|posted on 7-Mar-2002 7:44:01 PM by ravrac|
|It's been awhile since I last posted. So I wasn't sure if anyone would be able to keep all the parts together so far. So I'm posting everything I've posted so far, as well as the next chapter.|
Hope you like it.
CATEGORY: (AU) Mostly M/L, with other couples involved as well.
DISCLAIMER: I own none of the Roswell characters
RATING: Not more than PG13, if that
SUMMARY: Max and Liz meet in college. Liz and Tess are roommates. The rest will be revealed as the story unfolds.
“Liz, I need a favor.”
“What is it this time, Tess?”
“Well, I was supposed to help a former classmate of mine do some catchup work in chemistry. But Kyle called. He’s coming to see me.”
“You know how much we care about each other. It’s the first time he’s been able to take the whole weekend off to come visit me.”
“So? What do you want, Tess? I’m aging here as we speak.”
“I know you were planning to go home this weekend but” --
“No, Tess. I’m not sacrificing another weekend for you.”
“Please, Liz. I’m begging you. I promise I’ll make it up to you .”
“Tess, how can you possibly make up a whole weekend? I know you think I’m just a geek, with nothing to think about but gettng good grades. Believe it or not, my family is important to me. And because of you, I missed seeing them several weekends last semester. I don’t plan to start this semester with the same M.O.
“I’m sorry, Liz. I know you’re right. But Kyle is the love of my life. I can’t explain it. I guess, when it comes to him, I have tunnel vision and can’t think of anyone else,” she said dreamily.
After some reflection, she continued, “You’re right, Liz. Your family is important to you, just like Kyle is important to me. But I’ve already imposed on you. I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. I’ll just tell Kyle I have an appointment that I can’t change.”
“That reminds me. Why can’t you change your appointment? What makes your classmate so important you have to live your life around him or her?”
“Well, without breaking my agreement with him, let’s just say I’m obligated to help him get caught up.”
“That sounds a little ominous. What have you done, that he can wield so much control over your life? He’s not in the mafia or something, is he?” Liz asked with concern.
Realizing Liz was thinking in terms of something illegal, Tess hastened to correct her views without revealing her background or that of her classmate. “Oh, no, nothing like that. Let’s just say, because it’s our custom to ‘pay it forward,’ so to speak.”
“Oh, you mean like that movie? Because someone helped you make adjustments, it’s, like, a normal obligation to help someone else?”
“Something like that. But especially when it concerns one of my people.”
“Where are you from? You never have told me that.”
“Well, I guess it’s because, if people knew where I’m from, they’d hunt me down. And if I told you and they tried pumping you for information if I told you anything more, your life would be in danger. And I’ve come to care about you too much as a friend to put you in danger like that.”
Liz had never seen Tess become so serious about any topic as she had just experienced, which surprised Liz and shocked her. Never having heard such an admission from her before, it occurred to Liz how little she really knew about Tess. Up to that point, she’d only ever thought of her as the stereotypical airhead, with a body to match.
But Tess’s words had touched her. She’d never thought of Tess as a friend, only as a bimbo who, because of her physical appearance, only had to bat her eyelashes (or
anything else), and the opposite sex was like putty in her hands.
Kyle was no exception. The ironic thing was that Liz had introduced them when she and Kyle were dating. At first, she wanted to desperately dislike Tess for stealing her boyfriend. The thing that surprised her most about the outcome was that she and Kyle got along much better as friends than as boyfriend and girlfriend. She found she much preferred that, because she didn’t have to “play dumb” anymore. Kyle now accepted her for who she was, not for the sex kitten he’d wanted her to be.
Surprisingly, although Tess could definitely fit the sex kitten role, she seemed to bring out a side of Kyle that Liz had never seen. Not knowing what had caused his transformation, she could only assume they really did love and respect each other.
On the one hand, Liz was so jealous of Tess’s relationship with Kyle -- not because of Kyle, but because they had found someone to share their lives with.
On the other hand, it warmed her heart to see that they seemed to deeply respect one another, as well as being in love. It was for that reason that Liz could never seem to say no to Tess, when it involved Kyle. She only hoped one day she’d be able to experience the kind of connection Tess and Kyle seemed to share.
Although it seemed to Liz that Tess had waited a very long time for a response, she’d only pondered the situation momentarily before speaking. “I don’t know why it is -- actually, I do know. Let’s face it. I’m a pushover when it comes to you and Kyle. You’ve both made each other so happy since you’ve been dating. I can only hope some day I’ll meet the love of my life. And I can only hope that we’ll care about one another as
much as you two obviously do.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but in the name of true love, I’m going to bail you out once again. Just remember, when I meet the love of my life, you’re going to owe me big time.”
“Oh, Liz, thanks so much. You can count on it.” And with that, she called Kyle to come get her. Within minutes, she was gone, and Liz was once again left holding the bag, although she knew it was by choice.
She also knew, if she had gone home, it would have been just another boring weekend. She loved her family dearly, but she desperately longed to feel needed by someone more intimately than her family. Her whole life, though, she’d only ever been viewed by her
classmates as a mechanical brain, with no emotion. And since time and experience had taught her that she could escape the emotional pain of rejection through her books, she had chosen to focus her energies on her education.
Over the years, she’d made a name for herself as “the brain,” because that was all she’d allowed people to see of her. But having witnessed Tess’s relationship blossom with Kyle, she was forced to rethink her priorities. She could only ponder the situation, though. After giving Tess the go-ahead to leave, she now had the task of calling her family to let them know that for yet another weekend, she would not be coming home.
Of course, she could have called from her room but, being the brain that she was, she’d already spent most of her life there. This time, she decided to actually venture out and use a pay phone, which really would be better anyway. That way, she could legitimately keep the conversation brief , knowing that finances were a big concern for her family.
