|posted on 6-Jan-2002 4:15:08 PM by Kazza|
|Something to Believe in – BY KAZZA|
Disclaimer: In the alternate universe that all Roswell Fanfic writers visit, I own Roswell. Sadly, in the real world, I own nothing, so please don’t sue me! I promise to return the characters good as new. I do, however, own the idea to this story.
Summary: Alternate Universe. Not set in Roswell and there are no aliens in sight! Just your regular love story!
Category: A bit of everyone, but swaying towards Max and Liz.
Rating: PG-13 (For now!!)
Dedication: This story is dedicated to Jo, my amazing Roswell e-buddy, whom I’ve had the privileged pleasure to meet. A wonderful person who truly has a pure heart of gold.
Authors Notes: This is my own story, generated from my own imagination. I apologise if any of my ‘American’ terms are incorrect, please forgive me since I don’t live there!
FROM PART 25
Despite suggestions otherwise, Isabelle also refused point blank to leave Max’s bedside. She was, in her heart, afraid that if she moved perhaps he’d leave her for good, and she couldn’t cope with that. So Michael insisted on staying with her, so that she would at least get a couple of hours sleep on the couch if he assured her he’d watch Max.
By that point Diane and Philip had been finally contacted and told the full impact of Max’s injuries, although it would take a good day to get back to Los Angeles. They’d been away in London at a global convention for lawyers, and obtaining a flight back from Heathrow at short notice had been difficult, even with all the money they had.
And so, their nightmare continued. Isabelle spent much of the night just staring at Max, stroking his hand and watching his chest rise and fall, willing him to give her some sort of sign, a glimmer of hope that her brother was still with them.
The next morning brought a fresh outlook and installed new hope for Liz. She was still apprehensive as to the outcome of Max’s injuries and whether indeed he would pull through, but she felt more able to face what lie ahead of her.
Walking into the hospital with Maria, she noted Michael sleeping fitfully on a bench to the left of Max’s private room. For a moment Maria considered walking on and ignoring him, but something deep inside tugged her conscience. She had to talk to Michael, whether she wanted to or not, there were still many unanswered questions to iron out.
“I’ll wait here for you.” Maria said gently, hugging her boss and friend before taking up a seat in front of her now ex boyfriend and father to her child.
Seeing him lying only a few feet away from her, Maria’s breath hitched in her throat. He still looked as handsome as ever, the same Michael Guerin she’d been attracted to the moment he’d set foot in the offices of the Amber Inn Group. His hair was a little longer and more tousled through restless sleep, and he clearly needed a fresh shirt, but she couldn’t hate the loveable rogue no matter how hard she tried.
Her hands instinctively moved to encompass her stomach at that moment, her thoughts turning to the little being growing inside her. It was a still a very scary and daunting prospect, but little by little it was starting to sink in and she often had days when it excited her.
She was having a good day, despite the events of the previous afternoon, and felt much stronger inside. And seeing Michael again made her even more determined to make sure he acknowledged the child. Whether he wanted to be a part of its life was his choice, but he was certainly going to contribute to its upbringing if nothing else.
His stirring and subsequent sitting up brought Maria back to her senses. He was disorientated for a few moments, his eyes full of the uncomfortable sleep he had just experienced. When he finally rubbed his eyes and saw her sitting quietly in front of him, he paused for a moment and just looked at her.
“We need to talk.” She finally announced
“Yeah, I think so.” He finally replied.
“You have to face up to responsibilities.” She said firmly, looking at him square in the eyes.
“I know ………..” He started, but was cut off by her words.
“It’s time you accepted that I am pregnant, and it is your child. If you want to see it when the baby is born then that is ok with me, you’re it’s father and I don’t want to deprive him or her of the opportunity to get to know you. But if you think you’re just gonna get away with a couple of visits a year then think again mister.” She reeled off.
“I don’t want …………..” He started again, before she continued to rant.
“I can’t support myself and a child on my own, it’s physically impossible. I’m gonna have to give up work and then how am I going to pay for everything a growing child needs? No, you’re gonna have to give me some sort of maintenance money, something to provide a roof over the head of your son or daughter.”
“Maria …………..” He continued, still unable to get a word in edgeways. It was clear she was on a mission, and anything he had to say would fall on deaf ears. She needed to rant, get everything out of her system, his words just couldn’t cut through.
