posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:10:03 PM
Thank you everyone for the nomination and award, and all the support for the 1-1/2 years it took to write this. I am truly honored and grateful.
Thank you again and I hope that you enjoy the story!
runner-up

Category:
Storyline You'd Most Like the Show to Follow
Those Meddling Fates


Author: Taffy aka Barbara
E-Mail: bstuller⊕splis.com
Title: Those Meddling Fates
Category: M/L
Rating: PG-13 (mostly but some N/C 17)
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, just borrowing them. Promise to return them only slightly used.
Notes: Sequel to May All Your Dreamer Fantasies Come True and starts immediately afterwards.


Companion piece to Those Meddling Fates –
Newest Additions (Repost Board):

viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=16523&sr1=#post17093

Prequel to Those Meddling Fates –
May All Your Dreamer Fantasies Come True (Repost Board):

viewthread?forum=repost-fan-fiction&id=174&sr1=#post17094

Those Meddling Fates (Current):

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Those Meddling Fates 1 - 100


Author: Taffy
E-Mail: sstuller⊕inreach.com
Title: Those Meddling Fates
Category: M/L
Rating: PG-13 (mostly but some N/C 17)
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, just borrowing them. Promise to return them only slightly used.
Notes: Sequel to May All Your Dreamer Fantasies Come True and starts immediately afterwards.


According to Greek Mythology, The Fates were goddesses that controlled the destiny of everyone from the time they were born to the time they died. They were: Clotho, the spinner, who spun the thread of a person’s life, Lachesis, the apportioner, who decided how much time was to be allowed each person, and Atropos, the inevitable, who cut the thread when you were supposed to die.

From May All Your Dreamer Fantasies Come True, Chapter 20:

Philip: trying to tread as lightly as possible, he gently begins…
“Max, we need to tell you something and afterwards we are hoping that you can talk to us a little about it, but if you can’t that’s alright, together we will eventually work everything out. Max, son, this afternoon an old college friend stopped by. He wanted to give me some information that he had obtained while working on his final project before retiring from the FBI.”
He notices how nervous his son gets at the mention of the FBI, taking his son’s reluctant hand in his…
“That project was to evaluate some newly rediscovered information that Agent Pearce had from last May.”
He can feel the jolt that goes through his son at the mention of the agent’s name and notes how labored his breathing becomes…
“That information was the agent’s personal journals and medical reports from your… interrogation.”
He is really glad that he has a firm hold of his son’s hand because that’s the only thing keeping him from bolting right now…
“Max, I read those documents this afternoon. They described the… methods used… and the results. Son, anyone that went through something like that will need some help. We want to help you, but you need to let us in a little so we can. Please son, will you?”

Max: in an absolute panic, he needs to run, but his dad won’t let go of his hand: fear is not allowing him to think coherently: in desperation the hand that his dad is holding onto begins to glow.

Philip: gasps in pain and releases his son’s hand: confused, he holds his burned hand out to examine it: looking at his fleeing son, he painfully calls out…
“Max, stop, it’ll be OK, just give us a chance. Please, we don’t want to lose you.”

Max: he is almost to the door when he hears his father’s plea, turning back to look, he’s horrified to see the angry red burns on his hand: with tears threatening, he runs back to his parents: sitting once again next to his dad: with a heart full of sorrow at what he has unintentionally done…
“I’m sorry, I didn’t even realize what I did. Please D… Dad, if you’ll let me, I can fix that.”
As his father nods, he takes the injured hand in both of his and once again they begin to glow, but this time instead of a painful heat, they soothingly heal: releasing his dad’s now healed hand, he breaks down and the tears start in earnest…
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I panicked; I didn’t know what I was doing it. I would never hurt anyone on purpose. I’m so sorry, please forgive me.”

Philip: he and Diane both take their sobbing son in their arms for comfort…
“It’s alright Max, it’s alright. We know it was an accident. It’s going to be alright.”

Diane: her tears of relief flow as she realizes that they have not lost their son…
“You’re not alone honey, we’re here for you. We’ll always love you. It’s going to be alright.”

The fates are finally able to teach Max an important lesson: there is such a thing as unconditional love, just ask any parent.


Chapter 1

Setting: Monday, late afternoon, Liz’s bedroom

Liz: in a box of Grandma Claudia’s stuff that she just received from her Aunt Mary, she found some old love letters from Grandma Claudia’s high school beau, Tom Barnett: she had been reading those sweet and romantic letters and thinking of Max when it hit her: panic, panic so intense that she is almost hysterical: she has been pacing back and forth in her room, crying and wringing her hands for over twenty minutes: she has no idea why: {I have got to get a hold of myself. Why am I doing this? What’s the matter with me? Why do I feel like this? Where is this coming from?}: forcing her brain to start working to think it through: {Why am I upset? Because I’m panicked. Why am I panicked? I don’t know. OK, then why do I feel panicked? I have no reason to be panicked, nothing is happening to me. Then to whom is it happening too? OH MY GOD, MAX! Max is the one who’s panicked! I’ve got to help him!}: grabbing her bag she flies downstairs and finds Isabel and Alex having a soda at the Crashdown…
“Isabel, we have to go to your house. Max needs me, something is wrong.”

Isabel: If Liz’s distraught appearance hadn’t already alarmed her; her words certainly would have….
“Liz what happened, where is he?”

Liz: “I think he went home, but something’s wrong, I can feel it, feel him. He’s panicked.”

Michael: overhearing this, he is in total second-in-command protective mode…
“Let me go. I can help protect him better than you.”

Liz: for some reason, she doesn’t think he’s right this time, something else is going on, it’s not Michael that he needs, it’s her: she is just about to voice this thought when Sheriff Valenti walks in:

Valenti: on seeing the state Liz is in, he knows that it’s about Max…
“Liz?”

Michael: not giving Liz a chance to answer…
“She says Max is in trouble. I’m on my way over to his house.”

Liz: finally voicing her thoughts in a very certain tone…
“No Michael, I don’t think you’re the one he needs. I can… feel him. It’s not physical danger; it’s more emotional. I think Isabel and I are the ones who need to go.”

Valenti: butting in before Michael can object…
“Liz is right. Michael, right now it’s Liz and Isabel’s help that he needs. I have an idea what this is about and I know that he is not in any physical danger. I promise you. Let them go.”

Alex: not waiting another minute, he immediately grabs both Isabel and Liz and escorts them to his car…
“Let’s go, I’m driving.”

Michael: watching Alex pulling out of the parking lot and not liking it at all, turns his attention to the sheriff for answers…
“What is it? What’s got Max so panicked?”

Valenti: knowing Michael isn’t going to rest until he gets some kind of answer…
“Michael, I had a talk with his dad this afternoon. This is more of a parent-type issue, something I’m sure you don’t want to be around for. I think it’ll help Max to have Liz there by his side. It’s best to let them handle it. I know Max will tell you later, but for right now let it drop.”

Michael: still not liking it at all but not wanting to get involved in any sort of parent-thing decides to trust the sheriff’s judgment: his muscles relax a little as Maria puts her arms around him: he reluctantly nods his agreement.

Maria: glad that she’s there to help calm her Spaceboy, she makes the one observation that everyone else missed in the heat of the moment…
“I wonder how Liz felt Max’s panic? Are they now psychic or something?”

The Fates have set in motion that which will have unforeseen consequences.


Chapter 2

Setting: Monday, late afternoon, Evans house

After the emotional outburst of crying has taken its toll on all three of them, they sit there silently sipping the hot Chamomile Tea that Diane insisted on making in hopes it would help calm them. There are so many questions that it’s hard for them to know where to begin.

Max: the quiet and the warming effect of the tea does help him to recover a little and he decides to get his questions out of the way before getting deluged by his parents’…
“Dad, where are those documents he showed you? Does he still have them? Can you trust him not to tell anyone?”

Philip: immediately understands his son’s concern…
“I have them, he gave them to me. Don’t worry; they never made it into the report. Do you remember Bob Swanston and his wife Jane, their boy, Tom, is a couple of years older than you? Anyhow, he was given the task of reviewing the case a couple months ago. He has since retired and there is no way he’s going to say anything, first of all he and I go way back, plus he would at the very least lose his pension if anyone found out about what he had done.”

Max: relieved by his father’s reassurance…
“Who else knows about this?”

Philip: “Just us and Sheriff Valenti”
Seeing his son’s startled reaction, he becomes concerned…
“Max is something wrong? Those documents indicated that the sheriff knew everything and was helping you; I only wanted him to confirm it, was I wrong about him? Is this a problem? Tell me if it is, I only want the truth, this is too important for anything less.”

Max: taken aback…
“No, no, I trust him and he was key in helping me escape. He’s been a great help ever since. I guess I’m just surprised that he didn’t say anything to me. Um…where did you put these documents?”

Philip: retrieving his briefcase from the hall, he opens it and drops the envelope on the table: as they all stare at it…
“It’s too dangerous to be kept, it needs to be destroyed. I was thinking it would make good kindling and with the weather still cool at night, tonight would be a good night to use the fireplace.”
He is briefly rewarded with a small smile from his son as he nods in agreement at the suggestion.
Needing to turn back to his and Diane’s original concern, again being very careful…
“Max, what I read, what they did to you, I can’t begin to imagine what it was like. But what I do know is that it’s not healthy for you to keep it all bottled up inside. Even though you may think you’re doing OK, you need to let it out so you can really start to heal. Please Max, can you talk about it?”

Max: he has tried so hard to lock all those memories away and not expose them to the light of day: he knows they’re right, but not sure if he can do it: he closes his eyes and prays for strength, for Liz: in a dull monotone, he decides to try…
“It was like I was just a thing to him. He had the test results, he could see that I am part human, but he wouldn’t acknowledge it. He kept asking questions that I didn’t know the answers to, but he wouldn’t believe me. He just kept going on and on. I was totally at his mercy, but the problem was he didn’t have any.”
As tears threaten again, he can feel his mom rubbing his back trying to comfort him like she did when he was little: feeling emotionally exhausted…
“I know you’re right. I know I need to get it all out, but I’m just not sure if I’m ready, yet. The only other one that I opened up to about it is Liz and that’s only because she saw it in a flash when she kissed me. It happened right after I escaped and I wasn’t recovered enough to control it.”

Diane: her heart aches at hearing what her son went through: she’s not surprised that Liz would be the one that knows something about it, but she’s confused…
“Honey, I’m not sure what you mean by a “flash”, what exactly is that? Is it because Liz is like you?”

Max: looking up at his parents, startled by his mom’s question, he had forgotten that they didn’t already know about him and Liz…
“Uh, no, Liz is not like me, she is human, but we… connected when I healed her.”
Seeing that this just added to their confusion…
“I guess I should start from the beginning. About two years ago at the Crashdown, there was a shooting and Liz accidentally got hit… um… I healed her and when I did I saw things… flashes of her memories. Later on, when I told her about me, she was sort of upset. I thought if I showed her that I was, you know, still me that she wouldn’t be so freaked. So I kinda reversed the connection and let her see my memories and um… sometimes she still can do that even when I might not want her to.”

Diane: she had figured out some time ago that he was in love with Liz, but for the first time she is beginning to get an idea of how deep their love goes…
“Honey, I’m glad that you and she… connected. I think you both are good for each other.”
She gives him a kiss on the forehead.

Philip: he marvels at the strength his son possesses, and he has the feeling that he’s going to be needing it in the future: he still has a couple of questions regarding last May but also wants to reassure his son….
“Max, when you’re ready to talk some more, I will be here to listen. I agree with your mom about Liz, she’s good you. But I do need to know a couple of things, what happened to Agent Pearce? Bob had said he just
disappeared; do you anything about where he is?”

Max: even being emotionally exhausted, somehow his anger still manages to come out in his reply…
“If there’s any justice, he’s in hell right now. He’s dead. It was in self defense, but I’m not sorry for it.”

Philip: having suspected this would be the answer, he still is not totally prepared to actually hear it: needing to make sure of exactly what he means…
“Did you kill him? Who knows about this? Does the sheriff?”

Max: too tired to sustain the anger any longer, he sighs and explains…
“He pulled a gun on us, the sheriff emptied his gun at Pearce, but he missed. While the sheriff was reloading Pearce came back and was going to shoot. Michael used his powers to stop him, to protect us. He had never done anything like that before. After we got everything cleaned up, the sheriff helped us to dispose of the body.”

Philip: if he hadn’t been through so much already, he would be freaking out about this news: he had no idea of the extent of the sheriff’s involvement in all of this, which now includes covering up a killing: remembering his and Diane’s guesses about who are the gifted ones…
“So Michael is like you?”
Seeing his son nod yes…
“Isabel?”
This causes Max to look up at him and with a barely noticeable nod answers yes once again.
“Anyone else?”

Max: “Tess”

Liz: she has been on pins and needles since leaving the Crashdown, the moment the front door opens she shoots in and Max is immediately in her arms: she doesn’t notice the surprised looks from his parents, her only focus is Max: she takes a minute to gaze into his eyes, into the windows of his soul, before giving him a comforting kiss and she immediately gets flashes; she is stunned at what she sees: {his father’s information, the panic, the sorrow over the injured hand and its healing, the crying, the cup of tea, the questions, the reliving of his experiences in the White Room, and finally the relief of being able tell his mom and dad about them and the joy of knowing that they love him anyways.}: coming to her senses, she looks around and realizes his parents are staring at them.

Diane: from the look on Liz’s face, she can actually see what her son means about them being connected…
“Liz, dear, did you just get what Max called a “flash”? You did, didn’t you?”

Liz: not sure what to say, she looks at Max for a clue as to how to respond only to see how much this has already taken out of him: hoping to deflect any further painful questions away from him, she explains…
“Yes, I did. I can sometimes see what has happened to him, especially when it’s been a very… emotional experience.”
Her protectiveness of him, expressed in both body language and words, does not go unnoticed; it speaks volumes about their love for each other.

Isabel: not quite sure what’s going on, but judging by how everyone, especially her brother, looks like they’ve been put through the wringer she knows it’s major: not about to let go of Alex’s hand for anything, the two of them walk into the living room…
“Mom, Dad, what’s happened?”

Philip: praying the second time around is going to be easier…
“Isabel, we found out about Max and the FBI, and about you, Michael, and Tess being different. We need to know what’s been going on so we can help you all. It’s been difficult for us, and your brother, to talk about it. We want you to know that we love the both you very much and don’t ever regret finding you and taking you home with us. You are and always will be our children; we just hope that you let us continue to be your parents.”

Isabel: she starts to cry and rushes towards her parents’ embrace…
“Oh Mom, Dad, we’ve wanted to tell you for so long, but we were afraid, afraid that we would ruin everything if we did.”
After several hugs and kisses between her and their parents, she pulls herself together and rejoins Alex on the oversized chair.

Diane: glad that she is right about her daughter, she hopes that maybe now she can play a bigger part in her children’s lives in the future: although watching Max with Liz, she might not have him for too much longer at all: as she turns her attention back to Izzy and sees how she leans on Alex for support she realizes that she may not have that much time with her daughter either: maybe with Alex here for support she might be willing to answer something that Diane has wanted to know for years….
“Honey, there is something that I have always wondered about, I’m hoping you can answer me now. What were you two doing out in the desert that night when we found you? How did you get there?’

Isabel: looking over to her brother, she is relieved when he slowly nods his agreement…
“We had just come out of these incubation pods, we had been in them since the crash in ’47. We were just wandering around lost. Michael was with us for a while, but Tess hadn’t…well, hatched yet. When we saw the lights from your car, Michael took off. Max wanted him to take his hand, but he wouldn’t come back. It was three years before we saw him again. We don’t really remember anything before that night so I guess because she wasn’t with us that night, it wasn’t until last year when we met her that we even remembered anything about Tess.”

Diane: heartbroken to know that Michael had been there that night and that they hadn’t known…
“I wish he had taken your hand Max, we would have welcomed all three of you, or even four. What happened to Tess?”

Isabel: “We had a protector, he was there when it was Tess’s time. I guess with the crash and all, things got a little messed up and the three of us came out a bit early. Anyway, he raised her but…um… he died last year so Max asked if Tess could stay with the sheriff.”
She was so excited when she found out what was going on tonight, she’s always wanted them to know but now actually having to be the one to explain it, she now understands Max’s reluctance as well as his fatigue, it’s exhausting.

As the room becomes quiet, it is taken as a sign by all to stop for the night. Alex and Liz are invited to stay for dinner. While a roaring fire blazes in the fireplace, they order a pizza and decide to watch an old movie on TV. As the guys start making disgusting noises while eating in an attempt to gross out the girls, the parents realize that they are still just kids no matter how unique, and one more mystery is cleared up that night: they now know what the deal is with the Tabasco sauce.

It was The Fates handiwork that made Philip and Diane take that out of the way route home that night so long ago; they needed very special parents to raise some very special children.


Chapter 3

Setting: Tuesday, early morning, Evans House

Max: the smell of breakfast cooking surprises him, Mom doesn’t usually fix breakfast on a work day: he didn’t sleep too well last night, he kept waking up thinking about yesterday’s ordeal: it wasn’t until early this morning that he was finally able to get some shut eye at all, and as a result, he slept through his alarm: luckily Alex is picking Izzy up so he doesn’t have to worry about trying to get her out the door this morning, but he’s still running late: he rushes into the kitchen determined to grab something and dash…
“Morning Mom, I’m just gonna grab a piece of toast and head out. I’m going to be late for school.”
He almost makes it out the door.

Mom: her mothering instincts have been in high gear since last night, she is going to make certain her son takes care of himself and she is going to start right now…
“FREEZE! You are not going out of this house without a decent breakfast. I’m tired of you eating all that junk food. I got up early this morning to make you a good breakfast and you’re going to sit down and eat. You heard me, get back here and sit down.”
As her son obeys, she fixes him a plate.
“I’m going to go finish getting ready for work and when I get back, I want to see that plate cleaned.”

Max: watching his mom head down the hall, he turns his attention to the other occupant at the table: addressing the newspaper that his dad is currently hiding behind…
“Dad, I’m going to be late for school. I don’t have time for this.”

Dad: continuing to check out the sports page…
“Hmmm, spring training is about to start, maybe just us guys can get away for a weekend in Phoenix and take in a game.”
Putting the paper down and looking at his son slightly amused…
“That is, if your mom will let you out of her sight long enough to go.”

Max: starting in on his waffles, he finds nothing funny about how his mom has been acting towards him since last night…
“Dad, it’s not funny, she came in and checked on me four times last night. She kept putting the blankets back on me just so I could kick them off the second she left and now this. Dad can’t you make her stop?”

Dad: feeling sympathy for his son’s situation, but knowing better than to try and interfere…
“Actually, it was six times and she mentioned something about looking for some adult sized blanket sleepers with the feet in them, you know, like the ones she used to make you wear when you were little. “
Chuckling…
“Give her a little time, she just wants to make certain that you’re going to be OK.”

Max: feeling a little guilty about upsetting her, but still not very happy about it…
“OK, but for the record, I can pick out my own pajamas.”
As he continues to eat…
“So, um… how much time do you think she needs, you know, before she returns to normal?”

Dad: finishing off his own breakfast plate and getting up for some more coffee…
“Oh, I don’t know. A year or two ought to do it.”
Glancing back at his son, he smiles and laughs at his son’s horrified look.

Mom: as she is returning to the kitchen, she passes Max’s bedroom and is surprised to find a head poking in through the window: taking a step into the room…
“Michael Guerin, wouldn’t a door be easier? Max is having some breakfast, why don’t you come in and join him. I insist.”

Michael: he came by hoping to catch Max on the way out the door, so they could talk on the way to school: he’s flustered at being caught by Max’s mom…
“Uh… Mrs. Evans, that’s alright, I was just trying to get a ride in with Max this morning.”
Seeing that she is not going to budge from her spot, he shrugs and climbs in the window and is escorted to the kitchen for some waffles.

Mom: “Look who I found. Have a seat Michael while I fix you a plate.”
As she hands the plate to him, she notices the Tabasco bottle on the table is empty…
“Here’s your breakfast, Michael. Oh, I think I’ve got another bottle of Tabasco sauce in the cupboard for your waffles.”

Michael: dropping his fork in shock, he has to kick Max underneath the table to get his reluctant attention…
“Maxwell, what the f…?”

Philip: cutting him off with a warning glance…
“Young man, watch your language.”

Michael: still upset but contrite at the rebuke…
“Uh, sorry sir. Uh, Maxwell what’s going on?”

Max: not sure how to explain without sending Michael’s temper into orbit which is definitely something he would not care for his parents to witness…
“Uh… they kinda know about us. I can explain on the way to school. You better hurry up and eat, cuz Mom’s not going to let me go anywhere until we’re both done.”

Dad: finishing off his coffee, he clears his throat to get the boys’ attention…
“Michael, it’s OK. We are not about to turn any of you kids over to anyone. Your secret is safe with us, but I think there’s a lot more that we still need to talk about later on. Max, you know we’re here for you, and Michael, we want you to know that goes for you as well. Now, I need to get into the office.”
Giving both boys a pat on the back, he kisses his wife on the way out the door.

Mom: turning back to the breakfast table, she notes that one of them has barely touched his breakfast…
“Michael dear, Max is quite right, no one is leaving until both of you have finished everything on your plates.”
She smiles as Michael begins to wolf-down his Tabasco smothered waffles: taking a now empty plate…
“There, that’s much better. Now you kids better get to school.”

On their way to school…

Michael: “OK Maxwell, what gives? How much do they know?”

Max: deciding he might as well get it over with…
“They know mainly know about Pearce and last May, but we filled them in a little about the night we… hatched.”

Michael: his temper is now on its way into orbit…
“Are you out of your mind! What or maybe I should say who, possessed you to open your mouth about any of it? Damnit Maxwell, how many more people are going to be added to the “I know an alien club”? Your dad’s a lawyer for Christ’s sake; he’s going to want to turn me in for Pearce’s murder. Not to mention all the questions they’ll be hounding us for answers to. Why would you do something that stupid?”

Max: knowing how Michael would react, doesn’t make it any easier: becoming defensive…
“Don’t jump all over me; I didn’t just decide to tell them out of the blue. Michael, believe it or not, Mom and Dad were a bit more interested in what happened to me in the White Room than what you did. Besides, you heard what my dad said, our secret’s safe with them, they’re not going to turn us into anyone. Just give me a break, would ya?”
Calming down a bit, he continues to explain…
“Dad has a friend who just retired from the FBI and whose last assignment was to review Pearce’s personal journals that had just surfaced. Who knew the guy kept a diary? Anyways, Dad’s friend sort of changed the facts of the evidence a bit so we should be in the clear, but … uh… at the same time he thought he should let my dad know and give him the evidence for safe keeping. When I got home yesterday, he and Mom were waiting to talk to me. I never saw it coming.”

Michael: feeling like a first class heel, he hadn’t given much thought about what Max had been put through by Pearce: it dawns on him {Liz! That’s what she was freaking out about yesterday. No wonder Max was panicked. Wait, how’d she know? Are they psychic since doin’ it? Which reminds me….}…
“Uh Maxwell, yesterday Liz came into the Crashdown totally freakin’ about you being all panicked and how she and Izzy needed to get to ya, like immediately. How’d she know? Did you call her or something?”

Max: he hadn’t thought about it, but Michael mentioning it started him thinking {how did Liz know he needed her? He had been praying for some of her strength to help get him through it and wishing she was there beside him; then suddenly she was and he immediately knew everything would be alright. How did she know? Did I call her with my mind?}: pulling over to the side of the road, ignoring everything else including Michael’s raised eyebrows, he decides to test it out: concentrating only on Liz, he calls out in his mind to her {Liz, can you hear me? Liz if you can, try and answer me. Liz? Liz, I love you now and forever}: staying very focused on his mental image of his soul mate, he faintly hears a very surprised Liz answer {Max, I can hear you! Oh, My God! We’re going to have to figure this out! But uh… you kinda caught me at an awkward time, with no first period this morning, I’m just now taking a shower and you so shocked me that I got shampoo in my eye!}: grinning at the picture of her in the shower, he teases {Hmmm, maybe if I concentrate harder I can actually see what you’re doing instead of just hearing you.}: he smiles and chuckles as he hears her indignant {Max Evans, you had better not! Just remember, if you do, then I’ll just have to pay you a little visit tonight and we’ll just

[ edited 9 time(s), last at 19-Oct-2002 12:11:03 AM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:13:36 PM
see how much sleep I let you get! Now let me finish getting ready and I’ll see you next period. And don’t forget, I love you!}: he sends her one last {I love you, now and forever}: then turns his attention back to a now very annoyed Michael…
“Uh ya Michael, it does seem mine and Liz’s connection is now a bit telepathic. So far it seems she can feel my emotions and just now we were able to actually speak to each other; I think we’re going to need to experiment to see how it works exactly.”

Michael: not certain how he feels about this latest development as well as any potential implications to him personally: a little nervously…
“Let me get this right, since you and Liz… uh, did the deed, you two can now feel each other’s emotions and can speak in each other’s heads?”
Seeing his friend’s smiling nod, he shudders…
“So what you’re saying that when… er … if Maria and I actually do it, I run the risk of her being able to not only pick up on what I’m feeling but having to listen to her in my head even when she’s not even there! Great Maxwell, just great! Got any more revelations for me this morning?”

Max: barely able to keep a straight face…
“Only one more, well… really a bit of a warning. My mom’s gone into this super hyper-Mom mode since finding out last night. She’s already driving me up the wall, and since Izzy happened to mention that you were there the night they found us; I think she feels a little guilty about not taking you in, too. So…um… I think you’re her next target.”
Seeing Michael’s very pained look, he finally loses it and begins laughing as they head to school.

The Fates need to teach some young aliens a valuable lesson: a little parental interference can be a good thing, as well as it being quite a learning experience.


Chapter 4

Setting: Same Tuesday early evening, Liz’s bedroom

Liz: finally able to sit down for some girl chat while splitting a long overdue sundae, she and Maria begin to get all caught up…
“Maria, thanks so much for covering for me last night, there was just no way I could leave Max until everything had finally calmed down and returned somewhat to normal.”

Maria: licking the ice cream off of the spoon…
“Hey, no problem. How’s Loverboy holding up? I mean what a shock it must have been for him, not to mention his parents!”

Liz: “Yah, but I think they handled it really well, better than Max did, actually.”

Maria: letting her curiosity take over…
“So, what exactly is going on between you and Max? I mean yesterday you were pretty intense about needing to get to him, how did you know he needed you?”

Liz: excited about the new developments in her and Max’s relationship, her happiness spills forth as she begins…
“It appears that since Max and I… you know, went forward in our relationship, there have been some interesting side effects. So far I can feel when his emotions get intense and just this morning, we discovered that we can talk to each other telepathically, which has some interesting possibilities.”

Maria: her friend’s excitement is contagious, almost squealing…
“Oh My God! That is so awesome! Interesting possibilities indeed! So um, are you going to test any of these possibilities out? Hmmm, well?”

Liz: with a mischievous smile…
“Maybe {I wonder if I can catch him in the shower? Maybe give him a few ideas as to what I would like to try out with him in the shower? See if he could handle it?}: she starts giggling at these thoughts…

Maria: amused at the teasing look her friend has…
“OK, chica, you’re having way too much fun without me. So, do you think this is just a you-and-Max thing or maybe an alien-human thing? I mean, you know, if Michael and I took that giant leap forward, do you think he and I would have the same… side effects?”

Liz: thinking of Michael’s reaction to having Maria being able to talk to him telepathically at any time causes her to laugh so hard, she almost spits her ice cream out…
“Oh ya, Michael would never be able to disappear on you again! Where ever he went you’d always be able to give him a piece of your mind!”
As she and Maria calm down their shared hysterical laughter, she continues…
“But I honestly don’t know if it’s just Max and me or an alien-human thing in general. You’re not thinking of… doing it just to find out are you?”

Maria: pretends to be indignant…
“No of course not! At least not until you answer my 20 questions, which I just happen to have right here, then I’ll think about it.”
Taking out a sheet of paper.

Liz: rolling her eyes, but resigned to having to keep up her end of the bargain…
“Um, I believe it was 15 not 20.”

Maria: “1. Did it hurt?”

Liz: “A little, but not bad. Next.”

Maria: “2. What was it like?”

Liz: “Uh, what was what like?”

Maria: “You know, sex. What was having sex actually like? I’ll get to the other ‘what’ possibility in a minute. So answer girl!”

Liz: “Hmmm, complete. I mean when we actually… , it was if I found something that I didn’t even know I was missing and my life will no longer be complete without it.”
Hearing Maria make her annoyed air sucking noise, she revises her answer…
“Incredible, awesome, better than chocolate!”

Maria: “That’s better, number 3. Alien sex and human sex works the same way, right? I mean there’s like no extra equipment or anything to figure out, is there? ”

Liz: “Yep, absolutely the same and I didn’t find anything that I wasn’t expecting. Next question.”

Maria: “Thank God, number 4. You didn’t have to do anything weird or anything to, you know, get him excited, I mean because of him being an alien and all, did you?”

Liz: trying not to laugh…
“Maria, all I have to do is breathe and Max gets excited, and I might add that you have the same effect on a certain other alien as well.”

Maria: conceding her friend’s point…
“Um true, true. OK, Number 5. Does size really matter?”

Liz: “Well since I don’t have anything to…um… compare it to I’m not sure, but I’ll just add that it wasn’t an issue.”

Maria: “OK moving right along, Number 6. What was it like, as in the other ‘what’?”

Liz: “Amazing!”

Maria: “That’s it, amazing? Care to elaborate a little here?”

Liz: “Well, it was amazing to see what it could do.”

Maria: “Uh… um OK then, number 7. How long did it take? It wasn’t a quickie, was it? You guys did take your time?”

Liz: “Definitely take your time, especially the first time, don’t rush it. However later on, well it was still more than a quickie, but anyways, that can be good too.”

Maria: “Wait a minute, later on? What are you guys, like rabbits or something? How many times are we talkin’ about?”

Liz: “Uh, that would be number 8 and only twice.”

Maria: “Hey, that’s not a question! Ok, fine, number 9.You mentioned something about his mom knocking on the door, did you guys get busted?”

Liz: “Not by his mom, but his dad did figure it out and gave Max the “be careful you’re awfully young speech” the next morning. Fortunately he didn’t say anything to anyone else, at least that’s what he told Max. Next”

Maria: “OK, if you guys were both the big V, then why’d you have protection?”

Liz: “That’s 10 and I didn’t, but I knew he did. Future Max told me he had it the night he came to ask me to go to the Gomez concert.”

Maria: “Ok so Max has been walking around with a condom in his pocket, wonder what I might find in Spaceboy’s pocket? Next one, he knew that this was your first time when you did it, didn’t he? I mean you did explain about Kyle, right?”

Liz: “He didn’t know that I was still a virgin until we were… actually making love, but we did talk about it later and I did tell him everything. He’s going to talk to Tess tonight about what Future Max said and then tomorrow we’ll fill everyone else in when we meet at Michael’s. OK number 12?”

Maria: touched by how much Max loves Liz: sighing…
“Oh how sweet, I mean the guy still loved and wanted you even when he thought you had been with someone else. I’m glad he finally knows the truth; it must be a huge relief for you. Let’s see number 12. It was uh…mutually satisfying? I mean he did make sure you enjoyed it as much he, I imagine, did?”

Liz: “Maria, we’re talking about Max here, no way would he ever leave me still… wanting. Let’s say we both came to a climatic end. Neexxt.”

Maria: “I guess Loverboy is a more fitting a nickname than I thought. Lucky 13. You are going to be getting on a more reliable form of birth control, aren’t you? I mean let’s face it, at some point you guys are going to get carried away and oops, guess what?”

Liz: “Yes, I do plan on it, I just haven’t had a chance to make an appointment yet.”

Maria: “Um, let’s make that appointment first thing tomorrow, no way do I want to be Auntie Maria any time soon, and on to number 14. You think he could give Spaceboy some pointers on the romance part of it. Michael can figure out the mechanics side of it no problem, but the emotional side could use a little work.”

Liz: laughing…
“Maria! You realize that they both are going to die from embarrassment if they ever find out what we girls really talk about, don’t you? But I’ll see what I can have Max suggest. Next and final question.”

Maria: joining her friend’s laughter…
“Yep, they sure would and might do ‘em a bit of good too, instilling a little fear in them could be very useful. Anyway number 15. Is Max the one Liz? Is he the one that’s forever?”

Liz: without any hesitation…
“Yes, I have no doubts and neither does he. For whatever reason, I know we were meant to be together. Now that your curiosity has been satisfied, I want to show you what my Aunt Mary sent me.”
Taking out the box of letters and mementoes…
“These are old love letters from Grandma Claudia’s high school beau. His name was Tom Barnett and he sounds so sweet in the letters, he obviously was very much in love with Grandma. I wonder what happened to him?”

Maria: after reading some of the sweet letters and wiping away some tears…
“It must run in the family, both you and your Grandma, and even your Mom, get such sweet, romantic, wonderful men that can actually express themselves so beautifully. I swear these letters are like something that Max would have written. They sound so much like him.”

Liz: pondering Maria’s observation…
“You know, I thought that too. I guess we’re just attracted to the same type of guy, minus the alien status of course.”

Maria: “Ya, I guess that makes sense. I wonder what he looked like? Do you think he might still be around? I wonder what happened, why they broke up?”

Liz: “I don’t know, I never heard anyone mention anything about him. There’s an envelope with some pictures in this box somewhere, see if there’s one of him?”

Maria: finding the envelope, pulling a picture out…
“Hey, is this Grandma Claudia? You look just like her when she was in high school!”

Liz: glancing over at the photo…
“Oh wow, I do! Well, everyone always said we were a lot alike, I guess that goes for the looks as well. See what else you can find.”
She continues to read one of the letters when she hears Maria gasp.
“Maria, what’s wrong?”

Maria: shocked beyond belief…
“Oh My God! Oh My God!”
As she hands Liz the picture…
“Liz, he sounds like Max because he is Max! Look!”

Liz: looking at the picture, old questions start to take on new meaning {is this why Max recognized me when he first saw me? Grandma Claudia DID recognize him when he brought her back so I could say goodbye. I always thought she had, but could never figure out how. I’ve got to get a hold of Max!}: picking up the phone to dial the UFO Center…
“Hello Brody, is Max there? Yes, this is Liz, if he’s not too busy I need to speak to him for just a moment. Oh, well no if he’s with a customer please don’t bother him. When does he get off? OK could you give him a message? Could you tell him to come over when he’s off, I really need to talk to him. Thanks, bye.”
Turning back to Maria…
“He gets off in an hour, let’s see what else we can find before he gets here.”

Maria: looking over the envelopes that the letters are in, she gets an idea…
“Liz, this address is in Taos, NM. Maybe if we check the phone listings in Taos for Barnett we might hit on a relative of his. Worth a try, isn’t it?”

Liz: grabbing the phone, she dials information…
“Um, yes Taos, NM, last name Barnett, one ‘N’ two ‘T’s’. No I don’t have an address, first name maybe Tom. Oh, Ok well could I have all three please.”
Quickly scribbling down the numbers…
“Thank you.”
“There’s no Tom Barnett, but there’s a T. Barnett, a John and a Cheryl Barnett in Taos.”
As she begins to call the T. Barnett, Maria grabs her hand.

Maria: “Liz, are you sure you want to do this?”
Seeing her friends confusion over this question…
“What I mean is, are you sure that Max would want you to do this? This is bound to be complicated to say the least and his life is pretty complicated already.”

Liz: after taking a moment to think about it…
“You’re right, it’s going to be complicated, but I think Max is going to want to know. Maybe if I actually find him or one of his relatives, I’ll just say I’m Claudia’s granddaughter and I was reading some old love letters from him and thought it would be neat if I could find him. They should believe that, after all it is the truth, right?”
Not waiting for an answer, she dials the number…
“Um, hello, I’m trying to locate a Tom Barnett that is from Taos, NM. You are Tom Barnett! You sound kinda young; the one I’m looking for would be in his sixties or seventies. Oh, could it be your dad or uncle or something? Oh, you’re the only Tom that you know of on the Barnett side. Well, thank you. Sorry to have bothered you.”
Dialing the John Barnett number…
“Oh hello, I’m trying to find a Tom Barnett that lived in Taos, NM. I was hoping this might be his or one of his relative’s numbers. If you could please give me a call back, my name is Liz Parker and my number is 502-555-1234. Thank you.”
Answering machine, let’s try the last one…
“Hi, I’m trying to find a Tom Barnett and I was… Oh, um… well I have some letters that he wrote to my grandmother when they were young and I… did you say he’s your dad? My grandmother’s name was Claudia… Oh, you’ve heard him speak of a Claudia? Yes, I’ll wait while you go get him…”
Gives Maria a surprised look…
“Maria, it’s him! Oh My God! He’s still alive!”
Turning her attention back to the phone…
“Oh, hello sir, my name is Liz Parker and I was reading some letters that a Tom Barnett from Taos, NM wrote to my Grandma Claudia and I thought I would see if I could find him, are you him?”

Tom: hearing her voice, it sounds the same as it did almost 50 years ago, no wait she said Claudia is her grandmother: coming back to the present…
“Yes, I’m the Tom Barnett from Taos that courted a Claudia Jenkins about 50 years ago, and I did write her a bunch of letters, most of them from when I was stationed in Korea during the war. You said your name is Parker, Liz Parker? Would Scott Parker be your grandfather’s name? It was, oh, I’m sorry to hear that. How is your grandmother?”
Having to sit down upon hearing the news, he doesn’t even try to hold back the tears, but keeping his voice dignified…
“When did it happen? Only last year… I always meant to get back in touch with her but I just never did. She was quite a lady. You said that you have my letters? I still have the ones she sent me. I would love to be able to put them together. I could make copies of hers for you. Come here? I suppose so, where do you live? Roswell, I didn’t know Claudia settled in Roswell, I would have thought that would be the last place she would’ve settled. Oh, nothing, I didn’t mean anything, just an old man talking foolish. Yes I would love for you to visit. Here let me give you my address…..”

Maria: listening to Liz talk to what she is sure is Max’s donor, she watches as her friend hangs up the phone and sits in stunned silence: trying to put some of this into perspective…
“Liz, um, correct me if I’m wrong, but did we just discover that your Grandma Claudia’s high school sweetheart is most likely Max’s human donor and that you just hung up the phone with him after agreeing to visit him in Taos? How do you think he’s going to take it when he sees Max? I mean Max is going to want to meet him, right?”

Liz: numbly nodding yes…
“Um, ya, Max should be here in about 30 minutes.”

Maria: looking up as she hears a noise…
“Well then I’d say the boy’s a bit early.”

Max: climbing in the window and giving Liz a quick kiss…
“Hey Maria. Liz, what’s wrong? I got this feeling that something was bothering you, when I mentioned to Brody that I wanted to leave early, he said you’d called and to go ahead and take off. What is it?”
He sits in shock as Liz explains about Tom Barnett and hands him the picture. The fact that he is still alive and living so close is what boggles his mind.

Liz: finishing up her explanation…
“Max, he sounds just like you; I mean what you will probably sound like in 50 years. He was very nice on the phone and his, his daughter was the one who answered it.”
She becomes concerned as Max continues to silently sit and stare at the picture…
“Max, say something, please. I mean you do want to meet him, don’t you?”

Max: finally tearing his focus away from the picture, his mind starts to process this new development…
“I knew I had to have a human donor, but for some reason I always assumed that he was dead. I always thought we were connected through my alien side; it never occurred to me that it was my human side that recognized you. I don’t know why, but I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to explain who I am to him. When did you tell him we were going to Taos?”

Liz: “Saturday, if that’s ok?”

Max: “Yah, that’ll work, I have to work a couple of hours in the morning but I’m off at 10am. We can leave right afterwards. It’s a bit of a drive up and back in one day. Most likely we’ll need to stay the night. Um, I’m going to need to get my dad’s help.”
Seeing at how surprised they both are by this announcement…
“Ever since last night, my mom has been watching me like a hawk, constantly checking on me, wanting to make sure that I’m ok. Even trying to say I’m staying at Michael’s won’t work, she’d just call up demanding to speak with me all night.”

Maria: “That sounds simple enough to fix, you just need to find something or someone else for her to focus her attention on for the weekend.”
She’s not sure what to make of the funny smile that Max is now sporting.

The Fates are bringing one path full circle while opening up others to new directions.


Chapter 5

Setting: Same Tuesday evening a little later, Valenti’s front door

Sheriff: answering the knock at the door…
“Max, I’m glad you stopped by. Come in. I’ve been meaning to speak with you, uh… how’s everything with your folks?”

Max: stepping into the house, he pauses to reflect in amazement at how welcome the sheriff has made all of them feel in the last year, especially Tess: he needs allies and the sheriff has proven to be a good one, as well as a good friend…
“It’s OK sheriff, everything is working out fine. There’s still a lot that we need to talk to them about, but it’s good to know that… that they’re sticking by us. I’m sorry my dad put you on the spot like that.”

Sheriff: his relief is evident…
“Good, that’s good Max. Um, your dad was pretty… well, pissed at what Pearce put you through; it was only because I could see how much your dad cared about what happened to you that I said anything. I hope you can understand that. I’m glad to hear it’s working out. I think it may come in real handy having your parents on your side, especially if one of them happens to be the best lawyer in the state.”

Max: smiling at the sheriff’s kind words…
“I’m still getting use to them knowing, but I’m not sorry that they do; and I don’t blame you for anything. I’ve been meaning to thank you, for all the help you’ve been this last year. You’ve really bailed us out of a lot of jams, and yah, you’re right, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer on your side, especially considering how much trouble we seem to get into. Um, I came by, hoping to catch Tess, is she around?”

Sheriff: giving him a friendly slap on the back…
“She and Kyle just got back from the store, let me go get her, then I need to be on my way or I’ll be late picking Amy up.”

Max: laughs a little at how that surprising relationship is developing, he calls out as the sheriff is leaving…
“Yah sheriff, it’s never a good idea to keep a De Luca woman waiting, ask Michael!”

Tess: coming into the dining room, she’s surprised that Max is here to see her…
“Max, what’s up?”

Max: sitting down at the dining table, he gestures for her to do the same…
“Tess, I need to talk to you about… well about you and me and Liz.”
Seeing her guard go up, he wants to break it to her gently…
“Tess, last fall when… when Liz tried to set you and I up, she did it because I asked her to… uh, well it wasn’t me exactly… it was a future version of me.”

Tess: very confused…
“Wait a minute, a future version? Max, have you been drinking with Kyle again?”

Kyle: coming in from the garage…
“Did I hear my name? Hey Max what brings you over?”
Taking a seat at the table, he makes it very clear that he’s not about to leave.

Max: not certain how he feels about Kyle being there, he decides to go with Liz’s advice on how close Kyle and Tess have become…
“Hey Kyle, um well, I was trying to explain about what’s… been going on between me and Liz and Tess and uh, I guess you too.”
For some reason, it pleases him to see Kyle starting to squirm a little…
“As I was saying, Liz was trying to set Tess and me up because I apparently used the Granolith to come back in time 14 years to try and change history.”

Kyle: astounded…
“WHAT! Wait just a damn minute! What the hell gives you the right to come back and change history? You can’t just come back and change everything just to suit your needs! Man for someone who isn’t even a jock, you’ve got one hell of an ego!”

Max: he’s not the least bit surprised by Kyle’s outburst, but he is by Tess’s silence…
“Tess, I… came back to… to warn us. We have to stick together, all of us, not just us four, but also you Kyle, Liz, Maria, and Alex, as well as your dad, Kyle, and now my own parents, too. If we don’t, we won’t be strong enough to win.”

Kyle: becoming somber at the implications…
“Win what Max? What’s going to happen?”
He puts his arm around Tess for comfort.

Tess: she felt her blood run cold when he mentioned changing history, she knew that meant only one thing: as Kyle’s comforting embrace warms her soul…
“A war: we weren’t all together in the other timeline, so we lost, didn’t we?”
She continues as his nod confirms this…
“So history does repeat itself, we lost just like we did in our last lifetimes. Let me guess, we weren’t all together because of me, right?”
As tears threaten, she is pulled into Kyle’s lap for a closer embrace.

Max: watching their interaction very closely, he’s glad that Liz was right…
“No, we weren’t all together because of me, because I drove you away. It was my fault and that’s why I came back to try and change it before it ever has a chance to happen. Tess, I don’t want you to leave, yes, partly because of what might happen if you do, but also because you’re one of us, and you belong here. Right now, this is the only home we have, the only family we have and we need each other. All of us do.”

Tess: continuing to lean on Kyle…
“Max, I’m not going to leave. I admit a while ago, I was considering it, but I just don’t want to be alone anymore, always on the run. For better or worse, I’m sticking this out with everyone, right here.”

Max: relieved to hear this, but he still needs to make sure she understands everything…
“Tess, I’m not sure what our… relationship was like in our past lives. I don’t think it was bad, I think that we probably did care about each other, and I still do care about you, just not in the same way I did as your… husband.”
Watching as Kyle’s embrace becomes more possessive…
“Tess, we aren’t the same as we once were and I don’t think you really want us to be, any more than I do. We’ve both moved on to new lives…
Leveling his stare at Kyle…
“And to new loves. I hope that you can understand and that you can be happy. You do deserve happiness.”

Tess: having to hear him actually say it broke her heart, but she knows that it had to be said out in the open, so it can finally be dealt with…
“You’re right Max, we both need to move on with our lives. I admit there is a part of me that longs for what we once had, but those are just vague memories of a different lifetime; we need to live in the here and now. I take it you and Liz are back together, and for good this time?”
As he confirms this…
“Good, you’re stronger when she’s by your side, and that’s what we’re going to need, a strong leader. I’m a glad things worked out for you and her.”
Looking up and beaming a smile at Kyle…
“And I think things are looking up for me as well.”

Max: smiling at how silly they look, {I hope Liz and I don’t look that sappy together}: he teases a little…
“I think they might be too. I don’t think you’ve ever looked at me the way you’re looking at Kyle right now.”

Kyle: looking back at Tess very pleased, they both blush at his comments: then remembering that there’s still something that needs to be cleared up, he scowls…
“Max, there’s something that you need to know. Liz and I never actually… slept together. She told me it was sort of a last ditch tactic to get you to back off, but um, well I suppose it was really part of the Future El Presidente thing.”

Max: Kyle just confirmed what kind of guy he really is…
“You’re right Kyle, it was. She told me, but I’m glad you told me as well. I know that we’ve had our differences and I think we always will, but you’re not such a bad guy. A word of caution though, pissing off an alien can be dangerous, and just like in humans, the females can be even more deadly when angered than the males, so I would say you’re either a very brave human or a very foolish one.”
He and Kyle both laugh as they dodge the seat cushions and pillows that are being hurled at them from all directions out of nowhere.

No matter how much preparation parents do, their children’s lives do not always turn out the way they plan, especially when the Fates decide to interfere.


Chapter 6

Setting: Wednesday afternoon, Evans Law Office

Max: this morning he had asked his dad if he could stop by his office at lunch time so they could talk: he has been racking his brain since yesterday trying to come up with a story to tell his dad for this weekend: it’s just so much more complicated to come up with something now that they know: he and Liz talked about it last night while working on their telepathy: it became very interesting when they started to actually argue telepathically: after much going back and forth, they both gave up: she wants him to tell his dad the truth, and he doesn’t want to, afraid it will lead to more questions: now sitting here in front of his dad, he still didn’t have a good story: needing his dad’s assistant with his mom, but hoping to be able to skirt around the reasons, he decides to try a very abridged version of the truth …
“Uh, Dad, I kinda need to get away this weekend. We’d only be gone Saturday night, back Sunday afternoon.”

Dad: raising his eyebrows at the “we”, he leans back in his chair, threads his fingers together and calmly addresses his son’s request…
“Why? Who’re ‘we’? And exactly where would you be getting away to?”

Max: mentally kicking himself for the ‘we’, he gives it another try…
“Um, just thought I’d get away for a bit with a friend and, you know, recharge the batteries a little. It’s been a little stressful lately.”
He keeps looking down at his lap, occasionally glancing back up at his dad: {that sounded pretty lame even to me, he’s not going to buy it. I blew it. I hope Liz is right, cuz the truth is the only plan I’ve got.}

Dad: he decides on a tactic that often works with clients as well as kids; he calmly sits and waits without saying anything.

Max: as the silence drags on, he becomes increasingly nervous {I hate it when he does this!}: no longer able to stand it…
“So uh, if that’s OK? I’ll just be g….”
Starting to get up, he looks at his dad and notes his disapproval; feeling guilty as hell, he’s unable to finish and sits back down:

Dad: in the dreaded no-way-in-hell-am-I buying-it tone that any teen would recognize…
“Max, you know better. You want to try that again?”

Max: {crap}: ashamed of himself…
“Um, well Liz stumbled across some possible information about my… uh… Earthly origins and we need to go to Taos to check it out. So if that’s OK…. ”

Dad: remaining in the no-nonsense parental mode…
“No”

Max: his head snaps up…
“No?”

Dad: “Max, if that’s the only reason, we all could go as a family and visit my Aunt Trudy in Taos this weekend and of course invite Liz along. I’m sure Jeff and Nancy wouldn’t mind Liz accompanying us, as long as I assure them that there would be proper parental supervision.”
Seeing how Max cringed at that suggestion…
“So what else is it? You want my support; I want the whole story. So decide, what’s it going to be?”

Max: defeated…
“Dad, I’m in love with Liz, you know that.”
Seeing his dad nod yes…
“But what you don’t know is that I’ve been in love with her since the first time I laid eyes on her in the third grade. It’s like I already knew her and had loved her forever.”
Watches as his dad’s face scrunches up in concentration…
“I always thought it had something to do with… well, my alien side, but yesterday Liz was reading some old letters her grandmother had saved from her high school boyfriend and there was a photograph of him…Dad, it was a photograph of me from the forties. I think… he was my human DNA donor and since Liz resembles her grandmother a lot somehow my human side recognized her. Dad, this guy is still alive, she talked to him. She’s supposed to meet him Saturday to give him copies of the letters, and I want to meet him. Dad, this is… very private for me, and if Mom knows, she’s going to get real emotional, I just don’t think I can deal with that right now.”

Dad: rubbing his hands over his face, he tries to come to terms with yet another new shock: {I hope this is the last one for the week. I really could use a break with the surprises for a few days. How the hell did Max deal with all this on his own? It’s enough to drive one to drink! Oh wait; Max tried that, as I recall he can’t hold his liquor. I guess there’s a little more of this human side to him after all. Christ, what question do I even start with?}: …
“Max, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by DNA donor, are you saying he’s your biological Father?”

Max: “Uh, not exactly.”

Dad: irritated by all the “beating around the bush” he’s getting …
“Max, that’s enough, flat out tell me, what do you mean by DNA donor? Just say it.”

Max: surprised at his dad raising his voice…
“I think he was the one that they took DNA material from that was mixed with alien DNA to clone me. I, we… we’re clones.”

Dad: stunned {oh good, another surprise. Well, I did ask, didn’t I? Might as well move on to the next one. Why do I think it’s going to top this last one?}: …
“OK, so who was the alien donor?”

Max: becoming concerned that he can’t read his dad’s expression right now; he hesitates…
“Uh, are you sure you really want to know?”
Suddenly his dad’s expression becomes very clear: before he gets his head bitten off, he blurts out…
“Zan, King Zan.”
Worried about how pale his dad has become…
“Dad… Dad are you OK?”

Dad: reeling from this, he hoarsely croaks out…
“Uh, yah, uh, could you just give me a second here?”
{Holy Christ, he’s their KING!}: recalling the sheriff’s words {he tried to clue me in didn’t he? He called Max a born leader, so he must know a hell of a lot more than he told me! But why, why would they clone their king? Why mix it with human DNA? Why send him, no make that them, here? I have a feeling this is not going to be good. What are Isabel, Michael, and Tess’s alien relationship to him? Why, no wait, enough why’s. Let’s get some answers to these why’s first.}: taking deep breaths to clear his head, he’s determined to get to the bottom of all this: he turns his attention back to Max, only to see how scared his son is and how much of a toll revealing all of this already taken on him: softening his stance…
“Son, why did they do this? What happened to their king… uh … to you?”

Max: doing his best to keep his emotions under control…
“There’s a war, he… I…er … Zan was killed, along with his sister Vilandra, his…uh… wife Ava, and his second-in-command Rath. Somehow our essences were taken and mixed with human DNA. We were sent here for safety, so that we would have a chance to grow, to mature, so that we could help them later on.”

Dad: really glad he’s sitting down right now: {I think I’m in the Twilight Zone. It would make about as much sense as anything else right now. How am I going to explain all of this to Diane? Hmmm, let’s not think about that right now. But ya, I think Max could use a little time away, I think we all are going to before too much longer, maybe I’ll ask Diane to look into planning something, for all of us. Now back to this sci-fi show that I find my life becoming.}: shifts forward in his chair, elbows on his desk, and hands supporting his head; he might as well continue while he’s already in shock…
“Mm ‘kay, so let’s see, you’re part human from this guy in Taos who just happens to be Liz Parker’s Grandmother’s childhood boyfriend, and your alien part is from this alien king who died in a war. I don’t suppose you know the planet or its people’s name do you?”
Sighs, as Max shakes his head no…
“Ok, so you were sent here for safe keeping so you can go back and what help fight this war all over again?”
Rolls his eyes when Max confirms this...
“You do understand how this last part doesn’t particularly thrill me? But let’s continue on, shall we? Please can you at least tell me that this Vilandra is Isabel, that she really is your sister?”

Max: “Yes, she is, and Michael is my second and uh, Tess was my wife.”

Dad: “I imagine that went over really well with Liz. Is there anything for me to be concerned about with that, you know, surprise grandchildren popping out anytime soon or anything of that nature?”

Max: cringing at the thought…
“Uh, no…uh… not that I’m aware of.”

Dad: he can’t help the sarcasm at this point…
“Well good, that’s real reassuring. So let’s back up to this war and enemy part for a moment. I don’t suppose, the next thing you’re going to tell me is that they followed you here is it?”

Max: “Uh, that wouldn’t have been the next thing, but… um… yah they kinda did.”

Dad: “Of course. Anything else on the agenda for me today?”

Max: very troubled by how his dad is taking all of this…
“Uh, no. Um, Dad are you OK?”

go to Taos this weekend with Liz if it’s OK with her parents and, providing you stay at Aunt Trudy’s. I’ll call her to make the arrangements this afternoon. I’ll talk to Jeff Parker and assure him that there will be adult supervision this weekend, sorry about that Max, but you’re both still minors. Now about your mother, keep in mind that I might not tell her everything, but I won’t lie to her, either; it’s just not worth the pain and suffering I’d endure later on. So how are you planning on escaping her clutches this weekend?”
He’s actually amused by his son’s plan…
“You’re sure you can get them to play along with this? I mean it will definitely keep your mom busy this weekend, but they do know what they’re getting themselves into, right?”

Max: “Oh yah, I’ve already got most of them on board and I spoke to Izzy last night. After she stopped laughing, she said she couldn’t wait.”

Dad: finally laughing a little himself…
“I think I agree with your sister. But now I have some calls to make and you better get going, you’re already late for school.”

Long ago the Fates gave an alien child king a good role model to learn from. Now the young king realizes what a good ally they gave him as well; one that he will call upon many times in the future.





Chapter 7

Setting: Wednesday afternoon, Michael’s Apartment

Max: looking around at the assembled group, he is amazed at who all it now entails: {if someone would have told me a year ago that I would be OK with all these people knowing, I would have told them they were nuts, and this doesn’t even include the sheriff and now even my parents!}: watching Maria and Michael bickering {God, they’re at it again! Hmmm, Michael’s not going to be happy about this weekend. Dad’s already said he wants to try and remain on the sidelines and just watch, something about it being safer that way. Michael all alone with Isabel, Mom, and Maria for two days, yep he’s not going to be happy at all!}: he almost bursts out laughing at the thought: realizing everyone is waiting for him to start, clearing his throat, he almost succeeds in wiping the smirk off his face…
“Let’s get this meeting started. As some of you know there’s been some developments this week that directly affect Liz and I. But what you might not yet know is how it may affect all of you as well…”
He explains how his parents found out and then about the telepathic connection that he and Liz now share, he is very careful not to include exactly how it developed; however he is not blind to the barely concealed laughter that everyone seems to be holding back by the thinnest of threads…
“So moving right along…”

Alex: no way is he going to let this opportunity past without comment: totally deadpan…
“Wait a second, back up, you said that when you and Liz deepened your connection this telepathy developed. OK, since all of us here are in alien/human relationships to one degree or another, I’d like to know exactly how far we’re talking about, you know, just once around the moon and back or all the way to infinity and beyond?”
The fact that he got it out without cracking up amazes him, but one look at how red Max is and he’s gone, it just snowballs from there.

Max: Liz currently has her face buried in his chest and refuses to look which leaves him there alone facing everyone, totally red faced: after several long minutes, he attempts to get the group back on track…
“OK people that’s enough, very funny Alex. Somebody hand Kyle a glass of water, I think he’s going to hyperventilate soon, and I have no desire to give him mouth-to-mouth. Michael….”

Michael: biting his lip, he’s really trying to stop, but he’s just never seen Max so, so caught red handed before…
“I guess only Liz gets the mouth-to-…ah… -mouth treatment. Sorry man couldn’t help it.”
Maria is alternating between smacking him to stop and busting up about it.

Max: giving up and admitting the humor in it to himself, he tries not to laugh as well: as things finally die down, he takes back control of the meeting…
“Ahem, now that we have gotten that out of our systems.”
Eyeing Kyle, who is still having a hard time not laughing {Kyle, I bet Mom would just love you.}: that thought puts a mischievous sparkle in his eye…
“As most of you know, Liz and I have known each other since the third grade, but I have always felt that I have always known her and now we think we’ve discovered why….”
The room grows silent as everyone takes in the stunning revelation of Grandma Claudia and Tom Barnett: finishing up the explanation….
“So Liz agreed to meet him this Saturday at his house in Taos, and I’m going with her.”

Michael: intrigued at the thought that Max will actually meet his donor, not to mention the GC connection to Liz: he is still unclear as to how this is going to play out this weekend…
“So Maxwell, as I recall your mom is like in this total protective mama-bear mode, how’re ya going to escape? I imagine you’ll be needing us to cover for ya, so what’s the story?”
He doesn’t like the looks of Max’s grin: it’s like he’s the cat that just caught the canary.

Max: “Um, actually you’re right. I am going to need everyone’s help this weekend with my mom.”
Gives Isabel a warning glance as she lets a snicker slip out…
“Actually, I had a novel approach, the truth. My dad is helping me with part of it. He’s already arranged for Liz and I to stay with my Aunt Trudy in Taos, and he’s even talked to Liz’s parents and gotten their permission for her to go.”
Looking at all of the surprised faces, he now lets the other shoe drop…
“However, he’s leaving dealing with my mom up to me, but he won’t let me lie to her exactly; so I’m telling her that I’m going with Liz to Taos to visit Aunt Trudy and so Liz could meet her Grandma Claudia’s old friend from high school. But ya, Mom’s going to be rather persistent in keeping track of me, and this is where all of you come in. I was thinking that one of you could serve as a distraction this weekend. Someone that would really pull on her heart strings and that she would just love lavishing attention on.”



[ edited 3 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 4:12:36 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:15:29 PM
Michael: listening to Max and looking around the room at the potential victim this weekend: {Hmmm, Tess might like having a Mom for a weekend. Be kinda funny to see how Kyle would handle it. Why is everyone looking at me? OH HELL!}: turning back to Max…
“NO, NO WAY! Look your mom’s great but in small doses only. Two days is too much. NO!”

Max: “Michael, you’re perfect for this assignment. Look, you know my mom already feels guilty about not finding you that first night and you’re already family; add in that you are homeless this weekend because of…oh… say, a busted water pipe, why how could she resist a poor homeless orphan?”
This is Isabel and Maria’s cue to take over…

Isabel: stepping right into her part…
“Michael come on, I know how to handle Mom; I’ll be there to bail you out. Maria, didn’t you say that your Mom and the sheriff have plans this weekend, why don’t you stay over with me too, that way we both can help run interference this weekend.”

Maria: playing right along….
“Hey, that would be great, then I wouldn’t have to be all alone at night. Of course you wouldn’t want me to be by my little old self all night long, would ya Spaceboy? This way you wouldn’t have to worry about me, and you’d be helping out Max and Liz at the same time.”

Max: “Yah, you know I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important and well you are my second-in-command, and I could really use your help.”

Michael: he knows a setup when he hears one, but he also knows he’s trapped: this does nothing to improve his usual sour mood: looking over at a snickering Kyle: {maybe getting another victim to share the hell this weekend might make it more bearable? It would almost be worth it to see super-jock meet super-mom.}: still not liking it, he decides to go along with it…
“Ya know Maxwell, I don’t think me alone would be enough to keep your mom busy. With Amy and the sheriff both out this weekend, that still leaves two other motherless teens all alone this weekend. I’m sure she wouldn’t want that.”

Max: jumping in before Kyle can object…
“You know, you’re right. I’ll talk, no wait, I’ll have my dad give the sheriff a call. I mean it’s the least my folks can do after everything the sheriff’s done to help us.”
{Thanks Michael, I couldn’t have sprung that on Kyle any better myself.}

Kyle: terrified at the prospect….
“Now wait just a damn minute! I don’t need a babysitter for the weekend!”

Isabel: thrilled: {talk about entertainment? Oh God, this is going to be great!}: playing the guilt trip to the max…
“Kyle, you mean you don’t like my mom? Why?”

Kyle: flustered…
“What? No, wait…I mean…uh…”
Turning to Tess for help, he finds none.

Tess: delighted at the idea of playing Mom-daughter for the weekend, not to mention the potential fun of watching the guys squirm a little…
“Isabel, I’ve always loved your mom. She’s the best, maybe this weekend we could help her try out some of those new recipes that you were mentioning?”

Isabel: {love it, love it, love it!}….
“Oh ya, you know she’s got this great brussel sprout quiche that she’s been dying to make.”

Michael: cringes at the thought of eating it: {note to self: bring extra Tabasco, lots and lots of extra Tabasco. What the hell’s a brussel sprout quiche? Hmm, only one of us is leaving here unscathed, can’t have that.}: addressing the sole survivor…
“So Alex, care to join in the fun? It’ll be the six of us.”

Alex: knows better than to be sucked into this grand fiasco…
“Nah, that’s OK, you and Kyle enjoy. Me, I’ve got a hot date with my own folks for the Best of Elvis Impersonators Show in Santa Fe this weekend.”

Kyle: totally serious…
“Trade ya.”

Sometimes the Fates leave it up to the kids to figure things out for themselves. How else will they learn?


Chapter 8

Setting: Saturday Morning, Evans House

Diane: as she’s fixing breakfast, she contemplates this weekend’s activities: {I don’t like Max going away this weekend. What if he needs me and I’m not there? Aunt Trudy is a sweet old lady, a bit eccentric, but I don’t know if she’s up to this. Max would live on burgers and tacos if I let him, and I know he pushes himself too hard and doesn’t get enough rest}: seeing the apple of her eye come in and take his seat at the breakfast table, she brings him a plate and sits down with him as he eats…
“Honey, are you all packed? Do have everything you need? Did your dad give you his credit card? Max, do you have your calling card? Do you….”

Max: having been through all of this last night, as well as the night before, he pauses eating to reassure her, yet again….
“Mom, I’m fine. I got Dad’s Visa, and the calling card. I left Liz’s cell number on the tack board, and I’m all packed. I have my jacket, packed extra socks and underwear. Yes, I remembered pajamas and I will call you when we get to Aunt Trudy’s.”

Mom: she knows that she’s over-reacting, but she just can’t help it…
“Do you have plenty of money in case of emergencies? What if the jeep breaks down? Maybe you should take the station wagon?”

Max: “Mom, I have plenty of cash and Dad’s credit card for emergencies, don’t worry about the jeep. If it breaks down, I can fix it with a wave of my hand. I’m fine so please stop worrying. Besides it sounds as if you’re going to have your hands full this weekend anyways with quite a houseful.”

Mom: she has been surprised upon discovering that there would be 5 teenagers in the house for the weekend: {Poor Michael, imagine waking up this morning to find your bathroom flooded. Poor boy, I’m glad he called and asked if he could stay with us while everything dried out. He and Maria are so cute together; I’m really looking forward to having her stay tonight as well. Hmmm, I wonder how long Amy’s been seeing the sheriff. I never would have thought of that match. Philip was right to offer them our home for their kids for the weekend. It’s the least we can do for them. Max is right though, quite a houseful. Amazing, all of this happening in one weekend.}: she had been absentmindedly fussing over her son (fixing his shirt collar, smoothing his shirt down, brushing the hair out of his eyes) while he’s trying to eat.

Max: seeing his mom lost in thought, he doesn’t want to disturb her and run the risk of even more questions, but she’s driving him nuts with all this fussing: as his dad enters, his eyes plead for mercy.

Dad: walking in grinning, he calmly pours himself some coffee: taking a seat at the table he grabs the paper and scans the headlines, but he can’t escape the scene in front of him, especially his son’s obviously increasing distress: decides he had better intercede before Max loses it…
“Ahem, Diane, Diane, what time are all the kids arriving? Honey, did you hear me?”

Mom: coming back to reality…
“Hmmm, what? Oh, Michael said he’d be here after his shift ends about 1:30. Maria said that she gets off a little earlier so probably around noon or so. Jim said to expect Kyle and Tess about then as well. I think the girls are planning on going to that fashion show at the mall this afternoon, it starts at 1:00 and I expect they’ll be gone for a few hours at least.”

Dad: he can see Max is thinking the exact same thing: {that leaves Michael Guerin and Kyle Valenti alone with Diane for at least a couple of hours, all while she is missing being able to mother her son, who’s gone for the weekend, glad it’s not me!}…
“So I guess that’ll just leave the boys alone with you for a few hours? Uh, got any plans for those hours?”
He’s having a real hard time not laughing and watching Max is not helping; like father, like son.

Mom: “Not really, since it’s supposed to rain, I guess they’ll be stuck inside with me for a bit. I was planning on doing some baking this afternoon, I guess, maybe they could help a little? Do you think that would be alright with them?”

Max: “Mom that would be perfect. They’d love it, especially Michael, you know he’s starting to become quite the chef since he started at the Crashdown, and I couldn’t think of a better assistant for him than Kyle.”

Mom: not entirely convinced of this…
“Really? Honey, are you sure? I didn’t think that this was something most guys liked. I mean, you always seem scarce whenever I’m looking to ask you to do it.”

Max: priding himself on keeping a straight face…
“I do? I’m sorry, it must just be coincidence; but yes, I’m absolutely sure they’d love it. But now I need to get going. Mom don’t worry I’ll call as soon as we get there. Everything will be fine. I promise.”
Preparing to leave for work and the weekend, he gives his mom a kiss and a hug, which he has a little trouble extracting himself from, grabs his bag and starts for the door while he has a chance.

Philip: he’s been hiding behind the paper while listening to the mother-son exchange, and doing his best not to laugh: as his son prepares to leave, he is partially successful in hiding his amusement, as he accompanies his son to the jeep…
“Uh, Max I didn’t know you had it in for Michael and Kyle so much; I pity those two. I’ll be…uh… hiding in the office for a few hours this afternoon, so give me a call there if you need anything. Drive careful, don’t get a ticket and remember to check in a few times with your mom this weekend, or busy or not, she’ll make the time to chase you down until you do. Give Aunt Trudy a hand with anything she needs; she’s getting more eccentric every year. And remember no matter what you discover this weekend, you’re still Max Evans, our son, and Aunt Trudy’s favorite nephew and we all love you.”
Pulling out his wallet…
“Uh, things are more expensive there so here’s a little extra, take Aunt Trudy and Liz out for a nice dinner tonight.”

Max: even though it’s been a hassle, he’s glad that he has his mom and dad’s support: a bit sheepishly he takes the cash….
“Thanks Dad for everything and I will. I’ll call as soon as we get there. I love you guys too. Now I really need to run or I’ll be late.”

Setting: Saturday, Parker residence, a little after 10:00AM

Max: knocking at the Parker residence….
“Hello Mr. Parker, is Liz ready?”

Jeff: he had been shocked when Liz explained about finding Tom Barnett, he vaguely recalled the name: after reading some of the letters and considering how close his mom had been to his daughter, he and Nancy decided to let her go, but he’s still not sure how he feels about Max going along: although he was a little relieved when Philip called and explained about Aunty Trudy: even after speaking with this Aunt Trudy, he still has a couple of concerns…
“Hello Max, come in. We have a little time while Liz finishes packing. Have a seat while we chat for a moment…Ahem, so, you and Liz will be staying with your dad’s Aunt Trudy that makes her your Great Aunt, right? I mean she’s kind of up there in age, isn’t she?”

Max: {oh crap, now Liz’s dad too?}: putting on his absolutely-good-as-gold-innocent-me persona…
“I guess so, I mean she must be like in her 70’s or something, but sharp as a tack, she has this really cool quirky side. She never had kids, so she’s always spoiled her nieces and nephews rotten, especially Isabel and me since we’re the youngest on my dad’s side. You know my Mom and Dad wouldn’t be letting me go if they didn’t think it is OK. She’s really great and a blast to be with. Liz will love her. All the kids do.”

Jeff: if it hadn’t been for Philip’s reassurances, he would have never agreed: it doesn’t mean he likes it though: one last issue to check on…
“So how big is her house? A three bedroom?”

Max: “Uh, a two bedroom with a pullout in the family room…uh, I love the pullout.”

Jeff: “Good, glad to hear it, just be damn sure you remember that too.”

Max: needing to swallow first…
“Yes, sir, absolutely.”

Jeff: seeing the boy’s nervousness somehow makes him feel better: {instilling a little fear into him might not be such a bad thing. God knows I have more than enough of it to spare over this weekend thing. I can’t believe I’m letting my little girl go off with a boy for the weekend, aunt or no aunt!}: as his little girl enters the room with overnight bag in hand, he watches how she “lights up” when she sees Max: somehow this thought feels like a knife cutting right through to his heart: {I guess it’s true; a son’s a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter’s a daughter for the rest of your life. But I’m not ready for this yet!}.

Liz: “We should be going, it’s a long drive and we’re supposed to meet with Tom Barnett at 3:00.”
Giving her dad a quick hug and a kiss…
“Thanks for letting me go Dad, and for trusting me.”
She’s a little surprised when her dad’s eyes start to tear-up and he grabs her into a long bear hug.

Jeff: finally letting go of his little girl, he composes himself and addresses the young man that is taking her away from him…
“Max, you take good care of her. Stay out of trouble. Make sure she calls us the minute you get to your Aunt’s house. Be careful and drive safe.”

Max: taking Liz’s bag in one hand and her hand in his other as they finally get to leave…
“Yes sir, I will.”
He stows her bag in the back and helps her into the jeep; they’re on their way to Taos.

Setting: Saturday, Evans House, around noon

Mom: answering the door…
“Tess, Kyle, glad you guys made it. I’m so looking forward to having everyone over. Come on in.”

Tess: playing the part…
“Oh, I’m so glad you invited us. You know, it’s so great to have someone to actually talk to instead of getting to watch him, watch sports all weekend.”

Kyle: {how could Dad think this would be good for me? How’s it going to help me understand women? Hell half of the ones I know aren’t even human!} as they head into the house, he clears his throat and does his best not to gag on the words…
“Yes Mrs. Evans, it was so nice of you and Mr. Evans to invite us over so we wouldn’t be left all alone this weekend.”

This earns him an elbow in the ribs from Tess.
“Ugh.”

Mom: turning around upon hearing the grunt…
“Kyle, are you OK?”

Kyle: “Yes Ma’am, just a little sore from basketball practice.”

Mom: “Then you should take it easy this weekend. It hasn’t started raining yet and since we have a basketball hoop, I had thought you might want to shoot some hoops while the weather holds, but since you’re sore, that wouldn’t be a good idea. Why don’t you drop your stuff in Max’s bedroom and then come into the kitchen with me?”

Kyle: {arrrghh, it figures, damn, damn, damn! Oh good, can’t wait, but I ain’t gonna bake no damn cookies or anything!}: dropping his stuff off, he takes a quick moment to check out El Presidente’s bedroom: {humpf, nothing special. Geez, who’d thunk an intergalactic king resides here? Wait there’s only one bed. Why do I think I’ll be finding out how soft the floor is? Guerin better not snore.}: resigned to his torture, he heads into the kitchen, like a man going to his execution.

Isabel: having just arrived home with the groceries for her mom, she begins helping to put them away when the doorbell rings….
“I’ll get it.”

Mom: seeing Kyle coming in and slump into a chair at the table, she decides to get him involved with something so he won’t be moping around like this…
“Kyle, could you give me a hand with the groceries, dear? The sooner we can get them unloaded from the car and put away, the sooner we can get started on my cookies and cake for tonight.”

Kyle: heading out for the groceries: {did she say WE?}.

Maria: having dropped her stuff off in Isabel’s room, she greets Mrs. Evans in the kitchen with Tess and Isabel…
“Hi Mrs. Evans, thanks for letting me stay. I hope we don’t drive you crazy tonight?”

Mom: “Oh don’t be silly. I’m looking forward to having all of you here. Now you girls had better be going or you’ll be late for the show.”
They make a beeline out the front door and off to the mall.

Kyle: coming back into the kitchen with several bags of groceries, he drops them on the counter and looks around in alarm….
“Um, where’d they go?”

Mom: “Oh, the girls are off to one of those fashion shows at the mall, so I guess it’s just you and me until Michael gets here in about an hour. So let’s get these put away so we can get started, shall we?”

Kyle: {Max Evans, you’re one dead alien! So help me Buddha, I’ll get you for this if it’s the last thing I do!}.

The Fates are known for their sense of humor and are currently enjoying themselves too much to interfere with how things are shaping up for the weekend.


Chapter 9

Setting: Saturday, Evans House, about 1:30 in the afternoon

Mom: having Kyle in the kitchen with her has been an eye opening experience: she’s keeping a close watch on his progress {how could he not know the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon? The closest he must ever come to fixing anything is calling in a pizza order.}: she explains the next step…
“That’s real good Kyle, now we need to add the eggs. Let’s see it calls for two eggs, separated. So here ya go. Why don’t you go ahead with that, while I get the flour down.”

Kyle: looking at the eggs like they’re a science project or something, he hasn’t a clue what she’s talking about…
“Um, Mrs. Evans, separate the eggs from what?”

Mom: coming to his aide, she tries to hide her amusement {Oh Lord, he’s worse than Max, who last time I dragged him in here, refused to believe that there is no chicken in chicken fried steak. What an afternoon that was! Seems I have another one of his ilk here.}: smiling a knowing-mother smile…
“Here dear, let me show you with this one and then you give it a try.”
She smiles and nods her approval after he finally gets the hang of it several eggs later: {maybe I can have Philip pick up some more eggs on the way home? I’ll need some for breakfast tomorrow.}…
“Good, that’s good Kyle, now we need to sift the dry ingredients together before adding them to the batter. Here’s the sifter, it’s kind of an old one, so it helps if you lightly tap it against your palm it works a little better.”
She turns her back for just a second.

Kyle: the only thing that has allowed him to get through this is imagining a mini-Max in the bottom of the mixing bowl, and the pain he would be inflicting on it with each stroke of the whisk: {who the hell thinks up these things, separate the eggs, sift the flour, why? It’s all going into the same damn bowl anyways?} : getting a little peeved about his situation, he smacks the sifter with all his might.

Mom: before turning back around she calls out a warning….
“But be careful not to hit it too hard or you’ll get flour everywhere.”
Turns back around to see a flour-coated Kyle, she can’t help but laugh at the sight.

Kyle: {too late}….
“Um, maybe you should have said that first?”

Mom: hearing the doorbell, she’s still laughing as she goes to answer it…
“I’m sorry, dear…I’ll be right back.”
Greeting her newest house guest…
“Hello Michael, come on in. You know to make yourself right at home. Just drop your stuff in Max’s room and join Kyle and I in the kitchen.”

Michael: “Thank you, Mrs. Evans.”
He has been trying to prepare himself for this ever since Max sprung it on him, so far the only bright spot is that he isn’t going to be alone in his misery, and he has Isabel to run interference: {wait, she said her and Kyle? Just Kyle? As in alone?}: dropping his bag off, he notices Kyle’s stuff {dude, I’ve already done my time on the floor, the bed’s mine. Valenti better not snore.}: heads into the kitchen and stops in his tracks at what he sees: {Holy crap! How’d he get covered in flour?}: he starts laughing so hard that he has to sit down and is unable to speak.

Kyle: definitely not amused…
“Ha ha, ya right, real funny Guerin.”

Mom: Michael’s outburst is contagious, not wanting to laugh too much in front of Kyle…
“Kyle…um, why don’t you go into the bathroom and get cleaned up a bit? I’ll see about getting that cake going again.”
The minute he’s out of sight, she gives in and laughs her head off: after a couple of moments she’s able to bring herself back under control and half-heartedly admonishes a laughing Michael…
“Michael, stop that! It was an accident!”

Michael: wiping the tears from his eyes, he tries to comply {Oh God! That was great! Wish Maria could’ve seen it! Wait, where is she anyways?}: looking around for her…
“So, where’s everyone else?”

Mom: wiping up the counter…
“Oh, the girls went to the mall for a fashion show and Philip has some stuff to do at the office. Of course, you remember Max is gone for the weekend, right?”

Michael: {like I could really forget that one, why else would I be here playing stand-in son?}: as the girls whereabouts registers, he sighs: {Maria, Isabel and Tess: fashion show, mall: Yep, they’ve abandoned us. Won’t be seeing them for a long while. Figures, women! Alien or not, they’re trouble.}: looking around at all of the stuff out on the countertops, he has a good idea of what’s in store for this afternoon {I can handle this, no problem. I hope.}: putting on the most endearing-son smile he knows…
“So, what’re we makin’?”

Mom: “Well, I guess I should finish the chocolate mousse cake that Kyle was attempting, do you think you and Kyle can handle chocolate chip cookies?”

Michael: “Yep, no problem, um, with or without Tabasco?”

Mom: “I think there’s enough for two batches, so both. Just make sure not to mix them up. I don’t care to try out that…uh… particular alien quirk.”
As the afternoon progresses, she’s actually quite impressed at how comfortable Michael is in the kitchen, however the mess he and Kyle manage to make is another matter.

Setting: Saturday, Taos, in the jeep in front of Tom Barnett’s House, almost 3:00PM

Liz: she loved the ride up, the snow capped mountains were so beautiful: they had run into a little snow as they got higher up in the mountains, which slowed them down some and they barely made it here on time: maybe they could have a more leisurely return drive: not wanting to be late after rushing to get here on time, she decides to get things moving ahead…
“Um, you ready?”

Max: he’s nervous as hell about this, but dying of curiosity: Liz’s voice tears his attention away from staring at the house to staring at her: {hmmm, a much prettier sight.}: smiles when he hears her reply {thank you, now I think you’ve stalled long enough, let’s go.}: sighing, he gives her a quick kiss, and gets out and goes around to open the car door for her: they walk hand in hand up to the front door.

Tom: he’s been excited about meeting Claudia’s granddaughter all week; he’s never been one to talk about his private life much, but ever since that phone call he hasn’t been able to shut up about Claudia: he’s certainly surprised his daughter Cheryl with all that he’s told her this week: with a big smile he answers the door and begins his well rehearsed greeting…
“Hi, I’m Tom Barnett. I’m so glad you could come. Please come…”
His words get caught in his throat as he spies the young man.

Liz: walking into the entryway, she appreciates how well he’s aged: he’s a very distinguished looking gentleman with salt-and-pepper hair and beautiful hazel eyes, who is currently staring at Max with his mouth agape: she turns towards Max, and sees that he’s doing the exact same thing: needing to break the ice…
“Hi, I’m Liz Parker and this is Max Evans.”
She sticks out her hand for him to shake and is relieved when he finally does.
“Um, it’s a little chilly with the door open, do you think it would be alright if we… uh, came in?”

Tom: still in a daze, he can’t seem to take his eyes off the young man: finally her question reaches him through the haze, bringing him back to his senses….
“Oh, I’m sorry. Please come in. Let’s go into the living room, have a seat, make yourselves comfortable.”
As they all sit down, he continues to study his doppelganger: his mind races: {who is he? He doesn’t just look like me; he’s exactly like me, like an exact copy or something. But that’s not possible, is it?}: thinking back to his youth, a long hidden secret begins to resurface…
“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch your name?”

Max: he’s also having a hard time not staring…
“Max, Max Evans. It’s very nice to meet you.”
They both very slowly extend their hands to each other.

Tom: the moment they touch, he knows that this boy holds the answers to the mystery of his long hidden secret, a secret that has many questions: he’s only spoken to one person about it and she died a year ago: turning his attention for moment to the young lady, he has no doubt that history has repeated itself: remembering his manners…
“I was making a pot of tea, would you like some?”
He serves them the tea. They sip the tea in silence for a few moments: feeling that it’s time, he wants to find out who this Max Evans is and how does he fill in the missing pieces of what happened to him so long ago…
“Max, who are you?

Max: still nervous and uneasy, he’s cautious…
“Who do you think I am?”

Tom: “I’m not sure but I think you have something to do with what… happened to me back in the forties. You do, don’t you?

Max: relieved that he was right, that Tom does have an idea of who he is: at the same time this is about the weirdest conversation he could think of having: thinking it’s best to start from the beginning….
“Um, I’m pretty sure I do, but maybe it would be easier if you told me what happen to you then I’ll fill in what I can.”

Tom: nodding in agreement, he takes a deep breath and begins retelling his story…
“It was back in ’42, I was 15, just a kid, not old enough to join the war. We lived out a ways from town; about the only thing we had to do for fun was to go joyriding. That’s what we were doing, my buddy Fred and I, out joyriding in the desert in my dad’s old truck. Fred had snagged a couple of beers for us, but I’m not much of a drinker, so he drank both of them and promptly got sick and passed out. I was heading back, when this white light sort of just hit us. The truck stalled and suddenly I couldn’t move, out of the corner of my eye I saw something. It was sort of a shimmering image. It came up to me and touched my forehead. It must have knocked me out because the next thing I knew I was on this table. There was a light above me shining down, but everything else in the room was dark. I tried to get up, but some sort of invisible bonds were holding me down. I could move enough to look around though. I could hear things, voices, just beyond the circle of light I was in. I couldn’t really see them, but I knew someone or something was there. I got the impression that they were waiting for someone, for their approval; and then the voices stopped. I was already terrified, their sudden silence just made it worse. I started calling out, begging them to let me go. I was getting really upset, and then this image of a beautiful woman came towards me. As she neared, I got the feeling that she was the one they were waiting for approval from. She kept looking me up and down, I remember being embarrassed because I didn’t have any clothes on. When I started to cry, she came up to me and stroked my forehead, trying to comfort me. I guess it worked because I did calm down and stopped crying. That’s when I got a really good look at her, she smiled at me but it was such a sad smile, like she had lost the most important thing in her life. I actually felt sorry for her. Another… being came into view; it was glowing and was shaped like a human with two arms and legs; but I couldn’t make out any of its features clearly. She looked up at it smiling and nodded her head yes. Then the other being came over to me and touched me, and the next thing I knew I was back in my dad’s truck in a ditch, with Fred out cold sitting next to me.”
Pauses to take a drink of tea and collect his thoughts: he finishes his story…
“Fred seemed to still be drunk and didn’t have a clue what had happened, we managed to get the truck out of the ditch and made it home, where we were shocked to learn that we had been missing for 3 days, plus dad was pretty pissed about the new dents in his truck. They thought we had gone off and gotten drunk and wrecked the truck. I was grounded for the rest of the summer. I never did tell them what really happened. In fact Claudia was the only one that I ever told any of this to. She knew me so well that I never doubted she would believe me, and she did.”
Looking at Max…
“They used me to make you, didn’t they?”

Max: he’s been holding Liz’s hand very tightly the whole time: knowing first hand what it feels like to be held down against your will and not know where you are, he can relate to how terrifying an ordeal Tom went through: he’s glad that they didn’t seem to harm him: swallowing his tea, he tells his part…
“You’re right, they needed your DNA. They used it to recreate their king. He along with some members of his family was killed in a war. They have the technology to take their essences and combine it with human DNA to…um… well create hybrids, like me. We were then sent to Earth in incubation pods, but our ship crashed and things sort of didn’t go right from there.”
He’s curious about that woman on the ship…
“Can I ask you something? Can you describe what that woman on the ship actually looked like?”

Tom: he sits there numbly looking at the floor as his brain processes everything {he’s a clone, that boy sitting next to Claudia’s granddaughter, in my house, on my sofa, is my clone. Wait, what did he call himself again? A hybrid, which means he’s only part human and I guess part alien. This alien part is from their king, so is he their king now? Why send him here to Earth? Did they make any more using my DNA? What is he to me? My son? My twin? Who raised him? Am I supposed to be responsible for him now? What’s his relationship with Liz Parker? With Claudia?}: looking at Max, he realizes he had been asked a question….
“Oh, uh, sorry about that, I’m a little off kilter at the moment. Um, the woman… let’s see… she had blonde hair and dark eyes, not too tall or too short maybe 5’6” or 7”. She looked to be in her late forties or early fifties. She had a kind face, but like I said, she seemed very sad, even when she smiled, you could still see the sadness in her eyes. In a way her sadness made her even more beautiful. Do you have any idea who she was?”

Max: Tom’s description brought tears to his eyes; looking at Liz, he’s not the only one: he can also tell that she’s come to the same conclusion: turning back to Tom…
“I’m not certain, but I think that… that was the King’s mother. She would have lost her son and daughter, plus her daughter-in-law and her daughter’s fiancé. Her wanting to be there, to be a part of the process would make sense.”

Tom: as he thinks about it, he’s sure that’s who she was; her actions towards him were certainly motherly and it would explain the sadness that seemed to surround her: looking up, he notices how they’re interacting with each other, like they’re very much in love {that’s what Claudia and I must have looked like. Liz looks so much like my Claudia. I think I need to find out a little more}…
“Max, I think you’re right, I think it was his mother. But, um, if you don’t mind, I’ve got some questions I’d like to ask, about yourself and the two of you.”
They answer all of his questions about how they met, how Max already felt he knew her, who raised Max, about his sister Isabel, his former wife Tess, and his second-in-command and sometimes aggravating best friend Michael, about his friends: Maria, Alex, Kyle and his dad, the sheriff, and about his home and parents; and lastly Liz told him about Claudia and how special she was to her.

Liz: “Tom, in the letters you sounded so much in love with her, what happened? Why didn’t you two get married?”

Tom: smiling sadly…
“It was all a mistake. I had just graduated from college when I received my draft notice. I may have been too young for WWII, but I was just in time for Korea. A lot of those letters you have are from when I was stationed over there. We were planning on getting married when I was discharged. I had been there for almost a year when my squad was assigned to hold this ridge until reinforcements could arrive. The fighting was really intense and the reinforcements arrived too late. There were only two of us left alive and we were both in pretty bad shape. Somehow I had lost my dog tags in all the fighting; it was almost 2 weeks before I woke and could tell them who I was. But by then, the ridge had been retaken and someone had found my tags. I was reported as killed in action. It was almost a month before everything got straightened out and my family was notified that I was still alive. Unfortunately upon hearing that I was killed in action, Claudia left to stay with relatives in Florida, where she met and married Scott Parker. I guess they left for a little while for a honeymoon, it wasn’t until she brought Scott home to meet her folks almost two months later that she found out I was still alive, but by then she was already pregnant with your Aunt Mary.”
He went on tell them about meeting his wife, Susan and his son and daughter, about his three grandsons, about losing Susan to cancer four years ago and about his daughter divorcing and moving back in with his grandson, and how much he enjoyed having them there and about his career as a math professor…
“So, I guess that’s the story of my life. Max, I hope you’re not too disappointed about how boring my life has been in the last 50 years.”

Max: “Actually it doesn’t sound boring, it sounds… normal. Considering how abnormal my life is, normal sounds pretty good. It’s almost 6 and we have to get to my Aunt’s house before my mom calls all worried that we’re not there yet.”

Tom: “Max, before you go… I know that the Evans’ are your parents and all, but I want you to know that I would like to think of you as part of my family as well. I’m not sure how I’d explain you, but I would like for you to meet my family, that is if you want to?”

Max: he’s very touched by how welcomed Tom’s made him feel…
“I think I’d like that. Uh, if it doesn’t bother you, maybe I could be a long lost grandson, from that son you never knew about, that was the results of a brief affair you had right after you got out of the army?”

Tom: laughing…
“Oh ya, my kids are going to love that one! Now you better get going, you don’t want your mom to worry.”

Before saying their goodbyes, they exchange numbers and addresses and promise to get together in a few weeks, after Tom’s kids get over the shock of finding out their dad’s life wasn’t quite as boring as they thought, and he has a newfound grandson to prove it.

The Fates have always created families in many different ways. Marriage and birth are the most common; however it’s the ones that come together in unusual ways that can be the strongest.


Chapter 10

Setting: Saturday. Evans House, middle of the afternoon

Mom: sitting down at the dinner table to rest her tired feet, she looks back in her kitchen at two food-splattered boys in amazement {how in the world did they manage to dirty every single bowl that I own? Oh well, I guess it was worth it. Kyle still has some flour in his hair from the cake. Luckily Michael was able to use his powers and cleanup the smoke damage from when Kyle accidentally set the oven on broil for the cookies. I don’t know why they’re even bothering to bake them in the first place; more dough’s gone into them than the oven. I have to admit it was funny when Michael slipped Kyle the Tabasco spiced dough. Boy, Kyle must have drunk a gallon of water! I wonder what he meant when he said something about not being Martian enough yet to handle that much Tabasco? Hmmm, oh well, I'll ask Max about that later. I hope they all like my lasagna; it’s an old family favorite. I was going to try one of those new recipes, but for some reason they never seem to fill teens up that well; whenever I try one, Max and Izzy are always hunting around the kitchen for a snack later on. A couple of times I’ve even caught Philip making a late night sandwich as well.}: as the last batch of cookies comes out of the oven, she hears the front door open: greeting her husband….
“Oh, hello dear. Did you get everything done at the office? What do you have behind your back?”

Dad: looking around the disaster area that the kitchen has become, he’s not sure what to say about it: decides to take the safest route and say nothing: something told him not to come home empty-handed, and he’s glad that he listened to that something….
“Here are the eggs that you asked for and here’s a little something that I thought you’d like.”
Hands her a beautiful spring bouquet of tulips and daffodils.

Mom: touched by the sweet gesture…
“Oh Philip, they’re lovely. But you didn’t have to. Thank you.”
She puts them in her favorite vase…
“I think I’m going to put them in our bedroom, they smell so sweet, I want to enjoy them tonight.”
She leaves to place them in their bedroom.

Michael: curious…
“Mr. Evans, is today Mrs. Evans’ birthday or something?”

Dad: “No, why?”

Michael: “If you don’t mind me asking, just wondering why’d you get the flowers?”

Dad: smiling…
“Sometimes Michael, getting the lady you love a little something for no reason in particular is the best reason of all.”
Pauses…
“But a word to the wise, never forget her birthday or your wedding anniversary, it’s not a pretty sight. Now fellas, what the hell happened to the kitchen?”

Kyle: looking around and shrugging…
“Nothing really, we were just baking some cookies, why?”

Dad: “Cookies, huh? Are they any good?”
Takes a bite of the offered cookie…
“Hmmm, not bad, not bad at all. What are those ones over there with the little red hazard flag stuck in the middle?”

Michael: looking over to the plate…
“Oh, those are the special ones, you know, with Tabasco sauce for those of us who like a little spice. Uh, Mrs. Evans suggested marking the plate with something special when we had a little… mix up earlier.”

Isabel, Maria, and Tess are just returning from the mall, upon entering the kitchen they are speechless.

Dad: grabbing a few cookies from the “safe” plate, he decides he better leave the scene of the crime while he can…
“Um, guys join me when you get the chance, the basketball game is on, with it being almost the middle of March Madness the games are really getting intense.”

Mom: coming back into the kitchen and sees the new arrivals…
“Hi girls, how was the fashion show? See anything you’d like?”

Isabel: finally finding her voice…
“Mom, what happened to the kitchen?”

Mom: “Oh, we were doing a little baking. You girls should try these cookies, they’re really quite good.”
“Michael, Kyle, I passed by Philip in the family room and he was just mentioning something called March Madness being on and how you two would probably love to watch it with him? So, why don’t you guys take a break and go join Philip in the family room? Oh, here take some of these cookies with you. You two have worked so hard and have been such good sports about everything, I think you both deserve a break. I know the girls wouldn’t mind pitching in and getting this all cleaned up, would you girls?”

Michael and Kyle: taking a quick look around the kitchen at the damage they have inflicted, brings smiles to both of them: seeing the girls’ reactions are about to erupt: the same thought follows {YES, revenge is so sweet! Let’s get the hell out of here before they kill us!}: they beat a hasty exit to the TV in the family room, where the men of the house hide for the rest of the afternoon, chomping on chocolate chip cookies.

Isabel: she, Maria, and Tess: all have the same reaction to the news…
“WHAT? You can’t be serious? Why should we clean up their mess? It’s not fair!”

Mom: calmly takes a few cookies for herself as well as a glass of milk, she then addresses the fairness of it all…
“You’re absolutely right, it’s not fair. It’s not fair that Kyle and Michael got stuck here all day helping me, while you three took off for some fun. As for why you should clean up after them, Isabel I remind you of a family rule: those who cook, don’t have to clean: those who clean, don’t have to cook. They cooked, you clean, you’re the one who chose it, not them; so the three of you have no one but yourselves to blame. I’ll be back down in an hour to make the salad and put the lasagna in the oven. At least the dinner clean-up later tonight ought to be easier for you three. Don’t forget, I like my kitchen spotless. Now I’m going to my room to enjoy my flowers while I read for a little bit, see ya in an hour girls.”

Sometimes it amuses the Fates when the parents decide to teach their young a lesson or two.


Chapter 11

Setting:
Taos, Aunt Trudy’s house, around 6:00pm

Liz: checking out the jumbled front yard of the little bungalow that is Max’s Aunt Trudy’s, she doesn’t know what to think {I’ve never seen so many wind chimes, bird feeders or gnomes in my life! Max wasn’t kidding when he said Aunt Trudy was different.}: she takes Max’s hand as he helps her out of the jeep and with their bags in his other hand, they walk hand-in-hand up the gnome-lined walkway to the front door: she gets more nervous with each passing gnome {what if she doesn’t like me? What if she thinks I’m not right for Max? What if she thinks we’re too young? What if…}: she hears an amused and reassuring thought cut in {will you stop! She’s going to adore you. I know I already do, and she will too. And you’re perfect for me. }: they reach the door, she turns and gives the owner of those thoughts a long sweet kiss:

Max: relishing the feel of her lips on his, the kiss ends too quickly: licking his lips and looking hungry for more, he forces himself to ring the doorbell but whispers to his love…
“Don’t worry you’ll do fine.”
Looking up and smiling as the door pops open…
“Hi Aunt Trudy. Thank you for letting us stay with you.”

Aunt Trudy: she’s been so looking forward to having youngsters around for the weekend, they always add such energy and excitement to a home: smiling broadly at the sight of her youngest nephew, she wraps her arms around him in a warm embrace: stepping back to get a good look at him…
“Oh let me get a look at you. Why you’re all grown up. I bet the young ladies give you a run for your money.”
Turning a warm eye towards Liz…
“Or should I say a certain young lady. Hello, you must be Liz. You are such a pretty little thing, I can see why you caught the eye of my shy handsome nephew, here.”
She gives Liz a welcoming hug…
“Please come in and make yourself at home. Max, why don’t you put Liz’s bag in the spare bedroom and I guess you get the pullout here. I hope you don’t mind. Liz why don’t you come into the living room with me and get comfortable.”

Liz: taking in the sight of Aunt Trudy {Max is right, eccentric pretty well covers it: brightly colored, long flowing cotton dress, crystal pendant, dangly silver earrings, hair in a long braid down her back, and the warmest and calmest eyes I’ve ever seen.}: smiling at her kind host…
“Thank you. Um, but would you mind if I use your phone, first? I need to call my parents and let them know we got here ok. I have my calling card.”

Aunt Trudy: “Why go right ahead. Oh that reminds me, Max better call Diane as soon as you’re done. She’s already called twice looking for him.”


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 4:15:06 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:17:09 PM
While Liz is on the phone, Max comes into the living room…
“Max, come here, I want another hug. I just don’t get to see enough of you or your sister.”
After getting her hug, she backs up and studies him, places her fingers on his chin and tilts it up so they make eye contact: she evaluates what she sees…
“Hmmm, I think I see why Diane is being so protective. You haven’t been doing too well lately; your aura’s always been soft amber, but now it has streaks of dark chocolate running through it. You’ve been troubled lately. I wonder if that lovely little thing over there is part of the trouble or the medicine, hmmm?”

Max: he just knew she was going to do something like this, most of the family just shrugs it off as silliness, but he noticed a long time ago that she usually was pretty much on the money with her aura readings: he manages to keep smiling…
“What do you think?”
He looks over at Liz as she comes in after finishing her phone call.

Aunt Trudy: watching him watch her, she has her answer…
“I think maybe a little of both. True love is usually difficult; it has to be otherwise it wouldn’t be worth fighting for. But I must say that’s some twinkle you get in those lovely eyes of yours when you look at her. Now I think you better call your mom before she sends out search parties for you.”

Max: ducking his head shyly and blushing…
“Yes, ma’am, but then I’m under strict instructions from my dad to take you and Liz out to a nice dinner. So be thinking about where you want to go.”
He gives Liz a quick kiss in passing and continues to smile at Liz while making his call…
“Oh Hi, uh… who is this? Oh Kyle, so how’s it going? Uh, all afternoon with Mom baking, huh… no, I didn’t plan it; that was all Mom’s idea… yes, I swear it. Did Michael make it over? Cookies, are they any good? Hmmm, why’d you eat the Tabasco one anyways? Oh, well ya, I guess he was a jackass to slip a Tabasco one to you… What smoke damage? You guys didn’t burn the kitchen up, did you? Oh, that’s good… as long as Michael took care of it. Does who snore? …uh, sometimes. I just usually throw a pillow at him… no, it doesn’t work all the time… Huh, fashion show? No, Isabel didn’t discuss her plans with me…you what? No, you don’t have to worry about getting me back for this, I’m sure Mom will take care of that the second I walk in the door tomorrow. Just remember, you guys are only the stand-ins, I get it full force 24/7…huh, I’m glad that thought makes you feel better. Do you think you could put my Mom on? M’Kay, I’ll hold.”
“Hi Mom, we’re here at Aunt Trudy’s, so how’s everything going…uh huh, m’ya, Kyle mentioned something about that… ya, I’m sure it was amazing watching Michael work his magic, he gets some real interesting results sometimes… oh, so they are getting to watch March Madness with Dad… the girls are cleaning the kitchen? Oh ya, the cooks don’t clean rule, bet they loved that one {crap, I’m going to hear about that one from Izzy for sure.}…oh, we’re going to go out to dinner… yes, I’ll get something besides a burger… yes, including vegetables… and milk … oh, the visit went fine, Tom Barnett’s a real nice guy… ya, we found out a lot about Liz’s Grandma… ya, it was cool. Ok Mom, tell everyone hi and I love you too. Bye.”
Returning to the living room…
“Mom said everything’s going fine. So where are we going to for dinner?”

Aunt Trudy: “Well there’s Pablo’s, they have some wonderful veggie fajitas as well as the usual burritos and tacos. Oh, they’ve added this salsa-eating contest on Saturday nights; whoever can down the most of their hottest salsa without stopping gets a free dinner for their entire party and a huge jar of their salsa to take home. It’s just so wrong, but I have to admit it is pretty funny watching some of the contestants faces; what some will do for a free meal.”

Liz: looking at Max with a mischievous gleam in her eye…
“Sounds great, let’s go.”
Her thoughts hear an adamant {I am NOT entering that contest, so forget about it!}: now sporting a huge grin she answers {uh huh, whatever you say Max.}: hearing his final {I am NOT doing it and that’s final!}: she just happens to mention to Aunt Trudy as they’re leaving…
“You know Aunt Trudy, I’ve seen Max put Tabasco away by the gallon, I wonder how he’d do in that contest?”

Setting: Pablo’s restaurant

Aunt Trudy: upon being seated at the table, she inquires…
“Oh, do you still have that salsa-eating contest on Saturdays?”

Waiter: “Oh, yes ma’am. You’re just in time; they will be starting in a few minutes. Do you have someone in your party who would like to join in?”

Aunt Trudy: cutting Max off before he can object…
“Yes, my nephew here.“

Max: getting up to go join in this spectacle, he gives Liz a very dirty look {you are going to pay for this Liz Parker.}…

Liz: not even trying to keep the smug look off her face, she can barely keep from laughing as she continues to hear Max’s thoughts on this matter {I can’t believe you guys roped me into this! What do I want with a bunch of salsa anyways, I prefer Tabasco. What am I doing sitting up here with these people? Look at them, the bald guy to my left is covered in tattoos and leather, bet it burns when the salsa hits that ring in his lip. The one on my right must weigh 500 pounds and he’s already sweaty, what’s he going to be like after a few bowls of salsa? I want to make this clear that I am doing this under protest and you had better never say a word of it to anyone! Got that?}: biting her lip she sends him her answer {now Max, just make your auntie proud and win. How about I add a little extra spice to the contest with my very own special reward later on tonight for you if you win, would that sway you? }: it’s funny to not only see him mull that one over but also to be able to hear him as he does {hmmm, special reward, maybe, I wonder what you have in mind that would be so special that it would sway me?}: as she sends him his answer, she cracks up at how red he gets.

