posted on 6-Dec-2001 11:21:17 PM by carenicoleIQ
Note: Hey, I posted this once already on the other board while this one was down. I'm doing a repost here because I hope to be updating this soon. Anyway...if you haven't read this already, feedback would be great. If you have, feedback would still be awesome. It would probably make part two come out a little more quickly. I'm still working on updates for my other stories too. Have faith, I will continue them. I've got two more weeks of school stuff and then I'm free for awhile to write, write, write.
Thanks for reading!
Carey

********
Title: In Need
Author: CarenicoleIQ
Rating: R- NC-17
Category: M/L AU
Summary: Liz Parker is a naïve graduate student who has never had a boyfriend. Her friends try to do her a favor for her twenty-third birthday and hire her an escort to be her date for the evening. The rest…you’ll just have to read for yourself.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. I just like the idea of Max being for hire.*tongue*

Chapter 1

“Do you really think this is necessary?” Liz Parker asked her best friends loudly, trying to overcome the noise of the hair dryer. She watched in the mirror as Isabel and Maria both grinned and nodded emphatically. It was her twenty-third birthday and they were bound and determined to make it her most memorable yet. Doing that meant going all out. They’d found her hard at work in her research lab and kidnapped her earlier in the afternoon. After taking her to lunch they’d gone shopping forcing her to try on dress after dress until Isabel had declared she’d found the perfect one. They hadn’t even let Liz see it, let alone try it on.

Her only reprieve had been the bubble bath they’d made her take. Liz had soaked in the soothing warm water for almost an hour before Maria had banged on the door, instructing her to shave her legs and wash her hair. Now she was sitting on a chair in front of her vanity, watching with nervousness as they dried her hair and appeared to size her up.

Liz could practically see the words makeover written on their foreheads. She loved her friends dearly but she would never be fashionable or trendy like they were. She’d never cared about hair or makeup. She’d only ever wanted to be a scientist. They, however, had other plans for her.

“Liz…stop looking like this is painful,” Isabel commanded. “We just want you to have a little fun today. Especially tonight.” Before Liz could question Isabel further, Maria took control of the situation.

“Okay, here’s the plan. While I work on your hair, Isabel is going to fix your makeup. Then…. after we’re finished, you’re going to go into your bedroom and put on the beautiful dress that we found for you today. Then, tonight, we are going out to celebrate your birthday. You will enjoy this. You will have fun.” Liz saw the hopeful look in both their eyes and decided what the hell. You only ever turn twenty-three once. Might as well take the time to enjoy it.

“So…. what exactly are we going to do tonight?” she found the courage to ask. Maria had her turned away from the mirror now and she stood in front of her, taking strands of Liz’s chocolate colored tresses and wrapping them around the curling iron. Isabel was in the other room doing. …something.

“Well, we were thinking dinner and maybe dancing,” Maria said.

“Who else is coming? Did you invite Michael and Alex?” Liz asked. She had assumed that part of the evening would include Maria and Isabel’s boyfriends. They’d all gotten to be good friends, since the girls had decided to share an apartment.

“Uhm…. yeah.” Maria said somewhat distractedly. “Isabel…come here,” she hollered for the other girl and Isabel came running.

“What?” she asked, slightly out of breath.

“I’m thinking an up do? What do you think?”

Isabel studied Liz closely for a moment before nodding and breaking into a smile. “That would be perfect.”

An hour later, both girls were standing in front of Liz, blocking her view of the mirror. She was all ready. Her hair was piled up on top of her head, a mass of girls with a few tendrils escaping here and there. Her makeup was minimal but flawless thanks to Isabel. And her dress…her dress was breathtaking. It clung to Liz’s curves, emphasizing her trim figure. The color, a deep burgundy, brought out the olive tone of her smooth skin. She was really quite stunning.

“Oh…Liz, you look incredible,” Isabel said. “You really do.”

Liz felt herself blushing at the compliment and growing more nervous. She just
wanted to look in the mirror now. She had to see for herself.
Maria and Isabel stepped aside, allowing Liz to see herself for the first time in hours.

She gasped as she looked in the mirror. She could hardly believe what she was seeing. She, Liz Parker, science geek extraordinaire, looked beautiful. She couldn’t even deny it. Isabel and Maria had managed to take her average brown hair look like ringlets of silk. And her complexion looked flawless. There were no tell tale lines from the safety goggles she had to wear in lab. Her skin looked radiant and her eyes were bright and sparkling. And her dress…. it managed to make her less than stellar figure look almost, dare she think it, sexy. Liz couldn’t help the big smile that spread across her face.

“You…. you guys have really outdone yourselves. Thank you. Thank you so much for doing this, for making me take time out to have fun. It means so much to me,” Liz gushed as she turned towards her friends. That’s when she realized that she was the only one ready for their night out.

“What time are we leaving? Don’t you guys have to change?” she asked.

“Well, you see Liz, there’s something we forgot to mention,” Maria started.

The apartment buzzer went off, indicating the arrival of someone.

“Isabel…you explain while I go get the door,” Maria said and quickly went off.

Liz raised her eyebrows questioningly, waiting for an answer to what she’d thought was an easy question.

“Uhm…Liz,” Isabel started tentatively, “Maria and I aren’t exactly going to be joining you this evening…”

Max Evans stood outside the door to apartment 118. He’d just gotten buzzed in and was about to knock when it flew open, revealing a very pretty blonde woman. She looked to be in her early twenties. Not exactly the norm for his clients.

“Hi!” she said brightly. “Are you Max Evans?” she asked.

He nodded and smiled. “Yes. You must be Liz?”

She shook her head no and pushed him back, closely the door quietly behind her.

“No, listen, I should probably explain something to you. Liz…she, uh, she doesn’t know about this evening. My friend and I sort of set it all up for her. You see she doesn’t get out very much. In fact, she’s never had a date in her whole life. So for her birthday this year, we thought that we’d give her that experience. So here’s the deal, we’re going to pretend that this is a blind date. You take Liz and show her the time of her life okay? Treat her like a queen. Woo her…. make all her girlhood fantasies come through….”

Max interrupted. “Listen, Uh…?”

“Maria, I’m Maria Deluca,” she filled in.

“Listen, Maria, I’m not... that type of guy, okay. I just take them out so that they have company for the evening. I don’t…perform any extra services,” Max tried to explain.

“OH! NO! That’s SO not what I meant. I just mean…that maybe you could give her a kiss goodnight. Nothing big, just a peck on the mouth. She’s twenty-three and never been kissed. She needs to learn to live a little. I’m totally not expecting anything else to happen. In fact if it does…. there’ll be hell to pay buddy. She needs to start slowly.”

Max tried not to laugh at his own embarrassment and at the expression on Maria’s face. She was certainly amusing.

“Okay, so now that this is all settled, here’s the money for the night out and for your payment. Thank you so much for doing this and please don’t mention that we hired you. It might give her the wrong idea,” Maria said, handing him and envelope full of cash.

“I think I can handle that,” Max assured her.

“Great. Now, wait right here and I’ll go see if Liz is ready. Isabel’s telling her now about the, uh, ‘blind date’.” With that Maria went back inside the apartment.

Max stood there, staring at the door once again. He shook his head. He really didn’t like this job. The women were nice for the most part. They were just lonely, looking for some companionship. But Max hated being a hired date for them. They were almost always twice his age and after a couple of drinks, they would try to relive their younger years and get grabby with him. Unlik some of the men he worked with, he never let them get away with it. He talked with them, listened to them. That’s all they really wanted in the end, someone to listen to them. He still hated the job. If he didn’t need the money so badly, he wouldn’t care. But his father had died of cancer, leaving behind a mountain of hospital bills to be paid and this was the only way Max could do it and still finish off his college education.

He just kept reminding himself that he was almost done. Just a couple more months and the bills would be paid off and then he could focus completely on school and forget about this job.

His mind wandered for a moment to tonight, trying to think of what he could do with this woman. He’d have to change his plans. She was obviously younger than his usual clientele and wouldn’t enjoy the same things. He was just about to use his cell phone to call and cancel the dinner reservations that had been made when the apartment door flung open. Maria ushered him in and pushed him over by the couch.

“Liz…come on, you’re going to be late for dinner,” she hollered.

Max watched then as another blonde, this one taller came out of a bedroom, practically dragging someone with her. She pushed the person with her, toward Max and stepped back.

He could hardly believe his eyes. The woman in front of him was like a vision. He’d never seen anyone so beautiful before. She was short and slender with dark brown hair and olive colored skin. He was completely mesmerized by her. He knew he should say something…anything, but he was too distracted by the way she was biting nervously on her full bottom lip.

“Uhm…” was all he managed to get out.

“Hi,” Liz said finally speaking up. Her voice was more of a squeak than anything. She was so startled by the handsome man in front of her that she could barely form a coherent thought. When Isabel had told her that the entire thing was a set up for a date, she’s wanted to cry at how cruel the entire thing was. Her birthday was not supposed to be her first date, let alone a blind date. She wasn’t expecting this though. How they’d managed to set her up with this fine specimen of manhood, she’d never know.

“Liz…it’s…it’s nice to finally meet you. I’m Max Evans. Maria here has told me so much about you that I could hardly wait to see you in person. I know this is awkward but…I’d really like to take you out tonight for your birthday and I promise you we’ll have a good time,” he told her sincerely. Max had never meant anything more in his entire life. He really did want to take this woman out and he really did want to show her a good time.

Liz’s nervousness began to dissipate as she stared at his eager face. His warm amber eyes drew her in and she knew, hearing his words just then that tonight would be okay.

“Okay, let’s go then,” she said softly. She offered Max a tentative smile which he returned and then took her hand in his, leading her out the door.

Isabel and Maria watched the two leave and let out a sigh of relief.

“I can’t believe we pulled it off,” Maria said.

“ I know…but did you see the look on her face, Maria? She took one look at him and was completely smitten. I don’t want to be the one to tell her that this was all a set up. That we paid him to take her out. Plus…if we don’t tell her and she likes him and has a good time, she’ll be heart broken when he doesn’t call her to go out again. I really think this was a mistake,” Isabel said, plopping down on the couch.

“It’s not my fault the guy was an Adonis. I seriously thought, he’d be some kind of doofus and we could all have a good laugh later. But now…. anyway, we might not have to worry. Max looked uh, well, he looked pretty smitten himself,” Maria told her with a half smile.

“You think?”

“Please, if the heated look he gave her says anything, they’ll be engaged by next year.”

“Whatever Maria. You’re so funny sometimes,” Isabel said with a laugh.

“Come on, let’s call our manly men and see what they’re up to,” Maria responded. She knew they’d need a distraction while they waited for Liz to come back from her first date.
******


[ edited 13time(s), last at 10-Mar-2002 1:43:39 AM ]
posted on 6-Dec-2001 11:23:39 PM by carenicoleIQ
******
Max couldn’t believe how nervous he’d suddenly become. Good Lord, one look at Liz and he’d turned into a bumbling fool. It was like being 16, going on his first date all over again. This definitely felt like a first date. Ironically enough, he did this for a living and he’d never once been this nervous. Of course there was a big difference between the women that hired him for his company and Liz Parker. Liz Parker had managed to turn him into a pile of mush within the first five minutes and all she’d had to do was take the hand that he’d offered her. He knew without a doubt that he was in big trouble. Before the end of the night, lines were going to be irrevocably crossed and things were going to change for him. And he found that he really didn’t care. In fact, he welcomed it.

Liz glanced at Max shyly out of the corner of her eye. She was still marveling at how attractive the man in driver’s seat next to her really was. She could study him a little better here in the car while he drove. He definitely had a nice profile. A perfectly straight nose and a strong looking jaw. The planes of his face came together symmetrically in a way that was more than appealing. Liz’s eyes lingered over his lips. She found herself wondering for the first time in a long time just what it would be like to kiss a man. More specifically what it would be like to kiss this man. Maybe if tonight went well, she’d get to find out. The thought was enough to fill her stomach with a flurry of nervous butterflies.

“So, I hope you like Italian because we have reservations at Santini’s down by the Haymarket,” Max told her.

“I’ve never been there before. I’m sure it will be wonderful,” came Liz’s reply.

He could practically hear her smile. Max forced himself to keep his eyes on the road. The urge to turn his head and look at Liz was almost too great. He told himself that if could have the pleasure of looking at her, maybe he could listen to her voice. “Liz, why don’t you tell me more about yourself,” he suggested in an effort to get her to talk.

“Oh, well, I’m not really that interesting. Besides,” she said with a laugh, “I’m sure that Maria’s talked your ear off about me,” Liz said.

“I’m sure there’s plenty you could tell me about you that I don’t already know. And I’m absolutely positive that none of it is boring.” They were sitting at a stop light when Max said this and so he was finally able to look over at her. He was a little surprised to find her look right at him. Their eyes locked and neither could look away. They were sort of trapped by the other’s gaze.

A car horn sound from behind them startled them both. Max looked behind him and then ahead, finally seeing that the light had turned green. Neither said a word then until they arrived at the restaurant moments later. Max helped Liz out of the car and tool her hand again leading her into the restaurant. When they were led to their table he had a hard time relinquishing his hold on her so they could be seated.

The spent some time perusing the menu, both keenly aware of the other. Liz kept looking up and sneaking glances at Max over the top of her menu. One time he caught her and she ducked her head, biting her lip. Max had to force himself to look away. He didn’t understand why that simple gesture, stirred such a reaction in him. The waiter finally came to take their order, effectively taking away the shield they’d both been using. So they just sat their looking at each other. When Liz realized that she was openly starring, she felt her cheeks flush with her embarrassment. No wonder she never dated. She acted like a silly teenager when it came to men.

She cleared her throat nervously. “Max...why don’t you tell me a little about yourself. Uhm...I don’t know anything about you and I’d really like to,” she admitted.

Max smiled. “Well, I’m twenty-four years old. I’m just finishing my last semester here and UNM. I’m originally from Albuquerque so I didn’t go very far from home. I’m almost finished with a degree in Medical Technology, specializing in forensics. I hope that after I graduate this semester, I can start work right away.” As he spoke Liz’s face lit up and her eyes started to sparkle. A huge grin broke out and Max was positive that he’d never seen anyone so beautiful in his entire life.

“Really? That’s so incredible. That’s almost exactly what I did. Only instead of a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology, I got a degree in Chemistry. I’m working on my Masters in Forensics right now.” Max was almost speechless. It was barely five minutes into this conversation and they’d already found a fairly major common interest. It couldn’t just be coincidence that any of this was happening.

“That’s incredible, “ Max responded. “So where are you at with that? How much time until you’re finished?”

Liz smiled. “I was sure Maria would have told you all of this,” she mused.

“Well...there’s something I should admit.” Max was going to tell her the truth. Most of it anyway. To hell with what Maria had said. He could definitely see this date turning into more. He didn’t want to start it with a huge lie though. Before he could go on with an explanation, the waiter interrupted them with their drinks.

Liz took a sip of hers and then looked up at Max expectantly, waiting for him to finish what he was saying.

“Well, uhm, Maria and your other friend sort of set this up. I really didn’t know anything about you. They...they wanted it to be a present for your birthday so they made the reservations and took care of everything.” Liz’s face fell as he spoke and he’d never felt so guilty in his life. He instantly regretted opening his mouth. He’d do anything to keep that smile on her face. Almost instinctively he reached across the table and grabbed her hand. “I have to tell you, though, that the minute I saw you....well, I’ve never wanted to be with anyone so badly in my entire life. I knew that tonight was going to special. So however misguided and awkward their actions....I’m really glad they did what they did.”

His words caused a flush to rise and spread over Liz’s skin seeming to start below the neckline of her dress. Max watched as her skin turned a very becoming shade of pink and his mind wandered into territory that Liz had yet to discover. He quickly got himself under composure, focusing on Liz’s beautiful face once again.

What Max had said had warmed Liz’s insides. She’d never thought that anyone could be attracted to her in that way. The way Max was looking at her with.....desire in his eyes made it easy to quickly get over being upset with Isabel and Maria. She was glad they’d done this too.

“Let’s get out of here,” Liz said abruptly.

Max’s face fell and he looked disappointed and was about to beg for another chance when he felt Liz squeeze his hand. Their eyes met and she spoke again. “I think that we should start this date over. I want to do something that you would have picked for us, not what Maria and Isabel picked.”

“That sounds like a really good idea.” Max threw
some money down on the table to cover their drinks and stood up. With her hand tightly clasped in his own, they left the restaurant.

Almost two hours later they were still in the Haymarket. Their location was a little different now though. Instead of the posh, stuffy environment of Santini’s they were in a small, slightly crowded bar. They’d both relaxed considerably with Max undoing his tie and unbuttoning the collar on his shirt taking an edge of the idea that the evening had to be perfect. So instead of having the perfect first date, they could focus on each other. Liz had filled Max in on as many details about herself as possible over a basket of greasy fries and two cherry cokes.

Max was completely enthralled by her. He loved to watch her talk. She was so animated, her whole face lit up when she spoke. Especially when she talked about her work. It was very obvious that she loved what she did. She was just as passionate when she talked about her friends and family. The pride and love she felt for those closest to her was clearly evident.

With each word, Max fell a little deeper.

A slight lull in the conversation found them sitting side by side, with Max’s arm draped around the back of Liz’s chair as they listened to the band that had taken over the bar’s small stage. Their legs were pressed together to insure some kind of contact between them without being extremely obvious. Max wanted nothing more than to be able to touch her freely though. After a couple of songs and some internal pep talks, Max decided they should move on. It was almost ten o’clock and the night was still fairly young. He didn’t want their entire first date to consist of just sitting in a bar.

“So...any ideas on what we should do next?” he asked her.

He hadn’t realized just how close together they’d ended up sitting until he turned his head to look at her. At the same time she turned to answer his question and the found their noses less than two inches apart. Max could feel her sudden intake of breath. He wanted nothing more than to close the gap between them and kiss her. He stopped himself though as her remembered Maria’s words from earlier. This was Liz’s first date. She’d never been kissed before.

The butterflies in Liz’s stomach came back full force and she found herself blushing at thoughts of Max kissing her. She was both relieved and disappointed when he pulled way. He surprised her though, when instead of kissing her, he brought his hand up and gently tucked a strand of hair that had come lose behind her ear. She wasn’t sure but she felt his fingers linger a little as he push the strand back from her face.

“Well...any idea for what’s next?” he asked. He took his time dropping his hand back to the chair.

Liz bit her bottom lip as she thought about possibilities for the rest of their evening. She didn't notice the way Max’s eyes were being drawn to her mouth. He just couldn’t get over how full and supple her lips were. He wanted nothing more than to take that bottom lip into his own mouth and..

“How about ...golf,” Liz said, interrupting his thought.

“Golf?” he raised his eyebrows questioningly.

Liz nodded. “Yeah. Miniature golf. There’s a new place about four blocks from her. They’re supposed to stay open late. It could be fun. I’ve never actually played before. It can help this be a whole night of firsts. What do you say?”

“Why not, it sounds interesting.” Max would follow her anywhere he realized.

Golfing turned out to be a very enlightening experience. Liz decided that, in an attempt to get Max to talk, they would play by their own rules. So for every shot they messed up, they had to reveal something about themselves. It sort of backfired on her when Max turned out to be a very good golfer. So while Max was still a man of mystery, Liz was an open book.