“I don’t want to hear about your protests!” She snapped. “I know you’ve got a good job and a few dollars each week won’t hurt you! My mother doesn’t know yet, but you can rest assured I’ll need to find new accommodation when she does, and that doesn’t come cheap. It’s your duty to make sure your child and I aren’t left out on the streets homeless, right? Besides that’s your payment for saddling me on my own with a child that you don’t even want to acknowledge.” She added hurtfully.
“Will you just shut up and for once let me get a word in?” He snapped somewhat angrily.
“Oh …… ok.” She responded meekly, surprised by his outburst.
“Right, thank you. What I was going to say is yes, you’re right we need to talk. I know I’ve been a jackass and I’ve hurt you Maria, and I’m sorry for that. But what has happened to Max has got me thinking, life’s too short to let opportunities pass you by.”
“What are you saying?” Maria queried cagily.
“That I don’t want to pay you money and see my child a couple of times a year.”
“No? What do you want then?” She asked pointedly.
“I want to make a proper home for my child, I want to give it the best childhood I can.”
“And just what exactly does that entail?”
“You hopefully giving me a second chance?” He asked optimistically.
“What? You think it’s that easy do you? You put me through hell, say sorry and then everything’s fixed? No I’m sorry Michael, it just doesn’t work that way.” She said indignantly. It wasn’t that she didn’t want him back, more that she wanted to make sure he really meant what he said. Begging wasn’t necessary, but assuring her he was sincere was.
“I am aware of that, and I understand why you don’t trust me, I haven’t exactly proven I’m trustworthy to you. But if you’ll give me a second chance, an opportunity to start again, I’ll make it up to you.”
“And how do I know you won’t just up and run at the next sign of trouble?” She queried, trying to think of every eventuality to test him.
“I guess you don’t and neither do I. I’ve never claimed to be the best boyfriend or father in the world, and I don’t claim to not get scared either. I’m human Maria, I guess you just have to trust me.”
“That’s the problem, trust is something you earn not have right too.” She said firmly.
“Then give me the opportunity to earn it then. I don’t want to make you go through this pregnancy alone. It’s my fault you’re in this situation, and I’m ready to face up to my responsibilities now. If seeing Max lying in that bed has taught me anything it’s that life is special and should be cherished. So …… do I get a second chance?”
For a moment Maria looked at him, trying to gauge whether his words were some sort of ploy or whether he truly meant them. It was easy to let the words tumble out of his mouth, but another to live up to them. But then again, she knew in her heart she loved him, and couldn’t deny her child the chance to have a normal family upbringing, not to mention how much easier it would be to tell her mother if Michael was with her.
“Ok, I’ll give you one more chance Michael ……. Just don’t blow it.” She finally said making sure he understood her conditions.
“Thank you.” He murmured quietly, slipping his arm around her shoulders and pulling her close to his body.
Being wrapped tightly in his arms once more felt even better than in her dreams. Maria had all but resided to never feeling his touch again, but her prayers had been answered. In her heart she knew, no matter what happened, no matter what obstacles they faced, they would get through them together to make a loving family for their child.
As Liz reached the room, she stopped for a few moments to compose herself, watching Isabelle tending to her brother through the window of the room. Isabelle was wiping his forehead gently with a damp cloth, being careful to avoid the large tube in his mouth that carried the work of the hissing respirator.
Knocking gently as she didn’t want to intrude unannounced, Liz slowly entered the room. For some reason, this time, the step inside didn’t feel quite like the canyon it had the previous day. Instead, in the bright morning light, it felt almost easy, her strength returning after a rough, fitful night.
“Hi.” Liz said softly, placing her bag down on a nearby chair and heading to the opposite side of Max to Isabelle.
“Hi.” Isabelle responded looking down at her brother still.
For a few moments, there was an uncomfortable silence in the room. It was clear they were both struggling, not only with the fact Max was so ill, but also being in the same room together. Liz wasn’t sure why things were awkward between them though, her memories of the previous afternoon very hazy.
“I ……. I just want to say I’m sorry for yesterday Liz.” Isabelle started, finally looking up at her. “I was out of order blaming you for Max getting hurt …….. it wasn’t your fault, please don’t think it was. I shouldn’t have shouted at you, I’m sorry.” She added, genuinely feeling bad for the way she had ranted at Liz the day before.
“It’s ok Isabelle, I can totally understand your reaction. Please don’t worry about it, it’s completely forgotten.” Liz replied gently, trying to make her feel at ease.
In truth it was forgotten, Isabelle’s yelling had come at a time when Liz had been most in a daze and out of it. In truth she barely remembered it, let alone had time to take the words to heart. She knew, no matter what, Isabelle had ranted in the heat of the moment, frightened and scared for her brother fuelling her actions.