Aunt Trudy: watches in amusement at the looks the youngsters are giving each other; notices how embarrassed Max gets sitting up there on the raised platform with the other 2 contestants: she turns to Liz…
“Thank you dear, I had forgotten how much he loves hot sauce. He’s so shy and serious all the time. Why, just look at how red from embarrassment he’s already turned while just sitting up there. It will do him some good to loosen up and be a little silly tonight. Don’t you think?”

Liz: “Aunt Trudy I couldn’t agree more.”

Max: the contestants down their first bowl of salsa, the tattooed man in leather gives out a loud burp causing Max’s nose to crinkle {that was gross! I guess I can deal with it so long as it doesn’t come out the other end.}: after downing the second bowl the 500 pounder is drenched in sweat: {didn’t this guy remember to use deodorant?}: after the third bowl the tattooed man’s upper lip is quivering and his eyes are watering, he’s had enough and goes for the water: {huh, I guess that lip ring does sting after all.}: it’s now down the him and the 500 pounder: as they down the forth bowl the 500 pounder has sweat dripping into his eyes, he starts mumbling “oh God, oh God” and grabs the water pitcher, no need for a glass: Max looks around as the audience starts clapping for him {I guess I won. I don’t see what the big deal is, it’s not even that hot. Might be good on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?}: he stands up as they hand him his salsa prize and shakes hands.

MC: pushing a microphone at Max…
“Tell me young man, how did you do that without even breaking a sweat?”

Max: looking directly at Liz…
“I guess I just needed the right incentive.”
{you do know that I intend on collecting that reward as soon as the opportunity arises tonight.}

They have a wonderful dinner compliments of the house and return home late and very tired.

Aunt Trudy: “Well kids, I had a great dinner and I’m so happy you two were there to share it with me. But I think I’ve had it for the night. Max, I hope you’re comfortable on the pullout, you know where I keep everything so help yourself if you need anything. You know how I am; once I take my hearing aide out I can’t hear a darn thing. Oh and one more thing, behave yourselves. I may be almost deaf, but my eyesight is 20/20 and then some. So be good, both of you. Now, goodnight”
She gives both a hug and a kiss good night and heads off to bed.

Max: after Aunt Trudy’s door closes, he gives Liz a naughty look…
“I think I could use that shower you mentioned as being part of my reward?”

The Fates do like to allow those who have been good and worked hard to collect their just rewards, especially when they have been entertained so well lately.


Chapter 12

Setting:
Taos, Saturday night, Aunt Trudy’s House

Liz: looking into Max’s eyes that are blazing with lust, her tart reply catches in her throat: she is drawn to him like a bee to honey and is suddenly engulfed in his passionate embrace: their lips meet and their tongues start to explore: coming up for air, in between ragged breaths…
“Max, I thought you said something about a shower?”

Max: he doesn’t stop kissing her lips, cheeks, neck, any exposed flesh is fair game: as her words reach him, he simply picks her up and carries her to the bathroom: all while his wet lustful kisses rain down on her: once in the bathroom he closes the door with his foot and slides his hands underneath her blouse:

Liz: her whole body is tingling with excitement: everywhere his hands touch, her body seems to come alive: she moans as his hands begin to caress her through her bra: as her blouse magically falls away, his hot kisses leave a fiery trail burning in their wake: licking her lips she cannot bother with buttons and rips his shirt open to reveal his gorgeous chest, where her mouth begins its own journey of licking and nibbling as it roams:

Max: her assault allows him a chance to catch his breath and he throws his head back, closes his eyes and revels in the feel of her lips on his chest: he runs his hands through her silky hair, marveling at how intoxicating its feel is: her long tresses fall just above her bra strap, which he attempts to unhook: he’s in no mood for delays, as his hand glows the annoying obstacle is suddenly removed: he gasps as he feels her hand slip underneath his waistband and shudders as it reaches its target:

Liz: each taste of him leaves her yearning for more: as she strokes him, she can feel how tight his pants are becoming and quickly removes the constraining garments: her hands continue their ministrations and he groans as the ever increasing pressure builds to new heights: she feels him jump as her hands start to message his most sensitive parts in earnest:

Max: just when he didn’t think he could take any more, he feels her wet warmth surround him: his whole body is trembling, begging for release but not wanting the sweet torture to end: as she finds her rhythm, his breaths are nothing but ragged moans, just as he is about to lose control, she suddenly stops: he looks at her for mercy as the rooms start to spin:

Liz: she can feel the incredible tension he is holding back by the thinnest of margins: slowly kissing her way back up his chest she reaches his lips, but only gives him a light kiss: backing away before he can claim any more, she seductively reminds him…
“What about that shower you wanted?”
With one hand she turns on the water while the other continues to fondle his most sensitive parts: as the water temperature reaches the perfect degree, she slips the rest of her clothes off and steps into the slower…
“Don’t you want to join me?”

Max: her invitation is what finally gets him moving, grabbing at his jeans he finds what he’s looking for and practically jumps into the shower: wasting no time he pins her against the wall and begins ravishing her mouth: he feels her hands return to their previous fondling, he replies in kind: a tremor runs through him as he fights for control: his eyes relay his increasing desperation:

Liz: she felt his tremor and the resulting stickiness before it was washed away by the shower stream: taking the protection from him, she tears it open and unrolls it onto him: she runs her hands up the length of his body and wraps them around his neck and holds on: as her legs embrace his waist, she feels his hands slip underneath her bottom as he lifts her up:

Max: his growing desperation has pushed him beyond all boundaries, he lifts her up and against the shower wall: steals one more intense kiss before entering her welcoming embrace: as their rhythm increases, the tension between them builds until he feels her body start to clench and spasm in climax just as his starts to reach the same climatic plateau: he braces his forehead against the shower wall next to hers as his last spasms are finally released: returning to his senses he wraps his hands around her and holds her tightly in a loving embrace: blinking the water out of his eyes, he looks long and hard at her to reassure himself of her well being…
“God Liz, I love you so much, please tell me you’re alright, that I didn’t hurt you.”

Liz: she had been resting her head on his chest and holding him tight, relishing in the feel of not only him surrounding her but still being inside of her as well: his sweet words of concern make her love him all the more: she has to force herself away from the wonderful feel of his chest against her cheek and look up at her love: smiling into his beautiful eyes, she murmurs…
“How could I be anything else when I’m surrounded and engulfed by my love. I love you Max, and you loving me could never be anything but wonderful. Please don’t ever stop.”

Max: smiling at her and the implied double innuendo of her words, he kisses her sweet lips: touching his forehead to hers, his smile glowing at her, he has to break the unfortunate news…
“I would love to not stop loving you tonight, but I only brought the one condom with me and if we don’t stop, I’m going to be in serious trouble real soon.”

Liz: squirming a little against him, she can feel his automatic response start to grow: he lets out a plaintive groan: she decides she’s tortured him enough and they’d better stop before they both have some serious problems: sighing…
“I guess you better help me to get down then. I don’t want to take a chance on maybe hurting you and putting you out of commission for awhile, now do I?”

Max: he lifts her up a little and reluctantly withdraws from her: taking a deep breath in and out, he stands back and admires her beauty {God you’re beautiful. How did I get someone as beautiful and wonderful as you to love me?}: as she grabs a bottle of bath gel and starts to lather both of them up, he hears {because you’re my soul mate, silly. Now kiss me, then we need to get washed up before all the hot water runs out. And next time you better bring more than one or you’re not going to get a chance at anymore more sudsy-nookie again, got that?.}: he can see the laughter in her eyes as well as hear it in his thoughts {yes, ma’am, that I will remember from here on out with pleasure.}: they both hurriedly wash as the water becomes increasingly cold, which helps to cool them down as well: having been in a hurry to get to their shower, they kiss goodnight before slipping their clothes back on so they can discreetly go get their night clothes and prepare for bed.

Early next morning

Aunt Trudy: she’s always been an early riser; she goes and puts the coffee on and comes back into the living room to observe her soundly sleeping nephew {he certainly is out, he’s even snoring. His aura has more amber now; those dark streaks seem to be fading. I think he’s going to be alright as long as he has a certain young lady beside him. I’ve always sensed a certain importance to him. He has something in this lifetime that he’s supposed to do. He’s going to need her by his side or he’s not going to succeed. I’m glad he found her and that she returns his love.}: she starts to chuckle over the events of last night {she certainly keeps him on his toes. She brings him out of his shell, maybe a little too much. When will the kids learn that when you lose one of your senses the others overdeveloped to compensate. I may not hear very well, but I certainly felt a couple of thuds coming from that shower last night, not to mention an unmistakable rhythm coming through the wall loud and clear. Like father, like son I guess; I can throw in an uncle and aunt or two of his as well}: looking up as a sleep tousled future-niece comes down the hall: smiling warmly…
“Shhh, we still have a sleepy head here. Good morning dear. Why don’t you join me for a cup of coffee and we can discuss what a wonderful nephew I have.”

It always amuses the Fates at how shocked the young are when they find out their elders aren’t as clueless as they had thought.


Chapter 13

Setting:
Saturday night, Evans House

Dad: sitting around the dinner table finishing up eating…
“Diane that lasagna was great, as always.”

Mom: “Thank you dear. Let’s have dessert in the family room. So what’s everybody doing tonight?”

Kyle: “Ballgame.”

Michael: “Ditto”

Isabell: “How about a movie? Notting Hill?”
A collective groan can be heard coming from the male population of the house.

Tess: “What about a game or something?”

Maria: “Hey I know, I brought these old games of my mom’s that look kinda cool, let’s check them out?”

Diane: “That sounds like a wonderful idea, why don’t you go get them while Isabel and Tess do a quick cleanup.”
Looking pointedly at the girls…
“Which shouldn’t take too long since I found the table was set for dinner with paper plates and napkins, and plastic silverware and cups, amazing you girls found all this leftover stuff from last summer.”

Philip: looking over the games {I remember these: Life, Trouble, Twister. All oldies but goodies.}: addressing the kids…
“So any of these look any good to you kids?”

Tess: all these are new to her and she’s anxious to try them out, but one catches her eye in particular…
“How about this one, Twister? It looks kinda fun.”

Michael: cringes as he reads the faded directions: looks around and realizes that they are seriously considering playing this…
“You’ve got to be kidding? This has got to be one of the lamest games I’ve ever heard of.”

Dad: thinking back to his college days…
“Ahem, I believe I played it many times in high school and college. I remember it being quite fun, especially when the boys were teamed against the girls.”
That idea gives Michael pause for thought, with no other objections forthcoming, let the games begin.

Mom: “Since Philip and I are not as flexible as we use to be, we’ll be the spinners and just watch.”
Clearing the family room floor, they lay the game out…
“Ok left foot red… Next: right hand blue… Kyle, your other right hand… Now left foot yellow… Isabel, you can’t put your other hand down to help balance… Right foot orange…”

Michael: “That’s not possible, Maria’s butt is in the way!”
A loud SMACK can be heard by all.
“Hey, she just took her hand off of the circle, they lose.”

Dad: scratching his ear, trying to hide his amusement…
“Uh Michael, not if you wish to live until morning. I think in view of the circumstances, it’s allowable. Now if you can’t reach it, then the girls win.”

Michael: rubbing his arm, he gives Maria a sour look and reaches around her for an orange circle: he immediately notices a side benefit to this game {hmmm, m’kay, this can get real interesting, maybe with a little help she’ll call a green right hand.}: using his powers he gives the arrow a little nudge.

Mom: “Right hand green.”
Looking up she sees funny smiles on both Michael and Kyle.

Kyle: as he stretches to get to the green circle, he can feel Tess right underneath him: {OK, this just got fun}: he purposely gets as close as possible.

Mom: “Right hand blue.”

Michael: he had been enjoying the feel of Maria rubbing up against him and scowls when the next color is called: knowing he’s not going to make this next move, he tries a little something.

Mom: “Michael Guerin! Change that circle back to green right now!”

Maria: she is well aware of what Michael is up to and is secretly enjoying it just as much, but wouldn’t dare admit it to him: knowing he’s struggling to get to the blue circle, she decides to add a little extra obstacle for him to overcome: straightening her legs just a little puts her entire torso right next to his: she can feel all of him: turning her head just a little bit, she whispers into his ear…
“Well, hello there Space Boy. Coming my way soon?”
This causes a couple instantaneous reactions; the first one being Michael immediately loses the game when he crashes down on Maria: who in mock innocence….
“Hmmpf, was it something I said?”

Michael: gives her a smoldering look that reflects his struggle between wanting to kill her or kiss her; however his body has no such conflicts, it definitely wants to go with the kissing option: as she tries to extricate herself from underneath him, he realizes that he needs some help in the concealment department: keeping Maria in front of him at all costs…
“Um, you’re not going anywhere just yet. “
He takes her with him as he scoots over on the floor to sit in front of the sofa and plops her on his lap.

Maria: she is confused at first as to what Michael is doing: noticing the barely concealed grins all around accompanied by raised eyebrows from the Mr. And Mrs. Evans …
“Michael, Michael, this is embarrassing, let me up.”
The moment Michael sits her on his lap, she knows exactly what he is doing: she does her best to keep from breaking out in a huge grin: wiggling around in an attempt to get comfortable, she is greatly satisfied when she hears Michael’s almost silenced groan:

Michael: wrapping his arms around her in a hug, he whispers back…
“Nuh uh, or it’ll be even more embarrassing.”

Dad: looking directly at the red-faced pair sitting on the floor…
“Ahem, I believe we should try another game. How about Life?”
The kids put Twister away and move on to Life which they find quaint and rather boring until they change it a little to reflect some of their unique alien possibilities. This leads to a rather interesting game that lasts well into the evening. It’s after midnight when they decide to call it a night.

Max’s room late at night

Kyle: stares at the ceiling and listens as the snoring becomes increasingly louder: he’s already used Max’s suggestion, which only accomplished in him losing his pillow when Guerin promptly shoved it underneath him: Kyle’s interest is peaked when Guerin starts talking in his sleep: Kyle sits up in his sleeping bag on the floor and watches as Guerin wraps his arms around a pillow and repeatedly mumbles “Maria, oh Maria” over and over again: Kyle starts snickering until he realizes something, getting up and grabbing the pillow away from Michael….
“You are not using my pillow for your sex dreams, use Max’s. Or better yet go in the bathroom and take care of it. There is something totally wrong with having to listen to another guy have a wet dream. “

Michael: confused and pissed about being woken up…
“Huh, what the hell’s wrong with you? Don’t wake me again!”

Kyle: “Quit making out by yourself and I won’t! This had better be drool on my pillow or so help me Buddha you’re a dead alien!”
They both stop as the door opens.

Mom: she decided to investigate the loud voices that she heard coming from her son’s room, …
“Is there a problem here boys?”

Kyle and Michael: sharing an embarrassed look, in unison…
“No Mrs. Evans.”

Mom: appraising the situation, giving each a very significant look…
“Good, then we can expect a nice quiet evening from here on out then, right?”

Kyle and Michael: like the good little boys that they are pretending to be…
“Yes Mrs. Evans.”
They wait a few moments after the door closes before the pillows start to fly back and forth.
A little later that night…

Michael: he’s having a hard time sleeping with no pillows and Kyle’s snoring isn’t helping: he starts to hear moaning and rolls over to look at the source of the moaning, Kyle: perplexed {what the f**k is the matter with him? Why’s he thrashing about like that? Is he sick? Hey, wait a minute what just happened? Did he mumble Tess? OH CRAP! Better let Max know to get his sleeping bag cleaned and his pillows washed tomorrow.}: he picks up his shoe and throws it at Kyle, then quickly rolls back over onto his other side and falls asleep to a finally quiet room.

As the Fates know, boys will be boys the world over, or in this case the universe over.



Chapter 14


Setting:
Sunday morning, Aunt Trudy’s house

Aunt Trudy: sitting at the table with Liz, sipping her coffee, she takes a good look at this little itty-bitty thing that has turned her nephew’s life around {her sky blue aura reminds me of a sea breeze, strong and steady, one that carries new life to new places. Yes, her help will be crucial to Max. I hope these two don’t encounter too much resistance from their parents. They’re awfully young but they’ve already been tested and their love is true. I wonder if she knows this or not? Does Max? I think Max has an idea that he has something special he’s supposed to accomplish. He’s going to need help and not just Liz’s, either. I hope he’s talked to Philip and Diane. He’s going to need them as well. Hmmm, I haven’t visited Roswell in some time. I believe Max’s birthday is soon; maybe I should come for a visit and see how things are really going. Now I think I need to get to know this charming young lady a little better. }…
“So Liz, how long have you known my nephew?”

Liz: quietly sipping her coffee, she had been getting a little nervous under Aunt Trudy’s silent scrutiny, wondering if she measuring up: relieved that the silence is broken…
“Um, we actually met in the third grade, but didn’t get together and start dating until last year.”

Aunt Trudy: “Do you mean to tell me, it took that silly nephew of mine seven years to over come his shyness and ask you out? What in the world is wrong with that boy?”

Liz: giggling…
“It wasn’t quite like that. He’s just shy and well, I was seeing someone else for a time. Last year everything just sort of happened, that’s all.”

Aunt Trudy: “Just sort of happened? Hmm, well as long as it’s working out that’s all that matters. You certainly bring him out of his shell. Why, just look at last night, no way the shy boy I knew as Max, would have gotten up there on that stage. I think you’re making quite a difference in him and all for the better I might add.”
Getting up for some more coffee, she nonchalantly inquires…
“He’s grown up so much since last I saw him, tell me something new about the young man that’s asleep out there?”

Liz: warmed by the kind words, she doesn’t take time to think her answer through….
“He’s definitely more relaxed after talking to his parents.”
Immediately realizing her mistake, she tries to cover…
“I mean, you know how hard it can be for teens to talk to their parents.”
{Oh God, please buy it.}

Aunt Trudy: she does not miss anything {hmmm, so I’m right, something has been going on with Max and he did talk to Philip and Diane. Good! Poor dear, look how dark her aura has gotten, I think I’ll let it drop for now. I’ll wait and see what Max has to say.}: smiling warmly at Liz….
“Oh, I know parents can be so hard for teens to understand, that’s why they have wise old aunts to talk to. Now, how about I let you in on a little secret about Max?”

Max: still soundly asleep on the pullout he is abruptly awakened by a pouncing Liz: he has no time to figure out what’s going on under Liz’s relentless tickling assault: he is surprised that Liz seems to know exactly where to tickle him to get the maximum impact: laughing…
“Liz, stop! Lizzzz stoppp!”

Liz: laughing, she’s not about to stop: she had no idea Max was so ticklish along his ribs and under his arms {I’m definitely going to have to check out other spots where he might also be ticklish that Aunt Trudy doesn’t know about later on.}: as her assault continues, she notices an increasingly devilish gleam come over her victim’s eyes: as he grabs a hold of her and flips her over so he’s on top and begins his own tickling, she starts to squirm and through her laughing tries to protest…
“Max stop! That’s not fair! St…stop or I’m telling!… HELP! Aunt Trudy! Maaxxx STOP!”

Aunt Trudy: pauses to watch the merriment and smiles at the richness of both their auras as they combine to make almost a golden color: decides to intercede on Liz’s behalf, trying to sound stern…
“Ahem, MAX! That’s enough! I need to be careful of what kind of shenanigans I let go on between you two or your parents will never let me hear the end of it.”



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 3:12:27 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:22:27 PM
oops.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 4:19:44 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:26:06 PM
Max: grinning like a fool, he lets Liz up and goes give his aunt a good morning kiss…
“Morning Aunt Trudy. You’re right, we’ll be good.”

Aunt Trudy: giving him an amused knowing look {be good my Aunt Fannie! Why you little imp! After what you two were up to last night? Wait until I get done with you. Your dad obviously didn’t tell you about the time he brought Diane here before they got married now did he?} …
“Good morning sweetie. You certainly seem to have slept well. You must have worn yourself out yesterday. Why don’t we let Liz go ahead and get dressed while you and I catch up on what’s been happening in your life recently?”
Handing him a cup of coffee as they sit down at the kitchen table…
“So tell me what you’ve been up to lately.”

Max: still smiling while sipping his coffee, he tries to play it cool with his astute aunt…
“Oh, you know, the usual stuff, school, work, the normal kid stuff.”

Aunt Trudy: “Ah hum, and what about Liz, hmmm? I didn’t hear anything about how that happened in that explanation of yours. So let’s hear it.”

Max: dropping his head like the shy little boy he sometimes still is…
“Oh… um, well, she and I’ve known each other since the third grade… and um, we just kinda connected last year. She’s great! You know smart, pretty, brave… um, just great.”

Aunt Trudy: looking at him even more closely than she ever has {brave? Why would he say brave? What would she have to be brave about?}: putting two and two together, she’s certain that whatever it is he is supposed to do has already started: taking his hand in hers, she studies his palm: after carefully reading it, she then looks at him as if she is looking into the depths of his being: after some time she begins to tell him of what’s to come…
“You have much that you’re supposed to do, but you can’t do it alone. You will have to take chances and allow others to do the same. Remember they are doing it out of their own free will; you cannot always control them or keep them safe. You’ve already been through much and there is still much more to come. You are growing in strength and wisdom and with help you should succeed. Use your head but listen to your heart, it will tell you when things are not as they should be and will help you in times of indecision. As you know, it has already begun, but you still have some time for not all the pieces are in place. There is much riding on your shoulders, the mistakes made in the past cannot be made again, this will be your last chance to set things right.”
Taking a breath, she looks at him and how young and scared he is by all of this: tenderly she takes his cheek in her hand…
“It’ll work out as it should, you do have it in you. And you have already corrected one of the past mistakes; you chose Liz this time. She will help you to triumph. Of that I have absolutely no doubt, dear.”
Getting up to warm his coffee, she gives him a kiss on the forehead.

Max: stunned by what he just heard, he’s at a loss: finally finding his voice…
“How did you know?”

Aunt Trudy: smiling at her special nephew…
“I have always known. From the first moment I saw you, I knew that you were here to finish what was left uncompleted in your last lifetime. Anyone with a sixth sense could see that. Now speaking of senses, I think I need to clue you in on a little fact about what happens when you lose one of them and how the other ones overdevelop in order to compensate. For instance, when one loses their hearing, their sense of feel of movement and vibrations become quite acute and the walls in this house are not that thick, particularly the bathroom walls.”
Seeing how red his whole face has become and how huge his eyes are, she passes on a little more prophecy as well as a little history…
“Don’t worry dear, I don’t see children in your future for a few more years, not too far off but not next year. Also this isn’t the first time I’ve had to explain about the thin bathroom walls, just ask your dad.”
Looking up to see Liz coming down the hall…
“Looks like the bathroom’s free, why don’t you go get dressed and I’ll make you some of my special chocolate chip blintzes that you always gobble up by the dozen.”

Max: getting up, he wraps his arms around his Aunt Trudy for a heartfelt embrace…
“Thank you Aunt Trudy, for everything. I love you.”

Aunt Trudy: hugging him back…
“I love you too dear. I am so glad that you are part of this family.”
Backing up to look at him…
“Now go get ready, you have a long drive and you don’t want to get home too late or your mom will be sending out search parties. So get going.”
Turning towards the newly arrived Liz…
“So Liz, let me show you how to make one of Max’s favorite dishes.”

It is always important for the young to have wise elders to turn to; and since these youngsters are more special than most, The Fates saw to it that their elders were more special as well.



Chapter 15

Settings:
Heading south in Max’s jeep, just outside of Taos

Max: looking at the dark sky and then his gas gauge, he comes to a decision…
“Liz, I’m going to stop now and get some gas, those clouds look like they’re about to dump some major snow.”

Liz: a thought occurs to her that brings a smile to her lips…
“OK, but stop at one that has a mini-mart in it. I want to pick up some stuff for later on.”

Max: pulling into an AM/PM he uses his dad’s credit card to fill up while watching Liz head into to the mini-mart, calling out to her….
“Get Tabasco!”

Liz: smiling mischievously as she enters: picking up a bunch of different junk food and sodas along with the biggest Tabasco bottle she can find, she grabs a little something extra and goes to pay.

Cashier: “That’ll be $27.94.”

Liz: mortified at how much it all came to {I can’t believe those cost that much! I only grabbed a $20 out of my bag.}: hearing his laughter {well put something back then.}: she sends him an indignant {I don’t think you want me to put anything back. I might add that I wouldn’t have this problem if you had brought more than one to begin with!}: turning to look in his direction, she cracks up to see how fast Max is running in with cash in hand.

Max: back on the road, he doesn’t have too much time to ponder what Liz has in mind, the roads and weather are becoming increasingly worse as the snow starts falling in earnest: …
“Liz, I think you might want to try and call our parents, we’re going to be late getting home, this snowfall is really getting heavy.”

Liz: “Maybe we should turn around and head back to Aunt Trudy’s for the night?”

Max: turns the radio station to the weather and road conditions for an update…
“No, they said the road is still open and we’re almost to the summit. Once we get past that, the snowfall should get lighter. I hope. Besides this is a 4-wheel drive and I have mud and snow tires so we should be fine as long as we go slowly. Go ahead and call.”

Liz: “Hi Mom, um… no we’re OK… yah, we had a wonderful time…um, yah, we’ve left already, but it’s snowing and it’s really coming down in the mountains… so, we’re having to go really slow, which means we’re going to be late getting home… Uh, we thought of that, but we’re already almost to the summit and it should get better once we’re past it…yes Mom, Max is a very good driver and he’s taking it easy… I’ll give you and Dad a call once we get out of the mountains… don’t worry we’re fine, Max wouldn’t let anything happen to me…I love you too, bye.”
Looking over at the driver…
“One Mom down, one to go.”

Max: not taking his eyes off the road, but smiling anyways…
“That was the easy one, mine’s next.”

Liz: takes a deep breath while the call is going through…
“Oh hi… Michael, um, is Mrs. Evans around? Well, actually we are running a bit late… you see it’s snowing and… what do you mean we can’t do that to you? We’re not doing anything to you… no, we are not out to get you… now stop arguing with me and go get Mrs. Evans… Oh hi Mrs. Evans, um... oh, we’re fine, just fine, but … um… well we’re going through the mountains right now and it’s snowing and we’re having to go real slow, so we’re going to be late getting back. Of course if it gets too bad we’ll stop… yes, we packed extra jackets and gloves…yes, the car heater is working… no, it’s gone. Max patched the hole in the top before we left… yes, we picked up something to snack on in case we get stuck, plus Aunt Trudy fixed chocolate chip blintzes for us before we left… yes, Max did eat quite a few of them… yes, we have a couple of blankets… yes, of course I’ll take care of Max for you, don’t worry. OK, he sends you his love too and we’ll call again once we’re down the mountain. Bye”
Hanging up, she rolls her eyes at Max…
“Boy, you weren’t kidding were you? I don’t know if Michael’s going to be able to hold out until we get back. He sounded like he was getting kinda desperate.”

Max: smiling in amusement at her announcement…
“Yah, I imagine he’s ready to kill me the second I walk in. If he isn’t, Kyle will be. I hear Mom had the both of them in the kitchen for a good part of yesterday. Kyle didn’t seem to take to baking any better than I did.”

Liz: laughing at the mental picture….
“Oh my God, can’t you just picture Kyle in an apron? Oh God, I can’t wait to hear the details on that.“
Turning seductive: running her hand up and down his inner thigh, she delights in feeling how his muscles twitch under her touch…
“So, did you know Maria’s new nickname for you is Loverboy?”

Max: {OH GOD!}: begins frantically looking for someplace discreet to pull off: spying a road that isn’t covered too deep with snow, he turns onto it: he still has to use his powers to plow it a bit as he heads farther down the road that leads into a group of giant trees: he pulls off the road amongst the trees: giving a quick look around before he takes Liz in his arms and kisses her madly: coming up for air, he looks over and decides the backseat would give them more maneuvering room: he climbs into the backseat and pulls her into his lap where his lips resume their assault on hers.

Liz: she’s smiling against his kisses, delighted that she could make his control start to slip so fast: wanting to see how quickly she can make him lose what little control he has left, her hands start to rub and tease him through the thickness of his jeans: his low growl vibrates through her causing her body to respond with a sudden dampness and an ache deep in side comes upon her: desperate for relief, she takes his hand and guides it to where she needs it to be.

Max: as his hand slides underneath her jeans, he feels the damp panties, which causes his own body to rise to full attention: as his hand seeks to give her some relief, her moans of passion drive him to new desires: since his hands are rather occupied at the moment he uses his powers to rid her of her top and bra and begins kissing her newly exposed flesh: he hears {Max! Oh Max! I need more}: gently laying her against the pillow in the backseat, he easily slips the rest of her clothing off: his hand resumes its workout as he kisses her from head to toe: pausing briefly to look into her eyes, he smiles and descends to kiss what he hopes will drive her to new pleasures: the first tender kiss to this new place causes a jolt to pulse through both of them: he uses her increasing cries of passion to guide him as to what gives her the most pleasure as his mouth explores this new region.

Liz: her hands clutch at air as increasing amounts of passion sweep through her: she’s already covered by a sheen of sweat by the heat he is creating in her: with a strangled cry a new wave of passion is finally released: panting…
“Max, please. I need you now.”

Max: he froze as he tasted the last wave that coursed through her: he is going insane with desire and is now in extreme discomfort: with her last cry, he pulls back and quickly strips off his clothes: grabbing the paper bag from their earlier stop, he finds what he’s looking for and rips the package open: he unrolls it on to himself and pause to look at his love: her eyes are half closed but still convey her love: he licks his lips tasting her essence still on them: maneuvering over her, he hesitates only a moment as he enters her welcoming embrace: he finds his rhythm; as she wraps her legs around his waist, he pauses for a moment as the slightly new position causes pressure in new areas: adjusting a little, his rhythm resumes but with more urgency and depth: he cries out as the last of his control is finally expended: a moment later he hears her cries as he feels her spasms clutching at him: breathing heavy, he collapses on top of her and holds her in a tight embrace.

Liz: as he lays there resting his head against her breast, she runs her hands up and down his back and kisses him lightly on the top of his head: he looks up at her and smiles: with a twinkle in her eye…
“Hey there Loverboy, glad you came my way.”

Max: smiling broadly…
“Anytime, my pleasure.”
He uses his powers to warm some of the bottled water up so they could wash. They decide to take a little time to watch the snowfall and have a lunch of junk food and sodas. But all too soon they have to bid a fond goodbye in their little snow oasis in the backseat of Bob.

The Fates are delighted that the two lovers are taking every opportunity they can to deepen and explore their love. Sometimes love is the only thing you have to pull you through your darkest moments.


Chapter 16

Setting:
Evans House, same Sunday, late afternoon

Michael: he’s sitting at the kitchen table with Mr. Evans and Kyle playing poker and watching Mrs. Evans, who has been on a cooking spree: she’s been a bundle of nervous energy ever since Liz called early this afternoon saying she and Max were running late due to snow: this has actually worked out well for all of them, dinner was awesome, pot roast with all the fixings, homemade rolls, apple pie and peach cobbler, and she is currently working on a batch of peanut butter cookies, just in case anyone still has room for a snack: nope, definitely could be worse: he picks up the hand that Kyle just dealt {great Kyle, just great, you just dealt me aces and eights, a dead man’s hand. Great going, hope I’m luckier then Wild Bill, especially after Max gets a chance to check out his room tonight.}: as Kyle comes back to him to find out how many new cards he wants…
“I’m good.”
This causes him to get raised eyebrows from both Mr. Evans and Kyle.

Isabel: coming into the kitchen from the living room where she, Maria and Tess have been planning things…
“Mom, we’ve got it all figured out. Let’s give Max a surprise birthday party here next Saturday. Liz, Maria and Tess will come over to help us decorate. Michael, Kyle and Alex can help keep Max out of the house. This will be great, he so won’t be expecting it, since his birthday really is the Thursday before. I mean how boring, going out to dinner with your family for your 18th birthday.”

Mom: skeptical about this…
“Honey, I’m not sure Max wants a birthday party. After all, the dinner thing was his idea to begin with. He’s never really been into parties.”

Isabel: “Mom, it’ll just be family and a few friends. We’ll take care of everything, don’t worry I’ll make sure he loves it.”

Mom: “Well, I supposed we should do something special since he is turning 18, so alright.”
Hearing the phone ring…
“I’ll get it.”

Michael: underneath his breath…
“He’ll hate it.”

Mom: after hanging up the phone, she comes over to let Philip know who was on the phone…
“Philip, that was my sister Laurie. She and Rob will be coming through Roswell next weekend and want to stop by, probably stay the night. I guess we’re going to have a few more relatives than we planned on for Max’s birthday party.”

Dad: remembering how well Max has always gotten along with his cousin…
“Are their kids coming with them?”

Mom: “They’re supposed to. I hope Max and Robert don’t get into a fight again. I don’t know what it is, but those two have just never gotten along. “

Dad: keeping his face neutral {well it could be because Robert is a spoiled little brat that grew up into a bully that thought Max would be an easy target because he’s so quiet. Good thing I got Max involved in boxing and self defense at an early age. Plus it’s been a couple of years since we saw them, Max has really shot up and filled out quite a bit since then, Robert might be in for a bit of a surprise.}: making sure his tone is as neutral as his face…
“I’m sure they’ve grown out of it and will get along just fine.”

Michael: {NOT! Maybe this time Max will deck him?}

Kyle: quietly mumbling to himself….
“Maybe this party might be interesting after all.”
Hearing the jeep pull up {I’m free, I’m free!}.

Max: coming in the back door, smiling…
“Hey, how’s it going?”

Mom: coming over to greet her son and get a hug…
“Honey, how was your trip? Have you had dinner? I can warm up some pot roast for you?”

Max: “Um, ya, pot roast sounds great. The trip was fine. Aunt Trudy was a blast as always.”
He drops his bag in the laundry room and puts a large jar of salsa on the counter.

Michael: noticing the jar…
“What’s that?”

Max: taking a seat at the table, looking back at the jar…
“Salsa, long story, tell ya later. Anything happening that I should know about? Oh, hi Dad.”

Dad: clearing his throat a little, trying to sound disinterested…
“Hi yourself. Your Aunt Laurie and Uncle Rob will be staying with us next weekend, along with your cousins.”
Watching Max closely for his reaction: {Yep, about what I expected. Choked on his food.}: dryly…
“Could you maybe not fight this time? Your Mom would really appreciate it.”

Max: in between mouthfuls of pot roast…
“Um, ya, no problem. Could just I turn him into a toad instead?”

Kyle: thinking of all the things he’s done over the last couple of years just to tick Max off: alarmed…
“That was a joke right? I mean you can’t really…can you?”
{I really, really hate it when he smirks like that!}: deciding it’s time to get going, he especially doesn’t want to be around when Max walks into his room…
“Well, Tess and I need to be getting home. Mr. and Mrs. Evans, thanks for having us this weekend. It’s been… fun.”

Michael: {Kyle always did have good timing.}…
“Uh, ya Maxwell, I think I need to be getting back to my place. Need to get ready for Monday.”
The weekend houseguests say their goodbyes and thanks, allowing the Evans household to return to normal…well, almost.

Max: he is surprised that he has to use his powers to unlock his bedroom door: walking into his room, he pauses in the doorway with his mouth hanging open…
“MICHAEL! KYLE! WHAT THE HELL?”
He just stands there and stares, dumbfounded as the rest of his family comes running at his outburst: they are quicker to overcome their shock than Max and start laughing their heads off, especially Isabel, at Max’s completely rearranged and very pink bedroom.

The Fates always enjoy a practical joke. A good sense of humor is so essential to one’s self worth, especially for those that are fated to rule.


Chapter 17 (Part A)

Setting:
Following Saturday, in family car heading towards Roswell

Robert: he’s not happy, not happy at all about being roped into yet another trip to Roswell to see family members that he doesn’t even like, well Isabel’s not bad, in fact she’s improving more each year: slumping down in the backseat, he starts to voice his complaints…
“Why exactly do I have to go? I don’t even like Max and could care less that he’s turning 18.”

Laurie: sighing in frustration, her son has gotten more and more difficult each year: she knew this was going to be a difficult trip with him along, but this is family and family sticks together even if it kills them: besides she’s been very worried about Diane and her family: they were supposed to visit them last summer, but Diane had called and told them that it wouldn’t be a good time, something about Max not being well: it was only later when she had a chance to sit down for a real heart-to-heart with her sister over the phone did she find out that Max was having some sort of emotional problems and was waking up screaming from nightmares and not eating right: Max must be doing better now since Diane had no problem with them coming this weekend, although it must have been a rough ride for everyone especially Diane: her sister adored and cherished both of her kids, Isabel was always her little helper, someone she could be close to, the total opposite of Max: Max always kept his distance a little, even from Diane: as a result Diane worried and fussed over him more, always wondering if he was OK: it must have been horrifying finding out that he wasn’t OK: turning her attention back to her grumpy son in the backseat…
“He’s family and it’s been awhile since we’ve seen them. Robert, I want you to leave Max alone, don’t pick on him so much. He hasn’t been too well and I don’t want you to upset him or your Aunt Diane. You got that?”

Robert: irritated…
“Ya-ya, I got it. Don’t upset Max. What was wrong with him last year anyways? I mean, it had to be bad for Aunt Diane to tell you not to come.”

Laurie: “Don’t worry about it, from what I gather he’s seems to be doing much better.”

Robert: being his typical smart ass self…
“Must have been something his boyfriend gave him.”

Rob: “WHAT! What the hell are you talking about?”

Robert: “What do you mean, what? That Michael friend of his, last couple of times I stayed in Max’s room with him, he slipped in through Max’s window. Why else would one guy slip into another guy’s window in the middle of the night?”

Amber: she has always thought her cousin was a cutie and was really sweet, so different from her brother, whom she totally hates and refuses to go along with anything he says…
“You don’t know anything and no way is Max gay.”

Laurie: she’s willing to admit that there might be some truth to Robert’s statement, but she really didn’t know and it wasn’t worth getting everyone upset over…
“Robert, you will not, under any circumstances say anything about this to anyone. This is none of our business. Do you understand me? Not one single word. If Max has something to tell us, let him, otherwise keep your mouth shut!”

Rob: he almost cringes as he pulls along side the curb in front of his sister-in-law’s house: he has a bad feeling that Robert and Max will be getting into it big time: rolling his eyes, he silently prays for a little strength to get him through the next couple of days…
”We’re here. Robert, listen to your Mom. Final warning here, don’t do or say anything that will cause any trouble, got that?”

Robert: getting out of the car: not really listening at all…
“Ya, I got it.”

Setting: Evans house, same Saturday afternoon

Diane: she spent some time watching the girls transform her living room: stashed in the corner was her Southwestern style rug, it seems the girls are determined to get the guys out on a dance floor and the bare hardwood floor underneath was deemed perfect: paper streamers and balloons were everywhere, and there was talk of changing the ceiling light fixture into a mirror ball: to save her sanity, she decided to retreat to the safety of the kitchen and work on this evening’s refreshments: she had no idea where Max is, he had gotten off work three hours ago, and all she could get out of the girls is that Michael took care of it and don’t worry: the door bell rings and she hears Isabel call out that Laurie and Rob are here: wiping her hands on a dishtowel, she goes into the living room to greet her sister and family…
“Laurie, it is so good to see you. Rob welcome. My Amber, you are turning into quite a beautiful young lady. Robert glad you could make it.”

Laurie: after giving her sister a hug, she takes in the scene in the living room…
“My, this looks like it’s going to be some party. Where are Philip and the birthday boy?”

Diane: “Oh Philip went to the bus station to pick up his Aunt Trudy. And I have no idea where Max is. He doesn’t know anything about the party and I believe some of his friends are keeping him busy until it’s time. Here let me introduce you to some of his and Isabel’s friends. Laurie this is Maria DeLuca, Liz Parker, and Tess Harding. Girls, this is my sister Laurie Decker, her husband Rob, and Amber and Robert.”
General hellos are then exchanged and her guests go to retrieve their luggage.

Robert: coming back in with his bag, his mood brightens, as he finds himself in a room with four very luscious looking ladies: {Isabel, you have developed very nicely. I am so glad that we aren’t blood relatives; you even have good taste in friends. The little brunette is cute; the blonde with curly hair looks good for a quick tumble, but that other one, the one with the long blonde hair, now that one looks like she would be challenge. This might not be so bad after all.}: heading down the hall to Max’s room to drop his stuff off: {yep, boring room for a boring cousin. Man, how can he stand the boredom? I bet nothing exciting ever happens in his life.}: he heads back to the living room to where the action is: smiling broadly at the ladies…
“You ladies need a hand?”

Setting: Michael’s apartment, same Saturday afternoon

Max: now covered in grease and grime, he’s a little ticked off about getting roped into this…
“Explain it to me again why I had to help you take your bike apart and clean it? I mean why go to all this trouble when you could have done this with a wave of your hand?”

Michael: {because Isabel, Maria, Tess, and even Liz have threatened me with bodily harm if you come home early and this is the only thing I could think of that would keep you here long enough.}: …
“Maxwell, you of all people should appreciate doing things the old fashion way. You know, the satisfaction of a job well done. Besides, are you really that anxious to start visiting with cousin Robert?”

Max: easy decision…
“Uh, no. You got a point. Well at least we’re almost finished putting it back together.”
Checking his watch…
“It’s 4:30, Mom wanted me home by 5:00 for dinner, she said you’re welcome to come too.”

Michael: “Um, yah, I could go for some more of your Mom’s home cooking.”

Max: raising his eyebrow in surprise…
“You mean you want to come to a sit down family dinner? What’s up? You’re not planning on turning my room pink again are you? It took me two hours last time to change everything back.”

Michael: “Yeah, well be glad I didn’t listen to Kyle’s suggestion.”

Max: as he’s washing up at the kitchen sink…
“Yeah, what was that?”

Michael: in the bathroom cleaning up and changing into clean clothes: calls back…
“Gluing everything to the ceiling.”
Joining Max in the kitchen…
“So ya ready?”
They head over to Max’s house.

Max: as he pulls into the driveway and gets out and heads towards the back door: he’s surprised when Michael heads around to the front of the house: shrugging he follows him: as he opens the door, the house is quiet and strangely dark: just then everyone jumps out and yells “SURPRISE”: Max’s eyes widen and his mouth drops open: {Oh crap}.

Michael: quietly says in Max’s ear…
“Smile Maxwell or you and I will suffer the wrath of Izzy, among others, later on.”
He then gives his now smiling friend a not so gentle shove into the house.

Maria: coming up to Max, practically jumping up and down…
“So were you surprised? Huh, were you, were you?”

Max: determined not to grimace, he manages to keep his smile glued in place…
“Yah, definitely surprised. Uh, thanks everyone. This is…er… great!”

Diane: coming over to give him a hug…
“Oh honey, I’m so glad you liked it. The girls have worked so hard this afternoon.”
Crinkling her nose a little at the smell of grease…
“You have grease all over your shirt and I can even smell it.”

Max: “Uh, yeah, we were working on Michael’s bike. Um, I’ll go cleanup as soon as I say hi to everyone.”


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 3:15:27 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:31:37 PM
He’s kept busy for a bit as everyone crowds around to wish him a happy birthday: he looks through the crowd for Liz, he spies her standing back a little and grinning from ear-to-ear, he hears {happy birthday Max, I’ve got something special for you later on, if you’re interested?}: this sends a shiver down his spine and he now grins broadly for real: he replies {I need to take a quick shower. Too bad you can’t join me.}: he momentarily freezes when he hears {Oh you never know, maybe later?}: his heart beats a little faster as he heads down the hall {I think our water bill is going to be going up some.}: he makes his way to his room, grabs some clean clothes and heads to the bathroom for a very quick, very cold shower: afterwards he decides he doesn’t want to wear the shirt he had grabbed and walks into his room for another, he doesn’t think about closing the door.

Amber: she just happened to catch a glimpse of her cousin coming out of the bathroom, shirtless: she is so surprised by what she saw, she just has to go get a second look: very quietly she peaks around the doorway and is held spell bound by what she sees: practically drooling {OH MY GOD! He’s gorgeous! Look at how those muscles ripple! Man, there’s not an ounce of fat on him anywhere. And Robert always thought of him as a pipsqueak? He could mop the floor with Robert! Maybe I should warn my brother? On second thought, maybe not.}: she watches as he finally slips a polo shirt on: she’s so mesmerized that she doesn’t realize Max has turned around is looking right at her.

Max: he is surprised to see his little cousin standing in his door way: he has no idea why she’s there or why she has that funny smile: he gives her a shy smile in return…
“Hey Amber, it’s nice to see you again. I’m glad you could make it for the party.”

Amber: she starts to say something, but for some reason her mouth doesn’t seem to work too well: after waiting for a moment or two, she tries again…
“Uh, yeah…er…huh?”

Max: chuckling a little, he walks over and takes her arm and they start down the hall together…
“Maybe we should go join the party?”


Chapter 17 (Part B)

Setting:
Evans house, same Saturday evening

Max: escorting his cousin Amber to the living room, he sees that Isabel has made sure the party has already gotten into full swing: Isabel has already dragged Alex out onto the dance floor and Tess has done the same with Kyle: Maria is doing her best to talk Michael into it: he frowns as he sees Robert take Liz’s hand and start to dance.

Amber: she’s dying to get Max to dance with her: as she watches the other couples, she finally gets up the nerve to ask…
“Um Max, do you want to dance?”

Max: he’s so intent on what Robert is doing that it takes a moment for him to realize Amber asked him something: turning part of his attention to her…
“Hmm, what?”

Amber: “Do you want to dance?”

Max: “Oh, OK.”
He takes her hand and guides her out to the middle of the room to dance: he continues to watch Robert and Liz very closely: he starts seething as he watches Robert reposition his hold on Liz {if he doesn’t get his hand off your butt, I’ll break it! Why’s he holding you so close, it’s not a slow song. He better let go.}: he sees her eyes go wide as she hears him.

Liz: she’s a little surprised at Max’s strong reaction: because of the previous bad blood between him and Robert, she decides not to push it: letting go of his hands and coming to a stand still…
“Robert, thank you for the dance but I’m just dying of thirst. I would love to take a break and get something to drink.”

Robert: he was just starting to really enjoy this, she is pretty petite but has some nice curves that he was thinking about trying to explore: catching the sight of Maria arguing with Max’s special friend Michael, he decides that maybe he would like something a bit more challenging: turning back to Liz…
“No problem let me go get you a drink. I’ll be back in a second.”
He heads into the kitchen for a drink: coming back down the hall with two cups, he doesn’t see the table leg that just suddenly moves in front of him and causes him to trip and hit the floor.

Diane: coming to his aide…
“Robert, are you OK?”

Robert: he’s not sure how it happened, but he is now covered in orange soda…
“I’m fine. Sorry for the mess. I guess I didn’t see the table. My bag is in Max’s room. I think I’ll go change my shirt.”

Max: he’s now smiling broadly and starts to really get into dancing with his cousin: {one more dance with her, then with Liz for the rest of the night.}: just as the second song ends, his Dad comes in the front door with his very favorite Aunt: grinning, he immediately goes over to greet her…
“Aunt Trudy, what a great surprise!”

Aunt Trudy: getting a big warm hug from her nephew…
“Oh sweetie, how could I miss your big 18th? Now let’s take a look at you. Hmmm, yep looks like you’re still doing pretty good. That must mean that little lady I met last weekend is here with you.”

Liz: coming forward, smiling…
“Hi Aunt Trudy, it’s good to see you again.”
She also gets a warm hug.

Aunt Trudy: after hugging, she looks at Liz for a moment {these two are just so good for each other.}…
“I can see that you’ve been taking good care of my nephew. And has he been doing the same?”

Liz: “But of course.”
Turning to look for her friend, whom she just knows is going to love Aunt Trudy: spotting her, she waves…
“Maria, Maria, come here. You’ve just got to meet Max’s Aunt Trudy.”

Maria: she’s in the middle of exchanging barbs with a certain Spaceboy when she hears Liz calling her…
“OK, I don’t want to hear anymore about how you can’t dance. You’ll never learn if you don’t try, so after I find out what’s up with Liz be prepared to “trip the light fantastic”. I’ll be right back and don’t you dare try to slip out the back door.”
She turns on her heels and heads over to Liz.

Michael: mumbling to himself…
“Tripping would be key word here.”

Maria: coming up to Liz and a newly arrived guest…
“Hey babe, what’s up?”

Liz: “Maria, meet Aunt Trudy. As in the aura reading Aunt Trudy from Taos.”

Maria: getting excited…
“Oh my God, you’re this awesome Aunt that Liz was telling me about? So does this aura reading gift travel with you? Or does it work only in certain environments?”

Aunt Trudy: amused by the little spitfire standing in front of her, she already adores her…
“Awesome Aunt, huh, I guess that’s me. As for my gift, well, it usually travels with me. What did you have in mind dear?”

Maria: looking over her shoulder at her brooding Spaceboy….
“So no problems getting a reading on Max?”

Aunt Trudy: following Maria’s gaze to the tall boy slouching against the far wall…
“Problems? No problems, I could read him like an open book. I take it you might be interested in a reading for yourself or someone else, perhaps?”

Maria: linking her arm with Aunt Trudy’s…
“Perhaps. Would you like to get something to drink? And maybe we could chat a little?”

Aunt Trudy: “I would love a cup of tea. What should we chat about?”
With a twinkle in her eye and a grin, she allows herself to be escorted to the kitchen.

Robert: he had just come back out with a clean shirt on and was getting ready to make his move on Miss DeLuca when she went over to greet that kooky Aunt of Max’s: sighing, he decides to give Liz another try: she’s standing by the doorway with Max, they certainly seem to be cozy: {that display must be just for his parents. I bet he hasn’t “come out of the closet” yet.}: he confidently strolls over to where they are standing…
“Hey there cuz. Big 18 huh. I guess the baby of the family finally grew up. So Liz, sorry about the drink thing. Did you want to come with me to get something? To drink that is.”

Liz: placing a calming hand on Max’s chest, she swears she can actually feel steam rising off of him: attempting to keep things and a certain alien under control {Max, chill a little, I can handle this.}: with a forced get-lost smile…
“That’s alright Robert. Max has already gotten me everything I need. If you’ll excuse us please, he’s promised this next dance to me.”
She hauls her still glaring boyfriend back to the dance floor just as a slow song starts to play.

Robert: {shit! I wonder if Aunt Diane has any beer stashed in the back of the frig? That’s what I need, an ice cold beer to go with a slice of pizza.}: heading towards the kitchen, he doesn’t notice the ottoman that seems to move right in front of him all on its own: next thing he knows, his dad is helping him up off the floor.

Rob: coming over to make sure he’s alright…
“Robert, are you OK? Let’s go in the bathroom and get that bloody nose taken care of.”

Max: his smile becomes a bit more animated as he holds Liz just a little more closely: mumbling into her ear…
“Have I told you how much I love you today.”

Liz: shaking her head “no”…
“Nope not yet. Why don’t you show me instead? You know I’m getting awfully hot and sweaty with all this dancing. Didn’t you mention something about a shower earlier?”

Max: he looks around to make sure everyone else is busy: taking her hand, they quietly and quickly slip upstairs to his parents’ master bath.

Maria: sitting at the Evans’s kitchen table with Aunt Trudy…
“So Aunt Trudy, what can you tell me about my future?”

Aunt Trudy: taking her hand to study, she then studies the girl herself {my, what a vibrant orange aura. Orange, like a sun, can bring a great deal of warmth, but one must always be careful when a sun is having a flare-up. Those can burn, if one happens to be directly in its path. Yes, she’s definitely a ball of fire. It’s going to take a strong one to balance her. }: smiling at the girl…
“Let’s see, you have already started down a path that has led you to adventure, and even a little danger and there is much more to come. You may think you want a smooth, simple road in life, but you would find that boring. Which is a good thing because there will be many twists and turns and even some bumps and bruises along the way. In the end though, it will give you what you wanted all along.”

Michael: walking in the kitchen looking for Maria: he spots her at the table with Aunt Trudy…
“Hey, I thought you were coming right back.”

Maria: excited, she grabs Michael’s hand and practically forces him to sit down with them…
“Michael, meet Aunt Trudy. Aunt Trudy, meet Michael Guerin. Michael, Aunt Trudy was just giving me a reading. Aunt Trudy, do you think you could give Michael one too?”

Michael: {Oh hell, this is all I need.}: clearing his throat trying to be polite…
“Aunt Trudy, I’m sure it would be very interesting, but I really don’t think…”

Aunt Trudy: she had been studying him from the moment he walked in {this one thinks he’s complex, but he’s not. Like most with purple auras, he’s loyal. He doesn’t trust easily, but once he does it’s for life. Or in his case maybe for lives? He wants action, but craves the stability of a home life. He thinks he’s gruff but he’s really a teddy bear. He has a great deal of inner strength, but needs someone to help give him the confidence to use it.}: looking at the little ball of fire sitting with him, and smiling {he needs her to help balance himself, just like Max needs Liz. Max, that’s it, he stood beside Max in his last lifetime and he’ll do it again in this one as well!}: this is too important for him not to listen, so she interrupts his “no thanks” speech and drops a bomb shell on him to get his attention…
“You stood beside him before, and you’ll be by his side this time as well.”

Michael: his mouth is hanging open in shock: he blinks several times before his brain can get his mouth working…
“WHAT! What the hell are you talking about?”

Aunt Trudy: {ah ha, he knows already.}: unperturbed by his outburst, she calmly continues…
“You were by Max’s side last time. You’ll stand by him again. He needs you. You force him to take action. He tends to be too passive and you too aggressive, but together you’re balanced. He needs you as much as he needs Liz. She gives him the strength that he needs; you give him the cause to use it. With your help as well as others, you and he will be successful.”
She pauses for a moment to let this all sink in: she notes that Maria has taken his hand for support: smiling at this…
“As for Max needing Liz, well, he’s not the only one that has found his tower of strength.”


Chapter 17 (Part C)

Setting:
Evans House, parents’ masterbath, same Saturday

Max: not only does he lock the bathroom door, but he seals it shut as well: his parents had redone their bathroom a few years ago, it had one of those extra large shower stalls with a bench to sit on, a partial wall of thick glass blocks instead of a door and multiple shower heads that gives one a full body shower: he briefly considers the whirlpool bathtub, but decides the shower has more maneuvering room: he advances towards Liz, only to have her step away: he walks around behind her and can smell the lavender shampoo she must have used: he goes to run his hands through her hair, only to have her once again step away from him: a little confused {huh? Liz, I thought….}: her reply is very coy {you know what they say, half the fun is in the chase.}: with a devilish grin he advances one again, practically growling…
“Come here Liz.”

Liz: matching his grin…
“Nuh uh, come and get me.”

Max: he once again advances towards her but this time he manages to grab her before she can get away: he spins her around and nuzzles her neck: {Mmmm, you taste good.}: he holds her in a tight embrace while his lips continue to roam her throat, cheeks, lips: he can feel her hands run down his back and as they reach his butt, they give it a hard squeeze: this so startles him that he loosens his embrace.

Liz: she backs up a little, allowing a bit more room to reach around front: she slips her hand under his waistband: she can feel him come alive: as she runs her hands along his increasing length, the heat he radiates only adds to her own burning fire: smacking her lips in hunger…
“Mmmm, you’re so hot right now Max. Good thing we’re taking a shower.”
Stepping away from him, he is spell bound by her as she turns on the shower, slips off her shoes, her dress and says one word to him…
“Strip.”

Max: that is one command this young king will always be willing to follow when it’s coming from her and he quickly complies: he steps over to her and takes her in his arms and assists her in removing the rest of her clothes: his hands cannot get enough of exploring her: she’s so soft, so hot, so delectable, he wants, no needs, all of her: where ever his hands roam, his lips follow: as she reaches for his most delicate parts and begins to gently message them a moan escapes his lips: he notices the steam rising out of the shower and begins to back into the shower stall: he doesn’t feel the water as it hits him; he’s too busy devouring her lips with his: her hands continue their sweet torture of him, taking him to dizzying heights: his whole body feels like a finely tuned instrument, and Liz knows exactly how to play it: he is swimming in a sea of desire: as his fingers slip into her, they are welcomed by a spasm of wet warmth cascading down.

Liz: every inch of her is craving him: as his fingers begin to massage her ache, a wave of euphoria overcomes her: moaning…
Ohhhh, Mmmmm, Max, Oh Max, pleeeeassse.”

Max: his taut muscles are straining to be released: hearing her cries, he takes her mouth in his for a moment before he turns to get what’s in his pants pocket: he quickly comes back, tears open the package and starts to put it on when Liz suddenly takes it from him: the feel of her slowly gliding it onto him is almost more than he can bear: the room begins to feel like it’s tilting and he sees spots before his eyes: his knees suddenly feel weak and he has to sit down on the shower bench.

Liz: he’s sitting on the bench looking up at her with pleading eyes: she takes the few steps to where he’s sitting, runs her hands through his hair and kisses him passionately: her hand wanders over him until it reaches its target, where she starts to lightly stroke him: she’s amazed that he has been able to keep control for so long: she climbs onto and straddles his lap: as she begins to lower herself onto him, she feels his hands slip around her to cup her bottom and give it a good squeeze: this unexpected move makes her jump a little which causes some muscles that she didn’t even know she had to contract, sending waves of pleasure to new areas: his supporting hands help her to find a rhythm that soon drive them both over the brink….
“Ooohhh, oooh God, mmmm Max, ooooh Max!”
She can feel as he explodes inside her: she comes to a stop; wraps her arms around his neck and rests her head on his shoulder: after a few minutes she catches her breath and whispers in his ear…
“Happy Birthday Loverboy.”

Meanwhile, back at the party downstairs…

Alex: he sees Mrs. Evans fiddling with a camcorder and frowning: coming over to her…
“Is something wrong Mrs. Evans?”

Diane: frustrated…
“This is the new camera Philip bought me last Christmas. I only used it once, but I can’t seem to get it to work again.”

Alex: “I know a thing or two about cameras, let me take a look.”
After playing around with it a little…
“It doesn’t seem to be getting any juice. I bet the battery is dead. Do have a backup battery?’

Diane: “You know I bet you’re right. I totally forgot to charge it last night. Yes, I do have another one, I hope there’s some charge left on it. I’ll go get it, it’s in the camera bag. I think I left it sitting on my bed.”



Chapter (Part 17D)

Setting:
Evans house, downstairs at the party, same Saturday evening

Alex: looking at all the activity going on in the kitchen with getting the birthday cake ready: nodding towards the kitchen…
“I’ll take care of this for you. Looks like you have enough to do in there.”

Diane: relieved…
“Oh, would you? That would be wonderful. Thank you.”
She heads into the kitchen, while Alex goes upstairs.

Alex: he quickly finds the camera bag on the bed and rummages through it for the extra battery pack: he thinks he hears something and pauses to listen for a moment: he decides it must be his imagination until he hears “Ooohhh, oooh God, mmmm Max, ooooh Max!” coming from the bathroom: his eyes grow wide and he starts snickering.

Isabel: coming into her parents’ room in search of Alex…
“So did you find the extra battery? What’s so funny?”
She hears someone in her parents’ bathroom…
“What was that? Alex, do you know who’s in there?”

Alex: grinning like an idiot…
“Oh, I think it’s the illustrious King.”

Isabel: her brother never changes, he’s not real big on the social scene: deciding that she is not going to let her brother hide out in the bathroom, but he is going to get his butt downstairs and enjoy his birthday party even if it kills him: going over to the door, she pounds on it…
“Max! Get out here right now!”
She can hear hurried movement on the other side and an answering…
“Just a minute.”

Alex: he’s in a quandary, he really should tell Isabel about Liz, but for some reason that he’ll have to think of later, he decides not to: he stands a safe distance away, but makes sure he has a clear view of any action: he doesn’t have long to wait.

Isabel: she tries the handle, only to find it locked: pounding on the door again…
“Max, you are NOT going to hide in the bathroom all night! This is your party and you are going to attend it. Now come out now or I’ll come in and drag you out!”

Max: he and Liz are very hurriedly trying to get dressed: he had already used his powers to dry them off when they first heard Isabel, they are moving even faster now because he has no doubts that Isabel will do exactly what she’s threatening to do: trying to stall…
“I’ll be right out. I’m a little busy at the moment.”

Isabel: “Bull, you’re stalling. I’m counting to 10 then I’m coming in. 1, 2, 3, 4 ….”

Max: {Oh shit!}: quickly pulling on his pants: he scans around the room until he locates his shirt: {socks, where the hell are my socks?}: he freezes as the door opens.

Isabel: she is surprised that she has to use her powers to open the door…
“10, Max, get the hell out…”
There’s her brother, standing there holding his socks: next to him is Liz trying to fix her hair: there’s water on the floor in front of the shower and both of them have guilt written all over: disgusted…
“I don’t believe this. Couldn’t you get a motel room later or something? You have a house full of guests and you decide to, to…. I don’t even want to say it, let alone think it! And in Mom and Dad’s shower no less. Now I’ll never be able to use their shower again without thinking of what you were doing in it. You had better not have… not in the whirlpool bath or you’re one dead King. I love that bathtub!”

Max: swallowing, he nervously shakes his head…
“Um, no, the bathtub’s… safe.”

Liz: at first she was horrified, but now watching Isabel go off on Max, it’s just too funny: she does not miss Alex standing back behind Isabel taking it all in with a big grin on his face: she decides to distract some of Isabel’s wrath…
“Isabel, you know I could really use your help. I mean Max was great using his powers to dry my hair and all, but he’s lacking a little in the makeup department. Do you think you could give me a hand with it? Oh and maybe try a new hairstyle too?”

Isabel: giving her brother a deadly glare….
“Aarghhh!”
She hears laughter coming from behind, she turns and sees Alex: he’s laughing so hard, he’s holding his sides and his eyes are watering: at first she’s angry then she has another thought {ok, little brother, you are not going to forget this incident because I’m not going to let you. You are going to pay for my silence and pay big time. And as for you, Alex… well, I’ll deal with you later.}: she suddenly realizes how funny this situation really is, but she’s not going to let Max know: turning back around, she gives her bother a menacing look, then turns to Liz with an amused smile…
“Sure come on, let’s go into my bedroom. I’ll get you fixed up in a jiffy.”
As she and Liz walk out of the bedroom together, she turns back around…
“Oh Alex, see if you can help get Max and the bathroom get put back together? They both seem to need a little help.”

Alex: in between fits of laughter…
“Yes Ma’am.”
He heads into the bathroom.

Robert: he came upstairs to investigate some yelling that he thought he had heard: he peeks into his Aunt Diane’s bedroom: he hears laughter coming from the bathroom: he goes to see who it is: he comes upon Max and Alex in the bathroom together, picking up wet towels and straightening up: {Christ, Alex too? The kid’s a dork, but I thought he was Isabel’s boyfriend not Max’s}: he decides he would rather not know anything further and quietly slips back down the stairs unnoticed.


Chapter 17 (Part E)

Setting:
Same, downstairs at the party

Robert: he’s thoroughly sick at the thought of what he almost walked in on upstairs: he decides to head into the kitchen to get another beer from the stash he found in the back of the refrigerator: in the kitchen he finds his Aunt Diane and Maria DeLuca putting birthday candles on the cake.

Diane: “Oh Robert, have you seen Max? I want him to come and blow his candles out, so we can serve it.”

Robert: {well now, let’s see this would be the perfect way to get my dear little cousin busted by his Mommy. Hmmm, can’t pass up that opportunity.}…
“As a matter of fact I did. He was up in your bathroom.”

Diane: “Oh, OK. I’ll go get him. Maria, could you take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften a little?”
She leaves to get Max and passes Michael in the hall.

Robert: he takes a quick look around and realizes that he is finally alone with Maria, believing that he is up for this challenge, he comes up behind her and slips his hands around her waist.

Maria: she is busy getting the ice cream out of the freezer when she feels his hands on her: she freezes only for a moment, then grabs a handful of ice cubes: purposely making her stance a little seductive…
“My, my, my, someone feels awfully hot.”

Robert: grinning…
“Yeah baby, ya wanna help me out?”

Maria: spinning around and also grinning…
“Why sure baby.”
And she slips the ice down the front of his pants.

Robert: jumping back in surprise, trying to get the ice out: furious…
“YOU BITCH!”
He raises his hand to strike her….

Michael: Mrs. Evans had asked him to see if Maria needed any help in the kitchen when she passed him in the hall: coming in he sees that Robert is about to hit Maria, his Maria: he comes up behind Robert, grabs him by the shoulder, spins him around, bunches up his fist, and sends him flying with a good right hook: Robert lays there for a moment stunned: extremely dangerous…
“Get back up you son of a bitch so I can knock you back down. You don’t lay a finger on her, not MY Maria, YOU GOT THAT!”

Philip: he happened to have been right behind Michael and saw everything, including what Robert was about to do: he’s angry, but also a little frightened, frightened of what Michael may do, he has never seen the boy in such a rage, not that he can blame him: trying to defuse the situation: in a very stern, very pissed-off Dad voice…
“Michael, ENOUGH! Maria, take Michael to Max’s room. Michael, go with her and get control of yourself. You heard me go, NOW!”
He watches as Maria hauls her very irate alien boyfriend down the hall: he takes a look around to make sure that no one else really saw what was going on in here:{good!}: now, turning his attention towards Robert: he walks over and gives the boy a hand in getting up: maintaining his pissed-off Dad attitude…
“Come with me.”
He escorts him out the back door…

Robert: walking outside, he tries to put his own spin on things…
“Uncle Philip, thanks. That Michael guy is just a thug. I never did understand why he was allowed to hang around here so much.”

Philip: that’s it, he’s had it…
“SHUT UP! You were a bullying brat as a kid and you’re a bigger one now. I saw you Robert, I saw you about to hit Maria. I don’t know what you think you were doing, but if Michael hadn’t decked you I would have. You’re lucky I was there to stop him or he would have beaten the hell out of you. You stay away from her. And stay away from Liz. I saw you eyeing her earlier, you try something like that with her and I know I won’t be able stop Max from coming after you, nothing would. And stay the hell away from Isabel and Tess, too. You GOT THAT?”

Robert: he’s in shock, he thought he was going to be able to get one over on his uncle: desperate to get back at his uncle, at Max, Michael, at everyone, because it’s all their fault not his, he plays the one trump card that he thinks he has…
“I don’t know why Max would care about me coming onto Liz or for that matter why Michael would care about Maria. I mean after all, they’re only interested in each other. At least they used to be, I mean Michael used to slip into Max’s bedroom at night for a little slap-and-tickle. But I guess Max has moved on, since I saw him and Alex in your bathroom tonight. It looked like they were cleaning up from an earlier, private party.”

Philip: he’s furious: {this kid’s attitude is beyond belief! He’s not one damn bit sorry for anything! Now I wish I had let Michael have another go at him.}: visibly shacking with anger: pointing a finger at him for emphasis…


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 3:19:04 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 6:49:09 PM
“Now you listen and listen up good. Tonight we are celebrating my son’s birthday. He’s a son I am damn proud to have. Under no circumstances am I going to allow you to ruin it for him. You’re going to go back in there, get yourself cleaned up, keep your big mouth shut and make yourself damn scarce for the rest of the night. But I’ll be keeping an eye on you and if I even think you’re up to no good, your ass will be behind bars for attempted assault. You see, the sheriff just happens to be Kyle’s Dad and Tess’s guardian and a damn good friend; one phone call and you’re out of here. Now get your sorry ass out of my sight now. MOVE!”
He notes there is now a hint of fear in the boys eyes: he watches as he scurries away: he has to take a few moments to get his own self under control before going back in and dealing with one very furious alien that is currently cooling his heels in his son’s bedroom.

Meanwhile in Max’s bedroom…

Maria: she’s sitting on Max’s bed, watching Michael anxiously pace back and forth: he keeps slamming his fist into his other hand and mumbling something about “taking him out”: after a little while she decides that he’s let off enough steam and pats the bed next to her: in a soothing but slightly seductive voice…
“Come here, come sit.”
When that doesn’t work…
“Michael, get your butt over here. There, that’s better.”
She wraps here arms around his neck and murmurs…
“My hero, thank you MY Spaceboy.”
She gives him a very long, very passionate kiss, which he not only returns but deepens as well.

Philip: he’s mentally preparing himself to confront one very angry alien: upon opening his son’s bedroom door, his mouth drops open in surprise: breathing a sigh of relief {I guess Maria knows how to handle him pretty well}: walking into the room, he clears his throat very loudly to get the two lovebirds attention…
“Michael, I take it you’ve found a way to relieve some of your… steam. I want to let you know that I’m not angry; in fact, you did the right thing. I’ve put Robert on notice that he’s to lay low for the rest of the night or he’ll be cooling his heels behind bars tonight. Maria, are you alright?”
Seeing her answer “yes”: he smiles a little…
“Good, let’s get back to Max’s birthday party then. Who knows what’ll happen next. Shall we?”


Chapter 17 (Part F)

History Note:
October 19, 1781,Yorktown, Virginia
In a stunning reversal of fortune that may signal the end of fighting in the American colonies, Charles Lord Cornwallis today signed orders surrendering his British Army to a combined French and American force outside the Virginia tobacco port of Yorktown. Cornwallis' second-in-command, Charles O'Hara, attempted to deliver Cornwallis's sword to French general, Comte de Rochambeau. But Rochambeau directed O'Hara to American General George Washington, who coolly steered the British officer to Washington's own second in command, Major General Benjamin Lincoln.
***The above is courtesy of PBS website.

Setting: Evans House, same Saturday evening, Max’s birthday party

Aunt Trudy: she smiles at the happy scene playing out at the kitchen table: Max surrounded by all of his friends and family, singing Happy Birthday to him and then, him blowing out the candles: everyone laughing and teasing: she goes over and gives her youngest nephew a kiss and wishes him a happy birthday and collects a piece of birthday cake and ice cream: she finds it interesting that some of the kids are going into the kitchen and dumping Tabasco sauce on their cake: when she mentions it to Diane, she’s told that it’s a new fad some of the kids are doing: after finishing her dessert, she sits on the sofa and just enjoys watching the kids: she starts to get an inkling that she’s seeing something special, then it dawns on her {that’s it! They are the ones that are going to succeed. It’s not just Max and Michael, but Isabel, Liz, Kyle, Maria, Tess, and Alex, all of them are needed, but there’s more. Something I’m missing.}: suddenly the room starts to spin, her vision blurs and everything goes white: she seems like she’s floating through a white sky: at last she feels her feet touch down on something solid: after a moment her vision begins to clear, but she’s not sure where she is…

Vision
She’s in a large room, there to her left is a series of floor to ceiling windows, she can feel a sweet sea breeze blowing in: to her right is a wall on which ornate tapestries are hung, they look like they are made of spun gold and are dazzling when the sunlight hits them: looking straight ahead, she sees a raised platform, on it is a long table draped in black and there’s something, no someone, laid out on top of it: she gradually becomes aware of people around her: they’re all very sad and some seem scared: she looks back towards the table and now there’s a young man standing in front of it: his head is bowed and his shoulders are slumped forward: he looks like the weight of the world is now resting on his shoulders: when she starts to approach the young man, she realizes that she knows him, it’s Max: as she nears, she hears heavy sobbing coming from her left: looking in that direction, it’s Isabel that’s sobbing and standing next to her is Diane: tears are streaming down her cheeks, but she keeps her head held high and watches her son in stoic silence: turning her attention back towards Max, her heart is heavy, she’s beginning to understand what she’s seeing, it’s a funeral, Philip’s funeral: Max has lost his father all too soon: suddenly there’s a white flash…

Vision
She’s in the same room, but a very different setting: the room is all decked out in all its finery, everything seems so, so regal: she looks straight ahead and on the raised platform is a throne and on it sits Max: to his left stands Isabel and next to her is Diane: to his right stands Michael: they all look so determined: a person in a long burgundy and gold robe solemnly walks down the red carpet: behind him are two others, each carrying something on pillows: as they approach Max, the one in front is saying something, but she can’t hear it: very slowly one of the others steps up and presents the object on his pillow to the robed one: he takes it: it’s a crown, he holds it high over Max’s head while Max says some sort of vow: he then places it on Max’s head and the other one steps forward: he also presents the object on his pillow to the robed one: there are actually two objects, a scepter and a ring: again Max seems to be making some sort of vow and then the robed one hands him the ring, which Max immediately puts on, he then takes the scepter: the robed one then kisses Max’s ring and bows and backs away and off to the side: then there is another white flash…

Vision
She’s again in the same room, but the setting is more festive: there are strange flowers everywhere and silk streamers hung from the ceiling: there’s a large throng of people and many are dancing: Max is there smiling and dancing, dancing with Tess: there’s Michael talking to Isabel: Diane is standing off to the side watching, watching her children: there are all celebrating, but there’s an under current of something being off, something’s wrong: suddenly the large doors behind her burst open and new people swarm in, all armed: they start firing their weapons indiscriminately: she watches in horror as Michael heroically tries to get Max, Tess, and Isabel out a side door, only to discover the invaders are there waiting for them: as they all fall, she turns her head towards the golden tapestries, she can’t watch, but suddenly the tapestries run dark red with blood: she’s relieved when the white flash happens again and she is gone from that horrible place…
As her vision clears, she’s back watching the happy birthday scene with Max and his friends: she tries to hide her shaking hands, but is unsuccessful.

Philip: he noticed how pale Aunt Trudy has become and goes over to make sure she’s alright: as he sits next to her, he becomes alarmed to find her shaking: putting his arm around her…
“Aunt Trudy, are you alright? Can I get you anything?”

Aunt Trudy: she’s about to answer him, when suddenly everything goes white again…

Vision
She’s in the desert, on a high plateau: she can feel a hot breeze on her face: to her left is a large tent: looking to her right about a 1/2 mile away is some sort of metal ship masked in darkness: she finds herself amongst several other on-lookers that are lining up between the tent and the ship, but they keep a path down the middle open: there is a great deal of excitement and expectation by the people: something important is about to happen: looking towards the tent, she sees Michael come out of it, he is flanked by Alex and Kyle: they come to a stop maybe 100 feet in front of the tent: all three of them maintain very determined, very serious expressions: they seem to be only a little older, but their eyes, their eyes are ancient: they’ve seen so much: she feels a murmur sweep through the crowd and she turns to her right: a young brown haired boy about 14, is slowly walking towards Michael: something is very wrong with this boy, he only appears to be a boy, but he feels much older, very cruel and dark: the boy-that’s-not is nervous, but he’s trying to cover that with arrogance: he’s carrying something: he strides up to Michael and loudly demands something: she surprised when Michael simply ignores him, won’t even acknowledge that he’s standing in front of him: the boy-that’s-not becomes unsure of himself and glances over his shoulder at the dark ship: he then gets down on his knees and offers up the objects to Michael: again Michael just ignores him: the-boy-that’s-not very nervously gets back up and backs away, back down towards the dark ship: the crowd is becoming nervous, even a little fearful: finally from the dark ship emerges a very dark one: he’s so dark that she can’t make out his features: the dark one takes a few steps towards Michael, then waits: she, along with the rest of the crowd turn their attention to the tent: from it looking very, very regal Isabel emerges, flanked by Tess and Maria, they go to stand a little behind and to the men’s left: then Philip and another person emerges from the tent, the other one is shorter than Philip, with sandy hair and a rugged but honest face, he reminds her of Kyle for some reason: then another person comes out, tall like Philip, but a little younger with medium brown hair and blue-gray eyes: all three wear very serious expressions: next Diane appears holding a little dark haired boy about a year old in one arm and holding the hand of a little golden haired moppet of about 2 with the other: the little moppet pauses briefly in front of the sandy haired man, who winks, pats her on the head then shoo’s her on to go with Diane who stands beside Philip: the crowd becomes energized with anticipation: out of the corner of her eye, she sees the dark one restart down the path towards Michael: he comes to a stop about 20 feet in front of Michael: after a few moments, Max emerges from the tent: he pauses and waits for Liz to come up beside him: together Max and Liz walk side-by-side: the crowd gasps in shock at this: as they near Alex and Kyle, Liz stops and with her eyes tells Max to continue: walking between Alex and Kyle he comes to a stop a little behind Michael: the dark one tries to advance towards Max, but Michael refuses to step aside: the dark one becomes irate, but Michael still refuses: they stand there staring for a moment before at a signal from Max, Michael finally steps aside but hovers close by: the dark one comes to stand before Max, who simply stares back at him: the dark one very stiffly offers up the objects to Max, who at first does nothing, then with a slight shake of his head refuses the offering: the dark one is astonished by this: the tension in the air is suddenly so think, you could cut it with a knife: after a few moments, the dark one seems to understand what is expected and turns to Michael, offering up the objects: Michael stares hard at him for several moments then turns, looks over his shoulder and with a nod of his head tells the dark one the one he should surrender to: the dark one becomes enraged, but Michael simply shakes his head “no”: wanting to be done with this, the dark one, holding his head high walks in front of the one Michael told him to, gets down on his knees and again offers up the objects, he is relieved to be finally unburdened of them: the crowd is absolutely silent as the final drama plays out: the one accepting the objects takes a few steps towards Max and with a grin hands them to Max, who gladly accepts them from Alex: joyful cheers goes up from the crowd…

Suddenly she finds herself back looking up at a very worried nephew…
“I’m sorry Philip, what did you say?”

Philip: very concerned…
“Are you OK? Can I get you anything?”

Aunt Trudy: still a little disoriented…
“Oh, yes, yes dear. A cup tea would be nice. Oh and a dash of brandy in it for flavor would be lovely.”

Philip: watching her very closely, he’s relieved to see some color coming back to her: he gives her a hug and a light kiss on the forehead before going to get her tea.

Aunt Trudy: as she watches the kids, she tries to come to terms with all that she has just seen {what did all of that mean? The first ones, those seem so, so far off and distant, not just in time but also in place. Were those of something that had happened in the past? If so, were the other ones of the future, or possible future? Why such different outcomes? What was the difference? Let’s see, all eight kids were there in the second one, so that’s part of it; but there’s something else, something that I’m still not seeing, what is it?}: she comes out of her musing when Philip brings her tea: he sits down next to her and gives her a very concerned look: she gives him a reassuring pat on his hand, when suddenly she knows {him, he’s the difference! In the last lifetime, Max was too young and unprepared when he lost his father. This time, he’s here to help council and guide him! Philip and those two other men, they must have been councilors to Max, but who are the other two?}: after thinking that over for a bit, she decides to put it aside, that all will be revealed in time: with a warm calm smile she turns her attention back to the kids, who are laughing and joking and in general, just have a good time: seeing this house full of children reminds her of a conversation she had with Philip many years ago…
“Philip, do you remember that weekend you and Diane spent at my house, the weekend right before you found Max and Isabel? Do you remember what I told you when you asked me how many children I saw for you and Diane?”

Philip: he looks at her oddly for a moment, he’s not quite sure what she getting at…
“You told us we would have two and they would be coming into our lives soon. You were right, too. That was on Friday night and on Sunday night, we found Max and Isabel.”

Aunt Trudy: “Yes, but do you remember what else I said, about later on?”

Philip: he strains to recall exactly what she said: it finally comes to him {she told him, “Well, I do see more children, but later on and older. They’re much fuzzier and I have no idea how or why they come into your lives. They might be some sort of extended family, maybe even future grandchildren. I’m just not sure.”}: he’s beginning to get an idea of where she’s going with this: he looks over at Max and Isabel and all of their friends: looking back at his smiling Aunt, he nods towards the kids…
“Them, you were talking about them, weren’t you?”

Aunt Trudy: “That’s right. Philip, I know that all of them are going to play a major part in your and Diane’s lives. Your help and guidance will be critical for what lies ahead of them. The Fates were wise to choose such a good father and councilor for them.”

Philip: he’s touched by her praise: looking back at the kids, he takes a moment to evaluate all of them: his heart fills with pride with what he sees: spying a kid hanging back in a corner, his smile fades a little…
“Aunt Trudy, I’m delighted to consider all of them part of my family and will do everything in my power to help them, but please, please tell me Robert’s not part of this equation.”

Aunt Trudy: she really shouldn’t laugh, but she can’t help it: that Robert is a handful…
“No Philip, I think that one is all Rob’s to deal with and I wish him the best of luck. He’s going to need it.”

Throughout the ages the Fates, in order to help mankind, have given the gift of second sight and prophecy to a few gifted ones. They have gone by many different names: soothsayers, prophets, psychics, among others, the most famous being the Oracle of Delphi; but whatever they were called, they appeared where and when they were most needed; in this case, she is simply called Aunt Trudy.


Chapter 18

Setting:
Evans House, same Saturday night, very late.

Diane: she quietly tip-toes into the living room to check on her sleeping son: with the addition of Aunt Trudy staying with them, as well as her sister and family, they had run out of beds, which meant Max and Robert got the living room sofas: with the moon shining bright, she doesn’t need to turn on any extra lights to see him laying there, sound asleep: she pauses to look at him {he looks so young when he’s asleep. He’s been through so much I’m surprised it hasn’t taken an even bigger toll on him.}: she quietly walks over to him, picks the blanket up he had kicked off onto the floor and carefully recovers him with it: smiling sadly {I want him to be my baby. I keep trying to convince myself that he still is, but I know he’s not. He’s already a young man, a young man who’s in love. I wonder how much longer I can keep pretending? How much longer until he no longer needs me?}: she gently brushes his bangs out of his eyes, and continues gazing at him: hearing a quiet cough, she turns around to find her sister, Laurie, standing there giving her a knowing smile: she gives her son a light kiss on his forehead then quietly tiptoes out and into the kitchen with her sister: she begins a ritual that goes back to her and Laurie’s childhood: taking down two bowls and spoons, she then goes to the freezer for the ice cream, after a moment’s thought, she takes out the leftover birthday cake as well: she and her sister sit at the counter having a late night treat and catching up on family matters: in hushed tones so as not to wake anyone…
“Amber sure is turning into a lovely young lady. I think she has a bit of a crush on Max, though.”

Laurie: “Um, I noticed that too. How is Max anyways? He seems to be doing better than how you described him last summer. I guess the therapist you were sending him to must have helped.”

Diane: she had felt so bad having to call and ask her sister not to come last summer, but it was right when Max was having his worst nightmares and well, having extra people in the house just wouldn’t have helped…
“He is. He’s doing much better. I’m not sure how much the therapist helped, but Max did start to open up to us more. He’s finally telling us things, about himself, his life. I think that’s helped quite a bit. He’s grown closer to us in the last few months than he ever has. It’s just that it’s taken him so long to do it. He’ll only be home for another year, and then he’ll be gone to college. Then I lose him, I lose my baby.”

Laurie: she walks over and gives her sister a hug: she had a feeling that deep down Diane was upset about Max turning 18 and realizing that he already was pretty much grown…
“Diane, he’ll always love you. You and Philip have done an incredible job raising him and Isabel. They both have turned out so well. And just think, someday you’ll have some grandchildren to spoil rotten, just like our parents did to our kids.”
She thought a moment about Robert’s suspicion about Max and quickly added…
“And I, uh, I hear that, um, adoption is getting easier for, for unconventional families, so maybe Max and his partner…”
Looking at her sister’s stunned expression, her words falter: she’s not sure how to say it but she wants to reassure her sister…
“Diane, it’s, it’s OK if Max is… different. It’s not like it was 20 or 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago. These things are much more open now days. I understand there are even support groups for, for parents of gay teens. Um, it doesn’t change how we feel about him.”

Diane: she’s not really certain where all this came from: sure she and Philip were concerned about Max apparently being such a ‘late bloomer’ but she never said a word about it to her sister: confused…
“Laurie, where did you get the idea that Max is gay?”

Laurie: she’s a little unsure of how to take Diane’s reaction: {was he gay and just hasn’t said anything? Or was Robert way off base?}: deciding there is no point in lying, a bit hesitantly…
“Well, uh, the last few times that we visited, Robert said that Michael boy snuck in through Max’s window in the middle of the night. And, well, Max never seemed, um, too interested in dating, so, um…”
She can’t tell if Diane is going to laugh or cry: now even more unsure…
“Diane, is he?”

Diane: with her hand covering he mouth to keep from laughing, she shakes her head “no”: she gets up and goes over to peek into the living room to make sure Max is still asleep: satisfied that he is, she comes back and rejoins her sister: taking her sister’s hand…
“Laurie, he’s not gay. In fact, one of my biggest worries is that he and Liz might become teen parents. Those two have become awfully close, sometimes it seems too close, but they’re in love and they do make each other happy.”
Clearing her throat…
“As for Michael Guerin, well as Max describes it, he and Maria DeLuca have this ‘thing’. We found out about Michael’s late night visits over a year ago. They had nothing to do with, well, Robert’s assumptions. You see Michael, like Max and Isabel, was an orphan, but well, he grew up in a foster home. His foster dad didn’t treat him too well: when things got too bad at home, he would sleep in Max’s room. About a year ago, Max and Isabel finally got Michael to ask for Philip’s help, that’s when we found out all about it.”

Laurie: she’s highly embarrassed by how off she was about everything: she’s relieved that Diane seems to be taking everything so well…
“Diane, I’m so sorry that I jumped to the wrong conclusion. You know, now that I think about it Max and Liz did seem to be very close. I should have realized it. I am so embarrassed.”
Both she and her sister start laughing; even though they try to keep it quiet, they aren’t very successful.

Max: looking very sleepy, he stumbles into the kitchen where he finds his Mom and Aunt Laurie laughing: as they spot him, they laugh even harder: perplexed…
“Mom, what’s going on?”

Diane: {thank God he didn’t wake up earlier. He would have turned about 5 shades of red if he knew.}: getting control of herself…
“Oh nothing sweetheart, just a little late night sister chat over cake and ice cream.”
She notices how much more awake he suddenly seems as he spots the bowls: knowing one of her son’s weaknesses…
“I don’t suppose you would like some, would you?”
She gets a grin and a raised eyebrow in return: fixing him a generous portion, he takes a seat next to his Aunt Laurie.

Laurie: she puts her arm around her shy young nephew and mischievously asks…
“So Max, since you’re joining in on our little chat, you’re going to have to spill about that cute little brunette you were dancing with tonight.”
Handing her nephew his glass of milk to stop him from choking…
“Here honey, wash it down with this. You know, you really should be careful about not biting off more than you can chew.”

The Fates like to keep the young on their toes; you never know what someone else might be thinking.


Chapter 19

Setting:
Evans house, Sunday morning

Aunt Trudy: as she comes into the kitchen she spots Max with his head stuck in the refrigerator, trying to sneak a piece of his birthday cake for breakfast: coming up behind him: a little loudly…
“So, whatcha got there, Max?”

Max: he just about jumped out of his skin at that: he whips around, keeping his hands behind his back, trying to conceal the cake evidence: he decides to go with the innocent-little-me look…
“Um, nothin’ “

Aunt Trudy: she doesn’t even try to conceal her amusement: crossing her arms and in pretend sternness…
“Um hum, well then you had better wipe that chocolate nothin’ off of your mouth and get rid of the rest what you’re holding there behind your back before your Mom busts you eating it before you’ve even had breakfast.”
Shooing him out of the kitchen…
“Now go on, get out of here. Go get cleaned up.”

Max: “Yes Ma’am.”
The moment Aunt Trudy turns her head, he stuffs the rest of the piece of cake into his mouth and heads down the hall to his bedroom: he gathers up his clothes and goes to check if the bathroom is free yet.

Robert: he’s just walking out of the bathroom as his cousin comes by: smirking…
“Oh, here ya go baby cuz. It’s all yours.”
Opening the bathroom door a little wider to allow all of the steam to escape…
“But I think all the hot water’s gone. Sorry about that.”

Max: he scowls as Robert walks past him: he watches as Robert is just about to walk into his room, when suddenly his bedroom door slams him in the face: it must have been the wind, he always gets a good breeze flowing through his room: smiling, he uses his powers for some hot water for the shower: a little later he emerges from the bathroom, freshly showered and shaved and heads to his room, where he finds Robert with a new bump on his forehead and packing his suitcase: while Max puts on his watch, he eyes Robert’s suitcase: trying to make small talk…
“That’s a lot of stuff, looks like you guys are planning on being gone for awhile.”

Robert: while rearranging his bag…
“Yeah, 10 days. Doing the LA thing, Universal Studios, Magic Mountain, Disneyland. Isn’t there a Fairyland there? I guess it’s your kind of place.”

Max: narrowing his eyes, he can’t believe what Robert just implied: defensive…
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Robert: arrogantly…
“Oops, sorry. Mom told me not to upset you, seeing how you were already having some issues last summer. So just forget I said anything.”

Max: he was aware that his Mom called his Aunt Laurie last summer about not coming to visit, but he has no idea where the rest of this is coming from: starting to get pissed…
“What the hell are you talking about? What have you been saying about me?”

Robert: he always did enjoy goading Max and this time is no different: very smugly…
“Oh, only what I saw the last couple of times I stayed here, about that Michael friend of yours slipping into your room at night for a little slap-and-tickle. Ya know, for some reason that little Liz is sweet on you, too bad she’s wasting her time. She’s a hot little number, wouldn’t mind playing a little slap-and-tickle with her, myself.”

Max: that did it: promise or no promise to his Dad about not fighting, that did it: bunching up his fist…

Amber: coming around the corner to Max’s bedroom…
“Robert! Mom’s been calling you, she wants you to carry the luggage downstairs to the car.”

Robert: he stares at his cousin, he can see that Max is just about ready to lose it: his sister walks up behind him and gives him a shove to get his attention…
“I heard. Just a minute.”

Amber: insisting as only a little sister can…
“No, Mom said NOW!”
She watches as Robert gives Max one last, long stare before going upstairs for the luggage: noticing how tense Max is…
“Morning Max. Robert was at it again wasn’t he? He loves to cause trouble. Just ignore him, that’s what I usually do.”

Max: as he forces himself to calm down, he hears laughter {slap-and-tickle? I never thought of Michael as a slap-and-tickle type of guy. Should I go ask him? Hmmmm, maybe I should ask Maria instead. She’d probably know. Want me to get back to you on that one?}: sending Liz his reply {NO! Now quit eavesdropping on me. Amber is standing right in front of me. I can’t carry on a conversation with you and her at the same time.}: he hears an answering snicker and {OK, I’ve got to get back to work anyways, Mr. Slap-and-tickle has my order up. See ya later Loverboy.}: he rolls his eyes, smiles at his cousin and says…
“Why don’t you go see what the plan is for breakfast while I finish getting dressed.”
As soon as she’s out of sight: he waves his hand over Robert’s suitcase: {like to see Robert explain the pink lace panties and nylon stockings to his Dad, not to mention his new high heels. Yep, hope you enjoy your vacation cousin.}: as he heads down the hall, he sees Robert coming down the stairs carrying 2 large suitcases: he needs to be careful, with his shoes untied like that, he might trip and fall down the stairs: as Max walks into the kitchen, he hears a thump, thump, thump, coming from the hall.

Philip: he’s sitting at the kitchen table when he hears the thumps: he notices that his son doesn’t seem too surprised by this: {I thought it was strange that Robert suddenly got so clumsy. I should really give Max a good talking to about it. Well maybe not too severe, he kept his promise and didn’t hit him. And he did show some self-control; he didn’t turn him into a toad either.}.

Sometimes the Fates put a bully in your path just to test you, to see how well you handle yourself without resorting to violence. This can be an especially important test for those slated to rule someday.


Chapter 20

Setting:
Evans house Sunday afternoon

Mom: things are finally returning to normal: she loves having her sister and family visit, but it’s nice when the house is quiet too: Aunt Trudy is still here, she’s supposed to be staying for a few more days: at least Max moved back into his room, since Aunt Trudy moved into the guest room after Laurie and Rob left: looking out her kitchen window, she watches Philip and Max change the oil in Max’s jeep: she’s not sure what all they’ve been talking about, but Max sure had a guilty look on his face earlier: Tess dropped by to pick up Isabel to go shopping, which leaves her and Aunt Trudy in the kitchen preparing dinner and chatting: she slips on a pair of new white latex gloves as she starts to wash a couple of pots and pans: seeing Max come in, she touches his arm as he passes by to get his attention…
“Honey, could you take out the garbage, please?”

Max: he’s staring at his Mom’s hand on his arm, her gloved hand, suddenly he’s somewhere else {gloves, they always wore gloves. They were afraid to touch me. The only one who did was Pearce, and when he did, bad things happened, painful bad things.}.

Mom: she watches him turn deathly pale: he’s just staring at her hand: {he looks terrified! What’s happening? What’s wrong?}: trying to bring him back from where ever it is that he just went to, she raises her voice a little…
“Max, Max, what is it? Honey, can you here me? What’s wrong?”

Max: after a few moments her words finally penetrate his brain: he’s still a little foggy, though: almost dully…
“Huh, what?”

Mom: as she starts to rub her son’s arm in an attempt to comfort him, she’s surprised when he jumps back in fear: after several moments, she can see recognition finally returning to his eyes, but she sees a wall start to go up, a wall he wants to hide behind: this time she’s not going to let him: gently but firmly…
“Max don’t, don’t shut me out. Something just happened; you remembered something. I want you to tell me what it is. I want to help. So please honey, tell me.”

Max: he doesn’t want to hurt her, doesn’t want her to experience his pain: wanting to spare her feelings, in a quiet halting voice…


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 3:21:27 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 7:10:31 PM
“Noth... nothing Mom, it… it was nothing.”

Mom: “No honey, it was something. Max, I know you’re hurting. I can see it in your eyes; I hear it in your voice. I know you think you’re sparing me your pain, but don’t you understand that it hurts me more when you shut me out and keep everything inside? I want to know the truth, no matter how ugly it is. Please Max, tell me. Let it out.”

Max: blinking several times to keep from crying, he doesn’t want to hurt her: she’s right though: looking at her gloved hand that currently is firmly holding onto his elbow: shakily…
“Gloves, they always wore gloves. All of them but Pearce were afraid to touch me without gloves. Like I would contaminate them or something. I’m, I’m sorry Mom.”

Mom: as his words register, she drops her hold on him, takes the gloves off and tosses them in the garbage, comes back over and takes her shaking son into her arms: as he rests his head on her shoulder, she begins to run her hand up and down his back: murmuring…
“I’m sorry honey. I had no idea. It’s alright, it’s alright sweetheart.”
After a few minutes, she feels his shaking subside: she draws back a little and looks at him: he uses his hand to rub the unshed tears out of his eyes: she brushes his bangs to the side and gives him a kiss on his cheek…
“Why don’t you go lay down for a bit? I’ll call you when dinner is ready, OK?”
He nods his head yes and goes to his room.

Aunt Trudy: she’s been quietly standing out of the way, totally forgotten, witnessing everything: her heart just broke seeing her nephew so upset: from the dark streaks in his aura that she noted last week, she knew that something bad had happened to him and that he was keeping it inside himself still: Liz had obviously gone a long way in helping him to cope, but he had to let the pain out before he could really heal: that pain is bubbling just below the surface now, getting ready to boil over at any minute: if what she witnessed is any indication of what’s to come, then he’s going to need all of their love and support to get through it: tomorrow she’ll see about exchanging her bus ticket for a later date.

Setting: Max’s bedroom, Sunday late night

Max: he’s tossing and turning in bed, entering REM sleep {he’s in the White Room, Pearce is threatening to hurt his loved ones, to hurt Liz. He gives Pearce the location of the second orb, but he won’t believe that he doesn’t know how to make them work. Pearce calls in the surgeons. Pearce has him strapped to the table and is threatening him, holding the surgeon’s gloved hand with the scalpel in front of him, he says “This man will hurt you” Pearce looks over at another table, Max turns his head to see what Pearce is looking at, there’s another table, there’s blood everywhere and dark hair, long dark hair; Pearce finishes the threat, “Just like he did Liz”.}: he fights to break free from the restraints: screaming at the top of his lungs…
“NO, NOOOOO, NOOOOOO!”

Isabel: her room is the closest to her brother’s and she’s the first one to reach him: she’s terrified to see her brother thrashing wildly about, screaming; she’s never heard him scream like that before: she tries to grab a hold of him to awaken him, but he’s too strong, too wild: she’s relieved as her Dad comes up next to her and grabs his arms.

Dad: he’s never seen Max like this, not this bad, not even last summer: he has to really struggle to keep Max from hurting himself with all of his thrashing: he manages to get a hold of him by the shoulders and tries shaking him: almost frantic for him to wake up…
“MAX, MAX wake up, wake up. It’s a dream; wake up it’s not real. Max, can you hear me?”
Suddenly his son collapses in his arms and cries: he wraps his arms around him tightly and holds onto him, letting him cry it out: Diane sits down behind him and rubs his back in comfort: he finally calms down some: he continues to hold him tight and very quietly and calmly asks him…
“Tell me about the dream Max. If you tell me about it, then it can’t hurt you any more. Tell me what happened in your dream, son.”

Max: the tears are still streaming down his face: he’s still a little confused if he’s really awake or if this is still part of the dream, the nightmare: as he clings to his Father, it takes several moments for him to comprehend his words: in a very shaky almost fragile voice…
“I was in the White Room… with Pearce… He was going to… hurt my loved ones. Pearce wanted… he wanted the other orb… At first, I… wouldn’t give it to him, so he did… things to me… ice baths, piercing sounds, electroshock, drugs… then he, he put this virtual reality thing on me… he showed me pictures of family, of friends, of Liz… then… one of Liz dead. He said that he would… would kill her if I didn’t, didn’t tell him. So I… did, but it wasn’t… enough. He wanted me to make them work, but… I didn’t know how. He called in the surgeons, he told me, “Tell me what I want to know or I’ll… take you apart piece by piece and… make sure you’re conscious enough to… feel every last second of it.”… He had them… strap me down on the table and then, then he showed me the surgeon’s hand with the knife and told me “This man will hurt you”. He then looked over and there was… another table… and on it… it … was… Liz. Oh God… he had killed her.”
He begins sobbing again, soaking his Father’s t-shirt with his tears.

Dad: he holds his son and gently kisses him on the forehead: other than the last part, he’s not sure how much is real and how much the nightmare, but he knows that’s not how it ended: he wants to get Max focused on what really happened so he can let go of the nightmare: waiting until Max has cried himself out…
“Max, that’s not how it ended. Liz is OK; she’s fine. Tell me how it really happened. Focus on that; focus on what really happened. Now tell me about it.”

Max: he’s exhausted, his eyes burn and his throat feels like sandpaper: he licks his lips trying to moisten them, and begins….
“Everything, almost everything happened, but… Liz, he never got to Liz. As, as the surgeons were getting ready, Izzy came. She dreamwalked me again. She told me to get Pearce alone in the room. Michael and Nasedo were coming to rescue me, but I had to get him alone. I told her that Pearce wanted me to work the orbs. She told me to tell him anything. When the dreamwalk ended they, … they were starting to cut me. I screamed for them to stop, that I would show him how the orbs worked, but only him.”
He pauses to catch his breath.

Dad: his tears as well as his wife’s and daughter’s were quietly and steadily falling: he and Diane both mouth “dreamwalk” to each other and briefly look at Isabel, who simply nods” yes”: turning his attention back to his son…
“Then what happened? How did they rescue you?”

Max: he’s finally a little calmer, but so tired, dully he continues…
“Tess mindwarped Pearce into thinking I activated them, that kept Pearce busy so Michael and Nesado could shatter a viewing window and come in and get me. Michael had to practically carry me out. I tried to stand but I couldn’t. Nesado told Michael to go, to get me out of there, but Nesado stayed behind. He was going to kill Pearce as soon as we were out of sight, but something went wrong. We heard gunfire and then alarms. Michael tried to wait a little to see if Nesado would come out, but Pearce come out instead, and he had a gun. He was going to fire, but suddenly the Sheriff was there. He shot Pearce in the shoulder and then helped Michael carry me out.”
Finally his exhaustion overcomes him…
“Dad, I’m so tired. Could someone call Liz? I can feel that she’s worried.”

Isabel: “I’ll call her, Max, don’t worry.”

Aunt Trudy: she saw and heard the whole thing: she had a feeling that something was going to happen tonight and decided to keep her hearing aid in, she’s glad she did: she goes into the kitchen for a glass of ice water, then stops off in the bathroom for a damp washcloth: returning to Max’s room she hands the cloth to Diane and puts the water on the nightstand.

Mom: Philip gently lays him back, right into her arms: she wipes his tears away with the cloth and helps him to drink some of the water: she’s a little surprised that Max curls up in her arms, just like he did when he was little: she hears him mumble “stay with me, Mom” and falls soundly asleep: Aunt Trudy carefully straightens out the sheet and blankets, covers him up, and gently kisses him good night: Philip sits on the side of the bed and together they watch their son sleep for most of the night: Philip turns Max’s alarm clock off before he finally goes to bed a little before dawn: she stays the whole night, holding him and watching him sleep.

The Fates know that no matter how old you are, that when you’re hurting, there’s nothing more healing than being at home with Mom.


Chapter 21

Setting:
Evans House, Monday late morning

Aunt Trudy: she’s sitting in Max’s room crocheting while watching him sleep: Diane had been up most of the night watching over him and it wasn’t until around 7:00 this morning that Philip was able to convince her to go to bed and get some sleep herself: all of this was on the condition that someone would stay with Max until he awoke: Diane was worried about what kind of shape he would be in emotionally when he woke up and didn’t want him to be alone: Philip would have stayed, but he had to be in court at 10:00am: Isabel debated about staying home or going to school, but since she had a test today, Philip urged her to go, that there was no sense in her staying around the house worrying: that left her and she was happy to do it: she’s amazed how still he is in his sleep, hardly moving at all: she had gone over to check a few times, just to make sure he was breathing OK: he had slept through so much this morning: Diane’s reluctant departure: Philip kissing him good morning: Isabel telling him to sleep well: and Liz’s visit: Liz arrived with Maria a little before 8: they were on their way to school, but Liz wouldn’t go anywhere without checking on Max first: that was the only time she had left Max’s room this morning, when Liz stayed and sat with him for about 20 minutes: Maria came in to get Liz and told him good morning before they left: a short time later Michael’s appearance at Max’s window just about scared her to death: he apologized profusely and said he was just checking to see how Max was doing, since Maria had told him Max was home sick today: he stayed only a few minutes: Max slept through all of it: at last she starts to see some movement from him and goes over to sit on his bed: she gently touches his shoulder as he finally awakens from his slumber: his eyes are so puffy and swollen that he’s having a hard time opening them: she’s just about to get him an ice pack when he brings his hand over his eyes: she watches in amazement as his hand starts glowing: when he removes his hand his eyes are fine: {well, that’s an interesting trick. I could certainly use that trick myself many a morning. I wonder what else he can do?}: she smiles as two very confused and worried eyes look up at her…
“Good morning sweetheart. How are you feeling?”

