posted on 17-Feb-2002 1:15:32 PM by Eerie

Internal Flame



Rating: PG-PG13
Disclaimer: I don’t own Roswell…we all get the point ok?
Couples: CC
Summary: Something's wrong with Liz, read to figure out what, it'll be described in the first few paragraphs...

Chapter 1


Liz was on fire, the flames burning her skin. It had happened so fast. She heard people screaming...they were being burnt too. The scent of their flesh was easily carried to Liz's nose. Suddenly she was covered in something cool and wet. Then, she passed out.

She woke up in a hospital bed, the IV's pumping fluids into her body. She glanced around the room when she noticed two nurses at the door conversing.

"Her parents and two brothers are dead," one said.

"Oh no! That's terrible. What happened?"

"They got caught in a fire. They don't know the cause yet. She's been in a coma for three months now. The only relatives she has are her uncle and cousin from some cow town in New Mexico."

'Who was this lady? And what right did she have to gossip about her life as if it was a soap oprah?' Liz thought, tears welling up in her eyes. 'Be strong..for yourself...you can't cry...it won't make the situation any different.'

* * *


Liz had been out of the hospital for a week. She came out only to find that a memorial service had been given to her family and she wasn't there to see it. To top it off she had scorched skin on the entire left side of her body. Her left hand had been immobolized. The doctors had told her they weren't sure if she was ever going to be able to use it.

Now, she was sitting in her uncle Jim's car. Her cousin Kyle was talking to her about his new found Buddhism that he'd discovered during the past year. This is exactly what Liz didn't need right now, so instead, she tuned out her cousin and watched the vast desert as they passed by.

"And so I've been into Buddhism ever since. Maybe I can share my wisdom with you!" Kyle exclaimed, excitedly.

The car was brought to a halt and Jim started to speak. "Since you missed the first quarter of school we managed to get you a tutor. The school also kindly arranged your schedule so you and your tutor have the same classes." Liz grabbed a bag from the trunk after stepping out of the car. Everything in the bag was all that remained after the terrible fire and it wasn't much.

When she entered the house she could tell there was a lack of female presence. Beer cans were discarded everywhere, the furniture didn't match, and there were sports posters plastered on the walls.

Jim led her into a small guestroom. "This is where you'll be staying. If you need to go shopping anytime just ask Kyle and he WILL take you."

"Hey! I heard that!" Kyle shouted from the kitchen.

Liz couldn't help the giggle that came from her mouth. She was going to like it here as long as they didn't mention her family.

She stepped into the room and threw her bag on the bed. "I'm going to find a job," she said. With that, Liz left the room. She didn't want to have an arguement and most of all she didn't want to be treated like she was handicapped.

She pulled her sleeves down on her shirt, attempting to cover the wounds. Her hair cascaded over her face, hiding the wounds. She stopped infront of a small, but very busy restaurant: The Crashdown Cafe. It seemed like an interesting place.

Liz stepped inside immediately greeted by a bubbly blonde with striking green eyes. "My name is Maria, how many people to a table?"

"Oh, it's just me," Liz responded shyly.

"This way please," Maria said leading Liz to a table, a light skip in her steps. "So what can I get you today?" Maria asked, attempting to make eye contact.

Liz dipped her head lower staring at the menu on the table. "Just a water, thank you."

"Ok, I"ll be right back with your order." With that, Maria went to the order window. "Michael when do you get off work?"

"In an hour. Why pixie?"

"Because."

Michael rolled his eyes at Maria as she walked to the refreshments, filling a glass of water. "Wear something NICE to dinner tonight, mom is going to be joining us."

Liz watched the exchange between Maria and MIchael. She was jealous. Her life had changed in the blink of an eye and suddenly she had to drop her carefree teen days for an adult life. She wished that she had a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, but that was nearly impossible at this particular stage in her life. She was brought out of her daze when the water was place in front of her.

"Can I get you anything else?"

"Yeah, could I speak to the manager?"

"Well, considering my mom, the manager, is off for the day, I am. Is there something wrong?" Maria asked pulling out a jar of cedar oil.

"No, everything's fine...I was just wondering if there were any jobs open."

"Oh...phew," Maria stated putting the jar in her apron. "Well, we have a waitressing job open. Oh! And chef openning too!"

Liz sat glancing at her water. She was contemplating whether she should take the job or not. She shivered at the thought of working near a stove or oven. "Can I apply for the waitressing job?"

"Sure! Hey, if you want you can start work now, ummm, uhh...I'm sorry I didn't catch your name."

"Liz."

"Ok, Liz, follow me." When entering the double doors to the backroom, Maria held up the waitressing uniform.

"I...I can't wear that," Liz said, shaking her head in shock. Not only would her arm be exposed, but so would her leg.

"What do you mean? Of course you can chica bonita! It'll look absolutely fabulous on you."

"I just remembered I have to cook for my Uncle Jim. Bye," Liz stated, rushing out of the restaurant. Her left leg stiffened upon the walk, so she leaned against a building for support. Her body slid down the wall and her face met her hands. Liz suddenly felt the sobs rack her body.

TBC!!!
---------------------------------------------


Author's Note: I know this isn't much, and I appologize for any spelling or grammatical errors seeing that I don't have a working 'Word' program right now. Feedback please?


[ edited 14time(s), last at 13-Jun-2002 12:19:02 PM ]
posted on 17-Feb-2002 4:19:37 PM by Eerie
Chapter 2


Liz didn't know how long she'd been sitting there, but she was soon brought out of her nightmare by a gentle touch. Liz looked up and saw a girl about her age standing before her. "Are you ok?"

"No," Liz said nervously. She wasn't as good of a lier as most people so she avoided lying all together. Instinctively, Liz tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. The girl standing before Liz let out a small gasp at what she saw.

The scars. They weren't supposed to be shown to anyone, but by one little mistake they were. Liz immediately covered them with her hair and ran to her Uncle Jim's house, not stopping until she made it to her room.

"What's wrong my little caterpillar?"

Liz collapsed on her bed at the sound of Kyle's voice at the door. She really didn't need an interrigation at this moment in time. She groaned, hoping Kyle would get the hint and leave.

"Hiding in your cacoon today, eh?"

What was up with her cousin and his animal analegies? Last time Liz saw Kyle they were both seven years old. Kyle was the all around jock, attempting to impress the girls his age, while most guys were saying "Ewww girl germs!" Now, he was into this spiritual stuff, what was it called again?

"You know you don't have to talk about it, but meditating will cleanse your soul. No one has to know...it's just between you and Buddha."

"Kyle...just...just leave me be," Liz said between tears.

"I'm sorry...I was just trying to lighten the mood. Can I help you with anything...hey I'll take you shopping...AND I'll pay!"

Liz laughed, her throat still filled with the lump from crying. Kyle DID have a way with making her feel better...and she COULD use some clothes for school the next day. "Alright...as long as you don't try converting me to Buddhism," Liz said jokingly.

"Hey!" Kyle responded defensively. He brought his hand up to his chin as if he was contemplating whether or not to take her to the mall. "Well...I guess...deal," Kyle said sounding slightly dissappointed that he couldn't convert someone to his religion.

* * *


Maria looked blankly at the uniform she held in front of her. Liz, had really frightened her when she ran out of the Crashdown. She was hopping to have a female friend to help her make fun of Michael with, but didn't expect to see Liz again the way she dashed out of the door.

"Michael?"

"What?" Michael asked, slightly annoyed.

"If you were a girl and you were to wear one of these uniforms would you run out of the restaurant?"

"First off, I'm NOT a girl, nor would I want to think of being a girl. Second...those uniforms can be a little provacative...I mean look at you all...in your uniform."

"All what?"

"Sexy."

"Oh Michael!" Maria screamed, wrapping her arms around Michael's neck, kissing him wildly.

* * *


Liz stepped out of the dressing room holding all the long sleeved shirts she could find in the entire store. Kyle was leaning against the wall trying to look as casual as possible, especially in the woman's department of the store.

"Kyle? You sure you can afford this? I mean...I can pay you back," Liz said timidly, looking down at about 15 shirts.

"Of course I can handle it! Well, it's actually dad's money...but don't worry there's lots of it! So do you need anything else?"

"Umm...is there a possibility...I mean can I get some pants too? If it's not too much of a burden." Liz looked down at her feet, she really didn't want to spend all of the Valenti's money, but she had nothing except the clothing off her back.

"No prob Bob!"

Liz smiled handing Kyle the load of shirts. "Thanks Kyle!"

* * *


"Well, I saw this girl leaning against a wall and she was crying...no sobbing is more the word for it...and I wanted to help her out...I mean what kind of person would I be if I just passed her up on the street?" Isabel asked her best friend Alex.

"You did the right thing. What happened after that?"

"Ok, so I asked if she was ok and she told me no. Then, her hair was brushed aside and there were scars on her face...I was more surprised than anything else...I definitely wasn't scared of her, but I think she thought I was. Now I feel absolutely horrible."

"Isabel...it's nothing to worry about...I bet she's a new student attending Roswell High tomorrow...then you can appologize. Your conscience will be restored...hey, maybe you'll even be friends with her," Alex said, moving to give Isabel a gentle hug.

"Thanks Alex," Isabel said giving Alex a squeeze.

* * *


Kyle collapsed on the couch after the long day of shopping. "Dad? Do you know how much Liz bought? I don't think I'll ever understand women."

Jim chuckled slightly at his son's comment. "Kyle, I don't think any of us will figure out the female species."

With those last words, Liz burst in the door carrying the bags to her room. 'Maybe I won't have such a hard time here in Roswell.' Liz thought to herself before changing into some newly bought pajamas and hopping into bed. For the first time since she arrived in Roswell she was actually looking forward to school.

