posted on 21-Nov-2002 6:46:25 PM by moonieADT
CtA

Title: Clearing The Air

Author: MoonieADT

Category: Max/ Liz

Rating: R-NC17?

Disclaimer: Roswell, Max, Liz etc. don't belong to me. Just borrowing them with thanks.

Summary: What would have happened if Max and Liz had confronted each other at the end of Ch-Ch-Changes. Read on and find out.

Author’s Note: This will probably be just one part. It depends on feedback.

ACT I.

Max POV
How could things have gotten this far?

Where did it all go wrong? Well that’s easy. It can all be summed up in a single word; Tess.

I try to see beyond, to see the bigger picture that I know I am supposed to see. I know Tess couldn’t help who she is. But that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have changed. Once you realize there is a problem the next step is to change it. The unfortunate thing is that Tess didn’t see the problem. Nasedo had corrupted her so completely that the good person she may have been had little chance to surface.

I could never be with her, will never be with her, what does it gain me to follow a destiny that has been set out before me?

Does it take away the pain of seeing Liz with Kyle? NO!

Does it remove the ache in my soul that was filled when Liz was in my arms? NO!

Does it make me stop loving Liz? NO!

Does it make my life worth living? NO!

A smart man once said To thine own self be true. In the end when the final scores of life are tallied we have only ourselves to hold accountable for our shortcomings.

I will be held accountable for mine. I betrayed myself, which I can live with but I betrayed others and that will be a day by day repentance I will bare for eternity. I lost a part of myself that I can never get back. A part that belonged to someone else and I threw it away like some casual piece of garbage, not worth a second thought.

No matter how much I may want to, I cannot go back. I can’t change what happened but I can learn from it. I can move beyond it and try to live my life the way I know I should have in the first place. I can build a life with the one woman who will forever hold my heart and soul, if she can forgive me, if we can clear the air.

I can feel the change coming, like knowing fall is around the corner by the crisp smell in the air. This change will not be denied nor will it be bargained with. I feel it welling up inside of me; I will no longer turn away from this. I’ve tried, we’ve all tried but it only brings us pain, divides us against ourselves.

It ends today!

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


Max did all he could do to heal her. Only to find that there was nothing he could physically heal. Max couldn’t heal a broken heart or a wounded soul. Only time and acceptance can cure those injuries.

Max went to Liz’s window and waited for her to return home. They had to talk. Max knew they couldn’t just pretend that what was said would just go away, to right itself by some wave of a magic wand. The words had been waiting to be released for a long, always just below the surface. That’s the funny thing about life, we hurry, trying to get somewhere good only to find that if we haven’t taken care of the past we wind up starting all over again.

He crouched down beside her window and waited. The day’s events kept flashing through his mind.


The green flashes were getting worse. They would manifest themselves at various times without warning. Liz had losses of hearing at times, she would feel like she had no energy and it was only getting worse.

Liz, Kyle and Max went out to where Michael and Max had buried the healing stones when they found out that Max’s father was investigating them. Max thought that if he could use the stones to amplify his powers he could fix what was making Liz sick. He was scared, they all were, that she might be dying.

The soft desert soil gave little resistance to Kyle and Max. In very little time they had uncovered the box that contained all of the evidence that aliens existed on this earth. They pulled the battered box from the earth and dusted its top off. Opening the box, Max removed the stones that he hoped would allow him to finally fix this.

Max carried Liz to the front of the jeep and placed her on the ground. He and Kyle placed the stones around her forming a circle. Max lifted her shirt from her stomach, a gesture that at one time would have sent hi spiraling to another plane of desire and passion, now only brought fear and concern. He could see the green energy shooting through her, tracing random trails across her normally perfect skin.

“Okay, now what do we do again?” Kyle asked, concerned laced through his voice.

Max said, “According to the book, I can use the healing stones to amplify my powers.”

“If we do that, it might wipeout whatever is happening inside of her.” He finished. There was doubt and fear in his voice. He hated not knowing what was going to happen especially when it came to Liz. But what options did he have left?

A worried Kyle looked on and asked, “What can I do?”

Max just looked at him with trepidation in his eyes and said, “Just stay back.”

Max placed his hand on the same spot where he had first healed her all those years ago and began to form the connection. Liz’s skin continued to course with the green flickers of power. As Max deepened the connection and added more power, she started to rise off the ground. Max poured more of his energy into her, trying to find what was causing her illness searching in vane for what he didn’t know.

Liz’s face contorted in pain as the green flashes intensified. In an anguished voice she whimpered, “It hurts.”

Max looked at her pain-ridened face and tried to reassure her. “Take a deep breath. It won’t be much longer.”

“Stop please, I can’t.” She implored.

Kyle could hear the desperation in Liz’s voice. He started to come forward and stop Max from continuing.

“No!” Max exclaimed, nodding to Kyle for him to stay back. He had to keep trying. He just couldn’t stop now.

“Stop!” Liz cried out, her voice now full of the pain that was so evident on her normally soft features. The flickers of energy were now almost leaping out from her bronze skin.

Max was desperate at this point. “Hold on, it’s working. I can feel it.”

“No!” she cried again, face contorting into another grimace. She just wanted him to stop hurting her, why didn’t he ever listen she thought. Liz just didn’t know how much more of the pain Max always seemed to inflict on her she could take.

Kyle was beside himself. He wanted this to work but he was having doubts that it would. Max seemed too unsure and Liz was not looking any better, if anything the situation was only getting worse, and fast. Above all he did not want Liz to be in pain. Coming to a decision he decided he was going get Max to stop.

“Max!” he yelled. He had to end this before something bad happened. Max just fixed him with a quick look and he froze where he was. He felt rooted to the spot as if held by some force he couldn’t see.

With false hope in his voice Max said, “Just a little bit more. Liz, you have to trust me.”

Liz couldn’t believe her ears. The man that was supposed to be in love with her was causing her nothing but more pain and now he wanted her to trust him? Her mind cried out to her that that’s what he always did. Max only ever caused her pain. Lost were all the moments of tenderness and compassion, of sharing quiet conversations or the comfort of being each other’s arms. All that was left was pain.

“I can’t!” she cried out.

Liz’s face was the picture of pain, pure and unadulterated pain. She was close to reaching her breaking point and something had to give. And something did.

Without warning the healing stones exploded in a brilliant flash of white light. Liz’s body fell back to the ground and Max was thrown backwards away from her. Kyle was in a state of shock waiting for one of them to move.

Liz slowly started to sit up. Without even realizing it she started to back away from Max.

“Just stop hurting me.” She said in a small voice. This all was just too much. She needed to take back her life; to be Liz Parker again. Little did she realize what the cost would be or what she would have to face to do just that.

Max sat up and looked at her with defeat in his eyes and said, “I wasn’t trying to.” Deep inside he knew that even when he meant to do the right thing where Liz was concerned he always seemed to hurt her. He had been right all those years ago to just stay away from her. Why hadn’t he been stronger? But he knew the answer; he loved her. It was selfish, but he loved her and didn’t want to live his life without her. She had said none of it mattered as long as they were together. That may have been one of the few times that she was wrong.

Liz just looked at him, lost in her inner pain and turmoil, “No, Max, you do. You always do.” She just had to get this out. She had been carrying this with her for a long time and she needed to cleanse herself. “Why did you sleep with her?” she asked through gritted teeth. The remembered pain as bright and devastating as it had been when she had first found out.

Max couldn’t reply. Anything he might say right now would only sound hollow and accomplish nothing. He knew she was in pain and confused. She was lashing out at him to try and make her pain go away. She didn’t want excuses from him. If he tried to give her an explanation it would only sound like he justified it. Now wasn’t the time for him, this was about her, she needed to get this out.

When Max didn’t respond she only became more incensed. “Why?!?”, she screamed at him. She wanted him to know the pain she went through. The sacrifices she had made, all for him, some because he had asked her to. No matter where she looked it all came back to him.

“Liz...” He started only to be cut off by her.

“Every time you mention your son, I am reminded of what you did to me. How you were unfaithful. How could you not know that?” she cried out incredulously.

Max felt like he had been hit in the stomach. He knew he had hurt her, he knew that he would forever be asking forgiveness for the mistakes he had made. He only hoped that with time they could move on. Why couldn’t she see that he had been hurt too?

“Liz please…” Max implored as he reached out to her, trying to bring them back from the edge they were nearing.

Liz shrunk back from him and considered him with venomous eyes. The green electricity was intensifying, as he came closer.

“Stay away.” She yelled at him, “You’re doing this.” All she wanted was the pain to stop, for all the pain to stop. She just wanted it all to disappear.

Max was stricken; he couldn’t believe that he was causing all this pain to her. He loved her didn’t she know that? He would do anything for, had done anything for her. He just couldn’t give up; he still had to try.

“No I’m not. Liz please.” He said as he reached out to caress her face, trying to provide some sort of comfort to her and himself. “Please.”

As he touched her cheek, the green electricity intensified and shot through her face. Liz screamed as though she had been slapped with a great force. The fear in her eyes was visible and cut through Max like a knife. Liz just wanted it to stop. Wanted it all to go away. Wanted him to go away.

Kyle grabbed Max and pulled him away from Liz. “Max, Max, Max, stop!” he yelled at him. “Listen to her, you want to kill her?” Kyle said as he turned wide pleading eyes to Max. Kyle could see the reaction every time Max neared her, why couldn’t he see it?

Max felt as though he had lost everything, again. All of the problems and mistakes, the lies and pain paled in comparison to now. This felt as if it was the final moment of their relationship. He felt his soul begin to crumble as he watched Kyle help Liz up and they walked her over to his car. Liz got in and they headed towards Roswell leaving Max alone in the desert.

“What do I do now?” he whispered to himself looking up to the stars. “What do I do now?”



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


Liz entered her bedroom, tired and worn out. It had been a day that she wished to never repeat. All she wanted was rest; her life was spinning out of control. She had always had a plan, a way to work the problem out; she couldn’t seem to find that now. She desperately needed that now; she needed to be Liz Parker, just the smallest of small town girls, again.

She looked up from her spiraling thoughts towards her window. Outside she could see the outline of someone she thought she knew so well. He was someone who had held her heart, who was supposed to have loved her, all his life. Yet he had crushed the most precious thing she had to offer him, time and time again.

She moved over to the window and looked up at him. How times had changed.

“Max what are you doing here? You can’t be here.” Liz said in a lifeless tone. She looked tired and defeated. This was not the same girl Max had fallen in love with. Time had done damage to her, to them, to all of them. He had done damage to her. In the long run pretending that there wasn’t a problem had done the most damage. It had torn them apart.

She just wanted to be alone with her thoughts, to try and sort it all out. But had she really been trying to deal with all of this stuff or just pushing it away. Was she just praying that something would happen to make it all right for them again? Something would take away all the memories that haunted her and would not give her peace? She had turned her back on them for so long now, but they had had enough of that and they finally had demanded attention with a vengeance.

“I’ve been calling.” He said gently, he had been concerned for her when he was unable to reach.

“I was out with Maria.” She said tonelessly.

“I thought something happened.”

Max had so much he wanted to say, so many things that he wanted to fix. Would they ever be able to? Would she ever be able to really hear him?

“Liz we can’t just pretend those things were never said, we have to talk about it.” He said in a quiet voice. He looked tired and worn. They both had been through a hell of a lot.

They had both been running so hard trying to escape the enormity of their problems. Neither of them wanted to truly accept the fact that those problems would always be waiting around the next corner. Today was the day that their problems had waited long enough.

Liz just looked at Max with tears that were visible in her eyes, threatening to fall; they were mirrored in Max’s as well. She looked so lost and vulnerable. Max just wanted to fold her into his arms and tell it was all going to be all right, even though he knew it wouldn’t be. What was one more lie in the long list they already had between them.

“Liz, this is a mess and it just won’t go away. There are a lot of things that we haven’t faced. We can’t just keep doing this.”

He took a deep breath and just decided to plunge in.

“I know almost all of our problems have been centered on Tess, it all started to fall apart when she came here. I wish she had never come here, but I can’t change the fact that she did.” He hated to even talk about her but this was the center of their problems, he was left with no choice.

“We lost faith in each other, we forgot how strong we could be together. I was so scared to bring you into this mess. That’s why I pushed you away that first time, I loved you too much. I wanted something better for you than the life of chaos I was forced to live. But I was selfish and couldn’t live without you. I was looking for anyway to make it work for us and when you said it wasn’t my choice to make, that I couldn’t pick whom you had feelings for or whom you wanted to be with I latched onto that.” He said, lost in the memories of an easier time.

“So that’s my fault?” Liz started, the anger beginning to build all over again, the green flickering beginning to show itself once more.

“No, you were right, I had no say in the choices of who you cared for or who you wanted to be with. It just seemed that the same didn’t apply for me.” He stated somewhat matter-of-factly.

Liz arched her eyebrow in annoyance, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You pushed me away multiple times. You walked away when we got the message of what my destiny was supposed to be…” Max started but Liz interrupted.

“I didn’t want to stop you from being who you were supposed to be, from who you are! Do you think that was easy for me? Do you think I wanted to do that?” she asked incredulously, anger still evident in her voice.

“I loved you with all my heart, a part of me died that day when I walked away from you.” She recalled, the pain of that event clearly being relived inside her mind.

“Liz, you took the decision away from me. Was that fair? Who were you to decide what path I follow? Who were you to decide who I am to spend my life with, to love, to have a family with?” Max declared, trying to control his emotions.

“I make those choices, not you. Don’t you understand that? I chose you but you threw me away, and not just once but twice!” he said as he slammed his fist onto the windowsill. Liz jumped slightly at the sudden outburst. This was not like Max to be so unrestrained. They both knew that the feelings they were exploring were raw and painful and the only way to heal was to look at them, honestly and see where they led.

Max took a couple of deep breaths and tried to steady himself. Letting his emotions run wild was not going to help the situation. He didn’t want to frighten Liz but she had to see what this was doing them.

“Liz you are the one who chooses if you want to be with me, have a family with me, spend a life with me. You get to make those decisions, not me. But I get to make the same choices for myself.” Max implored.

“You were right that day in Bio. I had been unfair in making the decisions for you instead of with you. It was wrong of me and I wasted a lot of time that we could have spent together. For that I am sorry.” He paused needing to gather his thoughts.

“Liz, we have been running from this for along time now and it hasn’t worked. I think we both knew that it wouldn’t but we have both been cowards here. It wasn’t just one of us.”

Liz looked at this man, the boy she had loved for so long. She still did love with all her heart if she was honest with herself, but there was so much pain in her heart that she couldn’t let go of, the love just didn’t seem to be enough anymore. Max was right about one thing; they both had been cowards and had not trusted in each other enough. If they were ever to recover from this they had to learn that they were each other’s greatest strength.

“Max you ran to her when things between us got tough, did I mean that little to you?”

Max knew that she had gone through so much pain for him, for all of them. But for her to ever assume that she meant nothing to him was the final straw. If now is the time to really bring out the truth, then he had a list of his own. The fear of doing any further damage was forgotten. The pain had weighed on him long enough and threatened to break him in two. What is that they say, ‘…and the truth shall set you free.’ He wanted to be free.

“How dare you!” he said with anger blazing in his amber eyes. “We’ve both been hurt here; you’re not the only one. If you want to bring up the past then lets go back to where it started. I can’t deny that I felt a pull towards Tess. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t want it but its there and as much as both of us wanted to pretend that it didn’t exist we couldn’t. Liz, that’s how the bastards that engineered us designed it to be, is that my fault?” He cried in frustration. Max had never really looked at it from that standpoint so it was as much of shock to him as it was to her.

“I was engineered.” He repeated somewhat distractedly. “It’s surprising I’ve had any choice in my life at all considering how I was created.”

Max thrust a hand agitatedly through his hair and took a breath. “I was encoded to respond to her. I denied that with everything that I had, my love for you never wavered because of it. You can’t imagine what its like to have everything inside crying out for one person while your mind forces you to consider another. I would not wish that on anyone. Its hell.”

Max’s face lost some of its edge and became pained, “Not only did I betray you but I did myself too. You’ll never be able to hate me as much as I do myself for what I’ve done.”

Max just held his head in shame as he let his words sink in. Liz was in turmoil; her heart just ached so much. All she wanted was to have someone love her, no, not just someone, Max. He had always had her heart, why did this always have to be so hard.

For the first time she tried to see it from his side. How he had been pushed and pulled, subjected to a will that was not his own. Not only had his creators instilled that in him genetically, but she had been a party to pushing him there as well.

“Max…” she began.

“No, Liz let me finish. I’ve been quiet for far too long, that’s ending right now. We’ve lied to each other, kept secrets from each other. And why? Were we afraid to trust each other that much, scared to love each other that much? We’ve proven it time and time again; we are much stronger together than we are apart. Well I can’t speak for you but I’m not afraid to admit that I need you, that I depend on you. You balance me, you help me to become the man, the king that I’m supposed to be. Not for one second do I regret having you in my life.”

A tortured expression clouded Max’s face, his eyes mirroring a remembered pain. “Have you ever stopped to think just once what you did to me, to us? You destroyed me that night. It was cold and calculated.” Max exclaimed, the bitterness and anger evident in his voice.

“I thought we were on our way back towards each other after you came back from Florida. We were talking, spending time together. We kissed and I know you saw the flashes. I felt what you felt; I know what it meant to you. You smiled when I serenaded you, when I threw the roses up to you.” He said wistfully.

Tears were running freely down both of their faces now. The pain of the past, the pain of what should have been and was not, of all the lies and the mistakes, the deceit and the manipulations, seeping out with each drop.

“But you pushed me towards Tess, gave her pointers on how to talk to me, the books I read. Told her how to dress. You went out of your way to make her into something that you thought I would want. You just could not get it through your head that I wanted you, only you. But still those things didn’t work.”

“I knew you wanted to go to Gomez, you had turned me down but I knew you really wanted to go…with me. I knew I just had to talk to you, make you see that we could make it work. So I went to your house, so full of hope and love for you…” He said with bitterness emphasizing his words.

“I will never forget that night, you killed me that night. That’s what it felt like. I endured what they did to me in the white room, but it didn’t compare to the pain I felt when I saw you with Kyle. I could stand the pain when that bastard Pierce had me because I only wanted to get back to you. But when I saw you in bed with Kyle, in what looked like you had just got done fucking him, I had nothing left to live for. I died inside.” The pain was now permeating his entire being. It was suffocating him but getting it out was liberating. Getting it out might let them both breath again.

“Then Alex died, it tore everyone up. Everyone. I didn’t want to think that one of us could be responsible, but I should have known, I should have seen it. I didn’t. You wouldn’t leave it alone, I’m happy you didn’t, but at the time I just couldn’t deal with it. To have one of your own kind be a traitor was to much to bare. I thought if I threatened our friendship you would back down, you didn’t, for that I’m thankful now but then it just sealed my fate, it was the last thing I had left to hold on to.”

Max was losing steam fast, reliving all these moments from the past was taking its toll on both of them but this had to be done.

“At that moment I felt like I had lost everyone. I was a big disappointment to not only myself but to everyone else. I failed the people I was supposed to protect. I wasn’t looking for Tess that night, but that’s not really the point. She was all I felt I had left, she was promising me forever. I was weak and I took it. The only thing that kept flashing in my mind was you. How much I wanted this to be you, but that it never would be. I just accepted what everyone seemed to want me to do. I accepted that I would only ever have you in my fantasies, when I closed my eyes.” He said sadly.

“I can’t deny that I have a son with her Liz. You don’t know how badly I wish it were with you, that he was our child. A child conceived out of love and happiness not from pain and despair. I can’t turn my back on him, what would you think of me if I did? He’s an innocent victim in this whole mess of a life I have. I want him to be happy, safe, to know he’s loved and accepted not thought of as a freak or resented because of who his mother was.” He said.

Liz had to understand that his son would forever be a part of his life, even if it were in the smallest of ways, he would always be there and that he would not deny that.

Liz knew that Max’s son was innocent in this, he had not asked for it. It was just hard knowing that a reminder of what Tess had taken from her would always be there.

“Liz, I’m not offering excuses, god knows we’ve all heard enough of those to last a lifetime. All I’m giving you is what was in my head and how I felt. I didn’t think anything I did could possibly hurt you or anyone for that matter anymore. You made it clear what you wanted and how you felt, whether it was a lie or not didn’t matter, what matters is that I believed what you said to me. Something inside told me that it couldn’t be true, that my eyes were lying to me, that we meant more to each other than that but you were adamant so I trusted you, what else could I do?” He finished.

“So this is all my fault that you fucked her?” She asked, her voice beginning to rise, the green electricity flickering across her skin. As they had talked the green flickers had steadily diminished, but now they flared once more, mirroring the emotions swimming under the surface.

“NO! That is not what I’m saying. We were both wrong here. We didn’t trust each other enough.” He voiced with desperation.

“We both have to accept the fault for the parts we played. I’m just as guilty as you are. We will never get beyond this otherwise.” With that Max fell silent for moment and contemplated all that had been said, all that had happened this night.

He raised tear filled eyes to her. All of his feelings were clearly displayed on his face if she was willing to see them.

“Liz, I have only one more thing to say and then I’ll go. Through it all, no matter what was going on. I loved you. That never changed. I never questioned how I felt for you.” With that said, Max rose to his feet and backed away from the window. He just looked at her with all of his emotions, raw and exposed for her to do with as she pleased.

Liz started to close the window, easing it down with agonizing slowness. Her eyes never left his as the window finally came to a close. The tears that had been threatening to fall began their journey down now familiar trails on both their faces. Liz watched as Max’s mouth silently said the words that had always given such happiness, had always made her feel like the most important person in the world. He said I love you..

Max numbly made his way over to the edge of the balcony and began, what he feared to be the last, long climb down the ladder. Just before he would have disappeared below the ledge he paused and gave one final look to Liz. A look that said I’m yours forever if you’ll have me, yours without reservation or question, it said I love you for now and until forever, I forgive you. And with that he was gone.

continued in next post ....

[ edited 25time(s), last at 8-Jan-2003 10:38:52 AM ]
posted on 21-Nov-2002 6:47:45 PM by moonieADT
CtA

ACT II

The feeling of loneliness that hit Liz was smothering. It surrounded her and enveloped her in its suffocating embrace. How she longed for an easier time, a time when they were all innocent. But they would never be able to look at the world through those eyes ever again.

What was she going to do? She had been running this long but it had not solved the problems. She had to make a decision, either accept all that had happened between them and move on from it or walk away and never look back.

Liz was trying to process all that had been said tonight. The pain of his betrayal had reigned supreme in her mind for so long. It may have been buried deep in her mind and heart but it still burned with a stubborn flame.

Liz had been so wrapped up in saving the world and the sacrifices she had to make she didn’t give time to truly look at the effects. She had gotten what she wanted, had set everything up to make it happen. If she though about it, how could she be angry with him for believing what she wanted him to believe. Was it because she wanted him to see through her so badly and when he didn’t it broke her heart even more?

She had to be honest with her self though; she had turned to Sean for comfort when Max was going to leave. What if she had gone through with it? ‘My god’, she thought, ‘I would have given a guy I didn’t love the most precious thing I have to give, myself.’ That thought smashed into her, making her stager with its magnitude. Her stomach convulsed and she felt as if she was going to retch. ‘How could I have been so stupid?’ But she had been hurting and at that moment, at least for a brief period, she had not cared what the repercussions would have been. She could only imagine how much the regret would have torn her apart. ‘That must be how Max feels.’ But she had stopped, why hadn’t he?

He had been ripped to pieces and spit back out, by her for one. He said that he felt like he had lost everyone. Add to it that Max had always been insecure anyways and you have the perfect combination just waiting to explode.

She had to admit she had never felt that way. Maria and Alex had always been there for her. She had been somewhat outgoing and not always standing in the shadows. She had parents who knew her, at least parts of her and Max had never had that, always living a lie.

Liz wanted to blame the future version of Max for this mess, for the pain and the lies that had spread like wildfire in all their lives, but she couldn’t. It hadn’t been just him; it had been her as well. Both of their future versions had formulated this plan, had thought it was for the best. Both of them had been willing to sacrifice one of the most precious things in the world, their love for each other. She wanted to kick herself for thinking of such a ridiculous plan. They had been desperate and grief stricken, were unable to see beyond their own pain. They grasped onto anything and in that moment they too forgot that they were stronger together than apart. ‘Well it looks like even the future versions of us still didn’t get it.’ She thought with a wry smile. Even then they had always been the ones to feel that they had to suffer for everyone else.

Was she always going to be one to make the sacrifice? By letting Max go she was just adding one more to the already long list. She had invested this much time, endured so much, should she just walk away now?

Why does everything have to be so complicated?

She had to smile a little at that. Memories of Grandma Claudia came instantly to mind.
‘If it isn’t complicated, he probably isn’t a soul mate’.

Max Evans was her soul mate. There was no denying that. She knew that the moment she saw his soul, saw whom he really was inside. She really had not had a choice when it had come to that.

It occurred to her that she was still giving Tess power over her. Power to hurt her and the ones she loved. She was letting Tess dictate her relationship with Max. She had let that happen once before, why was she letting it happen again? Tess was gone but she still lived as a specter between them. But it didn’t have to be that way.

In her heart was the answer; the only question was ‘Am I strong enough to accept it?’

Once the question was asked she knew the answer. That’s when it happened, the shift inside of her. Her inner self was healing. The uncontrolled energy that had been coursing through her had found its channel. Max had changed her all those years ago more than anyone would have ever known. He had not only healed her but had given her a part of himself. Her body had finished its metamorphosis and had finally accepted its alien side. She had accepted who she was and how she had gotten here. She had accepted who she was going to become.

She had found her balance.

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


Max sat alone at Michael’s. No lights were on, the darkness like a shroud to wrap the dying remains of his relationship with Liz within. They could never go back but would they ever be able to go forward? After tonight he had so many doubts, they just seemed endless.

Max began to loose himself in his thoughts…



My soul was never mine to give, it never had been. It chose a long time ago to whom it belonged, will always belong to. Whether we are together or not does not matter, my soul will always belong to Liz.

Denying my destiny brought me self-respect only for me to loose it in a moment of weakness. It was a moment of weakness at the hands of traitor, a murderer; in that moment an innocent was conceived, my son. A son whom I may never see, get to hold, watch grow up. A son that I wanted with all my heart and soul to be Liz’s.

I have learned, become harder.

These were lessons that have taught me well, my only wish is that others had not been hurt at my expense, had not had to pay for my learning.

I learned that I could no longer wish for the best, I had to make it happen.

I learned that I had to depend on those around me, share the burden, for they are strong and will only make me stronger.

I don’t blame my future self and wife, a wife that I will probably never get the joy of being able to love openly. They did what they thought best at the time. They had just lost so many people that they loved so quickly and were not thinking clearly. They were desperate and racked with sorrow. Not the best time to be making life altering decisions but what choice did they have? They never knew the roll Tess was to play in all this, that with or without her the outcome would be the same.



Max felt his body shaking and felt the wetness on his face. He hadn’t realized he was crying. Mourning the loss of a love that he had thought would transcend time. The sobs racked his weary body, draining the little energy he had left after the day’s events. The sting of the tears were burning this moment into his memory; forever marking this as the day that the best part of his soul died.

He had to hold onto the memories of what they had shared, even if it was only for a brief moment in time.

He remembered their first kiss on Liz’s balcony. How tentative it had been at first. Both of them scared of talking that step. Trying to be strong for everyone else but their hearts had won. How silky her hair had felt in his hands as he drew his fingers through it. The smell of strawberries and vanilla filling his senses and washing over them as the kiss deepened. How they had welcomed the flashes and had seen into each other’s souls.

The first time they had said I love you. Out of such pain and torment had come one of the best moments of his life. He could still hear the emotion-choked way Liz had declared her love to him. How they had held each other that night, trying to keep the demons at bay.

The stolen moments they had shared at the Crashdown. All the kisses they had lost themselves in at the counter or in the backroom. Times of just watching Liz work and how beautiful she was in her uniform. So many heated looks had passed between them when they had both wanted so much more.

Finding each other again this last summer. Trying to recapture what they had lost for far to long.

That was where they had made their mistake. They would never be able to get back what they had lost. They could only hope to move on to the future being mindful of the past. Taking care to keep each other’s hearts safe and not take them for granted. Build something stronger than before, more mature and deeper.

They did love each other, this Max knew as sure as the air he breathed. But they had failed to take the next step. To safeguard that love against all that would try to tear it asunder. They both knew each other inside and out they just needed to really see each other again, through adult eyes, through eyes of experience, through the eyes of undying and forgiving love.

Max knew he could not continue with asking himself ‘what if’’. He had to accept the fate he had wrought. He hoped that at some point they could be friends, to at least have a chance to give her even that little piece of his life if she would have it. Hopefully they could have that someday. Max knew he would never love another again, he just simply didn’t know how. There would never be another Liz Parker; after all you can only have one soul mate.

A lone tear trickled down his face, pooling with its sisters on the cold floor. From eyes that had seen so much loss and sorrow, past cheeks that would never again know her gentle caress, past lips that would never feel the warmth of love pressed against them, past a mouth that would never be able to say ‘I love You’ to the one his soul belonged to, to the floor where his heart lay shattered.

Max was brought out of his revere by a knock at the door…


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 4-Dec-2002 10:10:52 PM ]
posted on 21-Nov-2002 8:56:40 PM by moonieADT
Authors Note:
Thanks everyone for the feedback so far. You've all been great. I too wish the show had gone this was and that they had just dealt with each other. But oh well.

To answer some questions:
I always felt that FMax took the responsibility for the plan, even though from the dialogue of the show you can tell that it was concieved by the both of them. I took poetic licience in having Liz find out 'somehow' about this. I felt it was a fact that should not have been buried.

As far as the Isabelle and Michael thing goes. They were raised as brother and sister. Thus the natural encoding was tempered OR they were just never encoded that way at all, since it would not have been as important the princess to be with her intended as it would have been for the King to. (I don't like the whole encoding thing either but it was their and hey.. I used it) Plus add on the fact that Tess can manipulate minds and there ya go.

To address the believe your eyes believe you heart stuff. Liz knew that there was alien stuff going on with the Max/Tess kiss. So she had reason to doubt. Max however would have no other alternative but to believe what he saw. She ensured that through sheer persistence.

Those were just my foundation for where the story came from. I know this is a sensative topic for some. But I just wanted to explore the possibilities.

The main thing that I don't want to get lost is the fact that they were BOTH wrong and they BOTh had to face the consequences of what they did. Niether was an angel no matter what the reasoning.

If the feedback remains pretty good I may continue this ..just let me know ..

Thanks again..

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 21-Nov-2002 9:06:44 PM ]
posted on 23-Nov-2002 7:49:28 AM by moonieADT
Authors Note:

Well, I must say that I seemed t have casued quite a stir. I really apreciate all of the feedback and the opinions on the Max/Lix relationship trainwreck (its about the only way I can describe it).

Like I said before I took some poetic licence with things from the show. But enough about that.

So on to the real reason for this note. I WILL be adding new parts to this fic. I think it will go about 10 Acts give or take a couple.

I hope I don't get alot of rotten fruit thrown at me .*wink*

I will say that I am a dreamer, as you could tell by my other fic From Behind The Tree BUT and I do mean that I give no dreamer insurance with this (kind of adds to the suspence doesn't it). I know alot of you don't want to invest the time to get your heart broken but I want this to be more like real life. And real life doesn't always make sense.
I wanted this to come off more like how real life Teenagers, that kids, Teenagers would handle this. They don't think clearly, they want to believe in all the wrong things at times. Lets face it growing up and becoming an adult is hard and painful work. And we make LOTS and LOTS of mistakes along the way.

Are only hope is if they believe in the love ..(couldn't resist).

So.. That said the next installment with be out Sunday right along with From Behind The Tree

Until sunday....

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 23-Nov-2002 3:39:27 PM ]
posted on 23-Nov-2002 3:47:27 PM by moonieADT
Authors note:
Okay, Okay ;>)

I agree the real life is on TV, and newspapers..

And that I love a happy ending as well

And they are soul mates..even though it isn't easy

So......

I will eat crow and offer the insurance.

Everybody happy?*happy**happy**happy*



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Nov-2002 3:49:35 PM ]
posted on 23-Nov-2002 3:55:21 PM by moonieADT
CtA

For disclaimer see ACT I.

ACT III.


Youth. It’s a time of carefree wandering and exploration, a time to discover what we are to become and who we want to be and unfortunately a time to make mistakes.

We can’t escape them no matter how hard we try. We find ourselves in new experiences we have yet to prepare for and we try to do our best. We win and we fail but we have to try.

It’s easy to expect perfection from others; after all we mostly expect it from ourselves. It’s so easy to forget that we are human and that we are fallible. That even though we may love someone so deeply and completely we still will hurt him or her. The pain we inflict upon others is mostly due to our own blindness, wanting to believe what is not real because our own failings prevent us from seeing the virtue in others, from seeing the real truth no matter how plain it is to everyone else.

It’s easy to say that we don’t need people, that we are fine on our own. But inside we all know it’s a lie. We all value what someone, not everyone, but someone thinks of us; how they view us. We all need that unspoken approval, that sign that we are accepted as we are and that we are OK.

It’s the human condition, we ALL are subject to it.


Max picked himself up from the couch and made his way laconically to the door.

“Michael, did you forget you keys again?” he asked as he pulled the door open.

To say he was shocked was an understatement. Just as predicted there stood Michael only it was with a distraught Maria. Max backed away from the doorway to let them inside. Maria was quietly sobbing and trying to pull it together but couldn’t quite do it.

“It’s Liz…” Maria started.

Max immediately began to panic. He knew through their connection that nothing fatal had occurred but that still left a lot of room for anything else.

“What about Liz?” Max asked desperately.

Maria looked at him with sadness marring her usually happy features. “She left Roswell.”

Even as she heard herself say the words it just didn’t seem real. Liz had never been the one to run from a problem; she was the first to face it, head on. But she knew that where Max was concerned Liz didn’t always think straight. After all she had left for Florida after the whole destiny fiasco trying to escape the pain of her decision. Maria feared it had all finally been too much for her to take this time as well. She knew how much Liz had been hurting when they had talked earlier in the evening, but she had never expected this, not again.

