posted on 8-Feb-2002 10:20:48 PM by elliebehr
"My Favorite Mistake"
Rating: M/L
NC-17
Summary: An extraordinary circumstance brings Max and Ms. Parker together, but can they stop fighting long enough to survive?
Disclaimer: I own nothing roswellian nor the NBC series 'the pretender', pity.

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part 1


Ms. Parker put on the pair of sunglasses from her dashboard as the hot West Indies' sun became painfully bright. A cloud of dust swirled around her car, forcing her to squint to see the road ahead of her.

Despite these discomforts, she was glad that she was here instead of in Delaware where the worst blizzard in twenty years was currently inflicting some damage. She'd nearly gone crazy with cabin fever at work, coming very close to pulling the trigger when the bimbo,
otherwise known as her new secretary, brought her the wrong kind of coffee. Even her father had agreed it was time for her to go on a vacation.

Ms. Parker felt her silk shirt begin to wilt in the intensifying heat and cranked the air conditioner on high, letting it blow back wisps of hair dampened by sweat during the couple of seconds it took her to find her rental car at the one-room airport's parking lot.

She was oblivious to the lush, green countryside that whizzed past her at a dizzying speed; all her attention was directed at the brochure on her passenger seat, the picture of a resort by the beach promising arespite from her active schedule.

Ms. Parker could already feel herself beginning to relax as an upbeat merengue song began to play on the radio, the tight knot at the back of her neck loosening with each drum beat. She couldn't remember the last time she felt this great. Definitely not since she started chasing that lab rat around the country.

She felt the tension on her shoulder begin to act up again at the thought of work, and she quickly discarded it aside for something more entertaining, namely what she would do during her vacation.

Thoughts of cool, tall glasses of tequila danced through her head. She was just getting into a daydream consisting of said beverage, the beach, and a cute cabana boy named Ricardo, when she remembered that
it was Mexico who was known for its tequila. She frowned. What thehell was this part of the world known for then?

Ms. Parker looked outside and found herself facing a group of people,their skin a rich shade of bronze from hours of working on the roadside sugarcane plantations. Oh, that's right. Rum.

Her mind was about to wander back to her daydream, this time a cool glass of rum in her hand as Ricardo walked towards her with nothing else but a smile, when she caught sight of the resort in the distance.

The hotel was huge. Its blinding, white walls stretched on forever with the thick pillars that held up the veranda its only decoration. But what really caught her attention was the main attraction. Azure water sparkled brilliantly before her, as if thousands of diamonds hid beneath its depth. The gentle roar of the waves crashing into the sand called out her name, and she found herself pushing the gas pedal even harder so that she could officially start her vacation.

Ms. Parker was relieved to find the hotel staff already outside and waiting, looking uncomfortable in their tacky, red blazers. It took all her willpower not to grab her luggage herself as they unloaded her car with agonizing slowness.

Even the two minutes it took her to register in the lobby felt like it lasted an eternity. She was so bored that her mind kept wandering over to more entertaining things that she could be doing already, causing the frazzled clerk to ask her everything twice.

By the time Ms. Parker got herself a glass of rum and a prime spot in the sand, the sun had already begun to set. She admired the view and let out a soft, happy sigh as she felt herself relax completely.

She was so relaxed, in fact, that if somebody had mentioned Max right then, she would have probably taken a sip of her drink with enough cool to put James Dean to shame and asked, "Max who?"

The sound of a radio playing loudly cut through Ms. Parker's euphoria, and she turned around to snap at the group of teenage girls sunbathing behind her. She had just opened her mouth when she heard one of them
ask someone out of her line of vision if he was the cabana boy.

"For the moment." The deep, sexy voice sent a shiver down her spine. Her earlier daydream of a hunky cabana boy named Ricardo flashed through her mind, distracting her enough to momentarily forget what she was about to do.

Ms. Parker put on her best 'come hither' smile as she turned around to meet the boy toy of her dreams. Her eyes landed on a pair of black trunks, and she slowly dragged it upwards: past tanned arms holding a stack of the hotel's distinctive blue and white towels, past a well-defined torso, and up into a familiar smirking face.

"Max?!" She could feel the tight knot in the back of her neck come back with a vengeance, the anxiety she'd tried so hard to shed risingwith each second that she sat staring at him. Damn it. Was a week away from anything work related too much to ask?

She tensed up even more as another unwelcomed thought popped into her head. She had checked him out. She had checked out the lab rat and *enjoyed* it. Ugh.

"What are you doing here?" Ms. Parker demanded icily.

Max's smirk only widened under her glare. Bastard. "Is that any way to greet an old friend?"

"We were never 'friends.'"

"That's funny. I remember a ten-year-old girl making me promise once to never leave her side."

"Well it's not like you kept it, did you?" she answered, unable to take away the bitterness that accompanied it despite her efforts.

Max's face softened as he squatted down in front of her.
"Ms. Parker. . ."

"What. Are. You. Doing. Here?" she interrupted, enunciating every single word slowly as though she was talking to a mentally retarded child.

"Working as a cabana boy."

"Why?"

The exasperating smirk was back on his face as he answered, "Why not?"

Ms. Parker stood up, already sick of a conversation that was bound to go around in circles. She didn't even know what possessed her to talk to him this long.

She brushed away the grains of sand that clung stubbornly to her swimsuit and headed towards the hotel, intent on informing the Centre of Max's whereabouts.

"I wouldn't bother calling them if I were you!" he yelled out before she could walk more than a couple of feet away from him. "The blizzard's knocked down the phone lines in Delaware and half of the eastern seaboard."

"And how would you know?"

Max gave a careless shrug before reclining on her abandoned beach towel. "It's all over the news. Feel free to try calling them if you'd like; I was only trying to save you the trouble."

"How considerate of you," Liz replied sarcastically. "I think I'll try calling them anyway, if you don't mind."

His only answer to that was another shrug before turning on his stomach to get a more even tan.

tbc?



Should I? This is my first story and I'd like to know if I'm wasting my time by posting anymore. Please help a newbie out here I'd really appreciate it.

[ edited 23time(s), last at 15-Feb-2002 9:21:14 AM ]
posted on 9-Feb-2002 12:02:39 PM by elliebehr
thanks for all your kind words and to flohmac, a fellow fan yeah I liked what you had to say lots and I hope you like the way it turns out as I hope you all will. please share what thoughts that you might have of this as it would make the newbie very happy and write that much faster if you like it.



Part 2


It didn't take Liz long to get to her room. Once there, she took the cell phone out of her purse and dialled the Centre's number. Red fingernails tapped impatiently on white wicker as she waited for her phone call to get through. She stared outside her window to see if Max was still where she left him but couldn't distinguish him from the rest of the crowd.
"I'm sorry. The number you have dialled is not in service. Please hang up and try. . ." Liz savagely closed her phone and threw it on the bed. "Damn it!"


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


It was another couple of hours before Liz ventured out of her room again, the rumbling in her stomach overriding her frustration at her inability to take any actions against Max. She even began enjoying herself again as she sat on the veranda, listening to the soothing sound of the water lapping against the sand intermingling with the sounds of the hotel band playing "A Kiss to Build a Dream On."


Liz took an appreciative look at her surroundings. The staff obviously took special care in decorating it tonight: from the blue and white crepe paper that hung in twisted strands against the railing, billowing in every time a gentle breeze came in from the water; the flickering candlelight in the centre of each table creating the illusion of intimacy; the. . . The sounds of someone taking the seat across from her interrupted Liz's perusal of the area around her. She didn't even bother to look down at her companion before saying, "Go away."


"Do you treat all men like that, Ms. Parker? No wonder you're still single." Her chocolate eyes turned glacial as she faced Max.