TBC!!!


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 17-Feb-2002 4:22:04 PM ]
posted on 26-Feb-2002 1:43:21 PM by Eerie
Chapter 3


Liz awoke the next morning to the sun shining through the window. The rays gently beat against her skin as she stretched out and glanced at the clock. She was going to be starting school today. Kyle would show her around and hopefully keep her safe from those who would mock her.

Before Liz could allow herself to think of what had happened she hopped out of bed and proceeded to get ready.

* * *


"Kyle, I don't know if I can do this," Liz said approaching the school.

"Sure you can caterpillar. Just have faith in yourself and take deep breaths...it works for me all the time!" Kyle said excitingly. "Look there's Alex! You've gotta meet this guy." Kyle dragged Liz over to a tall, lanky, typical high school nerd.

"You must be Kyle's cousin. He's been talking about you living with him for the past week," Alex said. "I'm Alex Whitman...pleasure to meet you." Alex stuck his hand out and shook Liz's hand.

"Liz Parker, so...what exactly has Kyle been saying about me?" Liz eyes looked warily at Kyle as she searched for any explanation. Was her family story out by now? Would people be looking at her pitifully because of her life?

"Oh, just how you're his long lost cousin and he hasn't seen you in a long time. Personally, I think the Valenti household deserves female presence, but if you promise not to tell I think Amy DeLuca has been letting her female presence known."

"Alex...god man, I don't need any gory details!" Kyle said. He covered his ears with his hands and hummed to himself so he couldn't hear a word Alex was about to say on his father's lovelife...if that's what you wanted to call it.

Liz and Alex stood laughing while Kyle continued humming to himself.

* * *


"Look Max, there's Alex!" Isabel said dragging her brother along by the arm. She recognized Kyle standing with Alex and someone else. Isabel instantly assumed it was his cousin.

* * *


Liz had been laughing so hard that she snorted. Instantly, her face turned red and her hands covered her face. Kyle's hands had dropped from his ears and he joined in on the laughter.

"Hey guys, what's up?"

Liz's hands dropped from her face to see who had entered the small group. What she saw made her face turn from several shades of red to a pale, ghostly white. She recognized the girl as the one whom had seen her scars.

"You," Isabel said with a soft recognition towards Liz. Before she had the chance to Liz how sorry she was for scaring her the previous day, Liz had taken off.

Max had been staring at her the entire time. She had a beauty that perplexed him. If he hadn't been so shy and maybe if he knew her he would have been running after her...comforting her. But instead he watched as Kyle ran to see if she was ok. He hadn't even caught her name.

* * *


"Liz!" Kyle yelled after her. He had expected her to be running straight to the women's bathroom, but instead she stopped abruptly and turned to face him.

"What Kyle? Did you want me to stick around so that I could get judged by my looks? No thank you...now...would you mind showing me where my locker is?" Liz asked attempting to change the subject.

Kyle sighed. Sometimes he'd hoped Liz would just open up to him, even though she'd gone through such a traumatic experience in the fire. "It's this way," Kyle explained leading Liz to her locker. He'd definitely have to talk to his dad about Liz...it was for the best. "Also, dad said you're going to have to go to the office before first hour to meet your tutor."

"Alright, thanks Kyle," Liz said with a lighter tone in her voice. If Kyle didn't know any better he would have thought it was 'that time of month.'

Once inside of her locker, Liz stuffed her backpack and minimal school supplies onto one of the small hooks. Liz shut her locker and faced Kyle. "Which way is the office?"

Kyle pointed her in the direction. "It's that way, just follow the signs. I have to go make up a test real quick. See ya kiddo," Kyle said walking off in the opposite direction.

Liz kept her face hidden beneath her dark locks. As she passed other people down the hall she couldn't help, but bring her left hand to the side of her face. It was sort of her way of extra protection from them finding out the truth.

Finally, she reached the school office. When she told the school secretary the meaning of her presence she was led into a room towards the back end of the office. The name on the desk said "Mrs. Topolsky" in big bold letters with "Guidance Counselor" in smaller letters written below it.

Mrs. Topolsky was no where to be seen, but Liz assumed she would be there soon. The door, which had been shut after Liz entered the room, opened slowly and in came a very chatty, older woman, whom Liz supposed was Mrs. Topolsky, entered the room.

Following her was a guy her age with dark hair and amber eyes so amazing they could cause anyone to fall into their depths in the matter of a millisecond. His face was slightly red, most likely from embarrassment.

Mrs. Topolsky took a seat at the desk as Max sat in the seat to Liz's right. The chairs were cheap and wooden. The school definitely needed to get new ones, but Liz doubted they had the money to pay for such frivolous things.

"Ok, let's get started. Elizabeth Parker this is Max Evans," Mrs. Topolsky started.

"It's just Liz."

"Alright, Liz. Max will be your tutor. I'm sure Mr. Valenti told you about him. He has the same class schedule as you and will help you get caught up with your studies. Now Liz, if you have any problems or issues I'm here to listen, so if there's anything wrong, you know where to find me."

Liz nodded shyly, acknowledging what Mrs. Topolsky had said. The woman seemed genuinely sincere and quite helpful.

For the first time since Max had walked in, Liz looked over to Max sitting next to her. He seemed just about as shy as she was, if not more. She could definitely get used to him being around.

------------------------
Author's Note: Thanks for the wonderful feedback. I'm sorry its been so long since I updated, but I wanted to get some updates on my other stories "Welcome to College" and "Things Aren't As They Seem." I hope you enjoyed this part, but if there's any grammatical or spelling errors I appologize because I dont have a working program on my computer that fixes those mistakes.
posted on 3-Mar-2002 4:57:28 PM by Eerie
Chapter 4a


Liz followed Max out of the guidance counselors office. She noticed the way his body moved with each stride it took. With her luck he would be the most popular guy at school with girls falling at his feet. He'd probably be dating his high school sweetheart and they'd be madly in love.

Love. There was a feeling she hadn't felt since her family had died. Without giving it another thought, Liz turned her head to Max standing beside her. "So which class do we have first?" Liz asked, still following Max to an undetermined destination.

She looked at him, but he stayed silent. She didn't quite understand what he had to lose if he spoke. Liz eyes were searching for an answer. She almost thought she had one as Max's mouth began to open, but was instantly shut when someone walking in the hall opened their mouth.

"M-M-Max! H-h-h-how's I-it going?" the boy asked. Before long he was laughing in a mass of people. It was at that particular moment that Liz knew people could be really cruel.

Turning her attention back to Max, she saw him swallow a lump in his throat.

The crowd continued to laugh and Liz was half tempted to walk up to them. She wanted to let them know that this was no way to treat anyone, but before she had a chance the laughing was brought to an abrupt halt. What she saw shocked her. It was the girl that'd gasped at her scars. She was yelling at the boy who'd made fun of Max.

Without questioning Max grabbed Liz's hand leading her into the empty Advanced Biology room. Without a doubt in her mind Liz knew this would be her first period class, but considering it would be at least 10 minutes before class started, she gave her full attention to Max.

"I...I, I'm s-sorry about wh-what happened out there. M-Max...E-Evans. I-I'll be your tutor."

"It's a pleasure to meet you Max," Liz said with a smile, grabbing Max's hand in her own. She'd figured out why the kids had made fun of Max, but she thought the stuttering was cute.

"He only stutters when he's nervous," a voice said at the door. Liz's head turned and she gazed at the one person she thought she'd never be able to trust. What she didn't understand was how kind this girl was...she'd seemed like the type of person to spread rumors about someone else. "My name is Isabel Evans, I'm Max's sister. You can call me Iz though...everyone else does."

"It's...umm...it's nice to meet you too," Liz said, attempting to be as kind as possible. "I think we've met before."

"Yes, look, we should talk about that later, but now why don't the two of you get acquainted. Oh and if you ever hurt my brother you'll be answering to me," Isabel said in a stern, yet joking tone. "Have fun you two."

"S-s-sorry about her. She thinks she can be my protector all the t-t-time," Max said nervously shuffling around.

"That's alright. Actually, I'm a quick learner when it comes to bio so I shouldn't need too much help with it. History and Spanish on the other hand..." Liz's eyes softened as they made their way to Max's. His eyes spoke to her...they were saying something about being acceptance. That's when she saw it...the sparkle. It was entrancing and she was caught up in his eyes until the bell rang. Her head snapped down to her books as the kids filed into the room.

* * * * *


"Miss Parker, I know you're a new student, but the rules apply to everyone here. Please tie your hair back we don't want to have anything start on fire, now do we?" Mr. Seligman said.

Liz panicked. She couldn't have the entire class seeing her face. She'd done a pretty good job of covering it up all day...then again she couldn't afford to flunk out of school.

She looked at Max who was busily working on their lab. He'd attempted to explain to her everything that was going on and she'd soaked it up like a sponge soaked up water.

School or social life? That was the question...nothing poetic like Shakespeare's work of "to be or not to be," but it was definitely the question of the minute.

"Miss Parker, would you like to get sent to the office on your first day or will you like to simply tie your hair back?" the teacher proceeded.

Liz had no choice as she took out a hair tie and slowly pulled her hair back. By now she had the entire class looking at her. She turned her head away from the stares, but she could hear the whispers once the hair was out of her face. There was no hiding the truth now, but that didn't mean she couldn't hide behind her hair after this class. Then again, there was no doubt in her mind that the entire school would get the news by the end of the day.

"So, where were we?" Liz asked, attempting to bring her mind off of the classes prying eyes.

Max's eyes wandered upwards and he caught a glimpse of Liz fidgeting. She was nervous about showing her scars, but Max thought she looked radiant. In fact she could be hit with an ugly stick and she would still glow like the heavens were shining down upon her.