Maria had decided to check on Liz a few hours after their talk on the street bench. She had stopped by the Crashdown on her way home. When she had entered Liz’s room she saw the scribbled note and that her overnight bag was missing.



Max,

I have to get away for a while. I need to clear my mind and find who I am again. I think I’ve lost some of the best parts of myself somewhere along the way. I don’t blame you for everything. You were right, it was both of us.

I did what I did out of love for you and our friends but it still didn’t make it easier for you to accept, I know, I saw the look in your eyes that night. You didn’t know my reasons at the time, how could you?

I wanted you so desperately to see through me, to see that my love for you would never let me do what I wanted you to believe I had done. I blamed you so much for not having faith in me, in us. I thought you knew me better than that.

I know what it’s like to feel like you have nothing left, that everywhere you look is just a reminder of what you have lost. We were both in that place, each for own reasons and each by our own hands.

The thing that we all forgot was that we are human. We all bleed the same way, we all hurt the same way, we all can have our heart broke the same way. I am ready to accept the fact that we both hurt each other. We both played a role in this, no matter what the motives, all either of us saw were pain and betrayal.

If I could go back, I would not have just blindly followed along. But we can’t go back, we can never go back. That I know too. I can’t regret the decisions I made, I have to move on and learn from them, as should you.

Please don’t try to find me even though I know you could. I need this for me.

I do love you, more than I could ever express. Please believe in me.

All my love,
Liz



Maria handed the note to Max. She could see his world just start to disintegrate before her eyes. The room was filled with the weight of his pain and heartbreak. He didn’t know how it could have been any worse than it already was but it had. Tears glistened in his eyes as he finished reading the hastily scribbled note. Random tear drops hitting the paper that was shaking in his trembling hand. When his eyes met Maria’s her heart just went out to him. She knew that she blamed Max for most of the pain that had passed between him and Liz. But that was just best friend loyalty. She had accepted a long time ago that they both just got the raw end of the deal, always had.

Maria took him into her arms and whispered reassurances that all would be okay in the end. She knew they were white lies. She knew that she was promising the impossible.

Maria led him over to the couch and set him down. She reached her hand out for Michael and he came up behind her and enveloped her in his arms. Michael knew she was hurting from Liz’s departure as well.

“What do we do?” Maria asked more to herself than the room.

Max just looked up from where he sat. He had never felt so powerless in his life. He would give Liz the one thing he had always fought with himself on. He would let her go, not for himself but for her. He loved her that much; he had finally realized that he was no longer selfish with his love. He had rediscovered the innocent love he had for her before they had become enmeshed, the love that had kept him away from her for her own sake.

“Nothing.” He said quietly, almost in a whisper.

Both Michael and Maria turned shocked eyes to Max. They both could not believe he wasn’t going to go after her. He had always tried in the past, what was different now?

“Maxwell, you can’t be serious.” Michael asked incredulously.

“Yea what he said.” Maria added, looking at him as if for the first time.

Max looked at them through clouded eyes, they just didn’t understand.

“I have to let her go. I’ve done nothing but hurt her and cause her pain. I won’t be a party to giving her any more.” He said with self-loathing. If he did nothing else for her in his life, he would give her this. He would give her the freedom she deserved, had earned with her sacrifices. He did not blame her, if he could have escaped this life he would. But deep inside he knew that it would be wrong. His life would follow him, his problems right along with it. This had been forced upon her; it had never really been her choice at the start. He would not stand in the way of her being allowed to find what she had lost, to regain her life, as it should have been from the beginning.

Maria just looked at him with quiet awe. She had said it once before and it still was true no matter what had occurred. ‘There goes a great man.’ She thought. He had been through hell, they all had. They had all screwed up, not one of them could throw a stone in judgment of the others. In their own was they had all contributed to the mess they had. But they had begun to clean it up. Piece by agonizing peace, but they had begun.

There is no harder trail that one can face than to have to give up that which you love the most. But by definition that’s what love is. It is selfless, a concern for the other over your own happiness.

Max had learned what love really was. He had paid a high price for that knowledge but it was his. If there were any doubts to that they were laid to rest at that moment.

“She’ll be okay Maria. Liz isn’t going to do something foolish or irrational. She’s been hurt more than anyone should ever have to bare. She deserves this time to herself. She deserves a break from this entire mess I’ve made of her life.” Max said regretfully.

“If I could go back, back to that day in the Crashdown when Liz was shot, I would have made it so the gun wouldn’t fire. It would have spared all of you…all of you.” He ended so quietly they were unsure it had been said.

“Max…” Maria started.

“No Maria, none of this was necessary. None of you needed your lives as out of control as they have been.”

“Maxwell, as much as I fought it at first, I would do it all over again if I had to.” With that said Michael went out to the kitchen and began to rummage through the refrigerator.

Maria just smiled at her space boy. He had come so far, she was proud of him. It finally dawned on Maria that they had not been sucked into anything that had not wanted to be a part of. They, Liz, Alex and herself, could have all walked away anytime they had wanted to. But they hadn’t. To blame any one person for all the wrongs that had happened just wouldn’t be right. They had all made mistakes, they had all lacked faith at times. In the end they figured it out and tried to heal. That’s what families do, they forgive and move on.

“No one needed to lose their life because of this.” The death of Alex weighed heavily on Max’s mind. He was another innocent brought into this mess. With a shake of his head he sat back against the cushions of the couch and laid his head back, staring at the ceiling. Trying to find the meaning to all of this in the swirls that decorated it.

Maria looked at Max and said the only two words that could even come close to fixing what had happened to them tonight, “Ice Cream”.

Max cast weary eyes to her. He raised an eyebrow at her somewhat expectant face.

“C’mon girlfriend we need to spill, it’s been too long and there is no time like the present. Our best girl has flown for god knows where; we’re all feeling down. I will not hear any argument.” With that said she reach out and grabbed Max’s hand.

They padded their way out to the kitchen and grabbed a couple of bowls and spoons. Maria opened the freezer door and took out the only flavor there was in there. Vanilla. It seemed no matter where you turned they could just not escape something bring forth the memory of Liz.

“Vanilla?” Maria said as she looked questioningly at Max.

Max just gave a wry smile and drew a weary hand through his already unruly hair.

“It was just a way to stay close to her … to keep …” Max just couldn’t hold it together anymore. The tears started to fall and just wouldn’t stop. He had tried to remain so strong, for who he could no longer remember. He buried his face in his hands as the pain swept over him in waves, each one stronger and higher than the last. His shoulders shook the force of his sobs. Tearing through him like the claws of a savage animal, extracting its pound of flesh. He fell back against the refrigerator door and slowly started to slide down its front. It was as if he was making the decent into the depths of hell itself.

Maria was over to him in an instant. She pulled him into her arms and tried to comfort him. She had never seen him lose it like this before. Max had always been the clam one, always in control. It had been only a matter of time before all the pent up emotion would come tearing out of him. She stroked his hair and whispered soft words to him. Trying to tell him that all would be okay. He would get through this. They all would.

Maria led Max back over to the couch and got him to sit down, actually it was more like he collapsed onto the tired piece of furniture. Maria laid his head in her lap and gently wiped the tears away from his eyes. Eyes that held so much pain and anguish, weighed down with the responsibility of feeling he had failed everyone yet again.

“Max, Max, it’s okay to let it out. It’s okay.” Maria said soothingly. She spoke to him as a mother would to calm her troubled child. Easing them back for the edges of the horrors that the world had inflicted upon them.

“I miss her too, we all do.” She said, her own voice becoming a little tight at the emotions being released.

“God Maria, I just love her so much, why couldn’t I have just been allowed to love her? Why did it have to all go so terribly wrong? Why did I have to let her down?” Max sobbed, his tears not diminishing in the least.

“I don’t know Max, I don’t know. You loved her for so long. We all saw it. I don’t know why it turned out the way it did.” She said sadly.

Max swiped angrily at his tear stained face. Trying to remove the evidence of having lost his control.

“All I wanted was to love her, all I did was hurt her.” Max said in a guilt-ridden voice.

“Max, that’s not true and you know that Yes, there have been times when I sooo wanted to kick your ass. But you’ve made her happy as well, more than happy. She loved you don’t ever doubt that. Okay girlfriend?” she said softy, pushing back the hair that had fallen across his forehead.

A silence fell over the room. Each one of them lost in their thoughts. Trying to sort out what had happened.

Michael sat down on the chair and took in the sight before him. Maria truly was a great girl no matter where they were at this point in their relationship. He would probably never admit it but he was a better person, a better human because of this little spitfire.

“Maxwell, you know I don’t do emotions so good, but I’m here if you need to talk.” He started.

“It’s been hard for all of us, but we’ll get through it.” With that said he turned to the television and extended his hand at the screen, a moment latter it sprang to life. The soft glow of the screen filled the room, lulling them all into silence.

Night turned into day and day into night. Max had not really moved from the comfort of the couch. A couch that he and Liz had almost made love on. He could still smell the fragrance of her hair filling his senses. He closed his eyes and savored the imagined olfactory experience. He could still feel the silkiness of her hair as it had slid through his fingers. The softness of her skin as his hands caressed her, trying to convey with touch just how much he loved her.

The shrill ringing of his cell phone broke his fantasy. He picked up the offending piece of technology and looked at the caller Id. It held the one word that could make his heart sing or throw him into the depths of despair.

It said Liz.

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


ACT IV.

Liz picked up her cell phone again for 15th time. ‘God, why does this have to be so hard?” she thought to herself. ‘It shouldn’t be this hard to speak to someone you care about.’

Liz had done nothing but think about their relationship. So many emotions had passed over her the last couple days it would have been almost impossible to catalogue them all. Yet that is exactly what she had had to do.

She had to look at everything over and over again.

What did she really want?

What would make her happy?

Who did she see herself having a family with?

Who did she want as her partner?

Who did she love?

All her answers were the same. As much as they had gone through, with all the pain they had shared she always came back to one person.

Max.

They had lost so much. They had lost themselves and each other, would it ever be different?

She had discovered one thing that was glaringly obvious. The both had not truly trusted each other. There had always been secrets between them. As much as they had loved each other they had never fully sacrificed themselves to that love. Never had they let themselves be enveloped in its warm arms and entrusted all that they had to it.

At one point Liz had broken down in hysterical laughter. She had really been scared that she was losing it. But as she got her self under control she saw the irony of it.

They had been asked to live in the adult world when they had barely found their place in the teenage one. The demands on them had been severe, life altering. They had had to make decisions that would have caused unbelievable fear in the most steadfast of adults. Yet they had faced these things head on and kept going. They had never backed down from the challenges before them.

They had faced the F.B.I., an entire colony of evil aliens, out of body possessions, death, traitors, and jail just to name a few. Does this happen in the normal experience of your average teenager?

They were teenagers for god’s sake. This was just not what most teenagers have to deal with. They had been living this life since they were 16 years old. They had already aged well beyond there years.

They had been thrust into the middle of a war, whether they had wanted it or not, would anyone expect them to come out of it unscathed? A terrible price is paid during war. Max had paid that price, his family had paid that price in their past life.

Would their love be yet one more casualty because of that war? That would only happen if they let it happen.

The more she explored what she wanted the more questions she was forced to ask. The more she had had to look deep into herself and find the woman she was to become, the woman she wanted to be.

Liz paced the room nervously, was she making the right choice? Was she doing the right thing? Only time would be able to tell the answers to those questions. There were never any guarantees in life, no matter how much you wanted there to be. You just have to take your chances and pray you placed your faith in the right people. If she was to be honest with herself she had never really had a choice anyways.

If she were going to follow through with her decision there would be no half way. That had been a pattern in the past and she vowed it would not be the same in her future. The time for reservations was long past; the time for vacillating was over. If she were going to be thrust into the adult world then she was going to have to act like one. The time for making schoolgirl decisions was over. Her eyes had seen too much to try and look at the world with childlike wonder anymore and be beguiled.

Had they learned from their mistakes?

Liz was so nervous about this call. It would define where they were to go with their relationship, if they were to even have one. She had thought long and hard about what she wanted

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


Max didn’t know what to do. He was paralyzed with fear and trepidation. As much as he wanted to hear her voice, he was afraid of what that voice might say. A million different scenarios had flashed through Max’s mind of what would happen if he ever got the chance to speak to her again. They ranged from a tearful reunion to all out heart wrenching animosity. He just didn’t know if he could take it, but what choice did he have.

The second ring of the phone brought him out of his morose and spurred him to action. He cleared his throat and flipped it open and placed it to his ear.

“H…Hello?” Damn, why did he have to sound so scared?

“Max?” came the voice he had never though he would hear again. It sang to him yet made his blood run cold.

Max still couldn’t seem to get his mind and mouth to function. He had not expected this; he had not prepared for it to be actually happening. He had resigned himself that they would bump into each other in a restaurant or grocery store. They would exchange pleasantries and then she would simply walk away. She would have moved on with her life, she would have finally found piece. He would just watch her walk away wit her children, her husband, her new life and his heart would shatter all over again.

“Are you there?” Liz asked, unsure if he had just hung up. Maybe he had just been unable to talk to her after what had happened between them.

“Liz?” he asked in a small voice, no smaller than he felt. He just had to be sure that it really was her.

Liz licked her lips and tried to slow her breathing down. She had not thought that speaking to him was going to be this hard. But then again whom was she kidding.

“Yea Max, it’s me.” She said softly, trying to sound calm when she felt anything but that.

All Max could do was just try to keep breathing. ‘In and out, in and out.’ He told himself, ‘just like you do everyday.’

“I didn’t expect to here from you. How are you?” he said softly.

Liz couldn’t help the pang of hurt that flashed through her. She should have expected that. She had told him not to look for her, that she needed time to find herself. Maybe most people don’t accomplish that as quickly as she did. She couldn’t let this small stuff affect her. She had things she had to say and she had to focus, this was just too important.

“Max I’m good, real good.” She inwardly cringed at that.

“That’s good Liz, I’m happy for you.” He said trying to put a smile into his voice.

“Maria misses you, she sends her love and hopes your well. She said to tell you if you need anything not to hesitate and that if you don’t call her she will hunt you down.” He finished, it was easier to say somebody else words at this moment.

“I’ll call her, thanks for telling me.” She replied, grateful she had the understanding of her long time best friend.

“Well you know Maria, she threatened me if I didn’t tell if you called.” He recalled somewhat ruefully.

Liz smiled. “That sounds like Maria all right.”

Max swallowed the lump forming in his throat; he didn’t want to waste what little time he may have with her like that. “We all miss you…. I miss you.” Max’s voice was barely a whisper.

Liz heart just about broke for the hundredth time in the last couple days. He sounded so lost and alone, like a little boy that couldn’t find his way. She knew exactly how that felt; she had been there many times herself.

When he was met with silence he knew his fate had been sealed. If he hadn’t known it was over before he now knew that it was. He had to be brave and come to grips with the path he had set himself on. He had chosen this road; he had made his own mistakes. No one had made them for him.

“Well, I’ll let everyone know that your okay, if I see Maria I’ll tell her you’ll be in touch.” He said somewhat lifelessly. It was just too hard to try and keep up the facade for very much longer.

“Thanks Max…. I” Liz started but max cut her off.

Max swallowed. “I know you must be busy so I won’t keep you.”

He knew her, even though she was angry with him, didn’t want him in her life, she would still worry. He didn’t want her to waste her time on him. Max wanted the best for her and he knew that it wasn’t him. He had known that for a long time. He had always hoped that Liz would never figure that part out. It was just another example of him being selfish when it came to her.

“O…okay.” She said somewhat shocked. Liz had thought that he would want to talk to her, to try and talk through their problems. He didn’t sound like he really wanted to go though. She wasn’t going to remain silent anymore. She was going to stick to her new resolve and she wasn’t going to let herself down again.

“Max, do you not want to talk to me?” she asked gently.

Max didn’t know what to say. He wanted to desperately but he didn’t want to say something stupid like he always seemed to around her. He didn’t want to hurt her anymore than she already was, and he didn’t think he could take her rejection one more time.

“Liz, I … I don’t want to hurt you anymore.” His voice sounded to distant.

“I don’t want to hurt you either. We both have done enough of that for a lifetime.” She said honestly.

Then she said the words that seemed to cripple him with their possibilities.

“Max … Max we need to talk.”


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Dec-2002 10:11:55 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2002 9:58:56 PM by moonieADT
Selfish bump
posted on 28-Nov-2002 9:25:18 AM by moonieADT
CtA

For disclaimer see ACT I.

ACT V.

The drive to the hotel was filled with mounting tension. No matter how hard he tried he just couldn’t seem to relax. He had faced the F.B.I. but this scared him more he could have ever imagined.

Max didn’t know what he was walking into, but he could only guess. His imagination had been running wild with so many different scenarios but all of them did not end well. Max had resigned himself to the ending of their relationship. He had just hoped to have a few more days to prepare for what could possibly be the last time they would talk openly. The last time he might be able to tell her that no matter what, he would always love her and only her for the rest of his life.

The wind wiped through his hair, tangling it and leaving it in disarray. He couldn’t help but smirk at the irony of that, it was so much like his life. It wouldn’t matter how hard he tried to smooth it out it would just as quickly fall apart again. The funny thing about it though was that he still couldn’t resist the urge to try.

The miles disappeared quickly, yet it felt as if an eternity had passed with only more to come. He wanted the trip to take forever and be over at the same time.

His thoughts raced over the history they had shared. For the first time he acknowledged the good that they did have between them. If nothing else he didn’t want to lose that. It may be the only thing he would have left after today. He had missed so much when they were together. He had been so consumed lately with his search for his son he had lost sight of her.

Max slammed his fist into the steering wheel. Why did he have to be such an ass? Liz had not thought twice about offering her help to him. She had wanted to feel close to him again, he had known that. He just hadn’t considered what the cost would be for her, how much it might tear at her inside. He had asked her if she was sure she wanted to help a couple times but then he had just stopped asking. He had come to expect it from her. Max just shook his head in shame at only one in the long list of things that he had subjected her to.

Max pulled into the parking lot and made his way into the hotel. He paid no attention to his surroundings, his main focus on just getting to Liz, to see her face again. He entered the elevator and selected the floor that held what he once had though would be his future, had hoped would be his future. Visions of a lifetime with Liz had always floated through his mind but he had always pushed them quickly away, not wanting to raise his hopes. He just hadn’t realized that he had placed more hope in those dreams that he had imagined, now that they wouldn’t be realized. How could they? You don’t spend a lifetime with someone that hurts you.

He was so close; he could feel the crackle in the air from her presence. The connection that had once been so powerful and open was now dim and almost empty. ‘Breaking someone’s heart will do that.’ He thought, kicking himself for the umpteenth time.

The elevator ride seemed to go on forever, seemed as one more barrier in the effort to keep him away from her. The sound of the bell startled Max out of his self-deprecating thoughts as the doors slide silently open.

Room 514.

Looking at the plates on the wall he turned to the right and started counting down the rooms.

501…505…510…. 512…

Max’s heart leapt into his throat…. 514.

This was the moment he had not expected to arrive so soon. Max wiped his hands on his black khakis and took a deep breath. A million thoughts were racing through his head but for the life of him he couldn’t grab hold of one of them.

Tentatively he raised his hand to knock on the door. He was in his downward motion when the door opened and revealed the woman he had spent most of his life fantasizing about.

Liz had felt him when he entered the hotel parking lot. She had been a bundle of nerves up until now. All of the fear and anxiety drained away as she looked at him. This was the boy who had risked everything to save, who had loved her silently for so long, who had broken her heart, who’s heart she had broken.

They feel into each other’s eyes, as they always seemed to do. They became lost in the emotions that played out between them. So many things they needed to say, so many things….

“I knew it was you….” Liz said trying to explain why she had opened the door. She gave a nervous giggle and took a steadying breath.

Max just took in the sight of her, she looked wonderful. Of course he always thought that. Her scent filled his senses and invaded his being, how would he ever be able to live with out her?

“You look great.” Max offered, trying to break the growing silence that had begun.

“Thanks, so do you.”

Max glanced over her shoulder and looked into the room. It was simple, at least what he could see of it.

“I’m sorry, I…. come in.” Liz said a little flustered. She kicked herself for making him stand out there in the hall. He had probably thought she didn’t want him to come that close to her.

“Thanks.” He said as he entered the room. Liz motioned towards the table and chairs by the window and followed him over to take a seat. Max stood behind a chair and pulled it out for her before moving quickly away to the other side so as not to cause the green energy to return. He didn’t want to add today to the list of days that he had hurt her. There were more than enough of those already.

Liz smiled inside at his gesture. She was a bit taken aback though by his sudden movement away from her.

“Are you scared of me?” she tried to joke, but the pained expression on Max’s face told her she had fallen miserably short.

“Sorry, not a good time to joke.” It was funny how familiar that sounded to her ears, the day of Max’s confession to her flashing brightly in her mind. He had tried to set her at ease but it didn’t quite have that effect either.

“Are you still in pain?” he asked. The concern was evident in every facet of his person as he asked. In his eyes, in his body language, his voice, and in their connection.

“No, see?” she said as she reached out and place her hand over his on the table. Max just stared at where their hands lay. He wanted to flip his hand over and intertwine his fingers with hers, he wanted that closeness but he knew now was not the time. It would have to be her that called the shots.

“Yeah, do you think it will come back?” he hated asking the question but it was out there before he could take it back. He just didn’t want Liz to hurt anymore because of him. She had already been through enough she didn’t need this too.

“No, it won’t.” she said confidently.

The room became heavy with silence. Each of them didn’t know where to start. So many things needed to be said.

Max took a breath and said the only thing that seemed right at the time, the one thing that really stood out to him from the note she had left only a few days ago.

“I believe in you.”

Those words echoed through the room. Their value and meaning screamed for attention. They both had desperately wanted that from each other, but they had never seemed to quite be able to be in sync. Liz’s heart felt a little lighter at his admission. She would not deny that those simple words meant the world to her. She offered him a small smile and a slight nod of her head in thanks. She knew it didn’t seem like much to an outsider but in their language it spoke volumes.

She realized she had not removed her hand from Max’s so she gave his hand a gentle squeeze. Max smiled in that sad kind of way that he has, but it never really reached his eyes. Slowly she removed her hand from his. She reached up and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She looked up and noticed Max had a little smirk on his face.

“What?”

“You. No matter how much you try to hide it your hair gives you away.” He said cryptically.

The look on Liz’s face asked the silent question, but Max just shook his head and looked into her eyes. It seemed as if he was looking for the answers both of them desperately wanted. The questions they were just too afraid to ask. In that next moment she saw the decision in his eyes but there were things she wanted to say too.

“Max I’ve come to some decisions about us.” She started. She knew one of them had to and the tension was starting to mount again. She wanted things to be good between them and there was no way to do that but to begin.

“I’ve been thinking a lot too Liz.” He interrupted. He just wanted to say this before he lost his nerve. For once he wanted to do the right thing, he wanted to prove to her that he really did love her. Prove that he loved her more than he would ever be able to find the words to say, that it was selfless and unconditional. Max was just so sad that it had taken him as long as it had to truly realize what that type of love was like.

“Max” Liz started but Max continued on as though he hadn’t heard her.

“Liz, I know how hard this has all been on you, I know that you are torn up inside and I’m mostly to blame for that. I’ve hurt you many times and there is nothing I can do to take that back. I can only say that I regret each and every time that I let you down. Of all the people, you were the one that mattered the most.” Max swallowed; he couldn’t lose his conviction so he just rushed on.

“You’ve lost something precious to you and we, I, had no right to steal that from you.” He said with sadness weaving its way into his voice.

Liz looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to fill in the blanks. She wanted to hear him; She hadn’t done that a lot in the past as much as she wanted to think she had. They both had had trouble hearing each other.

“Your life.” Came the self-disappointed reply.

“Max….” she tried.

“You became lost in this entire mess, you helped us so many times but it cost you so much. It wasn’t fair to you.”

Max took a breath and continued. “I couldn’t let you die that day, it just wasn’t your time. I know that makes it seem like I was playing God, but on that day at that moment I don’t regret that I took something away from him.”

Liz just sat there taking all this in. This was an impassioned Max, something that she hoped she saw more of.

“So with that said,” His voice quivering with barely checked emotion, “you deserve to live your life, free from all this.”

Liz just stared at him. She was having a hard time really grasping what he was trying to say.

“I don’t want to hurt you anymore, Liz. You mean too much to me. You deserve so many things, many things that I can’t offer.”

“Max?” she asked trying to keep her emotions under control.

“You deserve to be free. Free of me and what my life has done to you.”

Liz could do nothing but blink at him. This was what she had wanted not just a couple of days before. ‘It’s true what they say,’ she thought to herself, ‘be careful of what you wish for.’

“Max … is this really what you want or are you trying to choose for me?” Max flinched at the question. She hadn’t meant it to sound unfeeling but she needed to know where this was coming from. She just wanted to be sure of what he wanted, not what he thought was best for her.

Max sighed and strengthened his resolve. ‘It’s for the best’, he repeated to himself. ‘She’ll be happier in the long run, somewhere where I can’t hurt her anymore.’

“It’s what I want.” Came the quiet reply.

Max hung his head in shame; he couldn’t look at her. It would kill him to see the eager acceptance in her eyes. It was not an easy thing to be selfless; to ignore what everything in you says you need, to do the right thing.

“If you ever need anything all you have to do is ask. I’ll do what ever I can to help. I hope that someday when you look back at all this you can see me as something of a friend, a friend that let you down, but still a friend. I….” He trailed off, not really knowing what else to say. What can you say when your heart is breaking.

Liz was stunned; of all the ways she had played this out in her mind this had not been one of them. She had never expected that Max wouldn’t want to try and reconcile. She had expected his persistence to be evident today; she had expected him to be unrelenting in his pursuit of her. He had changed. That thought kept echoing through her mind. He had changed. The quiet boy of her memories stood before her. He had finally come home, but not to her.

Liz pushed back the tears that were threatening to fall. Now was not the time for that. Now she had to keep her heart safe.

“Max, I understand.” Was her stoic reply.

“I’m glad we got to talk about this and get it out in the open. Thank you for being honest with me. I want you to have a good life.” She said almost mechanically as she stood up shakily from her chair.

She crossed the room on legs that didn’t want to cooperate. Max had risen from his chair as she stepped away from the table. He just wanted one last look at the love of his love, the one that got away, the one that he let slip away, the one at times that he had thrown away. His arms ached to hold her again, to try and burn the memory of her deeper if possible into his mind. If he had only known the last time he had held her, had kissed her, would be the final time, how he would not have let the moment slip by so easily, would not have taken for granted that he would always be the one to have those things with her. He missed her and the feeling was crushing him, how would he live with this once he left the room. He just had to make it home, funny, he had thought of home as anyplace Liz was. He just had to get to Michaels before the pain brought him to his knees.

Liz stared up into the eyes of the boy, the man that she had loved for what seemed like an eternity. They had seen so much, good and bad in their time together. She felt as if she had almost lived a lifetime with him. Yet it was still far, far too short. She inhaled the scent of him, committing it to memory, storing it away for times when the nights grew cold and lonely. There would be many of them, too many of them. She looked deep into those amber pools that she had lost herself in so many times before. His soul was still there but it drifted aimlessly. He was looking for a home; she hoped one day that he would find that. After all that is what you wish for the people that you love.

Max broke the spell and moved over to the door, turning the knob he started to pull it open when Liz touched his arm softly, tentatively. Letting go of the door he turned and faced her. Later neither of them would be able to say who moved first but they found themselves in a powerful embrace. Each of them was struggling with their own decisions, each trying to be strong. But they could not deny themselves this one moment of weakness. This one last memory of how it could have been. The gripped each other almost painfully as if they were trying to absorb the other one. They were both trembling, their bodies knowing what they wanted, what they’re hearts wanted to believe but their minds just wouldn’t let them.

Max pulled back and looked down at her. The tears he could no longer hide, he didn’t want to. His eyes only mirrored hers. Even at the end their hearts and soul’s still held a reflection of each other.

Max quickly turned and opened the door. Stepping through, they shared one last look and then he was gone.

Three words could be heard reverberating off the walls of both their minds, slamming into the chambers of their hearts.

Goodbye my love.

tbc..?

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Dec-2002 10:13:05 PM ]
posted on 1-Dec-2002 3:25:24 PM by moonieADT
CtA

For disclaimer see ACT I.

ACT VI.

“Maria, sorry it took me a little while to get back to you but you know how college is.” Liz said from the phone in her room at Northwestern University.

“Sure chica, Sure. You just don’t want to be bothered with us small town folk anymore.” Maria said with a chuckle.

“Maria!” she said indignantly, “You know that’s not true.”

Maria just had to laugh, Liz was always took the bait so easily. Sometimes it just wasn’t that much fun, but that wasn’t today.

“Calm down, crystal ball, I was just playing you. Do you need me to send you another supply of cedar oil?” She was just on a roll.

Liz decided that the only out of this was to just stop entertaining her. So she would just move on to the next topic.

“How have you been?” Liz queried.

“Busy, you know with college and managing the Crashdown I keep occupied. Now add on top of that SpaceBoy and I have a full day, every day.” She finished with a smile in her voice.

Liz was happy for Maria, her and Michael had finally gotten themselves somewhat figured out. It was a long time in coming but they were admitting to ach other how they needed each other. It was nice to see them happy, someone deserved to be.

“So Liz,” Liz just cringed at what she knew was coming, “any hot dates lately?”

Why did Maria have to ask, her answer was always the same. She knew she was involved, why couldn’t she just let it alone.

“Maria you already know the answer to that.” She said with a bit of irritation in her voice.

“I’ll take that as a resounding NO! Okay, okay I get the point.” She said trying to sound at least a little bit apologetic. They both knew that she wasn’t. It had been the long running question now for two years. Maria feared it would be the same for a very, very long time.

“Liz, he asks about you all the time.” She said softly. They normally didn’t talk about him until Liz would have her moments of weakness and demand to know all that was going on with him. Liz hated those moment, she chided herself for being weak but she just couldn’t help herself. Her heart wouldn’t let go.

“Maria.” Liz started, her voice holding a warning that they both know she didn’t mean.

“Liz, he loves you.” There she had said it. Damn the consequences. She was tired of seeing her best friend like this. It had to stop.

“Maria, he didn’t want me anymore.” Liz said dejectedly.

“Whoa, hold the phone here, didn’t want you anymore, the boy carries pictures of you in his wallet, he … oh shit.” Maria clamped her mouth shut.

“Maria what are you hiding from me?” Liz said dangerously, this time there was no tinge of amusement. Maria knew that today was the day.

“Do you really, I mean REALLY want too know?” she asked carefully.

Liz took a deep breath. She missed him, she had to be honest with herself, she was weak and she loved him. She just couldn’t deny her heart. The heart wants what it wants. It doesn’t always make sense but then not much in life really does.

Coming to a decision she replied, “Yes.”

“Okay, now before I say anything I am going against direct orders from the king himself to the contrary.” She started only to be cutoff.

“He ordered you not to tell me?” she asked incredulously.

“Yes, he did, well not so much an order as it was a plea, yea a plea was more like it, well no begging. That’s it, it was begging.” She explained rather proud of herself at having captured nature of the request.

“Maria, you’re babbling, now tell me before I reach through this phone and squeeze it out of you.” Liz said trying to be playful but falling a little short of the mark.

“You need to get laid Lizzie.” Maria just shut her eyes. It was out before she could stop herself again. She just hung on for dear life and prayed she wouldn’t be permanently scarred from the retaliatory strike.

“Maria,” Liz said surprisingly soft, ”I’m a virgin and proud of it. There’s only one man I wanted to give that to.” She swallowed back the pain of the loss that crossed her mind late at night.

“Liz, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean” Maria started to apologize.

“Maria its okay, its okay. Now tell me.” She implored.

“Liz, you know that red sweater that was missing when you left for school?”

Liz was going to have a cow if Maria kept stalling with this. Why was she asking her about sweaters?

“Yea…. What does that have to do with anything?” she asked still clueless.

“Liz, Max took it. He keeps it with him.” Maria let that sink in. When she was met with stunned silence she continued.

“Every time he comes to the Crashdown, he goes up onto your old balcony and just sits there for a while. I’ve seen him up their Liz. He just cries quietly to himself. He looks in your window and says ‘I Love You’ to your ghost and then he’s gone.”

Maria couldn’t help the tears from entering her voice. It was just so sad to watch those around you falling apart. Not able to heal because their hearts didn’t know how to move on. More like that they couldn’t move on. Once you’ve found that match the heart knows only that feeling of completeness when in the presence of the other.

“Max wanted us to be apart. He said so.” Liz didn’t know whom she was trying to convince more.

“Liz, he let go of you because he was so scared he would hurt you.”

Silence.

“He had convinced himself that you wanted to move on.”

Silence.

“He wanted you to see that he loved you enough to let you go.”

Silence.

“Liz?”

All Maria could hear was breathing on the other end of the phone. She knew this was going to be a lot for Liz to take in. She just hoped it didn’t blow up in her face. But then the more she thought about it, she didn’t really care. She had kept these secrets long enough. They need to deal with this. They both love each other but sometimes they both are as dumb as a box of rocks.

“Liz? You there?” Maria tried once again.

Liz could feel her blood start to boil. She had kept quiet all those years ago. Why had she done that? She should have said what was on her mind, why hadn’t she? Maybe she wasn’t as ready as she really though she had been. Liz didn’t know where to direct her anger. Maria for not telling her, Max for walking away from her for her own good, or herself for not having been honest from the start.

SHIT!

“Liz, chica, you still with me petunia?”

“I’m here, Maria. I’m here.”

Maria breathed a sigh of relief. She knew how Liz could get when she went of the deep end. She didn’t want that to happen. Maria was surprised she was taking it all so well. But little did she know that was about to change.

“Maria, I’m going to ask you a question, do you swear to be honest with me?”

After all of the hidden truths she needed to be able to believe in someone again.

“Always.” Was Maria’s quick and honest reply.

“Do you know where Max is?”

DOUBLE SHIT!!

“Um…” Maria stumbled.

“Maria.” Liz said in a warning tone that left no room for debate.

“Liz, are you sitting down?” Maria queried.

“Maria, that’s not funny.” When she was met with silence she replied, “Okay, okay, I’m sitting down. Now tell me.”

