posted on 7-Dec-2002 12:50:09 AM by PEACELOVESHEEP
Author: PEACELOVESHEEP
E-mail me at: go_figure66⊕hotmail.com
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I own everything. Really.
Summary: Things go wrong. Tears are shed. Angst-y monologues ensue.
Feedback: Always, always welcome and apreciated... good and bad
NOTE: there is no actual storm. It's a metaphor. Just in case you were wondering. Also, this is inspired by the novel "The Rescue" by Nicholas Sparks. It's a good fluffy read.



I'm not really the gushy, sensitive type. At least I never thought I was. I used to hate those kinds of girls on the level of war and poverty and all that stuff. I definitely never thought I'd turn into one.

But things change, and here I am, lying in the arms of this Greek god, and I think I’m completely in love with him. In fact, I know I am.

It’s hot, so we're just using a sheet to cover ourselves. It’s mostly wrapped around his slender hips. I snort easily.

Blanket hog.

I'll have to get used to that. God, was his skin so beautiful the first time I met him, or is it just the darkness?

I smile fondly at the fluttering eyelashes. They're longer than mine. The sweet smell of sweat and sex hangs in the air, and I revel in it for a while. That's what I was talking about. The gushy thing. I've never even noticed this smell before. Its probably quite gross if some one else smells it.

I gently stroke his brown hair. His face rests against my shoulder. He's obsessed with it, my shoulder. He told me so. He keeps dropping little kisses on it, or caressing me there… god knows I love it.

Fuck, would you listen to me? I sound like a really bad episode of Dawson's Creek. I apologize. Really. I hate it when people go on and on about how much they love their boyfriends. And they call them these ridiculous names - "darling" or "baby" or "lover"… it’s disgusting.

So since we're all here, I might as well tell you about me and mine. I'll be brief. I'm Liz. I'm 17. Well, almost. And that guy in my arms? He's Max. He's 17. And he's an alien.

Really. No jokes. He does this really awesome trick where he can heal stuff, and sometimes, he can change the way stuff looks just by touching it. And when we have sex, it’s like this mind-blowing, earth-shattering, bring-you-to-your-knees type experience. I passed out once. Its good. Really good. Not that I'm an expert, or anything. I was a virgin three months ago.

And we glow. For a long time after we've done the dirty deed. God, I kill for that stuff.

He stirs in my arms. "You're awake?"

"No."

"Liar."

"Go to sleep."

"You go to sleep."

"I will. I was just thinking.

"Thinking what?"

"Girly stuff."

"You have girly thoguhts?"

"I guess. It had to come out some time."

"Careful, I like my girls hard and manly."

"Liar. I think you liked me a couple of hours ago."

"And what gave you that impression?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe it was the 'oooh, Liz, oh, yeah…yeah… Ungh…ungh---" I break off into giggles as he tackles me and pins me into the pillows.

"Shhh…" I scold between giggles. "You'll wake Michael."

"He'll live."

I stare up at him for a few moments, tracing his puffy lips with my eyes. "Come here." I whisper, then draw his face close to mine, and gently cap my lips with his. He kisses real nice.

Sometimes, when things get all intense and aroused, I can see stuff from inside him. Like his memories. They're not like movies, just, like, feelings or simulations, if you like. It’s really awesome.

Everything about him is… ok, I'm going to stop now.

We start to get intense a little bit. He's moving over me now, kissing my jaw, my neck, and (surprise) my shoulder. Ok, things get a little fuzzy here, cause I cant really think straight when he's---

"Oh GOD!" I half moan, as he takes my whole nipple into his mouth. It feels so great. Warm and soft. Oh Christ…

My stomach starts to tighten as he begins molesting the other one.

I curl my arms around his head, and raise my chest up to give him better access, and press my hips into his.

"Hey, easy, easy." He murmurs softly, steadying my body with his hand.

I moan, feeling the cool loss of his mouth. "You started it."

"We can't, remember? Not tonight."

Right.

"Are you sure we're all out?" I ask pathetically, as he lies back down on my arm.

"Yeah."

"Why don't you ask Michael for some?"

He frowns. "Gross. I'm not gonna use Michael's condoms."

"Duh, they wont be used, Max."

"It’s still gross."

"You're a cruel, cruel man."

"Later, sweetie. I promise." He whispers, kissing me tenderly on the cheek.

I all but purr at the sound of his velvet voice by my ear. Do you see? Do you get why I love him to death? I can’t understand how everyone doesn't love him to death. He's such a sweetheart.
...........................................................................


I pad across the cold floors, dressed only in Max's old white t-shirt and enter the kitchen. Michael's already there. Looking like hell.

"Hi." I yawn, getting out two cups for coffee.

"Mm." He murmurs, wincing.

"Late night?" I whisper.

"Mmm." He walks over to the fridge, pulls out some milk and hands it to me. I make this killer coffee that shocks the brain into reality. Its better than acid.

Michael's a cool guy. Once you get past the Jesus hair and the weirdo attitude, he's actually pretty sweet. And since he lets Max and me crash here sometimes, I've become immune to his crankiness.

I'm ribbing him about his puffy eyes, and he grunts on and on about how loud Max and I were last night, before disappearing into the bathroom. We were pretty loud.

Anyway, I'm just pouring the hot water into the two cups, when a pair of strong arms slide over my waist, and pull me close.

"Mmmm. You smell good." He mummers into my neck.

"Its the coffee."

"I like your taste in clothes."

"Thank you." I say wryly. "This is yours."

"I like you wearing my clothes."

"Yeah?"

"Mm. I like you better talking them off."

"Shut up." I giggle, as he suckles my neck.

Michael appears from the washroom, suddenly, protesting loudly. "Oh, come on! Last night was weird enough. I think I'm scarred for life."

"Sorry, buddy."

"Yeah, yeah." He picks up a steaming cup from the counter, and sips it carefully.

We're still entwined. I feel so giddy, it’s pathetic.

"Hey, Maria called last night. She wants a ride to school." MAx says absently.

He frowns. "Yeah, not anymore."

"What? Why? What did you do now?" I groan, pushing Max away gently, and reaching for the phone. Maria's probably depressed and angry because of some bonehead thing that Michael said or did to her.

"I have no idea. Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with that chick. She just got mad, and then left with some gay friend of hers."

"Story of your life, Michael. Geez." I snap, dialing quickly.

...........................................................................


"I'm done. I'm finished. No more Michael, no more fighting and no… more… Michael." She says adamantly, stuffing two books into her book bag.

"You said Michael twice."

"I know. It was meant to be emphatic. Didn't you think it was emphatic?"

"It was emphatic." I admit, closing my locker and leaning against it as I watch Maria struggle with her books. She gets really hyperactive when she and Michael have a fight.

"Good. Because Michael is out of my life. For good."

"Again?"

"For real. I mean it this time."

"Maria… have you ever heard of The Boy Who Cried Wolf!?"

"What?"

"It's a story."

"Oh, right. The one where the wolf eats up the boy because everyone thinks he's lying."

"That's the one."

“I hate that story. It’s brutal.”

“But affective.” I point out.

"I hate him, Liz. I hate Michael."

"Oh, get over it. You’re nuts about him. And tomorrow you two are gonna be going at it like dogs in heat."

Maria looks shocked for a moment. Then she pauses. "Yeah, you're probably right." She slams her locker shut.

.............................................................................

Wow. Boring stuff. I didn't realize, but the beginning is pretty darn uneventful... Just a background on all the relationships, I guess...

As always, I'd love feedback, even the negative kind.


PEACELOVESHEEP

[ edited 11time(s), last at 23-Jan-2003 9:06:35 PM ]
posted on 8-Dec-2002 3:15:40 PM by PEACELOVESHEEP
Part Deux


So I was going on and on about how perfect Max is and all that, right? Well, he does have one flaw. He's completely possessive. I mean, flat out what-are-you-looking-at possessive.

He never actually starts a fight or anything. He just grumbles to me or at the most, throws someone a death glare.

For instance, right now. Max and I have Chem. together. Third period. And there's this guy Troy who really likes me. I think he's adorable. I mean, he just stares at me like a little hungry puppy, and I just want to go over and pat him on the head. We went out for a while the summer before I was shot. (The summer before I was shot. Very few people get to make references like that)

Anyway. He's adorable.

Max hates him with a passion.

So the bell just rang, and I'm walking out with Max just behind me, right? Troy's leaning against a locker, talking to some friends of his. He winks at me as I enter the hallway, and I roll my eyes good-naturedly. He's harmless, this guy.

I can feel Max starting to tense.

"Max, cool it, ok?"

"I hate that guy."

"Leave him alone."

We can hear Troy talking about me as we walk down the hall. Something about my bad taste in fuck-toys.

"Ok, that's it." Abruptly, Max turns around, and strides down the hall till he's face to face with Troy.

"Do you have some sort of problem?" Max snaps at him.

"What do you want?" They're shooting venom into each others eyes.

"Stop hitting on my girlfriend."

"What, is that against the law, or something?"

Max shoves him hard with his hands, and Troy slams into the lockers behind. "YEAH, YOU FUCK! Just try---"

Two guys immediately get between Max and Troy, and pull them away. “Stay away from her.” Max seethes, his voice sounding low and dangerous.

“Or what?”

A teacher, Mrs. Bouccha (I never learned to pronounce that) walks into the crowd. "Is there a problem, boys?" She looks at the fuming Max and Troy suspiciously.

"No ma'am. No problem." Max sighs finally. He walks back toward me, giving Troy some serious cut eye.

I've watched the entire thing from all the way back here, my face frozen in disbelief. He comes over and stops in front of me.

I smack him on the arm and walk away.

"What, you're mad?" He calls disbelievingly following pathetically.

"You. Are. Completely." I grit my teeth, trying to think of a word. "Insane."

"That guy is creepy, ok? He keeps staring at you." He grumbles, looking over his shoulder one last time. “He called me a fuck-toy.”

I stop and face him. "Why did you do that? The entire female student body has a crush on you, but I don't go around picking fights with all of them."

He doesn't say anything

"Don't make such a big deal out of it, ok? I love you, so who cares about him?"

I feel my heart soften as he bows his head and nods. He's such a kid.

I flutter my eyelashes. "And anyway, I have this thing for weak, pathetic men. I'd never leave you for him."

"Is that right?" He teases, grabbing me and throwing me casually over his shoulder. "I’ll show you weak…"

I begin to kick and squeal as he carries me down the hall, laughing and trying to keep me from slipping off.

Goddamn, we're pathetic. I should have stayed mad, right? I gave in too soon. Shit, I gotta work on that.

We get us some lunch, and head over to the outdoor stage at the back. They use this place for, well, outdoor plays and stuff, and we've sort of adopted it as our lunch hang out spot. Ugh. Again, I apologize for having such a clichéd life.

So Max is resting against the wall and I'm lying between his legs, using his chest as a backrest. He's got some reading assignment, so he's clutching the book (Catcher in the... Rye? As in the tiny brown stuff?) in one hand and the other one's lazily stroking my bare stomach.

Ah. Bliss.

Happiness and a half.

Well, except for Michael and Maria. They're sitting on the grass, as far away from each other as possible, making snide, indirect comments about how "some people" need an attitude change, and how "some people" need to chill out and give everyone a break and blah blah blah.

This is getting redundant, really, and I tell them so.

Whatever, I'm happy in my prince's arm. He and I are sharing apple juice. You know he hates apple juice? He hates it, but he bought it because he knows I love it? He's such a doll. I entwine my fingers with his, and sigh happily as he drops a kiss on my head.

