posted on 9-Sep-2001 9:42:34 AM by True Blue Healer
Part 17 -- page10
Part 16 -- page 09
Part 15 -- page 08
Part 14 -- page 07
Part 13 -- page 07
Part 12 -- page 06
Part 11 -- page 05
Part 10 -- page 05
Part 09 -- page 04
Part 08 -- page 04
Part 07 -- page 03
Part 06 -- page 03
Part 05 -- page 03
Part 04 -- page 02
Part 03 -- page 02
Part 02 -- page 01
Part 01 -- page 01


Title- What About That
Author- Melissa
Disclaimer- I don’t own these characters – well, except Tyler…but I plan on throwing him back when I’m through with this fic…
Shipper- Max/Liz, Michael/Maria, Alex/Isabel, Kyle/?
Rating- R -- the topic of this fic is abuse, so it gets a little dark
Summary- AU fic where Liz has run away from her abusive boyfriend and comes back to Roswell, only to meet Max Evans
Author’s Notes- Hi Guys. I know I posted this part a long time ago, but since this is a new board, I’m gonna repost it again so that no one is left confused when the newer parts get posted! Like before, this story is based on the song ‘What About’ by Janet Jackson. The song is very moving and she sings it great!! If you’ve never heard it, now is the time!!
***

* We walked along the beach; what a moonlit night. He held my hand in his; he kissed me. He said “I wanna spend my life with you…I want you for my wife.”

Just then I thought…

What about the times you lied to me? What about the times you said no one would want me? What about all the shit you’ve done to me?

What about that, what about that?!

What about the times you yelled at me? What about the times I cried? You wouldn’t even hold me. What about those things?

What about that, what about that?!

I took a pause, then a deep sigh. He looked right into my eyes as he said, “I know I didn’t say something wrong.”

I didn’t have the courage to say, but then I thought…

What about the times you lied to me? What about the times you said no one would want me? What about all the shit you’ve done to me?

What about that, what about that?!

What about the times you yelled at me? What about the times I cried? You wouldn’t even hold me. What about those things?

What about that, what about that?!

What about the times you hit my face? What about the times you kept on when I said “no more please”? What about those things?

What about that, what about that?!

What about the times you shamed me? What about the times you said you didn’t f*ck her, she only gave you head?

What about that, what about that?!

Don’t wanna live my life in misery. Don’t tell me you did it cuz you love me. I don’t believe…I’m sick and tired; your deceptive games. Wonder where you’ve been. I can’t live life wondering.

My heart was pounding, but the time had come to stop letting my whispering heart control me and telling my screaming mind what to do. I looked him straight in the eyes and then I said…

“What about the times you lied to me? What about the times you said no one would want me? What about all the shit you’ve done to me?

What about that, what about that?!

What about the times you yelled at me? What about the times I cried? You wouldn’t even hold me. What about those things?

What about that, what about that?!

What about the times you hit my face? What about the times you kept on when I said “no more please”? What about those things?

What about that, what about that?!

What about the times you shamed me? What about the times you said you didn’t f*ck her, she only gave you head?

What about that, what about that?!“*


PART 1 ~
She gripped the phone tightly, wiping at her tears with a shaky hand. Trying in vain to punch in the right numbers, she paused and drew in a shaky breath. Stifling back her sob, she tried once more and punched in the right numbers, the ringing her only comfort in the still motel room.
***

“You’re kidding right? I mean, no one can even compare to Buffy. She’s the ultimate kick-ass babe,” Max Evans said.

“The chick from ‘Dark Angel’,” Michael Guerin threw in.

“Oh…Jessica Alba definitely has some sex appeal, but I gotta go with my goddess, Laura Croft,” Alex Whitman beamed.

“Tomb Raider?” Michael asked, giving Max a look. They both thought a minute then said, “she’s hot.”

Rolling her eyes, Isabel Evans got up from the booth at the Crashdown café, saying to her friends, “as intriguing as this so called conversation is, I’m gonna have to miss some of it.”

Watching her leave, Alex asked the guys, “did she just put us down?”

“Probably, but it doesn’t matter to us. We’re not in love with her like a pathetic loser,” Michael replied.

“Hey! I am not…a pathetic loser; just overly nice.” Turning toward Max, Alex added, “come on. You’re her brother. What gives? Is she digging me or what?”

Shaking his head at Alex’s eagerness, Michael looked at Max also.

Shrugging, Max looked at Alex and said, “you guys are like best buds. She obviously cares for you—“

“Ugh, see? It’s the whole ‘I care for you as a friend’ curse! I always get stuck with that!!”

“What is he ranting about now?” Maria DeLuca asked, walking over in her waitressing outfit to refill their drinks.

“How Michael is complaining about your lack of skills in the ‘private’ aspects of your bedroom,” Alex said without missing a beat.

“Then you should spin it around to HIS lack of skills,” Maria threw back.

“When did this conversation turn around on me?” Michael muttered, not liking their joking.

“When you called me pathetic,” Alex replied.

Smiling, Maria leaned over and kissed Michael, saying loud enough for the others to hear, “oh sweetie…we both know you’re a tiger in the sack.”

“Ok! Too much information,” Max said suddenly, causing Maria and Alex to laugh.

“Max, we need to seriously do something about your shyness. You soooo remind me of Liz—“ Alex stopped mid sentence and looked at Maria, who was swallowing tightly and looking everyone where but at his face.

“Of who?” Michael asked, not noticing the stiffness in his girlfriend or bud.

“No one,” Maria said quickly, walking away from the table.

Feeling the weird vibe, Max looked at Alex waited for him to explain. When he didn’t Max let it go and simply said, “I’m not shy—just low key.”

“You need a chick. Or a good one night stand,” Michael added. “It’ll cheer ya right up.”

Eyeing him, Max said with emotion, “I don’t even wanna know HOW you know that.”

“Ok, Michael does have a point—well, not about the one night stand, but about the other thing. We need to find you a girl,” Alex said.

“What is this about finding my brother a girl?” Isabel asked, seating herself back down beside Alex. “Did someone finally catch his eye?”

“Nope; we’re doing a hook up.”

“I don’t need—“ Max tried but was cut off by Isabel.

“Oh—I know a few girls I could send his way.”

“Whose way?” Maria asked, coming back over again.

“Max’s,” Michael said.

“What about Vicky Delany? She’s sweet and pretty,” Isabel added.

“She just got out a big relationship with Kyle Valenti,” Maria told her.

“Guys, I am perfectly happy with how my life is right now,” Max said suddenly.

Looking at her for a beat, Maria and Isabel turned back to each other. “What about Debbie?”

“No—too short.”

Sighing, Max looked at Alex and Michael accusingly. “See what you started?”

Hearing a cell ring, Maria looked around and spotted it as hers, lying on the counter. Picking it up, she answered, “hello?” Waiting a beat, she repeated the greeting, still not getting anything.

“Who is it?” Michael asked.

“My other boyfriend. Oh…was I supposed to tell you that?” she joked, clicking it off. “No answer.”

“I’m thinking that Jessica Rollins and Max would be a perfect match,” Isabel said, eyeing her brother.

Getting ready to argue, Max was cut off when Maria’s cell rung again. Shrugging, she picked it back up. “Hello? Hello…is anyone there?” Turning it off, she sighed.

“Maybe you have a secret admirer,” Alex joked, smiling at the scowl that appeared on Michael’s face.

“Yeah, some creep who just has to hear my voice so many times a day or he’ll go crazy? Yes, lets SO let it be that,” Maria replied sarcastically.

“Ok, let’s get back to the case at hand. Finding Max a girlfriend,” Isabel said suddenly.

Max doesn’t need to be fixed up,” Max added quickly.

“You need to get out!” Maria accused.

“Get a life,” Michael added.

“I have a life,” he muttered.

Again, Maria’s cell rung and she groaned, flipping it open and asking “hello,” in a frustrated voice. “Hello? Is someone there?!”

“Maybe your battery is going dead,” Isabel suggested.

Turning it over, Maria nodded. “Yep. Well…if it’s important they’ll call my house and leave a message.” Shutting it off to recharge, she sighed. “Ok…I wonder who it was…”

Just then there was a muffled ring coming from Alex’s lap. Everyone turned to him as he pulled out his own cell. “Freaky,” he commented before opening it. “Yeah?”

“Alex?” a small, hesitant voice asked.

Recognizing it immediately, Alex’s eyes flew over to Maria. Seeing the look in his eyes, she closed her own and took in a deep breath.

Licking his lips, Alex swallowed and pushed his way out of the booth. “Liz?”

“Oh god, Alex…I tried Maria but—but it kept cutting off and…I just need you guys,” she said, her voice muffled by her tears.

“Where are you?” he demanded, his anger for the situation coming to the surface. “I’m coming to get you.”

“I don’t know…some motel off 285 south— the hideaway something.“

“I’ll find it; don’t worry,” he promised, starting to pace. Maria was a few feet away, her face pale as she watched Alex carefully. Max, Isabel, and Michael looked on with confused faces.

“I’m so scared…”

“I know,” Alex said softly, his voice filled with emotion. “We’re on our way.”

“Thank you…”

“I love you, ok? You remember that,” he added.

“I will,” Liz promised.

“We’re on our way, ok?”

“Yeah…” Liz said softly, her voice breaking.

“See ya in a little bit.” Not wanting to hang up but having to, Alex closed the cell and sighed, trying to keep his emotions in check.

“Alex…” Maria asked in a frightened voice, “Alex…is—what happened?”

“That bastard,” he seethed, clenching his fist in anger. “If I EVER get my hands on him—“ Alex cut himself off quickly and said to her, “get your stuff. We’re going.”

Not waiting for anymore info, Maria took off into the back to retrieve her things.

“What’s going on?” Isabel asked finally, looking at Alex’s anger filled face. She had never seen him so angry in the whole 2 years she had known him.

“Lets go!” Maria exclaimed, running back out into the front. “Can you close up for us?” she added, looking at Michael, her eyes full of unshed tears.

Alex, still pacing, raked a hand through his hair. “We’ll be back in a couple hours. But we gotta go NOW.”

“We got it covered,” Max told them.

Thanking him, Alex and Maria both raced from the café.

Looking at the door as it still swung, Isabel asked, “who’s Liz?”

“Guess we’re about to find out in a few hours,” Michael added finally.

Still looking at the door to the café, Max watched as Maria’s jetta pulled out of the alleyway and raced past, the tires squealing.
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
'Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread'
TrueBluer, Dreamer, Truckstopper,
Purely Platonic Polorist,
Donor, Stargazer, and CandyGirl


Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/10/2001 09:45:27

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/11/2001 04:16:42

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/12/2001 09:03:11

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/15/2001 20:30:17

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/18/2001 09:41:58

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/21/2001 04:14:18

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/22/2001 14:47:48

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/22/2001 14:52:55

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/22/2001 14:54:59

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/25/2001 07:00:56

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/28/2001 13:03:36

Edited by - True Blue Healer on 10/02/2001 23:35:41

[ edited 10time(s), last at 4-Apr-2002 9:45:59 PM ]
posted on 11-Sep-2001 8:59:56 AM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hey guys! I hope ya like this part. I go a little bit more back into what made Liz finally leave her ex…
***

PART 2 ~
Liz pulled down on the sleeves of her sweatshirt, reminding herself that she had just called Alex a little over an hour ago. She was a good 2, 2 and half, hours away from Roswell. Walking past the mirror, Liz paused and looked in it, cringing at what she saw.

Black and blue eye, busted lip, bruised cheek…

All the remnants of a loving relationship.

Looking away, she pulled her hair around her face and sat on the bed, pulling the ring out of her pocket. Tyler had asked her to marry him and had Liz said no…so he punished her.

Gripping the ring tightly in her fist, Liz cried silently for a minute before cursing his name and storming into the bathroom. Dropping to her knees, she flung the engagement ring into the toilet and flushed it, watching the ring swirl in the bottom before disappearing down the hole.

Suddenly feeling very vulnerable, Liz wrapped her arms around herself and slid the rest of the way to the floor, staring blankly at the floor. Would he come looking for her?

After he had fallen asleep last night, she had cried silently all night, falling further and further into a pit of hurt and loneliness. She was too scared to fight back and knew he would force her to marry him.

She couldn’t do that. She couldn’t spend the rest of her life in fear of what he would do to her next.

After her had left for work in the morning, Liz numbly gathered up a few belongings and left. No note, no goodbye, no nothing. She cashed in her bank account and drove away, heading toward the last place she had felt home at; toward the people who really cared about her.

She had only got here when her cell phone rang. It was Tyler. And he was mad. She had immediately stopped and tossed the cell, got a new one, and a room to stay in for few hours so she could rest.

And now she was waiting for Alex and Maria to come.

Hearing a hurried knock on the motel room door, Liz looked up. Slowly standing up, she walked over to the door.

“Liz?!” Alex’s voice rang out.

Sighing, she quickly undid the locks and pulled open the door, letting Maria and Alex in.

“Liz,” Maria sighed, pulling her into a tight embrace. Clinging to Maria, Liz tried her best to hold her emotions in but must have did a bad job cause Maria was crying too when she pulled back.

“Sweetie…what did he do to you?” she whispered, fingering her face softly.

Pulling back in embarrassment, Liz looked down. Feeling another sit of arms come around her, she leaned into Alex’s chest, feeling safe finally.

“Nothing’s gonna happen to you now; I won’t let it,” Alex told her.

Nodding, Liz closed her eyes and whispered, “I missed you guys.”

“We missed you too, honey.” Maria took her hand and added, “come on. Lets go home.”

Gathering her things and following them to Maria’s car, Liz looked once more around the room before Alex shut the door. She was leaving behind another life to go home.

Maybe now she could find true happiness.
***

By the time they reached the Crashdown, it was dark and the café was empty and closed. Cutting the engine, Alex looked into the backseat and saw Liz was asleep, her head resting in Maria’s lap.

“I don’t wanna wake her up,” Maria whispered.

Nodding in agreement, Alex got out and went to the back, carefully picking Liz up and cradling her to his chest. Looking down at her face, he softly kissed her forehead and closed his eyes. Liz shifted a little and nestled her face into his neck.

God help Tyler if Alex ever got his hands on him.

“She’s so skinny and pale,” Maria added, her eyes also on her friend.

“She’s gonna be ok now,” Alex said, trying to calm down Maria and even himself.

Making their way over to the café, Maria held open the door while Alex maneuvered Liz through. Seeing Isabel, Michael, and Max were still there waiting for them, Maria motioned them to be quiet.

“Can you guys get her things outta the car?” Maria added.

Nodding, Michael and Max went out the doors while Alex went into the back, taking Liz up the steps to her old apartment. Maria unlocked the door and they entered, carrying Liz to her bed. Laying her down softly, Alex noticed how her sleeves had risen and exposed her bruised arms.

“What happened to her?” Isabel asked softly from the doorway.

“Her boyfriend,” Maria said simply.

Alex could feel his anger rising and he stormed out of the room, brushing past Isabel without a word. Going downstairs into the empty café, Alex cursed and started to pace, wanting to punch a hole into one of the walls. Deciding on just throwing something, he picked up a napkin holder and winged it at the wall, feeling some satisfaction when the thin metal crunched and fell to the floor.

“Feel better?”

Looking over his shoulder and see Michael and Max with Liz’s bag, Alex sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Not really…but it helped some,” he muttered. “Would’ve been better if that was Tyler’s head though…”

Picking up the napkin holder, Max waved his hand over the dented metal, watching it reform. Sitting it down on a nearby table, he asked, “Tyler? He’s the guy who…”

Nodding, Alex slumped down at the counter. “Yep. He would be the guy who did this to my best friend and the guy I’m gonna kill.”

“He was her boy friend?” Michael asked.

“Yeah…for the last 4 years—ever since the end of high school.”

--

Walking out of the room, Maria softly shut the door and continued to fill Isabel in. “Tyler put up a good front when they first started to date. He seemed so perfect…then Liz started to come to school with bruises and cuts.”

“Tyler?” Isabel asked softly.

“Yeah…she wouldn’t talk about it and—god, I knew something was wrong but I just didn’t know what,” Maria said with emotion while sitting down at the kitchen table. “She’s my best friend…

“You guys have never mentioned her.”

“It…it was just too much. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at a picture of her. He was hurting her and she wouldn’t let us help,” Maria added.

“Why didn’t Liz leave him? If he was hurting her…wouldn’t she want to get away from him?”

“I don’t know,” she answered honestly. “I think she loved him and he promised to change—but he never did. And after awhile I know she grew to be afraid of him; afraid of what he’d do if she did leave him.”

Taking in a deep breath, Maria continued. “She came to me one day and her…her wrist was hurt from where he had jerked her around. By then it had been so long and she was scared to do anything about it. I tried to reason with her and finally got her to go to the hospital. He had broken it.”

“What did you do?”

“Liz told everyone she had fallen and…god,” Maria sighed and wiped at her eyes, feeling guilty as she rehashed everything that had happened. “I pleaded with her to tell someone but she wouldn’t. So I went to Alex and we both confronted Tyler. He denied it all and then Liz started to shy away from us.”

“Tyler’s choice,” Isabel added.

Nodding, Maria looked toward the hallway. “Then before we could even think of what to do next, she was gone; we had lost her.”

“Why didn’t you go her parents? The police?”

“We did. The police couldn’t do anything unless Liz filed a report.”

“Which she wouldn’t do,” Isabel filled in.

“Then we went to her parents and they got a restraining order out on him, but it didn’t stick. Liz was put in the middle and she denied it all. I know Tyler threatened her, but we just couldn’t prove it. Eventually he convinced Liz to move away with him and…she went. That was 2 years ago. I’ve been worried sick about her but there was nothing we could do. She was too scared to leave him and come home.”

“Until now,” Isabel said, her voice low.

Nodding, Maria stood back up. “I don’t know what happened to make her finally go through with it…but I’m not letting him come back to get her. And neither will Alex. I’m gonna go check on her.”

Watching Maria walk down the hallway, Isabel sighed and got up, heading back to the café. She could never imagine going through that herself. To have someone you love that much hurt and beat you? She couldn’t imagine how to handle it.

Coming to the door into the front of the café, Isabel stopped when she heard Alex’s voice.

“You know, I was convinced in high school that me and Liz would end up together.”

Looking through the door, Isabel saw him, Max, and Michael sitting at the counter, their backs toward her. Walking into the room a little more, she waited to hear what was being said.

“Do you think you’d be together now if things were different?” Max asked.

“I don’t know…” he replied. “A lot has happened in the last few years—but I still love her.”

Pulling back out of the main room, Isabel sighed and looked away, heading back upstairs.

--

“She’s my best friend and love her like I love Maria,” Alex added. “But I don’t think we could be together like that—not even if things were different.”

“How is she doing? Did she tell you why she left him finally?” Max asked. He could feel it, the second that Alex had carried her into the café, that Liz was different, that she didn’t deserve that happened to her; not that anyone ever did deserve that, but there was something about her.

Alex shook his head ‘no’. “She just said she couldn’t do it anymore.”

Pondering that, Max wondered what she really went though.
***

The sunlight streamed across her face and Liz moaned, rolling away from it. Realization hitting her on where she was, she bolted up in bed. Rubbing her face, Liz winced when she felt her features.

Crawling out of the bed, she slowly made her way into the bathroom and spared a look in the mirror. The swelling had gone down some, but her eye was still blue and her cheek was deep red and her lip was cracked.

She wasn’t sure on how long she had been standing there when Maria walked in, but it must have been awhile cause the other girl was dressed and ready to work.

“Hey sweetie…how ya feeling?” Maria asked softly, pushing Liz’s hair back from her face in a comforting gesture.

Looking at Maria with haunted eyes, Liz whispered, “did you ever know I was pregnant?”

“What?” she asked in shock.

Turning back to the mirror, Liz added, “a couple months ago…I had a miscarriage because of…” Her voice cracking with emotions, she got out, “Tyler hit me and we lost it…”

Pulling her close, Maria let the girl cry on her shoulder.

“I just keep asking myself if I would’ve kept the baby if it hadn’t died. I could never put a child though that…unleash Tyler on someone else to beat,” Liz bit out.

“Why didn’t you tell us? We would’ve came and got you away from him sooner.”

Pulling back to look at her friend, Liz added, “I actually thought that if we had a family, he would change. He always said how much he loved me and…and I loved him to some point…but I couldn’t do it anymore. I was so scared that the next time he would actually…kill me.”

“He’s not hurting you ever again,” Maria vowed. “We’ll go to the cops and you can tell them what you told me and Alex and we’ll get him put away, ok?”

Nodding, Liz turned away and looked back in the mirror. Seeing her reflection, Maria added, “we can cover it up with make-up. No one will have to see it.” Pushing her hair back from her face again, Maria smiled sadly. “You are so beautiful Liz; inside and out. He was stupid to ever hurt you like this.”

“Yeah…and I was stupid to let him.”

“No,” she said with conviction. “You listen to me Liz, you are not to blame in this. That asshole is. And he will pay.”

Swallowing, Liz simply nodded once more.

Softening her voice, Maria added, “you wanna come downstairs? I have some friends down there. I told you about my boyfriend, Michael, right?”

“I think…it’s be awhile since we talked.”

“Yeah…well, I’m sure they’d love to meet you. And Alex will be by in a little bit.”

Looking away, Liz walked out of the bathroom and went back to her bed, sitting down and pulling a pillow onto her lap. “I think I’ll just hang out up here for today,” she said finally.

Coming over to sit by her, Maria sighed. “Ok…I’ll be right downstairs if you need me.” Giving her a quick hug, Maria walked out of the room and ventured down the steps, her mind elsewhere. Spotting Michael walking into the back, she walked over and gave him a hug, holding him close.

“Hey…what’s this for?” he asked, his voice confused.

“I love you and no matter how much I joke, you’re the best boyfriend,” she told him.

Knowing where it was coming from, Michael held her close and kissed the crown of her head.

Placing her cheek over his heart, Maria added, “she’s been through so much Michael…I’m afraid she thinks she doesn’t deserve this; doesn’t deserve to have someone really love her.”

“She’ll be ok Maria…I know you’ll make sure of it,” he joked lightly, hoping to lift her spirits some.

Nodding, she just held him close, thanking the stars for sending him to her.
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor

posted on 11-Sep-2001 5:14:04 PM by True Blue Healer
I know some of you have read these parts already, but some people haven't so I'm reposting. Don't worry -- I won't take forever to do it. I already have new parts waiting to be put up!!!

~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor

posted on 14-Sep-2001 8:27:35 PM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hey! Hope ya like this part…Max and Liz finally meet, face to face!!!
***

PART 3 ~
Alex waved at an old high school friend as he entered the Crashdown, looking for Maria or Michael. Spotting a downtrotted Maria, Alex walked over, already knowing what was bothering her.

“What happened?” he asked.

Jumping at his voice, Maria sighed and rubbed her neck. “You scared me…”

“In that deep?” he joked.

“I was just thinking…” Looking around, she leaned in closer. “Alex…do you think that Isabel or Max or maybe Michael could, you know, heal the bruises on Liz?”

Pondering it, Alex added, “we’d have to tell her.”

“Is that a bad thing?” she asked. “I know she’d be ok with it…”

“I think so too…but it’s not up to us. If they want Liz to know—“

“Maybe we wouldn’t have to tell her,” Maria said suddenly. “I’m sure we could do it in a way where she didn’t find out.”

“Maria, I wanna help Liz too, but just getting rid of the evidence isn’t gonna help.”

Sighing, Maria looked down. “I know, but I have to do something…” Looking back up into his eyes, Maria drew in a breath and told him what Liz had told her that morning.

“And now she feels like it was her fault, Alex! I can’t just sit back and do nothing!”

Taking it all in, Alex got up from the counter. “I’ll be back,” he said, going into the back and up the steps to Liz’s old apartment. Mr. and Ms. Parker had decided to travel after Liz left, so Maria had been in charge of the café for over a year now.

Knocking, Alex opened the door and called out, “Liz? You awake?”

Walking in and shutting the door, Alex waited when he heard footsteps in the hallway. Coming into the room, Liz gave him a small smile and asked, “you want something to drink?”

Shaking his head no, Alex couldn’t take his eyes off of her. He had thought her face was bad last night, but after getting a look of it in the light, he was shocked to see how much Tyler had did to her.

Her eye was black and blue, her cheek was red and you could see where it was cracked from his force, and her lower lip was split.

“Oh…Lizzie,” Alex said softly, taking her into his arms.

Liz stiffened but finally relaxed, wrapping her arms around his waist. Running his hands through her hair, Alex added, “we should go down to the hospital and get you checked out. File a report and everything.”

Pulling back, Liz shook her head. “That can wait—are you sure you don’t want something to drink? Or eat?” she added, heading toward the kitchen. “I can whip us something up.”

Following her, Alex watched as she pulled out a frying pan.

“How about some French toast? Or scrambled eggs?”

“Liz…” Reaching over and taking the pan out of her hands, he gently led her to the table and made her sit down. “Liz, just talk to me. Why don’t you want to go to the hospital?”

Licking her lips, Liz suddenly became fascinated with the tabletop. “It’s not that I don’t want to…” Closing her eyes, her voice was trembling when she spoke again. “If I go and report Tyler, then they’ll notify him and he’ll know where I am and he might come back…”

“Sweetie…you can’t run from him forever—and he will not do anything to you while I’m around,” Alex promised. “But you can’t let him get away with what he did to you.”

Shaking her head with emotion, Liz added, “I’m not. But I just—I just can’t do it yet…I need time…”

Nodding, Alex sighed and took her hand in his. “Ok, take as long as you need. But just remember that Maria and me are here for you. And I’m sure Isabel, Max, and Michael will be too.”

Nodding, Liz looked back toward the stove. “You sure you don’t want some breakfast?”

Letting her get away with the subject change, Alex thought, then said, “actually I would, but lets go out. Maybe even catch a noon movie afterwards? Be like old times.”

Hesitating, Liz looked down and pushed her hair back behind her ear. “Um, you know, that’s um, that’s ok. I think I’m just gonna relax today, you know? Be a couch potato.” Getting up from her chair, she made her way out of the room.

Watching her, Alex thought the last thing she needed was to be alone.
***

It had been 3 days since Liz came home and Maria and Alex were still trying to get her to come out of her shell and rejoin the world.

Sitting in a booth with Isabel, Max, Michael, and Alex, Maria wound a strand of her hair around her finger, thinking of some ways to help Liz.

“I just wish she would confide in one of us, you know?” Alex was saying. “She bottling it all up and I don’t know what’s gonna happen when she lets it out.”

“Alex, this has gotta be hard on her. She’s been through a lot,” Isabel told him gently.

“What about a counseling group or something? Don’t they have those?” Michael asked.

“She wouldn’t go,” Maria said softly.

“Have you asked her?” Max said after a silence. “It could help her.”

Giving her friends a short look, Maria sighed and sat back. “You guys don’t know Liz like I do. She has too much pride to go to something like that.”

“You right, we don’t know her. But we’d would like to help,” Isabel added.

Getting an idea, Maria cast a quick look at Alex, who noticed and said finally, “go ahead and ask.”

Max, seeing something was up, added, “ask what?”

“Well…” Looking at Isabel, Maria said, “Isabel, could you do something for me? Liz has some bruises and stuff on her face and I know she’s embarrassed of them and I was thinking that maybe you could, you know,” Waving her hand in a little circle, Maria gave her a look and asked, “could you?”

“She would notice something was up if they just suddenly went away,” Michael said.

“Well…maybe we could tell her what happened to them…” Maria said softly. There was a thick silence at the table as she looked from face to face. “Guys, me and Alex know Liz and we both agreed that she would be ok with this; she would understand.”

Glancing at Isabel and Michael quickly, Max said, “wouldn’t this…wouldn’t we just be adding more to her stress by unloading our secret onto her right now?”

“I think Liz would be ok with it,” Alex admitted. “She’s not the kind of person who turns others away.”

“We’re not saying she is,” Max replied. “But it’s a lot to take on.”

“We handled it ok,” Maria was quick to say.

“The situation was different Maria,” Isabel pointed out. “It was life or death. You knew the importance when he told you. It might be different with Liz.”

Feeling like she was losing the battle, Maria turned to Michael. “Michael…”

Sighing, he ran a hand through his already spiky hair. “I think…I um, I gotta go with Isabel and Max on this,” Michael said with a glance toward her. “I think the girl is under a lot of pressure and our messed up past won’t help it any.”

“Look…we don’t have to tell her today, but will you guys just think about it?” Alex asked. “I don’t like lying to her.”

“Yeah…we’ll think about it,” Max said.

Nodding, Maria added, “good. But is there someway you can still help?”

Biting her lower lip, Isabel said finally, “I think there is.”
***

Sitting on the bed in front of Liz, Isabel had to remind herself not to gasp at her scars. Looking into her make-up bag, she said happily, “my plum shades will look perfect on you.”