"Who do you think you are now? Dr. Joyce Brothers?"


"Who?"


She sighed and took a sip of her rum. "Never mind."


An uncomfortable silence filled the table. Liz stared at the water, hoping he'd take the hint and leave her alone. Why the hell couldn't he avoid her like usual he usually did? The uncomfortable silence was broken by the waiter's arrival. Liz ordered her dinner and almost choked on her drink when he turned around and asked Max what he wanted to eat.


"He's not staying," she informed the boy curtly. Max, who was busy reading the menu, apparently didn't hear her and began to order.


"I think I'll have a bowl of sancocho. For dessert..."


"I *said* you're not staying," Liz interrupted.


"Oh, but I am."


The waiter looked back and forth, unsure of whom to believe. Max took pity on the kid and quietly told him, "I'll finish ordering later. Just bring us what we've ordered so far." The waiter was gone before Liz could refute Max's statement. She went back to glaring at him as she voiced her earlier thoughts.


"Why are you here?"


"I told you, I wanted to try being a cabana boy."


"I meant here. At my table. Shouldn't you be avoiding me?"


He faked a wounded look and said, "I'm hurt. You spend all this time chasing me, and when I finally approach you, you tell me to leave?"


"Answer my question, damn it!"


His expression turned serious as he leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, "Because you're not a threat to me at the moment."


Not a *threat*?! Liz stared at Max, contemplating whether to hit him with her glass of rum; the only thing stopping her was the realization that the move, while satisfying, was useless and would only get her in trouble.


"I mean, think about it," he continued, oblivious to his companion's murderous thoughts.
"I know you don't have your gun since it's a lot of hassle to bring weapons in foreign countries, you can't lock me up in your room because the maids are bound to find me, and you can't contact anyone at the Centre because the phones are down."


"So does this mean you plan on harassing me for the rest of my vacation?" she asked through gritted teeth. "It'll only be as unpleasant as you make it. If you can manage to be civil, you might just find our time together quite enjoyable."


'Fat chance,' Liz thought darkly as she watched Max dig in to the meal the waiter had brought during their conversation. He caught her staring at him and asked, "Shouldn't you start eating? This food is no good cold."


"I'm not hungry," Liz answered, a statement quickly contradicted by the loud growling of her stomach. Max raised his eyebrow at that, and she avoided his gaze as she gave in and grudgingly took a bite of her meal.
'Hunger-it didn't care about your emotional state,' she thought glumly. 'It attacks anyway.'


Liz was halfway through her dessert made out of coconut and milk when Max excused himself to go to the bathroom.
She waited until she was sure he was out of earshot before she took out her cell phone and dialled the Centre's number. "I'm sorry. The number you have dialled is not in service...."
Liz angrily turned off her phone and resigned herself to the fact that short of maiming Max, she had no choice but to endure his company. Too bad for him that she didn't plan on making it easy for him, either.

tbc






[ edited 4 time(s), last at 9-Feb-2002 1:21:23 PM ]
posted on 9-Feb-2002 7:35:06 PM by elliebehr
wow thanks for the comments. I'm liking this a lot as I'm wanting to write faster just because of them and to flohmac, of course I don't mind the background stuff that you mentioned in your feedback it saves me a job, thanks so much. it's great that some for you actually know what I'm going on about and I hope you like the new part.


part 3


The sun had barely begun to rise above the nearby treetops when Liz headed out of her room. The sky was still an inky black, covering her room in darkness and causing her to run into the rattan nightstand just as she reached for the door.

"Shit," she swore, her hand running over her bruised toes to make sure she didn't get any wounds that might hinder her later on. Satisfied that it was more or less okay, she poked her head out the door and looked both ways. Stark white walls that seemed to go on forever faced Liz. Only the soft pools of light dotting the hallway here and there made it seem inviting and safe, though she knew damn well that it was nothing more than an illusion. She could hear the pounding of her heart clearly in the eerily silent hall. She couldn't help but take another look around as she slithered towards the elevator, a sigh of relief escaping through parted lips as her quick once-over revealed only a cart she remembered seeing a maid abandon the night before.

She looked up as the grinding noise of the elevator shuddering to a halt informed her of its arrival. She felt the hairs at the back of her neck raise as the doors slowly parted but ignored it; there was such a thing as being too careful.
"Finally," Liz muttered as she stepped in-and came face to face with the person she'd been trying to evade.

"I had a feeling you'd try to avoid me by leaving early," Max commented with a wry smile as the door behind her shut close, effectively trapping her in the enclosed space with him.

"How did you figure out it was me?"

"Who else would be using the elevators at 5:30 in the morning?" Liz silently cursed at herself for being so obvious; she should have known that Wonder Boy would eschew his chance for rest just so he could annoy her. Even if she hadn't been acting like a character in a bad spy movie, she wouldn't put it past him to stand outside her door and wait for her to come out.

"So what do you plan for us to do now?" she asked him as they stepped out of the elevator and headed for the main doors. He put on his most innocent expression as he asked,

"How would I know? I figured I'd just tag along, this being your vacation and all. I wouldn't want to intrude." Liz bit the retort at the edge of her tongue, not in the mood to get into another pointless argument so early in the morning. She found herself wishing for a cigarette and began to search her hand bag for one.
"Looking for this?" Max asked, dangling her pack just out of her reach.

"Whatever happened to not wanting to intrude?!"

He had the nerve to frown at her disapprovingly, like a father who've just caught his little girl sneaking in after curfew. "I wasn't looking forward to breathing in cigarette smoke for the rest of your vacation; besides, these things will kill you."

"This coming from a man whose going to die at an early age from a heart attack," she countered, staring pointedly at the pack of greasy donuts under his arm.

"At least my habit doesn't endanger anybody else's health."

"Well my habit wouldn't be endangering yours, either, if you just go away!" Her yelling caught the attention of the police man out on patrol, and he walked up to them and asked in heavily accented English, "Is this man giving you any trouble?"

"I'm sorry for the noise, officer," Max answered before Liz could open her mouth. "I'm afraid my wife is just a little grumpy after being woken up so early." She took the unexpected distraction as an opportunity for escape.

She was halfway down the block before Max even realized that she was gone.

"Hey!" he yelled, moving away from the police officer as he begun to give chase. Liz didn't bother to turn around.

She ran towards the bus at the end of the block and got on it just as it was about to depart. She hurriedly paid the driver and took a seat. She waited until they began to move before she looked back, pleased to see a frustrated looking Max standing at the curb as he was left behind in the dust.




*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Two hours passed before Liz got off the bus. Hot, humid air greeted her as she walked on the outskirts of a small village, a sharp contrast to the cool air-conditioned seat she'd recently vacated. She decided to follow the large group of smiling people walking on the dirt road, looking on with heightened interest at the group of teenage girls walking ahead of her. Each one wore a colourful dress, perfectly complemented by the garland of red and yellow flowers on her hair. Their hips swung in unison to the soft strains of music coming from the end of the road.
Liz felt like she'd landed on another planet instead of another country as she stepped inside the village; Primitive houses no larger than her hotel room lined both side of the road, their thatched roofs swaying slightly from the breeze. The main street was even more surreal. Booths selling woven hats and baskets stood right next to ones selling cheap electronics.


Liz walked farther down the dirt road and ended up in front of the heavily decorated Catholic church at the centre of town. Crepe paper hung beneath the stained glass windows, but unlike the hotel's sedate choice of colours, these were a festive shade of red and yellow. She looked up and read the crude banner above the heavy wooden doors informing her that the town was celebrating its patron saint's birthday.