Max: he’s disoriented, not sure what’s happened or how long he’s been in bed: he awoke to burning eyes and a throbbing headache, which he instinctively took care of first thing: upon being able to finally open his eyes, he’s surprised to find his Aunt Trudy sitting there: he looks towards his partially opened window at the sunlight streaming in, he must have been asleep for hours: {so why do I feel so wiped out, like I’ve been up for days?}: he lays his head back down on the pillow for support and looks back up at Aunt Trudy and in a tired raspy voice…
“How long have I been asleep?”

Aunt Trudy: she looks over at the alarm clock…
“Well, it’s 11:27 in the morning, so I would guess about 10 or 11 hours. You seemed to really need the sleep. Why don’t stay here for a bit and get your bearings while I go fix you something to eat? How does that sound?”

Max: he nods his head “yes”; Aunt Trudy kisses his forehead and then leaves: he lies there trying to figure out everything that has happened {I had a nightmare. Dad, I told Dad about the White Room, about Pearce. What did I say though? How much did I tell? Who else was there? Mom must have been. I remember her there; she was holding me for a long while. Isabel? Most likely. What about Aunt Trudy? Was she there too?}: frustrated, he runs his hand over his face {Oh God, she must have seen me this morning when I fixed my eyes. She saw me use my powers. Why didn’t she say anything? She didn’t even ask me about it. }: his stomach growls as the smell of food intensifies: a few minutes later Aunt Trudy brings him a tray with a cheese omelet, toast and a large glass of juice and some ice water and a Tabasco bottle: he sits up a little and she puts the bed tray across his lap…
“That looks good and smells wonderful. ”

Aunt Trudy: she pats his hand and goes back over to sit in the chair and picks up where she left off with her crocheting while her nephew starts to wolf down his food: smiling…
“It’s good to see that you have an appetite. Your Mom will be relieved. She’s been very worried about you.”

Max: he pauses his eating…
“I didn’t mean to worry anybody, especially her. She worries about me enough.”

Aunt Trudy: while crocheting, she glances over at him…
“Max eat.”
She keeps glancing over at him to make sure he complies as she continues her crocheting…
“Don’t worry about your Mom worrying. That’s what Mom’s do, they worry. There’s nothing you can do that will ever change that, so you need to stop worrying so much about it.”

Max: he finishes everything she brought him, including the Tabasco bottle: Aunt Trudy comes over to take his tray…
“No wait. I can take that later. I… um… I wanted to talk a little if that’s alright?”
Aunt Trudy puts the tray on the dresser and sits down on the bed: he nervously begins by asking…
“Aunt Trudy, what… what did you see this morning?”

Aunt Trudy: giving him a level gaze…
“I saw my favorite nephew sleep through a painful night and awaken with very swollen eyes and I imagine one doozy of a headache. I saw that same nephew had a very interesting and I might add effective way of getting rid of those puffy eyes and I bet the headache too.”

Max: he can’t get a reading on her, she’s very calm, almost blasé about it: a bit reluctantly…
“Um, you didn’t… um, have any questions about that?”

Aunt Trudy: she sighs heavily, then with a smile…
“Why yes dear, I do. Do you think you could show me that trick? My eyes get awfully swollen in pollen season and allergy medications don’t seem to work too well on them.”
She chuckles at Max’s astonished expression…
“Sweetie, I have lived too long and seen too many things in my lifetime, I’ve even been able to peek into few other lifetimes as well, to get all freaked out over a little self healing. I’ve always known you’re special with a special purpose to fulfill. It would only stand to reason that you would be given special gifts to help you reach those goals.”

Max: he’s always thought Aunt Trudy would be alright with him being different but he never imagined she would be this alright about it: deciding that he probably didn’t have anything to lose…
“Um, what would you say if I told you that I’m not exactly from around here, from around Earth that is?”

Aunt Trudy: thinking back to all that she had sensed and saw about him through the years, it did make sense: looking at him with warmth and love…
“Then I would say that someone or something went to a great deal of trouble to make sure that you ended up right where you are meant to be.”
She bends over and gives him a kiss and is rewarded with a warm hug and an “I love you Aunt Trudy” in return…
“I love you too dear. Now why don’t you get up and go get cleaned up. I understand that a certain young lady plans on dropping by after school. You don’t want to be all scroungy looking for her now do you?”

What can the Fates say, they broke the mold when they made Aunt Trudy!


Chapter 22

Setting:
Evans house, Monday afternoon

Mom: the phone ringing is what woke her: she checks the time, 12:23PM: she’s been asleep for almost 5 hours: she gets up, slips on a robe and goes to her son’s room to check on him: she experiences a moment of panic when she finds it empty: logic then takes over and tells her that if something had happened Aunt Trudy would have awakened her: as she steps into the hall, she can hear the TV on in the family room: she heads in that direction and there she finds her son: he’s freshly showered and is wearing a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt and sitting on the sofa eating a bowl of ice cream: next to him is Aunt Trudy who is explaining the intricacies of the various relationships on her favorite soap opera that they are currently watching: he looks fine to her: as relief sweeps over her tears of joy threaten, her baby is going to be alright: he spots her standing in the hall and gives her a sweet smile: she walks over and sits next to him: she opens her arms for a hug: he wraps his arms around her, gives her a kiss on the check then rests his head on her shoulder: she’s too choked up with emotion to say anything as the tears silently fall.

Max: it feels so good to just sit and let his Mom hug him: at some level he does remember her doing this most of last night: after he had gotten up and around today, he actually felt better, a lot better in fact, like a huge load that he had been carrying around was suddenly much lighter: he also can feel part of that load is now sitting with his Mom: he turns to give her another kiss and softly tells her…
“Thank you Mom, for last night, for being there for me, for everything. I love you, thank you. I think I’m going to be OK now.”

Mom: she gives him a good squeeze, then turns her head and kisses him: pulling back to look at him, she brushes his bangs off to the side and smiles through her silent tears: she looks into his eyes {there’s still some pain there. I guess there always will be, but he does seem more… I don’t know, calm, relaxed?}: …
“I love you too dear. I’ll always be there for you.”
She notices the ice cream bowl again…
“Honey, did you eat anything else besides ice cream? I could fix you something.”

Max: smiling…
“That’s OK Mom. Aunt Trudy made me an omelet earlier. I’m fine.”

Mom: “That’s good honey. So who was on the phone?”

Max: “That was Dad. They were taking a lunch break. He called to check up on how I was doing. He said he’d probably be home a little early today.”

Mom: “Oh that’s good. Well I guess I had better go get dressed then. Honey, just take it easy today, OK?”

Max: “Yes Mom.”
As his Mom leaves, he starts back in on his ice cream and returns to trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this TV show: {why am I watching this in the first place?}.

A short time later…

Liz: she hadn’t gotten much sleep last night: she had awakened in the middle of the night almost hysterical: she knew immediately that something was very wrong with Max, but she was having a hard time getting through to him, like he was purposefully blocking her out: this only added to her panic: she paced the floor in her room for a few minutes debating on whether to charge over there or not: she was just slipping her jeans on to head over there when her phone rang: it was Isabel telling her that, yes, Max did have a nightmare about the White Room and was very upset, but Mom and Dad had calmed him down and he was in fact, back soundly asleep: Max knew she could feel how upset he was and Isabel had promised to call and let her know that he was OK: after the call Liz had not been able to get back to sleep until just before her alarm clock went off: she called Maria for a ride to school and asked if she could come by early so they could drop by Max’s: she explained what had happened to Maria as they drove over: it wasn’t until she actually saw him this morning, sleeping so soundly in his bed, that she breathed a sigh of relief: he looked so worn out, it must have taken so much out of him: she simply sat and held his hand while he slept: all too soon it was time to leave, she gave him a tender kiss on the lips and whispered her love to him then reluctantly left him in his Aunt’s care: it wasn’t until just before lunch that she could feel him wake up and hear an {I’m fine. Don’t worry. I’ll see you in a little while. I love you.}: for the first time that day, she relaxed: now that school’s out for the day, she’s sitting in the jeep with Isabel on her way to see him again: as they pull into the driveway she can feel him waiting for her: her instinct is to go charging in there, but she decides that perhaps a little self control would be better since he’s there with his Mom and Aunt: she forces herself to calmly wait for Isabel to gather her things and walks in through the kitchen with her: she spots him coming down the hall from the family room: she immediately flies into his arms…
“Oh Max, you’re OK, you’re really OK.”

Max: he knew that she was coming home with Isabel: he was looking forward to having her in his arms again: he had missed her: he knew how worried she was about him but he also could feel something else too, she’s upset with him, upset about last night: wanting to be alone, they starts down the hall to his room for a little privacy: going into his room and relaxing together on the bed: holding each other and quietly talking…
“I’m OK Liz. I’m sorry I worried you so much. I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry.”

Liz: letting her frustration and worry from last night bubble over…
“You’re sorry? Max, you shut me out on purpose last night. Do you have any idea how freaked out I was over knowing something was majorly wrong with you, and you not letting me know, not letting me in? Max I wanted to help you, to be there for you. Please Max, don’t ever shut me out again like that. It hurts more not knowing than it would have if you’d let me in.”

Max: guilty as charged, he feels like a first class heel: apologetically….
“You’re right. I shouldn’t have shut you out. I wasn’t thinking very clearly last night, I’m not sure I was thinking at all, actually. I could feel you trying to get in, but I didn’t want you to see, to see… me hurting. I wanted to spare you the pain. I guess I do that a lot, don’t I? I got a similar lecture from my Mom about that just yesterday.”

Liz: it feels so good to be in his arms, to be able to hear his heart beating in her ear: his heart, his wonderful, caring, gentle heart: she turns her head to gaze up at him and reaches up for a tender kiss: smiling, she nestles back comfortably into his arms…
“You should listen to your Mom. She only wants what’s best for you, so do I.”
She can feel him kiss the top of her head and smile: she hears {you’re what’s best for me.}: smiling, they snuggle together for about an hour or so, taking comfort in each other: all too soon though, she has to leave to go to work.

A little later that night…

Dad: he tentatively knocks on his son’s door, getting a “come in”, he opens it and smiles at what he sees: his son sitting there on the bed with school books scattered about, catching up on the day’s missed assignments, just like any normal teen: but his son is not normal, some very abnormal things have happened already and he has a feeling many more are yet to come: this thought has been running through his mind since last night: he wants to find out how best to help him, help him to prepare for those things: taking a seat at the foot of the bed…
“Max, I wanted to talk to you about some things. If that’s alright with you?”
He gets an “OK” from his son so he begins…
“Max, I’m concerned about you, about your well being and your safety. I’ve been trying to figure out how best to help you, but I realized that I couldn’t until I knew more. I’ve been running all these questions through my mind and I would like for you to answer them if you can.”
Getting a tentative nod from his son, he fires away…
“I want to know what your abilities are, what yours, Michael’s, Isabel’s, and Tess’s are? Who all knows about you? How involved is the sheriff? Do you have anything from… from where you come from that may help you? Do you know who your enemies are? What they want? Is there anyone here from your… home world that can help you? Do you even know what the war is about? Anything?”

Max: he’s uncomfortable about all of this, he’s never actually had to explain it all to anyone: everyone that knows, does so because they were there for at least some of it as it happened: not sure where to begin, he decides to start by simply answering each question…
“Our abilities, well, we can all manipulate molecular structure, you know change objects. Um, specifically mine would be healing, and um, I can produce an energy shield. Ah Michael, well I guess you could say he has the firepower. He’s had some problems with control in the past, but he’s really improved recently. Isabel can dreamwalk. She can go into people’s subconscious and see what they’re thinking or dreaming. I guess she can also communicate if she wants to; at least she could with me. Tess, her powers are the most developed because she had Nesado to teach her. She can generate a mindwarp, make people see things that aren’t really happening, like she did with Pearce.”
Taking a breath…
“As far as who all knows, not many, Liz, Maria, Alex, Kyle, the sheriff, you, Mom, and uh, now Aunt Trudy. As for the sheriff, he’s very involved, he’s been really good about protecting us when, um, weird things happen.”
Seeing the funny look on his Dad’s face at that last comment, he decides to continue on before having to answer the unspoken “what weird things?” question…
“We have a few things from our… home world. We have the two orbs, which are some sort of communication devices, a book that we can’t read, and the Granolith, which we have no idea what it is, but it’s important. Our enemies, whom we call the Skins, seem to really want the Granolith. I do know that it can be used for time travel, but I don’t think that’s what it’s really intended for. Um, there really aren’t any allies here from our home world, but um, well, you see sometimes Larek, an old ally, has sort of dropped in to visit. But he doesn’t actually come here, he uh, he sort of takes over Brody Davis’s mind and uses him to communicate. Brody doesn’t remember anything, he thinks he’s been abducted again.”

Dad: he’s been sitting there fascinated by all that his son is telling him: it boggles his mind to think that all of this stuff is happening right here in Roswell, in his own home and he had no idea: as he processes everything, he realizes that Max didn’t answer the last question…
“What is the war about Max?”

Max: he really doesn’t want to answer that one: he doesn’t want to admit that he was a failure, especially not to his Father: not able to look at his Dad, staring down at his lap…
“Because I failed. I guess I made the wrong decisions and a war broke out. Kivar now sits on the throne. Apparently there’s a rebellion against his rule, the strife has started to spill over to the four other worlds in that region. If I had been a better king none of this would have happened.”

Dad: “Did this Larek tell you that?”

Max: not looking up at his Dad…
“No, Nicholas told me that. He’s one of Kivar’s generals that was sent here to Earth to find the Granolith and to kill me.”

Dad: “So he’s an enemy. You believe the word of an enemy? What did Larek say?”

Max: “He said I tried to make too many changes too soon, that he tried to tell me that changes take time, but that I wouldn’t listen. I guess he was right. ”
He finally looks up at his Dad, as new thoughts start to seep in.

Dad: he can see Max thinking about what he just said: he’s been doing the same about everything he just heard: he’s already gotten some ideas on some things that may help…
“Max, I have a few suggestions that you might want to ponder. First, I think the four of you should start working on your powers together, learn exactly what yours and each other’s limits are, learn to work as a cohesive unit. Then work on cross training, what’s your firepower like? What kind of shield can Michael generate? Isabel and Tess’s abilities seem to lie along the same lines, I bet they could teach other fairly easily. Your lives may depend on it some day. I also think you should be trying to figure out how to read that book. The more information you have the better. Maybe Liz could give you some ideas about it. She’s a pretty bright young lady. You need to find out what really happened in the past; otherwise you might repeat it. Next time you get a visit from Larek ask him what this Granolith is and why it’s so important. Oh and it wouldn’t hurt to find out what the latest is on how the war is going back home. And for God’s sakes, don’t believe what the enemy tells you. You should know better than that. Now I think I want to have a chat with the good sheriff of Roswell, see if he knows a safe place the four of you could practice without being noticed and find out how we can best work together to keep the lid on things around here.”

Max: for the first time, he doesn’t feel so lost, so helpless: there were things he could do that could make a difference, it just took a new set of eyes to point it out to him.

The Fates had to wait for the young king to come to terms with the past before putting in motion the keys to the future.


Chapter 23

Setting:
Evans house, 2 weeks later, late Friday night

Dad: he reaches over towards his wife only to find an empty pillow: he checks the time, 1:12AM and lies back for a moment and thinks of all the changes that have taken place in their lives in the last couple of weeks: Diane wanted to concentrate on home and family and after careful thought and discussion, she decided to take a leave of absence from work: Diane being home had a couple of unforeseen but welcome side effects: first off, Aunt Trudy was asked to stay on for a bit, to keep Diane company while the kids were in school, which she agreed to do much to the delight of everyone: the kids, suddenly their house seemed to be full of kids, day and night: no matter what meal time it was, there always seemed to be a couple of extra place settings at the table and there was no telling who would be occupying those place settings: at a couple of dinners that his kids weren’t even present for, but that didn’t make any difference, they still ended up feeding 3 or 4 teens those nights: all of the kids seemed to adore spending time with Aunt Trudy and she relished every minute of it: Diane had become the de facto Mom to all of them, which by default meant he wound up as the de facto Dad to all 8 teens as well: at least he didn’t have the worry of paying for college for all them, hell paying the increasing grocery bill was challenging enough: getting up out of bed, he trods barefoot to their son’s room where he finds his wife sitting at the foot of their son’s bed watching him sleep: while the days has kept his wife surprisingly busy, at night all her worries surfaced: he quietly goes over to his wife, gently puts his arms on her shoulders and helps her up: he waits a moment as she gives Max a kiss goodnight and then with his arm around her, escorts her back to their bed where they talk quietly…
“Diane, you’ve got to give the boy a little room, at least let him get a good night’s sleep.”

Mom: she knows that Max is doing better: he hadn’t had any more nightmares and was in fact sleeping pretty well which wasn’t surprising considering how hard he was pushing himself during the day, all of them were: Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess were up at the crack of dawn everyday working on their powers: the sheriff had found an isolated spot not far from Buckley Point that was perfect for them: after practice there was school, usually followed by work then home to do homework: Max was usually asleep by 9 or 10 every night, passed out from sheer exhaustion: at first she didn’t understand the reason for all of this practice, this sudden determination to find out as much as they could about themselves and their origins: it wasn’t until she had a few choice words with Philip about him encouraging them to push so hard that she was finally filled in on things: her shock upon finding out her children were actually alien royalty and were expected to help defeat their alien enemies, was profound: she spent an entire day sitting and thinking things through: she ran through an entire spectrum of emotions, fear for her babies, anger at their people for putting this huge burden on them, pride in how well they’ve handled it so far, dread at knowing someday they would be leaving her and she most likely wouldn’t see them again: she came to realize that none of it made any difference to what and how she felt about them, she was their mother and she would fight for them,

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 3:23:47 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 7:15:49 PM
fight to keep them safe, fight for their well being, fight to stay a part of their lives: with these thoughts in mind, she became even more determined to make certain that they all took care of themselves, ate right, got enough rest and in general was just there for them, for all of them: boy, had they kept her busy too, suddenly she was a den mother to 8 teenagers, who argued, pestered, whined, teased, flirted and who ate her out of house and home: she wouldn’t trade it for anything: above all else though, she was Mom and she worried over her children, it was at night when everything was quiet that she allowed this worry to surface: laying back down in bed, she turns towards Philip…
“I know I mother him too much, but how could I not? Philip, I see these kids throughout the day, they’re growing old, too old, too fast. They’re being weighed down with too much burden, not being allowed any time to be kids, none of them are. They need some time to just enjoy themselves, to laugh and act stupid, like all teens.”

Dad: thinking back a few weeks ago when Max had first approached him with the Taos trip…
“You’re right, they do need some time off, maybe some time away. Why don’t you look into some sort of trip, maybe this summer? Maybe something that all the kids could enjoy?”
He kisses his wife goodnight and checks the clock to see how long he has to sleep before he has to get up and join his son and daughter for morning practice: he’s anxious to see if there’s been any improvement since he observed them last Saturday.

Setting: Practice field near Buckley Point, Saturday morning, approx. 6:30AM

Sheriff: he has made almost all of their practices: even though he has seen them use most of their powers, it still amazes him to watch Michael blast a side of a mountain away, or Max being able to stop anything thrown or fired, well not at him exactly but in his general direction: he’s not sure how to measure Tess or Isabel’s progress, but having served as guinea pig, he can attest to the fact there at least had been some, although it scared the crap out of him when Isabel mindwarped Frankenstein coming at him: usually some or all of the kids came out to watch or become test subjects: the only power that none of them felt a need to test was Max’s healing ability, of that they had no doubts: he was glad when Philip had called him a couple weeks back and suggested this, he had thought about mentioning something like this to Max before, but he wasn’t sure how Max would have taken the unsolicited advice, it’s different when your Dad gives it though: Tess and Kyle had ridden out with him this morning and were already arguing, those two are either going to kill each other or wind up married, he hadn’t decided which but was keeping an extra keen eye on those two: he spots the dust kicking up down the road as Max’s jeep along with Philip’s SUV comes into view: not long after the Jetta pulls up as well: looks like a full group session this morning…
“Hey Philip, good to see you again. Be interesting to see if you can spot any differences from last Saturday. The kids have worked hard this week.”

Philip: looking around, he can see no damage done to the area: part of the exercise was having them repair any damage afterwards: pleased, he greets the sheriff…
“Good morning Jim, glad to see you again. Let’s get down to business then.”
Max uses his powers to mark X’s at some nearby boulders then farther away along certain points on the hillside: Michael takes aim and more or less hits them all, his aim is a little wild on a few, but he manages to destroy all of the targets: Michael still has a little difficulty in reconstructing what he just destroyed: next up is Max, Philip’s stomach turns into one big knot as Michael sends a rock flying full force at Max, who evokes a very large energy shield making the rock drop harmlessly in front of him: Philip has to grab a hold of something to prevent himself from tackling the sheriff as he pulls his gun and fires in Max’s direction: granted the aim was not directly at his son, he still has to remind himself to breathe again after the bullet drops harmlessly to the ground: at Max’s nod Michael again uses his powers to send a small boulder flying at Max, but this time the boulder doesn’t drop in front, but rebounds back at Michael, who puts up his own shield: Michael’s shield isn’t as strong as Max’s and while Michael does stop the boulder, it knocks him flat on his butt: Max then remarks the X’s on the boulders and hillside and tries out his firepower: his aim is more clean, but doesn’t pack the wallup of Michael’s: he notices that both Max and Michael seem a bit winded from all of this and Max’s repairs take a little longer than they should have: it’s now the girls’ turn: Isabel pulls out a school yearbook, Tess selects a picture and seems to go into some kind of trance: smiling, she opens her eyes and looks at Alex, who blushes bright red as she tells him that Isabel would love for him to ask her to go stargazing tonight {mental note to self: make a point to get to know Alex a little better}: at Isabel’s turn, he watches as his little girl closes her eyes in concentration, suddenly King Kong comes crashing though the bushes then promptly disappears: he quickly looks around and is satisfied to see that all of them had indeed reacted to the illusion: all in all, he’s very pleased with their progress, but he does have a couple of observations to make…
“That was real good everyone, real good. I did notice a couple things that you might want to try out. Max, Michael, you both seem to exert a great deal of force, almost overkill sometimes. Max, wouldn’t a smaller more contained shield take less energy and have the same results? Plus if you and Michael are fighting side-by-side, how could Michael fire if your shield is in front of him? Michael, uh, your control is much better than last week, you pack one hell of a punch, but hitting a target dead-on would allow you to conserve your energy for later instead using it to blow everything to smithereens. Also have you two considered working side-by-side and learning each other’s moves? It’s obvious that Max, you’re the shield; and Michael, you’re the sword. Your two’s abilities complement each other, you were meant to act as a unit.”
Michael and Max look at him and then at each other as they realize the truth in what he just said: he then turns his attention to the girls, scratching his head, he doesn’t know quite what to suggest other than to keep working together and strengthening their own as well as each other’s abilities: they then take a break and go over what else they might have discovered in the past week.

Liz: she had been put in charge of trying to figure out how to decipher the alien book: she had started by scanning it into her computer: she then searched the internet for any language that remotely resembled it: last week she asked Alex for help: so far they had yet to find a Rosetta Stone, but Alex had some ideas: bringing everyone up to date…
“So far we haven’t found any modern language that it resembles. I’m still working through known archaic languages for any similarities but that is going to take some time. I gave a copy of it to Alex to see if he can find any match to anything found or written around ancient “UFO” sightings. There are lots of ancient paintings and documents that tell of sky battles and things like that. There might be something there.”

Alex: “Yeah, there are actually cave paintings by early man that tell of such things, references to flying men are in ancient Toltec and Mayan temples. There are also mentions of them made by medieval monks in Europe. It’s actually pretty cool digging into all of this stuff.”

Tess: giving Kyle a steady glare…
“Kyle, don’t you have something to tell them?”

Kyle: first looking like he would like to wring Tess’s neck, he then studies his shoes for a bit before looking up at the assembled group of humans and aliens…
“Well, I uh, nothing seems to taste right anymore unless… unless it’s smothered in Tabasco. Then um, well a couple of nights ago I was sort of able to change my shirt color.”
Looking at his Dad…
“I think I’ve gone from knowing aliens to becoming one.”

Philip: “WHAT! How is that possible?”

Max: “Uh, Dad, our powers are really more advanced human than alien. From what we’ve been able to figure out is that when I heal, that is when someone is dying and I bring them back, I change them which can allow them to develop powers.”

Philip: running his hand through his hair, he looks at his son, then to the sheriff who is currently looking at Kyle with his mouth hanging open {good, at least I’m not the only one that gets these shocks}: remembering about how his son and Liz became involved: looking at Liz…
“Liz, what about you? Do you have any Tabasco cravings or powers?”

Liz: caught a little off guard by the direct question…
“Um, not really. I mean I do prefer hotter things now, but so far no Tabasco attraction. And other than that one time when Max was in trouble in New York and Isabel helped me dreamwalk him, I haven’t had any other alien tendencies, well other than Max’s and my telepathic connection, but we’re not sure that’s…”
Looking at Max’s Dad standing there now with his mouth hanging open, she abruptly stops talking.

Philip: looking at his son standing there squirming…
“Max, exactly when were you in New York and why?”
He takes a seat on a nearby boulder as he is filled in on Max and Tess in New York attending the alien conference, about their duplicates and how they tried to kill Max when he wouldn’t go along with their plans and their association with Nicholas, and finally what Ava told them: afterwards the kids start working a bit more on their powers while Philip and Jim discuss the latest developments: they all finally agree that Kyle and Liz should start working with them as well, to determine if and how far they can develop their powers: by 8:00AM everyone has had enough and after the site is returned to original condition they depart and go their separate ways: Philip makes a quick stop at the liquor store on the way home.

Setting: UFO Center, same Saturday mid-afternoon


Brody: looking at his computer screen, he’s excited by what he sees: unable to contain his excitement, he goes looking for someone to share it with: spotting Max, he grabs his arm and starts to drag him upstairs…
“Max, you’ve got to come and look at this. They’re back, they’re coming back.”
He drags a confused Max to his office: sitting back down at his computer, he shows Max what he’s found…
“See look, I have been monitoring the frequencies that the aliens used last time. Look, look, they’re using it again and look where, in Nevada, in the middle of nowhere, but just north of Area 51. Something is happening there. Just look at all of that activity. Whatever it is, it’s big.”

The Fates have shown the young king the keys to the future, now it is up to him to figure out how to use them.


Chapter 24

Setting:
Evans house, Saturday Evening

Max: he spent every free moment he had this afternoon checking in with Brody to see if there was any new information on what was happening just north of Area 51: the frequency that Brody was monitoring seemed to be some sort of homing beacon: every once in awhile there was an answering beep showing up: Brody thinks that those answering beeps were small alien crafts preparing to land there: before Max got off work, Brody printed a map of the area with the blips and the supposed Area 51 marked on it: the “homing beacon” was in between highway 50 and 80, almost smack dab in the middle of Nevada, and near nothing: Max called everyone and asked them to meet him at his house after he got off work: he was the last one to arrive home and was greeted by eleven worried faces: coming into the kitchen, he unrolls the map on the kitchen table and they all gather around to find out what new unknown they need to face…
“At about 3 this afternoon Brody noted a blip on the frequency that aliens had used in the past. In the last 4 hours there have been 9 answering blips. The answering blips have all happened within 100 kilometers of the original blip, like they are using it as some sort of homing beacon. Brody thinks that these new blips are space craft landing.”
He points on the map to the location of the homing beacon and the location of each answering blip: moving his finger south a little on the map…
“This is what is believed to be Area 51. If Brody is right and these are alien craft landing, the question is who’s calling them? Who’s transmitting the homing beacon?”

Michael: looking at the map, there is only one thing to do: looking up at Max…
“We have to go find out. We need to leave immediately before who or whatever gets away.”
Everyone turns to look at Max for approval.

Max: looking around at all of them, he then returns Michael’s stare…
“I agree. We have to find out if it’s friend or foe or if the government is involved.”

Philip: looking down at the map, then at Jim, who gives a slight nod “yes”: he then looks back at his son and announces…
“I concur. We need to find out what’s happening.”
They spend the next few hours going over different plans before deciding that there really was only one option: Michael, Max, Isabel and Tess are the best equipped to handle it: they decide it is best to keep things simple: it is to be a reconnaissance only: get in, look around, and get out, without being seen: it’s a rugged, desolate area, so the jeep is the best choice: they will leave in the wee hours of the morning before dawn, so that they should arrive after dark tomorrow: Jim will loan them each a gun from his personal collection, just in case: they will use Isabel and Tess’s cell phones to call in every two hours, plus Max would stay “open” telepathically to Liz: they then set about gathering their supplies: jackets, couple of blankets, binoculars, extra cans of gas, the guns and ammo, cell phones and extra batteries, food and water: as they start to assemble the supplies, Liz, Maria, and Alex’s parents are called and advised that they are staying the night at the Evans’, no use them wondering why their kids are so worried: additionally Max will call Brody and let him know how curious Alex is about what’s happening: Brody, of course, is only too happy to have someone share his enthusiasm for these events: Alex will be checking in as things develop.

Aunt Trudy: tonight was the first time that she met the sheriff: she immediately recognized him as one of the other councilors from her vision: she is relieved that he is already here and a part of everything, but she’s still concerned about the last missing piece, that the last councilor is not here yet: she thinks things over and decides that someone needs to play a bigger part in this until that missing piece reveals himself: as she and Diane pack an ice chest with food and drinks, she calls Michael over with an excuse that she needs help with something: stepping out the back door with him…
“Michael, I want to tell you something. I know that you look up to Max as the leader, but in this case, I don’t think he’s the right one. He’s more of a planner, an organizer, that’s where his talents lie, where his instincts are; but this, this action is more in tune with your abilities, your instincts. Michael, listen to your instincts, get Max to listen to them. I think deep down Max already knows this. If you listen to what your instincts are telling you, you’ll do fine. I believe in you and your abilities, Michael. We all do.”
She pats the astonished boy on his cheek, then gives him a kiss on the other and walks back in to finish helping Diane.

Even the best-laid plans can go awry; it happens to everyone, even the Fates.


Chapter 25

Setting:
Michael’s apartment, Sunday morning just after midnight

Michael: everything and everyone is as ready as they’re ever going to be: they decided to take a couple of hours and get some rest before they start out: the sheriff, Kyle and Tess went back home: the Evans were letting Liz stay with Max, with the bedroom door left open and the same for Isabel and Alex: he and Maria decided they wanted a little more privacy and came back to his place: walking in the door he drops his keys on the table and turns on the light: he turns around and looks at Maria as she walks in behind him: {she’s so beautiful, so sad, so scared.}: suddenly the lights in the room seem too harsh: he finds some candles and places them around the apartment, lighting them as he goes: turning off the harsh lights, he then gently takes Maria’s hand and draws her into the small living room: sitting on the sofa, he looks into her eyes: his voice cracking…
“Maria, you amaze me. Everything about you is amazing. The way you look, the way you stand up for yourself and your friends, your compassion, your spark, but what’s most amazing is how you’ve stood by me, even when I pushed you away. I don’t know what my future holds. All I have to offer you is myself for however long you’ll want me.”

Maria: with tears threatening, she runs her hand along his face: pulling him close for a kiss which quickly deepens as their passion starts to spark: she feels his arms slip around her, bringing her tightly up against him: she can feel all of him, his protective arms, his manly chest, his muscular thighs: she can’t resist her urge to run her hands up and down him, relishing the feel of him.

Michael: he’s on fire: her actions have ignited a fire that is burning hotly throughout every inch of his being: he deepens their kiss even further as his tongue begins to caress every crevice of her mouth: he helps her to recline on the sofa: laying on top so that he can feel every curve of her, which increases the pressure that is building to new levels.

Maria: running her hands along his chest and waist, she can’t stand it, it’s simply not enough: she begins tugging at his shirt, trying to remove it: they break their lip lock only long enough for him to slip his shirt off over his head: her hands are now free to roam his naked chest, arms and back, which they do with gusto: as his hands slip underneath her blouse and come in contact with smooth skin, a moan escapes her, which is felt and heard by both: her instincts kick into high gear and demand to be satisfied: she brings her leg up and rubs it along his inner thigh, teasing him: her hands run around his waistband, daring to go farther.

Michael: her skin is so soft, so smooth, it truly is like silk: silk that he is dying to be wrapped up in: as she continues to run her hands along his waist, he breaks their kiss so he can look into her eyes: her smoldering eyes convey all her passion, desire, need and love that she has for him: taking a gulp of air, in one swift move he frees her from her blouse: fortunately she is wearing a bra with an easy clasp in the front that in a quick second joins her blouse on the floor: as he drinks in the sight of her, he hungers to taste what that silkiness is like and begins to kiss and lick her taut breast.

Maria: the moment his mouth touches her skin an intense wave of pleasure shoots through her: she arches her hips up to come in closer contact with him: she runs her up along his back, then through his hair and presses his head down a little, trying to satisfy her body’s cry for more: as desire builds, she moans his name…
“Oh Michael, ohhhhh, mmmm, Michael.”

Michael: her cries are an aphrodisiac to him: as his tongue traces little circles on her breast, his hands unfasten her jeans: as his hand slip underneath her panties, it is greeted by dampness and additional moans of passion: while his brain tries to process the meaning of this, his body already knows how to respond: he slips his other hand down her side underneath her jeans and panties and runs along her every curve as he slips them off: he stops to admire her beauty for a moment.

Maria: she’s going insane, it’s sweet torture: everything he does makes her body beg for more, for release: her eyes sweep up and down him, settling on the pronounced bulge in his pants: she licks her lips and reaches to unzip his jeans and very slowly glides them down his legs and then off: she feels his body shudder as she reaches for him through his boxers: the effect that her stroking has on him is very intriguing: as she continues her manipulations, she becomes curious as to what he actually looks like: without thought, she slips his boxers off: her eyes becomes huge as she notices the size {that is not going to fit!}: putting her doubts aside, she reaches for him and her hands spends several minutes memorizing every inch of him.

Michael: with her hand on him, rubbing, teasing, driving him insane, his hand reaches for her and tentatively starts to massage her ache: he is surprised when her hips begin to rise up to meet his hand: her moaning turn to cries of passion as a wave of passion floods down on his fingers: this causes his own passion to reach breaking point as a little of his essence seeps out: forcing his brain to work, he frantically looks around the apartment, trying to remember where he put them.

Maria: she knows that they are both at the point of no return and is surprised when he suddenly stops: perplexed, she watches him scan the room: finally it dawns on her: smiling, she gently tells him…
“Michael, it’s OK. I went when Liz did and got on the pill a month ago. We’re safe.”

Michael: it takes a moment for this to register, when it finally does, a rarely seen huge smile graces his face: a little nervously he lowers himself onto her and pauses at her welcoming entrance: he kisses her deeply: while gazing into her eyes, he gently enters her: he fights to maintain total control of himself as he feels her stretching to fit him: he can see momentary flecks of pain shoot across her face and waits until they all disappear before moving any deeper: he comes to her barrier, watching her closely: when she gives him a slight nod, he carefully breaks through it and then again waits for any pain to pass: after a moment she smiles lovingly at him: he begins a very gentle, very careful rhythm: the tightness and the rubbing are quickly driving him to new heights: when she unexpectedly wraps her legs around his waist, creating friction in new places, he finally releases his control and his body spasms with each wave: he rests his head next to hers and waits to catch his breath: as he withdraws, he suddenly feels incomplete and alone: he wraps his arms around her and kisses her: he then picks her up and carries her to his bed, where they will spend the next few hours, holding each other, waiting for the inevitable to come: there is one more thing he wants to tell her before it does…
“She’s right you know. Aunt Trudy is right. You are my tower of strength. I love you.”

Maria: laying in his arms, she can hear his heart beating: a little sad, but smiling…
“Together we can get through anything. I love you too.”

As the Fates scramble to get their plan back on track, a new bond is cemented that will have a lasting impact on all.



Chapter 26

Setting:
Late Sunday afternoon, outskirts of Roswell

Mr. X : he pulls his car over at the sign that says, ”Welcome to Roswell”: he gets out and stares at the town lying in the distance: he retrieves his travel case from the car and pulls out the map that the car rental agency gave him: he takes out the images of those he is looking for: he stares at the main one, the dark haired one {you’re so young. What are you like? What can you do? Do you even know?}: he puts the images away and unfolds the map, tearing it as he goes: his frustration boiling over {why, why did you send me? I’m not ready. It’s too fast. I haven’t even finished my studies. I don’t know all that I need to know. I can’t even open this damn map without ripping it, let alone find four lone aliens in some stupid, little backwater town in the middle of nowhere!}: he pounds his fist on the car hood, denting it: with some of his frustration released, he tries the map again and finds the directions that he needs: just after dark, he pulls in front of something called the “Crashdown”: he gets out and tries the handle, it’s locked: he notices the sign in the window, Sunday 10 – 7: he checks the local time, it’s 8:12: he looks across the street at the UFO Center and smiles ruefully {if you only knew.}: he looks up and down the street: he notices a young lady at a phone booth, flipping though a large book that is attached to a chain {a phone book? OK, well why not? Maybe he is listed?}: he waits until the young lady leaves, he flips through it until he finds the personal listings under “E”: scanning down the page, he finds four Evans and none are Max or M. Evans, and only two have addresses: he jots them down, then heads back to his car to try and figure how to unfold the damn map again: finished, he refolds the map his own way and proceeds to the first address.

Setting: Evans house, earlier that Sunday

Aunt Trudy: it’s only late afternoon and it has already been a long day: everyone reassembled here at 3:30 this morning: after several hugs the kids finally left in the fully loaded jeep: at 6:00am Alex left for the UFO Center, Brody had been up all night and welcomed him as well as the thermos of coffee and plate of fresh breakfast breads that Diane sent with him: that left a house with 4 adults, and 3 teenagers with nothing better to do but wait and worry: Liz used Max’s computer to log onto the internet to see if anything was being reported: she found a mention from a meteorologist in Las Vegas about the unexpected but beautiful light show that Mother Nature gave them in the form of meteor showers last night: this information was relayed both to Alex, and the kids when Isabel checked in: Maria kept herself busy helping Diane: so far the kitchen was spotless, the bathroom shined, right down to the shower grout, and next up, canning: Diane had bought a bunch of peaches earlier in the week and now seemed like a good time to can them: Philip and Jim mainly talked, they talked about everything: what happened last May and afterwards, all the changes in their lives, their hopes and dreams for their children, the NBA, the football draft, local politics, the weather, anything to keep them talking and not thinking too hard about what might happen: that left Kyle and her, they didn’t know each other too well, but that was quickly changing: while Kyle pretended to be upset about being part of this group, it was just as obvious that he wouldn’t want it any other way, in fact, he was growing in ways that he had never imagined because of it: he is also learning something new, never underestimate the abilities of an old lady, she just might be one hell of card shark: Kyle already owed her $3.29 in penny-antie poker and the day is still young.

Maria: full of anxiety, she has to keep moving or she’ll come apart: she’s in the kitchen with Mrs. Evans, washing the Mason jars: mumbling under her breath…
“Just like him to tell me he loves me then leaves to, to go maybe get himself in trouble or worse. Just like a man, even an alien one, love ‘em and leave ‘em.”
The more she mumbles, the more emotional she gets: no longer paying attention to what she is doing, she hits the side of the sink with the jar, breaking it and cutting her hand: finally losing it, she slams her other hand down on the counter top in anger and frustration {DAMNIT MICHAEL GUERIN, HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ME TO WORRY LIKE THIS!}: she’s sobbing when Diane takes her in her arms for comfort.

Setting: I-50 near the Utah/Nevada border, Max’s jeep, same time

Michael: he took over driving from Max a few hours ago: Max is now dozing in the passenger seat: looking in the mirror, Tess and Isabel are trying to do the same, which isn’t easy in an old jeep that just may beat them to death before they even arrive: so far it has been a very uneventful, long boring drive: they had stopped twice for gas and to break into the foodstuffs: just as he is wishing for something to break the monotony of the drive, his hair stands on end and his head feels like it’s going to explode as he hears {DAMNIT MICHAEL GUERIN, HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ME TO WORRY LIKE THIS!} being shouted at him full force: shocked, his response is automatic, he shouts back…
“DON’T SHOUT AT ME WHEN I’M DRIVING!”
As his words register, he realizes that his hands are no longer on the wheel, but somebody else’s are: his eyes follow the hands, to the arms, to the very startled Max, who is now very wide awake: a semi goes rolling past him with horn blazing bringing Michael back to his senses: he grabs control back of the steering wheel.

Max: he’s definitely awake now: only his quick action had prevented them from meeting that semi head-on: soon, he hopes his heart will dislodge itself from his throat: he continues to eye Michael warily as he takes the steering wheel back: he has to clear his throat a few times before his voice works…
“Uh Michael, maybe you should pull over and let someone else drive.”

Setting: Evans house, same time

Liz: she was working at Max’s computer when she heard and felt a couple of different things: she heard glass breaking followed by the sound of Maria crying, followed by feeling Max, in what can only be described, as having the crap scared of him: she sends Max {what happened? Are you OK?}, while running into the kitchen: just as she reaches the sight of Diane holding a sobbing Maria, she gets from Max {uh, ya, we’re OK. We had a minor driving distraction. Uh, could you check on Maria? I think she might be upset.}: confused, she replies {how’d you know she’s upset?}: she can hear his sigh {Guess who’s driving and what distracted him? Do you think you could ask her not to shout at Michael telepathically until he pulls over and lets someone else drive?}: she nods her reply before remembering to send him {Oh, OK, you mean Maria and Michael?}: she hears a very hasty {I would rather not dwell on how it happened but, um, ya, I think it’s pretty obvious.}: they send their love to each other as she walks over to her friend…
“Maria, Maria, it’s ok. They’re fine. I just talked to Max and they’re fine. Maria, listen to me. You have to calm down. Maria, calm down and listen, OK?”
She and Diane help Maria sit down at the table where they both realize that Maria’s hand is bleeding: Diane quickly gets some antiseptic and a bandage: afterwards, Maria seems to get herself under control: she sits down right in front of her best friend, looks her straight in the eyes and very calmly tells her…
“Maria, you have to try and remain calm. Michael can hear and feel you.”

Maria: confused…
“What do you mean he can hear and feel me?”
As comprehension dawns on her…
“You mean Michael and I are, are lined telepathically, like you and Max?”

Liz: while nodding “yes”…
“Yes. Um, actually I have a request from Max. Could you wait until Michael is no longer driving before yelling at him some more? It seems to be very distracting for him, which isn’t a good idea while driving.”

Maria: covering her mouth in shock, horror, and amusement…
“I’m distracting him? Good! But, ya, you’re right, not while he’s driving. Do you think Max could let you know when they’ve changed drivers? I have a few things I want to tell him.”

Liz: she automatically sends the request, followed by an almost immediate reply {are you kidding? After how he just scared the hell out of us? He deserves to listen to Maria erupt at him for an hour or two, gladly!}: smiling at her friend…
“Of course he would, anything to help a friend. Besides, it might be a good idea for you two to get in a little practice.”

Diane: she’s amazed by what she just heard: she knew of Max and Liz’s connection, she knew that they could sense each other: she had thought that was what was being referred to when Max agreed to stay “open” to Liz: she didn’t realize that they were actually able to communicate, to talk to one another that way {how is that possible? How did it develop? And now between Maria and Michael too?}: looking at Maria and then at Liz, she suddenly gets an idea, an idea that no mother is eager to consider: as Liz returns her steady gaze, she puts that idea aside and turns to more practical matters…
“Liz, how strong is this telepathic connection? Can you just do it at will? Or does Max have to be “open” to you?”

Liz: releasing the breath that she didn’t even know she was holding…
“We’re still figuring out all the nuances. As long the door is “open” to each other, we can talk at will, but we can also slam the door shut, too. I guess usually the door is left ajar so we can get a sense of how each other’s doing. Like I knew that Max was asleep, then was startled awake. The door was just ajar. Then when Max heard me ask him if he was OK, he opened it all the way so we could communicate easily. Normally it’s easier when it’s just ajar. As Michael apparently just found out, it can be distracting when it’s left wide open.”
The girls discuss this information, and then bring everyone else in on it as they go over how best to use it if needed tonight.

Philip: like Diane, he was aware of this connection, but not the degree at which it has developed: however, unlike Diane, his suspicions as to what triggered it to occur in the first place are a bit more confirmed {I think I need to have a talk with Michael, he’s not really my son, but close enough. But I had better not be hearing of any connection developing between Alex and my Izzy anytime soon. Damn, I’ll be glad to get them past all these teenage years.}: turning back to the present development…
“Liz, would it be possible for you to monitor Max and tell us what’s happening as it’s happening without distracting him? Maria do you think you could do the same with Michael?”

Liz: she communicates this to Max and after a few moments of silence while he contemplates it, she finally receives his reply {I’m not sure. That means I would have to verbalize telepathically everything I’m seeing and doing. If something goes wrong and I need to act, I might not have time to do that. But I’ll do it for as long as I can and try to remain open so you’ll at least know if I’m OK. As for Michael and Maria, are you kidding? Maria remains silent while Michael does all the talking? Sorry, but not a snowball’s chance in hell of that one working. Oh by the way, Isabel’s driving.}: she notes that the last parts were said with a chuckle: clearing her throat, to keep that chuckle from echoing in her answer to Mr. Evans…
“Max says he’s willing to try, but if things get too intense, he might need to break off the narrative, but he’ll try and remain “open” so I’ll know that he’s OK. Um, it took time for



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 3:26:02 PM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 7:29:17 PM
Max and I to develop this as much as we have. Maybe Maria and Michael could work on it some before they arrive, then be a back up if needed. Oh Maria, Max said that Isabel’s driving now, so it’s safe to start working on your, uh, connection to Michael if you want.”
Both Max and Liz, and Michael and Maria, work on their connections, well at least Max and Liz do: Maria spends some time explaining in painfully minute detail exactly what she’s been put through so far that day: this is all met by stony silence: in aggravation, Maria turns to Liz and asks her to ask Max if Michael is getting her messages: for which Liz gets an amused {well, he’s holding his head and cringing, so I would say, yes. Good thing he’s not driving.}: biting her lip so as not to laugh…
“Max says that from Michael’s expression, he’d say yes, he’s reading you loud and clear.”
Afternoon drags into evening, Alex calls to inform them that there have now been a total of 13 blips on the “alien” frequency: finally they arrive at the site.

Setting: At the site between I-50 and I-80 in the middle of Nevada, around 9:00PM

Michael: his head finally stopped pounding: the love of his life has finally fell silent after he shared a few choice words with her: she is currently sulking, but at least she’s quietly sulking: remembering Aunt Trudy’s words, upon arriving at the site, he suggests to Max, that they leave the jeep with Isabel and Tess in a gully, while he and Max climb to the top of the small rise with their binoculars to check things out: Isabel and Tess’s job would be to keep a look out and to create whatever diversion that have to if all hell breaks loose to get them out of there: Aunt Trudy was right, Max has no problem going along with this suggestion.

Setting: Evans house, same time

Mr. X : knocking on the door of the second Evans house this evening, his despair is growing: a middle aged man opens the door: using his best manners…
“Good evening sir. I’m sorry to bother you. I’m looking for Max Evans, is he home?”

Philip: he is immediately suspicious {who is this? I’ve never seen him before. Why would he be looking for Max now of all times?}: with his guard going up…
“I’m sorry, do I know you?”

Mr. X: he’s surprised by how defensive the man’s tone becomes: he quickly looks behind the man, he can’t see much, only part of a room, but he feels much more: tension, immense tension: an elderly woman steps behind the man and looks at him: suddenly her eyes fly open.

Aunt Trudy: she was curious who would be coming by so late on a Sunday night, a school night, asking for Max: as the stranger comes into view, she immediately recognizes him, he’s tall with medium brown hair and blue-gray eyes, the man from her vision, the third councilor: relief sweeps over her: clearing her throat to get Philip’s attention: giving Philip a smile, she then greets the stranger….
“Hello, you’re late. You should have been here yesterday; they couldn’t wait for you any longer.”

Mr. X: his mouth is now hanging open in surprise…
“Who are you?”

Philip: thoroughly confused and more than a little peeved…
“Excuse me, but who the hell are you?”

Mr. X: with an effort he turns his attention back to the man…
“I’m called Tobias.”
As the woman’s words sink in: suddenly very nervous he turns his attention back to her….
“What did you mean they couldn’t wait for me any longer? What did they do?”
By this time, the man has stepped back into the house allowing him into the entranceway, so he can shut the door.

Philip: still confused, he turns to Aunt Trudy, who simply nods her approval: trusting her, he’s now more worried than ever for his children…
“They left. They went to Nevada to check out what may be going on there.”

Tobias: near panic, he doesn’t mean to shout…
“NOOOO, GET THEM OUT OF THERE NOW!”

Liz: holding herself very tightly, with tears threatening…
“It’s too late.”

The Fates moved Heaven and Earth, and then some, to get the final player in place and they can do no more at this time: they now have to leave it up to the young, to sink or swim on their own merits and abilities.


Chapter 27

Setting:
Nevada desert, Sunday, same time

Michael: on the small hill overlooking the site, he and Max scan the area: they immediately spot the activity: they see several small ships: many of the ships have burn and blast marks: there are several people moving about: removing equipment from the ships: his binoculars aren’t strong enough for him to make out the features of any of the people: turning to Max…
“Maxwell, your binoculars are stronger. Do you recognize any of them?”

Max: he has already spotted him: his stomach has now turned itself into several knots that are getting tighter every moment…
“Yah, there’s one we know down there. Nicholas is there. I don’t recognize anyone else.”

Michael: he has to swallow several times upon hearing that news: drawing a logical conclusion…
“Skins. My bet these are reinforcements. From the condition of those ships, it looks like they didn’t have an easy time getting here. I count 13 ships in all. Do you have a body count?”

Max: “Not sure, they’re not exactly standing still. I think there’re about 35 down there plus Nicholas.”
He hears footsteps coming from his right: quickly turns in that direction: putting his binoculars down…
“Plus these two. Uh, Michael?”

Michael: he immediately whips around astonished at how easily they were found out: he turns to look at Max, to see if he can get a reading on how he wants to play this out: Max seems amazingly calm, but one look at his eyes says it all, he’s scared.

Max: turning back to their visitors: purposely sounding nervous, which is easy under the circumstances…
“Uh, hi there. We uh, just got here. Just looking to see if there are any more meteor showers tonight. Sorry we bothered you.”
Signaling Michael to get up slowly…
“So, we’ll just being going now.”
As one of them flashes an evil grin, Max knows the innocent teen act isn’t working: he and Michael start to back up.

Alien #1: still grinning at his good fortune…
“I don’t think so your majesty.”

Max: he and Michael take a quick look at each other and think the same thing {OH SHIT!}: they immediately put into play their practice moves: he and Michael stand slightly apart from one another: he can’t help but take one last look in the direction of the jeep and hope Isabel and Tess can do something to get them the hell out of here: out of the corner of his eye, he sees a bright flash coming right at him: this is it, it’s begun.

Setting: Evans house, Sunday same time

Philip: he races over to Liz and grabs her: he has to force himself to calm down and release her: after a few moments: still shaky but as calm as he is capable of being at this moment….
“Liz, what’s happened? What’s going on?”

Liz: almost trance like…
“Skins, more Skins have landed. Nicholas is there, too. They, they’ve been spotted. Oh God they’re firing at him and Michael.”

Tobias: staring at the dark haired girl, he realizes that she fits the description of the girl, Liz: it wasn’t made clear to him what her relationship was to the Royal four, but one thing is certain, she’s bonded to the King: he’s not sure how that happened, but it doesn’t matter right now: he listens in horror as she further describes the events.

Liz: “Max is timing raising and lowering his shield as each fires at them, trying to protect Michael as much as possible. Michael’s returning fire, he’s taken a few out, but there are too many of them and more are coming every minute. Tess and Isabel are supposed to create a diversion, but so far nothing. Oh God, he missed, his shield missed.”
Her tears are streaming down her face.

Maria: she has been sitting on the sofa in Diane’s arms, feeling everything Michael is feeling, when suddenly she jumps to her feet and shouts….
“MICHAEL! He’s been hit: he’s been hit. I… I can feel… he’s hurt.”

Liz: “Michael is on the ground. Max has stepped in front of him. He’s alternating between using his shield and firing, but… he’s tiring. There are too many. He needs help. What the hell’s taking Isabel and Tess so long?”

Kyle: coming over to Tobias, while Max and Michael have never been his favorite people, he suddenly feels desperate to help them, to save them: taking out that desperation…
“I don’t know who the hell you are, but you obviously know what’s going on. Do something! You’re an alien, right? Use your damn powers! I mean if there was a way my limited powers could help, I’d do it. Why the hell won’t you?”

Tobias: he’s growing increasingly confused by the minute as to who is who and what their connections are: so far he’s got that Liz is bonded to the King: it seems that the blonde girl might be bonded to the Second: {who’s this guy? Powers, he has powers? How?}: plus he has no idea how the old lady knew him: he looks around the room to see that everyone is staring at him: they’re looking at him as if he somehow has a magical answer to all of this: looking back at his accuser…
“Who are you? You’re not one of the Royal Four. How could you have powers?”

Kyle: gesturing towards Liz…
“She and I have some powers because your King Max healed us. We both were fatally shot, but he healed us and at the same time changed us.”

Tobias: Ok, now he gets it: looking at him then Liz, he gets an idea…
“Go sit down with her. Take her hand.”
Kneeling in front of them, he looks up into Liz’s tear-filled eyes: very delicately, he asks her…
“Liz, can you hear me?”
He exhales as she finally nods “yes”…
“Good. It should be much easier and safer if you and him…”
He indicates Kyle…
“… are the ones to help. He can do two things, help keep you anchored and help supply some of the power. That’s what you’re going to do, feed Max your and his power and energy through your bond connection. Do you think you can do that?”
He smiles slightly and pats her hand as she nods “yes”…
“Good, good. Now this is what you need to do. Tell Max that you’re going to try and help. Make sure he’s ready for it. He doesn’t need any surprises in the middle of a battle. Then when everyone is ready, you and your friend here need to let your minds go as blank as possible, try and relax, just feel the energy flowing through you. When enough energy is flowing, direct it through your connection to Max.”
He watches as Liz and Kyle clasp each other’s hands and close their eyes: as their breathing calms and is in sync, their clasped hands begin to faintly glow: the power isn’t strong, but it is there: now Liz just has to channel it to Max.

Liz: excited….
“It’s working. It’s working.”
She falls silent almost instantly: visibly paling, she shakily announces…
“It’s not enough. There’s too many. They are almost to them.”

Tobias: his hopes sink, as he has no choice now…
“Liz, have him tell you where most of them are. Are they mostly in a group? Can one big blast take a part of them out? Would that be enough to get them out of there?”

Liz: “They’re mainly coming at him head-on, trying to overwhelm him. They’re getting closer. He thinks that if he can take that main group out, he could get Michael and make a run for it.”

Tobias: nodding his head in understanding, he now tells her the other part…
“Liz, it may be possible for me to give him enough power to do that, but it won’t be without risk. I’m not human. I’m not even a hybrid like he is. My thoughts and energy patterns are different. It could cause you or even him harm. It could possibly kill you or him or even me. But if you’re willing, so am I.”

Liz: before anyone can say a word, she blurts out…
“Do it.”

Tobias: he looks at Kyle for his confirmation: joining his hands with theirs…
“Tell Max to get ready. This is a one shot deal only and he’s going to have his hands full trying to control it. Ready….NOW!”

Setting: Desert in the middle of the battle

Max: in the last few minutes, he saw some of the Skins pull back and go after something off in the distance: he’s not sure what that means, he can only hope it’s one of Tess’s mindwarps finally coming into play: he had been amazed when Liz told him she and Kyle were going to try and feed him energy, and even more so when it actually worked: he’s not sure what’s going on back home, but someone is there helping them, and he was just told to be prepared for one final super jolt of power to come through: suddenly his scalp feels prickly, he breaks out in goose bumps: he stands up, plants his feet firmly in the ground and WHAM, it hits him: his whole body is reverberating with power, enormous power: electricity is actually sparking off of him: he’s barely able to hold on to it: focusing on the main group of Skins, he balls the energy up then in one fell swoop, he releases it at them: he’s momentarily blinded by the scorching white light: it takes a few seconds for the sound of the impact to reach him, followed closely by a shock wave that sends him flying backwards: it takes a moment for him to regain his senses: what he sees amazes him: Skin dust everywhere: he manages to get on his feet then goes over to help Michael.

Michael: he’s still blinking rapidly, trying to clear the spots from his eyes: stunned he can’t believe what he sees when he finally does clear them: as Max comes to help him up…
“How, how did you do that?”

Max: panting for breath, his energy and stamina are now sinking very fast: if he stops, he won’t have the energy to start moving again: pulling Michael up…
“I… had… help. Come on, we… got to go… cuz… I can’t … do that… again.”
He and Michael take off for the jeep: upon reaching it, they look back and realize, that they had only been fighting about half of the Skins: the girls had been busy keeping the other half distracted: practically throwing Michael into the backseat: the girls climb in and Max floors it.

Michael: in between clenched teeth, trying to keep the pain at bay…
“Tess, Isabel, can you make them think we’re leaving in a different direction? Can you cover our tire tracks so they don’t figure it out later?”

Isabel: she and Tess are as exhausted as the guys, plus they now have major migraines, but none of that matters: with a simple nod to each other: she turns back to Michael…
“Consider it done.”

Max: he’s driven for almost three hours in exhausted silence, because they had just jumped in the jeep and took off, they didn’t pay any attention to what direction they were going, when he finally hit a major road, he automatically turned left, thinking he had been heading south and was turning east on I-50: it wasn’t until he was thinking how great it was to see another sunrise did he figure it out, the sun should be in front of him, not in his rearview mirror: he’s heading west on I-80: this was confirmed a couple of minutes later with a sign announcing Reno in 114 miles: pulling over to the side of the road: still numb from the night before…
“Isabel, call home. Reassure them that we’re OK, but in our haste to get out of there, we headed the wrong way. I think we’re about two hours outside of Reno.”

Setting: Evans house, early Monday morning

Jim: he had watched as Tobias took Liz and Kyle’s hands in his, then closed his eyes and said “NOW”: next thing he saw was some sort of white energy leave Tobias, travel to Liz and his son: a second later Kyle sent what energy he absorbed from Tobias to Liz, where it momentarily seemed to consume her before shooting up into the air: Liz and Kyle stayed sitting there with their hands linked in total silence for about twenty minutes before Liz announced that it worked, they had gotten away: a mighty cheer went up, but Tobias didn’t hear it: he had collapsed the second he released his energy: he and Philip had rushed to his aid and were relieved to find him still breathing: they waited a few moments to see if he was going to come around: when he didn’t they carried him to Max’s bed where he remains, still unconscious: Maria was concerned that Max hadn’t had time to heal Michael yet, that he was still in pain: it wasn’t until Michael told her that he wasn’t seriously hurt and Max would take care of it that she calmed down: Liz and Kyle were exhausted from everything, not only had they used Tobias’s powers and energy, but a great deal of their own as well: Alex was called back and then updated on what happened: he took Liz and Maria home, explaining how they all had been working on fixing up the Evans’ garage into a place for all the teens to hang out in and they had lost all track of time: this also explained why Liz and Maria were so exhausted and went right to bed: Kyle literally fell over asleep on the Evans’ sofa, so Jim decided they would stay until they actually could talk to the kids: Philip and Diane had retired to bed after Maria, Liz and Alex left, and Aunt Trudy a little later: Jim was dozing in the recliner when the phone rings.

Philip: picking up the bedside phone….
“Hello, Isabel? Honey, are you OK? What about Max, Michael and Tess? We understand Michael was hurt, is he alright?… Max is just getting to it right now… Everyone else is OK though, right?… Thank God. You’re where?… Reno, how’d that happen?… Oh, I see. Yeah, you do sound pretty wiped out. I’m sure the rest of you are as well. Honey, if everyone is that exhausted and you’re that close to Reno, then you are less than three hours from your Grandparent’s house. Why don’t the four of you go there? I can call and tell them that you four were out on a weekend get away, had some car problems and were too tired to make it home. Stay there a couple of days and rest up. I think we’re going to be doing the same on this end. Besides you know Mom and Dad would love to see you two and meet your friends… OK honey, I’ll give them a call as soon as we hang up. But you all are OK, right?… Yes, I know I already asked that, but I just want to make sure. I’ll let everyone know what’s going on. OK, give our love to everyone, drive safe. Bye Honey.

Setting: South Lake Tahoe, about 4 hours later Monday morning

Betty Evans: she and George had been surprised to get such an early morning call: it made her heart race, early morning calls aren’t usually announcing good tidings, but this one wasn’t so bad: although one look at the shape her grandchildren and their friends were in upon arrival and she knew that there was more to it than just car problems, those kids were walking zombies, or more precisely stumbling zombies: she had only been able to get mumbled greetings out of them before stumbling them off to bed: she decides she had better make a run to the grocery store for as she recalls, teenagers seem to be able to eat quite a bit, especially ones that had obviously been pushed to the limit: she peeks in on her granddaughter and her friend Tess, both sound asleep in the twin beds: she walks down the hall to the next guest room and smiles at the sound of what must be a snoring contest between Max and Michael: as she closes the door to block out the sound, she remembers to include a very large Costco size box of Oreo’s and an extra gallon of milk: some habits last a lifetime.

The Fates breath a sigh of relief, the young have done well their first time out. It’s time to let them get their rest: they’ve earned it.


Chapter 28

Setting:
Grandparents’ house, South Lake Tahoe, late Monday afternoon

Max: he wakes up confused as to where he is: he recognizes the snoring coming from the bed next him, somewhere in that pile of blankets and clothes is Michael: he looks around the room and takes some deep breaths trying to clear his head: wonderful smells assail his senses: food, the smell of food causes his stomach to start to growl: he spots his backpack in the corner of the room: getting out of bed he traipses over and grabs his pack and stumbles out into the hall: he looks up and down the hall, everything is familiar, but he’s still a little disoriented: he spots his Grandfather walking towards him and the events of last night come back to him, he’s at his Grandparents’, he’s safe, they’re safe: breathing a sigh of relief, he gives his Grandpa a warm smile in greeting….
“Good morning Grandpa. It’s good to see you.”

Grandpa George: returning his only Grandson’s smile and giving him a warm hug…
“Good afternoon Max. You’ve been asleep for awhile, it’s almost 4 in the afternoon. You’re the first one up and your Grandma was getting worried that no one would be awake for the dinner she’s been working on. Why don’t you go get cleaned up and shake the rest of those cobwebs from your brain.”

Max: still a little bleary eyed but smiling…
“Yeah, that sounds good. I am pretty grungy. I’ll leave the bedroom door open. As soon as the smell of food hits Michael, he’ll be up. I’ll be done in just a bit.”
His Grandpa pats him on the back as he heads down the hall towards the bathroom: he closes the bathroom door and looks in the mirror: he looks like crap, major 5 o’clock shadow, bedhead hair, still in the same clothes from yesterday and everything covered in dust and travel grime, plus his mouth tastes like mud: he pulls out the change of clothes he brought {got to thank Mom for insisting we all bring extra clothes.}: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, comb, razor and shaving cream: he starts the shower water running to warm up while he shaves and brushes and flosses his teeth: just as he starts pulling his clothes off he hears a tentative {Max?}: smiling as he steps into the shower, he answers {yeah, I’m up. Just getting cleaned up.}: he can feel her relief wash over him {are you OK?}: as he grabs the shampoo bottle and begins to lather he sends {I’m fine, really. Just need to get all the road dirt off.}: her tone turns a bit naughty as she asks {so you’re in the shower? What exactly are you washing right now?}: he freezes in mid-lather, part of him is not sure what she’s got in mind with that question, the other part is already standing at attention and waiting for instructions, he groans to her {my hair, why? What, what did you have in mind?}: demurely, she purrs to him {hmmm, I would love to run my hands through your thick dark hair, massaging it with my fingertips as I go, letting the lather drip down every curve of your back on its way to your cute little butt. As you turn around and tilt your head back to rinse I would kiss you all over your neck. I would then take a soft washcloth and lather it up real good and run it all over your chest, going slowly to make sure I washed each and every muscle thoroughly. I would watch as the water showered down on you, making sure it rinses all the soap away before I started washing your back. Lathering the washcloth up again, I would start at the back of your neck, making small circles and applying a little pressure to help knead any kinks out of those strong shoulders of yours. As I start washing your back I would continue with those little circles, but they would grow larger and harder with each stroke, making sure not to miss a single inch of you. I would lazily run the soapy cloth over your butt, maybe remaining there at bit, just to tease. Hmmm, I can just picture you standing there with the water pelting your back rinsing all that slippery soap away. I would then gently run the cloth along your forehead, your cheeks, along your strong jaw, your gentle lips. I’m afraid that I simply couldn’t resist but to kiss each part of you as the water rinses the dirt away. After thoroughly kissing you, I would turn my attention back to the wash job. Getting that cloth nice and soapy, I would start on your legs, first running it up and down the outside, all the way from where I left off at your butt to the tips of your toes, then doing the same very thorough job on the inside. Since the inside of your thighs might be a little hard for the water to rinse off, I would have to wring the soap out of the cloth and get it nice and warm and run it all over your thighs, making sure no soap remains. Max, you’re so quiet, are you still with me?}: he’s standing there, gripping the showerhead so tightly he’s about to rip it from the wall, he can barely choke out {I’m definitely still with you. Oh God Liz, please. I, I can’t…please.}: he can feel the enjoyment, the pleasure that she is getting out of his very major, very rock solid problem he has going right now, as she continues {well, it would be very important to pay very close attention to your most sensitive parts. So I would have to get down to eye level to make sure I get everything. Taking the cloth and soaping it up really good, I would start at the base and rub the cloth up and down, being sure to spread the soap evenly. This of course may take some time since I would want to make sure not to miss any incredible inch of you. I would need to get the cloth nice and warm as I wrapped it around and massage the warmth into what I believe is called your “family jewels”. As the warmth penetrated, I would then have to make sure you were rinsed off properly and again getting the cloth nice and warm, I would take you firmly in hand and get up close to make sure I don’t miss a spot and run the cloth all over you. Then just to be certain, I would have to run my bare fingers up and down, up and down, the length. If I’m still not certain I would have to of course do a taste test…}: she pauses as she hears a slightly painful cry followed by {ahhhhh, uhhhhh, ummmm}: he’s standing there with one hand holding onto the showerhead and the other on himself, his head is spinning as her words bring him to climax and finally release: he rests his head against the cool tile as he gets his breathing and the rest of himself under control: suddenly he hears pounding on the bathroom door.

Michael: he’s been standing outside the bathroom door yelling and pounding for over five minutes: he’s not sure what’s cooking, but it smells great, in fact it woke him up: he’s starving, but he thought he should clean up first, besides he’s got to pee…
“Maxwell, I know that’s you in there. No way the girls are up yet. Hurry up and get done in there or I’m coming in, done or not!”

Max: groaning, trying not to sound too strained, he yells back…
“I’m almost done. Give me a minute to dry off and the bathroom’s all yours.”
Turning his attention back to Liz{ Liz, where are you? Is Maria with you?}: he gets an immediate reply {I’m working, but on break. Maria’s here with me working, why?}: he smiles as he sends {is Maria’s break next? I mean, uh, Michael’s outside the bathroom door wanting me to hurry, and uh, well, I thought…do you think you could give Maria a few ideas?}: he can hear the smile as she tells him {I’ll see what I can do.}: he hurriedly dresses and picks up his dirty clothes and toiletries and shoves them back into his backpack: he hangs his wet towel up as he opens the door: giving Michael a smirk as he exits…
“It’s all yours buddy. Enjoy.”
He drops his pack off in their guest room and a bit later he passes by Isabel’s standing outside the bathroom door looking peeved: he hears a definite groan coming from the bathroom: he couldn’t stop the big grin on his face if he wanted to: greeting his sis…
“Hey Izzy. How ya doing?”

Isabel: she’s standing with her hands on her hips, she’s been waiting for over ten minutes for the bathroom: she notices her brother’s grin: her eyes narrow in suspicion…
“Hey yourself. What’s got you in such a good mood? Do you know what’s taking Michael so long? He’s been in there forever!”
Not waiting for her brother’s reply, she pounds on the door again and loudly yells…
“Michael, you’ve got 1 minute to get out or I’m coming in there!”

Max: it really was his intention to tell Izzy that it wouldn’t be a good time to bust in on Michael, but that dinner just smelled so good, he decides to go check that out instead: after giving his Grandma a big hug and kiss, he sits down to Swiss steak, mashed potatoes and the trimmings: he hasn’t even had a chance to take a single bite before he hears Izzy’s distinct scream, followed by Michael’s swearing: smiling he plows into his meal with gusto.

Well, the Fates do have a sense of humor, too. Besides the kids really do need to burn off some of their stored up stress from the night before.


Chapter 29

Setting:
Grandparents’ house, South Lake Tahoe, early Monday evening

Grandma: she smiles as she watches her grandchildren and their friends help George work on his jigsaw puzzle while polishing off the 3 pound box of Oreos and milk that she had bought this afternoon: dinner had gone pretty well, the kids were famished and proceeded to basically eat everything in sight, although it seemed odd how much they all loved Tabasco on everything: after dinner Max called his parents to reassure them that they were all OK and would be leaving in the morning: as she watches the kids, she’s struck by how different Max seems {he’s always been so quiet and reserved, but now around his friends, he’s smiling and laughing, relaxed, almost outgoing. I wonder what’s made the difference? Oh, I wish they could visit more often. Maybe I’ll call Diane this week and see what they have planned for summer vacation. They’re changing so much, I feel like I barely even know my own grandchildren. Well maybe not everything has changed, how in the world did they eat that whole box of Oreos without getting sick, and on top of a very big dinner too?}: she comes up next to Max and places her hand on his shoulder: he looks up and gives her a happy look with an Oreo smile {yep, some things are still the same.}: chuckling…
“Sweetie, I’m so glad you and Isabel decided to come here with your friends. Now how’s the puzzle coming along?”

Setting: Evans’ house, Max’s bedroom, same early Monday evening

Tobias: he opens his eyes very slowly and cautiously looks around: he has no idea where he is or how long he’s been here: as he attempts to sit up a wave of dizziness hits him: he sits on the edge of the bed while waiting for it to pass: finally feeling a little better he stands up on his feet, only to hit the floor with a thud, face first, knocking the breath out of him: he hears someone coming and manages to get to his knees: he feels arms reach underneath his shoulders as someone helps him up and back to the bed: laying on the bed, he closes his eyes as another dizzy spell hits him: it’s a few minutes before it finally passes and he’s able to open his eyes to find three people staring at him with concern: thinking back to what happened, his first thought is of his mission: weakly…
“Did, did they get away?”

Philip: he’s relieved that Tobias is finally awake: he and Diane had been growing increasingly concerned about him with each passing hour: they had no idea what to do for him other than to just let him sleep: he still has no idea who Tobias is other than he is an alien, he obviously used everything he had to save the kids, and for some reason Aunt Trudy trusts him implicitly: in a friendly tone…
“Yes, they’re safe, you saved them all. Thank you. They should be home tomorrow afternoon and you can see for yourself. My name is Philip Evans, that’s my wife Diane, and that’s my Aunt Trudy. We’re very glad you arrived when you did. How are you feeling? Is there anything we can get you? Anything you need?”

Tobias: he’s starting to feel a little better but is still very drained: looking at the faces about him, kind faces: he manages a slight smile…
“Tired, I’m pretty tired. I was trying to go get a case out of my car, but I’m afraid that I didn’t make it too far. It’s in the trunk, would you mind getting it for me? My keys are in my jacket, wherever that got to.”

Philip: turning to look over his shoulder at the chair…
“It’s over there. Not a problem. I’ll be right back.”


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Jan-2002 3:27:58 PM ]
posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:29:07 PM
He quickly finds the keys in the jacket pocket and leaves to go get the case.

Diane: “Tobias, would you like something to eat or drink? I made some vegetable soup and fresh rolls for dinner. Would that be something you could eat?”

Tobias: “I’ve never had that before, I’ve only arrived rather recently, but that sounds fine.”
Diane leaves to go fix him a tray and the elderly lady, Aunt Trudy, takes a seat at the foot of the bed: he recalls what she said to him when he arrived and decides it’s time to find out who she really is…
“Who are you? How did you know I was late? How did you even know I was coming?”

Aunt Trudy: smiling warmly at their new visitor…
“I am exactly who Philip told you I was. I’m his Aunt Trudy; however on occasion I do get impressions of things, of events, that have happened or will happen. That’s how I knew you were coming. I knew that there was a final piece missing and I knew it was you. You see, I saw you, I saw you standing beside Philip and Jim when the dark one comes.”
She can’t miss the astonished expression on his face causing her to chuckle a little: Diane reappears with the dinner tray…
“Here, you need to sit up a little so you can eat.”
She quickly straightens the blankets so he can sit up easier and Diane sits the tray across his lap: she watches as he tentatively picks up the spoon: his nose crinkles a little as he puts the first spoonful in his mouth: Diane and her exchange quick glances: Diane hands him the Tabasco sauce…
“The kids seem to like this quite a bit.”

Tobias: he’s not sure about this vegetable soup, it’s rather bland, like it’s missing something: on the next spoonful he puts a couple of dashes of Tabasco on it {Mmmm, much better. Now there’s a little flavor.}: he looks up and smiles at the kind ladies: on the next spoonful he adds even more Tabasco: after repeating this process a couple more times, he decides to simply dump the rest into the bowl: in between mouthfuls…
“This I like.”

Diane: “Well, he’s definitely an alien. Maybe I should start ordering this stuff online by the case?”
He ends up eating two bowls of soup and another bottle of Tabasco and a couple of rolls before Diane takes the tray away.

Philip: he had been quietly waiting for Tobias to finish eating so he can find out a bit more about him: he finally gets his chance: laying the metallic case on the bed…
“Here’s the case you were wanting. Can you tell me who you are? I mean you’re obviously an alien. Where do you come from? Why are you here?”

Tobias: he’s not too sure how much to say, then he thinks of his earlier conversation with Aunt Trudy and smiles: he has nothing to lose, they already know…
“Your Aunt Trudy seems to know me. As I said, my name is Tobias and I am originally from a world called Antar. My family is distantly related to the Royal House of Antar as well as the Ruling Family of Renular. I was a small child when my mother died. Not long after the war started I was sent to live in my cousin Larek’s house on Renular. Larek sent me.”

He can’t help yawning, his strength is still zapped and now with a full stomach, it’s becoming almost impossible to keep his eyes open…
“Please forgive me, but I’m not fully recovered yet.”

Philip: as his mind plays connect-the-dots, he realizes that would make Tobias a relative to Zan, to his son Max, as well as a cousin to Larek, Max’s friend and ally: he breathes a little easier about who this new alien is: he has hundreds of questions that he’s dying to ask, but he realizes that it’s not his place to ask them, besides Tobias really looks tired…
“Well then, why don’t you get some more sleep? The kids won’t be back until tomorrow so you have plenty of time to rest up. Sleep well.”

Like any good General, the Fates know that in order to win a war, one must have good intelligence, a good understanding of the opponent, and it must come from a reliable source.


Chapter 30

Setting:
Evans house, late Tuesday afternoon

Diane: answering the doorbell…
“Liz, Maria, Alex, come in. I was just about to call all of you.”
She swings the door wide as three excited teens come bounding in.

Maria: she’s literally bouncing all over the place with anticipation…
“They’re almost here. I can feel it. It’s the most amazing thing. I can feel him getting closer and closer. Leave it to Michael; if he hadn’t insisted on stopping for burgers an hour ago, they’d be here already. Typical, just typical.”

Diane: closing the door behind them: grinning…
“Yes, I know. Isabel called when they stopped and let us know they’d be here soon. I was just calling everyone to come over. Jim and Kyle will be here in a few minutes.”

Liz: she’s just as excited at the prospect of seeing them again, but she refuses to display it as openly as her best friend, but she can’t stop the big grin she’s sporting: she spots Tobias coming down the hall: going over to greet him…
“Tobias, how are you? Have you recovered yet?”
They sit down on the sofa together: she’s surprised by his nervousness: concerned…
“Is everything alright?”

Tobias: he has grown antsy over the last hour: his palms are actually sweaty {great, I’m going to be greeting my King with sweaty hands. What’s he going to think? I hope he can forgive me for arriving late. If I had been able to get here in time, I could have stopped them from leaving and going into danger. It’s entirely my fault.}: he suddenly realizes that he’s being rude, and rude not to just anyone, but the King’s chosen bond mate: clearing his throat a little…
“Yes… er… I’m fine, just fine. How, how are you doing? The other night must have taken quite a bit out of you.”

Liz: she can’t get a reading on him: he almost looks a little scared…
“Good. Um, I went home and slept like a log that night, then again last night. Two good nights’ sleep did the trick.”
She hears a car pull up: she turns toward the door but doesn’t get up: it’s not Max: she can feel exactly where he is: greeting the new arrivals…
“Sheriff, Kyle, Hi. You just made it. They’ll be here in a few minutes.”
For some reason this seems to make Tobias even more nervous: she’s about to ask him what’s wrong, but she doesn’t have time, they’re here.

Max: he’s bone weary from the long drive, they all are: very tiredly he opens the front door: takes one step inside and is just about bowled over by an impatient Maria: he had to hold onto the door to keep from being knocked flat: he barely has a chance to regain his balance before Liz leaps into his arms and is kissing him all over his face: he wraps his arms around her, holds her tight and begins kissing her back: finally their lips find each other’s and they share a long passionate kiss that rejuvenates their souls: after several long minutes, he hears someone clearing their throat very loudly: with his lips still locked onto Liz’s, he tears his eyes away from her and glances around: Dad was the one doing the throat clearing and is currently standing there watching them with arms crossed, an amused grin and a raised eyebrow: Mom is looking at him with tears in her eyes: Aunt Trudy is simply smiling warmly: Alex is currently holding Isabel: Tess is getting hugged by Kyle and the Sheriff: he gets bumped from behind as Michael comes in the door with Maria firmly wrapped around him: his eyes finally land on the stranger, the one called Tobias: his Dad clears his throat once again and the four couples finally unclinch: Liz and Alex step away a little as it’s now Mom’s turn: it takes a little while before both he and Izzy have reassured their Mom sufficiently that they were really alright and it is OK to let go now: this is followed by hugs from Dad and then Aunt Trudy: finally he turns attention back to Tobias: he very calmly walks over and is about to extend his hand when Tobias suddenly stands up, bows to him and says “your majesty”: he blinks several times in surprise {huh?}: it takes a few moments for the meaning to register {this is the first time someone has called me that and really meant it.}: not wanting to disappoint, he stands up a little straighter and greets him…
“Thank you Tobias, but here I’m called Max. It would be difficult to explain why you call me your majesty, so maybe simply Max would be best.”
Again extending his hand…
“It’s very nice to meet you Tobias, and thank you. Thank you for saving our lives. I understand that it took quite a lot out of you. I hope you’ve had a chance to recover.”

Tobias: he’s stunned, this was not what he expected: Larek had told him that King Zan had been raised as the human Max, but he wasn’t sure what that really meant: he’s not sure how to react: he suddenly realizes that he’s just standing there while his King is extending his hand in greeting: he swallows a few times and in a voice that he hopes won’t crack…
“Thank you, your maj… uh, Max. Yes, I have recovered sufficiently. Thank you for your concern. But I’m afraid that, that this whole incident was my fault. I was late in getting here. If I had arrived on time, you wouldn’t have had to go. Please forgive me.”

Max: out of the corner of his eye, he can see his Dad watching him, silently encouraging him: he turns all of his attention back to Tobias, who finally takes his extended hand and gives it a firm handshake: smiling slightly, he indicates that Tobias should sit and make himself comfortable on the sofa: he takes a seat next to him and waits while everyone else makes themselves comfortable too: everyone’s attention is then turned on him and Tobias: he clears his throat and begins…
“Tobias, what happened is not your fault. We had to know what was happening and while things didn’t go as planned, we all are alright and we did eliminate some of the arriving Skin reinforcements. That’s what they were, weren’t they?”

Tobias: the King’s gentle and calm manner allows him to breathe a sigh of relief…
“Yes, that’s what was left of them. Those small ships were escape pods. That’s all that got through, the rest were destroyed.”

Michael: he and Max exchange looks with each other…
“Destroyed, where? How? By whom?”

Tobias: he waits a moment for a nod from Max to proceed…
“A heavily armed troop ship loyal to Kivar left Antar approximately 5 Earth months ago. It was due to arrive last week. Larek sent a battleship after it with orders to destroy it at all costs. It could not be allowed to land. I was on the battleship. We caught up to the troop ship just as it was nearing Earth; close to the planet you call Saturn. The captain carried out his orders to the end. The troop ship was destroyed, but 13 escape pods got away. Because I was there on a separate mission, the captain made sure I got away in the battleship’s sole surviving escape pod before it too exploded. It’s been a long trip.”

Max: he feels sick at the thought of the loss of life…
“How many were on the battleship?”

Tobias: shaking his head sadly…
“Too many. They were good people, but they knew the odds. That ship had to be stopped before it reached Earth.”

Max: “What was their mission?”

Tobias: “To get the Granolith at all costs, and to eliminate any opposition, including the Royal 4 if necessary. At the meeting in New York, Nicholas revealed that you had the Granolith and then you refusing to play along with Kivar’s scheme had a major impact on Kivar’s position. His hold on power has always been tenuous at best. Revealing that he didn’t have the Granolith was a major gamble on his part, one that backfired on him. Plus you denying him it and not playing along reinvigorated those still loyal to you. ”

Max: “What exactly is the Granolith?”

Tobias: astonished…
“Don’t you know?”
The King shakes his head “no”, as does the rest of the Royal 4…
“It’s knowledge. It contains the accumulative total of everything we’ve done, and who we are: medicine, science, history, art, mathematics, literature, everything from the beginning of our recorded history.”

Max: it is now his turn to be stunned: trying to grasp the true meaning of what he’s being told…
“Like some sort of giant super computer?”
Looking over at Liz…
“But I thought it could be modified for time travel? How is that possible?”

Tobias: “It can do time travel, space travel, any kind of travel as long as it has the knowledge. It is like a computer but it is more. A computer only stores information. It can only tell you how to build a time transport, the Granolith can become one. All you have to do is ask it.”

Michael: a sudden chill runs down him as he thinks of some of the possible implications…
“Weapons?”

Tobias: “Yes, weapons that could destroy this world or any other in a blink of an eye.”

Liz: “You said all you have to do is ask it, ask it how?”

Tobias: “That’s the catch. Only certain ones can ask it, certain ones with a very specific genetic code. That code is only found in some of the direct descendants of the Royal House of Antar, specifically the King and his immediate family.”

Liz: “Wait a minute. So what good would it do for Kivar to have the Granolith without a member of the Royal House to use it?”

Tobias: “It’s still a store house of information, information that can still be accessed. It simply won’t become what it’s being asked to. But it still will tell you how to build that transport or that weapon. And there are many ‘minor’ Royals. Kivar’s been systematically going through the ones that he could find to see if any of them carry the code.”
Looking very sad…
“Unfortunately as he finds out that they don’t, they are of no use to him and in fact are a possible threat to his position, so they are eliminated.”

Philip: thinking back to what Tobias told him earlier…
“Tobias, you told me that you were distantly related to the Royal House of Antar and that your Mother died when you were young. Was that… Kivar’s doing?”

Tobias: the wound still stings…
“Yes. My Mother was of Royal blood, though very distantly. After her death my Father sent me to Renular for my own safety. He stayed on Antar and joined the fight against Kivar.”

Max: as the implications of what Tobias just told him sink in, his blood begins to boil: he hands ball into such tight fists that they start turning white: through clenched teeth…
“So not only did he kill us, he has for the last fifty years been killing off the remaining members of the Royal Family, of my family?”

Tobias: looking his King straight in the eye…
“Yes.”

The Fates are finally getting through to the young King: peace is preferable to war, but sometimes the price of that peace is too high and you must fight for it instead.



Chapter 31

Antar:

Main seat of power, ruled by Royal House of Antar
King Tanier – Zan & Vilandra’s Father
Queen Nataria – Zan & Vilandra’s Mother – disciple of the order of Ruan
Lord Rath – Son of Royal advisor, friend of King Zan, betrothed to Princess Vilandra
Renular:
Governed by the Royal Family – distant relatives of Royal House of Antar
Chancellor Larek – Head of Royal Family, childhood friend and confidant to King Zan, current protector and home of Queen Nataria and other exiled members of Royal House of Antar
Vintar:
Ruled by Crown Prince Lanua – Ava’s Grandfather
Dranular:
Ruled by Dranularik Dynasty – Shapeshifters’ home world
Cromar:
Ruled by the Supreme Crevsek, Dictator and ally to Kivar – Skins’ home world


Setting: Evans house, late Tuesday afternoon, immediately following

Max: he and his sister stare at each other, silently communicating their shared horror at what Tobias just told them: as his sister’s eyes tear up and start to spill, he asks the painful question that she is unable to…
“What about our Mother? Is she safe?”

Tobias: “Yes, she’s on Renular, besides Kivar would have been a fool to harm her.”

Max: he watches as his Mom goes to his sister, who curls up in Mom’s arms: he feels his Dad’s hand on his shoulder: he looks up at him and silently thanks him for his support: taking a deep breath he turns back to Tobias…
“What about Michael, uh Rath’s family and Ava’s? What about them?”

Tobias: “Rath’s family is still on Antar, leading the fight against Kivar. Ava’s family was never in danger since she’s not Antarian. She’s Vintarian, the granddaughter of the Crown Prince of Vintar.”
He hesitates a little, not wanting to insult anyone, but it’s becoming pretty obviously that they know next to nothing about their home {no wonder Larek wanted me to come here and help. They need it.}…
“Perhaps I should explain a bit about the five worlds of Antar and what happened and why?”

Max: letting out the breath he had been holding…
“Yes, please.”

Tobias: “There are 5 worlds in close proximity to each other that support life in what you call the Whirlwind Galaxy. Of those 5 worlds, Antar was the most advanced technologically and settled the other 4 worlds over a millennium ago. The other 4 are Renular, Vintar, Cromar, and Dranular. Through the ages, Antarians interbred with the local inhabitants of those worlds. It is now rare to find any that are “pure” Antarian or anything else. Antar, being the original “home” planet, has always been the main seat of power. The Royal House has ruled Antar since before space travel was discovered. The other 4 worlds have their own systems of government plus they each have a seat on the Ruling Council. The council sets the policies and laws governing all intergalactic issues. The King of Antar chairs the council and is the main power behind it. It was that council that met with you in New York. Believe me, Kivar did not want that meeting to happen, but since the others on the council do not recognize Kivar as the King of Antar, there was nothing he could do to stop it. Kivar may hold power on Antar, but not on the council. At most they consider him an equal, but not someone they have to answer to. That’s part of the problem, no one is in charge of the council anymore and it’s almost impossible to get anything agreed upon. Unfortunately these arguments spill over into actual armed conflicts and wars.”
He takes a moment to collect his thoughts before continuing…
“Let’s see, I guess I should explain what happened. Prince Zan was barely 20 in Earth years when he succeeded his Father, King Tanier, to the throne. It’s been widely speculated that someone helped King Tanier’s untimely death along but nothing has ever been proven. Earth had always fascinated Prince Zan with all of its different types of people and their different ideas, including their different governments, particularly democracy. When he became King, he wanted to implement some of those ideas. He wanted to give the people more say in things, more power. But those holding power, I guess you would call them the aristocracy, didn’t take too kindly to those ideas. They saw it as a threat to their way of life, their power. Kivar was one of those, but he had even higher ambitions, the throne. First he tried by marriage. As you can imagine, because of the Granolith it was extremely important that King Zan and Princess Vilandra marry and produce heirs, insuring the continuance of the genetic code. Kivar had hoped that King Zan would choose his niece as a wife. He was none too happy when it was announced that King Zan had decided to strengthen the bonds between Antar and Vintar by marrying Crown Prince Lanua of Vintar’s granddaughter, Princess Ava, instead. Next he pitched himself as a possible husband for Princess Vilandra, which neither King Zan, nor their Mother, Queen Nataria, would even hear of, let alone seriously consider. The day before King Zan and Princess Ava’s wedding, it was officially announced that Princess Vilandra was going to marry Lord Rath, the son of the late King Tanier’s closest and most trusted advisor and friend. While Lord Rath had no Royal blood, he had been raised in the royal household, was a close childhood friend of King Zan, and was being groomed to succeed his Father as a trusted advisor to the King. That announcement was the final straw and what prompted Kivar to take action, although he must have been planning it for some time. He waited until after the actual wedding and public reception was over, then at the private reception later that night he struck.”
He has to pause and swallow a few times before continuing…
“Only immediate family and close friends were there. King Zan, his new Queen Ava, Princess Vilandra and Lord Rath never had a chance. Larek told me that Lord Rath died trying to get them to safety. Many others died that night as well. Luckily Queen Nataria was not harmed. Queen Nataria presented a major problem for Kivar, she’s a disciple of Ruan, an ancient revered order dedicated to the betterment of the lives of its people, and she is much loved. As bad as the bloodbath that followed was, it would have been worse if Kivar had harmed a disciple of Ruan. After they had fallen, she turned to Larek to assist in getting the remains of her children away before Kivar could destroy them. She’s a formidable woman, not someone you could easily say no to. She left with them and Larek for Renular almost immediately. Kivar had no idea until much later that they took the Granolith with them.
In the days afterwards, it was apparent that Kivar was getting help from the self-titled Supreme Crevsek, Dictator of Cromar. Crevsek had assumed power in a coup and was greatly opposed to the changes that King Zan wanted to implement on Antar. He feared it would spill over to Cromar. Cromar is the home world of the ones you call the Skins. We think that Kivar has promised Crevsek access to the knowledge of the Granolith for his assistance.”

Isabel: she’s been sitting wrapped in her Mom’s arms, listening in horror and fascination: her tears have streaked paths down her cheeks through her makeup and travel dirt: she watches her brother sitting there quietly listening to everything: she had never seen him look so furious in her life as he was earlier: she’s sure he still is, but he’s controlling it: he can’t control the change that came over him though, Pearce took his innocence a year ago, but the truth has replaced it today with determination: he’s going to fight for his throne, not because he is expected to, because he wants to, he wants to free his people: for the first time she realizes what it really means to be Royal, not pomp and circumstance and all its trappings, but responsibility to your people, a commitment to make their lives better: she looks around the room at all the people sitting there in varying degrees of shock and is struck by how fortunate she truly is to have them all there with them: her eyes settle back onto her brother and she silently vows to him not to let him or their people down.

The Fates have protected the Royal 4 and saw to it that they had what they needed while growing up, but it is time for them to put away their crayons and walk in the adult world.


Chapter 32

Setting:
Evans house, late Tuesday afternoon, immediately following

Michael: he’s sitting on the loveseat with Maria next to him, her presence having a calming effect on him for a change: he’s engrossed in thought as much as the rest of them: he’s startled as Max suddenly jumps up, walks towards the living room window and begins pacing: he’s always envied Max Evans, he had it all, a good home, loving family, the love of his life, everything: for once he’s glad he is not Max: he silently watches as Liz comes over to Max and takes his hand, and immediately he stops pacing: he turns his thoughts back to what Tobias just told them, not the background about the war, but about what’s happening now…
“Tobias, you said you were put into the escape pod because you were there on a different mission, what was it? What’s your mission?”

Tobias: he had been expecting the question and isn’t surprised it came from the one called Michael, from the King’s advisor, friend and protector: Michael is very much like the original Rath, always by his side: he looks over at Max and is intrigued by the obvious effect Liz has had on him: nodding towards Max…
“I have something for you. Something you’ll have to make a decision on. If you’ll please excuse me for a moment, I need to retrieve something.”
He waits for a nod from Max before rising to leave: he goes into the Max’s bedroom for the metal case and returns immediately: putting the case on the coffee table, his hands glow briefly, matching the silver thumb print on the lock: the case pops open immediately: he removes an orb, much like the original two but black: next he removes a small ring box: holding it in his hand, he formally offers it to Max…
“This is yours, your majesty, but with it comes the responsibility of the crown. It is up to you if you choose to wear it.”

Max: he walks over to Tobias and takes the box: he looks at the silver box, then opens it, inside is a ring, a silver metal ring with alien writing etched all around, and the alien swirling symbol prominently etched on a large flattened surface, inside the swirling symbol is a deep purple stone cut to fit: he’s mesmerized by its beauty: he has to tear his eyes away from it before he can refocus on Tobias and more importantly, his words…
“You came all this way to give me a ring? What do you mean ‘It is up to me if I choose to wear it’?”

Tobias: he bites his lip, not all of what he has to say is going to be complimentary, but it is necessary: he takes a deep breath…
“The ring is worn only by the ruling King or Queen of Antar, it’s given to them upon their coronation, like the Granolith the genetic code activates it and once it is put on it adheres to the wearer’s finger, becomes part of who they are, and can only be removed upon their death. If you put that ring on, you are irrevocably accepting your role as King of Antar until your death.”
He can’t help squirming a little before he plunges into the next part…
“You see, at the meeting in New York, it was pretty obvious that you were not very well prepared, which meant that there was no one there to prepare you. Larek and Queen Nataria knew that the ship that carried you here was damaged while escaping from Kivar’s forces, and due to the damage was not able to land properly and in fact crashed. But that’s it, that’s all that was known for sure until a year ago when the four of you activated the orbs and sent off a signal. That was the first time it was known that the four of you had indeed survived. The meeting showed that the ones sent to raise you, to train you, most likely did not.”

Tess: “We only knew one of them, Nesado, a Shapeshifter. He was there when I came out of the pod. He raised me, while looking for the others. The Skins killed him last year.”
The mixture of emotions that she suddenly feels as she talks of her “father” surprises her: she responds by sinking deeper into Kyle’s arms: she looks up at the sheriff and smiles slightly at the warm look he gives her.

Tobias: he opens his mouth but isn’t sure what to say, stumbling over his words a little…
“A Shapeshifter, a Dranularian, was all that was left? You, you were raised by him?”
He can’t help but rolls his eyes at this…
“That would explain some of it. There are not too many pure Dranularians left. The ones that there are adhere to the old code of honor. They make excellent bodyguards and mercenaries. Once they give their word to accept a mission, they will see it through to completion or die in the process. However they do not make the best parents for non-Dranularians. Their strict code of duty and honor can be hard to live up to. It must have been a difficult childhood.”
Getting back on track…
“In any case, after the meeting, there was much discussion between Larek and the Queen. It was decided that an advisor should be sent. Since I had been studying Earth and its languages and customs, I was asked to do it. The mission wasn’t supposed to happen for another year or two, to give me time to prepare properly for it, but the departure of Kivar’s troop ship caused my departure to be moved up quite a bit.
The Queen also thought that it wasn’t fair to expect you to fight for something you knew nothing about and had never been prepared for, so she decided that you should be given the opportunity to decline, to decline the throne.”
Picking up the black orb…
“They are waiting for a signal. If I send it, it will tell them that I failed to arrive in time. That the Skins have already succeeded in eliminating you. If you decide to decline the throne, then I am to offer it to your sister; if she also declines then either one of you can send the signal without wearing the ring. If you send it while wearing the ring then they will know that you accept and are willing to fight for the throne. Do you accept the ring?”

Max: he stares down at the ring for a bit: he turns towards his sister, who is silently crying: as he looks at her, he realizes that if he declines, she won’t but she would rather it be him: his gaze travels to Tess, who is sitting in Kyle’s embrace: he’s never been good at reading her, but has the distinct impression that she would view him as a coward and unworthy if he declined, for some reason that he can’t explain that thought bothers him a great deal: next he looks squarely at Michael: he’s surprised when he sees momentary hesitation, for a brief second he thought that maybe it would be OK for him to say no: he scans the rest of the room, his Dad is looking at him with pride, no matter what decision he makes, he’ll understand and support him: his Mom silently tells him the same, but through quiet, steady tears: Aunt Trudy simply gives him a steady gaze and an encouraging nod: Alex is a tower of quiet strength, he’s holding Izzy’s hand, chin up, looking proud with no doubts he will do what’s right: turning towards Kyle, he’s surprised to see something he isn’t expecting, determined support, much akin to the look he is getting from the sheriff: taking them all in, he turns lastly to Liz: she silently gazes up at him with love, determination and strength: finally he looks at Tobias…
“If I decline then the last 50 years of war, of people dying in my name would all be for nothing.”
He slips the ring on his right middle finger…
“I cannot allow that. Give me the orb.”

There is a point in everyone’s life when all the cards that the Fates have dealt are on the table; it’s the point of no return and there is no going back.


Chapter 33



The 5 Worlds of the Whirlwind Galaxy
Antar:

Main seat of power, ruled by Royal House of Antar
King Tanier – Zan & Vilandra’s Father
Queen Nataria – Zan & Vilandra’s Mother – disciple of the order of Ruan
Lord Rath – Son of Royal advisor, friend of King Zan, betrothed to Princess Vilandra
Luntar- One of two moons orbiting Antar, military supply outpost
Renular:
Governed by the Royal Family – distant relatives of Royal House of Antar

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:30:07 PM
Chancellor Larek – Head of Royal Family, childhood friend and confidant to King Zan, current protector and home of Queen Nataria and other exiled members of Royal House of Antar
Vintar:
Ruled by Crown Prince Lanua – Ava’s Grandfather
Dranular:
Ruled by Dranularik Dynasty – Shapeshifters’ home world
Cromar:
Ruled by the Supreme Crevsek, Dictator and ally to Kivar – Skins’ home world


Setting: Southern Royal Palace, Renular, several hours later

Queen Nataria: she’s been watching the crimson sun set over the water: the sea breeze feels refreshing, its taste reminds her of happier times long ago at their home by the sea, when her children were young and would run about leaving chaos and mayhem in their wake: now she is alone, even the child that had become a surrogate son to her, Tobias, has gone, gone to join the fight, to join her children on that distant planet: word that they had finally received the long awaited signal last year, the signal that told them the Royal 4 had survived to maturity, had swept across the worlds like rays of the Antarian sun, of hope: her children lived: Larek had been apprehensive about the meeting on Earth and with reason, if everything had gone according to plan that signal would have been sent much earlier: they knew that the crash had created unforeseen problems, and they wanted to find out what those problems were before the meeting: Kivar had been adamantly opposed to the meeting for several months, then suddenly he was all for it, in fact pushing it forward: in hind sight it was clear that his minions had already made contact with the Royal 4 and immediately realized that they were still very young and unprepared, and he hoped to capitalize on it: she can still hear the words her son said to Kivar’s proposal “Yes, I have. And the answer is no. I will not give up the Granolith to you. Not to you, not to Kivar, not to anyone. It was entrusted to me”, she does not hide the smile of maternal pride his words still brings to her {he has it in him. I know he does. I heard it and later when we received the visual signal, I saw it too.}: she hears the door behind her quietly open and close, she knows he has arrived: the final hour of the first segment of the time table for Tobias’s mission has come and passed: he has come to tell her if her son is alive or dead and if he lives, does he want to fight for his people: while continuing to stare at the setting sun, she addresses him in a steady but warm tone…
“What signal have you received Larek?”

Larek: he waits until she slowly turns around so she can see the smile on his face: his eyes sparkle with joy for her, for the people of Antar…
“He accepts the throne.”

Queen Nataria: she closes her eyes as relief, hope and joy sweep over her {he’s alive; my son is alive. If he is, then Vilandra must be as well.}: she opens her eyes and waits a moment for the mist to clear from them: she will not cry, she’s already cried a lifetime of tears: she swallows a few times before she continues…
“When does the next phase commence?”

Larek: “Tobias has the next 45 days to teach them what they need to know before our rebel forces land on Antar’s closest moonbase, Luntar.”
He looks down briefly before he tells her the other news…
“We were successful in destroying the troop ship. The final message before our battle ship was also destroyed said that they believe 13 escapes pods from the troop ship managed to get away. We have no more help that we can send them at this time. It will be up to Tobias and the Royal 4 to defeat them. They are on their own.”

Queen Nataria: she simply nods in acknowledgement of this news, refusing to show the worry and panic that she is fighting to keep at bay: she has had many years of practice at keeping her emotions under control until a more appropriate and private time, she uses that practiced skill as she calmly asks…
“Tell me again about him, about this Max Evans that is my son Zan.”

Setting: Evans house, Max’s room, same Tuesday evening, late

Max: after he sent the signal, they turned to discussing the more immediate situation, what happened in the Nevada desert: Tobias informed them that the escape pods could carry at the most 6 Skins, at 13 pods, that meant a total of 78 new arrivals: Michael thought he had taken out maybe 9: with Tobias’s energy maybe Max had gotten another 20, that left 49 plus Nicholas and however many that might have survived from Copper Summit: as the night wore on fatigue started setting in and everyone decided to call it a night and reconvene tomorrow evening: Tobias was asked to stay, but refused to take Max’s room even when he insisted, in the end Tobias made himself comfortable on the sofa: it’s just as well, Max needed some time to think, that’s what he’s been doing for hours now, thinking: it’s currently past midnight: he’s standing in front of his open window in his t-shirt and boxers, arms crossed: staring up at the starlit night: {why did I do it? How can I do this and keep everyone safe?}: he hears footsteps behind him, turning slightly he greets him in a muted tone…
“Hey Dad.”
His Father gives him a small smile and walks over to him, puts his arm around his shoulder and gazes up at the night sky with him…
“They’re up there somewhere fighting and dying for me. They’ve been doing it for over 50 years. Tonight I just sent them a signal telling them to keep doing it.”
He looks down at his bare feet for a moment before continuing…
“For the last year I have been living a lie. I kept telling myself that it was all a mistake, that I was no King; that even if it was true and I had been this King Zan, I had already lived and died for them. They had no right to ask anything more from me. I guess I thought if I kept telling that to myself enough it would be true.”
Looking at his Dad with a somber expression…
“I never wanted to be anything other than Max Evans, your son. To finish school, for Liz and I to fall in love, get married, have that house with a white picket fence and a couple of kids, that’s it, that’s my dream. I’m not going to get that dream though. Instead I’m expected to lead a war on a planet I have no memory of, for a people that I don’t know, and who don’t know me but who are willing to die for me anyways. How am I supposed to accomplish this? How am I going to do it without getting the people I care about killed?”