As she looked at her watch, she realized she better get going. Tess’s classmate was due to be there in the next half hour or so.
An hour later, Max sat on the floor, leaned up against the door of the room number Tess had given him. He was certain he had the right number. He’d written it down and then verified it with Tess. It had been a long time since he and Tess had gone to school together. Their families were very close. So they’d practically grown up together -- that is, until the time had come that the people of Antar realized it would be necessary to send some of their royal youth to Earth. The ultimate goal was to send their king’s son. But when the time had come, it had been decided Max would stay behind for a while. His father had been ill. It was uncertain, if Max left with Tess, he would be able to return in time if his father took a turn for the worse.
As it turned out, Max’s father did die shortly after Tess had left. The initial plan was for Max and Tess to go together. After all, they were betrothed. The purpose of their trip to Earth was ultimately to study the chemistry makeup of it, with the hope that they would
possibly find a cure for the disease that was dessimating the population of Antar. If a cure was not found soon, there would be no one left. The unknown scourge had already taken the life of Max’s father. His mother had not yet been affected, but it was uncertain whether her health would continue.
As Max’s thoughts came back to his reason for being on Earth, he was again reminded of Tess. She’d only been gone about six months. But since her departure, her
communications had become fewer, with time elapses in between increasing.
Part of him was uneasy about the lack of communication. When Tess had been on Antar, she’d followed him around like a little Antarian puppy, which at the time had really annoyed him. He knew, according to Antarian law, it was expected, when he and Tess
were of age, they would marry. The concept of love had never entered the picture. For generations, it had been the custom that the children of the two highest-ranking families would marry to carry on the Antarian way of life. That was all Max had known. Tess had been reared with the same background, both knowing they were being groomed to fulfill their destinies.
But their heritage had never taken into consideration that family members would die before that time. There was also the fact that, in Max’s case, his father had died before completing Max’s training to become the king of Antar. And although he now had that title, he could not help but sense that something was missing in his life. Number one, his father had not completed his training on how to develop the Antarian bond with Tess that he was expected to have as king.
By the Antarian timetable, they should have married in the past few months, because Tess had finally come of age (she was five years Max’s junior). But because of the scourge that had swept through the planet, as well as the illness and death of Max’s father, it had been decided to postpone the ceremony, since the primary concern at this point was to preserve the life of the entire planet. The concern of carrying on Antarian custom had been put further back in importance as the scourge had worsened.
He knew he didn’t love Tess but, being the well-bred king he was, he knew it was expected for him to bond with her. The problem was, he didn’t know how. He had heard stories and had even seen examples of people who did not follow the customary tradition -- such as his sister Isabel and his good friend Michael. Somehow, though, he had thought that to deny the tradition was to show disrespect for his heritage. But now, as he
waited patiently for Tess, his heart seemed to be awakening in him emotions he had never experienced, that is, before coming to Earth.
Max remained seated on the floor for several minutes, in deep contemplation, until a voice abruptly interrupted his thoughts.
“May I help you?”
Max looked up in the direction of the voice and was drawn to the most beautiful brown eyes he’d ever seen. He stood up unconsciously, not realizing he was looking at Liz as if she had three heads.
As the young man looked at Liz as if she had three heads, she felt like crying. This must be the jock Tess had stood up, she thought to herself. He hasn’t even met me yet, and he’s already comparing my lack of assets with Tess’s bounteous ones.
Realizing he’d been staring, he caught himself and finally spoke. “I’m waiting for Tess. I’m sorry. I must have written down the wrong room number.”
“No, you didn’t. But she’s not here.”
“No, you don’t understand. She’s expecting me. She’s supposed to help me” --
“Yes, I know.”
“How do you know?”
“I’m her roommate.
“She had something come up at the last minute and asked me to apologize for her.”
“When’s she coming back?”
“Not until Sunday.”
Knowing how Tess had always followed him around before, Max was confused at the apparent change in behavior. For several seconds he just stood there, staring into space, or so it seemed to Liz.
Not knowing the reason behind his apparent stupor, Liz couldn’t help but wonder how it was that Tess was able to have so many young men fall under her spell. Kyle, she could understand, since she knew enough about him to know that Tess and he were two of a kind, both attracted by physical appearance. But she had to admit, their relationship, unlike so many she’d seen over the years, really seemed genuine.
But this young man before her just didn’t seem to be the type that would go for someone like Tess, not to mention the fact that he looked to be at least a few years older than Tess. Of course, with her lack of experience in the area of relationships, who was she to say who would be whose type. She herself didn’t really know the type that she was interested in, having lived a life so focused on books and not on human behavior.
But somehow, as she stood there dwelling on the wonders of human nature, she couldn’t help but imagine and wish that someone like this young man would go for someone like her.
Meanwhile, Max had been off in a dream world of his own. His first thought was that of confusion with Tess’s apparent lack of consideration for him. But the more he thought about it, he realized it wasn’t so much confusion as it was shock that the time had arrived that Tess no longer seemed concerned about the idea of being at Max’s beck and call. On Antar, he’d always accepted the thought that, even though he didn’t care for Tess, he knew she obviously cared for him. He’d never really considered things from Tess’s point of view, that of knowing he didn’t love her, but was only betrothed to her out of duty. For the first time, he was getting a taste of how Tess must have felt all those years, hoping
that one day he’d love her as much as she loved him.
As he continued in this train of thought, he remembered this young woman before him had said something about something coming up at the last minute. Somehow, he knew Tess well enough to know it wasn’t her style to let something interfere with spending time with him, unless........
“This something coming up didn’t happen to be in the form of a young man, did it?”