I look up at Max as he takes a sip from the bottle, and then sets it down, his eyes never leaving the novel. His hand comes back to rest on my stomach, and fingers entwines with mine.

"Hey." I whisper, so only he can hear. "You think we're as bad as them?" I nod my head to Jake Miller and Susan Lochka, who're feeding each other and giggling disgustingly.

Max frowns with revulsion. "No. No. We're not at all. No." He sounds pretty doubtful.

We hear a snort and Isabel walks up rolling her eyes. "You guys are worse, you know. You're like... joined at the hip."

Alex laughs, then looks at Max. "What? Oh, ew! Come on, you guys... Ew!" He shudders.

I close my eyes, and I'm bombarded with pictures of Max and me, his hips slamming into mine, his low moans as he moves into me, bringing me over again and again and… Mm.

Gimmie a second.

My eyes focus once again, and I realize that he's staring at me, an amused grin playing at his mouth.

"Space out much?"

I blush uncontrollably.

His voice takes me places I know I should not be going. Not here, not now.

Hesitating for just a moment, I pull his head down so I can whisper in his ear. "I'm a little, uh, hungry." I whisper, and then drag his other hand up to caress my breast. “Wanna go… eat?”

Damn, I'm bold.

I hear him swallow. Doing sexy stuff in public places always turns him on.

He sits up, leaps off the stage, and then pulls me down with him.

"Where are you going?" Maria asks suddenly, but Max has already pulled my halfway across the field.

He grabs my hand in his, and then we’re walking through the doors, down the hallway.

I'm not even paying attention as he stops in front of the eraser room, and grasps the doorknob with his beautiful hand.

Suddenly, he stops. He frowns, his hand still on the doorknob.

"What?" I whisper. I'm going mad with impatience.

"Its locked."

"It’s locked?" I frown too, and the two of us stare at the door in awe. How can it be locked? The Eraser room isn't ever locked. It’s always free. We'd never even considered the possibility…

"So... what do we do?" Max asks tentatively. As if in answer, we hear a loud moan through the door.

"Sweet Jesus!” Max pulls me away from the door, looking disgusted.

I look down the hall. "Wait, come on!" I grab his hand, and lead him to the photography room. "Open it." I say.

"A teacher could walk in." He protests.

"Who cares? Come on. We won't be that long, anyway."

"Oh yeah?" He says, smiling mischievously.

"Just open it."

He looks both ways, and then places his hand against the wood. And then there's the concentration, and the glowing and the unlocking... you know... alien stuff.

I giggle as the door swings open. "My little master key." I say affectionately, ruffling his hair and dragging him inside by the hand. Did I mention how much I love his hands? Its all soft and hard and completely adorable. Like him.

The door shuts, and suddenly, he doesn’t seem so adorable anymore. Only sexy... and powerful... and... god, so sexy.

The restless stares turn to touches, then caresses, and finally, kisses. Desperate, breathy, open-mouthed kisses that begin this angry fire in my stomach. I moan and rasp as he presses his hands up my back, and into my hair.

Ok, guys, take five. My man and I have some business to take care of.

.............................................................................

I hate kids. I mean, I hate them. They're sticky, precocious, give-it-back, sugar-crazy monsters that just, well, frankly, they scare me. If they don’t talk, and all, they're ok, but sometimes, I wonder if all the sex in the world is worth the first twelve years of childbirth. I wish there was an easier way to have grown ups. You know, minus the childbirth and growing up and all.

I sigh, and curl up into my pillow some more.

Ok, I don’t hate kids; they're actually pretty cool. They're better than some grown ups, even. It’s just this fucking crimson wave that makes me hate babies with such a passion. Yeah. Crimson wave. Period. Chum. Monthly visitor. Call it what you like.

The tampons and the mood swings and the cramps... oh, the cramps. I'm supposed to feel all womanly and beautiful, and blessed to be able to give birth and all, but dressed in my bulky sweats and socks, I feel like a piece of crap.

"No-body knows. The trouble I’ve seen." I moan loudly. "Nobody knows. My horror." Or is it sorrow? That must have been one depressed songwriter. Nothin' a little Prozac couldn’t fix. Then again, maybe he was a miserable, swollen woman on the first day of her period. I feel your pain, sister!

I moan again as my stomach contracts, and then I hear a soft voice moaning mockingly from the window.

"What're you doing here?" I grumble, watching Max climb through the frame. It’s a stupid question, really. He's always here when he gets a break from work. It’s sweet, really. Coming over to sneak in a kiss.

"I have a twenty minute break. What's wrong with you?" He suddenly realizes that I wasn’t asleep, but actually in a shitload of pain.

I hold up the hot water bottle.

"Oh." He screws his face up, distastefully.

"Yeah. You think its gross, try stuffing a tampon up your..."

He gets the message.

He stands there a little hesitantly.

"Do me a favour?" I moan.

"Yeah?"

"Don’t ever get me pregnant, ok? Because if childbirth is ten times as painful as cramps, then there's gonna be some serious bloodshed during my labour."

He laughs, and comes over to sit by me, and gently caresses my stomach with slow circles. "You really that sore?"

"Buddy, you don’t know pain."

"I could, you know... get rid of the..."

"Oh! No… No. Its ok, forget... its ok." Suddenly, for no reason at all, I feel myself blushing.

"Ok. Only if you want it. You know." He blushes too. "Sorry." Isn’t he sweet? He said sorry. As if he did something wrong.

"Aw, baby, I love you, you know that?" I say suddenly, overwhelmed. I can feel my hormones kicking in. I pull him into my arms and hug him tight. I can feel tears beginning to slip down my cheeks. "I love you so much!" And I love babies.

"Liz?" He looks a little freaked out.

Damn these mood swings.

"I'm ok."

"Ok. If you're sure. Cause you're... Liz? Ow." He pulls my hand away from his neck, and I realize I’ve been clutching flesh.

"Oh, god! I'm sorry, Baby."

"Uh. I’m uh... I’d better get back." Max falls off the bed, and then quickly stands. "I'll come by later, ok?" He promises, and still looking scared to death, he stumbles out the window and races into the night.

I laugh. I scared him away.

Stay away, Dr. Penguin! Or I’ll be forced to use my formidable tampon powers on you!

Again, I giggle and curl up into my pillow. Poor men. There's like this secret girl’s period club that they’re totally powerless against.

............................................................................

"Liz?"

"I'm here." I reply through the phone. "I'm trying to sense your healing vibes."

"Liar. You’re watching M*A*S*H, aren’t you?"

"No." I switch off the television abruptly.

"Good. Then listen."

This is Maria and me trying to have a conversation. It’s always like this. Random and disjointed, which I completely adore. There's no schedule or anything. Just talk crap.

"Fine. So then Troy asked if I was still with Max?"

“Yeah.”

"I am."

"I know. I told him that."

"Then?"

"Then he asked for your number."

"And you gave it to him?"

"No. Are you kidding? Max would pulverize me. But, I mean, if he wants your number, he can get your number. Someone will eventually give it to him."

"He's mad."

"Why? He likes you."

"Yeah, I know. I can’t blame him, the poor lamb.”

“You know what? Michael would never pine over me. He’s too refined for that. Like, yesterday. Did you see...."

Quietly, I switch on the television.

Oh god, Alan Alda totally kills me.

"Liz."

"Huh?"

"Switch it off."

"Yeah, ok." I do as I'm told.

"Hey Iz!" Maria says suddenly, and I hear a door closing and Isabel's voice. "I'm doing some major zit removal therapy with her tonight."

I laugh as I hear Isabel groaning in despair. "Mara! You said you wanted your hair done. I’m not touching your zits.”

"Yeah, yeah." Maria says to her.

"Call me later, ok?" I tell her.

"Bye, Babe. Feel better."

............................................................................

You know what's disgusting? Me. My life has suddenly become this weirdo tale that's centered on Max. I mean, sure, I love Maria and we always have time for each other, and yeah, even though Isabel can be a bitch, we talk and stuff, but out of twenty four hours in a day, I spend almost ten with him. And a bonus two just thinking about him and pining after him. It’s sick how obsessed I am. I mean, it’s the level of eating, or sleeping, or heck, just breathing. If you've been in love, then you know what I’m talking about.

(If not, then you're thinking, "Ok, OBSESSED!")

And that's just what I’m doing right now. Pinning. For those sweet hazel eyes, for the soft fingers running through my hair, for the sweet smell of his skin.... and all this is making it really hard for me to do what I’m doing. Which, right now, is trying to clean out my closet.

How in the heck do you decide what you wear, and what you don’t wear anymore? I mean, I haven’t worn this t-shirt in months, but hey, maybe purple'll come back into style, and I’ll want to wear it. Ok, purple top, you can stay.

Aw, Max's cap. I smile lovingly at the black baseball cap lying scrunched at the bottom of the shelf.

See?! He’s everywhere. He’s taken over my whole life, and I actually like it!

I pick up the cap to toss it into the laundry basket, when suddenly, a series of strong emotions course through my body, and I see a quick flash inside my mind.

Crying out, I drop the hat to the floor. Oh my god.

I breathe for a second. What the hell…?

My heart thuds loudly in my chest, as I pick up the phone and hit auto dial for Max's house. He's probably home now.

"Hello?"

"Max?"

"Oh, hey, sweetie. I was just gonna call. You want-"

“Are you all right?!” I ask frantically.

“I’m- Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”

"You know that black baseball cap you have? The one with the star in the front?"

"Yeah."

"Its here, it was in my closet."

"Ok. That's fine. I'll just pick it up later." He sounds concerned. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. No... I just... I picked it up, and I got this flash of you and..."

"...And?" He says hesitantly.

"I just got this flash of-- I don’t know. I felt like something's gonna happen to you. No, to someone-- I don’t know-- I just saw all this blood, and you were there..."

"Oh... God, Liz, baby, calm down, ok? I wore that cap all through last summer, which is probably why... you know... it was all I could think about back then."

He's talking about the white room. Did he bleed so much when he was in the white room? I don’t ask him.

"Yeah. It was probably that." I breathe. I'm still a little freaked out. "Do you think about that stuff now?"

"It was a long time ago." He dismisses, quietly.

"Ok."

"Are you alright?"

I nod. "Yeah. Yeah, sure."

"You want me to come over?"

"No. I'm fine, really. I just-- I'm probably just overreacting."

"Probably. You can't live without the drama, can you?" He teases.

I roll my eyes and we begin talking like we usually do, teasing and bickering, the entire thing forgotten. That happens, sometimes. I can be frantic and going out of my mind with worry, but Max has this calming effect on me. His voice and easy laugh have an almost medicinal affect on me.

Everything's gonna be fine.

Right?


.............................................................................



There ya go... a little foreshadow thrown in...

Wow. I'm like, famous. More than 3 people know about me! Thanks for remeberin', y'all...

IAmLongTimeFan: Aha! I knew it. I have a secret publicist! Dont be expecting a cheque or nenthin...

marionettes_flower: Thank ye. I like my handle too! It makes no sense, which is pretty much me in a nutshell...*wink*

Oh yeah... there is definately a happy ending... c'mon... what kind of monster would break Liz and Max up? That should be, like, illegal or semthin'.


PEACELOVESHEEP

[ edited 3 time(s), last at 8-Dec-2002 3:49:14 PM ]
posted on 12-Dec-2002 7:05:47 PM by PEACELOVESHEEP
So this is officially hell. Not only am I in serious pain, but I also have a three-hour shift downstairs. School was awful, and I don’t know how I made it through the day.

The Crashdown. Sounds like a band name, doesn’t it? A really geeky band with long hair and purple tights.