At the second to the last hole, Liz was starting to run out of things to say. So when she messed up her shot again, she almost threw her putter down in frustration.

“What else could I possibly tell you?” she asked Max.

He shrugged. “Tell me why ....you don’t date. Isabel and Maria said that you never go out, why is that?”

Liz felt herself blushing. She shrugged. “ I don’t know. No one’s ever asked.” She looked a little sad as she spoke and he was sure that the question had brought up many insecurities.

“ I don’t see how that can be true,” he told her. “I don’t think that I’ve ever met anyone as amazing as you,” he told her honestly.

Liz felt her blush deepen and she quickly cleared her throat. “It’s your turn,” she told him. As he was stepping up to take his shot, Liz moved herself to the other side, accidentally brushing against Max as she did so. This caused him to falter, making him mess up his shot.

Liz saw and laughed. “Ha...now you have to tell me something!”

Max nodded and gave in. “What would you like to know?”

Liz thought for a moment. “Describe your perfect date,” she said after a brief deliberation.

Max’s response came without hesitation. “You.”

They stepped up closer to one another then. “You’re my perfect date too,” Liz told Max softly. At that he’d made up his mind. He was going to kiss her.

He would have too if a group of noisy teenagers hadn’t caught up with them.

They moved on to the last hole and Liz took her shot. She actually made it without messing up too badly. So it was Max’s turn fairly quickly. As he lined up his shot, Liz was thinking about what he’d just said. It was easy for her to say that he was her perfect date. He really was. She’d never imagined having such a great time with anyone. But him...surely he’d had better dates than this. He was getting ready to swing when Liz asked her next question.

“Do you date a lot, Max?”

At her question, Max almost dropped his putter.

“uhm...a few,” he told her. That was an understatement. He immediately felt terrible for being untruthful with her about his job.

“I’m sorry, that’s none of my business...” Liz started to say.

Max stopped her. “Don’t be sorry. I can honestly say that no matter how many dates I’ve been on. None of them have been even a tenth as memorable as this one tonight. So thank you....for making tonight so memorable.” He took her hand then and watched the smile that spread across her lips.

After they’d turned in their balls and their putters, Max took Liz to get some ice cream and they drove back to her apartment complex. He hated to see the evening end, but Liz had mentioned having to work early the next day and he didn’t want her to be too tired. She was still licking her ice cream cone when they reached the apartment door.

Liz turned around and stared up into Max’s face. She really hated for the night to be over with. It had been so perfect. Everything about Max had been so incredible. He smiled at her and his eyes sort of sparkled. Not for the first time that evening she marveled at how beautiful his amber eyes really were.

“I had a really great time, Max,” she told him softly. He smiled and stepped closer to her.

“Me too. I hope that....it wasn’t a completely terrible way to spend your birthday.”

Liz shook her head. “No...it was wonderful.”

“I’d really like to see you again,” Max said hopefully.

Liz looked down shyly, biting her bottom lip. Then she looked up and smiled. “I’d like that.”

Max couldn’t restrain himself any more. He leaned in slowly, his breath catching in his throat as his lips brushed ever so carefully across Liz’s. When he pulled away, he knew that one kiss wouldn’t be enough. So before she even had time to open her eyes again, he kissed her again. This time, he let his sips linger, reveling in the softness and the feel of her own lips pressed against him. Very gently he coaxed her into responding to his gently caresses against her mouth. She caught on quickly and when they pulled apart, Max could feel himself growing breathless. He didn’t even try to hide the satisfied smile that spread across his face. He could see how caught up Liz had been.

Liz was in heaven. She’d never once imagined a kiss could be that amazing and wonderful. When she’d felt his lips brush against hers the first time, she’d been thrilled and disappointed at the same time. Thrilled because it felt better than she’d always imagined. Disappointed because it hadn’t lasted nearly long enough. Before she’d even recovered from that, he’d kissed her again, this time urging her to kiss him back. She could still feel the pressure of their lips together, and how wonderful he felt. She wasn’t sure if her heart would ever beat normally again.

He was about to throw all caution to the wind when a dripping noise caught his attention. He didn’t want them to get dripped on so he immediately looked around for the source. He glanced down and the floor and began to chuckle when it dawned on him what had happened.

“Uh...Liz, sweetheart, I think you’re ice cream is melting,” he said.

Liz, still trying to regain control of her senses, took a moment to register his meaning. “Huh....what?” she mumbled incoherently. That’s when she noticed the small drops of vanilla ice cream pooling on the wood floor.

“ Oh...no!”

Max laughed and leaned in to kiss her forehead tenderly. “ I think that I’ll take this as a compliment,” he told her. Liz felt herself blushing yet again but laughed despite her embarrassment.

“ I guess I better go get something to clean this up,” she said. She started to open the door but stopped and turned around. Standing up on her tip toes she pressed her lips against Max’s. It was so soft, so brief that Max wasn’t even sure it had happened. But he felt it all the way to his soul. “Good night Max. Thank you for a wonderful birthday,” she said softly. With that, she disappeared inside.

Max was a goner.

So much so that when the door opened a few minutes later he was still standing there thinking about Liz and that kiss.

Maria was the one that startled him out of his thoughts. She’d come out to clean up the ice cream spill while Liz took a quick shower.

“Max...did you forget something?” she asked. She noticed his slightly dazed expression and had to smirk a little.

“Yeah actually,” he said. He reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out the envelope of money Maria had given him earlier. He hadn’t used any of it. “I want to give this back to you. Tonight was my pleasure entirely. I don’t need to be paid to take a woman like Liz out. In fact I feel really lucky to have had the privilege.”

Max was the one leaving a flabbergasted Maria behind. She could hardly believe it. He’d just given back three hundred dollars. He hadn’t taken anything.

A smile slowly spread across her face as she thought of the look that she’d seen Liz sporting when she’d walked in a few moments ago. Yep...definitely engaged within the year.

TBC....

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 6-Dec-2001 11:46:11 PM ]
posted on 15-Dec-2001 12:01:17 AM by carenicoleIQ
Author's Note: So...I'm supposed to be studying for an Organic Chemistry final that's going to affect the rest of my future. But I just don't give a damn right now. I felt inspired and as a result...a new part of this story. Anyway....let me know that my flunking chem was worth it...feedback would be great. I better go. I should try to at least pretend like I care about the test. *tongue* Just another week and then I'm a lean mean writing machine. That means Jungle Love...Wait for Me...A Season of Firsts....Only Time...and the list goes on.
As a side note, if you've been reading my Untouchable(non-roswell) story. I just recently posted chapter 10. Here's the link:

http://pub29.ezboard.com/ftheicequeenscourtfrm2

Without further ado...IN NEED " The Day After"

Chapter 2

Max couldn’t stop thinking about Liz Parker. It had been less than 12 hours since their date. Less than 12 hours since he’d shared with her the most incredible kiss he’d ever experienced. How could he possibly focus on anything his molecular biology professor had to say? It was really too much.

So that’s why Max was sitting there, a big dopey lovesick grin on his face, while about thirty other fellow students and a slightly annoyed professor looked on.

“Mr. Evans.....Mr. Evans?” A loud voice said, cutting through Max’s happy thoughts.

“Wh..what?” Max said, quickly snapping to attention. He could feel everyone’s gaze on him and hear a few random snickers. He’d been caught and now he could feel his ears turning bright red.

“I was just wondering if you could tell us just what part of my lecture you found so amusing? I’m sure we’d all like to know what put that smile on your face,” Professor Redder said in his usual monotone.

“Uh...it was the part where...you know, the part where you talked about the...the uh...” Max’s voice tapered off.

“That’s what I thought,” Redder replied with an annoyed sigh. He turned back to the diagram on the overhead and continued to drone on.

Max somehow managed to make it through the rest of class. He was even able to answer one of Dr. Redder’s questions correctly the next time he was called on. But as soon as the clock was on the twelve, Max was out of there.

Liz had mentioned the night before that she usually didn’t get to eat lunch until about one o’clock. That gave him an hour to carry out his plans. It would be just enough time if he hurried.

*****

Liz stared at the stack of data in front of her. She’d been putting off entering it for weeks now and the task had become even more lengthy and less appealing. At the rate she was currently going she’d be at the lab until midnight. That’s if she didn’t go blind first.

Aside from the boring task, her only real problem was that she just could concentrate. She’d lost all of her focus. And it was the fault of one incredibly handsome, incredibly wonderful, Max Evans. She couldn’t stop thinking about him. She’d even dreamed about him the night before. All of the wonderful moments from their date just kept swimming through her head.

And her lips.....she could still feel the way he had kissed her so sweetly, so softly. Her first kiss had been more than she’d ever imagined. Her whole body tingled from thoughts of it.

“Liz...Liz....Earth to Liz Parker!” a voice said, bring her out of her reverie. She looked up to find a fellow graduate student standing in her office doorway.

“Hey Karen, did you need something?” Liz asked, trying to refocus her attention.

“Uhm...there’s someone here to see you. He says his name is Max Evans. Marg, down at the front info desk won’t tell him where your office is though until she gets an okay from you. Should I.....”

“Oh My God!” Liz squealed. “Max is here? Oh...tell Marg to have him come right up. I ....oh god!” Liz was suddenly quite flustered. She stood up from her desk, knocking over her chair as she tried to quickly straighten up her area.

Karen stared at her, eyes wide. Liz was flustered and flushed. She could hardly believe it. She was usually so calm and collected, completely put together. Karen was suddenly quite curious about this Max Evans that seemed to have Liz so undone.

She found out a moment later when she went down to the information desk. For a moment she merely stood there, taking in the view. No wonder Liz was freaking out. Max Evans was an Adonis. A romantic Adonis at that. Liz Parker was a damn lucky woman.

Liz couldn’t help but fidget nervously as she waited. She continued to try to straighten up around the small room, putting other’s things into some semblance of order. She was startled by a knock on the door. She looked up and her heart almost stopped at the sight of Max. He was even better looking in the day light Liz concluded. And...in one hand he held a bouquet of flowers and the other a paper sack of deli food.

“Max...” she said, breaking out into a grin. His own smile reflected hers.

For a second they just stood there, grinning at each other.

Max finally found his voice. “I wanted to surprise you, so I took a chance that maybe you hadn’t eaten yet and we could have lunch together. I ...I really had to see you again.”

“Really?” Liz asked.

Max nodded and was rewarded with a shy smile.

Again they both just sort of stood there, staring at each other, neither one moving.

The sound of a door slamming somewhere down the hall startled them both and Max stepped fully into the office. He offered her the bouquet of flowers with a flourish. Liz took them gratefully and, offering him a brilliant smile, brought the white roses to her face to take in the scent.

Max watched, momentarily transfixed by the sight of her.

“So...” he started to speak at the same time Liz started to say something.

“You first,” Max told her.

Liz bit her lip a smiled. “ I was just going to say Thank You. White Roses are my favorite. And...I’m glad you came by because I ...I was thinking about you earlier,” she admitted even as a slight blush tinted her cheeks.

“Yeah...me too....I mean, I was thinking about you earlier and...” Max paused and took a breath before he could fumble his words anymore. “ Are you hungry? I wasn’t sure what you’d like so I thought we could share a couple of things.”

“I’m famished. Tell me what you brought.”

So Max went to work setting up their little picnic lunch on Liz’s desk.

****

Karen, being the deprived person that she was, decided to see what exactly Liz and her Adonis were up to. She walked casually by the office, trying to get a peak through the door which was slightly ajar. She could make out laughter from the inside along with some hushed talking and then more laughter. She wasn’t able to make out what was being said but it was obviously Max making Liz laugh. He was funny, romantic and handsome.....she hadn’t thought there were any men like that left in the world. Her curiosity got the better of her and she tried to get a peak at the couple to see what they were doing. She could see them sitting across from each other, leaning forward, both talking earnestly. Liz was currently saying something and Max was listening with rapt attention. He interjected a comment and Liz started to laugh. As she did so she was leaning forward slightly. Max started to lean forward as well.

Feeling a little like a voyeur, Karen quickly walked away, not wanting to intrude on their private moment.

****

Max hadn’t been able to resist. Liz had been laughing, her face all lit up and then she’d leaned forward, almost extending an invitation. One that he was more than happy to respond to.

He brought his hands up, gently framing her face, as he pressed his mouth to hers. There was no hesitancy as Liz eagerly responded. The kiss was slow and deliberate as both Liz and Max took the opportunity to get to know the taste and feel of each other. When it finally became necessary to draw breath, the two broke apart, both gasping for air. Max leaned his forehead against Liz’s, his fingers gently caressed the sides of her face.

“See what you do to me,” he said with a soft chuckle.

Liz bit her lip gently, fighting the urge to kiss him again. Couldn't he see was he was doing to her?

“Max...” her voice pleaded softly and then his lips were on hers again.


It was a very reluctant Max leaving the office fifteen minutes later. He could have stayed there all day just kissing her and looking at her. But he knew she had work to get done. The only consolation for him was that she had agreed to let him take her on another date that same night. He was happy to conclude that lunch was a success.

Liz sat at her desk after he left and stared at the empty chair across the way. She couldn’t help the sigh that escaped her lips. She’d wanted nothing more than for Max to say, but she had work to do and he would definitely be a distraction. Liz smiled and giggled to herself. He was a very good distraction though. Very, very good.

****

Liz walked around on cloud nine the rest of the day. She left the office and all her papers behind early to go get ready for her date with Max. Upon arrival at her apartment, she ran into Maria who also just getting back from work.

“So..Lizzie, what do you say to you, me, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and a night of girl talk? I want to hear all about last night. From the way you’re still smiling I’d say it must have gone well,” Maria said with a bright smile.

“Oh, Maria...you know that I would love to, but I’ve sort of already have other plans. Max is taking me somewhere.”

“Wow. He moves fast. Did he call you at work or something?” Maria was beyond curious about the previous evening now. It must have been pretty good. Not only had Max given back all of the money but he’d already called for another date.

“Actually, he asked today when we were having lunch,” Liz told her.

“Lunch?”

“Yeah,” Liz said with a dreamy sigh as her thoughts wandered back several hours. “He came to the lab today and he brought lunch and white roses. We talked and made plans for tonight,” Liz said, leaving out the more personal details.

Maria wasn’t sure how to respond. She followed Liz to her bedroom while she thought about things. She could hardly believe this was happing. She knew that Liz had been struck by cupid’s arrow. That much had been clear by the look on her face when she’d first seen Max. She just hadn’t realized how deep that arrow had stuck and how it was obviously the same for Max.

It was great. Really. It was. Maria was absolutely thrilled for Liz.

There was just one little problem.

Max’s job. Did Liz even know about it?

Maria suspected that she didn’t because she was certain that Liz would object. Not only that but she couldn’t imagine Liz staying with him if he kept his job. Things certainly wouldn’t be moving forward this quickly.

She refocused her attention on Liz. She had to admit that her friend looked really happy. Practically bursting at the seams from excitement. Maria didn’t have the heart to try and put a damper on things by telling her about Max. It had been too long since she’d seen Liz smile that way.

“What do you think Maria? Do you think Max would like the red shirt or the green one?” Liz asked, holding up the two choices in front of herself.

Maria looked at each shirt carefully, contemplating a decision.

She smiled at Liz. “Well...Max will probably like either one just because you’re wearing it. But I think you should wear that cream colored sweater with the v-neck. Oh, and your denim skirt. It’s casual but sort of dressy. It should be perfect for whatever Max has planned for you,” she finally said.

She watched as Liz quickly went to grab the suggested clothing from her closet. She desperately wanted things to work for Liz. She hoped that this didn’t end up badly.

****

Somehow the second date managed to out do their first date. It could have been due to the hour the couple spent kissing in Max’s car toward the end of the evening. Neither could get enough of the other. Liz was quickly becoming addicted to Max. When she’d laughingly told him so between kisses, he’d been quick to assure her that it was much the same for him. He’d walked her back up to her apartment then and spent a good ten minutes telling her good night and promising to call the next day.

Three weeks went by and things just kept getting better and better. Max and Liz spent as much time together as possible. Max, despite his pressing financial issues, willingly gave up several of the jobs he’d been offered during those weeks. He couldn’t stand the thought of not seeing Liz or having to torture himself by spending the evening with another woman that meant absolutely nothing to him. He knew that he had to find another job. In the meantime he was very careful to steer clear of the subject of work. He hadn't told Liz about his job yet. It was too hard to explain. And the longer he waited, the harder it got.

Liz walked around in a perpetual state of bliss. She was constantly humming some love song under her breath. There were times when she would just start smiling out of the blue. She was usually thinking about something sweet Max had done.

Maria and Isabel both noticed the changes taking place in Liz as her relationship with Max continued. They were happy for her but concerned at how fast things seemed to be progressing. They never saw Liz anymore. She was always with Max. They missed their friend. But Liz didn’t seem to even notice.

It was Friday, almost four weeks since the night Liz and Max had first met. Liz was in the lab working on a project when she looked up at the clock. It was three o’clock. She quickly left whatever it was she was working on and made her way to her office. On the days when she and Max couldn’t meet for lunch he always called.

At 3:05pm on the dot, the phone on Liz’s desk began to ring. Liz quickly answered it. She couldn’t help the smile the spread across her face. Even hearing him breath made her happy.

“Hey sexy,” she spoke into the receiver.

“Hey, yourself, beautiful,” the voice on the other end replied. There was a pause and the voice became teasing. “Listen...I was sort of hoping to talk to my girlfriend. Do you think you could put her on the phone?”

“Max....” Liz said with a chuckle.

“Liz...”

She felt goose bumps form and spread at the way he said her name. It took very little for Max to elicit a reaction in her. Taking a deep breath Liz tried to focus on Max’s words and not just the sound of his voice. They talked for a few moments about their day so far. Max surprised her by changing the subject abruptly.

“So...what are you wearing?” he asked. He could almost see the flush creeping up over Liz’s features at the question. He wished he could be there to see it in person, instead of just imagining it.

“Max...” She let out a nervous giggle.

“I’ll tell if you will,” he teased her some more.

“You first then,” Liz countered, making Max laugh.

“A blue button down shirt and khaki pants. Oh and uh....gray boxers,” he added suggestively. “Your turn,” he said, his voice normal again.

Thoughts of gray boxers and Max had Liz momentarily side tracked but she spoke up. “Uhm...ok.” She knew that her cheeks were bright pink. “I’ve got on a pink sweater and gray pants.”

“And?” Max asked.

“And what?”

“You didn’t tell me what’s underneath your sweater,” he said.

This time when she said his name, Max felt his chest tighten. He really wanted to be with her....to be able to kiss her.

“Come over tonight,” he said suddenly.

“You mean to your place?” Liz asked, slightly surprised at the invitation.

“Yeah...I’ll uh, I’ll make you dinner and we can watch a movie or....something,” he suggested.

Liz was intrigued by the ‘or something’ comment.

“That sounds great. What time do you...want me....to come over?” she asked, stumbling over her words nervously. She hadn’t been to Max’s apartment yet.

“How about six thirty?”

“Sure...do you want me to bring anything?”

“Just yourself. That’s all I want,” he told her. He imagined another blush coloring her cheeks.

“I can’t wait to see you,” Liz told him.

“Me too.”

“Bye Max.”