Startled out of her daydream, Liz reacted. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”
“Did this last-minute something have anything to do with a young man?”
Not sure where he was going with his question, Liz cautiously answered, “Would that be a bad thing?”
Having only been on Earth a short time, Max hadn’t interacted with many humans. So he wasn’t familiar yet with their method of communication. But something in this young woman’s expression told him she was uncertain as to how she should respond, out of --
was it fear he sensed from her? He didn’t know why, but something within him made him want to protect her from that fear.
So he responded, “No, not at all. If that’s what it is, I’m not mad, just a little surprised. But in a way, I’m also relieved.”
Somehow, that wasn’t the response Liz had expected. “Well, in that case, yes, it did involve a young man, a friend of mine, in fact.”
“And that doesn’t bother you?”
“Why should it? We’re just friends.”
“Where Tess and I come from, things are different. We” -- suddenly, Max realized he’d already said too much, and broke off abruptly.
By her response, he could tell Tess had not told her much about Antar, if anything at all. So he decided he could tell her perhaps half a truth.
“Well, it will probably sound backward, but our families arranged for us to be together when we’re both of age.”
“You mean, as in marriage?”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“No, I can honestly say Tess never mentioned that to me.” Liz couldn’t help but wonder, if this young man were Tess’s betrothed, what was she thinking, dating Kyle? Was she nuts? Just talking with this young man was enough to curl her toes. She couldn’t help but wonder, though, why Max wasn’t upset with Tess. So without taking time to think, she just blurted out her question. “At the risk of sounding like a busybody, why aren’t you upset with her?”
Not sure how to respond to such a direct question, Max pondered for a moment. “Well, I’m not at liberty to go into detail. Let’s just say there were some personal issues we hadn’t been able to resolve.” Something within him ached to tell her his whole story. But he didn’t trust his limited knowledge of humans well enough yet to know whether it was the right thing to do.
“That’s fair. It’s really none of my business. It’s just that I have a curious nature. I guess that’s why I enjoy biology and chemistry so much.”
At this innocent admission, Max’s ears perked up. “If that’s true, maybe you could help me with something.”
Although knowing she’d told Tess she would help her classmate, somehow she didn’t want to divulge this minor detail, not wanting to give the impression she was easily manipulated, especially to this young man she’d only met minutes ago.
“You see, the reason I was supposed to see Tess in the first place was for her to help me catch up in at least chemistry. I know it’s really presumptuous of me to ask, but would you be willing to help me instead?”
Not wanting to sound too eager, Liz paused before answering. “Well,” she finally said, “as a matter of fact, I just had my plans for the evening cancelled. So it just so happens my evening is free.” There was no way she was going to admit she’d just cancelled her entire weekend to do Tess a favor.
“Oh, that would be great. You have no idea how grateful I am. I know it seems impatient of me not to want to wait for Tess. It’s just that I have so much catching up to do.”
“It’s so refreshing to have someone else say that besides me.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, nothing,” Liz said. All she needed was for this guy to think she was a geek, because she actually liked to study.
Instead, she said, “So, shall we get started?”
“Yeah, I’d like that. There’s one question I need to ask first.”
“Yes?” she said apprehensively.
“What’s your name?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I completely forgot to introduce myself. I’m Liz Parker.”
“I’m Max. I’m pleased to meet you.
“Okay. Now I’m ready.”
Liz tutored Max into the wee hours of the morning, starting off with just general questions, trying to get a feel for his strengths and weaknesses. From what she could tell, though, Max was way ahead of some of the students in her classes who had been there the
entire semester. In her “professional opinion,” Max should be tutoring some of the other students, a determination for which she had mixed emotions. On the one hand, she was happy because he seemed to share her enthusiasm for science, as well as her intellect. On
the other hand, it meant Max would be caught up in no time, which meant in a very short time, he wouldn’t need her help. She didn’t know why, but that made her sad.
The next thing Liz knew, she realized she and Max had fallen asleep in the middle of their review of past assignments of the semester. She awakened to find herself lying on her bed with her spread covering her. She didn’t remember having gone to bed. And when
she awakened, the room seemed really quiet. So she silently got up to investigate. She went into the front room to find Max lying on the sofa, still sleeping soundly. As she watched him sleeping, she felt her heart flutter. Not quite sure what caused this response,
she promptly headed for the kitchen, partly to put water on for some tea, but mostly to gain control of the unexpected emotions she had felt as she saw Max sleeping on her sofa.
As she sat in the kitchen, waiting for her water to boil, she heard some movement in her living room. A moment later, Max was standing in the doorway of her kitchen. “I am so sorry I fell asleep here. I had no intention of imposing on you for this long.”
“Don’t worry about it. It was no problem, really.
“I’m heating some water for tea. Would you like to have some with me?”
“No. I’m fine. I really should be going. I haven’t even had time to get my things unpacked. I guess I was just so focused on trying to catch up with my classes.
“Listen, I know I’ve already imposed myself on you -- and I hope I don’t sound too unappreciative -- but would you be avaliable later today?”
Liz immediately felt shy at his question. Could it be he wanted to thank her by taking her out or something? But before she had time to fantasize too much, Max said in his next breath, “I’d really like to continue trying to catch up.”
Feeling extremely disappointed but trying with extreme difficulty not to show it, she responded nonchalantly, “I don’t think you need to worry. You’re already much further ahead than many of the students here.” She tried to speak with an air of indifference but wasn’t sure if she was succeeding.