Actually, it’s a restaurant. The Crashdown Cafe. My dad owns it. He named it before I was born, or else I would have called it something cool.

So I’m waltzing around, delivering cheese toast, cherry cokes and brilliant smiles, and all the while holding back the urge to collapse into the nearest chair. I wasn’t made out for this waitressing thing. And this uniform is super short.

(Can you tell I’m grumpy?)

There’s a jingle from the front of the room, and suddenly the entire gang... Michael, Isabel, Max and Maria are inside, laughing as they slip into a booth near the windows. (How come Maria gets three nights off, and I get just one? What am I, a Serbian slave of some sort? I should sue.)

NO! No, that's Agnes’s section! Damn them. Don’t they know that's Agnes’s section?

Well they should, I decide, storming back into the kitchen, my arms loaded. I slam a pile of dirty dishes onto the counter, when I feel a pair of strong arms come around me.

I smilie contently.

He moves his hands sensually over my shoulder.

"This area is for employees only, sir. I’ll need to see some identification.” I say coyly, shoving him away. He catches my arm.

His grin grows wider as he pulls me against him again. “Identification? Is that what we’re calling it today?”

“How'd you get back here?"

"I had to sleep with one of the waitresses." He teases.

"Yeah? Was she wearing white granny panties?"

"No."

"Bummer."

"Yeah, granny panties rule."

I giggle, as he turns me around and starts teasing my ear with his lips. God, I love him like this. I wrap my arms around his neck, and let my head fall back as he begins to nuzzle my neck. I'm making breathy moaning sounds and keeping--

"Liz."

Max pulls away abruptly, wiping his mouth.

"Yeah, dad?" I ask a little breathlessly. He's standing in the center of the backroom, looking disapprovingly at Max.

He’s such a hypocrite. Sometimes he'll behave like Max is the son he never had, and then... you know, he'll see us kissing or something, and suddenly he's the stern, disapproving father.

"No customers in the backroom." He looks pointedly at Max.

"Yeah. I'm sorry, sir... I’ll, uh." And Max hurries out of the swinging door. (Talk about chicken shit.)

"Why'd you do that?" I say irritably as Dad starts stocking up some boxes.

"I didn’t do anything. You're not supposed to be having sex in the kitchen, is all."

"Dad…" I roll my eyes in exasperation. "God, you are so... we weren’t even close to having sex. We were kissing."

"Right."

"Why does it bother you so much? I'm seventeen years old. I've been with Max for two years, now. Why can't you accept that I’m in a serious relationship?"

"I never said it bothers me. There's no customers allowed here. That's all. And you're sixteen." He adds, looking at me. (Wow, Dad, one point for your team, huh?)

"Whatever." I roll my eyes and walk out into the front. Talking to him is pointless.

(Whatever is a great word. You can end a losing conversation with it, and still feel superior, you know?)

Suddenly, there's a loud burst of activity outside, and we hear a series of panicked voices. A woman shrieks.

"What the hell--?" My dad pushes past me, and we both hurry out the front doors. People are milling out of the restaurant, trying to see what happened outside. I shove my way through the doorway.

A large crowd's gathered across the road, and they watch on, concerned, at the body lying on the ground.

"Someone call an ambulance!"

"Oh god, is she ok?"

In the dim streetlight, I see a little girl lying on the concrete, her breathing harsh and erratic.

A woman, her mother, probably, is kneeling beside her, calling out frantically.

The girl's eyes are closed in pain, and blood is pooling around her tiny body, soaking through her overalls, and onto the cold stone. She can’t be more than five years old.

That what I saw, I realize. The flash, when I touched Max's cap. I saw her.

"What's going on?" My dad demands, coming up beind me.

"-That car just-"

"-Oh god, someone save my baby! Oh Lord, please-"

"-Is she all right?-"

"Jesus Christ..."

My eyes lift up, and immediately, I see Max, standing at he edge of the mob, his face wild and frantic. Michael's got an arm across his chest, as if holding him back.

He looks at me, and I can see his hands trembling. He wants to help her. He wants to help, but he cant. Not with this many people watching. I can see frustrated tears shining in his eyes.

Slowly, with Michael and Isabel pulling on his arm, he turns and walks away, his eyes drifting to the earth, and a tortured expression etched onto his face.

"Liz!"

I look at my father.

"Call an ambulance."

.............................................................................

It happens a lot. You wake up, take one look at the sunshine streaming in through your window, and suddenly, you just know that today's going to be one of those really great days filled with laughter and ice cream and blue skies.

And then-- its not.

"Last night, six year old Eileen Hayden was rushed to the hospital after being involved in a hit and run accident at the corner of Trailwood Parkway. The victim and her mother, Sandy Hayden were getting into their parked car when the incident occurred. The girl died at the hospital this morning, due to severe internal bleeding and a head inj--" I reach over and switch the radio off. Enough.

.............................................................................

"Hey..." Maria and I stroll down the main hallway towards Max and Isabel.

"Hi." Isabel smiles a little, but Max just nods. Both wear identical sober expressions as they lean against the lockers.

I reach over to kiss Max on the cheek.

"What's up?" He mumbles, looking around warily.

"You ok?"

Max shakes his head, as if to dismiss it, and then manages a smile. "Yeah, I’m fine."

"I called last night. Where were you?"

He doesn’t say anything, just looks at the ground.

"Max?"

"He was at the hospital." Isabel cuts in suddenly, glaring at him, and then rolling her eyes.

Realization dawns on me. "You tried to... you went to that little girl?" Hope swells in my throat. He brought her back! He saved her, he-- the thought dies as he clears his throat.

He swallows, and when he looks at me, I can see that they're glassy and red. Oh god.

"I couldn’t... she was too far gone. I tried, but I couldn’t, so..." He shrugs, and rubs the back of his neck tiredly.

"Well, at least you tried." Maria says after a little silence.

Max smiles grimly and nods. I can see dark circles around his eyes, and his skin's a weird pale colour.

I slip an arm around him, and he kisses my head softly. It’s an automatic gesture.

We talk a little about what happened after the police arrived and Max nods along, not really paying attention.

The sound of the first bell suddenly cuts through the air, and I steer Max towards the stairs. He always drops me to my first class. But to my surprise, he stops.

"Uh--I've got a quiz right now, ok? I'll see you later." Without meeting my eyes, he wanders down the hall, and disappears into the crowd.

I stare after him strangely.

.................................................................


Saturday, after Max and I finish dinner at La Espinosa, he starts the car. "I'll take you home."

"Oh. You don’t want to go to Michael's, then?" I ask surprised. I'd told my parents I was spending the night with Maria because I had assumed that Max and I would be together tonight.

"No, uh, I cant. I've got to get to work early tomorrow." Though he says it with a trace of regret, his words don’t make me feel great.

HE clears his throat, and then looks ahead, out of the windshield.

"You sure?" I ask, still a little hurt.

"Yeah. Sorry." He doesn’t look at me, as he pulls out of the parking lot.

The drive back is silent, quite like the entire night's been. Few words were exchanged as we ate in our favourite Spanish restaurant. The live band and dancing made the atmosphere lively, however, and in the confines of the car, I suddenly notice his distance with startling clarity.

He pulls up at the back entrance, and smiles slightly at me. He leaves the car on, as if he can’t wait to get out of here.

"You gonna walk me to the door, or what?" I joke weakly.

"Uh-- yeah." He says reluctantly, switching off the car, and coming out and around to my side.

I reach for his hand as we walk up to the door. "Hey, something bothering you?"

"No. Nothing." He shakes his head. I wait to see if he'll add something further.

"Ok. See you tomorrow?"

He clears his throat again before answering. "I'll try, but I’ve got work, and then my dad wants me to help him with some stuff. I don’t know if I'll be able to swing by."

"Even for lunch?"

"I'll try." He repeats.

Our eyes meet briefly, and then Max looks away, drawing his lips into a thin line.

"Can you drop me to the library?" Sunday evenings, he and I usually do homework there.

For a fleeting moment, its almost like he doesn’t want to, and then he's nodding. "Sure. Around seven?"

"That's fine."

"Ok. See ya, then." He smiles a little, again, and then walks back towards his car.

"Bye." I call weakly, as he drives off. Turning around, I quietly unlock the door, and slip inside. My mind is in turmoil, but one thing seems to sting the most.

He didn’t even kiss me goodnight.
.............................................................................

He comes, the next evening, only an hour and a half late, apologizing profusely. I can hear the sincerity behind his words, so I just let it go, pretending as though nothing's wrong.

He's a little more approachable today, and even though he's still silent, he actually gives me a few genuine smiles.

After a while of small talk, I go for the kill.

"Max, what happened at the hospital that day?"

"What?" He sounds irritated.

"Isabel was telling me that you were really worn out after you went--"

"You and Isabel were talking about me?"

"It just sort of-- came up."

He's silent.

"What happened at the hospital?"

"Nothing happened." He snaps.

"Then why are you so upset?"

"I'm not upset, I just don’t want to talk about it, ok?"

"Sometimes it helps to talk--"

"Liz." He just shakes his head.

"What? Why cant--"

"Liz, I don’t want to talk about it."

"I-"

"I don’t want to talk about it!" He says again with sudden ferocity.

And there's no arguing with that. I stay silent the rest of the way, more hurt than angry. When we reach the library, I hop out of the car silently. I turn to look at him through the car window. "Max."

"I'll see you at school."

Suddenly, I find myself swallowing against a quickly forming lump in my throat. "Are you mad at me?" I husk.

"No, I never said that."

"Then what is it? Why are you being like this?"

"Just-- I've got to go, ok? I'll see you at school."

"Ok, I love you."

"I love you, too." He has to force the smile.

.........................................................................


aaaaah. Can't talk now, I think I'm choking on my doughnut

DAMN YOU, EVIL KRISPY CREMES. DAMMMMNNN YOOOOUUUUU...!!!


PEACELOVESHEEP

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 12-Dec-2002 7:15:03 PM ]
posted on 16-Dec-2002 12:55:01 AM by PEACELOVESHEEP
Asshole.

The anger comes first, and I bang around things inside my locker, cursing under my breath.

So that girl lost her life. Ok, fine. We're all sad. There's no reason to get all weird and distant, right? I mean. Sure. I didn’t see her real clearly, and I wasn’t the one who had to leave her side knowing that there was no hope for her, but still...

"Let me guess, you got a B on your report card."

I slam my locker shut, none too delicately, and turn to face Isabel. "You can be a real bitch, sometimes, you know that?"

"Yeah, well, I try." She says airily, and we begin to walk together towards English class. "So what’s really bothering you?"

"Max."

"I figured."

"He's being an asshole."

"A complete asshole." She agrees.

We walk silently for a minute, and I can tell she's hesitating to tell me something.

"Don’t be too hard on him, ok? He's been through a lot." She finally says.

"I know he has---"

"Liz..."

"No, listen, I know this is about that girl, and about him feeling guilty and all, but he's got to move past it, ok? And its no excuse for being such a jerk."

"Liz, don’t tell me you understand, because you don’t. You don’t have a fucking clue. He came home in tears. He was completely broken up about that little girl."

"I---"

"Just listen. Just listen to me for once." The bell rings, but we ignore it, too caught up to care. "I've never seen him like that, Liz. He's always got it together, he's always so... controlled. But, God, I saw him, and I swear, I wanted to burst into tears myself."

"He has to get over it. Move past it."

"You really don’t understand." She sighs, exasperatedly.

"And you do?" Now I’m angry.

"No, but at least I'm being selfless enough to give him some time!"

"You're calling me selfish? You?"