She vaguely remembered reading about them in college and smiled at her luck. There was bound to be a lot of people in town today, making Max's task comparable to looking for a needle in a haystack. She didn't have to worry too much with blending in when she was going to be surrounded by hundreds of tourists.

For the first time since she'd bumped into Max, Liz felt herself beginning to relax again. There really was nothing like being surrounded by good food, good music, and good looking men that held the promise of being neither taken nor gay to raise one's spirit.

She bought some pastilitos from a nearby booth and took out her cell phone to give the Centre another try.
"I'm sorry. The number you have dialled is not in service. Please..." Liz hung up, but this time with less force than before. She really wasn't worried about reaching the Centre at the moment. After all, she had all day.

tbc

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 9-Feb-2002 7:42:42 PM ]
posted on 10-Feb-2002 5:11:40 AM by elliebehr
thanks for your kind words and it makes me very happy that your liking this... schoolwork is catching me up so I post this now while I catch up... hope you like.


also some background thanks to flohmac because she put it so well in case your wondering
in the pretender jarod (max in this) was kidnapped as a child and raised up the center and ms. parker (liz) is the daugther of the boss and while he is being held they become friends. not a good plan. when jarod escapes years later after ms. parker is sent to boarding school it becomes her job to find him and take him in. she is a good person in a bad place. as they play cat and mouse jarod slowly helps her open to the truth but she still has to take him in if she catches up with him. hope that helps as I will explain more soon.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

part 4


Liz was buying more pastilitos when her phone rang. She picked it up, praying it was her father. "What?"


"Nice to hear from you again, Ms. Parker."


"What happened, Max?" she asked smugly. "Having trouble finding me?"


"Nothing of the sort," he answered, voice equally smug.
"I know exactly where you are."
Liz craned her neck but caught no sight of the errant pretender.


"That's impossible."


His voice sounded even smugger than before as he said, "Anything is possible with a good tracking device." Ms. Parker stared at her phone in disbelief.


She turned it off, ending Max's prattling in mid-sentence. She tried pulling the black, plastic casing apart, and when that proved too difficult, she placed it on the ground and smashed it violently with her heel.
She found the tracking device near the ear piece. It was the size of a dime, with wires going this way and that. Its red light blinked up at her and she dropped it again and stepped on it. So much for that.


Liz felt Max's presence before she saw him.


She turned around and found herself face to face with him for the second time that day. "You know, I'm really getting sick of seeing your face."
He followed her as she began walking in the opposite direction, easily matching her step for step.


"Well now you know how I feel."


"Is that what this is about?" she asked, looking back up at him again.
"You're following me around to show me what it's like to be you? I hate to tell you this, but you're not winning my sympathy."


"No. As fun as it is to become the predator in our little game for once, that's not why I'm doing this."


"Then why?"


Max shrugged and looked away. "Maybe I just like being around you."


"If you're going to lie, at least make it believable." He grabbed her arm, effectively bringing her to a halt. She tried to wrench it away, but he just tightened his grip.


"Why do you find it so hard to believe that someone might actually like you for who you are?"


"I don't find it hard to believe. Just not from you."


"I don't understand."


"You're the genius; figure it out." With that, Liz again took advantage of his distracted state and pried her arm from his vice-like grip.


"But we were friends!" he yelled out at her retreating form.


Liz turned around, hands clenched into fists as she glowered up at him. "Get this through your thick skull. We. Were. Not. Friends. Friends don't leave each other without a word. They don't keep their friends up to worry if they're all right or if they're out lying on some ditch. . ." Her voice trailed off as the lump in her throat grew with each word. It was just as well; she'd already said too much. She turned back and began to walk towards the less crowded beach.


"Ms. Parker, wait!"


She began to run at the sound of his voice. Anywhere had to be better than here with him.


Liz caught sight of a man renting out jet skis at a nearby cape, and she practically threw her money at him as she grabbed the key in his hand and took off.


She inwardly cursed Max when she heard the distinctive rumble of another jet ski starting up behind her. God, didn't the man ever know when to give up?


This was all his fault, anyway. If it wasn't for him, she would be back at the hotel having a great time instead of here getting a sunburn on every inch of exposed skin and ruining her 700 dollars shoes beyond repair.
She saw a lush, green island to her right and sharply veered towards it in an effort to lose her pursuer. Unfortunately, he'd predicted her intentions and cut her off, forcing her to make another turn.


This time, Liz waited until Max neared at a speed twice of what they started with, and made another sharp turn at the last moment. It wasn't until he passed her for a couple of yards did he realize what she'd done and turned back to tail her again. She let off the throttle and felt the wind whipping past her intensify, sending her clothes to billow behind her and instantly cooling the sweat brought on by the hot sun. She sped in that direction for awhile until she realized that she could no longer spot the island they'd started from. Wonderful. She made another turn, hoping she was going in the right direction. Their little chase had made her lose track of the island they'd originated from.


Liz saw an island up ahead and hoped it was the right one. She heard her jet ski begin to sputter as she neared it, and she looked down to find the gas needle pointing at the big e.
"Son of a bitch," she yelled, hitting her hand against the metal in a futile effort to bring the needle back to the f. She prayed it was just broken, but the needle pointed unwaveringly at the e.


Fortunately, the island was only a couple of feet away. Liz let the waves ride her in, and she jumped off the moment the jet ski touched land. She could hear the sounds of Max's vehicle coming to a stop close behind her.


tbc when I've done my homework.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 10-Feb-2002 5:24:12 AM ]
posted on 10-Feb-2002 9:20:06 PM by elliebehr
homework now done so I've been abit busy today (with this and other things)... wanna see?... thanks for your kind words and I hope you like.


part 5

The squelching noises made by her ruined shoes sounded unusually loud to her as she ran towards the jungle to get away from him. Liz had a good head start if the distant sounds of twigs snapping was any indication. She begun to believe that she'd be able to lose him until she noticed a river up ahead blocking her way. She looked for alternative routes of escape, but found them all blocked by various plants indigenous to the area. No way she could go through them without a machete.

But still, Liz pushed on ahead, all too aware of Max getting closer. She was about to dive into the river when the rustling sound of leaves from a nearby tree instinctively made her turn around and step back; unfortunately, she'd stood right at the edge of the river, and her stride backwards caused her to fall in the water.

When she resurfaced, she found Max looking down at her worriedly. "Ms. Parker, are you okay?" She felt his fingers curl around her wrist to help her up, so she pulled, bringing him down into the cool water with her.

"What did you do that for?!" he demanded angrily, sending droplets of water to spray all around them. Liz ignored him and headed back towards dry land. She'd almost managed to crawl towards the riverbank when Max pulled her towards him, sending her to briefly end up underwater yet again.

"You jerk!" she screamed, hurling towards him a handful of mud she'd snatched from the ground. Max ducked, but not before it grazed his cheek. He retaliated by also grabbing some mud at the bottom of the river and throwing it at her. Liz stared at him, mouth agape. How dare he? How dare he fight back?!

She closed in on him before he could get past his own surprise at what he'd just done and dumped some mud down his shirt. Max then responded by taking some of that mud and swirling it around her face, his earlier smug expression returning at the sight of the outraged expression on her face. It didn't take long before clumps of mud flew almost non-stop.

The sounds of their yelling reverberated in the forest air, no doubt disturbing countless animals in their wake. They were both breathing heavily by the time they calmed down. They guiltily looked around for the casualties of their little war and found their surroundings covered by splotches of mud.

Liz looked over at Max and found him equally dirty. Brown water trailed down from his dark hair and into his shirt, its original colour indistinguishable due to all the mud that covered it. He'd tried to wipe off the damage caused by her original attack, but only managed to streak it down to the rest of his left cheek.
"Why did you do that?" he asked again quietly, his earlier anger seemingly exorcised by their recent mudslinging.