"W-w-we were o-observing the ch-ch-changes the cell took a-after it received the di-disease."

"Right," Liz stated. She leaned over looking into the microscope. Occasionally she would glance at the lab worksheet, filling out the questions. When the lab had finally ended Liz let her hair down, covering her scars almost immediately.

Max's eyes were transfixed on the beauty before him, but he was out of words...as always. What he really wanted to do was take Liz out on a date, but she would never go through with that considering they had just met.

* * * * *


"Michael, I just can't seem to stop thinking about that girl who'd applied for the waitressing job. I mean we could DEFINITELY use the help. Then, this morning I could have sworn I saw her walking out of Topolsky's office with Max. I mean isn't it possible that she is the new student?" Maria rambled off in their art class together.

"Hey, speaking of new students...have you heard about the new girl? She's like a beast. Or at least that's what Susan told me. I mean...my god, can you believe it? I bet she's hairy and nasty. I haven't had a run in with 'the beast' yet..." a girl named Hillary butted in. She was a huge gossip, but definitely anything but popular.

"Beast? Yeah, you should talk," Michael said sarcastically.

"Michael! You jerk!" Maria screeched slapping him across the head.

"Hey, at least she's off our back and our conversation now," Michael said casually. Lifting one of the sharpened pencil's off the table, Michael continued to quickly draw what he'd been working on for nearly a week.

* * * * *


"Alex, guess what?" Isabel said bouncing up and down in front of him.

"Well, assuming that you're happy...no...I would've known if you got laid last night," Alex joked, winking at Isabel.

"Hey!" Isabel playfully yelled. "Nope, you know that girl I told you about? It turns out she's Max's student that he's tutoring. So I talked to her and everything's good...or at least I think it is. Oh, and she hasn't judged Max...isn't that great!"

"It's fantastic Isabel. Although I don't like the idea of you being a little matchmaker now. Maria is enough...but now you?"

"Maria can stick to that job...I'm not sure I want to even KNOW about Max's love life...that's a subject I certainly don't want to know about."

Alex smiled at her previous comment. He was genuinely happy for Isabel, she seemed to be floating on cloud 9. "Well, here's my computer class...see ya at lunch babe." Alex quickly leaned in and captured Isabel's lips. Before anything serious started in the middle of the hallway, he pulled away and walked into his classroom.

TBC!!


Author's Note: I hope everyone likes this part. I have to say I'm really happy for the lil bumps...it's the first time I can think of anyone has ever bumped my story. Also, I'm sorry that these chapters are coming out really slowly. It's been pretty hectic lately and yesterday I applied for a job. Hopefully I get the job, but that would mean less updates. I'm slightly slacking at school, so I wont be able to get new parts out during the week until I have days off. Sorry about any delays I know you all like this story and I promise that I won't let this story get an update every month, in fact I'll try to get updates every two weeks at the latest. Thanks for the feedback again!
posted on 10-Mar-2002 10:59:06 AM by Eerie
Chapter 4b


Lunch slowly creeped up when Liz was standing at her locker. She had been waiting for Kyle for the past five minutes. Her hands nervously fidgeted. Liz glanced down the two hallways in which her locker intersected. There was no sign of Kyle. When she felt a finger tapping her shoulder she nearly jumped out of her skin.

"S-s-sorry," Max said.

Liz turned around and looked at Max. "It's ok...I didn't think anyone was in the hallways...so what's up?"

"I was...I was w-w-wondering if you'd l-l-like to eat lunch with Iz and I."

"That'd be great. Lead the way!"

Max turned around and smiled a genuine 100 watt smile. Normally he didn't smile at all, but this was different. Liz was here and she'd accepted him. She actually sounded enthusiastic about lunch with him and his sister, which surprised him, since the only other person that spent time at their lunch table was Alex.

As he made his way outside the school, he glanced at the table to find that, yes, Alex was joining them for lunch. He plopped down across from Isabel and Alex. Liz found a spot next to Max as she pulled out her lunch.

"So, what brings you here?" Alex asked.

"Kyle failed to show up for lunch...Max was kind enough to invite me here," Liz said, taking a sideways glance at Max. He was smiling, but looking down at the table shyly.

* * * * *


"Where is she?" Kyle asked, frantically looking down each hallway. A teacher had stopped him, wanting to speak to him about his poor grade in the class. Kyle tried to make the conversation quick, but the man just kept talking and talking...eventually one minute turned into 10.

Kyle left the building as he continued his search outside. He walked around for ten minutes when he actually found her. "There you are you caterpillar."

"Kyle! Where were you? You were supposed to meet me in the halls remember?"

"I kinda got detained by one of my teachers. My apologies young one. So, are you going to join Maria, Michael, and I now?"

"No, I've been here, and I'm just fine. Thanks for the offer though." Liz turned away from Kyle continuing to eat her food. Kyle reluctantly walked away from the group. "You guys? How come you don't sit with Kyle and his friends? I mean...if it's not too personal...I thought you were all friends."

"Actually, it's nothing against Kyle. His friend Michael has had trouble with us from the beginning...he's been pretty judgmental towards Max and we don't want to put up with that."

* * * * *


The rest of lunch had gone by in a breeze. Liz was on her way to Spanish with Max when her leg cramped.

"Max, wait," Liz said in a state of panic. She couldn't believe that something like this would happen on her first day of school...then again first days were always said to be the worst.

Max turned around, finding Liz leaning against a wall. "Is s-s-something wrong?"

"My leg...it should be just a second...it always does this."

After a few minutes of rest Liz made it to Spanish class with a limp. The teacher went over the new vocabulary for the day as Liz tried to jot down notes. She expertly made it look like she was paying attention when in actuality she was thinking about the fire. She glanced at her left hand. The worst damage that could be done was done to her left hand. She couldn't even move her fingers.

That was the physical pain, but the emotional pain was 10 times worse. She loved her brothers and her parents. They didn't deserve to die...not like that. She didn't even get to say goodbye to them. The decision was thrust upon her and the funerals were taken care of. The more Liz thought about it the more she came back to one particular thought: "She never got to say goodbye."

The tears welled up in her eyes as she fled the Spanish room. The rest of the class continued with their work, with an exception of one student. Max Evans. He glanced up at the teacher and raised his hand. The teacher nodded her head and excused Max from the room.

When he reached the hallway he found her leaning against a wall and slowly sliding down it.

"L-L-Liz? Are you ok?" Max slowly made his way to her.

When he sat down next to her she finally spoke. "It's too much Max."

"Wh-What is?"

"The pain."

Max looked at Liz and took a chance. A chance that could result in a slapped face or even a ruined friendship. He brought his arms around her and squeezed her into a gentle hug. It felt so right. Max's heart did a twist when she squeezed him back.

Honestly, he didn't care that his shirt was getting wet. She was here in his arms, and that's what felt like home to him.





TBC!!!

Author's Note: I'm sorry this took a while to write. Actually, I ment to have it out on Friday, then on Saturday but between sleep and hooking up DSL we were pretty busy. I hope you liked this part. Once again thanks for the great feedback and bumps!
posted on 17-Mar-2002 12:34:12 PM by Eerie
Chapter 5


Liz pulled away slightly looking up into Max’s eyes. “Sorry…I…I don’t know what came over me,” Liz said wiping away the tears quickly.

“I-I-It’s ok,” Max replied. He simply rubbed her arm, a comforting gesture that almost caused her to erupt into tears all over again.

“Thank you Max,” Liz said as she got to her feet. Using her sleeve, she continued to wipe away the remains of any tears in her eyes.

“Do y-y-you want to talk about it?”

“Not here…not now…not ever,” Liz said turning to walk out of the school.

Max touched her lightly, turning her around. “You can’t h-hide this f-f-forever…it’s going t-t-t-to eat you up inside.”

“Max…don’t take this the wrong way…you’re a great guy, but I’m not just going to spill my life story to you. I haven’t even known you for 6 hours.” With those last words Liz left Max standing there. She didn’t mean to be so heartless, but memories of her family were starting to resurface.

She felt her feet moving faster and faster as she continued to walk home. Home: to the Valenti household. Her feet broke out into a run. The cars alongside the road whipped by. People continued to work, absolutely oblivious to Liz’s tear stained face.

When she saw the Valenti house she picked her pace up. Soon she was face-to-face with the door. She shoved the screen door open and pushed her way through the door. Her uncle was sitting on the couch, but she ignored his concerned comments as she made her way to her bedroom. She felt herself slam the door, but her attention was focused on her pillow. Her slender form fell upon the bed and she broke down in tears. This time it wasn’t for herself, but instead for her Mom, her Dad, Sam, and Ryan.

“Liz?” a knock came from the door. She recognized the voice belonging to Jim Valenti. “You have a visitor.”

Liz’s heart leaped into her throat. She was hoping it’d be Max, but on the other hand she saw no reason why he would be visiting her, especially after the horrible things she’d said to him. When the door opened she saw none other than her cousin.

“Aw my little caterpillar. Would you like to talk to Kyle about this? Was it Max? Did he hurt you?”

“No…I hurt Max…I hurt everyone.”

“I’m not hurt,” Kyle explained.

Liz hugged Kyle. “I want to tell you…but I don’t know where to begin.”

“The beginning is always the best!” Kyle said enthusiastically.

Liz smiled as she looked to Kyle. She looked up to him like a brother figure now. Sam and Ryan were no longer there for her…no longer there to protect her against, in their words, “sex crazed guys.”

~ “Liz you can’t go out with him! Trust me…he wants nothing more then sex. All guys just want sex,” Ryan said to her. He was 3 years older than her, whereas Sam was 2 years older.

“They’re sexed crazed lunatics!” Sam joined in.