Nodding, Liz didn’t say anything, but she didn’t object anymore either. It had taken Maria over half and hour to convince Liz to go out with them tonight, and almost as long to convince her to let Isabel do her make-up.

“Let’s start with some foundation,” Isabel said, pulling some out.

“It might not look right since my face is messed up,” Liz said softly.

Trying to keep a calm face, Isabel added, “it should cover it up. Ok, close you eyes—this stuff really stings if you get it in your eyes.” Smiling, Isabel added, “trust me; I know!”

Smiling slightly, Liz did as she asked.

Unscrewing the top of the make-up bottle for appearances’ sake, Isabel sat it aside and reached up, pretending to rub the thick liquid over her face. Concentrating, she slowly covered Liz’s whole face with her fingers, returning the coloring back to normal and rearranging the cuts and scrapes to cover them up.

Pulling her hands back, Isabel admired Liz’s true, natural face.

The girl was a beauty. She had deep, lightly bronzed skin and high cheekbones, full lips, and thick eyelashes around her wide dark eyes.

Smiling, Isabel said, “all done. You have great complexion Liz.”

Opening her eyes, Liz simply said, “how can you tell under all the make-up you had to pile on to cover it all up?”

“I didn’t have to do much—I bet your face will look brand new by tomorrow.”

“We’ll see,” she whispered.

Feeling her heart sink, Isabel cleared her throat and rummaged through her bag some more. “You know, I was thinking, we should go natural with your look; a little lip-gloss and maybe a Bronze eyeliner. How does that sound?”

Liz shrugged and said, “you’re the one doing the make-up. I’m just the living doll.”
***

Hearing the door from the back open, Maria looked up and stopped, watching as Isabel led Liz into the main room. Looking down, Liz’s thick hair made a curtain around her face.

Noticing she was wearing the outfit she had picked out for her, Maria asked, “you like the clothes?”

“Oh…yeah, they’re ok,” Liz said finally. “Comfy, a little big though.” She was wearing a pair of flared jeans and a red tank top with a tiny shirt over it. “Sorta like what I used to wear in high school.”

“Actually, they are. I got them out of the attic.”

“I thought they looked familiar,” Liz admitted, her voice light. Pulling her face up and looking around the café, she sighed. “I’ve missed this place…” she added softly. Smiling sadly, she told Maria and Isabel, “I’m gonna go to the restroom; I’ll be right back.”

Waiting for her to walk away, Maria turned to her friend. “She looks great—maybe a little skinny, but over all…her make-up is wonderful.”

“I, um, she doesn’t really have any on; lip-gloss and eyeliner. That’s all her,” Isabel said. “Natural is in, ya know.”

“I forgot how beautiful she was,” Maria added. “She had so much going for her before he came along and messed it up. Smart, beautiful, nice—the list just goes on.”

Hearing the door chime, Maria and Isabel looked up to see the guys walk in.

“Aren’t we missing one?” Alex asked, looking around for Liz.

“Bathroom,” Isabel informed them.

“Ok, best behavior guys,” Maria told Michael and Max. “This is your first official meeting and I want you to make a good impression.”

“We’ll be perfect, Maria,” Max assured her.

“I’m not worried about you, I’m talking about space boy over here,” Maria added, pointing toward her boyfriend.

“Hey—what does that mean?” Michael asked.

“Baby, Liz is my best friend. Her opinion really counts to me.”

Remembering something, Max said suddenly, “I left my wallet in the jeep; I’ll be back,” before going out the door.

“So, if she doesn’t like me, you’d break it off?” Michael asked Maria finally.

“I don’t think anyone can tell Maria what to do,” a small voice said behind them.

“Got that right,” Maria said, smiling at Liz.

“Lizzie, my raving beauty,” Alex exclaimed, taking her hand and kissing it playfully.

Liz smiled and added, “kiss up. You just want my milk duds tonight.”

“Awe…you know me so well.”

“Lizzie, I want you to meet a few people,” Maria exclaimed, running over and taking her hand and leading her to Michael. “This is Michael Guerin; my boyfriend.”

Rolling his eyes at her, Michael turned to Liz and stuck out his hand. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Liz said back shaking it.

“Ok, and this is Max Evans, Isabel’s brother,” Alex added, spotting Max as he walked back into the café.

Hearing his name, Max looked up and stopped dead in his tracks, noticing the dark haired girl standing in between Maria and Alex. He had to remind his heart to pound when she turned her eyes on him. Then, when she smiled shyly, he had to remind it that beating too fast wasn’t good either.

“Max, Liz; Liz, Max,” Maria added cheerfully.

“Hi,” Liz said softly, smiling a little more and walking a few feet closer to Max, who had yet to move or take his eyes off of her.

Sharing a glance with Isabel, Maria looked back at them with a curious expression. Isabel, like wise, was watching the exchange closely.

“Max…that would be your cue to speak,” Alex whispered loudly, making Max come out of his trance and turn red.

“Um, hi,” he said back finally. “I’m Max; Max Evans,” he said, reaching out his hand to shake hers.

“Liz Parker,” she added, taking his hand.

As soon as her slim fingers gripped his, Max could feel a sense of euphoria come over his body and mind. Her one touch was like a wake-up to his soul. His whole body felt on fire and he couldn’t look away from her. It was like she had a hold over him.

Looking at him closely, Liz slowly pulled her hand away and smiled tentatively, pushing her hair behind her ear. Licking her lips, she waited for him to make a move or speak.

“Ok…we should get going,” Alex said finally, coming up to Liz and putting his arm around her shoulder. “I’m sure you and Max can finish this staring contest later so we don’t miss the movie.”

With red faces, both Max and Liz looked away from each other and followed the rest of the group outside. Catching his sisters’ smile and Maria’s look as she eyed him then Liz, Max could only imagine what was ahead for them.
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor

posted on 17-Sep-2001 9:40:21 AM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hi guys!! The song I use in this part is ‘Honestly Ok’ by Dido. If any of you have her cd, you know how well the song would fit with this story – it’s one of my favs of hers *big*
***

PART 4 ~
The town’s only movie theater was pretty packed, making the sitting arrangements near impossible to fit 6 people in a row. Scanning the aisle, everyone tried to find someway for them all to at least be near each other.

“Oh! Look,” Maria pointed out, starting down toward the seats. There were 4 in one row and 2 behind them. Looking through the group of friends, Maria smiled. “Ok, lets sit,” she ordered, quickly pushing Michael into the front row along with Alex being pushed by Isabel. The two girls shared a look and sat down, leaving Max and Liz to sit behind them together.

Looking at Maria with semi-shock, Liz quickly made her way to a seat, sitting down without a word. Her one savior was that the theater was dark and no one could see her red face.

Feeling Max finally sit down in the seat beside her, Liz chanced a glance at him and notice he seemed nervous too. Looking ahead quickly, Liz scooted down further into her seat. She had a pretty good idea that Maria had something planned on the nights little outing.

Seeing Alex turn her way, Liz looked at him and he gave her a sympathetic smile before leaning back and whispering low enough for only her to hear, “I had nothing to do with this; I swear.”

Smiling back faintly, Liz mouthed ‘thank you’ for the tip.

So…Maria was up to something…

The lights of the building dimmed even more, the screen ahead flickered and the previews came on.

“What are we seeing again?” Isabel asked from up front.

“The Mummy Returns,” Michael replied.

Looking at Maria, Isabel added, “action flick?”

“Hey—part one was really good,” Alex defended.

“I gotta admit, I liked it,” Maria said finally.

Looking at Liz, Alex asked, “Lizzie? Point of view?”

Sitting up some, Liz cleared her throat. “It was, um…I actually liked it…”

Smiling, Alex threw up his arms. “You’re out ruled Iz.”

Isabel clearly shook her head and mumbled something but Liz noticed how she shifted in her seat, bringing her shoulder closer to Alex’s. Sighing, Michael stretched out and put his arm around Maria, who eagerly cuddled up to his side.

Feeling a pit form in her stomach, Liz looked away quickly, focusing her eyes intensely on the movie screen. She could remember when Tyler used to do that with her, draw her close and hold her tenderly in his arms, shielding her from the outside world and all it’s ugliness.

Until the ugliness turned into him.

Willing her eyes still, Liz could feel them stinging as she forced them open and not to blink. She would get through this movie if it was the last thing she did.

“You know, I saw part one and it was a pretty good movie.”

Hearing Max’s soft voice, Liz turned to him and smiled faintly. “Yeah…”

Max’s eyes stayed focused on her for a few more seconds and he finally asked, “are you ok?”

Swallowing, she suddenly wished she had gotten something to drink or even eat. She would at least have something to do with her hands. “Um…I’m thirsty—I’m gonna go get something to drink.” Not waiting for his response, Liz stood up and made her way down the aisle.

“Liz? Lizzie?” Maria whispered loudly.

Not looking back, Liz hurried her way up the walkway, noticing all the happy couples in the seats. Turning her hurried walk into a jog, Liz burst out of the Movie Theater and raced into the ladies room, heading for the last stall.

Sitting on the back of the toilet, Liz pulled her feet up and hung her head, trying to hide her sobs. A second later she could hear the door open and footsteps on the floor.

“Lizzie?” Maria’s soft voice asked. “Sweetie, are you in here?”

Thinking about it for a second, Liz finally muttered, “no,” giving up. “I’m still back with him…”

The footsteps stopped right outside of her stall and Maria knocked. “Can I come in?”

Sighing, she reached forward and clicked open the lock before positioning herself back onto the back of the toilet. The door opened a second later and Maria stepped in.

“I’m so sorry honey,” she said with emotion.

“What are you sorry for?” Liz asked, looking down at her feet.

“I shouldn’t have forced you to come out and hang with us if you weren’t ready. I knew you needed time and just didn’t care—I just wanted my old Lizzie back and did anything I wanted and that was wrong.”

Looking up at her friend, Liz wiped at her tears. “Do you know what I’ve been doing the past 3 days?”

“What?” Maria asked softly.

“I’ve been sitting up in my old room, feeling guilty and thinking this is all my fault. Tyler would only treat me this way if I deserved it. I would only put up with it for so long because I thought I deserved it on some level.”

“No, sweetie—“

“But here you and Alex are, trying to explain to me that it’s not my fault and all I did was push you away, just making it all worse and I’m sick of it!” Liz exclaimed, her tears now angry. “I’m sick of being alone and I’m tired of blaming myself for stuff I can’t control! I just want to have a normal, healthy life with friends and people who care for me…”

Pulling her close, Maria whispered, “you can honey. But I can’t just force you into it. I promise to be more understanding from now on, ok?”

Nodding, Liz hugged her best friend and sniffled back a sob. Taking in a deep breath, she finally pulled back.

“What do you say we ditch this and go get some ice cream; just us? It’ll be like old times. What do you say?” Maria asked with smile.

Nodding, Liz wiped at her face and added, “yeah…like old times.”

“I’ll go tell the others we’re leaving and I’ll meet you out front,” Maria explained before leaving the stall. A second later the door to the restroom shut.

Sighing, Liz climbed off of the toilet and exited the stall, her head down. She had yet to bring herself to look in a mirror—even after everyone told her she looked great.

Willing herself to be strong, Liz walked up to the sink and looked up, shocked into silence.

Her face was perfectly clear. Not one bruise, crack, or coloring on it anywhere. Except for the marks from her tears, her face was perfect. Confused, Liz wiped at her face and pulled her hand back, expecting to be full of make-up, but it only had tears on it.

The bathroom door reopened and Liz looked over to see Maria standing in the doorway. “You ok, sweetie?”

Swallowing and casting one last look into the mirror, Liz said softly, “yeah…I’m gonna be fine.” Walking with her friend, Liz exited the bathroom and the theater, feeling better then she had in a long time.
***

* I just want to feel safe in my own skin, just want to be happy again. I just want to feel deep in my own world, but I’m so lonely I don’t even want to be with myself no more. *

Crawling out her window, Liz wrapped the blanket closer around her body and walked further onto the balcony, looking up at the moon. Maria was out cold on her side of the bed in the room, mumbling in her sleep.

Noticing that the lights and lawn chair will still right where she left them, Liz smiled fondly and walked over, plugging in the lights and grinning when they still worked.

It was like she was still in high school and was just sneaking out here to write in her journal, not escaping from the world. Sighing, Liz settled down in the chair, cuddling up in the blanket. It wasn’t that cold,
but her body was chilled to the bone.

She had another nightmare—the third since she left Tyler—and like always, she couldn’t get back to sleep afterwards. Liz knew she could wake up Maria and they would talk about it, but she didn’t want to do that.

Tonight had been great. They had eaten a ton of ice cream, laughed and talked while reminiscing old times. It had been quite a while since she laughed that hard.

But even all that laughter couldn’t bring her completely out of her rut.

* On a different day, if I was safe in my own skin, I wouldn’t feel lost and so frightened, but this is today and I’m lost in my own skin. And I’m so lonely I don’t even want to be with my self anymore. *

Hugging the blanket closer, Liz sighed and looked up into the sky, noticing a group of stars shining extra bright. All together, they formed a ‘v’ shape and she found herself captivated by the sight.

Keeping her eyes focused on the stars, Liz leaned back in lawn chair, feeling a little at ease.

* I just want to feel safe in my own skin, I just want to be happy again. *
***

Tying the waistband on the apron, Liz fixed her antennas and regarded herself in the mirror. She looked just as ridiculous as she did in high school.

Mission accomplished.

Squaring her shoulders, Liz walked out of her bedroom and out of the apartment, a look of determination on her face as she descended the stairs to the café.

Spotting Maria, Liz took another deep breath for good measure and walked up to her. “Maria…”

Looking over her shoulder, Maria stopped when she saw Liz’s outfit. “Lizzie…this may be too soon…”

“No…you were right. I need to get back to my old self.”

Looking at her for a moment, Maria smiled and hugged her quickly. “You my girl.” Taking her hand, Maria pulled her into the kitchen. “Michael, we have a new waitress today.”

Looking up from the stove, Michael looked at Liz and nodded. “Got it.”

Shaking her head, Maria muttered, “have he no manners?”

“Look, that’s what I want. No fuss over this,” Liz insisted. “This isn’t a big deal,” she stressed, heading out front.

Walking into the full café, Liz paused a beat and looked around, feeling like everyone was looking at her and judging her past. Hearing Maria walk up behind her, Liz spun around.

“I got it, you just take the counter,” the other girl said reassuringly.

“Thank you…I’ll work up to handling the main floor.”

“No prob babe,” Maria added, taking out her order pad and heading to a group of teenagers in the corner.

Blowing out her breath, Liz went behind the counter and started to situate herself, trying not to make eye contact with anyone for too long. She felt like they could see right into her and know what had happened.

Bending down to grab a few ketch-up bottles, Liz heard someone sit down at the counter above her.

“How long are we gonna have to wait to be served?” a snotty voice asked.

Recognizing who it was, Liz grinned and stood back up. “How big of a tip are you gonna leave?”

Alex was seating at the counter with Isabel beside him and Max on her other side. “We’ll see…” he said finally.

Rolling her eyes, Liz asked, “what can I get you guys?”

“The usual,” Alex said mysteriously. “If you remember what that is…”

Writing it down, Liz smiled wickedly. “Question my memory and who knows what you’ll get.” Giving him a quick, innocent smile, Liz moved on to Isabel. “Hey.”

“Hey. I’ll have an order of space fries and a cheery coke,” Isabel replied.

“Ok…” Writing that down also, Liz scooted down a few steps and stopped in front of Max, looking up from her order pad. She paused briefly when he his eyes met hers and Liz could feel her face getting red as they continued to look at each other. “Um…hi Max.”

“Hey Liz,” he said back softly, giving her a half-smile.

Smiling back, Liz fumbled with the corner her order pad, “um, what can I get you?”

“Uh…a Will Smith burger, Saturn rings and cheery coke,” he said finally.

Writing it down, Liz used that as an excuse to look away. If she didn’t soon, her knees were gonna give out. Max had the most deep, dark, intense eyes she had ever seen.

The exact opposite of Tyler, who had ice blue eyes and—

Cutting off that train of thought, Liz forced a smile at the others and said, “it’ll be ready in a few,” and hurried of to give the order to Michael. Waiting at the order window, Liz handed it over when he noticed her.

Casually looking at her, Michael turned back to the stove to start on the order while commenting, “you look hot—face all read. Tell Maria to turn up the AC.”

Getting even more flushed because she knew the heat had nothing to do with it, Liz mumbled and ok and went to do it herself. Taking a second to control her thoughts, Liz pondered what just happened.

There was no way she wanted to get into another relationship right now. She would just have to ignore her insane mind and it’s thoughts while work on getting back to her normal self.

No matter how hard it was proving to be…
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor

posted on 20-Sep-2001 4:12:23 AM by True Blue Healer
Authors Notes- Hi!! The song Liz is singing in this part is ‘Letting Go’ by Sozzi. They’re a great band, but I can’t find a cd from them. This one’s off of my DC soundtrack! *big*
***

PART 5 ~
Alex walked into the apartment, stopping at the sight in front of him. It had been months since the Parkers’ had left to travel, and the house had acquired its amount of dust and dirt.

But the room Alex was looking at was spotless.

“Liz?”

The smell of lemons and other unknown household cleaning supplies attacked his nose and Alex had to resist the urge to sneeze.

“Liz? Hey, you up here?” he called out, walking further into the apartment. Glancing in the kitchen, Alex saw it too was spotless and the floor shined. “Ok…” he mumbled, heading down the hallway.

Finding her bedroom empty also, he moved on to the bathroom, hearing the faint sounds of music. Seeing the door was open, he stopped and looked in, shaking his head at the sight in front of him. Liz was clothed in jogging pants and a tank top, scrubbing the tub and singing along to the song playing through her headphones.

“I still recall the words you said to me. It’s what you did not say that sets me free. Now how can I find peace of mind when you keep coming back again? It’s not ok to play this game of seesaw with my head. Now it hurts too much and it hits too hard. And I won’t play this part…”

Walking in the room, Alex stepped over the cleaning supplies and touched Liz’s shoulder, making her scream and nearly fall into the tub. Looking at him, she yanked off her headphones and asked, “what are you doing Alex? You scared me half to death!!”

Smiling softly, Alex looked around the small room. “Can I ask you the same question?”

Looking too, Liz seemed confused. “What do mean?”

Sighing, Alex shifted and sat down on the side of the tub. “You’ve turned into a machine Liz. Ever since our trip to the movies the other day you’ve put up this front and expect us all to think you’re ok, but you’re not.”

Liz licked her lips and turned away from him, going back to her tub, scrubbing the rim.

“Liz…I can see through all this, ok? You have not slept for the last 2 days; I know it. You’re pushing your body to the brink and…and it’s gonna fall soon,” he insisted.

Liz bit her lower lip and continued to scrub, putting all of her frustrations into with a vengeance. She kept shaking her head, moving it along with her arms, which was tiring out.

“So what? Everyone voted and sent you up to perform the interrogation?” she asked hotly.

“Liz…how can you—we’re worried about you; I’m worried about you,” he argued.

Focusing on the sound of the metal scrub against the tub, she tried to block out Alex’s voice, but it wasn’t working very well.

“You can’t full me Liz,” Alex added, closing in on her. “You’re not ok, so stop trying to be. No one’s gonna blame you for it—this is hard and you can not get over by just pretending it away. So just tell me that you’re not ok and let me help; let Maria help!”

“I have to be ok! Don’t you get it?!” Liz exclaimed, letting the scrub fall into the tub.

“Why?” Alex asked softly.

“Cause if I’m not ok…then what am I? Who am I?” she added.

Sighing, Alex made her look him in the eye. “You are Liz Parker. My best friend who’s smart, and caring, and beautiful, and gentle, and this person who is hurting terribly but does not have to go through it alone.”

Shaking her head, Liz said softly, “I used to be that…but I’m not so sure anymore.” Getting up, she wiped at her face and added, “if I stop and actually think about all this, I’m—I’m gonna lose it and can’t afford that right now. I need to be strong and push him away or he’ll make me go through with it!”

“Go through with what?” Alex asked, getting up to follow Liz as she left the room.

Stopping in the living room, Liz sighed and sat down on the couch. “Tyler asked he to marry him and I…I told him no. And I wasn’t very subtle about it,” she admitted. “I just—I just couldn’t take it anymore Alex,” Liz added with teary eyes and choked up voice as he bent down in front of her. “He made me lose my baby and he hurts me…why would I marry him? I knew he would force me to so the next morning I left. He called my cell and didn’t even wait for me to say hello before yelling and saying he would—“ She stopped, shaking her head with emotions before adding, “he said he could kill me for doing this to him, that I was breaking his heart for not marring him!”

“You are not marring him,” Alex insisted. “You’re not going anywhere near him again! He is going behind bars for life after I kick the living shit outta him, you got that? He is not laying one hand on you!”

Nodding, Liz continued to cry silently and Alex leaned up, placing a kiss on her forehead and whispering. “Come on. Lets take the first step.”

Getting at what he was suggesting, Liz let him pull her up and watched numbly as he picked up her coat and purse and led her down stairs. “Do you want Maria to come too?” Alex asked softly.

“Yeah…” she whispered.

“Ok…do you wanna wait back here?”

“Yeah…”

Squeezing her shoulder once more, Alex walked into the front of the café. Looking through the window, Liz saw him walk up to Maria and Michael, pulling the other girl a few feet away a few seconds later. He said a few words to her and Maria nodded, calling something out to Michael, who nodded in return.

Taking off her apron, Maria came into the back and pulled Liz close, throwing the apron and antennas onto the couch. “I’m here for you sweetie.”

“You ready?” Alex added, looking her in the eye.

Taking in a deep breath, Liz nodded and they headed out the back door, arm in arm.
***

Max sighed and walked into the café, foregoing his normal booth to sit at the counter. Glancing around, he sat down finally, pretending to look over a menu. Hearing footsteps coming closer, Max waited until they reached him before looking up, his face giving away his frustration at having Michael in front of him.

Seeing the look, Michael added, “nice to see you too.”

“Hey…” Max mumbled back, casually looking around the café.

“Izzy coming?”

“No, why?” Looking back at his friend, Max gave him a genuine confused look.

“Well…you’re looking for someone so…”

“Oh…” Feeling his face get red, Max tried to shrug it away. “I just, um, had this feeling that someone was looking at me.” Quickly clearing his throat, Max pressed on. “Where’s Maria? And Alex? He’s been practically living here lately. And I mean, speaking of people living here, where’s Liz? I know how upset Maria and Alex are and was wondering how things were going,” he rambled out, thinking he did a good job at hiding his real motive.

Eyeing him, Michael said finally. “Alex and Maria took Liz down to the police station.” On the other hand, Michael didn’t think Max did such a great job.

“Police station?!” Max exclaimed, his body on full alert. What if Liz was hurt? Did her ex come back? Did Michael have a description of the guy? Cause it would be weird of Max just went after anybody named Tyler.

“What about the police?” Isabel asked, suddenly standing behind him.

Looking between the siblings, Michael muttered, “don’t you college people have classes and stuff?”

“It’s called a lunch break Michael,” Isabel added, taking a seat by her brother, whose body was tense as he waited for Michael to explain his earlier statement.

“Why are they at the police station?” Max asked quickly.

“Oh, Liz. She’s filing the report on that Tyler guy today,” Michael informed them. “Alex confronted her about it all and Liz finally agreed to put it into action.”

“Confronted?” Isabel repeated. “Like how? I don’t think Liz needs anyone yelling at her right now.”

Calmed down some, Max reasoned with his sister. “I doubt he yelled at her. You’ve seen him with her. Alex loves Liz and wouldn’t even try to hurt her on purpose.” Feeling his stomach clench some as he said the words, he reminded himself that Liz and Alex were just friends.

Isabel, not having that knowledge, just nodded, trying to hide the hurt from her face. “Yeah…I guess you’re right. It’s just…Liz is such a nice person and I think we could be friends. And, you know, I don’t want to see her hurting.”

“None of us do, Iz,” Max added softly.

Michael, looking between the 2, shook his head and walked away. There was too much ‘unrequited love’ and whatnot shit going on there for him to even try and decipher it.
***

Taking Liz’s hand to offer her strength, Maria held it tight as Alex went to the front desk. Looking around the police station, Maria sighed. Jim Valenti, the local sheriff, had always given her the creeps. She just hoped for Lizzie’s sake that he wasn’t on duty.

It was gonna be hard enough to retell her tale as long as it wasn’t to some old creepy man.

“We can have seat. It’ll be a couple minutes,” Alex relayed to them, looking at Liz tenderly. “You ok?” he added softly. Liz gave him a small smile and sat down with one of them on each side. Placing his arm around her, Alex pulled Liz close.

Looking them over, Maria couldn’t help but think back to high school. It has always lingered in the back of her mind that one day Liz and Alex would jump over the ‘friendship’ barrier and grow into lovers.

It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Smiling, Maria remembered her thoughts at the first sight of a certain Michael Guerin. She was convinced that he was trouble with a capital ‘T’. And, of course, he is, but in completely different way then she had thought.

She had watched him all day, relaying to Alex, who was at the counter of the Crashdown, that the spiky-haired weirdo in the back booth was up to something.

Alex, being his usual easy going self, just agreed for the sake for agreeing and smiled at her, completely not believing a word she said. He had been convinced that she just had a ‘thang’ for him, if she remembered correctly.

Which proved to be right.

But there was something off about him, the girl, and other young man in the booth. By taking the order, delivering the food, and casually eavesdropping whenever she was near their table, Maria figured out that they had just gotten into town that morning and were about to keep passing through.

But that wasn’t going to be the case.

By the time that they left, it was dark and Maria was closing up. Alex had stayed to help; it had become their normal routine after Liz had left. Michael, Max, and Isabel were last to leave the café and had barley gotten far when Isabel realized she had left her purse behind.

Maria had heard the knocking on the door and walked up to see the blonde from earlier and the 2 other guys. Feeling trapped, she waited for Alex to open the door and was relieved to learn it was Isabel’s purse they had found and that was why they were back.

Handing it over, the three newcomers were about to depart when 2 men ran into the café, the front door unlocked since Maria and Alex had let the others in. They both were branding handguns and requesting the money from the cash register.

Freaking, Maria couldn’t work the machine fast enough and one of the men got upset, pulling her away from it by the hair while the other kept everyone else away.

Taking the opportunity, Michael rushed the one holding Maria and tackled him, just barely missing Maria as they hit the floor. Alex was there in an instant, pulling her away as she saw Max punch the one near him, knocking his gun away while Isabel backed away also.

The one the floor still had his gun and let it fire, hitting Maria right in the chest, a second bullet biting off also, catching Alex in the shoulder before Michael got it away from the robber.

The pain was unbearable and Maria had cried out, falling more into Alex. She could feel the blood soaking through her outfit and knew she was going to die. Gasping, she glanced down at her stomach and felt everything spin as the floor was getting closer and closer.

Weak and in pain from his shoulder wound, Alex couldn’t hold Maria up much longer and both teens dropped to the ground. The next thing Maria knew Max Evans was over her, his soft voice asking her to open her eyes while Isabel was near Alex, telling him to look at her.

Then she perfect.

Alex was perfect.

And Michael Guerin, Isabel and Max Evans had a lot of explaining to do. Especially since Alex was awake and saw the whole thing.

That was over a year ago and they were still in Roswell. Max and Isabel were taking classes at the local collage and Michael had gotten hired on at the Crashdown.

She had never told anyone her story and Maria wished more then anything that she could let her best friend in on it, but Alex had been right when he said it was up to Max and the other to decide if Liz should know.

Hearing footsteps approach them, Maria was pulled out of her memories and all three friends looked up to see Kyle Valenti walking toward them, a standard cops uniform clothing him and a folder in his hands.

“How can I…” Kyle trailed off, looking at Liz. “Liz Parker?”

Nodding, she stood up along with Maria and Alex. “Hi Kyle…”

“Liz…wow…you look great!” he gushed, reaching in to give her a friendly hug. “What brings you back to town? I figured you’d be married to what’s-his-name by now and have a house full of kids.”

Liz visibly shivered and Maria pulled her close, trying not to shoot a few mean looks Kyle’s way. He didn’t know what had happened. And Kyle Valenti was a pretty decent guy. Him and Liz even dated for a while when they all went to school together.

It had actually been right before her and Tyler got together, and Kyle had instantly disliked the guy with a vengeance, so if he was joking about it now, the guy must have actually grown a lot since then.

“Actually um…Liz is here because of him,” Alex said softly.

Putting 2 and 2 together, Kyle looked down at the file in front of him and seethed, “I never liked that bastard. He always rubbed me the wrong way. I knew it the second you started dating.”

Ok, maybe he hadn’t grown much, Maria added as an after thought.

“You and me both,” Alex added.

Feeling Liz shift some, Maria decided to steer the conversation back to important matters. “Kyle…what does Liz have to do to get something done about all this?”

