of last school year.
When Max had first disappeared from the junior high, she had made the four block detour to his street every day of the school week, hoping to catch just a glimpse of him in his yard or staring out the window. She never did see him, but she certainly kept on trying. When she began freshman year at the high school, the trek was an additional four blocks out of the way, yet she still managed to walk past his house three days out of five, silently praying that he would beckon her to his front door and invite her in. It never happened.
In her sophomore year, school activities and waitressing at the her parents’ restaurant made it increasingly difficult for her to take the extra time to walk past Max’s house, and by the time spring had arrived her little side trips were down to once every two weeks or so. Not that it had mattered, she had told herself sadly, since it was obvious that Max Evans had no intention of speaking to her anyway. She and Kyle had begun to casually date over the summer, so when their junior year had started just two months ago it had just been a given that he would pick her up and drive her home on the days he didn’t have football practice or she didn’t have her own school activity planned. The additional half-hour needed to get to Murray Road had simply become a luxury she could no longer afford, at least on most days.
Today was an exception. Even if she did end up being late for her shift, she had to see for herself what kind of damage her boyfriend and his pals had inflicted upon the house and yard that she had memorized so long ago. Just a quick glance and she would be on her way, she told herself, and she wouldn’t even begin to hope that Max Evans would open up the door and invite her in. That quick glance lasted much longer than she had anticipated, her stride slowing down to almost a crawl as she stared at the house, Max’s house, in horror.
Kyle and his friends had done much more than have just a little innocent fun. They had completely trashed the place. The flowerbeds were trampled, the driveway and sidewalk were spray painted with obscenities, even the American flag flying in between the garage doors had been ripped to shreds. Worst yet, the house’s vinyl siding was defaced as well. “FREAK’S HOUSE,” pronounced one message in black spray paint. “PERVS R US,” said another. The only thing that appeared to have escaped damage was the car parked in the driveway.
By the time Liz recovered from the shock, she was standing directly in front of the unbelievable disaster. She wanted to break down and cry, but before the tears came, anger took over and spurred her to action. She sprinted toward the front porch and took the steps two at a time, no small feat considering her less than statuesque build. She pressed the doorbell a few times before she realized it has been broken as well, then knocked as hard as she could against the metal storm door. She waited several minutes for an answer, and just as she was certain no one would respond, the door swung open.
“What do you want?” a man’s voice demanded.
“Mr. Evans?” she managed to squeak out, her throat suddenly dry.
“Yes. Who are you and what do you want?” he asked gruffly.
“My name is Liz Parker. I used to go to school with your son, Max. I…” she hesitated.
“Yes?” he asked impatiently.
“Mr. Evans, I know who did this to your house and yard. I can give you…”
“It’s already been taken care of,” he said, rudely cutting her off.
“Well, I can go to the police if you…”
“I said it has already been taken care of. Now is there anything else I may help you with, Miss Parker?” he asked without a trace of hospitality in his voice.
Her mind was screaming for her to just turn and leave, but despite her racing heart and the blood pounding in her ears, she simply had to ask, “May I please speak to Max?”
Mr. Evans seemed to hesitate before he answered, “Max is indisposed at the moment and not up to having visitors. Good day, Miss Parker.”
He had slammed the door shut before she could even ask him to tell Max she had been there.
|posted on 27-Oct-2002 11:48:51 PM by SansuCry|
|Well, folks, here is update number 2 for the day.|
I know many of you have questions, and I will try to answer all of them in time, but you will need to have some patience. For now just know that this is mainly a Liz and Max fic, so Michael, Isabelle and Tess will not come into play at all.
scifidreamer--Wow. That has to be one of the nicest compliments I have ever received. Thank you so much.
To everyone else, thank you for the feedback. Even if it is only one line, it is nice to know my work is appreciated.
For consistency's sake, I will try to post around 11 am and/or 11 pm board time....
“You’re breaking up with me because of Max Evans,” Kyle snorted in disgust Tuesday morning.
“This has nothing to do with Max,” Liz bit back. “I’m breaking up with you because you lied to me. You and your football buddies did a heck of a lot more than egg and t.p. his house.”
“I swear, Liz. All I did to his house was throw stuff at it.” He added with a laugh, “I’ll admit though, I was pretty wasted, so I can’t really tell you what the other guys did.”
Liz shook her head. “It doesn't matter. You were with them, so as far as I’m concerned that makes you just as guilty.”
He quickly glanced away for a few seconds before angrily glaring at her. “Fine. If that’s the way you want to be, then break up with me.” Raising his voice so that he could be heard over the crowd in the hallway he added as he strode away, “As far as I’m concerned that freak deserved everything he got, and then some.”
“How are you holding up, chica?” Maria asked her at lunchtime.
“I’m all right,” Liz answered as she absently chewed on her sandwich. The next second she was anxiously commenting, “God, ‘ria. You should have seen that house. I have to believe that Kyle would never be involved in something so cruel. What if he really didn’t know what the others had done? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hard on him.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Sean DeLuca commented as he joined the two girls at the lunch table. “I think you’ll be wishing you had been a lot tougher once you hear what I have to say.”
“What do you mean?” asked Maria suspiciously. She knew that her cousin had always had a thing for her best friend, so anything he said against Kyle she took with a grain of salt.
“I mean,” he said as he leaned in toward Liz, “that I was just taking a dum…uh, using the facilities in the locker room when I overheard your wonderful ex-boyfriend whispering with one of his jock buddies about what else they did to Max Evans Saturday night.”
“What else? You’re telling me they did more things than just ruin Max’s property?” Liz asked, not sure she really wanted to know.
“Oh, yeah. A lot more,” he said coolly as he slurped his drink.
“C’mon Sean. Cut the crap,” Maria demanded as she saw the burgeoning panic in Liz’s eyes. “Tell us what you know.”
“Well, Lizzie, apparently you mailed a love letter to the elusive Mr. Evans,” Sean began.
“What are you talking about? I did no such thing,” Liz protested.
“I’m sure you didn’t, but Kyle definitely convinced the poor guy it was from you.”
The color was rapidly draining from Liz’s face. “How do you know that?” she whispered.
“Because the note asked Max to meet you at Buckley Park Saturday night. He showed up, and Kyle and his friends had a good old-fashioned beat down on the guy. They chased him all the way back to his house, blood dripping all the way.”
“Oh, no,” Liz groaned out in miserable disbelief. Not again, she thought. Only this time it was worse, much worse. After years of hiding and silence Max Evans had finally gotten up the nerve to see her, had probably expected to talk to her Saturday night, but instead had been hit and kicked and punched and she could only imagine what else. If Max knew that Liz was dating Kyle, he probably thought that she had been in on the whole disgusting prank.
That letter also meant Kyle really had lied to her regarding the depths of his involvement. He had sent the misleading note through the mail, which was clear proof that anything that happened Saturday night had not been some spontaneous drunken act at all. The only question she could think of and voice was, “Why? Why would they do such a thing to him?”
Maria gave Sean a knowing look, but instead of answering her best friend, she suggested, “I guess the only way to know for sure is to ask Kyle.”
“YOU JERK!” Liz yelled as her hands slammed into Kyle’s chest over and over. “How could you do that to him? How could you do that to me? And don’t even pretend that you have no idea of what I’m talking about. I know all about you attacking Max.”
Kyle looked over to the bleachers where his football buddies were sitting, just a few feet away from the fence he had been leaning against when Liz had come stalking across the field. A leering smile crossed his face as he easily withstood his ex-girlfriend’s physical assault, her tiny hands and petite frame no match for his physically trained body. “You already broke up with me, so I really don’t give a rat’s ass what you know now,” he said resentfully.
After what she had just learned Liz shouldn’t have been surprised by his sanctimonious attitude, but it was such a departure from the smooth talking Kyle who had spoken with her the previous morning that she had to wonder how she could have ever believed his lies. His smugness only pissed her off more, and she began kicking at him as well until a pair of arms easily overpowered her and dragged her away from her target. “Get your damned hands off of me,” she spit out as she struggled to get free. Kyle gave her captor a nod, and she was instantly released.
“Then tell me why? Why would you ever hurt someone who has done absolutely nothing to you?” she demanded.
“I was only trying to protect you, Liz,” Kyle said derisively.
“That’s bullshit,” she angrily replied. “I don’t need protecting, especially from Max Evans.”
“Don’t you? Do you know how many nights he’s sat on that bench across the street from the Crashdown, doing nothing but watch you work? The guy’s a freak, Liz.”
“So because he is in a public place doing absolutely nothing wrong, that gives you the right to send him a letter in my name to lure him to a park so you can beat him up? He’s the most gentle…” she trailed off to catch her breath, “he wouldn’t hurt anybody…and now he probably hates me…”
Kyle’s expression instantly hardened, “So you do still have a thing for him.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked in bewilderment.
“Why don’t you just admit it, Liz? You’ve had a thing for Max Evans since he first showed up in Roswell. Every day in class you two would just sit and stare at each other all the time, so often that it actually became a joke to everybody. You were always fighting his fights for him…you even broke Kenny Sanders’ nose for him…now why is that, I wonder?”
“God, Kyle, that was in junior high. I haven’t even seen him since his dad pulled him out of school.”
“Haven’t you? Even up until last year you’d go out of your way just to walk by the weirdo’s house, and any time the guy’s name is so much as mentioned, you go off into your own little ‘Max’ world. How the hell could I ever compete with that?”
“You weren’t trying to protect me at all. You beat him up because you were jealous,” she gaped incredulously as she realized Kyle’s true motives for hurting such a gentle soul. She wanted to choke him. “How pathetic can you be?”
“No more pathetic than the two of you. He stalks you all over town but won’t talk to you, and you spend years being all moon-eyed over a guy who has never even given you the time of day.”
Anger blazing in her eyes, she strode back to meet Kyle face to face. “You stay away from him, and you stay away from me. If you even sneeze in our direction I’m sure the sheriff will be more than interested to know what his son’s been up to lately.”
Kyle and all of his cronies laughed. “That’s pretty much an idle threat, babe. I know for a fact that Mr. Evans has already refused to file a police report, so even if you do tell my dad I was involved, which of course you can’t prove, the most that will happen to me is that I’ll have to walk to school for a week or so. Trust me, even if I lose my car for a month it will have been worth it to see the look on that weirdo’s face when he realized that his beloved Lizzie Parker had set him up.”
“My God, how could I have ever dated you? You’re nothing but a monster,” she said with revulsion as she backed away from him.
“Halloween is just around the corner,” he smirked. “I guess it brings out all the monsters and freaks.”
|posted on 28-Oct-2002 12:40:14 PM by SansuCry|
|I swear I had planned to update around eleven, but hubby and baby obviously didn't get the memo...|
Anyway, here it is.
Liz spent the rest of the school day restlessly going over the things Kyle had said. Had Max’s father refused to let her see him because he recognized her name as one of Max’s tormentors? Did Max really spent his nights sitting across the street watching her work? Why was it that Kyle had been allowed to see what Max looked like now but she hadn’t? Would she even recognize him if they passed each other on the street? And how could she ever convince him that she had absolutely nothing to do with his beating?
What bothered her most were Kyle’s comments regarding her feelings toward Max. She had never really considered the fact that she spent so much time ruminating about a boy she hadn’t seen in four years, but now that he had pointed it out, she realized that she couldn’t remember a time when Max hadn’t been a part of her daily thoughts. As she sat in class she wondered the same things. Was he lonely sitting in his house by himself day after day or had it been a relief to no longer have to endure the other kids’ taunting? Did he regret not being able to participate in the junior high graduation ceremony and all the other activities that were supposed to make school fun? Was he also struggling through reading Romeo and Juliet’s arcane words while still trying to appreciate the timeless love story underneath? Did he miss seeing her every day as much as she missed him?
The second the final bell rang she was out the door, her French club meeting long forgotten in light of Kyle’s confession. She had to get to Max’s house and see him no matter what because she couldn’t live another minute with him believing she could partake in anything that would bring him harm. Approaching his house for the second time in as many days she flinched at the words painted on the siding, “FREAK’S HOUSE” written because he had dared to look at her from across the street, “PERVS R US” because he finally decided to let down his guard and had ended up meeting a nonexistent version of her in the park.
She took a steadying breath before climbing up the stairs to the front door, her heart much less calm than when she had breached them two at a time. The car that had previously been in the driveway was conspicuously absent, and she prayed that meant his father was not home. She rapped on the door and waited several eternal minutes. ‘Please, Max, answer the door,’ she silently begged as she pressed her forehead against the cool metal. ‘I’d never hurt you.’
Just as she lost what little hope she had and the tears began to swell in her eyes she felt the stirrings of a sensation that she would never tire of in a million lifetimes. The absolute peacefulness and sense of completion that she hadn’t experienced in almost four years suddenly blanketed her in an embrace so warm and soothing that she expected to see a pair of comforting arms wrapped around her when she raised her head. She turned to discover that she was still alone on the porch, her eyes frantically darting around in search of amber eyes that she was certain were focused on her.
“Max?” she hesitantly called out, but there was no response.
The warmth was slowly weakening, and she couldn’t help the moan that escaped her lips as the miraculous bond that had formed so many years ago began to slip away from her once again. The fading sensation immediately stabilized at her anguished outburst. Max was so close. She just knew it. She made another circle with her eyes, ardently hunting for some hint of where he might be, but there was none. She thought she must be completely losing her mind when it suddenly dawned on her. Although she couldn’t see him she was still cognizant of his presence, which could only mean he was inside the house. He had just been a few short inches away from her, right on the other side of the front door, until he had realized that she was his uninvited guest. Now he was deserting her.
“MAX! MAX! Please don’t walk away. I’m so sorry for what Kyle did. I swear to you that I didn’t know,” she hysterically pleaded as she began pounding on the door. “I can tell you’re in there, and I know that I’m probably the last person you want to see. Please just open the door for a minute so I can see for myself that you’re all right, and then I’ll leave you alone. I promise.”
The comforting sensation remained steady for another minute, and just when she was certain he would continue to ignore her it began to grow stronger, fortifying her resolve in the process. He was coming back. As the lock compellingly resonated in the thick afternoon air, her heart began to hammer in her chest. This was it. She was about to see Max Evans for the first time in years, and he would no doubt have the same swollen eye and bruised face as the last time their eyes had met. The door slowly opened and the storm door unlocked, the hinges squeaking in protest as the aging metal was widened in invitation.
Liz hesitantly stepped inside, straining to catch her first glimpse of the boy who had suffered because of her. The light from the kitchen’s patio door shone behind him, effectively blacking out his features as her eyes adjusted to the house’s darker interior. Even so, it was obvious that he was much taller than he had been in the seventh grade. He briefly turned his attention to shutting the front door before he finally faced her. In a flash his appearance registered in her mind, and the gasp that escaped her lips echoed throughout the silent house.
He was…amazingly, perfectly handsome. His raven hair was neatly combed, save for those same stubborn bangs that just begged for her to brush them from his forehead. Ears tinged pink, with bashfulness or anger she couldn’t be sure, peeked out from underneath a few curled locks, giving him a boyish appearance that belied his very grown-up body. That same flushed tone colored his cheeks as well, deepening as he silently endured her careful scrutinization, while his tongue nervously darted out to wet full masculine lips that couldn’t possibly be as soft as they appeared. Beneath the short sleeves of his blue button-down shirt muscled arms hung at his sides with a deceptive casualness that was completely betrayed by hands tightly fisted with tension. Slowly, cautiously she raised her eyes to the one feature she had meticulously avoided, dreading the look of hatred she was certain to see looming in the beautiful amber depths that she could now admit had been part of her dreams on more than one occasion. What she saw there instead took her breath away.
His eyes were swimming with a myriad of thoughts and emotions, and none of them even remotely resembled anger. The longing of a boy wanting her to try befriending him just one more time. Shyness that had made him a victim. Embarrassment that she had been the one to defend him. Awareness that he was not the only one who had grown up. Nervousness that they were close enough to touch. Fear that the never would. And such deep sadness that she was positive he would cry the tears she hadn’t.
“I know you would never hurt me,” a deep, husky voice quietly said, his cadence even more soothing than the honeyed gaze she had so easily learned to crave.
She stood there paralyzed, unsure of what to say to him. Any time she had tried to engage him in conversation he had never uttered more than one word responses to her, and the majority of those words had either been ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Now, after years of wanting more from him, it appeared she was finally getting it. Overwhelming curiosity finally released her from her muted state. “Then why did you start to walk away from the door?”
“My dad doesn’t want me to have people here when he isn’t home.”
She instantly thought of the previous day’s conversation with Mr. Evans. “And when he is home, does he allow you to have people over then?”
Max averted his eyes, and she immediately knew the answer. Up until yesterday no one had ever knocked on the door asking to visit with him. Even if they had, there was no doubt in her mind that they would have been turned away as well.
There were so many things she wanted to ask him, so much she wanted to know now that he was finally speaking to her. However, she had made him a promise, and she would stick to it. Her eyes once again examined his flawless face. She couldn’t see one scratch or bruise on him, and for a second she wondered whether Sean had made up the entire story. Of course Kyle wouldn’t have admitted to hurting Max if it had been nothing but a fallacy, would he? “I heard that Kyle and his goons did a pretty good job on you Saturday night. Are you all right?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he answered with his eyes still turned away from hers. “It looked a lot worse than it was, actually.”
“I’m glad you’re ok,” she said with a hint of a smile. Reluctantly stepping toward the door she added, “I guess I’d better get going, then.”
His eyes instantly snapped back to hers. “Please don’t leave me,” he said so faintly that she thought that perhaps she had imagined it. When she just blankly stared at him he reiterated his request.
“Please don’t leave.”
|posted on 28-Oct-2002 10:49:33 PM by SansuCry|
|Wow, I've just got to thank you all for the great feedback. I am truly floored by the response I've gotten, and I am so happy that you are enjoying my little Halloween diversion.|
By the way, for those of you who haven't read my other stories, I am a dreamer through and through, so the only way this fic will finish is with a happy ending....however, the only thing I can guarantee about the road to get there is that there will never be a Tess for Max to sleep with...
“You want me to stay?” she asked, trying hard not to let her voice sound too hopeful.
His shyness instantly returned as he looked down at his bare feet. “For just a little while?”
“So you really do believe that I didn’t write that letter?” she questioned encouragingly.
“Yes,” he answered as regret momentarily held his handsome features.
“But what about your dad? I thought you couldn’t have visitors.”
“He won’t be back for several more hours. I promise I won’t tell him you were here if you don’t.”
“In that case, I’ll stay,” she said, his widening timid grin matching hers as he acknowledged her acceptance. A little thrill shot through her as she realized that she had made him smile, something she instinctively knew he did not do very often. Shrugging her backpack off her shoulders and resting it against the table by the door, she noticed the immaculate carpeting in the hallway and living room. Spying his bare feet again she asked, “Should I take my shoes off?”
“You can keep them on,” he answered as he walked toward the kitchen.
She stood there in the hallway for a moment, marveling at the fact that she could actually feel him walking away from her, just as she had when she stood on his front porch. She silently laughed at her silliness as she realized what she was thinking. Sensing someone? That was impossible. Max would think she was crazy if she told him she could feel when he was near her. Besides, it was probably nothing more than a combination of hormones and a heightened sense of smell, because he sure did smell good.
“Would you like something to drink?” he asked as he leaned against the kitchen’s doorjamb.
A sudden panic filled her as she saw him waiting there for her. She was in Max Evans’ house. His dad wasn’t home, which meant they were alone, and nobody had any idea she was there. She didn’t really know anything about him except that her boyfriend…ex-boyfriend…had beaten him up because he had supposedly been watching her while she worked. What if he got the wrong impression from her agreeing to stay? What if he tried to take advantage of her?
His eyes quickly filled with hurt, as if he knew what she had been considering, and she immediately regretted thinking so poorly of him. This was Max, the boy who had allowed himself to be teased and beaten up and never once fought back. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. She may not know much about his life, but she knew him, knew the gentleness and beauty of his soul. He would never harm her any more than she would harm him.
Walking over to the doorway she said with a genuine smile, “I’d like some ice water if it isn’t too much trouble.” With that simple gesture his hurt immediately drained away. He had trusted her enough to open that front door and let her in, she told herself, so how could she not have the same faith in him?
He turned to walk into the kitchen as she followed behind him, taking a seat at the table while he procured their drinks. She was sitting in Max Evans’ kitchen, she thought incredulously. Never in a thousand years had she ever really expected to be where she was at this moment. As a matter of fact, these past two days had seemed quite surreal, and she got the impression that Max’s sudden extroversion with her was only going to make life even more interesting.
The lingering silence as he worked was quickly becoming a little unnerving to her, so she decided to begin their conversation by getting the hard stuff out of the way first. “Max, I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for what Kyle and his friends did. If I had had any idea what they were up to, I would have stopped them.”
He set two glasses down on the table and pulled out a chair for himself before sitting down, his expression rigidly guarded. Taking a sip of his water, he cleared his throat and answered, “You don’t have to apologize for them.”
“Yes. Yes, I do, because none of this would have happened if it weren’t for me. Kyle only went after you because he was jealous…”
“Jealous? Why would Kyle be jealous of me?”
‘Because he and everybody else in school saw what I refused to acknowledge,’ she wanted to say, but before she could get the words out, a strange scratching noise emanating from the corner of the kitchen caught her attention. “What is that?”
A beautiful smile lit up his entire face, his eyes instantly dancing with joy. “They’re my kittens. Do you want to see them?”
“Yeah,” she said with just as much enthusiasm.
They stood up together, and he led her over to a medium-sized cardboard box on the other side of the refrigerator. Nestled inside were two tiny black balls of fur. “How adorable, but they’re so small,” she commented. “Are they old enough to be away from their mother?”
“Now they are. Two weeks ago my dad found them abandoned at the plant where he works. Their mother got caught up in one of the machines and was killed.”
“How did you manage to keep them alive?” she asked with awe as she knelt down to stroke the nearest one.
Max’s cheeks turned a deep red as he explained, “My dad got me a little baby doll bottle. I filled it with milk and would feed it to them every couple of hours. It would take them forever to eat, so by the time I’d finish with one, I’d have to start all over again with the other one.”
She had always suspected that Max was very kindhearted, but hearing what he had done just to save the lives of two orphaned kittens was truly amazing. “Can I hold one?” she hesitantly asked.
The flattered look of a proud papa showing off his brood was unmistakable. He slowly bent over and picked up the one she had been petting, then cautiously placed the fluffy creature onto her opened palms. His fingertips lightly brushed against her sensitive flesh as he withdrew his hand, instantly sending an electrified jolt up her arm and throughout her entire body.
An image flickered in her mind, grainy, muddled frames like an old home movie, but the events rapidly playing out in her head had been very recent. A strong, masculine hand held this same kitten in a towel as Max’s quiet, sad voice said to it, “I had actually hoped she would meet you two tonight, but I guess I should have known better.” As the other hand dumped out the remaining water from the kitten’s bath, the metal pan that had been appropriated for the task reflected a strange yet familiar countenance. It was Max’s face, but instead of the flawless features she had observed in the hallway just minutes before, this face was covered with the bruises and cuts she had expected him to have from Kyle’s cruel prank.
She shook her head to remove the haunting pictures from her thoughts before looking up at Max in confusion. What had she just seen? Could that have been real, or was it merely something her guilty mind had conjured up? Max’s attention was focused on the other kitten, evidently unaware of what she had just experienced. Should she tell him? What exactly would she say if she did? Was it even feasible for bruises and cuts to heal that quickly?
“The one you’re holding is a boy,” he said cheerily, clearly ignorant of her dilemma, “and this one is a girl.”
Whatever that had been, it was apparent that it had come from her own twisted imagination. Forcing herself to concentrate on his childlike eagerness, she asked, “How can you tell them apart without embarrassing them?”
“Look on his neck. There is a tiny dot of white fur right in the middle. The girl is solid black, so all you have to do is look under their chins to tell them apart.”
Liz brought the kitten closer to her face as she gently guided his chin towards the ceiling with one of her fingers. Sure enough there was a little patch of white amongst all the other black hairs. The kitten twisted his head to the side in protest, and ended up coming in contact with her nose. He immediately began to lick her with his roughened tongue, causing her to laugh out loud. “He’s a friendly one, isn’t he?”
“He likes you a lot,” Max’s voice came from above, a hint of admiration softening his words to a breathy whisper.
“Do they have names?” she inquired as she continued to let the kitten explore her face.
“No, not yet,” he said as he shook his head. Eyes capturing hers he asked, “What do you want to call them?”
Her eyes widened in surprise. “Me? Oh gosh, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea. I’m terrible with choosing names.”
He was pensive for a few seconds before he asked, “What is your favorite love story?”
Cinderella was her immediate response, but she didn’t dare voice it as her answer. Just thinking about the tale made her remember what costume she had chosen for West Roswell’s annual Halloween dance, and the last thing she wanted at the moment was to imagine Kyle as her Prince Charming. Obviously she would be going stag now, if she even went at all. “In English class we’re almost finished with Romeo and Juliet,” she finally replied.
“Romeo and Juliet they will be,” he said with a slight mock accent.
“Are you sure? They’re your cats. You should be the one to name them,” she argued. “Besides, they’re brother and sister. Isn’t that kind of incestuous?”
“Actually,” he said with a blush, “since I can only keep one of them I don’t think it really matters.”
“What are you going to do with the other one?” she asked.
“My dad said he’ll try to find someone at the plant who may want it,” he said despondently. After all the effort he had put in to saving them, Liz could tell that he didn’t want to give up either one of the little critters, especially to a stranger. He awkwardly asked, “You wouldn’t want one of them, would you?”
“Really?” she queried, giggling as Romeo tried to root in her hair. Working to untangle his little claws from the chocolate mass cascading over her shoulder she smiled when he began purring so loudly he actually shook with the vibration. Giving his head a tiny peck she admired, “I guess you do kinda like me, huh?”
“You could say that,” Max said in the same quiet tone he had used to ask her to stay, giving Liz the impression that he wasn’t speaking only for the kitten.
“I’ll have to make sure it’s all right with my parents first,” she answered before turning her attention back to her fuzzy charge. Setting the kitten back inside the box she instructed, “Well, Romeo, I think you had better go join your sister for now.” As much as she adored holding the little furball, she wanted to learn more about the shy, quiet boy who had suddenly become quite talkative. With one final pat she stood up, but as she straightened she realized too late that her left leg had fallen asleep. She frantically reached out to keep from tipping over, her fingers instantly grasping Max’s side in desperation.
“AAHH,” he cried out in pain, his eyes squeezing tightly shut.
Liz instinctively recoiled from him, yanking her hand away as if she had been burned while struggling to maintain her balance. She immediately noticed the tear trickling down his agony-cringed cheek. “Max? What’s wrong? Are you ok?”
He nodded yes even as he fought to get himself under control, the deep breaths his lungs required seeming to cause him even more misery. He forced his eyes open in an attempt to convince her that he was fine, but the darkness in his usually expressive gaze told her that he was anything but all right. That horrific image of his battered face immediately sprang to mind, and she knew straight away why he had cried out.
Her eyes never leaving his she slowly edged over to him, her own numbed discomfort forgotten as she braced herself for the awful reality of Kyle’s cruelty. Stepping close enough that she had to tilt her head up to maintain eye contact, she tentatively reached out and brushed his bangs aside. His lashes briefly fluttered shut as skin contacted skin, then opened to display a degree of vulnerability that she never imagined was possible. For the next few moments, if not for the rest of eternity, his life, his heart, his soul, were all in her hands.
Only when he silently begged her to continue her ministrations, yearning for her to know the truth yet fearing her revulsion, did she allow her fingers to roam the features of his face, scrupulously tracing the pattern of cuts present in that other image of him. She slowly worked her way down to his mouth, her thumb resting on the lips that were even softer than they looked, the same lips that she knew had been swollen and bleeding just a few short nights ago. She so desperately wanted to close the remaining space between them and kiss away all the years of pain and loneliness that had culminated in one hideously brutal act, but she knew that her quest to discover his injuries was far from over. She grudgingly withdrew her fingers from his mouth to trail them down either side of his neck until they rested on the V at the top of his shirt. Permission to continue her exploration was wordlessly requested and granted.
