posted on 1-Sep-2001 6:38:03 PM
tittle- Coming Back

author- Melissa - aka - True Blue Healer, or Mslayer713 before I changed my sn.

disclaimer- It's all mine!!! Mine, mine, mine, MINE!! (and who said I was selfish?) My inner child has lost it cause everyone knows that the characters belong to Jason Katims, Melinda Metz, and UPN now, since the Wb are jack⊕ss's and canceled the best show in the history of television!!!! Shall I go on?

category- M/L and the others...everyone's in the mix! Join the party!!

summary- Ok, Liz left Roswell after her and Max...well, you'll find out what happened between them later on. Anyway, she's gone and Max is flipping out pretty much. Someone comes along and helps Liz out, but then they all notice someone or SOMETHING else is also lurking around...

authors notes- Before I post anymore parts on this board, I want some feedback! I mean, what's the point to save it here if no one wants to read it? so, please let me know whatcha think!!!
***

PART 1
Liz Parker slowly rubbed her lower stomach, not even noticing the looks she was getting from the people passing by. Sitting on the park bench by herself, she was completely shocked at the news her doctor had just delivered to her.

She was pregnant.

Sighing to calm her thoughts, down, Liz sighed and looked down, noticing for the first time that she was rubbing her stomach. Knowing how weird it must look, she pulled her hand away. Changing her mind, she simply let it lay on her stomach.

Hearing it growl, Liz suddenly realized how hungry she was. Standing up, she put her shoulder bag over her shoulder and started a slow walk toward the coffee shop down the street.

Over the last few weeks, Liz had been getting sick in the early mornings and not sleeping well. Blaming it on stress from the move and all, she chalked it all up to nothing—maybe just the flu.

And being sick was the last thing on her mind. She was trying so hard to seem ok. Wanting to prove to everyone that she could handle things—she could be on her own.

Hearing a few giggles to her left, Liz looked to see a group of kids swinging on some swings, urging each other higher and higher. Once more, her hand rested on her stomach and Liz could feel a few tears brimming in her eyes.

Trying in vain to hold them back, she smiled at the kids before moving on. Wiping at her face, she slightly chuckled, finding it ironic that she had any more tears left to cry.

She felt like she left them all in Roswell, New Mexico.

Along with the love of her life.
***

“Sweetie, are you ok?”

Looking up at Agnes, Liz smiled slightly. “Yeah…”

Agnes, patting Liz’s hand, smiled and said, “how about a cookie, on the house,” with a glint in her eye.

Chuckling, Liz accepted and took her hot chocolate and sat down in a window booth. Looking back at the counter, Liz smiled as the older lady talked to another one of the regular customers. Agnes was so sweet and kind it was like visiting her own grandmother.

With a slight sadder smile, Liz thought of her Grandma Claudia. Well, she thought, I followed my heart…and look where it got me. Biting her bottom lip, Liz wondered if her grandmother meant this by saying it wasn’t real unless it was complicated.

And it doesn’t get more complicated then this.

Feeling eyes on her, Liz glanced up and casual looked around for the owner, but didn’t see anyone. Stirring her hot chocolate, Liz left the cookie uneaten on her plate as she stared out the window.

As the people walked by on the street, Liz wondered if any of them had been through heartache like she had. Did any of them have to give up their true love to save the world?

She literally saved all their lives, but they had no idea. But she figured that was for the best. People in general tended to get over excited about the end of the world.

Feeling the staring again, Liz shifted in her seat, unconsciously bringing her hand up to rub her stomach. Trying to gauge whom it was, Liz looked around slowly, catching Agnes’ eye.

Smiling, the older lady slowly walked over. “Are you sick?”

“No, why do you ask?”

“Well, you always get a coffee and today you didn’t,” she said in a soft voice.

Without thinking, Liz said, “caffeine’s not good for the ba-“ Stopping herself, Liz smiled and said, “I should probably go.”

Standing up, she regarded Agnes with a smile. “Thank you,” Liz said with emotion. “For caring enough to ask.”

Smiling, the older lady squeezed Liz’s shoulder softly. “Well, you being so young and out here all alone, I was a little worried.”

Smiling once more, Liz dispensed of her hot chocolate and walked out of the small coffee shop, wrapping her arms around herself. Maybe she would call Maria when she got home. And then Alex. He could always cheer her up. He’d been planning on coming to visit anyway. Now she could invite him.

She didn’t want to have to go back to the doctor alone again.

But Alex won’t always be around, her mind reminded her. You’ll still be alone again when he leaves.

“I can deal,” she said softly, a chill going down her spine.

Preoccupied with her own thoughts, Liz didn’t notice the tall man walk out of the coffee shop behind her, watching her back as she walked away.
***

“Liz, honey, I just wanted to call and see how you were. We haven’t hear from you in a while and were wondering what was going on in your life.”

Listening to her mothers’ voice over the answering machine, Liz’s eyes brimmed with a few tears. How would they handle this? Their only daughter, pregnant, not married, and on the other side of the country.

Clicking off her machine, Liz picked up the phone, contemplating on calling Maria or Alex. Sighing, she just tucked the phone under her chin and felt like crying.