Philip: he gives his son’s shoulder a gentle squeeze, giving him a solid look…
“I don’t know Max. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that you can’t and aren’t expected to do it alone. You are surrounded by people that care about you and about what happens to your people. You can’t keep everyone safe. There never are any guarantees in life, especially in war. You can only follow what you know is right and listen to those you trust.”
Softening a little…
“No Max, you’re not likely to get that house with a white picket fence. Rarely do all your dreams come true, but that doesn’t mean at least some part of it can’t come true. Think about what are the most important parts to you. While fighting this war, don’t forget to fight for those parts as well. That way, when it’s over you’ll have something or someone nice to come home to. Now try and get some sleep. You’ve got school tomorrow.”
With his arm still around his son, he pulls him closer and gives him a quick kiss at the temple and quietly tells him…
“And you will always be Max Evans, my son, no matter where you go or what you’ll become. Goodnight son.”

While heavy is the head that wears the crown the Fates are making sure there are those there that can help him carry the weight.


Chapter 34

Setting:
Crashdown, two weeks later, Thursday evening

Tobias: he’s been sitting here watching another heated discussion taking place between Michael and his bond mate, Maria, something about an event called the Prom: he had been shocked the first time he witnessed one, no one ever spoke to a member of the Royal household like that: he was even further confused by the lack of response by everyone else, they just shrugged and ignored it: that was his first clue that he has a great deal to learn about this reincarnated Royal 4 and those that surround them: he watches as Max walks in wearing his UFO Center vest, his eyes quickly scanning the room: he smiles as he spots her coming out from the back and walks over for his hello kiss: Max is grinning as he takes a seat with him at his table: greeting his majesty warmly…
“Hello Max, how’s work going?”

Max: “Good, starting to get a little busy. How’s the…..”
His conversation is interrupted by a “Michael Guerin, I am going to the Prom and you are to going to take me whether you want to or not!” that comes bellowing out from the kitchen: he cringes as Maria comes roaring out and over to his table with order book in hand.

Maria: she and Michael have been arguing for days over this: he keeps saying he doesn’t do dances: {Well Michael, you’re doing this one!} goes echoing out to her beloved bond mate: she takes a few deep breaths, turns her attention to her customers, smiles sweetly and asks….
“Hey Max, what can I get for you?”

Max: he takes one look in Michael’s direction, who has a long suffering look about him and briefly wonders if he should try and help his friend out a little, then remembering the last time he experienced one of Mt. Saint Maria’s eruptions, thinks better of it {Sorry pal, better you than me.}: quickly, so as not to set her off…
“Will Smith burger, Saturn rings and a cherry Coke.”

Maria: still smiling sweetly…
“Be right up.”

Tobias: as she leaves, he lets out the breath he has been holding: in amazement…
“How can she do that? I mean Rath is not of Royal lineage, but he is a member of the Royal household. Why is she allowed to talk that way to him?”

Max: barely able to keep from laughing….
“I dare you to go over there and tell her that.”

Tobias: he looks over at her, contemplates the possible repercussion of that suggestion and blanches at his conclusion: turning back to Max…
“Uh, no. I’d rather face Kivar head on.”

Max: chuckling….
“Yeah, me too. So as I was saying, how’s the new place coming along?”

Tobias: after spending a couple of nights on the Evans’ couch, the sheriff found him a suitable place, a little ranchette outside of town, close to Buckley Point and their practice ground and far enough away from any possible nosey neighbors: Philip had helped him with the paperwork: money was not a problem, he simply transferred funds from the Banc Swiss account that had been established in the forties, it was very simple to duplicate the currency and in the confusion after WWII, no questions were asked as to its origins: the one the Royal 4 called Nesado had been using it for years: officially he was now Nathan Tobias, distant relative to the Evans, who has been out of the country for several years but has decided to return and settle near family: he now owns a small piece of property, a newer used car, and a new local bank account with a few thousand in it for spending money: while this cover story explained why he was close to the Evans and their friends, it did have one side effect no one had foreseen: he was now one of the most eligible bachelors in town and was considered quite a catch: he still is having a hard time figuring out how to handle all the interest a certain Miss O’ Brian was showing in him, not to mention Miss Sanders and Miss Jenkowski: on the up side, thanks to them he hasn’t had to figure out how to cook yet: turning his attention back to his majesty…
“It’s going fine. I am grateful for everyone’s help. It was very kind of Isabel, Tess and Maria to come over and help me decorate. Although I’m not certain what everything is used for, I mean, what’s the purpose of a lava lamp?”

Setting: Arizona desert, same Thursday evening

Nicholas: he’s been pacing back and forth for hours now, after two weeks he’s still furious at this joke he was sent as reinforcements: he was expecting over 500 battle-harden elite troops, instead he got only 78 bedraggled looking, incompetent nincompoops: who managed to get almost half of themselves killed before they could even be of any use to him: this on top of them not thinking to bring much in the way of additional weapons or supplies in their escape pods: he does not miss the importance of the fact that Larek was willing to send a battle cruiser after the transport ship, it could mean only one thing: Larek was finally getting ready to commit Renular to armed conflict against Kivar: this is what Kivar had feared the most, Renular’s forces were well trained and impressive but strangely only used to keep the peace for its people: apparently the meeting in New York had awakened this sleeping giant and had goaded him into action: it was now a race to who would get to the Granolith: it was a forgone conclusion that Cromar, Dranular and even Vintar would love to get their hands on it themselves and no doubt their agents were already on their way: Renular by helping the Royal 4 and the Antarian rebels were banking on favorable treatment once everything is said and done: not only was an all out war inevitable on Antar, but it was going to be spilling over here on Earth as well: with that in mind and the situation with his reinforcements, he was forced on a path that he did not relish: the sound of his cell phone ringing stops his pacing: flipping the phone open…
“Report.”

Skin 1: “I’ve met with them here in Washington. I had to give them a demonstration of our powers before they would believe I was an alien. I think it scared the hell out of them when I explained about the rebel aliens being here on Earth, masquerading as teens in Roswell, NM, and holding onto a weapon of mass destruction that they had stolen from our safe keeping. Elite FBI and Secret Service agents both are on their way to Roswell.”

Nicholas: this news brings a smile of pure evil and hatred to his boyish face.

As the war for the throne of Antar prepares to play out its final battle, the Fates have a trick or two up their sleeves that may tilt the odds a little in the young King’s favor, but only if he’s willing to use them.


Chapter 35

Setting:
On a private gov’t airplane somewhere between DC and Roswell, same Thursday night

FBI Deputy Director McCall: upon discovering that there really were aliens on Earth, he had the Pearce report delivered to his office: he had only skimmed the original report when it was first done, he hadn’t even deemed it necessary to review it after Bob had done the addendums to it earlier this year: he had thought it a bunch of nonsense and not worth his time: now it commanded his full attention and it just was not adding up: if the report is to be believed then Pearce, believing this Max Evans was an alien, kidnapped him, questioned him, ran medical tests on him, found him to be human, then turned him back over to the sheriff of Roswell, this Sheriff Valenti, no questions asked: that made no sense: {why would the kid keep quiet? Why would his parents? Max is the son of Philip Evans, a lawyer, a noted damn good lawyer; he would’ve had this in court demanding an explanation and compensation in a heartbeat. No, this didn’t add up at all. Which means that Pearce must have been onto something. Max Evans is not what he seems and has something to hide. According to this new information from, what did he call himself again? Oh yes, this Skin, Max Evans is the leader of a group of alien rebels that has stolen this Granolith, a weapon of global destruction, and is hiding it somewhere here on Earth. Why would this Skin need our help to get it back? His powers were very impressive. If he couldn’t get the Granolith back by himself then does that mean this Max Evans has powers that surpass his? If that’s the case how are we going to get it? If he has these powers then how was Pearce able to capture him a year ago? No, this all smells very fishy. We’re not getting the whole story or maybe not even the right story.}: he checks his watch, 1:43AM DC time, another 2 hours before they land at Roswell: he looks across the aisle at his counterpart in the Secret Service: it was decided this is to be a joint agency undertaking: the Secret Service is considering this a national threat to the safety of the country and possibly the world: with that attitude, things could go to hell very quickly: he hopes that calmer heads prevail long enough so that he can get the answers he needs without getting the world blown to Kingdom Come.

Setting: New Mexico Desert nearing Roswell: same Thursday evening, about an hour later

Nicholas: he’s riding in a SUV with his troops following in various vans and cars: he’s been deadly calm these last hours since getting the phone call, focusing on making it to Roswell before the FBI and Secret Service do: he wants his men in place to be able to follow just in case these gov’t buffoons are able to actually get the location of the Granolith: at the very least, he’s banking on them taking Max Evans into some sort of custody, thus isolating him from the other three and making him an easy target for them to capture: he smiles as he contemplates the fun he’ll have when he gets Max all to himself: he has no doubt that he’ll get the Granolith’s location from him eventually, but first he’ll be sure to extract payment for every stinking year he has spent stuck on this cesspool of a planet called Earth: his driver pulls off onto a dusty road right outside of Roswell and stops: they wait as the caravan of troops pull up alongside and gather around: Nicholas steps out and with an arrogant swagger, walks over to them…
“OK, everyone has their maps and knows where they’re supposed to be. Don’t get lost. I will keep watch on the Evans house myself and will notify the closest unit when I determine which way they are going. Everybody keep your cell phone on. You are to follow only, do not attempt to apprehend unless I give the direct order. Remember, I want Zan alive. His accidental death will result in your own. Now disperse.”
He jumps in the SUV and his driver heads into Roswell: they park down the street and around the corner from the medium sized adobe house where an alien King is soundly asleep: he watches with interest as a short time later a large black van followed by a dark sedan pulls around the block and stops.

McCall: he watches in silence as the Secret Service men disembark from the van and prepare themselves, they’re loaded for bear: these men are the elite forces that nobody publicly acknowledge exists, but deep down know that they must: now they are getting ready to go against a teenage boy that most likely has a few unknown tricks up his sleeve: it’s the unknown that scares them the most: looking in the van at all of the electronic equipment, he watches a black and white test monitor: the technician is listening on headphones, adjusting levers, reaching the proper setting, he flips a switch, suddenly the test monitor shows a world of static: McCall taps the technician on the shoulder to get his attention: as the technician removes the headphones, he asks him….
“What did you just do?”

Technician: “I just jammed the local cell phone company’s system. Don’t want them calling out for reinforcements do we?”
Nodding his head towards the dark figure slinking towards the house…
“Chavez is taking care of cutting the land lines the old fashion way.”

McCall: he turns to look at all of the men silently making their way towards the house, all armed and waiting for the signal to go: the thought of what might happen if that scenario plays out, makes his mouth go dry and a ball of fire to form in his gut: {this is wrong. I can feel it. I have to stop this before it’s too late.}: he walks over to the Secret Service Deputy Director, Michael Dennis: he comes over and takes a position right in front of him: in a tone of authority…
“Mike, stop. Think about this. Surrounding the house with armed men, all this electronic gear. This is a kid. If you go busting in there he’s going to be startled out of sleep, scared shitless. He might react without thinking. If what we saw in DC is any indication of the possible firepower this kid might have, there’s no telling what could happen. Let’s try talking to him first. Hear what he has to say. Maybe we can get this situation taken care of peacefully.”

Dennis: he puts down the map and stares at McCall, clearly not happy: in the same tone of authority, he replies…
“I don’t agree. Right now we have the element of surprise on our side. I say we go in, secure the site and him first, then you can talk to him all you want.”

McCall: standing up straight, he pulls his trump card…
“Mike, I have information about this kid. One of our agents checked him out a year ago. Right now we still are not sure what he is, but for all intents and purpose he was exactly what he appeared to be, a kid, a human kid. If we go busting in there armed and we are wrong about this, then we’ll have a hell of a lot of explaining to do, especially if someone gets hurt and this turns out to be some kind of elaborate hoax.”

Dennis: he doesn’t like it: any good soldier knows that you never want to give up the element of surprise: he sizes up his counterpart, McCall spent 12 years in the NYPD before retiring and joining the FBI 15 years ago, has a reputation as an intuitive and smart field agent, lots of street smarts carried over from his PD days: coming to a decision…
“What exactly do you have in mind?”

McCall: “Leave enough men to cover the exits, but pull the rest back. Might as well keep the electronic jamming going. You and I go up and ring the doorbell. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll invite us in for coffee and cake, and we can calmly discuss Max being an alien and where he might have stashed this Granolith away.”
At a little before 3:00AM, he and Mike Dennis ring the Evans’ doorbell: a moment later various lights go on throughout the house: someone looks out the front window, then finally the door opens a crack: both men pull out their IDs as he addresses the occupant…
“Good morning sir. I am Agent McCall from the FBI and this is Agent Dennis from the Secret Service. Sorry for the early hour, but we need to speak to you and your son. May we come in?”

Philip: his blood runs cold: Max and Isabel told him they have already spotted the armed men covering the doors and windows: Max tried calling the sheriff, but the line had been cut: Isabel tried her cell phone only to get an ear full of static: before opening the door, he turns back to look at his son and daughter standing in the hall: anger rises in him as he sees fear flash across their faces, especially Max’s: Diane must have seen it too, she walks over and puts a comforting hand on his shoulder: his son gives her a small smile then turns and nods to him: with no other option, he swallows his anger, undoes the chain and opens the door to let the agents in: slipping into his lawyer mode…
“Of course, come in.”

McCall: he looks around the neat and comfortable room, about what he expected: taking in its occupants: he had studied what information he could about them on his way here: the one that opened the door must be Philip Evans, middle aged, keen legal mind, devoted husband and father: Diane Evans is hovering protectively near her children, she’s also a lawyer who works in her husband’s firm: near the daughter is an elderly lady that he does not know, but she’s giving them one hell of a fierce look, part warmth, part barracuda: he can’t help but smiling at her, for which she gives him a small nod in return: next he turns to the daughter, Isabel, there’s some hint in the report that she might be different like her brother: she’s certainly a beauty even at three in the morning {bet she wreaks havoc with the boys.}: lastly he turns to Max, he’s just a kid, handsome, slender: his face remains blank but his eyes give him away, they tell so much: intelligence, determination, compassion, nervousness, pain, fear: it’s those last two emotions that begins to unlock some of the mystery surrounding him {that report has been doctored. It must have been. That kid isn’t just nervous, he’s scared. He must have a reason. I bet Pearce did a hell of a lot more than run medical tests and question him.}: filing that thought away, he turns back to Philip, who is quietly sizing them up with a steady gaze…
“May we sit down?”
They take a seat on the sofa: the elderly lady goes to make a pot of coffee while everyone else takes a seat: guessing that the lawyer sitting in front of him isn’t about to let his son say anything, he focuses on him instead…
“Mr. Evans, I’m not going to beat around the bush. Yesterday a person came to us and informed us that your son has in his possession an item called the Granolith. This Granolith was stolen. We simply want to see its return to its rightful owner.”
While the father remains impassive, he does not miss the slight surprise that momentarily appears on the son’s face.

Philip: “That’s very interesting. Who’s accusing my son of theft? What is this Granolith anyways? Whom is it supposed to belong to?”

Max: {um, Liz, wake up Liz. Liz I really need you to wake up now.}: he’s been doing this for almost ten minutes now and he’s starting to get frustrated:{ Liz, WAKE UP!}: he finally hears a very sleepy {huh? Max what’s wrong?}: relieved {Liz, the FBI and the Secret Service are sitting in my living room asking my Dad about me and the Granolith. Call Michael and have him get everyone to Tobias’s place. If they think that’s too dangerous, have them go to Riverdog’s cave. Under no circumstances are they to go anywhere near the pod chamber. My Dad’s doing a good job stalling, but I don’t know how much longer he can keep it up. I need Michael here scoping out the area to see who else might be lurking. Someone’s been telling the gov’t things they shouldn’t know.}: he hears a now very wide-awake {Oh my God! I’m on it. Are you OK?}: keeping himself calm {I’m OK. Let’s stick to the plan that we worked out for this scenario. Just stay open and let me know what’s going on. Things will work out fine as long as we don’t panic. And remember for this to work, you and Maria must stay together so Michael and I can communicate through you two. Let me know when everyone is safe and Michael is in place. I love you.}: he smiles a little as she sends her love back to him: turning his attention back to the visitors, he remains silent.

Dennis: he’s growing impatient as the seemingly never-ending verbal sparring continues between McCall and Philip Evans: for every answer McCall gives, Evans has 20 new questions, this is becoming intolerable: his mission is to get Max Evans to a more secure site: someplace where they can pick his brain about this Granolith and the Skins, and while they’re at it, find out who and what he is: this polite chit-chat is getting them nowhere: clearing his throat to get their attention, he makes a suggestion…
“Mr. Evans, it will be dawn soon. I’m sure you don’t want the neighbors waking up to find your house surrounded by armed men. Perhaps we could have this conversation with you and your son someplace more private. I did a check of possible suitable places on the way down. There’s an old base not far from here that I think would work out very well. It’s the old abandoned Eagle Rock Military Base.”
Neither he nor anyone else miss how pale Max Evans just became or the gasp that escapes from his sister.

Sometimes the Fates cannot stop dreams from coming true even the nightmares, but they can try.


Chapter 36

Setting:
Tobias’s house, Same early morning and time

Liz: as per their plan, Kyle made the rounds in his Mustang to pick up her, Maria and Alex: Tess took her own SUV and met them at Tobias’s: Michael followed along behind them on his bike until they safely reached the outskirts of town, then turned around and headed towards Murray Lane: she has just walked into Tobias’s when it hit her, terror: terror was coming at her in waves, paralyzing her: she grabs a hold of a door frame for support: she hears Maria’s worried “what’s wrong?” but is unable to respond: she’s too busy being pelted by panic {White Room, White Room. They’re going to put me back in the White Room.}: repeats over and over again: taking some deep breaths, she clears her mind enough to focus and in a firm tone {Max, stop. Stop it Max. No one is going to let that happen. Do you hear me? That won’t happen.}: it takes a few moments before she gets a very shaky {they, they want me to go with them. They want to take me to Eagle Rock. They can’t, they can’t do that to me again. I, I can’t go through it again.}: she fights the tears that are threatening as his words register: willing her strength to him, she confidently sends {Max, we will not let them do that. They will have to get past all of us first. Max, you have to put aside this fear. You have to keep cool. Tell me what’s going on now.}: after a few minutes she gets a slightly calmer {they were all staring at me. Then my Dad told them that we aren’t going anywhere. They’re still debating it. Where is everyone? Is Michael in place yet?}: with each word she can feel him getting himself back under control, relieved {we just got to Tobias’s. Give me a couple of minutes to get everything sorted out, OK?}: she hears an answering OK and turns her attention to the concerned faces in front of her and fills them in…
“They’re alright for now. Someone has been telling the gov’t about the Granolith and Max. The FBI and the Secret Service are at Max’s. Right now Mr. Evans is going rounds with them, stalling for time until we can get a clearer picture of what’s going on. Maria, is Michael there yet?”

Maria: “He just got there. He says their house is surrounded. There’s a van and a car parked down the street with more men. He’s counted about eleven so far. He’s still moving around, trying to get more info.”
Compassionately she asks…
“Is Max OK? Something major just happened, didn’t it?”

Liz: normally she wouldn’t share what transpires between her and Max, but she knows that everyone is worried over her earlier reaction: putting it as matter-of-factly as possible…
“They want to take Max someplace more private to talk. They suggested Eagle Rock.”
There is a collective gasp heard around the room.

Maria: since her and Michael’s connection is wide open, he heard it too: she’s never felt such fury coming from him, accompanied by {I will NOT let that happen EVER! Have Liz tell him that NOW!}: she actually has to wait a minute for his words to stop echoing so loudly in her head before she can speak: taking Liz’s hand…
“Liz, Michael wants Max to know that he will not allow that to happen ever. He’s adamant about it. Please tell him for Michael, for all of us.”

Liz: she already knew that would be the case but is touched to hear it {Max, Michael’s there. There are men surrounding your house plus more down the street in a van and a car. He’s still checking things out. He also wants me to tell you that he will never allow you to be taken away again. None of us will.}: after a few moments of silence she gets {thank you. It means a lot to me. I’m OK now, I think. Let me know what else Michael spots, but he needs to hurry, they’re getting more insistent.}: she sends him a mental nod, then turning back to her group…
“He says thank you. Maria, Michael needs to hurry with his reconnaissance. They’re starting to get more insistent.”

Maria: they spend several minutes sitting in uneasy silence before Michael gives her an update: she can’t help her animated reaction: jumping to her feet, she loudly blurts out…
“OH SHIT! Nicholas is there. He’s in a SUV parked around the corner watching everything.”
She quickly looks around at everyone’s worried look: the sheriff pulls out a map and starts studying it: Tobias goes over and joins him: she settles her look on Liz, who is obviously relaying this to Max.

Valenti: he’s had a vague idea running through his brain since Liz mentioned Eagle Rock, hearing Nicholas is involved brings it into focus more clearly: addressing the group…
“This is a set-up. Nicholas is using the FBI and Secret Service to flush Max out, to get him alone. That’s the only explanation I can think of for him being there. I have an idea. We may be able to turn the tables and trap Nicholas instead.”
Looking pointedly at Liz…
“But for this to work Max is going to have to be the bait and agree to go to Eagle Rock.”
After a moment she looks back at him and nods “yes”: he lays the map on the kitchen table…
“Come here and look at this.”
He lays out the plan for everyone.

Setting: Evans house, same time

McCall: since Mike interrupted earlier, he decided to let him take over dealing with Philip Evans, which is proving to be very challenging {at least I know the name of a good lawyer if I ever need one.}: this has allowed him the opportunity to watch Max Evans very carefully: for several minutes earlier it was obvious that the kid was terrified of going to Eagle Rock: he eventually regained part of his composure but his eyes told of the internal battle he was fighting to regain the rest of it: after several more minutes he seemed to have won the battle and calmly sat there and watched his Dad and Mike’s verbal boxing match play out: then for no apparent reason, he blanches, swallows,
posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:31:11 PM
seems to ponder something, then nods slightly as if coming to a decision: his eyes briefly look above the fireplace at something: McCall’s eyes follows his and land on the antique clock setting on the mantel: alarm bells are starting to ring {something is going on and whatever it is, he doesn’t like it but is playing along. Why would he care about the time?}: the boy then returns to watching his Dad: exactly ten minutes later Max finally opens his mouth for the first time.

Max: keeping his emotions under tight control, in a reasonable tone…
“Dad, he has a point. We don’t want a bunch of nosey neighbors asking questions. I could go with them to Eagle Rock to talk. It’s not too far. I’d probably be home in time for dinner.”

Dad: his eyes narrow as he gives his son a sharp look: he’s well aware of what Eagle Rock holds for Max, but he’s also aware that his son is in contact with Liz and she with everyone else, something is cooking: after a moment he reaches a decision, nods to his son…
“Alright but you are not going alone. I’m coming with you.”

Max: he opens his mouth about to object, but one look from his Dad and he promptly closes it: instead he says…
“That would be good.”
Turning towards the agents: as he stands up…
“Please excuse me while I go get dressed.”
His Dad follows him down the hall; as do several sets of eyes, some worried, some confused, some nervous, but the ones belonging to McCall are all of the above.

When your worst nightmare becomes reality don’t be afraid to ask for help, including help from a higher authority, like the Fates.


Chapter 37

Setting:
Evans house, same Friday morning

Max: he grabs a pair of jeans from his closet, t-shirt, underwear, socks from his dresser drawers: he spots an unusual shadow outside his window watching him: he heads into the bathroom and turns on the water in the sink: as he’s waiting for the water to get warm so he can shave, he glances towards the toilet: he’s been swallowing often trying to keep the bile down, that one look does it: the next moment he is bent over the toilet tossing his cookies: afterwards he takes a moment to rest his forehead on the cool porcelain {this is great, just great. I wonder what Tobias would think seeing his King with his head stuck in the toilet. Glad there’s no window in here.}: a little shaky, he gets to his feet, returns to the sink, turns the hot water off and lets the water run cold as he vigorously brushes his teeth: as he moves onto shaving {Liz, where are we at now? How much longer do I need to stall before everyone is in place?}: he’s stepping into the shower when he hears {the sheriff has found a good spot for the ambush. We’re getting everything set up now, can you give us another 10 minutes?}: as he’s rinsing his hair {yeah, no problem. So in 10 minutes we leave for Eagle Rock, followed by Nicholas, followed by Michael, and then Isabel. Liz, promise me you’ll stay safe. Promise me, please.}: he’s drying off as he gets his promise: exactly 10 minutes later he walks into the living room: before he can say anything his Mom has her arms wrapped around him: he gives her a tight hug and a kiss: this procedure is then repeated with his Aunt Trudy: when it’s Isabel’s turn he quietly whispers in her ear…
“Wait 10 minutes then follow Michael. Be careful, he’s going to be following Nicholas.”

Isabel: she gives him a slight nod: as they break their embrace…
“OK, I’ll see you tonight for dinner.”
She watches as Dad and her brother walk out the front door followed by gov’t agents.

Aunt Trudy: Agent McCall is the last one out the front door and is just about to close it when she calls out to him in a strong voice…
“Young man!”
Startled, he reopens the door and looks at her: with her head held high and a commanding tone…
“I am trusting you to keep my two favorite nephews safe from harm. I expect you to do what’s right and keep that trust.”

McCall: he’s about to give her the obligatory reassurances that mean very little, but there is something about her that just demands more than lip service: after a moment he realizes there really is only one response: with a slight nod…
“Yes Ma’am, I will.”
He closes the door and walks to the car with the definite feeling that he just made a promise that will take everything he has to keep: he climbs into the backseat of the sedan: Max is next him, in the middle with his Dad on the other side: Mike got in front with the driver: they pull out and head out of town: the troops do a final sweep then reassemble at the van: since they are no longer in a rush it will take almost another 10 minutes before they shut off the electronic gear, stow their weapons and follow the sedan.

Nicholas: he is starting to get annoyed having to sit around and wait: he sits up a little straighter as he finally spots Max walking out flanked by one of the agents and someone else, after a moment the other agent comes out and gets in the car: he ignores the van and its agents and tells his driver to pull out and follow the sedan: as they wind through the streets of Roswell, it soon becomes clear which road they are taking: he flips open his cell phone to call the closest of his troops and is met with static: after several more attempts, he grabs his driver’s cell phone but is met with the same results: in frustration he slams the phone against the dashboard breaking it: they are already well outside of Roswell and heading down the highway before he is finally able to raise his men on his cell phone: he’s so busy dealing with his frustration over the cell phone problem that he neglects to check his rearview mirror: following a good ways back is a determined Michael on his bike, about 3 minutes behind him is a van full of gov’t agents: Skin troops are a couple of minutes behind the van, with Isabel in the jeep bringing up the rear: they leave Roswell behind as they cross a few miles of desert heading into the foothills that lead to Eagle Rock.

McCall: he’s still plagued by his promise to the aunt, he doesn’t understand why that is weighing so heavily on his mind: as they continue down the road, he wants to break the unending silence: he notices the unusual ring the boy is wearing, trying to draw him out a little with harmless conversation…
“That’s a very interesting ring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it. Where’d you get it?”

Max: Liz has been talking to him since they left the house, partly to keep him up-to-date as they go and partly to keep him calm: the agent’s question breaks in on that and it takes a minute for the words to register: he swallows to wet his dry throat before he answers…
“My cousin gave it to me. He got it overseas. I’m not sure where exactly.”
As he looks at the ring, he is reminded of what it really means and also what Tobias told him later on: {Max, the ring is more than a symbol. The reason it reacts to the genetic code and why only the ruling monarch wears it is because it is an extension of the Granolith. It’s made from the same material. Through the ring you can access the Granolith. If you focus on what you want to ask it to do, it will link to the Granolith and relay the request. Remember the Granolith will respond to your request, but be careful of not only what you ask it but also how you ask it. It will take the literal translation of what you ask it do. There is no room for interpretation, it will not try and figure out what you meant, it will only know what you literally asked it to do.}: Tobias further cautioned him {also, it would be dangerous to activate the Granolith under these circumstances. The Granolith generates a great deal of energy. I know our allies monitor for it and I have no doubt our enemies do as well. I’m not certain but I wouldn’t be surprised if gov’t agencies here on Earth would pick it up as well. So while preferable not to use it until a safer time, if you must use it, do so for only a very, very short period of time. Don’t give anyone enough time to pinpoint its location.}: he looks up as he feels the car starting to slow down, eventually coming to a stop: up ahead he sees the sheriff’s SUV parked next to a landslide blocking the road: he glances up at his Dad and with his eyes tells him “this is it”: a minute later he hears Nicholas’s SUV come around the curve and slam its brakes on: he hears Liz confirm that Michael has also come upon them and has pulled off to the side of the road a little further back, but within easy shot: a moment later the gov’t van stops behind Nicholas: the chain reaction is followed by seven Skin autos and finally Isabel: the eerie silence is broken as he hears a car door slam behind him: his Dad places a reassuring hand on his leg, he closes his eyes for a moment before turning to Agent McCall…
“I’m sorry but I’m not going to Eagle Rock. You have to let me go now. Make this easy and unlock the door.”

McCall: he went from wondering why the sheriff pulled his weapon to utter shock at the words coming from the boy…
“WHAT! What are you talking about, why would…”
Before he can finish his question, he sees a flash of light and an explosion go off behind him: this initial one is followed by many more both coming from and directed at some kid taking cover behind them.

Max: he’s getting impatient as the battle escalates…
“Look, I have to get out of here so I can defend myself and just maybe keep you guys from getting killed as well. So let me out now or I’ll let myself out.”

McCall: as the battle continues, he goes from looking at it to looking at his counterpart in the front seat to looking at their driver: shouting at him…
“UNLOCK THE DAMN DOORS!”
He’s astounded when the driver doesn’t respond: shouting even louder…
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? OPEN THE DOORS!”

Driver: he’s just sitting there, staring at his backseat passenger with a blank look: after a few moments a menacing smile creeps across his lips: in a low voice…
“I don’t think his majesty is going anywhere for the moment.”

During a battle there are many unforeseen twists and turns that may catch you by surprise; this is true even for the Fates.


Chapter 38

Setting:
Same place, same time

McCall: his brain is bogged down trying to process all that is going on and everything seems to be running in slow motion: he watches as Max’s hand slowly goes up, matching the driver’s motion: there’s a bright flash that is met by some sort of green energy field: the flash travels out along the field where it reaches the car windows and blows them out: with the windows gone the sounds of the battle intensify drawing his attention to the kid behind him, who is taking aim at them: he sees a flash of white heading straight for them: he won’t remember shouting “GET DOWN” or knocking Max down almost to the floorboard, but what will forever be burned in his memory is the sight of the driver’s head taking the blast full force and simply exploding into dust: the sheriff is suddenly there, opening the door and pulling the headless body out: what the sheriff does next shocks him even further, he rolls the corpse over onto its stomach and smashes his nightstick down on its lower back: he’s dumbfounded when the body simply blows away in the wind: he’s so engrossed in watching this that it takes a few moments before he realizes that Max and Philip are no longer there: he spots Philip Evans taking cover behind a nearby boulder: he catches a glimpse of Max running towards the sounds of the battle: only then does he think to check on what shape Mike is in: Mike’s unhurt but dazed, as their eyes meet it’s obvious they’re thinking the same thing: {LET’S GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!}: they both practically leap out of the open car doors and hit the ground running to where Philip Evans is: after catching his breath, as he watches the battle in horrid fascination…
“Evans, when this is all over, I think we need to have a talk…and a bottle of scotch.”

Michael: he’s been rather busy: he’s on one side of the road near the gov’t van alternating between keeping Nicholas busy until Max is in the clear and keeping an eye on some very nervous gov’t dudes with some major looking guns: all while helping with the battle being waged by Tobias, Tess and Isabel against the Skins that is going on behind him: he had just turned to see how they were doing when out of the corner of his eye he sees a flash from Nicholas’s direction: his stomach drops to his feet when he realizes that Max’s car is the target, not him: furious with himself for leaving Max exposed, he yells a litany of curses as he lets loose with everything he’s got at Nicholas: miraculously he spots movement coming from the car, first Mr. Evans then Max get out then a moment later, two others: he smiles a little as Max begins his own assault on Nicholas’s position.

Kyle: he’s along a dirt side road, parked just out of sight but in front of the roadblock: he’s supposed to help guard Liz, Maria and Alex, just in case any Skin gets past everyone: while they couldn’t see anything, they certainly could hear it and one thing is clear: all hell’s broken loose: he simply can’t stand the thought of Tess and everyone fighting for their lives while he’s just standing around twiddling his thumbs: he looks at Liz, Maria and Alex: they’re all standing there together: both Liz and Maria have tear streaks running down their faces, as well as death grips on Alex’s arms: he knows that the only way a Skin would make it to them would be through Max and Michael’s dead bodies: if that happens, Alex would be better equipped than he to help them: he doesn’t say a word, he simply looks Alex in the eye, who gives him a nod in acknowledgement, turns and runs down the road towards the battle: he slows as he nears the road: he spots Mr. Evans and a couple of men crouching behind a large boulder: he comes up to their position…
“What’s the latest?”

Mr. Evans: he had no idea what the plan was once they left the house, Max hadn’t had a chance to tell him: he wasn’t overly surprised to see the roadblock and the sheriff, but he wasn’t counting on all of this: he’s growing increasingly frustrated as he watches his children, all of his children, fight for their lives, and he’s not able to do a damn thing to help, he doesn’t even have a weapon: he’s surprised to see the sheriff’s son come running up to him, he nods in each general direction as he points out the battle scene so far…
“I’m not sure. Max is over there; looks like he’s been taking on some kid plus one more. Michael’s down there, in the middle, on the other side of the van. I think he’s alternating between helping Max and helping the others. Look straight down the road on this side, just past the van, there are Tobias and Tess. I think they’ve been kept pretty busy. The Skins are mainly between them and Isabel. I saw her firing a couple of times, but she’s a little farther away. Your Dad was making his way down there to try and help her out. I’ve heard a couple shotgun blasts. Kyle, where’re the others? Where are Liz, Maria and Alex?”

Kyle: nodding his head back down the direction he just came from…
“They’re down there. They’re fine.”
Nodding towards Tess…
“I’m going to go see if I can help them out.”

Mr. Evans: he puts his hand on the boy to stop him for a moment…
“Kyle, be careful. These guys are playing for keeps.”
He gets a nod in reply before Kyle takes off down the road.

Specialist Major Chavez: somehow he and his men have found themselves smack dab in the middle of an all out battle, between whom and what he has no idea: on one side it looks to be a bunch of teenagers, including that Evans kid from this morning, along with the sheriff of Roswell: on the other side there is a hodgepodge of people, being led by what appears to be some kid: his men have taken up defensive positions only: it is nerve wracking to just sit and watch, he’s itching to help out the good guys as are the rest of his men, he just has no clue who that is: he sees a new dark haired kid go running past him and join up with the little blonde girl and a guy that’s been putting up one hell of a fight: on the other side of the van, the kid that’s been firing away in both directions, suddenly gets up and heads down towards the other battle as well but stays on his side of the road: a moment later the leader kid of the other side goes running down the road on the other side: Chavez looks back towards the front of the van and sees the Evans kid in hot pursuit: once the leader kid is past the van, he turns, raises his hand towards the van and his men and a large energy bolt comes shooting out, directly at them: a trained soldier, he knows he is staring death right in eye as that bolt closes in on them: his eye briefly catches the trail of another oncoming bolt, but heading in the opposite direction towards the other one: the two bolts meet less than 30 yards directly in front of him: suddenly his world is nothing but white: it takes several moments for his senses to return, only then does he realize that he is not dead: he has to blink several times to clear the last of the white dots away from his vision: he takes stock of his men, some minor injuries and bumps and bruises, nothing major: briefly the Evans kid comes running up to them, looks in and says “good, you’re alright” before taking off after the leader kid again: they have no doubt who the good guys are now: they quickly follow behind the Evans kid.

Michael: he finally made his way to Isabel: she and the sheriff had been holding their own, there are two smoking cars directly in front of them and the air is thick with Skin dust: he looks farther on up, back the way he came just in time to see the spectacular blast stunt Max pulled off to save the gov’t troops {hope they appreciate it.}: no sooner does he get done thinking it then he watches the troops follow Max down towards Tess, Tobias and now Kyle’s position: the troops waste no time in spreading out and taking cover: he watches one soldier briefly talk to Max, who nods towards him, Isabel and the sheriff: he can’t help his slight smile as the troops take aim and open fire: it’s immediately apparent that these troops are all topnotch marksmen and they don’t miss: of course a bullet can’t kill a Skin, but it can take them out of commission long enough for them to finish the job: even with all this fire power bearing down on them, three cars of Skins manage to take off across the desert: surprisingly, it’s a blast from Kyle that causes a blowout on one of the cars, and Tess finishes the job: he briefly catches a glimpse of one of the occupants in the remaining two fleeing cars: he can’t believe it, he doesn’t even try holding his anger back: smashing his fist on the nearest car hood that’s not smoking…
“DAMN IT, DAMN IT, DAMN IT! I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”
He’s still doing this as the others come running up to see what’s wrong: looking at Max…
“I can’t believe that after everything that we just threw at him, he’s still not dead. What the hell does it take? Why the hell can’t Nicholas just die already?”

The Fates have just sent a reminder to a young second-in-command that not all is fair in love and war. Besides it is better to have a known enemy than a new one.


Chapter 39

Setting:
Same place, same time

Max: he listens to Michael’s rant as he watches the cars drive off into the desert until it’s just a spec with a trail of dust behind it: he can feel Liz nearing: he turns to look in her direction, smiling a little as she comes running right into his arms: he relishes the feel of having Liz wrapped in his arms, nourishing his soul: he holds her tight against him for several moments before pulling away just enough to look into her eyes then capturing her mouth with his for a very long, very deep kiss: he hears someone very close by going “AHEM”, he chooses to ignore it at first: he lets several more “AHEMS” go by before deciding to acknowledge them: he looks up to see the person, the gov’t agent who saved his life earlier by shoving him to the floorboard, staring at him: next to McCall stands the other one, the one who wanted to take him back to the place of his nightmares: drawing strength from Liz’s closeness, he faces these two representatives of the United States of America, not as scared kid, but as an alien King and exiled head-of-state: he gets a reassuring nod from his Dad.

McCall: of all the scenarios that he thought might play out on this mission, being caught in a battle between aliens was not one of them: at first he was too shell shocked to say much of anything but as the minutes passed shock was replaced by questions, questions that he is determined to get the answers to: he quickly looks up and down the road at the destruction before he begins…
“What the hell just happened?”

Max: taking a few deep breaths…
“You were set up by the Skins. We knew they’d do just about anything to get to me, but we didn’t believe Nicholas would really use the gov’t to do it. Obviously we were wrong.”

Dennis: confused…
“Nicholas? Who’s Nicholas?”

Max: “He’s the one that would have blown my head off if Agent McCall hadn’t knocked me to the floor in the car. He’s their leader here on Earth. Don’t let that little boy suit he wears fool you, he’s been here for over 50 years and is a very experienced commander.”

McCall: starting to connect the dots, he’s astounded at the conclusion he’s coming to…
“You mean that little kid had one of his people walk into the FBI, announce to us that he’s an alien, prove it to us by showing us his powers, tell us that you had this dangerous weapon, all of this to get us to do his dirty work for him?”

Maria: after getting properly hugged and kissed by her Spaceboy, she stays close to him, needing the constant reassurance of his touch: snorting at how shocked the agent is…
“The little Smurf sure knows how to play hard ball, doesn’t he?”

Max: he can’t help but to chuckle for a moment at Maria’s nickname for Nicholas: turning serious…
“I think you’ve got it. Like I said, you were used.”

McCall: trying to figure out all of the pieces in this puzzle…
“So is it you that they’re really after or does this Granolith really exist?”

Max: “Both actually. His goal is to get the Granolith, but he wouldn’t mind serving my head on a platter along with it.”

Dennis: “So do you have this weapon, this Granolith?”

Max: this was the one part he didn’t ever expect Nicholas to blab about: a little hesitant to say anything, he looks over at his Dad for encouragement: in a confident tone…
“Yes, I know where the Granolith is, but it’s not a weapon any more than that rock over there is. By itself it’s harmless, but in the wrong hands it could harm someone. And No, I’m not giving it to you or anyone else. It was entrusted to me and when it’s safe to do so I will return it to my people, where it belongs.”

McCall: he’s been listening very carefully, hoping to pick up on clues about what’s really going on here, but every clue leads to more questions…
“Your people? The driver called you “your majesty”; you’re a King, aren’t you? Who are your people? Why are you here instead of with them?”

Max: he’s glad he had already had this talk, in fact several talks, with his Dad about what to do in case the FBI ever came knocking: being somewhat prepared helps him to keep somewhat calm right now: keeping Liz by his side for additional support…
“There was a coup headed by one called Kivar and assisted by the Skins. They killed my predecessor and stole his throne because he was trying to implement democratic changes. These changes would have taken some of the powers from the aristocracy, Kivar’s class, and given them to the common people. Since I, my sister, my second, and my… intended bride are part human and since this is the most democratic society on Earth or anywhere else, we were sent here for our own safety and to learn more about what it means to live in a democratic society.”

McCall: looking over his shoulder in the direction that the cars had disappeared in…
“But you were followed. What happens now? Are there more Skins coming after you?”

Max: glancing at Tobias…
“Nicholas isn’t likely to give up. We aren’t sure how many Skins are here on Earth, but I think we just reduced their numbers quite a bit.”

Dennis: speaking as the Deputy Director of the Secret Service of the United States…
“You should come with us for your own safety. We can protect you.”

Max: “No.”

Dennis: in an honest and reasonable tone…
“Look, we’ll take you to a secure place. It’s our job to keep foreign heads-of-state safe while they’re here. The closest place would be Eagle Rock. We could go there first then have some choppers fly in and take you and your family to a more comfortable place.”

Michael:: bristling at this suggestion…
“You are not taking him there or anywhere else. Protect him, how?”
To emphasize his point, he raises his hand and sends a giant bolt flying at a nearby smoldering car blowing it to smithereens…
“How are you going to protect him against that?”

McCall: he saw Max’s reaction to the mention of Eagle Rock: he finally voices his suspicion…
“That’s where Pearce took you isn’t it, Eagle Rock?”
After almost a minute of silence, Max nods his head “yes”: he can see the emotions running through the boy’s darkening eyes and decides to tread lightly….
“The report says only that he ran some medical tests on you, but that’s not all he did is it?”

Max: holding onto Liz very tightly…
“No, and I will not go back there again.”
Turning towards Dennis…
“Thank you for your offer of protection. I’m sorry, but I must decline. Michael is right. There is no way you could guarantee my or my loved ones’ safety. Besides a prison is still a prison no matter how comfortable it is. I want and need my freedom.”

McCall: sighing, time to face facts…
“Max, I can’t ignore what just happened. My superiors already know that there are these alien Skins and that you have now been brought to their attention as a possible alien as well. Too many people know. You can’t stay in hiding. And Mike Dennis is right, you are a visiting head-of-state.”

Max: this was the final part of his and his Dad’s plan…
“Then as an exiled head-of-state I hereby request political asylum in the United States of America. I think after this morning I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that if I were to return to my home world I would be promptly executed.”

Whether we like to admit it or not, politics are a necessary evil in any society. It’s time the Fates saw to the young Royals’ indoctrination into it.


Chapter 40

Setting:
Same place, same time

McCall: he tried to speak, but nothing came out: this mission had already gone haywire, now it is bordering on surreal: after several minutes he is finally able to sputter out…
“But, but you have a US birth certificate and are a US citizen. You don’t need to request political asylum.”

Philip: he had already formed his reply to this a long time ago…
“In that case, please explain why the FBI a year ago kidnapped my son, who was 17 and still a minor at that time and whom you just acknowledge as a US citizen, held him against his will, drugged and tortured him? Hmmm, please explain that. I doubt the gov’t will want to see how that plays out in the headlines as I take these questions to court.”

Valenti: as the two gov’t agents stand there with their mouths hanging open trying to figure that one out, he has more immediate concerns, namely the approaching dawn: wanting to get things moving….
“Well while that’s being pondered, we need to get this cleaned up or your bigger concern will be explaining to the local news what happened here.”
Looking directly at Max…
“We need to get Liz, Maria and Alex back home before their parents discover they’re missing. That is unless you would like to be explaining to Jeff Parker exactly what you were doing with his daughter in the wee hours of the morning?”
Not waiting for an answer, he turns towards Michael…
“Care to explain the same to Amy DeLuca?”
Both boys look like they’d prefer to face the Skins again: Kyle is volunteered the task of getting Liz, Maria and Alex safely back home, preferably unnoticed: after everyone says their goodbyes, the 4 teens head towards Kyle’s Mustang.

Dennis: holding his hand up…
“Wait, they can’t go anywhere. Everyone needs to stay together until this mess gets sorted out.”

Valenti: “These kids are still minors and belong with their folks. Do you want to go and explain to them why the gov’t is holding their children? Besides, they aren’t going to be gone long.”
Turning towards the departing kids…
“As a parent and a sheriff I can’t believe what I’m about to tell you, I want you four to skip school, meet somewhere so Kyle can pick you up and bring you out to Tobias’s. We’ll expect you around 8:30 or 9:00 this morning. We’re going to meet there as soon as we are done here. ”
He gets 4 nods in agreement from the kids and two reluctant ones from the agents: now back to the cleanup…
“Tobias, we need a good breeze to clear all this Skin dust out. Think you could handle that?”
As a strong wind suddenly picks up, he turns towards Michael and Max…
“Could you two clear all of this debris from what’s left of these two cars out of the roadway? When you leave set them on fire so I can call it in as two abandoned cars being torched. It looks like these other two cars are still drivable. Since it’s possible there are some sort of tracking devices on them, I think we should take them out into the desert and destroy them.”
A couple of the sharp shooters agree to take care of that and leave in the Skins’ cars with a third in the Agent’s sedan following behind as their ride back to Tobias’s: the van is singed a little but is surprisingly in pretty good shape: that just leaves the landslide, which is easily dealt with by Isabel: he takes a final look at the now clear roadway, the only evidence that something happened here this morning are some scorch marks on the nearby hillsides and the two cars off to the side: Agent McCall and Dennis ride with Tess and Philip with the van following behind, while Max, Isabel, Michael and Tobias head out in Max’s jeep: as the jeep pass by the two cars, they burst into flames: he waits until everyone is out of sight before speaking to dispatch…
“Garson, come in. I’m out about 35miles on Highway 17, looks like we got a couple of abandoned cars on fire. Get the fire dept. and a couple of tow trucks out here.”

Setting: Tobias’s house Friday morning, dawn

Diane: upon receiving a call from Isabel telling her that everyone was OK and they would be heading to Tobias’s house after they got done cleaning up, she and Aunt Trudy packed some groceries into the car and head over there: together the two of them have been keeping busy preparing a hearty breakfast: she hears a car pulling up: wiping her hands on a dish towel, she runs and opens the door just as Philip and those Agents that took her son away this morning are getting out of Tess’s car: Philip walks up and gives her a tight hug and kiss: as they are holding each other she hears the jeep pull up: they both watch as it pulls to a stop: she can’t stop the tears of joy as her babies come up to her: wrapping them both in her arms and covering them with kisses…
“You’re alright. You’re both alright.”

Isabel: hugging her Mom and close to tears herself…
“We’re fine Mom.”

Max: he lets his Mom take her time in hugging them both before he gives her a slight grin, sniffing the air…
“Like Izzy said, we’re fine Mom. Hey, something smells great, I’m starving!”

Diane: laughing a little…
“Oh you, you’re always hungry. I swear I don’t know where you put it.”
She gives Tess and Tobias a warm hug as well as they enter the house: Aunt Trudy makes sure she collects her share of hugs and kisses from her niece and nephew and
posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:32:18 PM
extended family: everyone helps themselves to the scrambled eggs, ham, hash browns, fresh biscuits and stacks of pancakes: it becomes quiet as everyone takes their time replenishing the fuel that they used up this morning: a van pulls up and seven men climb out and are surprised to find themselves being invited in for breakfast: the leftovers are kept warm for the later arrivals: good thing they made enough.

McCall: everyone is much more relaxed after breakfast: getting up to stretch his legs, he walks outside with his cell phone in hand: he doesn’t see someone following right behind him: he’s just getting ready to push the “talk” button on the phone when he hears a very sharp “Young Man!” coming from behind: he spins around to find himself face-to-face with Aunt Trudy: his eyes soften a little as he addresses the eldest of the Evans clan…
“Yes, ma’am. What can I do for you?”

Aunt Trudy: keeping her tone stern, but with feeling…
“I wanted to thank you for helping my nephews this morning. They are very special, but they have to be. Much is riding on their shoulders. Now much is riding on yours. I can tell you’re an honorable man. I’m sure you’ll do the right thing.”
Giving him a warm smile, she turns and walks back into the house.

McCall: as he begins to redial his phone {how the hell does that sweet little old lady manage to unnerve me so much? Why does she make me feel guilty when I haven’t done a damn thing?}: he hears the phone on the other end pick up and waits a moment for the encryption to connect before he begins his report…
“Director Ryan, this is DD McCall…. Yes sir, we made contact alright… no sir, the situation isn’t exactly as we were told. It seems that this Max Evans is an exiled King and head-of-state. He knows the location of this Granolith but says it’s not a weapon, that it belongs to his people and he will return it to them when it’s safe… What’s that sir?… Uh, no I do not recommend force. He’s got a few impressive tricks up his sleeve, besides I think he’s a good kid who’s on the right side. I think that we are being dragged into some sort of intergalactic war. This is much bigger than we imagined. Uh sir, we have a small legal problem here… well, he’s formally requested political asylum as an exiled King and head-of-state whose predecessor was dethroned for trying to implement democratic reform. And uh, just to make things a little stickier, legally he is Max Evans, adopted son of Philip and Diane Evans and a US citizen. He’s got the paperwork to prove it… What sir?… Actually, he already has a pretty damn good attorney in Philip Evans, who by the way is considering legal action over what Agent Pearce did to his son last year… Yes this does have the makings of a media circus if any of this gets out… My recommendation is to get as much information as possible so we can get a better handle on the whole situation before making any move. The last thing we need is for this to get out and panic the public with talk of being dragged into an intergalactic war that we wouldn’t know how to fight. … I agree we need to keep everything under wraps as much as possible. They’ve gotten pretty good at covering their tracks. We should leave everyone here in Roswell while we sort things out, there’s too many involved and it would be noticed if they all up and disappeared… Yes sir, I’ll keep working on it and will report.”
As he shuts the cell phone off, he wonders why he just did that: every bit of training he has is screaming that he needs to get them away from here and under guard for their safety as well as his own: that’s what he would have recommended if a little old lady’s words hadn’t been ringing in his ears and weighing on his soul.

The Fates know that it is not always easy to follow your conscience and do what’s right instead of what’s expected but the rewards for it run much deeper and are more satisfying, like a peaceful night’s sleep or being able to smile at your reflection in the mirror.



Chapter 41

Setting:
Tobias’s house, Friday early-afternoon

Kyle: he’s slumped in a chair in the corner of Tobias’s living room watching the debate between Philip Evans, Tobias, Max, his Dad and the two, now very frustrated gov’t suits: Agent Dennis is still pushing to take them into what he’s calling “protective custody”, while Agent McCall is opting for them to be under guard 24/7: neither option is particularly appealing: as the discussion drags on he can’t stifle the yawn as fatigue starts to overtake him, it’s been an incredibly long day: first he was awakened a little after 3:00AM, was pitched into an alien battle at 4:00AM, taxi service from 5-8:00AM, then out here where he at least got fed before being launched right into a detailed recap and debriefing of this morning’s battle by his Dad, who was none too happy about him leaving his post guarding Liz, Maria and Alex and going into the heat of battle: upon further analysis it was decided that Michael had been expected to cover too much and if anything Kyle should have gone to help him: furthermore Isabel should not have been alone, her position was too open and it was too difficult for help to reach her: the Max/Liz and Michael/Maria communication trick worked out pretty well but was a bit limiting: Kyle chuckles to himself as he remembers one of the agents asking how the telepathic abilities had developed and how they might be expanded {man Evans, you and Guerin just stared down at the table, turned about a dozen shades of red and mumbled something about it being “private”, only to have your Mom ask you, “what was that dear?”. The look on your face was just priceless. Man I’d love to be a fly on the wall later on when you and she “talk about it later”. God, I love your Mom!}: while they had a few things to rethink and work on, ultimately it was decided that collectively they didn’t do too bad: he rubs his eyes and stretches trying to keep from dozing off when the negotiators suddenly stand up and shake hands in agreement: {finally that’s over, now I can get back to my life}: he hears the terms of the agreement “so it’s agreed that we will all be allowed to stay in Roswell and resume our lives until the political asylum request/US citizenship issue is resolved, and the Secret Service will provide around the clock protection for all the teens plus Tobias, and that we will supply the FBI with detailed information about the war and its implications for Earth as well as background information on the aliens’ home worlds. And we all agree that this should remain as quiet as possible for as long as possible”: he stopped paying close attention after the “around the clock protection for all the teens” part: surely that doesn’t include him.

Max: he’s tired, too tired to even work on getting rid of his headache, plus he still has to do a shift at the UFO Center tonight: he walks outside to help Michael get his bike out of the back of the jeep: the bike had taken a partial hit: he helps Michael do some quick repairs so that it is at least drivable: everyone starts to go their separate ways, which includes the feds: he, like the rest, is not overly thrilled with the arrangements: while the added security is welcomed, it is going to majorly crimp his style to have a shadow following him everywhere: the sharp shooters had been drafted to act as their bodyguards until the Secret Service can get some additional agents down here that have been trained in that line of work: as he helps Liz into the jeep, he gets an idea: the agents need a little time to get organized, they don’t even have cars to follow them: {this might be the last time for a while that Liz and I can just slip away. We do have about an hour before her parents expect her home.}: as he slips into the driver’s seat, he gives her a rueful smile as he is suddenly not so tired anymore and his headache seems to have simply vanished.

Liz: she sits quietly as Max heads down the road leading away from Roswell: she didn’t miss how he seemed to “perk up” as he got in and started the jeep, while neither has said anything, she can feel his desires heating up, matching her own: not taking her eyes off the road that leads to that little desert oasis with the sandy beach, she firmly places her hand on his thigh and begins to massage his taut muscles: the faster and harder she massages, the faster the jeep seems to go: {careful Max, we don’t want to have an accident.}: that earns her a smoldering look and {keep doing that and we just might have a different kind of accident.}: ignoring his comment, she gives him an innocent look while her hand continues to massage his leg, roaming ever closer to the source of what is causing him some major discomfort at the moment: she has to grab a hold of the jeep’s roll bar and hold on for dear life as Max suddenly whips around a turn and floors the jeep: never slowing until they reach the little secluded beach that borders a small pond: he slams the brakes on, pulling to an abrupt stop in the soft sand: she sits up very straight with her hands folded in her lap, stares straight ahead, bites her lip to keep from smiling and primly asks….
“Why Mr. Evans, I don’t care if you are a King, I’m not sure what you expect by bringing me here, but I remind you that I am a lady and demand to be treated as such.”

Max: still sitting in the car, he leans over until his lips are right next to her ear…
“A lady huh? What pleasure would the lady like? Surely there is something that I can do that the lady would enjoy. Perhaps the lady would like this?”
His hot mouth begins to nibble on her ear lobe: he can feel the slight shudder that goes down her spine as he advances to the side of her neck: a sigh escapes her lips as he continues to kiss, suck and nibble his way around the front of her neck to the other side: he can feel her body starting to squirm with desire as he hears {I’m sorry kind sir, but that… that just won’t do.}: he smiles as he continues sampling her neck, then moving on and downwards {it won’t? perhaps I need to find more sensitive areas that might make it more pleasurable for the lady.}: his hands undo the buttons on her blouse and massage her breasts through her bra, his lips cover her shoulders with hot kisses, as he nibbles his way towards the valley between her breasts: as he licks and sucks the exposed skin that is peaking out from her bra, he grins as his hands find the front clasp and quickly unhooks it: the cool breeze that hits her newly exposed flesh is quickly replaced by his hot hands and even hotter mouth: as fingers gently pinch and rub one side, his mouth is covering the other while he licks and sucks: her breaths are coming in ragged gasps {OH GOD MAX! uh, I mean…is, is that… OH GOD… is that the best that you can do?}: if he weren’t so hot and bothered right now he would have laughed, playing along {well, I wasn’t sure if my lady could handle much more, but if the lady insists.}: his hands travel down to her jeans and quickly unzip and slip inside of them: she turns in his direction, allowing him easier access as his fingers begin to massage her desire while his mouth reclaims her breasts: as her moans of desire increase, his lips burn a trail of fire as they move towards the center of her increasing desire: his fingers snags both sides of her jeans and panties as he slips both of them off in one smooth motion: he comes back up to look into her passion filled eyes, gives her a deep kiss, then smiles at her as he descends {let’s see how much the lady can handle.}: he takes a moment to gaze at her before his thumbs begin to massage the sides of her passage: he gently leans in and kisses her, eliciting a gasp of anticipation from her lips: his kisses become harder until he is alternating sucking and kissing: her cries of passion are almost constant as his tongue enters her for a long wet taste: he can feel her change positions a little: her back and hips arching up as a wave of sweet salty nectar assails his taste buds: after thoroughly kissing and licking all the nectar, he hears {come here}: he looks up to her to her sensual lips as they echo her thoughts “come here”, smiling he kisses his way back to those lips: upon reaching them, they capture his and her tongue begins exploring every inch of his mouth, as her hands do the same to his body: they break their kiss for only a second as she rips his t-shirt over his head: each muscle that her fingers wander over trembles under her touch: he can feel her smile as his low growl reverberates through their kiss as her hand slips underneath his jeans: he jumps as her fingernail scrapes along the front of his boxers followed by {is something wrong? Surely my lord is up to the task of pleasuring his lady?}: his eyes darken at the challenge {this King is always ready for any challenge.}: as his lips join with hers, her hands slip down the sides of his jeans {always ready? Show me my lord.}: she slides his jeans and boxers down: as he reaches for his jeans pocket he hears {that’s not necessary my lord. This lady’s on the pill so that nothing has to come between her and her King any more.}: his grin lights up his whole face as his climbs over her, lays the passenger front seat all the way down takes her in his arms and lays her in the most comfortable position the jeep will allow: as he kisses her passionately, he feels her reach for him and guide him to her entrance: as he enters the feeling of just her is the most incredible experience he could imagine, nothing will ever compare to the love and feelings of what they share: she wraps her legs around his waist allowing him deeper access: as his rhythm increases he can feel wave after wave of pleasure sweep over him, it’s like nothing he’s ever experienced before, he’s not sure if it’s his or hers: the cries of their final passionate release comes from them both: he wraps his arms around her while their bodies come back under control: he runs his fingers through her hair and kisses her as he gently withdraws from her: looking into her eyes, into her soul, he whispers…
“I love you, now and forever.”

Liz: returning his intense gaze down to his soul…
“I love you too, now and forever.”
They kiss and cuddle and take comfort in each other’s arms for a little while: they spend a few precious moments splashing and playing in the cool pond before having to return to the increasingly strange and dangerous reality that their world is becoming.

During times of discord it is important to strengthen the ties that bond you together. It’s those bonds that will sustain you through whatever the Fates have in store for you.


Chapter 42

Setting:
Government meeting room, Washington D.C., late Friday evening

Sec. of Treasury Watson: he thumbs through the updated report from DD Dennis for the third time, trying to see if he can find anything new: so far it keeps coming out the same way, a total mess: he now has a contingency of twenty of his best people that have been trained as bodyguards heading to Roswell, NM to guard/keep track of eight high school juniors, plus one thirty-something year old, who all just happen to be exiled alien royalty and their human companions, while they help fight an intergalactic war that is threatening to come to Earth: {Yeah, the President is going to love this one. I guess the age-old question of “are we alone?” can be put to rest now. Herbie over in Defense is going to go ape over this, intergalactic war, aliens with superpowers, and the Granolith thing; this is going to turn the Defense Dept. on its head. Johnson at State is going to be tied up in knots over the political asylum/citizenship issue. If we somehow manage to keep things quiet, then that question most likely will be settled by the President, if it blows up then the Supreme Court is most likely to get a hold of it. Let’s see eight kids, four sets of parents, two in the know, two not. Yeah, I can see that’s really going to work. That’ll last maybe a week, two if we’re lucky. I wonder how the rest of the world is going to take the news? Better start making contingency plans now for when CNN gets a hold of this.}: he takes out a pad of paper and starts making some notes: he comes to the part detailing Mike Dennis’s impression of Max Evans {young, intelligent, mature for his age, brave, willing to risk his life to save others, and surprisingly a little shy and quiet. He was more than willing to let others do the negotiating but there was no doubt the final decision was his. There’s mention of some sort of telepathic connection between him and Liz Parker, his human girlfriend. He has all the makings of a born leader with a good head on his shoulders}: he comes to the part about Eagle Rock and Agent Pearce {so the FBI knew about this kid a year ago and lost him. Looks like Director Ryan is going to be busy trying to explain how the FBI let him get away and who the mole is.}: he makes a note to get a copy of that report and all related material: as he reads through the rest of the report he gets the distinct impression that they are at a paradigm shift in how we perceive our place in the universe {how important are we really? Obviously there are others more advanced than us technologically and judging from what was observed this morning, biologically as well. What do Earth and we humans have to offer in the grand scheme of things?}: shaking his head at such heady thoughts, he returns to the task at hand: he and Director Ryan plan on meeting at 6:00AM tomorrow to compare notes from Mike Dennis’s report and what Ryan got from McCall’s report: they then will be flying out to Camp David to a joint briefing with President Wilkinson on the alien issue: looking over his notes {well, at least this Evans kid seems to have it all together, and judging by what was agreed to, some pretty good negotiators and trusted advisors too; that should make things go a little better.}.

Setting: Evans house, same Friday evening

Max: he stumbles into the darkened house: it’s only a little before 10:00PM, but after being startled out of bed before 3:00AM, everyone has already called it a night or so he thought: he notices the dim lights coming from the den: walking in he smiles at his Mom and walks over to flick the TV set off: the sudden quiet awakens Mom from her dozing…
“Hey Mom, sorry I woke you, why don’t you go on to bed. I think I’m just going to turn in myself. I’m beat.”

Mom: she had been watching an old John Wayne movie trying to stay up: she wanted to be sure her son made it home alright, after everything that happened today, he had to be absolutely exhausted especially having to work a shift at the UFO Center on top of everything else: yawning…
“Oh honey, I’m glad you’re finally home. Did you have dinner? I could heat you up some leftovers if you’re hungry.”

Max: rubbing his tired eyes…
“No, that’s OK. I had a burger at the Crashdown.”
He bends over and gives her a kiss…
“Goodnight Mom.”

Mom: “Goodnight honey, sleep well.”
She walks with him down the hall to his room: gives him another kiss goodnight before he closes his bedroom door and goes to bed: she takes a few steps down the hall and pauses to check in on her daughter: Isabel had been as absolutely exhausted as the rest of them, but had been unable to immediately fall asleep: she had asked Diane to sit with her a little, it was something Isabel would do when she was little and upset: slowly Isabel revealed her deeply held fear of the gov’t finding out about them and taking over their lives: now this fear was coming true and she could only cling to the faith she had that her brother would take care of it: Diane had sat there listening and then reminded her that it wasn’t just Max, but her and Daddy too, as well as all the rest, that together they would get through it all: after about an hour Isabel had finally fallen asleep and Diane had taken a little time to sit and watch over her, trying to make sure that her daughter’s sleep was peaceful: she’s relieved when she spies her still quietly sleeping and silently closes the door: she looks back towards her son’s room and wonders if his sleep will be as peaceful: a slightly worried look sweeps over her as she climbs the stairs to her bedroom, she’ll be back up in an hour to check on him.

Max: he had been out the second his head hit the pillow and fell into a very deep sleep: his hands clench at the bed sheets as his dream takes on a more ominous turn {he’s in court at trial; he’s alone, just him, the judge, and the jury. The judge asks the jury for a verdict. A large man stands and reads “We the jury find Max Evans guilty of being an alien and a threat to humanity.” The judge replies, “Thank you. The jury is dismissed.” He then turns towards him and says, “Guards, take him away. Back to Eagle Rock and make sure he doesn’t escape this time.” As the guards drag him down the hall back to the White Room, he’s screaming for help. Suddenly he feels someone pulling him in another direction, away from the guards and the White Room}: he wakes with a start and bolts up: his Mom is shaking him and is saying something, but it’s not her that he’s hearing {MAX, MAX, are you alright? Max wake up. Max can you hear me? WAKE UP!}: he sends her a very shaky {I, I’m awake. You… you pulled me out of the dream. Thank you.}: he wraps his shaking arms tightly around his Mom and buries his wet eyes in her robe as the tears fall: she gently rocks him back and forth and holds him until his shaking stops: a little calmer {Liz, I’m better now, my Mom’s here with me, but could you stay open for a little while? I want to feel you.}: she sends him her undying love through their open connection: he lies back down; his Mom sits with him and watches him as he falls back asleep: this won’t be the last time his cries from a nightmare awaken his loved ones, but they will grow fewer and farther apart as time heals old wounds.

Setting:: Tobias’s house, same Friday evening

Tobias: he had taken a quick nap this afternoon after everyone left, preparing for this evening: the TV is on, he had been certain to get satellite TV when he first moved in: he finishes recording his report about the Skin battle and the unexpected turn of events with the gov’t: it had taken him a week to reconfigure his transmitter so that it would interface with the satellite and be able to boost the signal strength without blowing it up: he connects the alien transmitter, encrypts the report and transmits his message piggyback on a regular signal to the satellite where it will then receive a boost and be on its merry way: he disconnects the transmitter and returns it to its hiding place: he looks out his window for a moment at the agent currently guarding him before returning to the Star Trek marathon playing on the sci-fi channel.

No one but the Fates knows what goes on behind closed doors.


Chapter 43

Setting:
Tobias’s house, Wednesday afternoon

Max: he spots the unknown little car parked in front of the house and wonders whose it is: he pulls the jeep up next to it and gets out: he knocks on the door and waits: he swears he could hear a woman giggling: suddenly the door pops open revealing a very disheveled Tobias: this time there is no doubt when he hears a decidedly female voice call out “Nathan, who is it?”: Max raises his eyebrow at that, and fights to keep a straight face…
“Um, I thought I would drop by to see what you’re up to. My Dad wanted you to come over for dinner tonight so you and he could talk some business, but um… if you’re busy, we could make it some other night.”

Miss O’Brien: coming to the door, she peeks around at the visitor: smiling…
“You’re Max, Nathan’s cousin, right?”
She’s not sure how to take the ma’am part of his “yes, ma’am” response…
“Well, why don’t you come on in? I need to get going anyhow. My shift at the hospital starts in 20 minutes.”
She turns towards Tobias, kissing him on the lips as she departs…
“I’ll see you Friday night.”

Max: he steps into the house so Tobias can close the door: he’s not entirely successful in hiding his grin…
“So, um, I guess my Mom shouldn’t worry about you being out here all alone.”

Tobias: he simply cannot meet Max’s eyes: he goes to the frige and grabs a couple of sodas and Tabasco sauce: handing one to Max, he sits down on the sofa…
“So what business does your Dad want to discuss?”

Max: sitting on the loveseat across from him, he pops the can of soda, adds the sauce and takes a long swig before replying…
“He got a call from Mike Dennis. The President wants to meet with us Sunday at Camp David. Apparently there’s been a lot of debate about what to do with us and President Wilkinson thought it would help if we met in person to discuss things.”

Tobias: he has a lot of mixed feeling about this…
“Alright, um, who all would be going?”

Max: “My Dad, me, Isabel, and you.”
He notices the scowl that Tobias is now sporting…
“What? What’s wrong?”

Tobias: “Max, you and your sister should not both go. If something didn’t go right, then she would need to be able to assume the throne. Until you produce an heir, she’s the next in line, your heir.”
He watches as Max starts to say something then doesn’t: he decides that he needs to let him in on what’s really at stake…
“Max, could you excuse me for a moment? I need to get something.”
He retrieves a pentagon shaped object, similar to what Brody has, but smaller and more metallic looking: he activates it and a quick high piercing sound blasts then dies down: placing it on the coffee table between them and sitting back down…
“That will take care of any extra ears that may be listening.”
He had been planning on telling him about this last weekend, but with the Skin fight and now the gov’t involvement, the timing never seemed right: but with the deadline drawing near and the possibility of walking into a gov’t trap, he has no choice: taking a deep breath…
“Your Majesty, in less then two weeks, armed troops from Renular will be landing on Luntar, an Antarian moon supply base. This will be the beginning of the next phase.”

Max: he’s glad he’s sitting down {have I been betrayed? Has Larek decided to go after my throne?}: almost afraid to ask…
“Why? Why is Larek doing this? The next phase of what?”

Tobias: he notes Max’s confused look …
“All out unrestricted warfare against Kivar.”
As he sees the confusion being replaced by anger…
“He is not betraying you. Coming here to help you and to see if you or your sister wants the throne was only the first phase. You don’t understand what Larek’s been going through on Renular. Almost 2 ½ million Antarian refugees have migrated to Renular in the last 50 years. While that may seem like a long time, it’s not, especially if you factor in all the new generations of Antarians that are being born as well. It’s a tremendous burden on Renular’s resources and infrastructure. With word of the Royal 4’s survival, many Antarians were inspired. While the timing isn’t perfect, we have to seize it while we can and hopefully capitalize on it. The troops that are going in are mainly comprised of Antarians wanting to fight to take their world back, but Renularians will be there as well. It was hoped that an address from the Antarian King would help inspire them and remind them what they are fighting for. It would even be better for all of the Royal 4 to be present.”

Max: he was just getting used to the having to deal with gov’t issues on Earth, now this: it takes him several minutes to collect his thoughts on all of this, as he does some questions start to surface…
“You’ve been here almost a month. How do you know that all of this is still on schedule? I mean look at what’s happened since you’ve been here, no telling what might be going on up there, right?”

Tobias: looking guilty…
“Um, actually, no wrong. I do know. I’ve been in contact with Larek. Everything is still on schedule.”
He can’t help but cringe as the expected outburst comes.

Max: he’s on his feet, furious…
“YOU WHAT! YOU’VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH LAREK AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME! WHY, WHY THE HELL NOT?”

Tobias: he knew that it was a mistake to wait to tell him, but those were his orders: it’s easy to issue orders, it’s harder having to be the one explaining them, especially to your King…
“It was felt that I should keep quiet about that part until it was necessary. You see, um…” This next part is even harder to say because of how close he has become to the King and his family…
“You are the King, and the King will be obeyed. I wasn’t supposed to say anything until I was sure that you understood and wouldn’t countermand Larek’s orders and plans.”

Max: he’s totally numb, rocked to the core: finally…
“You weren’t supposed to say anything until you could trust me to play along. That’s it, isn’t it?’

Tobias: feeling like he hasn’t explained it properly, weakly tries…
“Max, you’re awfully young and the stakes are incredibly high. We had no way of knowing how you’d take all of this. Please try and understand the position we are in.”

Max: trying to come to terms, but still angry…
“Am I some puppet for Larek to play with? I am, aren’t I? He’s pulling all the strings and I’m just playing along. What happens when Larek wins? Do I stay his puppet King and when he says jump, I say how high?”

Tobias: as he thinks over what Max is saying and remembering the man that took him in and raised him, who took in all the Antarian refugees at great cost and sacrifice, he forgets who he’s addressing and with it, his temper…
“HOW DARE YOU! You are talking about a man that took in your Mother, your family and 2 ½ million of your people. Yes, you owe him, you owe him big time and you will pay him back, but not the way you think. He doesn’t want your crown, he never did. He’s got enough to do on Renular. You will repay him by taking back your people and taking care of them, by being the King that you should have been without f*cking it up this time!”
With clenched fists he stiffly walks out of the room, leaving an astonished King sitting there.

Max: the room is eerily quiet, but Tobias’s words still ring in his head: almost five minutes pass before he finally gets up to go look for Tobias: he finds him in the bedroom that he has set up as an office: humbly…
“You’re right Tobias. I owe Larek. I owe him everything. And you’re also right about me, I am young and I do have a lot to learn, more so than I even realized. I don’t like the idea of an all out war being fought on Antar. I don’t like the thought of thousands of innocent people dying or the destruction that war leaves in its wake. But I do understand that it is a necessary evil. Tell me what Larek needs me to do and I’ll try not to f*ck it up.”

The Fates are taking special care that the young King learns as many lessons as quickly as possible; the one in humility is always a difficult one to master.


Chapter 44

*************************************************************
The 5 Worlds of the Whirlwind Galaxy
Antar:

Main seat of power, ruled by Royal House of Antar
King Tanier – Zan & Vilandra’s Father
Queen Nataria – Zan & Vilandra’s Mother – disciple of the order of Ruan
Lord Rath – Son of Royal advisor, friend of King Zan, betrothed to Princess Vilandra
Luntar- One of two moons orbiting Antar, military supply outpost
Renular:
Governed by the Royal Family – distant relatives of Royal House of Antar
Chancellor Larek – Head of Royal Family, childhood friend and confidant to King Zan, current protector and home of Queen Nataria and other exiled members of Royal House of Antar
Vintar:
Ruled by Crown Prince Lanua – Ava’s Grandfather
Dranular:
Ruled by Dranularik Dynasty – Shapeshifters’ home world
Cromar:
Ruled by the Supreme Crevsek, Dictator and ally to Kivar – Skins’ home world
****************************************************************

From Chapter 31
Excerpt from Tobias’s explanation:

Antar, being the original “home” planet, has always been the main seat of power. The Royal House has ruled Antar since before space travel was discovered. The other 4 worlds have their own systems of government plus they each have a seat on the Ruling Council. The council sets the policies and laws governing all intergalactic issues. The King of Antar chairs the council and is the main power behind it. It was that council that met with you in New York. Believe me, Kivar did not want that meeting to happen, but since the others on the council do not recognize Kivar as the King of Antar, there was nothing he could do to stop it. Kivar may hold power on Antar, but not on the council. At most they consider him an equal, but not someone they have to answer to. That’s part of the problem, no one is in charge of the council anymore and it’s almost impossible to get anything agreed upon. Unfortunately these arguments spill over into actual armed conflicts and wars

********************************************************************

Setting: Evans house, Wednesday late evening

Aunt Trudy: she just got done watching Leno, turns off the TV in the family room and walks into the kitchen for something to drink where she spots Max sitting at the kitchen table staring at a glass of milk: she studies him for a few moments then goes and gets herself a glass of milk and the Oreos that she had secretly stashed away {you just can’t keep sweets in this house with all these teens around.} : sitting down next to Max and startling him: tearing the Oreo bag open…
“Here have some.”

Max: he gives her a little smile as he grabs a couple…
“I think an Oreo addiction runs in the Evans family.”

Aunt Trudy: “Yep, it probably does. So what has you so deep in thought? Girl troubles?”

Max: he almost chokes on the middle part of his cookie, while dunking the cookie part…

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:33:53 PM
“No, Liz and I are fine.”
While still “dunking”, he turns a little towards her…
“Aunt Trudy, how do I get Larek to trust me? He thinks I’m some dumb kid, just playing at being a King, and he’s right, I am. How do I change that?”

Aunt Trudy: looking at him intently…
“Max, how much soggier do you want that cookie?”
She points to his milk glass, smiling a little as he takes out the crumbling cookie and makes a mess trying to eat it…
“Let’s see how do you get someone whom you think highly of to trust you? Well, whom do you know who trusts you? Does your Dad?”
His mouth is still full of cookie so she gets an “um-hum” in reply…
“I’ll take that as a yes. So your Dad trusts you, why? Why does he trust you?”

Max: after swallowing…
“Well, I guess cause I don’t screw up too much.”

Aunt Trudy: “That’s good. Why don’t you screw up?’

Max: ”Cause he wouldn’t stand for it.”

Aunt Trudy: “Aahhh, so he’s taught you the rules about what’s right and wrong and because you have listened to him and followed what you’ve learned, he trusts you to continue to do so. In other words, you’ve earned his trust. So ask me again how you get Larek to trust you?”

Max: he thinks about that for a moment before answering…
“But how do I do that when I don’t know what the rules are? He’s never told me anything.”

Aunt Trudy: ” Well now, that truly is unfair. What were his reasons for not telling you what is expected of you when you asked him?”

Max: ducking his head shyly…
“I never asked him.”

Aunt Trudy: pushing another cookie towards him…
“Here dear, you’ve got to help me eat these before I eat the whole bag by myself then be up all night with heartburn.”
As he takes another cookie…
“Sweetie, I don’t believe you’re a dumb kid, but you do have a lot to learn, the fact that you are willing to listen will make it easier for everyone. It sounds to me like Larek could be a good teacher for you if you’ll let him. But remember, a good student asks lots and lots of questions. If you don’t know, ask. Have another cookie.”

Setting: UFO Center, Friday night, closing time

Max: popping his head into Brody’s office…
“Brody, it’s five after ten. I got the place all locked up. Don’t forget, I’m off this weekend so I won’t be back until Monday night.”
Brody is sitting in his chair, facing away from him, not saying a thing: becoming concerned by the continued silence…
“Brody? Brody did you hear me?”
He walks over and is just about to shake him when Brody suddenly looks up at him.

Brody: “You wanted to talk to me?”

Max: not sure what to make of his funny look…
“Uh, yeah, I’m closing up for the night and I won’t be back until Monday. Brody are you OK?”

Brody: “It’s Larek, Max. Tobias sent me a message that you wanted to talk to me. I’m here. I didn’t have too much time to prepare Brody for the transfer, so we have maybe 30 minutes. What do you want to talk about?”

Max: part of him is relieved that he’s here and that Tobias did as he asked him to: the other part of him is scared that Larek did come and what he might have to say: pushing that thought aside, he pulls a chair over and sits down across from him: getting down to business…
“Larek, Tobias told me about this war that you’re about to launch. Is it really necessary? I mean I’ll support it, but I want to understand exactly what’s going on and why. And I want to know what I need to do to help you, what you expect of me.”

Larek: he can see so much of his old friend Zan in him, but he’s also different, there’s definitely a part of him that is a stranger: that thought saddens him a little, he so misses his childhood friend: looking at the young man in front of him, he does like what he sees: he’s been waiting for Max to ask for this conversation, it had to be his idea, his desire to know, to learn, otherwise it would be meaningless…
“The word that the Royal 4 survived spread like wild fire. It enthralled your people like nothing else could. They had been waiting over 50 years for it and it finally came. They’re ready to fight, to reclaim what was theirs. There already have been several instances of armed rebellion on Antar against Kivar’s forces. Even some of the local authorities are joining in with the rebels. Now is our chance. We can’t waste this opportunity. It may never come again. All of this started with word of the Royal 4’s survival, think of the response if they actually heard and saw you. The momentum that could generate is immeasurable.”

Max: “Larek, why? Why do they feel that way about me? They don’t even know me. No matter how hard I pretend I’m not the same person they knew as King Zan. How am I going to live up to their expectations? I don’t want to be set up simply to fail again.”

Larek: “You’re right, you’re Max Evans, but you’ve got an awful lot of Zan in you. I heard it and saw it in New York. When the recordings of that meeting were shown to people that knew you, knew Zan, they saw it too including your Mother. But you are different, there’s no way you wouldn’t be, if for no other reason than you were raised differently. Zan lived and died over fifty years ago, the memory of him has grown cloudy with time to the point of being more myth and legend than fact. The truth is he didn’t do too much. He never had the chance to. He was cut down too soon, but the ideas that he had, the changes he wanted to make were good ones. Given time he would have made the lives of his people so much better. It’s the idea of recapturing that potential of what could have been that people want. It’s what drives them and keeps them holding on. You will never be the Zan of old, but you have enough of him in you that I have no doubt you will be able to pick up the pieces and make his dream a reality.”
He pauses to catch his breath…
“Max, I realize that you haven’t been raised the way we had planned. The teachers that were sent with you apparently died in the crash. That’s one of the reasons I sent Tobias. He can teach you much of our history and the basics of how our society works including life at the Royal Court, but the main thing you need to learn is diplomacy. The King of Antar is expected to be one hell of a diplomat and negotiator. I understand that your adoptive Father can hold his own at the negotiating table, watch him, watch his opponents, I know you can learn much from him.”
He’s pleased to see how attentive Max is being to his suggestions, taking everything to heart…
“As for diplomacy, I believe there’s a saying on Earth, politics are the same the world over. Actually it’s the universe over. I am aware that you will soon be meeting with the leader of this United States, good. Those are the circles you need to be in. Watch them, listen and learn from them. You don’t have to be like them, but you need to be able to understand what they’re saying as well as what they’re not saying. Sometimes the latter is the more important of the two.”

Max: he’s been trying to take in everything that Larek is saying, while trying to remember all the questions he has…
“Larek, is it really possible for me, for us to live on Antar? I mean the Skins have to have husks in order to survive on Earth. Will we have to do anything like that? Would normal humans?”

Larek: “The correct name for Skins is Cromarians. If you wanted to go live on Cromar, then you would need an environmental suit. The other four worlds have atmospheres similar to that of Earth’s. That’s one of the reasons Earth was chosen as your hiding place, it would be an easy place for anyone but a Cromarian to live. It might take a little time for Earth’s humans to adjust to Antar’s climate, sort of like moving from the frozen Northern regions on Earth to the tropic zones. Are you considering bringing your human family with you? I’m certain they would be welcomed.”

Max: “Well yes them, but also my, my bond mate Liz. I’m sure Michael would want to bring his bond mate Maria. I’m not sure about Isabel and Tess, but I have a feeling they might as well. Would that be a problem?”

Larek: he had not been too happy when Tobias had informed him that Max had already bonded with his human girlfriend Liz, nor about Michael bonding with the human girl Maria: this complicated things…
“Max, it’s not that they wouldn’t be welcomed, it’s just complicated, more so for you and Tess than Michael and Isabel. Crown Prince Lanua of Vintar is expecting his granddaughter to be Queen of Antar. He’s going to be none too happy if she isn’t. And right now we need his help. He was furious with Kivar for assassinating his favorite granddaughter. While he is not in a position to publicly thumb his nose at Kivar, he needs their trade too badly; he has been helping us covertly. Vintar is known to have established spy rings throughout all five worlds, maybe even on Earth. Unless you renege on an agreement, their information is never wrong. We can’t lose that source right now. Not knowing something could cost us the war.”

Max: “Tess and I have talked about it. She, I… we both agree that us together would only make us both miserable. I consider her more like a sister. Couldn’t she be like an Antarian Royal Princess or something? I mean that’s got to mean something, right?”

Larek: running his hand through his hair {KIDS! God I’m glad mine are past this age.}: ever the patient teacher…
“It wouldn’t mean enough. It’s not just Tess being your Queen; he wants his great-grandson to be the next King of Antar. He wants that direct link. Tess being made Her Royal Highness Princess Ava of Antar is not going to get him that. While I can understand your feelings, there is a much larger picture that you need to consider.”

Max: he’s getting the feeling of falling down a slippery slope: he understands what Larek is saying, but everything in him is screaming that there must be another way: he just can’t go down the same path that Zan did, he won’t marry for politics: giving Larek a level gaze…
“Larek, I can appreciate the situation but there is no way I will take anyone other than Liz for my wife and only she will be the mother of my children. I will do everything else that you ask of me, but not this. Liz and I are too strongly connected; I need her by my side. There has to be another way.”

Larek: sighing heavily…
“Well, this doesn’t have to be settled today. I would suggest however that none of you say anything for now. Like I said Vintarians are masters of spying and they may have some here on Earth. I’m sure it will come out eventually, but let’s try not to make it anytime soon. Max, my time is running out. Is there anything else that you wanted to talk to me about?”

Max: “I’m not sure how to ask this right, but Tobias mentioned that Renular is being stretched a little thin because of the situation with Kivar and the Antarian refugees. I want to know how bad it is getting on Renular? I know that I can’t do too much to help you now, but what about later?”

Larek: shifting a little uneasily in his chair…
“As Tobias told you, Renular’s resources are getting stretched pretty thin. They aren’t at the breaking point, yet. But I can’t afford to wait much longer or I’ll have my hands full just keeping things together on my own world and would be unable to help you put yours back together. Yours and my families are close; we’re even distantly related. It’s the same for many on our two worlds. Antarian and Renularian ties run very deep. There was never any doubt that we would help, but I simply cannot put aside the best interest of my people in favor of yours. I have to do something or we estimate within three years we’ll be in deep economic trouble. It’s something that someone like Kivar would be just waiting to exploit. As far as how you can help later… after this is all over, we can work out some favorable trading and partnership agreements that would be beneficial to both our worlds.”
Looking kindly on his new old friend…
“I grew up with Zan. He was a good friend, a good King; he had the potential to be a great King. I’m glad to see that potential alive in you. Please work with Tobias on that address. I can really use your help with that. I’ll try and come back soon. Take Care Max.”

Max: shaking his hand…
“Take Care Larek and thank you, for everything.”

Brody: looking around confused…
“Max? Max what happened?”

Max: smiling a little…
“I was coming in to tell you that everything is locked up and to remind you that I’m off this weekend. But um… you were sitting here in a really deep sleep. I wasn’t sure if I should leave you like that.”

Brody: “I was? Oh…oh, I guess I was. Well, thank you for your concern. Hey, this is the big weekend, the prom. Nothing as exciting than that, eh?”

Max: “Yeah, good night Brody. Have a good weekend.”

Politics are the same the universe over, a quagmire of compromises with many layers of intrigue that would quickly trample a novice King if it weren’t for some wise counselors and friends, and the occasional meddling by the Fates.


Chapter 45

Setting:
Saturday morning and that’s all I’m saying

Not Telling: she can’t believe it: she closes her eyes really tight, then peeks at it again: it still reads the same, a blue + sign: she closes the toilet seat so she can sit down {how did this happen? We were so careful. This just cannot be happening. Why? Why now? How am I going to tell every one? How am I going to be able to tell him? OH GOD! The Prom, the Prom is tonight. We’re going to be together. I can’t tell him tonight, but how am I going to keep from telling him the minute I see him?}: she sits there numb for several minutes, trying to come to terms with this unexpected turn of events {am I ready for this? Is he? I can’t be very far along, maybe a month? I know it’s still early enough that I wouldn’t have to go through with it if I didn’t want to.}: as soon as that last thought occurs, she knows that there is no way she would not go through with it: she tosses the stupid blue thing that just changed her life forever in the trash and finishes getting dressed, determined to keep her secret for at least a little while.

Setting: Evans house, Saturday morning

Isabel: answering the doorbell…
“Hey, guys come on in for a minute. I just need to grab my bag.”

Max: coming out to greet them…
“Hey Maria, Tess… Hi Liz.”
As he says her name, he can’t help but smile: taking her hands in his, he gives her a proper greeting.

Tess: both she and Maria roll their eyes at the display…
“OK, you guys have plenty of time for that later tonight. We need to get going. We all have hair appointments at that new salon over in Hondo, followed by manicures and pedicures, plus some last minute accessory shopping. We’ll be lucky to make it back in time for the Prom. So time’s a wasting.”

Isabel: coming out with her bag…
“OK, let’s go.”

Max: suddenly remembering his conversation with Larek, he calls out…
“Hey, wait a second. You guys can’t be gone all day. I think we should meet this afternoon and go over some stuff.”

Maria: she and Spaceboy had been arguing all week: he had finally agreed to take her to the Prom, but wasn’t about to rent a “penguin suit” for it: they finally agreed on a hip new midnight blue suit with matching shirt: the matching tie is still debatable, and he adamantly refuses to get out on the dance floor: after all it has taken for her to get him this far, she is not about to let some alien crap throw it off track: with eyes boring into him, she advances…
“Oh no, no, no, no. After all that I went through to get him take me to the Prom, I am NOT going to let you pull some alien crap on me today. Nuh-uh, no way, no how.”
Poking him in the chest for emphasis…
“Today is my day. It’s all planned and not you, not Nicholas, not Kivar, not anyone is going to be allowed to screw it up for me by planning a little meeting that goes way too long and gives Michael the slightest excuse to get out of it. I simply won’t allow it. YOU GOT THAT?”
With huge eyes, he quickly nods his head “yes” several times: with a slight nod in acknowledgement she starts for the door…
“Good, then we’ll see you when you guys pick us up at 6:00 tonight at Liz’s. Oh and make sure Michael wears that tie I picked out for him. Don’t be late. See ya.”

Isabel: she closes the door behind them and turns towards Maria…
“I’m impressed. That was really good.”

Setting: Crashdown, Saturday early afternoon

Kyle: slouching in the booth, sipping on his soda: he spots the King Alien coming in: with a nod of his head he invites the King to join him…
“Hey, the girls make it over there this morning?”

Max: “Yeah, about 9:30. I don’t remember the last time Isabel has been up and ready to go that early on a Saturday morning. They’re certainly taking this seriously. Maria just about bit my head off when I mentioned changing the plans for this afternoon.”

Michael: coming over with a plate of fries and Tabasco: taking a seat and just catching the last bit of the conversation…
“Nah man, that’s a bad idea. Maria’s been totally moody this past week. Very bad idea to cross her right now.”

Kyle: snorting…
“Maria? You should have seen Tess. She’s been on the warpath. Everything has to be perfect. She must have changed dresses about a dozen times, shoes… I’ve never seen so many pairs of shoes. Hey, how are you supposed to answer the ‘does this still make me look fat if I wear it this way?’ question without getting zapped?”

Max: chuckling…
“You don’t, just back out of the room quietly. I know what you mean; even Liz has been stressed lately. She must have asked me a million times if the limo was all arranged and if I made dinner reservations yet: she was really freaking me out about trying to coordinate my tux with her dress: to save my sanity I stuck with basic black, according to Izzy, everything goes with black, right?”

Alex: just arriving…
“Yep, especially red; red and black are classically beautiful together. Isabel spent a whole day getting my tie to just match her dress. The ladies are sure going all out for tonight. So Max, what time should we meet over at your place to catch the limo?”

Max: “5:30, then over here at 6:00. My parents and Aunt Trudy will already be here. Mom bought six rolls of film, plus a new tape for the camcorder. We’ll be lucky not to be blind by time we manage to escape.”

Kyle: “Don’t forget Mrs. DeLuca. She can be just as camera happy. It’s weird having your Dad and his girlfriend going to your Prom with you. I know they’re supposed to be chaperones, but the way they go at it, we’ll end up doing the chaperoning.”

Alex: “Hey Kyle, if they get married, then you’ll get Maria as a sister, that’d be cool.”

Kyle: shuddering…
“Yeah, real cool. I’d never get into the bathroom. Somehow the thought of Tess and Maria sharing a bedroom does not fill me with joy. I’d never get any peace.”

Michael: helping himself to some fries…
“Peace? What’s that? I haven’t had any peace since we got back from Nevada.”

Max: “I warned you about that.”

Michael: “Shut up Maxwell.”
A thought occurs to him…
“Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you. How do you and Liz manage to… uh, give your suits the slip? Maria’s gotten it into her head that they’re recording everything we do, so we don’t do anything. This is majorly cutting in on my personal recreational time.”

Alex: “Yeah, when I took Isabel stargazing the other night, that’s all we did, stargaze. Isabel said something about having someone watch totally killed the mood.”

Max: giving Alex a raised eyebrow…
“My Dad will be glad to hear that. Look I’m sorry. I’m in the same boat as you are. You know I didn’t really have much of a choice. Other than an occasional foray into the eraser room, I haven’t been having any better luck.”
Looking over at a smiling Kyle…
“We don’t seem to be hearing any complaints from you.”

Kyle: “Nope. There is definitely an upside to my Dad dating again. I get the house to myself, or more precisely Tess and I do.”

Alex: “So Kyle, do you still need to phone home the old-fashion way or are you on AOL, you know the Alien Only Link?”

Kyle: “Lame Whitman, very lame.”
He’s been watching Jeff Parker watch their bodyguards for the past several minutes…
“This isn’t going to last you know. Mr. Parker is already getting suspicious. Mrs. DeLuca has already mentioned to my Dad about a possible peeping Tom.”

Max: glancing over his shoulder at Mr. Parker…
“Yeah, I know. This was only a temporary fix anyhow. This is going to be getting out soon. If you think it’s bad having bodyguards around 24/7, think what it’ll be like to have reporters along with every nut on Earth wanting to meet the aliens. That’s one of the things on the agenda for tomorrow.”

Michael: “Are you all ready for the meeting at Camp David? I still don’t like the idea of you going without me. “

Max: shaking his head…
“I need you here, Michael with Isabel. If something does go wrong, she inherits the throne and she’s going to need you, need all of you.”

Michael: “You’re right, but I still don’t like it.”

The Fates are the only ones you can count on to keep your secret: otherwise once told, it is a secret no longer.


Chapter 46

Setting:
Crashdown, Saturday evening, 5:50PM

Jeff: he had closed the restaurant early at 5:00: he learned a long time ago that prom night was dead, no guy in his right mind was going to take his prom date to a burger joint for dinner, well not if he wanted to survive the night: besides he didn’t have any one available to work even if he wanted to stay open: he can hear the excitement filtering down from upstairs, three Moms and one Great-Aunt, all helping four teenage girls get ready for their prom: he shakes his head in typical guy fashion as he wonders how it could take them over two full hours to get ready, especially since they had already had their hair and nails done earlier: Nancy had been nothing but excited about today: he on the other hand has been dreading it, dreading seeing his baby girl coming down looking all grown up and ready for a special night out with her young man: suddenly feeling very old, he walks back over with the beers he had stashed away and rejoins the assembled waiting Fathers in the Crashdown…
“Here we go. Man I don’t know who’s more excited Liz or Nancy. How in the hell can it take all day to get ready? ”

Philip: taking a long swig of beer….
“Tell me about it. Isabel and Diane went shopping for days just trying to find the perfect dress. God, it was funny when Alex came over the other evening to show Isabel his tux. Man, powder blue with the biggest ruffles I had even seen on a shirt. It was even polyester. I thought Isabel was going to go into orbit over that one.”

Charles (Mr. Whitman): chuckling…
“Yeah, he spotted it in the back of my closet and couldn’t resist. It’d been so long that I had forgotten that I even had that thing. I think the last time I wore it was to a Halloween party about ten years ago. I noticed that Isabel helped him out a little with his tux.”

Philip: “Yeah, she worked her magic on it. She worked it a little on Max too. Poor kid, he had Liz wanting to know what he was going to wear and Isabel telling him how he should wear it and throw in a Mom telling him to get a hair cut.”

Jim: shaking his head…
“Nah, you should have seen my house. Tess must have changed her mind a couple dozen times before going with the first dress she tried on. Not to mention every time her dress changed, she wanted Kyle’s tux to change along with it. Total chaos. Man, it sure is different having a girl around. Thank God Amy came over and helped Tess out or she’d still be trying to make up her mind!”

Philip: “It’ll be interesting see what the guys look like all cleaned up, especially Michael. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything other than jeans.”

Jim: “Man, talk about a battle of wills. I was over at Amy’s a few times to witness some of the rounds between those two. Those two are like nitro when they’re together.”

Jeff: he goes to open the front door as Mrs. Whitman appears…
“Hey Janet, good to see you.”

Janet: “Hi Jeff.”
She’s just back from getting an extra supply of film: eyeing the male bonding over beer going on down here…
“Well, I guess I’ll go up and see how the girls are doing. If that’s alright? The boys should be here any minute now.”

Jeff: “Oh sure, go on up.”
A few minutes later a black limo pulls up and four nervous and uncomfortable looking young men get out: smiling, he opens the door to let them in…
“So you all ready for the big night?”

Alex: grinning broadly and carrying a red rose corsage…
“You bet!”

Jeff: trying to pretend that he is addressing them all, but looking pointedly at Max…
“So about what time do you think you’ll be bringing the girls back here?”

Max: trying not to shuffle his feet or even look down at them…
“Well, uh, we’re not sure, maybe 3:00?”
Noticing the scowl on Mr. Parker, he quickly amends…
“2:30?”

Jeff: mulling it over…
“I’d prefer 2:00, but I suppose 2:30 would be acceptable.”

Aunt Trudy: coming down stairs to check out the young men…
“Well now, let’s take a look at these fine young gentlemen. My, don’t all of you look handsome. Oh Alex, that corsage is going to go lovely with Isabel’s dress. Kyle, that colorful vest is so wonderful and lively. Max dear, you look very distinguished in a classic black tux. Why Mr. Guerin, I don’t think I would even recognize you. What a wonderful transformation.”
Noticing something that Maria had asked her to check on…
“Why dear, where’s your tie?”

Michael: he had been trying to get the damn thing right for over an hour: Max had offered to help, but it was just wrong to have one guy help another guy tie a tie: looking down at his feet, he mumbles…
“It’s no big deal.”
Glancing at Aunt Trudy, who is ever so patiently waiting for her answer…
“It’s in my pocket.”

Aunt Trudy: walking over to him, she takes his arm and escorts him to the restroom…
“Why dear, let’s take a look at it on. Shall we?”
They emerge about ten minutes later with Michael wearing a very neatly tied tie: she leaves the gentlemen to report back to the ladies that all is in order with no surprises.

Diane: she along with Amy, Nancy and Mrs. Whitman come down stairs to embarrass the boys a little bit, it is a Mother’s prerogative to do so and she’s not about to miss out: her eyes start to mist over again as she spots her son: he looks so young with his hair combed back, so handsome: she comes up to him and gives him a kiss on his cheek…
“Oh, look at that. I got lipstick on you. My don’t you look handsome.”
She rubs the lipstick off then looks around: they all look so grown up: pulling out her camera, she wants to capture the moment…
“OK, the four of you, we need to get some pictures of you before the girls comes down.”

Amy: she had been taking the opportunity to straighten Kyle’s tie a little bit, much to his chagrin, reaches over for her camera as well…
“Oh, absolutely. Here, the four of you stand over towards the back of the restaurant so the sun won’t interfere.”
By the time all of the Moms are done with the first round of pictures, the boys are seeing nothing but spots: a few moments later the girls finally make their grand entrance with Aunt Trudy trailing behind.

Max: he’s stunned, he just stares at her beauty: she’s perfect with her dark tresses swept up into an ornate silver clip with a few strands falling loose framing her perfect face: her dress is a deep sea-green slip dress with matching wrap: a delicate silver necklace and matching silver earrings with crystal bead accents that seem to capture the light and add to the beautiful glow that surrounds her completes his vision, she’s perfect: his Dad nudges him from behind and brings him out of his trance: smiling shyly, he walks over to his vision of beauty: takes the corsage of minature white roses and slips it onto her dainty wrist…
“Here, I hope you like this.”

Liz: she can smell the delicate rose scent: smiling at her handsome escort…
“It’s lovely Max, thank you.”

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:35:08 PM
Their mutual gazing is interrupted by the sound of flashes going off: on command they then pose in various groupings, as a couple, a group of all, all girls, all guys, and with their respective parents: it seems like an eternity before they announce that they have to get going or they’ll be late for their dinner reservations: almost in unison all eight teenagers bolt for the door and the safety of the waiting limo.

Jeff: locking the front door behind them, he watches the big black limo pulls out: he frowns as a dark sedan pulls out right behind them: he has been growing increasingly concerned this past week as strangers have suddenly started hanging around the Crashdown and more disturbingly around the kids: he’s certain that he’s seen that sedan before, in fact several times: his attention is diverted when Jim announces that he and Amy need to be going since they’re supposed to be there an hour early for chaperone orientation: he decides to voice his concern before the sheriff leaves…
“Jim, I uh, I’ve noticed that dark sedan before. It seems to be hanging around quite a bit, especially when the kids are here. Now it’s following the limo. I’m starting to get a little nervous about it. Do you think you could check it out? There’s just something wrong about it.”

Charles: “You know, now that I think about it. I’ve seen a similar car parked down the street from our house for about a week now. At first I thought the neighbors had visitors but the car is never in front of the same house.”

Jim: giving Philip a quick glance…
“Hmmm, that does seem a bit worrisome. I’ll keep a sharp eye out tonight and see if I can get a license number to run a check on it. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the bottom of it for you.”

Amy: as she and Jim head for their car…
“Jim, do you think this could have anything to do with that peeping Tom I told you about? Remember, I thought he also had a dark colored sedan. Jim, it’s scary to think strangers are interested our kids. I mean, who knows what’s out there.”

Regardless of what teenagers might like to think, the Fates know that parents aren’t as blind and clueless as they think.


Chapter 47 ACT I

Setting:
Same Saturday night, the Prom

Max: he’s enjoying the feel of holding her in his arms while dancing: he could do this all night: everything was perfect, dinner was perfect, the laughter in the limo on the drive to the prom, and Liz, a perfect night: slowly he realizes that someone is calling his name: he looks over his shoulder at Alex, who’s grinning like an idiot and telling him that the music has stopped since the band started a break 5 minutes ago: he quickly glances around the empty dance floor: turning his attention back to Liz…
“I guess we should go sit down for a bit. Do you want some punch?”
After pulling out a chair for her at their table, he departs in search of the punch bowl.