“Yeah…what is it they say? It takes one to know one!”

“Well, Sean’s you’re friend. It’s not going to be THAT bad. Besides, it’s just prom,” Liz said while applying her makeup.

“Everyone knows what happens on prom! Two people go to the dance together and it’s a guaranteed fuck session that night! Trust me…I’m a guy I would know. Besides, Sean doesn’t have the best track record with women. You know, being faithful and all,” Ryan continued.

“Guys, I’ll be fine…Sam, you’ll be at the dance and Ryan if ANYTHING goes wrong you’ll be the first person I call. Just chill.” Liz looked them both in the eyes. “I love you guys you know that right?”

“We love you too Liz,” Sam said hugging his sister.

“GROUP HUG!” Ryan shouted, grabbing both Sam and Liz into a bear hug. ~


“I miss Ryan and Sam…and Mom and Dad,” Liz said to Kyle. “You remind me so much of Ryan…sometimes it hurts. Kyle…I never got to say goodbye to them. They’re gone…buried…and I never got to pay my last respects. They thought I was going to end up 6 feet under like my brothers and parents…but I didn’t, and now I’m stuck here on Earth alone.”

“You’re not alone Liz. You have me…and dad. Oh and what about Max? I saw the way you two looked at each other. I saw fireworks in your eyes.”

“I was a real jerk to him today though. I mean I spaced out in Spanish class…I kept remembering these feelings I got whenever I was around my family. The realization that they’re gone hit me…I ran out and I cried my heart to him. He was so kind, but he told me that I had to let it all out. I just…I wasn’t ready to tell someone that knew nothing about Sam and Ryan.”

“Liz…it’s all right. I’m sure Max understands.”

“Thanks Kyle. Max was right…it does feel better to let it out.”

“So you DO like him, ey?” Kyle wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

Liz smiled and playfully hit Kyle’s arm. “Shut up, Kyle.”

“So what do you say we go get some grub?”

“Sounds great.”

“Last one to the car’s a rotten egg!” Kyle yelled as he stood and ran to the door.

* * *


“Kyle, you big cheater!”

“I didn’t cheat,” Kyle responded with a sly grin on his face. He’d driven her to the Crashdown Café, but had yet to get a reaction from her.

“Yes you did!” Liz exclaimed entering the restaurant. Her head whipped around scanning the restaurant. That was when Liz realized this was the restaurant she’d applied to and left in a hurry.

“Hey Kyle,” the peppy blonde, Liz remembered as Maria. “Liz.”

“Hey,” Liz replied shyly. Her head dipped down as she let Kyle do all the talking.

“I didn’t know that you knew Liz.”

“Yeah, she applied for a job here a couple days ago. Look, if you want maybe we could modify the uniforms for you…that is if you still want the job. Also if you don’t mind me saying, I’m sorry if I was just a little too pushy.”

“You…you were fine. It was me…I…I don’t know if I can work here.”

“We can get a long sleeved shirt and some pants to go underneath the uniform…it wont be so bad.”

Liz looked reluctantly between Maria and Kyle. She really wanted the job, but she didn’t want to burden Maria with making the new uniform. Maria’s eyes glittered with hope as she awaited Liz’s answer. Kyle on the other hand was standing impatiently awaiting Liz’s answer. He brought his hand to rest on her back and nodded to her, encouraging her to take the job.

“Ok…I’ll take it,” Liz replied.

Maria jumped up and down squealing with delight. “Great! Follow me,” she said, leading Liz into the back room. “You can just wear those clothes underneath…that is if you want to start today. We’re kind of short handed.”

“Oh, ok,” Liz responded. Her nerves were getting to her. She could feel her blood pressure start to rise.

Maria thrust the uniform in front of Liz, telling her to change in the bathroom. Once Liz was inside the restroom, she had to take a few deep breaths. Her heart was thumping wildly. She still wasn’t sure whether taking the job was the right decision or the wrong one.

Pulling the waitress uniform over her body, Liz looked herself over in the mirror. Her scars weren’t visible and she had to admit the uniform did look pretty cute…but there was the fact that it was a work uniform. Work uniforms weren’t supposed to be cute.

“You done in there yet?” Maria asked from outside the door.

Liz walked to the door and opened it, showing Maria what it looked like on her.

“You look fabulous. Now, last minute touches.” Maria pulled out a headband with two antennas. “You’ll have to wear this, oh and here’s your order booklet,” Maria continued handing Liz an order pad and a pencil.

Liz looked at the headband. She had two options: she could either place it on top of her head or she could pull her hair back. Of course, she opted for the first option.

Once Liz had her order pad in hand Maria spoke up. “Ready?”

Liz nodded her head as Maria led her through the restaurant. She had Liz observe the first few customers in order for her to get the hang of things.

“Are you ready to take on you’re first customer?” Maria asked.

“Yes,” Liz responded.

“Ok, table 5, right over there.” Maria pointed to the table so that Liz knew exactly which one she was talking about. In fact it caused less confusion on Liz’s part.

When Liz followed Maria’s finger to the table she noticed Max Evans. She felt the guilt come off of her in waves. She wasn’t fair to him earlier. Not to mention, he was so genuine, so pure…and she was this horrible monster who yelled at him and ran away. Her feet started to walk towards the table and soon Liz saw herself face to face with him.

‘Just take the order, Liz. It can’t be that hard,’ she thought to herself.

“Welcome to the Crashdown, may I take your order?” she recited, just as Maria had shown her.

“I’ll have the Will Smith with a cherry coke,” a voice said at the other end of the table. Liz glanced over, after writing down the order and noticed Isabel. She looked tense as she handed the menu to Liz.

“I’ll just have a cherry coke,” Max said. He’d pretty much lost his appetite when he saw Liz in a Crashdown uniform. To him, she was like an angel.

Liz took his menu. “I’ll be right back with your food.”

By the time Liz was out of earshot, Isabel spoke up. “How can you look at her after what she said to you? After what she DID to you? Max think with you’re head…not your…”

“Isabel…I-I’m not thinking with either. What do you think with when you’re with Alex? Correct m-me if I’m wrong, but you think with your heart. T-T-That’s all I’m doing.”

“Oh great…my brother has a crush. Max, don’t you realize what you’re doing to yourself? You’re setting yourself up for heartbreak. I’m only trying to protect you from hurt.”

“What hurts is that you d-d-don’t think I can be with someone. That I’m n-not capable of b-being loved in return.”

“That’s not it,” Isabel argued.

“Then wh-what is it? B-B-Because I’m not getting it,” Max said.

His eyes meandered their way across the restaurant to where Liz was standing she’d taken a tray with the two sodas and the plates to balance on her hand. She walked towards them and was doing pretty good at balancing the plates, until one student held their foot out. Max saw his whole world move in slow motion. Liz tripped on the person’s foot and the drinks and food fell with a crash to the floor.

Max moved quickly out of the booth, not caring what Isabel had left to say. He made his way to Liz.

“A-A-Are you ok?” he asked kneeling down beside her.

“My hand,” Liz said. She’d felt a slight pang in it. Looking at her left hand she saw that a piece of glass had caught onto it when she’d fallen. Slowly she took the glass out of her hand, wincing at the pain.

Max’s eyes got wide. Instantly, he tore off a piece of his shirt and bandaged her hand. “W-w-we need to take you to the h-h-hospital.”

Liz was afraid of the hospital, but when she looked into Max’s eyes she could see his own fear. He actually cared about her. So instead she complied and took her good hand in Max’s as he lead the way to his jeep.



TBC!!!


Author's Note: I love the feedback. I also like to hear what you guys would like to happen or what you're confused about because it gives me some good ideas for the next chapter. I know that ya asked for more Max/Liz interraction...and I'll have that in the next chapter. I just needed some flow to this. Also, was this too long or too short? That's all I have. I might not be able to update as often, but I'll try because I got the job!
posted on 29-Mar-2002 1:25:45 AM by Eerie
Chapter 6


“You say you felt the glass go into your hand?” the doctor asked Liz as he examined her.

Liz nodded. “Yeah…it was a small, but sharp pang.”

“This is good…very good. We may be able to fix your hand, but it would take intensive surgery and lots of testing. Of course we will need a legal guardians consent.”

“I’ll think about it,” Liz responded.

“For now, it’s best you keep that bandage on. We’ll reschedule an appointment in two weeks and we’ll see how you’re doing. You can even bring in your guardian and we’ll talk about surgery. OK?”

“Yeah, thanks.” Liz hopped off the bed and walked towards the exit.

“Two weeks,” the doctor reminded her.

Liz opened the door and spotted Max fidgeting in the waiting room. Subconsciously, she smiled. He looked so worried about her. It warmed her heart to know that someone like Max was there for her, every step of the way. His head lifted as if he could sense her presence. When his gaze met hers he stood up and walked over to her.

“Are you alright?” Max asked. His deep concern for her overlapped the horrible nervousness and stutter he received whenever he was around her.

“I’m fine. Thanks for being here. Especially after everything I said to you after school today. It was uncalled for…and extremely rude.” Liz’s head dipped down in shame as she thought about everything that’d she said. “The thing is…you were right.”

“Liz…”

“No, Max, I need to get this out. I did need to talk to someone. I was just…I mean…we barely know each other…and well the truth is…I feel like we’ve known each other forever. I know, it sounds cornball.”

Max’s hand lifted her chin up so that he could gaze into her eyes. “Liz…n-nothing you could say would be cornball.”

Liz felt herself blush at the compliment. Normally she would have backed away from Max, but there was something about his deep amber gaze that drew her in. It was entrancing. Then, she watched as Max’s eyelids shut and his face inched its way closer to hers.