Max didn’t know why, but at her response, he felt a sense of being let down. He knew she was right. By the way she had grilled him the previous night, he felt prepared for whatever assignments he’d need to make up. But somehow he’d really hoped she would be available to help him with those assignments. He couldn’t explain it, but he had almost a yearning need to spend time with her. But from her town of voice when she responded, he sensed she was trying to get rid of him. So after dwelling briefly on the disappointment he felt, he himself responded, “Yeah, after the grilling you gave me, I guess I feel at least semi-prepared. Thanks for taking the time on such short notice to help me. I really appreciate it.”
“No problem. I’m sure you’ll do fine. Who knows. Maybe I’ll see you from time to time in the hallways between classes, “she said nonchalantly, although inside she ached, feeling that that would probably be the last time he’d knock himself out to talk to her. After all, she was just “the brain.” She was sure he’d be too surrounded by airheads and bimbos to even remember she existed, now that he’d gotten the help he needed.
As Max stood there hearing her comment, he thought he sensed the emotion of sadness from her. But her words didn’t correspond to that emotion. So he brushed it off, thinking perhaps his perception abilities needed some fine-tuning now that he was on Earth.
“Well, thanks again for your help, Liz,” he said, as he took Liz’s hand to shake it. As he did so, he again seemed to pick up the emotion of sadness, this time even more strongly. He stood there shaking her hand for several seconds before realizing it, and then quickly
let go. “I guess I’ll see you around,” he said as he headed toward her door. “Good-bye, Liz.” With that, he was gone.
Liz stood at her door for several seconds, trying to blink back the tears that were threatening to slide down her face. She couldn’t understand why she felt so sad, but
decided not to allow herself to dwell on it any longer. It was time in her life to come to terms with the fact that she would never be the kind of girl that someone like Max would take an interest in. The sooner she could accept that, the better off she’d be, and the sooner she could stop having pipe dreams about ever finding the love of her life.
Max didn’t have much time to dwell on the emptiness he felt after leaving Liz’s. He had to get his class schedule Monday, and he still hadn’t gotten settled in his dorm or gotten familiar with the surrounding area. So he spent the reset of the weekend getting settled and checking out the local town so as to feel some sense of familiarity, before having to focus on his classes Monday.
He went to a nearby cafe to eat breakfast on Sunday, after getting settled in as best he could. Once his order had been brought to him, he dove in, realizing how hungry he was. As he was eating, a young woman came up to him and began speaking. “You’re new in town, aren’t you?”
Max looked up from his food to see a beautiful young woman standing near his table. Realizing she’d been speaking to him, he said, “Yes, I am.”
“Are you here to attend the university?”
“Yes, I am.”
“That is so great. I’m going there as well. My name is Janice. What classes are you taking?”
“I’m majoring in chemistry and biology.”
“You’re not a geek, are you?”
“I’m not sure. What’s a geek?”
“You’re obviously not from around here.
“I mean you’re not just interested in school, are you? Surely, you’re planning to have some fun while you’re here as well. You know, go to dances and parties?”
Max, not quite sure how to respond, asked, “Is being a geek such a bad thing?”
“It is around here. Surely, you don’t want the kind of reputation Liz Parker has?”
At the mention of the name Liz, Max’s ears immediately perked up. Trying to act as casual as possible, he asked, “What kind of reputation is that?”
“Everyone in school refers to her as ‘the brain.’ If you’re interested in enjoying your stay, you’ll steer clear of her.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said. But now he couldn’t help but wonder if the way Liz was viewed was based on fact or if it was just a facade Liz maintained out of fear. Part of him was dying of curiosity to know the answer. The other part was afraid to find out, for fear of letting down his own guard and expressing himself to the wrong people. For now, he’d just have to let things lie as they were.
Meanwhile, it struct him that he wouldn’t have to worry about keeping up his defenses with Janice. She didn’t strike him as one who looked very deeply below any surfaces for him to worry about her finding out his identity.
As he was contemplating these thoughts, Janice again spoke. “We’re having a dance this Saturday to get acquainted with any new additions to our university this semester. Would you like to come? You can be my date.
One thing Janice was not, Max observed, was shy. After thinking briefly, he responded, “Sure. Why not. Sounds like fun.”
“Great. Since you’re new in town, I’m appointing myself your official tour guide. If you like, we can meet here Friday night, and I’ll take you on a tour and who you where I live. Then you can pick me up Saturday.”
“Okay. That sounds okay. I’ll see you then.”
“Not if I see you in class first.”
“Yeah, that’s true. Okay. I’ll possibly see you in class, then.”
With that, Janice took off. She was aching to tell all her friends about he catch she’d be bringing to the dance.
The part of their conversation on Max’s mind, though, was about Liz. Janice’s opinion of her just didn’t sit right with him, but he didn’t know why.
Monday finally arrived, and Liz slowly dragged herself out of bed. Tess had gotten back late the night before. So she hadn’t had a chance to ask Liz how things had gone with Max. Except for having cried off and on since Max had left Saturday morning, there wouldn’t have been much to tell anyway. And she certainly wasn’t planning to tell Tess that part. She couldn’t even understand it herself. She was just as happy to put her depressing weekend behind her and get back to her boring solitude of a life she led. It was with these thoughts in mind that she dragged herself from bed to get ready for what
promised to be one more in a string of weeks of her boring life.
Liz hadn’t realizsed how slow she’d been. By the time she arrived at school, the warning bell for tardiness had just gone off, which made her late for her very first class that morning. “Oh, well,” she thought to herself, “so much for being the same in a long list of
boring weeks.” She realized she’d just succeeded n setting herself up for a reprimand for her tardiness. The frame of mind she was in, though, at this point she was past caring.
With that thought in mind, she prepared to face the “firing squad” for such inconsiderate behavior. Liz’s tardiness did not go unnoticed by her classmates, one in particular, Janice.