Maria: sitting at the table with Liz: sighing…
“It’s nice to see at least one of us getting to dance the night away. You do realize that you are the envy of every girl here, don’t you?”

Liz: tonight has been like a dream come true: she’s been so engrossed in just being with Max that she’s been oblivious to what’s going on around her: taking a few moments to look about, she finally notices the jealous looks from many of the girls: confused…
“But why?”

Maria: “Babe, do you realize that this is the first time that Max has let you out of his arms in the past hour? While we know how you two are together, it’s a bit of a revelation for most to see it or more precisely for him to display it so openly. Remember he’s supposed to be the shy, quiet type. I’ve overheard a few here wanting to get him alone in the eraser room.”

Liz: with a wave of her hand…
“Don’t be ridiculous. Max would never do anything.”

Isabel: coming back to her seat at the table from freshening up…
“You’re right Max wouldn’t, but there’re an awful lot of hungry tramps on the prowl tonight just waiting to get their claws into our guys. I even heard Pam Troy talking about how delectable Alex looked and how she wouldn’t mind “making a man out of him” tonight. Oh, you better keep an eye on Tracy Donnor, she’s been especially appreciative of Max. While I was using the restroom, I heard her telling Pam that she was going to find out, as she put it ‘how much of a man’ Max is if it’s the last thing she does tonight.”

Maria: gazing over towards the line at the punch bowl…
“Hmmmm, speaking of which, Liz take a look over at who’s snaking her way towards your beloved King now.”

Liz: she can’t believe what she’s witnessing: Tracy pushes her way through the line until she reaches Max, who has just filled two cups of punch: then as if on cue she “accidentally” bumps into him, causing the punch to very strategically spill down the top of her gaudy strapless dress: Max, being his typical self, is horribly embarrassed and is very flustered on how to rectify the problem: Liz gasps in shock as Tracy stands very close to Max and whispers something in his ear while her hand gropes for him: Liz can feel the shock coming off of Max in waves: standing up…
“Excuse me for a moment. I have a matter to take care of.”

Tracy: she can feel him trying to back away: she smiles as he stammers out “sstoppp” which she decides to take as meaning the opposite: whispering again…
“Oh Max, you’re so hot. I can show you things that you can only imagine. I checked. The eraser room is empty. We could make it a quick one. Nobody would notice. Come on, let me show you a thing or two.”

Max: {help}

Liz: as she approaches, she can see Max forcefully pushing Tracy and her hand away: people are starting to back away and make room for her in anticipation of getting a good view of the fireworks that they are sure are about to erupt: they don’t have long to wait…
“Excuse me but get your slimy claws off of my boyfriend’s crotch!”

Tracy: turning around and smiling dismissively…
“Well, if it isn’t little Miss Brainiac. Why don’t you go read a book while I show your boyfriend what a real woman can do for him? You’ll thank me for it later.”
Turning back to Max…
“Don’t worry, I don’t bite, much.”

Max: he nervously looks around at the increasing crowd: he opens his mouth, but hasn’t a clue what to say, so he tries {uh Liz? What…}: he’s immediately cut off by {shut up and stay out of this.}: he swallows a few times and does as he’s told.

Liz: “Maybe if you read a few books you’d know that the most erogenous part of the body is the brain. And since I am, as you said a brainiac, then I have more fuel to stoke his fire than you do. You may be a real woman, but you’re nothing but a tramp and no MAN would come near you. I’m not sure who’s your date tonight, but I’m sure he’ll be anxious to dump you along with the rest of the trash after this. Just don’t think for one second you’ll be able to lure my Max to wallow in your filth!”
She abruptly stops and looks around at the large group, notices that some of the chaperones are making their way over: giving Max one very dangerous look, as she turns to leave, she calls out…
“Max, let’s go!’

Max: he looks around and then quickly follows behind: a chorus of cheers and clapping can be heard from the throng of assembled onlookers: he hears many snide and envious comments about his possibility of “getting lucky” tonight and how lucky he is to have a LADY like that: as they head upstairs to the closed classrooms where he can finally take her back in his arms {I am the luckiest man alive to have my Lady Liz} and proceeds to show her.

ACT II

Alex: joining the rest of the gang at their table…
“Well, that was entertaining. “
Chuckling….
“I guess it is those shy quiet types you’ve got to watch out for. No one’s going to think Liz is as quiet as a mouse anymore. Man, I bet Max never saw that one coming. So anyone think he needs rescuing?”

Kyle: still laughing over the stupid-look on Max’s face during all of it…
“Not on your life! Man that was great. I hope someone got that on tape. It’ll be great blackmail material for later on!”

Alex: still chuckling…
“Oh God, I wish. That would be priceless. You know I’m not surprised that something like this happened. I noticed that he’s been getting a lot of looks tonight, in fact we all have, including me!”

Isabel: in a huff…
“Oh really? And just what looks have you been getting and by whom?”

Alex: he immediately notices the warning tone, but decides for once to throw caution to the wind tonight…
“Well, Pam Troy has been giving me some interesting looks, as well as Wendy Turnuckle.”

Isabel: narrowing her eyes…
“I see. So Pam “Boytoy” Troy and Wendy “Turnstyle” Turnuckle have been eyeing you. And what exactly were you doing that encouraged this?”

Alex: “Nothing really, I guess the ladies just can’t ignore the old Whitman charm tonight.”

Isabel: indignant, she abruptly stands up and knocks her chair over…
“Oh really?”

Alex: stunned he watches her leave: Kyle nudges him into action with “if you know what’s good for ya, ya’ll go after her”: taking the advice he hurriedly runs after her: as he comes outside, he spots her standing next to the limo: thinking she is going to leave him at the prom over something as silly as this makes him suddenly very angry: walking over to her, he is determined to have his say before she leaves…
“Now wait just a damn minute. We were just joking around. I can’t believe that you would get all worked up over nothing. There’s no reason to leave over this, but if you do then FINE! I’m tired of being nothing more than just a friend. When are you going to realize I’m more than just someone to make you laugh? I have feelings too ya know and I deserve to be treated better than this!”

Isabel: she’s not sure why she got so pissed about other girls looking at Alex: she had grown so comfortable in thinking that Alex would just always be there waiting in the wings for her: she had been shocked when Tracy really did make a play for her brother: the thought of someone actually going after Alex that way just makes her blood boil, but not with anger: going on impulse, she grabs him in a deep, long, wet kiss: after several minutes, they come up panting for air and stare deeply into each other: without a word, she breaks away and climbs into the limo.

Alex: he turns to the limo driver who had been standing off a little along with a couple of their security guards trying to be discreet…
“Driver, we want to go for a drive, a nice long drive. And we don’t want to be disturbed!”
He climbs into the limo: their released passion finally melts away the last of the ice in the Ice Princess, as she at last becomes his bonded princess.

ACT III

Tess: looking around as the band comes back on stage and begins playing: her foot starts tapping to the music: she feels like a bundle of energy: the night has been so much fun, it’s so what she’s been needing, a chance to be a normal teenager for a change: she wants to live it to the fullest tonight…
“Let’s dance.”
She jumps up and grabs Kyle’s hand, pulling him along with her to the dance floor.

Kyle: while dancing…
“Isn’t the guy supposed to be the one to ask the girl to dance?”

Tess: “So why didn’t you?”

Kyle: “I would have if you’d given me the chance.”

Tess: “You had plenty of chance. You where just taking too long.”

Kyle: “Funny that’s not what you said last night.”

Tess: “Last night wasn’t about dancing. Tonight is for dancing.”

Kyle: “Are you sure that’s all it’s for?”

Tess: “Well, there had better be a whole lot of dancing in it if you don’t want that lamppost to suddenly go ‘poof’ and blink out.”

Kyle: “Oh I don’t think that will happen, besides with a little trimming you always seem to be able get it lit, no problem.”

Tess: getting closer to him she relaxes in the comfort of his arms {hmmm, I can always get it lit, huh?}: she hears the laughter in his reply {always}: he feels so good: she had never known what it was like to be loved like this before, to know that she’s the only one that he carries in his heart: he’s the first one that she’s ever been able to open up to, to show her vulnerable side to and trust to keep it safe: deep down she can feel that not only is this the first time she’s been loved like this, but it’s the first time that she has been able to return that love in full as well: she’s well in tune to Kyle’s body as well as his soul and can feel his desire through their well bonded connection as well as through the telltale bulge in his pants: smiling….
“Hmmm, feels like that lamppost is going to be arcing pretty soon. I wonder if there is a safe place available to have it…discharge?”

Kyle: he was thinking pretty much the same thing: grabbing her hand, he quickly goes outside: looking around in frustration, he goes to one of the bodyguards…
“Where the hell’s the limo?”

Bodyguard: keeping an absolutely straight face: totally deadpan and humorless…
“I believe that Miss Evans and Mr. Whitman went for a long drive in it.”

Kyle: ”Damn it Whitman!”
Looking around, he decides on a familiar and trusted spot: he hurriedly drags Tess back inside and climbs the stairs, as he rounds the corner he hears {wait. You’re not thinking of the eraser room, are you? On prom night?}: he opens the eraser room’s door, closes it, locks it and for good measure melts the lock with his powers at which he hears {I’m impressed, where’d you learn that?}: taking her lips in his, he replies {just a little something I picked up from a helpful alien, and you better be impressed about something else in just a little bit}: as she freely and lovingly gives herself to her lover and bonded mate, she is indeed impressed and she makes sure he knows it.

ACT IV

Michael: he nervously looks around for his friends, he has a sinking feeling that they’ve abandoned him tonight: while normally that would make him happy as a clam, tonight is the exception, not tonight, not with Maria sitting next to him incisively drumming her nails on the table and bouncing her leg like Peggy Bundy: nope, this is not good: she’s not going to be happy until he’s out there making an ass of himself on the dance floor: trying to think of a distraction, he notices her empty cup: he jumps up to get her some more punch…
“Here, let me get you a refill on that.”

Maria: with her arms now crossed…
“Uh huh, just be damn sure not to run into Tracy Donnor. If you think Liz gave it to her good, she wouldn’t survive what I would do, neither would you. Oh and that goes double for Pam Troy!”
Mumbling to herself as he leaves…
“Tramps! That’s all this world needs more Monicas.”

Michael: while standing in the short line for punch, he feels a hand slip around his upper arm and squeeze it: he’s afraid to look because he already knows it’s not Maria: trying not to cringe as he turns his head to look, he stomach sinks as his fear is realized…
“Hey Pam.”

Pam Troy: normally she wouldn’t have given Michael Guerin a second thought, but all cleaned up it’s a completely different story: giving him a lingering once over: seductively…
“Hey yourself. I must say that suit is quite attractive on you. It’s the perfect fit… ”
Her eyes look purposefully down below the belt…
“in all the right places.”
Giving him her best inviting look…
“I would love to see what else it fits.”

Michael: he can already feel Maria’s reaction coming through extremely loud and very clear: he takes a quick peek in her direction {shit, she’s getting up}: deciding it’s best to make a hasty exit…
“Sorry but not you.”
He leaves the punch as he hurriedly intercepts Maria half way: taking her by the arm he drags her with him towards the dance floor…
“You’re right. Let’s dance.”

Maria: she’s watching him watch his feet: they try to dance but she’s still steamed {Michael, Michael look at me.}: he reluctantly takes his eyes off of his feet and looks at her {there, that’s better. So what exactly did the “Boytoy” say?}: he quickly looks back at his feet {nothing}: she comes to a complete standstill {Michael, these are 4” stiletto heels, they can be quite painful if applied to certain regions of the body. Either you or she stand a good chance of limping home tonight. Pick which one you’d rather it be.}.

Michael: looking at her intensely {OH SHIT! She ain’t kidding!}: making a quick decision {she complimented me on how well my suit fit.}: gulp {she said something about wanting to know what else it might fit.}: he’s getting more nervous, she’s taking this way too calmly: as her eyes bore into him {and what did you say?}: he was in such a hurry to get away, he has to pause to think for a moment, he lets out the breath he’s been holding as it comes to him {sorry but not you.}: after a moment of absolute silence, he is astonished when she starts laughing {uh, Maria?}: taking his hands and starting to sway to the music {I don’t want to waste my chance to dance tonight. Wednesday is garbage night, don’t worry I’ll be sure to take out the trash before then.}.


Epilogue

Max: he and Liz come back to the gym to find an empty table: he smirks as he spots Michael and Maria out on the dance floor: he pulls out a chair for Liz and then takes his own seat: nodding towards the dance floor…
“Look who caved.”

Liz: following his nod: smiling…
“Was there ever any doubt? Where’s everybody else?”

Max: “I don’t know. I was wondering the same thing.”
Almost on cue, Tess and Kyle reappear and join them: from their appearance, it is obvious what they were doing: he tries really hard not to crack up as he gets a good look at Kyle’s face…
“So, enjoying the prom?”

Kyle: nonchalantly…
“Mmm, yeah. You?”

Max: “Yeah.”
He just can’t do it, he can’t keep a straight face: he starts laughing.

Kyle: confused…
“What the hell’s so funny?”

Liz: biting her lip to keep from laughing…
“Um Kyle… you seem to be wearing the same color lipstick as Tess’s in… uh, several places.”

Kyle: he gives Tess a you-should-have-told-me look, for which he gets a giggling “sorry” in reply…
“Damnit, I knew there was something I forgot to check. If Dad and Amy hadn’t started banging on the door I wouldn’t have forgotten.”

Max: still chuckling…
“So you got busted?”

Kyle: turning to Tess, who uses his handkerchief and a little magic to get all the lipstick off…
“Yes and no. Yes, they busted us. No, they weren’t pissed. They just wanted the room for themselves. You know, I’m learning things about my Dad that I would really prefer not to.”

Tess: after getting all the lipstick off, she glances towards the dance floor…
“Wow, she finally did it. She got him to dance. I wonder how she did it?”

Michael: they manage to stumble through 3 songs before noticing their friends returning to their table: they decide to take a break: he’s greeted with smirks and calls of “wimp” from the guys: scooting his chair in…
“Yeah, well it was that or being caught in the middle of Pam Troy and Maria.”

Kyle: “A truly lethal situation. Good call.”

Max: looking around…
“Has anyone seen Isabel and Alex? It’s 1:00AM and we need to get going.”

Kyle: he doesn’t even think before blurting out…
“Oh, they went for a drive in the limo. Must have been a real long one since they left before we did.”
The table suddenly goes very quiet…
“What’s the problem?”

Max: Michael’s look matches his own: between clenched teeth…
“No problem. No problem at all.”

Liz: “Look the band is saying their goodbyes. Why don’t we go get some fresh air, some nice fresh, COOL air and clear our heads?”

Maria: “It’s worth a try. Come on Spaceboy, let’s go.”
After walking around for about 10 minutes their limo pulls up: she can already hear him grumbling {Michael, chill. It’s about time she made up her mind about Alex. Besides, it’s not any different than what Max and Liz, and Kyle and Tess were doing. And if you play your cards right, it’s probably quite similar to what you might be doing later on.}: that last part finally gets his attention: she wraps her arms around his neck and gives him a distractingly long, hot kiss.

Max: he’s right there as the driver opens the limo door and Isabel gets out, followed by Alex: he crosses his arms…
“So how was the drive?”

Isabel: there’s no missing how pissed her brother is…
“It was wonderful little brother. Sorry about being late, we lost track of time. So are we all ready to go get something to eat? I’m starving!”
Looking directly at her brother…
“I imagine you worked up quite an appetite tonight as well, didn’t you?”

Liz: coming up from behind him…
“I think that’s checkmate, Max. I’m starving too.”
She proceeds to get into the back of the limo followed by Alex, Isabel and the rest of the gang and lastly Max, who stares at Alex the whole way to the local Denny’s.

Maria: they all squeeze around a large booth at the unusually busy restaurant: they all order various Grand Slam breakfasts: their food is eaten amongst animated conversation and lots of Tabasco sauce: as they wait for their check, a loud fake laugh can be heard coming from another table: it’s a laugh she recognizes: she looks over at the table and notices the patrons are getting up to leave {perfect}: putting her napkin on the table…
“Excuse me, but garbage night came a little early this week.”
She gets up and heads out the front before anyone has a chance to stop her.

Michael: {OH SHIT}

Max: he looks out the window at the parking lot where Maria walks up to Pam Troy: looking back at Michael…
“Maybe we should stop her.”

Michael: as the tirade unfolds outside: totally deadpan…
“If you do then she’ll just switch targets to the one that gets in her way.”

Max: he looks over at Liz, who nods in agreement…
“I guess not.”
He returns to looking out the window along with now most of the restaurant’s patrons: Maria currently is waving her finger in front of Pam’s face, mouth going a mile a minute: whatever she said must have been good because Pam sure got red and huffy over it: off to the side he notices the Secret Service men looking on nervously, trying to figure out when they should step in: as he points to the bodyguards…
“Uh Michael? I think we’re going to have to stop her and suffer the consequences.”

Michael: scowling…
“That’s easy for you to say. Let’s go.”
The guys quickly leave some money on the table as they depart.

Maria: “Listen you trollop. You wouldn’t know quality if it bit you on the ass.”

Pam: “Oh yeah, you just know all about quality. The only reason your boyfriend isn’t in jail is because your Mom is sleeping with the sheriff. You know what that makes her? What is it that they say, like mother, like daughter?”
A loud “SMACK” can be heard as the reply.

Michael: at the sound of the smack, he and Max share a glance then head towards Maria at a dead run: nobody notices Max waving off the bodyguards: he grabs Maria from behind and pries Pam’s hair from her fingers: Kyle reaches Pam first and roughly pulls her away: there’s a distinct red hand print on Pam’s left check and her dress is torn: Maria’s hair is messed up and her dress got dirty, but that’s about it.

Kyle: he didn’t take any kindlier to Pam’s remark about his dad and Amy then Maria did…
“You know Pam, a broad is a lady who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty taking care of her own, a tramp just rolls around in the dirt. You ain’t no broad.”

Tonight the Fates have bonded for life eight individual teens into one cohesive unit.



Chapter 48

Setting:
Sunday mid-morning, private plane enroot to Andrew’s AFB

Max: they’ve been in the air for almost two hours and will be landing soon: since their security people are accompanying them, it’s been a rather quiet flight: he looks across at his parents: when it was decided that Isabel shouldn’t come, Dad suggested Mom come instead: since part of this trip includes a lunch with the First Family, he thought Mom and the First Lady might enjoy each other’s company: he knew that his Dad had something else in mind, but it wasn’t until the next night when Dad came home with some new “Mom’s photo brag books” and suggested she might want to go through some old albums of when he and Izzy were little for photos, that he figured it out: Mom’s mission is to appeal to the First Lady’s maternal instincts and pride, basically swaps childhood stories and pictures of their very “human” children: of course Dad is here to work on the legal situation of their citizenship vs. political asylum cause: Tobias is along to help with the diplomatic side, and to keep Max’s foot out of his mouth: Tobias had shown up early at their house this morning and proceeded to drum various do’s and don’ts into him while he was getting ready: don’t say anything that will cause them to ask more questions, don’t try and fill awkward silences with chit-chat just remain silent and wait for them to continue, don’t look at your watch, don’t yawn, don’t rub your eyes, don’t tell them about our battle plans, don’t be nervous, don’t stick your hands in your pockets: do be polite at all times, do smile, do pay close attention to both what they do and don’t say, and so on, the list seemed endless: before he realizes it, they’re landing: the plane lands and taxies over to an Air Force chopper waiting to take them to Camp David: as they disembark from the plane his Dad grabs his shoulder.

Dad: he had watched Max throughout the morning getting more and more anxious: he knows that Tobias has been giving him diplomatic pointers but he has a feeling that might not be the correct approach: while they all need to be on their best behavior, expecting Max, an eighteen year old kid, to be an accomplished diplomat isn’t going to work: it might make them more suspicious: deciding on a different approach, as they’re descending the stairs, he lightly grabs his son’s shoulder…
“Max, just be yourself and you’ll do fine. Remember we’re here to help. Now let’s go meet the President.”

Setting: Camp David, Sunday, same time

Pres. Wilkinson: sitting at his desk with a thick file in front of him: he pulls out the picture of his soon-to-be-arriving guest and studies it: {he looks pretty much as how he’s being described, young, serious, intelligent, and very human.}: his contemplation is interrupted as his youngest daughter comes running in: smiling indulgently…
“So what’s got you so excited this morning, April?”

April: one of the best things about being the President’s daughter is all the interesting people that she gets to meet, but she never thought that would include meeting a real live alien: it’s taken every ounce of willpower that she, as a fifteen year old girl, could muster not to tell any of her girlfriends about it since finding out two days ago: she comes over and gives her Dad a hug: she glances down at the photo laying on top of a thick file: picking the picture up…
“Oh my God! Is this him? Is this the alien King that’s coming today?”
She squeals in delight as her Dad nods ”yes”…
“Oh God, he’s gorgeous. I mean just look at those eyes, that hair. He looks like an athlete. How old is he? Does he have a girlfriend?”


posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:36:29 PM
Pres. Wilkinson: he’s been very interested and as a father, slightly disturbed, by his daughter’s reaction: he hadn’t thought of the fact that this alien King is “gorgeous” and how that might factor into the public’s reaction to him: looking back at his daughter…
“He just turned eighteen and from all accounts he has a very serious girlfriend. April, he is not some movie star to be drooled over. This lunch and meeting is so that others and I can get a better understanding of who and what he is. It has intergalactic ramifications. Please keep that in mind at lunch today.”

April: “Oh Daddy. I’ll be good I promise. But Daddy, if you think the girls went crazy over Prince William when he came over for a visit and drove the S.S. nuts, just wait until they get a load of him.”
She holds up the picture of Max Evans once again, kisses her Dad on the forehead then leaves with picture still in hand, to go try and find a real “knockout” dress for lunch.

Setting: Same

Max: he looks down out of the helicopter through the forest as Camp David, MD comes into view: while he had taken a few airplane rides before, this is his first on a helicopter and it is awesome: with a broad smile and sparkling eyes he looks over at his Mom, who currently has a death grip on his Dad’s arm: Dad seems to be taking it all in stride: Tobias looks like he’s trying to see and watch everything all at once: he looks back down at the scenery just as the chopper touches down: it takes a couple of minutes for all of them to unhook their harnesses: after Mom takes a moment to straighten her hair and lipstick, she and Dad are the first to step out, then him followed by Tobias: President Wilkinson is there to greet them.

Pres. Wilkinson: extending his hand in greeting…
“Welcome to Camp David, Mr. Evans, Mrs. Evans.”

Philip: “Thank you Mr. President.”
Turning towards his son…
“May I introduce you to our son, Max Evans, King Zan of Antar.”

Pres. Wilkinson: a chill goes down his spine at that last part: no matter how much he had studied all the information, how much he had accepted that there were aliens living on Earth, to find himself face-to-face with one was like a dream, he only hoped it didn’t become a nightmare: once again extending his hand…
“It’s good to finely meet you, your Majesty. Welcome to Camp David.”

Max: while nervousness had replaced most of the excitement of the helicopter ride, his eyes still sparkled a little and his grin was still in place: relying on the manners his Mom had drilled into him over the years…
“Thank you Mr. President. We’ve been looking forward to the visit.”

Philip: indicating the fourth member of their party…
“And this is Tobias, of the Royal House of Antar and Royal Family of Renular.”

Pres. Wilkinson: relying on every bit of skill he ever processed in his days as a trial lawyer to keep from revealing how nervous he is about this…
“Welcome Mr. Tobias. I’m glad to meet you.”

Tobias: taking the extended hand…
“Thank you for inviting me Mr. President.”

Pres. Wilkinson: playing his part as host…
“I thought everyone might like a quick tour of some of the grounds, give everyone a chance to stretch their legs after that long flight.”
With no objections, they proceed to go for a twenty-minute walk through the serene woods and grounds, meandering their way back around to the main house and to an outside dining area, overlooking a meadow with a few deer lazily grazing on the sweet grass: he wanted to keep this as informal as possible and hoped the walk and the friendly small talk would put everyone, including himself, at ease: it seemed to help everyone some, but he got the distinct impression that the King of Antar was not one to let one in easily: he smiles with pride as his wife and youngest daughter come out to greet their guest…
“I would like to introduce you to my wonderful First Lady, Julie and our daughter April.”
Hands and warm greetings were offered and accepted by all as they then prepare to take their seats for lunch: his eyes narrow a little as King Zan somehow wound-up seated directly across from his daughter, this was not how the seating placards were originally laid out.

April: she’s absolutely mesmerized by this alien King: she’s glad that she was able to talk her Mother into switching the seating around, arguing that since the King was close to her age it might make him more comfortable: as they take their seats, she figures that it’s her responsibility to start him off in conversation…
“Your Majesty, may I asks how your trip here was?”

Max: smiling at the pretty young girl across from him…
“It was fine. I especially enjoyed the helicopter ride. It was my first time in one.”

April: choosing to ignore the funny looks her Dad is giving her…
“Yes, they’re pretty neat. Although, it makes me a little nervous when flying over water in them, but I’m sure that it doesn’t compare to flying through space.”

Max: “I supposed it doesn’t.”
Taking a sip of water, trying to figure out a safe topic of conversation…
“You must get to travel to lots of interesting places.”

April: “Oh ya, Mom and I went on a tour of South America. It was really neat, but I had to miss out on my frosh prom last week. Do you, uh, do things like that?”

Max: “Uh, tour South America? No, I haven’t had the opportunity.”

April: she can’t help giggling a little…
“No, I mean the Prom, dances, you know regular stuff.”

Max: “Oh um, yeah I do get to do some regular stuff. In fact I went to our junior/senior Prom just last night. It was great, very memorable.”
{Between Liz taking on Tracy and Maria taking Pam down at Denny’s, I’m sure the whole class won’t forget it either.}: he shyly continues to smile at his host.

April: as their food arrives…
“I hope you like salmon. This is one of the chef’s specialties.”

Max: {glad I ate three bowls of Coco Puffs with Tabasco this morning before I left}…
“Love it, smells wonderful.”
After making sure everyone is served, he then takes a bite…
“Delicious.”
{needs Tabasco.}
The servers come around pouring everyone, but April, a glass of Chardonnay, as they start to pour for Max…
“Oh uh, no thank you. I don’t drink. Water is fine.”
{that’s all I need, to get drunk in front of the President of the United States.}: a sudden thought occurs to him {did I ever warn Tobias about the effects of alcohol?}: glancing over at him, his eyes grow wide as Tobias brings the glass to his lips: {Oh crap. Think fast Evans.}: he notices a waiter passing behind Tobias’s chair with a basket of fresh bread: he hides his lightly glowing hands in his lap as he gives the waiter a bit of a push, knocking him into Tobias and spilling most of his wine: he breaths a sigh of relief until he hears the President say “here let me get you another glass”.

Philip: he’s sitting next Tobias and didn’t miss the show nor does he doubt what caused it: he glances towards his son who is, thankfully, looking as innocent as can be: as the waiter is about to pour another glass, he gives Tobias a swift kick under the table.

Tobias: as he rubs one of his legs with the other, trying to sooth the pain from the kick, he’s gets the distinct impression that he should not be drinking this Chardonnay: he looks over at Max and it dawns on him that Max is drinking just water for a reason…
“Thank you, but perhaps I should stick to water as well.”
The rest of lunch passes without further incident, afterwards he, Philip and Max adjourn to a secured private conference room, while Diane and the First Lady and Daughter take a tour of the main house before having tea on the patio.

Setting: Camp David conference room, same day and time

Pres. Wilkinson: upon entering the conference room, there are already people sitting around the table, who get up and join the President: making the introductions…
“Welcome gentleman. May I introduce you to our other attendees; this is Secretary of State, Mr. Trivers; Secretary of Defense, Mr. Ringwald; Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Watson; FBI Director, Mr. Ryan; and Attorney General, Ms. Rainer. Everyone this is Mr. Evans; his son, his Majesty Max Evans, King Zan of Antar; and Mr. Tobias, of the Royal House of Antar and Royal Family of Renular.”
After handshakes and pleasantries are exchanged, everyone takes their seats and gets down to business…
“Your Majesty, Mr. Evans, Mr. Tobias, thank you for coming today. I, along with those assembled here have for the last several days debated over your petition for political asylum and citizenship, as well as various other related issues. As you can certainly understand there are very far reaching ramifications on what we ultimately decide. In fact you might have a better understanding than we do. If I decide in your favor, either in granting your petition or citizenship, would we then be pulled into your war?”

Tobias they had already decided the he would be the one to try and handle all of the “alien” issues…
“That could be a possibility no matter what you do. But a favorable decision would at least ally you with those fighting for their freedom on Antar, as well as their allies on Renular.”

Sec. of Defense, Ringwald: “Mr. Tobias, what are their chances of winning? Let’s face facts, if we are pulled into this war there is damn little that we could do to defend ourselves against your advanced technology. Is it worth the risks?”

Mr. Evans: “For give me, but is this the criteria that you are basing my son’s petition on? Fear?”

A.G., Ms. Rainer: “Actually it would be a consideration in a political asylum petition. Think of the petition of the Shah of Iran.”

Mr.Evans: “Yes, we did abandon him didn’t we? While we may have had multitudes of issues about him, for better or worse, he was a friend and ally to the US, and we turned our backs on him. Is that really the example you want to use?”

Sec. of Defense, Ringwald: “Mr. Evans, we’re talking about having to possibly fight for our country, our world against a superior enemy.”

Mr. Evans: “Forgive me, but I’m fighting for my son and daughter.”

Max: “Mr. President, for the last fifty years my people have been fighting and dying in my name because they want what my predecessor promised them, for which he gave his life for, for freedom. If you’re asking us if our enemies will come after Earth if you grant us safety, I can only answer maybe, if he has the means, he most likely will. But if he has the means, whether you chose to help me or not doesn’t matter, come he will and it won’t be in friendship.”
He looks pointedly at Tobias.

Tobias: nodding in understanding…
“As you may have guessed, I have arrived here on Earth rather recently. Kivar, the one who stole the Antarian throne, had sent an armed troop ship to Earth. Chancellor Larek of Renular sent a battleship after it with orders to destroy that troop ship at all costs. I was on that battleship and was the only one to escape before it carried out its orders to the end.”
Looking at the stunned expressions from around the table…
“The remnants of those that managed to make it to escape pods before the troop ship was destroyed are some of the ones that your agents stumbled into last week. Even during a heated battle, we took care to try and protect your people.”

FBI Director, Ryan: “It sounds like no matter what, we’re going to be dragged into this. Do you have any idea the pandemonium that is going to in sue as soon as word of this leaks out and not just here in the US, but all over the world?”

Max: looking over at the President: curious…
“Mr. President, may I ask you something?”

Pres. Wilkinson: “Of course.”

Max: “I have been wondering what your plans for me and my family are if you decide against my petition.”

Setting: Camp David patio, same day and time

Julie: looking through Diane’s photo album while sipping tea…
“They’re adorable. They must have been quite young when you got them.”

Diane: looking at the pictures as well…
“Yes, they were both about six. They were lost and all alone.”

April: trying to look at the pictures without showing too much interest…
“Where did they say they were from when you found them?”

Diane: she hadn’t missed the interest April had shown in her son…
“They didn’t say anything. They didn’t know how to talk, or how to do anything else for that matter. But they learned very, very quickly.”

Julie: she flips the page to a picture of two little children playing with puppets…
“They certainly seem so human. Did you have any idea that they were different?”

Diane: thinking about it for a moment…
“I supposed I did realize that they were different, but it never occurred to me that they were of alien origins. I mean why would it?”

Julie: as she continues looking at the pictures, all she sees are two adored and adorable children, who are obviously loved very much…
“Can you tell us what finally tipped you off? I mean did they just sit down one day and say Mom we’re aliens?”

Diane: choosing her words very carefully…
“There were hints. Max has the gift of healing. Once when he was very young, I saw him heal a bird with a broken wing. I had no way to explain it and he was so young that he didn’t know how to either. Then last year, we had a grease fire in the kitchen. Max pulled me away from it and used his gifts to put out the fire. He tried to tell me that he put it out with a pot of water, but I knew differently.”
She can feel herself getting emotional and has to pause to get control before continuing…
“But starting last summer we knew that something had happened to him, something that gave him nightmares, something that he wouldn’t tell us about. It wasn’t until Philip was able to dig deep enough and discover the truth about Agent Pearce and what he did to him that we were finally told everything.”

April: both she and her Mom are nears tears, she doesn’t have a clue about who or what this Agent Pearce is but the thought of him doing something so terrible that it caused someone to have nightmares, well he had to be bad: almost timidly…
“Is he OK now?”

Diane: smiling at the young girl…
“Yes, he’s doing very well. The nightmares have pretty much stopped. He actually seems happier now than ever before, which is really amazing considering all of what’s going on.”

Julie: “It sounds like you’ve got a pretty interesting and busy life.”

Diane: “Well it certainly hasn’t been boring. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, correction in any world.”
That brings a smile to all of them as they resume chatting about their lives and families.

Setting: Camp David, later that same night

Julie: in their private quarters, lying next to her husband in bed…
“Hank, what did you think about the Evans? I mean you are going to help them, aren’t you?”

Hank: staring up at the ceiling, he’s been trying to come up with a suitable answer to that question: he hadn’t known how to reply to Max’s question, he simply gave a “we’re weighing our options” response, which is saying diplomatically, “we haven’t a damn clue”: turning to his wife of almost thirty years…
“Tell me why you think I should.”

Julie: turning on her side to face her husband…
“Can you look at him and honestly say that he’s not human? Diane showed me pictures today of her children. They weren’t some monsters ready to devour us. They were simply children, laughing, playing, fighting, and hamming it up. What is it that they’ve done wrong that they deserve to have their freedom taken away? I thought this country was all about granting inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
As her husband turns to look back at her….
“You know he’s on the right side. Besides, it’s the right thing to do.”

Hank: smiling a real smile for first time in over a week…
“I’m an idiot. Why didn’t I ask you a week ago?”

Julie: smiling ruefully…
“Because you’re an idiot. Good thing I was after your body back in college and not your brains. So is that body still up to par or not?”

Setting: Andrews AFB, very late same Sunday

Charlie: he’s in the control tower inputting the flight plans, pulling another late rotation: he’s twenty-four and only 2 months away from being discharged from the Air Force, but that’s not soon enough: he’s already gotten himself involved with the wrong people because of gambling, he needs money and fast: thinking back to a conversation he had with one of those freelance tabloid reporters, he decides to give him a call when he’s on break: a little later that night, at a nearby diner he uses the payphone…
“Hello Frank, this is Charlie out at Andrews…Yeah, I got some info, but it ain’t free… $2 grand… and fast. OK, here’s the deal, in the last week there have been numerous spur-of-the-moment flights to Roswell, NM. First the DD of the FBI and the DD of the S.S., then a couple of flights the next day of a S.S. agents, bodyguard types. Today, some of those bodyguards popped back up, along with their protectees. Looked like a family, Mom, Dad, kid, and one other… but get this, they then transferred to a helo and took off for Camp David… they left on their way back to Roswell about two hours ago…What? No, no I don’t know who they are… Well, I didn’t get that great of a look, but the kid was in his late teens, dark hair, fair skin, might still be in school. Dad was in his mid-forties, graying hair, little bit of a paunch, tall about 6’3” maybe; Mom also mid-forties, blonde, good shape, about 5’7”; the other was about 6’-6’1”, light hair… Ok, ok, if it turns into something I get the dough…make it soon though. I don’t have much time…. Yeah, you’ll be in touch, right.”

Behind every successful man stands a successful woman, and just as the Fates take advantage of this to solve one issue, another one arises.


Chapter 49

Setting:
Monday afternoon, Liz’s bedroom

Liz: Max came home with her after school to study for their history final before having to go to work at the UFO Center: while they’ve been in touch through their connection, this is the first time since the prom that they’ve had a chance to be alone: she sits at her desk and pulls her books out: Max has taken a seat on the side of her bed: with her back turned to him…
“Max, should we start on the Vietnam War or the Iran Crisis?”
Not getting any response…
“Max?”
Finally turning around, she smiles at the sleeping form stretched out on her bed: coming over to him, she can’t resist running her hand delicately along his cheek: she squeals with delight and laughter as his hand comes up and grabs her arms and flips her over so he’s on top: he tries to kiss her but she keeps turning her head making him miss: trying to keep the laughter out of her voice and sound at least a little serious…
“And just what do you think you’re doing Mr. Evans? I mean, there you were yesterday admiring that…how old is the President’s daughter 14, 15? You ought to be ashamed of yourself; she’s just a girl. And now you expect me to just pretend that I couldn’t feel your interest? Hmgf!”

Max: still trying to get her to stop squirming so he can kiss her: his eyes sparkling in amusement…
“You’re jealous! Admit it, you are jealous because I thought she was cute.”

Liz: “Aha! You admit it! You were checking out a 14yr old! Why you’re nothing but a dirty old man!”

Max: continuing the pretend wrestling match…
“She’s 15 and that makes her only two years younger than you. And I am not a dirty old man. I’m not old enough.”
Finally able to capture her lips long enough for a quick kiss…
“Hmmm, besides with her long dark hair and brown eyes all she did was to remind me of someone I love and was missing very much yesterday.”
With that Liz wraps her arms around his neck pulling his body down closer to hers: his hands automatically slide underneath her blouse, seeking the warmth and comfort of the touch of her soft bare skin: as their kissing deepens one of her hands slips down along his side and rubs along the increasing bulge in his jeans: spreading fire throughout his body: something between a growl and a groan reverberates through their passionate kissing and fondling: suddenly he hears “Liz, I want you to…” and it ain’t coming from him: he jumps off of the bed and Liz and stands there with his heart pounding hard, first from desire, now from fright.

Jeff: Nancy had asked him to see if Liz could give her a hand folding the laundry: he’s looking down the hall, not paying attention as he opens his daughter’s bedroom door…
“Liz, I want you to…”
He stops in mid-sentence at the sight of his baby girl with a boy on top her: he’s too stunned to say any more: his eyes narrow as he notices his daughter’s partially undone blouse: looking over at the boy, his eyes never leave him as he sharply tells his daughter…
“Go help your mother with the laundry. NOW!”

Liz: wanting to try and defuse some of her father’s building anger…
“Daddy, we… we were just…”

Jeff: not taking his eyes off of Max…
“I said NOW!”
She looks back at Max, who is staring back at her Dad terrified, and reluctantly leaves: for every step further into the room he takes, Max takes a step backwards until he’s backed himself into a corner.

Max: he wants nothing more than to leave but the only way out is blocked by Mr. Parker, in more ways than one…
“Mr. Parker, I… I can explain.”

Jeff: like a lion waiting to pounce on his prey…
“You can explain Max? You can explain what you were doing laying on top of my daughter and what your hands were doing under her blouse? Really? SO EXPLAIN!”

Max: “I…I…uh…I…”

Jeff: “Not a very good explanation Max.”
Coming closer…
“What are your intentions Max?”

Max: “Uh?”

Jeff: “I’ve been thinking that I needed to sit down with you for a talk, but now I see that this has already gone past that stage. I want to know what your intentions are towards my daughter!”

Max: too scared to think, he blurts out the truth…
“I love her and want to marry her.”

Jeff: upon hearing his fears confirmed, his knees want to go out on him: he needs to sit down but refuses to give in just yet: keeping his tone angry…
“I see. When do you plan on doing this marrying?”

Max: totally caught off guard…
“Uh, when?”

Jeff: “Yes when, in 10 years, 5 years, next year? When?”

Max: wishing he had the chance to think this through…
“I guess next year after we graduate.”

Jeff: he hopes that Max doesn’t notice that he’s holding onto the back of the desk chair for support: he loves his daughter dearly and wants her to be happy, he had guessed a few months ago that happiness was going to include Max, but there are a few things he wants to make perfectly clear first…
“Alright Max, but I’m going to demand a few things from you. First, it has always been her dream to go to Harvard. She has a good shot at a full scholarship for it. You will do everything in your power to make that dream come true. Second, you will not do anything that will cause her heartache or sorrow. Don’t hurt her. Lastly, you will not go running off to get married. She is my only daughter and you will allow me the honor of giving her away at a proper wedding, and it had better not be a “shot gun” wedding either, cuz I do have one and they’re very easy to use. You just point it in the general direction; pull the trigger and it blows away anything standing in that direction. Do we understand each other?”

Max: gulp…
“Yes sir!”

Jeff: “Good. Now don’t you have some place you’re supposed to be?”

Max: nervously shakes his head “yes” and not even pausing to collect his books and things, he runs out of the bedroom, down the hall and doesn’t stop until he’s outside.

Nancy: a short time later, she stands in the doorway to her daughter’s bedroom, watching her husband sitting on the side of the bed, staring dejectedly at the floor…
“Jeff, what did you do to that boy? I don’t think I’ve every seen him move that fast.”

Jeff: with elbows on his knees and hands supporting his head…
“Good.”
His wife comes over and sits next to him and puts her arms around him: looking over at her…
“He’s going to do it, you know. He’s going to take her away from us. It’s payback.”

Nancy: “Payback for what?”

Jeff: “Payback for everything we thought we got away with when we were that age.”

Nancy: she thinks that over for a moment, a distant memory brings a slight smile…
“You are either better than my father at scaring boys or Max is a faster runner than you were.”

Setting: DeLuca house, same Monday afternoon

Maria: coming in the kitchen door followed by Michael carrying groceries: calling out…
“Mom, we’re home! Mom!”
Looking around…
“Hmm, guess she went some where. Just put those bags on the table.”

Michael: unceremoniously dropping them where instructed…
“I’ll be right back.”
And heads towards the bathroom: while standing over the toilet taking care of business, he mimics in the mirror the monolog of instructions for dinner tonight {make sure you compliment my Mom’s cooking, wear something nice, napkin goes on your lap and not stuck in your collar, elbows stay off the table, don’t slouch and it wouldn’t hurt to smile}: while washing his hands, his foot accidentally knocks over the trash basket, he reaches down to stuff the contents back in and freezes: reading the box in his hand {a blue plus sign is positive, no change is negative}: his world starts spinning, he has to grab a hold of the sink to keep from hitting the floor: he knows that Maria can feel his shock, he can hear her in his head as well as his ears.

Maria: while putting away the groceries a wave of intense emotions sweep over her, fear, shock, wonder, joy, terror: it takes her a moment to realize that it’s coming from Michael: {Michael, what is it? Michael, can you hear me?}: she starts pounding on the bathroom door shouting out her concern as well: finally the door opens and a very unsteady Michael comes staggering out: scared and concerned…
“Michael?”

Michael: he’s in a daze, barely able to choke out the words…
“What… what were… the results?”

Maria: thoroughly confused…
“The results of what? Michael, what are you talking about?”
She finally notices the box that his hand is slowly extending towards her.

Michael: “I thought… I thought you said it was safe?”

Maria: as she reads the box her eyes grow huge: a chill runs down her spine: now it’s her turn to be dazed…
“Uh Michael, this isn’t mine.”

Michael: now he’s the one confused…
“What? What do you mean it’s not yours? Then whose is it?”
They are both so wrapped up in events that they fail to notice the door opening behind them.

Amy: walking up behind Maria…
“Whose is what?”
She notices the box in Maria’s hand: turning pale…
“Oh, um… Maria I… I was going to tell you tonight. Right, right after I tell Jim.”
She looks at the stunned expressions on her daughter and Michael’s faces and something starts to dawn on her…
“You thought it was Maria. Why would you think it was… OH MY GOD! YOU TWO ARE HAVE SEX!”
She starts pacing and ranting…

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:37:54 PM
“You’re having sex. Oh my God! My baby’s having sex! You’re too young! You’re going to get in trouble; I just know it! How dare you touch my little girl!”

Maria: watches Michael backing away and sporting a scared, panicked look, she suppresses her own panic and focuses on calming her Mom…
“Mom, Mom, we aren’t in trouble. We’re … we’re careful. Mom, you’ve got to calm down. Think of the baby. Getting all upset like this can’t be good for it.”

Amy: trying to get a hold of herself…
“You’re right, you’re right. I need a drink.”

Maria: “Mom, you can’t, remember… the baby?”

Amy: “Oh, yes the baby.”
Taking a few deep breaths, then looking directly at Michael…
“MEN! It’s all their fault!”
She turns and stomps off towards her bedroom for a good cry.

Maria: staring at the direction her mother just left in, she reaches behind her and grabs a hold of Michael…
“Michael, I want you to stop by my Mom’s shop, get the largest bottle of cedar oil you can find. Bring it back; put it here on the table, then leave. And for God’s sake don’t let her see you until I have a chance to calm her down. Then later on, you better be around to calm me down. Now GO!”

As the Fates can tell you growing up and letting go can be just as hard on the parents as it is on their children, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being alien.


Chapter 50

Setting:
: Sheriff’s station, Friday morning

Deputy Hansen: he’s wearily keeping an eye on the reporter who’s waiting for Sheriff Valenti: for the last few months he’s had a feeling that something big was going on and that the sheriff was in on it: the sheriff was certainly growing more and more distracted, especially this past week: it’s very unlike Sheriff Valenti to be late, but this morning will make three days in a row: as the sheriff finally comes in, the reporter quickly stands up: as the Sheriff pauses at the coffee maker to collect his morning cup…
“Morning Sheriff”
Trying to discreetly point in the direction of the reporter…
“Sheriff, that’s Frank Strotman, he’s with the Associated Press and he’s been waiting to talk with you for about an hour. Sheriff, is there something that I should know about?”

Valenti: looking over at the reporter…
“No Hansen, everything’s under control. Give me 10 minutes then send him up.”
He walks up to his office, closes the door, and sits numbly at his desk {yeah Hansen, everything’s under control but not for long. Damn it! This is all I need. Why now? Why everything at ounce? First Amy drops the bombshell about the baby on Monday and now the world is about to find out about there being real live aliens in Roswell. As if my life wasn’t already complicated enough, this is just going to make it 10-fold. How in the hell am I going to explain to Amy that I knew her daughter was dating an alien and didn’t tell her?}: he takes a gulp of his coffee and steels himself as he hears the knock at the door…
“Come in.”

Frank Strotman: he’s been snooping around since arriving Monday afternoon: at first he thought Charlie was full of it, but after looking around it’s obvious that something was definitely up in Roswell: Charlie had said that one of them looked like he was still in school so that’s where he started, the local high school: it didn’t take too long to see that a select group of kids had some serious-looking people tailing them: he had taken a few photos of them with his telephoto lens, taking care to stay as unobtrusive as possible so as not to alert their tails: he had emailed a picture to Charlie, who was able to ID the dark haired boy as the one that he saw at the airport: from there he told the lady on the school’s yearbook committee about his fictitious sick daughter and was able to buy the current school’s yearbook and from that he got their names: a search of their names in the local newspaper archives revealed an interesting story about a shooting two years ago at a local high school hangout called the Crashdown: posing as a UFO reporter for a tabloid, it was easy to get interviews from various people that might be able to shed some light on the incident: they all said pretty much the same thing, “it looked like she got shot, but thank God it was only ketchup”, but something was just fishy: a couple of people had told him about the sheriff’s family alien obsession, and about that strange lightening occurrence out at Frazier Woods last year and how thoroughly the sheriff investigated it: now all of a sudden, the sheriff don’t seem interested, not only that but he would have to be blind not to notice these guys tailing the kids: whatever is going on the sheriff must know something about it and is keeping a lid on it, and that lid needs to come off: taking a seat in front of the sheriff’s desk…
“Good morning Sheriff Valenti, thanks for seeing me.”

Valenti: “Not a problem. So, what brings you to our fine town?”

Frank Strotman: he pulls out pictures of the kids and their tails and drops them on the sheriff’s desk…
“It seems that some of the kids have caught the interest of some pretty serious looking dudes, especially this dark haired boy, Max Evans. Why, they even accompanied him to Andrew’s AFB and Camp David last Sunday. By the way, any idea why the President would be interested in meeting this kid?”

Valenti: {OH SHIT! I knew it!!}…
“I’m not really sure, but, guessing here, I understand that Max’s father works with the government from time-to-time. Perhaps it has something to do with that?”

Frank Strotman: “Well that would be a very good guess, but why are they tailing just the kids? And it’s not only the Evans boy, but also his sister, and six others that I have discovered so far, including you son, Kyle and your ward, Tess Harding. Surely as a police officer trained in observing things, you would have noticed these men hanging around your children?”

Valenti: he’s caught and he knows it: wanting to put a stop to it…
“I’m sorry but our conversation is finished here. Have a good day. Oh and watch where you park, some of our younger deputies get rather ticket happy.”

Frank Strotman: his eyes narrow {so I was right, you are in the know about what’s going on}…
“You’re not going to answer my questions, are you?”

Valenti: adamant….
“I’m sorry, but no, I’m not. Good day Mr. Strotman.”
He waits a few minutes to make sure the reporter has left before picking up the phone and dialing the Evans Law Office.

Frank Strotman: he left the sheriff’s office more determined than ever to get to the bottom of everything: he takes a stroll around Roswell thinking things over {why would the President be interested in talking to a high school kid? What really happened that day at the Crashdown? Those two incidents are connected somehow I can feel it. What’s the common denominator? Max Evans, everything seems to be centered on him, but there’re other kids involved. What’s their connection? What’s the connection to Roswell? Roswell is synonymous with the alien crash of ’47, with aliens…. Roswell-aliens-shooting but not-Max Evans-government agents-the President, WHAT THE HELL AM I THINKING?! Max Evans is an alien; the government knows and is covering it up? Ok, I’ve been in the New Mexico sun too much, time for a break.}: he’s a little surprised that he finds himself walking into the Crashdown: even though the place is empty, he still takes a seat at the counter: over the years, he’s found that you can find out a lot of interesting tidbits chatting with the people while sitting at the counter: a dark haired man about forty comes over and asks if he can get him something to drink: while studying the menu….
“Um yeah, a cup of coffee. Hey is it too late for breakfast? This alien scramble sounds good.”

Jeff: smiling…
“Sure, no problem.”
He leaves to turn in the order and get the coffee.

Frank Strotman: as he watches the man go about his business, it dawns on him that this must be Jeff Parker, owner of the Crashdown and father of Liz Parker, Max Evans’s girlfriend and the girl who was shot, but wasn’t: {I wonder what he knows? Is it possible that Max is really an alien? Would he know? Would he approve of his daughter dating one?}: as Jeff pours the coffee…
“Cute restaurant, the theme fits the town.”

Jeff: not really paying attention too much, but being polite…
“Thanks. Yeah, I supposed it does.”

Frank Strotman: pretend-joking…
“So, seen any?”

Jeff: his head pops up in confusion…
“Any what?”

Frank Strotman: “Aliens”

Jeff: laughing a little at the bad joke…
“Nope, not recently. Although a biker bunch came through last week, some of them were pretty strange looking.”

Frank Strotman: normally he would be trying his damnedest to get Jeff talking, but the idea of Max Evans being an alien, of aliens even existing is just too ludicrous and he doesn’t want to be laughed out of town: at the same time the thought just won’t go away: as he silently eats his alien scramble, he looks around the diner, trying to picture what happened that day two years ago: looking back at Jeff {what the hell, so what if he laughs? This is Roswell for God’s sake, not exactly the intellect capitol of the world. Who cares if I make an ass out of myself?}: finishing his cup of coffee, Jeff comes over to refill it…
“So, this place yours, right?”

Jeff: his eyes narrow at the somewhat personal question…
“Yeah, it’s mine.”

Frank Strotman: “Yeah, I’ve been in town a few days. Been wanting to try this place but I always came by later in the afternoon when it was crowded.”

Jeff: he’s getting the distinct impression that this man is up to something that he wants something…
“Yeah, it’s pretty popular with the high school kids after school.”

Frank Strotman: he can literally see Jeff’s guard going up: plunging ahead…
“That must be handy with a teenage daughter. Good thing her schoolmate and I think now boyfriend, Max Evans, was on hand that day two years ago when she got shot. Any idea how he did it? How he healed the bullet wound?”

Jeff: the alarm bells that were starting to ring are now going full tilt: angry and a little bit scared for his family…
“What kind of nut are you? How the hell do you know I have a daughter and who’s her boyfriend? You better start explaining before I call the sheriff!”

Frank Strotman: he’s watching Jeff’s reaction very, very carefully: raising his voice an octave but keeping it smooth…
“Actually I’ve already seen the sheriff this morning. Tell me, haven’t you noticed the men tailing your daughter? I believe they’re Secret Service Agents and actually they’re also tailing Max, his sister, Maria DeLuca, Alex Whitman, even the sheriff’s son Kyle and Tess Harding. Why, why are they being tailed? The sheriff knows all about it but he wouldn’t tell me why, did he tell you?”

Jeff: his first instinct is to throw this guy out, except that he had noticed the men: thinking back, he hadn’t seen the sheriff since the night of the prom, the night he had asked the sheriff to check out the men that were following their children: it was very, very unusual for the sheriff not to stop in for a piece of pie and coffee in the afternoon and he hadn’t seen him all week: looking a little shaky…
“No, no he didn’t tell me and I asked him too. You said they were Secret Service. How do you know that?”

Frank Strotman: getting excited…
“I don’t know for certain, but last Sunday some of them and Max Evans and I believe his parents as well as one other, were spotted changing planes at Andrew’s AFB for a copter ride to Camp David. Did you know about that? Did your daughter say anything about it?”

Jeff: confused and growing more freaked out by the second…
“No, no she didn’t. She said something about Max and his family having to go visit some sick relative or something. But now that I think about it, I saw Max’s sister, Isabel and their Aunt Trudy that day. They came in for lunch. Why would they go visit relatives and leave them behind?”
After thinking things over for a few minutes, he’s still just as confused as ever…
“What is it that you are getting at? What are you thinking?”

Frank Strotman: barely able to contain his increasing enthusiasm…
“Think about it. Two years ago, that horrible day of the shooting. Everyone thought your daughter had been shot. Several said that Max Evans went over to help her and did something and suddenly she was OK. Now he and your daughter and all of their close friends are being tailed by the Secret Service and Max is seen on his way to visit the President. And I’m sorry to say, apparently your daughter knew and lied to you about it. I think, I think Max is more than he seems. I think he’s not from around here.”

Jeff: still not quite grasping it…
“From around here? Are you talking about him being adopted? What’s that got to do with anything? Look, Max is a good kid, the Evans are good people. What the hell are you talking about?”

Frank Strotman: {Max is adopted? Maybe this isn’t as far fetched as I thought.}:…
“I think Max is a survivor of the ’47 crash. I think he’s an extraterrestrial. I believe if you think about it, you’ll see that there is definitely something special about him, why else would the President of the United States want to see him?”

Jeff: he really had been going there for a minute, but not know…
“Get out! You came in here and scared the hell out of me, thinking my daughter was in danger, only to find out that you’re some kind of nut after all. Get out and stay the hell away from my family!”

Frank Strotman: throwing a ten spot on the counter he quickly starts to depart….
“OK, ok fine, but think about what I said. Even if I am some kind of nut, you still have to figure out why the Secret Service is watching your daughter and her friends, why the sheriff isn’t doing anything about it, why the Evans went to meet the President and why your daughter lied to you. Just think about.”

Jeff: he spends the rest of the afternoon lost in thought and watching the clock, anxiously counting the minutes until his daughter gets home from school and dreading it at the same time.

As the small leak in the dam starts to widen and more spills forth, the Fates decide it’s best to let events run their course.


Chapter 51

Setting:
Outside Evans house, same Friday, mid-afternoon

Liz: as they pull into the driveway…
“Did your Dad say what was up when he called?”

Max: “Nope, just for all of us to meet him here at three.”
Looking at the Jetta pull up in front…
“Looks like we’re all here, but Dad. I don’t see his car. Come on let’s go in.
Walking into the kitchen door: sniffing the air: he comes over to greet his Aunt Trudy, who is busy taking some cookies out of the oven…
“Hey Aunt Trudy, those look good.”
As he snags a cookie off of the cookie sheet: he quickly tosses it from one hand to the other…
“HOT, HOT, HOT!”

Aunt Trudy: trying not to laugh…
“Of course they’re hot. They just came out of the oven. Next time try a little patience and maybe you won’t get burned. Now why don’t you two go join the rest in the living room?”

Max: he grabs a couple of sodas out of the frig then heads for the living room where he and Liz join the rest of them waiting for his Dad: he scowls a little when Isabel asks him if he wants a cookie from the plate…
“No thanks, I just had one.”
Looking around the room at everyone…
“Mom, did Dad say what this is all about?”

Mom: “No, just that he wanted everyone here at three.”
Almost on cue, Philip walks in the door with a couple of grocery bags.

Dad: putting the bags on the hall table, he turns to address the assembled group…
“Glad to see everyone could make it. There’re a couple of things going on that everyone needs to know, both good and bad. So I think I’ll start with the good.”
He reaches into the bag and pulls out a bottle of champagne, fluted plastic glasses, and three bottles of Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider…
“Everyone, come and get a glass, we’re going to do this right. Uh, champagne is for the non-alien-over-21 crowd only please.”
Everyone crowds around getting a glass…
“OK, here’s the good news. I just got off the phone about an hour ago with Attorney General, Ms. Rainer. All but one of the political asylum requests was dismissed. See they can’t grant political asylum to people that already are US citizens. The President has also issued a “finding” that as US citizens and foreign Royalty, all of you will still be granted federal assistance and protection, and since Liz, Maria, Alex and Kyle are so closely associated to you, they are being granted this as well. Tobias, since you are admittedly a recent arrival and since you can prove it would cost you, your life if you returned to Antar, they have granted you political asylum as well as federal assistance and protection. So how about a toast?”
They all raise their glasses…
“To freedom, both ours and soon for Antar!”
They all drink to the toast then start to break into excited chitchat amongst themselves: trying to get their attention back, a little loudly…
“However… however, what we just won is a double edged sword. The reason we are getting their assistance and protection is because we’re going to need it. Sheriff, why don’t you tell them about your visitor this morning?”
They sit in silence as the sheriff fills them in about this morning’s visitor.

Michael: “So what your saying is that we’ve won our right to be free citizens, but the press is about to take that freedom away by telling the world about us.”

Dad: “Yes, I’d say that about sums it up. I had a very long talk with the Attorney General about how to handle the press. When the time is right, they would like to have the President make the announcement so he can explain and try to reassure the public. In that regard, we have been asked to remain silent; if a reporter corners you, do not do or say anything. You don’t have to explain. Since we’ve all had quite a bit of practice at keeping quite I don’t see it as a problem. The Secret Service and the FBI are keeping an eye on our reporter friend and the press in general, but it is going to be coming out soon. It’s just a matter of time. There is one more thing. Liz, Maria, Alex, I think it’s time your parents are filled in about this. They’re your parents and this directly affects you and your futures. I think they would all appreciate hearing it now and from you rather than hearing about it on TV or reading it in the paper. I also think that your respective bondmates…
He looks pointedly at his son, then Michael, then narrows his eyes as they land on Alex…
“should accompany you. Diane and I of course will be just a phone call away if you need us.”
This last statement causes uncomfortable stirring amongst the ranks.

Max: {well, I’ve already started my week off on the wrong foot with Liz’s Dad, I don’t think this is going to win me any brownie points. I wonder if he really does have a shotgun?}

Michael: {he can’t seriously expect me to tell a pregnant Amy DeLuca that I’m an alien? My God, Maria freaked when she found out and she’s just like her Mom, plus being pregnant! Nuh-huh, no way, not gonna do it, too dangerous!}

Alex: {I bet my Dad is going to have a million questions. This may take awhile, cuz he’s going to want to know everything, well maybe not everything. Why is Mr. Evans looking at me like that? You know, he’s a pretty big guy.}

Kyle: {Man, glad I don’t have to go through that, I can’t think of anything worse.}

Sheriff: “Kyle, Tess, I think we should be heading home, there’s something that we need to discuss anyhow.”
As they are departing…
“Philip, give me a call if anyone needs my help.”

While confession maybe good for the soul, the Fates know that it’s the thought of doing it that scares the hell out of you.


Chapter 52

Setting:
Outside Crashdown, same Friday, mid-afternoon

Max: it’s been a very quite ride: his stomach has been doing flip-flops the whole way over, his Dad is right, but it doesn’t make it any easier: as they pull up in front of the Crashdown, he grabs Liz for a reassuring kiss: as they break their lip-lock for air, he spies Mr. Parker watching them through the window and he doesn’t look happy: nodding his head toward her Dad…
“Uh Liz, your Dad. I’ve been meaning to ask you something.”

Liz: she noticed her Dad’s sour look…
“Hmm, what?”

Max: continuing to watch Mr. Parker…
“Does your Dad own a gun?”

Liz: confused…
“A gun? Why?”

Max: starting to get nervous under her Dad’s constant stare…
“Oh, no reason, no reason…. so does he?”

Liz: looking back and forth between her Dad and boyfriend…
“No, no he doesn’t… oh except for Grandpa’s old hunting gun. My Dad and Grandpa use to do some hunting way back when. I remember Grandpa saying that Dad use to be a pretty good shot, rarely missed.“
Continuing to look between the two…
“Max, what’s going on?”

Max: he tears his eyes away from her Dad and tries to give her a reassuring smile…
“Nothing, not a thing. I guess we might as well get this over with.”

Setting: Parker house, same day and time

Jeff: he watches his baby girl and Max kissing, he mentally prepares himself as both of them get out of the jeep and enter the restaurant…
“Liz, Max, I’m glad you’re here, there’s something I want to talk to both of you about.”

Liz: holding on to Max’s sweaty hand, they share a cautious look…
“OK Daddy.”
They all proceed upstairs.

Jeff: they head into the living room where they are joined by Nancy: Max and Liz take a seat on the sofa: he and Nancy sit in the chairs across from the sofa: he absent-mindedly runs his hand through his hair, trying to figure out how to do this without sounding like a nut…
“Liz, Max, for the last few weeks I’ve been noticing that some men have been tailing you. I had asked the sheriff to check into it last weekend and I haven’t seen hide-nor-hair of him since. Then this morning a customer came in asking questions, questions about you two and your friends, but particularly about you Max. He said that those men are Secret Service agents and that they were tailing you because…he hinted that you came from… I mean… hell… how do I say this? Max, I know that you and your sister were adopted when you were very young, but do you know where you are originally from?

Max: he and Liz give each other a look {Liz, tell me again how your parents are going take this?}.

Liz: {fine, they’ll be fine. They, they like you and… they’ll be fine.}

Max: {uh huh, so um, where exactly does your Dad keep this gun?}

Liz: {why do you keep asking me about my Dad’s gun?}

Max: {let’s just say he mentioned something about us better not needing to have a “shotgun” wedding.}

Liz: she bites her lip to keep from smiling…
{he didn’t? He wouldn’t. He did? It’s under the bed. I’m sure everything will be OK.}

Max: taking a deep breath…
{OK. But if your Dad makes one move for the bedroom, I’m outta here.}
He swallows, lets out the breath he’s been holding…
“I’m from Antar.”

Jeff: he blinks a few times in surprise…
“Where the hell is that?”

Max: “The Whirlwind Galaxy.”

Jeff: it’s a good thing he’s sitting down: if his brain were a computer, it would need to be rebooted: nothing is making sense…
“Are you telling me that you really are an… an alien?”

Max: “Well, technically it’s partially true. I’m only half alien, the other half is human.”

Nancy: she’s been watching everything especially the interaction between Liz and Max, whatever is going on there is no doubt their daughter is totally in on it: like her husband, she’s trying to process what they’ve just been told: trying to come up with a logical explanation…
“Max, have… have you been taking something? I mean it almost sounds like you just said that you were half alien?”

Max: “No, Mrs. Parker, I haven’t taken anything. I don’t do things like that. Besides the fact that drugs are dumb, I have no idea how they would affect me since I am half alien.”

Jeff: still stunned, but his brain is starting to function a little…
“Prove it.”

Max: he looks over at Liz briefly, who nods in agreement, then scans around the room: his spots a coyote statue on a table: he goes over and touches it with a now glowing hand, turning the coyote into a clown, then a whale, an Indian, then back to the coyote: he then goes back to the sofa next to Liz: attempting to explain what he just did…
“One of my powers is that I can change molecular structure of things.”

Liz: she watches her parents go from stunned to fearful at what Max just did: wanting to calm their fears…
“Mom, Dad, Max does have some special gifts, but he’s also human, with feelings and emotions. He would never purposefully harm anyone, if anything he would try and help them.”

Jeff: Liz’s statement causes him to think back to what the customer said: starting to look at Max in a new light…
“Is one of your powers… healing? Is what he said true, did Lizzy get shot that day two years ago and you… you healed her?”

Liz: “Yes, he risked being exposed to save my life. If it wasn’t for him I… I would have died that day two years ago.”
She watches as her Mom’s eyes tear up and goes to sit next to her Dad in the chair: her parents quietly hold each other as they digest the thought that they came so close to losing their daughter.

Jeff: still shaky…
“Thank you for saving our daughter.”

Max: “I would do anything to save her. I love her, I always have. But, um, there’s more that you need to know. In fact that’s why I came over here, it’s time to fill you both in.”
As calmly as possible he and Liz bring them up to date on what’s been going on in his and their daughter’s lives for the past two years: the Parkers are too numb to say much and mainly sit quietly and listen…
“So that pretty much sums it up. Do, do you have any questions?”

Jeff: he stands up and starts pacing around the room, trying to think this through: turning back towards Max…
“So if I understand this right, you’re an alien/human clone of their dead alien King and my…my mother’s high school sweetheart? And you, your sister Isabel, your second-in-command Michael, and your wife Tess were sent here until you were old enough to help fight to get your crown back?”
He pauses as both Max and Liz nod in agreement…
“And for the past two years you two, plus them and Maria, Alex, Kyle and the sheriff and recently your parents and aunt have been hiding from the government while fighting against your enemies that just happened to have followed you here?”

Max: “Um yeah, that’s pretty much it. But now the government is in-the-know too.”

Jeff: he looks over at his wife still sitting too stunned to talk: shaking his head…
“No, no this isn’t right. It’s too dangerous. You’re too dangerous. Not you, yourself, but just knowing you, being around you. Liz could get hurt or even killed. I won’t allow that.”

Liz: upset at her Dad’s words, standing up and speaking a little loudly…
“Daddy, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be alive. I love him. You can’t mean that!”

Max: his stomach feels like its on fire and he really would like to go throw up now: this is what he feared the most: he won’t lose her: determined to sway him over…

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:39:27 PM
“Mr. Parker, I would gladly lay down my life for Liz. The other day I told you that I love her and want to marry her and I meant it. I know you’re not going to like me pointing this out but the reason Liz is also being guarded by the Secret Service is because she been seen by our enemies. They now know her. At least if she’s with me, I can give her added protection.”

Jeff: he’s angry at the thought that not only is his daughter in possible danger because of Max, but that it’s Max that is better able to keep her from harm, not him: not yet willing to give in…
“How can you marry her? You said Tess was your wife!”

Max: he actually flinches at that…
“That was another lifetime. Different people. Both Tess and I have agreed that neither of us wants to continue it in this one. Besides we’ve both found other bondma… loves.”

Nancy: she’s been too overcome to say much, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t watch everything, especially the interaction between Liz and Max, and how through it all they held hands and would share deep looks, but mostly she saw the defiance in both of them: it doesn’t matter what her and Jeff do, they’re determined to see this through till the end: all she can do is pray that end doesn’t include her daughter’s life: but she also didn’t miss Max’s slip-of-the-lip either and she wants to know exactly what that means: swallowing a few times to moisten her throat…
“Bond what Max? Are you and Liz somehow bonded? What exactly does that mean?”

Liz: she can’t miss that Max’s nervousness just doubled, throwing him a comforting thought {he’s not going to shoot you. Besides your shield can stop a bullet.}: he gives her a gee-thanks-a-lot look: turning back to her parents, trying to explain without revealing too much…
“You see, after Max healed me, I started to be able to sense him. Like I always knew when he was near. As we grew closer, that ability also grew until we could feel each other’s emotions and eventually even talk to each other telepathically. When Tobias came, he explained that this is normal for their kind. That we’re now bondmates.”

Jeff: his hair is standing on end: after what he witnessed earlier this week, he suddenly knows more than he wishes he did: menacingly…
“How close? Max, how close do you have to become before this ‘bonding’ happens?”

Max: he wants to have Jeff Parker as a friend as well as a future father-in-law, so he can’t lie, but he’d rather not get shot at either: looking him squarely in the eye…
“Close, we’re close.”

Nancy: her heart stops for a moment as she realizes what’s really being said: she watches as her husband bunches up his fists and walks stiffly away from Max and stands in front of the window, stewing in anger: she forces herself to try and be reasonable…
“I want you two to promise me that you’ll be careful… about everything. That there won’t be any… accidents. Promise me.”

Liz: looking at Max, who is trying to look back her and her Mom while keeping a weary eye on what her Dad’s doing…
“We promise to be careful, Mom.”

Jeff: stewing {how dare he! That’s my little girl!}: he turns around at the sound of his wife’s voice and faces them: for the first time he notices how they are leaning on each other for support, how they’re still holding hands: he knows that they always seem to be holding hands or touching, but he never wanted to really “see it” before: defeated {I’ve already lost her. And if I’m honest, I lost her a long time ago.}: coming back over to sit on the arm of his wife’s chair: calmer than earlier, but still a bit gruff…
“Max, I extracted a promise out of you earlier this week. As a man and a King, I expect you to honor it. Do we understand each other?”

Max: smiling a bit, but still on edge…
“Yes sir, we do.”

Jeff: “Good, now tell us about how this reporter is supposed to be handled and what’s next.”

No matter how “modern” man becomes, the Fates know that some things remain the same throughout the ages, like the old saying “a son’s a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter’s a daughter for the rest of your life”.



Chapter 53

Setting:
Outside the Whitman’s house, same day and time

Isabel: she’s nervous and unsure about what to expect: she hasn’t taken the time to get to know the Whitman’s too well…
“Alex, so you think you’re parents are going to be OK with this? I mean, they barely know me and now we’re going to tell them that…”

Alex: “Isabel, stop it. They might not know you too well but they do like you. My parents have always believed that we’re not alone. Finding out the truth won’t be that big of a revelation.”
Before she can object again, his lips grab hers for a long, deep kiss…
“Besides, no matter what, you and I are in this together, forever. Now come on, let’s go.”
They climb out of the car and hand-in-hand, they head into the house.
Calling out as the enter the quiet house…
“MOM! We’re here.”

Janet: coming out of the kitchen and wiping her hands on the a towel…
“Oh good. Dinner’s almost ready. Isabel, it’s so nice to have you over for dinner. We’ve been looking forward to getting to know you a little better. Charles just ran down to pick up the dessert; he’ll be right back. Now why don’t you two make yourselves comfortable in the living room while I finish up.”

Isabel: “Is there anything that I can help you with?”

Janet: “No thank you, I’ve got everything under control. You just sit down and relax. I’ll be out in a few.”

Charles: coming in the front door with a cake from the local bakery, he smiles as he sees his son and Isabel sitting on the sofa: he’s always been very proud of his son, but in a way he’s pitied him a little as well because Alex in many ways was just like himself, basically a nerd: great in school, but hard in the dating game: he had been pleasantly surprised when Alex started dating the Evans girl: he didn’t know too much about her other than she was one of the more popular girls as well as one of the most prettiest in Roswell High, but there had to be more to her than that: Alex has had a crush on Isabel Evans for years and apparently she has finally given him, the class nerd, a second look and liked what she saw: over the last year, he and Janet have watched as their son has come to life, dating and making a new group of friends including Isabel’s brother and the sheriff’s son: Alex was finally “one of the group” and it’s about time he and Janet start finding out what this group is all about, starting with Isabel…
“Hello Alex, Isabel. We’re glad that you can join us for dinner. I think I’ll go drop this cake off in the kitchen.”
Dinner proceeds smoothly but throughout it he has the distinct impression that there is something that they want to talk about: trying to give them an opening….
“So Isabel, school’s almost out. Do you have any exciting plans for the summer?”

Alex: he gives Isabel a reassuring look {Izzy, it’s now or never.}: he watches her nod her head affirmative, but waits for him to start: {in for a penny, in for a pound} he plunges right on in…
“Actually Dad, she’s going to be rather busy for awhile, a long while, we all are. You see she’s going to be helping her brother, Max, to win back his crown for the Antarian throne and to free their planet. See he’s really an alien King in exile and Isabel, his sister is an alien Princess.”

Charles: he and Janet share several confused looks before he turns back to Alex, confused…
“Could you go over that again, but a bit more slowly and in detail, please?”
They do as he asks, followed by a demonstration of Isabel’s powers; he’s floored by the implications of what this all means {so I was right, there really were aliens in that crash! I bet Area 51 exist, too! I wonder how much human they are? 50/50? Are they enough to be compatible with us?}: as he notices how Alex is holding onto Isabel’s hand, giving her strength and comfort {so how close are they, how serious? I thought it was just puppy love, but after everything that they’ve been through, I can see where it could be more.}: looking over at his wife, he can see how stunned she is and how curious she is about all of this, but there’s also a look of sadness that he can’t account for: turning back to his son…
“Alex, there are several questions that I’m dying to ask, but there’s only one that I really want to know right now. Where do you stand in all of this?”

Alex: without any hesitation…
“By Isabel.”
He watches his Dad ponders this for a moment then simply nods: turning to his Mom, he’s surprised to see a sad look with tears starting to form: concerned…
“Mom? Mom, are you OK?”

Isabel: looking at Alex’s Mom, she wants to cry, too: she’s seen that look many times, in her own Mom, whenever she and Max did something that brought them one step closer to growing up, to leaving: letting go of Alex’s hand, she goes to set next to his Mom…
“Mrs. Whitman, Alex is very special to me. We took our time with things, making sure of how we felt about each other before moving forward. We love each other and I hope that I can make him as happy as he makes me.”

Janet: holding her head high, she looks back at this alien Princess that has stolen her son’s heart and smiles…
“You do dear, you do.”
Taking her future daughter-in-law’s hands in hers…
“Now tell us what we can do to help?”
They spend some time going over the latest and greatest in the world of aliens-on-Earth: Isabel leaves with a list of questions that they would like answered and a promise that they will be kept informed every step of the way.

Setting: Valenti house, same day and time

Kyle: from the couch, he and Tess have been watching his Dad pace back and forth for over twenty minutes now: Dad’s stopped several times and started to say something but nothing seems to be coming out: as his Dad does this for the hundredth time, his frustration spills out…
“Will you just say it already!”

Valenti: he had rehearsed this to death in his mind, but somehow in real life he just can’t seem to get it out: at Kyle’s prompting he finally just blurts it out…
“Amy’s pregnant. She’s… she’s going to… I mean she and I are going to have a baby.”

Kyle: he’s too stunned, all he can think of is…
“SHE’S WHAT?!”

Valenti: “I’m pretty sure you heard me.”

Tess: she’s has a multitude of emotions running through her {OH MY GOD! A baby! I hope it’s a girl; I would love to have a baby sister, all the cute clothes and things to buy, a nursery to help fix up. Wait a minute, would I still be welcomed? If they get married then where would they (we?) live? Would I be asked to move out to make room?} suddenly unsure and worried, she instinctively reaches for her bondmate’s hand for comfort: tentatively…
“Sheriff, what happens now? I… do you need me to find somewhere else… I mean this house isn’t too big.”
Before she’s even got the words out, she felt Kyle’s arms wrap around her: as she asks the question, she feels Kyle’s lips on her temple {you’re not going anywhere without me, ever!}.

Valenti: he was surprised and saddened by her question: he’s also very much aware of how close Tess and Kyle have become: he still has mixed feelings because of their ages, but there’s damn little he can do to keep them apart, especially with both of them living under the same roof…
“Tess, when I agreed to be your guardian I promised to be responsible for you until you’re of age. There will always be room for you. You’re family and belong here. But you’re right, this house is already too crowded and well, while I haven’t asked her yet, I do hope that Amy will say yes to my proposal, which means that we’re going to need to look for a bigger house. It won’t be easy finding one that we can afford and that has enough room for all of us.”
Sitting down and shaking his head in wonder…
“Who would of thought that in less than a year that I would go from this house that was plenty big for just Kyle and me to now looking for one that is big enough for a new wife and baby, the two of you and Maria, amazing.”

Kyle: {Tess and Maria under the same house?! Just shoot me now.}: mumbling to himself…
“There isn’t one.”
Still in shock, looks over at his Dad…
“Dad, could you try and find a house with three bathrooms?”

Setting DeLuca house, same day and time

Maria: she and Michael are sitting with her Mom at the kitchen table: she’s worried about how her Mom’s going to take the news, especially given her current condition: plus she’s dealing with an extremely nervous and reluctant Space Boy: it took several sharp looks by Mr. Evans to convince him that he had no choice {that is if he expects to ever get a good night’s sleep ever again or have a reason for being that tired in the first place.}: she smiles sweetly over at her Space Boy for a moment before turning back to her Mom: she takes her Mom’s hands in hers and tries to hide her nervousness as she calmly…
“Mom, there’s something that we need to tell you.”

Amy: “Oh my God, you’re pregnant?!”

Michael: “What? NO!”
As scared shitless as he is about this, the thought of having to tell Amy DeLuca that he had gotten her teenage daughter pregnant would be petrifying: {I really need to have a talk with Max about his Dad. Damn, how can he make me feel like a two-bit heel with only a glare?}: he takes a look back over his shoulder, just to reassure himself that he does have a clear exit path to the door: he folds his arms against his chest and nervously looks back over to his pixie mate {I’d rather face Nicholas and Kivar than your Mother.}.

Maria: {Michael, if Max can face Liz’s Dad, you can face my Mom. Look at it this way at least my Mom doesn’t have a gun, Liz’s Dad does.}.

Michael: {yeah, but she’s got a baseball bat and I’ve seen her knock a few homers out of the park. Besides, Mr. Parker isn’t pregnant.}

Maria: {do you want to go back to Max’s Dad and tell him you chickened out?}.

Michael: {how in the hell do you always know what will get to me?}

Maria: {simple, I’m me. And I can always get to you. Now let’s get back on track.}: looking her Mom in the eyes, keeping her voice level and relaxed…
“Mom, I’m not pregnant. But we do need to tell you something. Michael isn’t… he isn’t entirely human.”

Amy: looking over at Michael, then back at her daughter: confused…
“Well, I guess that’s because he’s a guy.”

Maria: suppressing her desire to smile {Ok, can I laugh at that? It was funny you know. Stop looking like that, it was a joke.}: keeping her eyes on her Mom…
“No Mom, Michael isn’t entirely from Earth. He’s part alien from a world called Antar. He, Max, Isabel and Tess are hybrids, part human and part Antarian, Antarian Royalty to be exact. See they were hidden here from their enemies until they were old enough to come back and help reclaim what’s theirs’.”

Amy: she starts laughing her head off at the lunacy of their story: a single thought though strikes her and all humor disappears: very serious…
“OK, young lady. I want to know what you two have been taking. That sounds like some bad acid trip or something. I’m surprised at you, at you both over this. I think that I’m going to have to talk to the sheriff. This is too serious to be swept under the rug.”

Michael: they share a what-the-hell-do-we-do-now look: he then looks at the bowl of apples sitting on the table in front of them: holding his glowing hand over them, they turn into oranges, then pears and then back to apples for a moment before becoming a bowl full of applesauce: scowling…
“Damnit! I overshot it.”

Maria: watching her Mom’s reaction: without looking at him, she takes Michael’s hand away as he’s about to attempt to fix it…
“Michael, not now. Mom? Mom, say something.”

Amy: her mouth is hanging open in shock: for a moment her world spins like she might pass out: looking at the bowl of applesauce: standing up…
“OH MY GOD! YOU’RE AN ALIEN! What are you doing here? What do you want? What do you want with MY DAUGHTER? STAY AWAY FROM HER!”

Maria: standing up and grabbing a hold of her Mom’s shoulders…
“Mom, listen to me. Listen, please. He’s not bad. He’s not evil. He’s a good alien. He doesn’t want to harm anyone. Mom, I love him. Mom, please listen.”

Amy: she studies her daughter: for her sake, she had been warming up to the slightly gruff young man that had obviously won her daughter’s heart, and underneath she had discovered a warm, caring person just waiting and wanting to come out: looking over at Michael: sitting back down in the chair with a thud…
“OK, I’ll listen.”

Michael: all eyes are on him now…
“Ms. DeLuca, I am part alien/part human and like Maria said the four of us Max, Isabel, Tess and I, were sent here in these incubation pods, but our ship crashed in ’47. Only two of our caretakers survived the crash and were able to hide our pods away before being captured by the government. With the crash and all, things got kinda messed up and three of us came out a little early and wandered off. Max and Isabel stayed together and were found by the Evans, but I was alone. As you know I eventually wound up with Hank. The fourth, Tess, emerged on schedule and the caretaker that was able to escape the FBI was there for her. He raised her until last year when he was killed by our enemies, then as you know Sheriff Valenti took her in.”

Amy: fitting the pieces together…
“Wait, Jim knows about all of this?”

Maria: looking nervous…
“Um, yeah. He found out about it last year when the FBI caught Max. Mom, they did some really awful things to Max. We barely got him out alive. We wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for his help.”

Michael: “Ms. DeLuca, the sheriff’s been in a tough spot, we all have. It’s hard not being able to tell your loved ones what’s going on, but our lives are at stake and we have a whole world waiting for us to help them.”

Amy: she had only gotten to know Max last summer when Liz was in Florida during the summer: she had instantly liked the quiet, shy boy who rarely smiled: now the pain that she had spotted in him made sense…
“I’m glad Jim was there to help. Max is a nice boy. I hope he’s been able to recover. But what’re these enemies, and what’s this about you being Antarian Royalty?”

Michael: he actually starts to breath again when he realizes that she referred to Max as a nice “boy”, as in a human boy: a little more confidently…
“Max is doing much better. Mr. and Mrs. Evans found out earlier this year and have really helped him and all of us actually, a great deal. Max is the former King of Antar…”
He proceeds to tell her the basics of their story, buoyed by the love and pride that he can feel through his bond connection: as he finishes his story…
“I think that’s it. Ms. DeLuca, I need to know if… I mean how are you with all of this?”

Amy: she had been reminding herself that all she’s hearing is real: that her daughter is involved with real live aliens, that she had helped them fight against the FBI as well as other evil aliens and not only is dating one of the aliens, but is now bonded to him as well…
“I think I’m going to need a little time to get use to this. I’m not going to throw you out of my house. I know that you’re still the same person you’ve always been, well barring that previous Rath life stint; anyhow I think I need time to absorb all of this. Maybe speaking to the Evans will help. But I do have a question about this bonding thing. If I understand this correctly, this connection allows you two to feel each other’s emotions and to talk telepathically anytime? And it was established when the two of you had… had sex.”

Michael: “Um, yeah.”

Amy: “I guess it’s a side effect of having sex with the proper alien.”

The Fates know that as families grow it’s only natural for there to be bumps and a few bruises along the way, but that’s why blood is thicker than water, even when that blood is by marriage or adoption.


Chapter 54

Setting:
Same Friday afternoon, Santa Fe

Frank Strotman: he’s sitting in a cheap diner waiting for his contact: this morning he had called in a favor from a friend, who had a friend, whose cousin worked in the State records dept. in Santa Fe: after hearing that Max was adopted, he was curious to find out which of the other eight teens were adopted as well, but more importantly he really wanted to get a look at their actual adoption files, including any medical exam notes that may exist: it didn’t bother him in the least that this was highly unethical not to mention that it is illegal to be looking at sealed adoption papers, he’s on to something big and isn’t going to stop until he discovers the truth: he watches as a clerk-type man in his late twenties comes in and walks over to him: he notes that the guy keeps looking around nervously before coming over to his table…
“Are you John?”

John: still scoping out the place: he sits down at the table…
“Yeah, you Frank?”

Frank: “Yeah. So whatcha got?”

John: he pulls out a large brown envelope folded in half from his jacket pocket and nervously hands it to Frank underneath the table…
“I couldn’t get all the files, but I did the record search for you. Max and Isabel Evans where abandoned as children when they where about 6 years old. They were temporarily placed with the Evans while their adoptions were pending. Their adoptions were officially completed about 2-1/2 years later. Michael Guerin was also found abandoned also about age 6, but was placed in foster care with a Hank and Joanne Guerin. I saw a note that Joanne Guerin died about a year later and Hank was allowed to keep Michael Guerin as a foster kid. I found that Michael Guerin was officially emancipated last year when Hank ran off and abandoned him. Philip Evans served as Michael’s attorney for it. The only other hit I got was on Tess Harding being made a ward of Jim Valenti last year after her Father came up missing and presumed dead. Again Philip Evans served as the attorney in the proceedings. I got nothing unusual on Elisabeth (Liz) Parker, Kyle Valenti, Alexander (Alex) Whitman or Maria DeLuca, just normal birth certificates.”

Frank: “What’s in the envelope?”

John: “The printouts from the record searches, plus I was able to run copies of some of the stuff in the Evans adoption papers, not everything but I did get the initial medical reports. I didn’t have time to really read any of it. Look, this is getting weird. After I did what you asked, I got the distinct impression that I was being watched all afternoon. My supervisor was nosing around everyone, just watching. Plus I swear I saw a couple of suspicious looking dudes sitting in a car down the street watching this place. Whatever you’ve gotten yourself into I don’t want to know. I never saw you, I never met you and I didn’t give you anything. I hope this clears whatever debt my cousin owed you. Bye.”
Without another word he gets up and leaves.

Frank: he had noticed the tail a few hours ago, he wasn’t worried, it just confirmed that he was getting closer and that either the Sheriff of Roswell or Jeff Parker or both are in on it and had called in a contact report on him: his call to his friend and subsequent calls that were made must have been traced and tipped off the higher ups at the records dept., but not quick enough for them to catch John {of course that changed the second he was spotted coming in here: too bad, he’s probably a nice guy, if he’s lucky at the minimum he’ll be out of a job by the end of the day, if he’s not then he’ll be in a holding cell}: figuring he doesn’t have too much time before those goons watching him are going to want to know exactly what he was slipped, he gets up, grabs the newspaper and heads to the bathroom: slipping the envelope inside the paper, he selects the stall that has a ventilation window high up behind it: stands on the toilet to see what’s out there and tosses the paper out the window and watches as it lands in some bushes: {not ideal, but best I can do under the circumstances.}: he then makes use of the facilities, takes his time washing his hands and returns to his table where he finds the two goons waiting for him: casually…
“Something I can do for you two?”

SS Agent #1: he casually but firmly takes a hold of one of Frank’s arms while his partner does the same on the other side…
“Yes, you need to come with us.”

Frank: “I do? But I haven’t even finished my meal. I doubt that nice young waitress is going to be happy if I stiff her out of my meal.”

SS Agent #2: he unceremoniously throws down a ten spot down on the table.

Frank: looking at the ten…
“She was a rather good waitress.”

SS Agent #2: he throws down another five spot down before hustling Frank out the door.

Boy: he has no idea who the man was that gave him the half of a $100 dollar bill, but he wants the other half of it so he waited out back behind the diner for the newspaper to be tossed out the window: he looks around before retrieving it and tucking it away in his backpack and scurries away on his bike.

Setting: Santa Fe safe house, late Friday evening

Frank: he was surprised that he’s not at the police station, for the first time he’s starting to get concerned: he does his best to hide this under sarcasm and false bravado: he smiles as one of the goons hangs up the phone obviously frustrated and angry: he comes back over and rejoins him sitting at the cheap card table and folding chairs…
“No luck, huh?’

SS Jackson: he scowls at their detainee…
“What did you do with it?’

Frank: “Do with what?’

SS Jackson: “Look, your friend John has already broke. He admits giving you copies of confidential documents. I want to know what you did with them.”

Frank: “He did no such thing. You’ve thoroughly searched me, everywhere. Judging from your demeanor after that phone call, I’d venture to say that you didn’t find anything at the diner. There are no documents. I don’t know this John. He’s just a guy that came to the same diner and asked me where the john was. Other than that I have no idea what you’re talking about. Now I would like to contact my lawyer. I believe that I’m entitled to make a phone call.”

SS Jackson: he smiles a little at this…
“But that only works if you’re under arrest. And since you’re not marandized, how could you be under arrest? No, you’re just having a friendly chat with your government. Surely an upstanding citizen like yourself has nothing to hide?”

Frank: although he’s starting to get scared shitless, he’s not going to let it show, not if he wants to be able to walk out of here a free man: returning the smile…
“I never talk to the government without my lawyer. I’d rather pay him a little now than a lot later. Since I’m not under arrest mind if I use my cell phone to call him?”

SS Jackson: it’s been a very long night, he had tried everything he could think of barring violence to cajole this guy into spilling: he had hoped that by lying about that John fellow spilling, he could get Frank to talk: they had searched that diner thoroughly, practically tore the bathroom apart looking for something, anything: he has squat and legally he can’t hold him: after speaking to DD Mike Dennis on the phone, he’s been told to release the slimy bastard, but to keep a very, very tight tail on him: coming back into the room with his two agents that had originally picked him up…
“OK Frank, you’re free to go. These two will take you back to your car.”

Setting: Santa Fe, Saturday afternoon in the park

Boy: he’s flying his kite and walking backwards watching it fly: he bumps into a man: turning around…
“Sorry, mister.”

Peter Rafanan: “That’s OK, my fault. That’s a pretty nice kite. I bet you could buy a lot of kites if you have the other half of this.”
He holds up the other half of the $100 dollar bill: his associate had sent him an email with a rough draft of his story yesterday before leaving Roswell: he had worked with him many times before and understood the secret code that Frank sent, that he might need to hand this off, that he was getting too hot: he knew his old partner’s tricks, the newspaper out the bathroom window was a classic and he had been ready: a short time later at his motel he’s starts piecing together the bits that friend sent with the info on the record searches and the Evans adoptions.

The Fates can never underestimate the power of a free press, especially when one is of dubious scruples.



Chapter 55

Setting:
Evans house, Same Saturday morning

Aunt Trudy: standing in the doorway to his bedroom, she’s been watching him at his desk for almost 10 minutes: in that time he has started to write something only to drop his pen, wad the paper up and toss it over his shoulder where it lays along with all the others: she walks in as he runs his hand through his hair: coming up behind him, she
posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:40:56 PM
gently places her hand on his shoulder: smiling kindly at him: she looks over at the dozens of articles that he has printed off of the internet…
“Patton, George Washington, The Gettysburg Address, Winston Churchill, my that’s some heavy reading. I’m surprised that your history teacher would assign such a project this late in the year.”

Max: his frustration has been building, he couldn’t sleep last night so he had began working on his speech about 3:00AM and hasn’t taken a break since: he doesn’t know what he’s going to do and he’s scared he’s going to fail, that his people are going to be disappointed in him, in what they see and what they hear: sounding defeated…
“No Aunt Trudy, this isn’t a school project. I’m supposed to address the Antarian troops tonight. I just… I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to say.”

Aunt Trudy: “I see. Did Tobias give you any ideas?”

Max: “Sort of. He said that just seeing me and hearing my voice will inspire them and to just offer encouragement, you know ‘do it for your King and country’ type of thing.”

Aunt Trudy: “But….”

Max: “But that’s not me. I mean isn’t it rather egotistical of me to say ‘do it for your King’ when I’m the King? I’m going to come off looking like what I am, a kid without a clue about who and what I’m supposed to do, like an idiot. Not exactly inspiring.”
He can’t help but rub his tired eyes.

Aunt Trudy: she gives him a good squeeze and kisses the top of his head…
“Sweetie, have you eaten anything yet?”

Max: shaking his head “no”…
“I’m not hungry. I’ve got too much on my mind to be worried about food.”

Aunt Trudy: “Baloney. How can you think straight if you don’t have any fuel to run on? Come on, come with me.”
With nudges and stern looks she cajoles him into accompanying her to the kitchen: he takes a seat at the counter as she takes down a bowl, spoon, glass, Coco Puffs, Tabasco, milk and orange juice: as she sets it all before him, she notes his raised eyebrow…
“What?”

Max: “Cereal? Where’s the bacon and eggs?”

Aunt Trudy: smacking his arm…
“Keep it up and I’ll hide your Tabasco.”
She returns his amused smile: as he’s pouring the Tabasco on his Coco Puffs…
“Let’s think this through. What is the goal of your address?”

Max: thinking about it as he eats: in between mouthfuls…
”It’s supposed to inspire them to fight, to give them a reason to risk their lives.”
He pauses, as his Aunt starts shaking her head “no”.

Aunt Trudy: “Sweetie, no wonder you’re having trouble. Those brave souls already know what they’re fighting for. As I understand it, it’s a voluntary force not draftees, so they already know what’s at stake. Let me ask you this, do you know WHY they’re doing it?”

Max: looking intently at his Aunt…
“To free Antar, their home, my home. To dispose Kivar.”

Aunt Trudy: “But WHY? Why is that so important? What did Kivar DO that was so bad that they or most likely their parents had to leave Antar?”

Max: not certain where this is leading…
“He killed me.”

Aunt Trudy: patting his hand…
“Now don’t take this the wrong way, but why does it matter that he killed you? What did you offer that was so important to them?”

Max: thinking it through…
“Larek said that King Zan had ideas, changes he wanted to implement. Kivar was able to strike him down because he made the mistake of trying to put those changes into play too quickly. Tobias said they were democratic ideas. I… he wanted to give them more freedom.”
He’s starting to get an inkling of what she’s trying to tell him…
“They’re not fighting for me, they’re fighting for the freedom that King Zan promised them.”

Aunt Trudy: smiling…
“As someone that has lived through more wars than I care to remember, I can tell you that they’re fighting for same thing most people fight for, a better way of life if not for themselves than at least for their children. Can you think of a better reason to risk your life than the promise of a better life for your children?”

Max: as comprehension dawns on him…
“I need to reassure them that I, Max Evans, as King Zan will keep the promises that were made to them.”
Genuinely smiling…
“Thank you Aunt Trudy, you’re the best.”
He gives her a kiss, refills his bowl and takes it with him back to his room where he will remain for hours, flushing out his first address as King.

Setting: Tobias’s basement, late Saturday evening

Max: he’s standing before a floating device that will record and transmit his message, off to the side out of range stands Liz, silently encouraging him: everyone had wanted to be there for him but that would have only made him more nervous: he needed only Liz: lifting his head up and staring at that floating football thing, in a calm assured voice he begins…
“Greetings. I am Max Evans, King Zan and tonight I wanted to speak to you. Many years have passed since you’ve seen or heard me. Many of you are doing so for the very first time. As I thought about what I wanted to say to you, what it was that I wanted you to remember about me as you prepare for what’s to come, I thought about what it is you’re fighting for…. freedom. King Zan of before promised you more freedom years ago, he lost his life for it, but the cost of freedom is never cheap and if I have to, I will do it again.
The promise of freedom is a good one, worth fighting for and I, Max Evans, King Zan will do what I must to keep the promise that was made to you long ago, that you have carried with you all these years and passed down to your children. Living here on Earth I have been fortunate to live in a land that was founded on three basic freedoms: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I could not even think of offering anything less to my people, people who are risking everything to fight for it…”

The Fates smile as tonight the boy becomes a man and takes his place as King.


Chapter 56

Setting:
Crashdown, Sunday afternoon

Peter Rafanan: he arrived in Roswell late last night: since this restaurant is so heavily referenced in Frank’s rough draft, he thought this would be a good place to start: it doesn’t take him long to spot the Secret Service Agents nor their charges: the cute blonde, Maria, is his waitress and the little brunette is kept busy with the counter customers: it took him twenty minutes to realize that the cook is the one called Michael: if it weren’t for the agents guarding them, he would have never had guessed that they were anything other than ordinary kids: he’s been here for over an hour, having a very leisurely late lunch/early dinner: he pauses over his fourth cup of coffee and watches the little brunette, Liz: she’s busy pouring some sodas when she suddenly stops, then smiles broadly and turns towards the door: he looks in that direction and watches as a young dark hair boy come strolling in: he knows him immediately from the report, Max Evans: he’s intrigued to see him wearing a UFO Center vest, he hadn’t known that Max worked there: he can’t help but smile at the irony of it: he discreetly watches as Max takes a seat at the counter and begins chatting with Liz: Maria greets him as she walks by and Max nods “hello” to Michael, who’s behind the grill: as Liz takes his order, he notices the look that Max gives her, there’s no doubt the boy is head-over-heels in love with her and judging by her smile, it goes both ways: {I wonder how she knew he was here? Her back was towards the door when she was pouring the drinks, yet she obviously knew he was here, interesting.}: even though he is absolutely stuffed from the meal and he’s had enough coffee to keep him awake for a week, he smiles at Maria and orders something called “Men in blackberry pie” and another dose of caffeine: he alternates between forcing the pie and coffee down, rereading the paper again, and watching Max have lunch {he just used almost that whole bottle of Tabasco on his burger and I’m pretty sure I saw him sneak some in his milkshake as well, hmmmm.}: he waits until Max finishes and heads back across the street, back to work.

Maria: she’s been watching the customer at table 4, he’s taken almost two hours to eat a burger, fries and God knows how many cups of coffee: her eyes narrow as she observes him watching Max leave and go across the street: she takes out her order book and quickly adds up his bill: coming up behind him, she brings it over to him…
“So, here ya go. Something else look interesting to you?”

Peter: he figured she would be getting suspicious eventually; she had to have seen him watching Max leave…
“Oh, um ya actually. What’s that place across the street? The UFO Center, what’s that?”

Maria: “Just your basic Roswellian themed tourist trap.”

Peter: “I see. Well, since I’m a tourist, I guess I should go check it out.”
Picking up his check, he leaves a generous tip on the table and walks over to the register to pay before heading across the street.

Maria: coming over as the customer leaves the restaurant…
“Something’s up with him.”

Liz: closing the register…
“What d’ya mean?”

Maria: “He said he was a tourist, but he spent the last two hours dawdling over burgers and fries, didn’t seem at all interested in leaving until Max came and went, plus he left me a $10 tip for a $7 tab.”

Setting : Roswell library, Monday morning

Peter: he’s in the back of the library sitting at the microfiche, doing research and reviewing in his mind what he saw yesterday, which was interesting but not overly helpful, they were just too ordinary: at the UFO Center, he watched Max handout 3-D glasses for the film, restock the postcard rack, point people in the right direction and restuff the alien doll on the dissection table display after a kid decided to unstuffy it: he was dying to talk to him, see if he could find out anything about him, but the closest he got was asking him directions to the mens room: sighing in frustration, he returns to the task at hand, the microfiche: he’s reviewing the daily newspaper articles starting from March 1989: in January1991, he gets a hit: a human interest story, “Abandoned kids find a home”, the story doesn’t list any names, but there’s no doubt who they’re talking about: he starts taking notes:
1) Found about 50 miles out of town on the old highway towards Albuquerque in the middle of the night.
2) Boy and girl approx 6 yrs of age, healthy, but didn’t know how to communicate.
3) No family ever found, kids were considered abandoned and eventually adopted by their foster parents.
He flips forward to fall of 1999, it doesn’t take long to locate the front page article “Shooting at Crashdown”: he rereads the article, paying close attention to the paragraph about the two tourist’s statements {so according to them, a dark haired boy rushed over to Liz, put his hand on her and made the bullet disappear: broke a ketchup bottle, handed it to her, then ran out the door with his friend before police could arrive. Now why would he have left if he didn’t do anything? No reason to unless he was hiding something.}: he makes another note:
4) Healing?
Continuing his research, in January 2000, he runs across an article about the unusual dry lightening strikes and the possible UFO sighting not far from the camp grounds by Frazier Woods: as he reads over the whole paper that day, under the local section he finds an article written by a local high school student about their adventures that weekend on the father/son/daughter annual campout, held in Frazier Woods: he has to go back and reread where he talks about Max and Isabel Evans getting lost in the woods and having to be rescued by Sheriff Valenti: apparently they had wandered off and ended up on part of the Mescalero Reservation: he adds this to his notes as well: by noon, he figures that he’s found all that he’s going to at the library, he thanks the librarian on the way out and heads back to his motel, picking up a local map and a brochure on the events of the ’47 crash from the motel lobby: in his room he lays everything out: he unfolds the map and lays it on the bed, pulls out his notes and the brochure:{OK, the old highway, where’s the old highway? Aha!}: with a red sharpie he puts an X approximately where he figures the Evans kids were found: checking out the ’47 crash brochure {let’s see, the article mentions it being by “Pullman Ranch” near the old highway. Damnit! Where’s Pullman Ranch? It’s not on here.}: he checks the street listings {wait, Pullman Ranch Rd, D-5, OK, got it. Not much of a road. Well now isn’t that interesting. I’d say maybe 3-5 miles between the supposed crash sight and where the kids were found.}: looking back at the map {Mescalero Indian Reservation, OK there. Where’s Frazier Woods? It butts along the reservation along here. Now where are the campgrounds? Kinda all over the place.}: he refolds the map so it shows the old highway and Pullman Ranch Rd, grabs his notes and heads out…
“Good thing it’s a nice day for a drive.”
He resets his trip odometer and follows the map to the old highway, a little over an hour later he turns down Pullman Ranch Rd.: as he passes, he mentally notes the interesting rock formation and the old fallen radio tower, but nothing else: as his odometer shows him having gone 15 miles down the dirt Pullman Ranch Rd, he decides to turn around {too far for a couple of little kids to walk. This was a waste. Time to head over to Frazier Woods.}: he didn’t realize it when he was looking at the map, but Frazier Woods isn’t too far off of the old highway either, he’s there in less than twenty minutes: he pulls up to the little wooden box with brochures and park maps in it that all state parks have at their entrances and grabs one: he’s going to start with the largest campground that is closest to the reservation: as he pulls into the campground, he drive as far as possible, grabs his compass, water bottle, camera and extra film and heads out west towards the direction of the reservation: as he walks, he realizes that he doesn’t even know what he’s looking for, but something tells him that it’s here for him to find: {let’s see, that article said that the kids had been missing for at least an hour so it looks like I’ve got a good walk ahead of me.}: as he continues on he notices that he’s going up a gradual incline towards some hills: after about an hour and a half, he finds himself skirting around a cliff that’s standing in his way: he calculates that he must be on Reservation land by now, and he’s getting frustrated and hot: looking at his almost empty water bottle, he considers going back or at least finding a shady spot to rest for a few minutes: as he looks around, he spots a dark area on the cliff surrounded by brush: thinking that if it’s dark, then is must be cool, he heads over for it: as he moves some of the brush out of the way, he’s surprised to find the entrance to a cave: he looks around for animal tracks and finding none, he goes in: the cave is larger than he thought, there’s a short passage way leading to a large room: there’s still some light from outside seeping in, enough for him to see: as he walks around the cave, he comes to a stand still as he spots the markings on the wall: he just stares at it for several minutes in awe: he takes out the small flashlight on his key chain, getting up close he studies it, inch by inch: {OH MY GOD! I’ve never seen anything like this! Of course I haven’t, I bet few have, that is few on Earth!}: excitedly, he takes out his camera and shoots several rolls of film: after almost an hour, he heads back: it’s almost dinner time by the time he gets back into Rowell: he stops at an one hour photo developer place and anxiously stands there while they develop the film: he heads back to his room, via a McDonald’s drive-through: while cramming the Big Mac in his mouth, he excitedly outlines what he’s found:
- Max & Isabel Evans found near ’47 crash site
- No family ever claimed them
- According to the medical records, their blood and urine tests were not normal, but no illness or injury could be found. For lack of a way to explain it and since they didn’t seem unhealthy the doctors simply decided they were healthy.
- Speech therapist noted that their lack of ability to speak was due to not knowing how, but once shown they were quick learners.
- From the time the Evans were granted temporary custody until the adoptions were completed, there are no notes of doctor’s visits other than for normal routine childhood inoculations for school. No illnesses in almost two years.
- Shooting at Crashdown, reported miraculous healing performed by Max Evans.
- Unusual dry lightening strikes the weekend of Frazier Wood’s campout. Max and Isabel Evans supposedly get lost in woods and are found near the… the alien cave.
- Alien cave. The proof! They’re connected to it. No doubt about it.
- Now they and their loved ones are under Secret Service protection.
- Visit to the President. The Government knows and is covering them!
- Possible telepathic/empathic connection between Max Evans and Liz Parker.
- Possible preference for Tabasco sauce/strong flavors.
As he starts putting his outline into an actual story {I’ve got you Max Evans. You’re an alien and you’ve been hiding all this time right here in plain sight! But not for much longer, I know just who to send this to!}.