How could she face them all after this? Would they think she was just some whore who slept around?

Stifling a sob, Liz sighed and again and wiped her eyes, slinking down into her couch. Feeling something soft brush against her leg, she glanced down to see her pure black cat looking up with wide, yellow eyes.

“Come here, Zany baby,” Liz said softly, picking up the cat. Purring loudly, Zan cuddle under her neck. “You wouldn’t turn on me,” she murmured, petting the cat.

Zan, hearing a noise from somewhere else in the house, bolted out of her arms and toward the bedroom. Tucking her hair behind her ears, Liz watched the cat until he was no longer in sight.

His name wasn’t just a coincidence. It was the best way she could think of to say Max was still in her life. Naming him ‘Max’ would have been too much she decided.

Feeling her stomach growl, Liz sighed and stood up, making her way toward the kitchen. Looking through a few cabinets, Liz finally decided to make Macaroni, mashed potatoes and corn for dinner.

Making enough for one, Liz’s stomach felt like a roller coaster by the time the food was ready. Not waiting another second to take a bite, she dove into the food, eating like it’d been 10 years since her last bite!

Chuckling softly, she looked down to see Zan on another chair, lying there lazily twitching his tail.

“Guess I’m gonna have to make diner for two from now on,” she told him. When Zan didn’t even respond to her voice, Liz sighed.
***

“I could take a message,” the girl said, making Liz cringe at how chipper she was.

“No…that’s ok. I’ll try back,” Liz mumbled, hanging up the phone softly. Backing out of the payphone, Liz sighed and wrapped her arms around herself.

It was the next morning and she’d finally decided to call and tell Maria. But, the newly discovered diva was no where to be seen. Rubbing her arms, Liz looked back at the phone and thought about trying Alex.

Deciding against it for now, Liz continued on her way to the coffee shop. Stopping to smell a few flowers at a nearby vendor, Liz could feel the eyes on her again. Fumbling with her shoulder bag, she finished the short walk to the coffeehouse, upping her stroll to a brisk walk.

Going straight up to the counter, Liz asked Agnes for a lemon tea.

“Sure, honey,” Agnes replied.

Waiting for her drink, Liz saw a magazine on the counter about parenting. Picking it up, Liz again started to rub her stomach.

God, what am I gonna do?

“Anything else today?” Agnes asked, coming up to Liz.

Putting down the magazine, Liz told her no and turned to leave. Stopping in her tracks, Liz froze when she saw the old jeep parked outside on the curb. It looked exactly like…

Shaking her head, Liz closed her eyes for a brief second, trying to control her emotions. She was not about to lose it in the middle of the coffeehouse.

Taking a deep breath, Liz opened her eyes to see the owner had pulled off. Walking out the front door, Liz slowly drank her tea as she walked toward work. Seeing the little bookshop up ahead, Liz finished her drink and walked in, smiling at Stacey.

“Hey, how’d the doctor’s appt. go?” she asked.

Pausing slightly, Liz just shrugged. “Ok. So, anything new?”

Smiling, Stacey raced toward the science and earth section, coming back with a book. “It’s in.”

“Really?” Liz asked, taking the book.

“Uh-huh. Came in today.”

Softly running her hand over the cover, Liz mumbled the tittle. “The life of an Archaeologist: Claudia Parker.” The book contained detailed descriptions of all of her grandmothers’ digs and discovers.

“I held you back a copy,” Stacey added and she headed for the door. “But don’t let grumpy know!”

Smiling, Liz said goodbye to Stacey and went behind the counter, placing the book down along with her bag. Sighing she walked over and turned the sign around to ‘open’.
***

Hearing the door chime, Liz said cheerful, “can I help you,” as she asked looked up. Seeing no one, she trailed off. Shrugging finally, she went back to her book. After a few seconds she felt eyes on her.

Looking up, she still saw the store was empty. Shaking off the feeling, Liz cleared her throat and looked down at the book. Hearing the phone ring, Liz quickly picked it up.

“Books and more. How may I help you?”

“Lizzie?”

Smiling, Liz asked, “why do you always call when I’m trying to work? You’re gonna get me fired.”

“Great—then you can come and work with me,” Alex joked.

“That’s ok. How are you doing?” Liz asked.

“Good. You?” Alex asked.

Shifting a little, Liz just said, “I’ve been better.”

Pausing, Alex said softly, “Liz, my offer still stands.”

“I know…but I’m ok,” she added.

“Really? Cause I called yesterday and the girl who answered said you were at the doctor.”

Scoffing, Liz mumbled, “Stacey can’t keep her mouth shut.”

“Liz?”

“It’s nothing…I’m not sick.”

“Then what?” Alex asked.

Considering if she was ready to tell anyone yet, Liz paused. Suddenly she heard a loud creak from the stacks. Spinning to look, Liz thought she caught a quick glimpse of a shadow.

“Um, Alex…can I call you back?” she asked.

“Promise?”

“I promise,” Liz said before hanging up. Walking out from behind the counter, Liz peeked her head around the shelf, looking down the rows of books.