With Liz arriving late, she didn’t have a chance to look around the room to see who else was there. If she had, she would have prayed to disappear on the spot. Of course, Janice wasn’t going to miss this golden opportunity to make her look bad, especially since she
had an audience of none other than Max Evans. Before she could act on her intentions, though, Liz was immediately called to the front of the room by her professor. “Liz, would you please come to my desk.”
“Here it comes,” Liz said to herself. “I didn’t even have a chance to sit and get comfortable.” As she got to the front and began trying to apologize, her professor held up
his hand and just held out a slip of paper for her to take. As she looked at it, she realized it was a request from the dean for her to come to his office. Trying not to feel any more embarrassed than she already felt, she quietly gatherred up her things and left the class, all
the while not realizing her every movement was being observed.
As the door closed after Liz left, Janice began speaking, planning to again try to belittle Liz in front of Max. Once again, before she had a chance, she was interrupted by the professor.
“Max Evans, please come to my desk.” Not knowing what to expect, max thought it a good idea to gather his things, just in case, which ended up being fortuitous, because he too was being called to the dean’s office.
Meanwhile, Liz had just arrived at the dean’s office and been asked to step in immediately. As she seated herself, she again began trying to apologize for her tardiness. But before she could, the dean interrupted her. “You weren’t called to my office for somehing as trivial as that.”
“Oh?” Liz uttered, somewhat confused. “Why am I hear, then?”
So Dean Brown began explaining. “We have a student who is behind in some classes, and we would like you to assist him in getting caught up.”
Concerned that he was speaking about some dumb jock who would expect her to do all his work, she began to protest.
“Before you try to get out of it, let me explain.” But before he could, there wa a knock at his door. “That will be the young man I’d like you to tutor,” he said, as he went to open the door.
Liz’s jaw dropped when Max stepped in.
“Hi, Liz,” Max said quietly.
“Oh, you’ve met, I see. Well, that makes my task a little easier.”
“Well, we met briefly Friday night. Liz was kind enough to grill me in chemistry, for me to see how far behind I am in the class.”
“That’s even better.”
“Actually, Dean Brown, from what I could tell, Max won’t have any trouble getting caught up. I think you’re unnecessarily concerned about his need for a tutor.”
“Actually,” Dean Brown began, “I had something else in mind besides just basic tutoring. In order to really catch up, Max will need to conduct all the class experiments that were been assigned last semester. And his results will be more official if he has someone to assist him. So that’s really what I’d like you to do, Liz. I realize you’ve already done all those experiments, but you’re the only student, we feel, who can assist Max without
falling behind yourself. As an incentive, we’d be willing to give extra credits toward your degree, which means you’d be able to graduate sooner, if that’s your wish.”
This was an option that had never occurred to Liz before, the possibility of getting away from people like Janice, who were always trying to put her down because of her hunger for learning. Not having to think too deeply before responding, she immediately gave her
answer. “Under those conditions, you’ve got yourself a tutor.”
“Great. I’ll go make the arrangements for you to have access to the lab whenever you need it. While I’m gone, you can get contact information from each other.” Without saying anything further, he left the room, leaving Max and Liz looking shyly toward each other, neither knowing what to say next.
Finally, Max broke the silence, saying, “Thanks again, Liz, for helping me. I appreciate it more than you know. I hope I can repay your kindness some day.”
“In case you weren’t paying attention,” Liz said sarcastically, “I’m being repaid right now. It means I’ll be able to graduate early and leave this god forsaken place once and for all.”
Totally not expecting her caustic remark, Max couldn’t help but wonder what or who had hurt her so badly that she couldn’t leave the university quickly enough. Choosing instead to totally ignore her sarcasm, he decided on another option. “That may be so, but I’d still
like to show my appreciation. I’d really like to take you to dinner, if you’ll allow me.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Liz said, stunned at such an invitation.
“I know it’s not necessary, but I’d like to do it, all the same.”
Not knowing how to respond to such an invitation, Liz was speechless.
“May I assume from your silence that you don’t have an objections to my invitation?”
Liz was still speechless.
Without missing a beat, Max continued, “It’s settled, then. If you’re available this Saturday, I’d like to invite you to dinner.”
Liz, not wanting to seem to eager, regained her composure and was able to respond, “Let me check my calendar. I’ll let you know.”
“Fair enough. Can I get your phone number. I’ll call in a few days and just check -- that is, if I don’t see you before then.” With that, they exchanged phone numbers, with Liz making the excuse she’d need to call him to schedule their days for helping him get caught up with the experiments.
The next couple days were a whirlwind for Liz. She wasn’t sure why, but she atually found herself looking forward to getting up in the morning. Even Tess had observed a noticeable change in her friend. She still hadn’t been able to talk with Liz about how things went with Max. But then she’d learned of the dean’s request for her to help Max. She knew, with Liz’s help, he’d be caught up in no time.
As it turned out, Max and Liz got together every day after classes that week to work on his first experiment, which would be due the following week. Max was finding that Liz really knew her way around the lab. With her help, he would have no trouble possibly finishing up his first experiment Friday, which would leave his weekend wide open, hopefully to be able to spend it getting better acquainted with Liz; and he had no intention of discussing chemistry, if he could help it.
Friday came quickly, but not quite quickly enough for Max. He really wanted to get this first experiment out of the way, so he could promptly focus on other subjecsts,
specifically Liz. Just in the few days he’d been working with her, he’d already seen a side of her that for some reason the other students had chosen not to see. It was genuine and gentle and sweet and open and.....
Before he could think of any other adjectives, Liz had arrived. “Well, we only have a few more tests to run. Then we’ll see if we did everything right.