“Well...” Sighing, he turned to her and asked, “what do you want done Liz?” in a gentle voice.

“I um…I wanna make charges against him and get a restraining order,” she said softly.

“Basically put his ass behind bars and keep him there,” Alex added.

“Ok. I’ll need to get some info and a doctor will look you over. It’s standard in a case of…of battery,” Kyle explained. “We can go into a private room if you like.”

Nodding, Liz started to follow him off.

“You want us to come, honey?” Maria asked.

“No…I need to do this alone,” Liz said finally. “Thanks for coming this far with me.”

“Don’t thank us. We’re always here for you,” Alex told her.

Smiling softly, Liz turned back to Kyle, who had been waiting patiently. The two walked off, entering through the double doors on the other side of the room and leaving their sight.

“I’m glad it’s Kyle who she’s talking to,” Maria said finally. “He knows her, you know?”

“Yeah…” Alex said softly, retaking his seat.

Sitting down herself, Maria tried to get comfortable. It was gonna be a long wait.
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor

posted on 21-Sep-2001 2:50:25 PM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hi guys!! The song in this part is ‘Be Like That’ by 3Doors Down – these parts of the story are kinda old and I think it’s funny that I put song is in here a while back and now, as I’m reposting the story, the song is becoming a huge hit!!
***

PART 6 ~
Kyle gazed at Liz as he stood up, shocked from all she had told him. Swallowing, he walked around the table and helped her up, trying to think of what to say.

“Liz, I—“

“Don’t Kyle,” she insisted softly, looking down at their hands.

“No, I have to,” he insisted right back. “Liz, I feel responsible—“

“How can you feel that?” Liz asked in awe. “Kyle, you are helping me so much with this.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Taking in a deep breath, Kyle added, “you got with Tyler right after we broke up and…and I’m thinking that if we hadn’t had broken up…”

Placing her hand on his arm, Liz stopped him once more. “Us breaking up Kyle, it had nothing to do with me and Tyler. If anything, us staying together probably would’ve made it worse. I don’t see Tyler as the kinda guy to be intimidated by other men.”

Sighing, Kyle nodded. “Yeah…maybe.” Waiting beat, he looked back up and added, “look…I’m here for you. Whatever you need.”

Sighing, Liz crossed her arms and hugged herself. “Yeah…I have all these people there for me and none of them know how to really help,” she said, leaving the room before Kyle could argue.
***

Maria and Alex walked Liz up to the apartment, sharing a glance behind her back when she simply mumbled something about a bath and taking a nap before walking down the hall without anymore words.

Closing his eyes, Alex sighed. “I pushed her…”

“Alex…it may seem harsh, but we needed to do something,” Maria told him finally. Looking at the now empty hallway, she added, “I miss her…I miss her more now than before she came back.”

“I know.” Kissing her crown, Alex pulled back and glanced down the hallway quickly. “I better get going. I missed my morning classes and need to find someone with notes.”

“Ok…”

“Keep me posted,” he added, setting yet another look down the hall.

“I will,” Maria promised. Alex smiled slightly and started to walk off when she added, “hey, can you tell Michael to come up after his shift?”

“You got it. I’ll see you later.”

Hearing the door click shut softly, Maria waited a few moments before walking down the hallway slowly, noticing Liz’s door was open a crack. Walking in, she saw Liz’s dirty clothes were thrown on the bed and could hear music coming from the private bathroom.

Smiling softly, Maria remembered how Liz would constantly play music, saying she didn’t like the quiet. Picking up the clothes from the bed, Maria took them and put them in the hamper, noticing that it was getting full before turning back to the bathroom door.

“Hey, Liz? I’m gonna do a load of wash for ya, ok?” Waiting for a response, Maria knocked slightly. “Liz?” Still getting nothing, Maria rapped her knuckles on the door more urgently. “Liz? Hon, you ok?!”

Finally she heard Liz’s soft voice from the other side of the door. “I’m fine; I didn’t hear you at first,” she called out.

Maria could hear the tremble in her voice and she closed her eyes, reminding herself that Liz was gonna need some time. “Ok…um, I’m gonna do a wash for you. I’ll wait about half an hour for you get done so I won’t take your hot water, ok?”

There was a pause then Liz said, “ok…thanks.”

“Sure…no prob babe.” Glancing at the door one last time, Maria picked up the hamper and walked out of the room.
***

Lowering her trembling body down to the corner of the tub, Liz hung her head, trying in vain to keep her tears back. Talking with Kyle had been freeing in way, but it also brought all of her memories back up to the surface.

Bringing her face forward so that the hot water pelting down from the shower head and hit her face, Liz stayed in that position, letting the stinging sprits of water numb her face until she couldn’t tell where the water ended and her tears began.

With her eyes sealed shut, Liz stayed on the bottom of the tub, letting the water run down her body and clean it of her memories. She didn’t want to hear Tyler’s voice, see his face, feel his hands on her skin, whether he was loving her or hurting her.

She didn’t want to feel anything.

*He spends his nights in California, watching the stars on the big screen. Then he lies awake and he wonders ‘why can’t that be me’? Cause in his life, he’s filled with all these good intentions; he’s left a lot of things he’s rather not mention right now. But just before he says goodnight, he looks up with a little smile at me and says…*

Focusing on the music, Liz paused, letting the words work their way into her twisted reality.

*If I could be like that, I would give anything just to live one day in those shoes. If I could be like that, what would I do? What would I do…yeah…

Now and dreams we run…*


Pulling her face back from the water, Liz crawled to the back of the tub, hitting the repeat button on the cd player. She’d never really listened to the lyrics on this particular cd even though it was one of her favorites.

*She spends her days up in the North Park watching the people as they pass. And all she wants is just a little piece of this dream; is that too much to ask? With safe home and a warm bed on a quiet little street. All she wants is just that something to hold onto, that’s all she needs, yeah.

If I could be like that, I would give anything just to live one day in those shoes. If I could be like that, what would I do? What would I do…yeah.

Oh, oh, yeah, falling into this; in dreams we run away.*


Curling her body into a snug ball, Liz focused entirely on the song, letting the water pelt her back and roll off to go down the drain.

*If I could be like that, I would give anything just to live one day in those shoes. If I could be like that, what would I do? Lord, what would I do…

Falling in; I feel I am falling into this again.*


After what felt like hours later, Liz came to realize that her whole body was shivering and the water was ice cold as hit her bare back. Coming back to reality, she stood up on shaky legs and turned off the water, using the handle to steady herself.

Figuring that Maria had started the laundry by now, Liz knew she had spent enough time in the tiny bathroom. Pulling a towel around herself, she left the radio on and exited the room, not surprised to see Maria lying on the bed, a magazine open in front of her.

“Hey…was ya real dirty?” her friend joked, trying to lighten her mood.

Going over to her dresser and pulling out a pair of shorts and a tank, Liz shrugged and answered softly, “you could say that.” Quickly changing, she could hear Maria’s gasp and knew her friend spotted the scars on her back.

She had been able to hide them up to this point, but she had to show them to Kyle today as ‘evidence’.

“They’re cigarette burns,” Liz explained, knowing that Maria was wondering what had caused the discolorations.

“I hope that bastard fries in hell for what he did to you,” Maria said finally, her furry coming across strong.

Sighing, Liz ran a hand through her wet hair and mumbled, “you and me both.” Looking at her friend through the mirror, Liz asked, “can um…can you stay here; upstairs? I was gonna lie down for a nap and…” She trailed off, feeling completely stupid.

“Of course I can,” Maria replied.

Liz nodded, getting up and walking over to the bed as Maria stood up. She had told her and Alex about the dreams and she knew they would wake her if they thought she was having one.

“I’ll be near by sweetie,” she added softly, slipping out the door, leaving it open a crack.

Settling down in the bed, Liz pushed her wet hair out of the way and rolled to her side, glancing out her window. Hearing the soft melody of the radio filter into the room from the bathroom, Liz focused on the lyrics as she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

*I’m falling into this; in dreams we run away.*
***

“Hey,” Michael said, not even turning around when he heard the swoosh of the doors opening as someone walked into the back area marked ‘employees only’. Undoing his apron and throwing into the locker, he slammed it shut and turned to see Max, which he already knew would be standing there.

Him, Max, and Isabel all shared this connection, making them able to feel when each other was near. It came in handy when one of them would take off when they got upset or something.

It didn’t take long to track them down.

“Hey,” Max said back, glancing around casually, or at least, what he was trying to pass off as casual. “Where’s Maria and the others?”

Michael heard the emphasize on the word ‘others’ and rolled his eyes and replied, “Maria and Liz are upstairs. I’m heading up now.”

“Oh…cool,” Max said, his eyes going to the steps quickly, trying to hide it, but Michael caught it. “You know, I’ve never been up…there,” he added, biting his lower lip.

Trying not to laugh out loud, Michael decided to make Max sweat it. “Really? Huh,” he said, shrugging his shoulders and heading for the steps, not inviting him along. Passing by him, Michael saw the frustrations in his buddy’s eyes and smiled, waiting for Max’s next attack as he walked up the steps.

“Yeah, never been up. Hey, can you tell Maria to come down? I need to talk to her and since she’s up there and I’m down here…”

Max’s voice was dripping of sadness and Michael shook his head. “Yeah, I’ll pass the message on,” he said, stopping on the doorway landing.

Oh…ok,” Max said finally, looking down as he started to walk away.

Rolling his eyes, Michael called out, “or…ya could quit lying and just get your ass up the steps.” Opening the apartment door, he walked in, the sound of hurried footfalls coming up the steps behind him.
***

Liz moaned and rolled over onto her back, kicking the covers off in the process. Turning her head, she mumbled something softly before lazily swapping at her face. Moving her head more quickly, she groaned yet again.

“No…no Tyler,” she moaned, kicking her feet more. The moans and soft words went on and Liz’s face contorted into cringes and a few tears rolled down her cheeks, wetting her pillow.

Suddenly her whole body stiffened and Liz shot up in the bed, crying out loudly in fright.
***

Max sighed and sucked at his teeth, patting his hands on the tabletop as he waited for Michael to return to the kitchen. Maria was curled up asleep on the couch in the living room and Michael had just left to go downstairs, having promised Maria that he would check and make sure things were running smoothly in the café.

Sighing, Max had been hoping to see Liz today, but he had missed her both times he stopped by. The first time she had been down at the police station, pressing charges on her old boyfriend. Filled with worry, Max was determined to catch her later and make sure she was ok.

But now it was later and he had still not gotten to check up on her and confirm for himself that she was indeed ok. Liz was currently asleep in her room, rendering her out of his sight.

Continuing to drum out his solo on the tabletop, Max froze when he heard a scream coming from deeper in the apartment. Recognizing it as Liz, Max jumped up, racing toward the panicked call. Entering the room without stopping to knock, he saw Liz was sitting up, crying into her hands.

Going over to the bed, Max sat down, reaching out to touch Liz’s shoulders and was a little surprised when Liz threw herself into his arms, practically crawling onto his lap.

Liz was clinging to him, prompting Max to wrap his arms around her, feeling how her shirt was covered in sweat. In fact, her whole body was hot and wet, while her teeth seemed to be chattering as she tried to calm her sobbing down.

“Liz…” he got out, not knowing if he should call out for Maria or not.

“Don’t let me go, please,” she cried, burring her face into his neck. “I don’t want you to go away, Max.”

Closing his eye as she said his name, Max nodded, not being able to form any words. Moving onto the bed some more, he rearranged himself so that his back was against the headboard and Liz was leaning onto his chest, her whole body practically on top of his and her arms wrapped around his waist.

Running his hands through her hair, Max dried it without thinking twice. “It’s gonna be ok,” he whispered.

“Promise?” she asked after a few moments.

“Yeah…I promise,” Max finally replied, leaning down and pulling her closer to his chest.
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor

posted on 24-Sep-2001 6:51:15 AM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hey guys *smile* the song is this part is ‘Simply Irresistible’ by Ginuwine. I hope ya like it... *wink*
***

PART 7 ~
Liz sighed contently and shifted her body, rubbing her foot against his leg, smiling when she heard him mumble in his sleep and pull her closer. Inhaling deeply, she took in a lung fill of his signature smell, savoring it.

His hands were palm open, rubbing her back even in his sleep, massaging her muscles in a way that made her melt into his touch. His hot breath was on her neck and Liz snuggled even closer, feeling the stubble on his chin rub her temple.

Moaning unhappily, she clung to him tighter, feeling the first stinging of her body and mind waking up. Her limbs were starting to tingle and she could feel the sunlight creeping across her body.

No! Just a few more minutes

Fighting it, Liz shook her head. She wanted to stay in her dream world where she was safe and wrapped up in his warm, loving arms. She felt like she was helpless and vulnerable when awake, but in her sleep, she was happy, cheerful, more outspoken, and loved.

He loved her completely and she loved him back.

Finally coming completely out of her dream world, Liz moaned out loud and tried to roll over, only to find herself being held close to a warm, hard, very nice body.

Freezing, Liz sealed her eyes shut and held her breath, trying to remain calm. With her eyes closed and her heart pounding in her chest because of the lack of air, Liz’s other senses were heightened marginally.

One of his hands was on her neck, occasionally rubbing her skin even though he was sound asleep. His other hand was on her lower back, holding her body very close. Their legs were wrapped up around each other and she was aware of his deep breathing.

Reminding herself that breathing was a necessity to life, Liz drew in a shaky breath and opened her eyes, finding them locked on a muscular chest. Counting to three, she glanced upward and came face to face with Max Evans.

Confused, Liz tried to think back on her night and suddenly remembered waking up screaming and someone coming in to comfort her, someone with strong, loving arms and a soothing voice.

Max’s soothing voice.

With a racing heart, not caused by the lack of oxygen from earlier but from the closeness of his body to hers, Liz very slowly pulled out of the embrace, trying not to make a sound. Slipping his hands off of her and laying them on his chest, she was finally far away enough to take in his sleeping position.

Max’s head was propped up against her headboard and his back was not on the mattress, leaving it rigid and stiff. He was gonna have one hell of a neck-ache when he woke.

Feeling guilty about this, Liz slowly crawled off the bed, rubbing her neck, a smile slowly appearing on her face. She had felt Max’s touches through her sleep and knew that he had magical hands. Her whole body felt revived after spending the night in his arms.

Looking at the clock, Liz saw it was 6:30 am and she needed to get a bath and get ready. Glancing back at Max, she thought about waking him up and decided to wait until she got out of the shower.

That way it would be free incase he wanted to use it.

And the sight of him stretched out on her bed made her stomach flutter and her heart beat on double time. Taking a step back toward the bed, Liz licked her lips unconsciously, reaching out to stroke his cheek. Feeling the slight morning stubble and his warm skin, she reluctantly pulled her hand back.

It was gonna be a lot harder then she thought to stay focused on herself and not on a guy.

Biting her lower lip, Liz quietly gathered her things and entered the bathroom, shutting the door as she sighed. It was gonna be a long day.
***

Sighing, Maria craned her neck in every direction, trying to work out the kink left in it by sleeping on the couch. Hearing the annoying knocking sound again, Maria remembered that was why she was awake before 7 in the morning.

Grumbling, she stood up and stumbled to the door, pulling it open and glaring at the occupant standing on the landing. “Isabel…why are you knocking so loudly?”

Rolling her eyes, Isabel replied, “cause you were asleep? Look, Max never came home last night.”

Rubbing her eyes to wake herself up some, Maria held open the door and let the other girl in. “and I would know something about this, why?”

“Michael said Max left here last night without even saying goodbye, just up and left while he was checking things out in the café for you. Then Michael came home after you fell asleep,” Isabel explained.

“Ok…coffee, then we’ll find him,” Maria promised, trying to think back on the previous night. “I’ll start a pot.”

Going into the kitchen, Maria quickly found the right appliance and started it up, yawning as she ran a hand through her messy hair. Picking up the toaster to look at her reflection, she cringed at what she saw.

Sleeping on the Parkers’ couch did not agree with her.

Well, she would have to catch a shower later, finding Max was top priority at the moment. Yawning once more, Maria wondered back into the living room, scratching at her neck.

“Has Michael heard from him?”

“No—and neither has Alex; I called him.” Looking up, Isabel admitted, “I’m scared Maria. What if he used his powers and someone saw? They could’ve grabbed him without us even knowing!”

“We should just calm down,” Maria instructed. “Max is too level headed and cautious to do anything out in the open.”

Folding and unfolding her hands on her lap repeatedly, Isabel nodded her head with emotion. “Right, right. Max is too cautious to use his powers in public, so he’s—he’s just…”

Seeing the panicked look in the other girls’ eyes, Maria finished, “asleep on a friends couch. Or maybe he went for a ride and the jeep broke down, so he’s asleep in it—safe and outta’s harms way.”

Hearing a soft rumble from deeper in the apartment, Isabel looked down the hallway. “Oh, Lizzie’s getting in the shower,” Maria explained.

“Do you think she saw Max? I mean, he’s trying to hide it, but he’s got a little crush on her,” Isabel said.

“Little? Iz, Max is in full blown lust mode,” Maria added, trying to make her friend smile.

And it worked. Isabel gave a little smile and commented, “Max doesn’t ‘lust’. He actually likes a girl for her mind and soul.”

“Awe…one of the good ones. Remind me why I chose your other brother?” Maria heard the coffee pot bubble and got up, heading into the kitchen with Isabel right behind her.

Although they weren’t sure, Isabel, Michael, and Max felt like they were siblings. Though Isabel and Max were by name, Michael wasn’t, but it didn’t stop them.

They were a family. Plain and simple.

“Cause you like the grunge-boy look,” Isabel replied.

“Yeah,” Maria agreed, pouring 2 cups, plus an extra for Liz. “We’ll talk to Liz when she gets done.”

Nodding, Isabel sat down at the table and sighed. Staring down at her mug, she lightly traced the rim, letting her finger be warmed by the heat coming from the liquid.

“Ok; spill,” Maria instructed, sitting down across from her. “This has ‘not about Max’ written all over your face.”

Sighing again, Isabel kept her face down. “Can I ask you a question?”

“You better. I’m getting antsy over here to know what’s up with you,” Maria quipped, taking a sip of her coffee. “Ugh…sugar.” Getting some, she tested it and smiled, taking another sip while looking at Isabel.

“Ok…here goes…what does Alex think about me?”

Nearly choking on her drink, Maria pulled it away quickly and swallowed, trying not to let it go down the wrong hole. “What?” she stumbled out, her eyes wide with shock.

Seeing the look, Isabel slumped down. “I figured, with you being one of his best friends, that you would know—“

“No, I know,” Maria said quickly. “I think the whole town, world even, knows how Alex feels about you.” Seeing the confusion sit into Isabel’s eyes, Maria added, “you don’t know?”

“I did; at least I think I did, but…” Sighing, she ran her hand through her hair and shook her head. “Lets just say that I heard Alex saying some stuff and now I’m not so sure.”

Trying to figure the code out, Maria said finally, “look, Iz, I don’t know what you heard, but Alex is head over heels for you. I can’t even imagine seeing him with someone else.”

“Really?” she asked softly. “Cause you even said yourself the other day that you thought he would end up with someone else.”

Getting even more confused, Maria sat back in her seat to ponder Isabel’s riddle. She thought Alex would end up with someone else? It was obvious that Alex was in love with Isabel; anyone could see it. Liz even made a comment about it the other day.

With wide eyes, Maria sat up quickly, finally getting what she was hinting at. Isabel thought Alex wanted Liz.

“Isabel, Liz isn’t competition for Alex,” Maria replied.

“If he wants her to be—“

“He doesn’t,” Maria explained. “Liz is Alex’s best bud; even more then me. Liz was the one that brought Alex into our little group. It was Liz who tutored him and helped him learn to cook so he could make his mom a birthday cake when he was 13. She even taught him to dance so he wouldn’t feel stupid at our junior high prom, then went as his date when Lisa Cortell ditched him at the last second. Yeah, so they’re close, but that’s it. They’re just close friends. And you even said yourself that Max was interested in Liz.”

“Maybe…but I heard Alex say he even thought he would end up with Liz and that he loved her.”

“And your point being? I love Liz and I love Alex. I love Max and you, but just as friends. Do you love Michael?”

“Of course,” Isabel replied.

“Then there you go. Liz isn’t interested in Alex like that. I don’t even think they’ve kissed.”

“Then why did you guys all think they would hook up?” Isabel asked, her eyebrows raised.

Trying to explain, Maria picked up her cup. “Alex and Liz had this special bond…that even I was out of the loop on. They were best buds and hung out constantly. When she broke up with her first, real boyfriend, Alex was there instantly, picking up the broken pieces. He tried to protect us from the hurt; that was just how Alex was, and still is. They made a good pair and I just assumed one day that it would turn into more. But I was wrong. And so are you. Alex doesn’t want Liz like that—he wants you like that,” she insisted.

Smiling softly, Isabel sipped at her drink, hoping that her friend was right.
***

Turning off the shower and stepping out slowly onto the cold tile, Liz reached for her white, fluffy towel and wrapped it around her body. Humming along with the last verse of a song on the little radio she kept in the bathroom, Liz left her hair down, letting it hang down her back.

Patting it dry some with a smaller towel, Liz threw that aside and started to dry herself off, smiling when one of her favorite songs started to play.

*Hotter then New Orleans in summertime. You’re so fine; you walked by, now, I wish I could press rewind. You shining like a disco ball. I can’t so no (can’t so no) we probably could break some laws and not be wrong.*

Moving her body slightly to the music as she dried off, Liz hummed along, feeling better then she had in a long time. Something about this morning was perfect.

*Simply irresistible—that is you, that is me. Can’t wait to get physical—I want you, you want me. Now it’s getting critical—I need you, you need me. I’m so tired of typical—that ain’t you, that ain’t me.*

Singing along, Liz pulled on her underwear, letting her towel fall to the floor. Turning from the mirror, she stopped, catching her backs’ reflection. Doing a double take, Liz froze, her smile falling from her face.

Her back was now completely bare. No scars what so ever.

Panicking, Liz was shocked and cried out, “what?!!”
***

Rubbing at his face, Max licked his lips and stretched, moaning when he felt the cramp in his neck and back. Stopping to focus on it, he let his body ‘heal’ its self and he yawned, opening his eyes a little and scratching at his chest out of habit.

Flying up into a sitting position, Max scanned the room quickly, not recognizing it. Spotting a pic on the nightstand, he snatched it up, sighing in relief when he saw it was Liz, Alex, and Maria.

Liz

Remembering that she had spent the night in his arms while they were in her bed, Max couldn’t stop the grin from appearing on his face. It wasn’t like anything happened; they didn’t even kiss. But she had wanted him to hold her, which was plenty enough for him.

Looking around for her, Max suddenly realized she was gone. He was in the bed alone. Feeling like a thousand-pound weight had been put on his chest, he wondered if she would act weird around him now.

Would they be able to talk like they had?

Hearing a shocked scream come from the door to his left, Max jumped up and went to see what was wrong before he really thought about it.

Cause if he had, he would have realized that it was Liz’s bathroom.

Walking into the room, Max realized that fact too late.

“What’s wrong—“

And he also realized to late that Liz was standing with her bare back toward him, wearing nothing but her underwear. Her damp hair was down, making little beads of water were rolling down her back from the dark locks.

Crying out, Liz grabbed the closest towel and covered her front, while Max stood frozen for a beat. Molding the towel to her body, she tried to cover herself the best she could in the cloth.

“Max!” Liz cried franticly.

Coming to, Max’s eyes widened and he said quickly, “sorry—I am so sorry! I didn’t think I just—“ He knew his face was blood red and he should move or do something, anything, but the picture of Liz, wet, in nothing but a pair of tiny, black underwear was occupying most parts of his mind.

Oh god

“I gotta go,” he exclaimed, charging out of the bathroom and pulling the door shut tightly. Snapping his eyes shut, Max tried to take in some deep, even breaths while he clenched his fists at his sides.

Leaning face first into the wall by the door, Max could hear the music coming out through the door.

*Picture us in Florida in the big beach house, full moon out, yeah. We’d probably melt the couch when we sit down. And probably take it to the floor, back and forth (back and forth) We light up the room like we had a torch.*

Moaning at the images that the lyrics were suggesting, Max blew all of the air out of his lungs, letting it filter through his nose in an attempt to remain calm.

*Trust me when I tell you I anticipate us as one. Next we’ll break to see your face, see my face? I’m for real. My good taste and your good shape; they relate, no question. Hold my hand, I’ll hold your waist. We’ll be straight face to face.*

If he thought it would be weird between then after just holding each other, how was it gonna be after that?

But the hardest thing was how Max was feeling.

There was no way he could just be happy as Liz’s friend. He wanted her; he needed her. And how he was feeling right now just proved it.

He didn’t know how or when, but Max would do everything in his power to prove to Liz that they would be great together. He would wait for her to realize it; no matter how long it took.

But for his body and minds well being, he prayed it wouldn’t be long.
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor


Edited by - True Blue Healer on 09/25/2001 06:55:09
posted on 27-Sep-2001 12:54:39 PM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hi! No song in this part, but something really important happens at the end…
***

PART 8 ~
Liz braced her back against the door and closed her eyes, still clinging the small towel to her chest. Her heart was thundering, making her ribs hurt and her breath was coming out labored. Her body was charged up, her adrenaline pumping energy through out her body and her hands shake as she ran them through her hair.

Chancing a glance in the mirror, Liz saw her pale face and looked away quickly, wrapping the towel all around her body. Her fingers grazed over her back, lingering on the spots where the dark scars had been last night.

But there was only smooth skin there now.

Feeling helpless, Liz wiped at her face angrily and pulled in a staggering breath. She was not living her life in fear and innocence any more. She was going to know what was going on around her.

Pulling on the black drawstring pants and white tank she had picked out, Liz left her hair wet and reached for the door, stopping briefly to listen for noises in the outer room.

Not hearing anything, she opened the door slowly and walked into the familiar bedroom, pausing when she started to walk around the bed. Standing at the end, Liz looked back up it, staring at the deep green cover. Flickering in and out of existence, the image of her and Max, clinging closely to each other, finally settled down on the bed, looking almost real enough to touch.

She was asleep, her head buried in his neck and Max’s hand were rotating between slipping through her hair and rubbing her back. Her sleep-self moaned softly and snuggled closer, linking her leg over his. Max, sleeping softly, kissed the crown of her head and finally drifted the rest of the way off.

Liz, watching the scene with full emotions, knew this was her dream. And it had happened. Never taking her eyes off of the vision appearing in front of her, she walked closer, coming up to her other bodies side of the bed.

Reaching out to touch the forms lying on her bed, Liz could see her hand was shaking. Getting a few inches away from Max’s hand as it laid on her back, she gasped when her hand hit a soft barrier and little green sparks flew from the spot her finger touched, spreading like a glowing web over the sleeping couple.

Pulling her hand back, Liz stumbled backwards, knocking into her dresser with her hip, the sound of breaking glass echoing all through the room. Turning to the sound without thinking, she saw her lamp had bit the dust. Glass was all over the floor and Liz knew she should pick it up, but she turned her attention back to the bed.

Seeing it was now empty, Liz froze and reached out, finally touching the bedspread. It was empty.

“This is not happening…” Liz muttered, starting to freak and spinning around to rush from the room. Feeling a stab of pain, she realized she had just planted her foot right down between the broken lamp, shattering it even more.

Try to ignore the sharp pain in her foot, Liz ran out into the hallway, making it to the kitchen before dropping to the floor to inspect her wounded limb. The bottom of her foot was bloody and she could see the shiny pieces of glass sticking out.

Screaming in frustration, Liz reached up and snagged a dishtowel, pressing it to multiply wounds from the glass. What the hell was wrong with her?! She knew the glass was there! Trying not to cry from the pain, Liz bit her lip and reached for the cabinet drawer, looking around for the first-aid kit.
***

“I was worried sick Max!” Isabel exclaimed, walking around the table like a hunter circling its prey. “Like it would have killed you to call me. I had Michael and Alex both out looking for you. And yet, there you were, asleep in Liz’s bed.”

With Liz,” Maria added. “Which, I gotta ask: how did that happen?”

Sighing, Max looked up at his friend and sister, feeling like a criminal facing the firing squad. “I’m sorry I didn’t call. And the whole Liz thing isn’t what you think.”

Isabel and Maria exchanged a look, which was a little too long for his ego, and finally looked back at Max, sitting down across from him at the same time.

“We’ll make you a deal,” Maria offered.

“More like a plea bargain,” Isabel added, like she knew exactly what Maria was talking about.

Max slowly sat up straighter, eyeing the two women. He didn’t know what was going on, and didn’t really want to. But it was obvious that Maria and Isabel weren’t going to give up. Sighing, he nodded his head in defeat.

“Good…so, here’s what we think…”
***

Michael wondered into the back of the café, looking around for Maria or Liz. He didn’t really know her very well, but she was cool. She seemed like a girl version of Max actually; which fit, considering Max’s huge crush on her.