“He was at Northwestern.” Maria just waited and thought ‘5…4…3…2…1…’.

“SON OF A BITCH” ‘and we have lift off’, Maria thought to herself.

“Easy there petunia.” Maria tried to comfort her.

“You know Maria I never, NEVER, liked that pet name you had for me.” Uh oh, she was pissed.

“Okay…he’s not here, Where is he now?” she needed to cut to the chase, her patience was a commodity that was dwindling fast

“Liz you know I love you right?” Maria asked her softly.

“Maria….” Liz said in a warning tone, why was everyone pussyfooting around her.

“Liz, I don’t know.” She said solemnly. “We haven’t spoken in about three months but he didn’t tell me where he was.”

“How long ago did he leave?” Liz was bound and determined to get every piece of information she could get.

Maria sighed. “After freshman year. I’m so sorry Liz.”

Liz just couldn’t believe it, they had been so close to each other. It was kind of ironic; it summed up the way it had been between them before she had left. They were so close yet they had fallen so far apart. Liz did not like irony.

“I guess it really wasn’t meant to be then, huh?” Liz replied despondently.

A silence filled the phone line as everything sunk in. Liz collected herself. She couldn’t let this set her back; she had a lot of positive things going in her life. The one thought that had plagued her from time to time was that the one person she wanted to share them with was not there. She wondered if they would ever meet again.

“Well I’m going to be transferring out to Harvard in the summer. I’m going to take some classes over break to gear up for my first full semester.” Liz said trying to recapture the enthusiasm that she had had when she first called.

“Liz that’s great, I’m so proud of you.” Maria couldn’t help the smile the lit her face. Liz was getting the chance to realize her dreams. It may have taken a while but she was doing it.

“Thanks, Maria I got to get going, but tell everyone I said hi and I’ll see you in the break between sessions. Okay?”

“Sounds great petun…Lizzie. I’ll see you then, be good.”

“Bye.”

Liz looked at the receiver as if it could provide the answers to the questions she still had. Why had Max come to Northwestern? ‘He probably was just checking up on me, to make sure I was safe.’ She assured herself. But why didn’t he just come and see her? No matter what the reason it still hurt to think that they had been that close and he had not come to see her. ‘Him and his damn sense of right and wrong, he probably stayed away so he wouldn’t hurt me. But that’s what he wound up doing anyways.’ She thought to herself

Liz replaced the phone and sat down on her bed. Looking at the four walls that had been her home for the last two years, she quietly said her goodbye. Not only to her old room but also to her old life. She had to move on. She knew that there would never be another Max Evans. Even through all the pain that had passed between them he truly had the most beautiful soul. She knew in her heart there would never be anyone else for her, Max had ruined her for that. No one would ever be able to measure up to him, how he made her feel. It would be unfair to put anyone else through that.

Liz had to be honest; the best thing that had happened was the passing of time. But she knew still more would have to pass.

tbc...

Next installment on Sunday

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 4-Dec-2002 10:14:07 PM ]
posted on 5-Dec-2002 1:10:49 PM by moonieADT
All right,
Thanks for all the wonderful feedback. I had this part ready so... here's a little treat.
And so without further ado.....

CtA

For disclaimer see ACT I.

ACT VII.

Max was relaxing after completing his anatomy homework. It was a little ironic that he was going to school for something he could do with the wave of his hand but it was rewarding nonetheless.

Max thought back to a time a couple of years ago when his journey to college had first begun.

He had been very lucky to get into the Feinberg School for medicine at Northwestern considering his less than stellar senior year. He had always wanted to study medicine and this was one of the premier places to do just that. Plus there was another side benefit, he could still see Liz.

Liz had enrolled in Northwestern for Molecular Biology just as she had always dreamed. She attended the Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences so he didn’t have to worry about running into her unexpectedly.

Even after their talk at the hotel so long ago, he still couldn’t bring himself to step completely away. What if she needed him? Or what if she got hurt? He just couldn’t live with himself if something had happened to her. Max would watch as she walked between classes, she seemed happy. That’s all that Max had wanted for her.

After almost a year he realized that he didn’t need to keep watching her, that he was just not willing to let her go. Liz had moved on and she was happy. It was hard to accept that he wasn’t a part of that but in part he had no one but himself to blame.

After some serious soul searching he knew the right decision was to truly let Liz go. He looked into his choices and found he stood a good chance to enter Harvard Medical. His freshman year had been exceptional grade wise so he decided to give it shot.

As he walked onto the campus the very first time, he couldn’t help but think of Liz. This had been her dream and she had deserved this. Max swore to himself that he would do the best he could and honor that dream, he would do his best for her.

Max had changed so much from the boy he once was. That change really had started the day Liz left. The seed for it had been planted the night he had tried to heal her. He had really had to look at the damage knowing him had done to her. They both had thought that the love they shared would shelter them from that but it never did.

Max learned to be careful of those he trusted, to not be so quick to believe what was in front of him. This became so important in his medial degree. Many times things are not as they appear at first. You always have to dig deeper to find what’s just underneath the surface.

He had become much better at compassion; he knew that he often lost sight of the world beyond his own nose. There was more out there than just him, he had not handled that lesson well. Time had been forgiving to him and had let him try again.

He was thankful for what he was able to regain, Old friends he had lost. He still would hear from Liz from time to time with a card or an email. She always sent them to his parent house since she had never asked for any other address. He knew she was respecting his wish for them to move on. How much he wished that she had seen through him that day at the hotel. Even if she had, he didn’t think that the damage that had been done could be repaired and even more so that they could ever feel that special bond that they had once shared.

There was never a day that went by that he didn’t run through the list of mistakes he had made. It got easier as time went but he never forgot one of them. He accepted those things in his past that were ugly and took ownership of them. He tried to forgive himself but it was an unending battle. How could he forgive himself for the pain he had caused, the lives he had forever changed?

As days passed he was able to finally see the difference, the difference between forgiveness and forgetting. He had done those things and he could not go back and undo them. He accepted that that was who he was at the time. He was immature and inexperienced. They weren’t excuses, just simple truths of who he had been. He was not that person anymore.

Max had the hardest time in accepting that love can heal some of the most devastating wounds. With the help of time the two together can and have worked miracles. He wanted to believe but he was afraid to hold out hope the he and Liz could find their way back to each other. He dreamed of that day, his fear was that it would only ever be a dream.

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


Max picked up his anatomy book and decided he might as well get a head start on the next chapter. He was thankful for the ability to scan the information into his mind. He had discovered how to do that during his first year.

He had been overwhelmed with reading and his anxiety had risen just a bit that day. He could remember how he had just been thinking that he would just pretend that his mind was a camera and amazingly it had worked. Of course he still had to digest the information but at least the troublesome part of committing it to memory was out of the way. Max did set rules from him self that he would not get to far of the class so that he could really focus on the material they were learning.

He flipped open the book and began to scan the next chapter when there was a knock at the door.

Max made his way over to the door and peered out the peephole. A smile began to light his solemn face as he pulled open the door.

“Isabelle, how’s it going?”

“Great, Max.”

The two shared a quick hug and Max motioned for her to come inside. Isabelle looked around the apartment and crinkled her nose. ‘Men, they just don’t know how to decorate.’

“Don’t even say it.” Max warned her.

“What?” she replied, feigning innocence.

“I haven’t had time to really decorate the place.”

“I wasn’t going to say a thing.” She said with a wink. “How are you Max?”

Max looked at his sister and went with the cover story he had been using for years now.

“I’m fine. School’s going real good.”

“Max…. when did you start lying to your sister?” she said a little bit hurt.

She knew he was hurting, but it wasn’t going to do him any good to keep it all inside. He needed to talk to some. He may never get over her but he has to try and live a life.

“Today?” he tried to joke.

“Not funny Maxwell Evans.” She scolded him.

“Yes mom.”

“Max really are you okay? You can talk to me. I know you miss her, but you can’t just let yourself waste away. You have a lot to offer. You have to move on.”

Max just looked at her with remembered pain clearly in his eyes, pain that felt just as fresh today as all those years ago.

“Isabelle, it just not that easy. Its Liz.”

She realized that his statement really did say it all. He was devoted to her. She only wished that the Max that he was today had been the one Liz had seen. He had changed so much. He had grown more confident and had not backed away from his responsibilities. He depended on other people to carry the load and didn’t try to shoulder it all on his own. He no longer was the trusting soul that believed the best, he saw people for who they were now and who he wanted them to be.

“I know.” She conceded with a sad shake of her head. ‘I know’ she thought.

Liz Parker was forever going to be in her brother’s life. She will be the ghost that haunts him for the rest of his days. Of all the couple’s in the world they should be together. They loved each other so deeply, but with that type of love its so very easy to scar that deep too. They had made some very bad choices, really bad ones. But she knew the depth of her brother’s heart, always responsible, always forgiving. He had changed in so many ways and Liz deserved to see that. He was worthy of the love they should have shared years ago. She only hoped that someday they would both get that chance. The chance to make each other happy, as she knew they were both put on this earth to do.

“How are you doing?” Max asked trying to point the topic anywhere but at himself.

“Wonderful, Jesse has been making real progress with his department and hasn’t had to work as much. I have been doing the charity work I love to do, they just appointed me as the coordinator for all of their events.”

Max couldn’t help but give her a knowing look.

“Don’t even say it or we will be redecorating this apartment today.” She said with a playful scolding look on her face.

“Okay, I give, I give.” He laughed at her as she gave him one of her patented eye rolls.

“Listen I have to get back to the charity now, but please stop by this Thursday for dinner, I won’t take no for an answer.” She crossed her arms and waited, the look in her eye leaving no room for an argument.

“All right I’ll be there. You know, you are the only person I know that can turn a request into a demand in the same sentence.” He walked her to the door and opened it for her, the warm breeze wafting into the room.

Max gave her a quick hug and waved as she made her way down the steps to her car.

As Isabelle walked back to her car, she remembered the piece of information that she had wanted to tell Max.

‘Oh well’, she thought. ‘He’ll be in for one hell of a surprise.’


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 5-Dec-2002 5:25:52 PM ]
posted on 6-Dec-2002 12:11:07 PM by moonieADT
Authors note:

SciFiNut111: Thanks for the play by play feedback so far.

The first ACT was primarily a Max POV thing. He's confused and angry. Anyone would be. He never laid the blame solely at anyones feet, he just wanted to share it .. as it should be. Your right he did create his own lonliness by his actions. He never said that was Liz's fault (well atleast not in this fic.) BUT she DID play a role in it. Everyone get so hung up on the fact that Liz was saving the world. Well.. that's great and all but Max doesn't know this..Not till a long time later. It does not excuse Max for being an ass in any way and he was. A huge ass at times. Some of that was just him being himself and others were him reacting to his environment.

AS far as Isabelle and Michael go.. they thought of each other as brother and sister, I know they weren't raised that way, more a figure of speech.

Liz didn't know until after the fact true, a day or two, that Tess was an alien, thus alien circumstances being involved with the trash stuff. And true Liz did risk herself for that (Hold in there it is addressed later on in the fic). But that was a short time from to have faith. The Liz/Kyle stuff played out over months, faith wains in that amount of time, especially if your told what you saw was real, again and again.

And Yes Max gave up quickly, but who was he going to go to? Was Kyle going to tell him? No (Party to the crime and under orders to stick to the story, he cared for Liz and ony wanted to help her.). Was Maria? No (Best friend confidence would never be broken). And Liz sure wasn't going to tell him. I can't remember if Isabelle dreamed walked her or not but at the time Max felt that was a violation of someone, I believe. So short of Max scheduling Liz an appointment at the OBGYN and somehow getting the results he had nothing tio believe in accept her word, which she stuck to over and over again. Until.. it didn't matter anymore.

BTW: What evidence was their that pointed to the truth? I didn't watch alot of eppys in s2 so I know I am missing some of the plot line. Any help is welcome.

I knew going into this story that it was going to get smacked around. And that it was going to stir things up a bit. The one thing I vowed that I would do was give the reasons for my plot if it was questioned.

Thanks everyone and don't give up on this yet. There is still character development that has to happen. We'll get there..it just takes a little time. So you know I have 16 ACT's in total slated for this.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 6-Dec-2002 12:15:44 PM ]
posted on 6-Dec-2002 1:11:18 PM by moonieADT
Thanks livia I am flattered by the comparison to Lelea, I love her work.

I know I should force my self to watch season 2 but it literally turns my stomach. I lived through stuff like that, not the alien stuff now mind you ;>) but that type of pain and it just brings back stuff that I don't wish to revisit. Although I am trying to get that stuff out in my new fic I Found You Again. Ah isn't therapy wonderful.*wink**wink*

I thought about the flashes thing and short of forcing himself on her (we all know how well that would have gone over, there would have been no way to write around that mess if it had happened) I don't think it wud happen. I also think Liz would have to have been willing to give him the memories, I don't recall him ever having any type of control over what he received.

Ah yes that admnision on the dock. he was rather blunt wasn't he...

Thanks again...
the next installment will be on Sunday UNLESS I get ansy and feel the need to post.. The more feedback the better..
posted on 6-Dec-2002 2:47:24 PM by moonieADT
Getting all of this latest feedback has helped more than you guys know. Special thanks to livia and SciFiNut111. You guys have pushed me to make it more believable.

Your right Liz was a terrible liar but Max can be dense and well ..um.. dense. As much as Max had girlfriend status, Maria did keep from him how to contact Liz over the summer, so I have to believe she would have kept his one too. Now Kyle on the other .. maybe he would have gotten a reaction maybe not .. he's elusive.

The one thing that I stick with is that seeing someone you love in bed with another. takes logic and shoves it right in the trash. I know, I have been there. I would not wish that experience on anyone. It effects a person for a long, long time. This is why I wrote it as I did, with Max really believeing it.

Trust in the fact the Liz will NOT be a doormat. She would not have readily just taken Max back. She came to terms with the fact that she loved him, that was pretty much it. Well that and that she did see something in him that made it worth the effort to try, albiet slowly but still try.

As far as Liz dating, I figured she had had enough of the male speicies for a while and just wanted to concentrate on herself. PLus this Liz knows that she is not over him and that it's not fair to bring some other innocent guy into the whole mess. Well...at least not yet anyways..

Max most definitly sucked in the faith dept. He did not have the same resolve that FMax had. Almost a complete departure in personallity as well. The writer's really f'ed up there.

Oh well... Thanks again all. You guys are making me work harder but it is worth it.

posted on 8-Dec-2002 2:10:19 AM by moonieADT
Thank you all for the feedback. You guys have made me work really had on this. Thanks for pushing me you have made this better than it started out

on with the show

CtA

For disclaimer and summary see ACT I

ACT VIII.

The car pulled up to the dorms of Harvard University. She could hardly believe her eyes, she was here: she had made it. To some it may have been just another day, but to her it was the realization of a dream that she had thought had died long ago.

Liz stepped from the passenger’s side and looked over at her chauffer. He had changed so much in just a couple of years. A few new lines but still the same boy she had known in high school. He had found an inner piece that she envied more than she liked to admit, but like them all, he had paid a price for that.

Once, she had thought that she had loved him; she smiled a little at that. She had known so little of what love was back then, she had been so naive. The world had taught her lessons that she would never forget. There time together had been brief, but they had never really become friends until much later. Liz was thankful that she had him in her life now.

“So this is it?” He asked looking up at the old building.

“Yep, this is it. Here is where I start my future.” Liz said, a smile lighting her tanned features.

“A little melodramatic don’t ya think?” he asked with a smirk.

“Hey, I worked hard to get here, I’ll be melodramatic if I want to be.” Punctuating her statement with a shot to his arm.

“Alright, alright, I give.” And then he added in a soft voice, but loud enough for her to hear, “Maria junior.”

Liz turned narrowed eyes on him and put her hands on her hips. She didn’t take lip from anyone anymore and she wasn’t about to let the likes of him break that rule.

“You say something?” she asked with just a touch of menace in her voice.

“Who me, no way. Not me. Just being quiet over here.” Then deciding it would be best to change the subject. “So, why don’t we get started on moving this stuff?” He tried to say it with enthusiasm but seemed to fall a little bit short.

Liz just smiled her usual bright smile and clapped her hands.

“All right, lets get moving.”

Liz just couldn’t and didn’t want to down play her happiness. This was what she had always wanted and she was finally living it. The hard work and long hours she would gladly do over again so long as they put her right in this very spot.

Liz knew that Northwestern had been a great place for her to pull herself back together after leaving Roswell and Max. It allowed her to focus and concentrate on her grades. She had to be honest with herself though. There was never a day that went by that she didn’t think about him. She had long ago given up cursing herself for it.

They were connected to each other and always would be, until death. The night that realization slammed into her had been crippling. She realized that in a very real since a part of her was married to Max, a part of her soul that she would never be able to get back. She knew that it was the same for him. She could feel that tug in the back of her mind if she really concentrated where that part of him lived. She was thankful that it was the beautiful parts of his soul that he had imparted to her. Before the end of the world had come.

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


Liz surveyed her dorm room with a critical eye. With an approving nod of her head, she sat back on her bed and relaxed.

They had been busy since their arrival and had wasted no time getting her belongings out of the car and up into her room. She was just thankful that part was over with.

“Hey, where’s my payment?” He asked.

“Isn’t being in my company good enough?” She teased him.

“Liz, you should no me by now, food is the way to get to me, remember?” he chuckled at her knowing smirk.

“Yes, I remember.” Liz said softly.

She walked over to him and rose up on her tiptoes. She placed a quick kiss on his cheek.

“Thanks Kyle for all you help. I couldn’t have done it with out you. I owe you.”

Kyle just waved her off. “Liz, anytime. You’ve been a great friend, especially when I went through the snap, crackle, and pop phase. If anything I owe you.”

Kyle made his way to the door. “Liz, I have to get back. I’ll stop back later on in the week to see how your doin. We can get some coffee, okay?” he asked as he made his way through the door.

“That would be great, I’ll call you. Drive safe.” She said with a small wave.

“Later.” Kyle closed the door and made his way to his car. With one last look back at the building he got into his car and drove off. ‘I knew she’d make it.’ He thought, a satisfied smile on his face.

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


Liz sat at her desk, her pen poised over the journal laying open in front of her.


September 18, I’m Liz Parker and four years ago today I died. My life since that day has never been normal. For the longest time that’s what I wanted, I wanted normal, I wanted it all to fit into the plan. You know the plan that we all have of how are life is going to turn out. And now I don’t want that, my plans have changed, I’ve changed.

It’s been almost two years since I last saw him. We both were so lost, I wanted to try but I’m actually glad that he didn’t. I know now that we would have just failed again. It’s strange, but I think the kind of love that Max and I were meant to share was beyond our years. We weren’t ready for it, neither of us. It pains me to say this but we have been better off apart.

But…. I miss his smile. I miss all that was good about him.

We both shared so much pain. It was so difficult watching the person I felt was my other half slowly degenerate into the unrecognizable angry and hurtful person I bore witness to. I often questioned if I knew him at all, but I know I did. We all have good and bad within us. Some are able to find that balance and keep the demons at bay; others have to live through both sides before they find their way. Max was the latter. For a whole year I watched as he slowly disappeared, and then like a cloud was lifted the old Max reappeared, slowly but he was there. We tried to fight our way through the past, but so much had happened. Neither of us was prepared to let go of the hurts, to forgive the mistakes we had made. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that life isn’t perfect.

I’ve grown so much since those days, days where all I knew was pain and loathing. When the one person I wanted to love with all my heart was the person I desperately was trying not to hate. As I looked back over all that had happened I’ve tried to understand how it all came to be.

I think just by virtue of who we were and the circumstances we were in, it was inevitable for us to have more than our share of dark times. We never really seemed to have a break to be just teenagers having fun, dating, being in love. But I wouldn’t change the fact that I was involved. I would only change on thing, but he is beyond this world and is at peace now.

I’ve been finally able to forgive Max for the things he had done. I know that there was more going inside him than any of us will ever know. I’m not foolish enough to believe that everything was because of Tess. We all made choices that were poor. We all contributed in a way to the final mess we were left with. I don’t want to keep score of the hurts because it does no good. In some ways it makes everything so petty to do that. In the long run all that mattered is that faith was lost, lies were told, hearts were betrayed and broken.

My heart has started to beat again. It took a long time but I know I’m ready. For what I’m not sure, but I don’t want to hide behind the shadows of the past. Nothing good will ever come from that, it never has.

I’m ready to be honest now. I still love him. Beyond all that we have been through and all the pain, I still do. This is not the love of a schoolgirl anymore; this is the love of a woman who has seen the ugliness of what life has to offer. I realized that when you love someone that you have to take them at their moments. Some are bad, some good, but it is never absolute. We constantly change and grow, learn and make new mistakes. Who he was, is not who he is now. The real test for anyone, the real test of love is if you can see beyond and into their soul, see who they really are, not the facade.

Max did the one thing that could only have let me see him this way. That allowed me to really see into him, the good person who he always had been but who had gotten so lost for a while a long the way. He let me go. He loved me enough to see the pain that us being together was causing. He took the step that showed me that in the end he loved me more than he could have ever said with words.

I’m no saint; we are all selfish at times. Especially when it comes to love. We hunger for it, want acceptance from it and are very unwilling to let it go in the face of insurmountable odds. It’s just our nature to want what we want and sometimes can’t have.

The day he let me walk away was the day I started to forgive, the day I started to fall in love all over again. I knew at that moment that his love for me was no longer the infatuation of a boy, but the deep caring commitment found in a man.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again, but I know if I do I will be ready. Not as a bright-eyed child hoping for the best but as a woman. A woman who knows that nothing worth anything isn’t easy, who knows that with happiness there is pain, who knows that in order to be in love, you have to be willing to fall.



Liz capped her pen and put it on the desk. She took one last look at the words she had poured he heart into and closed the book that held so many windows into her soul. She placed it into the hiding spot she had created using her powers and sat back onto her bed.

Liz removed her shoes and lay down, looking around the room that would be her new home for the next few years. Pictures, her windows to the past, adorn the walls and various places around the room. So many remnants of days gone by and friends left behind, but never far from the heart. With a sad smile she looked to her mirror above her vanity and read the email that she has carried with her for the last two years She had received it just after graduation.

It simply read:

Liz,

Take care of yourself. I know you’ll reach your dreams, of everyone you deserve to the most. I believe in you.

Good-bye,
Max


It had been the day she felt he had let her go.

tbc...
Next ACT on Sunday

posted on 8-Dec-2002 11:41:48 AM by moonieADT
Authors note:
Damn and here I thought I did pretty good with this part. No lose ends well on to the inner thoughts behind this ACT (I'm starting to think it just might be easier for me to post my thought process along with eac ACT, what do ya think?).

The Max she knew could be seen in a tale of two parties. it was the beginning I believe of Max backing off from the search and trying to regain some of what he lost. With Liz's guidence.

Also the early seens in ch-ch-changes he was not trying to stand in her way of Harvard and even got her the interviewing book. I know very small things.. but change just does not happen all at once.

Liz says she had a hand in it, they all did. To blame only one person just doesn't work here. Mistakes piled on top of mistakes.

Liz said in her journal entry that she knows that she was making another mistake with her quick acceptence of Max back in her life. Upon reflection she knows they would have just repeated the process all over again.

Max stumbled into doing the right thing by staying away. Although his motivations were good. he just didn't want to hurt her anymore. Took him time to get there but at least he arrived.

When people break up, some get ugly. It depends on the circumstances. We have to remember its easy for us to stand back and judge here. We get the benifit of seeing all sides on the screen. The characters don't. So as much as we think that should see more, they're not going to. Everyone is different, some thicker than others. We have to remember, Max never got his copy of the relationship handbook, so he pretty much sucks at it. He has his moments but ...

The alex stuff is a mess from hell. Max was an ass without doubt. No matter how this plays out it there is no salvaging that moment. he let her walk into danger and did nothing about it. Spite is a terrible thing. Just ask Liz about how she used Sean to get back at Max. See...? its a very ugly thing.

Yes, Max let her go. They may not have been together but on both sides of a relationship that process has to take place in order to move on. it doesn't just end at the break up. Max wasn't giing her permission to move on, he was 'trying' to release his own string he had attached to her. He wanted to her to be happy and have a good life and he knew that in order for her to do that he couldn't be there. So Max had to come to grips with that. Liz is a smart girl, she knows that as misguided as Max is, he does love her. It may be immature but he still does love her. She knows how hard it was to 'let Max go' in the end of the world. She didn't have him either but its the same concept.

As for the pre-emptive strilke stuff. uh uh.. Sorry That is not his mind set. That was not how it was presented at all, I made his moitcation very clear. That motivation being Acceptance of what is happening and not wanting to cause her any more pain. Being the adult and owning up to his mistakes and getting out of the way so she can move on.

Yes time Does heal all wounds IF and only if we want it too. It's all up to us to decide. If we don't ket eh past go we become bitter. Wha a wasted way to live a life.

Yeah, kyle goes to Boston College (Basketball, I think they have a team).

Until the next ACT ...



[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Dec-2002 6:03:10 AM ]
posted on 10-Dec-2002 7:12:03 AM by moonieADT
Authors note:

There's one thing that I really want to communicate to all the readers.

There has been one very major thread running behind all of this..which unless you have been there, alot of you will never understand.

Max and Liz have known each other since the third grade. Well not really know each other but of each other. They have also both been crushing on each other for just as long. They both felt that initial spark.

They have both grown up watching each other and seeing what type of person they are. They both have a really good general idea of the typical behavior of the other.

So that said... I think it gives them a increased edge at being able to forgive each other. Yes Max's behavior sucked and was very mean(Whatever word you want to use) with out question.. BUT liz also knows that this is NOT normal for him. Its not an excuse, so those of you out there who are ready to cruxify for that just hold on..its more of a simple fact. They both know they are acting out of character. I think that is very powerful stuff to remember and I don't think some do.

Like I said if you have never lived through an experince like this, it is very easy to sit back and judge, to say 'Oh I would never do that.' well, don't be so sure. Love is powerful, even when extreme hurt is involved, very powerful. You find yourself forgiving when you never and I mean NEVER thought you would.

And importantly, they are teenagers. Alot of us put these adult minds inside of them and expect them to act that way.. sorry.. how many teens do you know that have made mistakes like this.. granted maybe not all of them together, but gotten someone pregnant they didn't love , cheated..etc...

They are both immature...Max more then Liz but they still are not adults...yet...and even then there is no promise that it will get easier.

Just wanted to give a little more insight into what is providing the foundation for this..

In a nutshell, I have lived through a good portion of what they have gone through (minus the alien stuff of course.*wink*).

I had the same choices to make.. I matured, grew up and I forgave AND was forgiven. I thank whatever higher power out there that it happened, becasue I wouldn't have the wonderful woman I'm married to now. It took 16 years for us..so much wasted time...

So I would never have attempted to write something like this if I had not lived through a lot of these same circumstances. I firmly believe that it is cruel to offer false hope, so if I didn't think these characters had it in them to see beyond and grow, to learn, I wouldn't have bothered. Remember you have to lok at the bigger picture. We all like to define people by single moments and not by the whole picture.

Love all the feed back..Thank you all so much for your encouragement and compliments. I admit seeing some of my Favorite authors show up and give Fb has been very flattering:Deejonaise ,jeremiah , tazno ..love you guys!

Thank you's too: mareli, tabasco sauce, livia, Venus_star2.com, roswellluver, AlienDreamer101,frenchkiss70 , clueless, sarzy, ccrswll, strawberry, Eccentric One,TrueLoveConquersAll , behrfanny, starlady really like your work,begonia9508 , Moonbeam,Little_Mermie22 , DAYDREAMER, NATEVANS, nallitie, behrstars,Jane8302 , lm_roswell,AvengingAngelIQ , Jbehrbabe you stuff just cracks me up, LPorter Heartfelt sories,Satp , High2Maintenance,BehrObsession , and ...even rjsasko and SciFiNut111 You two guys have made me do a little more resaerch and get a little more realistic in some of the parts BUT I still say they can work it out.

Well enough of me.. I have the fic just about complete but I don;t want to post it all at once cause I want to see the feedback to each new part as it unravels. Anywho.. I may, MAY post a part on Wed or Thurs.. we'll see.

Thanks again to everyone and see ya soon..
posted on 12-Dec-2002 3:54:57 PM by moonieADT
Authors Note:
I agonized over this part. I just hope I did justice to what Max has gone through.

Anyway As promised....


CtA
ACT IX.

Max tossed and turned all night. His mind was racing and no matter what he did nothing seemed to help. He lay in his bed and just looked up at the ceiling. This was a scene he had become familiar with.

It was all such a mess; well it had been such a mess. Now there were only broken pieces lying on the floor. Each piece he picked up one at a time and carefully, tenderly cared for it. Trying in anyway that he could to pay penance for the past, not to wash it away but to make amends, to heal.

He kept replaying the last time he had talked to Liz after trying to heal her over again in his mind. He just shook his head is despair. So many things had been said that night, too many, but they were out there now. In a way they had to be said, they both had had to start to get out what they had been feeling inside for so long. He had been so angry at his life, angry with himself, angry with Liz. He had just reacted and as Michael had proven time and time again, that is never a good thing.

His mind moved to the all to brief meeting at her hotel room. Liz had needed time and he wanted to give that to her. Looking back he realized now that he had done it more for himself than he had for both of them. He was in no way ready to be able to give her what she needed. He still had a lot of growing up to do. I many ways he was happy that she had not offered to take him back that night because he hadn’t deserved it.

Liz deserved a very special kind of love. One that, back then, he had not been able to provide, even with as much as he had loved her it had not been the level that she deserved. He had not fully understood what it meant to love someone that deeply. Not until he had finally let her go.

He had once asked his therapist about unconditional love, and her words rang hollow at the time but now they were filled with the depth that had escaped him before. There is no such thing as unconditional love, we want to believe there is but it just isn’t so. We love our parents, but if they hurt us time and time again that love fades. We love our children, but the same still applies. No one is immune to this, we are human and if love is not fostered and given reason to grow, to sustain, it will die. He had wanted that, he couldn’t understand why it was never his years ago. Now he understood, it’s never without strings and conditions, and it can never be taken for granted.

Liz had never asked for a love like that, only to be loved for who she was. She had been willing to do what ever she had to do to foster that. She was willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the sake of love, her love for him. He had just never been able to open his eyes wide enough to see the picture that was in front of him. To see the gift that he had so carelessly taken for granted time and again.

He had to be honest with himself; he truly had been obsessed with Liz more than he had been in love with her for all those years. Yes he was attracted to her, more than any other woman he had ever known, but he had not really known her until after he had healed it. It was then that the attraction and obsession had turned to love, an immature love but still love. He had never experienced that type of emotion before. It scared and excited him at the same time. The problem was that he didn’t know how to grow that love to maturity. How much he had learned since then.

Liz had really understood what it meant to love someone. She had proven that time and time again, but he knew he had been too blind to see it.

Why couldn’t I have opened my eyes sooner.

He knew he had done many things that had diminished the love others had had for him. He had taken for granted that they would follow just because they always had, not because he deserved it.

He kept beating himself up as he looked back on their time together, he would be able to do that for the rest of his life. So many were the missed opportunities for happiness, for their love to have grown to the depth that would have been worthy of her. The funny thing about looking back is that it is easy. Hindsight is 20/20 so they say, but that’s true only if you are willing to be honest with yourself, and over the last couple years he had been nothing if not honest with himself. His main regret was that it had not happened when he still may have had a chance to prove to Liz he was worthy of her forgiveness.

He just didn’t know if he would ever be worthy of that. He had screwed up so many times and in so many ways. But he had been lucky in one way, one very important way. The people around him had the biggest hearts.

The bond between brother and sister is a strong one, but still one that must be nurtured and cared for. He had damaged that severely many times, but Isabelle had a big enough heart to see past it to the real him. She knew that he loved her and that was what she had held onto at those rough times. They had remained close while he was at Northwestern but that had strengthened even more so than it ever had once he arrived at Harvard. She was so important in his life and he did not let her forget that now.

Why couldn’t I have opened my eyes sooner.

He had kept his own parents at arms length for so long because he was too scared to admit the truth. He masked it under the guise of not wanting to put them at risk but the real reason was that he was afraid of what they would think of him. He had not trusted in the love they had displayed to him everyday of his life. He had also taken away the one thing that Isabelle had always longed for, for her mother to really know her. It had not been until Zan had been in danger that they were told, and even then it had been Isabelle who had finally told them the truth, not because he wanted her to, but because she had to.

He was the one who was supposed to lead, but there was no way he could do that with his eyes closed. And that was exactly what he had done. He had turned away from the things that were difficult in his life. He chose to wait when he should have acted. He chose to act when he should have waited. As he looked back he saw that he had followed the path of least resistance most of the time. And look where it had led him.

“My god, I have lived the life of a fool.” He cried out to the unhearing walls. They mocked him with their silence.

The only smart thing he seemed to have done back then was to have Liz in his life. His main regret was that it only seemed to have been a brief moment of clarity in the muddied waters he came to call his life.

“What did you see in me then?” he asked her ghost, the whisper of their connection that still remained.

“Oh stop feeling sorry for yourself. You reaped what you sowed and you know it. You’ve been through this over and over again in the past two years and it’s always the same. You wanted someone to blame, when for the most part all you have is yourself.” The words echoed in the darkened room, just like they always did. The walls offered no comfort or solace, but they did offer one thing, honesty, they reflected it in the echoes that returned to his ears.

He smiled sadly to himself. He had not had these conversations with the walls in a long time. He had long since accepted the role he had played in the past. The poor decisions, the misguided blame, how he had purposely hurt just to do it, how he had lost faith in everyone and everything.

It had been so easy for him to blame Tess for all of the troubles that had occurred back then, but he knew that it was bullshit. She had contributed, hell even influenced but in the end it had been him who had made the choices. He could have said no and he hadn’t. Hell he hadn’t even been responsible when he had slept with her, yet he was prepared to keep Liz safe if they were to take that step.

He would wake up at night and before he knew what he was doing he’d find himself standing in a scalding hot shower, trying to wash the memories from his body of that night. But they never did fade, the self-loathing became less but it was always there as a silent reminder of what he had lost. It had taken the longest time for him to forgive himself for what he had done. It had not been in righteous vindication but more an acceptance of the past that he had lived.