Holding her breath, she began to undo the buttons.
|posted on 29-Oct-2002 11:05:24 AM by SansuCry|
|Here's Part 6|
“Oh my God, Max, what did they do to you?” she exclaimed as her eyes took in the black and blue marks that covered his well-toned chest and stomach.
Suddenly ashamed of his damaged appearance and embarassed by her examination of his exposed skin, Max quickly pulled his shirt closed and turned away from her.
Liz desperately wanted to comfort him, but she was afraid her touch would only hurt him more. “Max, why did you tell me you were all right when you so obviously aren’t?” she questioned. When he remained silent she stepped closer, praying he wouldn’t flinch away from her.
“They aren’t that bad,” he dispute as his fingers worked to hide the damning evidence. “They just need a few more days to heal.”
“How can you say that? All I did was touch you and…” she trailed off. Gently reaching out for his elbow she said, “Max, please tell me that your dad at least let you see a doctor.”
“He doesn’t know.”
“He doesn’t know?” she asked in disbelief. “But I thought…” She remembered Kyle’s arrogant pronouncement that Mr. Evans was not going to file a police report. Of course Max’s dad couldn’t possibly know about this part of the prank because if he did, there is no way he would let the matter drop so easily. “Max you have to tell him. This wasn’t some after school fistfight. Kyle and those creeps assaulted you. They should be in jail right now.”
“I can’t tell him,” Max said emphatically.
“Then maybe I should,” she challenged.
He turned to her in astonishment before suddenly becoming panicked. “Liz, listen to me. You can't tell anyone about this. Not my dad, not Maria. No one. You don't understand what'll happen if you do. Liz, please?”
“Tell me why I shouldn’t, Max?” she implored. “Make me understand why you never fight back, even thought it’s obvious you could defend yourself if you wanted to. Make me understand why your dad didn’t care to know who had destroyed your yard and your house, or why he isn’t going to press charges if already does know. Make me understand why you stay holed up in this house all the time.” Her voice broke as she pleaded, “Make me understand why all these years you would never speak to me no matter how many times I tried, but now suddenly you decide to meet me in a park in the middle of the night only to find out it wasn’t me you were meeting at all.”
“I want to tell you, Liz. I really do, and maybe someday I’ll be able to,” he beseeched, his eyes begging her to not force the issue, “but for now I can’t. You just have to trust that I know what I’m doing.”
What could be so terrible that Max would rather hide behind closed doors and allow himself to be hurt than to get the police involved? Were he and his dad hiding from the law? Or maybe they were part of a witness protection program. His fear that she would do something to endanger him was palpable, and after what he had suffered the past few days the last thing he needed was her adding to his anxiety. Resolved to the fact that her questions weren’t going to be answered today, she threw up her hands in frustration and asked, “Is there anything you can tell me?”
He walked into the living room and sat down on the couch, gesturing for her to sit in the chair across from him. She noticed how vigilant he was of his injuries and realized that was why he hadn’t gotten down on the floor with her when they were discussing the kittens. He sighed as he rubbed his forehead with his hand, closing his eyes in concentration. “I can tell you that my dad isn’t really as mean as he seemed yesterday. He’s just…….” Forcing himself to look at her, he explained, “My mom died a couple of months before we moved to Roswell. Ever since then it’s just been him and me. I know he comes off as rude and maybe a little heartless, but he’s really just being very overprotective. Losing my mom was really hard on him…”
Liz’s irritation rapidly diminished as Max opened up to her the best he could. Following his train of thought she concluded, “and you don’t want to tell him about Kyle because you think it will upset him too much.”
“Just knowing that I was out of the house would upset him. There aren’t any adjectives to describe how he would feel if he found out about this.”
Recalling what Kyle had said about Max watching her all the time she asked, “But how do you manage to come and go without him knowing?”
“He works the afternoon shift, so I’m here by myself from three-thirty or so until just after midnight. He was getting ready to leave when you knocked yesterday,” Max added wryly.
She so badly wanted to ask him about his late night visits to the Crashdown, but instead she chose a less embarassing question. “How long have you been sneaking out of the house?”
“Not that long,” he said evasively, and she ached to know whether his ventures into the outside world were directly related to her decreasing number of trips down his street.
“Don’t you get lonely here all by yourself?”
“There isn’t much difference between being lonely in an empty room or in one filled with people.”
Liz’s heart broke at his insightful observation. This sweet, gentle soul in front her was beautiful in so many ways. He of all people shouldn’t have to feel such total isolation, and she silently wished that someday, somehow, she would be the one to permanently remove the emotional solitude that ruled his life.
“I’ve got my dad to talk to, the t.v. to watch, and probably more books than the Roswell Public Library,” he continued. With a shy half-smile he added, “It could be a lot worse.”
“You don’t miss anything about going to school?” she asked, wondering whether she could ever survive living in such seclusion.
“I miss seeing you,” he said honestly.
She nervously bit her lip before remembering his plea to not tell Maria about the attack. If silence were so imperitive, then he had a right to know that the cat was already out of the bag. “Max, Maria knows about Kyle and the letter. Her cousin Sean does, too. As a matter of fact the only reason I found out what happened to you was because he overheard Kyle and one of his buddies whispering about it in the locker room today.” When the blood began to drain from Max’s face she quickly added, “If I ask both of them to not tell anyone else, I’m pretty sure they won’t.”
“Thank you. I would appreciate it.”
The chiming of the grandfather clock interrupted any further conversation as Liz looked at the foreboding hands on the elegant antique with disappointment. She didn’t want to leave yet, but her French club meeting had ended fifteen minutes ago and her parents would be expecting her home soon. “I have to get going,” she explained unenthusiastically as she stood up, “or my parents might start to worry.” Max nodded his head in understanding as he cautiously rose from the couch, trying his best not to wince under the pain.
Liz walked into the hallway and picked up her bookbag as Max opened the door for her. Pointing to his ribs she asked, “Are you sure I can’t convince you to go see a doctor?”
“I’ll be fine. I’m sure he’d just charge me fifty bucks to tell me to take it easy anyway,” he joked.
“You might want to run a hot bath and take a long soak. My Grandma Claudia swore that hot baths and ice cream could solve just about anything.”
“I’ll have to remember that,” he said with a shy smile.
It took every ounce of her strength to walk out the door and onto the porch. “I’d say ‘I’ll see you around’, but I won’t, will I?” she said regretfully.
“No,” he replied with just as much dismay, “I think I’d better continue to lay low for a while.”
She looked out at the empty road, not wanting him to see the tears forming in her eyes. “I guess this is good-bye, then.”
“Liz?” he called, his voice filled with the longing that had always been the largest component of their tenuous relationship.
“Yeah?” she asked, still avoiding his eyes.
“For being you.”
She nodded her head and continued to stand there, relishing his comforting presence for as long as possible.
“You could come back,” he quietly said, the hope evident in his voice.
She turned to face him. “Come back?”
“I mean, if you want,” he offered, his tone now full of vulnerability. “Tomorrow is my dad’s days off, but you could stop by after school on Thursday. If you want.”
Her face revealed all the joy she felt in her heart. “I’d like that a lot.”
“So would I,” he admitted.
“I’ll see you Thursday?” she confirmed.
“Yeah,” he said contentedly. “Thursday.”
|posted on 30-Oct-2002 12:03:06 AM by SansuCry|
|Whew! Just made it...(Well, it's still the 29th here, Sansu argues.)|
Little A/N: Right now the story is taking place in 2000, so Thursday's date is October 26th. The Halloween dance is on Saturday the 28th, and Halloween itself is the following Tuesday.
BTW, all this story will be from Liz's POV. I promise you'll eventually find out more about Max's dad's motives, but for now you're just as clueless as Liz...
Wednesday had been the longest day of Liz’s life.
Between counting the hours until she would be with Max again and having to tolerate an untouchable Kyle strutting around as if he owned the school it seemed like time had stood still. At least it had given her plenty of time to think.
Why had Max’s face and arms healed so quickly while the rest of his wounds hadn’t? Kyle had been right when he told her that she couldn’t prove he had anything to do with Max’s beating. The only person who could conclusively link Kyle to the attack was Max, and it was beyond frustrating for her to know that Kyle’s confidence in Max’s pacifist history to keep the whole incident a secret was working out beautifully for him. Perhaps Kyle had deliberately gone easy on the visible parts of Max’s body so that his injuries would appear to be minor. If so, then that flash she got of Max’s face must have come from somewhere inside of her. But why on earth would she imagine such a thing?
As much as Liz didn’t want to do it, swearing her best friend to secrecy regarding the whole beating situation had been easy enough. She was relieved that Maria hadn’t questioned her too much about Max’s condition, accepting her excuse that he just wanted to put the whole thing behind him. However, Sean had not been so quick to agree to her request. His ego a little bruised as he recognized he had zero chance with Liz now that she had finally admitted her attraction to Max, she had to threaten him with bodily harm before he reluctantly promised his silence.
“Well I, for one, am very glad that Kyle Valenti is out of your life for good,” Maria chattered away at lunch that day. “I never did trust him. Besides, I knew you’d figure out sooner or later that Max was the guy you really wanted.”
“Why is it that everyone except me seems to know I was interested in Max?” Liz asked with mild irritation. “And if I was so transparent about it, why didn’t you have the decency to call me on it? You’re my best friend, ‘ria. Isn’t that what best friends are supposed to do?”
“Liz, you knew you were interested in Max. You just didn’t want to admit it, so nothing I said would have made a difference. What exactly was I supposed to say, anyway? ‘Hey, chica, why don’t you dump your popular jock boyfriend and ruin your entire social life by going after some guy you haven’t seen in a few years and half the town thinks is either dead or in a mental institution’?
“You do have a point there,” Liz conceded.
“You and Max always had that look-into-my-eyes soulmate thing going, even way back in the third grade. I figured if it were meant to be, something would happen to bring you two together again. I just never imagined that something would be Kyle Valenti.”
“Tell me about it,” Liz muttered.
“Liz, you do know that if you pursue this thing with Max that it isn’t going to be easy. Once everyone finds out that you dumped Kyle’s sorry ass for him you’re going to be making jock boy the laughing stock of the school, and I don’t think he’s going to take too kindly to that.”
“Kyle doesn’t scare me. I can handle him,” Liz confidently said.
Maria leaned in close to Liz’s ear. “I’m not talking about you. Kyle didn’t beat up you. He beat up Max, for no other reason than the guy liked you. What crap will Kyle try to pull if he sees you and Max out on a date together?”
Liz didn’t have the heart to tell her friend that the chances of her and Max going out on a real date together were pretty slim, at least for now. Not that it mattered to her. As far as she was concerned she would be content to stay in the relative safety of Max’s house with him, locked away from people like Kyle. Still, she had to admit that Maria brought up a good point. Max had so much more to lose in all of this than she did. How would his father react if he found her in his house one day? How long would her threat to tell the sheriff everything hold Kyle at bay? Even if Kyle kept his distance, there were no doubt others who would try to cause problems for her and Max simply because he was such an easy target. Yes, a relationship with him definitely would be complicated.
“I’m not trying to discourage you from going for it,” Maria clarified, “and no matter what you do you know I’ll always have your back. And Max’s, too.”
“Thanks, ‘ria. I appreciate it.”
“You know I still can’t believe this is happening,” her friend said with a shake of her head. “So how strange was it seeing Max again? I bet he was thrilled when you told him that you still liked him after all this time.”
“ Um, actually I didn’t get the chance to tell him,” Liz sheepishly admitted. She had just begun to explain to Max the reason Kyle was so jealous of him when the kittens had distracted them, and somehow the events that transpired after that had taken on a much higher priority than their original discussion.
“You do plan to tell him, don’t you?” Maria teased.
“Yes I do,” Liz agreed. She would tell Max her feelings the minute she saw him Thursday afternoon and could only pray that he’d be willing to take a chance on her.
Thursday afternoon Liz was too keyed up to notice that much of the damage done to Max’s house and yard had been cleaned up. All her attention was focused on the front door and the gentle, wonderful, strikingly handsome boy waiting for her on the other side. Wednesday had passed in the blink of an eye compared to today, and as she anxiously sat through her last class of the day she was certain the clock had actually moved backwards.
She sensed Max the minute her foot hit the first step, so she wasn’t surprised to find him waiting for her in the doorway, a tranquil smile gracing his perfect mouth. She took the remaining steps two at a time again, glad to have a positive reason to be rushing to see him. “Hi,” she panted out, her breathlessness having much less to do with the run from school than with the site currently in front of her.
“Hi,” he answered back as his eyes drank her in. “I thought you weren’t going to come.”
“I got cornered by the one of the girls on the Halloween committee when I was leaving school,” she explained as she walked into the house and set her backpack down. “She recruited me to help out with the dance Saturday night, so it looks like I’ll be pouring punch the whole evening.”
Max shut the door and bowed his head as he walked from the hallway into the living room. “Won’t that upset Kyle?”
She looked at him in confusion as he sat down on the couch. “Why would me pouring punch all night upset Kyle?”
Still avoiding her gaze he elaborated, “If you’re doing that then you won’t be able to spend any time with him.”
Liz felt like she had been slapped in the face. She had never imagined that he would think she was still with Kyle. Shaking off the shock his words had caused she walked over to the couch and knelt down in front of him. She wanted him to look at her, but when he refused she took his hands in hers and rested them on his lap. She didn’t need to see his face to know everything he was feeling at that moment. His emotions were so strong that the instant she had touched him it seemed like she was experiencing them first hand. “Max, how could you think I would want to be anywhere near Kyle after what he did to you? I broke up with him the morning after I saw what he did to your house, and then when I learned that he hurt you, too…do you have any idea how that made me feel?”
She was awed by the relief that instantly flooded through her as his hands grasped hers tighter, but his remaining emotions were still in quite a state of turmoil. She quickly realized that Max thought Tuesday’s visit had only come about because she felt responsible for what Kyle had done to him. Now more than ever he needed to hear that she wanted to be with him.
“Do you still have the letter?” she asked hopefully. His whole body tensed before he reluctantly nodded yes. “May I see it?” she requested. When he nodded again she sat back so that he could stand up, his movements not as stiff as the last time she had seen him but obviously still causing him discomfort. She watched his retreating form as he left the living room through a different doorway, one that apparently led to his bedroom. For a minute she contemplated following him, but decided that she didn’t want to invade his privacy. He returned a couple of minutes after that and silently handed her a folded piece of notebook paper. She folded her legs underneath her and gestured for him to sit back down on the couch. Once he was seated she opened the letter that had brought him such joy and heartache within a matter of days.
You are probably surprised to hear from me after all these years, and I’m sure you are wondering why I am writing to you. For all I know you may not even remember who I am. But I remember you. I know that we never really talked to each other, but you have always been special to me. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about you and wonder how you are and what you are doing. I spend my nights dreaming about what you must look like now. I even used to walk by your house after school hoping to maybe see you, even for just a minute, but I was always too nervous to knock on your door. Which leads to my reason for writing.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering whether there could have eventually been something between us if you had stayed in school, but I don’t think I could handle seeing you face to face just so you can tell me that you have no interest in me. So next Saturday night the 21st after I get off of work, I will be in Buckley Park around 9:30 p.m., by the playground. I will wait there for an hour. If you decide to not meet me there, I will take it as a sign that you don’t have the same feelings for me as I have for you. After that, I promise I will never bother you again.
Of course my biggest hope is that I will get to the park and you will already be there waiting for me….
Liz recognized Kyle’s handwriting immediately, and she had to momentarily close her eyes to block out the words that had been Max’s demise. Her ex-boyfriend had known exactly what to write to draw Max to the park. She had to ask, “What time did you get there?”
“9:15,” he answered honestly. “There was no one around, so I just sat on one of the swings and waited. At 9:30 they came out of their hiding places and jumped me.”
It was then that she realized Max had been more hurt by the fact that those words had not been hers than he had been by the beating he received because of them. She knew apologizing again wasn’t what he really needed right now, so instead she reached out and lifted his chin with her finger, forcing him to look at her. “Did they say anything about why they were beating you up?”
Quietly he said, “Kyle told me that you were afraid of me, that you had asked him to beat me up as a warning to stay away from you.”
Liz was pretty sure that Kyle had told him as much. Now it was time to set the record straight. “Do you remember me telling you that Kyle beat you up because he was jealous?”
“Yes,” he said nervously.
“Kyle is the one who wrote this letter.”
His look told her that he didn’t really care who had written the letter now that he knew she hadn’t. She folded it up and slipped it into her pocket before kneeling in front of Max again. This time she reached up and tenderly held his face between her hands. When his eyes finally met hers she continued, “Kyle was jealous because he knew that letter really could have been written by me. Everything he wrote is exactly how I feel about you.”
The amazed look in Max’s eyes nearly melted her heart. “Really?” he asked in a hopeful whisper.
“Really,” she confirmed as she closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against his. She was instantly assaulted with dozens of images that flashed before her like a pulsing strobe light, most of the disjointed pictures moving too quickly for her to focus on. The only thing she knew for sure was that they had not come from her.
She pulled back with a gasp and stared into Max’s concerned eyes.
“Liz? What’s wrong?”
Before she could say more, Max’s attention snapped to the front door. Ignoring his injuries he quickly pulled Liz to her feet and strode to the living room’s large picture window, unconsciously dragging her behind him. Resting her free hand on the sill another series of images assaulted her, only this time they were accompanied by such raw emotions that she nearly cried out.
Every school day he stood here and waited for her, hidden by the curtain’s shadow. He so desperately wanted to go outside and talk to her, wanted to touch her soft hair that always shined in the afternoon sun, wanted to invite her in to his life, his world. Realistically he knew that would never happen, so he learned to be content with just watching her from afar. Those were the best five minutes of his day.
“You’ve got to get out of here,” Max’s panicked voice snapped her out of her daze.
“What?” she asked in confusion.
“My dad. He just came home,” he explained as he tugged her away from the window and toward the hallway. Snatching her bookbag from its resting place he stealthily led her to the kitchen. Opening the patio door he reiterated, “You’ve got to get out of here.”
“Liz, please,” he pleaded, his fear coming off of him in waves.
“Come to the Crashdown tomorrow night. I’ll meet you across the street,” she said hastily.
A split second of embarrassment came over him before he nodded his agreement. “I’ll be there.”
In the next instant, Liz was out the door.
[ edited 2 time(s), last at 30-Oct-2002 12:12:47 AM ]
|posted on 30-Oct-2002 12:08:35 PM by SansuCry|
|Thanks for the continued support. Here's more...|
Liz was certain the sidewalk across the street from the Crashdown had a hole worn in it by now. Unfortunately her constant pacing had not been able to make Max magically appear, and as the chilly night air removed the last bit of warmth from her sweater she knew something must have happened to him. She probably would have been much more apprehensive about his safety if she didn’t know that Kyle and his goon squad, along with most of the population of Roswell, were at an out of town football game. The only other explanations for Max’s absence would involve his dad. Either he found out Liz had been at the house the day before or he had stayed home from work. In any case it was apparent that Max would not be meeting her.
She walked back into the Crashdown and was just about to lock the door behind her when she felt Max’s familiar presence. Looking through the plate glass window to see him briskly walking up to the restaurant, she held the door open in invitation once he reached the front. He quickly stepped inside and said apologetically, “I’m sorry I didn’t get here earlier. I fell asleep in my room and didn’t wake up until about twenty minutes ago.”
A smile lit up her eyes as she responded, “That’s all right. I’m just glad you made it. I thought maybe your dad was home again.”
“No. He only came back yesterday because he had forgotten his ID badge on the kitchen table,” he explained as he took in his surroundings. “They won’t let him into the plant without it.”
“Oh,” she said, disappointed that their time together had been cut short by an errant piece of plastic. Letting him finish his visual tour of the restaurant she finally asked, “So what do you think? Does it look any different from the inside?”
His eyes resting on her face he replied, “It’s much more beautiful in here.”
She shyly bit her lip at his compliment before asking, “So, do you want to stay down here or go upstairs?”
“What about your parents?” he asked warily.
“Gone. They went to this Halloween party the Chamber of Commerce throws, so they won’t be back ‘til late.”
Max glanced out the front window of the Crashdown, lost in thought until she commented, “It’s strange, isn’t it? At night time you can’t see anything from in here except darkness, but from the outside every little thing that goes on in here is visible.”
Understanding that her comment was actually a question he replied, “I started sneaking out of the house when the school year began. After a whole summer of missing you, I couldn’t wait for you to begin walking by my house again. When you didn’t, I decided to come and look for you. I ended up at the bench across the street.”
So Kyle hadn’t lied about that. Max had been secretly watching her for a couple of months now. Stepping closer to him she asked, “If you went to all that trouble to find me, why didn’t you come into the restaurant and talk to me?”
Max’s eyes closed as if remembering were painful. Reaching up and touching his cheek, Liz was instantly assaulted with the answer.
Tonight was the night, he thought. This was the fourth time he had come to see her, and he was determined to walk into the restaurant and start up a conversation. Rubbing his nervous hands on his jeans he stood up to make the journey across the street only to see Kyle Valenti kissing her by the cash register.
“Oh, Max,” she said despondently. “I had no idea it was because of Kyle. The only reason I ever agreed to go out with him in the first place was because I didn’t think I could be with you. I always felt so guilty kissing him because each time I did all I could do was wonder what it would be like to kiss you. ” Her right hand still on his cheek she used her left one to bring his fingers to the side of her face. When they automatically threaded through her hair she closed her eyes at the exquisite sensation and continued, “If I had known that my walking by your house was the best five minutes of your day, I never would have stopped doing it. I would have knocked on your door and asked you to let me be a part of your life, to show me your world.”
Max’s fingers stilled and visibly stiffened in her hair. She opened her eyes to a face filled with subtle alarm. “What is it?” she asked with worry. Had she said too much? Maybe he wasn’t ready for such honesty.
“How did you know that?” he choked out.
Withdrawing his hand from her hair completely he stepped back and said with a shake of his head, “I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything about that being the best five minutes of my day. I didn’t tell you I stayed away because I saw you kiss Kyle. How could you have known that?”
Liz had tried to ignore what had happened at Max’s house the previous day, writing it off as her own little fantasy of Max pining away for her as much as she had for him. She had even convinced herself that those strobing images she had seen when she rested her forehead against his were nothing more than the dizzying effect of being so close to him. But now, now that he had confirmed part of what she had seen was indeed fact, she had to wonder the same thing. How could she have known that?
“Max, maybe we’d better sit down.”
He silently agreed, so she led him to the nearest booth, afraid that her suddenly shaky legs wouldn’t carry her much further. Once they were seated she stared down at the table as she collected her thoughts. How could she ever explain to Max what had been happening to her without sounding like a complete nut job? What would she do if he didn’t believe her? Still, she had to tell him something.
Taking a deep breath she began, “This is probably going to sound really bizarre, but here it goes. Do you…feel things when you look at me?”
“Feel things? Of course I feel things,” he answered. After a pause he asked with a raised brow, “Like what?”
“Nevermind. This is crazy. I am crazy. Just forget I said anything.”
“Liz, please. Just tell me,” he implored.
“I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday,” she tentatively explained. “When I looked into those amazing eyes of yours I…I got this peaceful feeling, like you were some part of me that I didn’t even realize was missing….”
“Go on,” he encouraged.
“Every time I looked at you and saw you staring back at me, I’d feel the same thing. I didn’t even question it. All those years it was just there. And then you were gone, and it was gone, and I had never felt so alone before. I would be in a room full of people and I would be so lonely…” she trailed off. Wiping the tear from the corner of her eye she continued, “I never thought I would feel that kind of completeness again, and I didn’t, until I knocked on your door Tuesday. I know it sounds utterly insane, but I sensed you somehow. I knew you were walking away from that front door, away from me…”
“Liz,” he said in a deep breathy whisper. “I don’t think it’s insane at all. I…….I’ve always been able to sense you. As a matter of fact, that should have been my first clue that something was wrong Saturday night. I knew that you were nowhere near the playground.”
Stunned that Max shared the same keen perception she did she asked, “How far away can you sense me?”
“Oh, from here….to about the middle of the street.”
“Which is why you would watch me from the bench,” she concluded. “But why do we have this…connection in the first place? This doesn’t happen with anyone else but you.” She gave him a mystified look as she asked, “What exactly is this?”
Max reached across the table and took her hand. His voice heavy with emotion he said, “I think this is what being in love is.”
His theory filled her heart with elation. It made sense that she had never felt like this with anyone else because no one had ever come close to evoking the emotions in her that one glance from Max could incite. “Do you think the other stuff is part of being in love, too?”
The joyfulness that had been dancing in his eyes suddenly became apprehension. “What ‘other stuff’?”
“I don’t know what to call them…these…flashes. They’re like I’m seeing inside your head or something. Just now, when I asked why you didn’t come into the Crashdown to talk to me. I heard your thoughts…”
“What was I thinking?” he cautiously asked.
“You were going to come in and see me. You had just worked up the nerve to get up from the bench when you saw Kyle kissing me.” Max’s eyes widened in surprise, but before he could ask her any questions she continued, “And yesterday at your house, I felt how you felt as you waited for me to walk by your house. It’s like I was really you.”
“That’s…that’s…not possible,” he argued as his breathing became erratic.
Liz figured she was already in over her head. She might as well tell him everything. “Oh wait, there’s more. When we touched foreheads yesterday I saw so many things I still haven’t had time to sort them all out. When I held Romeo Tuesday? I saw you talking to him as you emptied out his bath water. You were telling him that you had hoped I would meet him and Juliet, but that you should have known better. Your face, Max. I saw your face reflected in the metal wash pan. I saw all the cuts and bruises…”
Liz’s attention was suddenly drawn to their tightly clasped hands. They were shaking so badly that she was certain their knuckles would be bruised from pounding against the top of the table. Only she wasn’t the one trembling.
He quickly wrenched his hands away and stood up from the booth, stumbling backwards and nearly falling down in the process. “Um, Liz, I…I have to go.”
“But you just got here,” she argued as she stood up. He began to back away the second she took a step towards him. “Max. please. I didn’t mean to freak you out. I’m sorry I said anything, but I don’t know why this is happening. Can’t we at least talk about this…so that you can see that I’m still me?”
Max’s tormented features were a ghostly white. “I’m sorry, Liz. I can’t do this. I just can’t,” he stuttered out before he dashed through the door and disappeared from sight.
For several long minutes Liz simply stood there, paralyzed with disbelief. She had shocked the hell out of him with her admission that she had some kind of mind-reading ability. With his easy acceptance of their cognizant link to each other she had assumed he would be curious about this as well, maybe help her figure out what triggered the flashes and see whether she could control what she saw, perhaps even determine whether this phenomenon was possible only with him as well.
Instead he had run away, and she couldn’t help the sinking feeling growing in the pit of her stomach that she had chased Max Evans away for good.
|posted on 31-Oct-2002 12:32:59 AM by SansuCry|
|I know...I know...I'm late. But here it is, and since it is still 11:30 my time, it counts!|
She was in hell, she thought for the thirtieth time that night.
She hadn’t had the heart to bow out of punch bowl duty once Trudi Peterson nearly broke down in tears due to the shortage of volunteers, but when the girl had called her at home this afternoon to remind her to wear a costume, she had the fleeting urge to back out anyway. A Halloween dance was the last place she wanted to be after the sleepless night she had had. Even Maria, her usual pillar of strength, had unwittingly abandoned her in her darkest hour with some pitiful excuse about a stomach flu and the toilet being her new best friend.
Her mother had spent so much time making the beautiful Cinderella dress she was currently wearing that the thought of choosing another costume hadn’t even crossed her mind, despite the fact that her own happy ending had run away from her the night before. She had prayed Kyle would at least have enough decency to not show up at the dance as Prince Charming but quickly grew to regret that wish when she caught her first glimpse of his alternate outfit. Each time he approached the table in the guise of acquiring more punch for Pam Troy, his replacement date for the evening, he would hold up his fists in a typical boxing stance and ask her whether she knew where to find any punching bags. It took every ounce of fortitude she had to not leap across the orange and black tablecloth and pummel him to death, but instead she remained steadfastly silent, refusing to give him the satisfaction of knowing how much her heart was aching.