His friend could try and play it down all he wanted, but it was obvious that Max into Liz. And Michael had to admit that Liz was quite a looker—but not his type. She was the complete opposite of Maria; in looks and personality. Dark hair, deep eyes, real smart, and sweet as could be. The more he got to know her, the more Michael wanted to help Alex and Max when they kick the living shit out of that Tyler guy.

How could anyone do something like that to her? The whole situation just sucked. He couldn’t even imagine what she was going through. If it were Isabel or his Maria that this happened to, someone would have to hold him back or some asshole would be charcoal.

Shaking off the pit in his stomach at the thought of someone else going through that, Michael looked around the back room, finding it empty. Which was unusual; the café was due to open in about half an hour.

Hearing some movement from up above, Michael glanced upward and figured they were in Liz’s apartment. Whistling, he jogged up the steps and knocked on the door twice, waiting for it to open or someone to yell ‘come in’. Lately, or well, ever since Liz came back, Maria and Alex practically lived up here.

He and Isabel had come up a few times and Max finally crossed the threshold last night, but he just vanished for some reason. A few minutes Michael had left himself and then Isabel called this morning, frantic about finding Max.

Knocking once more, Michael waited a beat then turned to go, figuring that whoever was inside didn’t want him in there. Turning his back on the door, Michael’s foot landed on the first step when he heard a muffled yell come from within the apartment.

It was a girl, but which girl, he didn’t know. The pit returning to his stomach, Michael spun around and knocked on the door once more, still not getting an answer. “Liz? Maria?!” he called out.

There was a soft bang and Michael tried the door, finding it locked. Pressing his ear to the door, he heard the girls’ voice again, but he couldn’t make out what she was saying.

Placing his hand over the knob, it grew a deep red before there was loud click of the lock popping open. Pushing it open, Michael walked into the apartment, leaving the door wide open as he ventured further in. Spotting the blood on the hallway floor, his eyes followed it into the kitchen.

“Liz?” he called out, seeing her back as she sat on the floor.

“I said I’d be out in a second,” she said back, her voice trembling.

Coming around to the front of her, Michael pulled in a quick breath when he saw the blood flowing off of her foot. “What the hell happened?” he demanded, kneeling beside her.

Liz, who was trying to keep a towel pressed against the wounds and open some bandages, said finally, “I stepped in some glass…”

Watching her fumble with the small bandages then at the blood soaked dishtowel, Michael knew they weren’t gonna do it. She was gonna need stitches and someone had to get the glass out of her foot. “You gotta go to the hospital—“

“No! I’m fine,” she insisted, trying to hold back her tears as she pulled the cloth away.

Swallowing, Michael saw how deep the glass was into her foot and had to give Liz props. That had to hurt like shit and she was keeping some control. But he couldn’t let her just go on with her foot like that.

“If you just go—“

“I don’t need anymore people pitting me!” Liz exclaimed, giving into her tears. “I just need to the get the glass out and bandage it up….”

Sighing, Michael ran a hand through his hair and blew all the air out of his lungs. Clicking his teeth, he thought about it another second before cringing as Liz grunted in pain while trying to pull out the glass.

“Let’s go,” he said out loud, standing up and easily pulling her up too.

“I’m not going to the hospital,” Liz said, trying to wobble away from him on one foot.

“Did I say anything about a hospital?” Michael threw back. “No. Now, where’s your bathroom?”

Liz eyed him a second before nodding her head down the hallway. “First on the left.”

“Ok.” Wrapping his arm around her waist, Michael quickly got Liz to the bathroom and tried to think of a good excuse while he looked around the tiny room. Getting an idea, he said, “sit on the tub and put your foot under the faucet.”

“Why?” Liz asked, but she moved to sit on the rim of the bathtub.

“The cold water will numb your foot and I can get the glass out,” Michael said, praying that she would buy it.

There was a long pause before Liz nodded and bit her lip. Michael sighed and turned on the water, spinning the knob to the right as far as it would go. Taking Liz’s foot, he moved it under the water, watching as her face contoured into a painful grimace, but she didn’t say anything.

The water going down the drain was tainted red with her blood, washing it off to give Michael a clear view of the glass shards imbedded into Liz’s skin. There were three big pieces and a few smaller ones, that would be ok if left alone, but the other three needed to come out.

Peeking to see if Liz was watching, Michael saw her eyes were shut tight and he relaxed a little, but not a lot. Healing was hard, no matter how little the wounds.

Wrapping his hand around her foot, Michael took in a deep breath and concentrated, trying to keep his breathing even. Hoping that it was working, he reached his free hand out and pulled the first piece of glass out of her foot.
***

Liz felt a warm, slightly numbing feeling come over her foot, slowly spreading up her leg some. She could still feel Michael’s hands on her, but everything else seemed to be fading away. The sounds of the water running, the rim of the tub hard under her, the smell of bleach; all of them seemed so far away.

Slowly, a pressure started to pound at the base of her skull and Liz pulled her eyes closed tighter, trying not to sway as it moved upwards, making her whole head tingle. She could no long feel anything except for Michael’s warm hands.

As if her eyelids’ were a movie screen, Liz could only watch as pictures started to fly past her eyes.

*Michael, with short, spiky hair, watching as Maria smiled and walked past a booth in the café, her hair shorter too. Maria on the floor, her face pale and the front of her dress soaked with blood as Max placed a hand over it. Maria and Michael making out, their bodies pressing close as they landed on a couch, never breaking the kiss. Max and Isabel, much younger, laughing and joking with their parents while Michael watched from the side.*

Liz’s eyes shot open and she stared hard at Michael, watching as he pulled his hands away. She didn’t have to look at her foot to know it was all better now, just like her face and back.

Michael, meeting her gaze, didn’t say anything and Liz knew he was trying to gauge her reaction. Swallowing, she asked bluntly, “what did you just do?”
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor

posted on 1-Oct-2001 11:26:29 PM by True Blue Healer
I know it seems weird for 'level-headed' Liz to fall for a guy like Tyler, but he didn't show his real 'Skin' (it's scales btw -- the snake -- *smile*) until they were deep into the relationship.
Anywhoo, I'm SO hyped now after seeing the NEW ep of Buffy -- I won't give anything away (I made that mistake last season) but it was sooooo great!!! And since I'm so hyper, I'll be up all night with nothing to do but work on my fics *big*

Authors Notes- Hey! Again, no song. I usually try to put on in every part to create the mood (*smile*) but I missed a few chapters!! Enjoy!
***

PART 9 ~
Liz eyed Michael, watching as he stood up slowly. Keeping her eyes on him, she stood up also, putting her weight down on the foot. A little tingle from a few cuts, but nothing near what it was.

“You do good work.”

Michael eyed her and added, “what do you know?”

“Enough…” Liz said softly, eyeing the door quickly. “So how? I mean, you’re a ‘healer’ or what?” Not even paying attention to the words coming out of her mouth, she just let them roll out.

Michael scoffed and muttered, “Max is more of the healer.”

Feeling her stomach roll, Liz knew this was going to be bad. “Max too? So, what, you guys have some kind of special power or what?” Her knees were starting to shake and she could feel her pulse speeding up.

Michael, noticing that too, reached out for her. “Liz—“

“Don’t,” she exclaimed, pulling away from him and running from the room.

Cursing, Michael went after her. “Liz!”
***

Hearing the hurried footsteps on the stairs, Max, Isabel, and Maria whipped their heads around. “What the hell?” Maria asked, getting up to go into the back with the others following.

Spotting Liz coming down the steps with Michael hot on her trail, Maria exclaimed, “what’s going on?!”

Liz stopped and looked at her before Michael, then back to Maria once more. “You’ve known, haven’t you?”

“She knows,” Michael said simply, stopping at the bottom of the steps. Liz, shaking her head, stepped away from him.

“She knows we’re aliens?” Isabel asked, her face going pale.

“Aliens?!” Liz shrieked.

When the others looked at Michael, he added, “I never said she knew it all.”

Maria groaned and walked toward Liz. “Lizzie…just stay calm.”

“Calm? Calm?! All of you have been lying to me for over a week!!” Giving them all a look, Liz let her eyes stager on Max a beat longer, feeling the trust she had been building in him collapse. He wouldn’t even make eye contact with her; just letting his eyes land on the floor in front of him.

“We never lied; technically,” Isabel said softly, looking down also.

“Yeah…no where in all of our conversations did you ask ‘are you a alien’?” Michael added.

Maria growled at him before turning back to Liz. “I know this is hard—which is why we didn’t tell you. We were afraid that you’d—“

“That I’d what? Flip out?” Liz finished for her. “God! Did I ask any of you to walk on eggshells around me?! I came back here so I could be around people who would treat me like I normal person, but all I got were people keeping secrets and lying to me. I mean, aliens?! How is that even possible? Aliens don’t exist!!”

“You think we’re lying?” Michael asked.

Looking at him, Liz added, “you actually expect me to believe you? There’s got to be another explanation.”

“I would never lie to you,” Max said softly.

Turning to gaze at him, Liz watched as he took a step forward, holding his hand out. “Do you trust me?” he asked.

Gazing at the hand, Liz closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to listen to her heartbeat. What should she do? She trusted Max, but he had been lying to her all this time. But he was sweet and kind, and Maria trusted them all. Plus Alex did too.

But when it came down to it, did she really trust Max herself? Even after what she had just been told?

Remembering the feeling of waking up in his arms, Liz opened her eyes and noticed the others had left, leaving her alone with Max, who still had his hand held out.

Swallowing, Liz reached out and laid her palm in his, meeting his gaze head on. Max moved a few feet closer and paused, finally bringing his free hand up to cup her face, brushing some stray hair away in the process.

Feeling her face get red from his intense gaze, Liz swallowed again, trying to ignore how dry her throat was all of a sudden. Seeing his eyes glance quickly at her mouth, Liz froze, wondering if he was going to kiss her.

But instead of kissing, Max began speaking. “Look into my eyes and let your mind go blank…”

Trying to do what he said, Liz found the first part easy. Max had deep, rich, amber-brown eyes that seemed to go on forever. But how could she let her mind go blank after all this? And how did her ‘vision’ of them on her bed fit into it?

Max, sensing her thoughts, added softly, “focus on my voice, just my voice…”

Gazing at his lips, Liz watched his mouth move, hearing the words get fainter and fainter until his mouth was moving, but she wasn’t hearing anything. Looking back up at his eyes, the connection suddenly bloomed, making her gasp. A tidal wave of thoughts, impressions, and emotions rolled over her, all of them coming from Max.

*Max as a little child, breaking out of a pod of some sort, his body covered in a blue goo like substance; a little older now, running around a big yard, the leaves a dark color and falling as a young Isabel chased him, both of them clothed in sweaters. Him, Isabel, and Michael walking into the café; Max, noticing Isabel and Michael noticing Alex and Maria, feeling upset that he didn’t feel a connection like that to someone.

Seeing her for the first time, feeling his heart pound and the slight hum over take his body. His nervousness as they were paired together at the movies, and then his disappointment but understanding when she left. Max at the Crashdown, choosing to sit at the counter instead of his favorite booth in hopes of being able to talk to her.

Max, his heart pounding again as Liz curled up to his side, placing her head on his chest and falling asleep, the rhymthnic sound of her breathing calming down his nerves and making him feel like he was home finally. His shock and guilt at walking in on her changing, but underlining it all was his desire for her.

Her and Max pressed closely together, the only thing keeping them apart was the towel, which was still pressed up against her bare chest.
*


Liz gasped and pulled out of the connection, her mind reeling from the last flash. That had never happened!! They didn’t kiss; hell, they hadn’t even really spoken since then! But she got that picture from Max. Thinking back on it, she took in how the color was a little off and it looked hazy, like it was fading away. The others were bright and vivid, but that one…

It was almost as if the memory of it wasn’t real. Which it wasn’t…so why was it in Max’s mind?! Feeling his thumb gently rub her cheekbone, Liz turned her attention back to him and saw the deep longing in his eyes.

It was the same look he was giving her in the flash…

With widened eyes, Liz looked down and realized what had happened: she had stumbled onto a fantasy Max had! A fantasy about her!! Wearing practically nothing!!

Oh god

“What did you see?” Max asked softly, trying to catch her eye.

Swallowing, Liz realized that he didn’t know she had seen his fantasy. She wasn’t sure if that was good or bad, but at least it would save her from a very awkward moment.

“Liz…”

“Um…I saw—I saw a lot of things,” she muttered, backing up a few feet, letting his hand fall from her face, the loss of his touch pulling at her from inside. “It was a little confusing…”

Max nodded and didn’t say anything else. Trying to find the best way to approach the subject, Liz asked timidly, “you healed the wounds on my back?”

“Your back?” he repeated, sounding truly confused.

Clearing her throat, she added, “I had scars on my back yesterday and now…” Trailing off, Liz bit her lower lip. “Um…I think I need to go lay down.”

“Do you want me to get Maria?” Max asked.

“No,” Liz said quickly. Catching herself, she added, “I just need some time to…process things.” Giving him a semi-normal smile, she retreated up to her apartment and collapsed onto her bed, letting all the events of the past week roll around her head.

It was pretty much a given that Isabel had healed her face and Max her back, then Michael her foot, but was that all they were supposed to do? They were sent all the way to earth to heal humans? It was all a little out there, but then again, she was thinking about real-life aliens here.

“Aliens…” Liz whispered, rolling onto her back, gripping a pillow to her chest.

Max was an alien. The guy, who held her, actually made her feel safe for the first time in over 4 years, wasn’t even human! He was a completely different species, yet Liz couldn’t keep her mind away from thinking of that night. His arms felt like they were there for the sole purpose of holding her, like his whole purpose was to be with her, hold her, love her.

But was that even possible? Would it work? Well, of course it worked, she reasoned; Look at Maria and Michael. So, it WAS possible. A relationship was able to thrive between a human and an alien. Her and Max would be ok if—

“If? If what?!” Liz whispered fiercely. “I can’t believe I’m even thinking this!! He’s an alien.”

Now, if he was just plain old Max Evans, yeah, she could think of him like that. In fact, she already had been. But now…

Now the rules were different.

Sighing in frustration, Liz turned onto her side and looked out her window, adding glumly, “the first guy I have a crush on turns out to be an alien. That’s gonna make dating again so much easier!”
***

Alex whistled to himself as he walked into the café, wondering why the ‘closed’ sign was still hanging in the window. Shrugging it off, he looked around the large dinning room and paused, finding it empty. Not being able to shrug off his paranoia this time, he took in a deep breath and walked toward the back door marked ‘employees only’, looking through the doorway before walking through.

Noticing Maria and Michael on the couch and Isabel pacing a few feet away, he hurried in, his mind casually wondering where Max was. “What happened?”

“Nice to see you too,” Michael muttered, throwing Alex a look when Maria sighed loudly and stood up. Giving them all a confused look, Alex waited for someone to explain.

“Liz knows,” Isabel told him, not quite looking him in the eye.

“And we weren’t the ones to tell her,” Maria added, her voice giving away her hurt.

Closing his eyes, Alex sighed and said softly, “how bad is it?”

“Bad,” Michael simply replied.

“How did she find out?”

“Michael healed a cut on her and…” Isabel trailed off.

“She mentioned something about Max too,” Michael said suddenly, as if he was defending himself.

“Where is Max?” Alex asked.

Isabel and Michael’s eyes drifted toward Alex’s right and he looked, seeing Max leaning against the wall, his head down and eyes closed.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen this way,” Maria exclaimed suddenly. “We should have told her!”

“Maria—“

“No, Isabel. No, ok?” Pacing herself, Maria shook her head. “Me and Alex both wanted to tell her. And yes, I get this is a big and very important secret, but it would have been better if we told her ourselves instead of her finding out this way!”

“I agree,” Alex said quickly, not skipping a beat.

“I know you guys don’t really know her, but Liz is my best friend. I completely trust her,” Maria added.

“With your life? Cause we’re trusting her with ours,” Isabel whispered.

“100% complete trust. I’d lay my life down on the line for her and she’d do the same,” Alex said finally, heading toward the steps to find Liz.

“I’m with Alex.”

Hearing Max’s soft voice, Alex looked over his shoulder and watched as the other young man gave Michael and Isabel a pointed look before heading out the back door. Michael sighed and propped his head up in his hands and leaned on his knees while Isabel looked down and ran her hand through her hair, in a motion Alex had learned to mean that she was upset and stressed.

Feeling Maria’s eyes, Alex gave her a small smile, hoping to lift her spirits as he continued up the steps, walking into the apartment without knocking. Heading straight back to Liz’s room, Alex knocked briskly before entering, shutting the door behind him.

Plopping down on the bed, he stared up at the ceiling for a few moments before saying out loud, “you’re not in the shower, so get out here.”

After a beat the bathroom door opened and Liz trudged out, clad in her fuzzy white bathrobe and slippers. “I could’ve been in the bath.”

Looking at her, Alex opened his arms and Liz laid down beside him, laying her head on his chest. “I know you too well Parker. Can’t fool me.”

“But me, on the hand, I’m easily lied to,” Liz muttered. When Alex didn’t defend himself, she picked her head up. “What? No remarks?”

“I’m not gonna say we didn’t lie to you Liz, cause, technically, we did,” Alex answered. Giving her a look, he added, “you should understand where they’re coming from. Isabel, Michael, and Max were scared to let anyone in on their secret for the plain and simple fear of getting hurt…any of this ring a bell?”

Liz looked down and sighed, resting her head on Alex’s chest once more. “How do I handle this?”

“Same way me and Maria did. Talk to them; they’re not gonna hurt you Lizzie.”

“I know that…”

Looking down at the top of her head, Alex added, “we’re not that different. They’re more human then most of us.” Feeling Liz shift on the bed, Alex wrapped his arms around her and kissed the crown of her head.

“Thanks,” Liz whispered.

“No problem. You should’ve seen Maria after she first found out. I was the only sane one in the equation,” Alex joked. Liz laughed softly and closed her eyes, relaxing for the first time that day.
***
TBC


~*~Melissa~*~
Awakened Dreamer~*~True Bluer
Purely-Platonic Polorist
Dreamer*Truckstopper*Donor


Edited by - True Blue Healer on 10/03/2001 00:20:03
posted on 13-Oct-2001 1:05:00 AM by True Blue Healer
Authors Notes- Hey! Ok, I hope you guys like this part…the ending kinda leaves ya wondering, like the last one did!
***

PART 10 ~
Hearing the bell ding over the entrance of the Crashdown, Liz looked up, half of her wanting it to Max, and the other half praying it wasn’t.

The second half won.

Kyle Valenti nodded in her direction and headed over, pointing to the end of the counter. Following his lead, Liz met him there, wiping down the counter for good measure. She was supposed to be working and keeping up good pretenses.

“I put the case through and there’s a warrant out for Tyler,” Kyle told her, getting right to the point.

Shocked, Liz stood frozen for a moment, her hand in mind wipe.

“Liz?”

Clearing her throat, she pulled her hand back and looked down. “Wow…that was really, really fast,” Liz finally mumbled.

“Well, I said I would rush it,” Kyle added.

“Ok…”

Reaching out to rub her shoulder, Kyle said softly, “I know this is hard and I want you to know that I’m here for you. Whatever you need.”

“Thanks.”

“I mean it Liz, anything,” he added finally, giving her shoulder a squeeze.

Nodding, Liz smiled weakly and joked, “can ya make sure he drops the soap when he gets taken in?”

Laughing, Kyle rubbed his chin. “You always could make me smile.” Pulling his hands away, he looked away for a beat before adding, “I missed you, when you left, you know?”

“You did?” Liz asked, her shock coming through. Her and Kyle had been broken up for a while before she left.

“Of course,” Kyle answered, not missing a beat. “You were one of my best friends. I mean, we may had broken up, but you still meant something to me.”

“Wow…” Speechless, Liz simply looked down and smiled softly.

“Liz…I know this is the wrong time. I mean, I came here to tell you that I just put out a warrant for your ex, but I was wondering if you wanted to get a…drink…or something…sometime,” Kyle got out. “And I don’t want you to think I only got your case filed so quickly because I wanted to date you, cause I didn’t. I mainly did that cause I hate Tyler, but ya know… I’m not blackmailing you into this. It’s a clean and innocent invite. So?”

Not even able to mutter a ‘wow’ this time, Liz stared at Kyle openly for a minute.

“That’s not a good sign, is it?” he asked lamely, starting to turn around and leave. “I think I’ll go now.”

Swallowing, Liz shook her head and stepped up a few feet, catching his arm. “Wait…”

Looking back over his shoulder, Kyle widened his eyes. “Didn’t I just get the brush off?”

“No, I mean, not yet,” Liz added, hoping to get a smile out of him; which she did. “I was just taken by surprise. That pretty much came right out of the blue, Kyle.”

“Mmm…I don’t think it did,” Kyle argued, spinning around completely. “We used to date. And, because of that, I have the right to ask you out; whenever I please.” Giving her a flat out grin, he winked.

Laughing, Liz shook her head and swatted Kyle on the arm.
***

Flipping the last burger, Michael served it up and checked the orders, realizing that he was done for a minute or 2. Wiping his brow, he pulled off his headband and leaned out of the order window, gazing round the café. Spotting something, he looked back at it and widened his eyes.

“Hey, space-boy, what’s on tap for tonight?” Maria asked, coming over to give him a quick peck on the lips, taking his attention off of the couple at the back booth.

Kissing her back, Michael pulled back after a beat, licking his lips. Maria’s lip-gloss had rubbed off onto him and he tasted it. “Hmm…tropical.”

“Mango surprise,” Maria told him, licking her own lips. “It’s tasty.”

Looking at her with intensity, Michael added, “I’ll agree with that,” before capturing her lips again, kissing her soundly. Making a breathy noise in the back of her throat, Maria placed her hands on Michael’s neck and pulled him closer, making both of their hips hit the wall from either side.

Pulling his lips away from hers just an inch, Michael mumbled against her lips, “Maria, babe, there’s a wall between us.”

Laughing, she pulled away and replied, “well…we’ll just have to continue this at home.” Giving him a steamy look, Maria leaned in and licked his lips, taking the bottom one into her mouth for a quick second before letting it go.

Closing his eyes, Michael took a deep breath and locked his jaw, breathing out of his nose. “That…was…wrong…”

Laughing, Maria replied, “I know; but I wanted to give you a taste of what you’re in for.” Kissing his cheek, she was about to stroll off when Michael caught her hip and pulled her back.

“Hey, what’s up with that?” he asked, nodding his head toward the back booth.

Looking herself, Maria shrugged. “Don’t know…”

“This could really harm Max’s chances,” Michael added.

“What? You think Liz is gonna get back with Kyle? No way,” Maria exclaimed, looking at him with shock written all over her face.

Glancing back at Liz and Kyle, Michael shrugged. “They do seem awful chummy,” he said, watching as Kyle tugged on Liz’s apron, making her stand closer to him.

Stopping to watch for a moment, Maria finally shook her head. “I don’t think so… Liz said she wasn’t looking for anyone right now.”

Hearing the door chime, Michael looked over and nudged Maria, making her jump.

“What?” she asked, turning from Liz and Kyle.

Pointing, Michael kept quiet as Maria looked over and watched Max walk in the café.
***

Forgetting about his normal booth, Max headed right for the counter, planting himself at his new—normal seat. Looking up, he watched as Maria dodged away quickly, looking to the left. Michael, giving him a quick nod, spun away too, scratching at his neck.

“What can I get ya, Max?” Maria asked, jumping up to his left side.

Spinning that way to see her, Max replied, “cherry soda.”

Scribbling it down, Maria nodded and looked up quickly, fixing her eyes on a spot past him before looking back down again. “Ok, so um, that’s one cherry coke and--…one cherry coke, ok.”

Looking at her weirdly, Max clicked his tongue and nodded. “Ok…did I miss something?”

“No,” Maria exclaimed quickly. “I mean, no, why do you ask?”

Clearing his throat, Max ignored her outburst and decided to ask already. “No reason. Listen, how’s Liz doing? She’s had all night to think about it all.”

Looking over his shoulder once more, Maria shrugged. “Ok, I guess—“

A high, very feminine giggle came from over her shoulder.

“—Really ok,” Maria finished.

Confused, and even more confused, Max opened his mouth to speak but closed it again, figuring he was better off in the dark. Maria could be quite odd when she wanted.

“Gotta go,” she added, darting off as quickly as she came.

“Ok…” Max whispered, shaking his head and turning back around in his seat. Not needing to but picking it up to have something in his hands, he looked through the café’s menu. Hearing the laugh again, Max got a little curious and looked over, frozen at what he saw.

Liz was laughing and standing very close to Kyle Valenti, who was sitting on the edge of his seat in the back booth, making their hips touch. With sad eyes, Max watched as Kyle touched Liz’s arm while saying something that made her smile.

“Here’s your coke,” Maria said, sitting it down.

Looking away from them finally, Max cast a quick look at Maria, noticing how she trying her best not to look over there herself. Michael, standing at the order window, gave him a knowing look before going back to the stove.

“Thanks…but um,” Max cleared his throat and looked over at Liz again, “I think I’m gonna head out.” Maria looked like she wanted to say something but kept quiet as he stood up and headed out the door.

Sighing, she looked over at Liz and Kyle herself.
***

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Liz told Kyle, shaking her head. “You did not do that!”

“I swear,” he argued. “Ask anyone.” Maria strode up to the table and Kyle added, “Maria, didn’t I—“

“Yeah sure. Liz, something’s leaving.” Then she was gone.

Confused, Liz looked toward the door and froze, watching Max’s back as he left. Even from the backside she could tell he was upset about something.

“She’s weird. Well, anyway, there I was—“

“Um, Kyle, I have to go,” Liz said suddenly, heading for the door.
***
TBC

posted on 19-Oct-2001 12:46:43 AM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hey guys!! I hope ya like this part. It’s so cute…VERY Dreamy!!!!!!!!!
***

PART 11 ~
Max walked briskly down the sidewalk, telling himself over and over in his head that Liz was free to do whatever she wanted; she could talk to whoever she wanted, hang out with whoever she wanted.

Date whoever she wanted.

But Kyle Valenti? Granted, Max thought he was an ok guy, but still – Kyle Valenti?!!

“Max…”

Thinking he heard someone call out his name, Max paused quickly but shrugged, figuring that it was just the wind. Michael and Maria were working, Isabel was at home working on her English paper, and Liz was inside the café flirting with Kyle Valenti.

“Max!” This time the voice sounded louder, more distinct; and very feminine.

Stopping completely, Max looked over his shoulder and froze, noticing for the first time that Liz had followed him out of the café. Looking around, he noticed the sidewalk was quite crowded and a few people had turned to look at her after her outburst.

Liz, tugging self-consciously on her aquamarine outfit, pointed slightly to the alleyway beside the café and headed in, leaving Max with the choice to follow or keep going on his journey home.

Deciding in less then a millisecond to follow her, Max slowly entered the small side street, not knowing what to expect or what he was going to find. Seeing Liz was turned away from him and wringing her hands nervously at her side, Max walked closer and touched one of them softly, making her spin around quickly.

“Oh!” she squeaked, giving him a small, nervous smile. “I wasn’t sure if you’d come over or not.”

“No contest,” Max replied softly, letting her hand go with some hesitation. “So…what’s up?”

Liz blew out all of her air and nodded, making the small area feel even smaller to Max. The tension rolling off of her was thick and he wondered how she was dealing with everything.

“How are you doing? You know, after everything that happened yesterday?” he added.

“Um, actually, that’s what I want to talk to you about,” Liz said quickly, jumping onto the topic.

Looking at her face, Max wondered if that’s why she really flagged him down. She could have easily talked to Maria or Alex; or even Michael – get a first hand account.

Why would she go through all the trouble to get to him when everyone else was around?

“Would you come over to my place tonight?” Liz asked suddenly, completely catching Max off guard.

“You — [I[you’re place?” he stammered out. Was she asking him out on a date? Reeling from the thought, Max’s mind went into hyper-drive and he was tempted to blurt out a yes, but held back for his dignity’s sake.

“Yeah, see, Alex said we should talk. So I was wondering if you could make it,” Liz amended, fumbling with her hands once more.

“Oh…you mean all of us?” Max asked, realizing that she wasn’t asking him out, just making plans with the group and asking him to tag along. His pride took a huge dent and he slumped down some, at least thankful for the fact that he hadn’t rambled out something embarrassing before.

Liz, pausing on that question, looked slightly confused for a moment then added, “ok, that could work,” her face turning slightly red.

Ready to kick himself in the head, Max closed his eyes and called himself every name in the book. She had been making plans for just them! And what did he go and do? He ruined it!! Trying to regroup and fix everything, he thought quickly.

