|posted on 9-Dec-2001 5:59:50 AM by Kazza|
|Something to Believe in – BY KAZZA|
Disclaimer: In the alternate universe that all Roswell Fanfic writers visit, I own Roswell. Sadly, in the real world, I own nothing, so please don’t sue me! I promise to return the characters good as new. I do, however, own the idea to this story.
Summary: Alternate Universe. Not set in Roswell and there are no aliens in sight! Just your regular love story!
Category: A bit of everyone, but swaying towards Max and Liz.
Rating: PG-13 (For now!!)
Dedication: This story is dedicated to Jo, my amazing Roswell e-buddy, whom I’ve had the privileged pleasure to meet. A wonderful person who truly has a pure heart of gold.
Authors Notes: This is my own story, generated from my own imagination. I apologise if any of my ‘American’ terms are incorrect, please forgive me since I don’t live there!
For info, all previously posted parts of this story can be found on my website, www.angelfire.com/tv2/kazzaskorner. You may need to copy and paste it into the address window of your web software though, as you may not be able to directly get there from inside the board.
Striding into the office, Max Evans was a man on a mission. It was clear to any onlooker that he had something on his mind, and knew exactly what he was doing.
He had spent all the previous evening mulling over Liz’s words, trying desperately to work out how he had brought pain and misery into the Amber Inn Group. Liz had made it clear, however, that it wasn’t actually himself who had caused the pain, but more Michael. Max’s powers of deduction deduced that was obvious since Michael was the only other person he had actually taken to the Amber Inn offices. She had told Max to talk to Michael, but what had he done?
It had taken a while, but Max had pieced the jigsaw together and come up with only one plausible conclusion, Michael had called time on his romance with Maria.
Max had been certain their relationship was doomed from the very start, he knew his best friend way too well. Michael’s ability to stay with a girl longer than a month was legendary, it just didn’t exist. Max had been afraid from the moment his friend had set eyes on Liz Parker’s wacky secretary and obviously he’d been right.
Whatever Michael had done had upset not only Maria, but also got Liz riled up, and risked the very foundations of their joint takeover plans. It was simply bad form to mix business and pleasure. Yes Max had tried it with Liz, but she had been sensible enough to see it obviously wouldn’t have worked while they conducted business together.
After dealing with a few urgent calls Isabelle had given to him, Max headed towards Michael’s office. From the corridor, Max could hear Michael having a disagreement with someone on the telephone, it was clear Michael wasn’t in the best of moods. Max was sure Michael wouldn’t take his interfering well, but it was something Max felt he had a duty to do.
Waiting for his friend to finish his animated and vocal telephone conversation, Max knocked once before entering Michael’s office.
Michael Guerin’s office was certainly not like his partner’s. Max’s was clean, smart and somewhat clinical, Michael’s couldn’t be further opposite. Books lay on the floor at the foot of a tall bookcase. Papers and files scattered across the plush leather sofa, writing instruments, cups and other items lay strewed across his large walnut desk. In fact the only thing that was in order and tidy was Michael’s computer, which he was furiously typing away at.
“Maxwell.” Michael responded distractedly, not tearing his eyes away from the computer monitor.
“Do you have a moment?” Max asked.
“I’m kinda busy right now, can’t it wait till later Max?” Michael suggested, still tying away.
“I’m afraid not, it’s quite important.” He replied, waiting for Michael to cease clicking away at the keyboard and finally divert his attention to Max.
“Ok, go on, I’m listening.” Michael responded reluctantly.
“How are you and Maria?” Max queried, waiting for Michael’s reaction.
“I thought you said this was important?”
”It is, please just answer the question Michael.”
”Maria and I are private Max, it doesn’t concern you.” Michael responded sternly before turning back to his computer.
“I am aware it is your private life Michael, but when it spills into our business day it does concern me.” Max said pointedly.
”What do you mean?” He asked, facing Max once more.
“Look I know you and Maria aren’t together any more, but ……… but couldn’t you have waited a few more days until we’d handed in the takeover bid? God Michael you’ve compromised everything we’ve worked so hard for!” Max said angrily.
“Look, I’m sorry the way things have worked out with Maria and me, and I’m sorry if I’ve jeopardised the takeover and everything, but I didn’t have much choice Max, ok.”