Sean had talked her into being his partner for a couple of fast dances, but for the majority of the time she kept to herself, dutifully filling paper cups with blood red juice as she struggled to understand the bizarre events of the past week. Seven days ago she had been taking a shower at home after finishing her shift at the Crashdown, completely oblivious to the events occurring a few blocks away in Buckley Park. Now she was falling in love with an enigmatic recluse who refused to tell her his secrets and had freaked out when she told him hers. The worst part was that she still didn’t quite know how she had gotten from point A to point B.
She had desperately wanted to chase after Max last night, but as much as she wanted to work things out she knew that she couldn’t push him. He had already suffered enough at the hands of others because of her. The last thing he needed was for her to cause him even more anguish. She could only leave him alone and pray that he might somehow be able to accept what was happening to her. She even tried to put herself in his position. How would she feel if he told her some bizarre story about being able to read her mind?
As the opening bars of a familiar song began to echo throughout the impromptu dance hall, Liz valiantly fought back tears. How many times had she imagined dancing to this song with Max? She was just about to drown her sorrows in her own glass of punch when a disturbance at the entrance to the gymnasium caught her attention. Acting as head chaperone, Mr. Seligman was trying to explain to someone that the dance was only open to West Roswell High students and their dates, but the person attempting to gain entrance seemed pretty adamant about getting through. Curiosity getting the better of her, Liz took a few steps toward the door to get a better view of the person who would want to crash a high school Halloween dance. She nearly fainted when Max’s comforting presence suddenly surrounded her. Picking up the full skirt of her dress so she wouldn’t trip on it she ran over to where her biology teacher was interrogating the last person she had ever expected to see.
Find me here. Speak to me
“Max?” she asked, completely awestruck.
“Liz, do you know this young man?” Mr. Seligman skeptically questioned.
I want to feel you. I need to hear you
Max’s eyes met hers in a silent plea for forgiveness, but just the fact that he had risked showing up at the dance at all was enough of an apology for her. “Yes, Mr. Seligman. He’s my date.”
You are the light that is leading me
The chaperone mumbled a quick ‘sorry’ and then stepped aside to let Max enter the gym. Liz’s heart fluttered at the intensity of Max’s gaze even as she realized that everyone else’s attention was quickly focusing on her as well.
To the place where I find peace again
“Max, what are you doing here?” she asked as he stepped so close to her she could feel the heat of his body through the thick material of her dress.
You are the strength that keeps me walking
He gave her a shy smile as he said, “I know that I’m not really dressed the part, but I was hoping you would let me be your Prince Charming.”
You are the hope
“I’m not sure how I feel about that,” she said pensively. “I don’t think Prince Charming is supposed to run away from Cinderella.”
That keeps me trusting
Regret suddenly darkened his eyes. “About that, Liz…. I’m sorry for running out on you like that. It’s just that I…”
You are the life
“Max, you don’t have to explain, really. I understand that was a lot to lay on you all at once, so I can see how you would have freaked out. I just wish I knew what was wrong with me,” she lamented.
You are the life to my soul
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, Liz Parker,” he said reverently as he took her hand and held it against his chest, “except that you aren’t dancing with me.”
You are my purpose
Liz automatically raised her other hand and wrapped it around his neck, her fingers tangling in the hair at the nape of his neck as they began to sway to the music.
And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
She rested her head next to their clasped hands and breathed in the wonderful scent that was just his.
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
“Liz, there’s something I have to tell you…”
You calm the storms
She could hear the anxiety in Max’s voice. Whatever he wanted her to know must be pretty significant.
You give me rest
She pulled back just far enough to see into his eyes. The apprehension in them was just as great.
You hold me in your hands
Removing her hand from his grasp, she reached up and caressed his cheek.
You won't let me fall
“Max, you can tell me anything. It will never change the way I feel about you.”
You still my heart
Leaning into her palm he closed his eyes and whispered, “I love you, Liz…”
And you take my breath away
“I’ve loved you since the first moment I saw you, and I’ll love you ‘til the day I die.”
Would you take me in take me deeper now
She guided his face down to hers and tenderly pressed her lips against his.
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
His own mouth moved to deepen the kiss.
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
This time she saw images of herself as a girl, watching him on the playground.
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
This time she felt how much he longed to speak to her.
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
This time she saw images of herself in junior high, watching him across the classroom.
Cause you're all I want, you're all I need
You're everything.. everything
This time she felt how much he missed her once he quit school.
You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything.. everything
This time she saw images of herself tracing the invisible cuts on his face.
You're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything.. everything
This time she felt how much he wanted her touch.
You're all I want
You're all I need
This time she saw beautiful images of them tenderly kissing, caressing, making love.
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by it
This time she felt his soul melding with hers.
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this
This time she welcomed the flashes.
The beautiful song is Everything by Lifehouse. If you have never heard it before, go buy their album. It is worth every penny.
|posted on 31-Oct-2002 1:28:17 PM by SansuCry|
It was a perfect Monday.
Halloween was the next day, the weather was beautiful, and Liz Parker was in love.
Her face was set in a permanent grin as she marveled the fact that Max risked his own safety and went to the dance just to be with her. Her dreams of being held in his arms were nothing compared to reality, and the kisses they had shared throughout the rest of the evening defied description. Even Kyle’s various attempts to cause trouble couldn’t phase them. Liz just knew that her jealous ex would wait until they were forced out into the parking lot after the dance before making his ultimate move, so to say she had been surprised when two of his own goons held him back would be an understatement. They were too concerned about jeopardizing next weekend’s championship football game to let him have another go at Max.
Maria had been livid that she missed the dance as soon as she had been apprised of Max’s appearance there, and Liz had to spend her entire lunch hour giving her best friend every minute detail, minus any information regarding the flashes she had received from her new boyfriend. She had also chosen to leave out any description of the ten minutes she had spent saying goodbye to Max when she had taken him home after the dance.
She couldn’t wait to get to his house, especially now that they were officially a couple. He had promised to show her some of his favorite books from his extensive collection, and she had spent the last hour of school imagining the two of them curled up on the couch, taking turns reading to each other. She was also excited because her mother had given her permission to bring Romeo home, and she had spent Sunday afternoon at the pet store acquiring all the supplies she would need to care for her new charge. She had been so tempted to drive past Max’s house on her way back but was afraid that the urge to pull into the driveway would have been too great to resist, not a good thing considering that Sunday was Mr. Evans’ other day off from work.
The late October breeze blew her hair across her face as she rounded the familiar corner onto Murray Road, and it wasn’t until she had pulled aside the dark mass Max so adored that she spotted the sign. At first she thought it was part of the neighbor’s yard, but as she approached Max’s house the location was unmistakable. The Evans’ home was up for sale. Her brow wrinkled in concern, she looked up toward the porch and immediately noticed the windows were now void of the curtains and shades that had adorned them the last time she had been there. Her bookbag dropping onto the sidewalk with an unceremonious thud, she sprinted across the front yard and bound up the stairs. She didn’t even need to knock on the door to know the dreadful truth. The naked picture window exposing the empty living room beyond only verified what her senses were already telling her. Max and his dad were gone, and they were never coming back.
She wasn’t sure how long she had sat on their front porch, numbly staring out at the refurbished yard and wishing for Max’s return, before the elderly neighbor a few doors down shuffled over to see her. The moving van had showed up very early that morning, the friendly woman informed her, and Mr. Evans’ car pulled out of the driveway for the last time at around ten or so. With all the loving concern of a grandmother the white haired lady told Liz it was time for her to go home.
The sky was beginning to darken by the time she walked through the doors of the Crashdown, the Halloween decorations now mocking the emptiness flourishing inside of her instead of being cute reminders of her wonderful weekend. Both of her parents were sitting at the counter with identical looks of worry on their faces, and it took her a minute to shake the numbness that pervaded her every pore so that she could concentrate on the discussion they were trying to hold with her.
“…surprise is in your bedroom,” her mother explained.
“I’m sorry. What did you say,” she asked, feigning tiredness.
“I said, ‘The surprise is in your bedroom’. He’s been sitting up there waiting for you for a couple of hours now.”
Bookbag abruptly dropping for the second time that day, Liz cautiously made her way to the back of the restaurant. Gaping at the endless flight of stairs in front of her she was afraid to take the first step. She took three cleansing breaths before raising her foot to begin the tenuous journey. Two-thirds of the way up to the apartment, she almost screamed with joy as she felt the unique peacefulness that was Max. Running at full speed she threw open the apartment door and began calling out for him. “Max! Max! I’m coming. I’ll be right there.”
Bursting into her bedroom she commented, “I was so afraid. I thought you had moved out of town. When I saw the empty house…”
She stopped dead in her tracks as she realized that Max was not in her room despite the fact that she could feet his presence there. Thinking that maybe he was in the bathroom she crawled over her bed and headed for that door when she spied the cardboard box in the corner of the room. Picking up the hastily scribbled note next to it, her shaking hands could barely hold it still enough to read.
My beautiful Liz—
Parting is such sweet sorrow.
I don’t want to leave you but I have no choice. Take very good care of Romeo, for he is now the best part of me.
Please remember that Prince Charming always finds his Cinderella, and I will love you until the day I die.
All my love, Max
Her legs gave out the minute she finished the note. Max was really gone, and the only thing she had left of him was a kitten he had adored as if it were his child. The tears that she had held back for the past three hours suddenly came pouring out with the force of a flood, deep choking sobs the only sound in the room until a harmonious little mewing protested the lack of attention from its new owner.
Liz wiped her face with the back of her sleeve before reaching in to retrieve the furry little creature. His complaining immediately ceased as she held him close to her heart, a tiny pink tongue flicking out to taste the salty skin of her hand. No sooner had he started to purr than the flashes came.
All the images Liz had seen the night of the dance swam in front of her again, each emotion as fresh as the moment it had been felt. Other images came, too. Hundreds of letters Max had written to her but had never sent. Beautiful drawings of her. Hopes for their future. Each play of color and light and emotion was a healing balm for her broken heart. Only after the images temporarily dissipated did Liz realize what had happened.
Max had somehow taken each memory, thought, dream, hope and feeling he had ever had of or for Liz and implanted it into Romeo. Max considered Romeo to be the best part of him because the little black fuzzball now shared with him all the same memories of her.
Some small part of her was asking how Max had done what he did. People don’t go around implanting their memories into cats everyday. People aren’t able to read each other’s minds and sense when others are near. People can’t miraculously heal themselves. But Max had. Perhaps that revelation should have scared her, but all she could feel was completely loved and cherished. As long as she had Romeo she would be able to endure the loneliness having Max missing from her life was sure to bring and pray for the day when her Prince Charming would find her.
In the meantime there was one thing that she simply had to do. With Max gone there was no way this could affect him, but it would give her some peace of mind. Putting Romeo back in his box she went to the desk drawer where the letter Kyle had written to lure Max to the park was hidden. Taking it out, she picked up the phone and dialed Sean DeLuca’s number.
October 31, 2000
“You little b*tch. Do you have any idea what you’ve done to me?” Kyle Valenti spat out as Liz casually arranged her books in her locker. “He’s selling my Mustang! After all the hours of work I put into that thing my dad’s selling it! Not only that, but I’ve been kicked off of both the football and basketball teams. I’m going to miss the f*cking championships all because of you and that freak boyfriend of yours.”
“Why I’m sorry, Kyle,” Liz said with a southern belle accent. “I thought you said your daddy wouldn’t do anything but take your car away for a couple of weeks.”
“I’m going to make you pay for this.”
“You mean Max moving away because of what you did to him isn’t punishment enough?” she snapped back. Throwing his own words back at him she said, “Trust me, Kyle, it will be worth it to see the look on your face when someone else goes driving off in your beloved red Mustang.”
“I’m not stupid, Liz. I always knew there was something weird about the guy. In case you forgot, I’m one of the people who beat the crap out of him. I heard the bones break. There is no way in hell he should have even been able to get out of bed yet. How is it that he didn’t have a scratch on him Saturday?”
Liz laughed out loud as she closed her locker. “So now you think that Max miraculously healed himself?” Gesturing for Kyle to lean in close to her, she suggestively whispered in his ear, “I have to thank you for giving me an excuse to undress Max when we were all alone in his house. That old ‘I want to see your bruises’ line worked perfectly for me. If anybody was ‘healing’ Max that day, he sure didn’t have to do it to himself, and by the time I was finished with him Saturday night there were plenty of scratch marks.”
Kyle’s eyes filled with a jealous rage as Liz walked away humming the tune, ‘Sexual Healing.’
After she was a few paces away she turned to face him. “You’re right, Kyle. All the monsters do come out on Halloween, especially the green-eyed kind. Oh, by the way. I forgot to tell you. My parents are finally getting me my own car, and just wouldn’t you know? It’s a red Mustang.”
Uh, ok, the good/bad news is that I have two more parts and an epilogue and then the story is over. The bad/bad news is that I won't be able to post them today as I had so desperately planned....especially since the next four days on my calendar are completely filled. IF (Big IF) I can find time after hubby and kids go to bed I might be able to get more out very late tonight, but dont' count on it. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but believe me I am just as disappointed.....and when you finally see the next parts I think you'll be able to guess why....
Until then, everyone have a safe and happy Halloween.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 31-Oct-2002 1:29:48 PM ]
|posted on 2-Nov-2002 8:24:52 PM by SansuCry|
|Hi, all. I'm finally back with more. This part got way too long, so I had to break it up. So after this one, there should be two more...we'll see how that goes.|
Just want to thank you all for your great feedback. It really inspired me to get this out quickly.
October 31, 2002
“C’mon, Karen, you’ve gotta help me out here. We’ve all been busting our humps since the school year began. Don’t you think we all deserve to have a little fun?”
Liz knew that she was in trouble. Any time her roommate Karen and her friend Alex got together they always seemed to go on a ‘Save Liz from A Boring Life’ campaign, and this time didn’t seem any different. Despite her constant refusal to partake in the social outings they would conjure up, she really did appreciate their friendship. She didn’t think she would have survived Stanford thus far without them.
Her journey from obtaining Kyle’s car to attending the beautiful California campus had lasted much longer than the two years her calendar indicated. Once the initial shock of Max’s departure had worn off her life had become an endless barrage of questions, both her own and other people’s. When Max had come to the dance and professed his eternal love for her, had he known that he would be leaving? Had that been the ‘something’ he had wanted to tell her? If so, why hadn’t he? If not, what other thing could have made him so worried? Perhaps he had planned to answer the questions he had said he couldn’t a few days earlier.
It was obvious now that the flashes she had thought were her aberration had actually been his responsibility, as was her ability to sense his presence. Why was it that he seemed to welcome her knowing about the latter item, yet the former one had sent him running into the streets? Maybe it wasn’t the flashes that had bothered him per se, but rather what she had seen in them. Each one seemed to revolve around a highly emotional moment involving her. She would have thought he was embarrassed for her to know how much he wanted her in his life, but the look on his face that night at the Crashdown had been one of pure terror. Had he been afraid that she would experience Kyle’s attack and his agony of her believed participation in it?
What had caused Max and his father to move out of town? Had his father planned this before their house had been vandalized, or had that cruel event been the impetus for their disappearance? Had he somehow found out about Max being attacked? Was it possible that he had found out about her visits? If so, was her friendship with Max such an awful thing that Mr. Evans would just pick up and leave? What if one of his coworkers had a student that attended West Roswell’s Halloween dance? Everyone there had seen Max out in plain sight, dancing with and kissing her. What if taking him out of town had been some kind of punishment for not staying holed up in the house?
She knew that she would probably never have the answers to any of these questions unless Max actually did come back to her, but it didn’t stop her from trying to find out as much as possible on her own. She had been heartbroken to think that Max had been waiting for her at the Crashdown with Romeo while she sat on his front porch in a daze, but further questioning of her parents proved that had not been the case. Max had brought the kitten to the restaurant sometime in the morning, probably on his way out of town, and had begged the Parkers to let Liz have him, unaware that she had already received their approval. They had kept Max’s note, written on one of the Crashdown’s carryout bags on the spur of the moment, and the adorable furball downstairs with them for most of the day, but when Agnes didn’t show up for the dinner rush they had to sequester him in Liz’s bedroom so they could both work the floor, assuming she would be home at any time to care for her new pet. After the exhausting rush they had dropped onto the stools by the counter and realized that Liz had not been home yet just as she walked through the door. By then Max had been long gone.
The first few days of November had been the worst of her life as she struggled between accepting Max was not coming back and hoping he would. Even with Maria’s best damage control school had been an absolute nightmare filled with rumors that Max had seduced her into his bed only to leave her, while Kyle made it clear to the student population that the loss of the championship football game was entirely her fault. Only when Kenny Sanders, of all people, came to her defense by laying the blame for Max’s disappearance and the team’s defeat solely at Kyle’s feet did her classmates’ hateful comments and snide remarks cease. After all that cruelty, Kenny’s heartfelt apology for his role in the attack on Max had brought her to tears.
She had called the realtor listed on the house’s for sale sign in hopes of discovering where Max and his dad may have settled only to find out the seller was some kind of listing agency. After a couple of weeks of phone tag she finally did get a return call from the agency, which directed her to a bank in Phoenix. Due to confidentiality rules all the bank would tell her was that the house was titled to a trust. She had hit a dead end. For whatever reason, it appeared that Max’s dad wanted to be sure they would never be found.
Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went, each day filled with a constant sadness as Liz worried and wondered about Max. Was he all right? Did he ever get to leave his new home or was he just as reclusive there? Did he miss her as much as she missed him? She threw herself into school and work and volunteering as a way of filling the emptiness in her heart and spent the nighttime in her bedroom with Romeo’s comforting presence easing her into the dreamworld where she was wrapped up in Max’s loving embrace once again. The second half of the school year passed by quickly as Liz settled into a routine of waking up and living each day, trying to find happiness with her parents, Maria, and anywhere else she could. Still, in a room filled with people, she was utterly alone.
That August Liz started her senior year with the rest of her classmates, but she never could summon up the same enthusiasm they had for what should have been the best year of her life. It took that first day of classes for Liz to discover how much she had tried to downplay Max’s importance in her life over the years. Even though he had not started a new school year with her since the seventh grade, she had always taken some measure of solace just in knowing Max was somewhere nearby. She couldn’t help but wonder whether her heart would have been just as broken as it was now if he had moved away without their ever having spoken.
Perhaps the only person less excited about senior year had been Kyle. He was relegated to playing second string in both his sports, all hopes of a football scholarship flying out the window as easily as the people he had once called his friends. Every time Liz looked at him she saw the irony behind his attack on Max. He had done it to keep Max away from her, and although the end result was the same, he had probably never expected the fallout that resulted from his jealous rage. Sometimes in a fleeting moment of sympathy she would think of thanking him for giving her the incentive to admit the depth of her feelings for Max, but then she would remember what Max had suffered for that knowledge and the thought would turn into an anger that lasted for days.
The end of October had been an especially emotional time for her as she relived all the wonderful and tragic events of the previous fall, and she spent more than one night thanking her lucky stars for a best friend like Maria. Whether it was just sitting together in silence on Liz’s balcony while staring off into space or stroking her hair away from her face to escape the inevitable tears, Liz knew she would never have survived those toughest days without the girl who was as close to her as a sister.
She had had every intention of staying as far away from the Halloween dance as possible, but in the end the hope that her Prince Charming would somehow find her in the place where they had shared their uniquely marvelous first kiss won out. Most of the evening had been spent dancing with Sean and Maria, her gaze never leaving the doorway for more than a few seconds at a time, and when the last bars of the night’s final song echoed in the gymnasium she bit back the stinging sob swelling her throat. In a classic Cinderella move she had begun a mad dash for the entrance when she was suddenly stilled by a flash, the emotions of it so strong she had nearly doubled over. She stood there dazed for a minute as she tried to figure out what she had seen, and when she realized what the images were she had been stunned.
In her attempt to escape the heartache of the gym’s memories, she had inadvertently placed herself in the exact location of those first blissful minutes she had spent in Max’s arms. She had felt such love and adoration, his love and adoration, as he reveled in her gentle touch and loving kisses, but the truly wondrous part was the flash. She had just seen dozens of real and imagined images of Max throughout the years, images he had to have seen from her own mind, but instead of experiencing the feelings she always associated with the thoughts, she had instead felt his humbled exhilaration and loving amazement as he was subjected to the intensity of her feelings for him. She had been awed by his unwavering conviction that that the only place he would ever escape his loneliness was in her arms.
She almost refused to leave when Sean and Maria told her it was time to head home, and for the rest of the school year she had purposely crossed over that point on the gymnasium floor every chance she could. Each time, Max’s emotional reaction to experiencing her feelings for him firsthand had affected her just as strongly as it originally had, and with each occurrence she had grown more certain that Max had not known he would be moving away.
Time took on a strange quality the rest of her senior year, some days seeming to last an eternity while entire weeks would pass in the blink of an eye. In either case Max was a constant part of her thoughts, and as she began to make plans for college she wondered whether he was doing the same in some faraway corner of the country. A growing apprehension had begun to cloud her thoughts those last few months of high school. She had needed Maria’s help and support to endure Max’s absence, and the only reason she had not died of loneliness was the special bond she shared with Romeo. She had wondered how she would ever survive without them to lean on. Finally deciding that leaving Romeo behind was simply not an option, she had been beyond thrilled to discover that Stanford would offer her enough financial aid that she could find an apartment as opposed to living in the dorms.
Finding Karen Winters as a roommate had only been a plus. The type of girl who got along well with everybody, her quirky personality reminded Liz a lot of Maria, and on the few occasions when her best friend had come from UCLA for a visit the two chatty girls had managed to make her go out with them and have some fun. Karen always questioned why Liz turned down dates with every guy who seemed to show an interest in her, but Liz just couldn’t bring herself to talk about Max and what he meant to her. After Maria’s second visit her roommate’s questions over her dating situation lessened quite a bit, and Liz always wondered what Maria had told Karen in regards to her relationship with Max.
Alex Whitman was the other person who had made her transition to Stanford a little easier. A computer science major, he was one of those guys every girl considered friend material, but not boyfriend material. He didn’t seem to mind being just friends at all, and he was constantly on the lookout for ways to get her to enjoy all that college life had to offer.
Which led her to her current dilemma. Each time Alex and Karen got together and decided that Liz needed to be saved from her boring life she found it becoming more and more difficult to turn down their attempts to give her a fun time. The least she could do, she thought, was to hear what they had planned for the evening.
“Absolutely, Alex,” Karen answered as if reading from a script. “As a matter of fact I was just thinking about that Halloween dance they’re having at the student union tonight. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend an evening dressing up and pretending to be someone else? I know I’d enjoy it.”
“What do you say, Liz? Feel like going to a Halloween dance? Forget about your problems for a few hours? I even know this guy I can set you up with,” Alex suggested.
Liz wanted to cry so badly that she almost ran from the room. The last place she wanted to be was at a Halloween dance with someone other than Max. “I’m sorry guys. I think I’m going to pass.”
“You don’t know what you’ll be missing,” Alex teased.
“Well if this guy is anything like that Steve you tricked me into going out with, I’ll definitely pass,” Liz joked as she tried to lighten her mood.
“What?” Alex asked indignantly. “It wasn’t my fault I got held up at the computer lab.”
“I’m sure,” Liz said disbelievingly, “especially since the hostess informed me that the reservation had been made for two people.”
“Well you had fun, didn’t you?” he asked with a less than appropriate amount of guilt.
“Alex, you may consider a two-hour long narrative about how he debugged some program ‘fun’, but I don’t,” she replied.
“I promise. No computer stories this time,” he commented.
“I’m sorry, Alex. I really don’t want to go out with any…”
“What about no date?” Karen offered. “Just the three of us going over there and having a little fun. At least try it, Liz, and if you want to come home then, we won’t give you a hard time.”
“Yeah,” Alex jumped in. “Besides, you’ve gotta see my costume. It’s so authentic that I’m going to look like one of those military guys from ‘Band of Brothers’.”
Liz knew she shouldn’t be considering this. Here in Stanford there would be no Max and no flash from a gymnasium floor to comfort her. Romeo was the only solace she had to see her through another Halloween, and all she really wanted to do was go to bed early so she could dream of Max. However, the hopeful look on her friends’ faces was too hard to ignore. “I’ve got twenty-five more pages of Bio to read before tomorrow morning,” she argued, “and even if I did want to go I don’t have a costume.”
Alex and Karen eyed each other knowingly. “If I could find you a costume, would you agree to come with us?” her roommate questioned.
“Well…” Liz began.
“If I spring for it, will you run out and pick it up?” Alex asked Karen as he pulled out his wallet. “That will give Liz more time to get her reading done.”
Karen looked over at Liz pleadingly. “You’ve run out of excuses now.”
Liz looked from Karen to Alex and back to Karen again. If she couldn’t be with Max then perhaps she shouldn’t torture herself with the memories of him. Maybe going to this dance would be a good thing, an opportunity to begin living her life instead of just going through the motions. It couldn’t hurt to at least meet Alex’s friend, could it?
“What’s your friend’s name?” she asked pensively. “And how do you know him?”
A huge grin spread over his face. “Bob, and he’s been dying to meet you.” Quietly he added, “and he’s, uh, a, uh, second year computer science major.”
“Bob?” Karen and Liz asked simultaneously. “Computer science?”
“I’m a C.S. major. Most of my friends are C.S. majors. What did you expect?” Alex asked defensively. “And what’s wrong with the name Bob? My first car was named Bob.”
“Loser,” the girls mouthed to each other.
“Ok, Alex. Here’s what we’re gonna do,” Karen commanded. “You tell your friend Bob to meet us at the student union. Liz and I will hang back until you spot him so we can check him out. If Liz wants to meet him, we’ll come over. Otherwise you tell him she couldn’t make it. Sound good?”
Alex shook his head with feigned disappointment. “Ladies. Ladies. Ladies. You of all women I would never expect to be so shallow.”
“Shallow or not, that’s the deal. Take it or leave it, bud.”
“Well, Liz. I guess you have a date..or not,” Alex answered.
Karen clapped her hands together in agreement. “All righty then. Next step—Liz’s costume.”
|posted on 9-Nov-2002 2:23:58 PM by SansuCry|
|I swear I haven't been slacking...|
I'm almost done with the next part and should post it later tonight after I get back from my kid's swim meet. I want to proof it one last time before I post it.
I'm sorry it has taken so long, but it is currently 23 pages long in Word, 14 pt. Times New Roman, quarter inch margins. In other words, it is nearly as long as the previous eleven parts!
I had thought about breaking it up and posting part of it earlier in the week, but I think it needs to be read all at once in order to keep the flow of it.
Anyway, I'll definitely try to have it up by 10 p.m. board time. Thanks so much for all your patience and all the bumps. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved!
|posted on 9-Nov-2002 11:05:10 PM by SansuCry|
|Ok, I was in the middle of proofing this but I kept falling asleep, so here it is, posted in four or five posts for length. If you find errors, well....I guess you'll have to live with them for now.|
I've had a really crappy couple of days, so any feedback would greatly boost my mood.
“You don’t like it?” Karen asked, more a comment than an actual question.
“I’m sorry, Liz. It was either this or a Teletubby. There isn’t a really great selection of costumes on the afternoon of the 31st.”
“I know,” Liz said morosely. “But I can’t be…” she softly argued as the tears instantly sprang to her eyes.
Realizing that her roommate’s crying had little to do with the costume, Karen said in a motherly tone, “I thought it was every girl’s dream to be Cinderella.”
That only made Liz cry harder. Karen immediately set down the garment bag containing the costume and pulled Liz into her arms, smoothing her friend’s hair away from her tears as Maria had done so many times during those first few weeks after Max’s disappearance. “Shh, sweetie. It’ll be all right.”
“No it won’t,” Liz sobbed. “It will never be all right. I don’t want to be Cinderella if I can’t have my Prince Charming.”
Karen sighed and patiently waited the ten minutes or so it took for Liz to get the majority of her crying out of her system. “This is about that Max guy, isn’t it?”