“Um actually, I know for a fact that Isabel can’t make it and Michael mentioned something about going out with Maria and Alex will want to spend time with Isabel since he has a thing for her, so it might just be us after all,” Max rambled out. It wasn’t all completely a lie. Isabel was working on an English paper and Alex did have a thing for her. Plus he had heard Maria berating Michael the other day on how he never took her anywhere, so they could have made plans for the night.

Liz, taking all of that in, said finally, “ok…um, then you can stop back by later?”

Max nodded and asked, “about what time?”

“About 9? I get off at 8 and that’ll give me time to clean up and all.”

“That works,” Max replied, agreeing quickly. Hell, she could’ve told him to come back at 5 am and he’d be here awake and alert, ready to go; probably still awake from the night before.

Smiling, Liz nodded and pushed her hair back off of her face. “Ok, good, 9 it is.”

“Yeah…9 it is,” Max said softly, his insides glowing as Liz smiled shyly at him again.

“Um…I should get back to work; I’m still on the clock and Maria will throw a fit if I’m gone long,” Liz joked, pointing over her shoulder with her thumb. “Yeah,” she added after a beat, turning and heading toward the back entrance of the café. The whole while Max stood still and watched her, captivated at how she looked shy and innocent while strong and independent at the same time.

Opening the door, Liz paused and looked back over at him. “Thanks Max.”

“For what?” he asked, genuinely confused.

Smiling, Liz replied, “for letting me breathe,” before entering the café and leaving him alone in the alley.

Smiling himself, Max walked the short distance back to the sidewalk and headed toward home, his attitude changed severely.
***

“It’s not a date,” Liz amended, gathering up her fingernail polishes and make-up kit.

“Let me see: you asked him over and he said yes. Hmm…seems like a date to me!” Maria exclaimed, happy for her friend.

Sighing, Liz sat down on the side of her bed and pulled her foot up, wringing the bottle of nail polish in her hand. Making sure her hair was still wrapped up tightly, she opened the top of the bottle.

“What’s up with the turban?” she added.

“Leave in conditioner to make my hair shiny,” Liz replied without thinking. “It comes off after 10 minutes, which gives me enough time to paint my toe nails.”

“Uh-huh…date,” Maria repeated.

Getting annoyed, Liz glared at her best friend. “It’s not a—“

--

“Date,” Max added, searching through his closet. “We’re just talking.”

“Hmm…talking about what, per say?” Isabel asked from her spot perched on his bed.

“Stuff,” Max said after a moment.

Stuff?” Isabel repeated, her voice ringing with suggestive tones.

Spinning to look at his sister, Max sighed. “Isabel, please, I’m begging you. Stay out of it!”

--

“Fine, I’ll stay out, but I’m asking for one thing.”

“What’s that?” Liz replied hesitantly.

“Details and that I get added in the story as your matchmaker when you tell your grandchildren about how you two met,” Maria said casually.

“Out,” Liz ordered, pointing toward her bedroom door.

--

“Rude much,” Isabel muttered, a smile on her face.

“Isabel…” Max warned, grabbing a shirt out of his closet, looking at, and then tossing it into the reject pile over his shoulder. The ‘loser’ clothing was collecting more and more members as Max dug further through his closet. “Just leave me be…”

“Max, move,” Isabel said, coming up beside him.

“Excuse me?” he asked, giving her a look.

“Do you want my help or do you want to show up there as a fashion reject?” she exclaimed.

Weighing his options, Max relented and backed up, giving Isabel more room and inciting a smile from her. Rolling his eyes, he waited as she looked slowly over all of his shirts, paying special attention to a few.

“Ok, dark colors work really well with you, and that’s good considering it’s all you have.” Pondering over 3 shirts, she cocked her head and dropped two, handing him the last one. “Leave the top button open and do not do that thing with your hair,” she instructed.

“What thing with my hair?” Max asked defensively, taking the shirt.

“The thing. Look; just wear it like it is. Maybe even spike it a little…or, well…better not. It’s not really your type. More of a Michael thing.” Looking around his room, she rushed over and picked up his bottles of cologne, smelling each. “This one,” she added, handing one of them to him too.

“Oh! And dark colored jeans – no blue. Plus, ya need to shave,” she added gently before breezing out the door, leaving Max confused and his hands full.

--

“Ow!” Liz exclaimed, pulling back from Maria quickly. “Are you trying to make me bleed?!”

Sighing, Maria held her chin and made her sit still. “You need a trim badly Liz,” she replied. “When was the last time you plucked your eyebrows?”

“I don’t know,” Liz said, jumping slightly as Maria tugged.

“Well, it’s been long enough.”

Sighing, Liz rubbed her free eyebrow after Maria finished it and moved onto the other one. “God forbid I let you stay while I get ready again.”

“Hey, you need me,” Maria insisted. “This is your first date after a long, rotten relationship.”

“It’s not a date,” Liz added quickly.

“Whatever you say,” Maria replied, laughing. “But I’m not the one who insisted on getting off early and going to the tanning bed.”

“I was pale,” Liz said softly.

“And wanted to impress Max. Come on, Liz! Just admit it! You even painted your toe nails!”

“They needed it!”

Maria shook her head and put the tweezers down. “Fine, whatever, I give up; it’s not a date. But ask yourself this – would it be if Tyler never happened?”

Swallowing, Liz turned away from Maria and picked up her make-up bag. “It’s more then just Tyler, ok?”

“Then what? Cause he’s different?”

“No! Of course not!” Liz said. “I mean, it’s a good reason to take things slow, but it doesn’t really make a difference in the long run.”

“Ok…but you need to think about now. Max is a great guy,” Maria added with sincerity. “And he’s not just gonna wait around while you play it safe. It’s not fair to him and it’s not fair to you either. Love isn’t safe, it’s a risk. And Max would never do anything to hurt you.”

Maria got up and left the room silently, leaving Liz thinking hard while looking in her mirror.
***

Sticking another mozzarella stick covered in pizza sauce into his mouth, Alex crunched on it for a moment before adding, “so, is it a date?”

Michael shrugged and picked up a stick, dipping it into some blue-cheese sauce before sprinkling a ton-load of salt on it and taking a big bite. “Beats me, but Maria’s convinced it is,” he replied with a full mouth.

Thinking it over, Alex waved his half-eaten appetizer in the air as he spoke. “Max likes her; more then likes her. I don’t know if Liz is ready for that.” Eating that one and grabbing up a new one, he dipped it into some sauce.

“Bad for our boy then,” Michael observed. “Max fell hard.”

“Tell me about it. The poor guy can hardly speak around her without turning red.” Taking another bite, Alex spit it out, making a face. “God…what is wrong with the blue-cheese?!”

“Blue-cheese mixed with tabasco sauce,” Michael answered, sticking a Buffalo wing into it.

“Ok…I’ll stick to the pizza sauce,” Alex said finally, making a face as Michael took a big bite. “Anyway, where’s Maria?”

Pointing over his shoulder, Michael added, “she wondered back upstairs. Liz is probably ready to kill her.”

“Liz is not going to kill me,” Maria exclaimed, suddenly coming out to the front of the café.

“Kick you out?” Alex asked.

“Yeah,” Maria answered without missing beat, sitting down beside Michael and giving him a quick kiss. “Oh! Cheesy and spicy.”

Laughing, Michael said suddenly, “Liz may not kill you, but Max may kill Isabel.” Confused, Alex and Maria both looked toward the door, trying to suppress their grins. Max and Isabel had just walked in.

Isabel was trying to reach Max’s hair while Max waved her hands away, giving her a hard look and walking off.

Snickering, Maria cleared her throat and waited for Max to reach their table. “Liz is waiting up stairs – go on up,” she stated, not letting Max even open his mouth.

Pausing Max finally nodded and walked past, going through the back. Alex saw the nervous look on his friends’ face and grinned.

“So…what’s on tap for tonight?” Isabel asked, sitting down beside Alex in the booth.

“We should probably go away, ya know? Give Max and Liz some privacy,” Alex stated, looking around at the others. Michael shrugged with indifference and both girls nodded.

“But…ya now…I could really go for some more Buffalo wings,” Maria added suddenly.

“Me too!” Isabel exclaimed, settling down further in the seat.

Shaking his head, Alex rolled his eyes and laughed, knowing that Isabel and Maria were both dying to know what was going on upstairs. Well, he guessed, they’d just have to wait to find out.
***
TBC

posted on 21-Oct-2001 2:01:36 AM by True Blue Healer
Don't worry guys -- the 'not-a-date' date will be, um, interesting to read -- as 1 or 2 of you already know *wink* And of course all the folks who read this fic when it was up on the old board. I think I only had 2 more parts then this up over there.

Well, I better drag myself away and get workin' on part 16 -- I'm almost done it *big* Later!!!
posted on 25-Oct-2001 3:48:45 AM by True Blue Healer
Authors Notes- Hey. This is it – the night of the ‘not-a-date’ date!!!! *big* I hope you guys like this part!
***

PART 12 ~
Hopping down her hallway, Liz tried in vain to put her last shoe on and make it to her kitchen. Getting frustrated, she simply tossed the shoe down and wobbled into the room, feeling silly with only one sneaker on.

Ignoring it and focusing on her snacks, Liz opened the stove and pulled out the tray, smelling the freshly baked cookies. Oatmeal-raisin was her favorite. Quickly moving them onto a serving tray, she sat them aside and opened the refrigerator, checking to make sure her drinks were ok.

Smiling, she went into the living room, looking around. Everything was perfect for when Max arrived. Checking the clock, she hurried to retrieve her shoe, realizing that he was due any minute.

No sooner then she got the knot tied did she hear a knock at the door. Standing, Liz took a deep breath and pushed her hair back from her face, trying to look presentable.

Not that it really mattered.

It was not a date.

Placing a smile on her lips, Liz walked over to answer the door, counting to three to calm her racing heart down. Feeling more secure, she threw out one last prayer and pulled open the door.
***

Flicking the cigarette onto the sidewalk, he left it burning and entered the little café, rolling his eyes. The little hellhole hadn’t changed one bit.

Same ugly green walls and dumb-ass alien shit.

Casually taking a window seat, he pulled out a menu and looked through it, turning his nose up at everything. How the hell had she lived here for 18 years?!

Spotting some movement from the corner of his eye, he looked up to watch a short blonde bound up from a seat and go into the back through a door marked ‘employees only’. Recognizing her, he looked back at the booth and saw the other one.

Seething at the thought of them hiding her, he clicked his tongue and lit another cigarette, letting the smoke fill his senses before blowing it back out.

“Sir, this is a ‘no smoking’ establishment,” a waitress informed him, smiling sweetly.

Turing on the charm, he replied, “oh, forgive me, I had no idea; I’m new to town, or well, just returning after a long time.” Putting out the cigarette, he looked up and took her name. “Forgive me Anne.”

“That’s ok, sir,” she replied.

“Oh, please, call me Ty. ‘Sir’ is so informal, Anne.”

“Ok…um, well, what can I get you to drink, Ty?” she added, giving him another smile and a good look over.

“Um…coke? Coke sounds good.”

“One coke coming up. Anything else?”

“No, I’m good to go for now,” he told her, waiting until she was behind the counter to get up. Walking toward the door the girl had run through, he looked through the window casually.

“Sir?”

Hearing the waitress’s voice, he spun back around and said, “just looking for the restrooms.”

“Right there,” Anna answered, pointing to the door marked with the ‘restroom’ label.

“Thank you,” he purred, making sure to look at her good before walking off. Some people could be so gullible. She was good looking, petite, had fiery red hair and a body that seemed to cry out for him. He might have to make a little detour on this journey. Besides, he wasn’t leaving without his fiancée, so he could spend some time with Anne first.

Chuckling to himself, Tyler opened the door to the bathroom and walked in. He might even pay his dear Liz a visit tonight.
***

Waiting patiently for the door to be answered, Max scratched at his chin. He had things under control. He could go into Liz’s tonight and talk without any problems.

Hearing the door open, he looked up and froze.

Ok, maybe one problem: he would have to speak, wouldn’t he?

Liz smiled warmly at him and stepped aside, making room for him to enter but Max stood still, just looking at her. She was dressed simply in a pair of dark denim jeans and a tee, but she just blew him away.

Her shirt was baby blue and was short enough to show off a patch of her stomach and her arms, all of which seemed to have a tan. Her hair was lose and down over her shoulders, curled slightly and looking soft enough to run his fingers through. And her lips were a peach color, shining brightly as she smiled.

Realizing that she was still waiting on him to enter, Max greeted her softly and walked in, listening to the door shut. “So…”

“Do you want something to eat? Drink?” Liz asked, pointing over her shoulder to the kitchen.

“I don’t wanna be a burden,” Max said.

“No burden,” Liz objected. “I insist.”

“Ok…I’ll take something to drink,” he answered, liking how her face lit up.

“Great!” Clearing her throat, she added, “um, you can have a seat. I’ll be right back.”

Watching her leave for the kitchen, Max sighed and lowered himself onto the couch, looking around. He had been up here before, but everything seemed new and different tonight.

--

Quickly pouring the drinks into the two cups, Liz chewed on her bottom lip. Glancing toward the living room quickly, she saw Max had gotten up to look around, casually looking at the knickknacks placed around the room.

Taking in the view for a minute, Liz couldn’t help but notice how his shirt accented all his muscles and fit him perfectly. Nor could she ignore how snug his pants were…

“Oh god…” she whispered, not liking where her mind was going. Tonight was just some time for them to talk; talk and nothing more!

NOTHING.

Counting to three to relax her body and calm down some, Liz picked up the cups and ventured back into the living room, smiling as Max looked at her graduation picture.

“I always hated that,” she informed him.

“You look great,” he countered, taking the drink from her.

“That’s your opinion,” Liz joked, taking a drink. “So…”

“So…” Max repeated.

“Um, so, how did all of you guys meet?” Liz asked quickly, hoping to get on a subject they could actually talk about.

“Well, me, Isabel, and Michael all came into the café one night…”

--

Hearing Liz laugh was the most special sound in the world, Max thought, watching as she shook her head and giggled. “It was pretty much listen to Maria scream all night or tell her everything, and Michael doesn’t tend to have patience with her,” he added.

“I can imagine,” Liz replied, smiling. “Maria…well, she has to grow on you. And she can grow on anyone.”

“Yeah…her and Alex were really great with all this…and so are you,” Max said softly, looking at her.

Liz nodded and looked down. “It’s…it’s actually really exciting. I mean, how many people can claim to knowing aliens?” she said softly. “Of course, my first thought was ‘dear god…’ but ya know, I worked on it some,” Liz added, pushing her hair back behind her ears.

Seeing that his looks were making her uncomfortable, Max looked away quickly and turned the cup in his hands, realizing that he hadn’t even tried the frosty liquid yet.

Taking a drink, Max closed his eyes as the liquid moved down his throat, making a warm feeling explode all over his body.

“I love these drinks,” Liz said suddenly. “Purple passion wine-coolers are the best when you freeze them.”

--

Watching as Max sat the drink down, Liz wondered if he was ok. His eyes looked glossy from her vantagepoint and he seemed confused, maybe even a little drunk.

The boy really couldn’t hold his liquor.

“Are you alright?” Liz asked, placing a hand on his arm. “Maybe I should have told you there was alcohol in the drinks…” Trailing off, Liz swallowed when Max turned his gaze on her, his eyes seeming to look deep into her soul.

He scooted a few feet closer to her on the couch and Liz froze, wondering what he was going to do. Part of her was yelling for her to get up, but the other part was telling her to stay put.

“Do you know what I thought when I first saw you?” Max asked, reaching out to brush her hair back off of her shoulder and play with the curls. He smiled absently mindly then, like he had been given the best toy in the world.

“No…” Liz whispered, her shoulder burning from his touch.

Max pulled his hand back finally and looked deep into her eyes, saying softly, “that I was in love,” with a huge grin on his face.

Feeling her insides quiver and her throat close up, Liz managed to whisper, “love?” before she could no long speak. His hands were now on her again; one clasping her hand and other was softly cupping her face, his thumb caressing her cheek.

Licking her lips, Liz tried to speak again but stopped, seeing the look in Max’s deep, passionate brown eyes. He lowered his head slightly and paused, bringing his hand, which was still clasping hers, up to press against his chest.

Liz could feel how fast his heart was beating and realized that hers was matching its speed, almost beating in sync with his. He spread her palm open, laying it right on his chest.

“Max…” she whispered when he moved his head down a few more inches closer to her. Was it a plea for him to keep going or stop, she wasn’t sure, but he had to do something soon. Closing her eyes, she could feel her stomach clench when his hot breath blew across her lips, making her moan softly.

Taking that as his cue, Max moved his lips over hers, which only made Liz whimper even more. Her whole body was humming and she clung to him, bringing her other hand up to lock it behind his head. The kiss was sweet and gentle, like he was afraid to do much more.

She knew somewhere in her mind that this shouldn’t be happening, but she didn’t stop. All that mattered were Max’s soft lips and the feeling of his body near hers. It was as if they both let go of all their inhibitions and did what they finally wanted to.

Pulling back, Liz swallowed and looked up to Max, her eyes wide with surprise and shock. Did she really just kiss him?! Was she even ready for this? Maybe it was still too soon. She had only been back for 2 weeks and she was already kissing someone new.

Lost in her own thoughts, Liz jumped a little when Max reached up and slowly caressed her face, letting his fingers glide over her features gently. Closing her eyes, she could feel his gaze all the way down to her bones. A shiver went down her spine and she leaned forward some, clinging to his body’s warmth. Feeling his hand rub her lower back, Liz leaned forward even more and rested her head against his, their foreheads touching.

“I’ve waited so long to feel this way…to feel love,” Max whispered, reaching his other hand around her waist also. “I just want to be with you…you and you alone.”

Swallowing once more, Liz added, “how can you be sure? How can you—“

“How can I not?” Max finished, his statement making her eyes come open again. “I would go anywhere just as long as I can look at you. The first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing at night is always the same: you,” he said with emotion.

“Max…” she whispered, pulling away some. Her heart was swelled with the impact of his words, but her mind was swarming with warnings. “You barely know me…”

“I know more about you then your ex ever could,” he insisted. Making her look at him, Max shook his head and added, “I knew when Alex first brought you here that you were special. That you deserved much more then anyone could ever give. But I would spend my whole life trying.”

Liz couldn’t even respond when Max finished, so she just stared, trying in vain to make some kind of noise, but nothing would come out. No one had ever told her that and she guessed no one else ever would again. Watching as he reached for her face, Liz realized she was crying and let him wipe away the tears.

“Are you sad?” Max asked, his own face falling. He looked so innocent, like a little child right then.

“No,” she finally whispered, hating the look on his face. She wanted more then anything to make him smile again. “I’ve never been told anything like that before.”

“Why not? It’s true,” he said simply, looking confused by her statement. “Liz…I just want to wipe it all away. All your pain, all your heartache, all your hurt; wipe it away so I can see you smile and laugh and be happy. I want you to be happy.”

“I…I thought the same thing about you,” she admitted, feeling insecure about being so open, but all of Max’s words were so honest and full of truth, so why shouldn’t hers? “I love your smile and I’ve only seen it once or twice.”

He smiled widely then, making Liz laugh softly. What had happened that was making him be so open and forward, she wondered. Granted, she had only known him for about 2 weeks, but he seemed quiet and reserved, like herself.

“I feel like I’m constantly smiling around you,” Max added, cupping her face again. “And I don’t want that feeling to go away. I really hate being so quiet and plain.”

Liz couldn’t help but asked, “then why be that way?”

Max thought for a moment then shrugged. “I just am,” he said simply, not bothering to explain furthermore. “But I feel different with you…and I like that. I like how you make me feel.”

Liz smiled softly and looked down, her face slightly red. “You’re really being open and honest.”

Max, not affected by her comment, added, “it’s how I feel. I can’t lie right now.”

“Why would you lie?” Liz asked after a beat.

“Fear of rejection or getting laughed at or you telling me you didn’t feel the same way.”

Liz paused and looked down, wondering what she was going to tell him. She could no longer deny her feelings. She was falling for Max Evans; falling hard. But that scared her. She wasn’t even sure if Tyler was going to leave her alone – she shouldn’t be running into another guys' arms yet.

But one look into Max’s eyes had her second-guessing her decision.

“Pick one,” he added, continuing his earlier explanation. “But like this. When I’m like this, I can do this without feeling shy or embarrassed.”

Wondering what he was talking about, Liz was about to ask what was so different when Max leaned in and kissed her soundly, making her squeak in surprise. Her thoughts started to swarm again and Liz paused, not sure if she should kiss him back or not.

Max pulled back and he looked at her, his face showing his confusion and heartache at the lack of response from her.

“Max…” Liz struggled with herself, trying to figure out what she should do. Her whole body was screaming to just give in and kiss him back, but something was holding her back.

Suddenly there was a knock at her door and she turned to look at it while Max continued to gaze at her, his eyes never wavering. Taking one last look at Max, Liz stood up and walked toward the door, wondering if maybe whoever was on the other side would be a sign.
***
TBC

posted on 1-Nov-2001 10:54:27 PM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hey people *big* Hope ya like this part…although I think I might get some flack for it…
***

PART 13 ~
Liz opened the door hesitantly, shocked to see who was on the other side. Fazed, she asked finally, “what are you doing here?”

“Nice to see ya too,” Maria muttered, peeking her head into the apartment. Seeing Max, she breezed in, ignoring the look she got from Liz. “Hey Max.”

“Maria,” he exclaimed, sitting up straighter, looking over the back of the couch. “I consider you a real friend,” he added, a grin on his face.

Slightly confused, Maria just looked at him. “Good to know.”

Taking in the look on her friends face, Liz added softly, “he’s being very open…”

Maria glanced back at Max, took in everything she saw, and asked finally, “how open?”

open, open,” Liz answered.

“You know, I was so jealous of Mike because he had you, it was actually really pitiful,” Max said suddenly, seeming to sulk for a beat before he brightened. “But not no more. I have Liz now.”

Liz swallowed and tried to clamp down on the little surge reaction that streamed through her body at his words. Maria, gasping softly, turned to Max and gave him two thumbs up. “Well, good for you. Now, me and Liz are gonna go have a talk.” Pulling her down the hallway, Maria exclaimed, “he is drunk off his rocker!”

“What?” Liz asked, zeroing in on what her best friend was saying. Drunk? He was drunk?!

Maria, not noticing the look of hurt in Liz’s eyes, continued on. “He knows he can’t have alcohol! One little sip and they’re all goners! What did you give him?”

Still trying to process everything Liz got out, “a wine cooler…-- drunk?”

Realizing that Liz didn’t understand, Maria exclaimed, “it has something to do with their ‘non-human status’. The alcohol pretty much messes up everything – 100% staggering idiots; he won’t remember squat tomorrow.” She paused before adding, “it’s actually quite funny in a controlled area. Michael does some crazy stuff – things he would never do—“

Liz tuned her friend out, opting to mull over the nights events. Max had been drunk when he said all those things? They were just the ramblings of a drunk.

Worth nothing.

Especially not her heart.

“Are you two talking ‘bout women things?”

Hearing Max’s playful voice, Liz looked over her shoulder, spotting him standing at the end of the hallway. Remembering all the sweet things he had told her, she had to look away, making her miss his sudden sad face at her reaction.

“Um, Max, can I ask you a question?” Maria asked.

“Shoot.” He turned his attention to her, quickly forgetting that Liz was upset with him over something, just remembering that they had kissed a few minutes ago.

“Are you drunk?”

Max considered the question for a beat. “Sure as hell feels like it.”

Liz looked upset and mumbled, “I need some air,” before going down the hallway and into her room, shutting the door. Why was she doing this? Was there even any reason to put herself through this? She had decided that she was not going to get involved with Max. It was not going to happen.

But, if that was true, why were tears threatening to spill down her cheeks at any moment?

Scoffing, Liz quickly wiped at her eyes and walked away form the door, ignoring Maria and Max’s voices as they drifted in from the hallway. Not really making a conscious decision to but going on instinct, she climbed out onto her balcony, taking solace in her lawn chair and familiar lights and candles.

Getting a chill down her spine, Liz reached for her blanket and wrapped it around her body protectively, involuntarily remembering how Max’s arms had felt when they did the same thing. Pushing that thought as far back as possible, she sat back and closed her eyes, willing her body still.

Suddenly a creak sounded and her eyes shot back open, making her jump forward. Glancing at the fire escape with fear, she slowly stood up. Either she had a very, very vivid and loud imagination, or someone was climbing up…

When a knock came to her bedroom door, Liz jumped once more, nearly falling over as she backed up into the lawn chair. There were only 2 people who could be at her bedroom door, and she didn’t really want to talk to either of them at the moment, but at least she knew who they were, unlike the visitor that could be coming up the fire escape that was only a few feet away.

The ladder hooked to the brick wall creaked once more and Liz raced into her bedroom, too chicken to see who was coming up. Slamming her window down, she closed the blind and backed up, making her way to the door without taking her eyes off of the window.

Opening the door from behind, Liz spun around finally, not surprised to find Max standing there. “Max…”

“Am I in trouble?” he asked, walking in.

“Trouble?” she repeated, opting to leave the door open. Glancing back at the window, Liz walked more into the room, still keeping clear of it.

Noticing the door was still open, Max closed it, not noticing Liz’s jump at the sound. “You’re upset with me,” he added, giving her a look of deep sadness.

Liz finally turned away, saying to herself, “no…I’m upset with myself.”

“Why?”

Confused, Liz asked, “why what?”

“Why are you upset with yourself,” Max added.

Shocked that he had heard her, Liz didn’t answer at first, opting to just sit down on her bed. How did he hear her? She barley spoke! Giving up, Liz finally admitted, “I didn’t know you heard me.”

“I’m advanced. Better hearing, better muscles…all comes with the alien package,” Max said, sitting down closely beside her on the bed. When she tried to move away, he touched her arm and added, “we’ve been closer then this – we were kissing a few minutes ago.”

Liz looked down and said finally, “that was before I knew.”

Now it was Max’s turn to be confused. “Knew what?”

Standing up, Liz pushed her hair back off of her face before saying, “you’re drunk Max – how can I take anything you say seriously? You won’t even remember this come morning.”

Max seemed crushed. Standing up, he said with emotion, “I’ll never forget.”

Swallowing, Liz watched him walk over to her. Smiling sadly, she added, “me neither. Do you even know what it did to me to hear the things you said? What you told me… But it’s not real – and I let myself fall for it.”

Getting lost in his gaze, Liz was surprised when Maria’s voice filled the long silence. “Lizzie? Is Max in there?”

Max looked at the door then back at her, his eyes filled with longing and confusion. He reminded her so much of a lost little boy. But he wasn’t a boy. He was a drunken guy. And continuing to tell herself that he was anything else would just get herself burned once more.

“He’s here…” Liz whispered, not even sure of Maria had heard her, but Max did. He seemed crushed but nodded, moving past her to answer the door. Turning to watch him go, Liz battled with herself to call him back.

Evidently Max was too cause his hand paused as it was about to touch the knob. Pulling back, he spun around and walked to her, the look in his eyes focused and determined.

Stopping only when he had to, Max leaned down until his breath was hot on Liz’s face, his eyes focused entirely on hers. “If there is EVER one thing I won’t forget, it’s this.” Then he took her mouth in his, kissing her deeply and soundly.

Kissing him back without much thought on doing so, Liz’s lips followed his for a second when he pulled away. Gazing at her a few second longer before heading right for the door, Max pulled it open to reveal Maria and Michael.

Reaching up to touch her lips softly, Liz caught Maria’s look and turned away, running her free hand through her hair. No matter how much her mind argued and screamed, her heart pounded desire and longing through her veins. Sitting down on the edge of the bed once more, Liz barely noticed that others were finally gone, more then likely trying to make sure that Max got home ok.

Falling onto her back, Liz sighed and stared up at her ceiling. After a few minutes she asked out loud, “what do I do know?” not expecting to get an answer.

So, you can imagine her shock when she did.

“Get up and have some fun.”

Yelping, Liz flew up from the bed, shooting a hard look at the person standing in her bedroom doorway: Kyle Valenti. “Is everyone trying to give me a heart attack tonight?!”

Holding up his hands in a surrender move, Kyle added quickly, “didn’t mean to scare you.” Motioning into the room, he added, “can I…”

“Oh, yeah, of course,” Liz told him, trying to collect herself. She was positive she looked like crap. Standing up, she brushed off her hands on her pants and asked, “um…what brings you by?”

Kyle, walking around idly while taking in everything said, “you know, I’ve only been in your room once before. Remember? I was helping you carry a science project to my car.”

Smiling softly, Liz nodded; she remembered. That was during the brief period before they started to date. After that, he father pretty much forbid her to have him in her room – they were 2 teenagers after all.

“Actually, I stopped by cause I need to tell you something,” he admitted, answering her earlier question softly.

“Tell me something?” Liz repeated, not liking the sound of his voice. “Should I sit down?” The dread was already filling up her stomach, making her feel sick.