“I just want you to know, Max, I think you’ve really worked hard this week. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you felt you couldn’t get this experiment done quickly enough. I hope that’s not an indicator of my boring tutorial skills,” she said, half joking, half afraid there was some truth to her words.
“On the contrary, Liz, your tutorial skills have inspired me. I find myself eagerly looking forward to every day of experiments.” Although Max’s words were true enough, they were only half a truth. The other half was that he thoroughly enjoyed Liz’s company more than anyone else’s he’d ever met.
“Thank you for that, Max.
“Well, shall we get this show on the road and see how it goes?”
“I’m all for that,” Max responded.
All that was needed was for Max to add a couple of eyedrops’ worth of fluid to the already prepared mix to see if they would get the desired result. When nothing happened after a few seconds, Max turned to Liz with genuine disappointment written all over his face. Just as he did so, though, he saw Liz’s face light up. As he turned to see whawt she was looking at, he saw the awesome glow of lavendar and other colors they had hoped to create.
When Max realized their first experiment was a success, without even thinking, he turned back toward Liz, lifted her in his arms, and then set her down, both of them dizzy with excitement. But suddenly, Max stopped laughing and seriously looked down at Liz. Again, without saying a word, he took her face in his hands and kissed her. The kiss was only brief, but both Max and Liz were lost in the wonder of it.
Before they had a chance to focus on what had just happendd, there was laughter outside the lab room, and then they heard the door knob being turned. Not knowing who was there or what to expect, and still not having time to compose themselves, they jumped
apart from one another. Only a split second later, Jance stepped in and started talking to Max. “Hi, Max. I thought I’d find you here. From the excitement I heard, I figured you must have completed your experiment. It was really good of our little ‘miss brain’ to be so accommodating. Now we can enjoy the dance tomorrow night, without you being distracted.”
As she was talking, Liz suddenly turned beet-red. Had she heard correctly? Max and she were going to the dance on Saturday? But hadn’t Max invited her for dinner tomorrow?
Then it dawned on her. Max had set her up. She could just imagine whawt he was thinking. Get her all excited about a date, and he’d have her eating of the palm of his
hand, willing to help him with anything he needed.
Well, now she felt totally humiliated, especially since she was pretty sure she’d freely opened herself up to him when they’d just kissed. Wanting so desperately to just run away and cry her eyes out, she felt trapped. So she did the first thing she could think of in an effort to cover for her real feelings.
Max had been so stunned by Janice’s totally unexpected appearance that he was still speechless. Before he could find any words, he heard Liz begin speaking.
“Yeah, you know me, Janice. I always strive to please. I didn’t have anything else so fascinating to do. So, of course, I wanted to get Max off on the right foot. I had no idea he had plans tomorrow, but I’m glad I was able to help him out. Now he won’t have to worry about anything so boring as chemistry over the weekend. He’ll be able to totally focus on having a good time.
“Well, I’ve got to get going. I just remembered. I do have something to do tomorrow. So I better go get ready for it.” Before Max could think of even one word to say to stop her, she was gone, leaving Max with a look of utter shock on his face.
As Max continued looking in Liz’s direction, Janice began speaking again. “Well, now the Brain has helped you over your first hurdle, let’s go celebrate and get our weekend started earlier.”
Finally finding his voice, Max responded, “I’m sorry, Janice, but I forgot to tell you something came up tomorrow. I’m going to have to cancel on you.”
“What are you talking about? I’ve bought a new dress and made all the plans for the evening.”
“Well, I guess you’ll just have to do them without me, won’t you.” Without even waiting for a response, Max took off after Liz, hoping hed’ be able to repair the disaster that Janice had just created.
[ edited 3 time(s), last at 11-Jun-2002 9:39:14 PM ]
|posted on 20-Mar-2002 2:35:19 AM by ravrac|
|CATEGORY: (AU) Mostly M/L, with other couples involved as well.|
DISCLAIMER: I own none of the Roswell characters
RATING: Not more than PG13, if that
SUMMARY: Max and Liz meet in college. Liz and Tess are roommates. The rest will be revealed as the story unfolds.
The next several weeks came and went, with Max never finding an opening to get through to Liz something he’d come to realize almost at the time he’d first met her. He was slowly falling head over heels for her, and she wasn’t even aware of it. During all the times they were together working on experiments, Liz was always very careful to keep a safe distance between her and Max.
Meanwhile, during all this time, Janice had continued at every opportunity to throw herself at Max. But Max too had managed to somehow always keep a safe distance from her. She continued inviting him to parties she’d be attending with friends, and sometimes he’d actually go, always making sure, though, to meet her and her friends, never wanting to find himself in a compromising situation, especially with her.
The time was finally approaching when Liz would complete her task of helping Max get caught up with his experiments. The time would arrive not a minute too soon for her. It was becoming increasingly difficult for her to keep the safe distance from Max that she desired. No matter how hard she tried to maintain it, Max was always finding some way to touch her hand or some part of her skin whenever he passed something to her.
It surprised Liz how it took her breath away to feel his nearness. She was certain, though, if she could get through this last week of experiments with Max, she would once and for all be free of the sensations.
But this week was proving to be a very difficult one. Everything seemed to have been going wrong. For some reason she couldn’t fathom, the chemicals they’d been working with continuously seemed to be mixed wrong and, had they been used, would have caused an explosion. She wasn’t sure how, but Max always seemed to catch it before something happened.
They were finally down to the last mix of chemicals, and Max had just checked to make sure everything was okay before proceeding. This time it looked as though everything would proceed without a hitch.