"Because this is all your fault."

"How is this my fault?" he asked incredulously.

"Because--I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."

"You're that one that came here! I was just following you." Liz glared at him.

"You know what I meant. If it wasn't for you, I'd probably be back at the hotel having the time of my life instead of here, in the middle of nowhere, with a bad sunburn, filthy clothes, and ruined shoes. I should leave you here to rot for the shoes alone!" Max looked amused, probably thinking she was hysterical. She never wanted to slap him as much as she did then.

"Your shoes?"

"Yes, my shoes," Liz snapped. "It was seven hundred dollars worth of world-renowned quality down the drain, thanks to you!"

"I think you overpaid."

"Oh just shut up!" she yelled as she struggled out of the water and stalked back towards the beach.

"Liz, wait. I didn't mean it."

When she ignored him, Max also got out of the water and followed her back towards the shore. "Ms. Parker. . ." She kept her mouth shut, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of getting an answer from her. Besides, she really couldn't afford to piss him off at the moment; he and his jet ski was her ticket out of this stupid island.

Speaking of which... Max ran right into the back of Liz as she unexpectedly came to a stop. He looked confused until he followed her line of vision. "I don't believe it," she whispered, her earlier vow of silence forgotten.

They stared in disbelief as their jet skis bobbed in the distance, ant-sized specks in the vast sea of blue. Liz found her nearly infinitesimal control over the situation slipping away from her and tried to remedy it by trying to take her shirt off to dive after their water vehicles. She didn't even care that Max was standing right beside her, probably burning her half naked image in his perverted little mind. She had more important concerns at the moment.

"What do you think you're doing?" he demanded, grabbing her hand to stop her from undressing any further.

"There's no way you can catch them. By the time you've reached the spot they're in now, the tide's would have had them drift off farther away."

"Well I can't just stand here and do nothing. Those jet skis are our only ticket out of this island."

"You're forgetting I have phone," he said smugly as he fished it out of his pocket. He made a big production of shaking the water off it and pressing the call button-only to get the biggest shock in his life.
"Ow!" The cell phone fell to the ground with an ominous crunch. Liz dragged her eyes back up to meet his as she asked, "What now, Sherlock?"

"We go to plan b," Max answered as he headed back towards the jungle.

"Plan b? What are you talking about?" she demanded, following him close behind. He smiled as he caught sight of what he was looking over and bent over to get it.

"If we're going to get out of this island, we're going to need to catch the attention of passing ships. The way to do that in the absence of flares is get the next best thing." Satisfied that he'd taken enough to last them awhile, he unceremoniously dumped the handful of branches on Liz's hands.

"You want us to build a bonfire in this heat? Are you crazy?! We're in enough danger of suffering from heatstroke as it is."

"You have a better idea?" When she remained quiet, he continued:

"We have no choice; it's our only way out of here. Besides, I never said we have to stay near it. We can go back to the river and clean up after it's built, then after that, we can go look for sources of food and possible places to stay for the night." Liz stared at him through narrowed eyes.

"You sound like you plan on staying for awhile. I swear to God, Max, if this is one of your games. . ."

"You know me better than that. I would *never* do anything like this." His brow creased as he looked back at their quickly diminishing jet skis. "I'd just rather be prepared in case we're stuck here for a couple of days, that's all."

Liz followed his gaze and nodded, trying her best to ignore the feeling of dread settling in her heart. She had a bad feeling that they'd end up killing each other if this little detour lasted that long.

tbc
posted on 11-Feb-2002 3:12:45 AM by elliebehr
just to let you know new parts are on the way... and thanks for your kind thought and words... I like them so very much.
posted on 11-Feb-2002 5:22:56 AM by elliebehr
Thanks to your very kind words... much liked after hearing troubling news about my favorite story possibly stopping and I am sad... I have to write to take my mind off of it... hope you like the new part ...maybe back later too.


part 6


Liz took a good look around before taking her second dip at the river, this time sans clothes. She'd made Max promise not to go near until she was done cleaning up, but she still didn't trust him completely.
Despite his earlier insistence that this whole desert island nightmare wasn't his style, she thought it fit quite well with his profile of putting childish twists in his little games.

She'd often dreamt as a child of escaping the Centre and living in some deserted island; a chance to be free from all the restrictions, all the unhappiness that seemed to go hand in hand with the place. Wasn't it possible that this was just another fantasy that Max was trying to fullfill?

Liz cleaned her clothes as best she could and hung them on a nearby rock to dry. She cupped water on her hands and splashed it on her face, wishing not for the first time for some soap to help wash off some of the grime. She then floated on the water for awhile, savouring the feel of the cool water rushing behind her as the hot sun warmed her front half. Only the sounds of birds chirping in the distance could be heard, and she had to admit that the peace and quiet was nice. A couple of hours of this just might be the cure for what ailed her.

The sounds of leaves crunching broke the reflective silence, reminding her that she wasn't alone. Liz righted herself and frowned. Wonder Boy always did have bad timing. "I told you not to come here until I'm done," she said coldly as he appeared from behind a nearby clump of trees.

Max, who'd been trying to brush some of the dried mud off his shirt, looked up in surprise. "I've waited almost an hour. I figured you were more or less done."

"Well I'm not." His eyes dipped down for a second as he took her in fully.

"You look pretty clean to me. Look, Ms. Parker. It's ninety-eight degrees out. I'm hot, I'm filthy, and I'm sweaty. Unless you're looking for a bathing companion, I suggest you get out and give me my turn." When she didn't move, he impatiently asked, "Well?"

"You don't honestly think I'm getting out with you standing right there, do you?" Max sighed and turned his back to her. Liz took a good look at him to make sure his eyes didn't stray towards her before getting out of the water and dressing. "Okay, I'm. . ." her voice trailed off as she turned around and came face to face with a shirtless Max.

She unconsciously licked her lips as a vision of her running a hand through his well-muscled torso came to her unbidden, quickly followed by a mental slap as she remembered who she was checking out. This was *Max* for God's sake. ". . . done."

"Good, you can go out and find us something to eat while I clean up." Liz stared at him like he'd just grown another head.

"Why don't *you* do it?"

"Because I just spent the past hour trying to build a fire the old fashioned way. Unless you want to switch jobs and have the pleasure of tending it for the rest of our stay here, you better start looking for food."

"Fine, but if you keel over and die from a poisonous berry that I accidentally pick up, don't go blaming me." With that parting threat, she headed back into the forest to find their lunch.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Lunch was an uncomfortable affair with tension so thick that it could be cut with a knife. Neither Max nor Liz knew what to say, or to be more accurate, she didn't want to talk to him and he knew it was futile to try. For the moment, anyway.

It wasn't until she was reaching for a second helping of the berries she'd left near the fire that he saw his opportunity. Rivulets of sweat trickled down her brow in an almost continuous stream; her smart cotton shirt, which earlier had hung in straight, crisp lines, now clung to her body like a second skin. It was obvious that she felt uncomfortable but was just too stubborn to admit it.

"Hey, why don't I get that for you?" Max offered as he walked towards Ms. Parker and reached for the stack of berries. "You look like you're ready to pass out from the heat."

She blatantly ignored his offering and walked around him to get the rest of the berries piled up behind him. "No thank you. I'm fine."

"Are you sure? You don't look so..."

"I'm fine," Liz reiterated sharply, her tone challenging him to disagree with her again. Max refused to take the bait and decided to change his tactics instead.

"I realized you were right when you accused me earlier of giving up too early on alternate routes of escape."