“How’s he doing?” Liz queried.
“Ok I guess ……….. there hasn’t been much change to be honest.” She said truthfully, not wanting to give Liz false hope. “The doctor and nurses have been coming and going all night and they seem optimistic. Apparently the swelling on his brain hasn’t increased which is good ……… but it hasn’t gone down either.” She added, bringing Liz quickly up to speed.
“Do they propose to do anything if the swelling doesn’t go down?”
”Yeah, if there isn’t an improvement by the afternoon I think they’re gonna take him into surgery. The doctor mentioned something about relieving the pressure might help him.” She said vaguely.
Watching Isabelle continually stroking Max’s lukewarm hand, Liz couldn’t help but feel her heart tug. It was clearly evident that Isabelle cared deeply for her brother, and Liz wished there was something she could do to help Isabelle at that moment.
“Why do you hate my brother?” Isabelle suddenly asked, shaking Liz from her daze with a start.
“Hate him?” She queried. “I don’t hate Max.” She clarified, shocked by Isabelle’s question.
”Then if you don’t hate him, why do you want to hurt him?” She added simply.
“I don’t follow?” Liz said confused.
“Ok, I have never seen my brother so bowled over by a woman before. He’s had other girlfriends, but none of them have got to him, none have managed to get under his skin. That is until you entered his life Liz. All I have to do is say your name and his eyes light up, potential meetings with you were a buzz for him, I’ve never seen Max so besotted by anyone before.”
“Oh.” Liz responded quietly, dipping her eyes slightly so as not to look at Isabelle.
Responding to such an openly born soul was very difficult for Liz. She knew she’d hurt him, she was aware of the affection he held for her, but to have Isabelle to easily say it to her was difficult for Liz to accept.
“Do you love him?” Isabelle then asked bluntly.
“I ……… with all due respect I don’t think that’s any of your business.” Liz responded, trying to stay calm despite the obvious intrusion. Even though she was used to deflecting awkward questions in the boardroom, the sheer bluntness of Isabelle’s queries definitely threw Liz off guard somewhat.
“I know he loves you Liz. I know that you mean more than the whole world to him. That’s why he pushed you out of the way of the car, he couldn’t stand it if anything happened to you.”
“I ………..” Liz started, unable to think of anything to say to Isabelle’s words.
“I know I hardly know you, but I think if you don’t like Max then you must be very strange Liz.” Isabelle said, somewhat indignantly.
“I didn’t say I didn’t like him.” Liz protested.
“No, but you didn’t say you did. So if you like him, why don’t you answer my question? Do you love him?” She pressed.
“I …….. I don’t know what I feel right now.” Liz replied honestly.
“Well I guess that’s a positive start, admitting your confused isn’t a crime Liz. But why are you scared? Why are you afraid to give it a go and see where a relationship with my brother might lead?”
“It’s complicated.” Liz said, evading the question.
“Isn’t it always.” Isabelle conceded. “Why don’t you tell me about it? Maybe I can help?”
“It’s a really long story.” Liz told her, trying to avoid the subject. However much of a nice person she was, Liz didn’t fancy spilling her heart out to Max’s sister.
“Well I don’t know about you but I’m not going anywhere.”
“I don’t think this is a good idea.” Liz stalled.
“A new perspective might be just what you’re after, just give me a chance Liz, please?”
“I …….. can’t”
“Ok, then let me guess.” Isabelle suggested. “Hmm, let’s see, you were head over heals in love and he broke your heart and faith in the human race all at the same time?”
“That’s kind of a scaled down generalisation of it, but yeah I guess it’s something like that.” Liz conceded, grateful she hadn’t had to relive all the details.
“Well then, perhaps it’s time someone mended that broken heart.”
”It’s not that simple ………..” Liz said, wishing it were as effortless as Isabelle made it sound.
“But it can be Liz. No matter what you have been through, no matter what pain and heartache you’ve endured, it can be made better.”
“You make it sound so easy Isabelle ……… but it’s not. You’re right, I did endure pain and heartache, but it was worse than that …….. I lost the love of my life, my reason for existence. That isn’t something you can get over easily, and it isn’t something you can forget when the next potential love interest appears. It’s a very hard horse to get back on to.”
“I’m not saying forget them Liz, I’m just saying let them rest in peace now and move on with your life.”