Just before they were to begin, though, Max got called on his cell phone and had to leave briefly. While he was gone, Liz sat patiently, trying to wisely use her time to get caught up with some reading she was behind in because of helping Max.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, Janice appeared, looking for Max. Although Liz knew Janice was continually after Max, which didn’t seem to bother him, Liz was surprised to see her here. She knew Janice well enough to know she had no desire to be around anything related to science unless absolutely necessary, which barely included attending class. But, of course, when Janice began asking about Max, she immediately understood her presence.
“No, he’s not here. You must have just missed him. He had a call and had to leave briefly. But I’m sure he’ll be back shortly, if you want to wait.”
“No, I can’t stand this place, even for a little while.” As she spoke, she somehow managed to drop one of her gloves on Liz’s side of the table. “Oh, clumsy me. Would you be a dear and hand me my glove, Liz.”
Not wanting Janice around any longer than need be, Liz gladly bent down to pick it up.
“Oh, thank you. I do so hate losing mates to things, don’t you -- oh, I forgot. You don’t wear them. That’s why your hands always look so rough.
“Well, I must be going. Please tell Max I look forward to seeing him tonight at the party,” she said, and was gone as quickly as she’d come.
When Max returned only seconds later, he mentioned nothing about Janice at all. So Liz decided to mention her. “So, did you see Janice on your way back in?”
“What are you talking about?”
“She was just in here looking for you. Something about looking forward to seeing you at a party tonight.”
Max cringed at her words, since neither of them had mentioned Janice in conversation since that night ages ago, when they had kissed so briefly; yet he remembered it fondly. But since she had mentioned her now, he couldn’t very well ignore the comment.
“I didn’t say for sure I’d be there. I told her it would depend on if we could complete the experiment in time.”
“Well, we certainly don’t want the lady waiting. Let’s get moving so you can make your rendezvous with her.”
“Liz, let me” --
“No, Max. You don’t owe me an explanation. I know you guys have been seeing each other. I wouldn’t want to interfere. So let’s get moving.”
Max couldn’t believe his ears. She actually thought he was dating the bimbo? He finally decided he’d had enough of waiting for Liz to come to her senses. Since it was obvious it wouldn’t happen any time soon, he decided then and there to kidnap her, if he had to, so he could explain things once and for all. With these thoughts in mind, he immediately set to work at completing this final experiment, so he could move on to the more important matter of bringing Liz to her senses.
Liz was standing close to Max, making sure he followed through on all the steps needed in preparing the experiment. Unfortunately, she was standing a little too close. Suddenly, as Max began mixing the chemicals, there was an explosion. Because of Liz’s close proximity to the explosion, she was right in the way when the glass tube blew to bits, striking Liz several times with shards of glass.
Max was instantly at her side, realizing some of the glass had penetrated deeply into her face. Not only had she been knocked unconscious, but she was bleeding pretty badly. Max was desperately attempting to assess the damage to her body. Once he was able to determine the shards were not in life-threatening places, he began repairing the damage caused.
Although Max had now repaired all the damage from the glass, Liz was still unconscious. Not being able to connect with her, he couldn’t tell what caused her unsconsciousness. Feeling too exposed in a place where anyone could walk in on him at any moment, Max decided to take her to his dorm room. He knew his roommate Michael was out with Maria for the evening. So he was sure he’d have privacy as he tried to connect with Liz.
Once he got to his room, he gently laid Liz on his bed, where he’d have the room and privacy he needed to examine her more thoroughly. He once again checked her arms, hands, and chest, making sure he hadn’t overlooked any injuries. After completing that task, he examined her head more closely, again trying to make sure he hadn’t overlooked any visible injuries. Once he was satisfied nothing was missed, he tried awakening Liz, making sure she didn’t have a concussion.
“Liz, wake up. Come on, wake up. I need you to wake up.” When she didn’t seem to respond, Max began worrying she had a head injury he could not detect. Fearing he would lose her, he became more urgent in his efforts to awaken her. “Please, Liz, wake up. I need you to wake up, sweetie. Come on, honey, please wake up.” With each passing second that Liz didn’t respond, Max became more and more fearful he would lose her. “Please, Liz, don’t leave me. I love you, Liz. I need you to know that. Please wake up, sweetie. I want you to know I love you.”
Although Liz seemed to be breathing normally, she still wasn’t responding to his efforts to awaken her. Not knowing what else to do, he gently took her in his arms and held her, as he propped himself on the bed for the rest of the night.
Meanwhile, Liz was in her own dream world. She was dreaming about Max and how she ached so much to kiss him as she had that one night so many weeks ago. She knew, as much as she’d fought it, she’d fallen in love with him. Knowing how hopeless it was, all she could do was cry.
Max awoke early in the morning, still holding Liz gently to him. As he went to stroke her hair, he felt something wet. Suddenly, he realized she’d been crying in her sleep, because he noticed her face was wet. Although she hadn’t awakened all night, the sight of her tears gave Max renewed hope that she was all right. He also realized, because of seeing her tears, that he might now be able to connect with her. So he tried once again. This time he was able to connect and finally assured himself she had no other injuries.
Now, after reassuring himself, he gently laid Liz back down, he kissed those lips he’d been yearning to kiss tenderly for so long. Knowing he no longer needed to worry about Liz’s condition, he went to take a shower and then make some breakfast for Liz and himself.
While he was in the shower, Liz finally awakened. As she became more coherent, she realized she didn’t know where she was. The room seemed familiar enough to be a dorm room, but it didn’t seem familiar enough to be one she’d ever been in before. As she looked around, trying to figure out where she was, she realized someone was taking a shower.
Still not having a clue where she was, she tried remembering back to the previous day, hoping something would help her figure out where she was. She knew it had only been the day before because she was still wearing the same clothing. She remembered she and Max were working on his final experiment to get caught up. Then she remembered Max getting a call and leaving, Janice coming in, leaving, then Max returning. Then it all came flooding back. Somehow, even with all the extra precautions they’d been taking, there had been an explosion.