“So. Did we get any homework in Spanish?” Liz asked, halting any movements Max was going to make.

“Uh…n-n-no. D-Did you get started o-on our Civics homework yet?”

“Not really. Maybe we could go over it together?” Liz asked, looking up at Max shyly.

“Y-y-yeah, that’d be great,” he replied.

* * *


“Ugh! Where is he?” Isabel huffed. “He should have been back by now.”

“I think you need this more than I will today,” Maria said handing over her vial of cedar oil.

Isabel paced the length of the Crashdown gazing at the customers along her path. “I’m just trying to look out for him…god he loves her! On one hand I should be proud of him. Right? But I’m his older sister…I should be looking out for him.”

“Older by what? Two minutes?” Michael asked. “Can you PLEASE stop pacing…you’re giving me a headache. And leave the rambling to Maria.”

“HEY!” Maria yelled after punching Michael’s shoulder.

At that moment there was laughter coming from one of the tables followed by shouting. “WOW, MAN I GOTTA HAND IT TO YOU! THAT REALLY WAS THE BEST FALL I’VE SEEN ALL FALL!”

“I gotta hand it to ya man, I didn’t think you had it in you.”

Michael, Maria, and Isabel gazed at each other in shock. Liz hadn’t accidentally been tripped, but the person tripped her purposefully. The worst part about it was that the person showed no remorse and was laughing about it.

Isabel’s last straw was finally plucked from its place. She stormed to the table of jocks, laughing over their most recent prank. She pulled up the jock that tripped Liz. He was about 200 pounds and towered over Isabel.

“When Liz gets back I want you to apologize,” Isabel said forcefully.

“Such a pretty lady, but such a dumb blonde,” the guy commented. “No can do. Larry just doesn’t do apologies.”

Lifting the hem up on his collar, Isabel said, “Larry better apologize…or else he’s going to end up with a bloody nose…maybe even a few broken teeth.”

When the jock laughed in Isabel’s face she brought her fist to his face. Bone crushed on bone. Isabel held her hand in pain as she backed away from the jock that, coincidentally, had a broken nose. Correction, a broken and bleeding nose.

“Here,” Michael said, placing a glass of ice in front of Isabel.

“I’m not thirsty.”

“It’s for you’re hand.” Isabel nodded, dunking her hand into the cool substance.

* * *


Max opened the Crashdown door for Liz. She moved in front of him, nodding her head in thanks. Slowly, she made her way over to one of the booths in the back of the restaurant as Max followed in close pursuit. Liz sat on one side of the booth while Max sat directly across from her.

They’d made a trip to Max’s house beforehand to pick up his books. Now that they were at the Crashdown he pulled them out and started to teach Liz about the ‘wonderful world of civics.’

Liz’s mind was elsewhere. Her thoughts drifted back to what the doctor said. ‘We may be able to fix your hand, but it would take intensive surgery and lots of testing.’

Her hand would be all right, possibly her leg too. She’d been given the chance to be a normal teenager again. If there was something that could be done about her scars…

Liz forced herself to look up at Max. He was staring at her intently.

“Are you ok?” Max asked.

“Yeah…uh why do you ask?” Liz replied nervously.

“You spaced out for a few minutes.”

Liz looked at Max with a bright smile on her face. His stutter was gone…well, maybe not permanently, but did that mean that he was getting more comfortable around her? Thoughts of a relationship with Max filled her head.

“Liz?” Max asked again.

“Hmm?” Liz looked at Max again realizing that her thoughts had dragged out.

“Maybe I should take you home,” Max said.

“Max? Can I tell you something…about what happened at the hospital?”

“Of course…you don’t even have to ask.”

“Well, I went in to see the doctor. He said that my hand could be fixed. I’d probably have a lot of surgeries. The thing is, I don’t know if I could go through with it. I’m sure Uncle Jim would pay for the expenses, but I don’t want that hanging on his shoulders. Then again…being a normal teenager again…”

“What’s so great about n-normal?” Max asked, reaching his hands across the table to captivate Liz’s.

Liz sat there pondering the question. He was right. There wasn’t anything special about normality. In fact being different and unique is what makes people special. “You’re right.”

Liz got up from her seat and moved to Max’s side of the booth. She sat down next to him and wrapped her arms around his neck in a friendly hug. “Thanks Max, you’re the best.”

“Y-y-you’re welcome,” Max said, squeezing Liz tightly. His eyes shut and he inhaled the strawberry scent emanating from her soft skin.

“Max, is there…is there someplace we can talk privately? Everyone’s staring at us,” Liz asked, her voice edgy.

“Sure…if t-that’s what you w-want.”

“It’s what I want,” Liz replied simply.

* * *


“Isabel it’s ok, stop pacing,” Alex said, attempting to calm down his girlfriend.

“Alex, where is he? God, what if something’s happened to him? I’ll never forgive myself for this. Maybe this whole…this whole tutor thing was a mistake. Now look what he’s gotten into.”

Alex placed his hands on Isabel’s shoulders and stood directly in front of her. “Stop doing this to yourself. He’s a grown man, he can make his own decisions.”

Isabel sighed. “You’re right Alex, what would I do without you?”

“Probably be a miserable wreck,” Alex joked.

* * *


“So…I was wondering if you’d wanna go out on a date with me?” Kyle was practicing in front of the mirror. “Calm. Hey baby, wanna go out with me? No. Ecstatic. Hey BABY! Wanna go out with ME? No.”

“Son?” Jim said from the doorway.

Kyle jumped and turned around to face his dad. “Oh dad, you scared the bajeezers out of me!”

“Sorry…I couldn’t help but overhear. Girl troubles?”

“No…guy troubles. I can’t muster up the courage to ask this one chick out,” Kyle said plopping down on his bed. He started to toss a nerf football into the air, staring up at the ceiling. He repeated the pattern of tossing the ball up and catching it.

“Well, there’s not much I can tell you except…be yourself.”

“What if she doesn’t like it when I’m myself?”

“Then she’s not worth it, now is she?” Jim stated. He watched as his son threw the ball up at the ceiling and walked out of the room shaking his head.

* * *

“Where are they going?” Michael asked from his spot at the grill.

“I don’t know. That’s really romantic though…you see how much time they’ve been spending together? How come you never spend that much time with me?” Maria responded.

“I work with you, I go to school with you, I practically live with you, what more do you want from me?”

“Maybe some roses or candy once in a while would be nice,” Maria said raising her voice.

“Here,” Michael said handing Maria some money. “Go buy some flowers.”

Maria threw the money back at Michael and stormed out of the kitchen. She refused to lower herself by yelling at him and explaining to him what he’d done wrong. She knew him too well: he would apologize, they would make up and then they’d get into a fight again, but not this time.




TBC!




Author's Note: Sorry for the delay...last weekend was really stressful. I had both solo/ensemble for band, which I did really badly on, and I had job training. Needless to say...I learned squat on job training, but luckily I dont have to start work for another week. More time to stress over it...YAY! anywho...that and homework/studying...and well...little time to update fics. SO here I am getting to the point...sorry for the delay on this fic. feedback is greatly appreciated.
posted on 2-Apr-2002 3:28:12 PM by Eerie
Chapter 7


After arriving home for the evening, Maria called Isabel. She stood tapping her foot, waiting for someone…anyone to pick up on the other end.

“Hello?” Mrs. Evans said from the other end.

“Hi, is Isabel there? It’s Maria.”

“Isabel! Telephone!” Maria heard Mrs. Evans yell.

“Hello?” Isabel said exasperated.

“Hi,” Maria responded. “I was wondering if you wanted to have a girls night out tonight? I definitely need to get away from the male species…I don’t know about you.”

“Yeah, that’d be great. What time?” Isabel asked. Alex had left her house earlier when his mom had called asking where he was. Apparently dinner was on the table. Dinner was cherished to Alex’s mom and no doubt Alex was going to get in trouble for not being home on time.

“How about now? I can pick you up in 10 minutes,” Maria said looking at her watch.

“Ok, see you then.” Isabel hung up the phone and retreated to her room.

* * *


Kyle knocked on his crush’s door. He was extremely nervous, not to mention his little pep period earlier in front of the mirror did nothing for him. “Just be yourself,” Kyle said, repeating what his father had told him.

“Can I help you?” a deep voice said from the doorway.

Kyle looked up and saw an older gentleman at the door. “Uh…is Laurie there?”

“Who are you?” the man said protectively. He assumed it to be Laurie Dupree’s father. The man had a receding hairline with hair that was a light gray color. He had a small beer belly, but looked well kept.

“LAURIE! There’s a BOY at the door for you!” Mr. Dupree yelled.

“Coming Gramps,” Laurie screamed as she raced down the stairs. “Kyle! What a pleasant surprise.”

Kyle blushed and held his head low. Since when did he become so shy? “These are for you,” Kyle blurted out pulling his hand out from behind his back, revealing flowers that looked to have been pulled from the ground.

“Thank you,” Laurie said, eyeing the flowers. “These look just like the daisies Mrs. Butterworth has in her yard.”

“They are, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, right?” Kyle whispered, a smile emanating from his lips.

“Ok, I’m going to go put this in some water, would you like to come inside,” Laurie giggled.

“Uh…sure,” Kyle said suddenly feeling nervous again. He stepped into the elegant house. One thing was for sure; Laurie’s family wasn’t poor. Kyle was nervous to touch anything for fear that it would break.

“Ok,” Laurie said, returning to Kyle. “So, what did you come over for?”

“I uh…I wanted to know if maybe…if maybe you’d like to uh…go out sometime?” Kyle asked, twiddling his thumbs, hoping and praying that she’d say yes.

* * *


“Where are we going?” Liz asked looking out anxiously at the open desert in all directions.