Liz hung up the phone and took a deep breath. Dinner at Max’s. She wasn’t sure what to think. Where were things going to go tonight? Up to this point they’d only kissed. Max hadn’t tried anything else. Liz was hoping that tonight might change all that. She was ready for more.


TBC.....

*tongue**tongue**tongue**tongue**tongue**tongue*
posted on 16-Dec-2001 12:15:09 PM by carenicoleIQ
New part soon!
posted on 17-Dec-2001 11:08:55 PM by carenicoleIQ
okay, so it's ten o'clock my time right now. And I'm pounding away at the keyboard, trying to get this part all typed out. I thought that it would only take me an hour but it's longer than I'd originally thought. Some of the scenes got away from me a little. I promise thought that the next part will be up by midnight, for those of you who are anxiously waiting for it.
So I'm hurrying. I'll be back soon!*bounce*
posted on 18-Dec-2001 12:42:44 AM by carenicoleIQ
AN: Hey all...thanks for the fabulous feedback. I worked really hard on this part so I hope it's okay. Finals are mostly done so I've been writing lots and lots. Anyway...let me know what you think...and as a warning, you have to be patient with Max. Don't be too hard on him. He isn't season 3 Max so he's not going to mess up everything and irrevocably damage things. That said...enjoy.( it might fall under the R rating category, so just to warn you).

Oh yeah...I had to split the posts. So read them both.:p
Carey



Chapter 3

“Help! Maria....I need underwear!” Liz blurted as she burst through the door to Maria’s bedroom.

“What?” Maria looked up from where she was applying nail polish to her toes. She almost dropped the open bottle onto her bedspread she was so startled.

It was four in the afternoon and Liz had taken off from lab early, yet again. She was in crisis. Thoughts of Max and moving their relationship forward had started her thinking. She was completely unsure of herself. What if she wasn’t sexy enough? What if she was too naive and inexperienced for him?

“Maria, you have to help me,” Liz said, pacing on the floor in front of Maria’s bed. “ I have a date with Max tonight and I....”

“...and you forgot to do your laundry?” Maria finished, trying to fill in the gaps in what Liz was nervously saying.

Liz stopped pacing and looked at her. “No. I...I want tonight to be special and so I was thinking about how I don’t own any sexy underwear. None. Not even underwear with flowers of anything. It’s all just plain cotton briefs. Very boring. I don’t want Max to think that I’m boring. And there’s absolutely nothing sexy about my panties and...”

Maria bit back a laugh as her frustrated friend continued to rant.

“Okay...I’m there for you babe. First tell me what time dinner is,” Maria said once Liz had calmed down a little.

“Oh. Thank you Maria!” Liz reached out, grabbing Maria in an impulsive hug. “Okay, so ...uhm Max said to be at his place at six thirty. But I should probably leave early to make sure that I can find his apartment complex.”

“Good. That gives us about two hours to work with. So this is what I want you to do. Go into your closet and decide what you want to wear. Then put that back and pull out something else. I know you Liz and the first thing you’ll pick will be way too conservative. After that go take a bubble bath and shave your legs ...the works. Get as ready as you can without getting dressed. Now while you’re doing all that, I’ll be out purchasing your first set of ‘just in case’ panties,” Maria said.

“ ‘just in case’ panties?” Liz asked, a confused expression on her face.

Maria smirked. “It’s something every girl needs, Liz. It involves purchasing a pair of sexy panties for a special occasion. Of course, you can never be sure of what that special occasion will be. For the most part they’re for that special date, you know, ‘just in case’ your going to get laid.”

Liz’s face flushed a deep red at Maria’s words. “Oh...oh..Maria, I....” Liz was flustered now. That wasn’t her intention for the evening. She just wanted to be prepared for anything.

Maria watched with amusement as her friend finally comprehended the importance of the ‘just in case’ panty. Even so, Liz was obviously embarrassed.

“Relax,Liz. Just because you have them doesn’t mean anything is going to happen. No matter what goes on it’s just high time for you to have a pair of sexy panties....just in case,” she said with a wink. She left a still flustered Liz standing in her bedroom and she went out to shop.

******

Everything was set. The flowers were in a vase on the table. the candles were placed randomly throughout the apartment. They just needed to be lit. He’d wait to do that until it was almost time for Liz to arrive. Everything was ready for him to start dinner. He’d do that at six so it would be warm when Liz got there. He was making chicken stir-fry.

So that left him forty-five minutes of waiting for Liz. He decided it would be best for him to take a quick shower. He needed to shave quickly as well. He could feel the stubble that had come in since he’d shaved that morning. That definitely wouldn’t do. He couldn’t be scratchy for Liz.

After his shower and shave Max went to throw on some nicer clothes. He spent a few minutes rifling through his closet. He really needed to do laundry. He settled on a charcoal gray sweater that he found hanging towards the back of the closet. He threw on a pair of jeans then and went to finish cooking dinner.

He’d just set the rice aside to cook when the door buzzer rang. Max checked his watch. It was a little before six pm. That meant Liz was early. That was okay. He’d improvise with the candles and fixing the rest of dinner.

When he went to open the door, instead of seeing the beautiful brown haired angel he liked to call Liz, he was greeted by the smirking face of Sean Deluca. His current employer.

“Sean, what brings you by?” Max asked, barely able to conceal his agitation or surprise.

“Evans,” Sean said with a nod. He brushed past Max, not even waiting for an invitation to enter. “I came by to have a little chat.” Sean stood in front of Max’s couch giving off a superior air as he looked around the apartment. He thought it was odd that Max lived the way he did. Very simply. That was the best way to describe the set up. All the essentials were in place with very few extras.

Sean raised his eyebrows when he noticed the numerous candles set up around the room. “Looks like you’ve got a big evening planned, Evans,” he commented with a smirk.

“You didn’t come here to discuss my plans for the evening Sean. So just cut to the chase,” Max told him. He was getting nervous. He didn’t want Sean there when Liz showed up. That wouldn’t be the best way to tell her what he did for a living.

“Actually, Evans, that’s where you’re wrong. Your plans for this evening are the reason for my visit. You see, today, we got a little call from one of preferred clients. She was very upset. Do you know why she was upset?”

Max shook his head. “I don’t have a clue.”

“You remember Ms. Harding don’t you?”

Max nodded. Tess Harding. That lady was a certifiable nut case. She wasn’t that much older than him, but she was married to some guy in his fifties that worked all the time. The one night that Max had escorted her to some dinner theater event had somehow gotten twisted into more than it was. Now she wouldn’t leave Max alone. She’d tried many times to have Max take her out again, only she’d offered a different sort of arrangement, one that Max hadn’t been interested in.

“Well, it seems that Ms. Harding tried to book you to escort her tonight but was told that you were unavailable. When she asked why, she was told that you had an previous engagement. What enraged her the most was that for the last four weeks when she’s tried to book you, you’ve had a previous engagement. Now, I looked into your schedule Max and you’ve been on exactly three dates in those four weeks. All of them were with that old widow Mrs. Jenkins. Now I know for a fact that all you do for her is go sit and play cards with her. So explain to me what’s going on, Max. Because I’ve got to say, with the way you’ve been acting lately, I just don’t think we can keep you on the payroll anymore.”

Max fought back his anger toward Sean. The guy was a pompous ass. Max really wished he’d never gotten involved with any of this. He’d just been so desperate at the time that it had seemed like the best possible solution. It had really been the easy way out. He’d never regretted anything more in his entire life.

“You’re absolutely right, Sean.” He paused as the smug smile started to spread across Sean’s face. “So I Quit!”

Sean’s smug grin twisted into one of disbelief at Max’s words. That hadn’t been the reaction he’d been hoping for. “You quit?”

“Yeah...I quit. I’ll have to get a different job. This job was never my cup of tea anyway. I need something that doesn’t interfere with my life too much.”

“You can’t just quit Evans. You ....you owe us money,” Sean informed him.

“From what?”

“From....from that other night almost a month ago. That was a three hundred dollar night. I set it up for my cousin personally. Now I know that we didn’t see any of that money,” Sean told him.

Cousin?....Max thought about that a moment. Deluca....Maria. She and Sean were cousins. Oh god. No wonder. He quickly put that aside for later.

“I already told you what happened that night. The date backed out at the last minute. There was no money to give you if I didn’t get paid either,” Max said,
telling Kyle the story he’d come up with.

“It doesn’t matter. Maria never called to tell me she canceled. So who’s to say you didn’t take the date anyway and just keep the money?”

“ I wouldn’t do that. You know that,” Max said defensively.

“You’re still going to have to make up for it. Lets cut a deal. You take three more dates, we get sixty percent and then your done. You won’t exist to us anymore.”

Max shook his head. “No. I’m done now Sean. I can’t do this anymore.”

“You’re not done until that date is covered.”

“Well then, tell me how much. I’ll just give you the money to cover it,” Max told him. He’d gladly pay the money for that date with Liz. It was a small price to pay to be done with that part of his life.

“You aren’t understanding me, Evans. You either take the dates or the deal is off. Then we’ll have to figure out something else. Something that might not bode well for any of your future plans.”

Max knew what Sean was subtly implying. This job wasn’t exactly something people strived to be in their lives. In fact, association with it, why like committing social suicide. That’s why it was all done very discreetly. But Sean was telling Max in no uncertain terms that his employment could be made public and would be very character damaging in the future.

“Fine,” Max said with a clenched jaw. “Three dates.”

Sean gave him an insincere smile. “Glad we’ve reached an understanding here. I’ll get back to you on when those dates are. Keep your schedule open.” He walked to the door then, opening it to let himself out. His exit was halted when he encountered another figure preparing to knock.

“Uhm...Hi,” Liz said nervously.

“Hello,” Sean said somewhat suggestively as he looked the woman in front of him up and down. She was certainly a looker. Long silky brown hair, fell like a waterfall over petite shoulders. She was wearing a thing length white skirt with a soft pink colored colored sweater that seemed to inadvertently accentuate her slender curves.

Liz coughed nervously. “I’m looking for Max Evans...” she started to say. Max was at the door the minute her heard her voice. He thought Sean had left and had gone to make sure he hadn’t burnt dinner.

“Liz....” he said, quickly taking her arm and pulling her inside.

Sean watched with interest, taking in Max’s protective stance as he pulled Liz into him. Liz, once she was past being surprised, looked at Max with such open admiration that Sean felt his stomach lurch with the sweetness of it. It made sense now. Evans had a girlfriend. That’s why he’d backed off and was quitting. Sean would bet anything that this Liz knew nothing about Max’s job. Interesting.

Sean left with a nod, shutting the door behind him.

Max stared at the closed door momentarily before looking back at Liz.

“Who was that?” she asked, stepping towards Max.

“Just someone I used to work for,” Max said with a shrug. The way he said it left little doubt that it was something he didn’t want to talk about. Liz respected that. She wasn’t here to talk about anything uncomfortable for either of them. She was here to spend time with Max.

“Okay,” she responded with a shrug.

At her acceptance of this, Max decided that he was going to tell Liz everything. He was going to tell her the truth, even if it mean losing her. She deserved that much. But then Liz smiled at him and walked into his arms. Feeling her wrapped up against him felt so perfect that Max couldn’t bring himself to do it. Not yet. He just wanted one more perfect night with her. And as he held her he had to believe that it was all going to work out. That it was all going to be okay.



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 18-Dec-2001 12:50:04 AM ]
posted on 18-Dec-2001 12:46:13 AM by carenicoleIQ
“So....you’re here,” he said with a smile as he pulled back from their hug slightly to look down at Liz’s beautiful face.

Her smiled widened and she chuckled soft ly. “I’m here,” she confirmed. “Now....whatever are you going to do with me?” Her smiled turned suggestive taking Max a little off guard. He leaned down stealing a quick kiss before answering.

“I’m going to feed you,” he told her.

Liz let out a laugh. “Sounds good.” Max took her hand in his own and led her into the kitchen. He sat her down at the table and she watched as he walked around and lit all the candles that were spread throughout the room. He disappeared then for a few moments. When he came back he offered her a small smile as he went to serve her food.

Liz eyes sparkled with delight. She couldn’t believe all the work that Max had gone through. He was setting two plates out on the table when Liz gave him a questioning look followed by a disappointed sigh. “I thought you said you were going to feed me,” she said with a teasing pout.

Max chuckled. He stopped what he was doing and pulled her up from her chair, sitting himself down in her place before pulling her down onto his lap. “ I think we can arrange that.”

Liz, who had been slightly surprised at Max’s quick reaction, was more than a little please and excited by this new situation. The night was certainly starting out in the right direction.

So they started eating. Opting to use the chopsticks he’d set out, he brought a bite of food to Liz’s mouth. She eagerly accepted the bite, after which her tongue darted out from between her moist lips to catch any stray food.

Max swallowed hard, watching in rapt fascination as her eyes briefly closed while she chewed. When she opened her eyes, they met his and she smiled. “You’re a good cook, Max. I think I’m going to have to keep you around,” she joked.

“You think so huh?”

Liz nodded, biting her lower lip.

Dinner was a study in self control for Max. Liz was just so amazing to watch. He couldn’t get over how beautiful she was.

Aside from a few stolen kisses between bites, they managed to make it through dinner, taking turns feeding each other. By silent agreement they kept things lighthearted, both knowing that if they didn’t, it could get out of control quickly. They were almost finished and Max was relieved that’d he’d made it through without Liz realizing just how aroused he was by the whole experience. He was feeding her one last bite when she shifted her tiny bottom against his lap. The motion was very subtle, but it shot through Max, causing him to lost his grip on the chopsticks in his hand. The result was Liz’s shirt full of rice and vegetables.

“Oh god, Liz....I’m so sorry,” Max exclaimed. He immediately reached for a napkin and began to help her clean it up. He had to stop himself when his hand brushed up against her breast. His eyes shot up quickly to meet Liz’s at the intimate contact. They just stared at each other, both sets of eyes reflecting their steadily increasing desire.

Max knew that if he kissed her now, he wouldn’t want to stop at that. He’d have to touch her. And once he touched her.....

Liz pulled away first, making the decision for him.

“Uhm....I should really clean this so that the stain ...uhm so that it doesn’t set,” she said. She let her hair fall down slightly over her face curtaining her flush of embarrassment and desire.

Max helped Liz off his lap and showed her to the bathroom. After the door shut, he collapsed down into a chair in the living room, his head in his hands. Liz Parker was going to be the death of him and she didn’t have any idea what she was doing to him.

Liz was fighting her own struggle. Dinner had been incredibly arousing. She didn’t know why but there was just something about the way Max had kept looking at her, like he was devouring her with his eyes. It had made her insides quiver, stirring up feelings she’d never felt before. And even though it was slightly scary, she liked it.

Pulling her sweater over her head, she set about trying to get the stain out. It took a few moments but she finally managed. The only problem was that sweater was almost completely wet. Liz wasn’t sure what to do. She couldn’t very well spend the rest of the evening in the camisole she’d put on underneath the sweater. She might as well go topless for all that the camisole covered. It had been part of Maria’s purchase from earlier. Maria had said that the sheer undergarment would be perfect because it was sexy and revealing while still offering a small amount of modestly. Liz seriously doubted the modesty part. It was a sheer nude color and the dark color of her nipples stood out beneath the fabric. Liz sighed. This had been what she’d asked for though. She’d even gotten a matching thong. She just hadn’t thought that the reason Max might be seeing this ‘just in case’ underwear would be because of a spill. That wasn’t exactly romantic.

Taking a deep breath, she decided that despite her nervousness about everything, she couldn’t leave Max out there by himself all night. And she still wanted things to move forward.

Max’s head came up quickly when he heard the door to the bathroom start to open. Liz’s head peaked out. “Max...uhm do you think you have a t-shirt or something I could borrow?” she asked softly.

“Uh..sure, just a second. I’ll go get you something.” He went off to his room and dug around his closet. He pulled out several t-shirts and put them back. They were way too big for Liz. After a moment, he finally found an old shirt from high school. It didn’t fit him anymore, but he’d kept it for some reason. He grabbed it and then knocked on the bathroom door. It opened a crack.

“I found you something,” he told Liz.

The door opened a little wider and Liz held out her hand. “Thank you,” she said. The door shut and then barely a minute later, reopened and Liz emerged. The shirt was still too big and looked like a dress on Liz’s petite body. He could barely see her skirt because the hem of the shirt came down so far.

Liz saw what Max was looking at and smiled. “It’s not the height of fashion but...it’ll do,” she told him.

Max smiled and held his hand out to her. The candles in the room were all lit, glowing brightly as Max led Liz toward the center of the room. He stood Liz in the middle of the floor and told her to stay. Then he went over to the small stereo that sat on top of the TV. Pretty soon music filled the tiny apartment.

“May I have this dance?” Max asked dramatically.

“Oh...of course,” Liz responded breaking out into a smile as Max pulled her into his arms, barely waiting for her answer.

As the music played, Max danced her around the room, making her laugh with his playfulness. It felt good to be like this, to just enjoy each other’s company without interruption. Liz loved every moment she got to spend with Max. He’d made everything in her life seem that much better.

Max couldn’t believe how lucky he was even to be with Liz like this. She was so incredible and he knew that he didn’t deserve her.

They danced for what seemed like hours, not really paying attention to the songs, just to each other and the way it felt to hold and be held. Quite suddenly though, the mood seemed to shift. The playfulness began to fade as seriousness set in. Max was drawn into the emotions in Liz’s eyes and instinctively pulled her to him, holding her closer and more tightly. Liz’s own arms tightened around Max as the music filled the room. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her pounding heart. But the breath only succeeded in making it race as she inhaled the scent of Max. God...he was just so....incredible. She could hardly believe that he wanted her.

Max was experiencing much the same thing. His senses were nearing overload with the smell and feel of Liz surrounding him. His body, which he’d kept in check for most of the evening, was no longer heeding him and was reacting to everything about Liz.

They both pulled back at the same time, neither able to hold off any longer. Their mouths came together quickly . The kiss was deceptively gentle and sweet despite the urgency they both felt. It deepened quickly though and soon their bodies were pressed together, no longer dancing.

Liz could feel her knees growing weak as Max’s lips left her own to trail soft kisses along her chin and down the smooth column of her throat. It felt so good. Like his touch was stimulating nerve cells that she hadn’t been aware existed before this. She felt alive. She felt undone. “Max.....maybe we should just lie down,” Liz suggested, trying to catch her breath still.

Max pulled back a little and nodded shortly. Liz bit back a gasp at the look in his eyes. They’d gone dark and she couldn’t quite place the emotions she was reading in them. In the next moment they were there, on the couch, kissing again. Liz’s hands began to wander. She could feel the corded muscles underneath Max’s sweater. But that wasn’t enough, she wanted to see them and to touch them without the barrier of clothing. “Max...” she gasped out between heated kisses, “can you take your shirt off?”

Max paused his assault, swallowing hard before nodding. He fumbled momentarily before his brain caught up with the rest of his body. Then he quickly pulled the sweater up and over his head.

Liz greedily drank in the sight of Max and his magnificent torso. She just wanted to stare.....no she wanted to touch. Max watched with baited breath as Liz looked him over. He could see curiosity and desire in her eyes. They she was reaching forward and her small, warm hand was splayed across his chest, touching him. He sucked in a breath at the contact. “You’re so beautiful, Max,” she whispered in awe as she continued her exploration.