Kyle quickly added, “we just traced the cell phone number you gave us and found out that he’s been calling your old phone; maybe even traced the phone himself…there’s a slight possibility that he knows you’re in Roswell.”

Liz laughed sarcastically and sat down wearily. “It’s not to hard to guess where I’d run too.” Feeling her fear skyrocket, she sighed and added softly, “is he here?”

“We don’t think so…”

Looking back up, Liz waited for him to continue.

“Not yet, anyway.” Trying to help her feel better, Kyle kneeled down in front of Liz. “I’m putting every free guy on this case and sending out pictures of the scumbag to every officer. He won’t get anywhere near you.”

“All that for me?” Liz asked, her voice dull and her body numb. All that for just some guy who hit a woman? Locking her eyes on Kyle’s she added, “what are you hiding?” Kyle shifted away and Liz grabbed his arm. “Kyle…”

He sighed and explained finally, “we did a background check on Tyler and found out quite a few things – things I have a feeling you didn’t know about.”

Liz sat shocked, wondering what to say next. “Like what?”

Kyle wiped at his face and asked, “you were told Tyler’s dad was a car salesman, right?”

Liz nodded quickly, wondering why that mattered. “Wait – he was, wasn’t he?”

“Not quite. He was FBI.”

“FBI?!” Liz exclaimed, jumping up to her feet, prompting Kyle to follow. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”

“No, not kidding; he was FBI.”

Losing it, Liz scoffed and added, “is that all? What else? Was he even Tyler’s father?” When Kyle looked down, she moaned. “There’s more…”

“Yeah… See, Tyler’s old man kinda lost it. Got fired and decided to extract revenge.”

“What does all this have to do with Tyler?” Liz asked softly, not liking how all of it was going.

Kyle sat down himself now, looking exhausted. “When Tyler was 15, his father was put away for tampering with government files – hacked into some codes and shit like that. Shortly after, all that stuff suddenly disappeared.”

“You think Tyler took the stuff?” Liz asked.

Kyle nodded. “You of all people know his background in computers. The guy is a whiz. There’s reason to believe he was in on it from the beginning.”

Trying to form a connection in her head, Liz said finally, “so Tyler helped his dad get some codes and files from the FBI. Then Dad got put away; which explains why all I ever heard about him was that he was a car salesman in Kentucky.” Taking a deep breath, she finally got to her point. “So…what? He’s running from the FBI?”

“Well, more like a special branch of the FBI…” Kyle said slowly.

“Special?” she repeated. “How…special?”

Kyle shifted and blurted finally, “evidently his dad thought, and only thought cause this is bull, but he thought there was a special force in the government to handle…out-of-town cases – if you know what I mean.”

“Aliens,” Liz muttered, the ball of dread in her stomach growing 10 times bigger.

Kyle nodded. “Whatever the case – if Tyler was in on it, he’s just as nuts as his dad and should be locked away also; not that what he did to you doesn’t count. But aliens don’t exist.”

Scoffing, Liz whispered, “if you only knew Kyle.”

“What?”

“Nothing,” she was quick to say. Taking in a deep breath, Liz added, “Tyler doesn’t give up easily and if what you just told me was true, that he did help his dad rob the government, then why aren’t they looking for him?”

“They are. Like I said, he’s quick on computers. Made himself a whole new life before coming here.”

Shaking her head, Liz asked, “how did you learn all this?”

“I have my ways,” Kyle admitted, giving her a quick smile before adding, “my grandfather had some buddies and I called in a favor. With my knowledge of ‘Tyler’ and their knowledge – well, it’s not hard to put 2 and 2 together.”

Liz nodded and looked down. “I um — I need to go to the bathroom…I’ll be right back.” Heading into the smaller room, she closed the door leaned against it. “Why me?” she whispered, hating what she was going to have to do.

Going to the sink, she turned on the water and waited until it was ice cold before tossing it on her face. The numbness took over and she pulled back, drying her face off and coming back into the room. Seeing Kyle had the shade up on her window and looking up at the sky, she walked over and joined his side.

“Maybe we should put someone on guard, ya know?” he asked.

“There’s no need to,” Liz said softly.

Kyle turned to her, exclaiming, “Liz, this guy is a psycho—“

“I know what I’m doing,” she added simply, walking away a few feet. “Look…I’m pretty beat – I think I’m just gonna go to bed.”

Kyle stared at her for a moment then nodded, walking up and giving her a hug. “I’m checking up on you tomorrow, ok?”

“Ok,” she replied, trying to make her voice come out normal. A few seconds later he was gone and Liz went into action, heading to her closet and pulling out her duffle bag. Collecting anything and everything she thought she might need, she zipped it up and headed out of the room and into the kitchen.

Dropping her bag, Liz grabbed up her cell and took it into the living room, looking for something heavy. Seeing the bookend on the shelf, she grabbed it up and placed the phone on the stand, bringing the end peace down in an arch as hard as she could. There was no way he could trace it if the thing was broken into little pieces.

After taking care of a few more things and going back into the kitchen, Liz grabbed her bag once more and headed out of the apartment, locking the door and putting the key under the mat. Maria and Alex knew to look for it there.

Taking a deep breath, she went down the steps and out into the chilly night, heading down the sidewalk toward the bus stop.
***

“You know, the girl could at least pick up the phone,” Maria gripped, climbing up the steps.

“How upset did she look?” Alex asked for what must have been the hundredth time.

“I told you, she looked like she was going to puke. I’ve been calling all morning, but she won’t pick up – why did she have to get caller ID?” Stopping at the top of the stairs, Maria knocked on the Parker’s apartment door.

“Whatever happened, it had to be big. With Max like he was…who knows what he said,” Alex added.

“Max still can’t remember what happened – I quizzed him till he passed out last night after you guys dropped him off,” Isabel added, making up the rear of the group. Michael was with Max, who was still out cold.

“He didn’t say anything?” Maria asked. “Liz said he was being really open.”

“Only that he wasn’t lying,” Isabel replied.

“Huh.” Knocking again, Maria thought out loud, “what has he been lying about?”

“You guys don’t think he told her how he felt, do you?” Alex asked suddenly.

Maria and Isabel shared a glance, then both girls knocked on the door.

“What did you do?” Alex exclaimed, closing his eyes in frustration.

“We just had a little talk with Max…” Isabel admitted.

“A talk,” he repeated.

“Or, you know, we convinced him to make a play for Liz – but we didn’t know he was going to get drunk!” Maria added.

“Oh…that was great! Maria, what were you thinking? Liz is not ready for that!” Alex was half tempted to scream at her, but knew it wouldn’t matter.

“Get off your high horse, ok? I know Liz and I know for a fact that she likes Max – I am her best friend after all!” As if to puncture her sentence, Maria pounded on the door.

“Maria, Alex—“ Isabel started to intervene, but it was too late.

“Like him or not, she’s not ready for a new relationship. And if you’re her best friend, you’d respect her decision and stay out of it like she asked!”

Maria gasped and spun on Alex. “Like you did? I know about you’re little talk. ‘Liz, you should talk to Max’. Please! Liz needs to feel loved again and think she can deserve it. Max will do that for her and you know that just as much as I do.”

“Excuse me, I have been trying to help her!” Alex added hotly.

“Hey—“ Isabel once again tried to stop them, but Maria cut her off.

“Me too!”

Growling, Isabel shouted, “just stop!” When Alex and Maria both jumped and she had their attention, she added, “no matter how much of it was done in good pretenses, this has to stop.” Turning to Maria, Isabel told her, “we had no right to push Max on her and we need to let her decide when she’s ready—“ Maria started to protest, but was cut off again, this time by Isabel. “No matter how much you think she’s ready.” Maria quieted again and she nodded finally.

Now looking at Alex, Isabel added, “and you need to stop coddling Liz so tightly.” Alex looked down guiltily and she sighed softly. “I know you’re just trying to protect her, but Liz is a big girl – she doesn’t need you to keep the big bad world away. She’ll never move on and deal if you do.” Looking at them both, Isabel took in a deep breath. “Now…if we could just get to answer the door, we could tell her our new plan.”

Maria crossed her arms and said softly, “there’s a key under the mat.”

Isabel, seeing that her and Alex were deep in thought about what had been said, stooped down and pulled back the welcome mat, seeing said key. Picking it up, she faltered slightly when a burst of raw and ragged emotions rolled over. Guilt, fear, anger, longing, and most of all, a deep sadness pushed its way through her body. The sensations only lasted a second, but it was long enough to unnerve her.

With slightly shaking hands, Isabel stuck the key in and turned it, wondering if she had felt Liz or someone else. Each little burst of emotions had a feeling in common. Just like any other kind of connection you make, everyone is new; every person has his or her own flavor.

Pushing open the door, Isabel walked in, forgetting about the flash for a moment. A huge wave of smoke rolled over all three of them and Isabel coughed, moving backwards to get some air.

“What’s going on?” Maria asked, waving her hand around to make room to see.

“Something’s on fire!” Alex added, coughing as he turned away. There were no flames visible, but the smoke was thick and dark, making them work harder to get air.

“Liz!” Maria cried, grabbing onto Alex with a death grip. Going pale himself, Alex pulled free of Maria and darted into the apartment. Maria hesitated and added, “no…please…”

Isabel took Maria’s arm and added, “go – I’ll try and find out what’s on fire!” Maria threw her a grateful look and raced after Alex, going deep into the apartment, her form getting dimmer and dimmer until it was gone completely.

Taking a deep breath, Isabel entered and moved as quickly as she could, her eyes watering and her lungs stinging. Moving through the living room and finding it all ok, she moved toward the direction she thought the kitchen was. After searching for flames and finding none, Isabel headed back towards the living room, but instead found herself going down the hallway toward Liz’s bedroom.

Hearing Alex and Maria coughing while trying to call out to Liz, Isabel rushed on blindly, hoping to be able to follow their voices – she didn’t know Liz’s apartment well. Not being able to take it anymore, Isabel pulled up her hand and harnessed her powers, throwing it outward to circle her body, casting a soft glow as the smoke was pushed away, swirling around the edges of the ball surrounding her.

Able to see better now, Isabel found Liz’s room and saw Maria, pulling the girl close with her free hand. Maria, now inside the protective force field too, added, “we can’t find her!”

Spotting Alex, Maria grabbed his arm and pulled him into the circle, patting his back as he coughed and worked to get air into his lungs.

“Alex?!” both girls exclaimed.

“I’m ok,” he said finally, leaning over slightly, still taking in deep lungfuls' of air.

“What’s on fire?”

“Nothing out front – is it back here?!” Isabel asked.

“It’s all clear,” Alex told her.

Maria shook her head and added, “Where’s Liz? And what’s causing all this?!”

Getting an idea, Isabel walked toward the main part of the house with Alex and Maria right behind her, all three of them still protected in the tight force field. “Keep close,” she ordered, closing her eyes.

Sticking her free hand upward also, Isabel drew in another deep breath before pushing her power downward, holding it there until the pressure built and her brow brimmed with sweat from the effort to control it. With shaky hands, she let it loose, her body jerking slightly as it rushed upward, erupting from her hands with a heady force into the thin barrier.

The circle surrounding them burst full of charges and glowed, shadowing on their faces and Alex hugged Maria close as a pull started up around them. Letting go completely, Isabel’s eyes burst open and she watched as the power surge flew outward, radiating from the force field to fill the whole room and then some until it covered the whole house.

There was a ringing in all of their ears then everything was eerily quiet. The smoke started to lift and Isabel let her hands drop, pulling her power back in. Her knees buckled under the strength of it all and she staggered, catching herself just as Alex reached for her.

“Are you ok?” he asked.

“Yeah…” Isabel nodded and got her footing back finally.

“What did you do?” Maria added, cautiously stepping out of their tight little huddle.

“I sent out some energy to stop the fire.”

“And..?” Alex commented.

“There wasn’t one,” Isabel said softly. “I didn’t detect a fire…”

“Where’s Liz?” Maria asked, going down the hallway while calling out for her friend. She returned a few moments later, the look on her face clearing saying that she didn’t find anyone.

“Ok…lets not jump to conclusions…” Alex said after a moment, his voice calm. “This could have all been caused by anything.”

Isabel looked around and stopped, noticing the note laying on the coffee table beside what looked like a broken up cell phone. Going over to pick it up, she scanned the letter.

“By what? Do you have any suggestions?” Maria exclaimed.

“It could have been…been…”

Feeling her stomach drop, Isabel finished Alex’s sentence with, “Tyler.”

“What?!” Maria shrieked while Alex yelled, “he has her?!”

Isabel looked up from the note and said softly, “Tyler is nearby and Liz ran again.”
***
*bounce*TBC*bounce*
posted on 11-Nov-2001 11:35:04 PM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- What can I say about this part? Um…’Dreamer friendly’ comes to mind. Other then that, not a lot happens until the end.
***

PART 14 ~
“This is some sick, cruel joke, ok?!”

Max rubbed his temples and winced as Michael opened the apartment door, letting Maria’s shrill voice filter out and ring around his throbbing brain. He had only just walked through the door and was already regretting his decision to come. Wincing when the door was once again shut and the ‘thump’ hit him, Max pulled his hand down and sighed, taking a seat.

He had been sleeping soundly, or at least deeply when the ringing of Michael’s cell phone had woken him. The noise made him grind his teeth and he had called out, not to nicely, for his friend to leave. Why had he even been there in the first place?

That was when he found out.

Max Evans, a non-drinker for more than one reason, first one being his rare disability for not being able to hold his liquor, had gotten drunk off his ass the night before. Which explained why he couldn’t remember a damn thing about the previous evening.

He remembered showing up at Liz’s and talking about how Maria and Alex had reacted to learning the truth about him and the others. Then everything after that was gone.

But he was left with this weird and deep longing to find Liz and hold her, hold her close and tell her that everything was alright and…and true, for some reason. His muddled and throbbing with pain mind wasn’t still clear on that one.

Speaking of Liz, Max’s mind did pick up one thing. She was the only one missing from the impromptu meeting. Looking around, he saw Alex was pacing quietly in front of the mantle, his face hard and set. Isabel was sitting in the chair, her hair falling down over her face hiding it from view. And Maria, who was still tearing his brain apart with her ranting, was now standing in front of him, her eyes locked onto his as she stared him down.

“—Last night?!”

“What?” he managed to get out, not catching the first half of the sentence. “Where’s Liz?”

“Where’s Liz?” Maria repeated, shaking her hand and waving a piece of paper into the air. “That’s a good question, Max!”

“Maria…leave him be…he doesn’t remember,” Michael defended, pulling his girlfriend away some.

Maria, seeming to agree to back off, sighed and added more softly, “I just--…we have to find her…”

“Find who?” Max asked, ignoring the throbbing for a second. They still hadn’t answered his question. Where was Liz?

“What do you remember about last night?” Alex asked quickly.

“Not much—“

Anything,” he added, stressing the word.

Max noticed the emotion behind his friends’ words and thought back, trying push his mind further. The picture in his mind started to take form and he found himself sitting Liz’s couch, talking and holding a purple drink, a wine cooler if what Michael had told him was right. Suddenly he was at a door and Liz, whose scared face came into view before she relaxed some, but not much, was opening it. He was walking in and Liz kept stealing glances toward the window for some reason.

“The window…”

“What? What about a window?” Maria asked.

Max shook his head, admitting, “I don’t know…she – she looked almost…almost scared.”

“Tyler,” Alex seethed.

“What?” Max exploded, wincing in pain as the sound of his own voice reached his ears. Standing up, he rubbed at his head.

“Hang over?” Isabel asked from her seat. Just nodding, Max sat back down, still rubbing his temple. “Why don’t you heal it?”

“He tried, but it wouldn’t work,” Michael added.

Isabel got up from her seat and stooped down in front of her brother, placing both hands on his temples after pulling his own away. “Relax and just let the memories flow back over you,” she instructed slowly, closing her own eyes.

Max did as he was told and took in a deep breath, feeling Isabel’s hands start to warm up as a fuzzy feeling entrapped his brain. Pictures started to play against the back of his eyelids and he watched as the whole night flashed past, even his encounter with Kyle Valenti as Michael and Isabel were getting him into the jeep.

Did he really tell the guy that he was planning on getting Liz for himself and to back off?! Hopefully Isabel did some damage control.

As soon as the flashes stopped, his brain stopped pounding too. Opening his eyes, Max watched as Isabel did the same, realization dawning on her face. “I did,” she whispered, having heard his thoughts on Kyle. “I told him you were drunk and delusional.”

“How fitting,” he muttered. Delusional was a good word to describe his chances with Liz now. She probably hated him after last night. The things he had said…they were all true, which just made it worse.

“So? Anything?” Michael questioned.

“Nothing,” Isabel said finally. “Nothing we need to know about.” She gave him a small, sad smile and got back up to her feet. “Whatever happened, it was after we had taken Max home.”

“What did happen?” Max questioned again. “Where’s Liz?”

Handing over a piece of folded up paper, Maria remained silent. Taking it, Max looked at his sister or Alex for an explanation, but they were all to drawn into their own thoughts to acknowledge his, and Michael was just as clueless as he was.

Unfolding the letter and scanning it, Max felt his chest start to tighten and the ball of dread that had already formed in his stomach grow with each word.

[center]‘I know you won’t understand this, but I have to leave. Tyler knows where I am and is probably already here too – I can’t let anything happen to you guys; any of you. Please don’t be angry with me, but it was my only choice. He knows too much already and I couldn’t live with myself if someone got hurt because of me. This is my battle after all; I can go it alone if needed.
Tell mom and dad that I’m on vacation or something -- make it up if you have to. If Tyler does show up…well, I’ll be long gone by then.
Love always,
Liz.’[/center]


“What…” Max re-read the note, trying to find something that he missed, like a number to reach her at or a forwarding address, but nothing. That was all.

“I tried to get a flash – I got one earlier off of the key, but I couldn’t get one from the note,” Isabel said softly.

“Where would she go?” Max asked, standing up.

Alex, as if finally hearing something he wanted, stopped his pacing and said, “I’ve been thinking about that and there’s really only 2 ways out of Roswell. Train and bus.”

“Plane,” Michael added, like it was obvious.

“Cab fare there alone would be outrageous. She doesn’t have that much cash on her. Plus add in the price of a ticket.”

Maria, catching on, added, “she couldn’t afford it.”

“But she could be long gone by now,” Michael said.

“It’s still worth a shot,” Max replied, liking the idea.

“Lets go,” Alex said decisively.

“Wait,” Isabel called out, standing up too to stop Alex, Max, and Maria, who were heading for the door. “There are 2 bus stations. Which one?”

Alex, Max, and Maria all shared a look.

--

‘Bus #27 is now boarding. Please hand in your ticket at the gate.’

Liz sighed sadly and went to stand up, her hand lingering over the bag handle. Biting her lower lip, she pulled her hand away from the bag and stood up, slowly making her way over to the booth, her fists clinging around the ticket.

The older lady looked up and nodded after a beat, starting to print out something. “There’s a 20 dollar difference,” she stated.

Liz nodded and pulled out her wallet, handing over the extra money and the crinkled ticket. “Ok…”

The woman took them both and added, “you’re not the first one to do this honey. 5 exchanges is nothing much.” Handing her the new ticket, she added, “about 10 minutes.”

Liz nodded and went back to her seat, pulling her legs up to her chest. What was she doing? Tyler could be in Roswell and here she was, sitting in the bus terminal, clinging to her seat like a little child. She had to leave; she had to prevent him from finding out anything about the others.

She had to answer Max.

Doing a double take, Liz stood quickly, her eyes wide as she watched Max spot her and jog closer, calling out her name. Scanning the building and not seeing anyone in close proximity, she looked back at him and pushed her hair back off of her face.

What was she supposed to say? ‘Hi, Max. What the HELL are you doing here?’ As he got closer, the thought was sounding better and better. “Max—“

“Don’t do this,” he said quietly, stepping up close to her.

Liz, taking note of how close he was, took a step back and stumbled out softly, “I, um, I don’t know how else to do it…”

Placing his hand on her arm, Max told her, “not like this. Look, what happened last night—“

“Should be kept to last night,” Liz said quickly, trying to prevent this conversation. Did she really want to hear him stumble out an apology for saying things that weren’t true?

I don’t think so.

“No, this has to be said,” Max added finally.

Liz swallowed and nodded, looking back down quickly and closing her eyes. It was coming, she could just see it: ‘Liz, I was drunk. I know I said some things last night that I shouldn’t have…’

Did she need to go on?

“Liz…I was drunk and I know I said some things last night and—“

Liz clenched her jaw tight and waited for the blow to come, but nothing did. Peeking one eye open, she glanced at his chest, waiting to hear the rest. Finally looking up at his face, Liz stopped when she saw he was looking down at her.

“Liz…I was drunk, but my words were true because that’s what I was feeling…it’s what I still am feeling,” Max whispered finally. Liz, shocked wordless, simply stared up at him. “And…and I thought you should know that. I remember what happened last night and I know you’re not ready for a new relationship and I understand and respect that, but…I just thought you should know.”

Opening her mouth to speak, Liz shut it again, not saying anything. Looking past him, she stared at the bus schedule, trying to decide on what to do. Looking back at Max, she finally found her voice and asked, “You’re not drunk now, are you?”

Max smiled slightly and shook his head ‘no’. Nodding in return, Liz looked at her bag and picked it up, taking it in her hand as she walked away. Max stood there silently, watching her walk away and toward the bus terminal gate.
***

Staring out at the dark and gloomy sky, Max shifted the gear and drove on silently, letting the events of the past night wrap around his brain. How could he have been so stupid and said all those things? Drunk or not, he was aware of how confused and insecure Liz was at the moment; and what did he do? He has to go and make her feel worse.

Stupid didn’t fit him any more. Jerk, insensitive, and asshole were now springing to mind. After saying what he had, and knowing that Liz was upset with him, he felt the need to explain and did so, not knowing what he reaction would be but doing so anyway.

Liz didn’t need all that. She didn’t need some guy declaring his love and saying she was his when in reality, he was as far from the truth as possible. She was more Kyle Valenti’s then his.

And then there was Kyle. Max had openly declared his true feelings for Liz to the other young man, warning him to keep away. Warning? Who was he, the Mafia? Hopefully, Kyle saw the extent of his drunkenness and shrugged it off.

“Are they upset?”

Hearing Liz’s voice, Max became all-too-aware of Liz again, sitting in the passenger seat of the jeep, her bag in the back. She had traded her ticket in once more for money and followed Max out of the bus station, not saying anything. In fact, since asking if he was drunk, she hadn’t spoken one word.

Until now, that is.

Realizing that she was asking about the others, Max replied finally, “they’re worried. We all took a different place to go and look, hoping to find you still in town.”

“Oh…” Her doe eyes got wider and she added, “Maria’s gonna kill me…”

Max, seeing how upset she was, said, “I won’t let her.”

Liz, glancing his way quickly, gave him a brief look before nodding and going back to staring out the window. Did he somehow just make it worse?

“Liz…”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, the stress and fear in her voice coming across clearly. “You should have let me leave.”

Taking his eyes away from the road long enough to gaze at her questionly, Max told her, “Liz, you don’t have to face this alone, you know that. We couldn’t let you leave…I…couldn’t let you leave.”

“Me staying is going to make it worse – for all of you guys,” she said.

Max wasn’t sure if she was just plain ignoring his declaration or if she was too preoccupied to notice it. Hey, what happened with giving her some space, his mind asked. Liz got silent once again and Max looked at her, noticing the worried and tense expression in her face. Seeing the Crashdown up ahead, he pulled into the ally beside it and killed the engine, turning his body toward hers.

“Liz, if you think you’re a burden, you’re wrong. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. You coming back to Roswell has changed everything.”

“Yeah…that’s what I’m afraid of,” she whispered, still not meeting his gaze.

Noticing the hidden meaning in her sentence, Max asked, “Liz…what happened after I left last night?”

Seeming embarrassed and upset, Liz shifted in her seat and unbuckled her seatbelt. “I, um, I spoke to Kyle last night,” she admitted.

Now it Max’s turn to shift in his seat. “Ok…” Waiting to see if she was going to add anything else, he ran his hands over the steering wheel. He had no idea on what was going to come next and was panicked.

Liz cleared her throat and pushed her hair back behind her ears. “Yeah…and um, he – he told me some stuff.” Glancing at Max quickly from under her eyelashes, she kept going. “It turns out that Tyler has a background in the…the FBI.”

Caught completely off guard, Max spun to look at her once more. “The FBI?”

Liz nodded and added, “yeah…a ‘special’ part of the FBI…” When she looked back at him finally, he could tell what she was going to say even before the words left her mouth. “The part that deals with Aliens.”

Max felt sick. His stomach was churning and the bile was rising up his throat, which was getting tighter and tighter with every breath he took. His chest burned with the effort to keep control and his knuckles were white with the force of his grip on the steering wheel.

FBI. Alien Special Unit.

Great; not a problem.

“Oh, god, Max…I’m so sorry,” Liz said finally. “If I had never came back or—“

“It’s not your fault,” he said softly, finally finding his voice. But that was all he could push out past his lips. Him and the others had always knew the threat of a ‘special’ unit of the FBI was hanging over their head, but now it was proven.

Liz, seeming even more upset and distressed, exclaimed, “yes it is…Max, I need to get out of Roswell.”

Coming back to reality, Max looked at her and replied, “No – we deal with this together.” All of them were apart of this and would be affected. And there was no way he was letting Liz leave with the chance that she may never return.

“But he just wants me…he doesn’t even know about you guys yet. If I go to him—“

Max, shocked at what she was suggesting, exclaimed, “You’re not going within 50 feet of this guy!” Liz seemed shocked too by his outburst and he sighed, adding, “I’m not letting you do that for us. We’ll be ok.”

Liz, not believing him, asked softly, “and what if you’re not? What if something happens? I couldn’t live with myself if you got hurt…”

Turning away, she climbed out of the jeep before Max could even think of a response. Pushing open his door and trying to follow her, Max was tugged back in by his seatbelt, which he had forgotten to undo. Quickly releasing it and climbing out of the jeep, he jogged to the door and went inside, heading for the steps to the apartment.

It was then that he heard the scream from upstairs.

“Liz!” he yelled back, taking the steps 3 at a time. He had just placed his hand on the door when it was pulled open and she rushed out, collapsing into his body and nearly throwing them both down the steps backwards.

Catching his footing finally, Max hugged her close and asked, “what happened?” Liz shook her head, which she had pressed into the crook of his neck. “Liz…” He looked down at her and quietly waited.

Pulling in a shaky breath and blowing it back out, Liz answered finally, “someone’s in there…”

Snapping his head up to look at the door, which was slightly ajar, Max tensed and pulled Liz even closer. Needing to keep Liz safe, Max knew he had to go into her apartment and check it out, but he didn’t want to leave her alone either.

Sensing that he was about to go in, Liz looked at him and said, “Max…”

Looking down at her frightened face, he glanced at the door quickly then down the steps before looking back at her once more. “Go wait in the jeep; with the doors locked, ok?”

Seeming to be fighting with herself over something, Liz finally nodded and turned to go, but not before looking into his eyes deeply. Max held her gaze and kept watching her as she raced down the steps back out into the alleyway beside the café.

Taking in a deep breath, he turned back to the doorway and pulled up his hand, holding it palm up as he entered.

--

Liz clenched and unclenched her knuckles, looking down at her wristwatch. Max had now been in her apartment for over 10 minutes and she hadn’t heard anything from him. Hearing something hit the roof of the jeep, she looked up quickly, noticing the plump raindrops collecting on the windshield. Looking at her watch once more, Liz knew she was driving herself crazy, but the panic had set in and she was getting even more worried.

Reduced to biting her fingernails, she groaned and slowly reached for the door handle, pausing when the ‘click’ of the lock releasing vibrated through the small space.

Pushing it open slowly, she placed one foot on the ground and stepped down, shutting the door as quietly as possible. Glancing upward toward her home, she sighed when a few raindrops feel onto her face. Wiping them away, Liz was caught completely off guard when a hand grabbed her arm.
***
TBC

posted on 28-Nov-2001 12:23:19 AM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Don’t ya just hate cliffhangers? *big*
***

PART 15 ~
Max rubbed the back of his head and sat up, groggily stumbling to his feet. He felt tired and exhausted, like he’d been up all night and just went to bed a few minutes earlier.

Leaning onto the bed, he pulled open his eyes and glanced around, noticing the unfamiliar surroundings. Perking up, he realized where he was and blanched, feeling his stomach churn.

He had been in Liz’s apartment, checking it out while she was waiting in the jeep downstairs. The last thing he remembered was walking into her bedroom and feeling a sharp pain to the back of his skull.

That was it. Blackness.

Then this.

Liz, his mind echoed. He had to get to Liz. How long had he been out? If someone was willing to knock him out, they had a good reason for it. And more then likely, it was to get at Liz. Racing out of the apartment and down the steps, he opened the back door of the café and ran full speed out into the drizzling rain.