"I was?" she asked, more than a little bit bewildered by his words. First implying that she couldn't take care of herself by saying that she needed his help to do something as simple as getting more food, then complimenting her for being more level-headed than him-she wasn't quite sure how to react. Should she be angry that he even doubted her? Pleased that he admitted she was better than him at something? Did it really matter? Why waste her energy trying to decide? For all she knew, this was all a part of his plan: try to confuse her so that it'd be easier for him to later stab her in the back.

Max added more wood to the fire as he told her his plan. "I thought we should go explore the area after we're done eating; hopefully, we'll find a village or a radio tower so that we can contact the outside world."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz and Max had been walking for quite awhile when they ended up by the river again. "Do you think we should cross it and see what's straight ahead, or should we walk along the river's edge?" he asked as he leaned over to take a quick drink of the clean river water. She stared at him in surprise. She'd never in a million years would have guessed that Boy Genius would let her lead their little adventure. If anything, she expected him to act like his usual all knowing self and take control of the whole situation.

Liz looked over at the thicket that lay on the other side of the river, the thick foliage blanketing their path in an ominous shadow even in the bright afternoon light. The small shafts of sunlight that did managed to pierce through the gloom revealed only creatures that stared unnervingly back at them with wide, unblinking eyes. She glanced back down at her companion's oh-so-innocent form with suspicion. Their next strategy to her was obvious, leading her to wonder why he even bothered to ask.

"It's probably better for us to walk by the river today. It'd be harder for us to get lost since we'll have it as a guide; we won't have to worry about dehydration; and since we don't know yet what kind of animals we might encounter in this jungle, we have the option of either climbing up a tree or jumping into the water when we meet one." Max heeded her advice and started walking parallel to the water.

A pleased smile momentarily fluttered across her features before she, too, began the trek uphill. The ground seemed easy enough to traverse at first, with it being mostly flat after years of wear from the river; however, it was no picnic to walk on in her expensive shoes. She could feel her heels sinking deeply into the soft earth with each step, and the effort required to lift her foot for another one was unmatched by any Stairmaster she'd used to date.

Liz silently cursed her companion and all his ancestors for even *thinking* of having him. She should have known that his request for her to lead was nothing more than a ruse so that he could make her look like a fool. She was about to put those thoughts into words when she looked over at him, her glare softening slightly as she watched him struggle to walk beside her as a particularly sticky patch of mud trapped his right foot and almost caused him to fall flat on his back. She let out a soft sigh and decided that this was as best a time as any to find out if Max had engineered this whole disaster like she'd originally suspected. With the adhesive mud bogging them down, neither one of them was going anywhere anytime soon.

"Hey Max," Liz huffed, completely spent after a couple of yards of the gruelling terrain but unwilling to ask him for a brief respite. "Did you ever dream as a child of living in a deserted island?" He grabbed her hand in an effort to help her take another step, a move that earned him a glare as she snatched her hand back.

"I dreamt of living in many places. The Centre wasn't exactly my ideal home."

"But did you ever dream specifically about living on some deserted island?" "Are you trying to psychoanalyze me, Ms. Parker? You really shouldn't, you know. You lack the subtlety for it."

"Oh, I'm *so* sorry for not meeting up to your standards," she replied sarcastically as she'd finally had enough with her shoes and decided to go barefoot.

Max ignored her rebuttal and continued: "Besides, from what I've read, living in a deserted island is a common escapism fantasy. Almost as common as people wishing they were somebody else."
They walked a couple more steps in silence before she asked, "Did you ever wish that you were somebody else?"

"That's a pretty silly question to ask, don't you think? Of course I did."

"You mean you'd be content being ordinary? Having a boring Monday to Friday job, driving a minivan, living in the suburbs with your wife and two point five kids. . ."

"Being ordinary doesn't necessarily mean my life would fit some cookie-cutter form that society thinks everyone should try to achieve." He stopped walking and looked over in the distance, a thoughtful look in his face. "If I was ordinary, I'd probably be Mickey Mouse."

Liz had to admit that she sometimes had trouble following the pretender's train of thought, but this. . . took the cake. "What?!"

"If I was ordinary, I'd work in Disney World and dress up as a giant mouse. How about you?" It suddenly struck her then that Max was a very handsome man as she watched his profile from the corner of her eye'. Funny how she never noticed it before. Then again, maybe it wasn't so weird considering that when she normally met him, his capture was foremost in her mind.

"I don't know. That's pretty hard to beat."

"How about an Indian Guide?" She looked down at her well-tailored tank top and skirt.

"I don't think so."

"Oh, c'mon. I remember how excited you were when you decided to become one. You wouldn't stop talking about it for weeks. And you still seem to remember which foods were edible and which weren't. I mean, neither one of us are dead, yet."

"Your charm is so under-whelming," Liz answered with a wry smile. "Seriously, though, if I was somebody else, I'd probably be an investment banker or something."

"You've got to be kidding," Max guffawed, almost falling on the mud as laughter wracked his body. "You wouldn't last a week. You'd be so bored that you'd probably end up holding a gun to your secretary's head just to relieve some of the tension."

"Been there, done that, shrunk the T-shirt." She couldn't help but smile at his expression. It wasn't every day that he was shocked speechless. He went as far as to gape at her when she added, "How else did you think I get this vacation?"

tbc
posted on 11-Feb-2002 12:14:25 PM by elliebehr
thanks for the replies... feeling happier so I did some more... hope you like.


part 7


Liz could no longer hide her fatigue from him after they walked a couple of miles. Breathing had become an uphill battle, as if each particle that she was forcing down her lungs took some sadistic pleasure in making her life difficult. "What are you looking at?" she snarled as she caught Max staring at her.

"Don't move," he whispered, slowly inching towards her. She deliberately moved away from his grasp.

"You have some nerve to order me around." Max looked agitated but still kept his voice low as he answered,

"Damn it, Parker, just trust me this once."

"Why the hell should I. . ." Her voice trailed off as she felt something slither up her leg. With infinite slowness, she looked down to find a snake twined around her leg. "Shit."

"Don't panic. I know this looks bad, but..."

"Don't panic?!" she interrupted, her voice tinged with hysteria as she watched the serpent glide up to her thigh. "I have a snake attached to my body and you expect me not to panic?!"

"I worked as a snake handler once. I know what I'm doing. If you'd just stand still and let me..."

"No," she answered, unwilling to seek help from him even under the dire situation. She could handle this just fine on her own, thank you very much.

"This is not the time to be stubborn," he informed her through gritted teeth. "You're tired; you're in no condition to fight this thing off on your own."

"I said I could handle it."

"Well, you'll never find out, will you?" Before she could ask him what he meant, he'd managed to lure the snake onto a stick and threw it far away from them. Liz knew she should probably thank him.

He had gone against her wishes with her well being in mind, after all. Unfortunately, habits died hard and instead she ended up telling him, "I would have done that eventually, you know." Max grabbed her by the shoulder to turn around and face him.

She'd never seen him so upset, his usual easygoing expression replaced by anger, frustration, and even a hint of fear for what might have happened to her. "Stop this. Why do you have to be so difficult? You could have died."

"I work for the Centre, Max; believe me, dying from a snake bite would be a hell of a lot less painful than what they'd do to me if they find out I cooperated with you."

"In case you haven't noticed," he said, his arms waving about as he pointed to their surroundings. "We're in the middle of nowhere, meaning no Centre and no daddy to find out that God forbid, you're human and might sometimes need other people's help." His tone softened as he added,
"Look, all I'm asking for is a truce that lasts only as long as we're on this island. With the Centre and the rest of the world out of our way, what do you have to lose?"