Liz gave Karen a dismayed look. “Maria?”
“Yeah,” Karen answered, “but don’t be mad at her. She only told me because I was so worried about you staying locked up in this apartment all the time. It’s not good for you to be so lonely. You should be going out and having fun.”
“There isn’t much difference between being lonely in an empty room or in one filled with people.”
“But you’re the one choosing to be lonely, Liz. Maria didn’t tell me much about this Max guy, but I do know that if he loves you as much as you think he does, he wouldn’t want you to spend your life locked away from the rest of the world.”
Liz just gave her friend a dismal smile. How could she possibly explain that loving Max and, consequently, being lonely without him, had never been a choice? He had become a part of her the moment their eyes first met, so how could she not feel lonely with half of her heart gone? “You’re probably right,” she agreed.
Already certain of the answer Karen asked anyway. “So I take it that you won’t be coming to the dance?”
“I’m sorry,” Liz said honestly. “I just can’t do it.”
Rubbing her arm Karen soothed, “That’s okay. I may not understand, but I respect your wishes. I won’t try to change your mind. If you want I’ll call Alex and let him know I’m staying in with you.”
Glancing at the clock Liz replied, “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t want to ruin your night. Besides, it’s late enough now that Alex and Bob are probably already on their way to the dance.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?”
“Yeah. Trick or treating hours are over now, so I think we are going to turn in early anyway,” she answered as Romeo nuzzled her hand. With a smirk she added, “Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up bagging this Bob guy for yourself.”
Karen’s cheeks blushed a deep pink as she sheepishly said, “Actually, I have my sights set on soldier boy.”
“Alex?” Liz asked incredulously. “You like Alex? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I don’t know,” Karen shrugged. “I guess I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about it. He is your friend, after all. Besides, I’m not even sure he likes me.”
“Alex would be crazy to not want to go out with you and I, for one, think its great that two of my friends are getting together,” Liz assured. “So what are you waiting around here for?”
Karen began to pick up the Cinderella costume when Liz yelled at her to stop.
“Nothing,” Liz said, slightly embarrassed by her outburst. “Why don’t you let me worry about taking the costume back? I’m sure the store is already closed by now, so I’ll just do it in the morning.”
“Fine by me,” Karen acquiesced. “It’s Alex’s money anyway.” Picking up her purse and jacket she gave Liz a wink before stepping out the door. “Don’t wait up.”
Once Liz was certain Karen was gone for the evening she picked up the costume and took it into her bedroom, closing and locking the door behind her. “Let’s see what we’ve got here,” she commented to Romeo, who was lazily stretched out on the bed. Easing the dress out of its bag she marveled at how similar it looked to the one her mother had made. She carefully put it on and zipped it up before examining her reflection in the mirror.
Similar but not the same.
This dress was a cheap imitation of the elegant one her mother had made for her.
The person staring back at her was a cheap imitation of the one who had felt complete dancing in the arms of her Prince Charming.
And as much as she loved the sleek, black cat currently rubbing against the skirt’s flounced hem, the presence and images implanted inside of him were a very unsatisfying substitute for the man who possessed her very soul.
Refusing to give into tears again, she picked up Romeo and carried him back to the bed, settling down on top of the covers to be with Max in the only place she could: her dreams.
She was gently pulled out of sleep by the soothing feel of her cheek being caressed. Romeo must be rubbing right up against her face, she drowsily thought, because the comforting presence she always dreamed about seemed much stronger than usual. She wanted to keep on dreaming. “Go back to sleep, Romeo,” she mumbled. “It’s too early too wake up.”
“Maybe I’ve stumbled into the wrong room. Cinderella is supposed to live here, not Sleeping Beauty, although you are definitely that as well.” The strong deep voice sounded familiar, but through her dreamy haze it seemed so far away. “How can Prince Charming possibly find Cinderella when she doesn’t even bother to show up at the dance?”
Images of a perfect evening spent in Max’s arms flared to life in front of her. She really didn’t want to wake up now.
“Of course, now that she has Romeo perhaps Cinderella doesn’t want her Prince Charming anymore.”
The vulnerability in his voice made her come fully awake. This was no longer a dream. Cautiously she opened her protesting eyelids.
She was staring up into beautiful amber eyes.
“Max?” she whispered as if he were a ghost.
“Actually it’s Bob now. Robert Maxwell to be precise, but you can call me Prince Charming if you’d like,” he replied as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Bob? You’re Alex’s friend? But how…how did you get here?” she asked, suddenly wondering whether this really was a dream after all.
“Well, the short version is that your roommate gave me her keys after I answered about a million questions to prove that I really did know you. The long version is…...long……and complicated,” he said as his fingers tentatively moved to play with the ends of her hair, his wistful expression indicating that he wasn’t sure he had the right to touch her.
When Liz continued to stare at him in shock he rambled on, “I’m certain I answered all of Karen’s questions correctly. There is only one I’m not quite sure of.”
“What was that?”
“She wanted to know who the love of your life was,” he replied as the vulnerability that had crept into his voice now clouded his eyes as well.
“And what did you tell her?” Liz asked nervously.
“I told her that I could only hope to still be the one holding that honor.”
With that Liz launched herself into his arms, nearly knocking both of them off the bed in the process. As Romeo scampered away for dear life, they quickly repositioned themselves as two years of need and longing rapidly melted the space between them. The next several minutes passed as a blur of sensations while lips met lips, fingers memorized flesh desperate to be touched and two souls shared the joy of being reunited.
Suddenly aching to become one with him in every way imaginable Liz leaned over Max’s enticingly prone form and began to undo the tiny buttons on the shirt of his costume.
“Liz,” he panted out as he stilled her hands. “You have to stop.”
His firm words stung her, and she quickly pulled away from him in embarrassment. “Don’t you want me?” she asked as her heart began to break all over again.
Removing his hands from hers to grasp her hips, he molded her body to his and whispered into her hair, “My beautiful Liz, please don’t ever think that. Can’t you feel how much I need you? I want to make love to you all night and bind you to me forever, but there’s so much you don’t know, so much you need to know…”
“I know enough, Max. I know that you and I share a special connection, that you can make me see and feel the most incredible sights, that you are somehow able to heal yourself and do some of the most miraculous things I could ever imagine. I know that you are different, and I don’t care. I love you, Max. I fell in love with you,” she pleaded.
“And there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for that,” he said gratefully. “But I do care that I’m different, Liz. I have to care, because I know what can happen to you once we cross that line. I was selfish before, when we were in Roswell, but I’ve grown up now. I can’t let us go any further until you know the truth, until you know everything.”
She was momentarily stunned. Max was really here with her and was about to give her all the answers she had wanted for so long, but the uneasiness in his voice suddenly made her wonder just how terrible his secrets might be. “Just please promise me that you’ll never leave me again,” she begged as her fingers sunk into his chest, clinging to him in desperation. “I don’t think I could survive it if you did.”
He drew her just far enough away to look directly into her eyes. “After you hear what I have to say you might not want me anywhere near you.”
“I would never wish that, Max,” she emphatically replied as she leaned her forehead against his.
Tenderly threading his fingers through her hair, he reverently asked, “How can you be so forgiving of me? One night I’m professing my love for you and thirty-six hours later I disappear. I don’t call you or write you for two years until one day you wake up in your bedroom to find me here. I was expecting you to throw me out by now.”
Caressing his cheek with her thumb and relishing the slight stubble that grew there, she sighed, “I can be forgiving because there is nothing to forgive, Max. The last thing you wanted to do was leave me, I know that. And I have every faith and confidence that there was a very good reason, or at least you believed it was a good reason, to not contact me. I guess what I want to know is: why now? What changed to make you finally come to me, besides your name of course?”
“I guess you could say it wasn’t just one thing,” he answered mysteriously. “More like a combination of things. So much has happened that I’m not even sure where to start.”
“Start at the beginning,” she said matter-of-factly as she shifted to his side. “Do you know why you have all those amazing abilities?”
“Yes,” he said quietly as he averted his eyes away from her.
She knew immediately that he was afraid to tell her for fear of her rejection. Moving just close enough to graze his lips with hers she savored the unique taste of him as she said reassuringly, “When we danced in the gym that night you learned how much I love you. At this moment, I love you ten times more. Even if you told me you were an alien I wouldn’t turn away from you now.” His entire demeanor changed as he stilled underneath her at the mention of the word ‘alien’, and suddenly she knew the truth he feared to speak. “You are, aren’t you?” she asked as she purposefully placed gentle, loving kisses over his face, starting at his eyelids and fanning out over his cheeks and chin. “You’re an alien.”
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Nov-2002 11:15:48 PM ]
|posted on 9-Nov-2002 11:06:11 PM by SansuCry|
|Part 12 (continued)|
He forced himself to look at her as he gave her a nervous smile. “Technically I’m only half alien. The other half of me is human.”
She knew she should probably be screaming at the top of her lungs and running away, but this was still her Max, the one she’d loved for more of her lifetime than not. All she wanted to do was stay and learn everything there was to know about the man who held her heart in his hands. “How…how is that possible?”
“My mom was on the ship that crashed in Roswell in 1947.”
“So your mom was an alien, and your dad is human?”
“Does he…did he know about your mom?”
“Yes, he knew. He helped her escape from a military base where a secret branch of the government called the Special Unit was conducting experiments on her.”
“So she was captured in the crash? Were there others?”
“She and her protector…her nanny you might say, were among the four survivors and the only two to escape. Visually they were identical to humans so they managed to live on earth undetected for quite a long time. By the time my mom turned twenty she was working as a waitress and going to college. She had a pretty normal life until right around the time her protector died of old age later that year. One night when she was working a customer in the restaurant ended up choking on his food, so she used her powers to save him by dissolving the piece of meat lodged in his throat. She never would have been discovered except for one thing. The man she saved happened to be the head of the Special Unit, and from experiments on the two survivors who had been captured, her father and her brother, he had firsthand knowledge of how it felt when one of our kind uses their ability to manipulate molecular structure. On the way home after her shift, she was kidnapped and taken to a place called Eagle Rock, where they did all sorts of tests and experiments on her.”
Brushing his bangs from his forehead she consoled, “That must have been an awful experience for her.”
“She was there for almost two years before my dad helped her escape.”
“How did he get involved in all this in the first place?”
“He was a chemist working for a government contractor when he accidentally discovered that a new sleeping pill he was developing had the side effect of making the user highly susceptible to the power of suggestion, almost like a mind control drug. The military seized all his research in the name of national security and then recruited him into the Special Unit to develop a more potent version. They told him that cruel, heartless, evil aliens did exist, that they lived among us, and eventually they would try to take over earth. The only way to neutralize them was to control their minds, so the government needed that drug to defend our country, if not our planet.”
“So he thought he was being a good little American,” Liz concluded.
“Until one of the evil aliens was captured,” he said bitterly. “At first he was thrilled because they could finally test the drug out on its intended target.”
“What about her father and brother? Did they test the drug on them?” she asked sadly, realizing that the other aliens had been Max’s grandfather and uncle.
“They were both dead long before my dad started working there. He was told that one of them had been killed while trying to escape. The other one was experimented on until he died.”
“Oh, Max,” she said as she rested her head on his chest, painfully aware of how difficult this must be for him to discuss yet grateful that he loved her enough to want her to know the truth.
“My dad was chosen as the test coordinator since he had the most knowledge about the drug,” Max continued in a passionless tone. “Each day he would personally administer the drug to my mom, who seemed to be under some type of sedation. He said that looking back, that should have been his first clue something wasn’t right. If they could keep the aliens sedated, why did they need to control their minds? He was the good little soldier though and didn’t question it because he never imagined his own government would lie to him, despite the stuff coming out about Vietnam and Watergate. Eventually he grew suspicious because each time he saw her she looked so frail and helpless that he couldn’t believe she was any type of threat to national security. He finally had her sedative reduced by saying it was interfering with his tests of the mind control drug, and when she began talking to him he knew he had to help her.”
“What did she say?” Liz asked, soothing his hair away from his face as Maria had done to her so many times.
“She begged him to kill her before they forced her to kill others. She said there had been a terrible mistake, that she was an alien but that she was from a dying planet in the Whirlwind Galaxy named Antar. The last surviving people had traveled to other galaxies in search of planets with physically compatible species in hopes of saving at least part of their race. There was no master plan to take over the earth, only a desire to fit in and live out the rest of their lives in peace. ”
“And he believed her?”
Max let out a tired sigh. “He said the truth was in her eyes. Still he wanted to be sure so he did some investigating of his own. She had told him she grew up in Roswell, so he went there and asked about her. He found out that she had been going to school to become a nurse. She was active in the church and even volunteered at a bunch of charities, not something an evil, heartless alien would bother to do. Then when he found out she had disappeared right after she saved someone’s life, he knew he wasn’t being told the whole story. After some digging at Eagle Rock he found out that the real purpose of the mind control drug was to force her into using her alien abilities to fight the country’s enemies.”
“I don’t understand,” Liz asked as she wrinkled her brow in confusion. “That’s a lot of work and money to invest in such an uncertain venture. Why did they think one alien could make that big of a difference?”
“If she could save a life with just a touch, then she could take one just as easily. Get her close enough to their target and that person would be as good as dead before they realized what had hit them. She could be the ultimate killing machine, and no one would suspect a thing.”
“But your dad didn’t know about his drug being used that way?”
“He was devastated when he found out he had been deceived,” Max replied as he reached up to take her hand, “but he kept up the pretense of being the good little soldier. He knew he had to get her out of there, so over a period of about two weeks, he kept reducing the sedative rate and gave her a placebo in place of the mind control drug. She played along and once she seemed strong enough to move on her own he planned their escape.”
“As soon as she was gone the others would know that he had something to do with it, so he had to disappear as well.”
“Your dad must have been one amazing man to sacrifice all he did to help her.”
Max gave her a contemplative look. “He admitted that his motives hadn’t been completely selfless. It seems that he was already falling in love with her by the time he broke her out of there. Then he was shot as they made their escape, and when she healed him he discovered she felt the same way.”
“So then they got married and had you?” she asked with awe. With a proud smile she said, “I bet you got your best feature from her because there is no way eyes as beautiful as yours could ever be human.”
Max shyly looked away at her compliment before continuing. “Actually they didn’t get married for almost five years after that. The first two years they spent constantly on the move. My mom was too afraid of people to be among them, so my dad would find work that paid cash while my mom stayed holed up in their motel room. They settled down a little after that, and my mom started to venture out once in a while as long as my dad was with her. They both wanted to move forward with their relationship, but they were both too scared to make the first move. My dad was afraid that the only reason my mom had feelings for him was because he had rescued her, and my mom was afraid that my dad would grow to resent her for having to give up his whole life and live on the run. Then one day my mom had been working on making up fake ID’s for them when she asked him what he wanted his new name to be. He said he didn’t care as long as her last name matched his.”
“That was so sweet,” Liz said as she tried to imagine the gruff man she knew as Mr. Evans being that loving and caring.
“They got married and finally settled down in Chicago, where my dad got an inconspicuous job as a school janitor and my mom eventually became a librarian’s assistant. They wanted to be certain that they were safe in their new life, so it was another five years after that before they had me.”
Liz didn’t stop the tears that insisted on stinging her eyes. She kissed the back of his hand where it clasped hers and said with astonishment, “You are a miracle, Max. Do you even realize just how special you are? The fact that they were able to have a child at all is amazing, but to have him turn out to be as perfect as you is……beyond words.”
“I don’t consider myself a miracle. I think….I believe we all share the same Great Creator, whether He is called God or Allah or Khivar, and that we were all made in his image. It only seems right that children are the natural result of expressing our love for one another and in turn, our love for Him, no matter what galaxy or planet we come from.”
His beautiful, heartfelt words were filled with hope, hope of a future with her where their own children reflected the deep, abiding love they had for each other. Wanting to show him she shared his hope, she brought her mouth to his and gently, lovingly brushed his lips, asking him to give her the same openness coming from his heart. He readily submitted to her ministrations, holding her tightly as he shifted from his back to lean over her. She savored each of his hungry, consuming kisses until his lips moved lower to taste her eagerly displayed throat. Her breathy moan of his name as he reached the lacy edge of her costume immediately bought his movements to a halt. He rested his lips against the swell of her breast for a minute before moving back up to her mouth.
“Elizabeth Parker, you are so beautifully tempting,” he quietly revered as he gave her a light, adoring kiss. “I’m quickly learning that I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to you.”
“You make it sound like that’s a bad thing,” she teased as she slid her hand under his elaborate tunic to toy with the waistband of his pants.
“It is at the moment,” he said regretfully, “because I’m nowhere near done telling you all I have to. I need you to help me out here, please.”
The seriousness of his tone sobered her immediately. She nodded her acceptance as she reluctantly moved her hand to a safer location and propped herself up on her elbows, forcing him to give up his leaning position. “I think maybe we’d better get off of this bed then, because you aren’t the only one with a sudden lack of control.”
He nodded his acceptance and climbed off the bed, offering his hand out to her as he stood. She graciously accepted it, relishing the feel of him as he pulled her into a loving embrace.
“I missed you so much,” he whispered as he kissed her temple. “I was afraid I would never get to touch you again.”
“Max…” she trailed off. “Or is it Bob now? What am I supposed to call you?”
“I’ll always be Max to you,” he said as he tilted her chin up to look at him.
“Is that your real name?” she questioned curiously.
“I was born Maxwell Z. Sorrenson on March 15th, 1984 to Grant and Mary Sorrenson of Chicago, Illinois.”
“What does the Z stand for?”
“Zanasu. It is an Antarian endearment. It mean’s ‘a mother’s soul’.”
“What about your parents? Who were they before they became Grant and Mary Sorrenson?”
“My dad’s real name was Hal Carver, and he grew up in Albuquerque. My mom’s name on earth was Betty Meyers and, like I said, she lived in Roswell.”
“Is that why you and your dad moved there after she died?”
“Among other reasons,” Max said mysteriously, his sorrow causing his voice to waver.
Liz felt her stomach tense. “How did you mother die?”
In a voice fainter than a whisper he said, “She was captured again.”
[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Nov-2002 11:18:58 PM ]
|posted on 9-Nov-2002 11:07:53 PM by SansuCry|
|Part 12 (continued)|
“After all that time?” Liz asked in disbelief. “But how?”
He sighed as he sat down at her desk chair, pulling her into his lap as he explained, “Things had been quiet and safe for so long that my parents grew complacent. It had been eighteen years since they escaped from Eagle Rock, so they assumed that they could finally let their guard down a little. My dad wrote a letter to his aunt in Houston. There was no return address and nothing incriminating in it, no mention of my mom or me, just that he was all right and hoped she and his dad were, too. But the Special Unit was watching. After all those years they were still watching, and with nothing more than a Chicago postmark to go on, they found my mom again. She was taken right before Thanksgiving.”
“You and your dad must have been devastated,” Liz said in a tone that reflected the anguish on Max’s face.
“I was only seven when it happened, so all I knew was that evil people had taken my mom away and we had to run away before they found us, too.”
“So you didn’t know your mom was an alien?”
“No. I was just a normal little boy and she was just like everybody else’s mom….Sunday school, PTA, bake sales,” he explained. With a frown he added, “I never once saw her use her abilities.”
“You didn’t move to Roswell until the end of July,” Liz recalled. “Where did you and your dad go for eight months?”
“Everywhere. Nowhere,” he sniffed. “We went from one motel to the next, never leaving the room, staying there a few days at most before moving on. That was the worst time of my life,” he said as he closed his eyes against the remembered pain.
Her voice tinged with the slightest hope Liz queried, “If your mom just disappeared, how do you know that the Special Unit took her? Maybe she just left you thinking you and your dad would be better off without her. How can you be certain she’s dead?”
Max slowly opened his eyes and took her face in his hands, pulling her to him for a tender kiss. When he released her, his voice was filled with so many emotions she was surprised he could speak at all. “This is the part I need you to really understand,” he said cryptically. She nodded her agreement before taking his hand in hers, squeezing it to show her support.
“My mom and dad shared the same kind of connection that you and I have, only theirs was much stronger. No matter how far apart they were, they could communicate with each other—words, images, emotions. My mom was able to tell my dad who had taken her, and she begged him to get me out of Chicago. He had sworn that he would never let them capture her again, so he wanted to try to rescue her, but she refused to tell him where she was and said that all she wanted was for him to keep me safe. He felt so guilty that it had been his letter that caused her capture that he did what she asked. She was so afraid that they would find us that she blocked her connection to him, but when they sedated her she lost the ability to keep the block up.”
She took her hand away from his just long enough to blot his tears away with the hem of her dress. He gave her a small appreciative smile before taking a deep breath and continuing his narrative.
“It turned out that because I was her son she and I had a connection as well. She had blocked herself from me all those years to try and give me a normal childhood, but the sedative had the same effect on us as it had on her and my dad.” His teeth clenched and his voice filled with tension as he bit back his anger, bracing himself to tell her the worst as his tears flowed freely now. “When they started experimenting on her and torturing her, my dad and I felt and saw and heard every last hit, kick, cut, needle stick, bruise and ache as if we were right next to her in that horrible white room, and there was absolutely nothing we could do to stop any of it.”
Liz was wiping away her own tears as she consolingly held his head to her chest, all thoughts of the intimacy of the embrace far from both of their minds.
“Finally when they left her alone,” he sobbed, “she was able to find enough strength to tell me how to create a block so that I wouldn’t have to experience any more of it.”
“What about your dad?” Liz questioned, dreading the answer.
She rested her forehead against his as he lifted his head to speak. “The connection comes from our alien physiology, so the block can only be initiated by someone of Antarian heritage. Since my dad is human, he was forced to suffer everything right along with her. He would have to drive us from place to place and feed me and go to the laundromat and try to act normal in public the entire time he was enduring unimaginable suffering. My mom knew what was happening but with the sedative in her system rendering her helpless she could only tell my dad how sorry she was for bringing him so much pain. She begged those sick bastards over and over to just let her die, but they were so bent on trying to force her to do their will that they kept her just on the edge of life. Finally after about four months my dad’s sobbing woke me up one night, and he told me it was over. They realized they would never be able to control her mind no matter how much of the drug they pumped into her, so they killed her. She died April 4th, 1992, when I was eight years old.”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Liz gently whispered as she cupped his face in her hands, willing him to take strength from her. Every angry thought she ever had against Mr. Evans for taking Max away from her dissolved in those moments, replaced by endless admiration for a man who had suffered immensely for daring to love an alien. That was what Max had wanted her to understand. He wanted her to see the possible dangers of becoming involved with him before it was too late to turn back.
“That was the year I became Max Evans and learned I wasn’t entirely human, although my dad was too distraught to tell me much about my abilities. I just knew that I needed to be careful about what I did in public. All I really remember about those months before we arrived in Roswell is that I missed my mom so much that I couldn’t sleep, I missed my dad being the way he used to be, I missed my school, my friends, my toys, my cat. We had nothing of our old life except the pictures in my dad’s wallet,” he desolately explained. Giving her a sad smile he added, “We hadn’t planned to stay in Roswell, but on our way out of town we stopped at this alien themed restaurant, and as I sat there eating I wondered whether underneath my human skin I looked like the aliens painted on the wall.”
“You ate at the Crashdown?” she asked incredulously.
“We ate at the Crashdown,” he confirmed. “I was waiting for my dad to finish his lunch when I felt your presence for the first time. I’d always been able to tell when someone I was emotionally attached to was near, but when it happened with you I was just awestruck. Not only did I sense someone I’d never even met before, but the feelings I experienced along with that were more intense than anything I had ever known. After all those dreadful months it was wonderful to feel the peace and contentment you brought to me, and I knew then that I didn’t want to leave you or Roswell. I asked my dad to let us stay, knowing that he was too tired and felt too guilty about my mom’s death to deny me anything. I was so selfish that I didn’t even care what kind of danger I was putting us in.”
“Max, you can’t say that,” Liz contested. “You were an eight year old boy who had lost his mom, his home and nearly everything else dear to him. No one would think it was selfish for you to want some type of normalcy in your life. I’m sure your dad saw that, too, because he doesn’t strike me as the type of person who would let a child dictate anything to him, especially if he thought it might bring you harm.”
“I guess you’re right,” Max sighed. “He did agree pretty quickly, so maybe he was just looking for a reason to not leave. I think being there where my mom grew up was comforting to him. All that mattered to me was finding a way to see you again. Dad was so protective that I never thought he would let me leave his side, so I was really surprised when he actually let me go to school. Seeing you there that first day made everything seem perfect and I wanted to run and play with you and learn everything there was to know about you. But things were different, I was different, from when I was a happy normal boy going to school in Chicago. My dad warned me to not do anything to get too attached to the other kids or draw attention to myself, but even if he hadn’t I would have felt like I was out of place. After all my family had been through how could I relate to some kid whose worst problem in life was that he didn’t get the right G.I. Joe for his birthday?”
Liz tenderly stroked his cheek as she commented, “I always wondered why you seemed so sad and lonely. I wanted nothing more than to be the one to take that miserable look out of your beautiful eyes.”
“The only time I felt at peace, like I belonged somewhere, was when I was looking at you,” he admitted. “Every time you tried to talk to me and be friendly I wanted to tell you everything because I knew you were the one person in the world who would understand, but I couldn’t betray my dad like that. I knew he was depending on me to keep our secret, so I learned to be content with just knowing that you cared about me.”
Liz gave a disgusted laugh as she recalled, “I’ll never forget how you looked at me when I broke Kenny Sander’s nose with that baseball bat. When I found out your dad had pulled you out of school I cried myself to sleep for weeks. I missed you terribly, and it was all my fault that you were gone.”
“What you did had nothing to do with why I left school,” Max corrected. “That whole incident with Kenny was a nightmare. All I wanted was to be left alone, but he and the others just wouldn’t have it. The minute I got home my dad went crazy and started packing up our things to move. I think seeing me that way must have made him relive what the Special Unit had done to my mom, because he was so certain they would show up on our doorstep any minute to come and take me away. I finally convinced him that the they had better things to do than monitor fights between a couple of school boys, but his paranoia never did go away. Unfortunately for me my alien abilities sort of took over, and the morning after you got even with Kenny all my cuts and bruises were gone. I had somehow healed myself overnight. Dad decided that was the last straw. We had to leave town before someone noticed I was no longer injured. I was selfish and stubborn and told him that I wouldn’t leave Roswell, that I would run away first. He said we could go to New York or Boston and start over, but I told him I would rather spend the rest of my days locked up in our house in Roswell than have a normal life somewhere else. When he realized I was serious about running away he chose the lesser of two evils. The only condition was that I could never leave the house again in case any of my other alien abilities unexpectedly showed themselves.”
Seeing the pieces fall into place she asked, “And you obeyed him, at least until junior year. But why? Why would you take the chance of exposing yourself, however slight it might have been?”
Eyes overflowing with love Max threaded his fingers through her hair and simply said, “It was you. You were the whole reason I wanted to stay in Roswell in the first place. Even if I couldn’t be near enough to feel you, I had to at least see you, see that you were all right.”
Closing the short distance that separated them, the two shared several languid kisses as they marveled at the events that had brought them to where they were now. Liz knew there was still so much she needed to hear, but for a few perfect moments they were just Max and Liz, two college students showing their love for each other. When they finally had to stop to catch their breath Liz decided to ask the one question that had plagued her for the past two years.
“What were you going to tell me the night of the dance?”
A sorrowful smile graced his lips. “I started to tell you that I wanted you to know the truth, that I couldn’t lie to you, but that I needed to discuss it with my dad first. I was sure that once I told him you were getting flashes he would understand how important you were to me.”
“But he moved you away from me instead?” she asked in anguish.
He stroked her cheek with his fingertips, “No, it wasn’t like that, Liz. I swear. I didn’t have the chance to tell him until after we were gone.”
“So you knew that those flashes meant something? What exactly are they?”
“Antarians and humans share an almost identical brain structure, except that Antarians are an exceptionally sensual race. All their senses are more advanced than human ones, and because of that their emotions are stronger as well. The flashes are like a side-effect of experiencing particularly intense emotions, and only someone we feel a special closeness to can pick up on them.”