“Why did you have no choice Michael? I thought you liked Maria, I thought she was different from the rest?” Max countered.
“She was, she is ……… but I just can’t do it Max. I can’t let myself get attached and tied down. I want to be free to live my life as I want to, I’m not ready to settle down.”
”Why not Michael? You’re 26 years old, when are you going to give yourself a chance to enjoy being with someone?”
”Not yet Max, not now, not like this. I can’t ……… I can’t become a father yet.” Michael responded, bowing his head slightly in shame.
Despite his feelings for not wanting the child, he couldn’t help the shame he felt for putting her in the situation she was in. In hindsight, he’d realised they probably hadn’t been as careful as they could have been, and now Maria was having to bear the consequences.
“What?” Max said shock filling every ounce of his voice. “Is Maria ……….. pregnant?” Max added still aghast. Out of everything, the thought that Maria might be expecting hadn’t even crossed his mind. He’d just assumed Michael had decided to move on to the next woman, but this painted a completely different completion on the whole issue.
“Yeah ok, I thought you knew.” Michael said, slightly frustrated that he’d assumed his partner was aware and that Max hadn’t even known. Max’s views were not something Michael really wanted to be subjected to.
“You got Maria pregnant?” Max clarified, sitting down in the vacant seat opposite Michael’s desk.
“Yes Maxwell I did ok. I screwed up and it’s a mess but there you go.”
“And how does Maria feel about it?”
“I don’t really know ok. I saw her the other night and I guess things didn’t go too brilliant.” Michael said wearily.
“Well I guess I didn’t take the news as well as she wanted me to. She kinda took me by surprise.”
”What did you say to her when she told you?” Max asked, curious as to how Michael reacted.
“I asked her if it was mine.” Michael replied, slightly sheepish.
“You what? Oh geez Michael, have you no brain? That really isn’t the right thing to say to the woman who has just told you she’s expecting your child.” Max said exasperated at how clueless his friend could be at times.
“Ok, I know I handled that one wrong, I shouldn’t have asked the question, but I had to, you know, I had to know for sure it was my kid. You of all people should understand that, I mean you nearly got stung when we were at Uni and all.”
”That was different Michael.” Max defended. “What did Maria say, is it yours?”
”She says it is.” Michael said, running his fingers through his unruly hair.
”So what are you going to do now?”
“There’s not much I can do. I told Maria my views and she won’t accept them.”
”And your views are what?” He asked.
”That we can get it taken care of and then everything will be ok.” Michael said simply.
“Oh tell me you didn’t say that to Maria yesterday please!” Max responded blowing out a deep breath of exasperation.
”God Michael do you know nothing! Maria is probably all over the place right now her emotions will be all screwed up. Jumping in and suggesting she get rid of it really isn’t the best way to put across your case. You have to be calm and caring, tell them you love them and make the decision on what to do together.”
”Yeah well Maria made it perfectly clear what her decision is, she’s gonna keep the kid and I get no say in the matter.” Michael grumbled.
“So that’s why you finished with Maria?” Max queried.
“Look I didn’t exactly finish with her, she kind of threw me out and made it clear I wasn’t welcome anymore. In the end it’s her choice what she wants to do with the kid. I’ve told her it’s not what I want and that’s it.”
”So you’re just going to walk away are you? Wash your hands of the child?”
“I don’t want it Max, I don’t want the responsibility of being a father.”
“Well from where I’m standing you don’t exactly have much choice. If Maria is determined to have the child then you’re just going to have to stand by her.” Max said pointedly.
”I don’t have to Max, I can choose not to participate.”
“What, you’d do that to your own child? Michael you’ve got a responsibility here, you can’t just walk away.”
“I can and I will Maxwell. I told you, I don’t want a kid.”
“Michael, I think it’s time you faced up to your responsibilities. I know this isn’t something you want, but it is happening. Maria has made the decision to keep the child, and you have to respect that. I think you need to decide where you want your life to go now Michael. You’ve got the chance of something special. Maria is a wonderful girl, and this baby could cement your relationship. But it’s down to you not to get scared and run away.”
“But I’m not like you Max, I don’t have desires and cravings for a cosy little wife and a perfect little family. I want to go out, have fun and be free, having a kid just doesn’t fall into that category.”