The Fates are about to remind the young King the advantages and disadvantages of having a free press. You’ve got to take the good with the bad.


Chapter 57

Setting:
Evans house, early Wednesday morning

Philip: he walks out the front door in sweatpants and a t-shirt to retrieve the morning paper: as he picks the paper up, he takes a look around and what he sees floors him, people, people are standing around staring at him: a Secret Service agent walks over to tell him that his supervisor will be contacting him in about an hour: he numbly nods his head in acknowledgement before walking back into the house, glancing back at his friends and neighbors lining the sidewalk across the street as he goes: after closing the door, he opens the paper, he forgets to breath while reading the headlines “They Are Among Us After All”: in a daze he walks into the kitchen and goes through the motions of making the coffee as he reads the article: at first he is absolutely amazed and then disturbed by how much private and confidential information is included, particularly about the adoptions: after having a half a pot of coffee and reading the entire article several times, his wife joins him in the kitchen…
“Honey, it’s out.”
He places the paper in front of his now wide-awake wife: he gives her a kiss on the cheek as she begins reading the paper.

Max: the last day of school, half day today, just enough time to get people to sign yearbooks, clean out lockers, turn in any last minute books, and make plans for tomorrow, the first day of summer vacation: with a spring in his step and a smile he walks into the kitchen hunting for food: it takes him a moment to realize that Mom hasn’t started breakfast yet, something he had really gotten used to since she’s been home, but not this morning: spotting his parents engrossed in the morning paper, concerned…
“Mom, Dad, what’s up?”

Mom: startled, she jumps up…
“Oh Honey, here, have a seat while I fix some breakfast.”
As she walks over to the frig., she gives her husband a worried look

Max: sitting down at the table…
“Dad, what’s going on?”
His Dad simply slides the paper over for him to read: his stomach sinks as he does: stunned he just sits there, trying to absorb it all.

Dad: clearing his throat…
“Max, there’s a bunch of people outside, staring at the house.”
Looking over at his wife…
“Maybe it would be best if you and Isabel stayed home today. I mean there’s not really anything you need to do at school today anyway.”
Aunt Trudy and finally Isabel join them to discuss the situation as a family.

Aunt Trudy: after over twenty minutes of discussion, she’s had enough: abruptly she stands up and announces…
“I’m too old to worry about being watched by a bunch of nosey neighbors. If they want to watch, let them. I was going to plant those flowers this morning before it gets too hot and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them stop me.”
Without another word she leaves to go change into her gardening clothes.

Max: he looks around at his parents then his sister: a smile starts to form {Liz? What about you?}: he’s been wide open to her all morning so he gets an almost immediate reply {pick me up at the usual time. I’ll be ready. I’ll call Maria and let her in on it.}: smiling again {m’kay. I guess I’ll give the sheriff a call and let him know.}: he glances over at Isabel, who’s eyes are starting to sparkle {no need to call Alex, I think Izzy’s letting him know already.}: with the decision made, he calls the sheriff before eating a quick breakfast and leaving to pick up Liz: as he pulls out of their driveway, he notices all the people watching and pointing at him, some he has known all his life, some he’s never seen before and some of both are holding cameras, clicking away like crazy: he’s relieved that the Secret Service agents are able to keep the curious a safe distance away as he pulls out onto the street followed by his now two car security tail: as he drives the short distance to the Crashdown, he keeps looking straight ahead, trying to be oblivious to any more curious stares: as he pulls in front of the Crashdown, Liz comes out immediately, followed by her Father: uneasy…
“Good morning Mr. Parker.”

Jeff: looks at agents who are keeping away the growing number of on-lookers: turning his attention back to his daughter’s boyfriend…
“Morning Max. I’m going to make this real simple. Any problems, you bring Liz home immediately. Got that?”

Max: very serious, nodding in agreement…
“Yes, sir. I couldn’t agree more.”

Jeff: he gives Max one more significant look before kissing his daughter on her forehead…
“Liz, I mean it. OK?”
He smiles nervously as Liz tells him “of course Daddy” before Max whisks her away from him {God, I hate this. My little girl, my baby...}: he turns to go back in as his wife calls out that he has a phone call: coming in and taking the phone…
“Thanks Nanc… Hello, oh hi Philip… yeah, they just left… I don’t like this…. ok, yeah, I think it would be a good idea for all of us parents to meet… where? Tobias’s? No, I don’t… Oh, the old Sander’s ranch… yeah I know it, we’ll be there at noon. See you then.”

Setting: West Roswell High parking lot, same day and time

Kyle: he and Tess are standing in front of his Mustang as Maria and Michael arrive on his bike: their expressions are just as grim as his and Tess’s: people he has grown up with are now looking at him as if he’s some kind of monster: as Max’s jeep pulls up he knows it’s only going to get worst because following behind his security detail is a growing throng of reporters with cameras: as Max and Liz walk over…
“Hey.”

Max: “Hey”

Michael: looking around…
“Where’s Iz?”

Max: “Alex is picking her up. They should be here any minute.”
About five minutes later the missing members arrive along with even more reporters: he’s starting to feel sick at the thought of everyone watching him, waiting for him to do something “alien”: he hears a very adamant {STOP IT! Remember a couple of years ago how you wished you didn’t have to be so invisible? Well, now you don’t, but now you’re not alone. You’ve even managed to drag Kyle into all of this. Can you imagine how all of his jock buddies are going to react to him being part of all of this? Especially when they find out he now has “alien powers”? Man, they’re not going to give him any rest.}: he’s now smiling as he takes Liz’s hand and turns to the others…
“Come on guys, let’s get this day done.”
With heads held high as a group they walk into their high school before splitting up for their first class, which for him is gym with Kyle: he and Kyle walk into the locker room and proceed to clean out their gym lockers: he’s getting use to the looks but not the whispers and snide comments.

Johnny: one row over, he’s whispering loudly to his friend…
“He’s been in our PE class all year. I’ve seen him shower. I didn’t see anything weird. Did you?”

Carlos: “No man, but I tend not to look too well, ya know?”

Johnny: “But there’s got to be something, right? I mean he’s not human. He’s got to be different. And what about Kyle? He’s done something to Kyle.”

Kyle: his locker is in the same row as Max’s, he looks over at him: Max, who until last year he barely knew, was now at the center of what his world is revolving around: now that he knows Max, he can tell how upset and pissed he’s getting but he also knows that Max isn’t going to confront them anymore than he did two years ago when they helped beat him up: it’s not right, getting pissed Kyle loudly slams his locker shut, this gets the attention of the entire locker room: loudly…
“You know Johnny, you must be where the term “dumb jock” comes from because if you had any brains, you’d be wondering what Max is going to do to you for ganging up on him last year instead of worrying about me.”
Turning to Max…
“I think I got everything out of here, how about you?”
It feels good to be the one responsible for the shock and the smile on Max’s face.

As their world turns upside down, it is important for the Fates to remind them that they remain all-for-one-and-one-for-all.


Chapter 58

Setting:
Tobias’s house, Same day, noon

Philip: looking around at all his counterparts, taking a seat next to his wife…
“I’m glad that everyone could make it. I’m sure that we’ve all seen this morning’s paper. I’ve done some checking, this article has gone out over the AP wire service and will be in most papers by tomorrow, maybe not on the front page everywhere but that will change soon enough. I’ve been on the phone with Sec. of Treasury, Trivers. The President wants to hold a press conference on this Friday night at the latest. Once he does then Roswell will be invaded by the press, the curious and the nuts.”

Sheriff: rolling his eyes…
“What a nightmare that’ll be.”

Philip: looking around at the grim faces: proceeding cautiously…
“No doubt. Secretary Trivers thinks it would be a good idea for the kids to disappear for a little while.”

Charles: echoing the thoughts of the others…
“Disappear where? For how long?”

Philip: “Obviously the government would like it to be for as long as possible.”

Jeff: “WHAT!? No way. They are not taking my daughter anywhere!”

Sheriff: “Philip, I can understand their thinking on that, but I don’t think any of us are going to stand for it, nor do I think any of the kids would either.”

Philip: “You’re right. We’re not and they wouldn’t, especially Max. But they’re also right that getting the kids away from here while this thing is blowing up isn’t necessarily a bad idea.”
Looking over at Diane, he smiles a little…
“Diane and I have been thinking for awhile that the kids need a break from everything. Now seems like a good time. However, I know that Max would not go anywhere without Liz, nor would Isabel go anywhere without Alex. In fact, I don’t believe any would leave without the others, so…”

Jeff: immediately catching on…
“Where do you want to take all eight of them?”

Philip: “To my parents’ house in South Lake Tahoe. It’s on the Nevada side, it’s large log house, it’s secluded and remote. It would be much easier for the Secret Service to keep the press and anyone else away. Plus it would give the kids a chance to rest and relax, just be kids for a change. If everything goes quietly out there, we might even be able to do some things. Maybe a little selective sight seeing. Yosemite isn’t too far, nor is the California Gold Country. It’s been years since we’ve done that.”

Amy: feeling kind of shaky: Jim takes her hand: she gives him a worried look…
“When would they be leaving?”

Philip: “Friday, before the press conference.”

Amy: visibly upset…
“No, that’s too soon. She wouldn’t be here for it. I don’t want my daughter missing our wedding.”

Jim: he goes from holding Amy’s hand to holding a crying Amy in his arms: he takes a moment to look around the group that’s been stunned into silence…
“Um, Amy and I are planning on getting married. We had hoped to do it in the next couple of weeks. We just picked up our license yesterday. We wanted to do it before… well, before Amy started showing too much.”

Amy: angry at herself for letting her emotions run away: she forces herself to get control and be reasonable…
“No, that’s OK Jim. I mean the kids’ safety is what’s important. There’re plenty of… maternity wedding gowns out there. I’ll just have to find one that I like. Besides it was just going to be at City Hall. We can wait.”

Nancy: she’s known Amy for years through Liz and Maria’s friendship, after taking a few moments to realize what’s going on; she jumps up and goes over to hug Amy and Jim…
“Congratulations! Oh my God, that’s wonderful! Oh don’t worry about anything, we’d be happy to help in anyway we can with the wedding. And the impending little one!”
Janet, Diane and Aunt Trudy quickly join her hugs of congratulations, while the men shake Jim’s hand and give Amy quick pecks on her cheek.

Aunt Trudy: after the initial hugs, she takes a step back and looks around Tobias’s place, Tobias’s semi-secluded place: clearing her throat a little, making sure she has everyone’s attention but addressing Tobias…
“You know Tobias, you’re place is rather out of the way with lots of land.”
Looking out the window…
“Why that spot over there by the pond, right next to the trees would be a lovely place to put a little gazebo. It would be a wonderful place to have a little get together Friday afternoon before we leave.”

Philip: he watches as smiles start spreading to everyone except Tobias, who is still in a state of confusion: coming over to the rescue, very quietly he explains…
“You need to say that’s a great idea and you would be honored if Jim and Amy would like to get married then.”

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:42:17 PM
Tobias: “That’s a great idea. Jim, Amy, I would be honored if you would like to get married then.”
He smiles as Jim and Amy come over and thank him and promise to keep everything real simple: he then watches in amazement as pandemonium breaks out as the ladies realize that they have less than two days to plan a wedding, not to mention getting their kids ready for a vacation: he notices the men have sort of disappeared off to a corner by themselves: he walks over towards them…
“What do I have to do for this wedding?”

Charles: slapping Tobias on the shoulder…
“Nothing, but whenever one of the ladies asks you if something would be alright, say ‘that would be nice’ and smile. Just keep saying that and you’ll come out just fine. Not to change the subject, but Alex was telling me about some interesting telecommunication devices that you have…”

Jim: smiling as he watches Tobias being escorted off to another room, engrossed in techno-speak with Charles: turning his attention back to Philip and Jeff…
“Philip, how long do you plan on being gone with the kids?”

Philip: watching the same scene play out as Jim, chuckling…
“I was thinking at least two weeks. I still have a law practice to stay on top off. If it needs to be longer then I can fly back and leave Diane and Aunt Trudy there.”

Jeff: “How do you plan on getting there?”

Philip: “We thought we’d drive out. I guess leave from the wedding. I was thinking that Tobias should come along. It could be dangerous if he got caught as the lone alien without any others to back him up.”

Jim: “Are you sure you’re up to this? I mean eight teenagers, no let me rephrase that, four teenage alien bondmates on a cross country trip, together for over two weeks?”

Jeff: “Hmmm, he’s got a point.”

Philip: “Yeah, it doesn’t help that half are legally adults, but for the most part they’re pretty good kids and do listen, but I supposed a threat of a possible punishment for not towing-the-line might help. Got any ideas?”

Jim: mulling it over…
“Well, the janitor at the jail house is out for two months with a broken leg. We could use some help scrubbing toilets and that kind of stuff. Of course they’d have to stay with deputy Hanson, since Amy and I are planning on taking at least a little time off for a honeymoon. Be the last chance we get for a long while.”
The three Fathers look at each other and in unison…
“Perfect.”

In the most tumultuous times one’s life must go on: the Fates know that’s what helps gets you through it.


Chapter 59

Setting:
West Roswell High, same day and time

Max: standing in the hallway at his locker, he pulls the last of his stuff out for his last class, advanced chemistry: the day’s been trying to say the least, he’s been able to close his eyes to most of the stares but is still having problems closing his ears to all the whispering that seems to follow him where ever he goes: as he overhears more whispers a few lockers down, he sighs in frustration, gathers his things and heads towards class: as he turns a corner, Liz is standing at the classroom door waiting for him {at least Liz and I are together for this one.}: smiling, he takes her hand…
“Ready?”

Liz: smiling back…
“Umm humm.”
Together they enter the noisy classroom that quickly becomes silent as they take their seats next to each other.

Mr. Seligman: sitting at his desk, he looks up as the room becomes absolutely quiet: the bell rings as Max and Liz take their seats: ever since reading this morning’s paper he has been curious as hell and was hoping that he could find out more about Max and the aliens, but looking at him now all he sees is a high school boy who’s obviously having a very tough day: he begins to hear whispering from the back of the class and even some semi-discreet finger pointing, he watches as Max’s head sinks a little lower and Liz holds his hand a little tighter: clearing his throat…
“OK class, let’s come to order.”
Picking up the stack of graded tests, he starts handing them out…
“I have here the results of your final exams….”
As he passes by Liz, he drops her test off…
“Some of you did exceptional as expected.”
He returns to the front of the class when he’s done: sitting on the edge of his desk…
“Does any one have any questions?”

Tracy Whitten: a solid “D” student who’s too busy to study but who’s always looking for a short cut to a better grade, raises her hand…
“Mr. Seligman, since you grade on a curve I think it’s only fair that Liz’s grade should not be included. After all she’s had access to outside “alien” help when we didn’t. I mean it said right in this morning paper that she and Max are telepathically connected. He could have been giving her the answers all along. That’s not fair. ”

Mr. Seligman: he watches a look of horror pass over both Max and Liz, followed by astonishment, then anger: before either can say anything, he raises his hand for them to stop…
“Liz, Max, did either one of you cheat in anyway on this test or any other?”
Getting emphatic “NO” in reply…
“Miss Whitten, if you had read the paper more carefully you would have realized that part of the story was an unsubstantiated conclusion on the writer’s part. Also, if Max was giving Liz the answers then his grade should have been at least the same or better than Liz’s and that was not the case. I’m sorry Miss Whitten but you earned the grade that you got; now, any more questions? Miss Steinman?”

Joey Steinman: she’s always been a big science fiction fan and loves all the sciences, and her grades reflect this obsession: she and Liz, and even Max have been in some of the same classes throughout the years, but they’ve never really been friends just casual acquaintances: raising her hand, then standing up: sincerely…
“Is it true? Max… who are you really?”

Max: he looks to see if Mr. Seligman is going to bail him out again, while he looks like part of him wants to, the other part wants him to answer the question as much as everyone else does in the silent classroom: looking to Liz for a moment, he then turns back to look at Joey…
“I’m exactly the same person I was in the 8th grade when you and I were partners in the science fair…”
Nodding towards the shortest kid in the class…
“The same one that picked Johnny 4th to be on the basketball team in PE and stopped Pete from picking on him. I’m me, that’s all.”

Mr. Seligman: as Joey sits back down, embarrassed…
“Thank you Max. Any more questions related to their grades or chemistry? No? Good, then let’s get your chemistry books checked back in. As I call your name, please come up with your text book… Mr. Allen…”

Liz: it had been a long day and it was barely afternoon, but they’re finally free of school for the summer: she and Max head to his jeep, as they’re climbing in her cell phone rings…
“Hello. Daddy, what’s up? Tobias’s place? Oh, ok… is everything alright? That’s good… yeah, we can do that... we’re just getting ready to leave school, so give us 15-20 minutes and we’ll all be there. Ok, bye Daddy.”
Turning to Max, who’s sitting and waiting on her to clue him in…
“That was my Dad. He and Mom and all our parents are out at Tobias’s place. They want us to come out there, all of us.”

Max: the idea of all their parents together is concerning to say the least…
“Trouble?”

Liz: “No, he said that everything’s fine, just to round everyone up and join them out there.”
She spots Maria and Michael about to leave on his bike: waving and shouting at them…
“Hey guys, wait up!”

Max ”Give me your cell. I’ll call Iz and Kyle.”

Setting Tobias’s house, same day a little later in the afternoon

Jeff: he watches a procession of cars pull up, the kids followed by their bodyguards: as the kids pile out he meets them at the door…
“Come on in. We have a few things to go over.”

Michael: as he walks into the house, he’s greeted by the site of all the Moms, plus Aunt Trudy, busy on the phones or going over the yellow pages: he scans around the room until he spots Tobias sitting with Mr. Whitman as far away from the ladies as they could get: he looks around for the rest of the parents…
“Mr. Parker, where’s Mr. Evans and the Sheriff? What’s going on?”

Jeff: “Everyone take a seat.”
He looks over to the kitchen and waits for Janet to get off the phone so everyone can join in…
“OK, as you might have guessed we all have been talking. Philip has made some phone calls and that article in this morning’s paper is just the beginning. It’s been picked up by the AP wire service and is going out all over, so this is only going to be getting worse and soon. Secretary Trivers has informed Philip that the President will need to have a press conference to explain and reassure the public. They plan on doing it this Friday night. But before that happens, we think it best that all of you… well, that you all get the hell out of Dodge before it’s announced. So Philip and Jim went back into town to make the arrangements.”

Max: looking around at everyone, they are as stunned as he is: turning back to Mr.Parker…
“When? Where are we going? How long?”

Diane: “To your Grandparent’s in Tahoe. We thought we’d leave right after the wedding Friday afternoon. We’re thinking at least two weeks but will play it by ear.”

Isabel: “Wedding? What wedding? Mom, who’s getting married?”

Amy: “I am. Jim and I are getting married Friday.”
Turning to Maria and her soon-to-be step children…
“We couldn’t get married without all of you there and well, I think you know that we couldn’t really wait too long to do it, so Tobias was kind enough to offer his place for the ceremony.”

Maria: jumping up and hugging her Mom…
“Oh my God! That’s great! Mom, we only have today and tomorrow to get everything ready!”
Tess, Liz and Isabel excitedly join her in congratulations and are eager to help with the planning: it takes several more minutes for all of this to register with the guys who finally come over and do the same before retreating to join Tobias and Mr. Whitman in the corner, far away as they could get without leaving the house: as they start to get filled in on the what’s been planned so far…
“Outside, in a gazebo? That sounds great. Wait, what gazebo? It’s being delivered this afternoon…”
Looking over at the corner of the house…
“Don’t worry Mom, I think I have an idea of who’s going to be assembling it and it will be done in time, everything will, I’ll make sure of it. Oh Spaceboy….”

There are certain places and times when it’s best to let others take the lead and simply follow; it’s true even for the Fates.



Chapter 60

Setting:
Tobias’s house, same day, afternoon

Michael: he, Max, Kyle and Alex are standing around outside, staring at the three pallets of building materials that were just dropped off that is supposed to be a gazebo kit: he looks back down at the gazebo picture in his hand, then back to the pallets: Max leans back over and looks at the picture in his hand one more time as well…
“That’s supposed to be this?”

Alex: “That’s a lot of little pieces. How long again do we have to get this done?”

Michael: “Maria said it had to be done by tomorrow afternoon but tonight would be better.”

Kyle: “Why are WE the ones expected to do this?”

Max: “I think we got volunteered.”

Kyle: “I don’t remember raising my hand.”

Michael: “None of us did. So you think there’re directions in there somewhere?”

Kyle: “Most likely on the bottom.”

Alex: leaning over the pallets, peering through the shrink-wrap…
“Hey, I think I see them. Someone want to come over and open this sucker up so I can get to them?”

Max: he walks over, holds out his glowing hand and neatly slices the shrink-wrap down the middle.

Alex: pulling the direction booklet out…
“Thanks”

Michael: “Book looks kinda thick.”

Alex: “Damn. Says here we need to dig four postholes and fill with cement. Anyone got any cement?”
The four just look at each other…
“I guess we should make a list.”

Max: “Does it say how long this is supposed to take?”

Alex: after doing some reading…
“It says approx. 12-15 hours to build after the cement sets.”

Michael: “That ain’t gonna work.”

Alex: looking back around at the gazebo detail…
“Ok Kyle and I’ll make a list of what supplies and tools we need and go into town get them. Michael, you and Max could work a little magic and get this stuff off of the pallets and sorted out while we’re gone.”

Setting: Tobias’s house, same day, late afternoon

Liz: they had all just returned to Tobias’s after a mad afternoon of panic bridal shopping: they had finally found a dress that Amy liked and actually fit with some alterations by Isabel and a beautiful soft blue maid-of-honor one for Maria that was already a perfect fit: they were keeping it just family and very close friends so no brides-maids, just Maria as maid-of-honor and Kyle as best-man: as they are pulling all of their purchases out of the various bags and boxes, she glances out the window to where the guys are hard at work: suddenly all she can see is Max hammering away on the gazebo, shirt off, sunburned, all hot and sweaty and incredible sexy {ummm, my don’t those muscles ripple nicely as you swing that hammer back and forth. There’s nothing sexier than a man flexing his rock hard muscles while hard at work. I can just picture what that gazebo is going to look like, say under a starlit night with a gentle breeze blowing and you lying next to me so I can leisurely run my hands all over those finely tuned muscles.}: she’s startled out this vision by {YELP!} and the sight of Max nursing his freshly smashed thumb in his other hand: he turns around, glaring at her: looking innocent {was it something I said?}.

Nancy: sorting through everything, she spots Liz over by the window…
“Liz, Liz! Come here and see what you think of the flowers arrangements in this catalog. The flower shop circled the ones that they can get done up by Friday morning, but I want a second opinion.”

Liz: tearing her eyes away from a still smoldering Max…
“Coming Mom.”

Isabel: the ultimate shopper, she’s never been more in her element: between helping everyone with their various gowns and dresses, getting the shoes to just match and finding some simple but charming decorations; she’s had a glorious afternoon: as everyone is busy trying to figure out what goes where, she’s drawn to the same window as Liz was earlier, but focuses on her bondmate: she dawns a pleased smile at the sight of Alex, directing all of the activity and everyone snapping to follow his orders: at first she’s curious why he’s the one doing the directing, but as she watches the others it immediately becomes apparent, powers, the others have them and he doesn’t: the sight of her brothers and Kyle openly using their powers to help get the gazebo together in time makes her realize how much their lives had already changed and not all of it for the bad either: this thought causes her smile to deepen as she returns to her tasks.

Tobias: he’s done his best to stay out of everyone’s way since he has no idea what exactly is going on, fortunately Charles has given him the perfect excuse to stay in his basement and review all of his gear that he brought from Renular: now he and Charles are being called from their hiding place to inspect the just finished gazebo project: he squints in the late day sun as he walks towards the assembled group inspecting the work: it looks pretty good to him {might be kind of nice to sit out here with Kathy O’Brian some evening.}: as he takes in the gazebo in it’s surroundings, he notices some building material on the ground off to the side: pointing…
“Good job but what’s that?”

Michael: he looks to where Tobias is pointing…
“Extra, they always put extra stuff in those kits in case you lose something.”

Tobias: “They do? Always?”

Michael: in unison with his co-workers…
“Always.”

The Fates see no reason to meddle in projects left in capable hands and have wisely decided to sit this one out.


Chapter 61

Setting:
Tobias’s house, Thursday evening

Tobias: he and Kathy are the first to make use of the gazebo: he had invited her over after everyone had finally cleared out after a hectic day of wedding arrangements and setup: this will be his last chance to spend time with her for awhile and he wants to make the most of it: with a dinner picnic basket and blanket in one hand and Kathy in the other, he escorts her to the little outdoor retreat: after they make themselves comfortable on the blanket…
“Kathy, I need to tell you something. You see, tomorrow I’m going to be leaving for a little while.”

Kathy: she was sure how she felt about seeing him again: he’s sweet and kind, and his naivety about some things was so very charming, she had thought he was just pretending not to know about things but after this morning’s paper, she’s not so sure any more…
“Nathan, are you leaving because of the article about your cousin? None of it’s really true… is it?”

Tobias: looking down, uncomfortable…
“Actually it all is.”
Looking up as she gasps in shock: since the truth will be coming out tomorrow anyhow, he has nothing to lose and plunges on…
“Kathy, I…uh…I’m not from around here. Max and Isabel really are distant cousins of mine. I was sent here to help them, to teach them about where they come from.”
Pauses to give her a chance to digest this information…
“Tomorrow night President Wilkinson will be addressing the nation about us. Kathy, we’re not some evil aliens trying to take over the Earth. We’re trying save our own.”

Kathy: “What do you mean, save your own? I don’t understand.”

Tobias: “There’s a civil war on our world. It’s been going on for over 50 years. We needed a place to send the Royal 4. They are the ones slated to rule once the war is over. Earth is far enough away but similar enough to our own that it seemed the perfect place to hide them. Max isn’t just some… alien, he’s our King and it’s my job to make sure he’s prepared when it’s time for him to assume his throne.”
He swallows and continues…
“The US government’s known about this for a little while. They’ve agreed to help with security, but um, it’s thought it would be best if we sort of disappeared while all of this is announced.”

Kathy: she wants to laugh or cry, she’s not sure which: this seems absolutely absurd: still not sure that’s she’s believing everything she’s hearing…
“Where are you going? When? Will you be coming back?”

Tobias: “I can’t tell you where, but I hope to be coming back fairly soon. In fact I would like to think that when I do come back that… that you might be want to continue seeing me. We’ll be leaving tomorrow right after Jim and Amy’s wedding reception tomorrow afternoon. I, uh, I’m told that it’s customary to bring a date to a wedding. I was wondering if you’d be willing to go with me?”

Kathy: she doesn’t know what to do, it’s too much: looking around in confusion, she tries to process everything: starting to freak out a little…
“No, no this isn’t possible. There’s no way any of this can really be happening. I mean you and I… we… we’ve been together. It was wonderful and… human, very human. I’m a nurse. I would know. There’s nothing alien about you. I mean… I mean… oh hell! I don’t know what I mean.”
She starts crying in frustration.

Tobias: he hesitates for only a moment to make sure it’s alright before putting his arms around her in comfort: as she continues crying, he pulls her closer to him: softly kissing her on her temple: feeling awful, like a first class heel…
“I’m sorry Kathy. I never meant to hurt you. I care about you. I really do and I… I am very much like a human physically. I shouldn’t have gotten involved with anyone here but I… was lonely and you… you’d make me smile and laugh. It’s been a long time since anyone’s been able to do that. It was selfish of me to encourage our relationship. I never wanted to make you cry.”

Kathy: leaning into his arms, she’s still torn but his words touch her soul: as her tears dry, a bit hesitantly she softly whispers…
“What time is the wedding?”

Setting: Retirement Center, same evening and time

Jim: walking over to the old man sitting in the wheel chair: pulling up a chair next to him: trying to get his attention…
“Dad, Dad, it’s me, Jimmy.”

Jim Sr.: looking up, it takes a moment for some of his confusion to clear away: finally recognizing him…
“Jimmy, that you? That damn fool attendant’s been hurrying all around. Making me get all cleaned up, making a big fuss. Said something about taking a trip.”

Jim: “Yeah Dad, you’re coming home with me tonight. I gotta big day tomorrow and I want you to be there with me. Looks like they got everything packed. Are you ready to go?”

Jim Sr.: “Where the hell are we going again?”

Jim: “Home Dad. I’m taking you home. We’ve got a lot to talk about before tomorrow.”
As they are driving home…
“Dad, there’s been a lot of changes in my life lately.”
Glancing over at his Dad to make sure he’s listening…
“Dad, tonight you’re going to meet a young girl, she’s special. She’s been living with us since last year, she’s an orphan and well, I agreed to be her guardian. Her name is Tess.”

Jim Sr.: raising his eyebrow…
“She’s special, huh?”

Jim: “Yeah Dad, special.”
Clearing his throat…
“And that’s just for starters. Dad, you were right. They do exist…”
He finally has his Dad’s full and complete attention as he tells him just how right he is and how it’s changed his life around.

As the Fates know, sometimes it takes weddings or funerals to really bring people together.


Chapter 62


Setting:
Tobias’s house, early Friday morning

Tobias: stumbling out of bed to answer the incessant doorbell {6:00AM is way too early, especially after a late night.}: bleary eyed, he greets his early morning guests…
“Ummmph”
Without further comment he turns and navigates his way to the kitchen and the soon-to-be brewing coffee.

Maria: she along with her Mom, Liz, and Nancy are the first to arrive loaded down with more wedding supplies: calling to the back of the retreating grumpy alien…
“Well good morning to you too Mr. Sunshine!”
She snorts as the comment is met with a dismissive wave of his hand {definitely not a morning person}: dropping her supplies on the sofa…
“So Mrs. Parker, what time is the florist arriving?”

Nancy: while shaking out the white table linens checking for stains…
“Ten, but we have to get the tables all set. The caterers are due here at 11:00. Did the guys get all the tables and chairs setup last night?”

Maria: pulling out strips of white and pale blue ribbon…
“Yep, sure did. I wouldn’t let them leave until they were. Hey Mom, what do you think of this ribbon intertwined with baby’s breath and threaded around the lattice on the gazebo?”

Amy: even with all of the help, she’s still quickly going crazy with all of these details, not to mention the normal before wedding jitters: looking around at all the stuff, overwhelmed…
“That’s, that’s fine.”

Maria: looking at her Mom, then over at Liz…
“OK Mom.”
Pulling out stuff from a Victoria Secrets bag…
“Change of plans. Here’s some relaxing bubble bath, soaps and lotions. We are going to confiscation Tobias’s bathroom and stereo, so you can go and relax in a hot bath while listening to some nice soothing music. When Isabel gets here, she can work on your hair and a manicure. We can take care of the rest.”

Amy: “But there’s so much to do. It wouldn’t…”

Liz: “No Maria’s right. This is your special day. Don’t worry about a thing.”
They hustle her off to the master bath.

Outside, a little later that morning

Max: he and his family arrived about nine with the two large vans that they would be driving on their trip: he had wanted to take the jeep along so he could have a little independence once he got there but that didn’t work, Dad wanted them all to stay together: as he watches the florist arrange the flowers under Liz and her Mom’s direction, he spots Tobias stepping out of the house: all of these wedding arrangements had him thinking of another wedding and he wanted to talk to Tobias about it: catching Tobias’s attention, he waves him over…
“Hey Tobias, good to see you. You’ve been keeping a pretty low profile lately.”

Tobias: “Yeah, well… I’m a little out of my element. I feel like I’ve been invaded by the order of the wedding planners or something. Do you know they practically threw me out of my own bathroom this morning? And my refrigerator’s been totally cleaned out so extra flowers and food could be stored in it. I couldn’t even find a bottle of Tabasco for my cereal!”

Max: part of him is amused by Tobias’s all too human reaction, but part of him is concerned by it as well…
“That’s understandable.”
As they are walking around the property: taking a stab at what was really getting to him…
“I understand that you’re bringing a date to the wedding.”
He notes the uncomfortable nervous reaction that got {ah ha! That’s it! Damn, Maria was right.}

Tobias: looking down at his feet as they walk…
“I told her Max.”

Max: “She must not have taken it too badly if she’s still coming this afternoon.”

Tobias: “She freaked a little, but she’s ok, I think… but is it right? I mean we’ve been… involved but not too serious, no bonding. I’m not ready for that… I don’t think. I just didn’t plan on any of this.”

Max: stopping, turns towards Tobias…
“Wait, how… how could you be… involved and not be bonded? I thought… I thought…”

Tobias: he’s eyebrows shoot up a little…

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:44:50 PM
“Max, you can have relationships and not be bonded to them. There’s more to bonding than just sex. You have to let your guard down, be totally open and willing, both of you do before bonding takes place.”

Max: lost in thought, they resume walking: he looks back over at the wedding preparations taking place and is reminded of what he originally wanted to talk about…
“Tobias, were… were Zan and Ava bonded? You made it sound like a politically arranged marriage, but did they… have feelings for each other?”

Tobias: “I don’t know Max. I do know that a lot of pressure was put on Zan to find a suitable bride. I was told that they had originally met as children and gotten along fine, but if you’re asking me if he loved her… most believe that bonding transcends time so if that is true then you might be better able to answer that question yourself. Do you love Tess?”

Max: “Not like I love Liz. I care for Tess… but not that way.”

Tobias: they continue walking: he’s very much aware of the political ramifications that are going to result from a marriage between Max and Liz: Larek had asked him to try one last time to convince Max to abide by Zan’s marriage commitment, knowing that it’s hopeless but figuring this is the best opportunity he’s going to get …
“Let me ask you this. If you hadn’t found Liz, could you have loved Tess that way?”

Max: the thought of not having Liz is almost unimaginable, but if he had never met her…
“I don’t know. It’s hard to imagine it. I guess I could be… ok, but not really happy. It’s not the kind of marriage I would want.”

Tobias: sighing, {that’s pretty much what I thought}…
“Well then, it’s a good thing you found Liz.”

Max: mischievously smiling…
“So, you and Kathy O’Brian… you know the ladies are going to be all over that. You think your life’s been taken over now, just wait…”
He can’t help but laugh at Tobias’s painful expression.

Meanwhile, inside the house

Maria: “MICHAEL! Where are you?”
She’s been going at full steam all morning: as the final hour grows near the little things that they had all forgotten about are suddenly rising up and driving her insane: looking around, she spots him in the kitchen: coming over and grabbing his arm…
“Michael, stay out of the spinach dip, that’s for the reception. My Mom needs you, she wants you to do something.”

Michael: “Not another gazebo?”
He allows himself to be dragged down the hallway to the master bedroom where the bridal party is holding court: he has no idea what all is taking place in there and cringes at the thought of being dragged into it: he pauses as he enters, Mrs. De Luca has her wedding gown on while Isabel and Tess are doing last minute fixes {she looks beautiful, just like I always thought Maria would look.}: he glances over Maria, who is looking at him with a sappy sweetheart, almost-tearful look {crap, she heard that.}: clearing his throat…
“There’s something you wanted me to do Mrs. De Luca?”

Amy: looking over at the young man that has spent so much time at their house, their home this last couple of years, so much so that he’s become a part of their family: smiling warmly…
“Yes, um, Michael, when Maria’s Dad and I got married, it was just a quick ceremony in front of a justice-of-the-peace, no ceremony. So this, this is my first real wedding and I always pictured my father walking me down the aisle, but he’s not here anymore. So I was hoping that a certain young man who’s been such a big part of our lives and family would do the honor of escorting me down the aisle.”

Michael: he’s rocked to the core {family?!}: he opens his mouth but nothing comes out: loudly clearing his throat, he tries it again...
“I, I would be honored.”

A little later back outside

Jim Sr.: he hadn’t known what to think of what his son told him: as they pull up in Kyle’s Mustang, he’s still trying to get a grasp on it {Tess doesn’t seem alien. She certainly has Kyle on his toes; that’s for sure. Feisty, that’s her… but alien? And now my grandson has these… alien powers, too? Damn! So not only do we have aliens on Earth, but they’re part of my family as well! Never figured on that one. Well at least I can tell all those that mocked me to go take a flying leap! Well hell, we’re here. Jimmy and that Amy girl are getting married, and a new baby too. Dang fool, he aught to have known better, well she’s a nice girl… that is if I’m remembering the right one.}: as he’s being helped out of the car into his wheelchair…
“So Jimmy, which ones are the aliens? Is that one?”

Jim: last night had been challenging to say the least, and he has a feeling that today is going to be more so: between his Dad wanting to know every little detail about the aliens and Kyle getting pissed about not being allowed to take the Mustang with him, plus Tess not sure how to act around “Grandpa”, all made for a long night: it wasn’t until this morning when Tess got up early and made everyone a large breakfast, paying extra close attention to Dad, did it finally start to feel that things were going to work out, eventually, maybe: sighing as he hears his Dad’s question: starting to push the wheelchair towards the house…
“Dad, quit pointing and no, that’s not an alien, that’s just Alex.”
Coming up on the porch, he smiles as one comes out to greet them…
“Hi Aunt Trudy.”

Aunt Trudy: “Well, glad to see that cold feet didn’t get ya. How about a kiss from the groom?”

Jim: obliging her with a warm hug and kiss before introducing his Dad…
“Aunt Trudy, I would like you to meet my Father, Jim Valenti Senior.”

Aunt Trudy: “It’s very nice to meet you Jim.”

Jim Sr.: as they shake hands
“It’s nice to meet you too. Say, you aren’t one of those aliens are you?”

Aunt Trudy: always unflappable, smiling…
“Why no I’m not, but my niece and nephew are. Would like to meet them?”
Looking around, she spots Max coming back from the van with his suit on a hanger, calling him over…
“Max, Max, come here dear. Max I would like to introduce you to Mr. Jim Valenti Sr.. Jim, this is my nephew Max Evans.”

Max: extending his hand…
“It’s nice to meet you sir.”

Jim Sr.: his face scrunches up as he studies the young alien in front of him: a bit reluctantly he takes the extended hand…
“You don’t look like no alien, anymore than Tess does.”

Max: “Oh.”
Not sure what else to say, he looks over at Aunt Trudy for a moment then back down…
“So what am I suppose to look like then?”

Jim Sr.: “Oh hell, you know, big head, big eyes, long neck, little ears… no that ain’t you.”

Max: determined to keep a straight face…
“That would be Dranularian, I’m Antarian. Well, actually part Antarian, part human.”
The shocked look is priceless, but wanting to stay respectful…
“Glad you can make it to the wedding, sir.”

Jim Sr.: “Yeah, bit of surprise there. Too bad I can’t dance at it like did at the first one. I use to cut one hell of a rug too. But so much has changed since then.”

Max: he looks over at the sheriff who wordlessly mouths “arthritis”: looking back down at the man in the wheelchair…
“Mr. Valenti, I might be able to help you some. I’m not sure how long it would last, but I might be able to at least get you out of that wheelchair for a bit, not sure about dancing though.”

Jim Sr.: skeptical…
“More alien powers, huh? OK, show me.”

Max: he hands his suit to Aunt Trudy and then sitting on his haunches, he runs his glowing hands along Mr. Valenti’s legs: the glowing brightness increases as he concentrates at the knee, hip, and ankle joints: he takes some heavy breaths as the glowing dies down: looking up at the old man…
“See if that feels better. Your muscles are weak from lack of use, but the stiffness and soreness should be gone.”

Jim Sr.: his gruffness disappears into shocked surprise then joy {I can wiggle my toes!}: looking up at his son…
“Get me out of this damn chair!”

Jim: as he helps his Dad up, joy fills him as his Dad starts walking around on his own: fighting back tears…
“Thank you Max.”

Max: “You’re welcome but um, I can’t turn back time. The joints are still worn and susceptible to arthritis, most likely it’ll develop again. I’m pretty sure it’s only temporary.”

Jim: Aunt Trudy has him by the arm and is now slowly escorting him around the house…
“That’s fine son, even if only for a day.”
They look on as an old man comes back to life.

The Fates know that it’s what lies underneath that really matters.


Chapter 63

Setting:
Tobias’s house, Friday 1:00 pm

Jim: he’s standing at the foot of the gazebo, looking out at all of his friends and family gathered around: down the middle of the assemble group is a carpet of white rose petals lining the path of the alter, complements of the aliens: his Father had been so excited about being able to walk around that he promised the first dance to Aunt Trudy: Jim had to talk to Amy through intermediaries for of course the girls had absolutely refused to let him see her, about making a slight change in the wedding procession: at a nod from Nancy, Alex begins playing a soft tune on his guitar in lieu of the traditional wedding march, Jim’s chest puffs up a little as Tess escorted by his Dad comes down the rose petal path: the sight of his Dad with his head held high and Tess, his alien “granddaughter”, on his arm is truly a remarkable sight: just as his Dad comes to stand beside him, Kyle and Maria start their trek down the rose path: he couldn’t be any prouder of his children, all of them: as they join him at the alter, his heart almost stops as he spots his bride emerging from the house: she’s on the arm of a very serious and very nervous Michael: there’s a hundred things running through his mind, but the only thoughts that matters are {God she’s beautiful! And she’s all mine!}: his heart flutters as Michael delivers her to his arm and together they ascend the two steps and walk towards the center of the gazebo to the awaiting minister: when they look back on the day, it’ll be a good thing that they taped the whole ceremony otherwise he would have no recollection of what was said at all, not even the “I do’s”: all he can see is Amy, all he can hear is the pounding of his heart: suddenly Kyle is giving him a little shove and saying “aren’t you going to kiss her Dad?”: with a huge grin plastered in place…
“Oh yeah!”
Clapping and cheers go up as they seal it with a kiss: grinning they descend the gazebo steps as husband and wife, where the are greeted with hugs and kisses by their assembled extended family: they eventually make their way over to their wedding lunch and champagne.

Kyle: raising a glass of champagne…
“Uh hum, as I look around, I am amazed by who and what … is now included in our family. It’s been my Dad and me for so many years that I was beginning to give up on him ever finding a woman brave enough to take us on. But not only did he find one brave enough to do that but also all of our out-of-this-world relations as well! Amy, welcome to our world where anything and everything is possible and in fact does happen… a little more often than we’d care to admit, a world where the unusual and absurd is actually quite normal. And one that I can speak from personal experience is never dull. Thank you for taking us all on. Dad you’ve found quite a woman! A toast, to my Dad and his brave new bride, congratulations!”
They all join in raising their champagne or apple cider glasses in toasting the happy couple: they dine on grilled chicken and vegetables, along with assorted salads and breads: they dance to various ’70 tunes before cutting the two tier carrot cake: the afternoon is filled with laughter as Michael winds up catching the garter belt and Tess the bridal bouquet, for which they are teased about what a cute couple they make: a little before four the bride and groom disappear into the house to change: upon reappearing in their travel clothes, Kyle comes over holding up his car keys…
“OK Dad, now you promise to take good care of my Mustang, premium only, no peeling rubber and don’t gun the engine.”

Jim: snatching the keys away from his son…
“Kyle, she’s in good hands and I’ll show her a fine time around New Orleans. Take care of yourself and Tess. Mind your manners and try not to blow anything up.”
He gives his son a hug and a pat on the back before turning to Tess…
“Tess, you look lovely, a daughter any man would be proud to call his own. Now, I’m sure I can rely on you to keep Kyle in line.”
He smiles at the “no problem” reply and warmly hugs his alien daughter: next he finds himself face-to-face with his newest daughter, as he gives her a hug…
“Maria, come here. I can’t tell you how much you officially being part of my family means to me. You’ve been a major part of my life this last year. I’m glad you’re now part of my family as well. Don’t worry about your Mom. I’ll take good care of her. Now you be sure to enjoy yourself. You all deserve a little down time. Oh and try and keep a certain alien out of trouble. Mr. Evans would really appreciate it.”
After rehugging her, next up is Dad…
“Dad, what can I say? Thank you for being here and for welcoming everybody regardless of…. well you know. Are you sure you’re OK with the Evans dropping you back off at the home?”

Jim Sr.: “Oh hell Jimmy. I’m going to enjoy the looks on their faces as I come strolling in the door. After the President’s address tonight, I’m just itching to tell them “I told you so”, in spades! Hell it’ll be one night I ain’t gonna forget. Now you better get going. New Orleans is a callin’ ya.”
With that he gives his son a fierce hug and then as he gives one to his new daughter-in-law…
“Now you ain’t gonna make New Orleans tonight, so you make damn sure Jimmy stops at an expensive hotel for the night one with room service, not some wayside motel or nothing. Make him spend the bucks, you deserve it.”
With his head held high, he watches his son drive off with his new bride: turning back to the gathering, he is amazed by how quickly everything gets cleaned up when there are aliens around: he has no doubt that within an hour they will be climbing into the two vans and on their merry way.

Tobias: working beside Kathy, it seems odd that he doesn’t have to hide who he is and what he can do: he chuckles a little at the stunned look she has as she’s watches Michael and Max magically take down the dinning tent and put it away in less than 10 minutes, or how Tess and Isabel undo the ribbon that has been wrapped around and through various places in a matter of minutes: sneaking up behind her, he slips his hand around her waist and whispers…
“You haven’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until I get back and I’ll show you some alien moves that are truly out of this world.”
His eyes blaze at the sultry look that earned him: sighing…
“I wish I had time for a little demonstration right now.”

Kathy: she hadn’t known for sure what to expect today, but all her worries were quickly swept away as she found herself surrounded by people, both human and otherwise, that laughed, hugged, teased, and argued just like everyone else, and who welcomed her with open arms: she had thoroughly enjoyed herself today and was very amused by the amount of teasing her being here has caused Nathan: wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer…
“You know what they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. You know I’ve always wanted to try out one of those old fashion bathtubs. Don’t you have one in the guest bath?”

Tobias: it only takes him a moment to make up his mind: taking her hand he practically runs with her into the house, grabs an alien triangle device before running down the hall and into the guest bath, where he uses his powers to lock and seal the door before activating the device which briefly emits a high pitched noise before settling down to a soft hum: he sees Kathy’s curious look…
“Noise suppressor. Don’t worry, there’re only five individuals that can open that door and royalty or no royalty I’ll zap them if they do. Now about that demonstration….”

The Fates look on as one chapter of their lives is closed and another one begins.


Chapter 64

Setting:
Just outside of Albuquerque, same day a little before 7:00PM

After going through a McDonald’s drive-thru the two vans full of teenagers pulls into a roadside rest stop: the side doors slide open so that the teens can spread out a little as they consume their Tabasco drenched Big Macs and Quarter Pounders: the two dark sedans full of Secret Service Agents that have been following pull along side the parked vans and continue their silent guard: as the teens finish their dinner the radio station cuts to a special address by the president: they fall silent as the President begins his speech that will reveal to the world the teens’ long held secret: on the radio, President Wilkinson…
“My fellow Americans. I would like to speak to you tonight about a subject that has been heavily speculated on for years and has been making headlines in various papers for the last several days. That subject would be aliens, as in extraterrestrials. Do they exists? We have asked ourselves that for over fifty years and today I’m going to give you the answer. And that answer is yes, they do. I know. I met one or rather two of them. Myself, the First Lady and our youngest daughter had lunch with them some weeks back. What were they like? They’re like us, they eat, they breath, laugh, cry, love and anger just like we do. What do they want? The same as us, they want freedom. This country was founded on three basic principles: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They want nothing more than to live their lives, to grow up, fall in love, get married, have a family, the same things that has enticed millions from around the globe to immigrate to America has now reached out to the cosmos as well and I hope that my fellow Americans will join me in welcoming them to the melting pot that America was built on and has thrived on for over two hundred years….”

Philip: he’s been watching his son’s reaction to the speech, which was worry: walking over to the side of the van where Max is sitting, he puts his hand on his shoulder: as Max looks at him…
“It’ll be alright son. The President is giving a good speech. I can’t think of a better way he could broach this subject. Max, he’s giving you tremendous support. I don’t think you could ask for any more.”

Max: in a quiet tone, looking down…
“I know Dad. It’s just that it’s so ingrained in us to keep it a secret, to hear it being broadcast like that… it’s unnerving.”

Philip: “I know son. But don’t worry, things will die down eventually.”
He and his son tune back into the speech: on the radio, President Wilkinson…
“America has always been the training ground for ideas because ideas are allowed to be freely exchanged. Many nations have sent their young to be educated here and such is the case this time. The four teens that have been focused on recently by the reporters are the children of the ruling family of their world, Antar. They were sent here to learn, to learn what it is to be an American so that when it is time for them to assume power, they will have a better understanding of what it means not only to have a government for the people but by the people as well…”

Setting: Evans Grandparent’s house, S. Lake Tahoe, CA, same day and time

George Evans: he and Betty hadn’t known what to think when Philip had called them earlier this week and told them about their grandchildren: their initial reaction was that it was some sort of elaborate joke, it had to be, but then the newspaper articles started appearing: he had thought back to when Max and Isabel had first joined their family, how Philip and Diane had found them wandering around the desert in the middle of the night, naked and alone, how they didn’t know how to speak, eat, drink or anything else: they certainly learned quickly enough so it wasn’t a lack of intelligence, but that just made everything much more mysterious: that afternoon Betty had dragged out all the old video tapes of their grandchildren: birthday parties, Christmas, snowball fights, making a mess in the kitchen, softball games, they were family, their grandchildren and that’s all that mattered: two days ago they had gotten a another bomb dropped on them, Philip had called to ask if they could come for a visit, which of course they could, to be followed by, “would it be alright if all the kids came? Oh and Aunt Trudy and uh… Tobias, Max and Isabel’s cousin?”: he and Betty had originally built this house in hopes that one day it would be filled with grandchildren and family and it was about to be put to the test: they had two guest rooms, a loft and a den and at last count, 12 people to put up, 4 teenage boys, 4 teenage girls, Trudy, Philip and Diane, and this Tobias: the last two days they spent at the stores buying air mattresses, pillows, bedding, extra towels, and food, lots and lots of food: they had been listening to the President telling the world about their grandchildren, while he admires the tact and the way the President is laying it out, he knows that after today, his grandchildren’s lives will never be the same: he gets up to go look out the big picture window: the view of the high mountain lake and surrounding forest has always had a peaceful settling effect on him, that’s one of the main reasons they had decided to retire here: he hopes that it will have a similar effect on his grandchildren and allow them some refuge from all the craziness that is about to engulf them: that is after all what grandparents are for.

Setting Bellevue Hospital, same day and time

Nurse: she had been doing her rounds but paused when she came to a certain patient: he was a difficult one, not because he gave her a particular hard time but because of the sadness that surrounds him, a sadness that she couldn’t blame him for: he had been rushed in via ambulance last November, ran over by a speeding truck: he was a mess and wasn’t expected to live, especially after the doctors had discovered the medical alert bracelet he was wearing about no blood drawing or transfusions of any kind being allowed due to religious beliefs, that had sent the doctors into a tizzy, but on legal and moral grounds they had no choice but to abide by it: somehow though he survived, now he just needed a reason to live: in the last eight months he has had no visitors except for Teri, the social worker that made the Social Security Disability arrangements for him so the hospital could get paid: he had been a handsome boy with the most incredible expressive eyes, but now his face bore several scars, most notably the one that ran from the corner of his left eye to his chin, his nose had been broken in several places as evidenced by the permanent bump it now had: the worst though was his hip, his left hip had severe damage that required surgery, which required blood, which the boy had adamantly refused to give or receive, they still didn’t even know what blood type he was: this left him barely able to move and he had to be in constant pain, but he never complained, in fact he rarely spoke, some thought it was because of lingering head injuries since he was prone to seizures now, but she knew that wasn’t it, he had been hurt, hurt badly enough that it made him not care to talk or feel anything, but she could see the hurt in his eyes: as she walked into the ward he was in, she was surprised to see him watching TV, he rarely seemed interested, but now he almost seemed excited about it: she glanced towards the set and saw it was a rebroadcast of the President’s address: {well, I guess that is pretty exciting news about the aliens. Maybe I’ll pick him up a couple of newspapers tomorrow morning, give him something interesting to read.}: walking over to him, she picks up his wrist to check his pulse: after noting it on his chart, she smiles at him, it’s the first time she’s ever seen his eyes actually sparkle like that.

While the Fates have some well on the right path, they are busy picking up the pieces of shattered life of another.



Chapter 65

Setting:
Roadside motel somewhere in Utah, same Friday night, very late

Philip: talking to the night clerk filling out the registration form…
“So let’s see, you only have 2 doubles and 3 singles left?”

Clerk: “Yep, tourist season, people are out traveling ya know. Need to stop earlier if you want your pick of rooms. That’ll be $295 plus tax.”

Philip: handing over his credit card…
“We’ll take them.”

Clerk: as he’s running the card through: looking out the window at all the teenagers…
“They some kind of club or are all them yours.”

Philip: “Both. So can we get some extra towels and pillows?”
As the clerk is off getting the extra linens, he catches a glimpse of some tabloid show on the TV in the backroom and cringes as a picture of his son with an “Alien Royalty” caption.

Clerk: returning with the requested items, he notices his customer glancing towards the TV set…
“That’s something, ain’t it? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want one of them near me. No telling what they might be carrying. Ya know what I mean?”

Isabel: popping her head in the front office door…
“Dad, is the pool still open?”

Clerk: grinning at the leggy blonde…
“For you, it’s always open, just keep it down so no one complains.”

Isabel: trying not to let her disgust show…
“Why thank you. We will. Are those towels for us?”
She sweeps in and grabs them before quickly leaving: once outside she shudders and mumbles…
“Creep.”

Philip: grabbing the pillows: wearing a discreet knowing smile as he goes out the door…
“Yeah, I guess you’ll never know where aliens maybe popping up.”
Turning to the kids…
“OK, listen up, we got two doubles and three singles, so you kids are going to be nice and cozy. OK, one double for the boys, one for the girls, Tobias gets a single, Aunt Trudy one and me and Diane. He said that the pool is still open but keep it down please. Don’t stay up too late; we need to get an early start tomorrow. Oh and I’ll be coming around for bed check later, let’s make sure we’re all in the right beds please.”
He passes out the room keys: takes his and Diane’s stuff to their room, then helps Aunt Trudy with hers: as he and Diane are relaxing on the bed he hears feet go running by followed by whistles and not-so-quiet shouts: getting off the bed, sighing {it’s going to be a long night}, he puts on his parent hat and walks out to the pool.

Setting: Same, early Saturday morning

Kyle: he and Tess had managed to slip off to one of the vans for about 30 minutes last night: the only witnesses were the Secret Service Agents that had night duty, the other agents had managed to find a room at another motel: he still wasn’t fond of always being watched but at least they were tight lipped: while the thirty minutes had been too short but memorial there was one drawback, he was the last back to the room which meant he got the last remaining spot on a bed: as dawn approached, he was in deep sleep and dreaming of last night: grinning in his sleep, he wraps his arm around his dream Tess and starts to draw her close to snuggle.

Max: he had been out of it the second his head hit the pillow last night and had slept soundly throughout the night: he awakes to an arm being thrown over him: as that arm tightens its hold and starts to drag him closer: he’s not sure who it is but he knows it’s not Liz and that’s all that matters: as he gives the arm’s owner a hard elbow to the ribs, loudly…
“GET OFF!”

Kyle: the wind getting knocked out of him followed by a sharp pain to his ribs startles him out of sleep: he rolls backwards and right off the bed, landing with a thump on his butt: rubbing his side and looking up a pissed Max: angrily…
“What the hell’s the matter with you?”

Max: “What? What the hell was your arm doing?”

Alex: the commotion awoke all of them but neither he nor Michael was ready to lift their head off their pillows…
“Could you two have your lover’s quarrel later please? Some of us are trying to sleep.”
It took only a minute before pillows then some alien “zaps” start flying his way: as the first zap hits…
“Hey, that’s no fair!”
Whipping Michael’s pillow out from under Michael’s head, he sends it flying at Kyle, then his at Max: Michael is now up and mayhem ensues for several minutes before loud banging at the door is finally heard.

Max: he quickly looks around the room, the beds are stripped bare and sheets and blankets as well as a couple of chair cushion are thrown all over: he opens the door in the now silent room: chagrined…
“Morning Dad.”

Dad: with his arms crossed and a sour look…
“Ah huh. Glad to see all of you are up. I’ll be back in ten minutes. You all have just volunteered to go with me and get coffee and donuts for everyone. Ten minutes, be ready.”
He gets a nod in acknowledgment before walking back to his room shaking his head.

The Fates are a little busy elsewhere and have decided to let kids be kids and wisely left it to the parents to contend with for now.



Chapter 66

Setting:
Donut shop somewhere in Utah, same Saturday morning

Philip: the boys pile out of the van and follow him into the shop: it’s a busy Saturday morning and they have to wait in line: he notices several patrons are reading the newspaper as they wait their turn: he fishes some quarters out of his pocket, turning around to the closest teen…
“Michael, there’s a newsstand outside the door, go get a couple of papers.”
As Michael leaves, the guy in line in front of him starts talking to him.

Patron: half looking at the guy behind him while reading some more of the front page…

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:45:29 PM
“Yeah, this alien thing is incredible. It says here that they’ve been here for years, hiding in plain site and no one caught on. I guess I can understand that, I mean look at the picture. He looks just like a kid, a human kid. It says he and his sister were orphaned and were adopted by a human family. Hmmm, not sure I would do that. Be kinda scary having an alien for a kid. I mean human teens are scary enough, no telling what an actual alien one would be like.”
He finally stops reading and looks at the guy he’s been talking to and the teens that are quietly standing by him: his eyes open wide as he spots the dark haired boy: he quickly looks down again at the picture on the front page, then up again: he’s mouth drops open in shock…
“OH MY GOD! That’s him! You’re, you’re one of the aliens!”

Philip: the crowded donut shop becomes absolutely silent as everyone turns to stare at them: without a word the people in line in front of them step aside as he grabs his son by the arm and escorts him to the donut counter: without turning around…
“OK kids pick some out, be sure to get some that the girls like as well.”
As the guy behind the counter nervously starts getting the donuts that the boys are pointing at, he looks around at how the people are reacting {about what I thought, shock, fear, curiosity. What’s with the redhead over there? She’s got to be at least 30 and she’s checking my 18-year-old son out?!}: his attention is diverted to the newest patrons entering, who are actually not patrons at all, and breathes a little easier as the agents silently semi-surround the kids protectively: as the boys finish up getting the now up to 4 dozen donuts and ordering a selection of chocolate milk, orange juice and coffee, he turns back to the man that had been standing in front of him…
“They are just like human teens and yeah, that by itself is scary enough.”
Less than ten minutes later they are in the van and on their way back to the motel: it’s a very quiet ride, too quiet: looking in the rearview mirror at four very sullen faces…
“Max, do you have a baseball cap or something? And a pair of sun glasses?”
As Max shakes his head “no”…
“Well, maybe we can stop somewhere and get some. I think we all might need to invest in some, at least for a little while.”

Setting Bellevue Hospital, NYC, same Saturday morning

Zan: he’s sitting up a little in bed while reading the paper and staring at a picture of a face that use to be his: as he rereads the article {they were adopted and grew up as humans. Where was their protector? Why wasn’t he there? Ours was there. Well at least at first. He split after a couple of years saying his mission was finished, that he had taught us everything he was supposed to. God, we were so scared when he first left. Ava use to cling to me especially at night; now I can’t even feel if she’s still alive; I can’t feel or do anything, my powers are gone. I’ve been hoping for months that they’d start to come back and I could gradually heal myself but that’s not happening, nothing is. If anything it’s gotten worse, my hip is constantly killing me, I can barely sit, I always have a headache and if I don’t take those damn pills I windup having a seizure. I can’t take this much longer. I guess I’m going to have to put myself back together the human way.}: he looks up as his doctor drops by for morning rounds…
“Hey doc.”

Doctor Singleton: he was surprised to see his patient reading the paper and even more surprised that Zan actually greeted him, usually it was like nothing existed for Zan and it was a rare day to even get a grunt out of him: coming over to the bed, he looks up from his chart to the boy and smiles…
“Good morning Zan. How are you feeling today?”

Zan: “Like crap. I want to get out of here and I want to be walking out when I go. What do I have to do to make that happen?”

Doctor Singleton: he’s stunned, he has tried for months to convince Zan to try and move forward with his recovery, only to be met with stony silence on a good day, arguments on a bad day: turning serious…
“You know what has to happen. Your hip needs to be reconstructed which requires surgery followed by therapy, lots of therapy.”

Zan: “That surgery requires blood. I can’t do that. Can’t you use that IV stuff instead?”

Doctor Singleton: sighing, this is an old argument…
“No, we cannot do surgery without blood. Zan, I have the up most respect for your religious beliefs but I can’t believe that you are supposed to suffer like this because of it.”
Thinking for a moment…
“How about a compromise? What if we took a pint of your blood now, then another one a little while later and use that for the transfusion? You’d be getting your own blood back.”

Zan: considering it…
“What would happen to this blood until the surgery?”

Doctor Singleton: “Nothing. It would be stored, well labeled of course but that’s it.”

Zan: “Nothing would be added or anything, not even for testing?”

Doctor Singleton: “No Zan, if this is what will get you to have this surgery, I will personally make certain it goes from you to the refrigerator and back to you, no side trips for anything.”

Zan: “What about after the surgery? How much therapy? When would I be able to walk out of here?”

Doctor Singleton: “I’m not going to lie to you. It’s a long painful recovery and you’ll need intense therapy to get those muscles working right. It’s doubtful you’ll ever be even close to what you had but it’ll allow you significant more mobility than what you have now. If you follow the therapy program I would say within 3-4 months you would be out of here. You would probably still need some help, crutches or a cane for a while, but yeah you could be out of here before the Holidays start. Bet it would be nice not to have another hospital turkey dinner, huh?”

Zan: looking back down at the front page picture {yeah, home for the Holidays}…
“OK, let’s do it.”

There are many paths that one can choose to take during a lifetime; sometimes the Fates have to give one a little push to get them headed down the right one.



Chapter 67

Setting:
S. Lake Tahoe, Saturday afternoon

Betty: she and George have had a very busy day getting everything ready: the Secret Service Agents had been there since yesterday making sure everything was secure: while she’s glad that they are here to safeguard her grandchildren, it disturbs her to think that they need protecting: she spots two vans pulling up in front: turns to call out to her husband…
“George, they’re here!”
She goes outside and is greeted first by her granddaughter: while getting and giving a good hug…
“Oh honey, I’m so glad to see you.”

Isabel: “Oh Grandma, it’s great to be able to come here and visit. Grandma I want you to meet someone.”
She scans everyone getting out of the vans, finally spotting him…
“Alex, Alex, come here.”
As he joins her…
“Grandma this is Alex Whitman, Alex this is my Grandma Evans.”

Alex: extending his hand in greeting…
“It’s nice to meet you Mrs. Evans.”

Betty: she didn’t miss the sparkle in her granddaughter’s eyes when she spotted the lanky young man: looking him over a bit, smiling…
“I’m sorry but Mrs. Evans just won’t do. Why don’t we just stick to Grandma? You are after all here as part of my grandchildren.”
She gets a smile and an “ok” before she wraps him in a welcoming hug: standing behind Alex is her grandson, turning to him next…
“Come here you.”
She holds him tight for a bit before backing up to give him a good look and immediately knows that something is bothering her sensitive grandson: smiling and a bit teasingly…
“OK, where is she? Where’s this special young lady that I have not heard nearly enough about?”

Max: he can’t help but smile at the thought of his Liz: he already knows that she’s coming towards him but he turns around anyway, watching her approach: as she comes up next to him, now with a smile…
“Grandma, this is Liz Parker, Liz this is Grandma.”

Betty: appraising the couple standing in front of her {well, she certainly put a smile on his face, in fact it lit up. And hers isn’t any different; she’s practically glowing. Why do I have the feeling that I’m looking at my future granddaughter-in-law?}: smiling and opening her arms for a hug…
“Welcome dear.”
As they are embracing, she whispers to her…
“Thank you for giving him that smile.”

Liz: smiling warmly…
“It’s nice to meet you Grandma… and you’re welcome.”

Betty: several more warm hugs and greetings are exchanged before they all head into the normally spacious home that is now bursting at the seams with family: always a practical woman, she immediately starts getting everyone sorted out…
“OK, we figured that the girls could share a room, and we put air mattresses in the loft for the boys. Philip, we moved the futon in the other guest room for you and Diane. Trudy, I hope you don’t mind the pullout in the den. We just got a new mattress for it so it should be pretty comfortable. And Tobias, um, we weren’t sure if you wanted to stay with the boys or on a roll-a-way in the study.”

Tobias: having a good idea of how teenagers normally act, it’s an easy decision…
“The roll-a-way sounds fine.”

Betty: after everyone gets sorted out, the teens pile outside to the deck for a BBQ lunch and then along with footballs, Frisbees, and soccer balls to a grassy field that the deck looks out on, that is all except for one sullen teen who is sitting on the steps watching everyone: sitting down with her daughter-in-law on the deck so they could get some sun and watch the kids while enjoying some margaritas: pointing to her grandson sitting alone…
“OK Diane, spill. What’s that all about?”

Diane: shaking her head sadly…
“He’s not taking all this very well. They got recognized this morning when they went for donuts. You know how he hates being the center of attention and well, it’s just going to take getting use to.”
She spots Kyle getting ready to come outside: calling him over, pointing to Max …
“Kyle, can you see if you can get him off that step and doing something, please.”

Kyle: “Huh? You want me to…”
Getting an idea, he remembers spotting something in a drawer in the kitchen…
“Ok, I got an idea.”
He goes back in and quickly finds what he was looking for: filling it up at the sink, he ties it securely, with it in hand he walks outside and flings it at Max’s back then very quickly runs like hell past him on his way to the field.

Diane: her mouth drops open at what she just saw Kyle do…
“Kyle, what….”
She and her mother-in-law watch as Max goes tearing after Kyle, he half way reaches the field when he stops and turns around, points his hand at something and suddenly a garden hose comes flying through the air to him, and with a flick of a glowing hand the water turns itself on: shouts then screams can be heard as Max not only gets Kyle but accidentally gets Maria as well: chaos is at hand as the girls come running in for more balloons, the guys are trying to wrestle the hose away from Max only to be beamed by the girls’ water balloons: Michael finally gets the hose away from Max and nails Isabel with it, which only escalates things.

Philip: he and his dad come outside to find out what all the commotion is: astonished at the site of the eight very wet teens now wrestling around in the mud: shaking his head he starts to yell at the kids…
“Kids, STOP! Did you here me…”

George: very calmly, he puts his hand on Philip’s arm…
“Philip, leave those kids alone. They need to blow off some steam, besides they aren’t hurting anything, and they’re washable.”
As the water fight turns into a sort of mud football game/fight or something the other, he starts laughing…
“It’s good to see them having some fun.”

Setting: later that same night

Liz: on the phone to her dad…
“Hi Dad…. Yeah we’re fine, the place is great. No, no problems. So how’s it going there? It is, really? Wow, lines out the door. Do you have enough help? Oh, that’s good. What? Why are the reporters asking you about Max? Oh, yeah because everyone in town knows he’s my boyfriend and yeah, most do have big mouths. So what, what have you been telling them? What truth? Oh… well… yeah, he is a nice boy. You told them about his WHAT? Dad, you did not tell them he had a third eye… ha ha, very funny. Oh, I’m sure the UFO Center is packed. Huh? Yeah Max told Brody, he made Max promise to point out the real alien stuff versus the fake stuff in his collection, and made him promise that when he comes back after vacation he would answer all of his questions, oh and come back to work. After all what better attraction than having a real alien working at the UFO Center? Not sure how the Secret Service Agents are going to handle that but they’ll figure it out… Oh, well we’re just kicking back for a couple of days, then the Evans have reserved two houseboats for 4 days out on New Melones Lake. It’s about a 3-hour drive, but it’s in the heart of the California Gold Country, so it’s kind of remote but close to all the old gold towns, hopefully we’ll be able to check some of them out. Since we’re going through the week it shouldn’t be too crowded. OK Dad, give Mom my love. I love you too Dad.

The Fates take a step back for a bit to allow the grandparents to do what they do best, spoil their grandchildren rotten.


Chapter 68

Setting:
New Melones Lake, Wednesday afternoon

Aunt Trudy: on the deck of the houseboat in the middle of the lake, she’s sitting with her brother, watching the teens floating around them on air mattresses, getting sun burned: she smiles as Alex sneaks up on Isabel and flips her mattress over with her still on it: it’s a good thing Alex is a fast swimmer as Isabel gives chase: she looks over at Maria as she hears a “don’t even think of it Spaceboy” go echoing across the lake: Max and Liz seem content to simple go floating by, side-by-side: she looks over at her brother…
“George, this is exactly what they need. They’ve had to grow up so much in the last few months. It’s time they got to be just kids again.”

George: watching the same scenes playing out…
“They do seem to be enjoying themselves. From what Philip told me, it sounds like they’ve had an awful lot to have to deal with lately. Trudy, I know that you’ve been staying with them for the last couple of months. Tell me how they’re really doing.”

Trudy: “Well, it hasn’t been all bad. Some of it has needed to be dealt with for awhile. Max has an awful lot riding on his shoulders, the load seems to grow a little more every day, but it’s been a huge relief for him to have Philip and others to go to. Diane of course is having a hard time letting him go, but little by little she is. And I don’t think Max is totally ready to cut those strings just yet either. He still needs her. I know Isabel loves being able to share so much with Diane. It’s also helped having Tobias there too. He’s been able to answer so many of their questions. I have to admit that it is rather funny to watch Tobias being sucked into human habits. Do you know he has a girlfriend back in Roswell? He’s got cold feet but I have a feeling… well, maybe not right away but I think he’s growing more and more attached to this world every day.”

George: “Trudy, what do you think of Liz Parker and Alex Whitman. There’s no doubt that Max and Liz are head over heals in love, and I don’t think Isabel and Alex are that far behind.”

Trudy: confident…
“I have no doubt that they’ll both be alter bound pretty soon, maybe next year?”

George: looking out at the kids now swimming around…
“They’re awfully young. Teen marriages are very difficult and the odds are stacked against them. I would hate to see that happen.”

Trudy: “Don’t be silly, that’s not going to happen. Max and Liz are already bondmates, and unless I’m slipping so are Isabel and Alex. I know Michael and Maria definitely are, although I think Maria’s going to be dragging that one to the alter kicking and screaming. He’s still working on some commitment issues but in the end she’ll prevail. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Kyle and Tess alter bound before too long. For some reason I get the distinct impression they may actually be the first.”

George: confused…
“Wait a minute. I know Philip mentioned something about bonding, but I just thought… I mean what exactly is that?”

Trudy: “It’s an alien thing, but I think it’s more. I’m certain that they have found their soulmates for life. I know they’re young, but after all that they have been through and all that is yet to come, they are wise beyond their years.”
Kyle and Tess start arguing and in a huff, Tess zaps a hole in Kyle’s air mattress: as Kyle is sinking…
“Although, sometimes they hide it well.”

George: chuckling as he watches Kyle yank Tess’s air mattress out from under her, and who is now in hot pursuit of him, as they climb out of the water onto the houseboat and start running: shouting out…
“Hey you two, no running on the deck!”
Shaking his head…
“They are a rambunctious bunch when you get them all together. They really keep you on your toes. By they way, any idea what happened to those 2, 3lbs. boxes of Oreos we brought with us? I couldn’t find any last night.”

Trudy: laughing…
“And you’re surprised by that, with your grandchildren around? It’s your fault you know. You’re the one that got them hooked on them when they were little.”

Setting: Later that same night, shore of New Melones Lake

Liz: with the houseboats tied up securely, they found a great secluded spot on shore to build a roaring campfire: the night turned a little chilly and the fire feels great, so does sitting back in Max’s arms watching the flames and roasting marshmallows for smores: taking a bite out of the hot marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker gooey concoction that Max has assembled for her: licking her lips and looking into his eyes…
“Hmmm, delicious, makes me hungry for more.”
She can hear his heart beating faster and feel his body starting to respond in sync with her own: he desperately looks around for a private place: she scoots back just a bit closer to him so she can feel his increasing hardness pressing against the small of her back: she moves a little back and forth as if to get more comfortable and is rewarded with a slight whimper in her ear: smiling she quietly asks him…
“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that.”

Max: looking at her with fire in his eyes…
“Yes, you did.”
He finally gets an idea: tearing his eyes away from Liz, he turns to Michael sitting next to him and quietly asks him…
“Cover for me.”
Then a little louder to no one in particular…
“It’s go cold, we’re going to get something warmer to put on.”
Well, it’s true that it was getting cold out and they were still in just shorts and t-shirts.

Mom: not thinking anything about it and not looking up…
“OK honey. I think your sweatshirt’s on your bunk.”

Max: taking Liz’s hand, he tries to act nonchalant about it and not run: as they slip onto the houseboat and out of direct sight of the others he sweeps Liz up in his arms and whisks her away to the back of the houseboat and the bunk room, other than the tiny bathroom, the only room with a door on it: closing the door, locking and sealing it he drops Liz onto his bunk and climbs in next to her: as he starts nibbling her earlobe, he can feel her hands sliding up and down his sides: this totally blows his concentration since she hitting his most ticklish spots: starting to squirm and half laughing…
“Stop, that tickles.”

Liz: mischievously…
“Ticklish, huh? I’ve been meaning to find out where else you might be ticklish.”
Slipping her hands delicately around his neck…
“Nope, no squirming there.”
As her hands then trail across his chest, she can feel and hear his sudden intake of breath…
“Well, a slight reaction there.”
One of her big toes gently runs across the ball of his foot causing him grin and wiggle his toes…
“Only a minor tremor.”
Her foot ventures northward along his well-muscled calf…
“Hmm, nothing there.”
She giggles a little at how cute he looks with his eyebrow arched like that: staring into his eyes, starting at the shoulders she gently drapes her fingers ever so lightly across his back, causing a shiver to run down both of them: breathing heavy…
“I think we may have gotten something there.”
Running her hands down the outside of his hips to his thighs: she can feel his body heat increasing as she takes her time running them up and down his inner thighs being very careful only to touch just his thighs: as she elicits another growl from him, she can feel a surge of desire flow through her keeping her body in tune with his: in short gasps…
“Definite reaction that time.”
He stays perfectly still as her hands slip underneath his shorts and boxers and finally reach for him: it still amazes her to feel him changing, growing large and firmer with every touch from her: she swirls her fingertip around the end and then along the increasing length: she can feel her ache for him growing with every touch: licking her lips as Max draws closer to capture them with his own: she feels his hands slip under her tank top and run across her breast, circling her erect nibbles: with every touch she can feel her breast drawing tighter as her nipples harden even more: without even realizing it she has been continuing to hold onto him while her hands have been quickening there pace: a sudden wetness on her fingers startles both of them: he looks intently into her eyes briefly before quickly slipping her shorts and panties off, followed by her slipping his the rest of the way off: bending her knees, she guides him to her: he carefully slides in and fills her, completing her: he kisses her madly as he begins an increasing rhythm, a rhythm that is familiar, longed for and always exciting: her head starts to swim as she feels pressure building to new heights causing a moan to escape her lips: his lips quickly grab hers back before another can escape: she wraps her legs around his hips giving him deeper access and bringing them both to moan while exquisite pleasure overtakes them: they lay there for several minutes basking in the afterglow of their love making: she runs her fingers along his jawbone…
“I guess you’re not really ticklish anywhere else after all.”

Max: with an amused smile…
“Oh, I don’t know. You’re always welcomed to look again any time.”
Sighing…
“I can’t wait for the day when we can just be together and not have to worry about getting caught but that’s not today. I think we had better get cleaned up and back to the group before we’re missed.”

Liz: kissing him again while getting dress…
“Don’t forget you sweatshirt.”
Dressed in sweats and looking very innocent, they return to the others around the fire: and take back their seats next to Michael and Maria.

Michael: giving them a slightly pissed look…
“Took ya long enough.”
Then a bit more quietly…
“Next time, don’t rock the houseboat.”

Well, as the Fates are fond of saying, there ain’t nothin’ like some summer lovin’.


Chapter 69

Setting:
Ruan High Temple, Renular, same time frame

Larek: the high altitude is making him pant for breath, that and the 2 hours he has been walking, all up hill: the ancient temple sits atop a high plateau, it’s the most revered Ruan Temple on Renular and any transgression of protocol or ritual is considered blasphemous, including the ban on modern technology, hence no ship is allowed any where near and all who wish to visit must make the last part of their journey by foot: it is the place where Queen Nataria had sought refuge right after her children’s deaths and where the idea to resurrect them was born as well as their final resting place: it is here once again that the Queen has come to meditate on their current undertaking and to pray for those that have or will have given their lives for its cause: as he comes up over the last small ridge, he can smell the sweet fruit trees in bloom from the groves that were planted long ago on the plateau: he had been to this place many times, especially in the months during the Queen’s mourning, but the temple still amazes him with its beautiful gardens and fruit orchards, not to mention the incredible view, but it is the feel of the place, the tranquility and peacefulness that seems to permeate everything here that continues to captivate him: he walks in quiet solitude as he heads towards a very special section of the garden, one that holds a delicately carved bench over looking four simple headstones: as he draws near, he sees the Queen sitting on the bench with her eyes closed and head bowed: as is custom he silently waits several minutes until she has obviously finished her meditation before approaching…
“Your Majesty, please forgive my intrusion.”

Queen Nataria: smiling slightly at her distant cousin, friend and protector…
“Good day Larek. Have you come for prayers?”

Larek: “I shall stay and do so, but I have come to update you on the current situation as well.”

Queen Nataria: she looks down at the headstone that bears the Royal Seal of Antar and sighs…
“Very well.”

Larek: taking a seat next to her…
“Your Majesty, the battle for Luntar is finally coming to an end. The main facility and its backup are now in our control and other than a few skirmishes all is secure for now.”

Queen Nataria: “That is good news but at what cost?”

Larek: looking down at his departed friend’s resting place: sadly…
“The price was high but it had to be paid. As the main military supply base, Kivar had only elite troops stationed there.”
Swallowing, still sickened himself by the number…
“Over 2,000 confirmed dead, 2,400 injured several severely and another 900 missing, most of whom are presumed dead. They were our best troops as well.”

Queen Nataria: a cold chill runs down her as she hears the awful numbers…
“I shall pray for their souls in the after life.”

Larek: as he continues to gaze at the grave a sudden thought brings a slight smile…
“He’s in him, you know. Max Evans is Zan. That speech, that’s him.”

Queen Nataria: the sight of him, the sound of his voice had brought her great joy, but it was his words that had warmed her heart so…
“He is so very young, I was surprised that he understood so much already. But yes, I definitely heard Zan in his words. It was very inspiring.”

Larek: “It was a great reminder for the troops of what the man, Zan, had stood for, what he wanted for them. It made them proud to be fighting for him.”
Something Tobias had told him came to mind: looking at the Queen with a bit of amusement…
“He is young but he is surrounded by very astute advisors, especially a great-aunt on his adoptive father’s side, one called Aunt Trudy. Tobias is under the impression that this Aunt Trudy is possibly a reincarnate of a High Priestess of Ruan or is at least of the caliber of one, second-sight and all.”

Queen Nataria: surprised…
“Really?”

Larek: chuckling a little…
“Yes, seems when he arrived she was expecting him, told him he was late. He says that both Max and Isabel are very close to her, in fact all of them are.”

Queen Nataria: pleased…
“Good, it is always helpful when a High Priestess is on hand to advise.”
Her mother’s curiosity is piqued…
“Now tell me about his other advisors, oh and in particular about this girl I understand he has already bonded to at such a very young age. I believe you mentioned her name is Liz Parker? Yes, tell me all about her,”

Setting: Grandparent’s S.Lake Tahoe home, Friday mid afternoon

Alex: they had gotten back to the house a couple of hours ago, the vans were finally unpacked, laundry stacked up with one load already in the washer, one in the dryer, lunch was whatever you could find in the kitchen: while munching on HoHo’s and Pepsi, he is watching Tobias intently as he hooks up his transmitter/receiver to the tv dish, preparing to get an update from Larek…
“So how come you can’t connect it to a cell phone? Then you could communicate from anywhere.”

Tobias: so far he’s been asked and answered 27 questions from Alex in the last 40 minutes, for some reason he’s been keeping count: answer to number 28…
“Because all that would be heard is a series beeps, the message is visual and needs to be translated. I record it on the vcr then translate it.”

Alex: “Oh”
Thinking about it for a minute…
“So connect the cell to a laptop and receive it on to the laptop. I could probably help write a program to translate it automatically.”

Tobias: stops in his tracks and turns around to look at Alex…

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:46:04 PM
“It’s not as easy as I made it sound Alex, but you know that probably could work. Why don’t we talk about this later tonight and see what ideas we can come up with.”

Alex: excited…
“Sure no problem.”
Thus is the beginning of the alien/human technology collaboration and its founding fathers.

Later that same night…

Max: he couldn’t sleep, after tossing and turning in bed for hours, he gives up and quietly creeps through the sleeping house to the living room where he sits and stares at nothing as tonight’s message continually runs through his head {Luntar base secure, heavy causalities: 2,000 confirmed dead, 2,400 injured, 900 missing and presumed dead. Kivar is seeking additional support and troops from Cromar, most likely he will get them, expect increased hostilities. Next phase to commence as scheduled.}: he hangs his head in anguish {2,000 dead because of me and that number is only going to increase. There’s got to be another way, a better way. I don’t want these people to have to die. Why? Why does it have to be this way?}: he’s so absorbed in his thoughts that he doesn’t hear her.

Liz: she had been going nuts all evening ever since the message was received: to everyone else Max had been silent but not to her, to her he had been like an open book, a book that was stuck on the same chapter and being read over and over: she’s exhausted but sleep is denied, getting up out of bed, grabbing her blanket and pillow, she tromps out to the living room sofa and faces its current occupant who looks up at her startled: she doesn’t say a thing, she tosses the pillow to one end of the sofa, pushes him back so that he is laying on it, then basically lays down on him and wraps the blanket around both of them and snuggles into his embrace.

Max: he breathes deeply of her scent as she’s lying in his arms, calming him…
“Liz, I ….”

Liz: not lifting her heard…
“Shush, go to sleep.”

Max: “But Liz, I…”

Liz: adamant…
“I said shush, sleep.”
They lay there quietly as she drifts off to sleep, to be followed not long after by her finally peaceful soulmate.”

There are multitudes of gifts that one has to offer and they don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with special alien powers. The Fates would like to remind all that the greatest strength comes from diversity.


Chapter 70

Setting:
Grandparent’s S. Lake Tahoe home, early Saturday

George: as per usual he is the first one up, coming down the stairs to start the coffee and collect the morning paper, he spots an unidentified foot hanging over the end of the sofa: quietly walking up behind the sofa, he arches his eyebrow at what he sees {well now, good to see the boy finally got some sleep. It’s good that she’s an itty-bitty thing or they’d never both fit on the sofa.}: looking a little more intently {where’s his other hand?}: spying it {Oh hell. Glad he’s my grandson and not my son. It’s Philip’s turn. I’ve already done my time.}: shaking his head, he heads out the front door for the paper and purposefully lets the screen door slam shut.

Max: startled out of his sleep, he’s confused by his surroundings for a moment: he smiles as someone stirs in his arms: wrapping his arms tightly around her, he kisses her good morning on the forehead: without opening her eyes she smiles and wraps her arms around his neck, snuggling underneath his chin: they contentedly hold each other for a few moments before hearing the squeak of the screen door again.

George: with his head buried in the sports page he walks through the living room loudly commenting to no one in particular…
“Well, I‘ll be, looks like the A’s might have a chance this year. Hey, how about those Yankees. Hmmm, wonder if there’s any updates from the Raider’s training camp?”
And keeps right on walking into the kitchen and gets the coffee going.

Liz: her eyes are wide as Max’s Grandpa goes walking through, totally ignoring them: she’s trying to be quiet but she can’t help the giggle…
“Max, he knows that we’re here.”

Max: craning his neck to see what his Grandpa is doing: looking back to Liz and smiling…
“I’m sure he does. I think we better get back to our rooms before anyone else comes down.”
He feels the cold as she leaves his arms: they share a quick kiss before heading towards their perspective rooms: as he opens the door to his, he is greet by the sight of three guys sprawled out in their boxers and t-shirts, dirty clothes mixed with clean all over, along with sporting equipment, and load snoring can be heard from all three: he crinkles his nose as a smell hits him {Oh man, we should have never found that bean dip last night.}: holding his breath he scrounges around for something to wear and heads to the bathroom for a shower: he emerges 10 minutes later ready for a new day and joins his Grandpa on the deck for some coffee: sitting down…
“Morning Grandpa.”

George: looking up from the paper…
“Morning Max. Sleep well?”

Max: smiling in spite of himself….
“Yeah Grandpa, just fine.”

George: “I don’t see how. The noise coming from that room when I passed by would have woke the dead. Hadn’t heard anything like that since I was in the navy.”

Max: giving his Grandpa a hard look…
“That’s right, you were in the South Pacific during WWII. Grandpa, do you… do you ever resent having to have served, to risk your life like that?”

George: putting the paper down and studying his grandson for a bit before answering…
“No Max, I don’t. There’s no doubt that war really is hell and a lot of good men and women on both sides die. But I would rather it had been me to go than my…”
His voice trails off and he doesn’t complete the sentence.

Max: watching his grandfather’s sad expression, gently…
“sons… But one did go… to Vietnam.”

George: “Yes, our oldest son Max went to Vietnam and never came back. Your Grandma and I feel the pain of his loss every day. You never get over losing a child, but life does go on. Now we have a grandson that carries his name and while you’ll never replace him, it does feel good knowing that another Max Evans exists in the world… and I guess eventually in another world some day too.”
That earns him a smile from his grandson…
“Max, not matter where you go and what you become, you will always be a part of this family with people that care about you. We built this place in hopes that one-day it would be filled with family and friends, a place where they can come to forget about the world for a bit. It feels good to finally see it being put to that use.”

Setting Bellevue Hospital, NYC, late Saturday evening

Dr. Connelly: he pauses to stretch his back, it’s been a long day, almost 10hrs of surgery: looking back at his patient being taken to Post Op {he’s so young. Usually they’re in their 70’s or 80’s before I see them, but him… he’s not even out of his teens. He’ll never walk normally, I did the best I could but there was so much damage to the area. Well, at least he’ll be able to get up and get around eventually.}: he throws his cap and mask in the laundry and walks out to the waiting area: he looks around and finds no one.

Nurse: following the doctor out with chart in hand…
“Doctor, I had a question on this…”
Noticing the sad look…
“Paul, what’s wrong? The surgery was a success.”

Dr. Connelly: shaking his head…
“Where are they? Where are the anxious family members waiting to hear how it went? Where are the tears and smiles when they hear that he’s going to be ok? It’s not right. No one should be alone, with no family or even friends to care about him, especially a kid just starting out in life. It’s just not right.”
Looking at the nurse…
“Now what was your question?”

Family and friends can make a world of difference in one’s life, but the Fates are there for those without them.


Chapter 71

Setting:
Restaurant outside of Sonora, CA, dinner time Thursday

Maria: standing in line at the salad bar, she snickers at the Jr. High Schoolers ogling a certain alien: bumping her friend in front for attention, in a low tone and nodding...
“Liz, Liz, look. Those three can barely be in their teens and they’re practically drooling over Max.”

Liz: she looks towards the girls on the opposite side of the salad bar and then towards Max, who is totally oblivious and looks so darn cute in that baseball cap: whispering back to Maria...
“It’s the hat. He looks about twelve in it.”
{Who’s twelve? I was a good foot shorter when I was twelve. What girls?} goes echoing through to her: as she watches him look around trying to find the girls...
“Make that a tall twelve.

Maria: “And tall ears to match.”
Both cannot stop giggling as they load up their salad plates as Max continues to look around in confusion...
“He’s so cute when he’s confused. I wonder if it’s an alien thing, cuz Michael suffers from it like 24/7.”

Tess: just catching up with them: glancing back to Kyle at the salad bar piling it on...
“Nah, I think clueless ness is a universal guy thing. Once Kyle discovered Grandpa Evans’ ’72 Mustang, he’s been oblivious to the whole world. All I’ve been hearing is ‘oil this’ and ‘V8 that’. What’s a Shelby anyway?”
Getting shrugs in reply, they head over to their seats at the tables.

Alex: as they all gather around the three tables that they have claimed, while munching on his chicken...
“Mr. and Mrs. Evans, this week was great. Between panning for gold in Jamestown, checking out the old west museums in Columbia with that awesome old fashion ice cream parlor, and that day at Yosemite, I can’t decide what was best.”

Kyle: “Oh sure you can. It was panning for gold. When else are you going to see Isabel knee-deep in a creek, swishing a bunch of mud around, getting freaked when a fish swam past and ending up practically jumping into your arms?”
As the tables starting laughing at the memory, both he and Alex get a good smack on the arm from a now red-faced Isabel.

Maria: as the chuckling dies down...
“Well for me it was Yosemite. I’m not usually a real nature person but Yosemite Valley with its Bridal Veil Falls and Yosemite Falls was breathtaking. I would love to get married in the meadow across from the old Wawona Hotel.”
{shudder}: turning to her bondmate {I HEARD THAT!}.

Michael: deciding he had better start talking before she has a chance to continue...
“Yeah, Yosemite was cool. Long hike up Half Dome.”

Betty: “I still can’t believe you boys did that. Your poor bodyguards almost had heart attacks when they realized what you were up to, not to mention what that did to mine and Diane’s blood pressure.”

Kyle: pointing his thumb...
“Well at least the King here let them off the hook about joining the hike.”

Max: shrugging...
“The view was incredible. I got some great pictures up there.”

Liz: “You guys were still nuts. Do you know that lightening strikes Half Dome everyday? At least you didn’t have any lame idea about trying to climb El Capitan.”

Max: “No, that’s for hang gliding.”

Philip: “That happens to be illegal and glad I stopped you.”

Diane: “Max, you weren’t?”

Max: “Huh? Uh, no.”
{Max Evans, you can’t lie. Your ears turn red and in that hat they’re sticking out for the entire world to see.}: as the red deepens {they do not stick out.}: at her raised eyebrow response {well, they don’t!}.

Diane: “Max, eat.”

Setting: Walmart, S.Lake Tahoe, Friday afternoon....

Maria: while standing in line with the others...
“Blah, I feel so bloated. I am so PMS’ing. I shouldn’t have eaten all that chocolate last night.”
She adds her box of Tampax to the other three...
“I can’t believe that we are all starting at the same time.”

Liz: “You know, there have been articles written about how women who work together get on the same cycle. It’s a medical phenomenon.”
While waiting, she glances over to the magazine rack, where the tabloids are: her mouth drops open in shock...
“OH MY GOD! It’s Max, they have Max’s picture all over them.”
Taking one while Maria, Tess and Isabel take the others: while reading...
“I don’t believe this. This lady claims that Max is her long lost son whom she got pregnant with when she was abducted.”

Isabel: “Really? This one claims that all four were part of a government conspiracy involving human/alien experimentation.”

Maria: “This is interesting, this one claims to have a secret source that has found out aliens can’t have sex.”
They all have a good laugh at that one.

Tess: “Ahem, this one says the opposite and it actually has a blurb on Michael that is penned by, um...”

Maria: she quickly snatches the tabloid from Tess...
“Pam Troy. Just wait tell I get a hold of him, that’s one Spaceboy that’s going for a lift off into space. Oh just wait.... how dare he...how...”

Liz: grabbing Maria by the shoulders, trying to calm her...
“Maria, Maria he didn’t do anything. Besides we’re in public. Let’s wait until we’re alone, OK?”

Maria: “Oh yeah sure. I’m amazed you’re so calm about this.”
Showing Liz the article...
“especially about this rather lengthy piece where Tracy Donnor told all about a certain Loverboy of yours.”

Liz: grabbing the tabloid...
“What?! Let me see that! Oh.... how could she... he never....”

Maria: “Liz, public, remember?”

Meanwhile back at the Grandparent’s house...

Michael: he, Max and Kyle are checking out Grandpa Evans’ Mustang when he gets a sudden feeling of dread come over him: looking over at his friends, he can tell that they are receiving a similar message...
“Maxwell, you think your Grandpa would mind if we took this baby out for a drive, a nice very long drive?”
They have Alex join them as they run for the hills before the girls return.

The Fates enjoy a few simple normal days or rather what passes as normal for the alien citizens of Roswell and their loved ones.


Chapter 72

Setting:
Grandparent’s house, S. Lake Tahoe, very late Friday evening

George: he, Betty, Philip and Diane are sitting around the outdoor fireplace on the deck enjoying some mulled wine in the cool night air...
“It sure is peaceful now. All the kids finally hit the hay?”

Diane: “I think so.”

George: chuckling...
“Boy that Maria sure is a spitfire. Don’t blame the boys one bit for staying gone four hours. Hell, I would’ve stayed out ‘till I was absolutely certain she was asleep.”

Betty: “Oh you, please. I can’t blame the girls for being upset about those awful articles. Everyone is going to have hard enough time with everyone staring and gossiping, but to also have that garbage in those tabloids for the world to read?”

Philip: “Yeah, but it’s not the boys fault. They didn’t do anything.”
Chuckling at his next thought...
“They couldn’t even if they wanted to, the girls would know. I bet that bonding thing keeps the divorce rates real low on Antar.”

Diane: “You know Philip; I’ve been thinking that we might need to hire some PR people. I mean the kids are going to be getting swamped with reporters and request for interviews. I imagine at some point they’re going to have to grant an interview or two and it wouldn’t hurt to have a professional helping them.”

Philip: mulling it over...
“That’s not a bad idea. I spoke to Jim this afternoon, he and Amy just got back this morning. Said everything was semi-normal. A lot of the initial reporters got bored and left after the first week and no aliens, but there are still plenty there. The Secret Service is setting up concrete barricades around the cross streets where everyone lives to try and control the traffic. Oh and they issued special permits to all of the neighbors so they can come and go with no problems, but still, they can’t be happy about it. I Have a feeling that once we return, so will they. Yeah, we might need to hire some PR people to consult with and help coordinate things with the White House. I’ve haven’t said anything to Max yet, but I got a couple of calls this week from the White House Chief of Staff. It seems there are quite a few heads-of-states wanting to meet them and of course that would be a great photo opportunity for the press.”
Shaking his head...
“Damn, I hate the thought of Max having to put himself on display like that. He’s going to absolutely despise it.”

Tobias: just now coming outside to join them with a cup of hot chocolate and Tabasco...
“He’s going to have to get use to it, though. So far he’s done pretty well.”

Philip: with a proud Father smile...
“Yeah he has.”
Scowling a bit...
“Tobias, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. The money in that Swiss account, what can it be used for?”

Tobias: “It was meant to go towards the care and upbringing of the Royal 4.”

Philip: “Say for eight college educations?”

Tobias: “Absolutely.”

Philip: “And maybe a PR firm? Things are going to be getting kind of expensive as the kids get more exposure.”

Tobias: “Philip, the money is meant for them, to be drawn upon as needed for whatever the reason.”

Philip: “Good when we get back we need to start making some arrangements on how to handle things, that is with Max’s agreement of course.”

Meanwhile, back upstairs in the quiet house...

Maria: only half awake and very blurry-eyed she stumbles into the bathroom: just using the nightlight, she proceeds to the commode to take care of business, splash...
“AAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK!”
Quickly getting up and fixing things, she then proceeds to the assumed guilty party to give them yet another piece of her mind: flipping on the light switch in the boys’ room Mt.Saint Maria lets the hot ash fly...
“OK, WHO DID IT? HUH? WHO LEFT THE TOILET SEAT UP?”
While pacing up and down the foot of the air mattresses, she doesn’t even stop for her answer; as far as she’s concerned they are all guilty...
“What is it about you men that you can’t put the damn seat back down? Is it in the male genes or something? A male genetic defect? Well...”

Max: “But we didn’t...”

Maria: “Oh don’t you dare give me that Mr. Manners. I’ve seen you, when you hang around Mr.Take Off For Four Hours too much; instead of your good manners rubbing off on him, you start to revert to his Neanderthal ways!
Michael Guerin, don’t you dare raise an eyebrow at me like that! We’ve had this discussion how many times? And you still do it! I damn near broke my butt a couple of months ago over at your place!
Kyle Valenti, I heard that snicker! So you think it’s funny huh? Well let me tell you, there had better not ever be a toilet seat left up in our house or you’re going to be needing a lot of Max’s healing services cuz so help me...”

Kyle: “I got it, I got it. Close the damn lid.”

Maria: “GOOD!”
Turning to the remaining one...
“Alex, this is what happens when you hang around with a bunch of testosterone induce knuckleheads, and after everything Liz and I taught you?”

Alex: “Never happen in a million years, I swear!”

Isabel: standing in the doorway of the girls’ room, listening to the tirade...
“Nope, wasn’t Max. I use to beat him up with my Barbie whenever he did that, broke him of that habit when we were seven. I bet he still has some knots on his head that matches Malibu Barbie.”

Tess: “Well, I must confess. Kyle’s gotten a lot better ever since I threaten to zap the reason he needs to stand up to pee, but he’s still slips every once in awhile.”

Liz: “Can’t be Alex, not after all the work Maria and I put into him all these years.”

Isabel: “Oh you know, I’ve been meaning to thank you for that. You guys did a great job.”

Liz: “You’re welcome.”

Down stairs.....

George: at the initial scream everyone came in to see what was going on: they got as far as the bottom of the stairs when the eruption occurred, which is where they remain...
“Sounds like the Spitfire is laying into them again.”

Tobias: confused...
“I don’t understand. Why is she so mad at them?”

Philip: “It sounds like one of them left the toilet seat up.”

Tobias: “So?”

Philip: shaking his head...
“I actually had someone site that in a divorce petition one time.”

Aunt Trudy: she had also been sound asleep, but no longer: taking pity on the now even more confused alien...
“When guys leave the seat up and girls don’t realize it until it’s too late, they go splash. Not a very nice picture. This usually occurs about now, in the middle of the night when people are still sleepy heads, quite a rude awakening. Something you might want to keep in mind in the future when... you have a house guest.”

Tobias: “Oh.”
{I wonder if I should go and confess?}: as they hear a door slam shut {Um, maybe not.}:

Back upstairs, boys room...

Michael: pissed, looking at his roommates...
“Thanks a lot guys. She may have shut up to you, but any idea how long she’s going to be going off inside my head?”

Max: trying to be helpful, sort of...
“About as long as she did this afternoon? Good thing it wasn’t Isabel. I think Grandma still has some of our old toys and I’m sure there’s one of those damn Barbies in there somewhere.”

Kyle: punching his pillows trying to get comfortable...
“Yeah well, be glad she can’t threaten to zap your, well you know.”

Alex: laughing....
“Yeah, Michael. Maria with powers, now that I would love to see.”

Michael: as he is resigned to his fate of listening to Maria continue to go off in his head {Maria with powers? God help us all}: reverberating through his brain {WHAT WAS THAT?}: with a sigh {Nothing dear}.

The Fates know that the lessons that stick aren’t always learned in the classroom.


Chapter 73

Setting:
Grandparents’ S. Lake Tahoe House, mid Sunday morning

George: he’s busy watching the boys load up the vans: the last two weeks have been exhausting but he has loved every minute of it: looking back at the house, he could swear the house seemed sad to see the kids getting ready to leave: they brought such life to it: he smiles as an upstairs window slides open and a blonde spitfire hangs out it, shouting for the guys to come and carry their bags downstairs: he’s chuckling as his son comes up next to him...
“You know, I keep thinking of those two quiet, reserved little grandkids you and Diane gave us. Where’d they go?”