Liz stared at him, unsure of what to say. What *did* she have to lose? Accepting his entreaty would take away all unnecessary risks, ensuring that they'd be more likely to survive this ordeal. But could she forgive herself later on? Could she live with herself knowing that she'd aided and abetted the enemy?
Then again, there wouldn't *be* a later on if she didn't survive this. She let out a breath that she didn't even realize she was holding.

"All right." Max's face lit up at her assent.

He stuck out his right hand and took a hold of hers.

"Then it's a deal?" She looked at his hand much in the same way that she'd looked at the snake but grudgingly shook it.

"It's a deal."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


The sun had begun to set and there was still no sign of civilization to be found. Liz had already lost her patience a couple of miles back and was ready to take her frustration on Max, truce or no truce.

Any other time, she might have appreciated the gradual shift in sound and colour as the forest prepared for the coming of dusk. She could see animals that had spent the day sleeping coming out of their burrows just as some headed back in theirs. The trilling of birds that had accompanied their walk gradually quieted down only to be replaced by the chirping of crickets and other animals she'd much rather not identify.

But she was tired, and she was angry at their lack of progress. She'd never had much patience to begin with, and Max's unwaveringly cheerful disposition despite their circumstance had long ago begun to grate on her nerves. "You know, this isn't so bad if you think of this as an adventure."

Liz let out a derisive snort after hearing his statement. "You've got to be kidding me."

"I'm only trying to make the best of the situation. Is that a crime?"

"It is if it annoys others. Especially me." Max stopped and turned towards her, looking thoroughly baffled.

"I don't remember ever reading that."

Liz rolled her eyes. "Must you take everything I say literally? What I was trying to subtly tell you was that you're being way too cheerful and it's annoying the hell out of me."

"Like I said, subtlety doesn't suit you. Although I'm confused why you find my positive outlook annoying. Through my experiences I've found that most people prefer to be with someone who could keep their head cool when faced with peril."

"Well I'm not most people," she snapped. "When in trouble, I prefer my companions to be the strong and *silent* type."

Max ignored her answer and suggested, "Why don't we stop for the day? It's getting pretty late and I don't think it's safe to stay in here."

"Oh, and where do you suggest we go? The Four Seasons? In case you don't remember, we're stuck on a fucking deserted island!" Liz could see Max's jaw clench as he tried to reign in his anger.

"I'm suggesting that we find our way back to the beach. That way, we don't have to worry so much about the animals."

"Fine," she answered before stomping back towards the beach without a backward glance.

tbc
posted on 12-Feb-2002 3:50:16 AM by elliebehr
thanks so much... loved your kind word back.... hope you like this one too.


part 8


"Max," Liz whispered as she tried to shake the pretender awake. "C'mon, get up."

He let out a groan and turned away from her, all the while mumbling, "Five more minutes."

"You know, you wouldn't be in this predicament if you'd woken me up for my turn to stand watch like you were supposed to." Max opened up one bleary eye and answered.

"But you needed the rest. you were so tired from our-" he yawned and opened his other eye as he sat up. "-walk that I thought you'd appreciate the extra hours of sleep."

Liz's features softened as she watched him stand up and poke the dying embers, sending a shower of red and orange sparks to fly. Fortunately, he was far enough to avoid them while he effortlessly threw more branches into the flame. "I also picked up some more food while you were asleep." He smiled as the fire roared to life and walked back towards her. "Sydney mentioned that you can pretty unreasonable until you've had your breakfast."

It never ceased to amaze her how kind he was, especially after the way she'd taken out her frustration at him the night before. "Thank you." He looked down at her in surprise, obviously not expecting her kind words. She noticed his expression and quickly added, "But that still doesn't excuse you from what you've done. You really should have woken me up. You were tired, which means you got careless. You could have gotten us killed!"

Max looked crestfallen but tried to hide it by turning around and staring back into the flame. 'Good,' Liz thought. Wouldn't want him to think she was going soft on him.

Tried as she might, however, she couldn't get rid of the guilt nibbling at the edge of her brain. She really shouldn't have been so harsh with him; after all, he really was just looking out for her. It was just that she was so used to dealing with people with hidden agendas-including, sadly, her father at times-that she automatically pushed people away. "Look, it's done. Let's just forget about it, ok?" Max nodded and turned back to face her.

"You get started on your breakfast. I'll go gather more wood."

"You've eaten?"

"No, I'll--I'll grab a bite later." Liz watched his retreating form, all the while thinking how stupid this whole situation was. She knew he was hungry; she could hear his stomach growling all the way from where she was sitting. He only left because he was still smarting over her caustic remarks. She felt bad about that and wanted to apologize. She really did. Except in a perverse way, her pride wouldn't let her, so she said the closest thing to an apology that she could utter.

"I really think you should eat first," she yelled, causing him to stop in his tracks. His back was still turned away from her, but he wasn't saying no, either. Always a good sign. "Sydney wasn't joking when he said I can be unreasonable before my first meal. Now you two can bond even more by sharing horror stories about it."

Max's smile was bright as he loped back towards her, causing her to wonder if he'd really been hurt by her words at all. But as she sat there listening to his usual cheerful chatter, surrounded by white sand, blue skies, and the warm West Indies' sunshine, she realized that it didn't really matter. He was with her. She was forgiven.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz looked over at the tumultuous grey ocean, waiting as she did on many other mornings for the sun to rise. She had never been fond of dawn. She hated the way it blanketed her surroundings in harsh grey light, making everything around her look dead or dying. Even the stars that had accompanied her throughout the early morning hours had long ago contracted and disappeared out of her sight. If it wasn't for the steady rise and fall of Max's chest, she would have sworn that he was dead, too.

Fortunately, dawn was fleeting and Max's grey pallor was quickly infused with pink, followed by red, then yellow as the sun appeared on the horizon. It was like watching Lazarus rise up from the dead. His body, which only minutes before resembled something that one might see in the morgue, practically oozed vitality in the golden light.

Liz blinked and shook her head, wondering what had brought on her latest train of thought. It was unusual for her to be so reflective. She shook Max awake so they could go continue their expedition.

They had been going around the island for the past couple of days and so far they haven't had any luck; trees and more trees seemed to be the only thing ahead of them. The soil alongside the river, if possible, had grown progressively worse as the days passed by. Areas which only a couple of days ago proved difficult to traverse were now nearly impossible.

Liz didn't flinch when Max reached for her hand as they made their way past a particularly hazardous spot, a sharp contrast to her reaction to his touch only a couple of days earlier. She even smiled as he shared with her just what he planned to do after they got out of the island. ". . . and then I'd eat all my favourite foods. Pez would definitely be first, followed by some jelly donuts and Lays potato chips." Her nose wrinkled after hearing the last item on his list.

"Why Lays? There are other brands that are much better. For example, if you're buying salt and vinegar, a good brand to buy is Cape Cod since their chips are kettle cooked, giving it a fresh taste you won't find anywhere else. However, if you're thinking of buying something like sour cream and onion, your best bet would be Herrs since their blend of spices are. . ."

"I didn't realize that you were such a potato chips connoisseur," Max interrupted with a smile. Liz playfully hit him in the arm, a gesture that would've surely surprised anyone who knew them. It never ceased to amaze her how well they got along without the Centre looming over their heads.

"Just because I don't inhale junk food like you do doesn't mean that I know nothing about them."

"Any other secrets that you'd like to share?"

"And lose whatever remains of my mystique? No way!"

"Don't worry. I don't think I'll ever know everything about you, though I certainly plan on spending the rest of my life trying." Her face remained expressionless while inwardly she became less than composed.