"Damn right, I am. Who the hell do you think you are, being mad at him? He's hurting and---"

"I know that, Isabel! I know that better than anyone, but I don’t know what to do about it!"

"You can't do anything!"

"I have to! Damn it, I can't sit around while the person I care about most in this world is hurting so bad." I cry.

Isabel just breathes, staring back at me. I'm grateful she doesn’t comment on my tears. Silently, she opens her arms, and to my surprise, she wraps them around me.

I have to say, if I weren’t so damn upset, the whole thing would have me shuddering.

Its not that I hate Isabel, or anything, but... ok, yeah, I guess you could say I hate her. But somehow, bonded by our love for Max, we cling together in the middle of the hallway and somehow, somehow I think she actually understands.

...........................................................................

"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow,
A poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot
Full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing."


I yawn, taking in the scenery from the rusty stage of the auditorium. To my left, Mr. Macbeth, John Forrester throws his arms about as he recites the same idiotic speech for the billionth time.

Yeah. I'm in the drama club. (Laugh, and I'll break your nose. I mean it.)

Mrs. Gerard stands at the edge of the stage, her hands clasped to her heart, and eyes shining with foolish compassion.

Apparently, John's a great orator. I say he looks like an absolute moron, but, hey, who cares, right?

So I'm standing on stage with Macbetheo, and you're thinking I'd be Lady Macbeth, or at least Macduff, right?

Try Guard#2.

Its not that I'm a bad actress or anything. In fact, Mrs. Gerard thinks I have a lot of potential in the theatrical field. But the truth is, I'm the laziest person north of the equator, and memorizing Shakespeare for a ratty school play just doesn’t do it for me.

I prefer watching iambic pentameter take the lives of those around me. It’s hilarious, really. Better than prime time TV.

(How many times can you watch the same episode of Frasier before it starts gnawing at your brain, anyway?)

Again, I yawn. Friday evening at the Drama Club. Talk about P-A-R-T-Y!

"Oh, John! That was perfect! Olivia, Liz, wasn’t that just perfect?"

"Yeah. Perfect. Really great." We intone.

"It really was, John. It was perfect. Wasn’t it perfect, Liz?"

"Perfect." I deadpan. "Can we go now?"

"Oh? Yes, yes, ok, everyone. That's it for today. I'll see you all next week. Just perfect." She mumbles again as the actors leap off the stage and begin gathering their stuff.

I'd yell with glee if it didn’t take so much effort. I look at my watch. Shit, its past seven, which means Max is probably waiting.

I leap of stage.

“Hey baby.” A cool voice drawls.

I turn, and come face to face with Troy. He’s dressed in low jeans and a shirt that reads “I fuhked up that spelling test.” Amusing. I give him an easy smile. “Hey, Troy.”

“Where’re you going?” He starts following me.

“To get my stuff.”

“And after that?”

“Outside.”

“And after…that?”

I grin teasingly. “After that, Max, my very loving boyfriend is going to drop me home.”

“Loving, huh?”

“Yes. Very loving.”

His eyes turn a little sharp. “I notice you two haven’t been very loving the last couple of weeks.”

I keep walking, refusing to react to the little tug of agreement in my heart.

“What’s the problem, babe? Trouble in paradise?” HE sounds sincerely concerned, which makes me want to hit something. I refrain, though. I need this hand for tomorrow’s History quiz. “Lay off, Troy. Its none of your business.” I say lightly, pushing against his chest with my palm.

“You can talk to me.” He whispers.

I nod. “I have to go.”

Grabbing my stuff and waving to Olivia, I quickly make my way to the back parking lot, looking for the familiar piece of junk.

I swear, that thing is so old it probably can’t even be classified as a car anymore. Where the hell is it? I crane my neck till it hurts, but...

I don’t see it. Oh. Ok.

Maybe he parked out front, I decide, and walk around the corner of the school. Even as I do, I know he isn’t here, and I feel my chest tighten.

Thirty minutes later, I wipe the first tear that slips down my cheek.

Forty minutes later, I put my jacket on against the brittle wind

Fifty, and I'm sitting on the curb in the harsh streetlight light, crying openly.

Its ok, I'm telling myself. He just forgot. He's just busy, that's all. He's got a lot on his mind, and he forgot. It doesn't mean anything. And he'll probably call later to apologize like crazy, and then I’ll laugh and tell him he's silly to get so worked up about it. And it'll all be ok. It'll all be ok.

Getting up, I dust off my jeans, and begin to walk home.

........................................................................

He doesn't call.

........................................................................

“You’re going to be begging me in a few weeks, you know.”

“Really?” I say coyly wiping down the counter and throwing him a teasing grin. “Begging you for what?”

“Well, it ain't candy, that’s for sure.” He pauses. “Come watch a movie with me.” He suggests, his eyes glowing with challenge.

“No.” I tease.

“Come on!”

“No.”

“I’ll buy you a dictionary.”

“Shut up. I told you I was just reading it for English class.”

“Come anyway.”

“No…”

“Is that all you can say?”

“No.” I pick up his empty plate and tuck it under the bar. “Go bother Gloria. Or some other waitress.”

“But you’re ]pretty.”

I roll my eyes and laugh at his pathetic expression.

I turn my eyes up from Troy’s face as the front door of the Crashdown opens with a soft jingle. Max stands there, framed by the evening sun streaming in from outside.

“Oh goody. Its Up-Chuck Boy.” Troy drawls, his mood turning sour fast.

“Look, I don’t want a scene, ok? Go to the bathroom, for a minute.”

“I’ll do whatever I goddamn want.”

“Just go?” I demand, as Max walks up.

He looks suspiciously at Troy, and then at me. “He giving you a hard time?”

I hold back a sigh. “No, Max. Leave him alone.” I start wiping glasses idly. "You work late yesterday?"

"Huh? No. No, I was home, why?"

"Oh. No, nothing. Its just, well... you didn't come yesterday, so I thought maybe you were working. Or something."

"Yesterday?"

"After drama. I waited."

"I didn't know I was supposed to come." His eyes don’t meet mine.

"Max, you always pick me up after Drama." I say accusatorily.

"I know, but I thought you'd just catch a ride with Olivia, or something. I mean, we never actually established a rule, or anything."

"Come on, Max, don’t do this to me." I mutter, slowly losing my patience.

"Hey, I didn’t come here to get yelled at, ok? I came for a drink, and to say hi."

"Ok."

"I gotta go. My break's almost up." He says, slipping off his chair.

Liar.

"Ok. Bye."

"Yeah." He hesitates. "Do you want me to pick you up next Friday?"

"No."

"Oh. Ok. I’m sorry about last night. If that means anything." He says after a pause.

”Yeah.” I say offhandedly. I’m ecstatic when I see the hurt in his eyes. Take that, Max. I can be mean, too.

I grit my teeth as he leaves the cafe, and try not to cry.

............................................................................

Everything’s different. The wonderful, beautiful Max I once knew and loved is suddenly distant and unapproachable, lost within his own world of studies and basketball and working odd hours.

A world that has no place for me or for anyone else who cares about him.

His visits to the Crashdown become less frequent, then rare. Now, after two weeks, he comes only to placate me, and even then, his smiles aren't genuine. They never reach his eyes.

I leave him to himself mostly, never confronting him, convincing myself that he’s upset, and that he just needs some space.

I go over sometimes, when I miss him too much. He’s usually shooting hoops outside, or on his computer. I don’t know what he does on the computer. Maybe research, maybe he visits porn sites and maybe he just sits there and stares at the screen until everything became blurry.

He always greets me with a smile. The same, ghostly smile that never quite reaches his eyes. Then he apologizes for not returning a call, or for not coming over to see me. Makes some lame excuse about his father needing him to do some stuff.

It kills me. It’s like a cold hand running up my back, every time he smiles that way, every time he doesn’t meet my eyes.

We argue, Isabel, Michael, Maria and I. I get upset if anyone pushes him, or tries to confront him. He’s upset, just upset.

And with every passing argument, with every passing day, he grows further and further away from me. The man I gave in to, the man I exchanged secret vows with, is suddenly no more than a memory.

.............................................................................


I learn to live with it. I go on with life, as though nothing’s wrong. Maybe part of me refuses to acknowledge the problem because it’s so huge.

Because Max hasn't done anything wrong yet. Missed a few phone calls, worked too long, arrived an hour or two late. We even made love a couple of times, but even then, his smile never made me feel loved and adored like it used to.

I've cried and cursed and thrown his picture in the garbage can more than a dozen times, but really, all I want is Max. My Max.

I know what happened with that girl- her death, was a big blow for him. I bet he lies awake thinking about her, thinking about how he could have saved her, every night, but there's nothing I can do, except be hurt by the thought that he cant turn to me for help.

Its Tuesday, almost a month after everything changed. I'm heading back to work, a large bag of groceries in my arms. The kitchen isn’t very organized, and very often, we run out of flour, or eggs or something stupid like that.

My footsteps slow as I pass the UFO center. Its almost as though I can sense him inside. He works till six, I know. This is all part of his new schedule. Just thinking about him used to bring a smile to my face. Today it brings exhaustion. I'm sick of trying and waiting and waiting and trying.

Hesitating only for a minute, I push open the familiar doors, and head inside the dim bomb shelter. It’s been almost a month since I’ve been inside, but everything looks the same. The damp smell of the walls, the dummies with their empty eyes, bodies frozen in time.

I wander through the hall until I reach the back room. There are hardly any people here on weekdays. Max is sitting on the desk, eating a sandwich as he looks through a motorcycle magazine.

"Hi Max." I say.

He sits up suddenly, and looks over. "Hey." He swallows quickly, and gives me a guilty smile. "I, uh… I was just having some lunch." He gestures to the sandwich.

"Yeah. So I see. Sick of The Crashdown, huh?" I'm only half joking.

"No--no, I just had--Brody was ordering in, so." He looks uncomfortable.

"How've you been?" I ask after a small silence.

"Ok. I got your message. I was going to call in the evening."

I just nod. It doesn’t even surprise me anymore. "I have to talk to you, Max."

"Oh. Ok, we can go out Saturday--"

"Today."

"Uh. Well, I have inventory tonight--"

"Fine. We’ll do it now."

He laughs uncomfortably. "This isn’t one of those life changing things, is it? I'm a lesbian, I’m pregnant, I have a penis...?" His face turns blank. "Are you pregnant?"

I look at him, ignoring his attempts to lighten the mood. "No. Max... I’m tired of this. It’s killing me.” I begin, trying to be gentle.

“I don’t know---”

“Just… listen, ok?” I hiss, struggling to keep my cool. “Just listen to me.”

“Ok, cool it.” He says condescendingly.

“I want out, Max. You’re going through something, and… obviously, I’m more of a burden for you, than comfort.”

"You're breaking up with me?" He says after a moment. There’s disbelief in his voice.

“What do you expect, Silent Sam?” I explode. “You don’t even talk to me anymore.”

“Talk to you? About what?”

I can feel my hold on my temper slipping fast. “I can’t play this game again, Max!” I almost yell. “You know exactly what I’m talking about!”

“Look, I’m sorry if my life is an inconvenience for you, ok, but I’ve had a rough couple of weeks!”

“And I’m trying to understand that!---”

“You can’t understand!”

“You don’t even let me try!” I’m screaming, now, thinking maybe somehow he’ll hear me. “God… I thought you could tell me anything…” My eyes blaze. “No, don’t roll your eyes at me, you bastard! This! This is what I’m talking about!” I shove him. “You’re different. And I hate this version of you! Bastard Model 2002. Complete with asshole accessories.”

“Well, it’s who I am, ok? So leave if you don’t like it.” He says meanly, turning back to his clipboard. “No one’s holding a gun to your head.”