Why couldn’t I have opened my eyes sooner.

Alex’s death had been one of his penultimate points of failure. A traitor had been under all of their noses, and yet not one of them knew until it was too late. They all had thought it was just Tess trying to break Max and Liz apart. They had all fallen prey to the web of lies and deceit that had entangled them in some way. The final toll was the loss one of their own.

He had pushed everyone to leave it alone; he didn’t want to accept that they could be responsible for something as terrible as this. He had put Liz in danger, all of them in danger because of his fear, his cowardice. Liz had risked herself to find the truth. All he had done was to stand by and watch and worse yet ordered the others not to help her, Ordered them, what had he been thinking? All she had asked was for him to listen and he had turned away. Worse yet he had tormented her, lash out at her for not leaving it alone. Anyone would have sworn he had done it himself. By finding the truth about Alex she had saved his life; she had spared him from an execution on his home world. How do you repay that? You can’t, he hadn’t even said thank you for it.

Max knew that he might never be able to forgive himself for what had happened. It was something that he had learned to live with, how do you forgive yourself for something like that?

Why couldn’t I have opened my eyes sooner.

The only way he was to grow was to move forward. He could spend the rest of his life berating himself for all of his wrongs but it would do no good. He could not go back and alter them. He had to live with them, and probably the most important thing was to learn from them. And learn from them he had.

He knew that Liz had learned from the mistakes she had made in the past. She had never kept another thing from him after Tess had left. She gave him the truth no matter how difficult it had been. Liz had vowed that to him and more importantly to herself. She had learned so quickly, she really did deserve better, more than he could ever offer.

As the first rays of sunlight seeped through the slats of the blind, Max finally found peace. His mind had tormented him as it did on occasion. Just as he always did, later in the day, he would give thanks for it. This way he knew he would not take for granted the lessons he had learned. He would never again follow a path because it was easy. He would never again lose one of the most important things he had in this life, his self-respect.

tbc...

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 12-Dec-2002 3:56:01 PM ]
posted on 13-Dec-2002 11:25:43 AM by moonieADT
CtA
ACT X.

Summer session had been in full swing now for eight weeks. It was tiring work but Liz would not have traded it for the world. She had been kept pretty busy with class work but she still made sure she found time to relax and regroup.

Her dorm mates, the one’s that had remained for summer session had welcomed her with open arms. At first there had been quite a few wise cracks about aliens and do you believe type questions but Liz handled them with grace and aplomb.

“Liz, do you have the notes from the lecture?” Adam asked her as he ran to catch up with her retreating form.

Liz stopped and glanced over her shoulder before turning around. Adam was in the same study group as her. Liz had joined one in the hopes to making a few new friends with the same interests. They met twice a week and review lectures and labs, the typical study process.

“Did you forget them again?” she teased him.

Adam was becoming known for his habit of misplacing his lecture notes. Liz was starting to suspect it was because she took copious note where as she had seen his, it was not a pretty site.

Adam flashed her a grin. “You know me, never can seem to remember where I left them.”

Liz just gave him a knowing look. “Okay, c’mon I’ll print you out a copy of them.”

They fell into step and walked over to Liz’s dorm.

“Liz, how did your results come out on the last lab?”

“Great, it was incredible watching the cell structure change like that.” She enthused.

Adam liked the way her face just seemed to light up when she talked about her work, but there always seemed to be a hidden sadness behind her eyes. Her eyes were just too beautiful to have such sadness behind them He wanted to know more about her, more than the study atmosphere seemed in inspire. Today was the day he would take a chance.

They arrived at her dorm and ascended to her floor. Liz unlocked her door and she invited him in. She pointed him to a chair off to the side and she placed her books on the table in the corner. She went over to her computer and powered it up, waiting until it had fully come to life.

“Pretty dorm you have, very neat, you should see mine. It kind of look like a bomb went of in there.” Adam slightly cringed at his admission, telling her he was a slob was not exactly going to win him points.

“Thanks, I guess old habits die hard. I’ve always been like this.” She gave a little eye roll at her own predictability after all this time, a slight smile lighting her face.

Liz looked up the material on her computer and printed out the lecture notes that Adam needed.

Adam just watched her move through the room; she was very graceful in her movements. He was sure she must be a vision on the dance floor. Well it was now or never, he thought, might as well take the plunge.

Liz turned to him with the printed notes, after a quick scan to make they met her approval she handed them over to him.

“There you go.” She said, standing expectantly near the door.

“Um…Liz, can I ask you a question?” Adam asked nervously.

“Sure.”

“Would you like to have dinner with me Friday night?” Adam was surprised that he was able to get the whole thing out without stumbling.

Liz was slightly shocked. She had been asked out for dates quite a few times when she was at Northwestern but she always turned them down. She had been resolved that she just wasn’t ready to add that complication to her life. She didn’t lie to herself; she had found a few of them attractive, but they just weren’t what she was looking for, they weren’t who she was looking for.

Liz didn’t want to have one more person hurt by the circumstances that surrounded her life, around the pain that she had suffered through with Max. Liz knew that she had been still working things out for herself and to put someone else through that was unfair. She looked back at the way she had treated Sean. She had used him; there really was no two ways about it. She had had no real intention towards him, he was cute but he wasn’t her type. She had wanted to lash out at Max for the wrongs he had done to her and Sean was the perfect vehicle. What may have been the worse part about it was that it had worked. Sean had served his purpose. She had almost, almost made the biggest mistake of her life with Sean; she had almost given him something that she would have never been able to get back, her virginity. It would have been a moment of complete and utter defiance against Max, to show him what he would never get from her. She realized that that is not the reason you are intimate with someone, she had known it all along but her anger had clouded her vision of what was right. She knew she wanted her first time to be with someone she was completely in love with; she swore she would never lose sight of that again.

“Liz?” he prompted gently.

“Sorry, I just spaced out there for a second.” She replied somewhat sheepishly.

Adam just looked at her, his eyes questioning.

“Adam, you’re a really nice guy, but…” Liz began.

“You’re not interested. I get it, its okay.” Was his slightly disappointed reply.

“Adam, no. It’s not like that at all. There’s just things in my life that are complicated.” She closed her eyes briefly, and took a breath; she wanted to be sure that she said this right.

“What was his name?” Adam asked her.

Liz tried not to react but she couldn’t stop the sudden snap of her eyes towards him.

“It doesn’t really matter.” Adam dismissed with a slight wave of his hand. He looked into her eyes and he saw the flash of sadness again. “Liz, you can’t wait forever.”

“Adam, it’s just not that easy.” Her voice sounded a little tired.

“Actually, it is. You just have to let yourself live again.” He told her softly.

Liz looked at him, he was right in a way. She had put her life, well her social life, on hold since she had left Roswell. She had wanted to keep things simple and they had been. But she wasn’t really living a full life even as much as she enjoyed everything else.

So many questions burst through her mind, all of them questioning why she kept herself closed off. Maybe she had been living with the hope of seeing him again, of finding a way to reconcile. Would they even be able to?

“Okay.” She finally said.

“Okay?” a hint of hopefulness in his voice.

“What time Friday?” she asked a bit unsure, but she needed to try. She had to get back out there. The world wasn’t going to wait for her to figure it all out and it wasn’t going to deliver Max to her doorstep as the changed man she had felt him to be.

“How’s 7:00 PM? I’ll pick you up here. Okay?” This day was getting better and better. Adam just hoped she really did give it a chance; she gave herself a chance. He already started to dislike this guy that had hurt her. He obviously had no idea what a wonderful woman she was. Only a fool would have let her get away, let alone hurt her as bad as she seemed to have been.

“Sounds good, it’s a date.” She said, offering him a little smile.

“See ya Friday at 7:00.” And then he was out the door and bounding down the steps. This was definitely a good day.

As she closed the door behind him, she let out the sigh she had been holding back. She knew that this was a step she had to try and take; she couldn’t just lock herself away and hope for the best. She had to try even if her heart wasn’t in it. Only then would she know.

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


Dinner had gone well, the conversation had flowed easily. Liz was surprised but she found herself having a good time with Adam. He was a very warm and charming person, a bit of a quirky sense of humor though. He hadn’t pried when they hit territory of Liz’s life that she didn’t want to talk about. She had been grateful for that. The only thing was that it had brought a glaring reality to light.

She would forever be hiding something from people she would grow to care about. If she divulged her secret she would be placing more people in danger that just herself. It would be like dominos, they would fall one after the other, and she couldn’t live with that. Now she truly knew how Max had felt when he had to tell her the truth.

It would have been so easy for her to hate him for this complication in her life. It was almost as if this bound her even tighter to the specter of him that seemed to float in the back corner of her mind. But the truth was, it was because of that connection that she was here today. No matter what, he had risked it all just for her, to give her this life. She wondered if that debt would ever be paid. But her heart knew the answer.

Max had had no idea that this would happen to her, that they would have a permanent bond between them. All he had wanted to do was keep her alive. It was simple, innocent. It was wrong of her to tarnish the best thing that had ever happened in her life.

They walked quietly back to her dorm, the night air was cool and refreshing. It was a much-needed relief from the stuffy atmosphere of the restaurant. The sky was clear, the stars just pinpoints of light of in the distance. It would never be the same as a clear night in Roswell though; those stars seemed to leap out at you from their forced solitude.

Side by side they walked up the pathway to the front of her dorm. Liz had become quiet, almost pensive, as they had made their way across campus. She had started to close herself off right from the beginning of dinner in all honesty. Their conversation had been lively but the most important thing for her wasn’t there. She didn’t feel that completeness that she had only found in her dreams now.

As they reached the landing in front of the doors, Liz turned to him.

“Well, this is my stop. I had a very nice time Adam, thank you for dinner.” She said gratefully.

Adam leaned towards her to kiss her good night, but she stepped back and shook her head slowly. It pained Liz to see the hurt flash in his eyes but she wasn’t going to pretend it was okay when it wasn’t, not again.

“I’m sorry, I can’t.” She said softly.

“Did I do something wrong?” He asked apprehensively.

“It’s not you Adam, it’s me.” She looked up into his eyes and gave him a little smile. “You’re a really great guy Adam, you’ll find her, but she’s just not me.”

“You don’t know that Liz.” Was his skeptical reply.

Liz just looked at him with a sad expression on her face. She reached out and gently squeezed his arm.

“But that’s just it, I do know. I may not want to face it but my heart belongs to someone else. Until my heart knows different this is how it’s to be.” A slight smile crossed her lips as she released his arm and walked up to her door. As she opened the door, she turned and looked back at Adam.

“I’ll see ya at study group on Tuesday. Night Adam.” And then she turned and entered the dorm.

Liz leaned back against the closed door with her eyes closed for a few seconds. This had been what she was trying to avoid, someone else being hurt because of the world she lives in, who she was. She looked out the window over her shoulder and watched him just stand there for a few seconds, looking down at his feet. He shook his head slowly a couple times and then turned and walked away.

Liz slowly made her way up the stairs to her room. Tonight had really brought a lot of things home for her. They were not surprises; just confirmations of what she had known to be true. Maybe her heart would release her from him someday, she wasn’t sure. But until that time she was going to be true to herself and continue as she had. At least she had tried.

Still the pull in the back of her mind kept giving her the silent assurance.

Time, all she needed was time. That she had plenty of.

tbc...

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 13-Dec-2002 11:26:11 AM ]
posted on 14-Dec-2002 12:59:18 PM by moonieADT
I'm feeling impatient and wanted to get this part out. It will help explain alot of things.

on with the show..

CtA
ACT XI.

Liz tapped her fingers on her desk as she listened to the ring of the phone in the receiver. It was almost on the seventh ring when someone finally answered. What she got was a front row seat to an argument that was as familiar to her as her old journal.

“Damn it Michael, you could have at least picked up your underwear off the floor, I almost fell and broke my neck…” and then in a completely sweet voice, “Hello?”

“Well hello to you to Maria.” Liz couldn’t keep the amusement out of her voice.

“Chica!” Maria screamed into the phone.

“Easy Maria, I’m deaf now.”

“Oh, how are you? Haven’t heard from you in a while.” Maria asked.

“I’m good, classes are good, tiring but good.” She half-heartedly complained.

“You know you love it. When you coming for a visit?” Maria missed her friend already. She had just seen her right after session had let out at Northwestern. But it had been an all to brief five days before Liz had had to head to Cambridge for the start of the summer semester at Harvard.

“Maria I was just there not too long ago. Do you miss me already?” Liz teased her.

“Not me, I’m Teflon babe. What are you kidding, of course I miss you.” Maria couldn’t help the little giggle that escaped her.

“I see that you and Michael are getting along better.” Liz couldn’t keep the amusement out her voice. They had always been this way and she doubted they would ever change. Liz always thought it was the security blanket in their relationship, that common ground they could always go back to when things got tense.

“Actually we are.” Maria chuckled. “He’s my spaceboy, always will be. At least he tells me he loves me once a month now. You should have seen what I had to do for that.”

“Eww. I so did not need that image floating around my head.” Liz just shook her head at the phone.

“I think someone needs to get a little bit, speaking of, how’s the dating coming?”

Liz knew Maria was going to ask, she always did. She knew that Maria was concerned for her and wanted her to lead a full life. But that just wasn’t in the cards when your heart has other plans for you, at least not right now.

“Well if you must know, I went out last Friday.” Liz just waited for the explosion.

“Well its about time, Hey Michael, Liz went on a date.”

“What?” was Michael’s incredulous reply, but there was just a slight bitterness to it.

“Jeez Maria, its not like I cured some disease, it was just a date.” Liz scolded her.

“Uh oh.” Maria knew it without even asking.

“What?” Liz asked wearily.

“You know what.” Maria said in her best ‘I’m warning you’ tone.

“It was okay but it just …” Liz trailed off.

“I know, its okay. You want to talk about it?” Maria tried to comfort her.

“Your going to think I’m weak or crazy.” Liz said almost like a scolded little girl.

“You still love him.” it was more a statement than a question.

“Is that wrong Maria?”

“Chica, the heart wants what it wants, in your case your heart isn’t so bright sometimes.”

“Maria.” She warned.

“I’m teasing, no it’s not weak or crazy. What you guys had may have been short but it was intense with a capital I.” Maria said. “Listen, he loves you too. I think more now than ever before. And it’s mostly because he really seems to understand what it means to truly love someone.”

“Its just, I’m torn. A part of me is telling me that I shouldn’t be feeling this way, that I should just get over it and move on. But Maria…You just don’t wave a magic wand and make your heart stop loving someone, no matter what has happened in the past.” She paused. “But another part of me, a huge part of me, is telling me that I still love him, that I should hang in there, somewhere inside me just knows. I can’t explain it.”

A silence fell over them. Maria knew this was hard for Liz; it always had been when it came to Max. There were many times when she had wanted to ring Max’s neck for some of the shit he had pulled, to be honest she had wanted to do more than that. But there was always something there that made you not want to give up on him.

Maria had gotten a chance to see another side of Max when Liz was in Florida for the summer. She had gotten close to him, hell even gave him girlfriend status and there were few who ever got that. She knew that Max was not all bad; he was a sensitive, caring person that stuff just doesn’t disappear.

She saw the changes take place in Max over that year from hell, starting when the bitch arrived. Maria swore that there was something that she did to him, she couldn’t prove it; it was just an instinct. Max was like a person with all the sense of right and wrong removed from them. With all the ‘Memory retrieval’ stuff that Tess was doing maybe it brought out the alien side. Hell Tess was more alien than human and just look how she turned out. Maybe that’s what happens when they get out of whack. It was no excuse though; Max should have found a way to control it.

“Liz, he’s not the same anymore.” Maria said softly.

Maria just let that hang between them. She knew Liz wanted to ask about him but she thought it was wrong to, that it made her weak. Maria was no expert but she just thought it made you human.

“How is he?” Liz asked softly.

“He’s aged, he looks about ten years older, a few grays. He’s quiet like he used to be and he has grown so much, it’s almost like he’s a different person now.” Maria’s voice was tinged with sadness at what they all had gone through.

“Maria, you almost sound like Max’s personal cheerleader.” Liz snorted.

“You know me Liz, I couldn’t stand the guy for a long time, but when you left, he fell apart, I mean bad. I think it was the kick in the ass he needed to get his head on straight. We’ve talked quite a bit while he was back from school these last few weeks.” She offered.

“Max was there?” Liz asked, a lump in her throat.

“Yea, he just left this morning to go back to school.”

“Where is he going to school Maria?” Liz thought that maybe Max may have told Maria by now.

“Sorry, don’t know the answer to that one. He doesn’t tell anyone and we haven’t asked in about a year now. He was pretty adamant about it back then, but I know he would have told me now, I just didn’t think to ask. When he’s not here, it’s like he’s off the face off the planet. All we’ve got is his damn email address.” Maria quipped.

He had made himself very scarce in Roswell. No one knew where he was, much to the annoyance of most. But to those who mattered they knew Max was trying to atone for all he had done. To come to grips with the backlash of all the events he had been part of or outright created.

“Oh.” Was all Liz could say. “Did he…ask about me?” she inquired.

“Liz, he talks about you a lot when he’s here. As a matter of fact he’s been looking for you. I told him you’re at Harvard. He said he was going to find you once the semester starts. It’s just amazing how much he’s changed, its like from boy to man right in front of our eyes. You’ll have to judge for yourself.”

Liz thought about it, she already did know, she had felt it all throughout the last couple years, the shifts in him. All of the regret and sorrow he had been dealing with and trying to reconcile what he had become, the things he had done. She had started feeling the shifts not to long after she had entered Northwestern. She had known right away that it was Max. Part of her was bitter that she had to endure more when it came to him, but it was fleeting. It was comforting to still feel a part of him and as she realized what was happening she couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace start to come over her. It was as if she were witnessing him becoming the person she had always known that he could be. She felt his remorse for the pain he had caused, all of the poor decisions, the inconsideration he had shown to others. She could feel how ashamed he was at his lack of courage to deal with the situations he should have, how he had taken everyone for granted. Over the last two years she had felt him become a man, one that she would have been proud to know.

“Maria would it sound weird to you if I told you I already knew?” Liz confided hesitantly.

“Chica, when it comes to you two, nothing is weird.”

“It’s like I can feel what he’s going through at times. I mean when emotions were really tense we could feel each other. I’ve been feeling the changes he’s been going through. Your right Maria, he is very different now.”

Maria shook her head at the phone. Leave it to those two to figure out a way to begin forgiving each other and not have to talk. In a way being a part of each other was the best thing that could have happened to them. It gave them the edge that might help them get through this and find each other. Maybe now they would both listen to that connection that they had taken for granted just a few short years ago.

“I will tell you one thing Liz, he thanked me and you for saving their lives, saving them from execution. I just didn’t know what to say.” Maria was still shocked when she remembered his heartfelt admission a couple weeks ago. She had completely forgotten about it.

“With everything else going on back then, I had forgotten all about that. God it seems like that was so long ago now.” Liz said reminiscently.

“I guess that’s a good sign right?” Maria queried.

“What do you mean?”

“Just that your not reliving the past, you’re healing and maturing.”

“When did you become so mom like?” Liz teased her.

“Well, someone has to supervise Michael and no one else would be able to stand to do the job.” That earned her a swat on the ass as Michael passed by her.

“Ow...Michael you…” Maria just shook her head at her boyfriend’s antics. After all she had deserved it, she would never admit that to him though.

“Maria, I’m going to let you go. I need to get back to studying. I love you.”

“Love you too Liz, you take care. And chica?”

“Yea?”

“Life has a funny way about it, don’t be too shocked by what might be right around the corner.” Maria said somewhat cryptically.

“One day at a time.” Liz said quietly.

“Bye”

“Bye”

tbc...
posted on 14-Dec-2002 3:02:41 PM by moonieADT
Authors note:
tsk, tsk, tsk.

Max will not be gettnig off that easy. Feeling the change is a big part of it. But its not all. There is still more to come and its not going to be easy for them. They both have to work at it.

Liz has prettymuch always been true to her heart. That's one of things I love about her character. She has faith when most others would throw their hands in the air and say good riddence.

I think the connection is very a important part. Witrh such emotional upheavel going on I would think they both would sense something.

There is still the fact that feeling and actions are two different things. He's well on the path of one, coming will be the time to demonstrate them.

thanks for the FB guys. Keep it coming....
posted on 14-Dec-2002 3:52:17 PM by moonieADT
For disclaimer and summary see ACT I

CtA
ACT XII.

Liz walked into the cellular biology class and took a seat about half way back. She had been at Cambridge for a few months now and was finally settled into her dorm. Liz busied herself with getting out her notebook and tape recorder. She always recorded her lectures; she wanted to be sure that she didn’t miss anything. She had a full library of tapes at the dorm to prove it.

The classroom was filling up with only a few minutes remaining until the start. Liz smiled to herself. She had made it. She was here. It was a long time coming but she was fulfilling her dream. At least one of them, there would always be one that got away.

The professor moved to the podium and introduced himself to the new students. He explained the syllabus and that there would be a lab required for this course. The lab would require students having a partner and that they would be assigned at random.

“Now that that’s out the way lets see who decided to attend shall we?”

The professor began to call roll. Funny how it was just like high school in some ways. You could still tell a lot about people by the way the say here.

“Adams…Albertson…Carr...David…Donaldson…Erich…Evans…”

“Here.”

Liz let out a squeak before she could stop herself. Her heart jumped to her throat and almost choked her. ‘This could not be happening.’ She thought. She tried to calm her breathing down but she just couldn’t seem to get enough air.

“Are you all right Miss…?” the professor prompted.

“Parker.” She replied in voice more steady than she felt.

All eyes turned in her direction, including a set of deep amber one’s with flecks of gold that she had not counted on seeing again. His eyes, as they often had in the past, mirrored her own. She saw shock, pain and for a brief second all of the love that any one person could ever hope to receive.

Their eyes locked and they both just lost themselves in each other. Liz couldn’t believe it but he had somehow gotten more handsome. But the sadness in him was easy to see, at least for her it was. He wore it like a tailored suit; it clung to him and was all around him. She knew that look well; it had greeted her everyday in the mirror for the last couple years.

Liz was unsure how too feel, should she be angry, happy, sad. They all came flooding at her at once. One thing that she knew was that she was going to say what she should have said over two years ago. Max wasn’t going to stop her this time. They had wasted enough time already. At that thought Liz couldn’t hold back the tear that fell silently down her cheek.

All eyes turned back to the front as the professor continued on with roll. Liz calmed herself and tried to focus on the class. This was one of those moments that you know are about to change your life forever.

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


‘Well, that explains the rumble in my stomach.’ Max though wryly. He had never seen her look more beautiful. His nightly dreams paled in comparison. It had been a little over a year since he had last seen her.

“Mister Evans”

Max had applied to Northwestern at the same time Liz had, but she had gotten her acceptance letter before him. His came two weeks later. Their fateful talk had already taken place so he never mentioned it. Max figured it would be easier if he just disappeared into the background as he always had before. He decided to still go to Northwestern, he convinced himself it was because it was a great school and he didn’t have time to apply anywhere else. In reality he just wasn’t ready to let go of her yet, he never thought he would be. His instinct to protect was just so strong; he just wanted to make sure she was safe.

“Mister Evans”

The year he spent at Northwestern had been hard on Max. Seeing her everyday had torn him apart. The jealousy of seeing others being able to talk to her was eating away at him. Max finally had to admit that she was safe and didn’t really need him to watch over her. It was her life to lead and that she had to do on her own.

“Mister Evans”

So Max had applied for a transfer to Harvard for his sophomore year and was accepted.
From all he could tell Liz was happy at Northwestern and would finish out her degree there. He figured he was safe. He thought wrong.

“Mister Evans”

“Here.”

That brought a roar of laughter from the class. Max turned the deepest red he ever had, all the way to the roots of his hair, his face felt like it was covered in molten lava.

“Mister Evans, I think we have established that fact.”

“Yes sir.” Max said, still kicking himself once again.

“Mister Evans, you and Miss Parker will be partners in the lab portion of this class.”

“Mister Gregory…”

Max didn’t hear the rest of the professor’s assignments. He didn’t know if this day was sent from heaven or from hell. He was sure that he was going to find out, soon.

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


The lab for the Cellular biology just happened to be right after the lecture. Max had waited for Liz as the students filed out of the lecture to go the ten doors down to the lab room. His palms were sweating and he felt ill. Max kept shifting from foot to foot. He had faced aliens trying to kill him, but was never as scared as he was right now. The reason for that fear approached him.

He couldn’t believe how amazingly beautiful she was. Her hair was slightly longer and skin looked even softer than he remembered. Her eyes had changed thought, they were still bright and expressive but they held sadness. A sadness that Max knew he was the cause of. He had wanted to spare her this, but as usual no matter what he does, just by being who he is always hurts her.

Liz just couldn’t believe her eyes. He was gorgeous, more so that she ever thought possible. He had filled out and looked healthy. His shirt fit him nicely, showing of his sculptured chest. Liz didn’t even want to think about his jeans. Time had been very kind to him, except to his eyes and hair. His eyes looked tired and worn, like he had seen much to much sorrow. She had seen that look; she had that look. His hair was as Maria had said, flecks of gray showed the aging he had pushed himself to do, showed of the great emotional upheaval he had come out on the other side.

Max stopped about ten feet away from her. He was afraid that he might in someway trigger the green electricity in her once again; it had seemed to happen when her emotions were running high. If how he felt was any indication then it was best if he was cautious. Liz saw Max keep a purposeful distance between the two of them. For a second she was hurt but she quickly realized that he was just afraid of hurting her how he had in the desert that night. She could feel his concern rolling off him in waves, that wasn’t the only emotion she felt; she felt fear, love and mostly sadness.

Liz closed the remaining distance between them. She tried give Max a reassuring look but she was having difficulties of her own just trying to maintain her composure.

The last step before they stood in front of each other they shared a common thought. ‘If being apart was supposed to be for the best, why is it slowly killing me inside?’

“Max.”

“Beautiful.”

Liz smiled inside at his comment; he didn’t even realize he had said it out loud.

“Excuse me?” she asked trying to keep the smirk from her face.

“Huh?” he asked turning red for the second time today. He was busted and he knew it, he might as well admit it.

Max swallowed. “Liz, it’s just …you look beautiful.”

“Thank you. Shall we?” she asked motioning towards the door. She wanted to try and keep things light. This was not the place for any deep conversation, especially one that might not be very pretty to watch.

Max just nodded his head and side-by-side they made the short journey to the lab room. Taking a vacant lab table, they set their books down and waited for the lab to begin.

“Déjà vu.” The both said at the same time.

“How are you Liz?” he asked quietly.

“Okay, yourself?”

“Same.”

The weight of the past was settling upon them. Time had not diminished their feelings for each other in any way but it had widened the gap. Max was about to say something but Liz spoke up first.

“Max, do you have another class after this one?” she asked, trying to be nonchalant.

“Nope, this is it for me today. You?” he questioned, he was sure this was going somewhere he just wasn’t sure where. Liz Parker did not make small talk. But then it had been two years, things change, people change.

“No.” She remained quiet for a few moments gathering up the resolve finish this between them once and for all. She didn’t want any loose ends; her life didn’t have room for them. She just wanted to know where the remainder of her life was going to lead, and the first step on that path was with Max.

“Max we need to talk…Today.” She was leaving no room for debate on this.

“Liz, I would really like that. I’d like to hear how you’ve been.”

He started but was cut off by the beginning of the lab. It’s funny how some things just never change. During the lab it was just like it had been in high school. They complimented each other so well. The worked seamlessly together, each of them falling into the roles they needed to, to complete the lab. If they could do this together so effortlessly maybe there was still hope for them.

posted on 15-Dec-2002 1:05:34 PM by moonieADT
For disclaimer and summary see ACT I

CtA
ACT XIII.

They arrived at Max’s apartment about 3 o’clock. It was a short walk from campus. The walk had been filled with an amazingly comfortable silence. Max led Liz into the living room and just let her take in her surroundings. He was completely beside himself. He had Liz Parker in his apartment, there was a time when that would have sent a wave of desire burning through him that was hotter than the sun, but now all he felt was loss, a loss that he had caused. He still felt that burning need but it was tempered with melancholy. The odds the Liz had not moved on were non-existent. She was beautiful, intelligent, friendly, exciting and so much more. Any man would be a fool to let someone like her get away, he knew he was living proof of that.

Liz gazed around the apartment. His scent filled her senses to overflowing, it surrounded her, was drowning her in its power. She had not forgotten how much that had affected her. Liz could see that Max had not spent much time decorating the place, it held his character but it didn’t reflect him. But then again maybe this was what he had become.

“Nice apartment.” Liz commented. She cringed at how impersonal she sounded. She felt like she was talking to a landlord when you’re out apartment hunting.

“Thanks, have a seat.”

Liz picked the couch in front of the bay window that looked out on the busy street. The sounds of the outside world just barely could be heard but at this moment that world did not exist. There were only two people in the world, in their world.

“Would you like something to drink?” Max asked trying to think of something to keep himself occupied so he wouldn’t appear as nervous as he felt.

“No I’m good.” She said.

A pregnant silence fell over the room. Neither of them really knew where to begin, but they had to start. A look of apprehension crossed Max’s face; at this point he no longer felt the need to hide anything from her. He had done that for so long now and it had gotten him nowhere. He had done it in the past with her as well; it had been part of what tore them apart. He wasn’t going to hurt her like that again.

“I tried to contact you at Northwestern a few months ago. They said you weren’t enrolled for next semester there anymore. I tried your cell but it was disconnected. I asked Maria and she told me that you transferring here.” He offered.

“You were trying to find me?” she questioned softly.

“Yea, when did you get here?” he asked softly.

“I arrived at the beginning of the summer semester. I transferred out of Northwestern at the end of the semester. I had always planned on getting here some day, it just took me a little longer than I thought.” She replied, a hint of sadness in her voice. Max nodded his head and waited for her to continue, he wanted her to be in control of this.

“So you’ve been here a year so far?” Liz asked, she got the reaction she was looking for.

Shock.

“You know?” he asked, trepidation filling his voice.

“Why didn’t you say anything, visit me?” she asked, the hurt written clearly on her face, evident in her voice.

“I didn’t want to get in the way Liz. You were living your life, pursuing your dreams. You didn’t need me distracting you. I really wanted you to be happy. Back then I wasn’t sure how to do that except to stay away from you so I wouldn’t hurt you more.” Max swallowed; he didn’t know how she was going to take all of this.

“Then why did you go to Northwestern?” she leveled him with a look that told him to just lay his cards on the table.

“Liz when we talked that day at the hotel, I was scared. I didn’t have the guts to hear the things that you might have said to me. I only knew one thing. I wasn’t going to hurt you anymore because of me not having my life together. Back then my life was out of control. I didn’t know which way I was going and I knew that I wasn’t dealing with any of the things I needed to be. I knew things were wrong but I didn’t know what and especially how to fix them. I didn’t want you along for the ride that would have only been more painful.”

Max realized that it felt good to be getting this out. He should have just been honest with her back then. He had let his fear rule him. Not today.

“I didn’t really talk to anyone about it until Izzy stopped by and gave me some advice. She had been through a lot and I knew she was the one to talk to. She helped quite a bit but a lot of it came down to me. I went into therapy for a year and a half right afterwards. It was one of the best things I have ever done. It’s kind of amazing when you start to listen and look to other people for support, they do come through, if they’re the right ones.” He said, a wry smile crossing his face. He seemed to disappear into the past for a moment, emotion flashing to quickly to read across his handsome features.

“Liz I knew that I could have talked to you, you’ve always been there to help, but it was kind of hard to go to you when ‘we’ were the problem. Both of us were just too close to really see things clearly back then. We both may have thought we could be we would have only been fooling ourselves.”

Liz gave a silent nod, he was right. They both would have gone around in the same circles.

“I received my acceptance to Northwestern a week after we talked. I knew you were going too. I told myself that I was going because it was a great school; their programs were perfect for me. But that wasn’t even a tenth of the reason chose it.” He looked down embarrassed by his actions, ashamed that he had been sneaking around.

“Max?” Liz prompted. She wanted to get this out, so it would be one less thing to have between them.

“I wanted to make sure you were safe.” He blurted out. “And….”

Liz waited patiently. She knew it was hard for Max to let his inner most thoughts out. She had time.

Max took a deep breath and just forged ahead.

“I didn’t know how to let you go.” He said softly.

“Max...” Liz heart broke just a bit more.

“I would watch you going to your classes, talking to your friends. You seemed so happy. It made accepting us being apart a little easier. You were living the life you deserved, away from me. I knew that I had made the right choice.” Max paused thoughtfully and added, “It was wrong of me to make the decision for you at the hotel that day though, I took away your voice that day, I am sorry I did that. Your wants were just as important if not more so than mine.”

Max tried to calm his emotions; this was stirring up a lot of old hurts, but seeing Liz again was helping to heal them, he hoped that he was causing more in her by talking about this.

“When no ‘alien’ stuff happened I figured that it was safe, you didn’t need my protection anymore. I had to really let you go. I was out of your life but I hadn’t let you really out of mine. It was slowly killing me, just like in high school, before we…. But now it was worse. I knew what it felt like to hold you, to kiss you, to tell you I love you and to hear it back.” Max took a shaky breath. ‘Just a little more.’ He encouraged himself.

“So I transferred here, I never figured you would come to Harvard. You seemed to have everything you needed at Northwestern. I figured it would be safe, and I wouldn’t have to worry about you running into me.”

“I don’t know if I should kick your ass or hug you.” Liz tried to keep her face neutral but she couldn’t help the tiny twitch of her lips. Max just looked up at her, he was actually frightened. That idea alone made Liz chuckle slightly.

“I know which one I’d prefer.” Max said silently to himself, or so he thought.

“Excuse me?” Liz asked knowingly.

Max just looked at her like a kid who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He didn’t know what to do. Max just shook his head slightly and resigned himself to his fate.

“I know which one I’d prefer.” He said and closed his eyes, waiting for the comment to come or even worse yet, the slap to his face for even suggesting such a thing after what they had been through.