“We’re almost th-there,” Max responded as he pulled his jeep off the side of the road and into the desert. He finally pulled to the side and placed the jeep in park. “W-w-wait here,” he told Liz. He got out of the car and pulled a blanket out from the backseat. He laid it across the dry desert and made his way to the passenger door. After opening the door for Liz he helped her out of the jeep and led her to the blanket.

What Liz saw amazed her. They were sitting on top of a giant plateau looking out over more desert. The sun was slowly lowering, casting an orange red glow over the golden desert.

“Wow, Max, this is amazing.”

“Yeah, I used to come up here all the t-time when I was a kid. It was my s-s-sanctuary. I would sit up here everyday and w-wonder why I had a stuttering p-problem.”

“I happen to like that stutter,” Liz replied, her hand grazing his back, rubbing up and down. She was attempting to flirt, but immediately felt insecure. What was she doing? How could she immediately expect that he would have feelings for her?

“T-t-thanks,” Max said his head hung low, trying to hide the blush that was making its way to his face. “S-s-so what did you want t-to talk about?”

“Well…I wanted to share with you what happened…before I came here.”

“You don’t have t-to if you don’t want to. I understand.”

“But Max, I want to. You’re so easy to talk to. Wow…ok…where should I start?” Liz questioned herself, looking out at the vast desert. Then, she remembered that Max had shown her this special place and it gave her the courage to continue. “I had been living with my two brothers, Sam and Ryan, and my parents. I remember going to sleep the night it happened.” Liz shut her eyes, willing the tears to go away. She needed to share this story with someone. “I woke up hearing my mother’s screams from the upstairs bedroom. I looked around my room and somehow escaped to the living room. The smoke was so thick…the fire was coming from the kitchen. My parents and my brothers were trapped upstairs…I was the only one whose room was downstairs. I don’t remember much else except feeling the cool water from the firefighting hose. I passed out after that,” Liz said, the tears flowing freely from her eyes.

Max leaned over and engulfed her into a gentle, but loose hug. “I miss them so much,” Liz cried into Max’s shoulder.

* * *


“Michael, hey man,” Alex said opening the front door.

Michael stepped inside and took a seat on Alex’s couch. “What is it with women?”

“What did you do to Maria now?”

“She got all mad because I never buy her flowers. I don’t know what kind she liked so I gave her money to buy them herself. Why are women so god damn complex?” Michael continued, picking up the remote and flipping nervously through the channels.

“Michael…you gave her money to buy flowers?”

“Yeah, is there something wrong with that?”

“Uh…no,” Alex said sarcastically, then continued in a serious tone, “YES! Man, you don’t just give a girl money. They’re into sentimental things. It’s more special when you buy the flowers and remember which type are her favorite. It shows you care.”

“So how do I mend things with her?”

“Well, you can’t just buy her. I’ve heard you’re quite the artist why don’t you draw her a portrait. But seeing how you royally screwed yourself over I’d also buy her some lilies, her favorite flower by the way, and get her some chocolate…but remember no nuts, she’s allergic to chocolate with nuts in them,” Alex said.

“Wait, hold up…ok, list that off again,” Michael said, holding a pen and a piece of paper. He listened as Alex repeated himself. “Thanks man, see ya around!”

* * *


“Ready?” Maria asked Isabel.

“Ready and willing,” Isabel responded, stepping out of the house. “You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to this. I need a break, especially after all that’s been going on lately.”

“Yeah really,” Maria said as she revved up the engine. “How does the usual place sound?”

“Great! Step on it!” Isabel replied.

* * *


Michael glanced around the convenient store. First thing on his list…chocolates. “What does that say?” Michael asked himself. “With nuts?” He shrugged to himself and picked up chocolates with nuts in them. Next thing on the list were lilies. After paying for the chocolates he asked the clerk where he could find these flowers.

“About a block south there’s a flower shop,” the clerk replied.

Michael nodded and made his way to the flower shop.

* * *


Whoa, girls, they wanna have fun
That's all they really want, some fun
When the working day is done
Oh, girls, they wanna have fun
Whoa, girls just wanna have fun


Maria and Isabel sang from the stage. It was a tradition of theirs to go to a karaoke bar with fake ids (compliments of Michael) and sing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Lolly.

Walking off the stage, Maria and Isabel giggled as the few people at the club clapped. “Ok, so you want to explain what happened with Michael?” Isabel asked Maria.

“I never said anything about Michael,” Maria said, looking down at her drink. She sipped nervously out of the straw. Isabel knew her too well.

“Oh please! It’s written all over your face…what did the asshole do this time?”

“Look, I know you’re not fond of Michael.”

“Not fond? That’s an understatement.”

“I just…he threw money at me and told me to buy some flowers myself,” Maria said nearly breaking down into tears at the table.

“He did what? Look, we’re going to find you a decent guy. Someone that won’t treat you like a pile of trash,” Isabel said glancing around the karaoke bar. “Not here though…all the guys here are either beer bellied or taken.”

“Great,” Maria said jokingly, rolling her eyes. “The matchmaker nazi emerges!”

* * *


“Look at me…I’m a waterfall,” Liz said wiping away her tears. She slowly pulled herself away from Max and risked looking into his eyes. What she saw was a lot of emotion and hurt. He was concerned about her.

“Thank you,” Liz spoke.

“For what?” Max asked, knowing he didn’t do or change anything.

“For taking me here…for just holding me. For everything.” Liz’s eyes wandered to the sun as the last of its rays dipped below the desert surface. “It’s so beautiful,” Liz murmured.

“Yes, it is,” Max said his eyes transfixed on Liz instead of the horizon.

Liz glanced over at him and saw the love etched in his eyes. She felt herself get drawn in. Slowly her face moved closer to his until their lips locked into a soft and gentle kiss. Liz’s tongue slipped swiftly between Max’s lips and explored his mouth. Together, their tongues danced happily as their lips moved in perfect rhythm with each other.



TBC!!!


Author's NOte: Thanks for the bumps and stuff! Its been a great break and I probably wouldnt have written this chapter if I hadn't been persuaded by you guys! Thanks for the awesome feedback.*wink*
posted on 12-Apr-2002 7:03:23 PM by Eerie
I'm working on part 8 as we speak...or I speak...but whatever you get the point. thanks to evelynn for the bumps and to every1 else for the great feedback! expect the next chapter either tonight or tomorrow.

Ericka
posted on 13-Apr-2002 10:42:08 AM by Eerie
Chapter 8


The kiss was everything Liz had hoped for…and then some. Max’s lips were soft and tender. His tongue caressed hers as he searched every crevasse of her mouth. Max’s attempts at memorizing everything about the kiss were working. Together Max and Liz fell into a state of complete oblivion, where they were the only ones around for miles and miles. The sun started to set, but went down, unaware by the newfound couple.

* * *


“How about that guy?” Isabel asked, pointing to a young man their age. He had dark hair, striking bright eyes, and was considerably short for a guy. Everything that screamed ‘I’m not Michael!’

“I don’t know…he’s…he’s too short.”

“Listen, Maria, if you don’t want a guy, that’s fine, we can go home and dish out a bowl of ice cream and pester my brother. It’ll be like old times…before Michael got his hands on you and ruined Max. I swear to god…if Michael even so much as comes near to you, just tell me, I’ve been meaning to confront him.”

“Don’t. You’re no better than him if you fight back, don’t you realize that? What good will it do? He’ll only get angry with you and there will be this ever going, constant fight. Trust me, I know. Then again, Michael does have this sweet side. He can be gentle and kind…it’ just…he wasn’t raised by caring parents like you and Max were. Majority of his parents abused him emotionally and physically. The only way he knows how to fight back is by putting this blockade up. I don’t even think I’ve passed that wall.” Maria looked down at her feet as they walked down UFO Street. She couldn’t help but feel that she could have done something to help Michael through the tough times.

“Maria, don’t. Don’t blame yourself for what has happened to him. Granted, it is sad that people would actually beat their children, but the last thing he would want is to be treated like an abnormal individual. He needs to learn to treat others as he would like to be treated…unless he wants to be treated that poorly.”

“Iz, this isn’t helping. I understand what you’re saying, but it’s not making me feel any better! This was supposed to be a girl’s night out. You know, lets eat popcorn, watch a movie, and karaoke. None of this, Michael is an ass mumbo jumbo. You and I both know I hate being put in the middle of these situations. Mom and Dad did it to me all the time, playing me off as their little pawn. I don’t want to be a pawn god damn it!” Maria shouted, tears on the brink of falling from her heavy lashes.

Isabel glanced at Maria and for the first time felt sorry for what she’d said. She’d never meant to say it the way she had, nor had she meant to put Maria in the middle.

“Look, I know you’re sorry, but that’s not what I need right now. I need to let loose for the night. Is that a deal?”

Isabel knew deep down that Maria was hurting, but she’d much rather get to spend time with her long lost best friend. She had much needed time to make up on…now was a better time than any. “I heard ‘Martian Special’ is the flavor of the week at Pluto Ice Cream.”

Maria smiled at Isabel. The Martian Special was basically a mint ice cream, colored green with mints in it. The name was just an added Roswell twist to it. “Race you to the ice cream shop,” Maria said as she got a head start on Isabel.

* * *


Michael pushed the doorbell for a third time. His eyes wandered aimlessly around the front porch, his eyes stopping to admire the gold letters etched onto the mailbox ‘DeLuca.’ Finally the door flung open, revealing a flushed Amy DeLuca.

“Michael, what are you doing here? Maria is out right now. She asked not to see you…so if you decided to hurt my baby, you’re digging yourself a grave.”

“Mrs.…”

“No Michael. I won’t let you get away with this…if my daughter is pregnant because of you…”

“She thinks she’s pregnant?”