“I am leaving.”

“Fine. Good. Leave!”

“Great. This is me leaving!” I childishly shove his clipboard skidding across the room with a clatter, and storm up the stairs.

I hear a loud “FUCK!” as I walk away.

Idiot, bastard, snake-eyed, idiot… BASTARD! I climb the stairs blindly, my teeth gritted so hard, they hurt.

“I heard yelling. Figured it was you.” Michael grins cockily at me from the top of the stairs. His eyes turn serious, as he sees the tears. “What happened? Are you ok?”

“Get the fuck out of my way! Bastard.” But the words are mild against my weepy voice. I ram him into the wall with a hand and then shove through the heavy front door, wishing badly that I could slam it on my way out.


.............................................................................
I know. Can you spell M-I-S-E-R-Y? Some may need protective glasses to keep from going blind with all this angst blowing around...

Anyhoo... keep me posted on your insightful (or not quite so insightful) opinions.

ciao!


PEACELOVESHEEP

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Dec-2002 1:00:08 AM ]
posted on 22-Dec-2002 11:13:49 PM by PEACELOVESHEEP
Haha. My life is full of shit!

I'm lying on my bed, with my head hanging over the side, and the weight of the world on my shoulder.

I did the right thing.

Didn’t I?

I mean, he needs some time, and that's fine. He doesn’t need me, right now. Doesn’t need me.

I should cry. I mean, I feel like fucking bawling, and I have a right to, don’t I?

But I just lie there, feeling the blood pounding in my brain till it hurts.

"Liz?"

"Down here." I call, as an upside-down image of my mother comes into vision. "Hi." I mumble.

"What...uh, what are you doing?"

Bless her. She always knows the way to make me feel real stupid. "Just... hanging." I giggle. Yeah. Lots of blood rushing to the head.

"Hanging. Are you going to get dressed for work?"

"Nope. Called in sick."

"Why did you do that?"

"Because my life is hell, and my boyfriend doesn’t love me anymore."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I said I have a fever."

"Max doesn’t love you anymore? What are you talking about?" She comes over and squats by my head.

"Don’t look at me like that. I didn’t do anything to him."

"Then why doesn’t he love you anymore?"

"He doesn’t trust me."

"Why?"

"Yes."

"What?"

"Why. That's the million-dollar question. I mean, have I ever cheated on him?"

"God, I hope not."

"No. Have I ever betrayed him?"

|no?"

"No. I'm a fucking angel, Ma."

"Oh. Yes. Fucking angel."

"I'm a fucking angel!"

"Yes." She's gone a little pale, listening to me, and I let out a spontaneous snort of laughter, and then pull her head against me in a hug. Sort of.

Cause I’m still upside down, I sort of end up chocking her, but I think she gets the idea. "Thanks, ma. I love you."

"Ah. Oh, well, I love you too, sweetie."

"I'm just a little angry, that's all."

"Ok, then."

"You ever break up with dad because you were mad at him?"

"Sure, sweetie. Is that the same shirt you had on yesterday?"

"That's what I figure. I can be mad, and still love him."

"The colour's fading. Maybe we should get you a new one. Do you think we should go shopping tomorrow?"

"I shouldn’t feel guilty."

"No, you're right. I'll just buy you something on the way to work."

"Ok, then. I'm glad that's all sorted out. Thanks."

"Ok, baby. I'll see you at dinner, then."
...........................................................................

Isabel’s jaw drops open, and she stares at me, her tuna salad momentarily forgotten. She looks like she’s gonna pop.

Its lunch. But I’m guessing you’d already guessed that. (What with the tuna sandwich and all.) We’re sitting under some tree because someone threw up on the outdoor stage thingy. I hate vomit.

"So you broke up with him?" She cries as soon as she picks up her jaw.

"I didn’t break up with him. I'm just giving him some space. Not that its any of your business, anyway."

"He's my brother, Liz. He is my business." Isabel says curtly, her voice as lethal as acid.

"Yeah, and he's my friend." Maria adds, with a toss of her head.

Uh, wait.

Hold on one fuck-faced minute.

I thought best friends were obligated to take your side, no matter what. It says so right here in the Ultimate Friendship Rule book. I tell Maria so.

"I'm not taking his side, Hon. I just think you're cold and heartless for doing that to Max. I mean, its insensitive, and, well, just… mean." She shrugs.

"No, Maria, tell me what you really think." I roll my eyes and cross my arms stubbornly. I don't like this Anti-Liz gang that Maria's just signed up for. (Isabel's the president)

"He's got enough to worry about." Isabel snaps out.

"I know. That's the point. I'm just letting him work--"

"Icks nay." Maria whispers harshly as Michael and Max come into plain view.

I sigh irritably and turn back to Isabel. "I'm just letting him work through his---"

"ICKS NAY!" Maria hisses again.

"Shut up, Maria!" I cry, impatiently.

Icks nay? What the hell kind of word is that? Its not pig Latin (nicks?), it's certainly not English... But Max and Michael are pretty close, so I shut my mouth.

"Hey." Michael grunts, and I wonder if he knows. He takes a seat across me on the grass, and then throws me a sharp look.

...Ok, I guess he does.

"Hi." I mumble to Max.

"Hey." His eyes are focused on the ground near my feet as he answers.

"Hey…" Maria says affectionately to Max.

"Hey." He nods back.

He then continues to say "hey" to Isabel, who responds with her own, icy "hey." Then the entire sequence of “Hey”s is repeated with Michael, but with considerably less emotion.

"Hey." I finish, throwing Michael an equally poisonous glare. I realize I’ve already greeted him, but it feels good to get in the last "Hey".

I look around the circle. If one more person says ‘hey’, I’m gonna strip.

Maria clears her throat, and then starts in a cheery voice. "Hey, I got---"

Suddenly I burst out laughing. This is really ridiculous.

"Hey" fever.

I double up, holding my hand over my mouth, then abruptly stop, as I feel everyone staring at me strangely. "Sorry." I mumble, taking a small bite of my sandwich.

I’m not going to strip, ok? So stop wondering. It was a joke.

Jeez.

.............................................................................

Hi.

Miss me?

I’m not doing too well with this life thing, am I? I mean, my mother and I have absolutely no connection, my love life’s gone from perfect to pathetic, and I think I may be balding. There. Right there in the middle of my scalp. Maybe that entire ‘beer-makes-your-hair-shine’ thing was a load of crap. Hm.

I lean back onto the bed and stare up at the ceiling, tuning out Isabel and Maria’s voices. We’re supposed to be working on a Geometry project, but so far, all we’ve done is squabble about what type of folder to use for the damn thing.

Not that it makes much of a difference to me. I’m happy by myself, just sitting here. And balding.

“Its not happening.”

“And I say it is.”

“Maria, you’re starting to sound like a complete bitch.”

Maria blinks. “Excuse me?!” She roars. Uh oh. If I were Isabel, I’d walk backward slowly, and refrain from making any jerky movement. But obviously, Isabel is, well, stupid. She plows on ahead.

“Its true. I know it’s harsh, but I’m telling it like I see it.” She says seriously.

“You’re calling me a bitch? You? Answer me this, ok? Who left her own surprise party because there was no DJ? Who dumped Rick Swanson over the PA system? Who called Mrs. Peterson a female cow only a week after her divorce?”

“The answers to all these questions and more on next week’s episode of Who-Gives-A-Damn!” I mock unenthusiastically, staring at the ceiling. I’m now tossing a zebra in the air. No, it’s a toy. Not a real zebra. One of those beanie baby things. Aren’t they the most inane things in the world? Next to scented candles, of course. Scented candles are undefeated.

While I’m conspiring my secret attack against scented candles, the discussion between Maria and Isabel has gotten increasingly heated. I think Maria’s about to turn purple. Wow.

Isabel’s about to lunge at Maria’s throat, when suddenly, someone grabs her from behind. “Whoa, whoa… Hey, cool it!”

Ah. It’s Max. The zebra and my heart fall to the floor with a barely audible thud.

I sit up slowly, keeping my eyes on him. There’s concern there, but a definite dose of amusement. He’s lecturing them, I think. All I can see is mouth movement. God, what I would give to…

And then the hurt comes barreling out, slamming into me like a freight train.

So I just avert my eyes when he smiles slightly in my direction. I don’t look his way again.

Maria screams out a curse and storms out, followed by Isabel, who insists on slamming the front door behind her.

And I sit there staring, like Buddha himself, with a stuffed Zebra worshipping at my feet.

Max shuffles his feet, stuffs his hands deep into his pockets and looks at the floor. “Quite a pair, huh?” He mumbles lightly.

I don’t reply. I don’t want to.

“How’s the project coming?”

“Ok.” I say guardedly.

He nods. “Right. Good. Well.” He clears his throat. “I guess I’ll go back to… what I was doing.” He stammers. Then, throwing me an intensely… something look, he walks out.

I nod to the empty room. “You’ve already gone.”

…………………………………………………………..


Ok, kids... I'm off to Montreal for a couple of days. Merry Christmas!!!

PEACELOVESHEEP
posted on 30-Dec-2002 3:08:25 PM by PEACELOVESHEEP

I curse liberally as an ambulance goes shrieking down the street, waking me from my peaceful slumber. Its, maybe six in the evening, but I’m huddled deep inside the comforter, dozing.

It’s not wholly unusual for me to sleep at odd hours. Actually, it's not wholly unusual for me to do anything anymore. Max once told me that I’m a wild spirit and that’s why the need to ignore rules runs so strongly in my veins. Wild spirit. Isn’t that romantic?

God, I miss him.

This is one place where I can think about him freely, remember him, the real him. I drift off again, my thoughts filled with timid, smiling eyes and a shy grin.

“Holy…!” I start and sit up in bed, as another siren blares through the open window. Irately, I pick up a nail polish bottle and hurl it out the window. “And stay out!” I yell.

Fucking fire trucks. Don’t they have volume control on the goddamn things?

“Sweetie?” The door to my bedroom opens a crack, and my mother slides her frightened face through it. “Is.. uh, are you ok? I heard shouting.”

My mother’s scared of me. I find this hysterical, so I laugh.

“What’s up, Ma?”

“Uh, there’s a phone call for you. Its Maria, and she sounds upset.”

Great. I moan, and drag myself out of bed, and down the hall. I guess any plans for sleep are out. I’m sure I’ll be listening to another “I’m breaking up with Michael” episode for the next few hours.

“This better be good, Maria.” I grumble.

“Liz?”

“What? What happened?” Automatically, my back straightens, and my eyes leap alert. “What’s wrong?” She isn’t upset, or annoyed.

She’s fucking hysterical.

“Its… Liz, Troy and Michael… Liz, they’re still in there. I think they’re still in there… Oh god… Liz…”

“What? Maria, calm down so I can understand you.” I can barely hear her over the roar.

“Oh god.”

“Maria… were are you?”

“Outsode. Some party. In Michael’s building. There was smoke, and they told me to go downstairs and—Oh God!” She shrieks suddenly, and I hear something loud in the back.

“Maria?… Maria?!” I clutch the phone to my ear. “Oh god, Maria, what’s going on?”

“No!” Maria sobs into the phone. “Oh, god, something just exploded. The whole place is on fire. Oh, God. Michael!”

“Michael’s still up there?” I ask frantically, my heart pounding.

“Max and Troy are with him. They didn’t come out. I haven’t seen them.”

“Ok, I’ll be right over. Where are you?”

“At the front, near the trees. They won’t let us go any further.”