Judging by the movements of his lips, she could tell that he was still talking to her, but all she could hear was the sound of her heart beating double time. Was that a proposal?

Lost in thought, Liz didn't notice the branch in front of her until she tripped over it and fell on her back, bring Max-whose hand still held hers-down on top of her.

They stared at each other for what felt like forever, their faces only inches apart. He didn't make any indication of moving away and she didn't try to make him. The tension between them was almost palpable. Liz shivered as she felt Max's warm breath caress her cheek. She smiled as she watched him do the same while she quietly whispered "Sorry" to his ear.

She felt his mouth descend towards her. It felt like the most natural thing in the world for her to meet him halfway, their moist lips brushing, sliding against each other.

Liz let out a moan, a response no kiss with such innocence had ever elicited from her. Her fingers curled around his hair as she tried to bring him closer, wanting more contact. She couldn't get enough of him. Max apparently agreed as he began to nibble along her lower lip, his hands hungrily roaming over her heated skin. He then parted her lips with his own and started to suck on her tongue, bringing forth another moan from her.

God. There was nothing innocent about this kiss at all.

Liz didn't really know why she was so surprised; after all, they'd only been children the last time they've kissed. It was pretty unreasonable for her to expect that this would go the same way. Except- -she'd always assumed that their next kiss would be soft and sweet, much like the man hovering above her. But his kiss was hard and demanding. Intense. It was like nothing she'd ever experienced before, and by God she loved every second of it.

"What do you think you're doing on private property?" a gruff, male voice growled, followed by the distinctive sound of a gun's safety being un-cocked.
tbc
posted on 15-Feb-2002 9:19:02 AM by elliebehr
school work has been a moo cow of late... but I'm back for a look in... thanks for what I've missed, your replies make my day better



part 8


Liz and Max reluctantly untangled themselves and stood up in a blink of an eye, their recent activity shrugged aside as they tried to deal with this new threat.

Both made sure not to make any sudden moves as they warily watched the newcomer point the barrel of the gun at them with ease; it wouldn't do to make the man nervous.

"We're sorry about trespassing, Sir, but I'm afraid we're lost," Liz explained with a smile, hoping to charm their way out of the sticky situation.

The stranger's eyes narrowed. "You didn't look all that worried to me."

"Well, we were!" she answered, her smile becoming strained as her patience wore thin.

"Uh, look, Sir," Max interrupted before Liz could make their situation worse. "We really are lost and would appreciate it if you could help us get us back to the Las Palmas Hotel." The man gave them a look she couldn't quite decipher and said.

"Fine. Follow me." The pretender was about to thank the other man as they followed him through a nearby thicket when he realized that the man had stopped walking.
Max opened his mouth to ask what's wrong when the stranger suddenly announced,
"Here we are."

Their jaw dropped in unison as they got out of the wooded area and found themselves across the street from the hotel. "I don't believe it," she croaked through a throat that had suddenly gone dry. They had been so close, so many things.
Why didn't she push him away when he kissed her? If only she'd held herself back like she'd done countless times before. It would have allowed her to keep on ignoring their mutual attraction and go back to her life secure in the belief that nothing had changed.

Liz ran towards the hotel, leaving the two men behind. She could hear Max running after her but ignored him and headed towards the elevator. 'Please, God, not right now,' she silently pleaded as she waited for the metal door to open. 'I can't deal with this.'

As usual, her request went unheard and she soon felt Max stop right behind her. "Ms. Parker, about what happened back there. . ." She closed her eyes and willed the elevator door to open faster.

"Don't."

"But. . ."

"Just don't," she answered as she stepped into the empty elevator. "It was a mistake." Liz looked up at him as the door closed and instantly regretted it.

The look he gave her was similar to a puppy that had been kicked while it was down; she didn't like the knowledge that it had been her that caused it.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The first thing she noticed when she got to her room was the phone blinking, telling her that someone had left her a message. She picked it up and waited while she searched her suitcase for a fresh change of clothes.
"Room 310?" the operator on the line asked.

"Yes."

"A Dr. Sydney Greene called yesterday to inform you that the phone lines are still down for the most part. If you wish to call him, you'd have to use his temporary number. Would you like me to connect you?" Liz wove her index finger around the telephone cord as she absorbed this piece of information. She could contact the Centre again. All it would take was one phone call from her to bring sweepers down to pick Max up.

His forlorn expression at the lobby suddenly came to her, unbidden, and she found herself telling the operator with more conviction than she felt, "No, that's all right. It's not important."

"You also told the desk clerk when you registered that you would like a wakeup call at five for your flight tomorrow. Is that still in effect?"

"Yes, thank you," Liz answered softly before hanging up. She then stared at the phone for a minute longer before picking up the clean clothes on the bed and heading for the shower.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Liz felt infinitely better when she woke up from a much needed rest. The sun was already setting, giving everything around her a vibrant orange cast.
'How long did I sleep?' she thought as she stretched, her bones cracking from the hours of inactivity.

She let out a soft, happy sigh as she noticed that the constant ache in her back born from too many nights sleeping in less than ideal accommodations had receded.
'Thank God for small miracles.' Liz was about to slouch back down on the bed when she felt another presence in her room.

Not for the first time, she wished she'd brought her gun as she rolled to the ground and crouched down. Not hearing any movements, she peeked out from the side of the bed, her stance becoming less guarded as she recognized the person sitting on the white wicker chair across the room.

"Max, what are you doing here?" she demanded while she stood up and stalked towards him, her voice tinged with anger.

He looked up at her, his earlier desolate expression replaced by something she didn't recognize. Something she didn't *want* to recognize. Liz wished he'd stop looking at her like that. It made it too hard for her to stay mad.

"It wasn't really a mistake, was it?" Max asked in a husky voice.

Liz found her resolve weakening under his tone but insisted, "Yes, it was."

Max suddenly stood up, brushing an errant lock of hair behind her ear. She tilted her head up to look at him and found him staring at her lips. Then slowly, as though he was waiting for her to protest, he lowered his mouth to hers. She responded to his kiss with a lifetime of pent-up longing, any protests she may have had having disappeared with the feel of her lips against his.

Too soon, Liz felt Max pulling away, his breath coming out in gasps while he held her at arm's length. "Then tell me you don't want this."

His voice was shaky, unsure. So different from his usual tone. She cupped her hand against his cheek and whispered, "I want this. I want you."

This time, it was she who initiated the contact. Liz grabbed the lapels of Max's polo shirt until they were eye to eye before brushing her lips against his. She watched him close his eyes. Normally, she'd have done the same, but she wanted to remember all of this. Every single second of it. She wasn't optimistic enough to believe that this encounter could be repeated.

What happened to them this past week was special, a moment taken out of time. Come Monday they'll be back to their roles of predator and prey, but in the meantime. . . Liz felt Max shyly tug her towards the bed, and she couldn't stop the smile forming on her face as she saw his face colour in the quickly dimming light.

He looked up and noticed her expression. It seemed to be all that he needed for his confidence to reassert itself and he gently pushed her onto the bed, pressing his lower leg more firmly into its side and in the process forcing hers apart. Max then placed his hands on either side of her head and smiled his usual mischievous smile.

Normally, she hated it when he did that, but in this context it was exciting. Arousing. Even a little bit dangerous. Liz wrapped her arms around his neck, bringing his face closer to her. She let out a frustrated sigh as he stopped halfway and playfully shook his head no. The sigh turned into an appreciative moan as he lowered his head and licked the underside of her chin before slowly making his way down to the hollow of her neck.
Max stopped as he reached the collar of her shirt, looking at her with all seriousness while he said, "I sure hope I don't swallow any of these." He began to unbutton her shirt one by one using her teeth, eliciting a throaty laugh from her as she understood what he meant. She couldn't believe how aroused she felt as he continued to remove her clothes in a manner she'd always thought inefficient and silly. The man was just too damn sexy for his own good.