If anything had happened to her, he’d never get over it.

Seeing the small figure standing in the rain while looking upward, Max sighed with relief before getting frustrated. What was she doing?! Didn’t he tell her to stay in the jeep? What if the person who had knocked him out came after her?!

Taking her arm, Max watched Liz jump and scream before spinning around. A look of relief spread across her semi-damp face and she wrapped her arms around his neck quickly.

“Max! You’re ok! I was getting so worried,” she gushed.

Max closed his eyes briefly, letting the feeling of her surround him. Why did it feel so right to have her in his arms? There was so much confusion and heartache going on between them, but times like this, when they just felt, everything was perfect.

“I was just about to come looking for you,” Liz added, pulling back slightly, her eyes squinting as it began to rain harder.

Coming back to reality, Max hardened and asked her, “didn’t I tell you to wait in the jeep? What if you got hurt?!”

Liz, taken back by his outburst, replied, “I was worried. But maybe next time I won’t bother.” She started to pull away completely from his arms.

Guilt instantly raced through Max and he pulled her back toward him gently, trying to look into her eyes while she looked down. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled. I just panicked.”

Reaching up to push her now damp hair off of her face, Liz finally looked up and nodded before adding, “yeah…I understand. But it’s gonna be ok. It’s not like you found anything.” When he didn’t agree with her, Liz asked softly, “Max?”

Swallowing, Max took in her wide, scared eyes and pulled her close once more. Looking up at the balcony outside of her bedroom, he told her finally, “I don’t think you should stay here by yourself anymore.”
***

“Lizzie,” Maria exclaimed, running out into the pouring rain with Alex right on her heels. Her, Alex, Michael, and Isabel had regrouped back at Max and Isabel’s after checking their assigned spots. When Max hadn’t returned anytime soon, they all began to worry, thinking the worst had happened.

The rain had only picked up since Max and Liz started to drive to his house, and it was now pouring down. Michael and Isabel watched from the porch as the three friends embraced, feeling slightly left out. Max, looking on from Liz’s side, also felt the slight discomfort.

“Don’t you do this to me again,” Maria told Liz, finally letting go so that Alex could step up.

“You’re never leaving my sight again,” Alex added, holding her close.

“That may prove to be hard to accomplish,” Liz complained, but didn’t end the hug. She felt so much safer since he had pulled her close.

“Maybe we should get inside,” Max suggested. Nodding, they all headed in, not caring that they were dripping all over the place.

“What were you thinking?” Maria demanded. “We have all been worried sick!”

Liz looked down and Alex, whose arm was still around her, pulled her even close. “What Maria means is, what happened?”

Liz swallowed and looked at Max, silently asking for help.

Nodding, he told everyone, “lets go sit down. This is kinda a long story.”

--

Sipping on the hot chocolate, Liz pulled her legs up close to her chest and sighed, idly tracing her finger along the rim of the mug. The whole afternoon had been hectic and tiring, making her happy to be able to just sit back and think things over.

Her and Max had explained to the others what happened and the knowledge of her ex’s background. Like Max, the others had reacted with shock and dread; Isabel and Michael more so.

It wasn’t hard to figure out that the three’s biggest fear was that the FBI or some alien-hunting organization would catch wind of them and they’d all end up dead or worse. And with Tyler’s connections, the nightmare seemed to get more real by the minute.

Isabel added in what had happened at Liz’s apartment earlier, mentioning how the smoke was everywhere but there was no fire and she found no source for it. No one could really explain that and it didn’t make things better.

Tyler was the most obvious suspect and since his fixation was her, it was agreed whole heartily that Liz needed to stay somewhere else until this was dealt with. He knew where she used to live, and it was an easy target. Her balcony alone led anyone right to her bedroom window.

Now, where she was staying, that wasn’t agreed on so much.

Sighing once more, Liz rubbed her legs and wiggled her toes against the comforter. Glancing around the unfamiliar room, she was about to get up and explore a little when a soft knock brought her back from her spying tenancies.

“Come in,” Liz called out, a little bit relieved. She shouldn’t have been snooping anyway. But the idea had been planted and it was driving her insane.

The door creaked open and Liz watched as Max stuck his head in, smiling shyly. “Um…can I come in?”

“It is your room Max,” Liz replied, smiling back softly when he looked a little embarrassed and walked in, shutting the door behind him softly. He stood by the bed for a beat before walking over and sitting at the desk.

“I just wanted to make sure you didn’t need anything else,” he told her.

“Um, yeah, I’m fine.” Pushing her hair behind her ears, she added, “You didn’t have to give up your bedroom, you know. I could’ve stayed in the guest room.”

“Didn’t I tell you that I insist?” he questioned playfully.

Liz laughed softly and nodded. “Ok…I give. Your room it is.”

“Good. It’s where you should be.”

Liz perked up as he said that, her eyes looking at him. Max seemed shocked by his admittance and quickly turned red before standing up. “I should go.”

“Don’t,” Liz added, making him pause. When he turned to look at her, she looked down and admitted, “I don’t really wanna be alone.” There was another silence for a few seconds and then she felt the weight shift on the bed.

“Do you wanna…you can still stay with Maria or Alex if you want,” Max told her softly.

Liz looked over at him and saw how he was looking downward too, like her answer was something he feared. Knowing the feeling, Liz reached out and touched his arm softly. “Michael had the right idea. Maria and Alex were easy targets. I needed to be somewhere I had no connections.”

She could vividly remember how the news had hit her 2 best friends when Michael had stated it. Maria got upset and exclaimed she wasn’t happy, loudly. Alex, also making his views known, told them in no uneven terms that he was going where she was going. The thought of them being more trouble then help wasn’t settling well with either of them.

“I don’t think Alex was too happy about that,” Max added.

Maria was finally convinced, but wasn’t anymore happy about it. Alex, on the other hand, wasn’t so easy to win over. He was actually still here, lounging out on the couch with Isabel – he refused to leave.

“He’s just looking out for me,” Liz said softly. “He always has. And he doesn’t like the idea that someone else could do it.” She smiled softly, remembering how concerned and protective Alex could get sometimes.

Max finally looked at her and placed his hand over hers. “I know…and I’m not too happy about the idea of someone else doing it either.”

Liz smiled shyly and had to look away after a few beats. Playfully nudging him with her shoulder, she added, “besides. It’s only fair that I stay here. You slept in my room, so I should get to sleep in yours.”

“Does that mean I get to hold you again?” Max asked softly, his face suddenly serious.

Liz paused and looked up into his eyes, seeing the innocence of the questions and true feelings behind it. Without any words, Liz slid her hand down his arm and clasped her fingers around his. Max followed the movement with his eyes and pulled their hands up to his mouth before lightly kissing her knuckles.

Giving his hand a squeeze, Liz slid down the bed and got comfortable as Max clicked off the lamp on the nightstand and followed suit, pulling her back snugly against his chest, their hands still intertwined. Feeling a soft caress on her shoulder, Liz realized that Max had quickly placed a gentle kiss there.

“Sleep tight Liz,” he whispered.

Smiling softly and closing her eyes, Liz easily slid into a restful sleep, feeling more content then she had in a long time.
***

Clicking off the TV, Alex sighed and sat in the dark for a few second before turning on the small lamp nearby and looking over at Isabel. She was sound asleep, her head resting on the arm of the couch with her legs still propped up on him. He had figured she was getting close to sleep a little bit earlier, who wouldn’t, considering what garbage was on at this hour, but he was still a little surprised that she was able to sleep so peacefully with him this close.

Slowly sliding out from under her, Alex laid her legs back down and reached for the blanket hanging over the back of the couch. Covering her up, he pulled the soft material up to her shoulders. Squatting down beside her, Alex couldn’t help but reach out and gently brush her soft hair back off of her shoulder.

There was something about Isabel Evans that captivated him. He couldn’t stop thinking about her and knew deep down that it was love. He was madly in love with her and was scared out of his wits to do anything about it.

Since Liz had come back, he had used that as a distraction from all of it. Liz needed help and he threw himself headfirst into it, not that he wouldn’t anyway. He would do all this for Liz no matter what. But at the moment, he could also use it as an excuse to escape from his feelings for Isabel.

Giving her one last look, Alex stood up and slowly made his way down the hallway, going to check on Liz. He had stayed over with the intentions of keeping her safe and he planed on doing that. Going past the guest bedroom, Alex was tempted to stop in and see what was up with Max since the light was still on, but opted not to.

Coming to Max’s normal bedroom door, Alex knocked softly and pushed it open, giving Liz a chance to make herself decent incase she wasn’t dressed. Not getting any objections, he figured she was asleep since the light was out, and decided to just look and make sure she was ok for himself then leave just as quickly. There was no need to wake her up.

Walking into the dark room, Alex looked over at the bed and stopped, seeing the oversized figure on the bed. It was too big to be Liz and he moved closer, stopping once more when he realized what it was.

Max and Liz were pressed closely to each other, so close that he hadn’t even notice it was 2 people until he was almost overtop of them. Frozen to his spot, Alex stood there for a few seconds before turning around and making a hasty exit.

Reaching the living room, he stopped and glanced at Isabel, feeling his heart lurch. Not even letting himself picture the scene in Max’s room again, he picked up his jacket and put it on quickly before taking his keys and going out the front door.
***

Opening her eyes slowly, Liz stretched gently and sighed, feeling Max’s warm chest pressed against her. Smiling softly, she etched away some, feeling Max’s arms as they moved to hold her close.

Not wanting to wake him up but needing to go to the bathroom, Liz slowly edged out of the embrace and stood up. Heading into his private bathroom, she quickly used it and came back out, stopping to sit down by Max on the bed.

She studied him for a few minutes, watching as his chest rose up and down steadily and, even in his sleep, how he seemed to reach out for her. Looking over at the clock, Liz stood up and left the room, heading for the living room.

Alex had stayed over and she knew he had an early class. Reaching the couch, Liz was surprised to find Isabel there and no Alex. Confused, she rubbed her arms and looked around, noticing that his coat and keys were missing also.

Walking over to the door and opening it, Liz walked onto the porch and glanced around in the morning sun, not seeing his little white car anywhere. Was the class earlier then she had thought? Figuring it was that, she pushed the uneasy feeling away and shook her head.

Seeing the morning paper laying at the end of the driveway, Liz sighed and walked toward it, never noticing the black van parked across the street.

--

Max felt the bed shift under him and rolled over, getting ready to go back asleep when a coldness washed over his body and he rolled back the way he was, reaching outward, but getting nothing but air.

His eyes flew open and Max saw Liz wasn’t beside him any longer. Looking over his shoulder, then around the surrounding room, he sat up and rubbed his eyes before standing up and going into the hallway.

Coming into the living room, Max noticed Isabel was asleep on the couch and smiled, figuring that her and Alex had finally ‘made up’. Their friendship had been a little strained and he was happy that they were getting back to normal, and maybe even a little more. Alex would be good for his sister. Max knew he truly cared for her and it was obvious that Isabel liked him right back.

Going into the kitchen for Liz, Max stopped when she wasn’t there. Confused, he retraced his steps back into the living room and finally noticed the front door was wide open.

Panic quickly swept over Max and he raced toward the door, rushing through it and out into the front yard, only to find it empty. Quickly glancing around, he ran his hands through his hair and turned to run back inside, not paying attention to the black van as it pulled away from it’s spot across the street.
***
TBC

posted on 16-Dec-2001 1:14:18 AM by True Blue Healer
I'm working on a new part! Don't worry -- I have big plans for this fic *bounce*
posted on 2-Jan-2002 12:34:06 AM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes- Hey!! The song I use in this part is ‘But I Do Love You’ By LeAnn Rimes – I know, you’re thinking ‘Country’??? But, hey, the song really fits and it’s a fav of mine.
BTW -- I'm so sorry I took so long with this part!!! But, I have a feeling that the ending will make up for it...
*bounce*
***

PART 16 ~
Cursing, Max slammed the front door and went to Isabel’s side, jarring her awake quickly. “Get up!” His hands were shaking and all he could think was ‘find Liz!!’.

Groaning and grumpily pushing his hands away, Isabel rolled toward him and muttered, “what—“

“Get up, now!” Max exclaimed, turning to go back down the hallway. “Liz is gone!”

Blinking her eyes, Isabel sat up, groggily making her way to her feet. “What do you mean gone? Gone where?”

Hopping back down the hallway while pulling on some pants over his boxers, Max added, “Gone as in missing, now get dressed!” Ripping off his nightshirt, he headed to the dryer to get a clean one out.

Finally getting it, Isabel said, “ok. Call Maria and Michael and get them here. Me and Alex…” Trailing off, she looked around before asking, “where’s Alex?”

“Haven’t seen him,” Max called out, flinging shirts out of the dryer and finally pulling one on. “We need to—“

“What’s going on guys? Did something happen?”

Freezing, Max and Isabel both looked to the side door and stared as Liz stood there, still clad in her nightclothes and cradling something in the crook of her arm.

“Liz,” Max sighed out, getting up and dashing to her side.

“What — oomph!” Liz groaned as Max pulled her close, crushing her body against his. “Air becoming an issue,” Liz got out when he pulled her even closer and there was a slight ‘meow’.

Letting her go some, Max couldn’t help but place a light and quick kiss on her lips before whispering, “you’re ok.” Slightly dazed by his previous action, Liz simply looked back up at him.

Clearing her throat, Isabel walked a few feet closer and asked, “what happened? Where were you Liz?”

As if to answer the question, the ‘meowing’ sound came once again from Liz’s arms. “Oh,” she breathed out, backing away from Max some to show them the tiny kitten in her arms. “I found her out back.”

“We had a kitten in our backyard?” Max asked, still trying to hold Liz close to him and look at the same time.

“A litter actually. There’s 3 more,” Liz explained, handing the tiny little gray kitten over to Isabel.

“She’s so cute…I didn’t know they were back there,” she cooed, scratching behind the animals’ ears.

“I heard them meowing when I was getting the paper. I went to see what it was and…and that’s who I found.”

“Which explains where you were and why the front door was wide open,” Max added, feeling embarrassed for getting so worked up.

“Sorry if I scared you…” Liz mumbled, feeling her face get red.

“Don’t be,” Isabel said suddenly. “Max worries to much.” Handing the kitten back over, she asked, “Did you see Alex by any chance?”

“Um, no. He was gone when I got up actually. Guess he had an earlier class then I thought.”

Slightly confused, Isabel glanced at the clock and whispered, “It’s still an hour away…”

“He might’ve wanted to get a shower at home and stuff first,” Max commented, seeing Isabel’s fallen face.

Brightening some, she smiled and added, “Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.”

Noticing the tension in the room, Liz cleared her throat. “Well, this is actually good cause it gives us some time to discuss next weekend: Alex’s birthday.”

Isabel nodded and wrapped her arms around her waist. “Maria’s planning a party at the café. It’s a surprise and all that.”

“Some friends from school and us – nothing much. This is Roswell after all,” Max added. “But with Maria at the wheel…”

“We should be prepared for disaster,” Liz mused.

“I’m going to go get a shower,” Isabel said suddenly, walking down the hallway.

“I guess Alex didn’t tell her goodbye this morning,” Liz said softly.

Looking down at her, Max wondered out loud, “she’s upset cause he didn’t tell her goodbye?”

Looking down at the kitten, Liz joked half-heartedly, “you don’t know a lot about women, do you Max?” before slipping out of his arms and going back outside.

Still watching the door after she had exited, Max sighed and answered softly, “I sure don’t.”
***

“This isn’t just some party people, it’s a celebration.”

“Is there a difference?” Michael asked Liz, earning himself a glare from Maria. “Sorry…keep going.” Liz snickered, but stopped quickly when she also got a look.

“People…could you please help me out here?” Maria added, going back to her lecture. “Alex’s birthday is only 3 days away and we still haven’t come up with a theme yet!”

A few of the people eating nearby in the café cast glances their way but Maria ignored them. “I refuse to let you guys ruin this for me – I mean Alex.”

“Do we really need a ‘theme’?” Max questioned innocently.

“Excuse me?” Maria turned to Max, leaning close into him. “The theme of a party will make or break it. Do you really wanna ‘break’ Alex’s birthday?!!”

“No?” Max shrunk back down, deciding to keep quiet after that.

“Maria…calm down. We have plenty of time,” Liz told her friend.

“3 days! That’s not a lot of time!” Huffing, Maria spun on her heel and walked away.

“Someone wanna remind me why we let her organize this and not Isabel?” Michael questioned.

“Mike, please tell me that you remember how Isabel gets at Christmas.”

Casting a quick look at Max, Michael nodded. “Got it. Maria it is.”

“She’s just trying to make this night memorable for Alex,” Liz offered. Standing up, she stretched her back. Maria, while her intentions were sweet, had been taking this a little overboard. They had been sitting in that booth for over an hour just talking about a ‘theme’!

“By ruining it for the rest of us?” Not waiting for an answer, Michael went into the back of the café. “I gotta get back to work.”

“She is being a little picky,” Max added after a beat.

“Yeah…but that’s how Maria is. She likes things to be special and perfect. And Alex is special to us, so it’s even bigger.” Looking around, Liz grinned and slid back into the booth, sitting across from Max. “I can not wait for him to see my present. He’s going to love it!”

“Have you seen him around lately? He’s even been avoiding Isabel.”

Feeling a little concerned, Liz shrugged and said, “I’m sure he’s just been busy.”

Eyeing her, Max asked, “Has he stopped by?”

Looking down, Liz shrugged once more. “A few minutes yesterday morning…I’m sure it’s nothing.”

“He hasn’t been around since you started staying at my place,” Max admitted softly. Sighing, he ran his hands through his hair. “I just think…maybe that’s why.”

“What are you getting at Max?” Liz asked, taken back some. “Do you – do you actually think that Alex is…I don’t know, jealous of you and me?”

Not looking up, Max was quiet for a few moments before asking, “Does that imply there’s something to be jealous of?”

Caught off guard by his question, Liz stared at him few a minutes. “I, um…I don’t know. But if there is something between us, Alex isn’t jealous of it, Max.” Liz stood up from the booth. “And he isn’t avoiding me.”
***

“I’ve been avoiding you,” Alex exclaimed, walking into Max’s old bedroom without even knocking.

Sitting up on the bed, Liz mused, “I could have been naked.”

Ignoring her, he went on. “I’ve been avoiding you these last few days.”

Getting serious, Liz stood up and asked, “Wanna tell me why?” in a soft voice.

Starting to pace, Alex shook his head. “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

Sighing, he slumped down to the bed. “Cause I don’t even know why.”

Biting her lower lip, Liz climbed back into the bed and settled down on her back beside him, not saying a word. She knew Alex and knew he would explain when he was ready. After staring at the ceiling for over 10 minutes, he added softly, “That was a lie.”

“I thought we agreed to never lie to each other again,” Liz replied, using the same hushed tone.

“Lizzie…I didn’t mean to lie, I just…” Sighing again, Alex craned his neck to look at her. “You remember that night I stayed here; the first night you did? I saw you guys.”

“You guys? What—“

“You and Max,” Alex clarified. “You and Max all wrapped up in each other on this bed.”

With wide eyes, Liz turned to look back at him. “Alex…are you—“

“I’m not saying I wanted it to me,” he added while looking away finally. “I don’t really see you that way. But seeing you and Max like that…I don’t know – it just threw me for a loop.” Sitting up, he rubbed his neck in a frustrated motion.

“You don’t think I should be with Max?” Liz asked softly.

“Are you?” Alex threw back, standing. “Look, Max is a great guy and I think you two would be great for each other.”

“But…” Liz prompted, sitting up herself.

“But I just can’t help but think that’s it’s gonna make things worse now.” Blowing out all his breath, Alex squatted down by Liz’s legs. “Lizzie…I love you and I just want you to be safe. And my gut instincts are telling me that this isn’t over – not yet anyway.”

Looking into his eyes, Liz smiled softly and slid down to the floor beside him. “You get really protective sometimes, you know that, right?”

“Yeah,” he replied, not missing a beat as he settled down to get more comfortable.

Licking her lips, Liz contemplating saying it for a minute before admitting, “just cause Max comforts me and stuff…it doesn’t mean you can’t. I mean, Max doesn’t know about my huge fear of snakes or how I got that scar on my ear. He didn’t grow up with me like you did. Him and me don’t share all our most embarrassing moments. You know all my faults – not Max.”

“What about that time at the zoo?” Alex joked, snickering as soon as the memory entered his mind.

“Hey – I thought we agreed to never bring that up again!” Liz added, playfully pinching him in the ribs.

“I’ve never seen a duck waddle so fast,” he got out between laughs. “Quack, quack, quack!”

“It isn’t funny! He bit me on the butt!” she exclaimed.

Alex snorted and laughed even harder. “And then you screamed and fell into the biggest mud hole in the petting zoo!!” Wiping at his eyes, he climbed back up onto the bed. “Man…that trip was a blast.”

“Yeah, well, you weren’t covered in muck and god-knows-what for the rest of the day,” Liz mumbled.

Sighing, Alex leaned over and threw his arm over her shoulder. “Cheer up – you gave the rest of the class a good laugh.”

Scoffing, Liz tugged him down onto the floor and started tickling him all over while trying to keep him at bay from getting her. Eventually Alex regained the upper hand and Liz’s giggles turned into squeals when he pinned her to the floor and let loose, zealously attacking her ribs and below her arms, Liz’s most ticklish spots.

“Alex…stop!” she got out between trying to catch her breath and squealing while squirming away with no avail. “That tickles! Alex!!”

“Who is the champion?”

“Stop – you…Alex!”

“What was that? I didn’t hear you,” he added, starting to tickle behind her knees also.

“You are, you are!” Liz squealed out, playfully kicking at him. Alex finally stopped and just grinned at her. “Cheater,” she added, finally catching her breath.

“How?” he questioned, crossing his arms while still having her pinned to the floor by squatting over her lower legs.

“How? Uh, you’re twice my size!”

“That doesn’t count.”

“Yes it does!”

Alex opened his mouth to talk but stopped when they heard a door open down the hallway. Glancing at the clock, Liz saw it was after midnight. Grinning, she looked back up at Alex and whispered, “Hey – it’s your birthday!”

“Yeah me,” he muttered, getting up and then helping her.

Shushing him, Liz waited a beat then added after the coast was clear, “what are your plans for tonight?”

Shrugging, Alex sat down on the bed. “Why?”

“I have a surprise for you from me. Meet me here at 7?”

Eyeing her, Alex asked, “you’re not gonna have the rest of the gang all hiding behind the couch and waiting to scream at me or something, are you?”

“Please – like we’d hide behind the couch.”
***

“Everybody down!” Maria hissed, waving her hands to get everyone’s attention. The signal her and Liz had come up with was just sounded and she ran to click off the lights.

“Maybe we should—“

“Cram it Michael,” Maria tossed out, ducking down behind the counter with him, Isabel, Max, and Kyle in the dark. After a beat she questioned, “Did someone roll their eyes at me?

“No one rolled their eyes at you DeLuca,” Kyle added.

“I felt it.”

“Would you both just—“ Isabel cut herself off when the back door of the café opened.

--

“So, you saw the big black cat and honked 3 times in a row?”

“Yes,” Liz replied, shaking her head with emotion.

“3 loud, long honks?”

“It was a very big cat,” she protested, walking over to her work locker. “Now, let me get my house keys and you will be dazzled with the oh-so-wonderfulness that is my gift to you.”

Rubbing his hands together, Alex beamed. “Then lets hop to it.”

Smiling, Liz turned from Alex and looked into the locker, putting on her game face. “Oh no…” she exclaimed.

“What?” Alex asked, coming up closer to her.

“My keys aren’t in here – where are they?!” For effect, Liz dug to the bottom of the locker, groaning with frustration.

“What about your spare?” Alex added, heading for the steps.

Panicking slightly, Liz cast a quick look at the door to the main part of the café and rushed to catch Alex. “It’s not there any more. We figured it was dangerous to leave it there, so I gave it to Max,” she lied quickly.

“Max?” Alex questioned, turning to look at her. “And he needs that why?”

Realizing her mistake, Liz faltered a step. “Right – alien and what not.” Racking her brain for a suitable answer, she panicked and blurted out, “But that’s why he melted it down.”

“Melted? Why—“

“To keep it out of the ‘enemies’ hands.” When Alex just looked at her, Liz added, “you know how paranoid Max is. He’s convinced the FBI has someone spying on us.” Praying that it worked, Liz laughed, hoping that he would join in.

Alex’s eyes widened then and he faltered back a step. “FBI?”

“They don’t of course,” Liz replied quickly. “Max is just paranoid. Anyway, I’m sure I just left my keys in the café. Walk with me? It’s kinda dark…”

“Sure,” Alex muttered, letting her lead him into the dark café. No sooner then he got his feet through the door and Liz turned on the light, a room full of people jumped up and screamed.

“Happy birthday!”

“Shit,” Alex cursed, jumping back before realizing what happened and laughing while placing a hand over his chest.

“Surprised?” Liz asked, pulling him into a big hug.

“To the point of a near heart-attack,” Alex joked, pulling back from the embrace to only find Maria and the rest of the gang coming up to him.

“Alex, happy birthday babe,” Maria exclaimed, hugging him tightly before pulling back also.

“You survived another year,” Michael added.

“Which is always good,” Kyle threw in.

“Happy birthday man,” Max said, patting him on the back.

Alex nodded and smiled shyly as Isabel came closer. Sensing the vibe in the air, Liz said happily, “I’ll get some music started.”

“I’ll help you with that,” Kyle suggested, cutting Max off as he opened his mouth.

Noticing that, Maria took his arm and suggested, “me, you, dance floor; Michael hates to dance.”

“Which is why ‘Michael’ will be by the refreshments,” Michael added, walking that way.

Everyone went their way, leaving Alex and Isabel alone. “So…”

“So, Alex, I need to wish you a ‘happy birthday’,” Isabel said.

“If you must,” he joked.

Smiling, Isabel reached out and wrapped her arms around Alex and leaned in, planting a lingering kiss in his cheek. “Happy birthday Alex,” she whispered. “I hope all your wishes come true.”

Closing his eyes, Alex hugged her back. “Some of them just did.”

Smiling, Isabel heard the beginning of a slow melody start up behind them and pulled apart, agreeing silently to dance as Alex lead her out to the middle of the impromptu dance floor.

--

“Oh…they’re dancing,” Maria whispered, grinning from ear to ear as she turned back to her dance partner, only to find him staring intensely over at the far wall.

“Wow…now they’re kissing…full blown making-out mode has been hit!”

“That’s good…”

Rolling her eyes, Maria licked her lips and exclaimed, “Oh my god, is that a wedding ring he’s giving her?!”

“I’m sure Isabel will like--…wait, what?” Max asked, finally turning to look at Maria then at his sister and Alex, who were still just dancing.

“About time you stopped staring.”

Looking down, he replied, “I was not staring…”

“No. You were just looking at them for a long time, intensely, and not looking away. Where did I come up with the whole ‘staring’ thing?” Maria joked. Sighing, she smiled faintly and added, “They’re just looking at the cd’s Max. No harm in that. It’s not like they’re dancing or anything.”

--

Flipping through the music, Kyle stole a glance at Liz from the corner of his eye and cleared his throat, shutting the cd holder. “Wanna dance?”

Stopping in mid motion of pulling out a cd, Liz turned and questioned, “dance?”

“Yeah…you…me. Together.”

Stuttering, Liz placed the last cd down and answered, “Ok – I mean, sure. Why not?”

“Glad to know you’re looking forward to it,” Kyle added, looking down.

Sighing, Liz said softly, “I’m just not used to this. It’s awkward is all.”

Nodding, Kyle held out his hand and took hers. “I know. And if it’s any consolation, I’ll try not to step on your toes.”
***

“I’m going over there.”

“Then go.”

“I am.”

“Fine – be my guest.”

“Ok, I will. I’m going. Right now. I am going over there right now.”

“Max.”

“Yeah?”

“I could be mistaken, but to walk, um, you have to actually pick up your feet and move them.”

“I know that…ok, I can’t do it.”

“Wimp.” Michael offered, speaking up for the first time.

“This coming from the guy who spent 2 hours picking up the phone and hanging it back up before actually calling Maria after he got her number.”

“Touché.” Popping another chip in his mouth, Michael nodded.

Shaking her head, Maria sighed and took Max’s hand. “Must I do everything?”

“Wait – what are you doing?” Max exclaimed, trying to act casual as she pulled him across the room toward Liz and Kyle, their topic for the last hour.

“Finding a way to end your whining,” she said quickly as they approached them. “Hey guys! How’s the party coming?”

Breaking away from Kyle, Liz turned around smiling to face Maria, but after seeing Max, the smile faltered a bit. “It’s going ok.”

“I’ve been stepping on her toes,” Kyle offered. “It’s very bad of me – I promised to try not to, but they’re so irresistible.”