“You ran away because I had picked up on yours?” she asked as she tried to not sound hurt that he hadn’t wanted her to share that unique intimacy with him.
“Not because I didn’t want you to,” he consoled, “but because you shouldn’t have been able to. The connection I had with my mom was just a stronger, more permanent version of the flashes, so with the block she taught me to form there should be no way for anyone to receive flashes from me nor I from them. Since I never removed the block I put up when I was seven years old, it should have been impossible for you to see and feel the things you described.”
“But I did see them,” Liz said insistently.
“I know you did,” he said appeasingly, “because the things you described really did happen. There were also other unusual things that occurred between us. That day I let you into the house for the first time I was able to read your mind. I wasn’t doing it intentionally. Your thoughts were just echoing in my mind so loudly that I couldn’t ignore them.”
“Like what?” she hesitantly asked.
“You were afraid I would try to take advantage of you,” he said, the shyness that had once been such a large part of him quickly returning.
Liz shamefully flushed at the reminder of her momentary discomfort around him. Suddenly she remembered something else odd from that day. “You read my mind before you answered the door, too. The first thing you said to me was, ‘I know you would never hurt me’, but I had only thought that. I never once said those words out loud.”
Max must have believed she would be upset that he had been able to hear her thoughts, but instead of seeing it as an invasion of her privacy to her it was further evidence of the depth of their bond. “That night at the dance you got a flash from me, too, didn’t you? All I had to do was walk across the place on the gym floor where we kissed, and I saw the flash you had. But that shouldn’t have been possible either, right?”
“That night I decided I was through hiding,” he explained. “When we kissed I wanted to be as close to you as possible, so I finally removed the block.” Tears streaked down his face as his voice shook with awe. “The only flashes I had ever felt before that night had been filled with my mom’s pain, and when I opened myself up to you I was overwhelmed. I didn't just see what you saw. I felt what you felt when you saw me. And I never thought anyone could really ever feel that way about me.” His eyes and voice pleaded for her to understand as his emotional thoughts tumbled from his lips. “I’m sorry that I had to go. I never wanted to leave you. That night was the most perfect night of my life. You were so beautiful and loving. Touching you, smelling you, tasting you, being surrounded by you was more than I ever imagined it could be, and I was happy for the first time in years because I felt like I had finally come home. I wouldn’t have kept it from you. If I had known I had to leave…if I had only known…I would have told you. I’m so sorry.”
Liz took him in her arms and whispered words of adoration and forgiveness as he let out two years worth of sorrow and regret, her hands working a soothing rhythm over his tensed body. Each deep sob made her heart ache with the love she felt for him, but she refused to let her own tears flow. He needed her to be strong for the both of them. When it became apparent he was ready for more discussion Liz asked, “Why….and how…did you move away from Roswell so quickly?”
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Nov-2002 11:20:37 PM ]
|posted on 9-Nov-2002 11:11:17 PM by SansuCry|
|Part 12 (continued)|
Regret instantly blanketing his features Max sighed as he explained, “A guy named Marcus Pierce and his father came to my house that Sunday night, the day after the dance. The minute my dad answered the door, Marcus started talking. He apologized for trashing our house. He told my dad that he was sorry for his part in beating me up, that being the new kid in town he had just gone along with what the others did so he would fit in. Kyle had told all of them that you wanted me beaten up because I was stalking you, but when Marcus saw us together at the dance he realized Kyle had lied.”
“So then your dad knew everything,” she commented as she rolled her eyes in disgust.
“It gets worse. Apparently Kyle was sick enough that he wanted a little memento of his attack on me, so Marcus’s job had been to videotape the whole thing. After finding out the truth Marcus developed a guilty conscience and told his father what had happened. His father had turned the tape in to Sheriff Valenti right before they came to my house. The sheriff had already been suspicious as to why we didn’t want to file a police report over the damage to the house, but once he got a good look at that tape there would have been too many questions and not enough plausible answers.”
“Oh, no,” Liz moaned as she realized the position Max’s dad had been placed in.
With an angry scowl Max snarled out, “This…this is the truly ironic part. Marcus Pierce’s father…the friendly, moral man who made his son come and apologize to my dad for his part in attacking me…was one of the sick bastards who killed my mom. My dad had instantly recognized him from the connection and could only pray that Pierce didn’t know who he was. My dad had to stand there and be polite and gracious to the son of a bitch who had tortured and murdered his wife, when all he wanted to do was make the piece of garbage pay with his own flesh and blood for all the pain and grief he had caused. The only thing that stopped my dad from killing him with his bare hands was his promise to my mom to keep me safe.”
Liz couldn’t help but feel the guilt that was threatening to choke her. None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for her. She had been the catalyst for this whole sickening chain of events.
“NO!” Max said firmly as her thought became known to him. In a voice that left no room for argument he commanded, “None of this was your fault, Liz, any more than it was mine or my dad’s or my mom’s. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of those cruel, deranged bastards who are so afraid of the what they can’t understand that it spurs them to do vicious, heartless things such as killing innocents like my mom.”
He waited for her to acknowledge the truth of his words before he continued his explanation of his hasty departure from her life. “After Marcus and his father left that night my dad was so terrified the Special Unit would come looking for me that he was literally shaking in his shoes. As much as I hated to leave Roswell I knew we had no other choice. My dad had made up an emergency plan when we first moved there, and we put that plan into action that night. We had arrangements with a moving company to generously pay them for showing up on a moment’s notice, every single penny we had saved waiting in off-shore accounts and trust funds at banks all over the country with a dozen or so different trustee names, and enough cash to live on for a year before needing to tap into any of the rest. Philip and Maxwell Evans fell off the face of the earth that night, and John and Robert Maxwell were born.”
“Weren’t you afraid that they would be able to track you just by following where your furniture went?” Liz asked with a frown.
“Moving the furniture was just for appearances. The few things we kept, like Juliette, went with us in the car. Everything else was moved to a prepaid storage unit where it sat for a year. Once the prepaid funds ran out and the bill went unpaid the storage company auctioned it all off.”
“Where did you go?”
“We were on the run for the first two months, so we ended up spending a lot of time in the dozen or so cars we bought and sold. That was when my dad filled me in on most of the details of my parent’s lives. He told me everything he knew about Antar and the research done at Eagle Rock, and I explained all that I had discovered while experimenting with my powers.” He paused long enough to give her a few sweet kisses.
“And that’s when you told him about the flashes?” she inquired.
Max nodded. “He wanted me to tell him everything about you. He had let me leave Romeo behind because he had already known how much you meant to me, but I never did tell him that I had, uh, ‘enhanced’ the little guy. There are some things that are just better kept a secret.”
Just then Romeo began to rub against Liz’s dangling foot as though he knew the couple had been discussing him. Liz stretched her tensed muscles as she tried to escape the cat’s tickling whiskers, and Max used her movement as an opportunity to lovingly nuzzle her throat as he breathed in the scent of her warm skin.
“I think my behind is falling asleep,” she commented as she wiggled in his lap.
His hands immediately grasped her hips to immobilize her. “Uh, Liz,” he choked out. “I don’t think that’s a very good idea.”
Her innocent eyes widened as she realized what she had done to him with just those few simple moves. Clamoring away from him she settled herself on the bed before returning to their conversation. “So you lived on the road for a couple of months. Then what?”
“We settled in Atlanta for about six months. I told my dad that I wanted to go to college, and at first he was hesitant. I finally reminded him that he was fifty-six and not getting any younger, and we had to face the fact that one day I would be on my own. He finally relented, and we went on the Internet to some home schooling sites to find a list of colleges that didn’t make you jump through a million hoops just because you didn’t have a high school diploma. I applied to about a dozen places, and Stanford sent me a letter that all I had to do was score well on the ACT or SAT and their own standardized test and I would be in.”
“You must have done all right if you’re here now,” Liz complimented.
Looking away from her Max humbly admitted, “Reading all those books must have done me some good. I had to intentionally choose the wrong answers on both tests to not draw any suspicion. Now I’ll get my degree a year before you get yours.”
“You brat. That’s not fair,” she teased, the pride in her smile giving away how she really felt about his accomplishments. “I bet your dad is very proud of you.”
Max gave her a sad smile. “He died of a heart attack in June. It happened while he was at work, so there was nothing I could do to help him.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Max. I wish I could have been here for you.”
“It was bound to happen sooner or later,” Max conceded. “He’s only been half alive ever since my mom died, anyway. He knew that he didn’t have much time left, but I think he was waiting to be sure I’d be all right on my own before he left me. I have to believe that he and my mom are together again, in a place where no one can hurt them, where they’ll never be separated again.”
“I’m sure you’re right,” she said as her eyes misted with tears.
“The last conversation he and I had was about you,” he said thoughtfully.
“Me?” she asked, suddenly apprehensive.
“He told me that he thought it was time for me to find you and tell you the truth. I said that knowing all that he had suffered, I couldn’t be selfish enough to put you through that, that it would be better to just stay away because you had probably already moved on with a normal guy…”
“How could you ever think that?” she asked as she quickly crossed the room to kneel in front of him. “Don’t you realize what you are to me, what you’re always going to be? You’re the love of my life. There could never be anyone else.”
“Funny, that’s just what my dad told me. He said that if I got flashes from you that meant your feelings for me were just as strong as mine for you. He and my mom wasted five years keeping each other at arm’s length, and despite all the suffering he never regretted his life with her for even a moment. He said that the least I should do is tell you the truth and let you decide for yourself whether you want to take on the challenge of loving an alien.”
“Your dad was a very smart man,” Liz sniffled through her tears. “I wish I could have known him the way he really was.”
“So do I,” Max replied despondently. She reached up and caressed his cheek, watching with amazement as her touch literally took away his sadness. He brought his hand up to hold hers against his warm skin. “Knowing what I did about my dad’s letter, I was too scared to try to contact you while you were still living in Roswell. Once I knew you would be away somewhere at college I went to the library and opened up one of those free email accounts with the username Prince Charming. I started emailing every Elizabeth, Beth, Liz, E. and L. Parker I could find with a one word message that I hoped only the right Liz Parker would bother answering.”
Liz smiled knowingly. “Romeo.”
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Nov-2002 11:21:57 PM ]
|posted on 9-Nov-2002 11:12:29 PM by SansuCry|
|Part 12 (continued)|
“Romeo,” he confirmed. “I never got any responses, so I started to worry that you had received my message but just decided to ignore it.”
“I never stopped to think you would try to email me,” she answered pensively. “I’ve had my email address since freshman year of high school. When I signed up there were too many Lizes and too many Parkers, so I chose something different.” Her cheeks turning pink she admitted, “You aren’t going to believe this. It was sort of an inside joke between Maria and me, but it’s amazing how appropriate it is. My email address is ‘alienlover⊕earthlink.net’.”
He gave her a beautiful smile as he quietly laughed at the irony behind it. Then his eyes grew serious as he explained, “I was desperate enough that I was thinking of calling your parents to find out where you were going to school, but on September 18th I was walking across Memorial Court when I saw you across the Quad. I called after you and tried to chase you down, but you were too far ahead of me and I lost track of you in the crowd.”
Hurt instantly stung Liz’s eyes and throat as she asked, “September 18th? You’ve known I was here for over a month?”
Max closed his eyes and leaned into her palm. “You don’t understand. I immediately went to student housing to find out which dorm you lived in, but they told me that you had a waiver on file for freshmen with spouses or children and that you lived off campus. I thought maybe there was some kind of mistake, but then a few days later I saw you driving Kyle’s car. I didn’t want to believe it, but all the evidence was right there in front of me.”
“You actually believed I was married to Kyle? Or that I had his baby?” she laughed out as she imagined the absurdity of it. The distress on his face quickly tempered her humored response. She may have thought it was a ridiculous notion, but apparently he hadn’t. To him it had been a nightmare come true. Stroking his cheek consolingly she asked, “Max, that night at the dance you felt how much I loved you. Why didn’t you just come to me and find out the truth?”
Max’s voice was vulnerable agony as he reluctantly let his gaze meet hers. “I looked at things from your perspective, and once I did I decided I didn’t want to know the truth. You and Kyle had dated for months, while you and I had barely spent one whole evening together. I walked away from you without even saying goodbye, and you had no idea of where I went, why I left or how long I’d be gone. I was terrified that I had hurt you so badly that you just gave up and went back to what was comfortable for you, or worse yet, that you hated me so much that you did the one thing you knew would devastate me. Or that you got tired of waiting and decided I wasn’t worth the trouble. I couldn’t think of a single reason why you wouldn’t want a normal guy instead of a freak like me, so I made up my mind that if I didn’t know the truth, I could at least keep watching you from afar and pretend you were mine.”
Liz suddenly understood that while she had always had every confidence that she and Max belonged together, he had never had the security to be able to believe that. She had known that he hadn’t wanted to leave her, but all this time he had assumed the worst and believed she would not forgive him for something that had been beyond his control. She silently vowed that after this night was over there would never be a doubt in his mind about her feelings for him ever again. She raised up and brushed her lips against his as she lovingly cradled the back of his neck, her intently focused eyes forcing him to see the certainty behind her words. “Max Evans…Robert Maxwell…whatever you want to call yourself, the truth is that you made me yours the minute our eyes met, and the only children I will ever bear will be yours as well.” She felt him visibly relax against her as she verbally confirmed what his heart needed to hear. Before she could even take a breath he was crushing his mouth to hers, his kisses filled with all the love and longing he had felt for the past ten years as she was overcome with beautiful images of the future he wanted to have with her. She was awed by the exquisite detail of his dreams, the style of her wedding dress, the dark chocolate hair and amber eyes of their daughter, the scent of vanilla and strawberries as they passionately made love in their candlelit bedroom were all so vividly displayed before her that she could have easily believed they had already occurred.
When they reluctantly pulled apart it took her a few minutes to calm her racing heart before she managed to pant out, “Wow. You’ve thought about those things quite a bit, haven’t you?”
“I have to do something to pass the time since my classes aren’t that challenging,” he said with a smile that lit up his entire face. She didn’t believe he had ever looked more handsome.
“Poor baby,” she teased as she lightly traced his features with her fingertips. Wrinkling her brow she tried to keep a straight face as she curiously asked, “What made you realize that I wasn’t with Kyle after all?”
“My buddy Alex,” he laughed. “I’m an assistant at the computer lab, so he and I would always run into each other there, but we didn’t really talk past saying ‘Hello’ and ‘How’s it going?’. One day last week he needed help debugging this program he was working on, and we got to talking about a bunch of different things when he mentioned that I reminded him of his friend’s cat. He started telling me that his friend loved her cat so much she had actually gotten some kind of waiver to live off-campus just so she could have this cat with her. He said she’d end up being one of those reclusive old ladies who lives with a hundred cats because she would never leave her apartment except to go to class or when he and her roommate dragged her out somewhere. I was in the middle of this huge project, so I had only been half listening at best, but then the next time I ran into him he wanted to show me pictures of this girl he was thinking of asking out who happened to be his friend’s roommate. I was running late, but I decided to humor him anyway. You cannot imagine my surprise when he showed me a photo of Karen, and there in the background was you with Romeo in your arms.”
“Oh my gosh! Alex is showing that photo around campus? I should kill him now!” she shrieked.
“Why? What’s wrong with the picture?” he asked with concern.
“What’s wrong with the picture?” she glowered. “I had just gotten out of bed. I looked awful.”
He cupped her face in his hands and gave her a deep, adoring kiss. “I think it is the most beautifully stunning photo I’ve ever seen because one look at it and I knew that Romeo was your baby.”
Liz raised up her hand in protest. “No. No. No. He’s not my baby. If he were my baby I would have had to list him on my financial aid application. The waiver is called a Spouse or Children waiver, but it is really a blanket form for any freshman who wants to get out of living in the dorms. Of course, there has to be special circumstances to be granted a waiver.”
“And a cat is considered a special circumstance?” he asked with a smirk.
Shamefully ducking her head she admitted, “Once I found out that all freshmen had to live in a dorm, I got a list of conditions that would allow the requirement to be waived. I sort of fibbed and said that I had a job as a live-in aide for an elderly man.”
“Let me guess,” he said with a half-smile. “The man just happens to be named Romeo.”
“Mr. Romeo Evans, to be exact.”
“Wow,” he said admiringly. “I never realized you had it in you to be so sneaky.”
“What can I say? I wasn’t about to leave Romeo behind. Desperate times called for desperate measures.”
Her comment made the playfulness immediately leave his eyes. Helping her up from the floor, he stood with her and led her back to the bed. Silently he laid down and held his arms out to her, pulling her close when she eagerly joined him. Threading his fingers through her hair he kissed her slowly and tenderly, the underlying sense of desperation unnerving her. She finally had to pull away from him, tears in her eyes as she asked, “What is it? Please don’t tell me you’re leaving me?”
He closed his eyes in obvious agony as he quietly said, “There is one last thing I need you to know.”
“Just tell me,” she whispered, begging that her heart wasn’t about to be torn out again.
“I told you about the type of connection my parents shared. They could communicate so completely that they were nearly one person, and from what my father told me it is a bond that one must experience firsthand to fully appreciate. Although my mom could block the connection the only time she did was when she didn’t want my father to suffer her torture, but in the end he did anyway. Even after her death he was connected to her in a way that made it impossible for him to be a whole person on his own.” He paused a minute to let her take in what he said, using the time to trace her features as if trying to commit them to memory. “I don’t know what kind of future I have. The Special Unit may not even know I exist or they could be watching my every move, waiting to take me off of the street one day like they did my mom. Either way I can never return to Roswell. Things are calm and safe for me now, but the time may come when I have to live my life in fear and on the run, and I will tell you from experience that it is no way to live, especially for a child.”
“Max, you don’t have to tell me…”
“Yes I do,” he interrupted. “You have to know everything, Liz.” He slid his hand further into her hair to cradle the back of her head. Scared, vulnerable eyes locked with hers as he continued. “My parents’ connection started out just like ours. It began with them being able to sense each other and progressively deepened the more time they spent together. My dad did receive flashes from my mom, but he didn’t get the first one until a few months before they got married, even with no block preventing them.”
“I got flashes the first time I’d seen you in almost four years,” Liz said in amazement. “What does that mean?”
“I’m not sure,” Max commented. “By then you and I had really known each other eight years, but we certainly hadn’t spent twenty-four hours a day together like my mom and dad had. Between that fact and you being able to break through my block I would think it means that our connection is stronger than theirs was at this point in their relationship.”
“So does that mean our connection will continue to grow stronger indefinitely?” Liz asked curiously.
“That will be entirely up to you,” he answered cryptically.
“Up to me? But doesn’t the connection come from you being Antarian?”
“Technically, yes,” he explained. “But it takes both people to create a permanent connection.”
“How would we make it permanent?” she quietly asked.
“What is the most emotional experience a man and a woman can share?” he questioned knowingly.
Her eyes widened in understanding. “You mean all we have to do is make love…”
“…and our bond would be cemented. From what I know I have no doubt that our connection would be much stronger than the one my parents had. I guess what I really need to know is whether you really want that.”
“Why wouldn’t I?” she asked in confusion.
“I don’t think you understand what that deep of a connection would mean, Liz. Once we made love there would be no turning back. We would be one mind, one soul. If you ever decided you wanted to be with someone else besides me, you would spend the rest of your life feeling my heartache. If the Special Unit were to do to me what they did to my mom, you would suffer the same fate as my dad, if not worse. You may end up being physically harmed as well. Desperate times may end up calling for desperate measures, and in the event that I kill someone to protect you or our children, you will have to live with that as though you were the one who had done the killing.”
She silenced him with a finger to his lips. “Will I feel your joy when I say ‘I do’? Will you experience my labor pains? Will I feel your pride when our daughter brings home her first A? You lived locked up in a house for four years, just existing. I have spent the past two years just existing. I am tired of just existing. I want to live my life, Max, and I know that I cannot live without you. As for the future I don’t know any more than you do. I could end up being in an accident tomorrow and never have to worry about a future. But for today, for now, the one thing I am absolutely certain of is that you promised to be my Prince Charming, and just like Cinderella I would rather spend one glorious night at the dance knowing that it’s going to end at midnight than live a lifetime safely locked away in my home wondering what it would have been like to be there.”
He tenderly kissed her fingertips as he vowed, “My beautiful Elizabeth, I will give you the fairytale for as long as I can, but I can’t guarantee a happy ending.”
“I don’t need a happy ending, Max. I just want to enjoy the dance.”
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Nov-2002 11:14:15 PM ]
|posted on 9-Nov-2002 11:30:58 PM by SansuCry|
Kudos to Realistic Dreamer for pegging Max's mom and dad situation right. You must have been reading over my shoulder when I did the outline for this part!
|posted on 26-Nov-2002 10:18:33 PM by SansuCry|
|Sansu waves frantically….|
Hi there, everybody! Yes, I am still alive despite all the RL things trying to shoot me down. I love the person who discovered antibiotics. Thank you so much for hanging in there with me, especially my faithful bumpers AggieChick with 28 and NewYorker18 with 13 since the last part. You guys know how to make my day!
Here’s the next part, posted in three sections for length. I’m not really sure of the rating for part of this…I’d say probably a strong R, maybe NC-17, but then again, the new James Bond movie is PG-13. Just to be on the safe side I’ll put a warning before that particular section.
I think there will be one more part after this and then the epilogue, but you know how that goes…
HAPPY TURKEY DAY EVERYONE!
October 30, 2004
“I still can’t believe how big it is,” Liz sighed as she bit at Max’s earlobe. “I want you to go deeper.”
“We did that last time and look what happened,” Max teased, his eyes glistening in the late morning sunlight.
“Well, I don’t remember it ever being this hard before,” she observed as she kissed a trail down his neck. “If we’re going to do this the right way, you are going to have to bury that to the hilt.”
“Such a slave driver. Don’t I get a say in how we do this?” he asked with feigned indignation.
“Well, I think we’ve already established that I have much more experience with this than you do,” Liz reminded him as her fingers roamed his bare chest.
“The times with your dad don’t count,” he chastised, “only the times by yourself.”
“What about the couple of times with Maria? Those have to count.”
“You did this with Maria?”
“What’s wrong with that?” she asked as her mouth found an especially sensitive place on his neck and latched on.
“Uh….nothing,” he stuttered. “It’s just…Maria doesn’t seem like the type of girl who would enjoy this.”
She pulled back to admire the dark blemish that now stood out on his otherwise flawless skin. “Well, you know, when you’re a couple of dateless chicks you’ll try just about anything on a lonely Saturday night.” She soothed the spot with her tongue before she added, “At first she didn’t think she’d like doing it, but once I showed her how much fun it could be, she couldn’t get enough. She was so creative that she thought of doing it in ways I never would have imagined. She was the best.”
“You think she’s better at this than me?” he asked nervously.
“Don’t be jealous, my beloved Prince Charming. By myself, with Maria, even when I was doing this with my dad, I was thinking about you,” she said in a flirty voice, her exploring hand moving from teasing the dark circles on his chest to creep down to his abdomen.
“I’m glad to know that I was never far from your thoughts,” he said huskily before brushing his lips against hers.
As if by magic Maria appeared in the doorway, a loud gasp escaping her lips before she mumbled, “Sorry, guys. I didn’t know I was interrupting.”
“Hey, Maria. Good timing. We were just talking about you,” Liz laughed as she diverted her hand to rest it on Max’s hip.
“Do you want to join us?” Max asked enthusiastically.
“I’m pretty wiped out, so I think I’ll let you two have all the pleasure this time,” she said as she backed out of the room. “Let me give you a little hint, Max. Liz won’t be happy until you put that thing all the way in.”
“Anything to please my Cinderella,” he conceded as he methodically sank into the resistant flesh.
“Oh, Max,” Liz said in a breathy voice as she brought her arms around him. “That’s perfect.”
“I’m glad it meets with your approval,” he murmured seductively as he gave her a tender kiss. “How do you wish me to proceed, my love?”
“I prefer a slow, steady up and down movement,” Liz entreated, “but I’ll leave it up to you.”
“So now I get to decide how we do this?” he chuckled as he nipped at her bottom lip.
“What can I say? That first thrust has convinced me of your superior talent,” she answered as she ran her tongue over his lips. When he deepened the kiss and refused to tear his mouth from hers until they were both breathless, she conceded, “Well, maybe I could use a little more convincing.”
As the sounds of appreciative moans and wet kisses filled the kitchen, Maria’s overpowering voice came from the living room.
“Ok, you two, quit making out already and get the damned pumpkin carved before Halloween is over!”
“I’m so happy you guys decided to come for the weekend,” Liz said as she and Maria sat in the kitchen late that afternoon, admiring Max’s handiwork. “I hope the drive wasn’t too bad.”
“I wanted to leave last night, but Michael didn’t get off work until midnight, so we ended up leaving at five this morning instead. You know I wouldn’t get up that early for anyone but you.”
“I’m just glad the dance is on a weekend this year,” Liz commented as she took a bite of her sandwich. “You know, Max and I haven’t actually been at a Halloween dance together since junior year?”
“I never did get the whole story on what happened last Halloween,” Maria teased.
“Well, we had to miss the dance so I could spend the night in the emergency room,” Liz said with a hint of embarrassment. “The knife slipped while we were carving the pumpkin. I sort of slashed my wrist.”
“Why didn’t you just have Max heal you?” her friend asked curiously.
“Alex and Karen were over,” Liz explained. “I thought Alex was going to pass out at the sight of all that blood. Max slowed down the bleeding but he couldn’t make it stop altogether without it looking suspicious. Stitches were kind of unavoidable.”
“Oh. That sucks,” Maria said with a knowing expression.
Liz still didn’t believe she was able to have this kind of conversation with Maria. Two years ago when Max had come back into her life she had been so ecstatic that she hadn’t cared about anything else, but the couple soon realized that the rest of the world wasn’t going to just ignore them, especially insistent best friends. Maria had given Karen so few specifics about Max it had been easy enough to come up with a plausible story of how Liz had met him without having to mention his connection to Roswell. Fortunately Karen and Alex both assumed that ‘Max’ was just a nickname, shortened from Bob Maxwell’s given name, and neither Liz nor Max had any intention of ever correcting them.
Telling Maria that she and Max were finally together again had been an entirely different situation. Liz had found it nearly impossible to lie to her best friend, but in the end Max’s safety would always be her most important priority. His reclusiveness, his sudden disappearance from Roswell and his emergence at Stanford with a new name were explained away as a necessary part of his participation in the witness protection program, and Maria’s quick agreement to an oath of secrecy only made Liz feel more guilty that she had not been able to tell her friend the truth.
When Maria had come for a visit over spring break that freshman year she had brought her most recent boyfriend along to meet her best friend, her letters and phone calls indicating to Liz that he was ‘The One’. Any time someone new entered their small circle of friends Max and Liz would immediately be on alert, but the minute Max shook Michael Guerin’s hand he knew he had found another human with an Antarian heritage. Apparently Max and Liz hadn’t been the only ones keeping secrets.
Michael’s family, as it turned out, had covertly landed their ship in Canada and had quickly adapted to their new homeland. He was one quarter Antarian and although his abilities were not quite as strong as his predecessors’ were, they had been enough to save Maria’s life when a mugger had stabbed her at Christmas time. Of course it had been impossible for Michael to conceal the fact that he was different, and after a few days locked away in her dorm room contemplating Michael’s revelation Maria came to the conclusion that she would rather be with him than without. They had cemented their relationship that New Year’s Eve. From Maria’s description Liz discovered that the other couple’s permanent link was not as strong as the connection she and Max already shared, and for that reason alone she knew that she really didn’t have the right to be jealous of her best friend’s cemented status. She was jealous nevertheless.
That Halloween two years ago she and Max had stayed awake in her bedroom the rest of the night and most of the following day discussing their own future. Among an endless display of tender loving caresses and passionate adoring kisses they had reluctantly come to the conclusion that as much as they wanted to complete their bond, the best course of action would be for them to wait. For so many reasons delaying their lovemaking until they were married and at least one of them had graduated from college was the logical choice for them. Liz had made sure Max understood that her hesitancy to take that final step with him had absolutely nothing to do with any misgivings about their relationship. Actually it was just the opposite. As deep as their existing connection was she had no doubt that once they did make love, it would become impossible to not share that intimacy with him on a daily basis. The very real, very human risk of pregnancy would be unavoidable, even using the most effective methods of birth control. With the threat of the Special Unit constantly hanging over them any children they had would need every possible advantage, and a college dropout for a mother definitely would not be a benefit to any of them.