”Then maybe it’s time for you to grow up.” Max responded firmly, before rising to his feet and striding out of the room.
Heading quickly into his office, Max brushed Isabelle’s advances away. He needed a few moments to compose himself before getting back down to business.
Rubbing his fingers across his face, Max took in a deep breath. Previously, he’d thought Michael had simply finished his relationship with Maria because he’d had enough, but the revelation in his colleague’s office had painted a completely different complexion on the situation.
Michael was right about one thing though, he did now have the one thing Max desired with his heart, and knew could never buy with all the money in the world. A wife and family was the only thing Max Evans had ever really wanted. From the moment he had left Uni, Max had worked hard and achieved all his aspirations; all bar the one about snagging the girl of his dreams.
Of course, he had at least achieved part of that particular dream; he had found the woman of his dreams. Liz Parker was everything he wanted in a woman and so much more. Just the mere thought of getting close enough to Liz to make her his wife or the slightest possibility of children with her sent shivers down his spine.
But Michael was in that unenvious position where his girlfriend was pregnant, and the thought of Michael running away and leaving Maria angered Max. The poor girl was alone when she most needed Michael to support her. But his hands were tied; all the words in the world couldn’t sway Michael if his mind was made up.
Reaching for his phone, all Max could hope for was that Michael would eventually see sense and maybe realise he was wrong in pushing Maria away. Only time would tell if that would happen.
The following morning, when Max and Liz met to finish the last few items on the agenda before the take-over bid was presented to the Edwardian Group, things had thawed somewhat. Liz was much more amenable to Max’s suggestions and even bowed to his judgement on a few of her ideas. To Max, it was certainly the first step on the road to rebuilding their fragile friendship.
The hostility of their previous meeting had been doused, that was clear. To Max, he sensed her obvious protests of the day before had a lot to do with his colleague’s behaviour towards Liz’s secretary, rather than anything Max had actually done. He guessed that maybe Liz had decided to get the meetings over as soon as possible, rather than question every item he brought up.
“Well, I think that was very productive.” Max said, linking fingers and stretching his arms above his head in a relaxed manner as their meeting drew to a close.
“Yes, I think it was good. Now that we’ve ironed out the few problems we can proceed and finally hit Edwardian with our plan. I think this could certainly be an offer they’ll struggle to refuse.”
“I think you could be right there Liz.” He replied, flashing his trademark grin her way.
“Well, if that’s all ……… “ Liz started; suddenly feeling slightly upset their meeting was drawing to close. It had not only been a productive meeting on the work front, it has also been nice to be back on friendly terms with Max again. Deciding to go into the meeting and forget about Maria’s troubles was the best thing she’d done in ages, she concluded. All the angst and friction between them was slowly cooling, and although she knew she would never feel the warmth of his arms again, having his friendship was a nice second best.
“I think that’s all.” Max said, glancing at his watch. It was a little after 12.30pm, and his stomach was eagerly requesting some sort of nourishment. The next thought that popped into his mind was a rather risky one. Lunch was appealing, but definitely more enticing if there was company.
“Would ………. Would I be way out of line if I extended an invitation of lunch to you?” Max asked, somewhat hesitantly, not wanting to scare Liz away after all their good groundwork that morning.
“Yes, you probably would be out of line …….. but actually lunch would be nice.” Liz replied, surprised at the sudden bubble of happiness rising inside her.
Pleased he couldn’t see her emotions on the inside, Liz allowed the happiness and warm feelings to spread throughout her body. She may have made Max painfully aware they were nothing more than business colleagues, but her own heart didn’t have to believe her feeble words.
“Great! Let’s go then.” Max replied gleefully, somewhat surprised at the ease in which Liz accepted his invitation. Yet he certainly wasn’t going to knock it back, she was amenable to spending additional time together and that could only be a plus sign.
After finding a table at the lively Remy’s Bar, they quickly ordered food and received their ice-cold beverages. For a few short moments the air around them felt somewhat strained, neither really knowing what to say. This was their first time together, outside the boardroom, since the night they had been mugged, and both silently thought back to the passionate kiss they had shared in the restaurant before the night had turned sour. Neither also wanted to look straight at the other either, for fear of what their eyes might give away. Staring longingly into the other’s eyes would definitely give off completely the wrong vibes, they both quietly believed.