The emotions flooding through Max from her gently caress were almost overwhelming. He let her have free reign for awhile but as her hands began to drift lower he stopped her. “I...I want to see you too, Liz,” he whispered.

Liz nodded, giving Max a shy smile. His hands went quickly to the hem of the shirt she was wearing. He brought it up and over her head. Her hair fell in disarray as he removed the shirt, settling over her shoulders once again.

Again Max sucked in a deep breath. He hadn’t been prepared though for what he was seeing. She had some kind of lingerie on underneath that shirt and it was leaving very little to the imagination. He could see the curves of her breasts, could see how they moved with each of the breaths she was taking, and the dark color of nipples that made the fabric pucker.

Oh...god. He was going to lose it. She was so beautiful.

He wanted so many things to happen at once but was so unsure that he could only do the one thing that he was certain of. He kissed her. And in that one kiss he conveyed everything that he was feeling; how much he adored her and cared for her, how much he wanted her.

As Liz returned the demanding kiss, she moved to position herself more comfortably, lying back on the couch and pulling Max down on top of her. His lips were lethal, she decided. They made her dizzy and light headed. Made her think only of the way he made her feel, they way she wanted nothing else in the world but him.

She gulped in air as Max’s mouth broke from hers, moving to explore newly exposed skin. His mouth grazed her neck, pausing briefly to suck lightly on the skin over her pulse. As he did this, his hands were touching her in a way that he hadn’t touched her before. Ever so slowly his caress began, starting at her hip and moving up, reaching her stomach and then going up further still. Max could feel Liz’s skin beneath the flimsy material. Liz’s own anticipation increased as Max’s fingers grazed her rib cage. Instinctively she arched her back urging him closer to her.

Liz let out a slight gasp as his hand moved, brushing against her breast. Then Max’s mouth was back on hers, urging her with his tongue to open up to him. She granted his request and their tongues clashed together, dueling fiercely.

Max’s warm fingers brushed Liz’s breast again, this time prolonging the contact slightly. Liz groaned into his mouth. It was almost like he was teasing her. She didn’t want him to tease her, she just wanted to feel him touching her, like she’d been imagining him doing since they’d met. She was afraid that at any moment he might stop, so bringing her hand up from where it rested against his back, Liz took his hand in hers moving it so that his hand completely encompassed her breast.

As Max cupped the weight of her breast in his hands he broke their kisses. He looked at her, her lips swollen, her eyes shut, her hair messed up. She was so perfect. He looked down at his hand. She fit right in his palm....like she was made to be touched and loved by him.

“Mm...Max..” she moaned as he kneaded the soft supple flesh he’d just discovered. She was so responsive to him. Every touch elicited a moan or a sigh from her lips. It was like she’d never been touched like this before.

Through his fog of desire, his thought registered. Liz hadn’t ever been touched like this before. This was all new to her. Breathing hard, Max made a reluctant decision. He broke the kiss, slowly pulling back from her and settling his weight onto his forearms.

“What’s.....wrong?” Liz asked breathlessly.

“We...need to ....slow down,” Max told her.

“Why?”

Why? For a moment, looking down at her he was unsure. He saw uncertainty and insecurity flash in her eyes then and remembered. Even though his body was ready, his heart was telling him that this was too fast.

He leaned his forehead against Liz’s momentarily, trying to catch his breath. Finally he pulled back, kissing her lightly on the temple.

She looked confused and suddenly very shy. “Did I...” she started to say.

“No...NO...I just, I think that we should slow down. There’s no need for us to rush things between us, Liz. I plan on spending a lot of nights with you in the future. We don’t have to rush the physical part. Do you understand?”

“It’s not me then?” she asked.

Max shook his head adamantly. “No... You...you’re beautiful and amazing and incredibly sexy. I’d like nothing more than to continue this. But ....I want things to move forward naturally as we get to know each other. I want us to get to a point where we don’t have any secrets from each other. Where you know what I’m thinking and I know what you’re thinking. And then when we’re so completely in tune with each other that nothing can come between us...then I’m going to make love to you and cherish you and it will be amazing.” His voice was a whisper by the time he finished.

Liz could feel tears welling up in her eyes at Max’s words. It was a testament to how much he cared for her that he was slowing down the physical part of the relationship. She was still so new at this. She was grateful that Max was being so wonderful and understanding. She smiled up at him. “I think that this means that we need to spend as much time together as possible. I want to know you, Max. I want to know everything,” she said.

Max smiled and gave her a brief kiss. “Me too. I mean...I want you to know me, to know everything.”

TBC....Okay, so don't flame Max for not telling Liz. He knows she own't take it well and he just wanted to have one perfect night. (Sorry...I just wanted to be sure to defend his misguided actions. I tried to get him to see reason as I was writing this...but he was just out of control) *wink*
posted on 28-Dec-2001 5:38:10 PM by carenicoleIQ
more soon. Probably tonight. Just wanted to bump it so I could find it. Thanks for all the great feedback!
Carey
posted on 29-Dec-2001 1:14:03 AM by carenicoleIQ
Chapter 4

Liz opened the door to the apartment as quietly as she could. It was after seven in the morning and she was just now getting back from Max’s place. She took her shoes off and tiptoed across the living room floor, making a beeline for her bedroom. She was just about to reach for the doorknob when she heard a loudly whispered “Elizabeth Parker.”

She turned around slowly and came face to face with a shocked Maria.

“Oh…hey Maria. What are you doing up so early on a Saturday?” Liz asked casually. Maybe if she
played innocent, Maria would let this slide.

But obviously…it didn’t work.

“Liz…tell me you didn’t just get back from your date with Max,” Maria said. She didn’t need Liz to tell her. She already knew that was the case though, because she’d gone to check on Liz at least three times during the night and all three times she had been absent from her bed.

“Look, Maria…I don’t know why you’re making this into a big deal,” Liz said with a shrug. She was having a little trouble with Maria’s attitude all of the sudden. She couldn’t understand how Maria could buy her ‘just in case’ panties one minute, even going as far as to put a condom in Liz’s purse, and then …she was being all motherly and concerned, acting like Liz had just committed the biggest mistake of her life. Rolling her eyes in Maria’s general direction, Liz decided to try and get out of this conversation as quickly as possible. She turned away from Maria and went in to her room. She needed to take a shower and then go in to the lab for a little while. She had work to finish from yesterday.

Maria wasn’t very good at ready subtle hints. She wasn’t very good at reading blatant ones either,
because she followed Liz into her room and immediately bombarded her with questions.

“So what happened? Did you do it? Was it good? Did he hurt you? Did you spend the whole night with him?”

Liz collapsed onto the bed with a sigh, knowing Maria wasn’t going to relent until she’d gotten some sort of information out of Liz, information that Liz wasn’t ready to part with. It was still too new and special to share with anyone. Even an anyone that happened to be her best friend.

“Well….” She finally started, “Nothing happened in regards to sex. That automatically makes the other questions moot. I guess…. that I went with thoughts of things progressing in that way but that’s not what happened. He stopped us and told me that he wanted to slow down until we know each other better. He was right. Not to mention so sweet and amazing…and I can’t even think of enough adjectives to describe everything that he is. We just talked until we both fell asleep.” Liz smiled. She was still giddy over the way it felt to wake up in his arms. It had been incredible. She’d dreamed her whole adult life of that moment and it had been perfect. Once Max had woken up he’d kissed her good morning and made her breakfast. After breakfast he’d walked her out to her car where he’d kissed her goodbye and promised to see her that night.

Liz knew that if she wasn’t already in love with Max Evans she was definitely almost there. Definitely falling.

***

Kyle Valenti watched, mouth agape as the basketball bounced off the backboard and off the rim of the hoop.

Max missed a shot. Max never missed a shot. He was the ultimate basketball player. Something was amiss.

Max retrieved the ball from his missed shot and tossed it to his long time friend Kyle. They’d been buddies since high school when they’d gotten stuck playing football, basketball and baseball together. They had ruled their high school athletics department. Then after high school, they’d both gotten scholarships to play for the University basketball team. So they’d kept in touch over the years. Kyle knew all about Max and his life.

Now he was going to know all about Max and his love life.

“So…. you say she’s perfect huh?” Kyle asked as he set up his own shot. It left his hands and swooshed into the basket. He quickly tossed the ball to Max for his turn. He watched Max get ready to take his shot, but he stopped what he was doing and just looked at Kyle with a grin.

“Perfect barely touches the surface Kyle. She’s smart and funny and beautiful. I can talk to her about anything and everything it seems. It all just comes so naturally, like being with her is meant to be,” Max told him.

Was that a sigh? Did Kyle just hear Max sigh with…dear god; the sigh was laced with contentment. That was…. a miracle. Kyle took in Max’s dopey grin and the way he’d just completely forgotten that they’d been in the middle of a basketball game. Yup…his friend was in love.

Max’s grin turned into a frown though. This did not go unnoticed by Kyle though. He knew that something was up.

“So what’s the problem? It sounds like things are great,” Kyle said walking to stand next to Max.

“Are you sure you want to talk about this? It could take awhile. We might need to sit down,” Max told him.

They walked over and grabbed their bottles of water and sat on the bleachers by the court. Max took a deep breath. “I know I said that I could talk to her about anything. While it’s completely incredible…. it’s also part of the problem. I want to tell her everything; about my parents and the bills and …my bad decisions, but I’m afraid that once she knows, I’ll lose her,” he admitted.

“Max, pal, listen. If Liz is a great as a girl as you say she is then she’s not going to care about that other stuff. In fact…she’ll probably even try to help you out in anyway that she can. But that can’t happen unless you tell her the truth. What about the job?”

Max shook his head somewhat shamefully. “ I have to take three more dates, then I’m done. Deluca sort of blackmailed me. I have to tell Liz though, because I don’t trust him. He’s her roommate’s cousin. That’s how Liz and I met in the first place. Maria…Liz’s roommate called Sean and Sean gave the night to me. He was at the apartment yesterday when Liz came over and I saw the way he was looking at her. He’s not a nice guy. In the end it doesn’t matter what he does to me, just as long as he stays away from her.”

Max sighed again. “I’ll never regret it for one second, though. If I did that would be like saying that I regret things with Liz. What I regret is lying to her.”

“Look, tell her the truth. Tell her how much you care about her and how sorry you are for keeping it from her. If she can’t accept that then maybe she isn’t the girl you think she is. But you’ll never know until you tell her.”

Kyle was right. As scared as he was of losing Liz, he’d have to take the risk if he wanted her to be a permanent part of his life.

***

“So, where’s Isabel? I feel like I haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks,” Liz commented. She and Maria were having a girl’s night, sitting on the couch in their sweats as they watched a movie and talked while eating all sort of junk food.

“Oh…she’s been around, you’ve just been too busy with lover boy to notice,” Maria teased. “ Seriously though, she’s going psycho about wedding plans. There’s just two months left now and she’s afraid that something’s going to go wrong,” Maria explained.

Isabel was a bit of a perfectionist. Well, that was actually a gross understatement. Isabel was a Nazi when it came to perfectionism. Especially when it had to do with the wedding of her dreams. She had everything planned perfectly. The minute Alex had proposed, she’d called and booked the church and reception hall for a date that was exactly a year and two months away. She’d insisted that it would take her that long to finalize everything. She’d already had everything planned in her mind for several years. Now it was about putting it together.

Liz had laughed and mocked Isabel behind her back for sometime until she’d realized just how much planning a wedding took. Having a whole year really was a good idea. Liz wondered now how long she’d need to plan hers and Max’s wedding.

As soon as she thought this, she stopped herself. Whoa. Where had that thought come from. She and Max had only been together a little more than a month. That was definitely jumping the gun there. Wasn’t it?

Trying to reign in her thoughts, Liz refocused on Maria. “So is everything starting to come together for her?” she asked.

“Yeah…I mean I haven’t heard her get upset about anything for awhile. She did tell me that we need to go in for another dress fitting. She wants us to try on our dresses when she tries hers on. She says she wants to make sure that we aren’t going to distract others with our dresses.” Maria let out an unladylike snort. “As if that’s even possible.”

Liz giggled.

Their eyes were drawn back to the TV screen then as the scene in the movie switched. Their favorite actor was about to take his shirt off. Maria was just starting to drool when the door buzzed.

Liz quickly got up to answer it. She was pleasantly surprised to find Max standing in front of her.

“Max…” she said, leaning up to kiss him hello. “What are you doing here?” she asked with a smile. “ I thought you were going out with your friend Kyle tonight.”

He only gave her a partial smile in return. “I needed to come talk you about something, something important.”

Liz took in his nervousness and hesitancy and began to worry. Something was up. “We can talk in my room,” she told him, aware of the curious looks they were receiving from Maria.


continued in next post

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Dec-2001 1:17:40 AM ]
posted on 29-Dec-2001 1:16:53 AM by carenicoleIQ
He nodded and let her take his hand and lead him. He gave Maria a brief hello before he and Liz disappeared into her room.

He stood there in the doorway for a moment, taking it all in. It wasn’t the first time he’d been in her room, but it might be the last. He turned his attention to Liz. She sat on the foot of her bed, starring up at him, a worried expression on her face.

“Max…is something wrong?” she asked, her voice quiet. She looked so vulnerable, sitting there in her oversized sweats, that he almost lost his nerve. He didn’t want to hurt her. He didn’t want to lose her. He knew his life would go back to what it was before, boring and monotonous, just going through the motions. He didn’t want that. He wanted to feel…the way he always felt with Liz, like everything was new and exciting.

He sat down next to her on the bed, taking her hand in his own. He was silent for a moment as he brought her hand up to his lips, kissing it ever so gently. “There are some things I need to tell you about myself, things that are hard for me to talk about. It’s taken me a long time to work up the nerve…so uhm, here it goes.” He paused, looking up at Liz. For a moment his heart stopped at the love and support and encouragement he saw there. It gave him some hope that maybe this would turn out okay after all.

She gave his hand a squeeze, urging him to start and so he did.

“When I was…uhm, sixteen, my m-mother decided that she wasn’t happy with her life as it was. She wanted to travel and see new things. So she left me and my dad to fend for our selves. It was hard at first and we were sort of lost with out her. She’d call once in awhile to tell us how great things were now. We’d get the occasional post card. After awhile I stopped being hurt and started being angry. My dad was really great though. Totally supportive. I got a scholarship to play basketball at UNM Las Cruces and so I went off to college. Freshman year went well for me. The summer after though…we found out that my…my Dad, that he had cancer. So I made the choice to quit school and work to help out with the bills. My dad, he fought the cancer for two years, but in the end it was just too much for him. So three years ago he …uh passed away.” Max’s voice cracked and he had to stop for a second.

“Oh, Max…god, I’m so sorry. For everything… I...” Max could see tears forming in Liz’s eyes. He felt a pang in his heart to see that she was hurting now because of the way things in his life had gone. He’d never meant to make her sad.

“Liz, it’s not you fault. It’s just the way life goes sometimes.” He took a deep breath. He had to go on, he couldn’t stop now. “After Dad dies I was pretty much on my own. My mom would still call occasionally but I was so angry with her that I gave up on her. I haven’t talked to her for three years. I don’t even know where she’s at anymore. I decided that my dad would have wanted for me to move forward. So I went back to school. But I still had to find a way to pay the hospital bills. I should have just waited on school and gotten a job. All I could think though was that the sooner I finished school, the sooner I’d have money to pay those bills.” Max took a deep breath and looked up at Liz.

“You have to understand that I was desperate and not thinking clearly. I made the biggest mistake of my life because I was looking for an easy way out.”

Liz took in the regret that was clearly written all over Max’s face. “What…what is it, you can tell me.”

“I took a job that I’m not very proud of. But it paid a lot of money and before I knew it, the bills were getting paid and I still had some to live off of and I had time to keep up with my schoolwork. I…”

Liz began to worry. Was he involved in something illegal? Was it drugs?

“I was…am…a Male Escort. I take women on dates for money,” he finally said.

For a second Liz was so relieved that she almost laughed. That was hardly illegal. But the wheels in her head began to turn. The implications of what he’d said…and how it included her came together in her mind quickly.

“Oh...god! That’s why you took me out isn’t it?” she said, dropping his hand like she’d been burned.

“No…I mean… yes… I mean that’s how it got set up. Maria’s cousin is my boss. Maria called him at the last minute and I took the job. But when I saw you…I could let it be a job. I didn’t want it to be a job. I swear. God, Liz you have to know that this job is the biggest regret of my life. It isn’t me, it’s not who I am.” Max was pleading with her to understand.

Liz quickly wiped at the tears that were falling. She wanted to believe Max…and she did, but that didn’t take away the hurt that she was feeling right now. Hurt that came from Max lying to her… from Maria lying to her.

“Max…I uh, I need some time,” she told him. “I have to think.”

Max nodded. “ I understand. I … I just wanted you to know the whole truth. And I’ll be waiting…whenever you’re ready.”

Liz gave a nod, indicating that she understood what he was saying, and turned away.

Max watched her, feeling defeated as he turned and walked out the door. He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting, but this hurt him…because he’d never intended to hurt Liz.

After Max left looking defeated and like he’d lost his best fried, Maria decided that she’d better do her duty as best friend and check on Liz. She knocked and when she didn’t hear an answer, she went it. She found Liz sitting on the bed crying into a stuffed teddy bear that Max had given to her on their third date.

“Lizzie?” she asked softly.

Liz looked up and when she saw Maria, her eyes flashed with anger and she immediately jumped off the bed. “You lied to me,” she said, the hurt and anger in her voice was evident.

“What?”

“You lied to me. On my Birthday. You didn’t tell me that you hired Max to go out with me, that you had to pay him to date me.”

Maria immediately felt guilty.

“Liz…listen, you have to know that we didn’t mean for things to happen the way they did. We just wanted you to have a fun night. We didn’t expect your date to be an Adonis and we didn’t expect for him to take one look at you and fall in love. We didn’t expect for you to fall for him either. He…. he wouldn’t even take any money for the date and I know for a fact that he had to eat the fee that the agency he works for charges. I never realized that it would go this far. I never expected any of this. I just wanted you to start dating and I stuck my big nose into everything…and now …and now…”

By then Maria was in tears and Liz just stood there, staring at her bumbling friend. Maria was obviously very sorry for what she’d done. But that wasn’t what Liz was focusing on.

Max hadn’t taken any money for the date.

Max had had to pay to escort her.

For some reason, it relieved her to know that.

Liz eventually calmed Maria down and they were able to talk about the situation rationally. Maria wisely let Liz do all the talking, knowing that her status as a friend had already been questioned once that evening. She didn’t need to jeopardize things any further by opening her big mouth and saying the wrong thing.

As Liz continued to talk about the situation and to try and understand Max’s point of view, she began to realize how hard this must have been for him. And yes…she was angry with him for lying to her, but she’d been more hurt than anything. Her pride had taken a huge blow at his admission, because it had taken hiring an escort service to find her a date. That didn’t exactly do wonders for her self-esteem.

Liz put Max’s shirt on to wear to bed, and as she was surrounded by his scent she thought back to all the incredible moments they’d shared. She knew that he hadn’t been insincere. She could see that he wasn’t purposely trying to keep things from her. She’d never pursued the issue with him either. She sighed…. she could still feel what it was like to kiss him, to have him touch her the way no one else had ever touched her. With these things all lingering in her mind…Liz made a decision. She knew what she had to do.