He never heard her coming towards him. The first thing that registered was a feeling of peace he had not known in over two years. Her scent wrapped itself around him, securing him tighter than the arms that had now found they’re way around his waist. They both just let themselves become lost in the moment. Reveling in how much they had missed this simple joy, one of the many things they had been denied over the years.

Liz pulled back a little and couldn’t help but be amused by the shocked look on Max’s face.

“What, I would have picked the hug too.” She replied matter-of-factly.

Liz leaned forward again into the embrace, her feet shuffling the final few inches to bring them into contact again. She let herself enjoy this moment. She didn’t know if they would ever have another one like this. There was a lot be said, a lot to be explained. They had gotten a lot of things out in the open but there was still more.

Liz stepped back from Max and sat back down on the tired sofa. She looked at Max expectantly and gestured for him to sit next to her. She didn’t want to create any artificial distance between them; there had already been hundreds of miles to do just that.

“Max, Thank you.” She said sincerely.

Max was speechless. Of all the things she could have said that had not been one of them. He tried to come up with a reason but he kept drawing a blank. His face showed the confusion to her comment.

“For wanting to keep me safe, for loving me enough to let me go.”

“Liz it was the one most difficult things I ever had to do. It was like closing a door on a part of my life that I never truly believed would be over. I felt like a part of myself died the day I left your hotel room. But I just didn’t know it. When I finally left Northwestern, knowing I would probably never see you again, that’s when I finally had to accept that part of me really was gone.” He confessed.

Max had been denying the truth to himself while they were together in high school. He knew inside that their days were numbered, as did Liz. They both had kept going through the motions and never really were fixing the problem.

“Liz I don’t want to get in the way of your dreams here at Harvard. I want you to be happy, this was your dream before it ever became mine.” Max swallowed with difficulty.

“Max, we can’t hide from each other. I don’t want to.”

Liz took a deep breath; this was the moment she had dreaded for all these years. She had sworn to herself that if they ever met again she would say all of the things she had not said the last time. She needed to cleanse her soul of all of the old baggage. She knew that it would not take it away or give her the chance to pretend it never happened, she didn’t want those things. She wanted to validate those feelings she had had with the only person who had shared them with her, no matter what side they had been on.

“Max, I have to say something’s that I need to get out. I don’t necessarily expect answers as much as acknowledgement.” Liz looked at him and she immediately saw the understanding in his posture.

“You hurt me so badly back then, so many different times. It wasn’t just with Tess although a lot of it seems to have been centered around her.”

Liz looked away and gathered her nerve this wasn’t going to be easy.

“You wanted me to have faith in you, in us, when Tess first arrived and you kissed her. I saw it with my own eyes Max. But I still believed in you, even put myself at risk to find out more about her. I know you didn’t ask me to but I just couldn’t blindly believe there was nothing more to it than my boyfriend cheating on me. There was always something more involved when it came to us, to our lives, to you.”

Max shook his head in understanding and waited for her to continue.

“I have to admit you told me from the start that there was a strange attraction you had to her, you were honest about that. Looking back, I know that you never lied to me; no matter what the truth was you always gave me that.”

“With the whole Kyle thing I guess I wanted you to give me the same kind of faith that I had given you. That in spite of everything that you saw, everything I told you, you knew that there was more than met the eye to what was going on. I wanted you to find out the truth so badly and when you seemed to accept that I would do something like that it really hurt me.”

Liz took a much-needed breath and tried to relax. Reliving this was a bit easier than she had thought it would be. The hurt was still there but deadened slightly by time and maturity.

“I guess I will take that water now if you don’t mind.” Liz said softly.

“I’ll be right back.” Max got up and paused as he passed her. He smiled sadly at her and went to the kitchen to get her the water. He returned quickly and handed her the glass and sat back down.

Liz smiled her thanks to him. Collecting her thoughts she asked the one question that had plagued her for so long.

“Why?” It was a simple question one for which there was no simple answer.

“I…I just gave up. I was insecure and when I saw what I did, I doubted everything that we had. You had been able to walk away from me and go to Florida for 3 months, which was something I never thought you would do. I guess I lost faith in us, in you, in me, and it was my own weakness.” Max took a breath and said the thing that had haunted him and still did. “You looked so happy when I saw you with Kyle that night, you were smiling and laughing. I just gave up, more and more each day. I was spiraling out of control then too, something was happening to me, changing me; it was ugly. I felt like a spectator unable to stop it yet I kept pushing it along. I let everyone down, but none more than myself.”

“But Max, why was it months later that you slept with her? I could maybe have understood if it was right after but …” shaking her head, she just left the question hanging.

“Liz it was when you were leaving for Sweden. I tried to use our friendship, which by that time I had pretty well destroyed, as leverage to make you stay, to leave it alone. When you just left, I knew then I had lost everything; at least I felt like I had. Liz, I had hurt you, put you in danger, just about alienated everyone. I had successfully destroyed everything that was good in my life and the people around me. The only thing that I seemed to have left was Tess. I was weak and took it.”

“Liz I don’t want to give you excuses for my behavior, because that’s all they’ll be. I was wrong so many times back then. I don’t know how I ever ruled a planet. Then again maybe that’s why I was overthrown and killed.” Max looked pensive as he continued.

“I know at that time I was letting my alien side rule more than anything else. I was hard and unfeeling most of the time, only worried about myself and no one else. It was ugly, I was ugly and I pray everyday that it was just some horrible nightmare that I’m going to wake up from but it wasn’t, it was me, it was who I was then. That’s not me now. ” Max looked down, unable to meet her gave. He was ringing his hands almost like he was trying to wash the memories away, his actions away.

“Max, yea it was you.” She said sadly. “I felt like you had never cared for me at all. The boy I had fallen in love with was lost and in his place was this…. this…. monster.” Liz shuddered at the memory of those days.

“I mean, my god Max, you left me at my prom to be with her. Did you ever wonder what happened to me that night? Didn’t’ you care?” Liz felt the bitterness of that memory. She raised her hand when Max was about to answer. Liz just shook her head and took some calming breaths. This was the past and nothing could be done about it. She had come to grips with that, this was not who they were now.

“Max, I know you cared. “ Liz looked up and saw the nod of his head. “It just very rarely showed. You just weren’t you anymore. I actually had gotten to the point where I hated you.” Liz pushed a piece of hair away from her face. Her eyes conveyed the pain at having felt that way towards anyone, especially one she loved more than anything.

Max watched as Liz’s eyes took on a faraway look. She seemed to be battling a demon that she had never quite completely faced. Max sat quietly and waited, he didn’t want to rush her she needed to do this in her time, not his.

Liz turned haunted eyes to Max; she could feel the cold ice like prickle of tears, as they demanded release that she refused to give. Max saw her struggle and silently conveyed to her that he was there for her if she needed him. He would always be there, is she would let him; he had learned such a terrible lesson on that. Then Liz said the three words that tore at the final unhealed part of her soul.

“I miss Alex.” Her voice was quivering and the tears fell unbidden down her cheeks. Her eyes were so lost and desperate. She had remained strong through all of the events of Alex’s death, nary shedding a tear. She had kept this in for far to long.

“If you need me, I’m here.” He whispered quietly to her. His head hung slightly in shame at having so miserably let her down when she had really needed him most back then. He knew his words would probably ring hollow in her ears, but he had to say them. He was here now, very late yes, but he was here and he always would be if she ever needed him to be. He would suffer all she had to give him, but he didn’t want her to have to do it alone.

Liz looked at him through the haze of tears that cascaded down her cheeks. She looked at the open arms that Max offered her. Was now the time? She couldn’t think, so she just felt. She moved to his embrace and cried, like she never had. She mourned the loss of so much.

“I miss him so much, he didn’t deserve that.” She sobbed out.

“Its okay just let it out.” He tried to sooth her.

Liz looked at him with eyes full of old anger and hurt. She felt her hands curl into fists and started to pummel his chest, striking at him for all the pain she carried within her.

“I hated you, I hated you so much back then.” She cried through heaving sobs. Her arms fell lifelessly against his chest. Max gathered her closer into his embrace and gently rocked her back and forth. Whispering words of comfort, anything to try and help her through this pain.

They stayed like that for almost a half hour. Both of them just trying to find the solace they needed.

“I’m sorry.” Liz began.

“Hey, don’t.” he said with a shake of his head. “Don’t bottle this stuff up, it will just tear you apart, in a way it already has. You’re a strong person now, very strong.” Max gave her little smile and squeezed her upper arms where he held her to offer her what strength he could give her.

Liz nodded slowly and wiped away the tears with the Kleenex Max had offered to her. She looked at him with a wobbly smile.

“I’m okay … I needed to get that out.” She said softly.

“Anytime … anytime.” He offered simply.

Liz took a drink of her forgotten water and took some cleansing breaths. She didn’t like it when she lost it like that, but it had felt so good to finally let at least a little of the pain go, to start this part of her healing. They contemplated each other in silence, each one just taking the other in. Liz knew there were still some things she wanted to say, to explain where she had seen them the last year they were together.

“Max, I just wanted everything to be like it had been. After Tess left, we were getting closer again but there was always this wall there that neither of us wanted to admit to. We were a time bomb just waiting to go off. I’m kind of surprised it took as long as it did. I think the final straw was when you went to LA.” Liz sat back and took a drink of her water. She wanted to get this out but what was it really accomplishing? Was she trying to punish Max for how he had hurt her? Doing this face to face so she could see the affects? Was she just trying to clear the air and start again in a place where she could breath and not feel like she was suffocating? It was all of those things but more so it was a part of letting it go so that it could really be the past and not come back to haunt them.

Liz knew that she wanted a relationship with Max, of what type she was unsure but she wanted him to be in her life. In the least, she wanted the friendship that they had been robbed of. He was different now, she could tell that immediately. He was no longer the naive boy looking for acceptance. He had grown from hard lessons and self-exile. He had learned and had paid many times over at his own conscience’s hands, more than anyone else would ever be able to extract. We make our own hell and Max was proving that. She knew it would take time for them to get to a comfortable place, to really trust each other again. But if neither of them started then they would truly have learned nothing.

Max knew there were just so many times he had let her down. He couldn’t keep track of them. She had felt every hurt and every scar he had left on her. He thought back to their argument in her room, the last night they were anything resembling a couple. He had said the things that were on his mind that night, not wanting to take all the blame that seemed to be getting laid at his feet. He had had help in creating this mess. But he had to be honest, and that meant that he had made many poor choices and had brought much of it on himself.

“Max….” Liz just didn’t know what else to say. They had both paid. The question was now what do they do?

“Liz, I will never be able to tell you how sorry I am. I know you hear that a lot from me, but it’s true. I regret ever hurting you, every minute of every day I do. I said this before, you will never be able to hate me as much as I do myself for what I’ve done.” Max stood up and walked over to the bay window looking out on the street. He gazed briefly up into the Cambridge sky and then let the drapes slip from his fingers.

“Have you heard anything about your son?” Liz asked from out of nowhere.

Max was startled by the question. He knew that she was a very caring person and that although Zan was living proof of Max’s betrayal to their love, he was still an innocent. He had not asked to be born into this mess.

“Strangely enough I had actually given up ever finding him right before I came to talk to you at your hotel. It was just another one of the things that I had not wanted to accept. I found so much peace once I did. But that didn’t last long.”

“Max?” she questioned.

Max gave her a wry smile. “Tess came back a little bit after graduation. Kivar had rejected the baby and sent her back to earth as punishment. He had abused her badly, she was dying, and so she wanted me to take care of Zan, the baby. She died a couple hours after being back.” His face was a mask of no emotion as he talked about her.

Liz raised her hand to her mouth in a silent gasp. As much as Tess had caused pain in their lives Liz had not wished death on her, Liz was not a murderer. She had deserved to atone for what she had done but this was a high price to pay, even for her.

Max took a breath and continued, “I didn’t want him to have the life I had, being in danger just because of who I was. He was human and he deserved a normal life. I had my dad arrange for an adoption. He was brought to his new parents about a week later.”

Liz could see the silent pain that had momentarily found its way into his features before he quickly brushed it away. He had had many years of practice hiding his pain away but Liz always seemed to be able to see through him.

“Max, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” she asked, the concern clearly written on her face.

Max just smiled at her. This was just like Liz. She had to confront living evidence of his betrayal and yet her concern was for him. She truly was a great woman.

“It’s taken a lot of time but I know I made the right choice. It’s a chapter in my life that has ended. I still think about him and wonder, but I know his life will be good, better than I could have given him back then.”

Max paused and collected his thoughts. He didn’t want to focus on something that had caused so much hurt between them.

“I did want to tell you something.”

Liz looked at Max with raised eyebrows.

“I just wanted to say thank you for all the help you gave me when I was searching. You helped me more than you will ever know. I know it wasn’t easy for you and I didn’t always say thank you, but I really appreciated everything, everything you did. I also wanted to thank you for saving my life. We would have been killed if we had gone back to Antar. I never said thank you for that, it still doesn’t seem to be anywhere near enough.” Max said with complete sincerity.

Max looked her in the eyes and said, “I owe you so much.”

Liz could feel the lump that had taken up permanent residence in her throat since this afternoon get just a little bit bigger. He had changed so much, so much.

“Max, can I ask you a question?” Max knew that something was coming. She had that look in her eye. She was up to something.

“Sure. Anything.” He said, his voice full of apprehension.

“Have you really wanted to be apart all these years?”

Max didn’t quite know what to make of that question. He had been honest with her and he had no intention of hiding his feeling anymore. Enough time had passed for them to be able to talk and look at things in a different light.

“Liz, I never wanted to be apart from you. I’ve loved you…. well…. for as long as I can remember. I never stopped. To be honest Liz, I just wasn’t mature back then and that was reflected in my love for you. I didn’t always think before I acted, I didn’t always listen to my heart. I’ve learned what it means to really love someone and that you don’t take that love for granted.”

Liz saw all the unsaid words in his eyes. He was the man that she had always known he would become. Then it completely clicked what he had just said, I’ve learned what it means to really love someone and you don’t take that love for granted. ‘He really has moved on.’ She thought. Liz knew that time would change things but she had to be honest with herself. She never really had expected this. The way Maria had talked…. well that could have been the problem right there. Liz had forgotten to put everything through the Maria filter.

“Your right, love is something that you always have to work at. It doesn’t come easy and sometimes it comes with a high price.” Liz tried to smile but it just didn’t seem to come.

She was here, at Harvard, and there would be no way she would be avoiding Max, not with them sharing classes let alone being lab partners. She could drop the class or ask for a new partner but that was something the old Liz might have done. She wasn’t going to run from her problems or just hope that they would get better. She was going to face it. She might as well make sure this girl was really worthy of Max; he did deserve to have someone who would give him the world. They both had learned hard lessons and paid high prices in the process. When all was said and done, she knew that they would both still do anything to help each other. They had a bond that nothing would ever be able to break.

“I know, we both have paid that price.” Max said with regret. The well-practiced mask of control slipping for a few seconds, that was one of the effects of being honest with yourself finally, your heart will make appearances on your sleeve from time to time.

Max looked up at Liz and gave her a small smile. Liz’s heart had no choice but to speed up just a little, it was the one he had only ever given to her, but in the same moment the realization hit that it might belong to someone else now. The not knowing was killing her.

“So when am I going to meet this new girl that has changed you so much?” just asking put Liz’s stomach into knots. She didn’t know why she was doing this to herself. No that’s not true, she did. ‘I still love him.’ she thought, ‘There, I said it, are you happy?’ She berated her conscience. Liz knew it five years ago, the same as she knew everyday since then until now.

Liz pasted a smile on her face and waited for the answer. Max just looked at her and didn’t quite know what to say. He didn’t know how she could think that he was with any one else.

“New girl that has changed me so much?” Max parroted.

“Yea, the one that showed you what it means to really love someone and that you don’t take that love for granted?” She repeated.

Realization dawned on Max. He knew there was so many things he could say but the best was just to show her. Max got up from the couch and held out his hand for her to take. She looked up at him a little confused but took his hand and let him lead her towards the front door. It dawned on he where they might be going.

“Max, I didn’t meant right now. Maybe… we can do this over lunch or … something like that … sometime.” She stammered, not really wanting to face this person so soon. She needed time to prepare for something like this.

Max just looked back at her and gave her a slight smile and gently pulled her along into the entranceway. They stopped a few feet from the door and Max turned to face her. He moved back around her so that he was now standing a little off to her side. Max took her shoulders in his hands and gently swiveled her towards the wall where a large mirror hung. They stared at each others reflection for a few seconds before Max finally spoke.

“Liz, I’d like you to meet the woman who has changed me, who showed me what love truly is. Liz, it was you….”

“Me?” Liz asked, not really believing her ears. Was there really no one else?

“I don’t love anyone else but you, there never will be anyone else for me.” Max said softly. His breath was caressing her cheek as he hovered over her shoulder.

“Max….” She said softly.

Max pulled back and turned her around to look into her eyes. He didn’t know how it was possible for her to get more beautiful each time he saw her but she did.

“Liz, all I want is for you to be happy.” He said sincerely.

“Max, we’ve been through so much together. I think we have both earned that right. We were both wrong all those years ago, very wrong. I don’t want to live my life in the past anymore. Neither of us should, we’ve both grown and matured. I want to live, not just exist.”

“I know, I’m sorry. I….” Max started to say.

“Max, enough. No more ‘I’m sorry.’ Okay?” Max just nodded his head as she smoothed the hair off of his forehead. It was such a simple act that she had been denied for so long. She vowed at that moment that nothing was going to stand in the way anymore. They had both tried to do the right thing and had only wound up hurting each other more. The one good thing that had come from the last two years was that they had had time to grow, time to heal and be what they needed to be for each other. Liz let her hand caress his cheek and linger there for a moment. She closed her eyes and realized she no longer had to imagine that this was happening as she had all of those lonely nights not so long ago.

Max tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. It was reminiscent of the first time he had done it at the crash festival in what seemed like another lifetime.

“You had a, uh….” Max started.

“Hair thing, right. Thanks” She finished, smiling at the memory it invoked.

”I still can’t believe you’re here. The whole day has been a little surreal, ya know? But…would you like to have dinner with me? Tonight? 7:00 PM?” Max queried.

Liz looked up quickly at Max. She didn’t know what dinner would mean. She gave herself a quick mental shake and focused.

“We haven’t seen each other in so long, I’d like to get to know you again if that’s okay? No pressure, no stalking, just as friends?”

Liz relaxed at his assurances. She did want to see more of this new Max. This was who she had seen a far to small a glimpse of when they were first together. She wanted to see more, much more.

She nodded her head and smiled up at him, “I’d really like that.”

“Are you sure this is something you want to do?” he asked. Max didn’t want to push her into something she wasn’t ready for. He had realized in his time away from her that he would wait forever if he needed to. After all he had resigned himself to the fact that he would be alone for the rest of his life if he couldn’t spend it with her. It was a small price to pay for all the pain that he had caused.

“It’s important that you’re comfortable with this. I’ll understand if you need time or aren’t ready.”

“I’m sure.” She replied confidently.

“Liz, I’ll do what ever I have to do as long as it means that you’ll be happy. It’s all I’ve wanted for you, especially for the last couple of years.” Max said wanting nothing but the best for her.

She reached into the purse she had over her shoulder and pulled out a piece of paper and pen and preceded to write down her address and phone number. She handed it to Max and had him provide her with his.

The walk back to her car was quiet and peaceful, not the tense journey it had been only an hour before. They chatted about nonsense, a start at regaining some of the time that they had lost.

Max stepped back and let her enter the car. Closing the door for her, she rolled down the window.

“I’ll be by at 7:00 PM, so be ready.” He gave her the smile she had always known was just for her. She cursed her body for being a traitor to her. ‘Yes, I know you want him, you’re tired of being a virgin, but all in due time. We have to see if this is right first. Now knock it off.’ She chastised herself.

“I’ll see you later, drive safe. And Liz?”

“Yea Max?”

“I…I…I’ll see ya soon.” He had wanted to say so much more, but it was too soon for that. He loved her and anytime they could share together would be like a dream come true for him. He would confess everything eventually but for now he was just thankful to be able to spend time with her again.

With that he turned and started back towards his apartment. There was lightness in his step he had not had for the last four years. He looked back over his shoulder, gave her a quick wave and sprinted off on his way.

tbc..

Next post on Sunday

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Dec-2002 1:08:14 PM ]
posted on 15-Dec-2002 11:11:15 PM by moonieADT
Authors Note:
If Liz was to wish death on someone, ANYONE, what would that make her...I believe the answer is Tess.

As for Zan.. Well that is answered further into the fic, a few ACTS from now...maybe give or take.

jeez, cut me some slack *wink*
posted on 16-Dec-2002 10:09:00 AM by moonieADT
Authors Note:

If you re-read the passage. Liz never said that she didn't deserve to pay for what she did, just that it was a high price to pay. Liz also thought that Tess should atone for what she had done, and if that was with her life then so be it. Its dangerous to be judge, jury and executioner. There is guilt with that job. Lots of it. Liz knows that. (At least mine does.)

The implication is simply that Liz would not be one who would put her to death NOW if given the chance. Its a lot easier to act in the heat of the moment but with time comes more rational thought.

I agree that if Liz had had the opportunity at the time she would have probably killed her back then. And now she would be dealing with the issue that she killed someone. Even if the person killed was evil, she still took a life. When your own life is threatened its easier to reconcile, but when its not in self defense, it easy to see it as murder.

The point is that Liz is smarter than that and she knows that killing Tess won't bring Alex back, or undo what has happened. Remember these characters have grown up. They have matured.

Art
posted on 18-Dec-2002 11:46:45 PM by moonieADT
selfish bump..
posted on 22-Dec-2002 3:26:33 PM by moonieADT
For disclaimer and summary see ACT I

CtA
ACT XIV.

Max arrived at her dorm at 6:30 PM. He spent the next few minutes going over the day’s events again. They still had a lot to talked about fro what now seemed like a different lifetime ago. Was the past better left alone? In some ways yes, but whatever she wanted to talk he would, he didn’t want anything else to come between them. They had made the mistake of not being open with each other and it had cost them. Those days were gone and he would all he could to ensure they never returned.

He was so lost in his thoughts he barely noticed the car pull up outside the dorm a couple spots down. Once the passengers exited he became fully aware of their actions.

It was Liz, with another man.

He couldn’t believe his eyes, how could this be happening. ‘Slow down.’, he told himself. ‘You don’t know what’s going on. And more importantly if this is what makes her happy then that’s what’s important.’ Max watched from his car as the scene unfolded, but there was no way he could avoid the slight twisting in his heart.

The guy walked Liz up to the front of the building, his hand hovering around the small of her back, guiding her. Liz turned and said something to the guy and smiled at him. Liz slipped her arms around the guy’s neck and embraced him. She pulled back and kissed him. Max couldn’t tell where, but then he couldn’t see that clearly through the mist of tears that had already started to flow. He swiped his hands at his cheeks to remove the evidence of his shattered heart and looked back to the building. Liz was laughing and running towards the entrance of the dorm. She opened the door and with one last wave she entered the building.

Max didn’t know what to do. His head felt like it was going to explode and no matter where he turned the image of Liz in another mans arms flashed in front of him. He didn’t want to believe that this could happen, that his eyes must be lying to him but he had seen it. It hadn’t been a setup like the Liz / Kyle thing had been. She had no idea he would be there early. What else was he to believe? In truth it really didn’t matter what he believed and he knew that. He loved her, and part of that was wanting her to have what made her happy. Of course it hurt, but there was no way he would deny her happiness. She deserved it no matter where she found it.

Max knew he had two choices; he could turn and run or just face the fact that she had moved on. It was something they hadn’t talked about but he knew in the back of his mind he would have had to confront it someday. It was more painful than he had thought it would be but it was part of letting the last pieces he held onto go. He could understand how uneasy Liz had felt when she thought he had another woman in his life.

Having decided, Max made his way into the dorm and up to her floor. Entering the hallway he turned left and headed towards her room. Standing outside her door, he steadied himself with a couple a deep breaths and knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” Her voice never failed to set his heart beating just that little bit faster and he knew it always would.

“Max.”

He heard the locks clicking and then he was face to face with the most beautiful woman he would ever know, her smile lighting the room. Yea, she was a woman now, independent, strong, compassionate and strikingly beautiful. Max gave her a small mile and entered her room as she stood back to invite him in.

Max looked around the room, taking it all in. There were something’s about Liz that he knew would never change. Her room was so reminiscent of her room over the Crashdown, so distinctive and so Liz.

“Hi Liz.” He offered, trying to keep the sadness out of his voice.

“I’ll just be a minute, I’m running a little late, okay?” she asked brightly.

“Sure, I understand.” He replied little distractedly.

“Max, you okay?” the concern evident in her voice, as she touched his arm.

“I, um, I saw you, outside.” He stammered.

“You saw me?” She asked, slightly confused.

“In front of your dorm, I saw you with that guy. He better treat you right.” He couldn’t hide the hurt in his voice.

Liz just looked at him with a confused expression on her face.

“Max, what are you talking about?”

Max sighed, he really had not wanted to relive the moment over again so soon but it was the reality they lived in. This was her new life and he was happy for her, it would just take some adjusting. It’s easier to think of how you will feel about something but it’s always different when you’re in it.

“I got to your dorm early, about 6:30. I was so excited to see you; I just couldn’t wait for our dinner.” Max paused, needing to pull his thoughts together. He took a deep breath and finished with the worst part of it.

“I saw you get out of some guy’s car and he walked you to the door. You were in his arms and you kissed him.” He finally choked out. He knew, as he always had, that for some people there really only ever is one person, for Max it was Liz. He had always hoped for her, it would be him.

Liz just looked at him, she didn’t really know what to say first.

“Max….” she started.

“Liz, it’s okay, really. I just hadn’t been prepared to see that. It just takes a little getting used to. I’m happy for you as long as your are.” He smiled sadly.

“Max, MAX. Quiet.” She said as she placed her finger over his mouth. The warmth of his skin and the moistness of his lips sent a little shiver through her, would she ever not have the feeling when she was around him?

“Max, there is no one else.”

“Liz?” He asked confused.

“I know what you saw, or thought you saw. If you’ll just let me explain?” This was not how she wanted tonight to go.

Max looked at her and nodded. “Okay.” He said softly.

“Max, that was Kyle, he was helping with some last minute things before he headed back over to Boston University. Actually it’s kind of ironic that it would be Kyle that you would see me with.” She was tapping her foot waiting for the information to sink in. It was almost funny watching the emotions play over his face, almost. Too much had happened for any of this to be funny anymore. She was pissed at the world for dealing them the hand they had gotten and she had officially reached her boiling point. She so desperately wanted to go back and kick Future Max’s ass for all the shit he had started in motion. The thing was that she knew they all had to go through what they did to become the people they were today. It’s never easy accepting that you have to suffer sometimes in order to grow, to really know who you are, what you are made of.

“Liz…” he half-heartedly started.

“Max, I don’t blame you. What were you supposed to think?” she asked softly. “We both have all these old feelings for each other, of course it would hurt to see one of us with someone else.”

She understood so much more now. Things just weren’t so clear cut and black and white as she at one time had wanted them to be.

“It’s never been easy for us. We just saw each other again today; we don’t know what’s going on in the others life. There are going to be huge doubts from time to time. We both don’t want to hurt anymore, either each other or ourselves. We just have to always be honest.” She paused for a second and just decided to lay it all out there so there would be no more misunderstandings.

“Listen, I’m just going to say this and please don’t interrupt. Okay?” she waited to be sure he had understood.

“Max, there never has been anyone else since we’ve been apart.”

Max opened his mouth to apologize for her being alone all this time when she raised her hand to signal for him to be silent.

“Max. Quiet.” she warned him. He just nodded his head.

“It was my choice to make, you have nothing to feel sorry for. What we had was intense, even though we spent most of our time as something other than boyfriend and girlfriend. Neither of us could deny that there was always something there. We tried to ignore it but it never did go away. I know, I tried.”

She seemed to get lost for a moment in her thoughts be fore she continued.

“Max I didn’t want anyone in my life then, they would have just paid for the pain I was going through and ultimately…they just wouldn’t have been you. I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t want a substitute. And until I moved past that and was ready to accept someone for who they were, I didn’t think I should be with anyone. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so lonely but what would have the price been? I couldn’t hurt someone else for my on selfishness.”

Liz knew that there was nothing to lose at being honest at this point. This is what they had always needed to have between them, open communication. They had had the mother of all trust issues. If they were to ever move on from that place, they would have to deal with them, head on. If nothing else she wanted to have the friend that she knew he would always be.

They shared a smile with each other.

“Now I believe you owe me a dinner?” She said with her hands on her hips.

“I do believe you are correct. Shall we?” Max offered her his arm. She looped her arm through his and looked up into his handsome face.

“We shall.”

Together they took the first of many steps towards capturing something they had lost so long ago. Friendship.

tbc..

Next Post on Christmas Day...
posted on 23-Dec-2002 11:39:42 AM by moonieADT
selfish bump ..just so you know its updated
posted on 24-Dec-2002 1:52:06 AM by moonieADT
bump..
posted on 24-Dec-2002 1:23:56 PM by moonieADT
Hi all,
I know I said I was going to post on Xmas day and I still am but I wanted to get this part out to all of you.

Thanks to everyone who bumped and left feedback. You guys have been great.

Lastly, I want to wish everyone one a happy and safe holiday.

Now on with the show...

CtA
ACT XV.

“Do you have the results from last weeks lab right there?” Liz asked.

“Here you go. Take a look at the counts, I’m not sure if I did those right.” Max responded, scratching the side of his head.

This had become their routine now for the last few months. Wednesday and Friday nights were study nights. They had gotten together originally to compare some results from a lab and it just took on a life of its own from there. They took turns going back and forth between his apartment and her dorm room. Max typically was the one that provided the food, but every now and then Liz would cook for them at his apartment. It was a nice break from the take out they usually worked off of.

Tonight had been a really good night. Max had made dinner this time, a traditional spaghetti dinner with meatballs and Italian bread. It was simple, but it was homemade.

The conversation came a lot easier for them now. Not to often did they stray to the topics of past hurts, it was counter productive and they both knew it. But when it did happen, the moments were somber and fair. There was no longer the need to sling accusations and point fingers; they both knew what had happened. Now they did there best to try and rebuild their friendship within the new light of understanding and forgiveness. There was some that would not be so easy to forgive, but as they both looked at each other now, they realized what they had lost. Neither of them wanted to make that same mistakes again.

Hours passed as they worked on reviewing material and preparing for an upcoming test scheduled for next week. Liz had been so caught up in her studies she hadn’t even noticed that Max had slumped over in his chair with his head on the table, sound asleep. He had not been sleeping too well the last couple of days; old nightmares had resurfaced as they did from time to time. There were some things that just never entirely lose their sting. Her studies forgotten, she watched him as the arms of sleep held him. She had very rarely gotten the chance to see him like this.

She rested her chin in the cup of her hands and just took in the sight of him. The lines of worry that he seemed to carry most of the time were smoothed and his body relaxed.
She couldn’t deny, that even after everything, she still found him attractive, maybe even a bit more so now, as she was getting to know him much better than she ever had before. Their conversations no longer were filled with the threats of the FBI or enemy aliens, just the normal day to day of a man and a woman’s world.

It was subtle at first, but she noticed the tenseness come back to his features slowly, as if building to a crescendo. His form became rigid and his eyes were flickering busily under their lids. The twitch of his hands came next, once in a while curling into fists wrought with anger and frustration. Liz could hear the murmurs escape him, as his head would jerk minutely.

Liz went around to the other side of the table and placed her hand on his shoulder to try and gently wake him.

“Max.” she called softly to him.

“No, stay away Liz….” He murmured as she infiltrated into his nightmare.

“Max, its okay.” She started to say but his ramblings cut her off.

“Zan, its okay.” He whispered tensely. “Stay behind me.” His voice was wracked with anguish and fear.

Liz shook his shoulder a little firmer and tried to wake him again.

“Max, wak-.” She started but never finished.

In the blink of an eye, Max was on his feet, the chair skittering across the floor. His right arm was wrapped around air that he thought held Zan and with his left he had grabbed Liz around the waste, bringing her body close to his. Simultaneously his green shield enveloped them in its protection, sheltering them from the specters that pursued him in his sleep. His eyes were wide with fear and confusion as reality slowly started to trickle into his conscious mind.

Liz had had little time to react as it all happened in a blur, faster than she ever thought humanly possible. The one thing that amazed her was that throughout all of it she felt no fear, only a sense that she was protected, that she would never know harm.

“Max, Max…” she soothed him.

Max turned tortured eyes to her, questioning what had just happened.

“Max, it was a nightmare. We’re okay, it’s okay.” She said softly, her hand rubbing gently on his chest to help ease the tension out of him.

Slowly, Max nodded his head, the fog clearing rapidly.

“Max, you can lower the shield now.” She gently reminded him.

Sheepishly he nodded as the green energy field withdrew from around them. Max was trembling slightly from the excess adrenalin still pulsing through his system, the taste of tin in his mouth. Max realized he still had Liz wrapped tightly in his arms and slowly released her. Liz still had her arm wrapped around his waste and made no move to step away. Gently she eased them over to the sofa and sat them down. She rubbed her hands up and down his arms to help release the anxiety till locked in them.

“Max, its okay, its okay. It was a nightmare.” She assured him again.

He nodded thankfully to her, still afraid to trust his voice. It had all seemed so real, so real. All he could think of to do was to protect them, protect them anyway he could, even with his life. His right arm finally gave up its claim on the phantom of Zan he had been holding,

Liz moved a little farther down the sofa and gently pulled Max so that he was lying down with his head in her lap. She ran her fingers through his hair and over his forehead, trying to smooth the lines and ease his worries. She looked deep into the soulful eyes of this man and she saw that they both still had some things that were hidden away. She wanted to get these things out.

“Max, what happened with Zan?” Liz gently questioned him.

Max shuddered slightly as the memories flooded back to him. His eyes took on a haunted quality as he stayed himself to retell the story only four people knew about.

“Tess had come back. Her ship had crashed out in the desert that night, in a restricted area. She had been tracked on radar so they knew where the ship was. Somehow they got a photo of her, we can only guess it was from the perimeter surveillance in the area.”