“Well, not exactly. A mother can tell these things though! She went to work happy and excited. What happens when she comes back? She’s moody and depressed. You mind elaborating Michael? Because you seem to be the cause of all her mood swings.” Amy’s hands landed on her hips as she waited for an explanation from Michael.

“I…I didn’t mean to…here, can you give her these?” Michael asked bringing out the box of chocolates and the flowers.

“Michael,” Amy replied sternly, eyeing the candy and flowers warily.

“Please?” Michael begged.

Amy took one look at Michael and knew he had Maria’s best interests at heart. Although another part of her was hoping that Maria wouldn’t turn up like she had. Pregnant at 16 and forced into a marriage with someone she’d grown to hate. “Well…ok, I guess I could give these to her…”

“Thank you Mrs. DeLuca, you won’t regret this!”

“It’s Miss to you…I swear, as god as my witness, I’m not going to let any man control my life anymore!”

Michael turned around quickly and jogged away from the house. Amy was having one of her, ‘I’m single and I’m loving it moments’ in which Michael wanted no part of. Sooner or later he’d be hearing ‘The Amy Story’ all over again.

* * *


It’d been moments since their first kiss had ended, but now Max and Liz lay cuddled together upon the blanket. Neither had said a word, instead enjoying the sun’s last rays dipping beyond the horizon.

Max’s hands aimlessly rubbed circles on Liz’s back as she lay on her side, her attention brought to his soulful eyes. “So…I was wondering…maybe…would you like to g-g-go to the movies with me?” Max asked, unsure if Liz would say yes.

“Of course,” Liz responded instantly. “I’d love to.”

Max’s face lit up into a full-blown smile. He’d never suspected that he’d get to date this beautiful person, inside and out. It was almost too perfect. Lifting his hand from her back, Max tucked a strand of hair behind Liz’s ear, revealing to him her wounds. “You’re so beautiful…do you know that?”

Liz looked down as she blushed. She couldn’t help but feel insecure about her wounds, but Max, he made the pain go away. He was her secret remedy to feeling her self-esteem drop.

Liz’s gaze drifted back to his eyes…those beautiful amber pools of love. “Max? Do you think…I mean maybe, could I hear about your childhood? What were you like as a boy?”

“Well…I was born here in Roswell. My parents adopted me. Isabel was adopted as well, I don’t remember much from before the adoption, most likely because my brain blocked it out, but the adoption agency says Isabel and I are biological brother and sister.

“Umm…I didn’t get this stutter until I was about 8 years old though. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me because the only person I didn’t stutter around was Isabel. They thought it was a permanent fixture, but after taking some tests they realized it was temporary and only occurred with people I wasn’t comfortable around, or whenever I got nervous. Of course that was a long process…they didn’t come up with the diagnosis until I was 13. By then Isabel had learned that she had to protect me from other kids. I pretty much shut myself off.

“There was this one boy I wanted to be friends with. He was so cool. His name is Michael. At first everything was going great. I got to talking to him about sports…then, out of the blue I start to stutter…to make a long story short, Michael made fun of me and Isabel had my back. She beat the shit out of him. Of course that didn’t help much, considering that Michael and his friends not only made fun of my stutter, but also that I had my sister fighting my battles. I’ve grown to accept it now, but it still hurts every time I hear the whispers.”

“Oh Max,” Liz responded, wrapping her arms around Max’s neck. Before he’d been the one comforting her, but now the roles were easily switched and Liz had no problem being the one comforting him. “It doesn’t matter what they think…the only thing that matters is how you feel about yourself…and let me tell you, there is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Max blushed from his cheeks to the tips of his ears at Liz’s words. He still couldn’t help being shy around this wonderful person he’d just met. Although they’d only known each other for less than a week, he’d felt like he’d known her for his entire life. Although he didn’t want to rush into anything too fast, he felt they were two peas in a pod…soul mates in simpler terms.

* * *


“So…” Kyle said, attempting to cover the sudden silence on Laurie’s porch. It had gotten pretty awkward after her mouth had fell open and she stood there. That was it…she didn’t blink, she didn’t flinch, she just stood there as if she was frozen in time or had just spaced out.

Laurie seemed to snap out of her phase when Kyle spoke. She shook her head and looked at Kyle blankly, giving him no hint as to what she was going to say. “Wha…What did you just say?” Laurie asked, still not believing her ears.

“I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me…you know to the movies, dinner, a party. Your choice.”

“You’re shitting me, right?”

“No…” Kyle shuffled his feet nervously. His gaze fell downward. When did he become the shy schoolboy? He was supposed to be Kyle, the class clown, the kook of the group.

“Oh, wow, Kyle you have no idea how much I’m looking forward to this! I can’t wait! Oh, yes, I’ll go out with you. I just…wow, I can’t believe you picked ME out of all the girls you could have chosen…why me?”

“Laurie, your beautiful and intelligent and a fun person…what isn’t there to love about you?” Kyle asked. He hadn’t realized he’d just referred to Laurie and love in the same sentence, but didn’t want to take it back when she jumped into his arms, peppering kisses on his face.

* * *


“Oh my gosh! Max, look it’s really late. We should…I should be getting home. This certainly is not going to go over well with Uncle Jim. I can’t believe I lost track of the time,” Liz said in a frantic mess.

Max stood up quickly, taking the blanket with him. Liz was in the jeep by the time he’d thrown the blanket into the backseat. Max made his way to the driver door and hopped in.

“Don’t worry Liz, I’ll get you there on time.”

“Thanks,” Liz replied, a smile spreading across her lips. He was really concerned about getting her home on time, regardless of the fact that it had ruined their alone time. Then again, they had the whole day tomorrow to have some alone time.

* * *


After making plans for their future date, Kyle left Laurie’s house. She didn’t seem to mind that he used her and love in the same sentence. Upon arriving home he realized that Liz wasn’t there. His father was sitting on the sofa watching ‘chIps’ reruns.

“Where is Liz?” Kyle asked his father.

Jim looked up at Kyle momentarily, and then returned to watching the show. “I don’t know. I’ve been sitting here waiting for word on where she is. I haven’t seen her since school. Please tell me you have.”

“I’m gonna hurt Max. He needs to get her home on time…Liz was with him last I saw. They had some homework to do…something like that.”

* * *


Max pulled up to the Valenti household in record timing. Liz leaned over her seat, quickly pecking Max’s cheek with a kiss. “Thank you Max, I had a great time,” Liz said jumping out of her seat. She broke out into a run until she reached the front door. Nervously, she opened the front door and awaited the wrath of the Valentis.

“CATERPILLAR! Where have you been?” Kyle asked rushing to Liz’s side. He embraced her and pulled back looking her in the eye.

“I’m so sorry. I know I should have called,” Liz said, looking at both Jim and Kyle.

“Liz, we’re going to have to set some ground rules. I know you were out with Max, but Kyle and I can’t be pacing and worrying about what happened to you.” Liz nodded as Jim continued. “First, if you’re going to be late call the house and leave a message. Second, studying and school comes before boys. Third, if you’re going out with someone, let us know how late, where, and with whom. Then…wait…I guess that about covers it. I’m not trying to be too strict here…but if something were to happen to you…”

“Don’t worry Uncle Jim. I’ll follow those rules,” Liz said quickly, before the living room turned into a puddle of tears.

“Oh, Caterpillar it’s so great to have you back!”

“I haven’t been gone THAT long Kyle,” Liz laughed.




TBC!!!



posted on 13-Apr-2002 10:45:00 AM by Eerie
authors note: I had the last part 3/4 done last night, but hten I got tired. sorry, I would've had it done by then...but yeah. I'm not sure when the next chapter will be out, because I have other fics to update this weekend and next week is going to be really hectic. I doubt I'll have any online time monday, thursday, or friday. I'm working those days so I have to go straight from school to work. by the time I get home I'll have a ton of homework...so I'm sorry I might not be able to update for a while. once again, the feedback is great, it helps spark my mind for upcoming chapters!
posted on 23-Apr-2002 10:35:09 PM by Eerie
Chapter 9A

Liz arrived at school with the one, the only…Kyle. At least how he’d described himself…of course with the subtitle ‘the man.’ His ego had definitely been boosted after Laurie Dupree had accepted him. Together, they walked up the steps of Roswell High, leading into the massive hallways, filled with students.

Liz and Kyle split up, each going to their individual lockers. As soon as Liz arrived to her own, a bubbly face showed up next to her.

“Liz how’s your hand? Do you need help with anything?” Maria asked concerned about the events of the night before.

Liz glanced at her hand, wrapped tightly in an ace bandage and shook her head. “I’m fine Maria. Thanks for being concerned.” Liz paused, glancing into Maria’s eyes, instantly knowing something was bothering her. “What’s wrong?”

“It-it’s Michael…he…will you come to the bathroom with me?” Maria asked, on the brink of tears.

“Sure…as long as we’re not late for class. Being new…I just, I can’t afford to be late,” Liz explained as the girl she barely knew dragged her into the bathroom closest to her locker.

“Liz…I know we’re not very close friends, but I’d like to be. I mean…you seem like a really cool person and well…”

“You seem pretty cool too Maria, what’s bothering you?”

“Well, you see…Michael…he uh. I was talking to him last night after you left with Max. I told him how I wanted our relationship to be more than just this…physical relationship. I told him I wanted flowers and to be treated like a lady. So, you know, I thought he’d be gentlemanly about the situation…but no, what does he do? He throws money at me,” Maria sobbed, her body racking in tears.

Liz walked from her place to where Maria was standing. She gave Maria a hug, rubbing her hands up and down Maria’s back soothingly. The gesture was friendly and comforting, as Maria stood there for moments, clinging onto Liz.