***
Max tossed and turned the whole night. He couldn’t get the hurt look on Liz’s face out of his mind. He never wanted her to hurt and here he was, the one that caused it. He wasn’t worthy of her and he wouldn’t blame her if she never wanted to see him again.

He was staring at the ceiling watching the way the shadows receded as the sun came up for the day when he heard knocking on his front door. Glancing at the clock he saw that it was a little after six am. He quickly pulled on a t-shirt and went to answer the door.

He opened it and was surprised when a petite brown haired figure rushed into the room. Liz. He could only stare at her. She was wearing his t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Her hair looked like she’d hastily pulled it back into a ponytail. There were tired lines under her eyes. He’d never seen anything more beautiful in his entire life. He could hardly believe that she was standing in front of him.

She looked so sad and serious. This couldn’t be good. He didn’t care though. If this was the end that at least he’d gotten to see her this one last time…

His thoughts were interrupted by Liz’s voice.

“Don’t say anything. Just let me talk,” she started. “ I just have to get this all out. Then you can have your turn. I…I’m upset that you kept the truth from me. It’s hard to build a relationship when there isn’t complete honesty. It made me wonder if any part of our relationship was real or honest.” She looked up at Max and he swallowed hard. This was it. This was what he’d been trying to prepare himself for; it was time for a well-deserved rejection. He couldn’t even look at her as she began to speak again. He didn’t want to see her face as his heart was breaking.

“ I thought about it all last night and I realized that the most honest thing about our relationship was the …the way we felt about each other. The way we still feel.” At this Max looked up. She wasn’t rejecting him. She wasn’t telling him to go to hell. She was…she was stepping closer to him.

He took a deep breath and had to fight the urge to kiss her breath away.

She looked up at him, her eyes full of love and understanding. “ I’m not mad at you, Max. I’m hurt that you didn’t tell me the truth right away, but I understand that it was very hard and that this situation was beyond your control. You did the right thing by telling me everything because we couldn’t have moved forward until you did. And the things is…I want to be with you and I don’t care about your past mistakes. All I care about now…is our future.”

Max stared down into the face of the woman he loved and pulled her to him, practically crushing her. “You really mean that?” he asked. He could hardly believe that this was happening. He’d been so sure that he wasn’t worthy of Liz or her forgiveness that he hadn’t dared to imagine that it could work out this way.

Liz nodded and tightened her own hold around Max. “ I really mean it,” she whispered. And to further prove her self, she stood on the tips of her toes and took his face in her hands, bring it closer to hers and kissed him. With that kiss she conveyed everything…her forgiveness, her trust, her understanding and most importantly…her love. He could feel it and eagerly returned the sentiment by reciprocating the kiss. When they were finally forced to pull apart for air, Max leaned his forehead against Liz’s, settling arms around her wait. “Thanks you,” he told…his felt his eyes start to water… “For everything.


Liz shook her head. “No…thank you, for
wanting me enough to take a chance.” She smiled up at him so beautifully then that he had to kiss her again.


TBC.....Sorry this took so long. It didn't turn out like I thought it would. After my friend spoiled me and I watched the Christmas ep of the show I was very sad and so I just couldn't have Max and Liz not be together in this. So I hope the lack of conflict here doesn't disappoint because I just couldn't inflict trouble on my M/L. I love them too much. Anyway...let me know what you think. Your feedback is great and it keeps me going.
Carey*big**bounce**tongue*

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 29-Dec-2001 1:20:38 AM ]
posted on 7-Jan-2002 11:40:05 PM by carenicoleIQ
Chapter 5

They were finally forced apart later that morning when Max had to go to class and Liz to work. But Liz promised Max that she would be back later and she’d bring dinner. They still had plenty they needed to talk about.

Despite being tired and preoccupied with thoughts of each other, the couple did manage to make it through the day apart. At six o’clock Liz showed up with pizza. They got comfortable on the couch and started talking. Liz had some things that she needed Max to clear up for her.

“So…these women that you take out…what are they like?” she asked.

Max looked a little surprised at this first question, and then he looked hesitant. “Do you really want to talk about this?” He could see how uncomfortable she’d become and knew that this was going to be a difficult conversation to get through.

“Yes. I really think that we need to. I need to know everything because if I don’t there are things that I might assume to be true that aren’t. And it will bother me. Then I’ll try to hide the fact that it bothers me, but you’ll notice anyway because you can read me so well. Then I’ll just lie and say it’s nothing. It’ll go on like that, you knowing something is wrong, me saying it’s nothing, until it just taints the entire relationship. So I really need to talk about this.” Liz knew that she was babbling and it was almost like she was trying to convince herself because even though she didn’t really want to know, she certainly needed to know.

“Okay… so the women are mostly older, either widowed or with husbands that work all the time. As their escorts we…accompany them to social dinners, charity events…plays…things along those lines. The women usually pass us off as relatives of some sort. It isn’t exactly socially acceptable to have to hire someone to be your date. For the most part, they're just lonely people. There’s one woman…Mrs. Jenkins that hires me to come…uh…play cards with her. She treats me like a grandson. Although…its sort of hard for me to take her money. If I didn’t have to give the agency a percentage than I would probably just do it for free.”

Liz smiled at that. It was another reason for her to love Max. He had a really big heart. She knew that it had to be awkward for him to be a part of any of this.

“So, from that I assume that twenty three year women don’t usually call for dates huh?” she teased.

Max shook his head. “Twenty-three year old women, like yourself, are pretty capable of getting dates for themselves.”

Liz’s smile faded and she looked quite sad suddenly.

“What…sweetheart? Did I say something wrong?” Max asked, immediately sorry and concerned.

“No…uh… I’m just …you know when you told me that Maria had hired you, I guess for the most part, I was upset because the only way I could get a date was to pay someone. I just, I never thought it would come to that and it made me start to wonder what was so wrong with me and why you’d even want to be with me.” The tears slipped from her eyes before she could catch them.

Max quickly pulled Liz into his arms. “God…Liz, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. Nothing. You’re so amazing that I wake up and wonder what you even see in me. You’re smart and funny and beautiful and… perfect. You smile and it makes the whole day seem that much better. I can’t think of a single reason why you’d never been on a date before. But I’m glad that I got to change that. This is selfish of me, I know… but I’m glad that no one else knows just how special you are because they might try and take you away from me and I can’t let that happen. You mean everything to me and I know that this is meant to be. I’ve never loved the way I already love you,” he told her, his voice hoarse with emotion.

Liz really was crying now. “Oh, Max…” She wrapped her arms around his waist, settling herself for more firmly in his embrace. His fingers moved to sift through her hair, while one hand ran soothingly up and down her back.

Max kissed the top of her head. “You still have other questions?” he asked softly. He knew that Liz need to get some answers and he would tell her everything. He didn’t want to keep anything from her anymore. And he was secure enough in the way they felt about each other to know that she wasn’t going to turn away from him.

Liz nodded and pulled back a little to look up into his face. She looked away shyly at the next question. “You don’t have to…you’ve never had to… uhm… ‘do’ anything with these women…h-have you?” she asked. She was embarrassed for even asking the question and continued to look down at the coffee table once the question was asked.

Max took her chin and gently pulled it back to make her face him. “No. I would never do that. Some of the other escorts might. They’ve said on more than one occasion that it gets them bigger tips. But I could never be with someone I didn’t love. As desperate as I was for money I would never resort to that.”

Liz gave him a small smile. “So what now, then? Are you going to keep working for Sean? Because I have to tell you that it would be hard for me to know that you’re out with other women. I don’t care how old they are. I would still be jealous because if you were with them then you wouldn’t be with me. And I …I want you all to myself and…”

Max interrupted her. “I quit. The other night when Sean was here, I told him that I was done. He didn’t take it very well…I have to make up three more dates. But once those are done…then that’s it. I’m putting that all behind me. I’m going to start looking for a new job and maybe get a roommate to help pay for this place. So what if I have to wait longer to pay off the loans. It’ll work out.”

“Maybe I can help…find a job or something,” Liz said.

“Sure…”

By then Liz was having trouble remembering if she had any more questions. She was more aware and focused on how tightly Max was holding her and how his eyes looked really incredible from the angle she was sitting. And how she really, really just wanted to kiss him right then.

“Max…are you still hungry?” she asked softly, referring to the now cold pizza that was sitting on the coffee table.

Max gave a cursory glance to the open box of pizza. “No…maybe later.”

Liz smiled and then pressed her lips to his. Max’s kisses were better than food.

***

So they were working through things. Liz knew everything about Max that he’d been keeping from her. They were now free to be completely open with one another. For Max’s part he was definitely more relaxed now that he’d told Liz the truth. He wasn’t afraid of their relationship moving forward because he didn’t have any more secrets.

A whole week went by without incident. They spent practically all of their free time together at Max’s apartment. Liz would come and read a book while Max studied, or they’d watch TV or just talk. Sometimes they just took naps together on the couch. It was just about being able to be around each other.

Max did feel bad though about not taking her out like he did when they first started dating. When he told Liz she laughed at him. “ I don’t need to go on dates. Being with you is enough. Besides…save your money for my Christmas present later on this year,” she teased. “I like spending time alone with you…without anyone to interrupt us. It means I get to kiss you as much as I want, whenever I want.”

“Well…when you put it that way…” Max smiled at her and kissed her then to show her that he agreed that staying in was definitely better.

It was almost eleven pm and they were lying on the couch watching David Letterman, both about to fall asleep. Liz yawned and lifted her head from Max’s chest. “Maybe we should go to bed. I’m tired and you look like you going to drift off at any minute,” she said. Her hand went up and gently rubbed along his shoulder.

Max sleepily agreed. It took a moment, but what she said finally hit him. She didn’t mean that she was going to go back to her apartment to her bed and he would go to his. She meant both of them sleeping together in his bed. It shouldn’t have shocked him really. The last few nights they’d both slept on his couch together. Sleeping in his bed wouldn’t be any different except that it would obviously be more comfortable for the both of them. Max liked the fact that Liz didn’t want to leave.

His eyes opened fully finally and locked with hers. “Are you sure?” he asked, his right hand came up to lazily sift through her silky hair.

Liz nodded, biting her lower lip.

“Okay, then. Let’s go to bed,” he told her. They maneuvered themselves off the couch and Max led Liz back toward his bedroom.

“Do you have a t-shirt I could borrow?” she asked.

“I don’t know…I never got the other one back,” he gave her a teasing smile.

“I’m keeping that one. This one I promise to leave here for the next time.”

Her smile made his heart beat a little faster. Or it could have been her words. She was going to be spending more than just tonight with him. She’d just stated it like it was a given.

He saw Liz blush and remembered how new this all was for her. It was actually pretty new for him too. Aside from a bumbling experience that he barely remembered from his freshman year of college, he’d never been this close to a woman. He’d never really wanted to be this close.

“I’m gonna go to the bathroom,” Liz told him. He watched as her bare feet padded across the carpeted bedroom floor, taking her away from him. With a sigh, he took a glance at his room and jumped into gear. He needed to pick up, badly. He hadn’t been expecting to end up in his bedroom and so his dirty clothes were strewn about everywhere. He didn’t want Liz to think he was a slob.

As he was shoving things into his closet, he remembered a t-shirt for Liz and rummaged through his dresser. Finding one, he put it outside the bathroom door and knocked. “Liz, I put a t-shirt out here for you,” he said through the door.

A soft thank you could be heard from inside. The door opened then and Liz smiled out at him. “Uhm…. Max do you think that I could maybe use your toothbrush?”

Max smiled. “Ah…well…you can if you want, but I sort of bought you one when I was at the grocery store today. It’s in the cabinet. I figured that since you’ve been here the past few mornings you might like to have one here, just it case.” He was awarded another of Liz’s beautiful smiled.

“I’ll kiss you to thank you after I brush my teeth,” she told him.

Max went back to the bedroom then and finished picking things up. After shoving the rest of his dirty clothes out of sight, he straightened up the bed to the sheets as rumpled and then dug out an extra blanket from the closet, just is case Liz got cold. After that was done, he changed his clothes, discarding everything but his boxers and gray t-shirt. As an after thought he pulled off the gray t-shirt and grabbed a clean white one from the drawer.

He’d just finished pulling the shirt on when he heard the door to the bathroom open. A moment later, Liz appeared in the doorway of the bedroom. Her clothes were folded neatly and she set them on top of Max’s desk. His eyes looked her up and down. The t-shirt he’d given her was way too big on her. She looked like she was swimming in it. She looked so…sexy wearing his clothes. He was trying in vain to pretend like the sight of Liz in nothing more than a t-shirt wasn’t causing a tent to form in his boxers.

Clearing his throat he forced himself to look only at her face. She gave him a shy smile though that only heightened his arousal. He needed calm himself down. “Uh…go ahead and pick your side. I’m going to brush my teeth.”

He quickly made his way to the bathroom. He needed to focus on something other than the fact that Liz was waiting for him…in his bed. He jerkily reached for his toothbrush but paused at the sight of a pink toothbrush sitting in the toothbrush holder next to his green one. It just sort of stopped him. He liked it. It made his nervousness about the night disappear. It didn’t matter what did or didn’t happen. Just knowing that their toothbrushes now shared the same space was enough to remind Max that this was right, being with Liz was right.

He finished up in the bathroom as fast as he could. He wanted to get back to Liz. He found her sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting for him.

“I couldn’t decide on a side,” she told him, smiling a little sheepishly. “ I usually sleep in the middle.”

Max chuckled. “I guess we have a dilemma then ‘cause that’s where I sleep too. We’re going to have to compromise.”

Liz blushed at the word as several compromising positions came to mind. She shook her head and stood up, not noticing how close Max had gotten. His proximity startled her and she started to topple over. Max reached out to steady her, one hand on her waist, the other on her shoulder.

Any awkwardness they’d felt flew out the window then, as deep brown eyes met glowing amber. Mouths came together and hands moved to explore. It was no longer a matter of who picked what side, but rather, where they ended up as a mass of tangled limbs tumbled onto the bed.

Their kisses were passionate and deep, spurred on by the sudden intimacy they were experiencing. Max’s hands moved from her shoulder to her waist as they positioned themselves more comfortably on the bed. His lips left hers to trail a line of open-mouthed kisses down her jaw to the base of her throat. He licked and nipped at the skin exposed to him by the oversized collar of the t-shirt.

Liz’s hands were also busy slipping underneath the hem of Max’s shirt. She wanted to feel the way his taut muscles responded to her touch and how his smooth skin seemed to glide beneath her fingertips. As her hand strayed toward Max’s front, he momentarily lost his concentration and his own hand slipped down, landing on the bare skin of her thigh. He was so intoxicated by her, by every breathy moan and sigh that he almost forgot that they weren’t ready for where this was quickly heading.

As if Liz could sense his thoughts and subsequent hesitation, she pulled away from him, breathing hard. She desperately wanted to give in to the urges she was feeling, but she knew that it was too soon. If this relationship was going to work…they needed to take their time and not let themselves be ruled by their hormones.

“We should try and sleep…just sleep,” she finally whispered, her breathing still attempting to slow down.

“Yeah…I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

Liz brought her finger to his lips to shush him. “I got carried away too. I …just…when you kiss me, I lose my head,” she admitted.

Max closed his eyes…. he had to regain some control. Otherwise it would just start all over. He’d have to keep kissing her and touching her and if that happened…he wouldn’t be able to stop.

He took a deep breath and reopened his eyes. Then he disentangled himself from Liz and got up to shut off the room light. He made his way back to the bed and slipped underneath the covers, pulling Liz in next to him. “We’ll share the middle,” he told her softly.
Liz giggled and snuggled closer to Max, using the crook of his arm as a pillow. Then she draped her arm over his chest, entwining his leg with her own. She needed to be as close to him as possible. With a contented sigh she whispered “Good night Max.” He tightened his hold on her and kissed the top of her head. “ ‘night Liz.”


TBC.....Aahh the dreaded transition chapter. I know this isn't very good...but honestly, this fic just sort of has a mind of its own. I try to throw in angst and the characters revolt against me begging for happiness and sappiness...And who am I to refuse them? Anyway....let me know what you think. I'll try to have the next part out soon. I actually have most of it finished. YEAH!!! And Jungle Love soon...I promise! Before I go back to school, I will post another part. So I've got until Jan 14. You can hold me to it! Gotta go.
Carey
posted on 27-Jan-2002 5:51:35 PM by carenicoleIQ
The next part of this one is in the works. So hang in there. After this...I hope to put out a new part of A Season of Firsts. We'll see how things go this next week though. Thanks for the feedback.
Carey
posted on 28-Jan-2002 12:48:52 AM by carenicoleIQ
Yay! I'm actually getting another chapter out before the week starts. That means there's hope for next weekend too! Anyway...here's another sort of transitional part. -By transition I generally mean that there isn't any nookie. Sorry :( Anyway...let me know what you think.. Feedback makes me write more and study less. Gotta go. It's bed time. I have early class tomorrow.
Carey
Oh...it's posted in two parts...so read them both!

Chapter 6

Max was nervous. Almost a month had gone by and he’d yet to work the three dates that Sean had made him agree to. Liz knew that his hands were tied and that he had an obligation. She still felt funny about it though and she’d told Max as much.

“From what you’ve told me about Sean…I don’t trust him. And I trust him even less after hearing what Maria had to say. He definitely has something up his sleeve,” Liz told Max. They were having dinner at the bar Max worked at before he started his shift. Lately that was the only way Liz got to see him. He’d had to take on as many hours as possible to make up for his change in employment.

“I don’t like it any more than you do, Liz. Look, I’ll call him if I don’t hear anything by tomorrow. I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime....let’s please talk about something else,” Max suggested. They hadn’t had much time together in the past few weeks and he didn’t want to waste it talking about his crooked soon to be ex-boss.

“Okay...did I tell you the latest news about Isabel’s wedding? Tomorrow we have to go in for the final dress fitting. I’m kind of excited because our bridesmaids dresses are really pretty. Although not too pretty. We can’t out do Isabel,” Liz told him with a smile.

Max laughed. “Well, I can honestly say that I won’t be looking at Isabel that day because I’m sure that even though you’re not supposed to be, you will be the most beautiful woman there.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek. Liz blushed at his compliment and Max had to kiss her on the lips that time because she was just too cute.

“So...we’re still on for this Saturday right?” Liz asked, popping a French fry into her mouth.

Max nodded. By chance Liz had somehow managed to get them tickets to the latest musical showing at the local theater. He knew that she was beyond excited and he couldn’t wait to take her out. The last time they’d gone on an actual date had been too long ago to count.

Liz’s excitement over the evening was actually for other reasons. She’d been plotting a seduction in her head for several weeks. She was ready to move the physical part of their relationship forward. So far, they hadn’t moved past second base (according to the encyclopedia of Maria) and Liz wanted more. She knew that Max wanted her but they always reached a certain point and he would stop himself. She didn’t know why he always felt like he had to hold back but she was determined that Saturday night she was going to put his incredible control to the test. And with any luck...he’d fail in splendid fashion.

An errant thought crossed Liz’s mind....Sean could ruin her plans with one little phone call. She’d have to think of something to keep that from happening. Or at least prepare herself for the disappointment of a canceled evening when it did.

****

Max was awake bright and early the next morning thanks to the ringing of his telephone.

“Max....long time to see, huh?” the voice on the other end spoke.