“She was already injured prior to the crash, from being tortured by Kivar, but the crash did more damage. She managed to make it my parent’s house while Isabelle and I were visiting them. We almost killed her on the spot for everything that she put all of us through, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be an executioner, even if she deserved it.”

Max took a breath and continued.

“She had Zan with her, she had brought him back to try and give him a life here. My parents saw everything; we had no choice but to tell them. It was rough but they accepted us, told us that we were still their children, that nothing would ever change that, that they loved us. That fear had been all for nothing, for nothing.” Max shook his head at all the wasted time and the years of isolation he had inflicted upon Isabelle.

Liz continued to stroke his hair and push it off his forehead. The slow, gentle caress helped to ease the sorrow on his features.

“We left our parents house and headed for Michael’s. We needed a safe place to hide to figure out what we were going to do. We never made it there.” Max steeled himself as the images flashed before him again. He closed his eyes tightly, trying to stop the tears that were demanding to be released.

“We were coming around a corner and ran into the very first checkpoint the military must have set up. We were face to face with them and we had nowhere to go. They saw her and raised their weapons at us; they started yelling at us to get out of the car. They kept coming towards the car. One of them said that she had the baby with her just like the photograph, and that’s when Tess just freaked. The next thing I knew shots were going off and I had my son in my arms. Tess went after the two soldiers in a blur and she killed them, but she had been shot and was dead before they even hit the ground. They must have radioed for help because we could hear sirens getting closer. We were so scared we just took off. When I looked down at Zan, there was … there was…blood on him.”

Max couldn’t stop the tears that were streaming down his face; his breath was coming in short, hiccupping gasps. With shaking hands he wiped away the tears. The image of his son covered in blood burned forever into his mind.

“His … his … own blood. He was screaming and …and quivering so badly. All he…he…knew was that he was hurt and he just wanted it to stop.” Max choked out.

Liz gasped, her eyes becoming round with shock.

“I was so scared, so scared.” Max’s body was trembling all over as he relived the scene in his mind. He took a few moments to try and settle himself down.

“It was a scratch, the bullet must have nicked him and hit Tess. She almost got him killed when she jumped up like that.” He said with a weary shake of his head. “We cleaned him up and I healed him. He wasn’t injured badly enough that I had to worry about the healing changing him. I was just so happy he was okay.” Max took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he continued.

“I decided right then and there that Zan shouldn’t have to pay because of what I am. Look what happened to you, all you had to endure, I couldn’t let him go through that. As long as he was with me, he wouldn’t be safe. They had photographs of him, I just couldn’t take the chance, not with his life.”

Max took a shuddering breath and continued.

“I talked it over with my parents, I needed to hear another perspective on what was happening. I didn’t know what was the right thing to do. They agreed that he was in danger, that the two of us together would be easier to spot. I just couldn’t believe that after all that time of looking for him, he was right there, in my arms. And now…now…I had to give him up.”

Liz sat quietly listening to the devastation that had been wrought in Max’s life. She had been so angry at Max for what had happened with Tess. Deep inside, when she had finally admitted it to herself, she had been proud of Max for taking on the responsibility for the life he had help create, even as much as she hated the very idea of what it represented. She would have lost all respect for him had he just casually turned his back and tried to ignore his responsibility to his son.

“I wanted to be selfish, I wanted him to be with me so badly, to raise him, watch him grow. I wanted the chance to be his father, to try and give him back some of what he lost.”

Max looked at Liz with haunted eyes. “We had spent so long looking for him, to save him. And finding him only wound up in getting him shot.”

“It’s just….” Max trailed off, his voice quivering with checked emotion.

“Max, let it out, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” Liz continued to softly sift her fingers through his hair, her other hand clasping Max’s firmly in her grip. She gave him a small smile, encouraging him to go on.

“I never expected to fall in love with him so quickly. I miss him.” He sobbed openly, no longer able to hold his emotions behind the carefully built walls he had constructed over the last couple years. Max had felt like a part of himself had been torn away again as he watched as his parents leave with Zan for the adoption.

“Isabelle dream walks him from time to time, just to make sure he’s okay. I can still feel him deep inside, it’s just one of those aches that I have learned to live with. I have so many of them.” Max’s eyes became unfocused as he drifted into the back recesses of his mind.

Liz rocked him gently back and forth as she tried to ease the pain he was going through. She knew this was just one of those things that all you can do is be there. Slowly the sobs subsided as he calmed down. Liz kept whispering words of comfort to him as she held him.

“Did I do the wrong thing to give him up?” His voice was so uncertain.

“Max, I can’t pretend to imagine what you must have been going through. Under the best circumstances, adoption is a difficult thing to deal with. There was so much more than that going on here. The most important thing in all of this is that Zan is safe and happy. You did what you felt you had to do to make sure that happened. It’s okay to be unsure, you’re just being human.” A wistful smile crossed her lips at the old saying.

They sat quietly for a while just enjoying the silence and the comfort that being together provided. Liz eased back into the cushions of the couch and made herself comfortable. She continued to gently lace her fingers through his hair and closed her eyes. This was what they had missed all of those years, the simple things that so many people take for granted. Just the simple touch of a friend or a comforting word from someone who shared the experience with you is beyond measure. She felt Max’s breathing even out and she knew sleep had finally claimed him. As she felt herself drift off into that same peaceful place she realized she was getting back something that she had lost a long time ago. Her friend.

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


Liz awoke feeling a little disoriented but pleasantly rested. The scent of bacon and eggs filled the air. Slowly she opened her eyes and found she was no longer in the living room on the sofa. She was lying in a nice, soft and warm bed, and she was surrounded by the scent of Max. She closed her eyes for a moment and just inhaled his unique scent. If she lived to be a thousand she would never be able to forget what he smelled like.

As Liz started to sit up, Max opened the door a little and called to her.

“Liz, you awake?” he whispered.

“I’m up.” She called out. She had to laugh when she heard what must have been Max, bumping his head into the door. His whispered curses only causing her to giggle.

‘Oh my, did I just giggle.’ She asked herself with a shake of her head.

“You decent, can I come in?” he asked after he composed himself.

Liz just smiled mischievously to herself. She was feeling good this morning, better than she had in a long time. She wanted to share that carefree feeling and Max just happened to be the target.

“No I’m not, but you can come in anyway.” She called out in a singsong voice.

She heard a loud bang and then a series of muffled curses. She could hear him walking around outside the door nursing whatever it was he had injured.

“Max come in, the coast is clear.” She chuckled.

Max opened the door and entered holding his hand to his forehead, an embarrassed smile on his lips.

“Very funny, Very funny. Here and I was going to make you breakfast in bed.” He teased her.

Liz put on her best pout and sad eyes. “Max, I’m sorry. Breakfast smells really good.”

“Well just sit back and relax, I’ll go make the tray up and be right back. Is orange juice all right and do you want some toast?” He asked as he headed for the door.

“Yes and Yes, with strawberry jam if you have some please.”

“Well if I don’t I can whip some up.” Max smirked and gave a little wave of his hand.

“Oh yea, I almost forgot. It really is pretty convenient.” She said with a small smile.

“Be right back.” He called over his shoulder as he left to go back to the kitchen.

Liz sat back and just enjoyed the laziness of the day so far. It had been a real long time since she had had breakfast in bed. As a matter of fact she had never had breakfast in bed.

“Damn it!” She heard come from the kitchen. She could just picture Max out there muttering over something that didn’t turn out just right. She just smiled and shook her head.

“Everything all right out there?” She called out, just unable to resist some good-natured ribbing.

“Yea, just burned some of the damn toast. Just give me a minute, it’s almost ready.” He replied.

“Max, I’m starving.” She whined.

Liz heard another bang and a curse and she almost fell off the bed she got laughing so hard. By the time Max finally returned she had tears rolling down her face and her stomach hurt from laughing so much. She turned apologetic eyes to Max and tried her best to keep a straight face but it was a losing battle. Max couldn’t help but see the humor in it all as he chuckled right along with her. He placed the tray over her lap and sat down on the side of the bed. He had made up two plates filled with eggs, bacon, toast, croissants, strawberries and cantaloupe. Liz’s eyes widened at the feast in front of her.

“Max this is too much, you didn’t have to do all this.” She playfully scolded him.

“I’ve never had the most beautiful woman in the world in my bed before, I figured I would spare no expense.” He cringed, it had just come out, and he hoped she didn’t get uncomfortable.

“Thank you.” She blushed. “I’m sure I look wonderful with morning hair.” She said crinkling her nose and running her hand self-consciously through her long dark mane.

“Liz you can’t help but look beautiful.” He gave her a half smile and decided the best thing to do was to just start eating. That we he couldn’t say anything more embarrassing.

“Max, how did I wind up in here?” She asked softly.

“I woke up about one in the morning. I didn’t have the heart to wake you, but I knew the way you were sleeping you were going to regret it in the morning. So I carried you in here and tucked you into bed. I went back out and stretched out on the sofa and went back to sleep for a while.” He shrugged, chewing on a mouthful of eggs.

Liz just looked at him, like she was seeing parts of him for the first time. In a very real way she was. Liz looked at him as he ate; he seemed to be so far away, lost in his thoughts. But now, unlike before, she could read what was going on behind those beautiful amber eyes. Liz was happy that the window to his soul had opened again. Everyone needs to let light shine on their soul, it helps them to grow and blossom, it helps with the rebirth of the new.

“Liz, I wanted to say thank you for last night. You were there for me and I can’t even begin to tell you what that means to me. You truly are one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Thank you.” Max said with all sincerity. He reached out and touched her hand, wanting to give a physical presence to his heartfelt words.

Liz smiled and nodded her head; she didn’t trust her voice just yet. Max cleared up the remnants of their breakfast and padded slowly back out to the kitchen. Liz let out the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding as she watched his retreating back. His words meant so much more now to her. They didn’t ring hollow like they had in the past. She liked this person she saw before her now. She just hoped that he would stay around.

tbc...

Next post on Xmas day..
posted on 25-Dec-2002 12:05:15 AM by moonieADT
Happy Holidays .. as promised .. a little Christmas treat..

CtA
ACT XVI.

Liz entered her dorm room and the sight before her was completely mesmerizing. The room was bathed in the soft glow of twinkling lights and candles. The shadows from them danced over the walls and glittered off of the mirror above her vanity. Christmas lights were strewn around her room and icicle strands dangled down from the heights of the ceiling. Golden colored garland was wrapped around the legs of her table and chairs and adorned the edges of every tabletop.

The corner of the room held a miniature Christmas tree, standing only three feet tall. Lights, garland and a myriad of crystal ornaments dressed the tree in their warmth and color. The cut edges of the crystal reflected the light in all directions within the room, sending cascades of candlelight everywhere. A light mist of artificial snow blessed the branches and needles of the miniature evergreen.

Underneath the tree there were several gifts, wrapped in gold and silver paper. It too added to the warmth of light bouncing excitedly throughout the room. The gifts were in various sizes and shapes, each one just for her.

Tears filled her eyes as she tried to take in the breathtaking sight before. Never had she had a Christmas like this, she so desperately hoped this would only be the first of many. As her eyes traveled around the room, they came to rest on a lone figure standing in the doorway to her bathroom. He wore a simple pair of khakis and a forest green pullover. On his head a Santa hat had found residence.

“Merry Christmas Liz.” He whispered to her.

“Oh my.” She said tremulously as she raised her hand to her mouth.

“I know you said you were going home for the break, but I wanted you to have a little bit of home right here.” He ducked his head at his own impulsiveness.

“I can’t believe this.” Liz wondered.

“It’s not much, but I wanted to do something special for you.” He swallowed nervously, he was scared that maybe he had overstep his bounds.

“It’s beautiful.” Her voice chocked with emotion.

“Just like you.” He whispered to himself. “I’m glad you like it.”

Liz looked around this wonderland he had created for her, she knew this must have taken him hours to do. This was just one of the reason she felt about him the way she did.

The evening grew older but neither of them seemed to notice. Christmas music filled the room. The first stains of White Christmas rang through the air. Max stood from his seat and reached out his hand to her.

“Dance with me?” he asked in a whisper.

Liz’s eyes sparkled as she placed her hand into his. Like two pieces of a puzzle they stepped into each other and began to softly sway to the music. Liz looked up into his beautiful eyes, they held his soul again, and she had missed that. Her eyes roamed over his face. Maria was right; time had made its presence known on him. His hair was sprinkled with grays, some light lines under his eyes but he was still very handsome. Liz relaxed into his arms and laid her head upon his chest. She listened to his heart as they rocked slowly back and forth to the music.

Max looked down at the girl he held in his arms. How was he to ever get over her? He could feel her in every pour of his body. He felt as if a huge light had been shed upon his life thanks to her. She had taught him so many things. She had shown him the power of love, had given him lessons on faith and believing in your heart. Liz had shown how to get his balance in life. He had had to learn to do that without her and it had shown him how to take responsibility and ownership in who he was, what he did. She had made him want to be a better man.

As the song came to an end, they slowly stopped moving. They stood with their arms wrapped around each other. Both of them not yet ready to give up the warmth of the innocent embrace. Max’s hand hovered over the back of her head; he so desperately wanted to lace his fingers through her hair, to feel its silky texture against his skin one more time. Liz looked up at him through her lashes, as she did the back of her head came into gentle contact with his hand. She smiled softly at the light caress. Max took a deep mental breath and let his fingers sift through her hair. He let his hand slowly drop away from her head, her hair drawing through his fingers as if they were the teeth of a comb.

“I, um.” He nervously cleared his throat.

“Yeah.” Liz whispered.

Max stepped away and immediately regretted the loss of the warmth of her body. The night was so romantic but he didn’t want them to do something in the heat of the moment, nor did he want to take advantage of the situation. They needed safer territory.

“Liz, would you like to go for a walk?” he asked hopefully.

“Yeah, the cold air will feel good.” She said as she moved to gather her coat and gloves. She definitely needed something to cool them down.

They descended the stairs in silence, both of them lost in the emotions that had been stirred up. The dance had been innocent, but the feelings created were far from that. Was this something they were ready for? Had enough time passed? It had been so easy when it had been the connection telling her he had changed. Being near him again brought a face to the feelings, a face that had stirred up doubts inside of her. The only problem was that she liked this Max. She more than liked him, as what she didn’t know, but it was more than like.

They reached the doors to the outside and entered into the Cambridge night air. They descended the steps and started down the pathway. Liz’s coat had opened a little and she was struggling to get it closed. Before Max had realized what he had done, he had stepped in her path and taken the lapels of her jacket and started buttoning it up for her. She looked up at him with innocent eyes. Max blushed and stepped back.

“I, um, sorry.” He said as he stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets.

“It’s okay, thank you.” Her smile helped to ease his spirit.

They walked along in silence for a little while before Max stopped and turned to her.

“Liz, I know this may seem out of line, and if it is just tell me. I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. I really want you to enjoy the evening. I--” he stammered.

Liz couldn’t help the slight smile that tilted her lips upward as she interrupted him. “Max, you’re babbling. Just ask me.” she encouraged.

Liz took a deep breath, trying to prepare herself for anything. If he asked if they could try again she didn’t think that now was the right time. They were getting closer but she still needed more time. She liked this Max, hell she was falling in love with this Max. Her heart had given her no option on that. But before she committed her heart, before she gave him everything she had, she needed to be sure that he was here to stay. She wanted desperately to believe in the happy ending, that true love conquers all. She knew it existed, it had to, the question was, would they be able to find that together. She had held out this far on instinct and it had not let her down. She wasn’t about to go against that now.

“Would it be okay to, well, what I mean is, may I…damn it.” He shook his head at his own clumsy tongue. No one would ever be able to accuse him of being smooth that was for sure.

“Yes you may damn it.” She said, her eyes twinkling with mirth.

Max couldn’t help but grin himself at the joke, even if he was he butt of it.

She reached out and touched his arm softly. “Ask me.”

“Could I hold your hand while we walk for a little bit?” he asked as soft as a whisper.

Liz turned back down towards the path and held out her hand to him. She looked up at him and offered a small smile in invitation. He reached out slowly and took her hand into his. They both felt the little jolt of electricity that coursed through them. The warmth permeated them through and through and for this brief period in time that both felt a little bit more whole.

They walked for about an hour, to everywhere and anywhere. They talked of nothing and everything. It felt like they were starting to find their way back home. Liz looked down at their linked hands, fingers intertwined. She had longed for moments like this, a quiet night, just the two of them, no worries. They had never had the chance to be like this. There had always been an agenda, some plan that had to be thought up and followed, some life that was in danger. She was going to be greedy for once and ignore the outside world and just live in this moment. She had been robbed of this and she was not going to let that happen this time. Liz wished that at this moment they were more to each other than friends, that this Christmas could be even more special than it already were. She knew though, that this was what they needed. As she thought a little more she realized she really had received one of the best presents she could ever have gotten. Time.

tbc...

Next post on sunday
posted on 27-Dec-2002 11:22:18 AM by moonieADT
For disclaimer and summary see ACT I.

CtA
ACT XVII.

The ringing of the phone broke the silence of the Max’s apartment. Liz had come over and they were in the middle of a heated discussion on the latest episode of Roswell that they loved to watch. It had just come on this year and they both were hooked on it.

“Liz, I’m telling you that Matt character is an idiot. He should have just told her he loved her right from the start.” Max said as he made his way toward the intruding ring.

“Uhhgg, Max you’re missing the point. It’s called suspense. Of course he should have told her, but he had the social skills of a snail. Never would have happened, she would have had to have made the first move without a doubt.” She loved getting under his skin like this. Sometimes she would just pick the opposite point of view just to irk him. Sometimes he was just too easy.

“What are you kidding me? Ahh just hold that thought, I’m not through with this yet.” Max called into the living room.

“Hello?” Max said as he answered the phone.

“Hello? Who is this?” a voice on the other end asked.

“Mr. Parker? Is that you?” Max hadn’t talked to him in about six months, since his last visit to Roswell.

“Max? Hello Max, is Liz there?” he asked a bit distractedly.

“Um yea, She forwarded her phone to my place. Hold on a second.”

Max put his hand over the receiver and called into the living room. “Liz phones for you. It’s your dad.”

Liz came bouncing into the kitchen and took the phone from his hand. She crossed her eyes at him and smacked him in the arm.

“Hi daddy, how are you?” she asked brightly.

“I’m good Lizzy. How are you doin?” he asked, his voice sounding tired.

“I’m good, daddy you don’t sound so good. You sure you’re okay?” Her was voice now mirroring her concern.

Max turned and paused at the doorway, he had been about to leave the room but the slight spike of fear in his connection to her stopped him.

“Yea pumpkin I’m fine. Mom is okay too but she’s not feeling real good right now.” He said trying to ease into this with her.

“What do you mean, she’s not feeling real good right now.” She parroted back.

“Sweetie, you mom had a heart attack, she’s okay, she’s okay, but she’s in the hospital.” He said gently.

Liz started to slide down the wall she had been leaning on. Max came over to her in an instant and placed a hand on her knee, to let her know he was here if she needed him. She looked so lost and small; her eyes were glistening with tears, each of them waiting their turn to stain the now pale skin of her face. Her heart had started to pound after the first few seconds of the call. Now the world seemed to be teetering on its axis.

“Liz, honey, you there? Are you okay?” her fathers voice laced with concern.

“I’m here, what hospital is mom in?” She asked, reigning in her short-circuited emotions.

“She’s at Roswell hospital.” Mr. Parker said slowly.

“Daddy I’m coming home, I’ll be there as soon as I can.” Liz swallowed past the lump that had taken up residence in her throat.

“All right, you be careful. I’ll see you soon. I love you.”

“I love you too daddy, give mom a kiss and hug for me, tell her I love her.” She just barely choked out.

“I will, bye bye.”

“Bye.” She all but whispered as the phone started to slip from her hand.

Max picked her up and carried her over to the sofa, setting down, he placed her on his lap and folder her into his embrace. He gently stoked her hair to try and help soothe her, anything to try and help. He grabbed a handful of tissues to help dry her tears.

“I need to go home, to Roswell, Max.” Liz said somewhat mechanically.

“Give me ten minutes and I’ll pack a bag. We’ll head over to your dorm and grab you some clothes and stuff and then we’ll get over to the airport. I’ll book us the earliest flight out. We’ll have you home soon.” He quietly said to her.

“Max you don-“

“Liz, I’m not letting you go alone. That’s final.”

Max gently lifted her off his lap and sat her back down on the sofa. He gently brushed the hair from her eyes and rubbed his thumb over her cheek. He offered her a tender smile.

“I’ll be right back.”

Max quickly threw a weeks worth of clothes into his duffle bag, ran into the bathroom and grab his toiletries he would need and came back to the living room. Liz hadn’t moved from the spot he had left her. She just looked like a portion of the life in her had been removed. He had seen this once before when her Grandma Claudia had been in the hospital. Max had not been able to help Grandma Claudia; it had just been her time, but Max would be damned if Liz was going to have to endure that type of pain again. Not now, not this soon.

Max drew her up from her spot on the sofa and wrapped her into his embrace once more. Liz started to tremble slightly at the emotions that were raging to be set free from within her. She buried her face into Max’s shoulder as the first real torrent of tears erupted from her. Her sobs become deeper and harsher, as wave after wave of fear and the torture of the unknown raced across her ragged senses.

They stood like that for a little while; Liz was just trying to draw strength from Max. She stepped back out of his embrace and nodded her head to him in thanks. She offered him a wobbly smile and took in a breath to try and steady nerves that had no hope of being calm again until she reached her mothers side.

“I’m ready.” At her admission, Max took her hand in his and they locked up the apartment on the way out. Max got Liz settled in the passengers seat and then threw his bag into the back seat of his car. He quickly got in and they made the brief journey over to Liz’s dorm. Max followed her up to her room and packed items into her suitcase as she tossed them to him. Max had to admit a bit of shock when her bras and underwear smacked him in the head when he wasn’t paying attention. He had blushed profusely and ducked his chin down into his hest as he placed them quickly into her bag. While Max got the suitcase squared away, Liz grabbed her toiletries and packed them into her overnight case.

Meanwhile Max grabbed a couple of her textbooks, her journal and a few of her favorite magazines and stuffed them into a backpack to carry on the flight for her.

He grabbed the phone book from her desk and dialed the number for the airlines. He was able to secure tickets for a flight that was leaving in one hour. He paid for the tickets with his credit card and they would be waiting at the gate when they arrived. Next he called Michael and let him know the situation, he had heard earlier in the day what had happened from Maria. Max told him that him and Liz would be flying into Albuquerque this evening at 6:50. Michael offered to pick them up before Max could even ask.

Max set down the phone as Liz returned to the room. Liz closed her eyes briefly to fight down the wave of nausea that had swept over her. Brushing a hand over her forehead, she smiled weakly at Max.

“Max, I need to call the airport and book a flight, and…” She started.

“All taken care of. I have the tickets waiting for us at the gate. We leave in an hour. I called Michael and he will be meeting us in Albuquerque when we arrive. I packed you a carry on. So we should be ready to go. Okay?” Max smiled reassuringly at her.

Liz smiled thankfully at him and nodded. They made there way out to the car and headed towards the airport in silence. It was going to be a long day.

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


The plane touched down in Albuquerque right on schedule. Max and Liz departed and headed down the long corridor to pick up their luggage. They met Michael and Maria in the reception area.

“Chica.” Maria said as she folded Liz in a comforting hug. “How are you holding up?”

“I’m okay.” She offered weakly.

Stepping back she tucked an imaginary strand of hair behind her ear. She moved over to Max and laid her head on his shoulder. He placed his arm around her and drew her into his body, trying to protect her from the evils of the world. Looking down at her they made eye contact and she silently nodded her answer to the silent question.

“Okay lets get going guys. Lets get Liz back to Roswell so she can see her family.” Max said taking charge of the situation.

Michael and Maria exchanged a slightly surprised look and followed Max and Liz. They walked out into the New Mexico evening, a cool breeze wafting around them as they headed over to the car. Liz opened the backdoor and dragged Max in with her. Shutting the door, Liz snuggled up against Max’s warm body and stayed herself for the trip back home.

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


The hospital corridor was quiet as they walked towards the room that held her mother.

“Liz, I’ll wait out here to give you some time with your family. If you need me I’ll be here. Okay?” he said gently.

Liz nodded and faced the door; taking a deep breath she entered the room. Her father was standing by the bed, holding his wife’s hand. The echo of the heart monitor broke the silence of the room. Her mother was propped up slightly by the pillows and had a peaceful look on her face. Her eyes looked towards the sound of the door closing and brightened.

“Liz, come here.” Her mother called to her, a soft smile lighting her face.

“Hi, Mom.” Liz said softly as she walked slowly over to the hospital bed, gently she took her mom’s hand in hers.

“Hi Lizzy.” Her father said with a gentle smile.

“Hi Daddy.”

“How are you feeling mom?” she asked with a bit of trepidation.

“I’m fine baby girl, I’m sorry we scared you. It was nothing major. Just a little hiccup.” She offered reassuringly.

Liz looked skeptically at her father. He smiled and nodded his head.

“She’s right honey, everything is going to be fine. Your mom had some test results come back and they told us that everything is going to be fine. Mom’s going to have to take it easy for a little bit and she will be on some medication for a while but other than that we’re going to be okay.” He placed his hand on her shoulder and gave her a comforting squeeze.

Liz took a shaky breath and squeezed her mom’s hand. Now she could let the smallest hint of a smile begin to grace her face. Liz had had so many different things running through her mind since she had received the call from her dad. She had expected the worst; it was just such a relief to know that she was going to be okay. It was times like this that make you realize just how precious life was. It’s far to fleeting to waste on all the typical bullshit that clouds our lives. She wasn’t going to let life pass her by as she sometimes had.

“How did you get here Liz?” Nancy asked quietly.

“Michael and Maria picked us up at the airport and dropped us off here.” She told her parents.

“Us?” Jeff inquired.

“Max and I. He arranged for the flight, backed a bag for me and had Michael pick us up.” She said with a small smile lighting her face.

“Is he still here?” Her father asked.

“He’s outside in the waiting room.”

“So, how long have you and Max been back together?” Her mom questioned gently.

Nancy had always known that there was just something about those two. The quiet way Max had watched her all those years. She didn’t pretend to understand all of the problems they had had, and she knew some of them were really bad. Liz never really offered very many details on her relationships. She had wished her daughter had opened up more to her, but she knew for some kids it just wasn’t that easy. She was happy that they had somehow found a way to work through there differences. They had something very special between them at the start, but they seemed to have lost it along the way. In some ways Nancy knew it was just like a marriage, its easy some times to forget the important things, to forget what made you fall in love in the first place. Those things just don’t disappear, but they do get lost. Sometimes we all need reminders to find our way home.

“We’re not together. We’re just friends.” Liz said as she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

The action did not go unnoticed by either parent. They both just looked at each other and silently decided to let it go.

“Well why don’t you invite your friend in to visit for a few minutes and then you guys can head home and get some rest.” Jeff said, giving his daughter a gentle push towards the door.

“I’ll be right back.” She said as she turned and headed through the door to gather Max.

Once Liz had left the room Jeff turned a questioning look to Nancy.

“What do you thinks going on with the two of them?” Jeff asked softly.

“I don’t think they even know yet, But I’ll know more once they both are in here.” She said cryptically.

Jeff smiled at his wife; she was always pretty good at reading people, especially Liz. Call it mothers’ intuition but she was able to see what just past right in front of him.

He made no apology for the fact that had not liked Max for quite some time. That young man had hurt his daughter a great deal, but they always seemed to find their way back together somehow. The time apart from each other would have done them some good. Given them time to put who they were in perspective. He had watched them both mature over the last few years, Liz more so than Max. Liz seemed happy but there was always this touch of sadness around the edges. He didn’t fool himself into not knowing the cause for it. He just hoped she would find the happiness that she deserved. If that happened to be with Max then so be it, But if he ever hurt his daughter again there will be hell to pay.

He was proud of his little girl. He had to stop that; she was no longer his little girl anymore, but a young woman. She had a good head on her shoulders and she seemed to have seen a lot more than she should have for her number of years. Someday he hoped they would be able to talk about it, but for now he would just be a dad and wait.

The door opened and revealed Liz and Max. They both stepped in, her hand grasping Max’s in a familiar way. They approached the bed, stopping a few feet away. Liz gave Max a reassuring smile and seemed to belatedly realize she was still holding his hand. Without trying to draw attention to herself, she gently extracted her hand from his and pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.

“Hello Mr. And Mrs. Parker.” Max said softly. “I hope your feeling better.” He added.

“Thank you Max.” Nancy replied graciously.

“We want to thank you for getting Lizzy here and helping her. We appreciate it.” Jeff said to him gratefully.

Max nodded his head sheepishly and looked briefly at Liz.

“It was the least I could do, I didn’t want her to have to handle this alone if she didn’t want to.” He said truthfully.

Liz looked up at him with an appreciative smile. Maybe it was because her emotions were running high because of her mom being sick, but she could feel Max crawling back into her heart. To be really honest, he had never really left, only been tucked away in a safe place that she hoped wouldn’t hurt her again. As she looked at him see saw him as if for the first time.

“How long will you be staying?” Nancy asked, breaking Liz out of her revere.

Liz looked up at Max, she had never really asked him when they’re return flight would be. She had let him take care of everything. Max met her gaze and he seemed to get lost for a few seconds.

“Oh, um, it’s open ended, so whenever Liz is ready we’ll head back. I already talked to our professors to let them know what was going on. They said for us to take our time and that we could make the work up when we got back. They also gave me the assignments for the next two weeks just in case.” He finished with a smirk.

All three of the parkers in the room could not help but be impressed. Time can do some wondrous things.

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


Two days later Nancy was released and sent home to relax and recuperate. Liz had stayed in her old room and helped out when her dad was busy in the café, but he would make an appearance every half hour to make sure everything was okay. Nancy’s prognosis had been excellent and with the proper medication and rest she would have no further attacks.

Max had stopped by multiple times each day just to make sure Liz was all right and to see how the Parkers were doing. He and Liz spent time together going over assignments and homework so that they wouldn’t have a lot to catch up on when the returned to Harvard at the end of the week.

Max had been helping Liz upstairs and decided to get them something to eat from the café. Going down the stairs from the apartment he saw Jeff at the bottom. Jeff had been watching the kitchen until Michael could come in to take over. He was scheduled to get there in about twenty minutes. Jeff had been anxious to get back upstairs to check on his wife. He knew everything was okay but he still couldn’t help the jitters he was having. Going through the last few days had reminded him to make sure he appreciated what he had.

“Hi Max.” He said greeting him.

“Hi Mr. Parker, just stopping down to get something to eat for Liz and me.”

“Okay, what’ll you two have? I’ll get it for you.” He said as he started walking into the kitchen.

The café had been quiet for a little while so Jeff had been getting things squared away for Michaels shift when Max had come down. Jeff motioned for Max to follow him into the kitchen while he prepared their early dinner.

“So what are kids going to have?” He asked rubbing his hands together.

“Liz wanted us to have galaxy subs with everything and some Saturn rings. For dessert we were thinking about a couple slices of Men in blackberry pie.”

Jeff just smirked at him, that was his Lizzy, giving the orders and making it seem like it was a request. He just had to shake his head, he almost felt sorry for Max, almost. After years of marriage he recognized the signs of a doting boyfriend. Jeff started to prepare the subs as he talked to Max.

“How has school been?”

“It’s been challenging but it’s well worth it. I really love what I’m doing. It’s been great having Liz there too. We share a class or two together, it seems so much like it did in high school sometimes. But we always worked well together so we have it easier than the rest of them. I guess that explains why are grades are really good.”

“Max I don’t think that’s all there is to it. You both are really smart. Don’t kid yourself, you two earn those grades, don’t play that down. It’s something to be proud of.” Jeff said in a fatherly manner.

Max just blushed a little and nodded his head. Satisfied with his advice, Jeff turned back to the task at hand. He got the Saturn rings out of the prep cooler and tossed them into the deep fryer. As the frozen rings hit the hot oil, there was a loud popping sound. Jeff looked down at the sound and was hit in the face by the oil as it splattered.

“My eyes.” Jeff cried as he jerked his head away from the fryer and placed his hands over his eyes.

Jeff’s face was contorted in agony as the oil continued to burn his eyes. He stumbled backwards and almost fell to the floor. Max caught him and steadied him. A million thoughts rushed through Max’s head at once, mostly of Liz and her family. He couldn’t stand to see her torn apart by her father being injured. Jeff didn’t deserve this, not that anyone ever would, but especially not now. Jeff had Nancy to take care of and a business to run, he wouldn’t be able to do that if he lost his sight.

Before he even had time to think about it, he moved Jeff’s hands from his face and placed his own over Jeff’s eyes. Max focused his energy and his hand began to glow. Jeff stopped struggling when he felt the pain begin to subside. Max concentrated on the eyes and began repairing the damage done to the retina and cornea. He healed the optic nerves of both eyes and regenerated the blood vessels that had been severed by the searing heat of the oil. With one last burst of energy he healed the burns that would have marred Jeff’s face.

“You’re okay now.” Max said apprehensively.

Max removed his hand from Jeff’s eyes and took a step back. Jeff looked at him like he had seen him for the first time. Jeff could still feel the light tingle from whatever Max had done to him. He could see, but how?

“Max, what di-“ he started to ask as Michael walked into the kitchen.

Michael glanced between the two men and knew something had happened. He turned masked eyes to Max and saw that silence was the best way to go, act as if nothing happened.

“Hey boss, I’m ready to go.” He tried to joke with Jeff knowing the situation needed some type of tension relief.

“Thanks Michael.” He said appreciatively.

Michael nodded his head and with one last look to Max, he set about preparing for his shift.

“Michael, Max and I are going to be upstairs if you need me. Oh, will you throw that batch of Saturn rings out for me?”

Jeff picked up the two subs and handed them to Max and motioned for him to follow him upstairs. Max nodded numbly and slowly followed him up to the apartment. Liz met them at the door; she had been wondering where Max had gotten to with their food. She could tell by the look on both their faces that something had happened.

“What’s happened?” she asked cautiously.

“Nothing Lizzy, Max and I need to talk.” Jeff said guardedly.

Liz looked from Max back to her father. She could tell by the strained look on Max’s face that something had happened. Max had shoved his hands into his pockets; Liz knew that as a sure sign that all was not right.