Philip: shaking his head...
“They morphed into teenagers.”
Turning more serious...
“Dad, thanks for everything. These last two weeks are exactly what they needed.”

George: “What about you and Diane? You two need some time to take care of yourselves, too.”

Philip: with a slight gleam in his eye...
“Yep, we sure do and I have that all planned, don’t worry.”
Watching the girls telling the guys how to load the vans so everything will fit...
“At least we don’t have to worry about babysitters anymore.”
Continuing to watch the kids, as Isabel and Michael get into it over her telling him to take everything out and reload the larger suitcases on the bottom, Michael stomping off towards the house leaving Isabel standing there steaming then a bolt goes whizzing past, nailing Michael in the butt, who turns and is about to let one fly back...
“MICHAEL, ISABEL! STOP!”

George: watching the same antics play out...
“You sure about that babysitter?”

Betty: it’s a little before noon and all the vans are packed, the house sadly quiet: determine to keep the tears at bay, grabbing her granddaughter in a tight hug...
“You take care of yourself. If any of you need anything, we’re here and waiting with open arms.”

Isabel: near tears...
“Oh Grandma, you don’t know how good it feels to hear that, especially after... well, after knowing everything. You and Grandpa have made these last two weeks so special, thank you. I love you.”

George: hugging his sister tight...
“Trudy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look happier, but don’t let them wear you out. You’re not a young woman any more.”

Trudy: smiling...
“I’m younger than you! Oh don’t worry; they are what’s keeping me young. Actually I’ve talked to Philip about dropping me off at my home in Taos for a little while. I’ll get plenty of chance to rest then. Now you and Betty had better be planning a trip to Roswell soon.”

George: “For the Holidays, if not sooner. Now give me a hug and we’ll see you soon.”

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:46:56 PM
Michael: it’s Sunday evening and something has awoken him from a very sound sleep: he looks around from his viewpoint in the last row of seats in the van or rather he tries to, he has a blonde pixie currently using him as a pillow: he smiles softly {she’s snoring.}: craning his head around to look out the window, his mouth drops open in surprise: a rare grin from ear-to-ear appears on his face as he stares out at all the neon lights: getting excited, in not quite a whisper...
“Maxwell, Maxwell, shake it loose. Look out the window.”
A little louder...
“Maxwell, wake up man!”

Max: he and Liz were snuggled in together in a sound sleep: his eyes pop open at the sound of Michael’s urgent voice: wrapping a protective arm around Liz, and turns to look out the window: he’s suddenly wide awake...
“I don’t believe it.”
As Liz stirs in his arms, he gives her a quick kiss on the forehead and then turns to the driver...
“Uh, Tobias, do you know where you’re going?”

Tobias: Aunt Trudy has been upfront with him, keeping him company by telling stories of when she was a young girl and about this town that they are arriving at: looking in his rearview mirror at the now wide awake passengers...
“Sort of. I’m just following your Dad.”

Diane: as they pull into the entrance of the large hotel and casino with the volcano that erupts every 15 minutes out front, she turns to her husband with concern...
“Philip, are you sure it’s a good idea to do this? I mean all these people around; someone is bound to notice the kids. Besides, I’m not sure Las Vegas is the best place to bring a bunch of teenagers, especially ones that can...

Philip: placing a reassuring hand on his wife...
“Diane, I have this all planned. I notified the Secret Service of this before we left and made the appropriate arrangements with the hotel. They are very much aware of their high profile guests and have procedures in place for it.”
With a mischievous twinkle in his eye...
“I just thought we could use a little grown up time, even if only for one night.”
They all pile out of the vans, hand their overnight bags to the bellhop and follow him into the check-in counter: he can’t help but grin at the wide eyed stares the kids have, as it’s his turn at the counter...
“Hello, I have reservations under Evans.”

Clerk: “One moment sir.”
Tonight has been like any other but that just changed: her eyes grow wide as she reads the special note that pops up on her computer screen under the reservation name: picking up the in house phone...
“Yes sir, I have your reservation, I just need to notify my manager.”
As she waits for the manager, she can’t help but look around for the others in the Evans party: she’s surprised when she spots them {they’re so young.}: she smiles as they are all looking around, pointing at different things {and so human, they’re just like most, excited by the bright lights and all the action going on.}: her thoughts are interrupted as the manager arrives and she steps back.

Manager: “Mr. Evans. Welcome to Las Vegas and The Mirage. We have the two adjoining suites and the two double rooms that you requested. I understand that the extra rooms are for security?”

Philip: “Yes, the Secret Service detail. Are all the other arrangements taken care of?”

Manager: “Of course sir.”
As he completes the credit card transaction...
“And if there is anything else that you require, please let us know.”
He hands the keys to Mr. Evans.

Philip: “Thank you.”
He turns to his entourage and herds them towards the elevators: he doesn’t miss the excitement this has stirred in them: as they enter the elevator, he takes out the special key that is required to get to the upper floors: as he opens the door to the first suite, he is practically bowled over as a bunch of wild animals, that use to be fairly well mannered kids, stampede into the room: he hands the other room key to Tobias, who goes next door to the adjoining suite and opens the connecting door: he allows the kids a little time to check out the large two bedroom suite and it’s twin next door: he grins as Maria excitedly exclaims that there’s a private balcony with a hot tub right off the master suite {perfect}: as the bellhop brings their bags up, handing him a twenty...
“Thanks, just leave them there.”

Bellhop: dropping the bags by the door...
“Thank you, sir. Room service will be up in about ten minutes.”
He closes his door behind him.

Philip: clearing his voice loudly...
“AHEM! Kids, everyone! Here front and center, all of you!”
After a minute, they are all gathered around him in the living room...
“OK, here’s the game plan. We have these two suites. Diane and I have the master bedroom in this one, Aunt Trudy of course has the master in the other, there’re 2 queens in each of the other bedrooms plus the sofa is a pullout. So boys get one room, the girls the other and any over flow gets the sofa beds. Now that, that is settled, I’m going to lay out the rules, they are really quite simple: no gambling, no drinking and no carousing. There will be a 2AM bed check and I had better find everyone in their right beds. Other than that you kids are free to check out the strip, but remember you are being tailed and it would be best not to attract any additional attention to yourselves. Oh and God help you if I have to come bail anyone out of jail. I am relying on all of you to be on your best behavior so that Diane and I can enjoy ourselves a little tonight. I think we deserve it, don’t all of you? Now any questions?”

Aunt Trudy: as she raises her hand...
“Yes dear, I have a question. Do those rules apply to me as well? I thought I saw a blackjack table with my name on it and well dear, what’s blackjack without a gin-and-tonic?”

Philip: he can’t help the grin and chuckles, nor can anyone else...
“OK Aunt Trudy, point taken. You and Tobias are obviously over 21 and can do as you please. Any other questions?”
He turns to answer the knock at the door...
“Ah yes, room service. Just put it over there.”
Looking back at the kids still standing around...
“Well, why aren’t all of you kids gone?”

Max: looking at the room service being laid out...
“That smells good. Steak, champagne, strawberries, chocolate, where’s ours? I mean we haven’t eaten yet either.”

Philip: “Find a buffet. I have plans and you kids aren’t part of them. Now get out!”
As he finally manages to hustle eight stunned teens, one great aunt, and one amused alien out the door, he turns back to his waiting wife...
“I didn’t think they’d ever leave.”

Diane: eyeing the dinner then her husband: she picks up a ripe strawberry and takes a bite...
“So Philip what exactly did you have planned?”

Philip: grinning, he grabs the champagne, his wife and heads towards the hot tub...
“I’ll show you. Let me know if you approve.”

Max: looking back at the closed door to the suite, Michael is practically dragging him down the hall way...
“What was that all about?”

Kyle: while waiting for the elevator...
“Based on experience, probably something you would rather not know about your parents.”

Max: looking at Kyle with shock then disgust...
“But that’s my MOM!”

Kyle: “Yeah, well at least they didn’t HAVE to get married.”

Michael: “Come on Maxwell, let’s find that buffet, I’m starving.”

Tobias: standing in the other elevator with Aunt Trudy...
“So Aunt Trudy, what’s this blackjack? Is it hard to learn?”

As one gets wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of what life has brought you, it is important to remember to take time to renew and strengthen the bonds that make you who you are; the Fates know this is especially true for ones put in extraordinary circumstances.


Chapter 74

Setting:
Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, Sunday Evening

Michael: while munching on roast beef, potatoes and Tabasco...
“OK Maxwell, here’s the plan, quick wave of the hand and whalah, instant 21. I was thinking we’d start with a little roulette then on to some craps, might even...”

Max: “Michael, I hate to remind you but my Dad said no gambling and I’m quite sure he meant it.”
Thumbing his hand over his shoulder...
“Besides I think having agents following us around is going to tip off security where ever we go. How anxious are you to face my Dad from behind bars?”

Kyle: working his way through a pile of ribs...
“Kill joy. Got any better ideas, El Presidente?”

Alex: “You know there’s some pretty cool looking coasters around. Did you see the one at New York, New York? Why don’t we start there right after dinner?”

Michael: thinking about it...
“Maria doesn’t do coasters, said something about upside down loops being against the laws of nature.”

Kyle: “So don’t tell her ‘till she’s on it.”

Max: seeing the corners of his friend’s mouth starting to turn up...
“You do like to live dangerously don’t you, Michael?”

Michael: “It adds spice to life, Maxwell. You ought to try it more often.”

Meanwhile out on the casino floor...

Aunt Trudy: standing behind the seated alien at the table, giving him instructions...
“Hmmm, I would hold.”
With 18 in his hand, he takes her advice and $5 is his reward when the dealer gets 23: smiling...
“See, I told you it wasn’t hard. Now that you’re getting the hang of it, I think I’ll sit down and join you.”
Seeing the scantily clad girl go by...
“Oh Miss? Miss, I’ll have a Tanguerey and tonic please. Tobias what would you like?”

Tobias: raising his eyebrow at the outfit, smiling...
“I think I better stick to Coke.”
He takes a moment to watch the brunette walk away towards the bar {hmmm, this Las Vegas is an interesting place, nice attributes.}.

Aunt Trudy: eyeing Tobias, clearing her throat...
“Tobias, you need to place your bet.”
As he does so...
“You know, I think I’ll mention to Diane that she should have you and your Kathy over for dinner soon. You two are seeing so much of each other; she’s starting to feel like a member of the family.”
The dealer finishes the hand with her winning and Tobias losing...
“Tobias, what were you thinking? You should have held at 19, you would have won. Lack of concentration in a card game can be very costly. Oh look, here are our drinks.”

A little later....

Liz: their group is next in line for the roller coaster at New York, New York...
“You know guys this is not such a good idea, especially after a big buffet. I mean high speeds alone could make you throw-up, not to mention the loop.”

Maria: while climbing in and buckling up, her head springs up at her friends words...
“Did she say loop? As in upside down loop?“
As the cars jerk forward...
“MICHAAAEEEEELLLLLLLLL!”
One hand maintains a death grip on the bar in front, the other one does the same on the his arm as she continues to scream his name for the next 3 minutes, never running out of breath: as the car mercifully comes to a stop and they get off: she says not one word, she simply turns around and smacks him upside the head with her backpack-purse and storms down the exit ramp: this is only the beginning of their evening.

Kyle: laughing, he comes up next to Michael...
“Careful, too much spice makes for some lethal heartburn.”

Max: they made their way over to the MGM amusement park and are standing and looking up as the people on the bungee drop pull the cord and swing back and forth: he takes a quick peek over his shoulder at the now pale looking bodyguards, before looking back up and then at his friends...
“Well, whadda ya think?”

Michael: “Cool”

Kyle: “Only if I can be the one to rip the cord.”

Isabel: “Have you lost your mind?!”

Liz: “You have got to be kidding. No way am I getting on that.”

Maria: “I think I need to learn how to drink.”

Tess: “I think I’ll join you.”

Alex: coming up and putting his arms around Maria and Isabel...
“How about I keep you ladies company while the three stooges go prove their manhood?”

Maria: watching the guys get in line...
“Prove their stupidity you mean.”
They’re sitting on a bench eating ice cream as they watch Kyle, Max and Michael in the bungee harness being pulled back high in the air...
“Just my luck, they’ll throw-up as they pass over us.”

Alex: “Nah, I thought of that. By my calculations we should be out of the line of fire here if that happens.”

Tess: “You know Kyle drank that big gulp on the way over. Alex, uh...”

Alex: thinking for a moment...
“Still should be safe.”
They watch Kyle pull the release cord and the three go swinging past, screaming: it takes several passes before the swinging finally dies down...
“Looks like their done.”

Kyle: they are laughing and talking as they meet up with the rest of their group: animated...
“Man, you guys don’t know what you missed. That was awesome, what a thrill!”
Looking around...
“Where’s the mens room around here?”

Tess: she points in the general direction...
“I knew it.”
And smirks as all three head that way: turning back to her friends...
“So, what’s next?”
As they consult the park map...
“Hey, how about the bumper cars?”
Upon their return, the three daredevils are dragged over to the bumper car line.

Max: while bumpers cars seem rather tame, it is fun to see the look on Isabel’s face as he and Alex ram her car: he had been taking it easy on Liz until she rammed him from behind hard enough to make his car spin halfway around: he noticed that he seems to be a favorite target of Kyle’s, who simply grins at him and makes a mock bow every time he does it: he laughs as Maria nails Michael’s car yet again and Tess blindsides Kyle: they’re all smiling and laughing as the buzzer sounds and they climb out: they try out the rock climbing wall before heading over to the Luxor, where they check out the virtual reality rides and the gaudy souvenir shops.

Michael: even though the evening wasn’t turning out the way he planned, he has to admit if only to himself, that he has been having a good time: they’ve basically spent the last hour just walking around and checking out the different casinos while making their way back to the Mirage: currently they’re passing through the Excalibur, which seems to be packed with kids, of course more so since they’re in the arcade part: he pauses to watch a little kid about eight trying to get the lopsided basketball to go through the hoop: after about 4 tries the kid is out of tokens and is near tears, Michael gives a quick look around and walks over to the kid, giving him a dollar...
“Try it again.”
He folds his arms in front of him so no one will notice his glowing right hand as the little boy makes his basket: as the kid is excitedly jumping up and down and pointing to the large bear that he wants for his prize...
“See kid, told ya.”
As he starts to walk away, the person that he didn’t notice watching him walks up to him.

Maria: slipping her arm around him...
“That was sweet.”

Michael: acting gruff...
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Maria: “Um hum, of course not. Come here.”
She proceeds to reward his good deed with a long delicious kiss: it takes a minute before the sounds of whistles reach them: breaking their kiss, they find themselves amongst a bunch of kids making kissy faces at them: rolling her eyes...
“I think we better go.”

Max: as they are passing back through the Monte Carlo, he notices that people are starting to notice them, staring and pointing: he’s relieved as their agents as casually as possible come up and surround their group as they quickly walk through the casino to the tram to the Bellagio: while the Bellagio doesn’t really cater to the under 21 crowd, they do cater to shoppers: it takes almost an hour and threats of being physically carried out before the girls decide to tear themselves away from the shops: as they’re leaving he notices that Liz and Maria are both having some problems keeping up...
“What’s wrong?”

Liz: stopping and taking her sandals off...
“My feet are killing me. How much farther do we have to walk?”

Max: looking down the strip...
“A bit farther.”
Looking around for a slightly secluded spot...
“Come here. I think I can help with that.”
She sits down on the side of a planter and Max takes her foot in his hands as if to rub it: as his hands glows...
“Let me know when it feels better.”

Liz: her eyes are closed as she feels the heat of his hands penetrate her achy muscles: as a pleased smile spread across her face...
“Hmmm, that feels wonderful. I think I need to take you with me when I go shopping.”
As he switches to the other foot, a pleasurable sigh escapes her lips: when he finishes, he stands up and leans over and gives her a loving kiss: smiling...
“Thank you.”

Maria: leaning against a wall with shoes in hand...
“Well that’s great but what about my feet?”

Michael: Max looks at him, asking without words what he should do: looking at his dynamite pixie, he comes to a quick decision: he walks over and picks her up and starts walking...
“Come on, let’s go, I want to catch the pirate battle at Treasure Island.”

Isabel: they stand on the wood bridge that separates the pirates from the British man-o-war to watch the battle take place over head, they are both mesmerized by and laughing at the fun but corny show: after the show they walk through the casino shops that are lined with everything a pirate would need, plastic swords, eye patches, fake hook hands: she stops dead in her tracks as she can’t believe what she’s hearing going on behind her: turning around, she’s horror stricken at the sight her brothers, her lover and her friend taking up arms and staging a mock sword fight in the store: she looks over at her girlfriends, who are wearing similar looks of disgust: marching over to the children playing, she plants herself in front of Alex...
“Drop it or I’ll zap you where you’ll remember it the most.”
As Alex quickly complies, she is satisfied to see Liz has a hold of a now weaponless Max by the arm, Maria has Michael by the t-shirt and Tess has Kyle by the collar: embarrassed she turns on her heals and marches out of the store: as the guys quietly fall in behind...
“I cannot believe it. I haven’t seen anything like that since Max and Michael were nine and kept getting run out of the toy dept. for playing with the toy guns.”
She was so angry that she almost missed it: stopping and turning back around, she walks back to the Starbucks she just passed, turning to the girls...
“I think I’d like a tall café mocha. How about you?”

Liz: “Tall latte.”

Maria: “Same, but with a shot of hazelnut.”

Tess: “Make mine with a shot of vanilla.”
They all then turn and glare at the guys, who simply get in line.

Max: with a round of coffee drinks for all, they proceed back on their way to the tram to the Mirage, but this time it’s his turn to stop as he comes upon one of the last shops before the tram: as the guys come up behind him, smacking his lips at the sight of all those Krispy Kremes...
“Well, what better goes with coffee than donuts?”

Back at the Mirage...

Tobias: looking at his ever dwindling stack of chips then over at Aunt Trudy’s increasingly large stack...
“I think I’m going to try my hand at the slots for a bit.”

Aunt Trudy: Looking at her hand...
“Well, looky there, blackjack.”
Looking over Tobias, patting his hand...
“Alright dear, it is getting late. I think I’ll be calling it a night real soon anyhow. It must be getting close to 2AM. I wonder if the kids have gotten back yet.”

Tobias: checking his watch...
“It’s five till and if they’re not I’d rather not be there. I’ll see ya in a bit.”

Aunt Trudy: calling out to the departing alien...
“Good Luck.”

Philip: watching the illuminated numbers on the alarm click turn over, at 1:59AM he hears the door to the suite open and herd of noisy teenagers come in and turn on the tv’s in both suites, the theme to Gilligan’s Island comes filtering through...
“Ugh.”

Diane: reaching for her husband: with a reassuring smile...
“Philip, let them enjoy their last night of freedom. Besides they made it back before 2AM. So they’re not in bed, cut ‘em a little slack.”

Philip: getting out of bed and slipping his sweat pants on: rubbing his tired eyes...
“Alright, but I have to drive tomorrow. They don’t so those tv’s have got to get turned down.”
A few minutes later, he returns to the now much quieter bedroom: climbing back in bed, still shaking his head...
“Those kids are going to be up for hours. They’re drinking coffee and have already devoured 2 dozen donuts and have two more to go.”
It’s almost 3AM before a broke Tobias escorts a now $900 richer Aunt Trudy back to the suites and almost 4AM before all is finally quiet.

The Fates too have taken advantage of the last night of vacation and are also passed out from exhaustion.


Chapter 75

Setting:
Mirage Hotel suites, Las Vegas Nevada, Monday morning

Philip: his eyes pop open to a thin stream of light shining through the small gap in the drapes: he groans slightly as he rolls over to look at the clock {7:35AM, damn I feel like I just got to bed.}: rubbing his hand over his eyes, he’s careful not to wake his wife as he slips out of bed, closes the drapes the rest of the way and heads to the bathroom for his morning routine: he emerges a few minutes later clean shaven, teeth brushed, hair combed but still wearing sweat pants and goes to do a head count on the kids: as he walks into the living room he spots a body asleep on the sofa bed {hmmm, Michael, that’s one down.}: opening the door to the other bedroom in their suite, he counts bodies {1,2, 3 plus Michael makes 4}: he closes the door and is about to go to the adjoining suite when it dawns on him that, that wasn’t right: opening the bedroom door again for a second look {Max and Alex in one bed and Tobias in the other. Wait TOBIAS?! Oh hell, I lost a kid. Where’d Kyle get to?}: he looks around the room once more then scans the living room area again before walking into the adjoining suite, where he immediately spots the AOL teen asleep on the sofa bed: his sigh of relief is fleeting as he realizes that there is one too many arms sticking out: his pursed lips form a thin line as he walks over and gives Kyle a not-so-gentle knock upside the head: as Kyle opens his eyes he is greeted by a glaring Philip with his arms crossed: while pointing to the sofa bed next door...
“Wrong bed. You’ll hear about this later. Move it.”
As the boy gets out of bed, he’s grateful to see that he at least has his boxers still on, and he could see that Tess had some sort of night shirt on: he treats a now awake Tess to a very disappointed Dad look before he goes and peeks into the girls room where he thankfully finds three girls sound asleep: closing their door he momentarily wonders if Aunt Trudy was in her bed but decides that he would really rather not know if she wasn’t: as he heads back to his room he shoots one more glare at the sofa bed that now has two grouchy guys arguing over blankets and pillows: he closes his door behind him and decides that the bed looks too damn inviting and slips back underneath the covers and curls up with his wife and life partner: at about a quarter-to-ten the sounds of mayhem right outside his door awakens him: he turns over to where Diane was and finds an empty spot: he glances to the closed bathroom door and hears water running: he looks back to the other door, decides that whatever is going on out there can wait and puts a pillow over his head trying to drown out the sounds: a little bit later he feels someone sitting on the bed, with a mischievous grin he wraps his arms around her and pulls her back to the center of the bed with him: nuzzling her neck...
“Hmmm, you smell good.”

Diane: last night had been wonderful, it had been a long time since either one had been able to be that playful, just too much going on in their lives: her reminiscing is interrupted by the sounds of wide awake teens doing God-knows-what out there: kissing her husband...
“Thank you dear, but the kids....”

Philip: not letting go...
“What about them?”

Diane: “Philip, they’re just outside. What if they walk in and besides what about breakfast?”

Philip: “I believe that’s what room service is for and Max and Isabel haven’t done that since they were seven. So come here.”

Michael: it’s now almost 10:30am and he’s sitting on the sofa watching some talk show and listening to his stomach growl...
“OK Maxwell, this is getting ridicules. I need food now. Go tell your parents that we’ll meet them downstairs at the buffet.”

Max: eyeing his parents’ close door with uncertainty...
“I’d rather not. I guess we could leave them a note or something.”

Alex: “Sounds good to me. While you write it, I’ll head down and get in line.”
He opens the suite door only to be greeted by an agent blocking his way...
“Um, just going down to get in line for chow.”

Agent: hold his hand up to stop him...
“I’m sorry but that isn’t a real good idea at this time. Room service might be better.”

Isabel: coming up behind Alex...
“Why? What’s going on?”

Agent: “Are Mr. and Mrs. Evans available?”

Isabel: “I guess I can get them.”
Looking back at her brother with concern, she knocks on her parents’ door...
“Uh, Mom, Dad, one of the agents wants to talk to you.”
She hears a distant “we’ll be right out” in reply and sits down with the others in living room.

Diane: was just finishing getting dressed when she heard the knock, she interrupts Philip’s shower to let him know that something is up and proceeds to go out and see what it is: as she walks over to greet the agent, she mentally notes that everyone has assembled and is nervously looking at her...
“Good morning agent, what’s going on?”


posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:47:39 PM
Agent: “Good morning Ma’am, I was just explaining that it would be best for all of you to order room service.”

Philip: just coming into the living room...
“Why is that?”

Agent: sighing...
“Apparently some people took notice that you were here and have notified the press. There are reporters, photographers and curiosity seekers covering every exit as well as throughout the hotel casino and adjoining areas. We are coordinating with the hotel security on the safest exit route for everyone, but in the mean time it would be best if everyone relaxed and enjoy your rooms.”

Philip: “Thank you, we’ll do that. Please let us know when everything is setup. We’ll be packed and ready when you are.”
As he closes the door, he turns and looks at all the dour faces looking down...
“Max, I’m sorry. I guess this wasn’t such a good idea after all.”

Max: looking up at this...
“No Dad, we had a blast last night. In fact, this last couple of weeks has been incredible. Besides this was bound to happen sooner or later, at least it’s happening now and not two weeks ago.”

Michael: pulling out the room service menu...
“Hmmm, the American Breakfast looks good.”

Max: at a quarter-to-noon, they all assemble with their overnight bags, the vans are already in front and waiting for them, the hotel security is clearing a path for them downstairs: all but one of the agents precedes them down the elevators to the main floor: as the elevators come back up they all step in and ride down together: as the doors open, their very serious-looking agents surround them and very quickly start walking towards the exit: he’s had his arm around Liz the entire time and as they walk through part of the casino, he draws her even tighter to him as people are actively being restrained by the hotel security: all he can hear is a roar of people all shouting at them, he hasn’t clue what they’re saying: he briefly turns his head a little and sees that Alex has Isabel glued to him and Tobias is making sure Aunt Trudy keeps up: before he knows it they are outside where all the photographers and reporters have been forced to wait: he hears what must be hundreds of pictures being snapped and even more shouting and yelling: he is now every disoriented: Liz holding on tight to him is what forces him to keep it together: he is almost thrown into the van by the anxious agents, and in less than a minute the vans are pulling out and onto Las Vegas Blvd, where the traffic is being held for them to aid in getting them out of town as quickly as possible: he’s too shell-shocked to say anything: looking around at the other van occupants it obvious that he’s not alone in what he’s feeling: he wraps his arms tightly around his soul mate and holds onto her as if his life depends on it.


While it is always good to get away, it is time for the Fates to bring them back to reality.



Chapter 76

Setting:
Aunt Trudy’s house, Taos NM, late Monday evening,

Philip: it has been an exhausting drive: the local Las Vegas police dept working in conjunction with the Secret Service holding traffic for them as they made their way out of town, made for a speedy departure, plus it prevented the majority of reporters and the like from following them: there were a few that did manage to track them but a couple of phone calls to the Nevada and then the Arizona Highway Patrol took care of them: in the last ten hours they had only stopped three times, twice for gas and bathroom breaks and once for food and that was fast food: they had made record time but still had at least a good five hour drive home: watching Kyle and Michael unloading Aunt Trudy’s things...
“Aunt Trudy, are you sure you won’t change your mind? I mean you’ve been invaluable to us and we’ll miss you.”

Aunt Trudy: looking fondly at her nephew...
“Yes, I’m sure. I’m not a young woman any more and this will give me a little time for myself. I did have a life before all of this, you know; and I think I would like to attend to it for awhile, besides Roswell is just too blazing hot for me in the summer. I have my arts and crafts fairs and Indian Culture exhibits to attend and friends that I want to visit. I’ll only be a phone call away, and I do plan on coming back once the weather cools off a bit.”
Looking at him earnestly...
“Philip, you’re doing a wonderful job, but don’t take all of it on yourself. Max needs to see what all is going on behind the scenes; he’s not a little boy anymore. Let him know what all this is costing you and I don’t mean just money wise either. Now give me a hug.”
After their hug she turns to embrace her niece...
“Come here sweetie.”
Giving her a good look...
“Isabel, it’ll be tough for all of you when you get back, just remember your real friends will stand by you and don’t worry about the others, they’ve never mattered anyways. Oh and take good care of Alex.”

Isabel: “Don’t worry, I will.”

Max: next in line, he gives her a tight hug...
“I wish you would stay with us. You’ve helped me sort so many things out. I need you.”

Aunt Trudy: drawing back to look at him...
“You would have figured them out yourself... eventually. You’ll do fine and I’m only a phone call away. Now give me another hug.”
After getting her hug and kiss, she turns next to a slightly reluctant Kyle...
“Come over here. You’re not getting away that easily.”
While hugging...
“Kyle, keep doing what you’re doing.”

Kyle: pulling back and looking at her confused...
“Huh?”

Aunt Trudy: “You are the only one of the group that stands up to him and calls him on things. Michael may not like something, he may even argue with him about it but in the end he’ll support whatever Max decides. So will all the others but you won’t. You challenge him. Don’t stop.”
Turning to the next in line...
“Ah Michael, try and stay out of too much trouble.”

Michael: while hugging is favorite if only aunt...
“I’ll try but I can’t promise.”

Aunt Trudy: she’s still chuckling as she turns next to Liz...
“I know I leave him in good hands. Just don’t lose yourself in the process.”
Next she spies Maria...
“Oh our little Spitfire, you keep those boys in line.”

Maria: “Don’t worry, I will.”

Aunt Trudy: “Yes, I have no doubt about that.”
Next up is Tess...
“Remember you’re more than alien royalty, you’re Tess Harding, enjoy being her.”
Giving the next in line a sly smile...
“Oh my gambling buddy, I think we need to visit one of those Indian Casinos nearby and get in a bit more practice, and then I’ll teach you the finer points of roulette. Tell that Kathy of yours hello for me.”
Lastly she turns to Diane...
“Diane, there is no doubt that this wild bunch is in good hands. Don’t forget that while you’re busy taking care of them that you take care of yourself as well.”
She waves a final time as the two vans and two sedans pull away into the quiet night before heading to her own bed, in her own little home where she can sleep in late for a change.

Philip: it’s close to 3:00AM when they drop the final kid off and head home: even at this ungodly hour he can see a couple of people milling around the police barricades that lead to their home: as they pass through the barricades he notices them excitedly getting on cell phones: sighing {it’s begun}.

Setting: Bellevue Hospital, NYC, early Tuesday morning

Zan: as he stretches his left leg and wiggles his toes a little, a shaft of pain shoots up his leg: he freezes all movement until the pain passes: a slight smile crosses his face, it’s the first time since the “accident” that he’s been able to move his toes on his own: this afternoon he’ll start working with a physical therapist, he knows it’ll be agonizing but he welcomes the pain, it’s the price he’s willing to pay in order to walk again.

One makes many sacrifices in their life, some large some small but the Fates know that none are insignificant.


Chapter 77

Setting:
Evans house, Tuesday around noon

Philip: even though it’s almost noon, he’s the first one up: he yawns and stretches as he heads into the kitchen to start the coffee brewing: while waiting for the coffee, he glances over to the answering machine with it’s red message light blinking: looking closer he cringes as the number 49 flashes at him {good thing I didn’t buy the one that held over a hundred messages.}: he grabs a cup of coffee, a pad of paper and pen, hits the play button and sits down at the table, where he remains for the next half an hour: he’s just finishing up when Diane and the kids come in, still looking sleepy-eyed: as they get some coffee and take a seat around the table...
“Morning. I have here quite a list of messages.”
Perusing the list...
“Let’s see if I can hit the highlights...Diane, Laurie called...let’s see I counted 12 times, your Mom and Dad must have gotten back from their Bahamas cruise last Tuesday, cuz they’ve been calling ever since then... oh and let’s see we’ve got cousin Margie, cousin Pam, oh and do we have a cousin Jimmy?”
As Diane shakes her head “yes”...
“Huh, well he called too... then there were some rather interesting ones: one from a Tracy Donner for Max, something about wanting to study alien biology, she left her number.”
He does his best to keep a straight face at Max’s horror stricken look...
“And then there was one from a Pam Troy looking for Michael, she said either you, Max or Michael are welcomed to call her back, she also left her number.”
He glances back up at his son {didn’t think his face could get any redder, I guess I was wrong.}...
“Um, yeah, so there was also a couple here from a Johnny Whitmore for Isabel, wanting to know if she would like to... let’s see, oh did he put it ‘go alien exploring’?”
He gives her a rather dry, non-pleased look...
“Oh yes, then Bob Swantson called. I need to think about how to handle that one. I don’t want what he did to help us to cause him any problems. Oh and Max, Tom Barnett wants you to call him. Did you get a chance to talk to him before all of this broke?”

Max: “Yeah but only real briefly. He wanted to keep to the story that we discussed, that I’m a long lost grandson. The part about his lover having been an alien princess is a new twist though. I’m sure that made for some interesting family talk.”

Philip: scratching his unshaven chin...
“I can imagine. Well, give him a call today. Oh, before I forget, I’m going to be meeting with the Secret Service this afternoon at 3:00PM to go over security. I want the three of you there, and anyone else that can make it.”
With that they start their day, Isabel to go get dressed; Max decides to hunt for any food in the cupboards that they had that might still be edible after a two week absence: Diane starts the first of numerous loads of laundry before returning her sister’s call: Philip decides to tune in CNN to see what’s going on in the world while sipping a second cup of coffee.

Sister’s house....

Laurie: answering the phone...
“Hello... Diane! Are you back yet? Where were you? Well, yes I did get your message about visiting Philip’s folks in California, but you left out the part about Max and Isabel... about them being... I mean... Diane, why didn’t you tell me? We’re family. We should have known. How did all this happen anyways? Surely some aliens didn’t just drop them at your doorstep and say, ‘here take care of our kids. By the way, they’re alien royalty’.”
She listens intently as Diane explains...
“So it’s only been this year that you’ve known. Did you know in March when we were there for Max’s party? Diane, I’ll never forget that you didn’t tell me at least then, but I can forgive you. I guess I can understand how they didn’t want anyone else in on it...Oh, I saw a short clip of you guys leaving that Las Vegas Casino on a tabloid tv show last night. The kids looked kind of freaked. How’s everyone holding up? Yeah, I’d bet there’s going to be some changes to your lives... Oh, we’re doing ok. Everyone’s till shocked over it though... yeah, Mom and Dad got back last Tuesday morning, they had been in sort of news black out while on the cruise, so they sort of walked into it blind, but they’re coping... you had better be calling them next or you’re not going to hear the end of it; you still might not anyways... So Diane, how can... what makes them alien? I mean if it was physical, you would have noticed it years ago, so how can you tell they’er... aliens? Really, what kind of gifts? Healing, really? Molecular structure?”
Thinking about an incident that happened after they left her sister’s house last March...
“So with a wave of a hand they can change the shape of things, like shoes and uh, clothes? Hmm, did Max and Robert have words or something right before we left? Well, it’s not really important, but it could explain why we had to buy Robert new shoes and underwear when we got to LA.”
Chuckling at the memory...
“You should have seen the look on Robert’s face when he opened his suitcase to find high heals and lace underwear. Rob still is giving Robert funny looks over that one. At least now there’s a possible explanation. Oh no, don’t get on to him about it, it’s alright. At least they didn’t get into an actual fight this time, and considering what Robert had been implying about Max... well, it was the perfect payback. Ok, kiddo, I guess I had better go so you can call Mom and Dad, but I want to get together with you soon. So let me know when would be a good time. Let the kids know that we still love them, take care of yourself. I love you, bye.”

Setting: Evans house, same day about 4:00 PM

Philip: he had been looking over the suggestions that the Secret Service gave them, they were pretty good: the kids balked about having to submit a weekly schedule but the agents need those schedules so they can sweep the area before hand, it’s just something the kids are going to have to get use to: he scowls at the suggestion of building a cement fence around their house and all the security equipment that they are recommending {this is going to costs tens of thousands! But how can I not do it? I have to do everything possible to keep my kids safe.}: looking over the suggestions that Michael gets more suitable and secure place to live, that the Sheriff and Amy’s new home be approved security wise before they move: of course they would love it if the Parkers would move out of the apartment above the Crashdown, but that was going a bit too far: the alley way behind the Crashdown has already been blocked off and Jeff is at minimum looking at some big bucks also for a new security system: and there’s no doubt that they’re going to want another system over at Jim and Amy’s new place as well: looking over at the alien...
“Tobias, I’m glad you could make it today. There’re some things that I need to talk to you about. I know we spoke briefly about money for the kids’ education and a PR firm, but there’s a lot more that’s coming up.”
A little unsettled about having to say this...
“Tobias, I’ve always made a comfortable living and provided pretty well for my family, but I’m not sure how I’m going to afford all of this, not too mention the fact that I’m dealing so much with this stuff that it’s hard to find time to actually take care of my clients. And it’s just not me, there’re the Parkers, the Valentis and even Michael to consider. Plus I was thinking of hiring some sort of management firm or something; someone who can look out for the kids’ best interest. I hate to ask, but um, how much is in that account? Is it enough to cover all of these expenses?”

Tobias: looking at Philip with surprise...
“Philip, I’m sorry, I had never thought about that. I guess I’ve been lucky, as a member of the royal family money wasn’t really something I had to think about too much. As for the account, at the end of your WWII, there was $2 million deposited, some has been used for various things but the majority of it has just been sitting there drawing interest. I believe that there is about $50 million still available, of course it’s yours to use as needed.”
Turning more serious...
“Philip, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have any... outsiders looking out for the Royal 4, besides no one is going to have their best interest at heart like you do. Perhaps you could hire additional help at your practice instead?”
They talk for several hours about how to rearrange finances and responsibilities and draw Max into it as well, since it is technically the King’s money and well, he is the King: eventually the Parkers and Valentis and even Michael are called to consult on how to best use their resources.

The Fates know that it is the details in life that can drive one crazy if they’re not careful.


Chapter 78

Setting:
UFO Center, Wednesday, early morning

Max: he did his best to try and sneak in but without much success: if it hadn’t been for the agents clearing a path for him, he never would have made it: coming in the back way, he heads towards Brody’s private office: spying his boss at his computer...
“Hey Brody, how’s it been?”

Brody: turning at the sound of the voice: he grows excited as his alien employee comes in: jumping up out of the chair...
“Max, I’ve been waiting for you. You wouldn’t believe what this place has been like since you left. We normally average about 150 people a day, but lately it’s been close to 500 and growing! It’s total chaos. Not to mention the fact that it now takes longer for people to enter.”

Max: confused...
“Wait, what?”

Brody: shrugging...
“The metal detectors at the front door. Everyone has to go through them before entering. The Secret Service insisted on it as a condition of your continued employment here, which by the way I’m holding you to your word that you are going to be staying. But come on, come on, we only have a half an hour before the place opens and I want you to go through my alien artifacts, I need to know which are the real McCoys.”
He has a hold of Max by the elbow and drags him down to the display floor: he’s disappointed to find that he only has that one pentagon shaped thing that Max recognizes as authentic: looking at his friend, he smiles again...
“Well, I guess that’s ok. I mean those are just things and I have a real live alien that I can actually call my friend.”

Max: glances at his watch then back to Brody, smiling...
“Thanks Brody. But um, we open in like ten minutes and I have a request. Um, I would like to work behind the scenes, you know, away from the public eye.”

Brody: considering it, pensive...
“Max, I can understand that, but I was rather thinking the opposite would be better. Think about it, most people simply want to know that you... well, that you aren’t really some three headed monster. They would be ecstatic to simply see you and maybe shake your hand and say hi. It could go along way to squashing a lot of fears that people might have and in the process get you use to being the center of attention.”

Max: frowning...
I’m not sure. They’ll probably start asking a bunch of questions.”

Brody: clapping his hand on Max’s shoulder...
“Doesn’t mean you have to answer them. Come on, you need to get out and start meeting people, quit hiding.”

Max: “Ok, but if I don’t like it, I get to finish my shift behind the scenes.”
Smiling...
“I suppose this isn’t going to be too bad for business either.”

Brody: good naturedly...
“Thanks, I was thinking that you could maybe start by working the information booth. Think of it, an alien King manning the information booth at an UFO Center, the irony of it is incredible!”

Max: with a couple of Secret Service agents hovering nearby, the first visitors enter the center: a harried mother with an antsy little boy comes up to the information booth: he smiles at her question: pointing...
“Yes ma’am, right over there across from the Ladies.”
People start milling about, trying to look at everything, trying to spot anything alien: it’s a few more minutes before a teen, maybe a year younger than himself walks up to the booth.

Teen: he walks up to the booth while flipping through one of the “authentic alien” books for sale: putting the book up on the booth’s counter...
“So is this book for real?”

Max: looking at it...
“I don’t know. I haven’t read it.”

Teen: being smart...
“Well, why don’t you go ask that alien that’s supposed to work here?”

Max: “You just did.”
The look on his face is priceless: trying not to crack up...
“If there’s nothing else, there’re a couple of people behind you.”

Teen: “HOLY SHIT! YOU’RE HIM! YOU’RE THE ALIEN!”

Max: looking around {well, that got everyone’s attention.}: as people overcome their initial shock they run to get in line to meet the alien: clearing his throat...
“Ahem, next please.”
As the teen numbly steps to the side, a middle aged man with a camera comes up to him and extends his hand: taking his hand in greeting and smiling...
“Hi, I’m Max Evans, it’s nice to meet you.”
The man is still star struck and keeps shaking hands...
“Could I, uh, have my hand back now?”

Man: embarrassed...
“Oh, oh, I’m sorry.”
As he lets go he stares at his hand: looking up at the alien...
“I just shook hands with an alien!”
Remembering he has his camera...
“Could I get a picture? I mean is that allowed?”

Max: “Hmmm, I’m not sure but I don’t see why not? Maybe that lady behind you could take one of us together?”
By mid-morning the security people are limiting access to the UFO Center and allowing only twenty-five in at a time to keep from exceeding the maximum number of people allowed on the premise at a time, need to keep the fire marshal happy: Max, never thought it would be possible, but he’s having a great time meeting people: so far he must have signed over a hundred autographs and posed for almost as many pictures, he turned down 15 marriage proposals so far, sighting his youth as the reason, well that and his girlfriend, answered basic questions like what’s his favorite food, color, and hobby countless times, and said sorry but that’s personal to many other questions: suddenly he can feel her drawing closer: he looks towards the entrance and spots the Crashdown uniform, she gives him a cute smile and holds up a couple of lunch bags for him to see: looking around, he spots Brody coming over to him...
“Hey Brody....”

Brody: “Yeah, I know. Besides I could get in trouble with the labor board. You already skipped your 10 minute mid-morning break, might get sited if I let you miss your lunch hour; just add the 10 minutes on for dessert. Oh, my office is free just have Liz leave my lunch on the desk, I’ll eat it later.”
Turning to the people waiting in line...
“Sorry folks, but its lunch time... even for aliens.”
He smiles as he looks over his should at Max and Liz escaping to the quiet of his private office.

Max: as they enter the office and lock the door behind him: he’s so excited, he just has to tell her about his morning: pacing around talking...
“You wouldn’t believe how many people came in just to see me, or to talk or to take my picture, and they, they were so...nice. I was totally terrified at first when Brody talked me into it, but after the first couple of people I realized that they were even more nervous than me! So I relaxed and just tried to be friendly and they...”
As he turns around and finally faces her, the look in her eye sends all other thoughts out the window: concentrating only on her, he advances on her like a moth to a flame.

Liz: while listening to him, she’s grinning from ear-to-ear; she can’t help it, the sparkle in Max’s eye and the huge grin he’s sporting is just too... intoxicating: as he suddenly stops and looks at her, his unspoken desires hits her like a lightening bolt: licking her lips, her smile becomes more sensual as he approaches: as he tries to kiss her...
“So, how friendly do you get when you’re relaxed?”
His only response was his lips grabbing hers and they are immediately lost in each other: she runs her hands along his sides, then up along his strong arms until they finally clasp behind his neck: she feels his hands wrap around her waist drawing her tight against him: she can feel the bulge pressing ever harder into her tummy: suddenly his hands slip further south to her bottom and he picks her up: she wraps her legs around his waist, adding her heat to his already expanding fire: the movement as he walks a few steps to the chair causes her body to throb: a moan escapes her as the throbbing courses through her body{Oh God! Oh Max... I need... you NOW!}.

Max: his breaths are painful gasps as he fights to control himself and her words aren’t making it any easier: he finally breaks their lip lock long enough to sit down in the chair with her plastered against his lap: he quickly unbuttons the front of her uniform and starts sampling her delectable skin.

Liz: she going insane and it’s all his fault: deciding that she simply can’t stand it any more, she pulls away from him a little: the surprised hurt look, like she just took away his favorite toy or something, is adorable, but she needs more from him: sliding off of his lap, she reaches for his jeans and begins unbuttoning them: he watches her with fire in his eyes as she then slips her hands inside them along his hips: he lifts up a little as she glides his jeans and boxers to the floor: the magnificent sight of him standing tall brings a new surge of pounding heat to her: his hands slip around the small of her back and slides her panties off before pulling her back onto his lap: her hands go to his waist and up along his ticklish sides taking his t-shirt up and finally off: raising up a little, she snuggles into his strong chest.

Max: his lips lock onto hers as their tongues explore and caress each others’: a tremor goes through him as her hand slips down his chest, past his stomach until it reaches its target and begins to stroke him: something between a groan and a cry reverberates through them as with each stroke she fans the fires burning ever hotter in them both: knowing that he’s quickly reaching the breaking point, his hands slip around her cute little butt and move her over just a bit: he allows her to guide him as he pushes up to meet her descent: he grits his teeth as half way down he holds her still for a moment, wanting to make sure that he doesn’t hurt her: looking into her beautiful doe eyes, he sees only love... and hunger: with his hands supporting her bottom, he sets a slow rhythm that quickly builds in pace and intensity as their bodies and minds unite as one as the climax claims them both: panting, he wraps his arms around her and holds her tight: after a few moments one hand moves up through her hair pulling it away from her face so he can nibble and kiss her neck, her face and finally finding her lips again: pausing to looking at her...
“God, I love you so much, now and forever.”

Liz: smiling...
“I love you too, now and forever.”

No one should forgo a little afternoon delight, not even the Fates.


Chapter 79

Setting:
Roswell City Park, 4th of July, morning

Philip: he and Tobias along with Katy from the NY PR firm that he hired have just arrived: they watch as the caterers start the BBQ pits going, laying out the chips and snacks and coolers with sodas and waters, and later on fireworks, all compliments of the now very famous Roswell Aliens: it was all Katy’s idea that hosting a 4th of July celebration would be a good way to break the ice with the neighbors and have them mingle with the kids, to get the town’s folk on their side: Max had already been doing this to an extent by talking to people at the UFO Center: he smiles as he recalls how excited Max was when he got home from work especially the first couple of days: at dinner Max couldn’t wait to tell them about meeting all those new people and how well most of them took to him: an excited and talkative son isn’t something he’s used to having, but he’s certainly enjoying it: he spots Jeff , Jim and Charles just arriving and waves them over to join him...
“Hey, how’s it going?”

Jeff: looking a bit weary, rubbing his neck, trying to get the kinks out...
“Good, almost too good. I’m having a hard time keeping up with everything. There’re people waiting for me to open, lines out the door for lunch and dinner, and it’s not uncommon for me to turn people away as I’m closing. I’m considering imposing a 1 hour time limit per table. There’s just too many people sitting and watching, waiting to spot one of the kids. Surprisingly Maria and Liz don’t always get recognized by the tourists but when they do, man its twenty questions time. They’re getting pretty good at handling it though. And Michael is rarely recognized behind the grill. I supposed it would freak some out to realize that their meal was cooked by an actual alien. Speaking of which, I understand that I’ll need a new fry cook shortly.”

Philip: “Yeah, Michael’s academics aren’t the greatest and I’ve managed to convince him to take some classes at the community college this summer to try and boost them. He never really took his studies too seriously before, I guess he didn’t have a reason to, but he does now. As Max’s second-in-command and advisor, he has to be able to out think the enemy and he can’t do that if he doesn’t know enough about, well just about everything. That boy’s going to college just like the rest of them; I’m going to make sure of it even if I have to drag him there myself.”

Jim: “Speaking of which, I wanted to thank you Philip, Tobias and Max. Those college funds for the kids are very generous. Tess had expressed interest in going to UC, Berkeley. She has the grades to get in but I hadn’t a clue how to pay for it.”
His next thought gives him a chuckle...
“And that has given Kyle an incentive to get his butt in gear. He has this idea that he’s going to go there as well, not likely for a solid ‘C’ student, but I’m sure it’ll work out
posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:48:18 PM
somehow, maybe a junior college nearby. At least his interest is there. And Maria, I’m not sure about her plans. She was talking about taking a year off to travel but then in the next breath I hear UCLA, so who knows.”

Jeff: thinking back to an earlier conversation with Max...
“What about your two, Philip, have they said where they plan on going?”

Philip: “Well for Max, that depends on where your daughter goes. I hear she has a good shot at getting accepted to Harvard. Max getting in there is a little more iffy academically, but possible. I hate to admit it but I have an idea that Harvard would love to be able to boast about being an alien King’s alma mater. Isabel said something about Brown University being a possibility, especially since it’s not too far from MIT.”

Charles: grinning with pride...
“Yep, Alex has already sent away for the application. We also want to thank you for that very generous offer. It’s going to make a huge difference on where he can go.”

Philip: “Your welcome, but really no thanks are necessary, all these kids deserve it. I’m glad that they are going to get the chance.”
Changing the subject...
“So Jim, how’s the new house? Got everything sorted out yet?”

Jim: laughing...
“Nah, that’s never going to happen, between stuff from my house, Amy’s house, leftovers from Nesado’s, we either have three of something or zero and that includes kids.”
Shaking his head...
“Poor Kyle, I’m not sure if he’s going to make it out of there alive some mornings. Of course Amy’s shop is also a hub of activity with all its alien themed stuff, plus her being pregnant and everything else, well, you can imagine. Say, I here Michael gets his new place this week.”

Tobias: he had been listening and watching everything, quietly marveling at how well it is all coming together: he had volunteered to help Michael’s house hunt: with Max’s blessing, Philip was keeping a pretty tight rein on how the money gets spent, there’s no telling how long it will need to last or what they might need it for, plus the thought of unrestricted funds in the hands of teens is enough to strike fear into any parent, and these standing before him were no different: he had actually enjoyed his assignment, it had the added benefit of giving him an education in what was “cool”: smiling...
“Yeah, he moves in Friday. He leased a two bedroom condo over in that new development not far from your new place, Jim. It’s an end unit, gated community with private security, rec. hall with pool tables and a swimming pool. The Secret Service has already signed off on it. He has some new stuff being delivered Friday afternoon.”
Frowning a little...
“He and I went some rounds about a 60” flat screen TV. He said it was a necessity for his image, along with a surround sound speaker system.”

Philip: he along with the other fathers roll their eyes: almost afraid to ask...
“Did he get it?”

Tobias: “I told him to go right ahead but it wasn’t in the budget, so he would have to pay for it.”
Looking at how they are now smiling at him...
“He got a new 27” TV and a nice... uh, I think it’s called a boombox, instead.”

Jim: patting Tobias on the back...
“Perfect. We’ll get those human parenting skills up to snuff in no time. So when does Kathy get here?”

Tobias: giving the sheriff a “funny” look...
“Uh... she doesn’t get off until 1:00.”

Late afternoon at the park...

Diane: while sipping lemonade, she’s enjoying watching all the commotion going on around her, Kyle and Max are in the softball came, Kyle’s on second and Max just got a line drive getting on first and advancing Kyle to third, Alex is over on a knoll playing his guitar with Maria singing along, Michael is shooting a few hoops with some little kids {I never realized that Michael liked kids so well. Just look at him pick that boy up to make a basket.}: Tess and Isabel were over with some school friends talking about what, Lord only knew: she hears cheers coming from the softball game and turns back to see Kyle slide into home and Max on third: she greets Amy as she comes to sit next her and cheers the boys on as another boy hit a high pop up: as the second baseman catches the ball, Max is caught between third and home: he tries to run back to third but the third baseman is there with the ball, Max turns and decides to try for home: she cringes as he slides headfirst, only to be tagged out by the catcher: she breaths a sigh of relief as she sees Max get up and dust himself off, unhurt: turning back to Amy...
“Why do boys always have to slide in the dirt? Just look how dusty and dirty they both are?”

Amy: shaking her head...
“You’re asking me? Until a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea what a difference having a boy in the house would make. I had hoped to keep that extra ½ bath all fixed up for guests, but after a week of hearing the girls complain about dried toothpaste stuck to the sink and how Kyle never puts the new roll of toilet paper on the spindle, not to mention Kyle’s complaints about the girls hanging lingerie up to dry or about all the smell of hairspray being so thick that he needs a gas mask to go in there. I gave up and told Kyle the ½ bath was his. Now they’re onto complaining about who’s eating who’s food, who’s drinking from the carton, who used all the hot water, it never stops! Diane, how have you managed all these years with Max and Isabel?”

Diane: smiling...
“Ear plugs.”
While chuckling, she notices a girl with too much makeup and too little clothing surrounded by a small entourage of similar clad girls heading towards the baseball game: she’s not sure why she took notice of her but it’s obvious that Liz did too.

Liz: she’s been sitting in the stands cheering Max and Kyle on: she stood and clapped wildly when Kyle scored and gave Max a saucy look to cheer him up when he didn’t: looking around she spots her walking this way, swaying her hips too much and obviously on the prowl: she glances over at a now concerned Max, who is obviously feeling her building emotions {uh, Liz. What’s wrong?}: turning back to the approaching barracuda, she knows that Max has followed her gaze: now even more concerned {Liz, it doesn’t matter. She’s just full of hot air. Let it go}: making up her mind {she’s full of something alright.}: leaving her seat and worried boyfriend, she walks over to the edge of the stands: with arms crossed she confronts her...
“Tracy Donnor, still out flaunting it I see.”

Tracy: in a condescending tone...
“Well, if it isn’t little Miss Mouse. You know what they say, if you got it then flaunt it. Pretty obvious who’s got it and who doesn’t.”
She looks over to the dug out and gives the alien King a seductive smile: she chooses to ignore the scowl she gets in return: turning back to the little road block...
“You know, I so enjoyed talking to those reporters. They wanted to know all about the aliens and well since I’ve known Max since grade school, how could I not let them know how... fantastic he is... in all aspects.”

Liz: smiling...
“Yes, I can see how you would be drawn to those trash magazine. It would be a natural attraction for you, I’m sure. As for his aspects and how fantastic they are, that’s something you’ll never be able to attest to, of that I’m certain.”

Tracy: “Oh, I don’t know about that. After all, Max and I have known each other for years, why I’ve even been to the eraser room with him a time or two.”

Liz: she hears an almost panicked {that was in grade school and all we did was clean erasers, I swear!}: with a knowing smile...
“Tracy, you can fantasize all you like, but I’ll always know the truth. I...”
From behind she feels strong arms wrap around her waist and hot lips nibble her ear...
“I’ve got the real thing.”

Max: he simply couldn’t resist, Liz standing her ground like that was such a total turn on: he forces himself to take his lips off of Liz just long enough to agree...
“Hmm, so do I.”
Turning back to his pleasurable pursuit...
“Now where was I? Oh yeah, the ear I think.”

Meanwhile....

Maria: she and Alex have been sitting on the grass, playing guitar, singing and having a great time: while looking down at a sheet of music, two feet with gaudily polished toe nails appear in front of her: looking up she scowls at the sight in front of her...
“Well, if it isn’t the “Boytoy” of Roswell. I never knew you liked to write fiction, until I read it in a trash magazine, but then I guess that’s right up your alley, among other things.”

Pam: shaking her head...
“DeLuca, DeLuca, DeLuca, so I hear your Mom got knocked up. I guess it was the only way she could hook a man.”

Maria: the only thing keeping her from ripping Pam apart is Alex’s restraining hands on her arm...
“What the hell would you know about hooking a man? They keep throwing you back in the lake. I bet the water’s getting pretty polluted by now.”

Pam: “At least I have the right bait to attract the fishermen.”
Noticing the large alien making his way over, her stance become more inviting...
“Well, well, well, if it isn’t one of Roswell’s famous aliens. My, Guerin, you have been a naughty boy to keep us all in the dark about that. And I just love teach naughty boys a thing or two. Do you fish?”

Michael: he had been debating on whether or not he should get involved and finally came to the conclusion that he’s going to catch hell about it either way, so he has nothing to lose...
“Once or twice, didn’t really care for it, only caught one that was worth keeping everything else was only good for fish bait.”

Alex: relieved that Michael had finally showed up to keep Maria from exploding, he’s having a hard time not smirking...
“I hear many use nightcrawlers as bait. I never cared for them, too messy and smelly. Myself, I only use a special lure and I caught a rare beauty. Maybe you should change the bait you’re using Pam, might catch something better, but then I understand that all the rare ones are already caught.”
The smirk becomes a smile as Pam storms off in a huff: turning to his friends...
“Well, I think I’ll be going, all this talk of fish has got me hungry. See ya.”

Night time in the park...

Maria: laying on a blanket on the grass watching the fireworks explode overhead in all their glory, she snuggles in closer to his strong arms: a sigh of total contentment escapes: tearing her eyes away from the spectacular display in the sky to one a little more closer: she smiles as he continues to stare at her: she runs her finger over his lips...
“Hmm, that’s nice. But you’re missing the fireworks.”

Michael: “No, I’m not. I had enough pyrotechnics already. So come here.”
The fireworks going off above them are nothing compared to the ones they ignite on their own.

Setting: Bellevue hospital, NYC, same evening

Zan: he sits in his bed watching the fireworks going off over the harbor on the late news: he can move around a little more but he still can’t get comfortable, and he’s still barely able to sit in a wheelchair let alone walk: the therapists keep reminding him that it takes time and that he’s doing great but it’s just so damn frustrating, he had hoped that his alien biology might help speed his recovery but so far nadda: he rubs his temple as his ever present headache starts to worsen: as it increases to a migraine, he pushes the little button that brings the nurse, that brings the little pills that eases his pain for a little while: it’s a routine that has been occurring on an increasingly regular basis.

Life changes can trigger many new circumstances, some good, some not so good. The Fates are there for those who need help during the not so good ones.


Chapter 80

Setting:
Renular, Ruan High Temple

Larek: stepping into the ancient room he greets the attendant with a silent bow: after being made comfortable on a low sofa the attendant leaves, he hopes she went to go fetch the High Priestess: while he had requested an audience some time ago, it is at the whim of the exalted one as to whether or not she will see him, he had simply been told that she had a little time on this afternoon and perhaps he would enjoy afternoon tea at the temple: he nods his head in acknowledgement as the attendant returns with the finely crafted but simplistic tea pot and delicate, almost translucent drinking cups and proceeds to set them out carefully on a small table between two overstuffed chairs: he watches as the attendant draws the drapes revealing the warm afternoon sun and then leaves: it is almost twenty minutes before the attendant returns with a plate of delicate pastries and arranges them on the same table as the tea before withdrawing: it’s a few minutes more before the most ancient, wise and powerful high priestess enters the room: her small diminutive size is deceiving for her power is legendary: he stands and bows low to her: as she takes a seat in one of the overstuffed chairs, she nods to him and speaks for the first time.

High Priestess Serela: “Greetings Chancellor Larek, we are pleased to be graced with your presence once again. Would honor us for tea?”

Larek: “The honor is mine, Your Grace.”
As he takes a seat in the other chair by the table, he is indeed honored as he realizes that the High Priestess herself will be serving the tea for them, as they are left entirely alone in the room: he notices how gracefully she performs the age-old custom even at her advanced years: as he takes the offered cup...
“Thank you, Your Grace.”

Serela: “You are most welcome. I thank you for your company this afternoon. I hope you enjoy the tea, it is a specialty of the temple, made from the fruit and flowers that grow in the gardens.”

Larek: taking a sip...
“It is as wonderful as the gardens that it comes from.”
They finish drinking their first cup of tea in silence.

Serela: as she is pouring them a second cup...
“I understand the battle to reclaim Antar is well underway.”

Larek: “Yes, Your Grace. It is going in our favor, but the outcome is far from assured. It is that outcome that I wish to speak to you about.”

Serela: “Larek, you know that Ruan does not allow us to partake in armed conflicts regardless of the justness or unjustness of the cause.”

Larek: “Of course, Your Grace. I would never ask such a thing of you. It is of your obligations to the Royal Family of Antar that I come to speak to you about.”

Serela: she folds her hands in her lap and very carefully phrases her reply...
“I have fulfilled all that is required of me long ago.”

Larek: he knew it was going to be a battle of wills to get what he wants and if he looses, the war could be prolonged or even lost: at the same time he suspects that what he asks is at a great cost to her...
“I beg to differ, Your Grace. Max Evan is King Zan and as such, he has access to the Granolith. It is your obligation to give him the knowledge on how to control it. I ask that you complete that task.”

Serela: holding firm...
“I am well aware of my obligations and they were discharged over 50 years ago when he assumed the throne the first time. I have no obligation to do so a second time. He will have to learn what was forgotten through trial and error.”

Larek: “Your Grace, you are placing him and those that support him in grave danger. Think of all those that have given their lives, their souls, in trying to restore what was lost, what was taken from them. To deny my request will only prolong this conflict and cost many more their lives and destroy even more.”

Serela: closing her eyes in contemplation, she had been expecting this meeting for all of these 50 years, ever since she gave her permission for the ancient knowledge of hybridization to be renewed and used: while she had prayed for this horrible war to be resolved before it came to this, she had known from the beginning how it would play out and at what it would cost her, she had envisioned it when she held Prince Zan as an infant for his baptismal: sighing in resignation...
“The Order of Ruan is dedicated to the betterment of the people, while we are forbidden to aid either side in armed conflict; we must do what we can to assist the people. I have served the Royal House of Antar most of my life, I saw the birth of King Tanier, rejoiced at his union to Queen Nataria, baptized their children, Prince Zan and Princess Vilandra, proclaimed Prince Zan king at his coronation, performed the Sealing at King Zan and Queen Ava’s union, and blessed their internment here and rebirth on that distant planet. I will do this final thing that you ask, but you cannot ask any more of me.”

Larek: grateful but very sad for she just confirmed to him what this final task will truly cost her...
“I ask no more. Your dedication to the Order of Ruan and the Royal Family is truly extraordinary. It will never be forgotten. I thank you.”
He rises from the chair but keeps his head bowed: turning to face her for what he knows will be the last time...
“Nor shall I ever forget all that you taught me, what you have done for me and my people as well as Zan. I shall always keep you in my thoughts and prayers.”
His eyes are wet as he bends to kiss her hand a final time before taking his leave of her: that wetness will spill out as with a heavy heart he takes that long walk back down the hill from the temple.

The gifts that the Fates give some are immense, but they have to be for what is asked of them is never easy and often calls for the ultimate sacrifice.


Chapter 81
Setting:
Evans house, a month later, Tuesday early evening

Max: they had the Parkers and Tobias over for dinner and afterwards they’re sitting at the table discussing things: he keeps rubbing his temple, trying to get rid of this headache that just won’t go away, he’s had it off and on for a couple of weeks: its starting to worry him because he should be able to heal it but he can’t: forcing himself to concentrate on the topic at hand...
“So tell me again who’s all invited to this White House state dinner.”

Philip: he had been noticing that Max didn’t seem up to par this last week or so, he’s been distracted and if he didn’t know better he could swear Max didn’t feel good...
“Well, you of course and Isabel and Tobias. Your Mom and I, if we wanted to go and uh, a date if you wanted to bring someone.”

Max: still rubbing his temple...
“Ok, so I’ll bring Liz.”
Turning to her...
“That is, if you want to go.”

Tobias: he and Max have going down this same path for over a week now...
“Max, I still don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m not questioning your feelings for Liz, but consider how it will look for you and Liz to attend an official social political event as a couple. It would be tantamount to announcing to the world and not just this one that Liz is your intended bride.”

Max: “So?”

Tobias: “Max, you can’t do that yet. You would have Crown Prince Lunua of Vintar jumping down Larek’s throat in a heartbeat. Please Max, not yet, not with all the problems that Larek’s been having with the Cromarians taking pot shots at all the shipping lanes that lead to Renular and the Luntar moon base. They’ve been getting excellent intel from the Vintarians about where the snipers are hiding and when they’re likely to hit. This could cause them to lose that.”

Liz: “Max, he’s right. It’s not worth risking it all over a silly dinner and dance that you don’t really want to attend in the first place. I mean, Tess should go. I know Kyle won’t be any happier than you, nor Tess any more than me, but it’s not that big of a deal.”
She’s been well aware that Max hadn’t felt right for the last few weeks, and tenderly touches his hand that’s still at his temple: concerned...
“Another headache?”

Max: his eyes burn, his head is feels like a jackhammer is inside it: closing his eyes...
“Yeah and it’s getting worse.”

Diane: “Honey, do you want to try some aspirin or something?”
Concern grows as her son remains silent...
“Is something wrong with your powers? You’ve never had this problem before.”

Max: every sound feels like nails on a chalkboard to him, he just wants a dark, quiet place to lay down and try to get rid of this thing: opening his eyes to the harsh light: squinting...
“No, Mom, I think I’ll just go lie down in my room for a bit. I’m sorry everyone.”
He slowly rises from his chair and starts for his room: he’s only gone a few steps when the room starts to spin and everything sounds muffled: he grabs for the wall to keep from falling: as he slides down the wall, he can see his family running towards him as if in slow motion before he’s enveloped by a sea of whiteness: it seems like he’s suspended in this whiteness for some time before it eventually fades away: blinking several times to clear his vision, he looks around and realizes that he’s somehow sitting in the Granolith chamber: he blanches as the chamber spins around before him: out from behind the Granolith his eye catches movement: he grabs for the chamber wall to help him stand up but that only makes the room spin in more directions.

Serela: it took a full moon cycle for all the preparations: normally this would have been steeped heavy in rituals that would be drawn out for an additional moon cycle, but because of the great distance in time and space, she decided to cram everything she could into a full day’s cycle: this was both a delicate and dangerous thing to do and it had to be done clandestine, there could be no chance that Kivar could learn that Max Evans was about to gain the knowledge of how to control the Granolith: this meant that she had to do something that she did not relish doing, she had began preparing him for her arrival as best she could without his knowledge or consent: she had began it almost two weeks ago: she watches him struggle to get to his feet, she hates that their meeting had to be this way, to be forced: it’s always disorienting: as she sees him blanch, she moves forward to him: trying to sooth and help...
“No, no, child. You don’t have to try and stand up just yet. I know it’s difficult but try and relax. The dizziness will stop in a few moments.”

Max: he gladly slumps back down to the floor and waits for the spinning to end: as the room slows down, he tries to look up at her: still feeling a little ill...
“Who are you? How, how did I get to the Granolith chamber? How did you? How did you know where the Granolith was?”

Serela: smiling warmly...
“So many questions, I have always known. I will answer the others shortly but first there is something that must be attended to promptly. It seems your bond connection is very strong and your bondmate is very determined to reach you. It is very distracting for me to continually block her. With your permission, I would like to remove the barrier and allow her in for a moment. I promise no harm will come to either of you.”

Max: he realizes that, that’s part of why he’s so off kilter, he suddenly can’t feel Liz: while he wants Liz with him, he won’t put her in danger: as he looks at the old lady for a moment, she seems to change before his very eyes, like a another image super imposed over another and for a very brief instant that other image was Aunt Trudy {I have always known... Aunt Trudy “I’ve always known you’re special.”}: the words repeat in his brain: looking intently into her eyes, he suddenly realizes, he’s looking into the same kind of warm, caring eyes that his favorite aunt has: a bit more at ease, he nods his head slightly, giving his consent: in a heart beat Liz appears beside him: he grabs and holds her tight and murmurs his reassurances that it’s alright as the dizziness passes...
“It’s alright Liz.”

Liz: as everything settles down, she looks deep into two concerned amber eyes and then looks around the room in shock...
“Oh my God... this, this is the Granolith chamber isn’t it?”

Max: “Yeah, it is. I’m not sure how we got here though.”

Liz: “You didn’t, we didn’t.”
Noticing the elderly lady quietly standing there: addressing her...
“We’re not really here are we?”
Looking at Max...
“You collapsed in the hall, unconscious. We were all standing around trying to get you to wake up. I felt... I felt you leave me... I tried to follow, but something stopped me, then suddenly it was gone and I was here.”
They both look at the lady, waiting for the answers.

Serela: in a gentle manner...
“You are correct and wrong at the same time. Physically visiting a place is only one way of being there. Your physical bodies are right where you left them, but your consciousness is here with me. Please forgive me for kidnapping you this way but I had no other choice. The danger of your enemies finding out about this transpiring out weighed normal courtesies.”
Drawing her self up into a regal pose for a formal introduction...
“I am Serela, High Priestess of the Order of Ruan and Protector of the Faith. I have served the Royal House of Antar and the Royal Family of Renular for many generations, and I am here to fulfill my final obligation to you King Zan. I am here to teach you all that you must know to master the Granolith. But I do not have the luxury of time or energy to sustain this for all the rituals and customs. I can only do this for one intense session.”

Max: looking intently at her, trying to take in all that is happening here...
“This is a dreamwalk isn’t it? But you’re controlling it. You pulled me into it. How? Can others do this?”

Serela: ‘Yes, this is like a dreamwalk but more. Only those that are meant to serve the Order of Ruan can dreamwalk. Usually they are the female children of other dreamwalkers who are also disciples. Your mother was one, as I believe your sister is as well.”

Max: “How did you know that about Isabel?”

Serela: “I know many things.”

Max: he waits for her to continue but after a few moments it becomes clear that she’s not...
“You’re here to give me sort of a crash course on the Granolith? Tobias said all I needed to do was ask it to do something and it would obey.”

Serela: “Tobias can only tell you what is generally assumed. What I am here to teach you are for the ruling monarch of Antar only and cannot be shown or told to anyone else, even bondmates. I am sorry Liz, but you cannot stay. You are here because I felt the strength of your bond to Max and your determination to help him. I give you my word that I will keep him safe and return him to you whole.”

Liz: she’s been staring at the High Priestess, trying to figure out why she instinctively knows that this woman is trustworthy, it’s more than just a feeling...
“I know.”

Serela: looking intently at the girl, she walks over to her and touches her cheek...
“You are the one, Liz. You have the strength and the heart to guide him. Listen to what your feelings tell you. They will grow stronger over time as will you. But for now you must go so that I may complete my task and then finally rest. Go and tell his loved ones not to worry, his body will rest for a full day’s cycle but he is not being harmed. Take care my child.”
She looks at the boy for a moment before turning away to give him a moment alone with his soulmate.

Max: he takes Liz into his arms and holds her tight, whispering to her...
“I’ll be OK. Make sure everyone knows that. Don’t worry. I love you, now and forever.”
He seals this with a tender kiss.

Liz: as their lips part, she breaths into him...
“I love you too, now and forever.”

Max: he’s still gazing into her eyes when he begins to feel her slipping away: she suddenly vanishes before him, leaving him feeling empty and alone: still feeling lost, he turns back to his teacher...
“I’m ready.”

Serela: she walks back to him: placing both her hands on his face, she stares intently at him...
“You are so young, younger than you were last time. No, you’re not ready, but you will be. Open your mind Max. You’ve lived your life with a closed mind, focusing on the physical plane that you live in. You must open your mind to the endless possibilities that are out there, that the Granolith can show you. Then you’ll be ready.”

The Fates can guide one only so far, it is up to the individual to open their minds to the limitless possibilities that the universe has to offer.


Chapter 82

Setting:
Evans house immediately following

Liz: she slowly becomes aware of her surroundings: the first thing she realizes is that her hands are holding onto something tight: as she raises her head, she looks into the peaceful sleeping face of her bondmate and it’s his shirt that her hands won’t let go of: she can hear his soft breaths coming at regular intervals: finally her parents’ frantic questions and pleads ring through to her: looking around, all she sees is worried faces urgently pleading with her to be alright...
“I’m fine, I’m fine.”
Her parents grab her and hold her tight, covering her with kisses, but she never stops looking at Max: after several minutes pass, everyone calms down and looks to her for an explanation...

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:49:21 PM
“I was with Max. At first she blocked me from following but then she let me in so I would know Max was alright.”
Looking directly at Mr. & Mrs. Evans...
“And he is, he’s alright.”

Isabel: her first thoughts when her brother collapsed was that some alien force was somehow attacking him, and then when Liz collapsed on top of him, she nearly lost it: still anxious...
“Liz, you said she, who’s she? What’s happened?”

Liz: “She said her name was Serela and that she was here to teach Max about the Granolith. She... Tobias what’s...”

Tobias: he had been in the dark as much as the rest of them about what was happening: he’s astonished at her words...
“Serela’s here? On Earth? She couldn’t be, but then she would be the only one that could teach him.”

Liz: “No, no she’s not really here, here; she’s dreamwalking him. That’s why he collapsed; she had to force the dreamwalk. She said she couldn’t take a chance that Kivar would find out she’s training him, so she couldn’t send any advanced warning or anything.”
Thinking of everything that she heard...
“She said that Max will sleep for... how did she put it, a full day cycle, but that he’s not in any danger and when he returns he’ll be fine.”

Diane: she’s still cradling her son’s head in her lap: worried...
“I don’t understand, return from where? Where is he?”

Liz: “His consciousness is with hers at the Granolith. She said that she’s a High Priestess of Ruan and that it was her duty to train Max so she can finally rest.”

Isabel: turning to Tobias
“Ruan? Isn’t that the same Order that you said our mother is part of?”

Tobias: “Yes, Serela is the High Priestess of the Order of Ruan. She has served the Royal House of Antar and of Renular for many years. She was there for all your royal births, marriages, and deaths, as well as your rebirths. It is her duty to train the new King of Antar in the mysteries of the Granolith.”
Looking directly at Diane...
“Max couldn’t be in safer hands.”

Philip: slipping his arm around his wife for comfort: looking down at his sleeping son...
“Well, let’s put him in his bed so he can finish his rest. It sounds like he’s going to be out for awhile. Tobias can you help me carry him?”
Diane pulls back the bedspread and bedding and gently covers him up and kisses his forehead: they all watch as Liz goes and lays down next to him: he looks over at Jeff, who he can see is just as confused about what to say to this as he is: looking back to Liz...
“Liz, uh...”

Liz: lying next to him, gazing at him, stroking his cheek: she looks up at the collective parents...
“You don’t understand. His consciousness isn’t here. I can only feel him through our bond connection. I can’t talk to him, can’t hear his words or hear his laughter. I couldn’t stand it if I wasn’t near him, touching him, staying close to him. I can’t leave him.”

Diane: she looks at Nancy for permission and smiles gratefully for her silent nod: turning back to her son’s bondmate...
“Then please stay and keep him company. I’ll know that he’ll be fine as long as you’re near him. Try and rest a little yourself, dear.”
As they leave the room she dims the light and looks back at Max’s sleeping form with Liz curled up next to him, holding on to her son.

Back at the Granolith...

Max: he could have been here for hours or days, he wouldn’t know the difference anymore: he has lost all concept of time: he has listened to all that she has told him and it is time for him to try out the Granolith: with one hand, he holds onto hers, and with the other, he touches the Granolith: his eyes are closed as he concentrates on reaching out with his mind: he’s not sure if he’s doing it correctly until he gets the feeling as if he’s awoken someone or something from a long slumber: remembering his instructions, with his mind he addresses it {Granolith, hear me, recognize me, obey me.}: he feels air swirling around him, concentrating even harder he finally hears an echoing reply {Zan of Antar, what is your command?}: forcing himself to take long, slow, calming breaths {show me Antar}: he feels as if he’s being shot through space, he hears a different voice {open your eyes, Max}: as he does so, they grow huge as he sees stars and planets go streaking past him: he can’t believe it, he’s traveling through space without a ship!: astonished {how, how can this be happening?}: he feels his hand being squeezed, causing him to turn and look at the twinkling eyes of the High Priestess {because you commanded it.}: she turns back to look ahead and he feels himself slowing down: he follows her gaze and sees the five planets forming a V: in awe {the five planets of the Whirlwind Galaxy, home, Antar}: as they near the planet at the bottom of the V, they slow even further: he feels the water droplets on his face as they break through the cloud cover and finally land on a cliff over looking a large pristine valley {it’s breath taking}: as she looks on {yes, it is.}: she turns to face him {and it has not existed in almost five hundred years.}: he looks at her in shock {Max, this is a very famous valley. For centuries it was one of the most beautiful places on Antar, until that volcano at the far end of the valley exploded and covered the area with molten lava and ash over five hundred years ago. Since you did not tell the Granolith precisely what you wanted to see, it picked a place that was a favorite of the previous Zan to visit.}: he looks back at the tranquil place {I can see why he loved it, but I wanted to something more... current}: he can feel her increased pressure on his arm, drawing his attention {Max, it only knows what Antar was like up until it was removed and sent to Earth with you. What is it exactly that you want to see?}:

Thinking about it {I want to see what Antar was like when I, the previous Zan was a child. I want to see a beautiful place like this, but something that Zan would have seen in his lifetime.}: she gives him a what-are-you-waiting-for look: concentrating once again {Granolith, hear me, recognize me, obey me}: once again he hears the reply {Zan of Antar, what is your command?}: this time being more precise {show me Antar of a time when Zan lived on Antar as child, a time and place that held happy memories for him.}: the air swirls around him and he feels himself lifting through the air and resettling back down, this time on the soft sandy soil of a beach with gentle ocean waves lapping at the sand: he looks on in amazement, as two children go running past him, laughing as their kite flies higher and higher, and kicking up sand in the surf: he instinctively knows them {that’s me! That’s Zan! And that’s my sister, Isa... no, Vilandra!}: he watches as a man goes running up to them and picks up the girl, swinging her around and around until they become dizzy: smiling {he doesn’t look like me. His hair is lighter and his eyes are grey. Neither does she, Vilandra, also has light hair and light grey eyes, like him.}: Serela smiles at the happy scene playing out {yes, it was thought best that you should all look very different, better to hide you from your enemies.}: they both laugh as the boy is picked up and also swung around but unlike his sister, he ends up in the water, she explains {I am not surprised that we are here. You asked for a happy memory and the Granolith gave you this. Look over there on the cliff. That’s Brenkenelle Palace, the summer home of your mother’s family, and Prince Zan’s favorite childhood place. It was a place where he could be free to run amuck and simply be a child instead of a prince and heir, a place he cherished.}:

He points to the man {is that my father, the King?}: looking on with tenderness at the young image of the King, with laughing eyes {yes that was King Tanier. He and your mother married very young. Your grandfather, King Samerik, was not overly thrilled to see him Sealed at such a young age, but gave his blessing when he discovered that Nataria already carried you. Besides, he was thrilled to welcome a princess that had blood from both Antar and Renular royal families, and it didn’t hurt that she was a dedicated disciple of Ruan, either. That way he was assured that any children would most likely carry the gifts of the Ruan.}: her words force him to look away from the happy family scene and concentrate on her {the gifts of Ruan? What are those?}: patiently she explains {they are your gifts, your specialties. As I mentioned earlier, your mother as a noted disciple of Ruan, possess the gift of dreamwalking. Any daughter she may have was likely to inherit that gift. It also meant that it was likely any son that she carried would inherit the gift of healing. While most people can do simple healing, cuts, bruises, a simple fracture, not many can heal to the point of bringing a life back once it is ready to leave. Those that do are always sons of a disciple. Both gifts are rare and highly desired. Look, they are leaving. I think it is time that we do so as well.}: looking fondly at the young man in front of her {you are doing well my child, but there is much more to be learned.}.

The Fates know that history and family history in particular help to connect people to one another.


Chapter 83

Setting:
Granolith Chamber, immediately following

Max: he and Serela have been sitting on the floor of the chamber, meditating, or rather she’s meditating, he’s trying to figure out how to meditate: his mind is awhirl with all that he’s seen and learned and what he’s about to discover: he keeps his eyes closed and really tries to quiet his mind as instructed: a sigh escapes his lips in frustration.

Serela: as she hears the sigh, she knows that any attempt in meditation is useless, the boy is not ready for it yet, too much is on his mind: {the inpatients of youth}: she opens her eyes and instructs Max to do the same: with a warm smile...
“Perhaps, we should have you work a bit more with the Granolith, but this time instead of asking it to show you something, ask it for information instead. The procedures are the same, but this time I will simply watch. Give it a try.”

Max: he nods to her, stands up and thinking of a question, he begins the procedures {Granolith, hear me, recognize me, obey me}: his confidents builds as he hears the answering {Zan of Antar, what is your command?}: {how do you change the fabric of time?}: it seems to take several moments before he gets his reply {time is not made of fabric.}: this answer so surprises him that he breaks his concentration and opens his eyes: looking at his teacher...
“I don’t think I did that right. Uh, does the Granolith have a sense of humor?”

Serela: she keeps a straight face but the amusement of the question sparkles in her eyes...
“It’s not supposed to, but you are not the first to ask such a thing. Perhaps you should be a bit more specific. Ask it exactly what you want to know. Talk to it as if you were writing out instructions.”

Max: nodding, he closes his eyes and concentrates once more {Granolith, hear me, recognize me, obey me}: once again he gets {Zan of Antar, what is your command?}: being more specific {how does time travel work?}: within in a few moments he sees a very, very long equation go running through his brain, it lasts for several minutes and then stops: he’s not sure what he should do next: deciding he might as well {Granolith, hear me, recognize me, obey me} : he immediately gets {Zan of Antar, what is your command?}: plunging ahead {what was that equation that you just showed me?}: it seems to him that the thing actually purrs it’s reply at him {the formula for time travel as per your command.}: thinking to himself {oh, yeah... yeah...thanks, that’s what I thought.}: he drops his hand and opens his eyes: perturbed...
“That didn’t work very well. I guess I need to work on this a bit more, but I swear it has a sense of humor, oh and a bit of an attitude as well.”

Serela: this time she doesn’t even try to hide her amusement, smiling at the boy...
“Perhaps, or perhaps it’s reflecting its new master’s? Let’s take a bit of a break.”
Making herself comfortable on the chamber floor, patting the spot in front of her...
“Come sit. Normally this entire time would be devoted to you working with the Granolith, but you’ll have time to do that later and there is much that you need to learn about, ask me a question.”

Max: looking at the Granolith...
“Who built it?”

Serela: “The disciples of Ruan did over a thousand years ago.”

Max: “Why?”

Serela: “Antar was on the verge of space exploration and on a road of self destruction. It was not at all certain which path it would take. The disciples built it so if we did manage to destroy ourselves, everything we were would be available to any left to help rebuild.”

Max: “Why the genetic link to the Royal Family?”

Serela: “Because for the most part we have been blessed with wise leaders from the Royal Family, who had always supported and practiced the ways of Ruan. And I admit the Royal Family did supply the resources for its construction.”

Max: “So political.”

Serela: “When is it not political?”
She looks at him intently as he scowls at that...
“You don’t like politics?”

Max: “Not really... especially when I get pushed to do something I don’t want to because of politics.”
Looking up at her...
“Tobias and even Larek keep telling me not to do anything that would make Tess’s grandfather suspicious about Tess and me not... marrying again.”
Running his hand through his hair in frustration...
“I love Liz. I’m proud that I love Liz. I don’t want to hide it; I want to shout it from the rooftops, I love Liz and I’m going to marry her.”

Serela: “Hmm, yes, Crown Prince Lunua has always been a bit of a blowhard and when he discovers this little revelation, he is going to be blowing gale force winds, right down Larek’s neck and eventually yours as well.”
She stops to ponder how much to say, how much to reveal: choosing her words very carefully...
“It would be a hardship to lose Vintar’s assistance, but that does not mean that you must put aside your feelings for your bondmate. This is a political problem, use politics to solve any short term problems, and don’t dwell on the long term problem of your marriage. There are many things yet to come into play before a decision must be announced.”

Max: “Use politics to solve the problem, how?”

Serela: shaking her head...
“That you have to figure out for yourself. Life would be too boring if someone just handed you all the answers.”

Max: “Serela, you said that Liz was the one to stand beside me. She is meant to be my bondmate, my wife and not Tess.”

Serela: looking at him acutely...
“Liz was always meant to bond with Max, just as Ava was always meant to bond with Zan.”

Max: confused...
“But if Zan and Ava were bonded, wouldn’t I... wouldn’t I have felt something still?”

Serela: questioning...
“Would you?”
She watches him open his mouth as if to say something, and then promptly closes it without uttering a word: changing the subject...
“Any more questions?”

Max: thinking about it, he looks up at her...
“How did the Granolith know what was a happy memory for Zan?”

Serela: “Because of the genetic link, upon a Royal’s death their memories are able to be... transferred to the Granolith. There are a great many rituals that go along with that procedure.”

Max: “So I could access Zan’s memories, or even my father’s or grandfather’s?”

Serela: “Yes, but I would advise against it. Many times when we look into another’s life experiences, we are not always happy with what we discover about them or about ourselves. I would also suggest a very thorough Antarian history lesson before you undertake such a thing.”
Looking at him fondly...
“Zan was a good man; he did not deserve to die that way. I am glad he got a second chance in you.”

Max: “Thank you.”
Unsure if he wants the answer, but he has to ask...
“But he had another chance also, with the other Zan. Why two sets? Was one set, as Rath said, defective? If so, why keep the defective set? What would’ve happened if both of us had lived? Which would’ve been King?”

Serela: sighing...
“The politicians and scientists will give you several reasons, but for me it was simple, because there were always meant to be the both of you. You are the King. As for one being defective, please tell me what you consider perfect?”

Max: “I... I’m far from perfect. But I don’t understand if there was always meant to be us both, what did his death change?”

Serela: “What makes you think anything has changed? All is as it should be.”

Max: confused even more: frowning...
“Did he and Lonnie have the genetic code?”

Serela: ‘Yes.”

Max: “Then why didn’t Nicholas take Lonnie back to Kivar? He’s been looking for someone with the code, why didn’t he take her?”

Serela: “Hmm, I don’t know. You’ll need to ask him that.”
Feeling her strength starting to wane...
“One more question, then we need to get back to training.”

Max: “How do I not tell Liz about everything I’ve learned? I mean, I can’t hide things from her, from our bond connection.”

Serela: smiling...
“What I have to teach you is for you alone, but Ruan would never come between a bonded couple. Now back to work.”
They work on his mastering how to ask it a question until he finally gets an answer that makes sense to him: they work on how to hide the power signature of the Granolith while it’s in use: how he can access it remotely through his ring: and finally she explains some of the weaponry that it possess while hoping that the boy will never have to use it: at the end, she grows very tired and has to sit down: she looks into his concerned eyes and cups his face in her hand...
“The time has come for me to rest, my child. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know you again.”

Max: he doesn’t like how she’s looking: she had seemed so strong until these last few hours...
“I have enjoyed meeting you and having you as my teacher and my friend. Will I see you again?”

Serela: smiling...
“Only in your dreams, my child.”

Max: choking back the tears...
“Then I will be sure to dream of you often, Serela.”

Serela: “Goodbye, my child, may Ruan smile on you.”

Max: he opens his eyes to darkness: it takes him several moments to orient himself: he’s in his room and it’s dark, so it must be nighttime: a feeling of warmth and love comes over him and what’s more, a warm hand is resting on his chest: he smiles as he picks up that hand and tenderly kisses it: he hears a gasp of surprise and turns towards it, his mouth seeking hers: with a growl of contentment....
“Hmm, you are wonderful to come home to.”

Liz: the relief she feels at his return is beyond words...
“Oh God, Max, are you alright?”

Max: taking her in his arms...
“Yeah, I’m fine, a little tired though.”

Liz: she looks into him and sees so many things, wonder, excitement, worry, power, sorrow...
“What did she show you?”

Max: “Everything and that’s for starters. I still have a lot to learn.”
He draws her tight against him and kisses her: they snuggle together, and drift off to sleep, reunited in body and soul.

Renular, Ruan High Temple...

Larek: the bells of the temple sound out in sorrow and celebration: sorrow for the High Priestess’s departure from this plane and joy for its new life beginning on another: his head is bowed as the flames from the funeral pyre grows higher, sending her bodily remains to rejoin with the spiritual one: the bells will ring all over Renular and Antar well into the night, sending their farewell to the most beloved and most powerful High Priestess they have had in several centuries.

The circle of life and death cannot be broken, not even by the Fates.


Chapter 84

Setting:
Evans house, Thursday morning

Diane: she had been checking on Max and Liz off and on since Max’s collapse: every time she would check, Max would be quietly laying motionless on his back with Liz next him, holding his hand, stroking his cheek, anything to stay in constant contact with him: Maria had came over yesterday with an overnight bag for Liz: the 15 minutes Liz took to shower and change was the longest time she was separated from him: but this time when Diane checked, she saw something different, Max was on his side holding Liz tightly against him, snoring: relief sweeps over her {he’s back and he’s alright. He must be or Liz would have woken us last night.}: she watches him a few more minutes before closing the door and heading back to her room to dress for the day and thinking of what she just witnessed {he’s not my little boy anymore. It seems like just yesterday he was. How did he grow up so fast? Liz is a nice girl and they love each other so much. I know he wants to marry her. I wonder if he’ll still need me then.}: after dressing she heads back downstairs to the kitchen to start preparing a hearty breakfast for her family, and her son that hasn’t eaten in almost two days.

Max: something is tickling his nose, his nose keeps twitching, trying to make it stop tickling but without much success: he moves his head a little to try and shake it off, finally he gives up and opens his eyes to the glorious sight of Liz, still asleep in his arms with her silky hair sprawled all over his pillow and him: smiling, he kisses her forehead and is about to start nuzzling her some more when something else catches his attention: sniffing the air again {hmmm, bacon? Coffee??}: on cue his stomach starts growling, confirming for him that, that is indeed the smell of food and he has not eaten in quite some time: he’s in a quandary, his desires are telling him to stay put and enjoy the moment, but that damn stomach just won’t shut up: looking at Liz, he licks his lips and begins kissing her again, on her forehead, nose, eyelids, cheeks, chin, and finally lips: as she crinkles her nose and mumbles something about “too much stubble” before opening her beautiful brown eyes: smiling his love at her...
“Good morning, glad you’re awake. Let’s eat.”

Liz: she playfully smacks his arm as he whips the covers off of them and starts pulling her out of bed with him...
“Max! Let’s eat. You consider that a proper morning greeting?”

Max: putting on his best lost-puppy-dog look...
“But I’m hungry.”
Turning a bit teasingly: he picks her up in his arms and kisses her again...
“Besides, I work better on a full stomach, more energy.”

Liz: wrapping her arms around his neck and enjoying the mischievous twinkle in his eye...
“Well, alright, but you’re shaving first before any more work, too scratchy.”
She loves his laugh as he proceeds to carry her to the bathroom door, where he gives a forlorn look as he grabs his stuff and heads upstairs to his parents’ bathroom: she sighs as she heads into the main bathroom that Max and Isabel use to take a quick shower and get dressed.

Diane: she smiles broadly and with tears in her eyes comes over to him the moment she spots him: wrapping her arms around her son...
“Oh honey, thank God you’re alright.”
After a few moments she gives him a good squeeze and then a kiss on his cheek before finally releasing him from her embrace: she gives him a good hard look and notices that there’s something different about him, he’s changed someway: she watches as he goes to sit down at the table and realizes that his walk is different, more confident, more mature: as she takes the biscuits out of the oven...
“Honey, what did this Serela teach you about the Granolith?”

Max: helping himself to coffee and some hot biscuits and jam for starters...
“Lots of things, basically how to use the Granolith without blowing anything up, I hope. Anyway, she was very warm and kind, reminded me a lot of Aunt Trudy. Oh, morning, Dad.”

Philip: he had been sort of fine for the first 24 hours, by telling himself that Max would be back in a full day cycle which of course to him meant 24 hours: it was when it became 25, 26, 27... then 36 hours that the worry he had kept at bay really started to weigh on him: like everyone else he had slept fitfully or not at all for the last two nights and the sight of his son, just sitting there, casually greeting him and stuffing his mouth like nothing unusual at had happened, makes him want to either knock his head off or hold him: he compromises, he gives his son a kiss on the top of his head followed by a light smack on the side: as his son gives him a what-was-that-for look...
“For worrying us, now eat your breakfast. Everyone needs to know that you’re alright and of course we’re all curious as hell.”

Max: giving his Dad a “sorry” look...
“I’m sorry for worrying everyone. Yeah, after breakfast, though, OK?”
He unabashedly plows through the plate of food that his mom sits in front of him, pausing only briefly to give Liz a stubble free kiss as she comes in and joins them.

Isabel: she had found out that Max as back and was OK when she ran into Liz coming out of the bathroom: she gets dressed in record time, just putting on the basics and excitedly goes to the kitchen where she sees her brother just sitting there, nonchalantly wolfing down his eggs: for some reason that just irks her to no end, crossing her arms...
“Well, hello to you too. You know, you could have come and woke us up so we could’ve stopped worrying about you last night.”

Max: recognizing the stance and the attitude: he goes with a rueful smile and a forgive-me look, one that used to sort of work when they were little and he would borrow Barbie, so GI Joe would have someone for target practice...
“Sorry Iz. I was really exhausted when I got back and was only awake for a minute before I fell back to sleep.”

Isabel: sarcastically...
“I bet. I’m sure it had nothing to do with Liz being there.”
Letting her concern show...
“Are you OK? What happened?”

Max: “Oh Iz, I’m fine. There’s so much to tell, I’m not sure where to begin, but I think... I think that some of it is just for us. Sit down.”
As Isabel joins them, he notices his parents’ unease...
“Mom, Dad, please stay. I think you might be interested in this too.”
He just turns and smiles at Liz, no words are necessary, he needs and wants her there: turning back to Isabel, excitedly...
“I saw us Iz, I saw us as Zan and Vilandra, as little kids. We were flying a kite. It was at a small beach. And I saw our father too, he came running up to you and picked you up and swung you around and then he picked me up and did the same, only then he tossed me in the water. Serela said that this was the beach by our mother’s family palace, a place that I loved and from the looks of it you did too.”

Isabel: she can feel Mom’s arms slip around her shoulders: becoming emotional...
“Oh God, Max, you saw our father? What did he look like? What about us, were we the same?”

Max: “We looked very different. My hair was sort of, um, I guess light brown and grey eyes. I think I was about 7 or 8. Your hair was lighter, I guess you were always a blond but you had grey eyes like me, and I think you were my little sister, maybe 6. In fact I’m sure you were younger because Serela said that, uh, our mother was already pregnant with me when they married. Our father, had darker hair, sort of like mine now but light eyes, sort of blue-grey. He was a little taller than me I think, 6’1”? But we seemed so happy. It was amazing seeing it, seeing Antar.”

Liz: “Wait, seeing Antar? How did you see Antar?”

Max: “I asked it to show me Antar and it took me there. Well, not actually there but it seemed like I was. I guess there’s a lot I need to explain.”

Philip: “Well, why don’t you wait and let’s get everyone together so you only have to do it one time.”

Max: as his Dad is calling everyone...
“Iz, there’s more about you and I, about the Order of Ruan and what that means for us, but maybe we should go over that later tonight.”
About an hour later, everyone is sitting in the Evans living room, after having give Max hugs, slaps on the shoulder, and elsewhere in Maria’s case, welcoming him back, they are all no ready to hear what he has to say...
“It was incredible. I asked the Granolith to show me Antar and it did, first this beautiful valley from 500 years ago and then later when I asked for something more current, something during Zan’s lifetime, it should me this beach scene. It was... beautiful.”
He pauses to push his emotions down as he thinks of the family scene again, so he can continue...
“I can ask it questions.”


posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:50:33 PM
Liz: “What questions? Did you ask it about time travel?”

Max: “Uh, yeah, I actually did ask it that.”
As everyone looks at him eagerly...
“You have to be kind of careful in what you ask it. And never ask it a question starting with the word how , cuz unless you’re Einstein, it’ll make no sense what so ever. Oh and it has a bit on an attitude.”

Michael: “An attitude? It’s a machine Maxwell.”

Max: “You ever gone rounds with a computer before? Well, think of that times 100 and you get the picture.”

Michael: “So you mastered it?”

Max: “Um, I wouldn’t say mastered, but I can use it.”
He goes on to explain all that Serela told him about who built the Granolith and why, and the about their dupes...
“She said that Lonnie and Zan carried the genetic code also.”

Maria: “Wait, if that’s the case and Kivar is looking for someone with the code, then why didn’t Nicholas take Lonnie to Kivar?”

Max: “I asked, she didn’t know.”

Kyle: “How do you know he didn’t?”

Tobias: shaking his head...
“No, no, there are Vintarian spies on Antar. If she was there, we’d know. Besides, Kivar would be announcing it to all of Antar that Her Royal Highness has returned and was lending her support to restore peace and prosperity to Antar. She’d be too big a piece of PR not to use.”

Tess: “So she and Rath and I assume Ava are still here on Earth.”

Alex: “But how do we know if they’re still working with Nicholas?”

Michael: “We don’t and that’s not good, Maxwell.”

Max: “No, that’s not good. We’ll need to keep our eyes open in case they cause anymore trouble. With our bonds there’s at least one person that’ll be able to positively tell who’s who.”

Philip: thinking back to how troubled he was about finding out that Lonnie girl had been impersonating his daughter and that neither he nor later even Max had been able to tell them apart and what that almost cost them...
“How about a password? If one of us thinks there’s anything strange with one of you, well more strange than normal, you have to give a password.”

Liz: as they look at each other...
“Would be good against shapeshifters too. So what’s the password?”

Maria: she watches as Alex pops another Starburst in his mouth...
“Ewe, it’s way too early for that much sugar.”

Jim: picking up the red wrapper...
“Perfect. Starburst. If anyone of us asks you for a password, we had better get Starburst for the answer. And if there’s any further doubt a quick call to a bond mate should confirm it.”
They all talk a little longer over the Granolith and that Max will be periodically working remotely with it to strengthen and improve his control of it and decide to table the dupes problem for now.

Max: as everyone is getting ready to leave...
“Wait Tobias, Kyle and Tess could you stay for a moment?”
Tobias tells Jim and Amy that he’ll drop them off when they leave and take a seat on the sofa: Max holds on to Liz’s hand and looks at Jeff, who nods and tells him to have her home before noon: they take a seat on the other sofa...
“Um, as you know I’m supposed to attend a White House state dinner and they’ve asked if I’m going to be bringing a date for the evening.”
Looking over at Liz longingly for a moment before continuing...
“Serela confirmed what you’ve been saying Tobias. Ava’s grandfather is going to be furious when he finds out that Tess and I aren’t going to be marrying and now would not be a good time for him to find that out.”

Tess: unsure of what he means...
“So you want me to go with you?”
She looks over to see Kyle’s scowl that confirms what she’s feeling from him.

Max: “Um, not uh, not exactly. Uh, no offense but um, I had something else in mind, something that wouldn’t signal anything to anyone, sort of a... diplomatic date.”

Liz: she sees Max cringe before her emotions even register and when they do, she is none too pleased: for the second time this day she smacks his arm, but this one lacks the playfulness from this morning’s...
“I see. And that diplomatic date would just happen to have brown hair and eyes and oh, yes, just happen to be all of fifteen?!”

Max: “Yeah, something like.”

Tobias: scratching his head...
“Well, that would be a safe alternative.”
Looking at a very teed-off Liz...
“diplomatically speaking, of course. Um, Kyle, Tess, I sort of had a lunch date, not to rush you two but...”

Kyle: looking over at Tess who’s grinning back at him...
“Nope, we’re done.”
As they’re beating a hasty exit, he calls back...
“Careful Evans or she might crown ya!”
His laughter can be heard through the closed door.

Max: looking at Liz, hopeful...
“Liz, you understand don’t you? I mean Tobias is right, nobody would think anything other than she’s standing in to help her father, which is exactly what she’d be doing. I mean, you were alright with me taking Tess, so this.....Liz... uh, Liz....”

Liz: arms crossed, huffy....
“Tess is different. She’s not your type, besides you’ve already admitted to checking April Wilkinson out, even though she’s all of 15 years old! But Tobias is right, diplomatically speaking she’s perfect. So no, no problem, I understand. Have a good time.”

As the Fates know and men soon find out, when a woman tells a man “no problem, I understand”, they’re lying.


Chapter 85

Setting:
White House, Oval office, Friday morning

Pres. Wilkinson: going over the normal morning briefing with his Chief of Staff, George Sinclair...
“So what else do we have for this morning?”

Sinclair: “We got an inquiry from the King of Antar. It seems that he doesn’t have an escort for the State dinner Monday night and was wondering if you might make a recommendation.”

Pres. Wilkinson: “Hmm, odd. I thought he had a pretty serious girlfriend. I guess she wasn’t available. So who’d you have in mind?”

Sinclair: looking up not at his President but as a fellow father...
“April is close to his age and I understand that they got along well with each other.”

Pres. Wilkinson: scowling....
“April? What made you think of her?”

Sinclair: “I didn’t, he did.”

Pres. Wilkinson: thinking it over...
“I don’t know. She’s awfully young and impressionable.”
As a thought hits him, he looks hard at his Chief of Staff...
“We are talking about him simply needing an escort, aren’t we? There’s nothing more to it than that, no... other interest?”

Sinclair: “From what I was told by Mr. Evans, no, although he obviously remembered her fondly from their first meeting, enough so to suggest it.”

Pres. Wilkinson: he also remembers his youngest daughter’s reaction to the alien king: not entirely certain if he likes it or not, but he also knows that it would be bad form to simply say no, not to mention the fury of said daughter when she found out: he reluctantly agrees...
“Ok, make sure I have some time this afternoon to ask her. If she agrees, then ok.”
He can’t help but to roll his eyes at that [yeah, like she’s going to say no to an alien king that she has yet to shut up about. Yeah, right, I might as well let Julie know so she can start looking for an appropriate dress and stuff for her.}: turning back to his advisor...
“What’s next? Is all preparations in place for the British Prime Minister’s arrival on Monday morning?”

Sinclair: “Yes, he arrives at 11:00AM and comes directly here to meet with you and then lunch. His Majesty Max Evans, King Zan arrives at 1:30 and will meet with you in private until 2:00 when the prime Minister rejoins you and is introduced His Majesty.”

Later that day in the White House’s private quarters...