”I have moved on though Isabelle, I am a different person now to what I was. I have laid my past to rest, buried in the history of who I am and who I was.” Liz stated adamantly.
“Then why are you still scared to commit to love again?” Isabelle asked, showing she also possessed her brother’s impeccable ability to read people like a book.
“Because ……… because if you must know I’m afraid to get hurt again.” Liz admitted, feeling somewhat naked for a few moments as Isabelle stared at her.
“Isn’t everyone Liz? Aren’t we all scared to risk our hearts, afraid to love in case we get hurt? If everyone thought like you then the world would be a sad and lonely place.”
“Yeah well maybe sad and lonely is the way I like it.”
”I don’t think that’s true ……… because if it were then you wouldn’t be here with me by his side praying for the very same thing, willing Max to wake up.”
“Whatever.” Liz responded somewhat huffily.
“You may be able to brush it off with ease, but I know Max can’t. I know that no matter what he will pursue you for the rest of his life, until you acknowledge your feelings for him.”
”I’m sorry Isabelle, that won’t happen. It’s just the way it is.” She responded firmly.
“Ok, but tell me one thing Liz, you loved your boyfriend right?” And I’ll bet you had many amazing times and wonderful memories of the perfect things you shared together right?”
”Well then tell me this; would you trade all those happy memories and feelings? If you could, would you turn back time and erase all that happened? You wouldn’t get your heart broken like you did, but likewise you wouldn’t have experienced all those great times.” Isabelle queried, watching Liz’s facial expression change. “Would you risk them all for the sake of not getting your heart broken?” She added softly.
For a few moments, the room fell silent and to Isabelle it was clear her words had hit a nerve with Liz. The painful, pensive expression on Liz’s face was evidence the Isabelle’s words had certainly hit home. She didn’t mean to hurt Liz, or drag up old memories to make the pain return. Instead, all Isabelle wanted was to open Liz’s eyes to the wonder that was her brother. If Max did wake up, Isabelle wanted Liz right beside him eager to take up a position as his girlfriend for as long as love flowed freely between them. She loved her brother, and his happiness was all she cared about, and Isabelle was certain Liz would make Max happy.
“I ……….. no, I guess I wouldn’t trade the goods times.” Liz said, breaking the self inflicting silence. “I did love Kyle with all my heart and yes I was devastated when he was taken away from me, but no matter how much pain I’ve endured the good times definitely outweighed the bad. I ………… I can’t imagine not ever knowing Kyle, he was special, and after everything that happened I think it made me a better person. I used to be an idealist, a head in the clouds kinda girl, but now I’m a realist with my feet well and truly planted on the ground.” She admitted.
“Ok, then why don’t you let Max restore your faith?”
”Because I don’t want to get my heart broken again.” She reiterated.
”What makes you think he’ll hurt you?”
”Because everyone who comes near me gets hurt or hurts me in some way, its just a fact of life that I accepted long ago.”
“But you just said the bad times with Kyle were worth coping with to live through the good times.”
”Yes.” She said, an undertone of questioning behind Isabelle’s words was evident in Liz’s voice.
”Then I think you need to ask yourself why Kyle was more special than Max.”
”He wasn’t ………”
“Ok, so Max is as special as Kyle right. So tell me Liz, has the fact that you and Max were no more than business associates made this any easier?” Isabelle asked pointedly.
”I don’t follow?”
”Ok, Max is really ill right now, and you weren’t even together. This still happened to Max, he still got hurt despite not dating you. Does it make it any easier knowing you didn’t share anything but work, knowing that he is no more than a business associate?”
“I ……….. I guess not.”
“Does it make the wait any more bearable? Does it make it any easier as you sit and pray and hope that he will regain consciousness?” Isabelle asked bluntly.
“I …………. No ……….” Liz replied quietly.
“Then it’s simple, you need to decide if it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”
”I’m not ready ……” She started.
”You’ll never be ready Liz; you just have to take a leap of faith. Love doesn’t come along very often in a lifetime, but when it does you have to seize it with two hands and hold on to it for dear life. If you don’t, you’ll wind up old and alone, but if you do then your life will be enriched with immense happiness for as long as love exists.” Isabelle replied, tending to her brother’s forehead once again and wiping it gently.
Looking at her once more, Liz wondered where all the wise words had come from. Liz knew Isabelle was only around 22 years old, and someone so young wasn’t expected to speak such reason. She also quickly wondered and pondered as to whether Isabelle had taken her own words and used them for her own relationships, or whether she was all smoke but no fire in the action department.