“No daddy, tell me what happened?” she said a little more forcefully.

“I’m not sure what happened.” He started slowly, his eyes never leaving Max. “I was at the fryer and put some rings in. The oil splattered and hit me in the face. It burned my eyes.” He continued shaking his head. “I shouldn’t be able to see right now but I can.”

Jeff sat down heavily on the couch, running his hand agitatedly through his hair. Max stood quietly waiting for the questions. Liz looked back and forth between these two men. She knelt by her father and gave him a quick hug.

“Your okay?” she asked softly.

Jeff nodded his head as he tried to come up with some way to explain what had happened. His mind just couldn’t come up with anything. He looked up at Max, a mixture of gratitude and fear displayed in his eyes.

“How?” he asked simply.

Liz stood up and moved back over to Max and took his hand into hers. She felt so many things all at once as she looked up at him. Max had risked everything again. Liz searched his eyes, asking him if she could tell her father the truth and not lie. Max shook his head and offered her a gentle smile.

“Thank you.” He said to her.

“Mr. Parker.” Max began.

“Max, I think you can call me Jeff.” He offered lightly.

Max nodded briefly in thanks and took a deep breath. Liz squeezed his hand and offered him her strength.

“Jeff, I’m not from around here. I …I’m half human.”

“Max, what’s the meaning of this? What are telling me, your some kind of alien?” he scoffed.

Max and Liz looked at each other; this was it, the moment that she could remember so clearly from what seemed like another lifetime ago. She now completely understood how Max had felt back then.

“Yes we are.” Liz said with pride.

Max’s head snapped around to look at her. He wasn’t sure if now was the right time to have divulged that much, but it was too late now. It had to come out sometime.

“We?” Jeff asked his voice raising a few decibels.

Jeff sat as calmly as could be expected as Max related the story of the 47’ crash. How he had come out of a pod and to his adoption by the Evans’. As Max continued the tale, Jeff listened quietly taking it all in. Max explained about the powers he possessed and even demonstrated his shield to add a bit more realism to the story. He left out a lot of the details that would only cloud the situation more. There would have to be another time to talk about shape shifters, the FBI and Destiny. He also left out the explanation of the ‘we’ in Liz’s declaration.

“Jeff, I’ve kept this secret my entire life. My life depends on it.”

“Max, mine too.” Liz said as she squeezed his hand.

“Liz, I didn’t, want to speak for you.” He said softly.

“Lizzy, what do you have to do with this?” Her asked critically.

“Daddy, I’m like Max now.” She said gently.

“What! That’s impossible. I watched you being born. You’re my daughter, not some…some…freak.” He exclaimed in disbelief.

The Max from years ago would have hung his head in shame at what Jeff had said, a part of him would have even agreed, but not now. He had a lot to offer the world. Max straightened up to his full height and squared his shoulders. Liz was furious, not only had her father insulted both of them, but he was ungrateful for the fact that this freak had saved him from being permanently blind.

“Jeffery Parker you should be ashamed of yourself!” Nancy called from the hallway where she had been listening to the whole conversation.

All heads turned towards her as she came slowly out into the living room and sat down next to her husband. She looked at him with a mixture of relief and shame. Max had saved her husband and she was not going to let him be ashamed of who he was, whatever that was.

“Max, thank you for helping Jeff. I want to apologize for my husband.” She said gently as she turned to both of them. “Liz how is it possible that you’re like Max?”

“Mom, remember the shooting at the Crashdown when I was sixteen?” She queried.

Both her mom and dad nodded their heads in remembrance.

“I really was shoot that day, Max healed me. When he did, it changed me and I started to develop powers too. Max had never healed anyone before, we formed a really deep connection and a part of him merged with me.” Liz didn’t want them to be scared by this. “Mom, Dad, Max saved my life.”

Jeff put his heads in his hands; this was all just so much for him to take it. Not only do aliens exist but he was healed by one, his daughter was healed by one and has become one of them, and now he was probably going to be one. He didn’t think this day could get any worse.

“Am I going to…to…” he just couldn’t bring himself to say it.

“No, Mr. Parker. I have better control now, it won’t happen to you.” He tried to reassure him.

“Are there more of you?” Jeff was almost afraid of the answer.

Max and Liz looked at each other. Nancy and Jeff watched in fascination, as the two kids seemed to be having a conversation with their eyes.

“Yes.” Was all Max said.

“I just need some time, excuse me.” Jeff got up and made his way to his bedroom.

“This is a lot to take in. He’ll come around.” Nancy said reassuringly.

“Mom, how can you be so calm about this?” Liz ‘s curiosity was getting the best of her.

“I’ll admit, it’s hard to be believe, but I always believed that there was life out there. Max is still the same person he was ten years ago or five minutes ago. You too honey, you will always be my baby girl. You’re just a little more special now.” Nancy said calmly.

“And Max, thank you for saving my daughters life, and for healing my confused husband.” She said gratefully.

“Yes, her confused husband thanks you for everything as well. Max, I’m sorry about the freak comment. I was out of line and I apologize.” Jeff said remorsefully. Turning to look at his daughter he added, “to you too.”

Max nodded his acceptance of the apology. Liz clutched Max’s hand a little tighter at her fathers’ acceptance. It was such a relief to not have to hide this secret from her parents. She felt like she had a part of her returned that she had lost that day of the shooting. She didn’t blame Max for that, how could she, his act was out of kindness and love. Liz looked up at him and smiled her thanks for all he had done the last few days, for helping her family. But she was about to get one more thing to be thankful for.

“Mrs. Parker, would you like me to help with your heart?” Max offered so softly they all though they had imagined it.

Mrs. Parker’s eyes filled with tears as all she could do was mutely nod her head. Liz placed her tiny hand over her mouth to hold the lump that was forming in her throat in place.

“I have to touch you. Is that okay?” He said to Nancy softly.

She nodded her head as Max knelt beside her and placed his hand over he heart. He concentrated for a moment and then Nancy could feel the tingling heat of Max’s healing power run through her. She immediately felt the tension in her chest removed, a pressure she hadn’t even realized she had been living with. Max pulled out of the connection and took a breath to steady himself. Liz was by his side in a second and helped into the nearby chair.

They talked into the evening asking Max a multitude of questions. That night they all learned a great deal about each other. The Parkers world just got a little bit bigger.

Liz and Max remained until the end of the week before returning to Harvard. As Liz settled into her bed that night she realized something. She now had one more reason she had to try and ignore if she wanted to stop from falling in love with him again. The funny thing was though; did she even want to fight it anymore?

tbc..

Next post on sunday...

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Dec-2002 11:23:11 AM ]
posted on 30-Dec-2002 11:03:43 AM by moonieADT
A bit overdue but better late than never...

For disclaimer and summary see ACT I.

CtA
ACT XVIII.

They sat at the café and slowly drank their coffees. This had become their afternoon ritual for the last year since the end of the first semester when Liz had arrived. They had been sharing time together, getting to know one another again.

They were becoming something that had been really lacking so long ago. They were becoming friends, good friends. Not out of the necessity of the situation, but because they chose to. It was such a difference to be around someone by choice then because of a secret or some dilemma that arises. They both felt like they had regained a little bit more of the control they had lost in their lives at times.

They studied together quite often, taking advantage of their collective intelligence. They had never really thought about it before, but it was ironic how their chosen fields complemented each other. It always gave them something to talk about, although there was never any lack of conversation between them.

They had become attached to each other’s hip over the last semester and were only getting closer. They were the most committed non-couple that anyone had seen. To see them you would never have guessed. The way they finished each other’s sentences had a tendency at times to really unnerve people. But it was always chalked up to the closeness that lovers have.

The connection that they shared had been opening more and more each day. They had been so out of balance with each other before, they had never really seen how deep it went. Now they could feel the others happiness and sadness, a whole gamut of emotions. At times it could be a bit unsettling. Liz had been pleasuring herself and had had a pretty powerful orgasm. Max had felt the ripple of intense emotion cascade through him at the penultimate point. Max had called her to be sure everything was okay, only to be greeted by a somewhat out of breath and embarrassed Liz.

“Liz are you okay?” Max had asked concerned.

“Um…I’m fine…um why?” Liz asked a little out of breath.

“I, well, I just felt something really intense through our connection and I wanted to be sure you were okay.” He answered somewhat cautiously.

“Oh my god.” Liz said as she raised her hand to her mouth in shock and embarrassment.

“Liz, Liz, what’s wrong?” He asked, his concern growing.

“Max, I’m all right. Please just trust me when I say that what you felt was only a very good thing.” She responded a little cryptically.

“Liz? I don…OH. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I going to…I have to…oh.” Max stammered as she realized what had been happening.

“Max, its okay. A single girls got to do what she has to do.” She said, trying to make light of the conversation.

“Um…okay. Liz… um…I’ll see you tomorrow. Good night.” He family managed to choke out.

“Good night Max. And Max?”

“Yea?”

“Thanks for checking up on me. I lo...appreciate it.” She said softly.

“Anytime. Bye.”

The next day had been interesting for the first few moments they were together. After a few embarrassed looks and red faces they were back to normal. Although the experience had started wheels turning that they had both tried to stay away from. But if Liz was honest, she had been masturbating to mental images of Max anyways. She had to admit the images were far from enough. Her frustration level had been slowly rising and she knew it was only a matter of time before she exploded and jumped him.

Not everything was perfection between them, as with any friendship there are disagreements and fights. It seemed never to be anything serious. It was more of the ‘what do you want on your pizza’ type of fights. Having been through as much as they had together they knew what was really worthy of getting upset about, and at this point nothing would ever come close.

Dating was never discussed; it was nothing that either of them wanted to know about. With the amount of time they shared together there was no room for dating anyways. Both of them were happy in the world they were creating. They had wrapped themselves up in each other. Neither of them would admit it, but they were falling deeply in love with each other. What they had had in the past had been special, even for the short time they had been together as a couple, neither would deny that. But what made now so special was that they were seeing each other, as they really were, no barriers, no walls. They both were seeing with their hearts.

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


Friday night was typically their movie night. Just one more of the rituals they had found themselves falling into. It was Liz’s turn to pick the movie and she had decided upon ‘A Walk To Remember’.

Max just raised his eyebrows at her choice but said nothing.

“What?” she asked, a little indigent.

“I didn’t say anything.” Max raised his hands in mock surrender.

Max walked out into the kitchen and grabbed some glasses from the cabinet. Setting them on the counter he called into Liz, “What would you like to drink?”

Liz had snuck into the kitchen and was standing right behind him. She stood up on her tiptoes and got close to his ear and said. “Whatever you are.”

Max spun around quickly and almost knocked Liz over. Max grabbed her around the waist to steady her. For a few moments all that could be heard in the room was the thunder to two hearts beating in time with each other. Their bodies were pressed close together and their eyes locked. So much was said in that look. Max’s eyes darkened with desire before he could look away. He backed away, not really knowing how to feel. He didn’t want Liz to feel uncomfortable around him.

“Sorry bout that.” He said sheepishly, a slight blush tinting the ridges of his cheeks.

“Thanks for catching me.” She said, her eyes darting everywhere except at him.

‘Damn, this is not what I wanted to happen.’ He thought, ‘I’ll just pretend it never happened.’

“I’m having cherry coke, that okay with you?” he asked turning back to the counter and the task at hand.

“Sure, thanks.”

Liz took the glass from Max and they headed back into the living room. Max didn’t want there to be an awkward silence so he started talking about the first thing that came to mind, school.

They had just begun to discuss the day’s lecture when the doorbell rang. Liz breathed a sigh of relief. She had had enough of school for one day, for the week actually.

The pizza arrived just like clockwork to Max’s apartment. Paper plates were distributed and then it was a free for all on the poor unsuspecting pizza. After having polished off a slice each, they started the movie and settled next to each other on the couch. They had done this so many times before, but tonight felt different, at least for Liz.

As the movie progressed Liz found herself curling closer into Max’s side. The scent of him filled her and wrapped her in its protection.

On a regular basis, unknown to Max, she would borrow one of Max’s shirts. He would complain of having lost it and then by some unknown miracle it would reappear a day or two later. Then the process would repeat itself. Liz would keep it under her pillow at the dorm. It was a small comfort but a comfort nonetheless. She had him back in her life and she wasn’t going to take that for granted.

Max was intent on the movie and didn’t notice her eyes close as she breathed him in. Without even realizing it he had wrapped his arm around her when she had cuddled into him at one point. The awkwardness of their earlier embrace was forgotten.

Max looked down at her and smiled.

“Liz, I’ll admit it, it’s a pretty good movie.” Liz smirked at him.

“Well it’s okay, the book was ten times better though.”

“So you know how it’s all going to end? You’re holding out on me.” He accused, a glint in his eye.

“Well, a girl has to have some secrets.” Liz tossed her hair in the air. Some of the flying tresses found their way into Max’s mouth. Liz just started to laugh at the look of surprise on his face.

This was one of those carefree moments that they had so few of years ago. Time just spent in each other’s company with nothing to do but just be together. They cherished these times so much and they made sure they had them.

Liz reached up and started to remove the strands of hair from Max’s mouth. As she removed the first one everything started to slow down as their eyes met. She watched fascinated as her hand rose and slowly removed a strand from his mouth. She watched the way his lips were slightly parted, the moistness clinging to them.

Max couldn’t move. He sat transfixed as Liz’s hand removed the hair from his face one at a time. He could taste her from the strands that had fallen upon his tongue. She tasted so sweet, like strawberries. Her eyes held his as the scene played out, unfolding like a new blossom in the springtime. This was what made everything he had gone through worth it. He would bare the pain he had suffered all over again if it meant he could experience this simple joy, to live in this moment.

Liz removed the last strand of hair from Max’s face and pushed the pieces behind her air. It was a reflex she had had since high school and she doubted she would ever out grow it. It always gave her away but this time she didn’t care.

There was a crackling of energy in the air and it was palpable. She could feel it caressing her skin, making her heart beat just a little faster. She could feel the liquid heat as it pooled within her, making her very aware of the presence she was in. She could feel all the changes happening to her body; the quickened pulse, the slight dampness on her palms, the dry lips that needed the caress of her tongue to quench their thirst, the ache deep in her loins.

Max felt himself leaning forward, mesmerized by her beauty. The inches between them dropped away as the seconds moved slowly by. Each tick was bringing only more frustration at the remaining distance to be covered. His eyes darted to her soft lips as her tongue crept out and moistened them, acknowledging what was to pass between them.

There was something in the air this night that told them not to fight against this. That it was the right thing to do. Their souls were calling out to each other. They were ready to begin again. If they had only realized that that is what they had been doing the last year. They had been building the foundation that they had so desperately lacked in their youth. The pain had served its purpose; you would never be able to find two people more aware of the other than these two. They always valued what they shared with each other, it was precious and not to be wasted.

The last few inches fell away, two sets of eyelids fluttered close as they felt the soft brush of their lips together. Neither moved any closer nor did they push deeper into the kiss, simply letting their lips cling to each other. The moistness passing from one to the other as they slowly pulled apart and looked quietly into each other’s eyes. They stared, transfixed at the reflection of themselves in their eyes.

As if by some unseen force pushing them together, they descended once again, merging their lips in a lovers embrace, Max capturing Liz’s upper lip between his. There was less tentativeness and more passion as their lips sought out to relearn familiar territory. Tasting what had always been just out of reach for so long.

The fires of desire were burning within both of them. It had never gone out, but had been held so tightly under control that this lightest of touches sent the flame to heights of epic proportions. They would no longer be denied, their minds be damned for tonight their hearts would rule.

Liz opened her mouth and let her tongue glide under the bottom of Max’s lower lip. It was a simple caress but one with incredible power. She heard his sharp intake of breath and the low moan that was torn from his throat. She had dreamed of this moment and her dreams were paling to the reality of it. The tip of her tongue touched the corner of his mouth and quickly moved to the other side, teasing him. Max pulled back slightly and captured he lower lip this time between his. He was sucking and nibbling on her lips as if he was starved for the taste of her. Liz ran her tongue along the seam of his lips, asking, questioning.

The answer came gently as his tongue brushed ever so softly against hers. It was a mere whisper of a touch, matching the gentle caress of her hand on his cheek. She ran her hand to the back of his neck and tangled her fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck. She pulled him closer to her, never wanting to feel him slipping away from her, never again. Max wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer. His hand gently stroked her back causing her to melt even more into his body. They wanted to be so much closer, could they get much closer?

The kiss deepened and their tongues began to duel fiercely. They couldn’t get enough of each other; there was doubt that they ever would be able to. A love such as theirs knows no end, although they are complete in each other, fulfillment is fleeting and is constantly sought. Its as ache that only the other can cure but it is done so with the simplest of touches, the gentlest of words or the softest of looks.

Liz managed to get one of her hands under the hem of Max’s shirt and placed her open palm on the corded muscles of his back. She could feel the coiled power in those muscles. She trailed her fingernails up and down his back, reveling in the sound of his moans into her mouth. She was doing this to him, giving him this pleasure, taking it as it was freely offered back to her. This was where she belonged, where they belonged.

The shrill sound of Max’s cell phone brought the couple out of their passion-induced haze. As quickly as it had started to ring it stopped. They both just looked at each other, their eyes still dark with unfulfilled need, with passion that had been restrained for far to long. The last thing Max heard before his lips were being devoured by Liz was, “Damn wrong numbers.”

Max laced his fingers in her hair. He would never be able to get enough of her hair. It always smelled so…. Liz. The silky tendrils were always so soft to the touch, cascading thought his fingers like sand through an hourglass.

From out of nowhere something snapped. Max pulled away from her, kicking himself for taking things so far. This wasn’t what she wanted; they had been doing so well, he didn’t want this to mess it up. Her friendship was too important to him. He wanted to be sure of what was happening.

They stared at each other for a few seconds, their breathing was ragged and hearts were pounding. Their hands continued to mindlessly massage the skin they were already in contact with. Their lips were puffy and bruised from the intense kisses they had shared. They were still so close to each other that they could feel the warm puffs of air caressing each other’s lips as they slowly regained control of their breathing.

“Liz…. we can’t do this….” He started to say.

Max could see the hurt flash across her features at his rejection. He cursed himself; he could add one more hurt to the long list.

Liz looked up at him; she appeared so tiny and fragile for a brief moment but then her resolve kicked in. She was not going to have this be another exercise in lack of communication. That ended years ago and it had no place between them now. Liz leveled her gave at Max and asked Max the only question that made any sense.

“Why?”

tbc...

Next post on sunday...maybe sooner.. we'll see
posted on 30-Dec-2002 2:08:34 PM by moonieADT
For disclaimer and summary see ACT I

I'm feeling generous...

I just might again..

CtA
ACT XIX.

“I thought you only wanted to be friends?" He said sincerely.

"I don’t expect anything more that what your will to give. I didn’t think you would ever want anything like this with me.” Max said trying to explain his actions. He had gotten so carried away. He didn’t even know who had made the first move.

Liz couldn’t believe her ears. They had just shared one of the best kisses in their history. Didn’t he realize that she wanted so much more for them, had always wanted that but now they were ready, now they could fully accept the responsibility of the love they shared together. She was going to set this straight once and for all. She was done playing around. They wanted each other and they both knew it, she no longer wanted to deny what her heart cried out for.

Liz got up from the couch and started to pace. She wanted to get this all out and quickly. She was not in the mood to really talk right now. Max’s kisses had stirred something in her akin to a sleeping giant and it was not going to be calmed until it had received what it wanted.

“Just so there is no more confusion on this point. I. Love. You.” She looked right at him to get the full effect. “Are we clear on that?”

Max just looked at her dumbfounded. He had not expected to hear those words from her tonight, if ever. Realizing that he had not answered her, he nodded his head, a soft smile coming across his lips. Max reached out to touch her cheek but she flashed fiery eyes at him and he withdrew his hand as if he had been burnt.

“No distractions!” she said as she started her pacing once again.

“I. Want. No. One. Except. You. Clear?” she cocked her head waiting for his answer.

“Yes.” Max said quietly to her. He stood up and started to edge his way towards her.

“I only want to be in your arms.” Her voice was growing softer with each statement.

Max was now almost in front of her. He could fold her into his arms if he wanted to, and he did in the worst way, but not yet.

“I feel the same way.” Max answered.

“Last but not least and you listen to me good Evans, I will only be happy with you.” Liz was suddenly drained, she just wanted to curl up somewhere nice and warm and relax, a place where the world couldn’t reach her. She stopped her pacing and looked up at Max. His eyes locked with hers and they lost themselves in each other once again.

Max reached out his hands to her. She placed her tiny hands in his and marveled at how nicely they fit. How her hands became lost in the protective shelter of his. She felt the warmth start to rise up her arms, flooding her heart with love that she had feared she would never experience again. She felt Max’s gentle tug and found she was drifting further and further into the cocoon of his arms. She laid her cheek on his hard chest and let herself relax.

“Liz, I am very clear on where we stand now.” He said with a slight smirk in his voice. “Just so I’m clear, we love each other, only want to be with each other, only want to ever hold each other. Right?”

Max felt the slight nod of Liz’s head against his chest. “Funny, that sounds an awful lot like being married.” He held his breath waiting for that to sink in.

Her head shot up from his chest and her eyes were wide with fear, awe, excitement and tears. “Max….” she tried to speak but the lump in her throat would not allow it.

“Shh…. Someday Liz, I promise you, someday I am going to ask you that question so be prepared. I don’t know what you’ll say but I’ll risk anything to be with you.” He pulled her close to him and just let himself get lost in her scent. He had missed this and had not truly appreciated it back then. He swore he would never make that mistake again. Everyday Liz was going to know exactly how important she was.

“Liz, I love you, more than yesterday but less than tomorrow. For the rest of my life I will love you, I don’t know of any other way to live.”

Max placed his finger under her chin and raised her face towards his. They were so close he could feel the light puffs of her breath on his lips. He looked at her lips and watched as her soft tongue snuck out to moisten them. He slowly lowered his head towards hers. He gave her time to turn her head or pull away. After their talk he didn’t think he needed to give her an option but old habits like that would take time to go away. Her eyes fluttered close and she raised her chin a little higher. The first contact of her lips to his was electric. It was a gentle brushing of not just their lips but of their hearts and souls.

They melted into each other and just let the pent up emotions flow through them. The kiss depended as Liz opened her mouth and accepted Max’s tongue. It was a gentle tentative brushing at first, slowly growing in insistence and demand. Their hands clutched at each other’s backs, trying to find anything solid to anchor them to as the longing threatened to sweep them away. Max’s hands were restless on her back as they tried to be everywhere at once. Liz tangled her hand in the hair at the nape of his neck and held on. God she had missed this feeling. The sad part was they had not had the opportunity to share this as often as they should have.

Liz broke the kiss and took a couple of breaths, trying to calm her racing heart and regain some of her sanity. She was more than willing to go crazy with Max but not quite yet. There were still things to say. She leaned her forehead against his in their trademark fashion and just listened to each other breath. The rush of air into their lungs feeling like it would never be enough to sustain them.

“Sorry Liz, I just missed you so much, I didn’t mean to get out of control.” He gave her a wry smile and brushed his thumb over her cheekbone.

“Max, I was just as much to blame as you. Besides you don’t hear me complaining do you?” she said rather cheekily. Liz could feel the slight tremor from his body and he silently chuckled at her.

“I don’t want to do this without you.” Her eyes were conveying all the emotion that they both felt inside.

“Liz, I would do anything if it means being with you. We both know how fragile our hearts can be, how fragile they are. I know what a precious gift a heart is, either given or received. I’ve learned, my only regret is that I didn’t learn it fast enough. You saved me Liz, you always do.”

“Max, shut up and kiss me.” The smile slowly faded as his lips pressed more firmly to hers. The passion flared once again and this time it would not be denied. Slowly they lowered themselves to the couch, their legs no longer had the energy to carry them.

They kissed for what seemed like days. Their lips were bruised and puffy, swollen from the intensity of their desire. They had so much to catch up on, so much time they had lost.

They sat a little while later wrapped up in each other on the sofa. Both had spent a lot of time just memorizing the feel of the others face. A small yawn escaped from Liz’s lips as she snuggled a little deeper into Max’s embrace.

“A little tired sweetheart?” The endearment flowed from him effortlessly.

Liz nodded her head slowly. She did not want this evening to end. She was a little afraid that she would wake up tomorrow and it all will have been a dream. Unconsciously her hold on Max tightened.

“Liz, you okay?” he soothed her.

“Max, this isn’t a dream is it? I’m not going to wake up and we’ll still be apart?” she questioned a little apprehensively.

“I was going to ask you the same thing.” Max said, trying to lighten her mood.

“Max…”

“Liz…”

“You know I hate it when you do that.” She said, rolling her eyes at him. It was so reminiscent of a time on her balcony at New Years.

“C’mon, I’ll drive you home. Your too tired and I don’t want anything to happen to you.” He whispered into her hair fervently, his arms clutching her just a little tighter.

“Okay.” She said in acquiescence.

Silently they gathered her things and made their way to her car. Max drove the short distance to her dorm and walked her up to her room. He deposited her belongings on her desk as Liz changed into her nightclothes in the bathroom. She came out in a pair of Max’s boxers and a baby tank top. Liz tiredly ran a hand through her dark mane as he waked over to Max, who was standing beside her bed. Max thought for sure he was going to explode at the sight of her. The passion was still lingering just under the surface, waiting for any reason to be re-ignited. Max took a couple calming breaths but not before the level of his desire slammed gently into Liz. Her eyes flashed dark briefly as she looked up at him.

“I love you Liz.” He whispered.

Liz looked up at him and gently caressed his cheek, the reality that she could do that was just starting to become real. Liz reached up on her tip-toes and placed a soft kiss on his lips.

“I love you too.” She said quietly.

Liz climbed into bed and tiredly lay down. Max pulled the sheets up around her and tucked her in. He sat down on the side of her bed and brushed the stray pieces of hair of her forehead. Max let his fingers stray to her cheek and linger there for a few moments.

“Good night Liz, I’ll call you tomorrow.” Max assured her.

“We can go to breakfast?” she asked hopefully through the coming haze of sleep.

“We can do anything, as long as its together.” Max whispered to her as her eyes closed.

Max placed a small kiss on her forehead and just sat and watched her for a few minutes. The realities of the night’s happenings were finally sinking in. They were together, the one thing that he had never thought would happen, had. He got up fro the bed and made his way to the door.

“Hmm…Max.” Liz mumbled in her sleep.

Max could fight the smile that made its way to his lips. Closing the door behind him, ensuring it was locked; he made his way outside and began the short walk to his apartment. As he walked he looked up at the night sky, the stars were brilliant in their beautiful isolation. Of all the planets he could have been left on they choose earth. He didn’t believe in god but at that moment he thanked whatever higher power there was out there that had guided him to this world, his home. He was becoming the man he had the capability to be and that was all due to one person, Liz. She had taught him so many things, some of them without even realizing it.

His life was so different now, for the first time in a long time he liked himself. Liz made him human; she brought to life the best parts of him. Had shown him a new world. A world that he had grabbed onto with both hands and would never again let go of.

Max took one last look up at the night sky. The twinkling lights that used to mock him, he now found hope in. These were the stars he wanted to grow old looking up at, with Liz.

tbc..

posted on 1-Jan-2003 1:56:39 AM by moonieADT
For diclaimer and summary see ACT I

CtA
ACT XX.

“Bring an over night bag with you with a change of clothes.” Liz just sat there with her mouth not working. She liked this Max; he was so loving, as he had been when she first knew him, but strong and confident now. This was the man she knew that he would always become. She opted for a shy smile to cover her delight.

“Is there anything else his majesty wishes?” she teased, a flirtatious grin lighting her face.

“Well now that depends….” Max said, waggling his eyebrows suggestively, leaving his response dangling. He loved flirting with her; it was something that they rarely had time for in the past. Now he made sure it was part of everyday.

“On…” Liz decided two could play at this game. She stood up and leaned her elbows on the table, giving him an unobstructed view of the swell of her breasts. She lowered her lashes, and keeping her gaze locked with his, licked her lips slowly.

“Um…on…uh….” Max just shook his head in frustration and turned back to his studying. He could only ever go so far with his flirting and then he would just get so flustered. He could feel the blush creep up his ears at the thoughts he was having and he knew that Liz knew it to.

Liz decided she had not had enough this time and wanted to push it. They had been very careful and had progressed very slowly with their relationship. They were in their senior year of college now and they were happy together. In some ways it seemed like such a strange concept where the two of them were concerned. But they had earned this; they had paid many times over for the love that they shared. They had sacrificed it, been reckless with it, and this time they had a firm hold and were not letting go. It had never been easy and she doubted it ever would. She would never regret following Grandma Claudia’s advice, it was complicated, just as she had said it would be, but through all the pain and the tears they had this, they had each other.

Everyday they made sure to be thankful for what they shared in each other. Today she was going to show Max a little more than the usual amount of thanks.

Liz made her way around the table; her movements were slow and deliberate. He looked up from his books to see where she was going and her eyes never left his as she closed the last couple of feet between them. She had to chuckle to herself as she saw Max swallow reflexively. He just had no idea what was about to happen.

“Max?” Liz almost purred to him.

“Yea?” He choked out. Max couldn’t seem to understand why all of a sudden it had grown so hot in his apartment. He knew it had a lot to do with the petite woman standing in front of him. She had one hand resting on her hip, and that hip was slightly stuck out to the side as she rested her weight on that leg. She looked so incredibly sexy he didn’t know what to do with himself.

In some ways it had become a game to her, she wanted to see just what it would take for him to lose his control. They had kissed a lot in the last year but it had never gone any farther than that. Liz knew that Max was holding himself in check, wanting her to be sure of the next step they took in their relationship. In truth they had both discussed it and had wanted to wait until they were married. They had waited this long and they knew it only would be a matter of time.

“What if I told you I didn’t want to go tonight?” she asked seriously.

Max’s face just fell; he just hoped he hadn’t overstepped the boundaries they had set for themselves. He looked up at her and gave her a weak smile.

“That’s okay, we have studying to do. It wasn’t a good idea anyway.” Max tried to cover his disappointment, but he was floundering badly. He quickly looked away from her back to his textbook.

Liz was able to keep the smirk that threatened to appear from forming on her face. One of the major changes in Max had been that he wore his heart on his sleeve, especially when it came to Liz. He could never hide what he was feeling and much to each other’s delight, they really didn’t want to. They liked this new openness that their relationship now afforded them.

Liz stepped over Max’s legs and planted herself firmly on his lap. After wiggling her butt a couple too many times she finally gave the appearance of having made herself comfortable. The look of shock on his face was priceless. His eyes had gone wide and his mouth just couldn’t seem to work. Liz wrapped her arms around his neck and slowly lowered her lips towards his. As she descended she spoke to him, each sentence sending shivers of fire through him.

“Max, don’t want to go anywhere tonight.”

He just nodded his head.

“I want to stay here with you.”

Max swallowed, twice.

“Here?” He asked incredulously.

“All night.” She said with conviction.

His eyes grew just a little bit more round.

“All night?”

“Um hm, I’m sure.”

Her lips attached themselves to his and they shared one of the most intense flashes that they had ever had. The images whirled around in their minds, each knowing that they were sharing the same vision.


* FLASH *
Max and Liz in the throws of passion.

* FLASH *
Max looking at Liz as she takes her vows.
“I do.”

* FLASH *
Max and Liz sitting on a bench in the park at sunset. Max had his arms around her and Liz was holding a small bundle in her arms. As the bundle moved the top of the blanket fell away and they beheld a small infant, silky brown hair and amber eyes.

* FLASH *
Liz watching their baby as he takes his first steps while Max is feeding a small bundle in his arms.

* FLASH *
Liz and Max dancing at their tenth wedding anniversary.

* FLASH *
Liz as she accept an award for her research into rare diseases.

* FLASH *
Liz and Max sitting on the couch in front of a fireplace. Their white hair still styled as today. Whispering to each other of their love.



They pulled apart and stared into each other’s eyes, both of them to emotional to speak. They both raised their hand and placed it on the others cheek. Leaning slightly forward they lay their foreheads against each other’s, sharing the same air, bringing them closer together.

“Is that our future?” Max asked her in awe, to afraid to believe that it could ever be possible.

Liz’s eyes shown brighter than they ever had, the tears glistening in them just adding to the beauty radiating from within them.

“Yes.”

It was simple. Yes.

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


Morning found them wrapped in each other’s arms. Both stirring as the first fingers of sunlight placed its warm touch under their chins and gently woke them. Their eyes fluttered open and met. Even when fogged with sleep, her eyes were still incredible. A lazy smile broke out on their lips with the realization of what had passed between them in the flashes.

“Morning.” They said together.

Liz giggled and snuggled a little deeper into Max’s side. His scent was all the more intense when mixed with sleep. Liz took a few deep breaths and closed her eyes bliss.

“Liz were you just smelling me?” Max asked with a hint of amusement.

“I…um…” Liz stammered, getting flustered.

“I’m the same way with you too.” He whispered conspiratorially.

Liz giggled and pulled him closer. She didn’t want to surrender the warmth of his embrace just yet. It had been so long since they had spent the night in each other’s arms. Not since the orbs had wreaked havoc in their lives had they had that experience. It had been both a blessing and a curse at the same time. In a way those orbs had signaled the beginning of the end. It’s strange that one of the best moments in your life is wrapped around one of the worst. Liz returned from her memories to the concerned eyes of Max.

“You okay?” he asked concerned.

“I’m more than fine.” She said with a smile as the demons of the past were pushed away. “What do you want to do today?” She asked as she traced an absentminded finger along his jaw.

Max put his chin in his hand and put his best thoughtful look on his face. Liz just looked at him with grin starting to spread across her face.

“Well, you see there’s this woman…” He started.

“Um hmm…” Liz prompted, her eyes shinning up at his.

“Well you see she’s given me the most amazing gift and I was trying to think of a way I could show her how much it means to me.”

“And what would this gift be?” She asked a little curious.

“Her love, her heart.” He said with all seriousness, the playful tone now gone.

Max looked at her with the eyes of a man who had seen the worst and had miraculously come out on the other side, older, stronger, and wiser. A man who didn’t know how, but she had somehow found worthy of her love.