Liz had been relieved that her apartment lease with Karen was for a two-year term because the temptation to move into the house Max had shared with his dad would have been irresistible otherwise. They had been force to spend so may years apart from each other, both in Roswell and after, that they had become inseparable from that night on. She would study in the computer lab during Max’s work shifts just so she could be near him, while he would bring his laptop with him to write his programs as she conducted her experiments at the Bio lab. When they didn’t need to be on campus they spent the rest of their precious time in the small house Max had called home for the year or so before he had found her. The final intimate step that would bind them together forever remained elusive as long as she played her own little game of semantics and didn’t allow herself to consider Max’s house her own permanent home. No matter how much she dreaded it she had forced herself to return to the lonely bedroom of her apartment every single night, Romeo’s contented purrs no longer very comforting in the wake of her growing need for Max’s loving touch.
All that had changed at the end of the second year when Karen announced she would not be renewing her share of the lease. She had apparently managed to catch her soldier boy because she and Alex decided to move in together, which meant Liz was officially without a roommate. After that it hadn’t taken much convincing on Max’s part for her to agree to finally move into his house, and although they did have separate bedrooms they had not yet spent a night apart in the two months since she had made the house her home. Whether in his bed or hers they had gradually reached the point where the overwhelming desire to be close and the need to feel skin against skin had Max sleeping in just his boxers, while Liz’s nightclothes consisted of new silk panties and the blue shirt Max had been wearing the day he let her into his life. Only now, Max was the one who would undo the buttons.
It was easy to see why there had been more than one occasion when they allowed themselves to get pretty carried away during a heavy makeout session, but somehow reason had always prevailed and they would reign in their overzealous bodies at the last moment. How they had managed to exercise such restraint was still a mystery to her, especially in light of the fact that their connection was growing stronger by the day. Battling her own desires had been difficult enough, but during their last few trysts she had been able to sense his own escalating need to complete their connection. She was quickly learning that there was no greater aphrodisiac than feeling firsthand how much pleasure Max received from each little touch of her fingers or brush of her lips, and the endless flashes of them performing the most intimate of acts only served to arouse her even more. With her craving for him reaching the point where she could think of little else Liz had already decided that, despite their agreement, she would come home after the Halloween dance and ask Max to finally love her body to the same degree that he already loved her heart and soul: completely and without reservation. She could only hope he wouldn’t refuse her.
“I’m surprised the guys didn’t stick around for lunch,” Maria’s cheery voice interrupted her straying thoughts.
“Max said he was going to take Michael to that new restaurant on the other side of town. I guess they have some kind of rib special that they lace with Tabasco sauce,” Liz explained, smiling as she remembered Max’s first experience with the spicy condiment. Befriending Michael had been rewarding for Max in so many ways, the least of which was a much healthier appetite now that Max could actually taste his food. Although he never came right out and said it, she knew Max was relieved to have someone besides her to talk to about all things alien. It had taken several months but he eventually told Michael all about his family’s destruction at the hands of the Special Unit. Michael’s family had always known to keep their alien status a secret, but it still came as a shock to him what cruel actions people had been capable of just because of those differences. Shock was quickly replaced by anger and a vow that no other Antarians or their loved ones would suffer at the hands of the government. “I wonder where else they were going to go besides the cleaners,” Liz absently questioned as she noticed how long the two men had been gone, the fear of them being taken off the street never far from her mind.
Knowing where Liz’s thoughts had wandered, Maria gave her friend a sympathetic smile. “Relax, chica. Michael mentioned that he wanted to stop at a couple of places. Besides, if you haven’t learned yet, with men it isn’t about the destination. It’s about driving a kick-ass car to get there. All Michael’s talked about for the past two days was being able to get behind the wheel of that Mustang again,” Maria advised.
“Yeah,” Liz said as she pushed the bad thoughts from her mind. “That’s why Max drives it instead of his Jeep. He looks so good sitting in that driver’s seat, and it seems fitting somehow that he gets to enjoy Kyle’s prized possession. Just once I would love to see the look on Kyle’s face as Max and I go cruising by him.”
Maria immediately gave her friend a perplexed look, “You mean your mom didn’t tell you?”
[ edited 3 time(s), last at 16-Dec-2002 3:45:24 PM ]
|posted on 26-Nov-2002 10:21:01 PM by SansuCry|
|Part 13 continued|
Liz wrinkled her brow. “My mom hasn’t told me anything lately. We aren’t on the best of terms since I moved in with ‘Bob’, especially since she thinks she’s never met him before,” she sadly commented, knowing that her mother blamed herself for Liz’s steadfast refusal to set foot Roswell over the past two years. “What should she have told me?” she asked as she remembered Maria’s question.
Her friend took a deep breath as she narrated, “Last weekend Kyle and two of his buddies from UNM wrapped the one guy’s car around a tree doing about a hundred miles an hour. Kyle and the driver were killed. The guy in the back seat lived but is in really bad shape. They all had blood alcohol levels three times the limit.”
Liz was stunned into silence. Kyle had never thought twice about driving while he was drunk. He had actually been surprised when she refused to ride with him after a party where he had eagerly imbibed, so his dying in that manner really didn’t come as much of a shock, but the finality of it was still daunting. She knew she should feel bad about his passing, but she just couldn’t muster much sympathy for someone who had been so foolish with his life, especially since said person was the same one responsible for Max’s disappearance from her life and the two miserable years that followed. All she could feel was gratitude that the idiots hadn’t taken any innocent victims with them and hope that Kyle’s suspicions about Max had died with him.
“I say good riddance,” Maria voiced Liz’s thoughts aloud. “The world will be a much better place without the likes of him.” Liz gave the dark blonde a grateful smile.
“By the way, what are you and Max going to do about your folks? You can’t keep avoiding them forever.”
Liz sighed in exasperation. “They’re already talking about coming out here for the Thanksgiving weekend, so eventually they are going to meet Max. They only saw him the one time in Roswell when he brought Romeo to the Crashdown, but we still don’t want to take any chances. He’s talking about using his powers to alter his appearance while they’re here.”
“But won’t that make everyone else suspicious?” Maria questioned.
“That’s the problem,” Liz conceded.
The girls’ conversation was interrupted by the sound of the Mustang pulling into the driveway. They looked to the garage door with anticipation as the two men entered with a few small packages and two garment bags, but the minute Liz saw Max’s expression she knew something was wrong.
“What is it?” she asked fearfully as Maria took the items from Max and Michael’s arms.
“Everything will be okay,” Max immediately reassured her. “Because of the fancy detailing on the dress the cleaners sent out your Cinderella costume to be done at one of their other facilities. When they finished they ended up returning it to their store in Los Angeles instead of here.”
Liz immediately breathed a sigh of relief that the problem wasn’t alien related, but then the reality of Max’s words sunk in. “But they do have the dress?” she asked, suddenly afraid that she’d never again see the handmade outfit she’d worn the night of her first kiss with Max.
“Yes, they have it,” he confirmed, “but you won’t be wearing it to the dance tonight.”
Liz couldn’t help but let the disappointment show on her face. She had wanted the night to be perfect as she asked her Prince Charming to take her home and make love to her. She only hoped that this wasn’t an indication of how the rest of the evening was going to play out.
“I know it’s pretty late in the day, but we’re going to go to that costume shop over on Sand Hill Road and try to get the Cinderella costume Karen rented for you a couple of years ago,” Max said as he and Michael stepped toward the still opened door. “If not maybe the place where I’m getting my costume will have something.”
“I guess it’s better than nothing,” Liz agreed, but the guys had already left.
“Why the glum face, sweetie?” Alex asked as Liz let him and Karen in through the front door.
“The dry cleaners misplaced the Cinderella dress my mother made, so now Max and Michael have been gone for the past hour trying to find one to rent,” Liz glumly explained.
“I hope you don’t end up with a Teletubby costume instead,” Karen teased as she tried to lighten Liz’s somber mood. “Wow, Maria! You look great,” she added as she noticed the girl behind the camcorder.
“Thanks. You two don’t look too shabby yourselves,” Maria complimented as she checked out Alex and Karen’s Han Solo and Princess Leia costumes.
“Um, Maria,” Alex asked, “If you’re Cruella DeVille, then what’s Michael going as?”
This question made Liz automatically break out into a fit of laughter. Maria stopped taping and gave her best friend an evil glare that was right in character.
“What did I say?” Alex asked in confusion.
Sheepishly Maria admitted, “Michael let me handle the costumes since he had other things on his mind.”
“And?” Alex asked suspiciously.
“And Michael doesn’t know….” Liz giggled uncontrollably, “…he doesn’t know he’s going to be a six foot tall Dalmatian!”
Alex and Karen joined Liz in her outbreak of laughter as they tried to imagine Michael’s reaction to being forced to wear a fuzzy black and white spotted costume.
“How dare you guys be having fun without us,” Michael joked as he walked in through the garage door, a garment bag draped over his arm.
“Did you find a Cinderella dress?” Liz asked eagerly as she reached for the bag.
Michael lifted the bag away from her. “Max has your costume. This one is his.”
Before Liz could protest Michael’s impromptu game of keep away Max walked in the door with a huge grin on his face.
“You found one?” Liz asked hopefully.
“It’s not a Cinderella costume, but I think you’ll like this better,” he eagerly replied.
Knowing her evening was officially ruined, Liz did the only thing she could think of: she burst into tears. As her sobs began to swell into her throat Max’s warm, comforting arms were instantly surrounding her. He effortlessly picked her up and carried her into the living room before settling on the couch, immediately pulling her onto his lap as he soothingly whispered into her hair. She continued mourning her perfect night for several more minutes before she became aware that she was the center of everyone’s attention.
“I’m sorry guys. I know I’m being silly,” she sniffled. “It’s just that I’ve been looking forward to this night since forever, and I wanted it to be perfect.”
“I understand,” Max quietly said as he wiped the tears from her cheeks, “and I don’t think you’re being silly at all. I’ve been waiting for this night for just as long as you have, but not for the same reason as you. I’m sure you think the dance has been ruined because you don’t have the perfect costume, but the truth is that tonight is not the night for you to be Cinderella. Cinderella needed Prince Charming to rescue her from a place where she was lonely and miserable, and if there is one thing I know it is that you are the one who rescued me from having to endure that kind of suffering. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if you were not a part of it, and I want to be sure I never have to find out.”
He gently slid her off his lap and set her next to him on the couch. She looked at him with confusion before raising her eyes to watch her friends as they stood in the wide doorway between the kitchen and living room, the camcorder light glowing bright red in the faint shadows of early evening. Her focus shifted back to Max as he moved off the couch to kneel before her, taking her hands in his and framing his face with them. She immediately began to tremble as she realized what he was about to do.
“My beautiful Elizabeth, the day at my house when you knelt before me just like this and told me that everything written in that letter was exactly how you felt about me…that was the day my life began. When I was locked away from the world, when Kyle and his friends did what they did to me, you’re what kept me wanting to stay alive. The way your eyes look into mine. Your smile. The touch of your skin. Your lips. Knowing you has made me have faith in people again. I wish I had some way to predict what will happen in the future, but we’ve already established that I don’t have that particular talent. All I can ever guarantee you is that whether I die tomorrow or fifty years from now, my destiny is the same: it’s you. I want to be with you, Liz. I love you.” He moved one of his hands to reach into his shirt pocket. With tears in his eyes he pulled out the most beautiful ring Liz had ever seen. “Elizabeth Parker, will you make me the happiest man on this planet or any other by doing me the honor of becoming my wife?”
Suddenly her throat was swollen with tears again, only this time they were tears of indescribable joy. Unable to speak she emphatically nodded yes while holding her left hand up to meet the outstretched ring. Max leaned into her right palm and placed a chaste kiss there as he slid the elegantly decorated band onto her finger. She automatically brought her hand to the back of his neck to pull him close then kissed him until they were both breathless, their audience cheering them on the entire time.
No sooner did they break apart than they were surrounded by four enthusiastic sets of hands, the girls hugging Liz and admiring her ring while the two guys clasped Max on the shoulder with pride.
“Interesting proposal there, Max,” Alex chided in his ear. “You’ll pardon me if I use something a little more ordinary for Karen on Christmas Eve.”
Max gave him a cheerful yet amazed smile and a wink of approval before reclaiming the hand of his new fiancé. Taking the garment bag Michael offered him, he waited for the others to fall silent before explaining, “Halloween seems to be a special time of year for us, so I wanted it to be the official beginning of the next chapter in our fairytale life together. I thought maybe we could start by using the dance tonight as a dress rehearsal for our big day.” He then laid the bag across Liz’s lap.
Her nervous fingers struggled with the zipper as their friends awaited Max’s second surprise of the evening. Just when it seemed that she would need help, the bag fell away to reveal its treasure. The room filled with feminine gasps as Max stood to hold the outfit up by the hanger for Liz’s inspection.
“Oh, Max,” Liz breathed out in astonishment, “it’s the wedding dress, the one I’ve seen in the flash…”
“…that flashy bride’s magazine,” Max interrupted with a quick glance at Alex and Karen. As she fingered the entrancing garment he added, “It’s not a rented costume. It’s yours.”
“Really?” she asked in awe. “It’s so beautiful, Max.”
“Not nearly as beautiful as the woman I want to see wearing it,” he responded. When she remained silent he quietly said to her, “Are you sure you like it? If you don’t, just say so and you can go pick out the one you want.”
Liz immediately silenced him with a passionate, loving kiss that told him exactly how much she liked it and the man who had given it to her.
“Come on, now,” Maria teased. “You two have been going at it since the moment Michael and I arrived! Save some of that for your real wedding day or we’re never going to make it to the dance.” Thrusting out her arm she commanded, “Hand over that dress so we can get Lizzie ready.”
Max reluctantly tore his lips away from Liz’s as he relinquished possession of the dress over to Maria. Karen pulled Liz from the couch and grabbed her by the shoulders, announcing as she marched the still stunned girl out of the room, “Gentlemen, I suggest you use this time to put on your own costumes.”
“MARIA!” the yell came less than a minute later. “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?”
Her first thought when she returned to the living room was that Max had never looked so handsome in all the years she had known him. The black tuxedo he was wearing looked like it had been tailored just for him, the jacket perfectly conforming to his broad shoulders while the pants comfortably graced his muscled legs. He was a dream come true.
“So are you,” he whispered into her ear in a voice thick with emotion. “You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”
“Isn’t it bad luck for the groom to see the bride’s dress before the wedding day?” Alex questioned.
“It’s sort of unavoidable when the groom is the one who picked out the dress in the first place,” Maria explained.
“I guess you’re right,” Alex conceded.
“So are we all ready to go to the dance?” Karen surveyed.
“You expect me to go out in public wearing this getup?” Michael asked incredulously.
“Relax, Spot,” Maria replied. “It’s not like many people know you around here.” In a lower voice she added, “Besides, if you’re a good boy I’ll give you a doggy treat later.”
“Ok, people, let’s get this show on the road,” Michael barked in reply.
Max held out his arm for Liz, but she gently brushed it aside and coyly fluttered her lashes as she leaned into him. Standing on her toes she kissed him on the bridge of his nose and quietly asked, “Aren’t you forgetting something, my groom?”
“I don’t think so,” he said as he first looked down at her and then to their friends for some sort of clue as to what she meant.
“Well if I am to be your bride, don’t I need a wedding ring on my finger as well?” she questioned playfully as she brought her hand up to cup his face.
Max reached up and took her hand in his, turning it over in front of him to toy with the engagement ring he had placed there less than an hour earlier. “I don’t think that can be part of tonight’s dress rehearsal,” he said reverently, “because once I put a wedding ring on this finger I don’t ever want it to come off.” Then he brought her hand to his lips and gently kissed each of her fingers.
As the heat of that tender gesture spread up her arm and throughout the rest of her body she suddenly knew exactly what she wanted to do. Giving him an adoring kiss, she asked in a voice meant only for him, “Did you buy us wedding rings?”
“I have yours,” he explained as a conspiratorial smile crossed his face. “It came as a set with your engagement ring. As for me, we could use my father’s ring if you don’t mind.”
“I don’t mind at all,” Liz lovingly replied as she squeezed his hand. “I think it will be just perfect.”
“You know that this means we’re going to miss another Halloween dance, don’t you?” he questioned as he nuzzled her temple, the hope in his voice reflecting the anticipation that was making her stomach flutter uncontrollably.
Peeking at the jeweled watch adorning her wrist Liz reasoned, “It’s ten hours each way, so if we leave now we’ll get there at six in the morning and can be back here by tomorrow night.”
Bringing her flush against him with an arm around her waist Max gently brushed his lips against her ear as he whispered, “What about our wedding night? Don’t you want to get a suite at one of the hotels there?”
Liz kissed a trail up his neck before answering quietly enough that only he could hear. “I’ll never be able to cross that place on the gym floor where we shared our first kiss ever again, which means I’ll also never again experience those flashes of how you felt when you discovered I loved you. When we make love for the first time I want it to be here in our own bed so that each time we go to sleep I’ll be able to remember every last detail of the night we cemented our bond and feel how special it was for both of us.”
“Hey, you two,” Alex interrupted, “you aren’t the only ones in the room here. Care to share with the rest of the class?”
“So we’re really going to do this?” Max nervously asked, the tremor in his voice revealing his fear that she might have changed her mind in the past thirty seconds.
Liz gave him one final kiss before turning to their friends. “We’ve decided to skip the dress rehearsal and go straight for the main event,” she announced.
“Tonight?” Maria asked incredulously.
“Wait,” Karen said as she raised her brow. “Are you saying you’re going to get married? Now?”
“Yeah,” Max said as he stood behind Liz and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Well, actually, by the time we drive to Vegas it will be tomorrow morning.”
Four pairs of dumbfounded eyes stared at the couple before Maria finally let out a howl and ran to hug her two friends, the stiletto heels of her costume making it difficult to move as fast as she wanted. “A Halloween wedding,” she whispered into Liz’s ear. “I guess that’s no stranger than two small town girls from Roswell falling for a couple of gorgeous, bona fide aliens.” With a quick squeeze of Max’s shoulder she said aloud, “Congratulations, you guys.”
“What about your mom and dad?” Karen asked as she walked up to Liz and carefully stroked her former roommate’s lace covered arm. She knew her friend’s parents hadn’t approved of Liz moving in with Max, and she was sure that news of the couple’s elopement wouldn’t help matters any.
Liz shrugged as she said wistfully, “I’ll try to look on the bright side. Maybe they’ll be happy that their daughter isn’t living in sin anymore.”
“Liz, we don’t have to…” Max began.
“Yes, we do,” she cut him off, able to tell what he was about to say, “and no, this is one decision I will never regret.”
“I’ll say it again,” Michael ordered. “Let’s get this show on the road, people. Literally now.”
“You guys are going to come with us?” Max asked in astonishment.
“I can’t speak for them,” Maria pointed to where Karen had joined Alex, “but Michael and I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
“Count us in, too,” Alex added as he polished his fingernails on his black vest. “After all, I am the one who got you two back together.”
Words of thanks and appreciation were exchanged before they all decided to stick with tradition and keep the bride and groom separated for the long trip to Las Vegas. Once Max had retrieved the wedding rings from the dresser drawer in his bedroom he returned to where the others were gathered and clasped Michael on the shoulder.
“Man’s Best Friend,” he said as straight-faced as possible, “will you be this friend’s best man?”
Among the hoots and laughter came the one word reply.
|posted on 26-Nov-2002 10:23:07 PM by SansuCry|
|Part 13 continued|
WARNING: May be considered NC-17
“You’re trembling,” he quietly observed, the concern in his voice evident in his eyes as they met hers in the bedroom mirror. “Are you afraid?”
“Just a little,” she confessed as she played with the beaded trim on her wedding dress.
“So am I,” he admitted as he closed his eyes and leaned his temple against hers, his blissful smile calming her instantly. The arms wrapped around her waist tightened as he revered, “You are more beautiful in this dress than I ever could have imagined.”
She turned her head to the side and tenderly kissed his cheek. “By the way, thank you for saving me from letting it slip to Alex and Karen about the flashes. I was so surprised to actually have this dress in my hands that I wasn’t even thinking about the words coming out of my mouth.”
Max’s lips met hers, and they kissed for several endless minutes before Max breathed out, “I love you, Mrs. Maxwell.”
Liz smiled against his lips and whispered, “Mrs. Maxwell. Funny, when I lived in Roswell I always hoped I’d end up being Mrs. Evans.”
“The name doesn’t really matter to me,” he answered reverently, “as long as I get to call you my wife.”
“Mmmm, always, my husband,” she said as she nipped at his lower lip. Returning to their earlier conversation she asked, “This really is a beautiful dress. How did you ever manage to find the exact same one you imagined?”
Playfully brushing his nose against hers he proudly said, “A little trick Michael showed me. One trip to the bridal shop plus a little Antarian creativity and you have the dress of your dreams…or my dreams, I guess I should say. I hope you didn’t mind indulging me.”
“Not only did I not mind,” she quietly assured. “It is one of the sweetest things you have ever done. I’m sure most guys never think twice about what their wife wears to walk down the aisle, so the fact that you’ve fantasized about it enough to actually make the dress for me is beyond flattering.”
“I have to admit that the design isn’t completely mine,” he quietly said as he gently rubbed his hands up and down her sides. “I borrowed a lot of it from my mom’s dress.”
“You have your mom’s wedding dress?”
He gave her a sad smile before he released her. “I wish I did. I wish I had anything of hers,” he answered as he went to his dresser drawer and pulled out a well-used wallet. He kicked off his socks and shoes before sitting down on the bed, motioning for her to join him. With a swish of taffeta and satin she walked over to her husband and carefully positioned herself on his lap, her own shoes discarded much earlier in the day in favor of comfort.
“My dad’s,” he explained as he cautiously unfolded the aging brown leather. “This is all I have of our life before Roswell.” He flipped through clear plastic windows that held credit cards and an Illinois driver’s license for Grant Sorrenson, the tiny picture revealing a much younger version of the man Liz had known as Philip Evans. The first photo was of a seven year old Max, a beautiful smile and joy-creased eyes lighting up his entire face, so different from the sad, somber boy who had turned up on a playground at Roswell Elementary School less than a year later. The second picture was obviously his mother in her wedding dress, the faded, full-length shot displaying a late 1970’s version of the gown currently adorning Liz’s petite frame. There was no mistaking that Max had used his mother’s dress as inspiration, but there were enough differences to make the stunning creation fashioned by her husband’s gifted hands uniquely hers.
“She’s beautiful,” Liz began to say before the next photo suddenly caught her attention. The colors and details of this one were much sharper than the wedding picture, a fact that made the raven black hair and unearthly amber eyes on both mother and son even more entrancing.
“This was the last family picture taken of us,” Max explained. “It was for the church directory. Dad liked it because my mom had changed her hair back to its natural color for the first time since their wedding. He hated her as a blonde.” When Liz did not respond, Max finally tore his eyes away from the photo to see that she had turned deathly pale. “Liz, what is it? What’s wrong?” he asked, the worry in his voice making the words come out staccato.
She had to swallow several times before she could find the strength to speak. “I’ve seen her before.”
“You probably have,” he reasoned. “You’ve more than likely seen her in some of the flashes you’ve gotten from me.”
Liz vehemently shook her head. “No. You and I are the only ones I’ve ever seen in your flashes.” Steeling herself for his response she said emphatically, “It isn’t that I’ve just seen her, Max. She’s spoken to me. I know she has.”
“Spoken to you?” Max wrinkled his forehead in confusion. “That’s impossible. She’s been dead for over twelve years, and before that she hadn’t been anywhere near Roswell since way before we were born.”
“Well, it wouldn’t be the first impossible thing I’ve ever done, now would it?” she softly pleaded for him to believe her as her eyes finally met his.
“When did you talk to her?” he asked, curiosity overshadowing any doubts he may have had about the validity of her statements. “What did she say?”
“That’s just it. I can’t remember,” she said dejectedly as she anxiously sifted through every last one of her memories. Tears filling her voice she added, “I’m sure it was a very long time ago, but I don’t remember anything else besides what she looked and sounded like. I’m sorry. I wish I could tell you more.”
Setting the wallet down Max immediately wrapped his arms around her and kissed away the tears dampening the corners of her eyes, “Shh, it’s all right. Don’t be upset, my beautiful bride. As much as I want to hear what you may know about my mom, I don’t want you to cry over it. We can save the rest of this conversation for later. Today is supposed to be a happy day, not a sad one.”
“I’m sorry,” she sniffled. “I feel like I’m disappointing you by not being able to tell you more.”
“Well, the picture jogged your memory. Maybe the rest will come with time,” he assured her with a gentle kiss to her cheek. She turned into the kiss and lightly grazed his lips with hers, taking the warm strength he was always so willingly to provide. His hands automatically came up to cup her face, holding her close to him as he deepened the kiss. It wasn’t long before they were completely lost in each other, all thoughts of Max’s mother quickly pushed to the backs of their minds.
In one fluid motion Max laid back on the bed, pulling Liz down on top of him as his mouth mimicked the intimate movements his body was growing eager to perform. When her deep moan resonated throughout both of their chests Max broke the kiss and in a teasing tone implored, “The only way you’d disappoint me right now is if you make me wait any longer to make love to my wife.”
His eyes were filled with the unconditional love and worshipping adoration he had always given her, the familiar calming peacefulness expanding to permeate her entire body until she was completely relaxed. Stroking his bangs away from his face she replied in a voice heavy with desire, “I’m not so nervous anymore.”
He gave her a seductive half-smile before reaching up and carefully unpinning her hair, setting aside the miniature white roses Maria had weaved into the dark mass before running his hands through the silky strands to fan them out around her shoulders. Her eyes languidly closed as he trailed his finger down the side of her face and neck, gasping when he paused to run his thumb over her kiss-swollen lips before soothing them with his tongue. As she opened up to him her entire body came alive with heated electricity, his lithe fingers leaving a trail of sensitized flesh in their wake. The gentle friction of smooth satin and finely detailed lace as he caressed her body only served to intensify the irrepressible arousal he was so easily stirring inside of her.
Wanting to be sure that he was just as excited, she slowly dragged her lips from his mouth, over his chin and down his neck to nip at the starched collar he had already loosened in his own quest for comfort. Using her teeth to skillfully undo the remaining buttons on the elegant tuxedo shirt, she devotedly covered his exposed chest with a sensual combination of tender kisses and possessive love bites. His rich, honeyed voice throatily whispered her name, empowering her as she maneuvered down his body, boldly cradling the strained zipper of his pants between silk covered breasts as she seductively nuzzled the fine dark hair on his stomach. Her mind was quickly filled with flashes of all the erotic ways he wanted her to use her tongue on him before she pulled away, a Cheshire cat grin lighting up her face as she climbed from the bed to remove the suddenly confining dress.
Bunching the full skirt in her hand she raised her leg to daintily rest her toes on the edge of the bed, intentionally exposing the white lace garter belt and stockings that had been hidden underneath the layers of petticoats. Before she could even bend over to unfasten one of the clasps holding the stockings up Max had shrugged off his shirt and was perched next to her, his mouth eagerly roaming her inner thigh as she rested her hand on his shoulder in an attempt to support her rapidly weakening knees. The hand holding her dress up tensed in anticipation then released the gathered material to run her fingers through his dark locks as his head moved closer to the one place she was aching for him to touch.
She didn’t think she could get any more excited until her dress slid down over him, hiding his ministrations from her view. It was extremely arousing to feel his mouth and hands performing their own brand of magic on her inflamed skin without being able to see where they were moving next. As his own sensual emotions and thoughts began to blend with hers she couldn’t stop the whimpers of pleasure that escaped her lips, and when he finally nuzzled the small scrap of white lace that covered her dark moist curls she was sure she was in heaven.