“Ok, I’ll be right there, Maria. Don’t worry, ok? Everything’s going to be all right. I’ll be right there.” I say all this firmly, trying to keep my panic in check. Hastily, I disconnect the phone, grab my jacket, and check the main hall for my mom’s car keys. They’re not there.

“Fuck!” I scramble about the house, throwing clothes, pillows out of the way, searching desperately. “Where the fuck are they!” I scream, tears of frustration and panic stinging my eyes.

I press my hands onto the dinning table, and my face crumples. As I try and choke back a sob.

Breathe.

Breathe.

I’m really good in panic situations, but I’m still human. An image of Max lying on a slab, his lifeless eyes staring upward scars flashes across my vision, and I cry out, as though I’ve been struck.

Breathe.

I force myself to calm down. Looking around with a clearer head, I let out a yelp of joy when I see the keys sitting idly on the kitchen counter.

Grabbing them, I race out the door, praying silently. “Please let them be ok.”

……………………………………………………………………………….

“Excuse me. Move!” I push my way through the gathering crowd at the foot pf the smoking building, keeping my eyes trained upward. I crane my neck above people’s heads, hoping to see something, anything that tells me Max, Michael and Troy are ok.

“Liz!”

I turn to see Alex pushing his way towards me. “Alex! Did they find---”

“Michael’s ok. A couple of firemen pulled him out five minutes ago.” He grabs my arm and fights to get us to the front of the crowd.

“What about Max?” I shout.

He plows on ahead.

“Alex? Did they get Max?”

“Not yet.” He says tightly.

“God.” I whisper desperately, panic completely engulfing me.

“Look, don’t go crazy. They’ll get him, ok? They’ll get him.”

“Maria!” I cry out with relief when I see her, and throw my arms around her tiny frame. I pull away and frantically search her face. “Are you ok?”

“I’m fine. They found Michael. They found him.”

“I know.”

“Max---”

“I know.”

The entire crowd watches with tense murmers as the fire rages on. Its almost beautiful - a wild, mighty beast, ravaging its prey. The flames lick at the darkened sky and play along the muted faces of the crowd.

My heart in my throat, I pray.

Suddenly, the firemen in front of the police tape are spinning into action, shouting instructions and hurrying into the building.

“What? What’s going on?” Maria asks desperately, all but climbing over the shoulders of the guy in front of her.

I feel a whimper escape my lips, as I keep my eyes trained on the shattered glass doors.

A moment later, three bodies appear n the artificial doorway. I hear myself sobbing out of desperate relief.

"Its them! Christ, its them! They're ok!"

Troy is unconscious, I think. Max and the fireman are having a hard time holding him up. As they move away from the smoky building, I duck under the police tape and dash forward, ignoring the protests behind me.

I watch as two policemen lift Troy from Max’s arms. A moment later, Max pitches forward and collapses, crumpling to the pavement like a lifeless rag-doll.

“Max?” I sob, looking down at him. I crouch down, and tenderly lift his warm head into my lap. He remains unconscious. “Baby…” I kiss his warm hair, his blistered nose, his lips. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this kind of terror before.

I can feel unifomed people surrounding us, checking Max’s pulse, wrapping a wet towel around his frame. I keep his hand locked tightly in mine, even as they start to load him into the ambulance.

In silent understanding, one paramedic offers me his hand so I can climb in beside Max.

…………………………………………………………………………………………

wow, that was exhausting, huh?

Good christmas, everyone? me neither. There's too much snow, goddamnit!

Thank you for the amazing insight. (I've decided 'feedback' is too kiddy)I agree with most, disagree with some. Keep it comin'! Nothing I like more than flattery and praise.


PEACELOVESHEEP

posted on 6-Jan-2003 12:34:29 AM by PEACELOVESHEEP

“Are you family?” The nurse smiles pleasantly.

“Uh, no, but I’m his girl--- Well, his ex girlfriend so…”

“I’m sorry, Sweetheart. I can only give that information out to family.”

I look at her badge. Agnis. “Listen, Agnis. Max and I are… We’re very close friends. Please. I’m just worried about him. Please.”

She nods sympathetically. “My son’s about his age. I’d feel terrible if anything happened to Toby.”

Encouraged, I nod. “Right. Well, think about something, all right, Agnis?”

“Ok…” She says hesitantly.

Imagine that… Toby was in an accident. And really, really sick. Think about that. What if someone stopped you from seeing Toby? Huh? Wouldn’t that tear you apart?”

“Terribly.

“Yeah, wouldn’t that just make you feel helpless… and alone?” I let my lip tremble.

“Oh, you poor thing.”

I smile. “So you’ll tell me what room Max is in?”

“I’m sorry.” She smiles. “I can only give that information out to family.”

“Argh! I am family! Goddamn you.” I turn away frustrated. The ancient woman behind the desk is being really difficult. I turn back with a calmer face. “What about Troy Foreman? Can you just check if he’s--”

“Are you family?”

I blink. “Yes.” A lie or two never hurt anyone.

“Really.”

“Yeah.”

“What’s your relation?”

“I’m his mother.”

She frowns. “Really?”

“Yes.”

“How old are you, darlin’?”

“Forty seven.”

Ok, so this basically carries on for a while. She doesn’t believe me, though, and doesn’t let me see them.

I’m going out of my mind with worry. I cant see Max or Troy because of Geriatric Gina, over here, and Michael and Maria are nowhere in sight.

I’ll bet they slipped in somehow.

I pace the floor of the waiting room. Max didn’t look great when he came out of the building. I remember the way he collapsed onto the ground, and feel my stomach twist.

God, I hope he’s all right.

“Liz?”

I whirl around. “Isabel.” I race into her arms. Weird, I know.

“Is he ok?” I ask frantically against her shoulder.

“He’s fine. He’s perfectly fine. Just a little dazed.”

“Really?” I feel tears of relief prick my eyes.

“Yep. He’s gonna get a few bandages and stuff, but he’ll be ok in a few days.”

I let out the breath I’ve been holding. “That’s so great. Can I see him?”

“Yeah, yeah, come on. He asked for you.”

Glowing with relief, I follow Isabel down the hallway. I toss my head haughtily at the nurse as we breeze past.

Family. See? I am his goddamn family!

..…………………………………………………………………………………….

“He’s asleep.” Mr. Evans whispers softly as I walk in.

I nod. The large room is bright with sunshine and the flowers on the table give the room a happy glow. The bed is placed right in the center of the room, and is connected to a million machines that beep and pulse relentlessly.

The air is heavy with the smell of disinfectant and air freshener, that just can’t seem to disguise the underlying smell of sickness.

Max’s body is streached out in the bed that seems to swallow him up. The cheery white sheets make him look paler than he should. His face is raw and pink, and an ointment covers some scabs on his skin. His eyes look swollen and sunken in, but besides that, he looks healthy. Real. Alive.

He’s ok. The relief is deafening. The cold hand that’s been clutching my heart slowly loosens its grip, as I stand above him, watching his chest rise and fall…
…………………………………………………………………………………………

God knows how long I’ve been standing here. I think its getting dark outside.

He moves around quite a lot, sharp protests against the demons in his dreams. Much more than he used to, anyway. God, it’s been ages since I fell asleep in those strong, protective arms, felt his warm breath against my neck.

As I reach down to brush his hair with my fingers, the door behind me opens. I turn

Maria and Michael. Her eyes are glazed and unmoving as she supports herself against Michael. He doesn’t look so good, either.

“What?”

“We found Troy.” Michael murmurs, not meeting my eyes.

Maria begins to cry softly beside him.

“Is he ok?” Even as I say it, I know the answer. It’s obvious.

“He’s dead, Liz.

My heart stops for a moment, and I stare dumbly at their faces. “What?”

“He’s… He didn’t make it. I’m so sorry.”

“No.” My voice comes out a plea. I swallow hard, as a sick, vile feeling settles into my stomach. “No…” I moan again, and Michael wraps his arms around me as shocked tears burn in my eyes.

I let him hold me a second, then pull away, and rush into the bathroom. I crumple to the floor, and bend over the toilet seat as dry heaves hit my throat, one after the other. I shut my eyes tight, trying to remember his laughing eyes.

“Liz?” Someone knocks on the bathroom door.

“No…” I press my fists against my ear, against my eyes, trying to block it out. Trying to block out the pit less eyes, the motionless smile.

No.

No, no, no…

Not him.

Not Troy.

……………………………………………………………………………………..

Six people are injured, and one is dead.

Max lies alone in the darkened hospital room, his eyes focused on the ceiling, his thoughts probably filled with the man who died. One eye’s was heavily bandaged, as he stays there staring at the wall. His mother sits protectively at his side.

Isabel comes in for an hour, and then leaves him with his thoughts.

Max Evans never says a word.

I come in around midnight, exhausted after hours of crying, and smile at Mrs. Evans. She sweetly exits to leave me alone in the room with Max.

Unsure, I approach his bed, and cover his hand with my own.

Max turns his head away from me.

I bow my head. “I’m sorry about Troy...”

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Speaking of sorry, I should apologize for what happened before. I just lost control, and… anyway, I’m better now. I think. I’m at my grandparents’ house right now. They insisted I stay for the weekend. I’m glad, cause Maria’s being really melodramatic. She acts like it’s the end of the world or something.

I stare out into the wide land that stretches out before me in an array of yellow and red. Careless leaves drift from their perches and then settle softly creating a feathery carpet on the moist earth below.

Even death can be beautiful.

I’ve always thought that losing someone would make me mad or afraid or something. But all I’ve felt so far is submission. It’s a horrible feeling. My grandma thinks I’ve turned into a zombie.

Max is doing ok. Or so I hear. Isabel called to tell me.

He didn’t.

I rub my chest against the pain that stabs my chest. He’s still there. In that weird place inside his head that I can’t get into.

I saw him at Troy’s funeral. He was still fresh from the hospital, a small bandage on his forehead and one on each wrist. The hospital people let him come only because Max’s parents promised they’d drive him right back after the funeral.

His eyes were dull and empty through the procession, focused solely on the floor.

My eyes are glazed as I think about the past few days, but they focus suddenly as something large and furry leaps into my lap and begins lapping at my face.

“Hey! Down fella! Down Snowball…” Yeah. It’s a dog. A stark black spaniel with large brown eyes. Grandpa thought calling him Snowball would be a hoot, seeing how he’s all black and not, well, snowy.

I pull the dog’s wet nose away from mine. “Stupid dog.” I say affectionately, and he manages to lick my hand.

Isn’t he just adorable?

“You’re a real pain in the butt, you know that?” I croon, scratching the thing between the ears. “Here I was, all depressed and angry.”

I pleasure myself for a few moments, just playing with the puppy, clawing at its fur and watching it snap at my fingers.

His big brown eyes sparkle playfully, looking distinctly familiar.

“Should I go? What do you think, Snow? Should I go to him again?” Snowball burrows his face under my arm.

“Yeah. You don’t care, do you? Ungrateful mutt.” I smile as he licks my neck.

Leaves dance lazily in the light of the setting sun. Green and yellow, gold and red. Colours seem to burst through my eyes, almost hurting me with their intensity.

God, I could stay here forever. In this moment, in this garden.

Bebe?” I blink, and turn to see Josefina, the plump, Spanish housekeeper hurrying towards me. She’s been babying me and fussing over me ever since I got here, going on and on in Spanish about soup and milk and sleep. She’s an angel.

Miel? Cómo es usted que se siente?” She asks, coming closer. She’s wiping her hands on a dishrag.

“I’m… uh, mejor…I’m fine.”

Hay sopa en la cocina. Soup.”

Gracias, but no. Thank you. Later, maybe. Uh, más ald…adel-ante.” I stammer.