“Can I help you with something, Sean?” Max asked through clenched teeth.

“As a matter of fact you can. You see...I need to get you off my payroll before I can hire any new help. So you’ve got yourself a date tonight. You can pick up Tess Harding at eight o’clock tonight. She wants to have dinner at Chez Pierre. Then you’re going with her to a new night club that she recently invested in.”

Max swallowed hard. Of all the jobs...he would get stuck with Harding. He knew that he needed to talk to Liz as soon as possible. “Fine,” he told Sean through clenched teeth. “Is that all?”

“Actually...no. I think that I want you to be on call Saturday night. I’ve got all of the other guys lined up with jobs. You can make yourself available for any last minute dates. I can call with the particulars sometime Saturday.”

“Saturday’s no good. I have other plans,” Max started to say.

“Cancel them. You have obligations to me first. Whatever else you’ve got planned with have to wait,” Sean told him.

Max was ready to reach through the phone and beat the shit out of Sean. Instead he hung up and immediately dialed Liz’s number. He hung up before it could ring. It was after eight on a Thursday morning. Liz would be at the lab already. So Max called Tony, the other bartender and asked to switch shifts for the night. Max would work Tony’s Sunday night shift for him.

Unable to get back to sleep, Max to up and decided to study for his Microbiology midterm. He couldn’t afford to mess up his last semester of undergrad. He had to try and focus a little. He could go talk to Liz at the lab after his glass. They could have lunch if she wasn’t too angry with him over his news.

The secretary at the front desk was a friend of Max’s by now and she regretfully informed him later that Liz wasn’t around. He went back to his apartment and found his answering machine light blinking.

“Max...sweetheart, it’s Liz. Maria and Isabel kidnapped me from the lab today. We’re going to go to our last dress fitting and then spend the rest of the day at a spa. We’ve got dinner reservations for tonight. I was wondering if maybe you could see about switching shifts tonight to come along. Otherwise I won’t get to see you tonight. Okay...well I have to go. Isabel’s looking at her watch and then glaring at me. I think that means we have to get going. I...Bye.” The message ended and Max smiled. But his smiled quickly became a frown when he thought about her dinner invitation. He picked up the phone and dialed her cell phone. He didn’t want to spoil her day with his bad news...but she’d understand about the date, he was sure. She knew it had to happen sooner or later. He left a message on her voice mail explaining his ‘date’ to her and apologizing profusely. Then he promptly collapsed onto his couch, rubbing his eyes. He wasn’t sure what to do with himself now. He wasn’t in the mood to study or anything but he needed to find something to occupy his time so he wouldn’t be able to dwell on the evening of torture ahead of him.

****

Liz was having an incredible time with Maria and Isabel. It had been ages since they’d been able to do anything together. So the spa time was giving them the opportunity to get all caught up with each other.

At the moment they were all in the mud room, their faces and bodies covered in the miracle mud. It was Maria’s turn to talk now so they were listening to a Michael story. Maria and her long time boyfriend Michael Guerin, who happened to be Isabel’s older brother, had what you would call an on again off again relationship. They’d been off for the last month but were apparently back on. It was hard to keep up with them.

“Maria....why do you even bother?” Isabel asked. “Michael’s never going to change. He’s always going to be....Michael.” Isabel loved her brother but he was a bit of a drifter and not necessarily dependable. She’d never understood how he could be so restless and uncommitted.

“I realize this....and that’s part of why I love him. He’s not afraid to be himself...to give into his urges. And he fights back with me....it’s great!” Maria said with a contented sigh.

Liz laughed...she couldn’t help it. Only Maria would or could appreciate a man with Michael’s personality.

“ I wouldn’t be laughing, Liz. You’ve definitely been hit by cupid’s arrow. I’d even go as far as to say that you’ll be the next one doing the wedding march,” Maria teased her friend. She could almost picture the blush forming under Liz’s blue mask.

Liz protested that it was too soon for that but inside she was secretly hoping it would be true.

“Max....well, he’s great. Everything is going really well at the moment. Ever since this whole job thing though...he’s been struggling a little financially. He’s working crazy hours right now to help out and he’s talking about getting a roommate. He said that might help. And I was thinking that....well, I was thinking about asking him if I could ....uhm...live with him,” Liz told them.

Isabel squealed. “Does that mean that you two have...moved forward?”

Liz groaned. “No, not yet. We’re still sort of waiting.”

“Waiting on what? Written permission? What’s the hold-up?” Liz rolled her eyes at Maria’s questions. Her friend never stopped confusing her. One minute she was saying ‘you need special panties, Liz,’ the next it was ‘you should really slow things down.’ Now it was this.

“The hold-up had absolutely nothing to do with my end of things. Although maybe that’s part of the problem. I’m too willing. Max...he wants to take things slow, like at a snails pace slow,” Liz told them. “And while I think it’s very sweet of him, it can be frustrating.”

“I’ll bet. You’ve been repressing your animal instincts for twenty three years. You’re ready to cut lost and he’s not ready to be the scissors.” Maria paused thoughtfully. “So maybe that means you need to be the scissors. You need to cut him lose....let his hidden tiger out,” Maria informed Liz.

Liz blushed at Maria’s phrasing. “Yeah...that’s sort of why I have it all planned out. Saturday night, after we go see the musical....I rented us a hotel room and I’m going to set it all up. Candles....champagne...silk sheets...the works.”

“Lord help us all, Liz Parker has seduction on her mind. I never thought I’d see the day,” Maria teased.

“Yeah.. well...just don’t expect to see me at all
on Sunday,” Liz told her with a giggle. They all burst into laughter then. Liz had definitely changed from her reticent ways since she’d met Max. He wasn’t going to know what hit him Saturday night.

****

It was 7:58 pm and Max had just pulled up to the Harding house. It wasn’t a mansion by any means but it was sufficiently impressive. He parked the escort services car and reluctantly got out. He was looking forward to this about as much as he looked forward to a root canal. Although even that might be less painful than Tess Harding's pathetic excuses for intelligent conversation. Not to mention her nauseating attempt at trying to seduce max. He was positive he’d have a headache by the end of the first hour.

He got to the door and moved to ring the bell, but before he could even do it, the door flung wide open revealing....Tess. Max fought the urge to laugh. He should have actually felt sorry for her. There she stood...dressed to the nines, trying painfully hard to look younger than she actually was. Her dress was too tight and her makeup too heavy.

All he could think was that if he were with Liz that night it would be different. Liz could smile and be the most beautiful woman in the room. And he loved her best when she first woke up in the mornings, her face void of makeup and her hair tangled from sleep. Now that, that was what Max thought of as sexy.

Tess Harding was like an old used car that the owners had tried to fix up. It still didn’t quite cover what was underneath.

The contrast between the woman Max would rather be spending his evening with and the woman the stood before him was startling.

“Max....you’re right on time!” Tess’ whiny voice exclaimed.

“Yeah...are you ready Ms. Harding?” He offered his arm out of politeness as Tess immediately launched into some ridiculous story.

It was going to be a long night.

****

After their very relaxing afternoon at the spa the girls had gone back to the apartment to dress for their night out. Alex and Michael were going to meet them at the apartment and then they were heading to their dinner reservation.

Liz tried several more times to get a hold of Max but was unsuccessful. She figured he must have been at work. She was about to check her voice mail when the door buzzer went off. She was the only one completely ready and went to answer it.

To her great surprise, there stood Sean Deluca.

“Sean...what are you doing here?” Liz asked, trying to keep her tone polite.

“Oh...didn’t Maria tell you? I was the one that suggested dinner tonight. I wanted to take you all out sort of as a celebration.”

“Oh...well, that’s very nice of you. Maria and Isabel are almost ready. And Michael and Alex should be here shortly,” Liz told him, letting him into the apartment.

“What about you, don’t you have a date tonight?” Sean asked.

“No...not tonight,” was the only reply he got. “What about you? I always see you with a woman on your arm, Sean.”

Sean shrugged. “No...my previous plans for the evening were canceled.”

“Oh...I see. Well, let me go see if the other’s are ready yet.”

Liz left Sean alone in the living room and went into Maria’s bedroom, quickly shutting the door.”

“Okay...what’s the deal with Sean showing up here?”
Liz asked.

“Sean’s here?” Maria asked looking confused.

Liz nodded. “He says he’s taking us all to dinner.”

Maria shrugged. “Is he paying?”

“I don’t know, why is that important?” Liz asked, somewhat annoyed.

“Because if he is, then we should go. I’m all about taking advantage of his misplaced generosity.”

“ I think this is a bad idea,” Liz told her.

“Liz, babe, you know that I totally agree that Sean is no good scum and he probably does have some ulterior motive, but....it’s a free dinner.”

Liz still wasn’t convinced but she went along with it. What else could she do? She didn’t want to be left out of a good time with her friends. She could tolerate Sean for a little while.

Michael and Alex showed up then and they all followed Sean to the restaurant.

Chez Pierre.

Isabel was extremely excited as was Maria. Liz was just hoping this would become fun sometime in the near future. Their group was ushered inside and after talking with the Host Sean motioned for them to follow him.

They’d just been seated when Maria saw something out of the corner of her eyes. If she wasn’t mistaken, that something was Max sitting at a table across the
restaurant. And he wasn’t sitting alone.

This was not good.

Maria knew that she needed to warn Liz before she saw Max herself.

“Uh...Liz would you come with me to the bathroom?” Maria asked.

Liz looked confused but agreed.

Sean watched his cousin leave the table with Liz. The suddenness of their departure gave him the excuse he needed to look around the restaurant. He was hoping to have a little fun tonight and stir up a little trouble at Max Evans’ expense. Trouble that would involve Sean having to comfort a distraught Liz Parker.

He spotted them across the way, sitting at table that was almost diagonal to where he was seated. Max looked like he was being attentive enough and Tess Harding was babbling away. He had to think about the best way to orchestrate things from this vantage point.

Alex and Isabel were too wrapped up in each other to really pay much attention to what was going on. Michael was getting antsy. Maria had already dragged Liz off for a potty talk session and now he was stuck with no one to talk to but that snake Sean. He didn’t care if the guy was Maria’s cousin. He was creepy.

As Michael sat there, waiting for Maria to come back he noticed Sean starring at something. He looked in the direction that Sean was and was surprised to find Liz’s Max seated at a table with some older looking blonde chick. It dawned on him then that that must be why Maria had dragged Liz off to the ladies room. This was bad news. Michael, knowing something was up, decided to find out what was going on. “You see something interesting, Deluca?” he asked.

At this both Alex and Isabel came out of their romantic stupor to see what was going on.

Sean shrugged and gave his cousins boyfriend a smile. “Just someone I know. I might have to go say hi later.”

Michael only nodded in response. Sean definitely had something up his sleeve.
****

part cont. in next post

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Jan-2002 12:54:25 AM ]
posted on 28-Jan-2002 12:51:35 AM by carenicoleIQ
****

Maria pulled Liz into the bathroom quickly. “Max is here,” she said, not wanting to waist any time.

“What? Where is he? I didn’t even get to tell him where we’d be,” Liz said.

“No...I mean.. he’d here at another table with someone. You said he still had to do three dates right? I think that’s why he’s here and why you haven’t been able to get a hold of him.”

Understanding dawned on Liz.

“Well, where was he sitting?” she asked as curiosity took over. She wanted to see the kind of women that Max had to escort.

“They were sitting across the restaurant from us. Maybe we can go sneak around to get a better look,” Maria suggested.

Liz was hesitant at first, but her desire to see what was happening soon took over. They left the ladies room, hoping not to be seen by anyone from their group. They had to be quick about this.

Maria found the perfect spot. It was several tables away from where Max was seated. A big potted tree served to hide them. Liz could only imagine how silly they looked crouched down behind the tree while other people at the tables around them looked on in confusion.

“Look..” Maria said, causing Liz to refocus her attention on Max instead of the embarrassment of their covert operation.

Liz sucked in a breath when she finally saw him. He looked good. Really good. He was wearing the same suit he’d worn on their first date. She could almost smell the cologne he was probably wearing. She loved the way he smelled.

“He looks bored,” Maria commented.

Liz studied Max’s features. She’d come to know his many expressions quite intimately and Maria was right. He looked like he was about ready to fall asleep. A part of her surged with pride because he never looked that way when he was with her. Liz let her gaze shift from Max to the blonde sitting across from him. Her momentarily swell of pride took a dive and she felt the beginnings of a jealous rage bubbling forth. That is until she really looked at the woman. She was obviously older than Max by about ten...maybe even fifteen years.

Maria gasped suddenly.

“What? What is it?” Liz asked, tearing her eyes away from the table.

“She’s trying to play footsie with him. She just
slipped off her shoe.”

Liz’s eyes shot to where Maria was looking. Sure enough...the woman’s stiletto shoe had been discarded and she was now trying to work her foot up Max’s pant leg.

****

Max’s first reaction when he felt Tess’ foot on his leg was to start choking. His coughing fit startled her so that she pulled away.

“Are you okay?” she asked, her heavily made up eyes wide with concern.

“Yeah..yeah, fine. I just...” he’d barely been able to say he was okay before she was jabbing her toes into his shin again. Max shifted uncomfortable in his chair, moving his leg, pretending like he didn’t realize what she was doing.

Tess persisted though and Max was about to tell her to stop when a commotion occurred about three tables away. He could quite see what was going on because of a potted tree that was blocking his view. He thanked god for the slight reprieve as Tess turned her attentions away from Max’s leg to the voices that could be heard from the commotion.

****

Liz had been two seconds away from marching over to Max’s ‘date’ and slapping her silly while she pulled out her frizzy blond hair when it happened.

A waiter was bringing by a tray of deserts and Maria stood up and the exact moment he passed by. He was so startled to see her he let go of the tray. It flew out of his hands and landed on another table causing a woman to spill wine all over herself.

Maria immediately voiced her apology as a manager came running over to ask what was going on. Liz wasn’t sure how they were going to escape getting seen at this point. Practically everyone in the restaurant was looking in their direction. She didn’t dare look over at Max’s table.

Before it could get any worse though, Liz straightened herself up and grabbed Maria, pulling her back quickly in the direction of their own table.

****

Max droned out the sound of Tess’ laughter. She was amused by whatever she was seeing going on at the other tables. His interest in whatever was happening had dwindled quickly. Out of the corner of his eye though he caught sight of two women trying get away from the commotion very quickly.

Maria and Liz.

Liz was there. In the restaurant. Oh God. Had she seen him? He hadn’t had a chance to talk to her about the date? Was she mad about the voice mail? He didn’t want her to be upset but...how could she not be?

****

Maria and Liz sat down at their table quickly, both trying to control their erratic breathing. They were met with four sets of questioning eyes.

“What happened?” Michael asked. “Did you fall in?”

Maria shot Michael a dirty look. “ No, Spaceboy. We did not fall in.” Deciding it would be best to leave out an explanation she changed the subject. “So....what’s good to eat here?”

They all ordered a few moments later and made small talk as they waited. Isabel and Alex talked about their impending marriage vows. Michael talked about the art gallery he worked for and Maria just talked to fill the silence. Liz was too busy thinking about Max and the hussy he was with to notice much else. Sean was pretty quiet as well. But Michael still noticed him looking around.

Trying to be discrete he motioned to Maria and whispered that he thought Sean was up to something. After watching her sneaky, squirrely cousin for a moment, Maria agreed. He was looking around ....directly at Max and his date. Almost like he was trying to draw attention to what he was doing. Maria kicked Liz under the table.

“Ouch..” Liz started to respond as she felt the stinging sensation of Maria’s shoe on her shin. She stopped when she saw Maria’s look. She was gesturing not so subtly with her head for Liz to watch Sean. Taking the hint she did....and saw exactly what he was doing. He kept looking in the direction that Max was sitting. About the fourth time he tried to casually, but not so casually look in that direction, Liz put two and two together. Of course he knew that Max was here. And what a coincidence that they were all here too. Liz knew that Sean had probably set this up to get Max into some sort of trouble. That was the only explanation.

As they waited for their food Liz tried to decide how she was going to handle this. She refused to let Sean get to her and she didn’t want to cause any trouble for Max. It took all of her self control though to keep from turning around to see what was happening at Max’s table. She just had to remind herself that she trusted Max implicitly and no matter what kind of astonished faces Sean made when he looked in that direction, she would not succumb.

After the food came, Sean perked up and began trying to tell stories that, for the most part, were unamusing and in bad taste, so Liz tuned him out. But the fifth time she felt him brush up against her she decided she’d had enough. Pretending clumsiness she spilled her water on herself, figuring it was a small price to pay in an attempt to escape.

“Oh...gosh...I’m such a klutz,” she exclaimed as she excused herself to clean up. She could see her friends laughing at Liz none to subtle attempt at getting away from Sean.

****

Max was doing his best to pretend that the joke Tess had just told was funny. Truthfully the only funny part had been the way she had severely butchered the punch line.

“Excuse me Mr. Evans,” the waiter said, approaching the table. “You have a phone call at the front sir.”

Max was confused but he quickly excused himself. Taking any escape would work for him. And it might give him a chance to see if Liz was still in the restaurant. He did a quick survey of the tables of people as he passed them and didn’t see Liz’s dark head among them. A little disappointed he made his way to the front of the restaurant, looking for the host. No one was there. He was about to turn around and walk back when a slender arm reached out an pulled him into the small cloak room near the entryway.

He stumbled in his surprise and took whomever had grabbed him tumbling to the floor with him. He landed first with the other person on top of him. He knew it had to be a woman from the way her slight frame landed but he was scared to open his eyes. He wasn’t sure what he’d find. That is until he heard a familiar giggle. His eyes immediately snapped open and he found himself looking into the face of an angel.

“Liz...” he said.

“Hi Max,” she whispered back. Before he could say anything else, Liz decided to take full advantage of their current position. She lowered her face, capturing his lips with her own. He kissed her back hungrily. His hands moving from where he’d braced himself on the floor, up to her hips. While one hand lingered there, the other trailed up her body to weave itself into her hair.

The kiss lasted until they were forced to pull apart for oxygen. “What are you doing here?” he asked even as his lips continued to brush against hers.

“ I could ask you the same,” Liz said pointedly.

Max had the grace to look guilty. “Yeah...I’m sorry about this. I didn’t have much of a choice.”

Liz put a finger to his lips. “I understand. Listen...I had the waiter come get you because I needed to talk to you. I think that we’ve been set up....by Sean. He’s the one that brought us here tonight. It was supposed to be a couples thing and when I couldn’t get a hold of you, guess who else didn’t have a date either? He’s been acting weird all night. He keeps looking over at you and your ‘date’,” Liz explained.

Max immediately looked angry. But Liz kissed him
again to keep him from doing anything rash. And just as an excuse to kiss him.

“Calm down. I just wanted us to be on the same page,” she told him after he’d stilled a little and she pulled away. “I’m doing this to prevent a scene and...to...get some more of this,” she told him, unable to resist the urge to kiss his oh so kissable mouth again.

As it became more heated, both almost forgot where they were. Only the sound of voices outside of the cloakroom were able to startle them apart. They pulled themselves up from the floor and straightened their clothing. Max eyed the wet spot on Liz’s dress.

“Is there a reason you’re all wet?” he asked with an amused look on his face.

Liz smiled. “ I needed an excuse to get away from the table to come find you,” she told him. They kissed again and were reluctant to pull apart. “ I have to get back and so do you. But I want to see you later tonight...do you think we can do that?” Liz asked.