“You smell so sweet,” his muffled voice vibrated against her. His tongue hungrily probed the damp material before his wandering fingers pulled the strip aside to grant him complete access to her throbbing heat. He immediately began to explore her with an insatiable thoroughness she wasn’t sure she’d survive.
“Oh, Max,” she moaned low in her throat as her nails sank into his shoulder, every one of their combined thoughts focused on the point where he was so intimately learning her body and committing it to memory.
After several languid strokes of his tongue he pulled away from her just enough to venerate, “You taste just as sweet. The little samples I’ve had of you from my fingers simply can’t compare to being able to drink all of you into my mouth like this. I’ll never get enough of you.”
Before she could respond he returned to his sensuous task with even more zeal, his hand sliding under her thigh to massage her behind as he held her tightly against his mouth, refusing to waste even one drop of the fluid he found so precious. She fought to breathe as his uncensored thoughts invaded her mind, a primal possessiveness overtaking him as he relished the fact that he was responsible for creating the liquid feast he was so ardently consuming, knowing that no other man had ever touched her this way, no other man would ever love her in this manner.
Their strengthening connection granted him the knowledge to masterfully tongue and suckle her in just the right places to bring her to an earth-shattering climax, and even as she fought for control of her body the room was filled with endless moans of his name. Just when her toes began to curl with the first wave of her release his arms came around her to support her suddenly boneless frame, his relentless assault continuing until every last muscle in her body relaxed with satiation.
“Whew, it’s hot under here,” he teased as he pulled the layers of dress from over his head, one arm remaining around her to steady her still weakened body. Standing up from the bed, he said in a voice that revealed his continuing desire for her, “It’s a good thing we’ve had certain rules in place because if I had tasted you before now I never would have been able to wait to make love with you.” He slowly turned her around so that her back was to him and they were facing the mirror once again.
Pulling her hair aside to gently nip at her shoulders he whispered, “I love you, Liz.” His fingers reached up to undo the pearl buttons that made a path down the center of her back, each newly exposed piece of skin garnering another tender kiss that eventually led him to his knees. “I’ve wanted you for so long,” he revered as he carefully nudged the dress from her shoulders, “that I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want you.”
With the dress pooled at her feet he lovingly caressed her legs, expertly unhooking one stocking, then the other before rolling them down to join the growing pile of white satin and lace. “When we were children I longed just for you to touch me, a brush of your fingers, the sweep of your hair as you leaned over me.” His mouth grazed her hip before he removed the delicate garter belt and panties, nuzzling the wet fabric one last time as he let it fall. “When we grew older and I discovered what kissing was, I knew yours were the only lips I would ever want to feel against mine.” His fingers followed the curves and contours of her body as he slowly inched his way to her front. Undoing the clasp resting in the valley between her breasts, he drew lace straps down and off her arms before he teased her hardened nipples with his tongue. “Each day you passed by my house and I watched your body change from a girl’s to a woman’s I so desperately wanted to feel your breasts in my mouth.” He suckled her for several minutes as if making up for lost time, her hands threading through his hair and holding him close to her as he gave equal treatment to both of her soft mounds. With one final laving he stood up, unbuckled the sharply creased tuxedo pants and pushed them down to the floor, his boxers quickly joining the black and white pile already littering the carpeting next to their marriage bed. Just as stark of a contrast as their clothing was the sight currently reflected in the mirror, his muscled strength cradling her graceful suppleness. Two sets of eyes drank in the sensual display, this first time being completely naked with each other.
Pressing his hardness against her bare skin he tilted her head back to place light adoring kiss over her face and neck as his hands worshipped every inch of her he could touch. “As my body changed and I began to have erotic dreams, you are the only woman I ever imagined being with. My days were filled with wishes for a normal life where we were married and had a house of our own and children who were just as beautiful as their mother. Then at night I would dream of feeling your magnificent body underneath me as I told you how much I loved you, your voice whispering that you loved me just as much while we moved together in perfect unison, you surrounding me time and time again as we tried to find our favorite positions.”
When they both realized his dreams were about to become reality, their mouths came together in a heated yet loving kiss, the musky hint of her arousal on his lips so different from the few salty sweet drops she had tasted of him. If his tender ministrations and adoring words hadn’t already eliminated her nervousness, the unrestrained desire beginning to flow through their connection would have definitely done away with the rest.
Breaking the kiss, he took a stifled breath before continuing, “I love seeing you in my blue shirt because it always reminds me of that afternoon in Roswell when I decided to take a chance and let you into my life. Even though my ribs hurt like hell, when I felt your hands on me it took every ounce of restraint I had to not take you to my bedroom and make you mine forever. I’ve been fighting that fight every day since then, struggling to keep my sanity with our self-imposed rules on where we could touch each other, how much clothing we had to keep on, how far was too far. I know we had agreed to wait but I just couldn’t hold back any longer.”
“Are you saying you only married me so we could go all the way?” she teased.
“I certainly hope you know better than that,” he answered with a horrified look. “I asked you to marry me because I wanted you to know how committed I am to you and to our relationship.”
“Relax, my husband,” she said with a devilish smile. “I have never doubted your love for me. As a matter of fact,” she said as she looked at the pile of white lace strewn about her feet, “I bought this wedding night lingerie long before I knew it would be for our wedding night.” When confusion clouded his handsome features she elaborated, “You aren’t the only one who couldn’t hold back any longer. Married or not, engaged or not, I had every intention of coming home from the Halloween dance and asking you to make love to me.”
That confession was the only incentive he needed to end his verbal adoration and put their burgeoning desires into action. Sweeping her up into his arms he carried her to the bed while fusing his mouth to hers, never once breaking the feverish lustful kiss as he laid her out underneath him. Poised at the threshold of completing their irreversible union, his eyes asked one last time the question he was afraid to voice. Her reply was to reach between them and, with a gentle lift of her hips, guide him into her awaiting heat.
As he reached her barrier he tensed and said through clenched teeth, “I’m hurting you. It isn’t fair. This is the most amazing feeling in the world to me, and I’m hurting you. Please tell me to stop.”
She caressed his cheek and soothed, “It’s unavoidable, my love. It’s only supposed to hurt for a minute, and the last thing I want you to do right now is stop.”
A tear dropped from the corner of his eye onto her lips. “I could make it go away,” he whispered, “so I won’t hurt you.”
She gave him a tender kiss and answered, “This is part of giving myself to you, so don’t feel guilty and try to block out your enjoyment. Open yourself up instead. Let me experience your pleasure and I bet neither one of us will remember the pain.” To emphasize the sincerity of her words she reached around his waist to caress his behind, insistently pulling him into her.
She was consumed with blinding ecstasy as he completed his possession of her with one deep thrust, their blissful cries echoing in the silent room. He stilled, verifying that she wasn’t feeling any discomfort before beginning a slow rhythm, the indescribable wonder of their loving, sensuous movements making both of them gasp in delight.
The flashes came immediately, leisurely unhurried images of his happy childhood and hers, his parents and her friends, giving way to shorter, clipped memories of despair and loneliness and a mother’s tortured pain before escalating to his first glimpse of the little dark haired girl who had become his solace, her first look into mesmerizing amber eyes that saw to the very depths of her soul, first words, first touches, years of longing glances across classrooms and desperate stares from shadowed windows, an unforgettable first kiss, thousands of memories of months of agonizing separation and joyous times shared until they had traveled full circle and arrived back in the present. All that they had been as individuals came together in one perfect moment, her thoughts melding with his, his memories becoming hers as their bodies climaxed so intensely that they were both left trembling, without a hint of fear as the cause.
Resting his head between her breasts while he caught his breath, he silently whispered to her as if he were praying, ‘In my thousands of fantasies of this moment, none of them could have prepared me for the exquisite reality of becoming one with you. You are my Zania.’
She closed her eyes in contentment as she relished the newly formed connection that allowed her to hear his voice in her mind and feel the depth of his love for her in every thought and movement. Smoothing back his damp hair she wordlessly asked, ‘Zania? What does it mean?’
‘You already know.’
‘Zan means soul,’ she marveled as the knowledge came pouring from her. ‘Zania is the feminine term. You said that I am your soul.’
She could feel his proud smile against her glistening skin before he raised his head to stare into her eyes, his smoldering gaze and explicit yet adoring thoughts making her entire body flush with desire. Moving her fingers from his hair she slowly outlined the full masculine lips that had learned in just a matter of minutes how to love her so thoroughly that she had collapsed with bliss. She wouldn’t have believed that the climax wrought by his skillful mouth had given him just as much enjoyment as she had received if it weren’t for the vivid memory, his memory, now ingrained in her mind. She had no doubt that their lovemaking would have been beautiful in its own right, but to sense his profound love for her, to feel his pleasure as well as her own enhanced the whole experience in a way she knew she would never tire of. ‘I understand why your father said we would have to go through this firsthand to fully appreciate it. I truly never imagined that we could become so close that I don’t know where I end and you begin.’
‘Do you regret bonding yourself to me?’
‘You already know the answer.’
‘Tell me anyway,’ he silently requested.
Awed as his vulnerability became her own she gave him a tender kiss and a loving smile before saying, “As long as I live, whether I am Mrs. Maxwell or Mrs. Evans or Mrs. Somebody Else, I will never regret bonding myself to you, not for one second of my life. You have given me a precious gift few others will ever have the chance to experience. You’ve completed me in a way no one else ever could, and I will spend the rest of my days thanking you for giving me the privilege of becoming your wife, your bonded mate. I love you with all that I was, all that you have made me, all that we will become together, my Zan.”
He rolled them over and held her on top of him, their bodies never breaking intimate contact as he worshipped her with hands and mouth, roaming and tasting and nipping in just the right places to make her blood ignite with both of their passions. Ravenously pulling his mouth to hers, she mutely added, ‘I want to spend the rest of our wedding night dancing.’
His erotic movements immediately came to a halt. Propping himself up on his elbows he asked incredulously, ‘You really expect me to stop what we’re doing and get out of bed just so we can dance?’
‘You know how important dancing is to me,’ she pouted.
Waiting for his disappointment to set in, she pulled him up to a sitting position. When he tried to remove her from his lap she wrapped her legs around his waist. With a toss of her thick dark mane and a deep throaty laugh brimming with the desire he had stirred in her, she silently replied as she began her favorite rhythm, ‘My husband, for the kind of dancing I want the bed is the only place to be.’
|posted on 4-Dec-2002 4:52:35 PM by SansuCry|
Happy hump day everybody.
I decided to break the next part down into two parts, so this is nowhere near twenty pages long, but then you've only had to wait a week for an update.
To risk sounding like a broken record, there should be one more part after this and the epilogue. (I know...you'll believe it when you actually read it.)
I'm begging for feedback on this part, which should probably be considered R rated (the part, not the feedback...of course this is a free country, so if you want to leave R rated feedback I guess you could...oh, nevermind. I think I need to go take a nap!)
March 27, 2005
Today was the day, Liz decided. She couldn’t go on living like this a minute longer. The past few weeks had been pure torture, and today was the day she was finally going to confront her husband. She and Max had been married less than five months, and she couldn’t believe it had already come down to this. Getting used to the constant presence of their uncensored thoughts and emotions in each other’s minds had taken some time, but when their first Christmas as a married couple approached they had discovered one of the downfalls of being bonded: the difficulty of keeping gifts a secret. After much trial and error they worked out a way for Max to block out just one small area of their minds from their connection so that they could both have a private mental hiding place for such occasions. At first it had seemed strange to preface any of her thoughts with a ‘restricted’ comment, but eventually she became comfortable withholding innocent things from him. If she had realized that he would use that blocked part of his mind to conceal the fact that he was betraying their marriage vows, she never would have suggested the ridiculous strategy in the first place.
Looking back she knew when things had begun to change between them. They had gone to Los Angeles to visit Maria and Michael a few days before New Year’s Eve. Michael had been anxious to tell them about a special belated wedding gift to them, and at the time she thought it had been a good thing. Now she knew better. Since the day Max had revealed to his friend all the suffering his family had endured at the hands of the Special Unit, Michael had made it his personal mission to guarantee that no other alien would go through the same torture. His family, with the help of the other five thousand or so Antarian families spread throughout the world, had managed to gradually infiltrate the Special Unit over the past few years. Several dozen of the three thousand pure bred Antarians living on Earth had magically secured positions within the Unit, and two months before Max and Liz had married every document, every lab test, every last piece of evidence of alien existence on the planet had been altered or destroyed. Each of the three hundred and forty-seven members of the Unit had their memories altered as well. That August 9th the Special Unit had been transformed from an elite group of alien hunters into a select team of patriots bent on ridding the United States of illegal drugs by any means necessary, and it had all happened in the blink of an eye.
Michael had hesitated telling the couple of this development before he was certain that the plan had actually worked, but once they had successfully reached the four-month mark he had finally disclosed the truth. The Special Unit as they knew it no longer existed. No one would be coming to sweep Max off of the street. Nobody would kidnap their children and perform cruel experiments on them. Max and Liz were free to live a normal life.
They had wanted to celebrate their newfound peace, but school’s second semester had ended up giving both of them a heavy burden. This was Max’s last term before graduating, and besides his job at the computer lab he had taken on an apprenticeship at Software Solutions, a local company eager to hire him full-time as soon as he was finished with school. With Liz’s additional hours spent in the lab helping her Biology teacher with some research, the couple had very little time together save the precious few hours when they would share a bed. Their lovemaking had taken on even more significance during those long January days apart, for despite the connection that allowed them to communicate both words and feelings, nothing could compare to the closeness they felt when their two bodies became one.
All that had changed around Valentine’s Day. Liz had thought Max’s sudden lack of interest in making love to her had sprung from being tired and overworked, so she had chosen to overlook his refusals despite the fact that neither of them had ever denied the other in the past. She had naively believed that it would only be a matter of days before he was stripping them of their clothing, eager to feel her moving underneath him as they danced their favorite rhythm. Now, six weeks later, she finally understood why he continued to not be interested in her.
He had never made it a secret that he had begun to contact several of the Antarians who had helped Michael’s family alter the Special Unit. He and Liz had even discussed getting together with some of them to thank them in person for making their lives safe, but the couple’s conflicting schedules seemed to make any kind of meeting an impossibility. She had just assumed that if they couldn’t make arrangements to become acquainted with the others as a couple then there would be no encounter at all, so when she showed up at Software Solutions Thursday for a planned seduction that included an impromptu lunch date, she was the one who had received the surprise.
Apparently Max already had plans, plans that included an intimate lunch for two at a little restaurant in San Jose. The fact that he had intentionally hidden those plans from her and that she was not the other party in said plans had immediately sent up a red flag. She instinctively knew that his lunch date was with a woman, an Antarian woman to be precise. Someone like him. A nightmare that she had never thought possible was coming true, and as she put the pieces together she finally understood the implication of something that had been bothering her since he had first refused her advances . She knew without a doubt that she had discovered the final damning piece of evidence needed to prove that he was being unfaithful to her. Now all she had to do was find the courage to demand an end to this farce that had become their marriage. She was nobody’s doormat.
“Hey, sweetie,” he said with a saccharine smile as he returned from his morning jog. When she glared at him from her seat at the kitchen table, he frowned, “What’s wrong?”
“We need to talk,” she said, her voice devoid of emotion.
“Ok,” he replied. Wiping the sweat from his brow he added, “Just let me go grab a quick shower first.”
“No,” she said forcefully, grasping her coffee cup tighter to hid the tremor in her hand. “This can’t wait.”
He nodded his consent as he pulled out one of the chairs and moved it closer to her. Sitting down so that his knee was touching hers he said with a cunning smile, “I’ve been expecting this conversation for a while now.”
She stifled the small spark of desire his bare skin against hers had caused, looking at him incredulously. “I’m glad you find this so amusing,” she said as sarcastically as possible.
He pretended to be shocked. “I’m sorry. I thought you would be happy about this.”
Fighting to keep her emotions under control she said through clenched teeth, “How could you ever think this would make me happy?”
He reached for her hand as he pretended to be hurt. “I know that this isn’t exactly how we thought things would go, but once you get to know her…”
She jumped up from the table, knocking over her cup of coffee as she yelled, “You really expected me to share you with someone else?”
He jumped up as well, avoiding the hot beverage as it spread across the table and onto the floor. His face awash with what appeared to be confusion he said quietly, “Liz, you don’t have to be jealous. She’s not going to take away from what you and I have. She’ll just deepen the connection we already share.”
Anger suddenly overtaking her, she raised her hand to slap him across the face. Realizing what she planned to do he grabbed her wrist and held her tightly against him. “Let go of me, damn it!”
“Liz, please. Settle down. If this isn’t what you want then we need to talk about this,” he said as calmly as possible, refusing to release her.
“What’s her name, Max?” she demanded as she twisted in his arms. “I know she’s Antarian.”
“Of course she’s part Antarian,” he hissed out, his own anger beginning to overtake him. “What did you expect?”
“I bet she has some trampy name like Tess, doesn’t she?” Liz spat out in fury. “What was it about her, Max? Was it meeting someone like you? Is that what attracted you? She’s probably some bleach blonde bitch with a perfect body who can give you hour long orgasms!”
She nearly fell to the ground as Max suddenly released her. When she turned to look at him, she couldn’t believe his pained expression. “What did you say?” he asked in surprise.
“You heard me,” she glowered. “I know all about your mistress. You know, the one you had lunch with Thursday, the one who just happens to be Antarian.”
“You think I’m cheating on you?” he asked incredulously. “How could you ever think that?”
“Don’t deny it, Max. I know you’ve been trying to hide it from me, but it didn’t work,” she argued as the tears began to fall. “How could you do this to me?”
“Liz, that woman I saw Thursday,” he pleaded, “yes, she is Antarian, but it isn’t what you think…”
“Please don’t lie to me anymore. At least give me that much respect,” she said as she collapsed to the floor. “I know you’ve bonded with her,” she sobbed. “I can feel her in our connection. How could you do this to me? How could you make me suffer through feeling your love for her?”
Max was instantly beside her, pulling her reluctant body into his arms as he silently soothed, ‘You don’t know, do you? You really don’t know. All this time I thought you were just waiting for the right time to tell me.’
The loving tone of his voice caught her off guard. Pushing away from him she hesitantly questioned, “Tell you what?”
Taking her face in his hands his eyes locked with hers as he mutely chastised her, ‘My beautiful, silly, overemotional Zania, you know that I have never even once thought about loving any woman but you.’ Pressing a chaste kiss to her forehead he added, ‘I would never cheat on you, my beloved wife, especially now that you are carrying my baby.’
Her eyes widened in complete shock as his words sank in. ‘Baby?’
‘The presence you’ve been feeling in our connection, the one I love so much, isn’t my mistress,’ he said amusingly. ‘It’s our baby girl.’
“You know I’m on the pill, and I haven’t skipped any of my periods,” she commented aloud. “I can’t possibly be pregnant.”
“Well, it wouldn’t be the first impossible thing you’ve ever done, now would it?” he teased her with her words from their wedding night.
Afraid to believe that she could have been so wrong about Max having an affair and ashamed of her actions she queried, “How can I be pregnant when you haven’t touched me in weeks? And what about your lunch date? Why would you hide it from me?”
He let out a regretful sigh. “I’m sorry, my Zania. I never meant to hurt you, and I definitely never imagined you’d think I was having an affair.” Leaning back against the wall he brought her with him and adjusted their bodies so that she was straddling his lap and they were once again eye to eye. “February 11th. I’m sure that’s the night you got pregnant because the next day I started feeling this little tugging sensation in the back of my mind. I was going to tell you, but I didn’t want you to be disappointed that I had found out before you, so I hid my suspicion. The tugging grew stronger throughout the day, and when we made love the next night I could actually sense her curiosity over what was making me feel so good. It sort of freaked me out that our baby could feel us making love and I was scared that I might actually hurt her, so I did everything I could to discourage you from wanting to be intimate. I kept waiting for you to tell me you were pregnant, and when you started hiding more and more of your thoughts from me I assumed you were planning some big suprising way to tell me.”
Everything Max was saying so far made sense, except…“What about your Antarian friend?”
“Her name is Marie Hadley. Dr. Marie Hadley. Her cousin Stephen was one of the Special Unit infiltraters. In one of my emails I asked him what would happen if an Antarian ended up in the hospital. He mentioned that there were several doctors spread throughout the United States and other countries who handled emergency stuff like that, making sure no blood was drawn for ‘religious reasons’, delivering babies at home so going to the hospital wasn’t necessary in the first place. It just so happened that his cousin Marie was one of these doctors, and since she lives in Seattle I asked him to set up a meeting with her. I was positive that by the time everything was arranged you would have already told me about the baby and it would be both of us asking her questions, but Dr. Hadley had to cancel the original appointment I had set up for next week. When she showed up at my office Thursday on her way to Texas, we went out to lunch at a restaurant her friend owns so I could ask her a few questions that I couldn’t wait for answers until she returned.”
Sighing in bewildered resignation she asked, “I’m really pregnant?”
“And it’s a girl?”
An affirmative nod.
Liz closed her eyes in shame as she realized how foolish she had been. She had just accused her soulmate of cheating on her, when all he had done was go out of his way to make sure she would be the one to break the good news of her pregnancy. She had ruined it all with her ludicrous jealousy. He was her Zan. How could she ever have doubted his love and devotion to her?
‘It’s the hormones,’ he silently answered her. ‘Dr. Hadley advised me to cut you some slack for the first eight to ten weeks, that you might be a little, um…moody.’
“Moody? I was a downright b*tch,” she shook her head in disgust. She raised panicked eyes to him as she continued, “Max, what I said about this not making me happy, that’s when I thought you were having an affair. I didn’t mean that about having a baby. I would never…”
He silenced her with a finger to her lips. “I know, sweetheart, I know.”
‘I’m sorry,’ she silently whispered as her cheeks began to streak with tears.
‘Apologies aren’t necessary, my beautiful wife,’ he said as he tenderly pressed his lips to hers, ‘but I think it would be best for me to remove the block from our connection. I’ll suffer through no birthday or Christmas surprises if it means avoiding hurting you again.’
‘You don’t have to do that,’ she countered as she parted her lips for him, hoping he wouldn’t continue to deny her the intimacy she had craved for the past six weeks. ‘I can’t believe how ridiculous I sounded.’
“A trampy blonde named Tess?” he teased as he broke their kiss, “and one hour orgasms? Sounds like the makings of a trashy alien soap opera to me.”
“Ok, so I sounded extremely ridiculous,” she conceded as she rolled her eyes.
His eyes growing serious he caressed her cheek with his thumb. “There is a grain of truth there, though. You really worry that I might leave you for someone who’s Antarian?”
“How could I not, Max?” she shrugged. “Now that you know there are hundreds of women out there just like you, why wouldn’t you want to know what it’s like be with one of them?”
‘Because they aren’t you,’ he wordlessly answered as he brought his mouth back to hers, his tongue hungrily searching out hers as he released the desire he had been tightly controlling for the past month and a half. She moaned out in ecstasy as her mind was flooded with sensual images of them making love in all sorts of positions to accommodate her growing belly. In an instant he was untying the belt to her robe, a deep groan rumbling in his throat as he discovered the near nakedness beneath.
Holding her firmly against his chest, he silently commanded her to wrap her legs around his waist before carefully sliding up the wall to a standing position. Kicking aside the vacated chairs he made the spilled coffee disappear with the sweep of a hand before setting her down on the edge of the table. In one feral movement he ripped away the black silk panties that separated him from his heart’s desire, even as her own wandering hands were pushing down his shorts to expose the part of him she had so desperately missed. Before the clothes even had a chance to hit the floor he was buried deep inside of her.
‘I see you’ve gotten over your fear of hurting the baby, my Zan,’ she silently observed as they were both overcome by a tantalizing combination of love and pleasure.
Holding as still as possible to prolong the exquisite feeling of finally being joined again, he trailed his mouth down the side of her face to place gentle love bites on her neck as he replied, ‘Let’s just say Dr. Hadley explained some things to me.’
‘Oh? Like what?’ she questioned, although the rapturous feelings swarming through their connection and the tingling heat his mouth was creating on her skin were making it difficult for her to concentrate. She didn’t really care about the answer as long as it meant he would never again refuse to make love to her.
Beginning a deliberately languid rhythm he elaborated, ‘That our lovemaking is actually good for the baby. She doesn’t really know what we’re doing, but she can feel how much we love each other when we’re intimate like this and that gives her a sense of security. It strengthens our bond with her as well as with each other. The more often we make love, the happier she will be once she is born.’
‘We haven’t made love for six weeks,’ Liz responded. ‘She must be a pretty unhappy baby by now.’
‘Don’t worry, my Zania, I’m going to remedy that,’ he said as he capture her lips once again, ‘and I’m going to eliminate that foolish notion you have about me wanting anyone but you.’ When she pulled back and gave him a doubtful look he continued, ‘Since this is spring break I took time off from Software Solutions. Neither one of us has anywhere to go until next Monday morning, and I plan to spend every minute until then making up for lost time.’
“I don’t see how you’re going to cram a month and a half’s worth of lovemaking into one week,” she complained out loud.
“Neither do I,” he agreed, “but won’t we have fun trying?”
[ edited 2 time(s), last at 16-Dec-2002 3:43:12 PM ]
|posted on 4-Dec-2002 6:50:26 PM by SansuCry|
Lolita Behrbuns originally wrote:
Oh and I saw you over on Dee's thread and I've called Dr. Evans and he seems to be making his round of house-calls and you're up!!
I am so in need of some of his bedside manner!
Lolita, you're my hero.
|posted on 4-Dec-2002 11:04:29 PM by SansuCry|
Eccentric One originally wrote:
On a side note, I absolutely hate doctors, but if Dr. Max was around, I'd get over that right quick!
I'll send him right over once I'm done with him...
Think you'll still be around in another ten years or so?
|posted on 16-Dec-2002 9:43:22 AM by SansuCry|
Well, I'm finally down to the end, six weeks after I wanted to be finished with this. Here's the last part, except for the epilogue. I hope you all have enjoyed the journey into my own little Roswell world. Let me know what you think...
October 31, 2005
‘Are you sorry that we’re going to miss another Halloween dance?’ Max silently asked as he settled in behind Liz, carefully propping himself up on his elbow and giving her a tender kiss.
‘Not in the slightest,’ she answered honestly, moving just enough for him to place his other arm where he wanted it. His awed sense of pride filled her as he gently stroked the tiny cheek of the newborn sleepily suckling her breast.
“She’s beautiful,” he whispered as he nuzzled Liz’s ear, “just like her mother.”
“But she has your eyes,” she pointed out. “She’s going to be more of a daddy’s girl, I think.”
“Well, I think she is the perfect combination of both of us. Thank you for giving me such an amazing anniversary present.”
They shared a languorous kiss before Liz stifled a yawn. Silently she asked, ‘Did Dr. Hadley leave already?’
‘About twenty minutes ago. She wanted to get to New York as soon as possible. Apparently the record snowfalls they had out there did wonders for the Antarian libido. With five women due in the next few days, she decided to head out that way and give Dr. Mathias a hand. However, before she left she gave me strict instructions for you to get plenty of rest, so as far as I’m concerned the only reason you should be getting out of bed is to go to the bathroom or take a shower.’
‘No arguing here,’ Liz conceded as she began to drift off. She could feel Max’s hesitancy as he took their now sleeping daughter from the bed. ‘I promise she won’t break,’ she silently reassured. Watching him tenderly place the angelic babe in the bassinet she added, ‘You’re going to be a great daddy.’
‘And you’re going to be a terrific mother,’ he soothed as he slipped back into bed with her, wrapping his arm around her waist and kissing her temple. ‘Time to rest, my Zania. She’ll be awake and hungry again before you know it.’
Lingering in that blissful place between sleep and wakefulness, Liz recalled with a contented smile the wonderful changes that had happened since Max had told her she was carrying his baby. Sometimes it was hard for her to believe that they were actually married, so the adjustment to becoming parents would have been impossible if she hadn’t been connected to their little girl almost from the time of her conception. From Max’s lack of bond with his father she had just assumed that being human would prevent her from sharing any kind of otherworldly attachment to the child growing inside of her. However the connection to the presence Liz had believed was Max’s lover blossomed once she stopped resisting it, and even Dr. Hadley had been surprised that Liz was able to feel her daughter so keenly, explaining that for humans such awareness usually didn’t happen until the third trimester and generally ended at birth. Those months spent learning the baby’s burgeoning emotional patterns had been an experience Liz wouldn’t soon forget and, just as Dr. Hadley had predicted, the couple had been blessed with a very happy child, one Liz could still sense some five hours after delivery.