“So ……… I talked to Michael yesterday.” Max announced, breaking the suffocating silence.
“Really, did he say anything to you?” Liz enquired eagerly. She was certainly curious to see what Michael had told Max,
“Well ……. He told me about Maria’s predicament.”
“Oh, so you know?”
“Yeah, I know.”
“What did he say then?” She asked.
“Nothing that’s positive for Maria I’m afraid. He hasn’t taken the news very well, and, to be honest, I think he’d in denial at the moment. He seems to think he can wash his hands of the problem and just walk away, but it doesn’t work that way.” Max said sombrely.
“Did you talk to him? Try and make him see sense?” Liz queried.
“Yeah I talked to him, told him how stupid he was being, how he has a responsibility to Maria and the child, but it didn’t do any good. He just can’t seem to accept the responsibility, or more like he doesn’t want to.”
“Is there nothing you can do?” She asked hopefully.
“I’m his friend and business partner Liz, but that’s where my involvement ends. I can’t force Michael to face up to the situation or acknowledge the responsibility, that’s down to him to do.” Max replied, secretly wishing there was something he could do to solve the problem Maria was in.
“And what about Maria? She just has to shoulder the responsibility until Michael grows up enough to accept it?” Liz said somewhat angrily.
“I know it’s hard Liz, but there just isn’t anything either of us can do. If Michael wants to walk away from this then that’s his choice. It isn’t right and it certainly isn’t fair on Maria, but that’s just the way it is and we have to accept it.
“But it isn’t fair Max, it’s Maria who suffers. She’s my friend too and I hate seeing her hurt like she is.”
“I know, and I’m very sorry for her to be stuck like this. If there’s anything I can do to help her in any way, please tell Maria to let me know. She can come to me for anything, help, support, money, I’ll make sure she and the baby are provided for.” Max said sincerely, genuinely feeling sorry for the young secretary.
“Thanks Max, but I think the only thing Maria wants and needs right now is for Michael to accept that they are in this mess together, and to face up to his responsibility as a father.”
“I don’t think she should hold her breath though, that isn’t Michael’s style. You kind of need to bang his head against a brick wall before you can get through to him.” Max said, somewhat joking.
Their food arriving cooled the conversation somewhat as they both tucked into the nourishing meal. Light banter was exchanged until every last crumb of food had been devoured.
“Oh yeah …….. and just where does Michael get off questioning whether he’s the father? It’s no wonder she blew up at him!” Liz pointed out as two coffees were placed in front of them.
“I know what he said, and that was wrong, but Michael did have good reasons for asking.” Max said, adding some milk to his coffee and stirring it absentmindedly.
”Oh? And just what reasons are they?” Liz questioned unconvinced.
In Liz’s eyes, no matter what Michael thought, he had no right asking so bluntly as to if he was the father, it was as if he was asking if Maria had been sleeping around while seeing him.
“Because he knows of a good friend who very nearly got stung by a girlfriend who got pregnant. She’d told him it was his child, when in fact it wasn’t.” Max told her, looking up at Liz’s face to gauge her reaction.
“Really? And you know this for sure? Maybe it was just this friend’s way of getting out of the situation unscathed?” Liz suggested rather unkindly.
“Oh I know it wasn’t just a way of avoiding blame, that isn’t something he would have done. He’s a decent guy who would have never turned his back on his responsibility.” Max replied.
“How can you be so sure?” Liz queried once more, still unconvinced.
“Because I’m that guy.” Max informed gently, watching the words hit Liz and her face slowly soften.
“Oh …………….” She exclaimed, knowing she’d obviously put her foot in a sticky situation.
“I was in my last year at Uni, I’d been dating this girl, Pam Troy, for nearly two years. She was nice and everything, but it wasn’t anything too serious, just fun while we were at Uni I guess. Well, just before my exams she told me she thought she was pregnant. It was a big shock and everything, but I took it well I think. I did everything right, stayed with her while she did the test, looked after her, told her it would be ok, said I’d always be there for her. And I meant what I told her Liz, it wasn’t just words, I knew I’d always provide for her and the baby.” He said sincerely.
“What happened?” She asked gently, knowing there was obviously a twist in the story.