“So now you’ve dissected my heart and dished out advice to me, how about answering a question for me?” Liz asked her.
“Sure, fire away.” Isabelle replied casually as if she had not a secret in the world.
”Do you have a boyfriend? Have you risked your heart recently?” Liz queried, wanting, somewhat to exact some revenge for Isabelle’s grilling.
“Ok, that’s a fair question.” Isabelle pondered for a moment. “No I don’t have a boyfriend, but yes I have risked my heart recently.” She finally replied.
”A few days ago actually, let’s just say I read a situation wrong. I thought someone felt the same about me like I did about them, but I was mistaken and got my heart trodden on in the process.” Isabelle informed her.
“Oh …….. I’m sorry.” Liz replied, somewhat guilty at how harsh she’d been with Isabelle.
“Don’t be, I’m not. It was my choice to risk my heart, and I knew there was a chance I would get rebuffed. But I still decided it was worth the chance, worth the possibility he might feel the same about me.”
“Where were you when you made a move then?”
“We went horse riding, had a picnic, thought the moment was right, but it obviously wasn’t for him.” Isabelle replied, not clicking that Liz might know about her and Alex’s riding tryst.
“Alex?” Liz queried pointedly
”You like Alex?”
“Oh, erm …… you know about what happened?” Isabelle asked, somewhat coyly.
“Yeah, he came round to see me after he got back and told me all about it.”
“Oh so I guess he told you all about the nymphomaniac woman who tried to jump him the moment they stopped for a picnic huh?” Isabelle said sarcastically, attempting to hide her embarrassment but clearly failing.
“No …….. actually he told me about this wonderful woman who he regretted rebuffing actually.”
“Really?” Isabelle jumped.
“Yeah. He didn’t mean to crush your heart Isabelle; you just took him by surprise.” Liz defended her friend’s actions.
“Really? Well he’s got a really funny way of showing it!”
“I know, but his heart’s in the right place I promise. Alex has been hurt before too, he’s just wary. He knows what he wants out of life and out of a potential girlfriend …….. I guess he just doesn’t think you and him would work out.”
”What, I’m not good enough girlfriend material in his eyes then?” She asked somewhat indignantly.
”No, no nothing like that Isabelle. He’s ………. he’s just not looking for some fun ……… he’s after more of a commitment.” Liz quantified trying to clarify to Isabelle.
“I don’t follow.” She said somewhat confused.
“Look, if he knew I was talking to you about this I’d be hung, drawn and quartered at dawn! Trust me when I say he’s a great guy Isabelle ………… just give him time. Go and talk to him, make him tell you what’s going on in his head …… I promise it will be worth it.” Liz pushed.
“I don’t know.” Isabelle finally responded. “Getting my heart crushed twice in one week is even too much for me to handle.” She added ruefully.
”Trust me, he’ll come round ….. he really does like you.”
“Really?” She asked, her eyes lighting up.
“Yeah, now I’ve already said way too much. Anyway, you look beat.”
“Yeah, I’ve had better nights.” Isabelle responded weakly.
“How about you let me stay here and look after Max, and you go get some rest?”
”I don’t know ……….” She said, reluctant to leave her brother.
“Go on Isabelle, you’ll feel better afterwards. I promise to call you if anything at all happens, any small change at all.”
”Are you sure?”
”Yes! Now go!” Liz insisted, smiling gently at her.
Stroking his hand one more time, and then gently kissing his forehead, Isabelle finally relinquished her spot beside his bed that she had occupied almost ever since she’d entered the room the previous day.
And as the door close and the room fell silent, Liz finally looked back at Max. His face was still as pale as before, his face looking even more bruised and puffy.
Without hesitation, she gently stroked the side of his face feeling comfort in the softness she felt. A single, solitary tear escaped down her cheek as she tried vainly to remain in control of her emotions.
Seeing him lying there, lifeless, once more brought it all rushing back. The images and thoughts she had suppressed over the night all drove to the surface vying for supremacy, reminding her how vulnerable and unstable Max’s position was at that moment.
Slowly lifting her hand to her lips, she kissed her fingertips before returning them to his cheek, somehow hoping he could feel how desperately she wanted him to wake up at that moment.
And so started another anxious day by his bedside, sitting, praying, willing and hoping for some sort of change, some minute hope that he would return to them sometime soon.
Author: Kazza – 6th January 2002
Feed back is very welcome and appreciated
This story is archived on my website, www.angelfire.com/tv2/kazzaskorner