Then she remembered having felt pain from the glass shattering. So she started checking herself to see where she had been injured. The strange thing was, she couldn’t find any evidence of being hurt at all. “This is weird,” she thought.
As she sat there on the bed bewildered, she realized someone had stopped taking a shower. Before she could even grasp what was happening, Max stepped out of the bathroom, wrapped in only a towel, not realizing Liz had awakened.
“Max!” she screamed, “what is going on here? Where am I? And why were you just taking a shower?”
Realizing from the tone of her voice that Liz was becoming hysterical, Max froze in place, not wanting to scare her any further. “If you’ll allow me to get some clothes on, I’ll try to explain, that is, if it’s okay with you.”
When Liz realized Max was trying not to startle her further, she calmed down and responded, “That would be a good start. While you’re getting dressed, I’d really like to know what’s going on.”
“Do you remember what was happening yesterday?”
“Of course. We were working on your experiment. But I seem to remember there was an explosion.”
“Then why can’t I find any injuries I’m supposed to have? I remember clearly the glass hitting me, and then feeling pain, but nothing further.”
In his haste to make sure she was okay, Max had forgotten she would still have remembered the pain. So he hadn’t expected her to ask such an obvious question. He knew, if he were to tell her the truth, number one, she’d never believe him; and, number two, Michael would kill him for telling her.
As Liz sat on the bed waiting for Max to respond, she suddenly became very well aware Max was still only wrapped in a towel, apparently deep in thought from her question. So she again asked him to get dressed.
“Oh, right,” Max responded. As he went to the closet to get dressed, Liz, without even realizing it, followed him, again asking him how it was possible she couldn’t find any indication of injury. As she stood at the door of the closet, waiting for his reply, he unexpectedly backed out of it, right into Liz, causing her to fall to the ground.
By this time he’d at least gotten his pants on, but still didn’t have on a shirt. So, as he quickly turned around to help her up from the ground, Liz was once again reminded he wasn’t completely dressed, this time because, as he knelt down to help her up, she innocently grabbed hold of his shoulders, and then became painfully aware of the well-toned muscles in his arms. It took her breath away to be so close to him, especially without him wearing a shirt.
As he helped her up, Max was once again captivated by her beauty and the innocence with which she held onto him, not seeming to realize the feelings she evoked in him.
Before he could pull himself together, he once again went down the path that he’d followed so many months ago, when he’d first kissed her. But something was different this time. As he stood there, holding Liz to him, he realized this time it was Liz who initiated their kiss. As they continued to kiss, Liz brought her hands up to his face, caressing it with such tenderness.
As she was reveling in the sweetness of this moment, she suddenly started seeing pictures in her head - that of Max bending over her, checking her body for injuries. In this vision she realized Max had found some injuries. But the weirdest part was that it actually seemed as though Max had healed her.
Suddenly, she let go of Max and stepped back from him, not sure of what had just happened. Max could tell by that look what she had seen, because he’d seen it too.
After standing back a minute or two, she finally asked, “What just happened, Max?”
Deciding the best plan of action was to play dumb, he innocently said, “You just kissed me.”
Not denying his statement, she said, “But I saw images. I saw what looked like you healing me. Now I’m more certain than ever that I was injured. But how is it possible you healed me?”
Not knowing where to begin, he said this instead, “It’ll be easier if I show you.”
Not understanding his statement, she began asking, “But how” --
Before she could finish her question, though, he began kissing her. As he continued kissing her, she again was bombarded by a flood of images. This time, though, there was a lot more detail. She saw Max as a little boy, at one point in his life naked, holding the hand of another naked child, a girl. She also saw the stars of a different galaxy, as though she were traveling through space. Then there were scenes of Max at other stages in his life. And in each of the stages she saw that in some way he had fixed or healed some injured animal or young child.
As quickly as the images had come, they ceased, and once again she was just aware of the fact that Max was kissing her. But before she allowed herself the chance to see any further pictures of the deep feelings Max had for her, she broke off the kiss, overcome with fear at the implications of what she’d seen. Her only thought at that moment was to get away from Max as quickly as possible. She had to digest everything she’d just learned before she’d be able to think clearly about just who this Max Evans was. Before Max could stop her, Liz bolted from his dorm room.
Just before Liz had broken off their kiss, Max had momentarily reveled once again in the sweet, gentle affection that had radiated from her. He had been able to sense the genuine emotion coming from her, and he was certain it was the same kind of emotion she had for him that he knew without doubt he felt for her. But she had abruptly stopped kissing him before he’d been able to think fast enough to transmit his feelings. So once again, he’d missed an opportunity to let her know how much he loved her. To make matters worse, she now knew who he really was. But by the way she reacted, he wasn’t sure she’d be able to accept what she’d learned. If that were so, he’d never be able to express his love for her. Now he’d have to play a waiting game of a different kind, and could only hope he knew her well enough that her sense of logic and inquisitiveness would overcome her fear. Realizing there was nothing more he could do for the time being, he somberly finished dressing and decided the best way not to dwell on the matter was to go clean up the lab, which he’d left in a mess because his first concern had been to take care of Liz.
Meanwhile, Liz had taken off once again to meditate, this time on the events that had just transpired, and the revelation she had been made aware of when kissing Max. Since she’d been able to pull herself together so well in that out-of-the-way motel she’d found the first time she and Max had kissed, she decided it would be especially useful in helping her sort through what had just happened. This time, though, she decided she better leave her roommate a note so she wouldn’t worry. Once that was done, she packed some things to take with her, and left.
What do you think?