“It will have to be late. I have to take Tess to some night club, The Ricocco Theater. She’s an investor or something,” Max told Liz regretfully.

“ I guess I’ll get to see you after all. Want to make a bet about where Sean’s taking us after dinner?”

“Gee...could it be...the Ricocco Theater?” Max asked sarcastically. “Do me a favor sweetheart, stay as far away from Sean as you possibly can.”

“Not a problem,” Liz promised. With another stolen kiss she was gone, leaving Max standing there with a slightly dopey grin on his face.

He couldn’t say the evening had been a total waste. He had, after all, been able to cop a feel on the floor of a coat room.

Trying to get himself back under control, Max went back to Tess. As he saw her eagerly waiting for him, he could only think of the beautiful brunette he could have been with instead. He willed the night to end quickly. The sooner it did, the sooner Liz would be in his arms and the sooner he wouldn’t have to worry about whatever Sean Deluca had up his sleeve.

TBC...Wonder what will happen at the night club? Will Sean ever get his plan to work? Stay tuned.
posted on 13-Feb-2002 12:28:58 AM by carenicoleIQ
I promise...more soon. I just have to get through school this week and then maybe I can put something out by this weekend.
Thanks for the bump!
Carey
posted on 17-Feb-2002 1:22:23 AM by carenicoleIQ
bump
posted on 18-Feb-2002 10:39:22 PM by carenicoleIQ
AN: I must be on some kind of roll. I've actually posted on two of my stories within a week time span. I've been ignoring my homework for the last couple of days in favor of writing and I've found myself in a creative mood. Anyway...let me know what you think. This story is winding down as is Jungle Love. That means I'll be posting more on Wait for Me and A Season..

Carey
*happy*
Chapter 7

As it turned out...Sean’s plan to arrange Max’s downfall backfired. He was just about to suddenly ‘spot’ Max at the table with Tess, when Liz accidentally brushed up against him and started to ask him a question. He was so surprised by her sudden attention that he didn’t notice that Max and Tess were leaving until it was too late. It would have seemed odd for him to chase after them at that point. So he had to wait and make his move at the club. By the end of the night, he was determined that Liz would learn the truth about Max Evans.....and he, Sean Deluca, would be there to pick up the pieces of her broken heart.

****

Liz knew that the only way to keep Sean from trying anything was to keep him distracted. She felt a little guilty for breaking her promise to Max...and as much as she hated the idea, she’d go through with keeping Sean occupied just to keep whatever he had planned from taking place. She didn’t know if she could handle any kind of scene.

After dinner was over the group made their way to the Ricocco Theater. Despite everything....even the bad company, Liz found that she liked the place. It was set up in an old movie theater. There used to be two screens. One of the rooms was still in use as a place to watch movies only instead of regular seating they had tables and booths. Each one with speakers so that if you wanted to sit and listen to the movie you could...or you could turn the speakers off. It was kind of a neat idea. The other screen had been turned into a dance floor...with lasers and lights bouncing off the walls. The music pulsed loudly and people crowded the room with their undulating bodies.

Liz would have loved to have been there with Max, dancing with him, pushing her body up against his....Her thoughts were interrupted by Sean who was saying something about seeing someone he knew. Before Liz even understood what was happening she was being dragged away from the bar. Sean had grabbed her hand and pulled her off after him. She bit her tongue to keep herself from telling him to get his hands off her. Instead she looked around for Maria or Isabel....but they were too caught up in their dates to notice Liz’s distress.

As it turned out the ‘someone’ that Sean had seen was none other than Max. If Liz would have been thinking more clearly she would have recognized the set up. But now that this was upon her....she was kind of curious as to what was going to happen. What was Sean trying to accomplish?

“Max Evans...and the lovely Tess,” Sean said, his voice sounding surprised. “Fancy seeing you two here tonight. Then again, I guess this is your night to be here,” his words intentionally implied that this was something that Max and Tess did frequently.

The puzzle pieces were starting to fit together. He was trying to make it seem like Max wasn’t being honest with Liz.

Liz didn’t bat an eyelash. “I can see why you’d come here so much. This place is great,” she commented.

Max bit back a grin at the somewhat surprised look on Sean’s face at Liz’s casual reply.

Sean had been expecting a different sort of reaction from Liz. She didn’t seem the least bit surprised or jealous. “Uh...Liz,” he said, moving to put his arm around her. “Don’t you and Max know each other?”

Liz rolled her eyes and quickly evaded Sean’s wandering hands. He wasn’t a very smart man. He was being quite obvious in his attempts to make either her or Max upset by this situation. She wasn’t going to let that happen. “Uhm...yes actually. Max and I are...I guess you could say..... friends.”

Max raised his eyebrow at Liz. ‘friends?’

Liz saw his questioning gaze and winked at him.

“ I thought you had a boyfriend?” Sean asked. He was confused. He’d been certain that Liz was Max’s girlfriend. Maria had specifically told him that Liz was off limits.

“That’s why Max and I are...friends,” Liz replied. Technically this wasn’t lying. She and Max were friends. In fact he had become her best friend. What Sean didn’t need to know was that there were some added perks to her’s and Max’s ‘friendship.’

Tess, who had been standing there silently, suddenly spoke up.

“Max, darling, I’m thirsty. Go get me a drink,” she told him.

Liz winced at the way Tess just ordered him to do it. She hadn’t even asked politely. It made her feel bad for Max...that he had to put up with any of this.

Max didn’t say anything....he just went off to the bar for Tess’ drink.

“You know....I’m a little thirsty too,” Liz said after he’d gone. “I’m going to go get something as well.” She left Sean standing there with Tess and went off to find Max. He was standing in line when she found him and she walked up behind him, whispering in his ear. “Meet me here in ten minutes,” was all she said.

Max nodded and before he could turn around to look at her, she was gone.

He went back to Tess quickly, giving her the drink she’d wanted. She was still talking to Sean who looked completely enthralled by whatever it was she was saying. They barely acknowledged his going to the restroom excuse.

Max walked back out to the area by the bar. Even though the club was getting more and more crowded, he spotted Liz quickly. He smiled when he saw her standing with her back to the wall, casually looking around as she waited for him.

He was walking over to her when he saw some guy approach Liz. He starting talking to her and gesturing over his shoulder. Liz shook her head and went back to looking for Max. The guy was coming on strong. Liz had said no to him twice but he wasn’t getting the hint.

Max watched as the guy took a step closer. That’s when he finally reached her through the crowd.

“She said NO thank you,” Max said, stepping right up to Liz and wrapping his arm around her.

“Sorry, dude, didn’t know she was taken,” came the other guy’s reply before he turned around and left.

Liz beamed up at Max. “My here,” she said with a sigh.

Max smiled. “Ah...see, here I thought I was just your friend,” he teased.

“Max....I just said that because....” he cut her words off by placing his lips against her own. She was like a drug and right now he needed a fix.

They pulled apart and both instinctively looked around for a little more private place to continue what they’d just started. They found an unlocked door nearby. It led to some stairs that led up to the projection room. They stayed on the landing, knowing they didn’t have a whole lot of time.

Their kisses were passionate and hungry and given the location and the fact that they could get caught....it felt a little more dangerous. Liz felt an odd thrill at that. The danger factor seemed to spur them on. Liz’s hands found their way inside the front of Max’s suit jacket and soon her fingers were tugging the shirt from his pants. She desperately wanted to feel his skin beneath her fingertips.

As Liz continued her ministrations, Max’s mouth made a feast of the exposed skin of her neck and collar bone. Pretty soon they were backed against the wall, mouth fused together again. Some unknown force was apparently driving them because neither had ever been this out of control before.

As Max continued to kiss her thoroughly his hand left neutral territory and slid ever so slowly from her shoulder, tracing lightly across her collarbone and down further still until he could feel the slope of her breast.

Liz sighed and shifted, trying to encourage him to move his hand where they both wanted it to be. He gave in and his hand moved to completely cup her breast. Liz moaned from the contact and the ache in her lower body intensified. She brought her leg, encircling her thigh around Max’s in an attempt to bring him closer still.

Max’s need for Liz was spiraling out of control quickly. If they didn’t stop soon he’d end up ravishing her right there on the stairs. Hardly the place for their first intimate encounter. But he couldn’t seem to stop. The hand that wasn’t kneading her breast was caressing the thigh that was resting on his hip. He was getting painfully aroused and the way that Liz was rubbing herself against him and moaning and sighting his name was only making it worse.

The sound of voices from the top of the stairs was finally enough to cause them to pull apart. Max took in Liz’s ravished appearance and had to fight not to fuse his mouth to hers again. Her lips were all pink and puffy, her cheeks flushed beneath eye that sparkled with passion and the beautiful brown tresses of her hair, that he loved so much, were in complete disarray. Max swallowed hard as he took in the sight of the rest of her. Her chest rose and fell rapidly and he could see the hard points of her nipples puckering the fabric of her dress. Her skirt was bunched up high on her thighs almost indecently. Dear god....he’d done that. He felt a surge of male pride at having been the cause of her arousal.

“I need to get back,” Max said reluctantly, his hoarse voice apologetic. He would much rather stay and finish what they’d just started but he knew it wasn’t possible. They’d already taken a risk as it was.

Liz nodded but made to attempt to move. She was too undone at the moment. She wanted to make Max stay and keep doing what he’d been doing to her but she knew he couldn’t and so she wasn’t going to tempt him. Instead, she helped him pull himself back together, rebuttoning his shirt and wiping her lipstick from he mouth and neck.

“Can you come over tonight?” he asked and he felt her hands on the skin of his throat. Her touch was still wreaking havoc on his senses.

Liz wanted to say yes...but she too many plans for them on Saturday. She knew they’d be ruined if she did. And even though she’d wanted Max like this for awhile now....she was determined to make it as memorable and special for Max as she possibly could. “I ...I want to but I can’t,” she finally told him. She didn’t want to look at him because she knew she’d see the disappointment on his face. But she couldn’t not look at him. She quickly tried to appease the disappointment she saw there. “We’ll see each other on Saturday and its going to be really great...I promise.” The expression on Max’s face changed then....but not the way Liz had hoped.

“Liz...about that, I think that....I’m going to have to work and....”

“No...Max you promised!” she said, stepping away from him.

“I know sweetheart, but Sean said that he didn’t care that I had other plans. He didn’t give me a choice. I have to be on call that night,” Max tried to explain that this wasn’t by choice. It still didn’t make the hurt look on Liz’s face go away.

“Fine,” was all she said. “I can maybe give the tickets to someone else.” “No...Liz don’t do that...”

Liz didn’t let Max finish. She was just too upset now. “You should get back to your real ‘date’,” she told him and then...not looking back she quickly walked away.

Max stared after her. He wanted to bang his head against the wall. His mind replayed how just minutes ago Liz’s eyes had been so full of passion for him and then as she’d left they been brimming with hurt.

Liz felt guilty the moment she walked away. She was pouting, she knew that it was childish. And she knew that this wasn’t Max’s fault. But all her planning was rapidly going down the drain. She should have prepared herself for this better. She’d known all along that this was a possibility. Now she just had to figure out how to work around this new obstacle.

***
The next day Max called Liz every free chance he got, but she was never available. So he left at least four messages on her voice mail and another three on her answering machine. He apologized profusely in each and swore his undying adoration. Then he promised to make it up to her. Even with all that....and the flowers he’d had sent to her...by the time he had to leave for work at the bar, he still hadn’t heard a word from her.

At eleven o’clock that night he took his break and immediately went to call Liz. He knew it was late, but she was usually awake still.

Maria answered the phone. “Sorry, Max...uhm, Liz is in the shower right now. She had a hard day at work so she’s trying to wind down. You should wait and talk to her tomorrow.”

“Yeah...okay...uhm thanks, Maria. Just tell her that I called to say good night.” Disappointedly he hung up the phone and went back to work.

***

Liz watched as Maria hit the off button on the phone. She raised her eyebrows questioningly as if to ask what Max had wanted.

“Liz, why didn’t you want to talk to him? He sounded pretty upset? What gives?”

“Nothing. I just didn’t feel like talking, that’s all,” Liz told her, trying to shrug it off.

It was Maria’s turn to raise her eyebrows. “Are you having second thoughts about tomorrow night or something?” Maria asked. “Cause that would be totally understandable...but the last thing you should be doing is taking that out on Max.”

Liz shook her head. “I’m not having second thoughts. It’s just that there’s been a sudden change of plans. No thanks to Sean,” Liz grumbled.

Maria knew what Sean had done and was not happy with her cousin. They both sat there silently for a moment before Maria had an idea....

“ You said Max is on call for Sean right?” Maria asked.

Liz nodded.

“Good. I have an idea....”
***

When Max woke up on Saturday morning the first thing he did was call Liz. He hadn’t talked to her in almost forty eight hours. It was a record for them almost.

Isabel answered the phone that time and told him
that Liz and Maria had left for the day. So Max had tried calling her cell phone. It rang about fifteen times before he gave up. Obviously...she was still angry and wasn’t about to give him a chance to apologize.

Defeated, he fell back onto his couch and watched some mind numbing cartoons, hoping it might dull the hurt he felt at the moment. He was still sitting there a little after noon, when the phone rang. He practically jumped to answer it.

“Hello?” he asked eagerly, hoping it was Liz finally getting back to him.

“Evans...I see that you’ve been anxiously waiting for my call,” Sean’s voice said from the other end.

“What do you want?” Max bit out. He wasn’t in the mood to play games with Sean.

“I called about tonight’s date. Mrs. Jenkins would like to spend the evening with you. She wants you to accompany her to a performance of Cinderella tonight. The show starts at seven thirty pm. So pick her up at a quarter til seven. The show gets done at ten thirty so you’ll be done early.” Sean paused and Max could hear whispering in the background and then a mumbled ‘fine’ from Sean.

“Evans? You still there?” Sean asked, coming back to the phone.

“Yeah.”

“Okay...listen. I may have been a little hasty in insisting that you owed the service three dates. So after tonight....you’re done. You won’t even exist anymore as far as I’m concerned. Got it?”

“Uh...yeah..not problem.” Max could hardly believe what he was hearing. Sean was actually backing down.

“Whatever. Have a nice life.” With that Sean hung up.

While Max was somewhat relieved, he still felt incredibly guilty. Obviously an evening with Mrs. Jenkins would not be torturous like his evening with Tess had been. But now he was taking her to go see the musical that he and Liz should have been going to together. He knew already that that bit of news would not be well received.

He continued to try and get a hold of Liz throughout the rest of the day but he had no luck. So at six thirty he left the apartment, wearing a suit that Liz had helped him pick out. He was hoping to stop by her place after the show. She’d have to talk to him then and he could tell her that he was all finished with that part of his life.

Mrs. Jenkins was waiting for Max with a smile on her face when he arrived. Max went to the door and offered her his arm as they walked to the taxi that was waiting for them. He’d opted against borrowing a car from the service for the evening, not wanting to worry about the added hassle. Mrs. Jenkins didn’t seem to mind.

They made idle chitchat on the way to the theater. Mrs. Jenkins asked Max how school was going and he told her about his new job bartending. She filled him in on the latest gossip from her ladies card group.

Their seats for the musical were quite good. Max couldn’t help but wonder where he and Liz would have been sitting.

“These seats are good aren’t they?” Mrs. Jenkins commented.

“Yes they are. How did you get a hold of the tickets?” Max asked. He knew that it had taken a lot of effort for Liz to get their tickets.

“Oh. Well, that Mr. Deluca called this morning and said he had them. He asked if I’d want them and told me that you would be more than happy to escort me. I couldn’t pass that up.” The old woman's eyes sparkled and she winked at Max.

Max thought that was odd, but he didn’t have a chance to question in further because the theater lights dimmed and the show began. While Max was enjoying the performance he found himself wondering what Liz’s reaction to it would have been if it were her he was sitting next to. When the show ended, Max couldn’t help but sigh a little sadly. Liz would have loved this, he thought to himself.

“Who’s Liz dear?” Mrs. Jenkins asked.

Max felt his face redden. He must have been thinking out loud. “Liz is my... she’s my girlfriend,” he admitted.

Mrs. Jenkins smiled. “Lucky girl. Although...you should be with her tonight, not some old lady like myself.”

“You’re not old,” he told her with a smile. “And Liz is....well, she’s mad at me right now.”

“Do you deserve it?”

Max laughed. “Probably. It’s sort of complicated.”

“It always is dear. It always is. Give her some time and she’ll forgive you,” Mrs. Jenkins told him.

When Max walked her to her door he gave her his home phone number. “Call me when you want to play cards some time. It’ll be fun and you won’t even have to pay me,” he teased her. He gave her a kiss on the cheek and said good night then.

When he got back in the can he contemplated Mrs. Jenkins’ words. ‘Give her some time....’ As much as he wanted to run over to Liz’s at the moment, he knew he needed to hold off until he wasn’t upset anymore. So he gave the driver directions to head back to his apartment.

He stood outside the building for a moment after the cab dropped him off. He didn’t want to go inside and be alone. Especially with the knowledge that Liz was still mad at him. With a sigh he made his way inside. When he finally reached the door to his apartment, he was surprised to find it unlocked.

He cautiously opened the door and then stood there in shock at the sight before him.

TBC.....want to know what's going on? Leave lots of feedback!
posted on 19-Feb-2002 12:19:36 AM by carenicoleIQ
To put some of your minds at ease I'm going to tell you up front that it is most definitely not Tess in Max's apartment. I could never be that cruel. This fic is all about M/L and how they love each other, even if Liz is mad at Max. It will all turn out. As for when the next part will be out...it's hard to say. If school takes over my life again it might not be for awhile. Hopefully not though. Thanks for all the feedback. I might be persuaded to write another part this week if I get enough feedback. (I can always skip class LOL)
Carey
posted on 10-Mar-2002 1:32:17 AM by carenicoleIQ
Chapter 8

There were candles everywhere. The room was completely filled. It didn’t seem like there was a single bit of space that wasn’t ensconced with the glow. And despite the spectacular sight those candles made, they weren’t the reason that Max was standing there trying to remember to breathe.

The minute he’d opened the door, his entire body had reacted and it wasn’t just visually. He could smell the scent of the burning candles....he could smell her. And his body had reacted to the innate knowledge of her presence before his eyes had seen her. It was the seeing her that stopped him cold, that left him standing there gripped with so many emotions that we was unable to move or speak.

As Max continued his fight to breathe, his eyes drank in the sight of her. Dark hair flowed in smooth chocolate colored waves over her shoulders. Her hair looked as silky as the pale pink colored robe she was wearing. His gaze was appreciative as he took in the view; from her hair to her expressive eyes, her soft pink lips to her elegant throat, and the gentle curves of her delicate body leading to smooth legs and bare feet. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to breath again.

“Liz...” he whispered.

If Max’s devouring gaze hadn’t already sent waves of unreserved lust through her, the throaty sound of his voice would have certainly done the trick. All thoughts of what she was going to say and how she had everything planned flew from her mind as they gazed at each other.

He was so incredible....how could he ever want her? How could he feel for her what she felt for him? Flashes of doubt crossed her mind briefly before determination forced them aside. She love him....she wanted him. There was no room for doubt.

“Hi,” Liz finally spoke. Her soft voice seemed to ring out in he silence once she finally found the strength to speak.