Liz was still trying to wrap her mind around the fact that they were together. It had been such a long road back to each other. Max had made a lot of that possible. He had done the work and had learned. He changed so much from the boy he was back then. He had become a man. He owned his mistakes; he no longer tried to excuse his actions for any more than what they really were. He saw beyond himself, beyond the world he had grown so used to keeping himself locked away in. That had been his biggest change; he now saw a larger world.

“Max, what a road we traveled.” She said thoughtfully.

“Liz at this point, I’m just really happy we survived. The odds were never in our favor; it had been a stacked deck from the start. We did what we knew to do at the time, some good, and some bad. I think in the long run we have to live our lives as a testament to the past. To show what we have learned, the sacrifices we made. If we don’t, it will all have been in vain, and that I can’t live with. We’ve come too far, suffered too much to let it slip away like it has before.” Max stroked her cheek in complete reverence. Touching her like the most precious being in the universe that she truly was. “There are so many things in this world that are unpredictable, that can change in a heartbeat but there is one thing that I am sure of, that is constant.” Max cupped her cheek and brushed his thumb over the smooth skin. “You.”

Max took a deep breath to steady himself from the emotions that were welling up inside of him. Those same feelings were mirrored in Liz. She knew it all too well. It had been so rough and an utter nightmare at times. Max was right, the only place they could go from here was the future. For the first time in a long time, that future looked like a place that held some of the hopes and dreams she had had in what seemed like another lifetime now.

As she looked up at his handsome features, she could, at this moment say that her heart completely belonged to him. It always had in some form, but now she had given it all to him. It wasn’t in the heat of the moment or out of any type of gratitude for saving her, not out of some teenage fantasy that she had had not so long ago. No, it was for the simple reason that it was right, that they were ready.

“Well, does this woman know how you feel?” She asked, picking up where they had left their playful banter.

Max took her face between his large hands, hands that had given her life. He looked deep into her eyes and their connection flared to life. The wash of emotions flooded over them. Love, devotion, commitment, fidelity, and respect filled every corner of their beings.

“I hope she knows, but just incase, let me tell her.” He said as he got down on one knee in front of her and took her hands once again into his.

“Liz, I love you with all that I am. I will never let a day pass without showing you how important you are to me. You’re my best friend, my partner. I know without a doubt you are my better half. Without you I live, but with you I’m alive.”

Liz leaned towards him, tears streaming silently down her face. She offered him a wobbly smile as she closed the distance between them. Their lips touched and the world just faded into the shadows. They both could taste the salt of the tears mixed with the sweetness of the kiss, the textures of lips and tongues as they moved passionately against each other. Gently they broke the kiss, their lips clinging desperately for the last moments of contact. They touched their foreheads together and just basked in the warmth they drew from each other.

“Liz, if we don’t get going we may not leave this room.” He said huskily to her.

“And how would that be a problem?” She teased.

Max’s eyes grew a little round at the implications. They had spent so much time dodging parents, that it had completely escaped them that they were most definitely alone.

“Liz I …” he stuttered.

“Your not going to get lucky today Evans.” She said as she sucked his lower lip into her mouth. “But your days are numbered.” She whispered into his ear, her hot breath only hardening his already painful erection. Liz boldly reached down between them and lightly ran her hand along the length of him. Max gasped at the unexpected contact, his eyes going wide. Liz looked at him through hooded eyes and smiled, the most innocent smile she could muster.

“Soon.” She purred. “Soon.”

tbc...
posted on 1-Jan-2003 1:57:43 AM by moonieADT
For disclaimer and summary see ACT I.

CtA
Epilogue.

The reception had ended hours ago and now Max and Liz were secluded in their honeymoon suite. The light of the fire enveloped the room in a soft, warm glow. They stood on the terrace that overlooked the Roswell desert. The stars in the night sky sparkled against the black canopy of night, each microcosmic entity a silent witness to a love that would rival all others. The soft breeze carried the scent of the roses that adorned the secluded veranda, bathing it in the scent of purity.

Max had his arms around the petite waist of his new wife, her body fitting into the empty spaces left by his own. Her warmth permeated his very being and gave him life. Liz reached over her shoulder and caressed his cheek, the strong features passing under her trembling hand.

“Liz, are you cold?” He asked concerned, pulling her closer to him.

“No.” She whispered, her voice thick with nervousness.

Max placed a gentle kiss on the crown of her head and breathed in the scent that was so uniquely hers. Liz tilted her head back and looked up at him. Her eyes were shining bright with the love she had for him. Max ‘s breath caught in his throat at the emotion displayed so clearly in her beautiful doe eyes. Eyes that had beheld so much, eyes that he would be honored to spend the rest of his life starring into.

He placed his hands on her hips and slowly turned her to face him. He leaned down and rested his forehead on hers, connecting them in only one of the many ways they had experienced, and those they had yet to. Max ran his hands up and down her arms, the lace and silk of her wedding gown swishing under his hands. The soft puffs of his breath caressed her face as they both lost themselves in the comfort of each other.

“I love you.” Max said, his voice betraying his own nervousness.

Liz smiled at him, she was glad she wasn’t the only one.

“And I love you.” She said softly.

Liz moved back from Max’s embrace and took his hand in hers. In slow, anxious steps she led him into the honeymoon suite, the only light emanating from the fireplace. She turned to face him, placing her hand on his solid chest. She traced the outline of the muscles she found there, muscles that for some reason seemed so new, an unknown to her.

“Max, kiss me.” she whispered breathlessly, her words almost desperate.

Max leaned down and took her lips in a soft kiss. Gently massaging the tender flesh with his own. As it always seemed to do, their kiss took on a life of its own. Max suckled her lower lip between his, nibbling on the sweet tasting flesh. Liz moaned deep in her throat at the assault on her mouth. She loved getting lost in his kisses, they stirred up something so deep within her, something that tonight she would finally let loose.

Liz opened her mouth and traced her tongue along Max’s lips, seeking to deepen the kiss. Max eagerly granted her request but left her to take them where she wanted to go. Liz stroked her tongue along the side of his, unhurriedly exploring the nuances of his mouth. She loved how he tasted, it was heady and intoxicating, drawing her deeper and deeper into its addictive hold.

Max ran his hands up and down her back, the open upper back of her dress giving him access to the supple flesh he found there. One hand found its way up to her neck and then onward into her hair. Her hair had always been his weakness, one that he would always gladly give in to. He drew his fingers once more through its length before cradling the back of her head, pulling her closer as their mouths made love to each other. Max groaned as she pulled him tighter to her body, both of them trembling with the heat of their passion.

The flames of the their desire were licking at them, hungry for the fuel they were providing. The kiss deepened and they started to become desperate for each other. The need that was building in them was gaining momentum. Almost six years of waiting had taken its toll on patience.

“Max…my dress.” she moaned against his mouth.

Max smiled against her lips, god how he loved her. After a few seconds of fumbling he found the clasps on the back of her gown. Max’s lips stilled as he concentrated on the clasps, trying to figure out how they worked. Liz giggled nervously at his confusion. His frustration was starting to build in their connection.

“Max, having trouble?” she goaded him.

Max grunted as she felt the heat of his powers over the area of the clasps on her dress. With a quick pass of his hand the clasps disengaged and the back hung open. Max explored the newest skin exposed to his wandering hands.

“No more hocus pocus. We do this the old fashioned way.” She mumbled against his lips.

Max groaned his protest but he conceded. He started to brush feather light kisses along her jaw and back up to her ear. He took her earlobe into his mouth and gently nibbled the tender flesh. He ran his tongue along the shell of her ear, mixing in little kisses as he went. As he continued to torture her jaw and neck, his hands remained fixed on the task of removing her dress. With the clasps now out of the way he slowly lowered the zipper that he next encountered. Lower and lower his hand tugged on the metal zipper, leaving the tell tale gritting of the parting teeth in its wake. Max let his fingers travel the length of the now open zipper, his finger leaving a scorching trail of fire in its stead.

“I love you.” He breathed into her ear, his hot breath sending a shiver down her spine.

“Max….” She moaned.

Liz wasn’t going to let Max be the only one to stir the passion they were creating. Her hands kneaded the skin of his chest through his shirt. She could feel the solid muscles rippling under the cool silk, but it just wasn’t enough. Liz brought both hands to the top button of his shirt and began undoing them. Her trembling fingers were a source of frustration, the seemingly simple task becoming arduous. When she finally got his shirt halfway undone, she splayed her fingers across his chest and basked in the warmth and power radiating from him. Liz leaned forward and placed kisses on the heated skin she had under her hands. Finally the last button fell open and she ran her hands up his chest and begin to slide the shirt off his body. As the shirt hit the floor she just stood and stared at this man before her. He was perfect; maybe not to all, but to her he was the epitome of what she wanted in a man. She raked her nails down his chest, Max’s sudden intake of breath giving away its affects.

Max’s breathing had become ragged the more she tantalized his awakened flesh. Her fingertips passed over the hardening peaks of his nipples.

“Oh Liz…” Escaped his now parched lips.

“Did I hurt you?” She asked innocently.

Max just shook his head, his eyes burning with desire and want.

“It felt really go…od” He said as she made another pass over his taunt peak.

Liz lowered her head, wanting to taste the skin her fingers were becoming intimate with. She pressed her lips to the center of his chest, raining kisses over the bare expanse of skin before her. Timidly she made her way over to his nipple, kissing the turgid peak and drawing a lazy circle around it with her tongue. She continued to tease his responsive skin with her mouth, his moans urging her on.

Max drew her face up to his and placed an impassioned kiss upon her lips. His lips were demanding and desperate. Their tongues dueled for dominance, each trying to assuage the growing hunger at the core of their beings.

They both pulled back, breathless from their heated kisses, hearts beating wildly and threatening to burst though their chests. Two sets of passion darkened eyes met with the intensity of a millions suns.

“Max…” Liz said softly.

Max reached out and caressed her cheek, tracing his finger from her ear to her chin. He let his hands trail down her neck to her shoulder blades, his fingertips playing in the hollows he found there. With agonizing patience, he pushed the shoulders of her gown from their resting place. The fabric rustled softly as it slipped down her slender arms, his fingers trembling more and more the further they slipped material towards her wrists. Their eyes never broke contact; both were so intent on the emotions displayed there. Max attempted to slide the material off her arms, but the sleeve was contoured around her wrist and refused to pass over.

“I…how do I…” Max stammered, his face burning with embarrassment at not being able to slide the dress down her arms.

“Here, let me.” She soothed him. She undid the tiny buttons that closed the sleeve close to her wrists.

“I love you.” Max said reverently.

Max wanted this to be perfect for her. This was their first time; he wanted this to be like you always see it being written in the romance novels. She deserved perfection, she was breathing proof of that it existed in this world.

Liz offered him a tentative smile at his words as the dress slid slowly down her body. The fabric rustled softly as it pooled at her feet, leaving her in her sheer white slip. Liz stepped out of the dress and placed it over the back of the chair. Turning back towards him, she was stopped by the look on Max’s face. Max’s breath caught in his chest at the sight of her, his eyes glowing darkly as he consumed her with their hunger. From her toes, to her curved hips, to the swell of her pert breasts, to the cascade of chocolate hair that covered her shoulders, to the beautiful eyes that stared back at him. He devoured her inch by inch, both of them quaking from the intensity of it.

“Max.” She said a little uncomfortably, ducking her head.

“Liz, you are breath taking.” He said in awe of her beauty. “I’ve imagined this moment so many times, but it never came close to this. I was never able to picture this much perfection.” His hands clenched and unclenched at his sides, unsure as to what to do with them.

Liz stepped closer to him, her breath stirring the skin of his chest. She traced circles on his stomach, over the hard ridges of his abdomen. Liz let her eyes follow the path her fingers were taking. She glanced quickly to his face and then back to her hands, hands that had settled on the button of his trousers. With shaking hands, she undid the button and reached to lower the zipper. Max covered her hand with his and both of them lowered it and let his pants slide over his hips to the floor. He kicked them away and returned his gaze to Liz.

Max pulled Liz into his arms and kissed her hungrily. The kiss had started with Max in control but quickly Liz became the aggressor. Her mouth was trying to devour his, searing his lips with the fervent heat of her own. Her hands roamed the skin of his back, feeling the coiled power in his body.

Max couldn’t stop touching her, he had longed for this moment. The silk of her slip felt cool to his touch as his hands roamed her sides. His hands burned to touch her bare skin, to feel its warmth permeate his very soul. As he stroked upwards again, his thumb brushed the side of her breast. Her body seemed to ignite with a fire of a different color at the contact.

“Oh…Max…” She breathed, her body turning slightly to follow his wandering hand.

Max brought his hand back up and tentatively cupped her ripe breast, taking its full weight into his hand. He caressed her, gently stroking his thumb over her hardening nipple.

“Is this okay?” Max asked her hesitantly.

Liz arched her back to press more of her pert breast into his palm and moaned in response. She wanted him to touch her like this for so long now. Her body craved his touch and the more she received, the more she hungered.

“God Liz, you feel so incredible.” He said, his own excitement building as hers was.

Liz crushed her mouth back to Max’s, pressing her body as close to his as she could. Her tongue explored his mouth with abandon, enjoying the taste of him. Liz reached down and brushed her hands across his firm ass. She caressed and squeezed him, digging her nails lightly into the firm skin hidden underneath the silk of his boxers.

“Liz…Liz…” He moaned into her mouth.

Max moved his hand from her breast up into her hair, threading his fingers through the silky strands. He brought his free hand up and cupped her other breast, giving it the same attention he had the other. Her nipple strained against the silk of her slip, reaching out for the warmth of his palm. Liz crushed her lips further against Max’s one last time before she pulled back to look at him, her eyes full of love and passion.

Liz raised her hands to the opposite shoulders and threaded her fingers under the straps of her slip. She gazed deeply into Max’s eyes and slowly began to pull the straps from her creamy shoulders. The silken strips fell from her fingers and hung loosely about her arms, her erect nipples keeping the slip from falling from her body. Her chest was heaving, as the seconds seemed to lengthen, both of them anxious for the next moment to occur but afraid for it to come to pass. With a shaking fingers Max reached out to touch the slip where it clung desperately to her breasts. His eyes asked her for permission to remove this barrier, to bare a part of her incredible beauty to his hungry stare. Liz smiled nervously and closed her eyes for a second. This was the moment that would change everything and she wanted nothing more than this. She opened her eyes and nodded slightly to Max. His trembling fingers completed their journey and tentatively peeled the silk from her and let it fall to the floor, the swish of the fabric breaking the silence of the room.

Liz knew that she was not as well endowed as some were, over time she had realized that it didn’t matter about what others had, but about begin comfortable with who you were. Being exposed like this to her lover, her only lover, brought back some of the old insecurities. She felt exposed and vulnerable. Max reached out and caressed her face, he had sensed her distress through their connection and even without that, he knew that this was a difficult moment. They had never gotten this far before, it was all new for them.

“Liz, you are perfect.” He whispered reverently, his eyes blazing with yearning.

Liz smiled thankfully up at him. She knew he hadn’t even looked at her yet and still he was assuring her that she was what he wanted.

“Max, you haven’t looked yet.” She said a little embarrassed.

Max flushed a little at her and he couldn’t help his eyes flashing quickly to her exposed breasts. His eyes went wide as he took her in. Her nipples were so hard and dark pink, surrounded by the lighter pink of her areola, a perfect contrast to each other. The creamy fullness of her flesh, so firm and rounded; his hand reached out, drawn by some unseen force. His fingers brushed the button sized nipples, the texture of the slightly rough skin sending a shiver through his entire body.

“My god Liz, you…you…I…” he groaned and fell to his knees, kissing the swell of her breast. “You’re so beautiful. Mine.” He growled as he showered her heaving breasts with kisses.

Liz laced her fingers through his hair and pulled him tighter against her, her nipple forcing its way into his hungry mouth as he was kissing her. The sudden contact creating havoc in their already overloaded senses. Her taste was completely indescribable, the taste of flesh, Liz and strawberries, a hint of vanilla and the slightest bit of sweat. He became instantly addicted, just as he knew that he would. He laved her nipple with wet strokes of his tongue, enjoying the feel of her skin puckering under his ministrations. He closed his lips over the hardened peak and sucked it into his mouth, drawing the tip to the roof, rubbing it against the rough surface there. Liz pulled his head tighter to her chest, driving her breast deeper, relishing the feeling of his mouth taking more of her in.

“Oh yes Max, umm.” She cried.

Max moved to her right breast, kissing the underside below her nipple. Liz gasped at the feeling of his lips on her. She never realized it before but her right breast was more sensitive than her left. Liz felt the heat pooling in her body, an ache building in her, spreading through her. Max circled her nipple and then finally took the turgid tip into his mouth. He suckled her without reservation; he brought both his hands up to cup her breasts, taking their full weight in his hands. He lightly pinched her nipple between his fingers.

“Ohhhhh.” She cried out.

Max felt a little surge of confidence at her reaction and tried the same thing with her right breast. Carefully he took her nipple between his teeth and nibbled, biting softly on the tender, hardened flesh. Liz’s hands clenched tightly in his hair, her head rolled back in her surrender to the feelings she was experiencing.

Max released her nipple and started to kiss his way down her stomach. Her skin was so warm and soft, the taste was so similar, so distinctly Liz, but with subtleness he knew he would be memorizing for the rest of his life. Max kissed her belly button and dipped his tongue in, his fingers gently kneading her creamy breasts.

Max started to kiss lower, towards the barrier of her panties. The closer he got, the more powerful her scent became. Max had never smelled anything as heavenly as this, he didn’t think it could get any better. Slowly he let his hands fall to her waist and looped his fingers through the sides of her panties. Max looked up at her with hooded eyes, eyes darkened with passion and unadulterated want. Liz stroked her fingers through his dark locks and nodded to his unvoiced question. Her legs began to quiver slightly and her breathing grew a little more ragged as he started to lower her panties over her hips. Liz closed her eyes as he slid the material down her thighs and to the floor. The cool air was a slight shock to her heated skin, the dampness that had pooled at the apex of her thighs enhancing the chill.

Max placed soft kisses on her stomach as her panties dropped to the floor. Slowly, hesitantly, he kissed his way into the dark curls that hid her most intimate treasure. Her arousal filled his senses, overpowering him, drawing him further under her spell.

“Max…?” Liz questioned very apprehensively.

“Yes sweetheart?” Max asked gently, letting his love permeate their connection.

“Is it, I mean, um…you don’t have…is it…” She stammered, uncomfortably.

“Liz, sweetheart. You are incredible. What’s wrong?” He mumbled against the wiry curls he had his nose buried in.

Liz was so embarrassed; she didn’t know how to handle this. She didn’t want to disappoint him but she also didn’t want him to think he had to do something he didn’t want to either. Before she could voice her fears Max unknowingly assuaged them for her.

“God Liz, your…scent is driving me crazy!” He moaned as he buried his face deeper into the feminine hair and let his tongue tentatively seek out her sensitive core.

Liz felt a rush of heat storm through her body at his declaration. She unconsciously spread her legs a little wider and allowed him to push his face deeper into her heat. His tongue tasted the top of her silken folds and he groaned in desperation for more. Liz’s body jerked at the sudden contact of his tongue on her sensitive skin, her bundle of nerves starting to throb at the gentle caresses. Her hands tightened their grip on his head and pulled him closer. Max tasted her as best he could from the position he was in. He was driven by instinct, not really sure of what he was doing, merely feeding off of Liz’s needs and desires, the desires and wants she was evoking in him.

Her taste was heady and he knew he had to have more; the need was driving him with a blinding force. Gently he picked her up as he rose to his feet, cradling her in his arms. He kissed her tenderly on the lips as he made his way over to the bed. His eyes smiled into hers as he laid her on the cool, crisp sheets. He settled between her thighs and kissed her, in the most intimated of kisses. His lips merged with hers, deeply and passionately he caressed her aroused her heat. As he ended the kiss he was unsure as to what to do next.

“Liz, I, um…was that okay?” He asked unsure.

“Oh Max…it felt nice.” She whispered. “More…”

Max closed his eyes and just hoped he made her feel good. He lowered his mouth to her silken folds and let his tongue trace her, from the bottom to the top. He parted her folds a little more with each stroke, his nose brushing in the soft hair of her mound.

“Oh Max, that feels so good.” She purred, her arousal growing.

Max continued to suckle and nibble at her now slick heat. The taste was driving him onward; his thirst for her seemed never to get satisfied. Liz moaned and moved her hips in time with the strokes of his tongue. Her hands moved to the sides of his head and she ran her fingers through his hair. Liz closed her eyes as he continued to lick her folds, the ache in her building just a little bit more.

Max licked deeper into her folds and drew his tongue to the top of her opening. His tongue brushed the bundle of nerves at the top and Liz gasped.

“Oh right there…” She pleaded, her hands unconsciously directing his head where she wanted him.

Max followed her lead and concentrated on her clitoris. Carefully he took her sensitive flesh into his mouth and began a light suction. He was careful not to pull to hard or be to rough, he had read somewhere that once she became numb or sore it was not easy for her to recover. The last thing he wanted to do was injuring her with his own ignorance, or ruining her experience with his naiveté. Max gently suckled her in his mouth, flicking his tongue across the swelling bud. Max tenderly traced his finger along her passageway, exploring her, discovering her. He slowly slid his finger between her outer lips to her inner core, the slick skin gladly giving way to his tentative pressure. He touched her reverently, his mind reeling from what was happening. His finger seemed to have a mind of its own as it slowly disappeared into her.

“Max…yes…” She moaned into the pillow she had turned her head into.

Liz was in heaven as he lovingly caressed her inner walls with his thick finger. The sensation of his knuckle passing into her sending little shivers to pass up and down her spine. ‘If this is what it’s like with his finger then god help me when he…’ She couldn’t even finish that thought. Her eyes looked to the ceiling, searching for the release from the burning ache growing in her body. They were clumsy and far from graceful in their actions but what was important was that they loved each other, they were sharing this experience together. They had plenty of time to do all the things you hear of, right now was about discovering each other.

continued in next post
posted on 1-Jan-2003 1:59:05 AM by moonieADT
“Max…come here. I want you.” She said shyly, she wanted to feel him inside of her.

Max stopped his actions and took a breath to steady himself. He climbed up her body slowly, sliding his boxers over his hips and after a couple attempts, kicking them off, as he approached her. Liz took his face in her hands and kissed him with all the passion that had been building in her in the last few minutes. The intensity of the desire coursing through them held them in awe of its power.

Liz reached down and caressed the taunt muscles of his abdomen, her fingers crossing the ridges of his six pack. She met his eyes as she gingerly lowered her hand and brushed the tip of his rigid manhood. Max gasped at the contact, his breath rushing out of him and fanning over Liz. A smile curled her lips at having caused that reaction in her husband.

Her husband

She paused as that thought made its way into her being. Max looked at her with questioning eyes, concerned at her hesitation that she was all right. Liz smiled tenderly at him and used her other hand to caress his cheek.

“You’re my husband.” She said in quiet awe. “ My husband.” The ownership was clearly evident in her tone.

Max smiled broadly at her musing. He was without any doubt or reservation hers. He was hers for as long as she would have him and he would thank every day that he had her in his life. She was the one who made it all worth living.

“I am yours, my wife. I’ll always be yours.” He said as he pressed a desperate kiss to her beckoning lips, his tongue dueling quickly with hers.

“You have me in the palm of your hand.” He said sincerely.

Liz smiled seductively at his unknown pun and gave the part of him she had in her hand a quick squeeze, his eyes opening wide in the process.

“Yes I do.” She purred to him.

The smile left her eyes and she became serious, her eyes darkening more than he had ever seen before in their time together. Liz took an unsteady breath and closed her eyes briefly before focusing again on him. Liz carefully guided Max to her opening and placed the tip of his erection against her dripping core. That simple contact alone was almost enough to send them both over the edge because of the enormity of it. Both of them took another breath and tried to slow their pounding hearts, their eyes saying I want you, their connection telling each other I love you in a way that no other would ever compare.

“I’m ready.” She said, her voice wavering a little.

“Okay.” He said simply, stroking her cheek with his fingers.

“Max, this is my …my first time.” She said quietly, shyly lowering her eyes.

There was nothing he could say; it said everything about her. She had waited for the right time, for the one she knew was the one for her. Max kissed her tenderly on her slightly parted lips, letting his tongue caress her lips and her tongue. He savored this moment; their mouths mimicking what their bodies were to do, to join in the most intimate of ways.

“I love you.” His eyes were telling her everything that his mouth wouldn’t let him.

Liz placed her hands on his hips and gently pulled him towards her. The tip of his erection pressed against her opening, straining, trying to enter her tight walls. She pulled a little harder but the head slid up and over her nub. She gasped at the unexpected contact, her face flushed slightly at what had happened. They both shared a little smile at their own awkwardness and tenderly kissed as she repositioned him at entrance once again. She slid the tip up and down slightly, firmly placing him slightly into her aching heat; they both closed their eyes at the wondrous feeling it tore from them.

They both pushed towards each other, their bodies eager to complete the union they had started the day he had saved her life so long ago. Their eyes flew open as he started to enter her, her muscles slowly relaxing and allowing his entry. The feeling was beyond surreal, knowing you are held or being held by your lovers’ body.

“Oh god, you feel incredible.” Max breathed as he inched his way slowly into her.

Liz could feel her inner muscles convulse around his rigid length.

“Liz, are you okay?” he asked concerned.

Liz smiled up at him, her body felt so much more than okay, she felt like she was becoming complete for the first time in her life. She pulled his head down to hers and kissed him slowly, letting the passion build. She placed her hands on his hips and began to pull him into her again. Once Max felt the tip of his erection hit her barrier he stopped.

“Max, its okay.” She smiled consolingly at him.

”I don’t want to hurt you.” Max whispered.

“Max…” Liz said warningly.

Max closed his eyes and prepared for both the best and worst moment in his life. Liz felt his mixed emotion through their connection and her love for this man grew more than she thought possible. Liz gently squeezed his hips, her thumbs brushing over the powerful muscles there. She felt his muscles begin to coil as her own began to build and prepare for the moment that would seal her to her husband for eternity.

“I love you Liz.” He said.

“And I you.” She replied with emotion laden in her voice.

Liz nodded her head and gently pushed his hips back slightly and then pulled him forward abruptly, thrusting her own hips to meet his. Both of them loosing the force they had built up in their bodies. Max stilled as he came to rest flat against Liz, their bodies completely enmeshed. Their connection broke wide open as each of them felt everything that the other was experiencing. They shared everything; pain, pleasure, love, sorrow, regret, hope, and a myriad of others. They saw the world through the eyes of their love; saw each other through those eyes. Their souls joined together; weaving, merging, and sharing.

As they slowly became aware of their surroundings, they realized they had started a slow rhythm, moving in perfect counterpoint to each other. All the pain of their initial joining had been lost, as their connection had found its birth.

“Liz …” He whispered, unable to express what he wanted, the language bound him, restricted him to words that held no candle to the depth of the experience. Max sent her images and emotions, colors and impressions, the foundations for who he was with her.

Liz rode the storm of her building passion, her body charged with their combined energy. She had never imagined anything could be like this. She tried to concentrate on everything at once. The feeling of his chest as it rubbed against hers, the hardened peaks of her nipples pushing into the solid wall of his chest. The feeling of her body enveloping his rigid length, her walls collapsing and expanding as he filled her, the ridges and contours of him, how he swelled inside of her. She lost herself in the intensity of contact against her bundle of nerves with each thrust of his body into hers.

Max was loosing control quickly, feeling her tight walls contracting on him was almost too much for him to bare. He gritted his teeth and fought hard to maintain his rhythm, wanting to give her as much pleasure as she was giving to him.

They both looked upon the other, faces contorted in the throes of passion, eyes darkened by the love and primal need. The consummation of their love was building, reaching for its end. They clawed desperately for the precipice that they could tumble off from. In their minds eyes, they saw each other. Together they joined hands and walked steadily to the edge, the brink of oblivion. With a final look towards each other, they squeezed their clasped hands and jumped.

“MAX!” “LIZ!” They cried together, both of them consumed in the other, their release washing over them in wave after wave of completion. His seed spilled from his body to hers, the final merging of two into one. Liz felt the warmth spread through her as his essence found its home in her womb.

The energy surrounding them was visible; it swirled and crackled in dying brilliance. The air was filled with hushed words of love, mummers of forever. Their scent wrapped itself around them, basking them in the blanket of their new beginning.

They had found peace.

They had found home.

They were one.

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


As the heat of their passion calmed to the ever-present flame that it always had been, they settled comfortably under the covers.

Max wrapped his arm around Liz and drew her closer to his body; the simple action was enough to stir his softened arousal to demanding life.

“Mister Evans?” Liz asked breathlessly.

“Yes Mrs. Evans?” Max replied.

“Is there something you’d like from me?” she purred seductively.

“You.”

Liz rolled over; she was now straddling his lean hips, her wet heat dripping her arousal onto the tip of his straining flesh.

“They were right, I would never be left wanting.” She said contentedly, as she slowly took his hard length into her soft body.

She laid flat on his chest and stared into his beautiful amber eyes, eyes that had been such a mystery, eyes that now held her home. These were the eyes that she would look upon forever with.

The End.

posted on 3-Jan-2003 2:41:52 PM by moonieADT
Selfish bump for those who may not have seen it yet.

The thank you post is soon to follow...

Art
posted on 8-Jan-2003 10:41:20 AM by moonieADT
Authors Note:

I want to thank everyone for leaving feedback and following this fic. It was a lot of fun to write. I had expected to cause a bit of a stir with this but not as mush as I did. The feed back helped me to put together a more solid story.

I will admit, I’m not entirely happy with it, there are a few things I would do differently but what can you do.

There will be a sequel to this. YAY!!..I hope. I will be starting it in a few weeks. It will be called: Breathing the Air. It will be life picking up where I left off with a bunch of flashbacks.

Onto the Feedback:

LPorter: Thanks for the feedback.

Clueless: Thank you for all of the bumps and comments

BehrObsession: Thank you for the feedback.

NATEEVANS: Thanks for your comments and support.

roswelllover: Thanks for the bumps and sticking with this.

rjsasko: Sorry that you couldn’t find any viability in this fic. Maybe next time

livia: One my most staunch supporters. Thank you so much for sticking through this and giving my Max a chance. Thank you again for the votes you cast for this fic. I was very flattered. Your compliments on my writing meant a great deal, this was my first attempt at anything like this. Your feedback helped me to stay a little more objective on Max. Your comparison of me to lelea was a great honor, thanks again. I ‘m not sure about the genius part but thanks, I do like a happy ending and I will find anyway to get there.

frenhkiss70: Thanks for the kind words and following this to the end. I always could count on you to be there.

nallitie: Thanks for the feedback.

starlady: Thank you for the comments. I love your fic Secrets In The Dark. Looking forward to more of that one.

JbehrBabe: Thanks for stopping by. Your fics get me laughing so hard. I love them..

Sapt: Thanks for reading

tabasco sauce: Thank you for following along. Sorry I left you hanging a few times but hey… where would the fun be if I didn’t?

High2Maintenance: Thanks for the bumps and the feedback.

begonia9508: thanks for the feedback and sticking in their while I tried to redeem Max. Keep the faith. true love is out there with your name on it. Check out I Found You Again.

mareli: Thank you for all of the kind words and encouragement. It was great having you along for the ride.

Jane8302: had to leave you in suspense once in a while. Thanks for reading.

lm_roswell: Thanks for the bumps and comments.

jjjane: Thanks for stopping by and giving the fic a shot.

DAYDREAMER: Thanks for the shouts and feedback. Gotta love the angst..

behrstars: Thanks for the feedback.

Little_Mermie22: Thanks for reading.

TrueLovesConquersAll: Thank you for the kind words and for reading.

Eccentric_One: Thank you so much for following this fic. You have been a great support and your comments were great.

behrfanny: Thanks for the comments. Not many say that both were at fault. Thanks for the realistic view.

Moonbeam: Thanks for the nice words and feedback.

AlienDreamer101: Thanks for the feedback and sorry about the tears.

Venus_star2.com: I’ll send you a box of tissues. Sorry bout that. Thanks for following along.

Deejonaise: One of my favorite authors. Thank you for giving this fic a shot. Your comments and support meant a lot and helped me get through this. I’m glad you stopped the boycott. I am taking your advice and doing a sequel. It will fill in some of the gaps I left in this one. Like the say, a story is never finished, its just purposely abandoned.

SciFiNutt111: What can I say. We just don’t agree on much. But I will say that your feedback did help in pointing out some things I may have brushed over. I hope you finished the fic. People can be redeemed you just have to give them a chance. You seem to see the negative in everything sometimes. And sometimes there is no ulterior motive, just kindness.

sarzy: who would have thought? I hate angst. Thanks for hanging in there.

ccrswll: Thank you for the kind words and support. I know I picked an unpopular topic but its nice to have people reading that have an open mind. Thanks again.

strawberry: Thanks for following along and for your feedback.

jeremiah: Thanks for reading. I really like your work. well at least the pure M/L stuff. Hope you enjoy the others I have going. Thanks for the bumps too.

tazno: Thanks for the feedback. I’m a dreamer to the end and I believe that any problem can be worked out if you’re willing to do it. Thanks for giving this fic a chance. I really love your stories. The connection thing wasn’t meant to give Max carte blanc, I didn’t want Liz to accept him back just based on that but they do have that connection and since what they were going through involved some pretty heavy emotions I figured it should be part of it. But Liz also needed to see the change.

Devil kitty: Thanks for reading. I love your fic.

Saymi007: Waves back. Thanks for stopping in. I really appreciated your feedback and support.

sweetygurl: Thanks for all the bumps and feedback

hipznlipz: Hope you stuck through to the end. They had one.

Lisa1783: Thanks for your feedback.

Alien614: Thanks for reading.

Realistic Dreamer: Glad you like the approach. Thanks for the feedback.

nayney: Thanks for the kind words and feedback.

angelbehr: Thank you for your feedback.

Susan709: I love your stories and thank you for your feedback and kind words.

ILYMEFOREVER: Thanks for the feedback and compliment.

SweetLilDreamer: Loved the victory dance. Thanks for reading and your nice comments.

My deepest apologies to anyone I may have missed. You are all very important and appreciated.

Thank you all. See ya soon..