Si. I… Señora Patricia, she worry for you. You eat, ok?” She says decisively, her voice thick with accent.

“Thank you, Josefina. I’m ok.”

She starts to leave, then hesitates. “You…uh, how you say… ami…”

“Friend.”

Si. He… he is ill?”

I nod. “Max.”

Si. Max. I remember. él era dulce. How you say, sweet. He is ill?”

“He’s in the hospital. He was in an…accidente.

Muchacho pobre! espero que él consiga mejor pronto. Jesús esté con él…

Suddenly, she’s talking rapid Spanish, and I can just make out words like “worry” and “boy”. “Whoa, whoa. Slow down.”

“You come eat. He will be good. You eat.” She finishes stubbornly, and disappears inside.

I look down at the slight ball of fur curled up on my lap. He’s barely moving now, tired out from the exercise. I stroke his glossy coat.

“I’ll go.” I say softly. “I have to.”

Snowball snuggles further, as his eyes drift shut.
........................................................................

Happy New Year!!! Wow, 2003! its so... so... well, boring. I mean, 2001 was the turn of the century, and 2002 was the year of the tequila (long story), and 2003 is just...well, here. Besides that stunner of a Leafs game on 31st, there was no real oomph! You know what I mean?

Anyways, happy new year from me and mine....


PEACELOVESHEEP

posted on 15-Jan-2003 1:12:37 PM by PEACELOVESHEEP

“Isabel.” I lift a hand in a casual wave as Isabel steps out of Max’s room.

“Hi.” She murmers.

“How’s it going?”

“Yeah. Fine. Whatever.” She dismisses, sinking into a chair.

I raise an eyebrow. “Distracted much?”

“Huh?”

“Are you ok?”

“I’m fine.”

I nod sympathetically. “Max still being a banana?”

She frowns. “A banana?”

“Yeah.”

“How do you define that?”

“You know what I mean. Weird. Distant. Quiet-“

“Yeah. Yeah, he’s still being that.”

I nod glumly and drop into the chair next to her. The plastic is hard, and hurts my butt as I sink, or really, drop gracelessly onto it. “Wow.”

“He’s just sitting in there. On his bed. Shoe in one hand.”

I raise an eyebrow and nod, as if to say, ‘intresting.’

“Just sitting there.” She repeats. “With a shoe.”

“Maybe he’s having a private moment.”

“With a shoe.”

“Yeah. Maybe.”

“Or maybe he just… really likes… his shoe.”

I nod, and we drop into a weird silence. Theory 101, people. You should take notes.

“I’m going to go now.” Isabel says suddenly, standing up.

“Best you do.” I agree, as we head down opposite sides of the hallway. Talk about strange encounters of the Isabel kind.

I shake my head, feeling slightly better as I reach Max’s door.

“Knock knock.” I call out cheerily, and step inside. He just nods in answer. As predicted, he’s got a brown sneaker in his hand. His fingers are plucking desperately at the knot in the laces. The wound on his left hand is obviously giving him trouble.

He’s sitting at the edge of the bed, his legs dangling. He’s dressed in jeans and a loose black sweater, and a small duffel bag rests on the bed behind him.

“All packed and ready to go?” I try again, putting an extra ‘today is the best day of my life’ tone in my voice.

He doesn’t reply.

“Max?”

“Yeah.”

I nod, watching. His eyes are fixed determinedly on the task at hand. He grimaces in pain as he loses grip on one of the laces. “Shit.” He murmers.

“Here, let me try.” I move forward.

“I got it.” He says.

“Ok. Fine. So, must be relieved to get out of here, huh?”

“Mm.”

“Yeah. I was wondering how the whole, well… you know… how you fooled the doctors and stuff.”

“Mm.”

I feel irritation gliding slowly up my throat. “I joined the peace corps in Africa.”

No answer.

“Isabel called you a banana.”

Nothing.

“I stripped for a bunch of guys in the waiting room.” I stare dully at him. “I stripped for you, once. Remember?”

Still no response.

“In fact, I’m going to strip now. I’m going to get naked, and run through the hospital wild and free. I am. Don’t try and stop me. Max!” I snap finally, losing control. “Give it to me. Give me the shoe. I’ll do it.”

“DAMNIT!!” He yells suddenly, hurling the shoe against the far wall. I start at the violence and the volume of his voice, and back away from him. “GODDAMNIT!” He begins to pace, his teeth set.

I swallow my tongue. “Are… Are you ok?” I’ve never seen him raise his voice like that.

“No! I cant do anything! Dammit! I cant put on my own fucking shoes. I cant- I tried, and I just- I didn’t save him. This whole---”

“That’s not your fault.” I say firmly.

“Damn you, you… you don’t understand. I can’t… I can’t… Liz.” His breath hitches, and he grits his teeth desperately, trying to control his frustration.

I touch his face. “Max.”

“No.” Still restless, he sakes his head, and refuses to meet my eyes.

“Max, its ok.”

“I…” He sits on the bed.

I don’t move. I can tell there’s something churning inside of him, something struggling to gain freedom. He clenches his eyes shut. When he speaks, his voice is soft, and filled with tremors. I watch him, spellbound, barely breathing.

“I’m sorry.” His voice finally breaks and lets in a pool of agony and tears into his eyes. His voice is calm, now. Ashamed. “I couldn’t save them. I’m so sorry.”

I swallow, as I see sheen of tears in his eyes. I know I should let him talk, but I move automatically, coming forward and letting him hide his face in my breasts. His fingers grip my waist tightly, and I grasp his trembling head with my fingers.

“I’m sorry, I’m so soory." He says over and over before breaking down into racking sobs that shudder through our joined bodies. I let him bruise me with his arms, and sob with him, for him.

The tears seem to rip out of him, sounding hoarse and unnatural on the sweet, shy-eyed boy I used to know. I stroke and comfort, hushing his tears.

"Mrs. Boucca got married.” I say abruptly.

He lifts his tear-streaked face after a pause. “What?”

"Ms. Boucca. She’s married. She’s Mrs. Patrick now. Is that weird, or what? Kyle’s going around calling her Mrs. Pathetic. Its hilarious."

He sniffs, his brows furrowed. "That’s funny."

"Yeah. And gross. Who would marry her? She’s like, a million years old and her hair’s all blue and..." I look down at him, my voice dropping with defeat. "…Puffy. Sorry.”

When I was young, and had nightmares, my mom used to distract me by talking about silly things. It was always soothing to me.

"She’s got some legs on her, though, huh?”

I look up in surprise at the weak smile on Max’s face. We used to joke about that a lot. Whenever I complained about Ms. Boucca, he’d talk about how sexy she was, or how much he turned her on. I used to think it was hilarious.

(No, you morons, he was kidding. See, that’s the joke. Get it? Cause she’s all old and wrinkly…? Never mind.)

Encouraged, I smile. He says something about how dentures turn him on, but I’m too stunned to reply. Elated, I grasp tightly to the hope that he’s just handed me.

We start to talk of inconsequential things, our conversation wandering here and there. And although he meets my eyes only a handful of times, I can feel him coming back to me. The feeling’s so exhilarating, so full of relief, that it’s a wonder I’m not crying.

He asks me tentatively about the rumors going on at school. According to Isabel, I’m having a hot affair with Jimmy Patielini.

I laugh and call him an idiot.

I do my best to keep his mind off everything, and I’m rewarded with smiles, and a little bit of the Max Evans who’s been missing for what seems like years. My mother’s tactic seems to be working on him, too.

He opens his eyes, closes them, opens them, and they look heavy. We're sitting in comfortable silence, not really touching, but not far from it.

"Are you alright?"

"I don’t think I have been for a while." He mumbles, looking at his hands.

I nod. “Have you talked to anyone about this?”

He shakes his head no.

“Not Isabel? Michael?”

His silence confirms it.

I look at him. "Why me?"

"Because… I care--- because I love you."

My heart squeezes, but this time it’s with a different kind of pain.

He pauses. "You don’t have to believe me. I know I wouldn’t, given the way I’ve been acting. I screwed up, huh?"

"Yeah, you did." My voice is teasing, but very slightly.

"So I guess a second chance would be out of the question?"

"I didn’t say that."

He looks up. I don’t elaborate. I’m not about to just pretend that everything’s ok, that we can just jump back to where we were before.

"I'm sorry, Liz. I didn’t mean to hurt you."

The words ring through my ears, sounding so pure, so simple.

Forgive him, my heart pleads, but the hurt still lingers. I swallow with some difficulty, and then speak, my voice trembling and unsure. “What do you…” My voice trails off. My eyes are transfixed by the emotion on his face.

He takes a deep breath, and his voice cracks slightly as he speaks. “Take me back. Please baby. Take me back.” I can hear the tears in his voice. He reaches out to touch my hair.

I feel my insides tugging painfully at the gesture. “Max.”

“I need you.” He stares into my eyes as his hands drift over my face.

I inch my face closer.

Eyes drift shut, lips tremble as our faces draw closer.

“Oh. Sorry.” Maria clears her throat deliberately from the doorway.

I pull away from Max’s arms and swipe uncomfortably at my hair. Maria’s looking at me disapprovingly. Obviously, she doesn’t approve of me in Max’s arms.

“Am I interrupting?” She asks pointedly.

“Uh...”

“Yeah.” Max says, not unkindly.

“Sorry. Your dad told me to come get you.”

“Right.” He lifts his duffel bag from the bed. He glances at me, then walks out, leaving me alone with Maria.

“You’re back together, now?” Maria snaps, her eyes flashing.

I sigh and turn to sit on the bed. My insides are a jumble of emotions and thoughts, all screaming to get to the surface.

“He hurt you. I don’t understand how you can just waltz back into his arms. I thought you were going to –“

“Please, Maria, Please. Just… stop. I can’t think right now.” My voice breaks, and I let the confusion, and the frustration and the maddening relief flow down my cheeks.

“Oh, Hell.” Maria hesitates, then comes over to hug me. “Its ok, Lizzy. He’s fine, now… If you want to be with him, then you go ahead. I know how much you love each other. Its ok... ”

Her soothing whiskey voice clams me a little. Jesus, everyone’s crying today.

“What should I do, Maria? He wants me back.”

Maria studies my face carefully. “What do you want?”

“I don’t know.”

“You still love him.”

“I never stopped.”

She sighs. “Then there’s no option, now, is there?”

“He hurt me.” I frown, as I remember all the heartache, and another bout of tears threatens my throat.

He was hurting. He needed time. And you gave that to him.”

“And now he wants me back.”

“And now he wants you back.”

I shake my head. “No. I can’t. We’ll be friends, always, but… I just cant.”

Maria nods solemnly. “Its your call, Babe.”

I nod, feeling a surge of dismay strong enough to make me choke. As I bury my face into Maria’s shoulder, I see his smiling face dissolve slowly from my mind.

.…………………….....................................................

sorry for the late post. Exams are sort of screwing up my... life...

PEACELOVESHEEP

posted on 23-Jan-2003 9:05:10 PM by PEACELOVESHEEP

Jesus Christ, will it ever stop raining? I curse and finally shove at the mop and bucket. Who knew wet mud was so sticky? Putting all the stuff away, I start the slow and tedious process of locking up.

As I start to latch the door, I catch sight of a figure leaning against his car a few blocks down. I recognize it immediately.

Reluctantly, I open the door and stroll out into the street. The door closes with a slight jingle. I keep to the covered sidewalk as I approach Max’s unmoving form. He hasn’t noticed me yet.

The rain patters softly over his shoulders and arms and forms tiny rivulets over his soaked clothes.