“You know, you took this a lot better than Isabel did.” Maria pulled away looking Liz in the eye and attempting to dry her eyes.

“From what I’ve heard, Isabel doesn’t exactly like Michael. And even that’s putting it lightly,” Liz said, hopping to lighten the mood.

Maria smiled. “You know Elizabeth? I think this is the beginning of a new friendship.”

“Its just Liz.”

* * *

Max stared at his reflection in the mirror. One second ago he’d seen nothing but air. Now, suddenly he’d reappeared. What was going on? He looked down at his now glowing hands. They glistened a lime green color, but he was brought out of his thoughts by a knock at his bedroom door. Quickly, he hid his hands behind his back as the guest entered the room.

“Max! Get dressed!” Isabel shrieked as she left quicker than she’d entered.

Max looked at his towel-clad body and then back at his hands. They had mysteriously turned back to their normal pale peach color. Reaching over for his clothing on his bed he touched the denim pants and the black t-shirt. Before his eyes the denim changed to a khaki and the black to a navy blue. What was wrong with him? He dressed in a hurry, hoping that nothing out of the ordinary was going to happen when he’d arrived at school.



TBC!!!

Author's Note:: Sorry it's been so long, I got swamped with homework and work. I'll try as much as possible to update, but they might be in shorter parts...sorry for any anger this may bring up.


posted on 6-May-2002 11:05:30 PM by Eerie
AN:: I have some good news and some bad news. It all depends on how you look at it I guess. I'm postponing this fic until I finish with Things Aren't As They Seem. There are only about 2 or 3 chapters left of that fic and I keep getting great ideas for it.

Anywho...I also would like to know what everyone would like to see happen in this fic. I'm kinda stumped on where to go from here so some of your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I'm sorry if I'm gonna have you waiting for a long time, but I have exams in a month, so it may be a while before I write the next chapter. Even so, if you guys spark my imagination I'll make sure to stick in a quick part instead of no part at all. Once summer starts I'll have more free time to devote to fan fic, so don't fret, it's coming soon!

Ericka
posted on 4-Jun-2002 6:02:04 PM by Eerie
just a lil note, I have the next part written, and it's kinda short, but that's cuz its part 9b. part 10 will be longer, and I should be back sooner. I know I havent finished things arent as they seem, but suddenly I was inspired to write more for this fic. hopefully I'll be more inspired for part 10 and I can get it out soon.

ericka
posted on 13-Jun-2002 12:18:13 PM by Eerie
an: eek! my beta never got back to me. well...I'm looking for some feedback...so up it goes. sorry tuesday! also, since it's been a while, I'm posting the whole chapter nine, but I'll mark where 9b is for those of you who dont need a refresher.

Chapter 9

Liz arrived at school with the one, the only…Kyle. At least how he’d described himself…of course with the subtitle ‘the man.’ His ego had definitely been boosted after Laurie Dupree had accepted a date with him. Together, Liz and Kyle walked up the steps of Roswell High, leading into the massive hallways, filled with students.

Liz and Kyle split up, each going to their individual lockers. As soon as Liz arrived to her own, a bubbly face showed up next to her.

“Liz how’s your hand? Do you need help with anything?” Maria asked concerned about the events of the night before.

Liz glanced at her hand, wrapped tightly in an ace bandage and shook her head. “I’m fine Maria. Thanks for being concerned.” Liz paused, glancing into Maria’s eyes, instantly knowing something was bothering her. “What’s wrong?”

“It-it’s Michael…he…will you come to the bathroom with me?” Maria asked, on the brink of tears.

“Sure…as long as we’re not late for class. Being new…I just, I can’t afford to be late,” Liz explained as the girl she barely knew dragged her into the bathroom closest to her locker.

“Liz…I know we’re not very close friends, but I’d like to be. I mean…you seem like a really cool person and well…”

“You seem pretty cool too Maria, what’s bothering you?”

“Well, you see…Michael…he uh. I was talking to him last night after you left with Max. I told him how I wanted our relationship to be more than just this…physical relationship. I told him I wanted flowers and to be treated like a lady. So, you know, I thought he’d be gentlemanly about the situation…but no, what does he do? He throws money at me,” Maria sobbed, her body racking in tears.

Liz walked from her place to where Maria was standing. She gave Maria a hug, rubbing her hands up and down Maria’s back soothingly. The gesture was friendly and comforting, as Maria stood there for moments, clinging onto Liz.

“You know, you took this a lot better than Isabel did.” Maria pulled away looking Liz in the eye and attempting to dry her eyes.

“From what I’ve heard, Isabel doesn’t exactly like Michael. And even that’s putting it lightly,” Liz said, hopping to lighten the mood.

Maria smiled. “You know Elizabeth? I think this is the beginning of a new friendship.”

“Its just Liz.”

* * *

Max stared at his reflection in the mirror. One second ago he’d seen nothing but air. Now, suddenly he’d reappeared. What was going on? He looked down at his now glowing hands. They glistened a lime green color, but he was brought out of his thoughts by a knock at his bedroom door. Quickly, he hid his hands behind his back as the guest entered the room.

“Max! Get dressed!” Isabel shrieked as she left quicker than she’d entered.

Max looked at his towel-clad body and then back at his hands. They had mysteriously turned back to their normal pale peach color. Reaching over for his clothing on his bed he touched the denim pants and the black t-shirt. Before his eyes the denim changed to a khaki and the black to a navy blue. What was wrong with him? He dressed in a hurry, hoping that nothing out of the ordinary was going to happen when he’d arrived at school.

9b


“So now that we’re friends…what’s up with you and Max?” Maria asked, as she walked with Liz around the school building without an intended destination. “I mean…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see there are sparks between the two of you.”

Liz blushed and diverted her attention to the tiled floor beneath her. “There’s…there’s nothing going on.”

“Could’ve fooled me. Look at you, when I mentioned his name what did you do? You looked at your feet and blushed. From where I’m standing I can honestly tell you that the feeling is mutual with Max.”

“Can we please talk about something else?” Liz asked clutching her books to her chest. Within moments the tile turned into stone as they stepped out of the building. Liz looked up, noticing they’d made their way outside, heading towards a stone bench, not to far away.

“What did the doctor say about your hand? Is everything alright?” Maria’s eyes showed nothing but pure concern. Even her friends in Los Angeles didn’t show this much kindness and caring towards her.

“Umm…he said that I might have the ability to gain full control over my hand again. I might actually be able to write and work with it,” Liz said, willing the emotions to stay hidden. The bench was only mere inches away. Once she sat down, she knew she would be able to get her emotions in check and stop the tears from reaching her eyelids. The thought of her hand burning in the fire, charring her skin, was another painful reminder of how she had lost her family.

Liz found a seat on the bench, but her senses weren’t cooperating with her. Her vision was blurred, sounds muffled, and the familiar smell of cafeteria food was gone. The senses of the present were replaced with senses of the past. She saw the world as she knew it spin and she saw flames. The screams down the hall were echoing as she fought to plug her nose. Amongst the smoke was the smell of freshly burnt flesh, her flesh to be exact.

Slowly she regained consciousness, and was brought to the present and out of the past. Maria was shaking her, looking at her with a worried expression on her face. “Liz? Are you alright?”

“I’m…I’m fine. I better get to class,” Liz said, standing up and running into the school before Maria could respond. She quickly made her way to the Advanced Biology room. Dropping her things on her lab table and sitting on the stool she let the tears flow silently, but rapidly. It would be another 15 minutes before people would enter the room, but being around the microscopes and Bunsen burners was comforting.

* * *

Max arrived at school with his sister in the seat beside him. He failed to mention to her what was happening to him. He didn’t want to worry her, or scare her. Max was beginning to think he was a monster. Whatever was happening to his body just wasn’t normal. After parking the jeep, he hurried out and jogged toward the school.

He was stopped when Maria jumped out in front of him. “Max? Something’s wrong with Liz. I know you two are gaga over each other, but this is serious. I mean I was just talking to her when all of a sudden she spaced on me.”

Maria’s voice was lost in the background as Max jogged past her and into the building.

* * *

“Hey Kyle,” a sweet voice said from behind him.

Kyle turned around to see Laurie Dupree staring at him. “Uh…hi, what’s up?” Kyle asked, attempting to keep his cool. The truth was he was extremely nervous. Were his palms actually sweating?

“Actually, I was just wondering if you’d like to eat lunch with me today?” Laurie asked, her voice etched with uncertainty.

“I’d be delighted, my lady,” Kyle joked. “Would you like me to walk you to class?”

“That’d be great.” Laurie smiled as Kyle took the books from her arms, his eyes not once leaving her own. As he was walking with her to her classroom, his fingers threaded between Laurie’s.

* * *

“Liz?” Max prompted. With each step he took, he moved closer to Liz who’s face was expressionless. He’d never seen her this way before, and personally, it scared him.

Liz was frozen to her spot on the bench, her hands shaking as she brought them up to grasp her face. The smell of burnt flesh was still surrounding her senses.

Closing the distance between them, Max’s arms wrapped around Liz. He wanted to comfort her and make all the pain go away. He didn’t want to see her in so much pain. Oh god, make it stop, she doesn’t need this, Max thought.

Liz’s hands moved from her face to cling onto Max. Her face burrowed into the crook of his neck, and although she willed the tears to fall from her face, they just wouldn’t budge. I need to tell him, Liz thought, but as soon as the thought was in her head, it was out. Now wasn’t the time. She couldn’t tell him that she thought she was at fault for the fire and that she was haunted each night by the nightmares of that event.

It was too much to bear at this moment in time, so instead she clung to Max, hoping that the pain would subside, and soon, before it consumed her whole being.