“Everything seemed to be going fine, Pam was having a rough time with morning sickness, but I was always there by her side. I went with her when we told her parents, and then we went together to tell mine. That was the hardest thing I ever did. I love my parents dearly, but it was clear they were disappointed in me. My mother was upset but held herself together well, and my father just said I’d have to do the right thing, have the child born within wedlock. Granted I’d never thought about marriage, but it did seem the right course of action. I bought a ring, started looking for a place to live; things were just flowing along nicely. The problem came when we went along for her three-month scan. It was then that the doctor said there had been a miscalculation in the conception date, she was in fact just over four months pregnant.” Max told Liz.
“And this was a problem?” She asked, unsure.
“Yeah, I hadn’t been in the state four months previously. I’d been on a work placement in New York for two months, so it was physically impossible for the child to be mine.”
“Oh …….. What happened?”
“Well, she admitted she’d had a one night stand with one of her lecturers while I was away.”
”So he was the father?”
”Yeah.” Max said sadly.
“How did you feel?”
“Used, hurt and sad I guess. Definitely angry and betrayed that she’d cheated on me, it was something I’d never expected, and nobody wants to be used. But I also felt sad …… sad not because of Pam, but because of the baby. I was 21 years old, and previously hadn’t even thought about fatherhood, but that baby over the month we knew about it felt so real. It took me a while to accept that I was back on my own again.”
“What happened to Pam?”
”Not really sure, we split up after that. I couldn’t cope; I guess her carrying someone else’s baby didn’t exactly excite me. She dropped out of Uni soon after that and disappeared. I haven’t heard from her since.”
“I bet your parents were pleased.”
”Yeah, they were really happy that I hadn’t ruined my life by having to settle down young. But it was still hard to go back to being normal again, you know, having to face up to responsibilities and then having them taken away is kind of strange.” Max replied, throwing a weak smile his way.
“Yeah, I’ll bet.” Liz replied, smiling back.
For a few very brief moments, Liz considered telling Max about her own predicament while at Uni. But the moment passed almost as quickly as it hit her. In telling him, Liz would have to talk about Kyle, and that would drag up all the attack and then how she’d walked out on Max like she had. They were getting on so well, finally able to be in each other’s company without snapping at the other, she didn’t want to ruin it. Telling Max would only open up her own deep wounds, and that was something she didn’t want to do.
The following morning, Max and Liz presented the take-over bid to The Edwardian Group. It was bold, audacious and extravagant, but as they had both predicted, a bid that the board of the Edwardian Group couldn’t pass up.
By the end of the week, the bid had been finalised, and the country read about it in the morning papers. It was billed as the biggest coo in the hotel leisure industry, a takeover done under the cover of darkness, no one suspecting or expecting it.
It was testament to the hard work and long hours put in by Max, Liz and their co-workers, the plan went smoothly and all were immensely pleased with the success and results. Yet, for both Max and Liz, it was tinged with a little sadness.
For the partnership of Evans Consulting and The Amber Inn Group was coming to a close. No more would they need to have meetings, or take working lunches. No more would they need to talk on the telephone or use business as a masquerade.
And as he strolled out of the Amber Inn offices one last time, Max wasn’t sure the next time he’d cross that path again. Meeting Liz had been wonderful, explosive and very special, but in essence it had all come to nothing. Liz had pushed away every advance he had made.
More than once he had cursed their luck with the mugger, wondering what would have happened if Liz hadn’t been scared off like she had. Questioning where the night might have led, perhaps Liz might have allowed the roll of love to keep obtaining momentum. Or maybe she would have seen sense a few days or weeks down the line and he still would have got hurt.
In his heart, Max knew it wasn’t just the mugging that had caused Liz to freak out. It was obvious that sometime, somewhere Liz would have got scared, and bolted like a frightened rabbit in front of dazzling headlights. It was part of her nature, her self-defence mechanism to keep her safe.
Climbing into his Lamborghini, Max sighed before putting the key into the ignition and turning over the sweet sound of the roaring engine. It certainly felt good to have his car back, good as new, from the repairers; it was the one good thing in his life at that moment.
As he pulled out of the car park, his heart ached, and his mind wondered if he’d ever see the spitfire also known as Liz Parker again.
Author: Kazza – 9th December 2001
Feed back is very welcome and appreciated
This story is archived on my website, www.angelfire.com/tv2/kazzaskorner
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Dec-2001 6:02:47 AM ]