It took her a couple of seconds to realize that he'd stopped taking off her clothes to look at her. "What?" He smiled.

"I was just thinking how beautiful you look when you laugh." Liz felt her throat constrict at Max's sweet words.
'This is what he looks like when he's trying to make me cry,' she thought as she tried to burn his image in her memory for all those lonely nights she lied awake. She sat up and motioned for him to face her. "Come over here," she whispered huskily before giving him a quick kiss on the lips.

Liz had Max's shirt off and lying on his back before he could fully process what was going on. She planted light kisses on his bare chest, eliciting a soft growl from him as she kissed him just above the bulge in his pants. Remembering how he'd unbuttoned her parjarma top, she used her teeth to unzip his tight, black jeans.

She gave his cock a playful squeeze before looking up at him with a mischievous smile. "I wouldn't mind swallowing this." Max let in a sharp intake of breath, his eyes dark as he stared back at her. She ignored the throbbing between her legs that resulted from that look and concentrated on running her hands over the hot, boxers-covered bulge in his lap.

"Okay," he gasped. "But if you keep doing that I can't promise that this will last long."

"We have time," Liz murmured before leaning back down to kiss his damp chest. Max suddenly grabbed her hand and flipped her on her back. He nuzzled her hair for a moment before putting his mouth against her ear and whispering.

"I never claimed to be a patient man." With a gentleness that sharply contrasted his kisses, he parted her silk top. Her back arched as she felt the silk slide over her chest, quickly followed by his fingers. He momentarily cupped the underside of her breast before moving over her heart, stopping to feel her heartbeat. She let out a frustrated growl before dragging his hand back to her breast and moaning as he brushed his thumb against her rigid nipple. 'This is what he looks like when. . .'

"Oh!" Liz cried out, all coherent thought leaving her as his mouth, hot and moist, descended on her other breast. Her hand came up and twined around his hair, her grip tightening as he bit her lightly. The ever-present thrum between her legs became almost unbearable and she found herself pushing his pants and boxers down with the hand she managed to untangle from his hair.
"More," she urged, desire turning her vocabulary monosyllabic. "Now."

Max nodded before throwing away the remainder of his clothes to a corner of the room, untangling himself for a moment to use his teeth to pull down her shorts and underwear. At her questioning glance, he murmured, "Just keeping up with tonight's theme."

Liz wanted to argue that they'd already broken it; however, there were other, better things that demanded her attention so she instead settled for another moan. It didn't take long before her remaining clothes joined his at the pile in the corner. He gave her another deep kiss, his tongue probing every curve and corner of her mouth before he reluctantly disconnected his lips from hers and filled her in one thrust.

God. Liz felt Max begin to move and she shifted her hand down to grasp his sweat-slicked arms. She then leaned forward a bit to give his damp forehead an open-mouthed kiss. 'He tastes salty, came a rather asinine thought. 'Like potato chips.'

Max looked up at her and gave her a smile. "I. . . guess. . . you're. . . not. . . patient. . . either," he grunted in between thrusts.

"You. . . said. . . we. . . had. . . a. . . lot. . . of. . . time." How the hell was he still able to make coherent sentences? Jesus.

At this point, she had to remind herself to keep breathing. Liz decided she had to fix the situation. She wasn't the only one who was going to be left glassy eyed and squirming whenever she thought of this night, damn it! She brought her left hand down to gently stroke his balls, all the while giving him a smile that told him in no uncertain terms, 'I want to hear you *scream* my name.'

He complied, making his thrusts harder, faster. She tightened her hold on his arm as his accelerating speed began to affect her. God. She was so close. Liz felt the coil in her stomach that had been slowly winding since the start of their encounter begin to strain from the pressure. She let out a gasp when his tongue left a wet trail between her ear and the curve of her neck, giving her the extra stimulation she needed for the coil in her stomach to unfurl as her orgasm overtook her. Her nails dug into his skin while she cried out, her back arching towards him. She waited until she caught her breath before opening her eyes and listening to Max begin to chant her name over and over again as his movements became less controlled.

Liz wiped off a bead of sweat rolling down his brow and watched him tremble slightly at the contact. She intensified her assault on his skin and slowly made her way up his right arm using her tongue, summoning a surprised yell from his lips when she nipped him. For a second Max stared at her like he'd forgotten her name. Or anything he'd ever learned, for that matter. He quickly snapped out of it, though, and started pounding into her with more vigour than before. His litany of her name became punctuated with animalistic grunts; their frequency intensified with each thrust.

It didn't take very long before he was rendered completely incoherent as he came, his face the very definition of ecstasy. Liz felt the world come to a stop as they lay there, panting. She wanted to tell Max how incredible he made her feel, but how could she describe it to him when the words 'fucked out of her mind' felt wholly inadequate? She was saved from the responsibility of saying something first when he rolled off her and plopped down on the bed.

"Wow." Liz playfully poked Max on his side, a ticklish spot she'd discovered when they were children.

"We just had sex and the best thing you can say about it is 'wow'?" He turned his head to look at her for a couple of minutes as he searched his mind for something more appropriate.

"Wow," he repeated.

She laughed before turning her head back to stare at the ceiling. "Yeah, wow."

*~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

The shrill ringing of the bedside phone rudely brought Liz out of a pleasant dream, eliciting a curse from her as she tried to shut it up. She blindly moved her hand in the general direction of the sound and was heartily surprised when she instead encountered something soft and warm.
Soft and warm and *breathing.*

She quickly pulled back her hand and turned on a nearby lamp, her pounding heartbeat slowing down some when she realized that the person on her bed was Max.

He was on his back, his hair tousled from sleep and their earlier activities. A cotton sheet was draped strategically over his hip, something she would have thought to be rather modest of him had she not gotten a front row view of what it covered only hours before.

Liz realized with a start that the phone was still ringing. She picked it up, her voice softer than usual as she asked, "What?"

"This is the five o'clock wakeup call that you requested. . ."

"Thank you," she said and hung up the phone before the operator could finish.

Liz chose to ignore the figure on the bed as she cleaned up and packed what little stuff she had laying around. She even kept her head down as she efficiently sorted her toiletries, refusing to look at Max's reflection on the vanity mirror. It wasn't until she was standing by the door with her suitcase, hand poised over the knob, that she managed to work up the courage to turn around and look at him.

So this was it.

Somehow, it didn't seem right to her for it all to end like this. It wasn't like she was looking for a happy ending; she'd learned long ago that there was no such thing. All she wanted was some kind of. . . closure.

Liz sighed and shook her head for making such a silly wish. Hadn't her father taught her to make the best of what she'd got? She took one last look at Liz before turning back around and opening the door.

"Parker," she heard him whisper, causing her to freeze in her tracks.

She bit her lip as she heard him move behind her and begin to tenderly nuzzle the back of her head.

Damn it. He always had to make things so difficult.

Liz was about to push Max away when he murmured something that brought a smile to her face. "Wanna make another mistake next week….Liz?"

Her chest was tight when hearing her name on his lips, it had never sounded sweeter. She couldnt breathe, closing her eyes as she slowly turned round- about to say no the voice of logic or reason kicking in when the eyes of amber held her prisoner. No words possible, no excuse good enough as his parted mouth descended into hers, inches apart about to touch as there was a loud repeated thumping at the door and an all- too familiar voice following on.

No need to call the centre, their were already there.


any more?

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Feb-2002 9:19:56 AM ]