“Hi,” came Max’s husky response.

“I hope you don’t mind....I came over to talk with you and...” Liz struggled with the words she’d been planning to say, her mind too hazy now that he was standing in front of her.

Max saw her struggle and spoke up think that she was there to talk about how upset she was. His brain didn’t seem to recognize how ridiculous that was considering the seduction set up before him. “ Liz, I’m so sorry. For everything. You have to know that. But...the stuff with Sean...it’s all over now. I’m done. There aren’t going to be anymore dates with anyone that isn’t you. You’re it....you’re my focus from now on,” he promised, his voice pleading for forgiveness and acceptance.

Liz smiled. “I know,” she said simply.

“You...you know?”

“uh huh,”

“How?”

“Max, I didn’t come here tonight to talk about your job or anything else for that matter. In fact, talking is about the furthest thing from my mind at this point.” Before Max could say anything, Liz moved forward, closing the gap between them. She kissed him; it was hungry and passionate and told him the real reason she was standing before him. She broke if off before she could lose herself in the feel of him. This was his seduction after all. It wouldn’t do for him to turn the tables on her before they’d even got started. Looking up at him, she took in his slightly dazed expression. “Do you really want to stand here and talk? or would you rather.....follow me?”

There was no question. Really, the choice made itself as Max followed Liz, his heated gaze continuing his perusal of her as they walked.

His heart beat rapidly in his chest. He knew what she wanted and he knew that he wouldn’t deny her. He couldn’t if the truth be known. He wanted her; so badly that he ached. Now that there was nothing between them,no secrets or past mistakes, there was no need to protest the moving forward of their relationship.

Max hesitated slightly when they reached the bedroom. He watched Liz enter the room....the way she moved so comfortably and she looked so incredible and, dear god, he could hardly think. He was slightly awed by the level of trust he felt from Liz. He finally stepped into the room, quickly walking up and standing behind Liz.

“Liz...I....I..” he paused as she turned to face him, her big doe eyes questioning.

His heart beat erratically in his chest.

“I love you,” he said, practically blurting out the words. He hadn't been able to contain himself. The words had been there, on the tip of his tongue, pounding in his head in rhythm with his heart. They were the easiest and truest words he’d ever spoken in his entire lifetime.

Liz’s smile in response was brilliant and her eyes began to well up with happy tears. “Oh...Max, I love you too,” she whispered in reply.

At that, he wrapped his arms around her tightly, needing to hold her close, to feel her in his embrace. It was an entirely new sensation; the emotions that came with the exchange of the three words. Three words that had always been implied and assumed but never spoken out loud. Until then.

They both felt the contentment that came with being in the other’s arms and for the moment it was all they needed. It didn’t take long, though, for Max’s body to react to the feel of his practically naked girlfriend. And when his brain caught up with his body, he became fully aware of how little actually stood between them and this next big step.

Silently they pulled apart, both feeling each other’s desire and know that in this moment....they would find their completion with each other. To Max it meant complete acceptance of Liz and acceptance of the future. He wasn’t looking at the past anymore or any previous mistakes. This was all about his future with Liz. For Liz, this was a celebration...a rite of passage. She’d waited a long time to meet someone who she could share everything with and she knew that Max was that person.

Amber eyes fell headlong into soft brown eyes, silently asking for assurance that this was what she wanted. Liz nodded and felt Max’s hands slide from her shoulders to her waist. His hands settled there and became still. As if to encourage him, Liz stood up on her tiptoes and kissed Max. Her tongue traced his full lower lip and the along the crease, urging him to open to her. He did so and her tongue quickly darted into his mouth seeking his own tongue to mate with hers.

Breathless moments of kisses passed and soon Liz was tugging off Max’s dinner jacket...then her hands were loosening his tie. Her fingers worked quickly to unbutton his shirt until it fell on the floor with the other things.

They stood there, both breathing hard and staring at each other.

“Are you scared?” Max asked her softly.

Liz smiled slowly and shook her head. “No...are you?”

“Not scared....nervous,” he admitted. For some reason he felt as though he was seventeen all over again, unable to control his body’s responses. He was nervous because...while this wasn’t his first time, it was his first time with Liz....and he wanted it to be perfect for her.

“Why?” Liz asked, stepping closer to him, needing to touch the bare expanse of skin that was in front of her.

Max sucked in a breath as her fingers traced along the ridges of his chest.

“Be...because...I want to make this good for you and I want you so badly that I don’t think I’ll be able to last very long,” he told her honestly.

Liz chuckled softly, her warm breath brushing against his skin. “It won’t matter just so long as you make me yours. We’ll have a thousand nights after this to become experts at pleasing each other and...” her words were cut abruptly as Max pulled her completely against him, fusing his lips to hers.

For a moment Liz let herself enjoy this aggressive side of Max and reveled in his urgent kisses. But a stray thought involving her jumbled plans came forth. She thought that she’d had this all worked out, but all Max had to do was walk in the door and she’d already lost control.

Control...that’s what this was about. Making Max lose control and make love to her. So far....so good.

Liz pulled away, ending the heated kiss much to Max’s disappointment.

“You know,” she breathed, “ I had this whole big seduction planned. I was pretty sure that you would put up more of a protest and that I’d have to work my hardest to convince you....maybe even beg you to make love to me.”

Max swallowed hard and looked into Liz’s teasing eyes. She was calming both their nerves with her playful attitude, he decided. “Are you saying that I gave in too quickly?” he asked her, amusement in his own eyes.

Liz smiled smugly. “Maybe,” she paused. “Aren’t you even the least bit curious about what I was going to do to convince you?”

Max was more curious about what he’d find under Liz’s silk robe ....but he found that he wanted tonight to be whatever Liz had imagined it to be. So he would go along with whatever she wanted.

“Well...first, I was going to throw myself at your feet and tell you that I was your willing love slave. But I nixed that idea. I thought that might seem too desperate,” she explained. As she spoke, she took a step away and began to walk around the room, one hand absently playing with the ties of her robe while the other ran idly along the furniture.

“So my next plan was to seduce you. That’s why there are candles everything. I wanted to create the right atmosphere.”

Max nodded. “They’re a nice touch,” he said absently, his mind thinking of another kind of touch, one he wanted to actively participate in.

“Then I was going to put on some romantic music and make you dance with me. And while we were dancing I was going to kiss you and touch you until I drove you crazy with wanting me. And if you still weren’t convinced.....I was going to stick a bow on myself and tell you that you had a present to unwrap.”

Liz faced Max and smiled at the amusement in his eyes.

“And you think that would have done the trick?” he asked.

Liz expression turned serious as she approached Max again. “It’s a special present. One no one’s ever been given before. I only want you to have it,” she said softly. She was standing directly in front of him now and he could feel his heart beating erratically inside his chest. The desire in her eyes was making it hard to breathe again. “So, Max....why don’t you do us both a favor and ....unwrap your present,”she told him, taking his hands and placing them on the ties to her robe.

For a moment Max could only stare at the silk in front of him.

Liz’s eyes bore into his expectantly.

Slowly, he pulled on the tie and it loosened, letting the material of the robe flutter open. Max sucked in a deep breath as Liz’s bare skin came into view.

Liz watched Max’s facial expression as he stood, unmoving, just looking at the bare strip of skin that had been revealed to him. His hands were still gripping the ties of the robe.

Before Max could even register what was happening, Liz’s hands clasped his and she moved them up to the collar of the rob. He watched with increasing desire and fascination as her small, perfect hands guided his large, rough hands and slipped the robe from her body.

She was perfection. And he knew just looking at her that she was made just for him.

Liz’s hands let go of his and Max began a tentative exploration of the nakedness revealed to him. He touched her shoulders first, slowly moving the pads of his fingers to gently trace along her collar bone.

It was Liz’s turn to forget how to breathe.

His hands continued to move downward. He traced the slope of each breast while his eyes drank in the sight of perfect rose bud nipples hardening under his heated gaze. Soon it wasn’t enough to look, he had to touch. He took the weight of her breast in his cupped palm, feeling the texture of her. Max felt himself harden further when he heard Liz’s moans when he touched her.

Instinctively Max moved backwards, pulling Liz with him until he was sitting on the edge of the bed with her standing between his legs. His hands settled on her hip and then with her perfect breasts displayed right before him, he nuzzled his nose against her before bringing his mouth to her, suckling her and eliciting a surprised gasp.

Liz felt like she was dying from pleasure and they’d barely even begun. She wasn’t sure she was going to be able to handle their actual coupling if he was already about to bring her to her knees with the way he made her feel.

After a moment, Max’s arms came around Liz’s waist and his mouth left her breast as he moved her around to lay her on the bed. For a second he only stared at her, thinking about all the times he’d imagined this very moment. He started to join her on the bed but she was quick to protest wanting him as naked as she was. He complied and then joined her on the silky sheets.

Liz pulled him to her, bring their mouths together, needing to taste him. As their lips moved against one another, Max’s hands began a gentle exploration of Liz’s entire body. His fingertips brushed across rapidly heating skin, eliciting an excited moan as they trailed down her belly to the curls between her thighs. Max spread her legs slightly, wanting to touch her heat, needing to feel how much Liz wanted him...how aroused she was. He groaned as his hand made contact, she was so wet that his fingers slipped right through her folds. He had to suck in an excited breath.

“Oh...god,” he mumbled against Liz’s lips as his fingers continued their gentle exploration.

As his hands explored her, Liz clung to Max tightly. This was such new territory for her. She’d never felt anything like this before. With thought of flying apart in her head, she gasped in shock as she felt Max’s finger enter her gently.

He pulled back slightly to look at her face, “Are you okay? Did I hurt you? God Liz, I’m sorry...” He started to withdraw his hand but Liz quickly closed her thighs , effectively trapping him.

“No. Don’t stop. I like it....it feels good...please,” she told him softly.

He could see the glaze of pleasure that was starting to take over her features and knew that she was telling the truth. So he continued to let his fingers probe her passage as his thumb worked at the small bundle of nerves. Liz’s moans started out breathy and soon turned throaty as her hips began to buck with the pleasure of Max’s ministrations.

“Oh ....god...Max! What’s happening?” she sounded so befuddled and unsure that Max contemplated stopping, but he couldn’t. He watched as her eyes closed and her body arched with ecstasy and he knew that he wanted to give her this. To make her come this way.

“It’s okay....just let go. I’m right here,” he
whispered and then leaned down kissing her neck. His thumb rubbed rapid circles around her clit and Liz’s body tensed, her inner muscles clamping down on his finger and she cried out with her release.

Max watched in fascination as pleasure spread across Liz’s features. He’d never seen anything more beautiful. Liz opened her eyes a moment later and he had to take that back. This Liz....with her flushed cheeks and her trembling body and eyes filled with love and passion....that was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

He leaned down and kissed her lovingly. The kiss quickly deepened and Liz pulled Max closer to her. She needed more of him now. She needed to feel all of him inside her.

“Max...please...come inside me now,” she told him between kisses.

Max moved quickly, settling himself between her thighs, wanting to be inside her just as much as she wanted it. He continued to kiss her and touch her until finally his hands reached hers, bracing them above her head, he let himself probe her tight passage with his erection before gently pushing inside. He hissed with the pleasure of it, of feeling her surround him. He pulled back from their kiss, needing to watch Liz, to gage her emotions. As he slid in deeper he saw her eyes widen with the feel of him.

“Oh...god...I feel so full...” she whispered even as she urged him deeper.

As he pushed further he felt her barrier, making him hesitate slightly. Liz’s eyes urged him on, willing him to complete this possession of her body. He did so, thrusting quickly and then going completely still.

Liz was unable to keep from crying out at the sharp pain as he broke through her virginity. She’d known that it was going to hurt....but even feeling the pain right now it didn’t matter. It didn’t even phase her because it meant that she and Max were finally one. That they had finally given everything to each other.

Liz’s eyes met Max’s and she felt his hand move down, swiping at the tears that had escaped her beautiful brown eyes. “I love you,” he whispered to her, placing a gentle kiss on her lips.

A moment later he was moving inside of her. Liz was soon lost in the rhythm they were creating together. Max was lost in the feel of Liz, of having his body joined completely with hers. It was heaven, it was bliss. Their rhythm was lost though as their movements became more frantic and their need to find completion soon took over. Liz shattered first, losing herself over the precipice once again. With a loud groan Max’s own release followed quickly.

They were both breathing hard, Max could barely move. He’d been so shattered by the intensity of this first coupling with Liz that he needed this closeness now. Liz’s arms wrapped tightly around Max’s back, holding him to her. She didn’t want him to move, didn’t want to feel the loss of him when he did. She wanted this moment to last a little longer.

She groaned in protest when Max finally pulled away. He was afraid he was getting too heavy. He quickly rolled over, pulling Liz close to him, not wanting to be separated from her.

Liz sighed contentedly as she lay in Max’s arms. She hadn’t expected their first time to be that good. In fact, she’d been warned by Maria that it would probably be more pain than pleasure. But this experience proved Maria wrong.

Liz wasn’t sure she’d ever recover.

Her hold on Max tightened as she thought about how she never wanted to be away from him. How she always wanted to feel him next to her.

“You okay?” Max asked softly as Liz snuggled closer to him, pressing their naked bodies closer together.

“Mmm, more than okay,” she assured him.

“I love you,” he told her, running his fingers through her soft, silky hair and then down along the smooth skin of her arm.

“I love you too, Max.”

They were quiet for awhile, just enjoying being with each other, enjoying the intimacy of the moment.

Liz pulled away first, looking up at Max questioningly. “Are you still going to look for a roommate?”

“Yeah. I think I might have to to help cut down on some of the bills. Why do you ask?” He was a little surprised by how quickly Liz had switched gears.

“Well, I think I know someone that’s really interested,” she explained.

“Really? Who?”

“Me,” she said softly.

Max stared at her, shocked and surprised and....completely ecstatic.

“You want to move in with me?” he asked her, hoping that he had heard her correctly.

Liz bit her lip, unsure how to interpret the surprised look on his face. She nodded and decided to just tell him everything.....her reasons and her feelings. “Yes. I want to move in with you. Not only would it be practical because I can assure that there will be many repeat performances of tonight, but also because.....I want to be able to wake up next to you and know that I’m right where I belong. I want to spend every spare second that I have with you. I don’t want to waste time, going back and forth between places. Well, the bottom line is that I....I love you Max, and I don’t like being without you. I want to spend my life with you and have babies with you and...”

“Are you asking me to marry you?” Max interrupted with a smile.

“No. That’s your job,” she told him seriously.

Max stared at Liz in amazement. He could hardly believe that this incredible woman in his arms loved him as much as she did. It blew him away.

“Max....say something,” Liz said softly. It was then that he could see the insecurity in her eyes.

“Yes! Yes...I want you to move in with me and yes....I will ask you to marry and have babies with me and...” his voice was muffled by a sudden onslaught of happy kisses. The kisses quickly became heated and Liz pulled Max on top of her.

“Let’s practice being married and making babies
right now,” she told him between kisses.

And so they did.

continued in next post
posted on 10-Mar-2002 1:36:44 AM by carenicoleIQ
Epilogue
******

(Christmas Eve that same year)

They’d been married almost six months. It was sooner than they’d planned but once Liz had moved in, Max couldn’t wait to ask her and Liz couldn’t wait to accept. Now they were going about their lives as husband and wife. It all seemed pretty perfect. Max was half-way through his Medical Technology program and Liz had just started the first draft of her dissertation. Despite the business of their lives, they were happy...very, very happy. Life seemed to get better daily.

The apartment was aglow with lights from the Christmas tree. Ornaments adorned the tree as well and there were presents piled high beneath it. Liz had spent extra time decorating and wrapping, wanting to make their first Christmas together special.

The living room had long since been abandoned for the bedroom. Liz had told Max that she wanted to spend their first Christmas Eve making love. He’d been more than happy to oblige. Now the only sounds in the apartment that could be heard were the moans coming from the bedroom.

Their bodies both glistened with sweat as they lay together, a mass of tangled limbs. Both were breathing hard and smiling.

“You know...you distracted me,” Max told her once he’d managed to catch his breathe. “I was going to give you your Christmas present.”

He laughed as Liz’s eyes lit up. “Why didn’t you tell me that. I would have waited to ravish you until afterward,” she teased him.

With a quick kiss he jumped out of bed and ran into the living room, leaving Liz to smiled goofily at the sight of his naked backside. She was still smiling when his front came into view as he returned to the bedroom and joined her back in bed. She tried to control herself by remembering that they had the whole night ahead of them and she could wait a few minutes to have him again.

Max pulled Liz close to him again and handed her a small, prettily wrapped box.

“What is it?” she asked him curiously.

“Open and you’ll see,” he told her.

Carefully, she tore at the paper revealing a small white box. Opening the box she found a key nestled inside the tissue paper. She looked up at Max questioningly.

He smiled all set to explain this strange present. “Do you remember a couple of months ago when we went with Alex and Isabel when they were looking at houses?”

Liz nodded, unaware still of where Max was going with this.

“Do you remember the last house we looked at? The one with the picket fence and the front porch?”

Liz’s eyes began to tear up. Was Max saying what she thought he was?

“You told me that you wanted to live in a house just like that someday.....that it would be the perfect place for us to start out.”

Liz nodded as a tear slipped down her cheek.

“Now, do you remember how when we first got together you told me that you’d rather save my money for your Christmas present instead of going out all the time? Well, that’s what I did and now....that house, it’s ours, Liz.”

“Oh, Max!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms around him. “Thank you,” she managed to whisper. This was one of the sweetest things he’d ever done and he’d done a lot of sweet things for her.

Max’s own excitement over this was palpable. “Can you imagine? Our own house. No more cramped living here. It’s got three bedrooms. I was thinking that we could use the smallest bedroom for your office and then the other could be either a guest room or we could just use it for storage....”

Liz interrupted Max. “That’s not going to work,” she told him.

Max looked confused. “Why not?”

“Well, where the baby going to sleep then?”

It took Max a moment to register Liz’s words. “Did you say baby?” he asked, his voice awed.

Liz nodded and smiled. “I just found out yesterday. I was going to wait and tell you tomorrow morning. I had it all planned out. There was going to be a distinctly baby theme and...”

Max silenced her with a kiss. They both knew that Liz’s plans seldom worked out.

“So...when? I mean....how long until baby Evans arrives?” he asked, letting his hand slide down to Liz’s still flat abdomen.

“About seven months. So in July, I’d say.”

“So that means.....”

“Yeah, it was that night with the chocolate and the whipped cream and...”

“I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.”

“Max...”

“What...I feel like celebrating. We’re going to have a baby!”

“Max...keep your voice down, the neighbors will hear,” Liz told him.

“I don’t care....”

And so Liz had to shush Max the only way she knew how...she kissed him and once again the tiny apartment was filled with the sounds of moans.

It was a good Christmas. It had been a great year and the following years were only going to get better.


The End



AN: So...I finally managed to finish a story. Of course this story isn't as long as the others. Honestly, I was tapped on ideas to continue it, so I decided to end on a high note. Especially since I can't bear any more M/L angst. Anyway...now I can focus on some of my other stories. So thanks for all the fabulous feedback. If you have any preference for what you want to read next, let me know, because I will try to devote my Spring Break writing time to that story.
Thanks bunches!
Carey