The baby’s frequent doses of ‘happiness’ had begun with that spring break, the most passionate and sensuous week of the young couple’s lives as they dedicated countless hours to making love throughout their house. Even now, seven months after those glorious spring days, all Liz had to do was lean on the kitchen table a certain way or hold onto the bathroom counter in just the right place and she would climax with the intensity of the flashes imprinted there. The first time it happened Max had been unnerved as he went over the edge right along with her, fortunate that he hadn’t yet stepped out of the Mustang to go into work. After Liz had revealed the source of her exhilarating discovery, the couple made a solemn vow to live out the rest of their days in the quaint house they had made into a home.
The night before they had been forced to return to the land of jobs and classes Liz couldn’t stop worrying over the fact that she had been taking her birth control pills while pregnant. She was also concerned for Max, who had begun to berate himself for not telling her about the baby sooner. Fortunately Dr. Hadley had been completely understanding when Liz frantically called her cell phone at two in the morning, begging to know what damage she had caused the new life growing inside her. The doctor’s assurance that Max was the only one who may have suffered from the extra hormones coursing through Liz’s body had led to another round of lovemaking that made it a struggle for the future parents to drag themselves from slumber a few hours later.
Liz had been loath to tell her mother and father of her pregnancy, fearing that they might reject her altogether. Memories of the argument she and her mother had when she informed her parents she was married had swarmed through her head, and the ache she had felt when they had canceled their plans to visit over last Thanksgiving had only been bearable because it meant she and Max wouldn’t have to worry about concealing his true identity. That rift had eventually been patched up, but not before she had received a stern lecture about the importance of focusing on school and getting her degree.
When she had finally gathered enough nerve to pick up the phone and give her parents the news that they would soon have a grandchild, she had nearly fallen off the bed at the response she received. Her usually reserved and in control mother had actually screeched into the phone in gleeful delight while her father celebrated by giving all the Crashdown’s patrons their meals on the house for the rest of the day. The best part of the conversation, however, had come when her parents insisted she and Max drive to Roswell for a visit as soon as he graduated. With the Special Unit no longer a threat to his existence Liz had uttered the one word she was certain she’d never be able to say to such a demand: yes. The reunion with her parents had been tearfully joyous, mother and daughter clinging to each other as Max easily won Jeff’s approval.
The couple had mixed feelings about returning to the place that held such bittersweet memories for them. Liz’s mother had dragged them all over town, introducing her new son-in-law and pregnant daughter to her friends, business associates, and anyone else who would listen to the news that she was going to be a grandma. The nervous awe Max felt was slightly confusing to Liz until he reminded her that he hadn’t actually been inside any of Roswell’s stores or buildings, save the Crashdown and the high school, since he was twelve years old. The town was almost as new to him as if he had never lived there.
Liz had been thrilled to be able to show Max the journals she had kept since grade school, and they had spent an entire day curled up on her bed, Max’s hand protectively caressing the slightly rounded curve of her belly as they silently read the numerous passages she had written about him. Despite the knowledge their connection had given him, Max still seemed genuinely surprised to see the written evidence of how often he had been in Liz’s thoughts over the years.
Each night after her parents went to bed she and Max would go for a long walk, following the same path she had taken past his house countless times. He would despondently stare at the place that had been both his prison and his sanctuary, telling Liz sweet little stories about the days spent with his father or describing with amazing detail particular outfits she had worn to school that had caught his eye.
On one of their late night walks the couple didn’t make their usual turn around when they reached West Roswell High. With a little bit of alien ingenuity they had managed to slide into the school undetected, grateful that no one was around to witness Max’s second visit to the building Liz had practically lived in for four years. Easily finding the place on the gym floor where Max had first professed his love for her they had gently swayed to their song as it silently played in their minds, kissing and caressing in a worshipfully sensuous manner that affirmed the depth of their love. They had leisurely undressed each other, reveling in the sensation of new joys blending with fond memories, before Max stretched out on their discarded clothing and pulled her down to straddle him. Having her on top, he had confessed, was his favorite position because his hands could wander her body freely as he watched her face flush with the pleasure of his ministrations. Their climax, enhanced by the memories embedded in the wooden floor beneath them, had been so intense that their ecstatic cries had reverberated throughout the gym and chased the heavy quietness from the long corridors of the empty building.
Their last night in Roswell Liz had devised a strategy to rid Max of the final demon haunting his dreams. Grateful that the early summer weather was cooperating, she had donned a thin sundress for their nightly walk, delayed until the early hours of the morning to ensure the privacy she would need for her plan to work. She had sensed the fear, felt the trembling in Max’s hand as she led him to Buckley Park but she held fast, giving him the love and determination necessary to continue. She had received a flash of his assault the minute they set foot near the playground, so she had immediately unrolled the blanket she had brought and dropped it on the spot responsible for the disturbing image. She beckoned Max to join her, intentionally placing his hands on her body so that he would discover she was naked beneath her dress. He responded exactly as she had hoped, pulling her down to the blanket as all his fears were instantly replaced with a desire to explore her inviting flesh. The couple repeated that scenario at least a dozen times over, loving touches and erotic caresses replacing memories of painful kicks and harmful punches, words of profound adoration and desire overpowering hateful expletives, until the only flashes Liz received as she walked around the playground were ones that made her cheeks redden with lust instead of anger. She had never imagined it was possible to make love on a swing, and she had known after that night she would never look at a playground the same way again.
‘You’re supposed to be sleeping, not thinking about Buckley Park,’ Max silently chastised as he leaned over and gave her an amorous kiss, the physical effect her memories had on him insistently pressing into her hip. ‘After all, you did just have a baby. I thought making love would be the furthest thing from your mind.’
Liz couldn’t help but have a sense of pride that her mere thoughts about that night had gotten Max so excited. Since Easter he had continued to insist on removing the block in their connection to guarantee that they would never have another misunderstanding like the baby news again, but Liz only conceded once he agreed to reestablish it for birthdays and Christmas. She had admired his determination to endure labor pains right along with her earlier in the day, but she knew that being in pain himself and seeing her own had been too much for him to handle. Looking to give him an out she and Dr. Hadley had convinced him that unless he blocked Liz temporarily he would be too exhausted to be of much use to her after the baby was born. He had reluctantly accepted their advice, vowing to remove the block as soon as possible. His current state of arousal made it obvious that he had kept his promise. ‘Just because we can’t make love for a few weeks doesn’t mean I can’t think about it,’ she coyly responded as she reached down to caress him.
“Liz,” he breathed out heavily as he stilled her hand, “I would love for you to continue this, but I wouldn’t be a very good father if I allowed you to. You need your energy for the baby right now.”
“Fine,” Liz pouted. “I’ll be a good girl.”
Max smiled against her lips before placing a chaste kiss on her cheek. Snuggling together he mutely commented, ‘I called your folks this afternoon. Your mom said they’d leave sometime tomorrow morning. They plan to drive straight through, so they’ll be here Wednesday.’
The only response he received was a light snore.
“Where’s my grandbaby?” Nancy Parker asked as she burst through the front door, her entire face lit up in maternal delight.
“You’ll have to excuse my wife, Bob,” Jeff said wryly as he dragged in two huge bags filled with presents. “She’s just a little excited.”
“Please, Jeff, everyone calls me Max. If you call me Bob, I just might forget it’s my name and not answer you,” Max joked as he helped his father-in-law with the packages.
“That’s right, Max it is,” Jeff observed as he leaned in close to the new father. “I have to admit that I had my doubts when I found out my Lizzie had married the boy who broke her heart, but I guess I can’t hold a grudge now that you’re the father of my granddaughter.”
“Believe me, no one regrets the pain Liz went through more than I do, but I had to go where my father went. If there had been any way for me to stay in Roswell with Liz, I gladly would have taken it.”
“I know you would have, son,” Jeff said sincerely. “You seem to be doing all right by my girl now, and that’s all that matters to me.”
“Thank you. I appreciate that,” Max replied with a firm grip on Mr. Parker’s shoulder. “Now let’s go find the ladies before Nancy hides the baby in her luggage to take back with her.”
The men found baby, mother and grandmother in the bedroom, Nancy sitting in the glider rocker and softly singing to the perfect little bundle in her arms. The blissful expression on her face was contagious, and as Jeff knelt down to get his first glimpse of his granddaughter he hastily wiped away the tear that had formed in the corner of his eye.
Max sat on the bed next to Liz, silently asking her whether she needed anything as he soothingly rubbed her back. Liz nodded no, too entranced by the lovely picture her mother and baby made to be disturbed. She didn’t think life could be more perfect than it was at that moment.
“Emily Ramala Maxwell,” Nancy reverently whispered. “What a beautiful little girl you are.”
“Ramala,” Jeff said somberly. “Now there’s a name I never thought I’d hear again.”
Both Liz and Max immediately snapped to attention. ‘Oh my God, Max. My father knew your mother,’ she communicated to her husband as she hesitantly asked her father, “You’ve heard that name before?”
“Of course I have. You only spoke it about a hundred times,” Jeff pensively commented. Liz’s confused look made him turn to her mother for confirmation. “You still don’t remember, Lizzie?” he finally asked.
“Remember what?” Liz inquired as she tried to keep the panic from her voice. Her father’s tone was doing nothing to comfort her.
Nancy tore her gaze away from Emily to focus on Liz. “If you still don’t remember anything about Ramala, then how did you come to use it as Emily’s middle name?”
‘How could my parents possibly know your mother’s Antarian name?’ Liz pleaded with Max, but all he could do was stare at her blankly. Finally she begged her parents, “You have to tell me where you’ve heard that name before, and why you think I would know it.”
Holding her granddaughter to her chest, Nancy closed her eyes and gently shook her head. “You’d better tell her Jeff. I don’t think I can talk about it without breaking down, even after all these years.”
Max’s hand tightened around Liz’s shoulder as he silently remarked, ‘I’m not sure I want to hear this.’
Liz’s fingers clasped his knee as a terrifying thought crossed her mind. ‘What if they tell us we’re related? Maybe my dad had an affair with your mother. Oh God, what if we’re brother and sister?’
‘I don’t think your parents would be sitting here calmly holding our baby if that were the case,’ Max reasoned. ‘Why don’t we just listen to what your father has to say?’
‘You’re right,’ she acquiesced. ‘I’m just overreacting. Those pregnancy hormones must still be at work.’
While the couple had been communicating through their connection Jeff had surrendered his spot on the floor to take a more comfortable position in the window seat that overlooked the scenic back yard. With a deep sigh he began, “Honey, your mother and I have never really discussed this with you before, but there was a time when we almost lost you.”
“Lost me?” she asked, not quite knowing what her father meant.
“Lost, as in almost died?” Max guessed.
Jeff slowly nodded. “It was when you were seven. You were in second grade and we had spent the week of your spring vacation visiting Grandma Claudia. When we returned home you started complaining of a headache. You had a fever, too, so your mother and I just assumed you had caught some kind of bug from the airplane’s recycled air. When you didn’t get better after a few days and your neck started to hurt as well we got you to the doctor right away. He had you rushed to the hospital straight from his office, and a spinal tap confirmed his suspicion and our worst nightmare. You had contracted bacterial meningitis.”
“Meningitis? How?” Liz questioned, immediately recognizing the danger she had been in.
“We never were certain but still believe it happened on the plane. In any case, we nearly waited too long to get you to the doctor. Even with the antibiotics they administered you still ended up slipping into a coma,” Jeff choked out.
“I almost died?” Liz asked, unable to hide her surprise. Nancy’s quiet sobs filled the room as Liz stared at her father in disbelief.
“What does Liz being in a coma have to do with the name Ramala?” Max voiced the question that was foremost on both their minds as he silently consoled, ‘You didn’t die, my Zania. You’re here with me.’
“Liz’s condition was quite serious,” Jeff explained. “The doctor told us she may never come out of the coma, but a few days later she began talking. We thought it meant she was waking up, but the doctor said that she was still in the coma and that the talking was a side effect of the swelling in the brain, sort of like a delirium.”
“So what I said didn’t make sense?” Liz asked.
“Yes and no. You alternated between talking to some imaginary woman you called Ramala and us. Sometimes it seemed like you knew exactly what you were saying, but then other times your comments were so bizarre and out of the blue that we knew you weren’t in your right mind.”
“Do you remember the things I said?” Liz hesitantly questioned.
“Every last sentence,” Nancy’s quiet voice replied. Looking down at the precious bundle sleeping in her arms she poignantly elaborated. “When you think each word out of your child’s mouth could be her last, you tend to commit them to memory.”
“I had no idea,” Liz remarked. “Why didn’t you tell me any of this before?”
“It was the worst time of our lives. Can you blame us for not wanting to talk about it?” Jeff softly questioned. “After you pulled through and we asked you about Ramala, you couldn’t remember a thing about her. You got so terribly upset that the doctor suggested we not bring her up again unless you specifically asked to talk about her.”
‘Max, this is it,’ Liz emphatically whispered in his mind. ‘This must be how I recognized your mom.’
‘From being in a coma?’ he questioned. ‘I’m not following you.’
‘Just listen and keep an open mind,’ she gently ordered. “I’m asking to talk about her now,” she directed her parents. “Do you remember the exact dates all this happened?”
Jeff frowned in concentration, but Nancy was the one to respond. “You came out of the coma on April 19th, which was Easter Sunday. Spring break was usually the week after that, but with the holiday falling so late in the year it ended up being the first week of April. You were in the coma for seven days, in the hospital for two more before that, and sick at home for three days before that. I’d say your got sick around the sixth or seventh.”
‘Your mom died on April 4th, didn’t she?’ Liz silently inquired.
‘Yes, but…’ Max trailed off. ‘You can’t think my mom had something to do with you getting sick? She’d never hurt anyone,’ he bristled. ‘The name is probably just a coincidence.’
‘No,’ she soothed, ‘I was thinking more along the lines of her trying to help me, like a guardian angel.’
‘Do you really believe that’s possible?’ he asked in amazement.
‘I’m married to a man who is half alien and still have a connection to our baby despite being told it would disappear as soon as I gave birth to her,’ she said wryly, ‘and you’re asking me whether your mother being my guardian angel is possible? Have you forgotten that impossible seems to be my middle name?’
The look he gave her said that he still wasn’t convinced, so Liz decided to get as much information from her parents as possible, anything that might prove her theory. “What did this Ramala and I talk about, and what did I say to you two?”
“The first few days you didn’t address us at all,” Jeff explained. “What little we could gather from your half of your ‘talks’ with Ramala led us to believe that you were getting to know each other. You talked about quite a few things. You gave her your opinion of Roswell and the Crashdown. You told her she was pretty, that you especially liked her eyes. By the third day you were talking a lot about your favorite things…cats, books, coloring, playing games. You seemed to think that you would be spending a lot of time with her, so you were happy to discover that you both shared a love of fairy tales, especially Cinderella.”
“That was the absolute worst time for me,” Nancy said so softly that it was difficult to hear her. “I had read accounts before of children talking about their favorite things right before they die, sort of their own version of seeing a bright white light. I was sure you weren’t going to make it through the night.”
“But I did make it,” Liz comforted.
“Yes,” Jeff agreed. “That night ended up being the turning point. The next morning the swelling in your brain started going down. Once that happened you began talking to us. We wanted you to rest so you could get better, but you said that Ramala would have to leave soon and before she did you needed to relay a fairy tale she had supposedly been telling you. You were quite adamant about it.”
“What was the fairy tale about?” Max asked curiously, slowly realizing that despite his doubts his mother really had spoken to his wife.
“It was the story of a little boy, a prince, who had been orphaned and was now trapped inside a dark, lonely prison. There was a special key that would unlock the prison’s gate, but only one person could use the key to rescue the prince from a life of darkness and solitude. That person was his soulmate, the girl who had been personally chosen by the prince’s mother to be his bride.”
“So that’s what you meant about me saying bizarre, out of the blue things,” Liz commented, although it was obvious to both Max and her that the fairy tale was so much more than the ramblings of a sick child.
Jeff gave Max a fatherly smile, as if he were relaying an ancient family secret. “Lizzie was convinced she was that girl. She went so far as to tell us that Ramala had given her the key to the prison, and when the time was right she would indeed rescue the prince. Then, like all fairy tales, they would get married and live happily ever after. Of course, we didn’t have the heart to tell her that the prince only existed in her imagination. I guess it was for the best that she didn’t recall anything once she woke from the coma.”
“You really don’t remember Ramala or the fairy tale?” Max anxiously questioned his wife, although he already knew she hadn’t.
Liz sadly shook her head. “I don’t even remember being sick.”
“After Liz’s distressed reaction to our questions we took the doctor’s advice and never spoke of it again. Liz only talked about Ramala and the prince one other time after she woke from the coma, and that was the following October,” Nancy observed. “She said Ramala had insisted that she be Cinderella for Halloween. Supposedly it was the only way the prince would recognize her. She refused to be anything but Cinderella from that Halloween on, but she never uttered the name Ramala again.”
Certain she knew the answer, Liz nevertheless asked the question that would convince Max beyond a doubt that her Ramala was indeed his mother. “Do you remember whether the prince had a name?”
“Of course. How could I forget that?” Jeff castigated himself. “The prince’s name was Zanasu. According to Ramala it meant ‘a mother’s soul’.” Looking at Max he said in amusement, “I guess it’s a good thing for you that Ramala and Zanasu don’t really exist. The prince would be pretty stiff competition for my Lizzie’s heart, even against the likes of you.”
Liz had been feeling the gradual shift in Max’s demeanor but the jovial teasing by her father, who had no idea of the pain his words had inflicted, was the last straw for her husband. He was teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown, and she really didn’t want to explain to her parents that it was because of an all too true fairy tale. She had to get them out of the bedroom, quickly. “I was just about to nurse the baby when you two showed up,” she said in as lighthearted a tone as she could manage. “I think we’d better take a break so I can do that before she starts to get cranky.”
“Do you want to sit here?” her mother offered.
“No, thank you. I’m still pretty worn out, so I think we’ll lay down for feeding time if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all, honey,” Nancy answered as she stood up and carefully laid the baby next to Liz, who had already taken to stretching out on the bed. “Your dad and I will just go get settled in.” Turning to her husband she added, “I assume you know what room will be ours.”
Jeff nodded in affirmation as he stood up and met his wife in the doorway. “Are you going to join us, Max?”
Nancy rolled her eyes at Jeff’s question. “Of course he isn’t. He wants to be with his wife and baby.”
“I guess I can’t blame you,” Jeff wistfully addressed Max as he grabbed the door to close it. “Don’t you two worry about us. Just enjoy this time together, because that little one will be all grown up and having babies of her own before you know it.”
Liz gave her father a knowing smile before she was left alone with Max and Emily. As soon as the door shut she stood up and set the sleepy baby in the bassinet, quickly returning to her place in the bed and taking her distraught husband in her arms. No sooner had he buried his head in the crook of her neck than the sobs came, deep guilty moans overcoming him as he mourned the definitive loss of his mother yet marveled at the beauty her death had brought into his life. ‘I’m a terrible son,’ his voice echoed over and over in her mind.
‘Don’t do this to yourself, my Zan,’ she soothed. ‘You have no reason to feel guilty.’
‘How can you say that?’ he questioned despondently. ‘I just found out that my mother was responsible for bringing you into my life, and all I can think is that if she hadn’t died I never would have known you, I wouldn’t have Emily now.’
Liz reached under his chin and brought his face up to meet hers. Placing tender kisses on his tear-stained eyelids and the bridge of his nose she whispered across the precious connection they shared, ‘I know in my heart we were destined to be together and, if anything, your mother’s murder interrupted the paths our lives should have taken for us to eventually meet. She came to me when I was near death to make things right, to put our lives back on track so that we could still have our happy ending. I think she even gave me some of her Antarian abilities to help get us where we needed to be.’
A frown began to crease his forehead but before he could question her she continued with her theory. ‘It would explain so much, Max: why you and I have always felt connected, why you were compelled to remain in Roswell, how I was able to sense you, why Emily and I still have a connection, why our cemented bond is so strong.’ She paused for a breath as she let him absorb her words. ‘Your mom wanted us to get flashes from each other so we would know how the other felt, but she must have known that you still had the block in place. I’m positive that the key in the fairy tale, the key I told my folks she gave me, was the ability to break through your block.’
‘But if you’ve been able to do that since before we even met why did it take so long for it to work? Why didn’t you get flashes from me the first time we saw each other?’ he asked, but she could hear his real question. Why did he have to be so lonely all those years?
‘Do you agree that the fairy tale is definitely about us?’ she asked.
He gave her a little nod.
‘It says that “when the time was right” you would be rescued,’ she elaborated, ‘so I think that there was a specific reason for the delay. Perhaps you needed to learn how to trust me first or we had to be a certain age before the key would work. Maybe the peacefulness and completion we’ve always felt when we’re together was meant to keep us close to each other and comfort us until the time was right.’
She could feel him relaxing against her, accepting what she was telling him despite how absurd it all sounded. His mother, newly deceased herself, had visited his future bride as she hovered between life and death. The raven haired, amber eyed woman Liz recognized from a photo had foretold of the couple’s life together in the form of a fairy tale, and had more than likely taken an active role in making that fairy tale come true for them. Liz knew Max was curious how his mother’s loving interference had come about, but she doubted they would ever learn the real answer to that. Stroking his cheek she silently reflected, ‘I wish I could solve more of the mystery for you.’
‘I’ve already found out more than I can handle,’ he half joked, trying to lighten the somber mood. ‘I’m not sure I’m ready to discover what else may be hidden in that mind of yours.’
Suddenly a thought came to her. ‘Shouldn’t you have learned about your mom and the fairy tale when we cemented our bond?’
‘I would think so,’ he agreed, ‘but obviously I didn’t. I bet you being in a coma had something to do with that. We’ll have to remember to ask Dr. Hadley. Maybe she knows some kind of memory retrieval technique we can try to find out more.’
‘Wouldn’t that be amazing?’ she said enthusiastically. ‘I, for one, would love to know why all of our major life-changing events always seem to occur around Halloween.’
As if on cue Emily began to stir in the bassinet. Max gave Liz a quick kiss before he reluctantly untangled himself from her loving embrace to retrieve their beloved child. Placing the baby in the spot he had just vacated, he slid in behind Liz and watched with fascination as his daughter immediately latched on to the nipple Liz offered her.
Hearing her husband’s errant thoughts she laughed and said, “Don’t be jealous, my love. There will be plenty to go around.”
Possessively wrapping his arm around her waist he commented, “Actually, I’m not the one you have to worry about. Romeo, on the other hand, has a huge jealous streak going. He’s so upset by the fact that he’s not your baby anymore that he’s even stopped eating.”
“I was afraid that might happen,” she conceded as she snuggled against her husband, her eyes drifting closed as the stress of the day’s revelations quickly caught up to her. “I guess I’ll just have to give him a little undivided attention later, before he turns into a skeleton.”
‘That’s it!’ Max’s voice suddenly exclaimed in her head. ‘That’s gotta be it.’
‘What’s it?’ she asked, having no idea why he was so excited.
‘Skeletons,’ he said cryptically. ‘Day of the Dead.’
‘We may be connected, honey, but I’m still completely lost here,’ she admonished him.
‘You wanted to know why all of our major life-changing events always seem to occur around Halloween, and I think I have the answer,’ he replied as he quietly crept from the bed so as to not disturb Emily. Making his way to their more than full bookcase he searched the spines with his finger until he finally pulled out a thick volume and flipped to the index in the back. Finding the page he wanted he returned to the bed and propped his back up against the headboard.
“What book is that?” she asked.
“Day of the Dead in Mexico: Through the Eyes of the Soul. It was part of an Ancient Cultures and Beliefs class I took. Do you know what today is?”
“Um, I’m pretty sure it’s November 2nd,” she answered as she switched Emily from one breast to the other.
“We’ve never really discussed our religious upbringing before, but I was raised in the Catholic Church, at least I was until my mother was kidnapped. After that my dad lost his faith. I guess I can’t blame him,” Max sadly explained. “Anyway, today is known as All Soul’s Day, and yesterday was All Saint’s Day. They are both holy days to remember our ancestors who have died and left us. Halloween is the shortened version of All Hallow’s Eve, the day before these two holy days. Many cultures believe that on Halloween the souls of the dead walk amongst the living. We can’t see our deceased loved ones, but we can feel them around us. There is no other day when we can be closer to them than on Halloween.”
“Is that what you meant by Day of the Dead?” she inquired.
“Yes,” he replied as he referenced the book in his hands. “Day of the Dead is the Mexican version of Halloween. Your mention of skeletons made me think of it because they are a huge symbol of the holiday. There is a long-held belief in Mexican culture that souls never die, that they live in a special resting place named Mictlan. Where is that passage? Here. ‘The souls leave Mictlan and disperse themselves throughout sierras, plains and deserts. The soul’s instinct guides them to their old homes. During this journey they would not encounter the same terrible obstacles they had to overcome to reach Mictlan, on the contrary, as if they were on vacation, their journey back home is a pleasant one.’”
Max raised his eyes from the book to meet hers, fresh tears trailing down his face. In an aching whisper he surmised, “I know that my mom’s soul returned to Roswell after she died, and whether she or some higher power chose you as my soulmate doesn’t really matter. Either way I will be forever grateful that, because of her, I have experienced a love and connection with you that I hadn’t dared dream of. My mom may have been taken away from me physically, but now I realize that her spirit, her soul was still there when we shared our first kiss, when we got married, when you gave birth to our beautiful little baby there. All of our major life-changing events seem to occur around Halloween because my mom enlisted some divine intervention to make that happen, so that she could be as close to us as possible and share in our joy. I have no doubts she has already ensured that future Halloweens will be just as eventful and that both she and my dad will be with us for every last one of them.”
Liz didn’t feel a need to respond, instinctively knowing that Max’s conclusions were correct. His mother had endured so much at the hands of the Special Unit that it seemed supremely right for her soul to have the freedom to take what joy she could from her son’s life. Liz could only hope that when Max’s and her time on earth was at an end they would be able to join his parents in Heaven or Mictlan or wherever their souls may be resting.
Until that day came she would make sure Ramala’s efforts on Max’s and her behalf had not been wasted. She would do everything in her power to guarantee that her husband, her daughter, her future children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren would all have the one thing her mother-in-law had wanted for them: a lifetime of happy endings.
In memory of Joshua Gleeson . May your soul find peace.
[ edited 3 time(s), last at 16-Dec-2002 3:42:13 PM ]
|posted on 16-Dec-2002 10:16:33 PM by SansuCry|
Lolita Behrbuns originally wrote:
Sansu: I followed that link you posted and OMG!! That is horrible!! How could a human being possibly to that to a child! May little Josh RIP.
AlienDreamer101 originally wrote:
I read about Joshua Gleeson, that is just too sad, this world has become some bad thing now. I hate what it is coming to.
In loving memory of Joshua Gleeson.
Unfortunately they just announced on the Chicago news that his 5 yr. old sister's body has been found in the same area. I'm saying extra prayers for their mother tonight...such a tragedy.
|posted on 15-Feb-2003 8:14:56 PM by SansuCry|
|Hey there everybody. I just read the note that said I will lose all my feedback in the board move, so this is what I am asking.|
I love every piece of feedback I get and I truly appreciate the time it takes for you all to leave it, so I do save every last one of them. That being said, I have decided to wait until the move is over before posting any new parts to my stories. Two of them will be completed with the next posting, and I won’t have any time before next Saturday to save the feedback before the move. In the meantime I would also ask that you not post any more feedback on my threads.
When the new board is up, I should be putting out new parts to all my stories within a few days of the transfer. Once again, thank to all of you who have given me such wonderful encouragement with your feedback, and for all you lurkers I hope the move will give you the incentive to get out there and voice your opinions.