President Wilkinson: he learned about a year ago that it is in his best interest to knock first before entering his daughter’s room: after getting a “come in”, opening the door...
“April, honey, I need to ask you something.”
Taking a seat on the bed...
“Uh, honey, you remember Max Evans, King Zan?”
Getting a are–you-nuts-how-could-I-forget-look in reply....
“Well, it seems that I could use your help with something. See he’s coming to the State dinner Monday and well, he doesn’t have an escort for the evening. It was suggested that since you and he got along so well that...”
He is abruptly cut off as his daughter’s arms wrap around his neck and a squeal of absolute delight goes echoing through the room and down the hall...
“I take that as a yes?”

April: ecstatic...
“OH MY GOD! Daddy, are you kidding me? You want me to be his date? OH MY GOD!”

Pres. Wilkinson: {date? Oh hell!}...
“Uh, it’s not really a date, honey. He just needs some one to talk to during dinner and to dance with afterwards. I wouldn’t call it a da....”

April: no longer paying attention, her mind is going a mile a minute trying to think of everything she needs to do: quickly looking through her closet...
“OH MY GOD!”
In a panic she goes tearing out of the room and down the hall, shouting...
“MOOOOOMMMMM! I don’t have anything to wear!”

Pres. Wilkinson: defeated, he hangs his head and prays for strength to get through this; and hopes to God that Julie will be able to set her straight about it.

Setting: Crashdown Café, Friday afternoon

Max: he rarely gets to actually go and sit down in the café anymore: the locals for the most part seems to have pretty much chilled out about everything, but the tourist keep pouring in and pouring their money into the local economy: there is already talk of building new hotels, restaurants and even more alien themed attractions; keeping his word, he still works a couple of days a week at the UFO Center: he discreetly enters the bustling café: he looks around for an empty table but not finding one, he spots the next best thing: coming over to the occupied table...
“Hey Kyle, mind if I join you?”

Kyle: looking up briefly...
“Naw, sit down. So how’re things going? Liz speaking to you, yet?”

Max: frowning...
“She’s speaking to me.”
While scanning the menu: a little quieter....
“Just not the way they way I’d like.”
Looking back up at Kyle...
“How’d you know Liz was still pissed at me?”

Kyle: “Easy, I live with Maria remember? And guess who Liz has been talking to?”

Max: “Maria”

Kyle: “Yeah, I think Maria’s been giving her pointers.”

Max: “That’s not good.”

Kyle:” Nope, it’s not. Tess had long a discussion with her too.”

Max: “Great. Now all I need is for Iz to step in and offer her help as well.”

Maria: as normal the place was packed: while bringing an order to a table, she spots Max coming in and taking a seat at Kyle’s table: she scowls as one of the new waitresses heads over to take their orders: coming over to their table as well....
“Gina, I know these two, very difficult customers, plus they don’t tip. Why don’t you take my table over there with all those tourists, better tips.”
She waits until Gina leaves: turns and grabs Max’s menu out of his hands and proceeds to smack him on the head with it: handing the menu back to the startled alien...
“What were you thinking? A 15 year old! Not even Michael would be such an idiot to pull something like this! This is the ultimate in crass, jackass.... bed hopping Tommy Lee behavior.”

Max: weakly...
“Maria, I’m not bed hopping. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s... political.”

Maria: “Yeah, well, they say that politics make strange bedfellows. I just never figured it would be you with Tommy Lee.”

Max: scowling at Kyle’s snickering...
“Maria, it’s not like that. I love Liz and I want to take her.”
Looking around at all the customers, lowering his voice...
“But I am a King and I do have to consider how my actions affect the whole picture. If you can think of a way for me to take Liz without stirring up a hornets nest, tell me.”

Maria: “Hmpf, well, you had better start making it up to her now, cuz I’ll be spending the weekend with her... discussing things.”
Whipping out her order pad...
“What’ll it be?”

Kyle: after ordering, he just shakes his head at the alien...
“Man, if I were you, I’d make sure Liz has some fond memories to ponder this weekend, otherwise by the time Maria gets done... discussing things with her, you’ll be lucky to survive till Monday.”

As the Fates know, making a decision can be easy: it’s living with it that’s the challenge.


Chapter 86

Setting:
Crashdown, immediately following

Max: he’s sitting at the booth with Kyle just finished eating and was looking to see when Liz was coming down: he had tried to talk to her through their bond connection but got a rather abrupt “I’m busy” as a reply: he knows that her sift starts soon and he wants to talk to her before hand: deciding not to wait any more: he drops a $10 on the table and departs: he quickly walks up the stairs and knocks on the apartment door: Nancy lets him in and tells him that Liz is in her bedroom: he takes a deep breath and raps lightly on her door: not getting any response, he tries it again ,accompanied by...
“Liz, it’s me. Liz?”
A bit timidly, he opens the door a little and spots her buttoning up her dress which stirs a few fires in him: he knows that she knows he’s there, so he walks in: trying again...
“Liz, Liz, I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad at me.”

Liz: she’s been simmering since yesterday: Maria and Tess have both been telling her to not let him get away with this, even Isabel dropped by this morning to put in her two cents: continuing to look in the mirror and adjusting her antennas...
“Why shouldn’t I be? I can be mad at you if I want to.”
In the mirror, she notices him coming up behind her and the hurt expression on his face is so adorable: she forces herself to be strong and whirls around and faces him: pointing a finger at him for emphasis....
“Oh no, you don’t Max Evans! You will not pull that sad lost puppy dog look on me. I have good reason to mad at you and I am not going to let you fix it with just a look.”

Max: continuing with the look...
“Liz, I love you. You know that. I’m sorry about all of this. It’s just that, well...”

Liz: “It’s just that I’m not politically acceptable, that’s all. Max, I feel like a cheap floozy that you have to hide from the world. “

Max: aghast...
“Liz, that’s not true, you know that.”

Liz: “I do? Really, how? Prove it!”
As he raises his eyebrows and comes towards her: putting up her hand out to stop...
“No Max, the sex is great but that’s not what I’m talking about!”
Still angry...
“Excuse me, but now you’ve made me late for work. Enjoy your trip.”
Slamming the door, she leaves a sulking alien standing there in her room.

A little later that day...

Max: walking along Citrus St. with Michael...
“She wants me to prove that I love her.”

Michael: popping another lifesaver in his mouth...
“Yep, she’s been talking to Maria, alright. So I take it that she wasn’t meaning....”

Max: “Like I would be here with you if she was.”

Michael: “So get her something. You know something that tells her how you feel about her.”
His best friend pauses walking and gives him a strange, do-I-know-you look: responding to the unasked question...
“What? I’ve had Maria going off in my head for almost six months. Do me a favor and fix this before I have to do something desperate.”

Max: he resumes walking with his friend when they come upon a store: a display in the window catches his eye, giving him an idea: he walks in.

Michael: he continues talking to his friend for a few more paces before realizing that his friend isn’t with him: turning around, he spots Max’s agent standing outside a store: when he realizes what kind of store it is, his eyebrows shoot up: running back to his friend, he goes into the store and tries to rescue him...
“Maxwell, what do you think you’re doing?”
Grabbing his King by the arm...
“Come on, go get her flowers or something, but this... no way man, too soon, you’re too young, besides this would totally piss me, Kyle and Alex off. It’s bad enough that the girls are all ganging up on ya, now you’re going to include us guys, too.”

Max: holding firm and continuing to look over the selection, only half paying attention: he hears enough to cause a smile to creep into place...
“Why would this piss you guys off?”

Michael: “Maxwell, you have a well established history of sappiness. Every time you do something even remotely sappy we all catch hell for it. Imagine the agony we’ll be in if you go through with this. Come on, think flowers, flowers are good and in my budget.”

Max: “Yeah, well this would’ve been too if you hadn’t immediately gone out and maxed out that credit card my Dad got you. What the hell you buy with it anyways?”

Michael: “Essentials, OK Maxwell, this really isn’t funny.”
Looking at hard at his friend...
“You’re serious about this, aren’t you?”

Max: “Totally.”
Turning back to the clerk, he points to one...
“That one, I want to look at that one.”
After spending some time making his selection, he has to come up with a special way to give it to her: thinking back to Michael’s suggestion: grabbing his soon to be suffering second-in-command, they head to the flower shop, then to a toy store that has an adorable giant stuffed white panda in the display window: satisfied with all of the arrangements, he treats his now very grumpy friend to some take out and some pool.

Sorry, only the Fates know what Max has planned.


Chapter 87

Setting:
Crashdown, Saturday., 12:00 noon

Maria: eyeing the delivery man as he walks in: she walks over and intercepts him...
“Can I help you?”

Deliveryman: looking at the card...
“Yeah, I have a delivery for a Liz Parker.”

Maria: sighing and nodding in understanding: calling to her friend, who’s working the counter on this busy Saturday...
“Liz, Liz, flowers from Loverboy.”

Liz: she can’t help the immediate grin that sprouts up, but she’s determined not to melt at the sweet bouquet of white carnations: she walks over and collects them...
“Thank you.”
She takes the card out and reads “To Liz, my Love and my Life. Yours forever, Max”: sighing, she spots’ Maria rolling her eyes...
“Excuse me while I put these in some water.”

Maria: calling back to her departing friend...
“Sure babe, just don’t settle on carnations.”

Waitress: at 12:30 the place is packed with a lunchtime crowd of tourist, so much so that she almost bumps into the deliveryman...
“Oops, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there. Who are those for?”

Deliveryman: looking at the card...
“It says Liz Parker.”
The waitress points him over to the counter to the harried little brunette: walking over to her...
“Miss Parker, these are for you.”

Liz: startled...
“Uh, thank you.”
She takes the dozen white roses, breaths deeply of their scent, opens the card and smiles as she reads “To My One and Only, I Love You. Max”: as Maria comes over to check them out...
“Um, I’ll be right back.”

Maria: as Liz leaves once again...
“Ok, roses, he’s improving, but hold strong!”

Liz: at 1:00 the place is still packed with customers: while waiting for her order to come up, she feels someone tapping her on the shoulder: turning around...
“Huh?”

Maria: she’s starting to get envious, it’s just not fair, but at the same time, she’s absolutely thrilled for her friend: thumbing her finger behind her...
“You have a special customer.”

Liz: she looks to where her friend is pointing: her mouth drops open in surprise...
“Oh My Gosh!”
She runs over to the giant white bear, sitting in one of the stools with a card on the table: opening the card “I Love you now and forever. Max”
She picks up the bear and looks around for him: not spotting him, she turns back to Maria.

Maria: “He slipped in and out. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. You’ll be right back.”
She takes the order that Liz had been waiting on to the customer as her friend goes back upstairs: mumbling to herself...
“The boy’s getting good. I hope Michael took notes.”

Liz: at 1:30 she’s almost embarrassed as yet another deliveryman comes in looking for her this time with two dozen white roses: she thanks him as she takes the roses and heads up to her room to put them in water: this process is repeated every half hour throughout her shift which finally ends at 4:00: she and Maria enter her now very fragrant room with a giant bear sitting on her bed: she sits on the bed and hugs the bear, exclaiming....
“Isn’t he adorable?!”

Maria: looking around the flower filled room in amazement...
“Ok, so tell me exactly what you did to him to get this kind of results.”

Liz: now lying back on her bed holding onto the bear...
“I told him off big time.”

Maria: shaking her head...
“Nope, done that plenty of times and never got these results. So did they work? Do you forgive him?”

Liz: crinkling her nose as she thinks about it...
“Um, probably, but only after we have a major, major talk.”

Maria: dropping her bag on the bed...
“Ok babe, you can revel in his Maxness later. We need to change, the movie starts in a half an hour.”

Max: he waits until a little after 5:00 before climbing up on her balcony with his supplies: he grins broadly as he peaks into her room at all the flowers and the giant white bear on her bed: he then sets himself to task, taking out the scented candles, cd’s, table cloth, white down comforter, sparkling cider, dessert and sets to work transforming her balcony: before he knows it, it’s after 7:00 and he smiles as he watches her come back into her room: he waits 10 minutes to make sure she’s alone, no Maria: he taps lightly on her window and gives her a hopeful look.

Liz: she just stands there with her hands on her hips looking at him for a minute before she relents and goes to open the window...
“Hi Max.”

Max: smiling but trying to look a bit sheepishly, he hands her a bunch of flowers...
“Here, I wanted to get you some flowers but the flower shop was sold out, so I had to pick you these. They said something about an idiot trying to make amends with his better half and buying out their white roses. They’re not roses but I hope they’re ok.”

Liz: trying not to laugh, she takes the bunch of wilted flowers...
“Max, these are dandelions.”
Giving up she laughs...
“Do you want to come in?”

Max: he looks in then smiles: his voice turns husky...
“No, you come out.”

Liz: “Max Evans, what are you up to?”
She lets him take her hand and help her out the window: with a wave of his hand, he lights the multitude of candles scattered all over her balcony: while still clutching the sad looking dandelions, he escorts her to her little table and chairs that he has transformed into something out of a little French Bistro with white table linen, candle, one single rose bud, silver wine bucket with chilled cider, two white china plates and antique fine silver forks, a serving plate packed with all her favorite desserts and a Tabasco bottle: near tears...
“Oh Max, it’s beautiful, everything is just beautiful.”
She looks at how happy and pleased he is and wraps her arms around his neck and proceeds to let him know that he’s forgiven: after a few minutes they come up for air...
“Thank you.”

Max: looking at her with all his love...
“God, I love you! I never meant to hurt you. I love you and I want you to be my wife.”

Liz: she’s startled, while she had always just sort of assumed that they would wind up getting married, he had never actually said anything about it, nor had she: her heart almost leaps out of her throat, as he slowly leads her to one of the chairs and gets down on one knee.

Max: looking up full of love, fear, and hope...
“Liz, I don’t know how this is all going to end, but I know that it will only really mean something to me if you are there beside me, sharing it with me as my wife.”
He takes out the small black jewelry box, opens it and presents it to her...
“Liz Parker, will you marry me? Please say yes.”

Liz: trembling hands, she touches the box: barely able to speak...
“But what about...”


posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:51:49 PM
Max: “With you by me, we’ll work it out. We’ll come up with a solution together. Please say yes, Liz.”

Liz: flinging her arms around him, she practically knocks him over...
“OH YES! YES MAX, YES!”

Max: pure joy sweeps over him as he takes her in his arms and kisses her madly...
“God I love you. What did I ever do to deserve someone like you?”

Liz: “You saved my life, and then you helped me to open my eyes and start living.”
She giggles as he picks her up in his arms and carries her to her lawn chair that he has made all nice and cozy with a comforter, where he slips the diamond solitaire with a white gold band that has the alien symbol finely etched on it, onto her left ring finger: she holds her hand out in front of her admiring the ring and the way the diamond sparkles in the candle light: sighing happily, she snuggles into his embrace: her thoughts start to wander to the more practical side of things...
“Max, how is this going to work? I mean what about Tess’s grandfather? What about my father and mother, and yours? I mean nothing has been solved.”

Max: taking her hand and kissing it, tenderly...
“Yes there has, you no longer doubt my love for you. Together, we’ll solve one thing at a time.”

The Fates occasionally have to remind even the best of us that it is important not to take our loved ones for granted.


Chapter 88

Setting:
Valentis house, Sunday late afternoon

Liz: she and Max had talked long into the night last night and had decided for the time being that they would tell their friends, families and only people that had to know and wait until New Years Eve before announcing their engagement to the worlds: they hoped by then to have come up with way to not enrage the Vintar ruler: they still didn’t know what that would be but Max was going to ask Tobias to arrange a meeting with Larek again to discuss it: before he left last night she and Max had announced their engagement to her parents, her mom cried, and surprisingly her dad took it calmly: he had hugged her and shook Max’s hand and congratulated them both while reminding Max of his promise about school and no eloping: Max just smiled and told them not to worry, that it took time to plan a royal wedding, that they hadn’t set a date yet but they had narrowed it down to next summer before leaving for hopefully Harvard: she had been invited to brunch today with the Evans at a local bistro, where they had sprung their engagement on his family with similar results, warm hugs and hand shakes along with a “don’t forget about school” reminder from his dad, his mom was a flood of happy tears and Isabel was all ready to help plan a royal wedding and said they’d be lucky to have everything ready for a summer wedding: after brunch Max and his dad went to meet with Tobias and after packing her overnight bag, she’s now here at the Valenti’s door, ready to drop a bomb on her best friend: she doesn’t want a scene at the door, so she carefully covers her right hand with her jacket: ringing the bell, the door opens wide to reveal a smiling Maria...
“Hey Maria.”

Maria: “Hey yourself, chicka.”
She grabs her friend’s bag and the jacket that was hanging on her arm and promptly turns around to drop the stuff off in her room with her friend following behind: upon reaching the room, she plops down on the bed and watches her friend come in with her hands stuck in her jeans pockets...
“OK, chicka, spill.”

Liz: trying to act casual...
“Spill what?”

Maria: “What do you mean what, there’s no way his royalness would leave it at a bunch of flowers and a teddy bear. Admit it; he came by last night, right? What’d he say? What he’d do? I mean look at you, it must have been spectacular because you’re still glowing, and look you’re even mimicking him with your hands in your pockets, how cute. So come on, out with it!”
Loud squeals can be heard throughout the house as her friend takes her hands out of her pockets: she pulls her friend into a tight bear hug...
“OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! I don’t believe it, he did it! How? How he do it? Did he get down on one knee? What did he say? It had to have been romantic; I mean we are talking about Mr. Romance, himself, so.... so...”

Liz: grinning with delight at her friend’s reaction....
“Maria, Maria, I can’t answer you if you don’t stop talking.”

Amy: now going on 6 months along, she’s showing pretty good and other than an occasional backache the pregnancy has progressed fairly normally, including the hormonal induced mood swings: the moving, combining and reorganizing three households into one had been very challenging and only enhanced those mood swings: upon hearing her daughter’s excited outburst, she comes to see what’s going on...
“Maria, what’s wrong?”

Maria: before Liz has a chance to say a single word, Maria grabs Liz’s hand and shows her mom...
“Look, look! Max did it, he popped the question!”

Amy: her mouth drops open in surprise, then silently thanking God that it’s not her own daughter getting married this young, she smiles warmly and gives the bride-to-be a tearful congratulatory hug...
“Oh Liz, that’s wonderful. Have you set a date yet?”

Liz: “Thank you, not yet. We’re thinking sometime next summer, before we head off to college. We plan on officially announcing it on New Year’s Eve, that way we have a little time to work out some of the political problems.”

Maria: “Yeah, right. Like the second you show up to school sporting a rock like that on your finger isn’t going to tip off all of West Roswell High, then the world.”

Liz: looking lovingly at the ring...
“I know and I told Max that it would be best if I didn’t wear it in public, but he gave me a cute hurt look and reminded me how I was the one going on about him keeping our relationship under wraps. Max is meeting with Tobias this afternoon about setting up a meeting with Larek after he gets back from Washington DC. “

Maria: as her mom leaves to run errands, her and her friend get comfortable on the bed, settling in for a long girl chat...
“So he’s still taking the 15 year old out tomorrow night.”

Liz: “Yes, it would look very bad to cancel it now, but I told him to make sure she knows this was a one time thing and it was political and nothing else. He was actually surprised to think that she would think it was anything other than that, talk about clueless! Anyhow, he said he’d let her down gently. In any case, he knows that I plan on spending tomorrow night lying in bed thinking of him and listening very closely to what’s going on in DC and he had better not be shutting me out for any reason.”

Maria: “Ooh, good for you! Now back to where we started, tell me everything about last night!”
She’s the picture of happy envy for her friend as she gets all the details and is actually crying: still sniffling...
“Oh that is so, so sweet, and to think that he set this up all by himself.”

Liz: “Well, yeah, mostly... he did say that it was Michael that gave him the idea for the flowers.”
Noticing her friend’s shocked look...
“Maria?”

Maria: {OH YOU DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDREL! YOU KNEW! HOW COULD YOU NOT TELL ME?!}: concentrating on her friend’s words {you gave Max the idea for the flowers? How could you give him the idea but not think of them for yourself? Huh? When was the last time you sent me flowers, huh? WELL? Don’t you dare try and close the connection! So there you are, giving Mr. Romance actually good advice and yet it never occurs to you when it comes to me. Why is that Michael?!}: her friend’s concerned inquiries finally break through her mental explosion...
“Oh sorry, just trying to express some thoughts. So tell me what you have in mind for your wedding.”
They spend the afternoon excitedly telling each other their dream wedding over ice cream and are later joined by Tess: Kyle drops by the room just long enough to find out about the engagement and congratulates her and then makes a hasty exit and retreats to the safer terrain of Michael’s place for some male bonding over pool and for the low down on just what the hell El Presidente was thinking.

Setting: White House, Monday evening, State Dinner

Max: he had met with Pres. Wilkinson first, for an informal chat about “how are things going in Roswell?”, “how was the vacation?”, oh and “anything new from Antar?” questions: he, Tobias and his Dad had already decided that they would keep the President informed on any new developments but only after the fact, nor would they be coming forth too much on how they found these things out: they just didn’t want to take the chance on any outside interference: he had been nervous about meeting with the British Prime Minister but he was quickly set at ease by how relaxed and easy going the PM had been: as they chatted, he realized that maybe the PM was too good at putting him at ease, and he really had to watch himself and be very careful not to say too much or the wrong thing: at the dinner tonight, he had found himself sitting with April of course, along with Isabel, Tobias, Pres. Wilkinson and Mrs. Wilkinson, the PM and his wife, and his parents: they had a lively chat over dinner about cricket vs. baseball and football vs. American football: after dinner the President led the First Lady onto the dance floor where they were followed by the PM and his wife: at a kick from Isabel, he gets the message that it’s now his turn: standing up and holding out his hand...
“April, would you like to dance?”

April: gazing up into his beautiful amber eyes...
“I’d love to.”

Max: as they start to glide across the floor, he tries to think of something safe to say...
“Um, you look lovely tonight.”

April: smiling shyly...
“Thank you. So do you, I mean, you look very nice too.”

Max: smiling {Ok, now what?}: he hadn’t really intended that as an actual question, but he gets a oh-so-helpful-helpful reply regardless {how about, thanks for the dance but I just got engaged yesterday and my fiancée is listening to everything I’m saying and even thinking.}: Liz had been so quiet all day that he had almost forgotten about her being there, he knew she was, but um, he didn’t forget exactly, just sort of set it aside for a bit: her words startle him into remembering: forcing himself to come back to the here and now and April...
“Thanks, you’re a great dancer. You must have someone special to practice with.”
He hears {that’s not quite what I said, Max.}.

April: moving a little closer...
“Thank you. I took dance in school. How about you? Do you have someone special to dance with?”

Max: getting a little nervous, this isn’t going the direction he wanted it to: it doesn’t help to be hearing a steady growl start coming through his bond connection: returning to the task at hand...
“My uh, sister used to drag me out to help her practice her dance lessons.”
As that growl grows more menacing...
“But my fiancée has taught me some better moves.”

April: she pauses dancing, and drops her hands, in shock...
“Your fiancée?”

Max: feeling bad for her hurt look, trying to explain and hoping to God she doesn’t start crying...
“Um, yeah. Liz and I just got engaged. There are some political issues that I have to take care of before we can actually announce it. You agreeing to be my... escort for this evening has really helped me, us out.”
He gently takes her hands again and starts dancing again.

April: she wants to run and hide: her Mom and even Dad had tried to tell her that this was just politics and not to read anything more into, but she couldn’t help it: he was the first boy to show any interest in her, the first to sort of ask her out: determined to put on a valiant effort...
“I’m glad I could help. She must be very special.”

Max: smiling back at her, he can still see the hurt: fortunately the growl has started to die down some and allows him a little more leeway to ease some of the hurt...
“She is and so are you. You’re very special and someday there’s going to be someone just as special come along and sweep you off your feet.”

April: still crushed but trying to make light of it
“Bet he won’t be an alien king though.”

Max: “There aren’t too many of us around, besides being with an alien king isn’t all that great. I always have Tabasco on my breath.”
His smile turns into a slight chuckle, matching the giggle he just elicited from her: twirling her around on the dance floor...
“Come on; show me some of those steps you learned in dance class.”
He spends the rest of the evening discreetly learning a few new dance steps: he keeps the conversation light and funny, concentrating on telling stories of when he and Michael were young and the fun they had annoying Isabel and then running like hell when she lost it, nice safe topics.

As the alien King learns to walk the fine line of diplomacy and politics, the Fates smile as his better half helps him keep his balance.


Chapter 89

Setting:
Evans House, Tuesday morning

Philip: while once again he is the first up in the morning, as he comes into the kitchen he sees that he’s not the first to arrive for breakfast: at least the breakfast guest has already made the coffee, while pouring himself a cup...
“Morning Kyle, is that this morning’s paper?”

Kyle: making himself right at home with the sports page...
“Yep, looks like the Yankees might go all way again this year.”

Philip: grabbing the business section as he takes a seat at the table...
“Huh, I’d like to read that when you’re done.”

Kyle: while flipping the page...
“Sure, no problem.”

Philip: they read in companionable silence until Diane comes down to the kitchen: greeting his wife...
“Good morning, dear.”

Diane: they had gotten back very late last night from DC and slept in late this morning, but she sees that didn’t deter their reoccurring meal guest from joining them yet again this morning: turning her attention to her husband...
“Good morning. Anything in particular you want for breakfast?”

Philip: “Anything is fine, even cereal.”

Diane: “Kyle?”

Kyle: his head pops up from the sports page: he thinks about it for a second...
“Hmmm, you make the best poached eggs on toast. Oh and those crispy potatoes are awesome.”

Diane: laughing at the funny scowl on Philip’s face: she pats his shoulder as she goes to get herself a cup of coffee and to start breakfast...
“Poached eggs on toast and potatoes it is then.”
As the smell of food permeates the house, it’s not long before her other children join them in the kitchen.

Philip: while finishing off his eggs, he looks over at their breakfast guest....
“Kyle, while we are delighted to have you over, I was wondering why we are being graced with your bright shiny face so often.”

Kyle: plowing through his second helping of potatoes...
“Hmmm, the food.”
And looking around the table trying to be polite, he adds....
“And the company.”

Philip: “That’s nice Kyle, but I believe you have a home of your own with food and company. Any particular reason you prefer ours instead?”

Kyle: grabbing the last Tabasco bottle before Max can, he dumps the rest of it on his potatoes and another egg...
“Well, Amy’s great and all, good cook, but um, well about a month ago her taste changed at bit. Now nothing is ever salty enough or cooked enough, so eggs tend to be on the well preserved over hard side, and Buddha help you if you say anything or not eat it all. She turns on the water works at a drop of the hat. I try to slip out before she has the chance to start.”

Diane: smiling, trying not to laugh...
“Kyle, surely you’re exaggerating. I mean then why aren’t the girls here as well?”

Kyle: “Easy, they say that they’re on diets, take one bite and head over to the Crashdown or something, but for some reason she has it in her head that I, a guy, should be cleaning my plate or it means that I think she’s a terrible cook, which lately ain’t far from the truth. But you didn’t hear that from me.”

Diane: amused despite herself...
“Of course, not a word.”

Philip: wrinkling his brow...
“So does this mean we’ll be graced with your presence at this table for the next 3 months?”
He’s about to say more but is cut off by his wife placing her hand on his and giving him a knowing, it’s-alright look: after breakfast Isabel heads over to Tess’s and Kyle drags Max off to Michael’s, mentioning something about them needing a little guy time to discuss things.

Setting: Michael’s place, early afternoon

Max: walking into his friend’s condo, he can’t help but notice that Alex is already there and that all three of his friends are sporting similar disgruntled looks...
“Hey guys, what’s going on?”

Alex: his arms are folded, and he looks incredulously at his friend...
“What’s going on? What’s going on? What the hell were you thinking giving Liz an engagement ring like that. While I absolutely love Isabel and do want to marry her, it ain’t today and no way can I afford a rock like you gave Liz. Of course now Isabel is just being totally understanding about it, NOT! And you of all people should know what that’s like!”

Kyle: joining in, even more animated than his friend...
“Do you know how many times I have heard all about how beautiful and perfect that ring is? Do you even care that not only do I hear it in my head but I have to listen to it 24/7 in my own home from 2 of them? I swear to Buddha if I hear a recount of how you had all those damn flowers delivered and how romantic it was and how come I never do anything like that, Antar is going to be looking for a new king!’

Michael: clearing his throat...
“I tried to tell you Maxwell. I now have the pleasure of hearing in minute detail of not only what you did but how you did it and about how I must have missed the romantic alien gene boat. Oh and let us not forget about Liz blabbing to Maria about me suggesting you buy flowers. Do you have any idea how expensive roses are? Thanks to your little escapades I’m now in debt $120 bucks to Tobias. It was the only way I could get her to shut up about that. Of course she immediately moved on to how you must love Liz more than I love her because you gave Liz that damn ring!”

Max: not sure what to say...
“Guys, I...”

Kyle: “What is it with you anyhow? Is it your mission in life to screw my life up?”

Max: finally taking control of the situation...
“Guys, guys, look I’m sorry. I didn’t do this to get back any of you. This was between Liz and me. I just wanted her to know how I felt about her. Look this wedding isn’t going to happen until next year. I mean it’s going to take some time to work out the politics, and since I am well, the king, things are going to be even more complicated for us. We’re really going to need your guys’ support.”

Kyle: as the guys look at one another then back to the king...
“Fine, but pull any more crap like that again and you’ll be finding out how easy it is to heal your own gunshot wounds.”

Setting: Evans house, late Wednesday night

Philip: he hears a knock at the door: he looks at the clock and wonders who it could be at 1:30 in the morning: coming down the stairs he is greeted by the site of his son coming out of his room too: turning on the porch light, he looks out the peep hole to see one of the agents standing next to Brody: giving his son a quizzical look before opening the door...
“Brody? Agent, it’s OK. Come on in Brody. Is everything alright?”

Brody: looking around the living room for a moment...
“Uh, yeah, everything’s fine.”
He looks over at Max not sure if he should reveal himself or not: he mouths “Larek” to Max and waits to let him make the decision.

Max: he was as confused as his dad about why Brody would be here in the middle of the night: comprehension dawns on him as he reads Brody’s lips: not even giving it a second thought...
“Dad, he’s hear because I asked him to come. Isn’t that right, Larek?”

Philip: he looks hard at Brody, trying to tell any differences: giving up he simply extends his hand...
“It’s good to meet you finely, Larek. You’ve done quite a bit to help Max, to help my son.”

Larek: smiling, relieved, he takes the offered hand in greeting...
“That’s what friends are for. It’s very good to meet you too. I’ve heard wonderful things about you and all your family. Sorry for the odd hour, I was rather rushed and don’t have too much time here.”

Philip: nodding in understanding...
“Of course, please come in and have a seat and I let you and Max get down to business.”
He looks at his son to see if he should leave or stay: at a slight nod from Max, he smiles and goes into the kitchen for some milk and maybe some cookies, if he could scrounge some up.

Larek: taking a seat...
“Tobias said you had something important to tell me.”

Max: taking a deep breath, he looks Larek straight in the eye...
“Liz and I are getting married next summer. We’ll be announcing our engagement on New Year’s Eve.”

Larek: when Tobias had requested this meeting for Max, he had mentioned it was of a personal nature and best done face-to-face: he had been expecting something like this but had hoped he was wrong...
“Max, that’s not a very good idea at this time. Perhaps later would be better, when the war’s outcome is more assured.”

Max: determined to hold his ground...
“When will that be? How long am I supposed to put my life on hold? Look even if we weren’t getting married, Liz and I plan on going to college together and would most likely be living together married or not, and I imagine the situation will be similar for Tess and Kyle. Either way, Crown Prince Lanua is going to know that I have no intention of marrying Tess.”

Larek: rubbing his hand over his eyes in tiredness...
“You always were stubborn. You’ve already made up your mind, haven’t you?”

Max: “Yeah, I gave her an engagement ring a couple of days ago.”

Larek: “Congratulation. How long do we have until this becomes common knowledge?”

Max: “I imagine people will start guessing when they see the ring. Once school starts back up in a couple of weeks, it’ll spread like wildfire, if not before. But like I said we don’t plan on saying anything official till the end of the year.”

Larek: “Ok, that means in a couple of weeks plus one day at the latest I should expect a very irate meeting with a representative of the Royal family of Vintar, and not long after that you had better be ready for one as well. In the mean time, there are things that have to be decided upon. Things you probably have not even considered.”

Max: “Like what?”

Larek: “Well for starters, Ava’s dowry, you’ll be expected to return it.”

Max: “Dowry? OK.”

Larek: “OK, Ok you have no problem returning part of the funds that are directly supporting the war, that’s good. Perhaps you would like to tell me where I might find alternate financing? There is also the matter of the actual marriage contract, itself. Now, it can be argued that it was null and void at Zan and Ava’s deaths, but since the dowry was part of the contract and due to circumstance afterwards it was NOT returned by the Royal Antarian Family as it should have been under normal circumstances, for all intents and purposes you and Tess are still considered married by Antarian, Vintarian, not to mention Renularian law as well, so how do you plan on breaking that contract? Not to mention that most likely Vintar will cease helping our war effort. While there’s no love loss between Kivar and Lanua and I don’t imagine he would join forces with him, the lack of participation of them on our side would be very damaging to the war effort.”
He can see the distress rising up in the boy, his heart goes out to him: he’s not trying to be mean, he’s just trying to make him understand what all it’s going to take and what it’s going to cost him to follow this path: backing off some...
“You really love her don’t you?”

Max: finding his resolve...
“Yeah, I do and I am going to marry her, no matter what. Please help me to do this without destroying everything. Even Serela said that we were meant to bond.”

Larek: his surprise at that statement is profound...
“She, she told you that?”

Max: not sure why Larek looks so stunned...
“Yeah, she did. She said that Liz was always meant to bond with Max, the same as Ava was always meant to bond with Zan.”

Larek: he breaks out in gooseflesh: shaking his head...
“But that doesn’t make sense. You’re Max and Zan. How could you be meant to bond to both?”

Max: confused...
“I thought she maybe meant Zan and Ava were bonded before. Weren’t they?”

Larek: still trying to think...
“I don’t know. They weren’t before they were married but Zan had always said he wanted to be bonded to his wife, just like his parents were. I wonder what she meant.”

Max: he already knows the answer, but he asks anyways, hoping that he’ll get a different answer...
“Can you ask her?”

Larek: the sadness tells the answer before he says anything...
“No Max, she was very elderly. She had lived almost twice as long as many do. Her commitment to your family and the Order of Ruan was never questioned. She did what she had to do, what she had always known she would do.”
The room grows quiet as he contemplates what he just learned...
“Max, I’ll try to help, but it’s not going to be easy. There’s so much at stake, someone is bound to get hurt. I’ll do what I can to lesson the blow.”

Philip: he couldn’t resist eavesdropping: while it was obvious that his son hadn’t thought of all of this, he had: for of course there would be a multitude of things to consider in a royal wedding: he was also saddened to think of the lady his son had spoken so highly of, of sacrificing herself to complete his training: coming back to the practical side of things, he clears his throat to announce himself as he steps around the corner...
“Larek, we appreciate everything and anything that you can do to help. I know my son, and as you say he can be stubborn, I have no doubt next summer there’s going to be a wedding. I was wondering though, much of the problem seems to stem from this marriage contract, as a corporate attorney I am familiar with various kinds of contracts, looking for their validity and any loopholes. Would it be possible for me to take a look at this one?”

Larek: smiling...
“It has been looked at for many reasons, but not precisely for as you put it, loopholes. I can have a copy of it encoded and transmitted to Tobias. I understand there is a friend of yours here who loves playing with our technology and has worked on a translation program, so it should be easy to translate. Yes, please do review it and let me know what you find. Now I think I should be going.”

Max: “Larek, thank you. Um, one more thing, tell my mother hello and I hope she is well.”

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:52:43 PM
Larek: “You’re welcome, and she is doing well. You remembering her will make her very happy. I very much look forward to meeting you face-to-face in the real flesh some day. Take care, Max, Mr. Evans.”

While the Fates may pave the road with gold that doesn’t guarantee it’ll be a smooth ride.


Chapter 90 (Part A)

Setting:
Evans house, 2 weeks later, Thursday morning

Philip: for a change this morning, he is not the first one up: he had been up late with Tobias double checking the translation of the marriage contract: so far, it seemed a pretty ironclad contract, but there has to be a loophole somewhere, there always was: pouring himself a cup of coffee, he joins his son and their breakfast guests at the table: as he grabs the only section of the paper left, he eyes the newest addition to their breakfast table...
“Could someone please explain why I have the classifieds? Do you guys realize that it’s been over a week since I’ve even seen a sports page?”

Michael: looking up from the paper...
“Oh, oh sorry, here ya go.”

Philip: dryly...
“Why thank you Michael.”
He chooses to ignore that Kyle and Michael are now playing tug-a-war with the front section and proceeds to get caught up on all the baseball scores instead.

Diane: coming downstairs she greets them: deciding that everyone is getting a little too comfortable with things, she gets the cereal and milk out and plops it on the table...
“Here, you guys go. You all know where the bowls and silverware are.”
She then proceeds to get some coffee and takes a seat at the male dominated table and liberates the living section from her son’s grasp: perusing the ads...
“Hmm, looks like some good back-to-school sales are going on at that new mall over in Hondo.”
As the boys are now engaged in fixing their own breakfast, her daughter joins her...
“Isabel looks at this. You know I was thinking of going to Costco over in Hondo anyways, why don’t we make a day of it and check these sales out?”

Isabel: looking over the ads with her mom...
“Hey look, Dillards is having a lingerie sale, 30% off on bra and panty sets. Yeah, that sounds good Mom, but all that stuff at Costco is so big and bulky, not to mention heavy. Are sure that we want to be lifting all of that?”

Diane: “You’re right. Max, why don’t you come, too? I need to get you some new underwear and things for the new school year anyhow.”

Max: trying to eat some cereal: cough, choke...
“Huh?”

Diane: scowling at the snickering coming from Michael and Kyle: turning back to her son...
“Hurry up, dear. We got a lot of stores to cover and we want to get an early start.”
She proceeds to get another cup of coffee and goes back upstairs to finish getting dressed.

Kyle: snorting...
“Mommy still buys your underwear?”

Max: “Shut up.”
Turning for help...
“Dad, please.”

Philip: he has no intention of getting in the middle of this: he’s saved by the sound of the phone ringing: getting up to answer it...
“Hello, oh hi...yeah, he’s here...she did? Ok, I’ll send him right over after breakfast... that sounds like an awful lot of work for one person....”
Eyeing the two boys still laughing at Max’s expense...
“Don’t worry, I think he just got an assistant...Ok, they should be there in less than an hour. Bye.”
Taking his seat back at the table...
“Michael, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. Why are you here? You’ve been pretty much a permanent fixture at meal times for the last week, why?”

Michael: taking a sip of O.J....
“Simple, economics”

Philip: “Uh huh, let me guess it’s the last week of the month and you don’t get your next stipend until the first, you’re broke and out of food.”

Michael: “Um yeah, something like that.”

Philip: “Well then, I think it’s time that you worked for your supper. Kyle that was your dad, it seems that Amy has finally found the correct paint color for the trim on your house. He just got back with the paint and it has been deemed a wonderful day for painting.”
Hearing the groan coming from the boy, he turns his attention back to Michael...
“And you have just volunteered to assist. Mrs. Valenti is expecting you both in about an hour. I’m sure that I don’t have to add that if there is anything else she needs done, you both of course will be ever so willing to help, do I?”

Max: looking hopeful...
“Uh Dad, could...”

Philip: cutting him off before he can ask...
“No, you’re already committed to going shopping with your mom, and please don’t instigate anything with your sister.”
He’s feeling very good as he finally lays his hands on the front section of the paper and finishes his cereal.

Sorry, the Fates are busy at the moment so the parents rule right now.


Chapter 90 (Part B)

Setting:
Same day, Mall in Hondo

Isabel: flipping through the racks in the junior’s dept....
“Oh Mom, this is cute.”
She holds up the top to show her mom who is being trailed by a very grumpy brother that is already carrying numerous packages for them.

Diane: “Oh that would look adorable with those black jeans you liked downstairs.”

Isabel: “Hey they would. But I think I want to try them on together.”
Handing the top to her mom to hold, she dashes off back downstairs to get the jeans...
“Be back in a minute.”

Diane: looking over at her grouchy son...
“Ok Max, the men’s section is right over there. Let’s see if we can find you something else besides jeans and t-shirts. I see some nice sweaters over there. Come on, let’s go check them out. We should be able to keep an eye out for Isabel.”

Max: his mom is holding up a bright red sweater to him, trying to see if it’ll fit: looking down at it...
“Um, no.”

Diane: “Hmm, maybe you’re right. What about this green one? Green brings out the color in your eyes.”
They go through this process for several more sweaters before deciding on the dark blue one and a couple long-sleeve t-shirts and a grey sweatshirt when Isabel finally returns with the jeans: she hands her the top and drags her son back over near the ladies dressing rooms.

Isabel: trying to hand her brother her purse...
“Here, hold this.”

Max: looking at the thing like it’ll bite him...
“No way. You brought it, you hold it. And hurry up already, I’m hungry and these bags are getting heavy.”

Isabel: “Mom, he’s being whiney again.”
When he’s not looking, she simply hooks her purse around the handle of one of the bags Max is loaded down with and vanishes into the dressing room without another word.

Diane: a moment later she hears a “Mom, come look”: as she heads into the dressing room...
“Honey, we’ll be out in a jiffy then we’ll stop for lunch before hitting the other side of the mall.”

Max: “What other side of the mall?!”
Looking down at the bags {how the hell did that purse get there? I wanna go home, this sucks.}: addressing the dressing room...
“And I am not whiney!”
He grumbles to himself as his sister’s “are too” reply comes filtering back his way.

Max: at the food court he takes a seat at the table with his sister and quickly scans around for his mom: he spots her still in line for the Panda Express: while ripping open his McDonald bag, dumping his fries out on the bag and tearing open the dozen or so ketchup packs for his super sized fries: he looks over at what his sister is reading: he cringes at the Victoria Secrets flyer: adamant....
“Nuh huh, no way. There’s no way in hell I’m going anywhere near that store with my mom and sister. That’s where I draw the line.”

Isabel: taking a bite of her mustard covered corndog...
“What, they’ve got a buy one, get one free offer. We have to go. I insist.”

Max: “Insist somewhere else. I ain’t going.”

Isabel: “Yes, you are.”

Max: “No, I’m not and you can’t make me.”

Isabel: “Yes, you are and Mom can.”

Max: he resorts an old tried-and-true response that most brothers remember from their childhood: he takes careful aim with the ketchup package and smashes it with his fist with all his might: he grins broadly at his ketchup splattered sister’s enraged reaction.

Isabel: “AARRRGH!”
Not unarmed herself, she snags the last mustard package and retaliates: now as any sister knows, this is only done just prior to Mom showing back up so that Brother doesn’t have time to counterattack, this time is no different.

Diane: almost dropping her lunch tray on the table, her mouth his hanging open in shock...
“What do you two think you’re doing?!”

Max: “She started it!”

Isabel: “No, you did. You hit me with ketchup first!”

Diane: “STOP!”
Looking around she sees that only a few people are staring, many of whom are laughing: sitting down, she falls back on a lecture that she memorized long ago...
“Stop it, both of you. Look at you two. You are both too old for this type of behavior, you aught to be ashamed of yourselves. I didn’t tolerate this when you were little and I’m not now. If you continue to act like 3 year olds then I will have no other choice than to treat you like 3 year olds, which includes going to bed the second we get home. Now what started this?”
She looks from glaring face to glaring face as she’s filled in on what’s going on: crossing her arms...
“Fine, we’ll go to Victoria Secrets.”
Holding up her hand, silencing her son’s unspoken protest...
“And Max can wait out in the mall with the packages. Now both of you clean yourselves up and behave!”
It’s a long afternoon and it reminds her of why she stopped shopping with both of them years ago: the rest of their mall excursion is spent in stony silence accompanied by glares: she picks up some boxers and socks at Costco for Max along with a station wagon full of groceries and household items.

As any parent can attest to, just when you think you’ve got them grown, they remind you that you still have a ways to go.


Chapter 90 (Part C)

Setting:
Valenti/DeLuca house, same day

Michael: he’s busy getting the paint, brushes, rollers, ladder and everything else needed to paint the trim on a house ready: he looks over at Kyle getting directions from his new step-mom about how exactly she wants it to look: while he likes Maria’s mom, he has gone out of his way to make himself scarce lately: he has heard multitudes of stories from a few sources about her mood swings, happy one minute, a flood of tears the next and he wants no part of that: of course Kyle has taken great delight in reminding him how much Maria is like her mom and what he has to look forward to when Maria is as Kyle puts it “carrying her own little alien”: he snorts to himself…
“Not any time soon.”
As Kyle comes back over to him…
“Well, what now?”

Kyle: shrugging…
“Basically, be sure to paint all the trim including the upstairs, don’t splatter, and can we get it all done this afternoon?”

Michael: looking up at the second story…
“With a little alien know-how, yeah. Looks like we got our work cut out for us though. When’s lunch?”

Kyle: “Dude, the later the better, trust me on that one.”

Michael: they work throughout the morning on the lower floor, leaving the upper level for this afternoon: so far, so good, no major problems and Mrs. Valenti has been very generous with the sodas and Tabasco: while positioning the latter so he can get that bit above the back door…
“So what time are Tess and Maria getting back?”

Kyle: after taking a long slug of Coke and Tabasco…
“Anytime I think. Said that they should be done before the afternoon lunch has to be served.”

Michael: up on the latter with a gallon of paint, painting above the door…
“I still don’t get this volunteering thing Maria’s got into. I mean hasn’t she had enough waiting tables, why would she want to help serve up breakfast at the old folks home?”

Kyle: “I think its Grandpa. Every time he comes over, he goes on and on about how it’s all those old blue haired crabapples working there and how much they’d love to have someone nice and cheerful to help get their mornings off right, or something like that, I think.”
Shrugging, he continues to paint for a bit: finally he pauses to stretch, turning to his painting buddy…
“Man, I’m ready for a break. Maybe we can go make ourselves some sandwiches before Amy has a chance to fix lunch.”

Michael: he’s still trying to get the one last part covered completely first, but eventually he gives up…
“Yeah, I’ll finish this after lunch.”
He descends the ladder and with Kyle goes to the water spigot outside to get some of the paint off so they won’t track it in.

Tess: while calling back to Amy as she’s walking into the backyard…
“OK, I tell them.”
Still looking behind her as she opens the door…
“AAAAGHHH”
The door hits the ladder and a whole can of dark green paint dumps on her head: now with paint pouring down from her head, she wipes it away from her eyes so she can see to kill the culprits who have both just doubled over in hysterics: this posture comes to an abrupt end as she advances on them.

Kyle: his laughter dies as he sees the love of his life come towards them: without taking his eyes from her, he smacks Michael’s shoulder to get his attention…
“Uh, Michael?”

Michael: wiping away the tears…
“Yeah, man.”

Kyle: “RUN!”
He and his friend take off just as a very nasty looking energy bolt goes whizzing past them and just misses.

Tess: as she chases them around the yard a couple of times, she manages to nail both of them once or twice with energy bolts, but they were just glancing shots: she’s still furious and nowhere near finished with them yet: as they head into the house, she’s right on their heals.

Amy: she’s in the kitchen, but has the window closed and the shade drawn to keep the heat of the afternoon sun out: she decided to keep lunch simple and was grilling hotdogs on the indoor grill when she sees the boys come running through the house like the hounds of hell were nipping at their heals…
“Kyle, Michael, what…”
Her words falter as Tess comes running in drenched in paint and firing away at the boys…
“Tess, how many times have I told you and Kyle not to do that in the house!”

Tess: she stops in her tracks as she nears the kitchen table that is all laid out with the condiments for the hotdogs: smiling, she grabs the full yellow and red plastic squeeze bottles…
“You’re right. I forgot. I’ll be right back, I just need to take care of a little something.”
Taking off down the hall dripping paint and gaining steam again, shouting out…
“You can run but you can’t hide!”

Jim: he decided that he should go home for lunch and check on the paint progress: he wasn’t really hungry, he had stopped at that new donut shop and had a good dozen this morning on his way to work, so he figured he was safe for lunch at home: as he walks in the front door he calls out to his wife…
“Honey, I’m home.”
He hears an answering “I’m in the kitchen” and proceeds in that direction: he quickly notices large paint splotches on the new carpet and new floor tiles that he just installed, new very expensive Italian tile that took him a week to install: he was just about to say something about this when loud banging and thumps are heard followed by grunts and yelling, definitely female yelling, reverberates through the house: he looks towards the kitchen and sees Amy coming out with an exasperated look: fed up with whatever is taking place in his house, he throws his hat down on the table and stomps off towards the hall where he stands for several moments, first in shock then trying to get a hold of himself so he won’t laugh: there’s Tess, who now matches the new house trim from head to toe standing over a very messy Kyle and Michael who are covered in ketchup and mustard, as is the wall, the carpet and that new antique hall table Amy just had to have last week: as he watches another paint drop hit the carpet, he brings himself together and gruffly walks over and pulls Tess off of the boys: yelling, for course as a dad he must yell even though this is probably the funniest sight he’s ever seen…
“That’s enough. Get off!”
Pointing to the boys…
“You two, get up!”
Looking back and forth between them…
“I don’t need to ask what happened, it’s pretty obvious and I don’t give a damn how it happened, but that’s enough!”
Looking over at Tess…
“You, go get cleaned up, and clean up any more paint you drip.”
Crossing his arms, he maintains his very pissed off Dad demeanor…
“And you two. You will clean every spec of paint, mustard, ketchup and anything else you’ve managed to track in off of the floors, walls, furniture and anything else you’ve messed up!”
As the boys try to protest…
“I don’t want to hear it, move it, NOW!”
He takes a few minutes and stands over them as glowing hands go to work on the mess: as they’re working…
“And I had better not hear about any retaliation of this, EVER!”
As he’s departing…
“And don’t forget to finish your paint job before I get home tonight!”
He walks around the corner and the minute he sees Amy, biting her lip to keep from laughing he starts snickering and quickly walks towards the kitchen taking Amy with him, so they can laugh in private.

Michael: he’s a very unhappy alien who has spent the last hour cleaning up a mess that really wasn’t his fault in the first place, they decided that Kyle should resume painting the trim while he finishes cleaning: he has finally gotten everything cleaned except for a paint spot on the terracotta floor tiles in the kitchen: standing over the spot, he waves his glowing hand and scowls as the spot turns purple: it doesn’t help that he has an audience, as Amy continues to watch him: he tries it again only to get it back to green again.

Maria: she had dropped Tess off at home while she ran an errand, but she had gotten the jest of what happened through their connection: coming in through the back door into the kitchen with a bag of groceries: she sets it on the counter and watches her mom watching Michael, who now is looking at a yellow spot on the tile: breaking the silence…
“Here’re the groceries, Mom. Uh, what’s going on?”

Amy: she’s been concentrating on what Michael’s doing and didn’t hear her daughter come in: a little startled…
“Oh, I didn’t hear you. Thank you for picking up the vegetables. Um, we had a bit of an accident earlier and Michael is trying to get that paint up. Unfortunately, it’s dried and doesn’t seem to be coming up too well.”
She walks over to the bag and starts pulling everything out of the bag and into the crisper in the bottom of the frig.

Maria: walking over to where Michael is working…
“So, we’re having someone who thinks wearing green and blue is fine, fix a color problem?”

Tess: who at Amy’s suggestion had been staying out of sight for a bit, comes in to get a soda: looking over at the fellow alien now standing over an orange stain: she bites her tongue at first then decides to try and help…
“Um Michael, I uh, I have a suggestion.”

Michael: frustrated and getting angry…
“What!”

Tess: chewing on her lip…
“It might help if the touched the color you want first then the spot where you want the color to be.”

Michael: he gives is a try and is rewarded when the paint spot changes to the correct color and disappears: unfortunately the spot he originally touched is now white: looking back up at his tutor…
“Any more brilliant ideas?”

Tess: not liking his attitude and still smarting a bit from earlier, she lifts her chin, grabs a soda and as she heads back to her room…
“Nope, just keep trying. You’ll get it…eventually.”

Maria: watching Tess depart…
“Well, that was really smart. Piss off the one that could’ve fixed it for you if you’d been nice about it.”

Michael: snapping at her…
“I’m always nice. She’s just being…”
As Mrs. Valenti plants herself in front of him…
“cranky, she’s being cranky.”

Maria: sitting at the breakfast bar with her mom watching an alien turn a tile every shade of color imaginable but the one they want gets boring after awhile…
“Michael, if you don’t want to make nice with Tess, have Max come over and fix it.”

Michael: growling…
“He’s not home. His mom made him go shopping with her to buy him new underwear.”

Maria: she and her mom almost fall out of their chairs at that one: she snorts as she tries not to laugh…
“That is way too much info., Michael. By the way, when was the last time you bought new underwear?”

Michael: her timing with that question couldn’t have been worse, he was just starting to try it again when she totally blew his concentration: instead of one tile being wrong, the entire kitchen floor is now a sea of dark blue tiles: angry…
“Look what you made me do! Will you stop asking me about my underwear!”
Gesturing towards Amy…
“Especially in front of your Mom!”

Amy: acting taken aback…
“What? Who do you think buys Jim and Kyle’s?”

Kyle: walking in to check on when he’ll be getting his painting partner back: he stops dead in his tracks as he steps onto the dark blue tiles: looking up at Amy and Maria…
“Did we retile again?”

Maria: “Um, no, Mr. Calm-Cool-and-Collective here was trying to restore the tiles to their original color.”
She pauses and turns to her mom…
“What color where they? I forgot.”

Amy: she has to think for a moment…
“Terracotta, I think. No, I’m sure, terracotta.”
Pointing to a painted pot she has sitting in the window…
“Like that color.”

Kyle: he looks over at the pot, goes over, touches it then bends down and touches the tile: as the tile changes to terracotta…
“That color?”

Amy: smiling…
“Yes, that’s it.”

Kyle: he touches the pot again then walks over to Michael…
“Here, you’ve been doing this too long. Tess told me colors tend to blend together if you work at them for too long. You’ll never get them right if you keep at it, but there is a short cut. Give me you hand.”
As he does so, he transfers the color imprint to Michael…
“Try it again.”
As he does, the tile returns to its original terracotta color…
“See, told ya. Now hurry up with the rest. We have some painting to do.”
And walks back outside.

Michael: it takes only about 10 minutes to finally get the kitchen tiles changed, so he can then go and finish his indentured painting sentence: they finish as the sun is starting to set: tired, dirty and hungry they enter the house and are greeted by an excited Amy.

Amy: “Oh good, you’re done. Michael I was thinking. That dark blue tile was beautiful, I was wondering if you maybe could change it back to that color?”

Kyle: slapping his painting partner on the back, who looks like he might keel over in shock any minute, …
“Welcome to my world, glad you could join it.”

Nowhere is it written that everything and everyone has to be fair, not even parents.


Chapter 91

Setting:
Valenti house, Tuesday morning

Kyle: in a scene that has been played out in numerous households for decades, the lone brother stands in the hall, pounding on the bathroom door, shouting…
“Come on, already. How long does it take for girls to put on all that goop and get ready? I need to take a shower. You’re going to make me late for school.”

Maria: as she finally opens the door a cloud of perfume, hairspray and who knows what else escapes into the hall: smiling…
“Haven’t you learned never to rush a lady?”
Gesturing to the bathroom as she steps aside…
“It’s all yours.”

Kyle: coughing and choking, upon entering the bathroom he first opens the window wider and creates a breeze to get the toxic fumes out so he can breath: grumbling as he turns on the shower head…
“What good is me having the hall bathroom if there’s no shower in it.”
Looking over at the counter that is crammed with all kinds of bottles, brushes, and more than a few things that he can’t identify…
“Why do they need all of that crap anyways?”

Setting: West Roswell High, same day, in front of the senior lockers

Max: he stands in front of his new locker working the combination: popping the locker open, he takes out of his backpack a notebook, pencil and class schedule before shoving his new backpack into it and slamming it shut: he smiles as a delicate hand slips
posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:54:47 PM
around his waist: with a twinkle in his eye and a smile he turns around to the owner of that hand…
“Hey, you look pretty. Where’s your locker?”
Before she can answer, he wraps his arms around her and captures her mouth with his for a proper good morning greeting.

Liz: smiling as they come up for air: pointing towards a couple of lockers down…
“Right over there.”
Standing back and giving him a good once over…
“Hmm, new shirt, new jeans, even new shoes? Max, I’m impressed, all dressed up for the first day of school.”

Max: rolling his eyes and smiling…
“Yeah, you know how moms are. So let’s see your schedule.”
They stand there comparing schedules as the school begins to fill with students ready or not to start another school year.

Tyler: he and his family moved to Roswell last summer: he had left behind at his old home a long history of problems, mainly behavioral that stemmed from his mental unbalance: he had to be hospitalized two years ago when he tried to burn down a shed out behind their house claiming the aliens inside his head had told him to do it: he’s been on medication ever since and was doing well, but the thought of actually going to school with real live aliens was pushing him over the edge: all this summer he had read the papers, saw the tabloid tv shows and articles about the Roswell aliens and had gone out of his way to stay clear of them, but he can’t now, they’re in the same school as him: he knows what he has to do, he has to silence them, then the alien voices in his head will be silenced also.

Max: while still comparing schedules, the blonde that had finally found her place in their close-knit circle of family this year comes up to them…
“Hey Tess.”
Indicating his and Liz’s schedules…
“We got calculus 3rd and physics II 5th together. What about you?”

Tyler: as he comes into the section where the senior lockers are he spots some of the aliens and not just any of them but the one that is their leader, their king: the world around him ceases to exist, even though the area is crowded with students, he doesn’t see anyone else around nor hear any noise except the blood pounding through his veins: in almost slow motion he reaches into his backpack and withdraws the gun that his dad had bought long ago and never thought of again.

Max: still talking to Tess and Liz…
“So cool, we all three have calculus together and Tess, you and I have Spanish II, 4th. So where’s Kyle and Maria, they come in with you?”

Tess: “Maria did, she and Michael took off to pick up his schedule. Kyle was running late and should be here anytime, I guess.”

Max: people are screaming and pointing, starting to run: he turns to look where they are pointing and for a brief moment he sees a kid, younger than him, shaking and pointing a gun at him: instinctively his training takes over, he drops what’s in his hands and begins to raise his hand to activate his energy shield: suddenly all he sees is a very large body in front of him: in a matter of a few seconds that body is knocking his hand down then falling on him: Max manages to turn just enough to make sure Liz and Tess are also going down with their body guards protectively covering them: the wind gets knocked out of him as he hits the cheap tiled floor: he hears an explosion and then screaming, blood curling screaming that doesn’t stop: he’s mind hasn’t quite caught up with things, he keeps thinking he should be hearing gunshots, but he doesn’t: the agent on top of him is saying something into a small microphone: before he can even think, he’s pulled to his feet and now more agents have come in and are almost carrying him through the hall: he spots Kyle standing to his right, looking pale and staring off to his left, to where all the screaming is: he looks left at a sight that sickens him: the kid with the gun is on the ground and is the one doing all the screaming, blood is pumping out from where his right hand use to be, the right hand that had held the gun: bits of that hand, blood, bone, tissue and remnants of the gun are splattered all over the lockers lining the wall and the floor in between: he’s still looking back towards the grizzly scene when the next thing he knows, he is being practically thrown into the backseat of a car: he’s about to protest when Liz is then thrown in with him, followed by Tess and then a very shaken Kyle: the car speeds off to safety.

Kyle: he’s not really sure where he’s at: his body can feel the vibrations of a car moving at what seems like high speeds, but his mind is still stuck on what he saw and what he did: he was just coming up to Tess near the lockers with Max and Liz when he saw the kid pull the gun: he hadn’t thought about it, he had simply done what his training dictated he do, he raised his hand, took careful aim at the weapon and let loose his energy: part of him kept thinking he would simply see at the most Skin dust everywhere, that’s what he was use to seeing when they fought: he was totally unprepared for the blood and the screams that followed: those screams are still wringing loudly and insistently in his ears: he starts to look around, trying to figure out where he is: he looks over at Max who is tightly holding Liz on his lap: the scene of blood and carnage flashes through his brain again: he looks at Max again: something imperfect snaps in place in his brain…
“We have to go back. We have to go back so you can fix his hand. Did you hear me? You have to fix his hand!”

Max: of all of them, he’s been the most concerned for Kyle: he had remained absolutely quiet so far and had a strange, confused look to him: Tess was doing everything she could to hold on to him, trying to reach him and reassure him: trying to sound calm…
“Kyle, I can’t fix his hand. It’s gone, I can’t put it back together.”

Kyle: “No, no you have to. Don’t you see, it was me. I did that. You have to fix it.”

Tess: taking Kyle’s face in her hands, she forces him to look at her…
“Kyle, it’s ok. He’s being taken to the hospital. The doctors can help him. Kyle, you need to calm down and think. Let me help you. Let me in.”

Kyle: he looks at her confused for a few moments then wraps his arms around her, holding on to her for dear life: no one says a word as the tears spill.

Tobias: he watches as the first sedan pulls up in front of his house: he and Philip were picking up where they had left off last night in reviewing the marriage contract when his agent burst in and told them there had been an incident at school, that all the kids were safe but the perpetrator was injured and was in route to the local hospital: all the parents are being notified and will be brought here as well: as the doors on the sedan open, Philip is out the door and meets his son half way: even from where he’s standing he can see that whatever happened has shook them to the core: he opens the front door wide as four very shaky teens come in, followed by one very worried father and several agents: addressing the agent that seems to be in charge…
“Where’re the others?”

Senior Agent Jefferson: it had been less than 10 minutes since the incident occurred and they had put into play their A plan: listening to his earpiece…
“Their car is about three minutes behind. Don’t worry they’re unhurt. Mrs. Evans is already on her way as are Mr. and Mrs. Parker: they will pickup Mrs. Valenti on the way. Mr. Whitman was at work and should be here in about 20 minutes. Mrs. Whitman was also at work but should arrive in about 10 minutes. Sheriff Valenti is right behind the other car.”

Philip: he hasn’t taken his eyes off of his son: he’s pale and looks like he might be in some sort of shock: even with his alien biology he’s almost tempted to give him a shot of brandy, the boys looks like he could sure use it: looking over at Kyle, he looks like he needs more than just a shot: he hears more car doors slamming outside and he runs back out to see the rest of the kids coming in, looking more confused than anything else: right behind their car is the Sheriff: taking his daughter in his arms for a hug…
“Are you OK?”

Isabel: she had no idea what had happen: she and Alex had been in the music room: Alex had been showing her some new music he was working on when their agents burst in and bodily removed them and shoved them into the back of a sedan, followed a moment later by Michael and Maria: then the car took off like a bat out of hell: the only thing they could get was that there had been an incident but that everyone was unharmed: of course Michael was ready to blow the roof off of the car in frustration at not knowing exactly what was going on: good thing it was a short drive.
“Yeah Daddy, we’re fine.”

Jim: upon entering the house, he takes one look at the kids, particularly his son and knows that he must have been the one that fired: unlike the other parents he had already heard about the attempt on Max’s life and that one of the other protectees had fired instead: he walks over and gives Tess and Maria a hug and gets reassurances that they are OK: he goes to his son who has remained silent: sitting down: gently …
“Kyle, it’s ok. You did the right thing. If you hadn’t of done it then one of the agents would have fired and that boy would be going to the morgue instead of the hospital. Kyle, did you hear me?”

Kyle: still in shock but starting to come out of it a little…
“Yeah Dad, but he’ll be missing his hand. It’s splattered all over that hall. I did that.”

Senior Agent Jefferson: “Son, your Dad is right. If you hadn’t acted, that boy would have taken one between the eyes. If anything you saved his life.”

Max: still trying to come to terms with everything: something dawns on him: standing up and going over to the agent: getting angry…
“I was going to put my shield up but you blocked me. You could have been shot. This didn’t have to happen. I could have protected myself.”

Senior Agent Jefferson: he knows that the boy is just bleeding off the anxiety of earlier and takes no offense at the growing harshness of his tone: looking him squarely in the eyes…
“That’s my job.”

Max: he opens his mouth only to close it: he doesn’t know what to say to that: he looks over to his dad, who gives him a look that tells him what he should do: still a bit numb by everything, he follows the unspoken advice…
“Yes, um, thank you. You’re right. I just… this is the first, I mean we’ve never seen…”

Kyle: “We’ve never seen that much blood, just, just Skin dust. That kid is human.”

Jim: putting his hand around his son’s shoulder…
“And thanks to you, he’s still around.”

Setting: Evans house, late that same night

Diane: it’s well past midnight when she comes downstairs to check on her children: she had just stopped doing this not to long ago, but now with everything that had happened today, she knows that it’s doubtful any of them will be sleeping tonight: she peeks in on her son and sure enough, he’s stretched out on his bed wide awake: turning on his table lamp as she comes in…
“You should try and get some sleep, Honey.”

Max: “Yeah, I know. Mom, I was thinking why, why did he want to kill me? He didn’t even know me.”

Diane: taking a seat on the side of the bed…
“The doctors said he had some mental problems. Honey, there was nothing you could have done to prevent this. None of this is your fault.”

Max: “But why me?”

Diane: sighing, telling him what he already knows…
“Because he was afraid of aliens, and you’re an alien.”

Max: “But why was he afraid of aliens?”

Diane: “Honey, many people are afraid of the unknown. You said it yourself, he didn’t even know you, that’s probably part of why he was afraid of you.”
She watched his brows scrunch up as he thought about that.

Max: “Mom, I don’t want people to be afraid of me.”

Diane: “Hmm, then maybe we should work on a way for people to get to know you better. Once they do that then they usually aren’t afraid, but honey, you’ll never be able to convince all of the people. No matter what you do, there’re going to be some that fear you no matter what simply because you’re different. Let’s work on this some tomorrow.”
Getting up, straightening the blankets that he has kicked to down around his feet and covering him back up: she kisses him on the forehead…
“Now try and get some sleep. Good night, Honey.”

Max: “Night, Mom.”

The Fates have worked hard for mankind to over come their prejudices and fears for it is only then can mankind move forward.


Chapter 92

Setting:
West Roswell High gymnasium, Friday morning, first period

Principal Rodriguez: standing before the assembled student body along with their parents: this is the first time the school has reopened since Tuesday: he glances at his notes on the podium once more then begins...
“Students of West Roswell High and concerned family members, last Tuesday we had a student bring a loaded gun to school and attempt to use it against another student. Fortunately the student with the gun was disarmed before he could fire and harm anyone, granted the student suffered a catastrophic injury, the loss of his hand, he was lucky not to lose his life.”
Pausing for a moment...
“I have had several parents voice their concern about the safety of having four aliens attend school here with their children. While alternative methods had been discussed with them and their respective families, with the full support of the student council, it was decided that it was in the best interest of everyone that all the students of West Roswell High be welcomed back. You see folks, we cannot give into fear for if we do, where does it end? Who else do we fear because they are different, people of color, of a specific religion or culture? Do we ban them too? Where do we draw the line? The answer is simple; we can’t, so we must make sure it never begins.
Now many of you students have attended classes with the now famous Roswell Aliens for years, many years, and they have never been any different than they are now. The only difference is that now we know their secret, a secret that they had been afraid to tells us because they feared what we would do. This year they have had to face their fear of being exposed and in my opinion have handled it admirably. I would ask that the rest of us assembled here today do the same and face our fears, only when we confront our fears will we no longer be afraid and in fact will probably wonder why we were ever afraid in the first place. While the year has gotten off to a rocky start, I along with the rest of the staff at West Roswell High welcome all of you and look forward to what we are sure will be an exciting new year. Thank you.”

Setting: Bellevue Hospital, NYC

Zan: he’s sitting in a wheelchair in the patients’ common area: while many are talking, playing chess or checkers, he’s glued to the news channel watching the live report on the local Roswell assembly: he’s not sure what to think of it: he hadn’t been surprised that someone had tried to kill Max Evans, if anything he was surprised it hadn’t happened earlier, but he had never expected this: it had been drummed into him, to all of them very early by their protector that there was no one in this world that would help them, to trust no one: but what he just saw on the tv proves that wrong, Max Evans has managed to convince basically the whole town of Roswell, NM to help him, to let him lead his life right there amongst them {how did he do it?}: as he watches the tv reporters jockeying for better positions to talk to him and how his protective agents are making sure that no one gets too close to him {would I want everyone to know about me? Would I want to live my life in a bubble, someone always around wanting to know everything about me? To be on display like that?}: he frowns as these thoughts continue rambling around in his brain coming to no specific conclusion: his thoughts are interrupted by the therapist calling his name.

Therapist: looking at her schedule, and then looking around at the patients here…
“Zan, Zan, oh there you are.”
As she’s wheeling him to the therapy room…
“You should let the duty nurse know where you are when you leave your room.“
Taking him over towards two parallel bars…
“Now, let’s see if we can get you to stand today. I must say that you’ve been doing wonderfully. Maybe we can get you out of here in a month or two. I’ll make a note to have your social worker start looking for a place for you. Now, let’s see how much we can do today.”

Zan: as normal, he pushes himself to the limit if not a little beyond: he managed to stand and surprised his therapist by even taking a few baby steps, of course he was holding onto the two bars for dear life and practically shaking from the exertion, but damn it he did it, he walked: he has been a model therapy patient, but later on he’ll pay for it, later on the throbbing and ache will become too much to handle and he once again will call the nurse for something to take the edge off: the only other good thing was the migraines he had been getting earlier had vanished, he still had headaches and did on occasion need something for those, plus he was still on the anti-seizure medication, but those all encompassing migraines that had taken over his life for a few weeks this summer seem to have subsided for now: after two hours in therapy he returns to his room and is lying in bed trying to get comfortable when he has a visitor: he gives her a very slight smile since she is rather pretty a bit too old for him but still enjoyable to look at…
“Hi Teri.”

Teri: scanning his file as she walks in, she looks up and is pleased to see he is smiling a little: returning the gesture…
“Hi Zan, you’re looking better and from what I understand doing much better too. I hear you even took a few steps today, that’s terrific.”
She pulls up a chair and sits by his bed…
“I wanted to talk to you about what happens after you get out of here. Has anything changed since we last talked, any family, friends that maybe you had forgotten or didn’t know about come forward? Anyone at all that you could go stay with?”

Zan: he wants to tell her yes, but he just can’t, his protector had drilled it into him too well, he can’t trust her with the truth: shaking his head a little…
“No, there’s no one.”

Teri: sighing and looking sad for a moment…
“Alright, then this is what I’m going to try and do. Your full permanent disability application has already been approved. I should be getting a letter stating your monthly compensation amount soon and with that I will see about finding you some sort of efficiency apartment. They’re a little difficult to find especially ones that set aside for the disabled, but that would be preferable to a halfway house or shared lodging I think.”

Zan: he tries not to cringe at how bleak a life that sounds like, an efficiency apartment for the handicapped, that’s what his life would be like {I can’t live like that. I have to start making my own plans. I’ve got to get my powers back and get healed.}: he looks back up to the tv at the recap of today’s headlines and sees Max Evans’ image flash up there again {that means I have to figure out how to get to Roswell without attracting any attention.}: he forces the scowl from his face and tries another small smile…
“Thank you, Teri for making all the arrangements for me.”

It takes a great deal of resolve and inner strength to recover from a life altering incident, the Fates can help with that, if one lets them.


Chapter 93

Setting:
Michael’s condo, the following week

Michael: he had sort of overheard Maria talking to Tess about this HBO show, while he had heard of it, he never had HBO before so had never seen it, tonight he decided he would: it’s just coming on when the door bell rings announcing his dinner guest: opening the door…
“Hey, what kind of pizza ya get?”
Without waiting for a reply he walks back to the tv.

Max: walking in with this backpack and a pizza box…
“Pepperoni and lots a red pepper packs. Ya know Michael, when you invite someone over for dinner, the guest usually isn’t the one expected to bring the meal. I brought over the history assignment you said you needed help with.”
Dropping the pizza box on the coffee table: he looks back to the door as the bell rings again…
“What’s that, dessert?”

Michael: answering the door…
“Ha ha Maxwell, real funny.”
Opening the door…
“Hey Kyle, bring the sodas?”

Kyle: holding up two six packs of Pepsi and two large bottles of Tabasco…
“Yep, so hey Evans, thanks for offering to help with my science report.”

Max: eyeing Michael suspiciously…
“Uh, yeah, no problem.”

Michael: popping a soda as he takes a seat on the sofa: he looks back up at the guys still standing around…
“Hey have a seat. Make yourselves at home. But let’s wait until after we eat to start on homework, no use in getting indigestion while we’re eating. Check this out. I’ve heard about this show but never seen it.”

Max: he and Kyle take a seat and help themselves to pizza and soda: a few minutes later they’ve stopped eating and are staring at the tv: as they watch the antics of Samantha Jones play out…
“Uh, Michael…”
His mouth drops open in surprise…
“I didn’t know that position was possible.”

Kyle: “You think women really talk that way?”

Michael: “I’m not sure I want to know.”
As the show is ending…
“So which would you want to meet in New York, Samantha, Carrie, Miranda or Charlotte?”

Max and Kyle: in unison…
“Samantha”

Michael: scratching his chin…
“Yeah, but we’d never get away with it.”

Kyle: “But what a way to go!”

Max: forcing himself to let go of the mental images of the show, he attempts to move ahead with what he thought he had come over for: helping himself to another piece of pizza while grabbing his text books and notebook out of his backpack: talking with his mouth full…
“So let’s start with that history assignment first.”
For the next hour they work through most of their homework and pizza.

Kyle: finishing off another soda…
“BURRRRPP”
Grabbing another can…
“I heard Jennifer Perks mentioning the rock that Liz is sporting. Apparently she’s been getting a lot of questions about it.”

Max: while working through a math problem…
“Yeah, I know. It’s becoming the talk of the whole school.”

Michael: coming out of the kitchen with some Tabasco sugar cookies Maria had made with him last night: while plopping the paper plate of cookies on top of the empty pizza box…
“So, your dad find any loop holes yet?”

Max: scowling…
“Not exactly. He did find something about if Ava and Zan weren’t “compatible”, they may sue for a divorce. We checked with Larek and any divorce because it’s an agreement involving the leadership of two worlds, would have to be reviewed by the council, which would mean Kivar would know everything about us. They don’t have to approve it, just be made aware of it. Plus both Tess and I would have to state in writing how and why we are “incompatible”. Dad say that it’s possible that we could use the fact that our marriage wasn’t uh… consummated because we were killed on our wedding day and that it isn’t likely to be in this lifetime as possible grounds for having it annulled. An annulment might not have to be reviewed by the council. Something about a divorce degree being a separate agreement to break another where as an annulment is simply voiding an existing agreement. I don’t know exactly. He’s still working on it.”

Kyle: “Keep us posted, I have a vested interest in this too ya know. And not just because of Tess and me, but I want to see Liz happy, she deserves it after all this alien crap she’s put up with.”

Max: grinning…
“That’s my most important goal, Liz’s happiness. Thank you Kyle for everything.”
A bit hesitantly…
“How are things going?”

Kyle: shrugging…
“So-so. You know I use to play a hell of a lot of video games, you know the Duke Nukem type. Man, nothing is as bad as the real thing. I keep telling myself that at least that kid is alive and has a chance to recover, but still…”

Max: “Yeah, I know. My dad said that he was going to be committed to an institution, that his defense is claiming not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity. I guess he’s pretty screwed up in the head.”

Michael: “Yeah, there’re all kinds of nuts out there.”

Setting: Renular Royal Palace

Larek: he rises as the Vintarian Royal Representative enters the chamber: he’s been expecting it and understands the true fury of the Crown Prince for him to send his eldest son and heir: nodding his head in acknowledgement…
“Good day to you Prince Tavner. Please, make yourself comfortable.”

Tavner: nodding back and taking the comfortable chair that Larek has indicated: however his anger still shows through as he wishes it too…
“Good day to you too Chancellor Larek. I thank you for seeing me on such notice. Since your time is short I shall come right to the point. I have come to you with a grave concern.”

Larek: taking a seat opposite his guest: playing the part…
“Please, of what do you wish to speak?”

Tavner: “We have begun to get the impression that this reincarnate of King Zan, this Max Evans is betrothed to an Earth girl, that he has in fact given her a ring as a token of their intended wedding. We ask how this can be for of course he is already married to Queen Ava. Since you have been in contact with him both directly and otherwise we have come to ask for an explanation. We have after all kept up our part of the marriage agreement even under these extraordinary circumstances, and were led to believe that King Zan would do the same.”

Larek: “Prince Tavner, while I cannot speak directly for Max Evans, King Zan or for the Royal House of Antar, I can speak to you of the person that Max Evans is. He has acknowledged and accepted his role as King Zan and he is working very diligently to fulfill his duties as King, but he is young. Give him time.”

Tavner: “Larek, you are a wryly politician with a silver tongue. Since Kivar’s taken over you have never had a problem speaking for the House of Antar, with the beloved Queen Nataria’s permission of course, and now is no different. You plead his youth and ask for time. We have given you 50 years of time and I will grant you a little more but not too long.”
As he rises…
“Larek, make no mistake. Queen Ava is my father’s favorite granddaughter. Neither he nor I will see her put aside and there will be a royal heir of Antarian and Vintarian blood in line for the throne. Make no mistake of that. Have a good day, Chancellor.”

Larek: seeing his guest to the chamber door…
“Good day to you too and fair journey Prince Tavner.”
After his guest leaves, he pours two glasses of rare Antarian brandy and is soon joined by the one who has been waiting nearby unseen…
“Lord Ranjorn, how bad is this going to get?”

Lord Ranjorn: taking a sip of the offered brandy and relishing the taste for a moment, it brings back so many cherished memories of long ago: coming back to the present…
“The Vintarians have been key to keeping our supply lines flowing. Their intelligence is incredible. Many would have died and much cargo lost had it not been for their beforehand knowledge of planned attacks by Kivar and his Cromarian lapdogs.”
Taking another sip of the brandy…
“How much time do you think we have before they withdraw their support?”

Larek: thinking it over…
“Officially until the wedding is announced on the dawn of a new Earth year which is about 90 days away, unofficially, maybe half that. Can the time table be accelerated to accommodate?”

Ranjorn: pondering it…
“It could be difficult, Luntar is secure as is Prelunar, their secondary base, but moving up the invasion of Antar. I just don’t know.”

Larek: “Well please do see what can be done. I have just bought us about 45 days if we are lucky then that intelligence source will disappear, please make sure our plans are revised to accommodate that.”

Ranjorn: “Yes, I’ll be sure that is factored in. Before I go, I have to ask, will King Zan really do this, marry an Earth girl over Queen Ava?”

Larek: sipping his brandy…
“Yes, he will and Serela had already foretold that it is meant to be.”

Ranjorn: shaking his head…
“All for the love of a girl. She must be remarkable. I, uh, I understand my brother has fallen for an Earth girl as well.”

Larek: “Yes, it is quite interesting that they have all chosen Earthers as bond mates. Tobias described Lord Rath’s chosen as a “firecracker”.”
Chuckling a little…

posted on 24-Jan-2002 3:55:46 PM
“I must say it is getting harder to understand Tobias reports. Many times I must resort to actually going to a linguistic scholar to make certain I have the correct translations of his use of Earth’s euphemisms.”

Ranjorn: “So is “firecracker” good?”

Larek: “I’m not certain. I was told it was a small piece of an explosive device.”

Ranjorn: he laughs out loud at that…
“Yes, Rath always did enjoy a bit of danger. Well, as long as he is happy and apparently the King has no objections to him not marrying Princess Vilandra, then the family will not object either. I will advise you as soon as we have the revised schedule. Good day Chancellor Larek.”

Larek: “Good day Lord Ranjorn.”
As he finishes his brandy {Max, I just bought you maybe 45 days for your father to find a way out of this mess. You had better use it wisely.}.

The Fates are spinning their webs as fast as possible doing their best to bring everything together in time but even they do not always see the future clearly.


Chapter 94

Setting:
West Roswell High basketball court, Early November, Tuesday after school

Max: the weather has turned colder and cloudy: the last month and a half has been relatively quiet: his dad had gone through that marriage document with a fine tooth comb and the only angle out is going for the annulment: he’s currently working on drafting the petition now: it’s a time consuming ordeal since he has to triple check it against Vintarian, Antarian and Renularian laws, fortunately all three seem to have similar legal systems and standards: they plan on submitting the petition right before they announce his and Liz’s engagement: Larek had told them of his encounter with Ava’s uncle and the extreme displeasure of her grandfather, he had pleaded with them to remain absolutely silent about the engagement as long as possible, and not to talk about it public: Tavner’s visit also tipped their hand that there were indeed spies on Earth and were keeping tabs on them: he had further warned him that the next visit from Tavner or another Vintarian representative was most likely going to be to him directly and it would not be pleasant: in other matters, that kid, Tyler, was safely tucked away in a mental hospital after being found incompetent to stand trial: while things have been quiet not everything had gone smoothly: shooting another basket, he hears someone behind him call out for him to pass the ball: turning around, he shoots that ball to him…
“Hey, Kyle.”
As Kyle takes a turn, making a basket…
“How’s it going?”

Kyle: shrugging…
“OK, I guess.”

Max: “Did you get that letter my dad forwarded over?”

Kyle: “Yeah, yeah, that was weird though, having the mother of the kid that I blew his hand off writing me a letter, thanking me for sparing his life.”

Max: “Yeah, she sent me one too, apologizing for him trying to kill me. You’re right it does feel weird. I think it was to help her come to terms with things as much as it was for us.”

Kyle: taking another shot…
“Yeah, but it can’t erase those screams. I’ll never forget that sound.”

Max: dribbling the ball a little…
“Yeah, but at least they weren’t your screams. Kyle, a little advice, talk to your dad or even my dad. I kept it all in for over a year and on the outside I was ok, but on the inside…just talk to someone about it.”
Tossing him the ball…
“Now, you want to keep screwing around or get serious about a little one on one?”

Kyle: they shed their sweatshirts as they start working up a sweat…
“So you still going to Taos this weekend?”

Max: trying to keep his concentration on the ball…
“Yeah, Dad doesn’t want her taking the bus with the weather turning bad. We’re leaving Friday night, since that big storm isn’t supposed to hit until Saturday.”

Kyle: trying to steal the ball away from his opponent…
“Just you and Liz?”

Max: blocking Kyle’s move and keeping control of the ball…
“It started out that way, but Isabel heard about this indoor crafts fair in Taos that she just has to go to with Aunt Trudy. Since we’re going to wait for the storm to pass Saturday and return Sunday, it was decided it would be just perfect for Isabel to join us, and to save my sanity I’m dragging Alex along.”

Kyle: “Too bad, it was sounding like a nice little opportunity for you and Liz. Too bad your going to be snuggling with Alex instead.”
That did the trick; he steals the ball and makes the basket.

Setting: Bellevue Hospital, NYC, same day

Zan: he’s wearing some cheap clothes that his social worker, Teri, had purchased for him with what remained of his first disability check: the bulk of that check went towards his first month’s rent for a very small efficiency apartment: he felt bad for putting Teri through all of that work, but he just can’t live a life like that: he tells the nurses, therapists and doctors thank you and goodbye, as he hobbles out on one crutch to the waiting cab: Teri had written the address of the apartment on a piece of paper, he keeps it in his pocket along with his remaining $114 dollars, a 30 day supply of anti-seizure medication and 10 vicodins: as the cab driver ask him “where to”…
“The bus station.”
He pays the cabbie $10 bucks for the fare and gets in the ticket line: when it’s his turn…
“How much for a one-way to Roswell, NM?”

Clerk: checking the rates and schedule…
“That’ll be $99 and you’ll need to change buses in Nashville, TN. That bus leaves in twenty minutes and arrives in Nashville at 2:45AM, Thursday morning. Your connecting bus leaves Nashville at 6:20AM and arrives in Roswell, NM Saturday morning at 4:35AM.”

Zan: taking out all of his money…
“Fine.”
With ticket in hand and his remaining $5 dollars he heads over to the waiting bus to begin his 4-1/2 day journey: he has a window seat so he can prop his crutch up against it: he hates the pity looks he gets from the other passengers: he tries to ignore them as much as possible and stares out at the passing landscape: they stop a few times at different bus stations to pick up or drop off passengers: his stomach has been growling for awhile when they mercifully stop at a McDonalds for twenty minutes to stretch and grab bite to eat: he’s sore and stiff, every bone in his body seems to ache: he’s starting to feel a little lightheaded: he knows that he must eat and take his meds or he’s going to be having one hell of a seizure soon: he looks at the menu as he stands in line: he would love a Big Mac and super sized fries and a large coke: as he comes up to order…
“A 99 cent double cheeseburger and can I get a cup for some water?”
His total is $1.06 with tax and she points to those little mini-cups over at the self-serve drink station: he pays her, takes his receipt with his number on it and goes gets himself some water: he slips a pill onto his tongue and washes it down with another mini-cup of water when his number is finally called: his burger is gone in three bites and he’s still hungry but he’s out of time and hobbles as fast as he can back to the bus: at least it was enough to stop his stomach from proclaiming his hunger so loudly: as night drags on, he dozes off, at some point he got a new passenger sitting next to him: this new passenger’s coughing keeps waking him up: he does the best he can to try and stay as far over away from the coughing and hacking passenger as he possibly can: by early the next morning he feels chilled and warm at the same time: with all this sitting his hip is killing him and the next time they stop he gets off to try and stretch some and buy a $1.00 candy bar: at the water fountain he pops another anti-seizure med and two vicodins, figuring it’ll knock him out for awhile so he can get the sleep that his body’s begging for: he takes his seat back on the bus, eats half the candy bar, carefully wraps the other half in the wrapper and sticks it in his pocket for dinner later on, before too much longer his is sound asleep: he wakes up disoriented and confused in the darken bus: all he can see is blackness passing by him outside the window: he turns to the new lady now sitting next to him, knitting…
“Excuse me, ma’am, but where are we?”

Lady: she pauses her knitting to look at the boy: she felt so sorry for him: from the scars on his face and the crutch she can tell that he must have been through some terrible ordeal…
“Oh, you’re awake. You’ve been asleep for hours. We’re about an hour outside of Nashville.”
She looks at him closely and notices the sheen of sweat on his forehead…
“Are you alright? You don’t look to well.”
She reaches down to an unopened water bottle.
“Here, I brought an extra that I’m not going to drink. Why don’t you go ahead and take it?”

Zan: taking the water…
“Thank you.”
As he shifts around trying to get comfortable a shaft of pain shoots down his left leg: he forces himself to sit up straight and finishes off his candy bar for dinner, washing it down with the water: he’s dying to take another pain pill but he’s too close to where he needs to change buses, so he waits.

Lady: trying to make small talk…
“Is Nashville your destination? Do you have family meeting you there?”

Zan: “Uh, no, I’m just changing buses there. I’m going onto NM. I, I have family there.”

Lady: “Are you sure you’re up to continuing on?”

Zan: “Yeah, um, I’ll be fine.”

Lady: “Well, you had better go straight to bed when you get home. It looks like you’re coming down with something pretty nasty.”

Zan: as they arrive in Nashville on time, the lady waits for him to maneuver the stairs off of the bus and walks with him to the arrival area where he thanks her again for her kindness: he refills the bottle at the water fountain and heads over to the vending machine, with the last of his money, he buys some candy and looks for a place to sit and wait the almost 4-1/2 hours for his next bus: he’s exhausted and has a difficult time staying awake: he decides to try and walk around a bit, hoping the exercise will work out some of the kinks in his leg: after what seem an eternity, he finally boards the bus that will take him to Roswell, NM, and he hopes a better life: he wastes no time in taking a couple more pain pills and his other meds, eating some Little Debbie snack cakes and drifting off to sleep: he wakes up to a gray cloud covered late afternoon: he wonders why it’s so cold on the bus and wraps his thin jacket tighter around him: he doesn’t realize how sweaty he is: he eats the last of his vending machine food and by nightfall he’s shivering: he tries to lean his head against the window and get some rest, but it seems every time he’s just about to doze off that nagging cough starts up again: it’s a still dark out and pouring rain when the bus pulls into Roswell, NM, the alien capitol on Earth, and delivers to it one very sick alien.

The Fates know the old saying is true; it’s always darkest before the dawn.


Chapter 95

Setting:
Roswell, NM, same Saturday, immediately following

Zan: he stumbles off of the bus: he looks around, hoping for something, anything that might help him: just outside the entrance he spots someone proclaiming to be selling maps to the aliens’ home: he watches for a bit as the guy tries to get people to buy his maps: the guy is keeping the maps in a plastic pouch slung over his shoulder and has a laminated one in his hand for display: Zan isn’t sure if he can do this, he’s never done it without his powers and right now he’s not the swiftest thing around but he has no choice: he walks towards the guy and purposefully stumbles into the guy, loosing his crutch: he needs his left hand free so he can slip it into the plastic pouch, which means he has to put his full weight on his left leg and hip: he bites his lip to keep from crying out, but he succeeds in lifting one of the maps and shoving it up his sleeve: as the guy helps him up and hands him back his crutch…
“Sorry, sorry, thanks man.”
The guy pats him on the back and tells him to take it easy: Zan looks around for someplace dry to take the map out and look at it: seeing a covered entrance way to some building down and across the street, he carefully makes his way over to it on the wet and slippery road: his heart sinks as he realizes that Max Evans lives clear across town: a coughing fit sets upon him for several minutes, afterwards he takes out the water bottle for long swig to try and sooth his increasingly raw sore throat: he leans his head against the building and wishes for a warm bed to curl up in: a passing car splashing water up on him brings him back to his current predicament: consulting the map again, he decides that it would be best to try and stay out of sight as much as possible, for although his facial scars have kept him safe this is Max Evans’s hometown and people just might recognize him: he sets out at the fastest pace he’s capable of but it soon becomes apparent that this is going to take him all day and then some to reach the Evans house: as a city bus passes by, he wishes he had another dollar or two for bus fare, but he doesn’t so he continues on only stopping when a coughing fit takes over: morning turns to afternoon and still the rain falls and he drudges on: if it had been dry out, he would have realized how drenched in sweat he was, but it was mixing with the rain and it was all he could do to simply stay focused on getting there: as the sun sets above the dark clouds, what little warmth it offered vanished with it and the rain becomes mixed with ice as darkness takes over: he’s growing increasingly weary and befuddled: he has to consult the map more and more often: his teeth are starting to chatter, he stops at a street corner and looks around at the well lit street lined with comfortable looking Spanish style houses with red tiled roofs: he looks up at the sign post, Murray Lane, 1000 block: his hands are trembling and his fingers are stiff, by the time he gets the map out and unfolded it is a soggy mess: he needs to get to the 6000 block, only 5 more blocks to go: he heads out that way, he’s no longer capable of paying too close attention to anything and doesn’t see the patch of rainwater that had started to pool over the sidewalk due to a blocked drain, that froze in the cold night air: he hits the ground hard, knocking the wind out of him: he lays there as pain shoots through every part of his body and is pelted by rain and ice: it takes him several minutes to get back up but the spill has taken its toll, it’s made him stop and it takes every ounce of willpower he has left to make it those final few blocks: as he sees concrete barricades in the street, he knows he must be close: finally he spots a two story Spanish house with a tall stucco fence that matches the house it surrounds: his hands are trembling so hard from the cold, exhaustion and illness that he has a hard time undoing the latch on the gate leading to the house: the second he steps into the gated area a flood of lights come on, he practically stumbles the 10 feet separating him from the house: reaching it, he slumps against the door and rings the bell: he never saw the two large men with earpieces coming up behind him nor knew they were there until he was grabbed from behind.

Diane: she and Philip were having a wonderful weekend: their children had left right after school yesterday for Taos which left them with the house all to themselves, a rare luxury that they had taken the utmost advantage of it: they had spent the Saturday sleeping late, staying in and making brunch, curling up in front of a warm fire and two bottles of wine in the afternoon, followed by a very memorial evening: as they lie all snug and warm in bed, they are startled out of sleep by the door bell: she looks at the alarm clock to see that it’s just past midnight: slipping her robe on she follows her husband downstairs to see what’s going on: as they near the front door they both hear some sort of commotion going on: it sounds like the agents have caught someone at their door and he was arguing with them: there is something strangely familier about that muffled voice: as her husband cracks the door open she gets an even better dose of the voice and a chill runs down her spine as she listens to the boy pleading with the agents as he’s being dragged away from their door: as the pleading is interrupted by coughing, she grabs at the door and opens it wide, startling her husband: she’s not sure who this boy is but she knows that voice and as she looks out through the floodlit rain the sight of him being manhandled by the agents, one who happens to be carrying a crutch, is too much: coming out onto the porch, she shouts…
“STOP! Bring him here. It’s alright, bring him here.”

Philip: he has not idea what the hell this is about or why his wife is saying to bring that boy back: putting his hand on her shoulder…
“Diane, what’s going on? Do you know that kid?”

Diane: looking at her husband…
“No, but I know that voice. Philip, that’s Max’s voice.”
Looking at the sad sight coming towards her…
“That’s Max, I don’t know how, but I know that’s him.”
As he’s brought in front of her, her heart breaks as she sees the scars and weariness on him and surrounding him: she wraps her arm around his trembling shoulders and escorts him into their house…
“Come on, honey. It’s alright. We’ll take care of you, don’t worry.”

Philip: he didn’t know what to say to his wife, he thought she was nuts, that is until he got a look at the boy: even with the scars marring his face, there’s no hiding his eyes, even glazed over with fever, that boy now sitting on their sofa is the splitting image of his son: as he watches his wife bring out towels and blankets and starts shedding the boy of his wet coat and clothes, the boy just sits there too numb to say or do anything: as she peels his soaked shirt off, he hears Diane gasp: he comes over and there underneath fresh bruises are massive scars, starting from below his ribcage on his left side to underneath his wet jeans: he looks back up at the boy as his wife rubs a towel over his chest and arms drying him then wrapping a blanket around him: he spots the crutch now laying on the floor then back to the scars: his wife turns and ask him to help get his pants off of him while she goes gets something warm for him to put on: as she leaves, he sees the boy’s trembling hands fumbling with his button: coming over, he helps him out of the jeans and is even more horrified at the sight of the scars that were hidden underneath the jeans: quickly wrapping another blanket around his lower half, he looks up at the boy…
“What’s your name?”

Zan: his head is surrounded by fog, he’s past exhaustion and has nothing left: drunkenly…
“Zan, I’m Zan… from New York.”

Philip: some how that’s what he thought he was going to say…
“But they told us you had died.”

Zan: “No, I just stopped living.”
Everything is fading in and out: he’s only vaguely aware of some one dressing him: when he next wakes up he’s someplace warm and soft: he thinks he’s still dreaming as someone is gently touching his face with a cool cloth, telling him to go back to sleep, that he’s safe and that his fever had finally broken and everything is going to be alright: after several more hours pass, he slowly opens his eyes and looks around: sunlight is streaming through the partially open curtains, the room is simple but has a comfortable, warm feeling about it: turning his head he finally spots someone sitting in a chair watching him with his arms crossed and wearing a scowl: Zan’s heart stops for a moment as he recognized him: whispering the name…
“Rath”

Michael: he had been leaning back in the desk chair watching Max’s dupe sleep: he had almost fallen out of bed this morning when he got the news from Mr. Evans: his first thought was to get over here and asses any threat: when he got here he found a very sorry sight sound asleep in Max’s bed and Mrs. Evans hovering close by: as the morning wore on he told Mrs. Evans to take a break and he would keep an eye on him: their encounter with the last dupes had left a bad taste in his mouth and Max’s dupe was a total unknown, but most likely bad news: it’s the look this Zan gives him that startles him, fear, hatred, sadness, betrayal: the one word he hears explains it: bringing the chair suddenly upright, he blinks several times before sputtering…
“No, no, not Rath, Michael, Michael Guiren, Max’s second.”

Zan: it takes a few seconds for him to get over the shock of the sight of the duplicate of the one that he used to consider a brother: finally sinking back down into the warm blankets, weakly…
“Oh.”
He closes his eyes for a moment to try and discharge the old memories: opening them back up: he turns back to this new alien…
“Where is he?”

Michael: “Max? He’s on his way back, should be here in a couple of hours.”
He looks up as Mrs. Evans walks in carrying a tray of food.

Diane: “Oh good, you’re wake.”
Handing the tray off to Michael…
“Here, hold this, I need to rearrange the blankets so he can sit up and eat.”
She makes him sit up so she can prop the pillows up, then has him scoot back and brings the blankets back up to his chest, straightening and smoothing them as she goes: she takes the tray back from Michael and sets it across his lap: she smiles as he starts digging in: she looks over the tray then suddenly realizes she forgot something…
“Oh, I’ll be right back. I forgot the Tabasco.”

Zan: surprised, he pauses eating…
“She knows about Tabasco?”

Michael: “Yeah, she knows all about how to take care of aliens. Although, you’re the first one she’d actually had to nurse back to health. So what the hell happened to you?”

Diane: coming back in with a large Tabasco bottle…
“Michael, let him eat. There’s plenty of time for questions later.”
Putting the bottle on the tray…
“Here you go, dear.”

Zan: practically drooling, he hadn’t had Tabasco in almost a year: he opens the bottle and dumps half of it on his burger and potato salad: taking a bite and smacking his lips…
“It’s been too long. The hospital didn’t have this, they had some weird brand of hot sauce, not nearly as good.”

Michael: “Hospital?”

Zan: in between delicious bites …
“Yeah, as you can see I didn’t die in the… accident. I spent the last year in Bellevue
Hospital in New York, trying to learn how to walk again.”

Michael: “But how…

Diane: she and Philip already knew that he had been in the hospital from the surgical scars they saw last night and the prescription bottles they found in his jacket when she went to wash them this morning: admonishingly…
“Michael, I said let him eat. Zan, go on, finish up and if you need anything more just let me know.”
As she leaves to let Zan eat in peace, she gives Michael a level glare telling him he had better do the same.

Zan: he proceeds to wolf down his food, nothing has ever tasted so good to him in his entire life: he even manages to ignore Michael’s glaring curiosity about him: dumping a generous amount of Tabasco into his orange juice, he decides to turn the table and see if he can learn a bit more about Rath’s duplicate…
“So how’d you end up a Guiren and Max an Evans? Didn’t you guys hatch at the same time?”

Michael: watching him down the juice…
“Yeah, we got separated. He and Isabel stayed together but I took off.”

Zan: “Took off? Why didn’t you protector keep you all together?”

Michael: “He wasn’t there. I guess we were a bit early and me, Max and Isabel left the pod chamber. Nesado was there when Tess came out, though. He raised her but couldn’t find us.”

Zan: raising his eyebrow at that…
“He couldn’t find three alien kids? I doubt that.”

Michael: coming out of his chair, alarmed…
“What do you mean by that?”

Zan: he’s used to Rath over reacting and he sees that this version isn’t any different…
“Only that Dranularians have the nose of a bloodhound. He didn’t find you because he didn’t want to.”
Looking around the warm, cozy room then back to his empty plate…
“Looks like you were probably better off that way, anyhow.”
He can’t help the yawn, he was still tired and now with a full stomach he just can’t help it.

Michael: “Yeah, well whatever. I guess I better leave you alone to get some sleep. Max will be here back soon and will want to talk to you.”
He takes the tray away from the already dozing alien.

With the new dawn, the Fates have taken care to leave a lost one in good hands.



Chapter 96

Setting:
Max’s bedroom, later that afternoon

Max: he’s sitting in his room watching his double sleep in his bed: he had gotten back about an hour ago after getting a shocking phone call early this morning from his dad: he looks at the two prescription bottles in his hand: vicodin, he knew was a pain killer, the other they had looked up on the internet and found it to be an anti-seizure medication: it had felt weird last year when he met the others’ dupes, but this was beyond weird: he wants to talk to him alone, he’s not sure why, maybe because he doesn’t want anyone else’s opinions to sway his feelings and thoughts: he grins as he remembers how he and Michael had really gotten into about him being left alone with Zan but he felt it was the only way: as his guest starts the stir, sitting in his desk chair he quietly waits for him to waken…
“Hey”

Zan: his head spins around to see his identical persona sitting there, calmly looking at him…
“Hey”

Max: he rolls the chair over and puts the two bottles on the nightstand next to his bed…
“You need these?”

Zan: he looks over at the bottles, realizing that his doppelganger is doing the same as he is, trying to get a measure of the man…
“I will if you don’t…”

Max: “Heal you. That’s why you’re here, to be healed.”

Zan: “Yes, and… and I had nowhere else to go, no life to go to.”

Max: “So you came here looking for one?”

Zan: “I…I don’t know.”
Feeling despondent…
“I don’t know anything anymore. I just didn’t want a life of a cripple living in a one-room apartment, depending on handouts from the government. That… that’s no life.”

Max: looking down at the floor: shaking his head…
“No, it doesn’t sound like much of one.”
Wanting to find out more about his injuries…
“You told Michael about having to learn to walk again.”
Gesturing towards the crutch…
“I take it there was some major damage to your leg. And from the seizure medication plus the fact that you don’t seem to have any powers, you must have taken a pretty good blow to the head too.”

Zan: “Yeah, being hit by a Mack truck tends to do that to you. I had to have my left hip reconstructed, and no, I have no more powers. I had assumed from the headaches and seizures that something got scrambled pretty good in my head and affected my powers, or rather lack of them.”

Max: “From what my parents said it took everything you had to get here. What if I refuse to help you?”

Zan: he actually sports a small rueful smile at that…
“I knew you would. See, you’re me and I would have done it for you.”

Max: now sporting the same smile…
“That’s good to know.”
Turning serious…
“You know to heal you, especially a head injury…”

Zan: “Yeah, I know. I have to let you in, let you connect, to see…me.”

Max: nodding, coming over to sit on the side of the bed…
“I’ll start with your hip.”
Pulling the covers back, his hands hovering around the damaged hip…
“Just relax.”
His hands glow brightly for several minutes, perspiration forms on his forehead as he concentrates: finally gasping a little for his breath…
“See how that feels.”

Zan: the look of surprise and pleasure shines brightly as for the first time in a year, he can