Scoffing, Liz ducked her head and muttered, “I can not believe you…”

“Oh, come on, Parker. We all know your toes are adorable!” Kyle boasted, trying to make her look up. When she playfully hit him in the stomach, Kyle faked being hurt and laughed.

“You will pay for that,” Liz promised, finally looking up.

Laughing, Maria noticed that Max seemed a little out of the loop and explained, “Liz has this thing with her feet.”

“I do not.”

“She thinks her toes are stumpy and fat,” Kyle added.

“And thank you for that,” Liz said, eyeing them both.

Realizing that Max was still just standing there, Maria cleared her throat and was about to put her plan into action when the music suddenly shut off. Curious, she looked over and saw Michael standing there. Giving him her ‘what the hell?’ look, he just smiled and pushed a button on the cd player, making a new song start up.

Getting the new plan, Maria turned around and asked Kyle, “dance? Michael has 2 left feet.”

Looking at Liz, then back to her, Kyle nodded. “Sure – I feel like a dancing fool tonight.”

“Then dance away my fool,” Maria exclaimed, letting Kyle pull her away. “But watch my feet!”

--

“So…do you—“

“Yes, I’d like to dance,” Liz replied, not even letting Max get done his question. Realizing what she did, she added, “that is if you were gonna—“

“I was,” Max added, giving her a shy smile.

Sharing a laugh, they both slowly moved closer, not really sure where to place their hands until Liz placed her on his shoulders and Max placed his lightly on the small of her back.

* I don’t like to be alone at night and I don’t like to hear I’m wrong when I’m right. And I don’t like to have the rain on my shoes, but I do love you…but I do love you… *

Swaying softly to the music, Liz let the soft melody filter into her mind, using it as a release. Relaxing some, she stepped forward and moved her hands up, linking them around Max’s neck.

* I don’t like to see the sky painted gray and I don’t like when nothing’s going my way. And I don’t like to be the one with the blues but I do love you…but I do love you… *

Feeling Liz move closer, Max couldn’t help but look down into her eyes. Looking at him openly, Liz smiled and licked her lips before closing her eyes and resting her head on his shoulder.

* Love everything about the way you’re loving me; the way you lay your head upon my shoulder when you sleep. And I love to kiss you in the rain – I love everything you do…oh, I do… *

Smiling at the memory of waking up with Max’s head on her shoulder as he held her close from behind, Liz moved forward even more, wanting to feel his warmth again. When Max moved his arms around her even more and held her closer, Liz let her hand drip down, caressing his shoulder and upper arm.

How could one person have so much strength and make her feel so protected? It’s like everything that was wrong, everything that hurt, could be made go away by one touch from him.

* And I don’t like to turn the radio on just to find I missed my favorite song and I don’t like to be the last with the news, but I do love you…but I do love you… *

Max’s heart sped up into over-time when Liz peered up at him and tilted her head back some, her eyes looking over his face openly. In a way, it was almost like she was seeing him for the first time, and it scared him. It was like she was putting everything on this very moment.

“I don’t get it,” she finally whispered.

“Don’t get what?” Max asked, fearing the answer.

* Love everything about the way you’re loving me; the way you lay your head upon my shoulder when you sleep. And I love to kiss you in the rain – I love everything you do…oh, I do… *

The air between them seemed to intensify as Liz gazed up at him, her words becoming softer as she added, “Why you’ve waited for me to come around…why you’re still here.”

* And I don’t like to be alone at night and I don’t like to hear I’m wrong when I’m right. And I don’t like to have the rain on my shoes but I do love you… *

Touched by the innocence and pure feelings behind her words, Max reached up and softly brushed her hair back, caressing her cheek in the process. “I thought it was obvious by now,” he whispered back, his voice full of emotion.

* But I do love you…but I do love you… *

Liz leaned into his touch and closed her eyes, trying to calm her beating heart down. Feeling his finger trace her chin delicately before gently tilting it up, Liz reopened her eyes and found herself face to face with Max, whose eyes were locked on hers now.

Licking her lips, Liz held her breath as Max’s lips softly brushed against hers, light as a feather. Brushing them over hers again, a little longer this time, Max pulled back after a beat, his eyes still looking into hers and asking silently what she wanted.

Her lips tingled in the aftermath of his touch and Liz licked them, not surprised when she found them so warm. Smiling, she tugged on Max’s neck and pulled his lips back down to hers as she kissed all of his questions away.

* But I do love you. *
***
TBC

posted on 2-Jan-2002 4:18:49 PM by True Blue Healer
Mary, actually yes, Liz is still staying with Max and Isabel. And trust me, after the next part, she won't even consider being alone anytime soon...
posted on 22-Mar-2002 9:23:19 AM by True Blue Healer
I am soooooo sorry guys!! I know it's been forever since I posted a part to this -- I mean the last part came out in January!!! But I've been working on my other fics more, so this one got pushed to the back burner *sad*

But don't worry, I plan on updating it. You just gotta give me some time to get motivated.

I think my Muses are playing a nasty, mean trick on me...

*bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce**bounce*
posted on 4-Apr-2002 9:41:18 PM by True Blue Healer
Author’s Notes – Hey guys!! I’m so, so, sooooooo sorry about taking this long to get a new part up!!! I hadn’t been able to work on it for weeks, and then today, boom – this part just came to me!!
I hope you guys like it!!!
***

PART 17

"Wow...this is great Kyle. I've been wanting this program for my computer forever," Alex added, turning the box over to glance at the back.

"I know," Kyle replied, giving, giving him a small smirk. "You've mentioned it a few times."

"What's it do?" Isabel asked, leaning over his shoulder.

"Nothing much," Alex said, putting the box down and moving it aside to rub his hands together eagerly. "Lets keep rolling. What's next?"

"Mine," Maria exclaimed happily, picking up a small, thin box covered in shinny wrapping paper. "Or well, mine and Michael’s. I have a feeling that you'll like it very much."

“Have fun,” Michael added.

Intrigued, Alex took the box and shook it gently. "Kinda light...and tiny...I'm stumped."

"Stop trying to guess and just open it!" Liz joked. "We'll be here forever!"

"Yeah...I kinda have other plans tonight," Max added, giving Liz a small smile before taking her hand into his.

Alex, seeing the action and trying to ignore it, replied, "glad to know I matter," before laughing softly. "Ok, here goes nothing." Ripping the wrapping off, he looked down at the cd. “Oh my god…Maria!”

“You like?”

“I like,” Alex added, giving her a hug. “I’ve--…wow…where did you get this?! How?!”

Smiling, Maria said coolly, “lets just say that everything has a price.”

“What is it?” Isabel asked.

“An autographed copy of Linkin Park’s cd.” Still grinning, Alex added, “they’re one of my favorite bands.”

“Cool – that band rocks,” Kyle added.

“Maria, how in the world did you get that?” Liz asked.

Grinning, she said mysteriously, “that is for me to know and you not to.”

“She sent the band about 100 letters and bugged them constantly,” Michael commented, earning himself a slap from his girlfriend.

Everyone laughed and Alex added, “This is great…”

“Well, don’t get all excited yet – you still have more,” Max added, picking up a package and tossing to him. “Happy birthday man.”

Smiling, Alex ripped into the box, pulling out all the stuffing. Reaching in, he rooted around and pulled out another box. “Ok…”

“Go on,” Maria urged, hopping up and down herself.

Opening the new box, Alex looked in and grinned, saying, “Max – a new Palm Pilot? I so needed one of these.”

“Yeah – I was kinda tipped off when you asked me to blast your old one across the universe,” Max joked.

“Thanks man,” Alex added. Sitting that one aside with the rest, he asked, “what’s next?” rubbing his hands together once again.

“Spoken like a true birthday boy,” Liz commented, grinning.

“I would be next,” Isabel said suddenly, coming forward. Pulling a small envelope out from behind her back, she smiled and added, “There’s a certain condition that goes along with this gift.”

Raising his eyebrow, Alex took the envelope and looked at Liz and Maria, seeing the twinkle in his friends’ eyes. What was going on?

“Open it Whitman – while the night is still young,” Kyle added.

Unsealing the envelope, Alex pulled out two slips of paper and read them, his jaw going slack and his eyes jerking up to look back at Isabel.

“See, the condition is that I accompany you – that way I can make sure that my gift is living up to what it was supposed to be,” she told him.

“Of course…” Looking back at the tickets, Alex suddenly exclaimed, “backstage?! I get to go backstage of an Incubus concert?!”

“Told ya he’d love it,” Maria said.

“Isabel…whoa…” Pulling her close, Alex told her softly, “you didn’t have to do this -- they must have cost a fortune.”

“Well…I happen to think you’re worth it,” she replied, kissing him softly and quickly on the lips. A little surprised, Alex pulled back some and looked at her, smiling when she laughed softly and took his hand.

“I’d say this was one successful birthday,” Kyle commented.

“Yeah – we eating now?” Michael asked.

“Ugh!” Looking at Alex, Maria smiled and said again, “happy Birthday honey,” giving him another hug.

Everyone else said their congratulations and started to spread out again. Feeling Max’s hand on the small of her back, Liz looked up and smiled. “My turn,” she said, waiting for Alex to pull out of the hug with Isabel.

“This has to be my best birthday yet.”

“Who said it’s over yet?” Liz questioned. “I still believe you have one more gift to open.”

Looking confused for a second, Alex just stared at her before he smiled and asked, “oh yeah…and where’s is this gift that you’ve been raving about?”

Taking his hand, she told Isabel, “I have to steal him away for a little bit.”

“Steal away,” she laughed.

“Close your eyes.”

“Liz—“

“Close ‘em,” she whined, pouting until he did so. “We’ll return shortly,” she told the others, noticing the confused look on Max’s face as she lead a ‘blind’ Alex off.
***

“Ok…see, everyone else has given you gifts and stuff dealing with bands you like and stuff for your computer and what-not. But mine…is strictly for you,” Liz told Alex, walking backwards as she led him to the back of the café and into the break room.

“Ok…um…can I assume that we’re still in the Crash?” Alex asked.

“Yes,” Liz said, laughing slightly.

“Can I open my eyes now?”

“No.”

“Now?”

“No.”

“Now?” he asked, his voice hopeful.

“Fine – now,” Liz said, giving in.

Grinning, Alex opened his eyes and looked around, frowning slightly. “Um…Lizzie?”

“Yep?”

“Where’s my present?”

Shaking her head, Liz deadpanned, “you were spoiled as a child, weren’t you?”

“Liz!”

“Kidding, kidding.” Giving him a full-out grin, she added, “ok, here’s the deal. When the others told me about all the great stuff they were getting you, cd’s and tickets and all that, I thought, that’s great – but what do you need.”

Backing up some, Liz told him finally, “and this is what I came up with,” then dashed into the office.

“Do you need my help?” Alex asked after a beat.

“No!”

Watching her walk out backwards while dragging a box with a big red bow on top, Alex raised his eyebrows. “Heavy?”

“No, but this is my way of carrying stuff, ok?”

“Ok…gimmie, gimmie.”

Laughing, Liz sat the box down and turned around, facing Alex and throwing her arms out. “Hope you like it!”

“Here goes,” Alex said dramatically, taking the bow off and pulling it open. Gazing down into the box, he stopped. Reaching in, he pulled out the black guitar case and looked at Liz.

“See, the guy at the music store said it was the best one they carried, so I hope it’s right – go on, open it!”

Sitting the case down and popping the latch, Alex flipped up the lid and pulled out the guitar, his eyes wide. “Wow…Liz, this must have cost a fortune…you-you didn’t have to do this…”

“I wanted to!” Liz exclaimed, walking over to give him a hug. “Alex, you have done so much for me and this is just one way I can pay you back.” Pulling back, Liz gestured toward the guitar. “I knew you wanted a new one and this one you can actually use for your own music.”

“Liz…thank you.”

“You really like it?” she asked hesitantly. “I, like, know nothing about guitars and stuff so I totally went by what the guy said.”

“I love it.” Putting it back into the case, he pulled Liz into his arms once more and kissed her on the cheek. “It’s my favorite gift by far.”

“Good.” Laughing, Liz pulled back some and reached up, kissing him back on the cheek. “Love you, sweetie.”

“Love you too.”

“Wow…hate to interrupt such a darling scene…”

Freezing, Liz clenched her hands onto Alex’s shoulders and sealed her eyes shut, willing it all to just be in her imagination.

He’s not herehe’s not here

“But you do happen to be kissing my future wife.”

Barley being able to stand, Liz finally turned her head and looked on as her Ex stood in the back door of the café.

“Hello, dear,” Tyler said to her, grinning from ear to ear.
***

“So…”

“So?” Max asked, looking at Maria.

“So!! What happened?” she demanded, trying to act stern while a grin threatened to appear.

“What happened with what?”

“Max – please tell her or we’ll be standing here all night,” Isabel added, leaning up against the counter and waiting to hear also.

“I saw you two kissing,” Maria added, nearly doing a little hop. “So???”

“So what? You just said it yourself,” Max said casually, trying to repress a grin.

“Maxwell…don’t even go down that lane. Teasing does nothing with her,” Michael offered.

Smiling, Max admitted finally, “we’re gonna go and get some coffee after the party.”

“Really?! I’m so happy for you guys!!” Maria gushed, giving him a quick hug.

“Maria, hon, it’s just coffee,” Isabel said.

“And this is Liz and Max we’re talking about.”

“Shy and shier. Coffee is big in their world,” Michael commented.

“You guys should totally go to the little coffee shop in the end of Bleaker – what’s it called again?”

“Maria, that place is a dive. They’re gonna go to one right down the road—“ Isabel tried to say.

“But the other one is more romantic!” Maria countered.

“And it’s mine and Liz’s da--…whatever it is, so we will decide where we’re going,” Max said suddenly.

Turning to him, Maria said delicately, “Max, sweetie, we’re just trying to help you. You’ve been out of the game for so long…”

“Yes – me and Maria are just your…love—consultants!” Isabel added.

“Max, you should let me use this stuff in your hair – it’ll look so cute,” Maria told him.

“Oh – run home and get your silk green shirt and you can change before you guys leave!”

Gasping, Maria added, “You just reminded me of this adorable little dress Liz can wear tonight!”

Throwing his head back, Max moaned out, “kill…me…now.”

Patting his back, Michael offered, “Maria tends to get bored easily. Isabel, on the other hand, well, we all know how worked up she gets…”

Hearing a noise from the back room, Max glanced that way, but let it slide by when Isabel added, “we should get started now—“

“No now – not now!”

“I may be wrong, but I don’t think he wants our help, Isabel,” Maria commented.

Hearing the noise again, Max glanced at the door and paused. “Did you guys hear that?”

“No,” Isabel said. “I can hardly hear anything over this music. Who picked it?”

“Valenti’s taken over the electronics,” Michael muttered.

When a boom ricocheted through out the room, Max stood up.

“What was that?” Isabel asked, looking around.

“It came from the outback…I think,” Max told them.

“That…that sounded like a gun,” Michael added, standing up also.

“Liz and Alex,” Maria said slowly, heading for the back with everyone else.

“Liz?” Max exclaimed, reaching the doors first.

“Alex?” both Maria and Isabel shouted.

“Why is the back door open?” Michael asked, heading that way.

“Liz!” Seeing her friend sitting on the floor, Maria raced over, pulling her into her arms. Unable to move, Max stared down at her, his heart tearing into pieces when he saw the raw and honest emotions on her face.

Liz looked like she was about to completely break down.

“Liz, what happened?” Isabel asked, getting down too.

Swallowing, Liz stared openly at the doorway, looking right past everyone before looking Maria in the eyes. “Alex…he went after him…” Her voice cracked some and she leaned into Maria, letting the other girl cradle her close.

“Him? Who?” Michael asked.

Standing still and staring at Liz, Max said out loud, “Tyler…he’s back isn’t he?”

As if seeing something for the first time, Liz lifted up her hands and stared at them.

“Oh my god!!” Maria shrieked, instantly getting everyone’s attention to Liz’s hands, which were red.

“He had a gun…he had a gun…” she kept repeating, staring down at her blood-covered hands.

“Where’s Alex?!” Isabel demanded, jumping up and spinning around to see every corner.
***

Feeling Maria’s arm leave her shoulders, Liz swallowed and closed her eyes, biting her lips closed. “I’ll be right back sweetie,” Maria told her gently, sliding off of the table they had been sitting on. Walking over to the counter, where Michael, Max, and Isabel were, she added, “any word?”

“No…” Isabel whispered, staring down at the cell phone.

“I’m sure Kyle’s gonna find Alex,” Michael told them.

“I just hope he finds him before…” Trailing off, Maria wiped at her eyes and looked downward.

“How she doing?” Max asked suddenly, glancing over to where Liz was perched on the table, staring down at her feet. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders and she seemed to disappear underneath it.

“I, um, I truly don’t know…she closing up again,” Maria whispered, her eyes getting misty. Getting up, Michael walked over and pulled her close to his chest, kissing her forehead.

“What if he’s hurt bad?” Isabel suddenly asked, her voice hurried and painful. “What if Alex is dying right now, and all we’re doing is sitting here in the café?! We don’t even know where he was shot!!”

“The shoulder…”

Hearing the small, tentative voice, they all looked over to see that Liz was staring down at her hands again, as if the blood was never washed off.

“He was protecting me…he and Tyler were fi-fighting and Alex told him that…that he’d die before he’d let go near him. I don’t…” Her voice cracked and she took in a deep breath. “Tyler got mad and started yelling about how I-I was his and his only and no else could touch me…I never wanted Alex to get hurt…”

“We know that,” Maria told her, starting to walk back over, but Liz stopped her.

“No! You don’t understand,” she exclaimed, jumping down from the table. Crying, Liz sobbed out, “ He lost it completely and screamed that if I couldn’t be faithful, I wasn’t worth it. Tyler was aiming for me! That bullet was meant for me…but Alex, he shoved me onto the ground and-and…” Once again, she stared down at her hands.

“Everything got so quiet and when I looked back up, no one was there…Tyler wasn’t anywhere and Alex was beside me on-on the floor and there was all this blood all over his arm and shirt. I screamed and reached for him as he sat up. He told me it coulda be-been worse and he would be ok – that he needed to go. Before I could even think he was out the door and gone. Then I heard another shot…”

“Alex…” Isabel cried out softly, standing up and heading for the doors. “I can’t just sit here!”

“Iz, what do you plan on doing?” Michael demanded. “We told Kyle we’d wait here! He’s got officers on the case – we can’t just go around using our powers freely! This guy might know about aliens and stuff – Kyle told us that. We gotta watch ourselves now.”

“At Alex’s expense?!” Maria demanded.

“That’s not what I meant,” Michael added. “You know that.”

“So we just sit back while Alex is hurt?! I am not doing that while there’s something we could be doing!” Isabel screamed.

“I tried…I tried to end this all and get Tyler to leave,” Liz added, her voice laced with guilt.

Max, who had been silent through most if this, stared hard at Liz and asked softly, “You offered to leave with him, didn’t you?”

“Liz?” Maria questioned, her face going even paler.

“He just wanted me…”

“You are not going back to him!” Max thundered, striding over to Liz and taking her by the shoulders. “I’ll be damned if I lose you to him.” Not letting Liz back away, he pulled her even closer and wrapped his arms around her waist.

“We’re in this together Liz, that’s it. There’s no other way.” Feeling her relax into him, Max rubbed her back and closed his eyes, wanting to shield her away from all this.

But, deep down, he knew he could never do that. Cause this was far from over. And there was nothing he could to stop it.
***

Climbing out of the truck, Alex winced as his shoulder felt like it was on fire, pain shooting out of it from all directions. His whole body was sore and achy, but he plowed on steadily and walked toward the café doors.

“This is stupid and is gonna get you—“

“I gotta make sure she’s ok,” Alex muttered, hoping to shut Kyle up. He’d had to listen to the lecture the whole way over here.

“She’s fine! You were the one shot Whitman! And that’s not all that’s gonna happen to you if you don’t get fixed up quick!”

“I’m not just leaving her worried!”

“Then call from there and—“

“No,” Alex bit out, spinning to glare at him, though it didn’t seem very convincing when he winced in pain. “No. We can go right after I see Liz and the others. It’s not that bad anyway – I took the hit ok. And I gotta make sure she’s safe – I’ll do everything I can to keep Liz safe.”

Shaking his head, Kyle muttered, “It’s your funeral.” Giving him a stern look, he warned, “just be careful…you’re on thin ice as it is with that arm – you were stupid to go after Tyler alone. There’s a lot more going on than everybody knows Alex…you can’t get in the middle of it. So you better watch what you do from now on.”

“I’m gonna hear that plenty from now on, so can you lay off?” Alex muttered, walking into the café. Instantly his eyes sought out Liz, who was in Max’s arms until she saw him.

“Alex?!” she cried, leaving Max and racing over to his side only to fling herself into his arms.

Hissing in pain, Alex grunted and bit his lips, not letting any more protests slip out. Using his good arm, he held her close and asked, “are you ok?”

Pulling back some, Liz, who was crying still, noticed his shoulder and ignored his question, “oh god Alex…is it ok? Why hasn’t it been bandaged or anything?!”

“I’m fine,” he lied, trying to calm her down, and everyone else, who had gathered around them by now. “I wanted to check on you guys first.”

“Are you stupid Alex?” Isabel demanded, her grief replaced with anger now that she knew he was alright. “You could’ve gotten killed tonight!”

“But I didn’t,” he countered.

“Nice defense,” Michael muttered. “You went after someone without a weapon.”

Alex, keeping quiet, looked downward.

“We’ve been worried sick about you,” Maria whispered emotionally, taking Liz’s place at his side as she embraced him tenderly, making sure to avoid his injured shoulder.

“You’re still bleeding,” Max commented, reaching for the wound without much thought, until Alex wiped his good hand upward and caught his wrist quickly, startling Liz and Maria, who were still by his side.

Quickly glancing at Kyle then sharply back to Max, Alex added, “Kyle said it’s not fatal. I just got grazed.” Getting the hint, Max seemed spooked by his almost-slip and pulled his arm back, returning it stiffly to his side.

“Come on Alex,” Kyle said after the brief moment of silence. “We gotta get you checked out.”

“Hold up a second,” someone said from the door.

Everyone turned to see Jim Valenti standing there, having just walked into the café. Kyle instantly stiffened and exclaimed, “dad, what are you doing here?”

“I am the head of this investigation, am I not?” Valenti asked.

“Of course. But Tyler is long gone by now and I was just about to take Alex to get fixed up, so I can fill you in.” Looking at Alex, Kyle added, “right?”

“Yeah, right,” Alex repeated. Looking back at Maria and Liz, he added, “I gotta go with Kyle, but I’ll see you guys in a little bit.”

“Just as soon as you answer some questions,” Jim added.

“Dad…” Kyle trailed off, looking very nervous suddenly.

“I need to fill out a report,” Jim told him evenly, as if challenging him.

Watching this with interest, Max and Michael both shared a look, but kept their mouths shut.

“Alex, buddy, why don’t you tell me what happened?”

Not giving him a chance to speak, Maria looked at Jim and told him, “can’t this wait? Alex needs medical attention. I think that’s more important than getting your damn report filed!”

“Maria,” Alex said softly, stopping her. “It’s ok. I told you, I’m fine.” Turning to look directly into Jim Valenti’s eyes, Alex stated, “Tyler Jones showed up here, pulled a weapon—“

“What kind of weapon?”

“Considering that he was shot, I’d say a gun,” Isabel offered. “Alex got shot – are we done here?”

“Isabel…” Sighing, he kept going. “He pulled a gun, I was shot in the process and then proceeded to go after him—“

“And did you retaliate?” Jim asked.

“Dad, Alex didn’t have any weapons or anything, so it’s safe to assume that Tyler got away without any harm,” Kyle answered. “Can we go?”

Ignoring his son, Valenti told Alex, “We’ll talk again later. I need to get some facts straight.” Without saying anything else, he left the café.

“What was that about?” Liz asked, looking between Kyle and Alex.

“I’m not sure,” Alex answered finally, glancing at Kyle, who muttered, “dad’s on a serious power-trip.”

“Lets just forget it and get you help, ok?” Max offered.

Seeming to think of something, Isabel suddenly grinned at Kyle. “Kyle, can you please go and check in the back of the café before you leave,” she questioned suddenly, giving Alex a look, as if asking him to play along.

Getting it, Maria nodded. “Yeah, we’re a little freaked out by all this.”

“I’m sure one of the other officers already checked the place out – we really need to get Alex to the hospital,” Kyle answered.

“But I would feel so much safer if you did it,” Liz added, catching on that Isabel and Maria were trying to get rid of Kyle so that they could heal Alex. “I trust you, Kyle,” she told him sweetly.

Sending a smile her way, Kyle nodded and walked off and past Max, who was watching him from the corner of his eyes before glancing back at Liz.

“Actually Kyle, I’m feeling kinda light-headed, so can you have someone else check it out?” Alex asked suddenly, stopping Kyle. “I really think I should go to the hospital.”

Isabel, looking at Alex, seemed upset over something and turned away from him, shaking her head.

“Um, ok,” Kyle answered, coming back over to them. Looking at Liz, he added, “one of other officers will check it out, ok?” Reaching up, he rubbed her arm. “I won’t let anything else happen to you.”

Max coughed suddenly, prompting Kyle to drop his hand.

“Thank you,” Liz told him before looking at Max, noticing how he was eyeing Kyle still.

“we’re gonna go.”

“Alex, hold up, we’re coming,” Maria said suddenly.

“no,” he told her. “I’ll just meet you guys back at the house.” Then he let Kyle lead him off.

“What was that about?” Isabel demanded as soon as they were gone.

“Isabel, if you had been thinking clearly, you would’ve known that we couldn’t heal Alex’s arm,” Michael told her. “Why do you think he stopped Max?”

“But Kyle was in the room, we got him to leave,” Maria pointed out.

“But he’d already seen Alex’s shoulder,” Max added.

Sighing deeply, Isabel nodded and looked downward. “You’re right,” she admitted. “But I wasn’t thinking clearly. I just wanted to help him.”

“Me too,” Maria commented.

“Come on…let’s go and try and get some rest,” Max said finally, walking over to Liz and steering her toward the doors. “It’s been a long day.”

Feeling Max’s hand on her back, Liz looked up at him before quickly looking away, her eyes wavering some. Noticing it, Max waited until everyone else had gone out the doors before stopping her.

“Liz…are you ok?”

Refusing to meet his gaze, she shrugged. “Given the circumstances, I’m what’s to be expected, I guess.”

“This wasn’t you fault.”

Scoffing, she muttered, “Tyler’s here because of me.”

“Hey…don’t,” Max told her softly, reaching up to cup her cheek and make her look at him. “Do you really think Alex is regretting what he did, cause I know for sure that he’s not; Alex would rather die himself before letting anything happen to you. And I know you would never let anything happen to him – you were about to give yourself up to Tyler to keep him safe. You two would do just about anything for each other…”

Swallowing, Liz blinked and turned away, pulling out of his embrace. “We need to catch up to the others.” Without waiting for his response, she walked off.
***

Grunting with the pain, he tossed the rag aside angrily and cursed. His side was in bad shape and needed medical attention, but he couldn’t risk going to a hospital or anything like that now.

Not when he knew the FBI had been called in.

“I’ll kill ‘em,” Tyler seethed, getting a clean towel to hold against his wound. How long had they been in? Weeks? Months? Years? They had been right under his nose the whole time, a freakin’ group of FBI agents!

Who knew how much Liz had told them – she probably spilled some of the story by now and the FBI all knew who he was. It wouldn’t take so long to before they out 2 and 2 together – the FBI had access to all the files. Hell, Liz probably trusted them enough to tell everything. She was completely clueless about her friends’ true feelings for her – they were just using her as a way to him.

A way to kill him.

“Like hell that’s happening,” Tyler roared, standing up. Ignoring the pain caused by his bullet wound, he shrugged on a shirt and made his way to the door. He needed to get fixed and work on another plan.

They were going to pay for shooting him.

Pay for that and everything else.
***

Staring down at his gun, Kyle nearly jumped out of his skin when Alex knocked on the wall beside his seat.

“You scared the shit outta me,” he muttered, quickly replacing the small weapon into its hostler. Looking at the bandaged shoulder and arm sling, he asked, “how’d it go?”

Shrugging, Alex fingered the sling some then answered. “How do you expect? I can’t even use this arm for who knows how long. Do ya know how hard that’s is gonna be?”

“I can imagine.”

“Then you also can imagine that I just wanna get out of here.”

“Can do,” Kyle told him, standing up, feeling the cold steel of the gun through the thin material of his shirt.
***
TBC


posted on 18-Apr-2002 5:46:12 AM by True Blue Healer
Thanks for all the feedback guys!! *bounce*

Also, just wanna say, some of you are kinda forgetting that there is someone else, other than Alex, who could be the FBI agent.

...There is more than one guy close to Liz...