He turns his face, and his back straightens as he sees me coming toward him. He sits up, and removes his hands from deep inside his pant pockets. I stop a few yards away, still under the safety of the buildings.

His eyes dart nervously to mine, and then down. “Hi.” He says clearly, the simple syllable sounding loud and alarming in the soft patter of the rain.

His voice triggers a flood of feelings. Love, joy, pain, anger, lonliness… but mostly weariness. I can’t go through all this again.

I nod and manage a small forced smile. Crossing my arms over my chest defensively, I stare at the ground, too.

He starts to say something, then breaks off, slipping his hands inside his pockets instead.

“What are you doing here, Max?” My voice is far from friendly.

His head snaps up. Again, he looks away.

Shaking his head, he shrugs. “I just…” He sighs, and finally meets my eyes. “I’m about Troy.” The words are a low mumble, but they’re sincere.

I feel myself softening. I nod, and hug myself tighter. “Me too.”

We stare at the ground for a bit.

His voice is hesitant. “Did you… What we talked about last night… Did you… I mean…”

I fix him with a firm gaze. Not mean, but not too nice, either. “Its late, Max.” Too late. Too late for apologies, for the hope I can see in his eyes.

It dies out as he realizes what I mean. He nods, looks to the ground. “Ok.” He swallows. “Ok.”

I feel a large tightness in my throat, as I watch him force a smile. “Well. I’ll see you tomorrow… then.” He brushes his hair away from his face, and for an instant, I see his eyes clearly. The exhaustion and the regret in them nearly bowls me over.

“Wait.” I say, dropping my shoulders. He turns quickly, eyes snapping up hopefully.

I eye him tiredly for a moment. What the hell am I doing? I thought this… thing between us was over, but something inside my heart tugs helplessly, and I make a decision. “We’ll talk.” I say, carefully. “Come inside, you’re going to fall ill.” I add, and turn away from the relief that fills his eyes.

The few steps back to the Crashdown are the longest ones I’ve ever taken. He comes in behind me, and pauses just inside the doorway, as if afraid to come too close. I consider getting him a towel, but something in his eye tells me that the wet isn’t the most important thing on is mind right now.

I look at him.

He looks at me.

“I’ve got words, Liz.” He whispers. “I’ve got so many. But I don’t know which ones to chose, I don’t know which ones are right.”

I feel something open up inside of me. Something like pain, bit more like relief at the sound of the emotion in his voice.

He’s still looking at the ground, his hands deep in his pockets. He swallows. “I don’t know what to say.”

“What do you want, Max? What do you want from me?”

“Trust. Love.” He says fearfully, guiltily.

“Then trust me. Love me. That’s all you need to do.”

He looks up, shocked. “I do love you. You know that.”

“And trust?”

He swallows, again. “And trust. I want to tell you. I want to tell you what happened.”

I nod slowly. We settle down in one of the booths, not really comfortable with the proximity, yet needing it, needing it so desperately. For a while, he just stares at the table, eyes dark and empty. And then he begins to talk, his voice slow and smooth, almost hypnotic, as he tells his story. His voice flows easily like notes of music as I’m swept up in the emotion.

…………………………………………………………………………

Grief, the type that clutches at your heart and tears through your gut. That’s all I could feel, as I watched her tiny chest lift and fall under the pale pink blanket.

Her eyes were shut easily, her mouth just slightly open from the effort of breathing. The fluorescent light shone onto her glittery blond hair, making her look almost ethereal. A blue, tattered toy elephant was tucked beneath her arm.

She looked normal, completely normal except for the tubes and machines hooked up to her prone body. It broke my heart.

“Who’re you?”

“Uh, I’m…”

Are you a doctor?”

“No sweetie, I...”

“Oh. I know who you are.” She said, her voice turning hateful. “You’ve come to take me away, right?”

“Take you away?”

She hugged her elephant. “You’re going to take me to the sky, right?”

I shook my head in confusion. “No, I’m…”

“Well, I’m not going. Do what you like, but I’m staying here.”

You don’t have a choice. I didn’t tell her

Her voice turned a little pleading. “Can I stay? Its Angelica’s birthday in a month, and she’s having a party in the backyard…”

I listened in awe as she rattled off about the party, and all of her friends. It was like she was convincing me to let her stay. I smiled in all the right places, and offered her a few responses. All the while, I was thinking:

Please, don’t take this little girl away.

I stayed with her for hours, just listening to the innocent idle chatter and the sweet baby voice. I think in those few hours, I fell in love with her.

She laughed when I told her about Isabel, then turned completely sober. She spoke with a maturity that startled me.

“You’re going to take me away.”

“No.” I whispered fiercely. “Never. I would never do that. I wish I could make you stay.”

“Someone is.” She just stared at me for the longest time.

“Go to sleep. You’re tired.” I managed to choke out.

“I’m afraid of the dark.” She mumbled.

My tears fell. She’s afraid of the dark. Hell, she’s going to be dead in a few hours, but she tells me she’s afraid of the dark. It really hit me, then, how young she was, how much she didn’t understand the concept of death.

Slowly, like a butterfly’s wings, her eyes fluttered shut.

“Goodnight, Sweetie.” I kissed her brow tenderly.

She was someone’s daughter. And grief tore through me as though she were my own. Her hands reached out and clasped mine. I stared down at the tiny fingers capturing mine. They were soft, but firm.

My eyes drifted shut.

When I woke up, it was because of a sharp beep that was blaring out of the heart monitor. An alarm went off somewhere outside, and I could hear panicked voices approaching the room.

I looked down at Ellie. Her hand had fallen away from mine. Her chest was still.

My face crumpled, and I rubbed my hands over my face. Leaning forward, I placed my lips slowly onto her temple. “No.”

The door burst open, and I was quickly pushed aside as the doctor began examining her.

“What ate you doing here? Sir? Are you the father?”

I looked at the impatient nurse, and dazedly shook my head no.

My eyes glazed and heavy, I opened the door, and exited the chaotic room. Walking over to a hospital chair, I slumped down into it.

And head hung low, I let myself cry.
………………………………………………………………………

“Jesus Christ.” I murmur. He’s silent now, hardly a trace of a tear in his eye. I can’t think of what to say. “It must have been horrible. “

“It was.” I can hear the grief in his voice. We’re now sitting in one of the booths, on opposite sides. His eyes are focused on the table.

I say gently. “There was nothing you could have done.”

“I still feel responsible.”

“You shouldn’t.”

“Logic and the heart don’t get along.”

“I told you that.”

“I know. You were right.”

“Max?” I pause. “Why now?”

He smiles a little ruefully, as if recalling a memory. “Its because of Troy, actually.”

I look up.

“He came to that party looking for me. He was raging mad, the fucker.” The curse carries a strange affection. “He told me that I better start treating you better, or he’d kick my ass from here to hell. He told me I was being an idiot, that I was hurting the best thing I had. I got mad, and I punched him in the nose. That’s when the fire alarm went off.” I can hear the shame in his voice.

He pauses, looks up. “All the while, lying in that hospital bed, feeling sorry for myself, I kept thinking about what he said. I know he cared about you. So much that if he couldn’t be with you, he wanted to make sure you were happy. And you know what? It made me mad. So fucking mad at myself. Because that guy used to be me. is me. I love you, Liz. I must have gone a little crazy to lose sight of that. I’m so sorry.”

“Its understandable”

“No. Its not. I’ve not been fair to you. But if you’ll let me, I promise I’ll make it up to you.”

Because I can see he needs it, I smile lightly. “Sex isn’t the answer to all our problems, you know.”

“It’s a start.”

“Horny Bastard.”

He grins. “So… are we… Am I… off the hook?”

I let out a surprised cry. “Buddy, you got some serious groveling ahead of you.”

“Is that a fact?”

“That’s a fact.”

“But if I were to, as you pointed out, grovel, is there a possibility that I might, maybe someday be forgiven?” He asks slowly, his eyes playful, though cautious.

“Maybe.” I shrug. “Someday.”

“Sunday?” He asks cheekily.

“No, someday. Not Sunday.”

“What about Monday?”

“Shut up” Rolling my eyes, I shove him coyly with my elbow.

He laughs lightly.

I look at my hands, and then up into his eyes. “Friends, Max. Just friends.” I say seriously.

He nods eagerly. “I’ll take it.” And there’s enough emotion and gratitude those words to make my heart weep.

Tentatively at first, then growing confident, we turn to our normal style of conversation, moving easily from bawdy jokes, to that special brand of tenderness to outrageous flirting… the night seems a little warmer, now, and a little less dark.

We sit there for hours, talking and laughing as the rain falls softly outside. Something in that moment suddenly reaches me, and I know that somehow, Max and I are going to going to be ok. We’ve been through something so severe, but managed to come out breathing on the other side.

A little hesitantly, I ask him the fire, and if he wants to talk about it.

"I can't. Not yet." He murmurs, simply. But something in his eyes says he'll be able to. Soon.

As I go into the kitchen to get us some ice cream, emotional fatigue suddenly hits me like a bullet, making my knees weak. Taking a deep breath, I lean against the wall and let a few relieved tears escape.

I take a couple of deep breaths, gather up the stuff, and head back to Max. His eyes are wandering idly on the menu, but he looks up as I walk in. And hiss face lights up.

“I got pie, too.” I murmer, tucking some hair behind my ear.

“Marry me.” He jokes, already grabbing a sppon and bowl.

I laugh and slip into the bench opposite him.

His eyes may be shadowed, his soul still heavy and his past still haunted, but tonight, there’s only magic as we sit there huddled with the gracious rain pattering softly outside.

For the first time in six weeks, Max and I laugh together at jokes that don’t make sence to anyone but us. For the first time in six weeks, I entwine my fingers in his, and let them sit. Fir the first time in six weeks, I feel I’m home.

“I think we just crossed the first storm of our lives.”



the end

………………………………………………………………………………….



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Jan-2003 9:18:47 PM ]
posted on 23-Jan-2003 9:19:48 PM by PEACELOVESHEEP
ok, ok, I posted it! wow, some o' you guys are really creative with the bumping process. Especially destinyrebel. Wow, that must have taken you a while, huh?

Thank you for all the amazing feedback. I know I never than you guys individually, but believe me, while I’m reading, I’m like making little notes for myself. (Tell so and so, thanks, I think I’m ridiculously talented too… *wink*)

Realistic Dreamer, Lelea: wow, you guys like, 500 steps ahead of me, evertime. I’m flattered and totally impressed that you put so much thought and analysis into what you read.

Scottie: you’re awesome! If you’re a guy, wow, I think you’re my only guy reader. If you’re a girl, AWESOME name!!!

Allie1031: you know those parts that you said were your favourite parts??! They’re my favourite parts too!! I loved writing that part….

Eccentric One: Hi! I’ve read your fics!!! ... [later: *sheepish* oops, I think I mistook you for someone else... still, your fb was greatly appreciated]

LixMix5: To answer your question, I have, like 4 fics… mostly random ones. Divinity, Apartment, Storm, and a couple of tiny ones that I just wrote cos I felt like. I have a dozen tiny ones lying around, They usually turn into the large stories… for instance, I had the entire hospital part written and kept for, like, a year, and then I expanded on it. … er, but I ramble on..

Gaby7tvm and everyone else who speaks Spanish… .I have never spoken Spanish in my life. I got those sentences off a friend and apparently… she’s not so good! Hah. Thanks for pointing it out, though.

Ah, and EVERYONE else. thank you so much. I especially liked the parts where you called me “brilliant” and oh, yeah, “a genius”.

PEACELOVESHEEP


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 23-Jan-2003 10:47:43 PM ]