“Hello?” she called out. When no one answered, Liz sighed and spun back around just in time to see someone walk out the front door.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, running to catch them, but she was too late. Walking back into the store, Liz went behind the counter. Bending down, she placed her grandmothers’ book below.

Coming back up, Liz screamed when there was a face right there.

“Ms. Parker!”

“Oh my god,” Liz breathed out, embarrassed that she screamed in her bosses’ face. “I’m so sorry Mr. Holmes.”

Huffing, he ignored her apology and asked, “the shipment came in?”

“Yes. Stacey unpacked it already.”

Without another word, the old man spun around and went into the back.

“You’re welcome,” Liz mumbled.

Hearing the phone ring again, Liz picked it up. “Books and more. How may I help you?”

“About that doctors appt—“

“Goodbye Alex,” Liz said, pulling the phone away.

“Hey! I’m calling you later,” he said loudly.

“Bye,” Liz said, hanging up with a slight chuckle.
***

Biting her bottom lip, Liz dialed Maria’s number for the second time that day. Walking around her living room, she waited for someone to pick up.

“Hello?”

Great, Liz thought, the annoying roommate. “Hi. Is Maria around by any chance?”

“No…she’s at some signing party or something.”

“She got a contract?!” Liz asked quickly, ecstatic for her friend.

“Um…I don’t know,” the other girl said. “But she was really happy today.”

“Ok, tell her that Liz called.” Hanging up, Liz added to herself, “if you can remember how to speak.”

Happy for her best friend, Liz sighed and sat down on her couch. Maria had always wanted to be singer and it looked like it was gonna happen. Alex was in his college of choice and working with his computers on the side like he wanted to. He even still had a small band.

Looking around her tiny apartment, Liz’s own self pity surfaced. She was the only one who didn’t have her dream. She wasn’t becoming a molecular biologist anytime soon.

Fighting off any more pity, Liz stood up and wandered into the kitchen, looking through her fridge for something to eat. Seeing Zan on the counter, she rubbed his stomach.

“You hungry?” she asked. When he just meowed, Liz added, “me too.”
***

Snuggling down farther into her bed, Liz eyes eventually made their way over to her window like they did every night. Seeing a few stars, Liz sighed and held back her tears.

No matter how much she tried, her past was too big to ignore. Her body and mind might have left, but her heart refused to follow. Looking at her closet, she willed her body to stay in bed, but she was getting up anyway.

Opening the door, she reached up and pulled down the shoebox, staring at the lid.

“Just…put it back,” she whispered, sealing her eyes shut tight. With shaky hands, the shoebox was placed back on the top shelf and Liz slammed the door before her willpower gave out.

This had to stop. All of that was in her past. She was no longer with him. She had moved on. Hell, she was all the way across the country.

Rubbing her stomach, Liz crawled back into bed, willing her body into sleep.
***
TBC

PART 2
~ Walking briskly, Liz let the wind blow her hair around her face as she headed toward his house. Something in her mind kept urging her to go to him. Fearing something was wrong, she upped her pace.

Seeing his house in the distance, Liz started a slight jog, rounding the side of the house and heading straight for his window. Expecting to find him sleeping, she had planned on peeking in, making sure everything was ok and heading back home.

But as she stalked closer to his bedroom window, Liz could see the slight glow of his light. Finally reaching her destination, she glanced in his room and stopped, watching him.

Max was holding a phone to his ear, pacing back and forth from the wall to his desk. As he moved, Liz could see his muscles tight under his black shirt, tense with worry.

Comparing him to a sleek tiger pacing his cage, Liz was mesmerized with how he moved. Pulling the phone from his ear, Max clicked it off and threw it onto the bed with frustration. Running a hand across his face, he sat down on the edge of the bed, looking down at the floor.

Wondering what was wrong, Liz reached up to knock on the glass when Max suddenly stood up, walking right for her. Guessing she had been spotted, she stopped and waited for him to open the window.

But when Max opened the window, he seemed shocked to see anyone there. “Liz!” he exclaimed.

“Hey—“

“Are you ok?” he asked, immediately helping her in. Before shutting the window back, Max looked around closely.

Letting the weird moment pass, she was about to ask what was wrong when Max turned to her, running his hands over her arms. “Are you alright? What happened?” he asked.

Shocked, she muttered, “nothing,” before Max asked her another question.

“So you’re not hurt?”

Shaking her head, Liz was silent as Max seemed to relax a lot, sighing. The he did something else that shocked her; he hugged her close to him, running her hands through her hair.

Not being able to ignore his weird behavior now, Liz wanted to ask him what was going on but didn’t dare pull away from his embrace. It had been forever since Max held her like this; where she was close enough to feel his heart thumping in his chest, his breath hot on her neck.

Savoring the feel of being in his arms, Liz saddened when she remembered it was her fault that she couldn’t experience it anymore. She pushed him away, she told him to move on, and she was the one to let him think that she had slept with Kyle Valenti.

Feeling Max pull back finally, she had to release him. Looking up into his eyes, Liz couldn’t believe how deep they looked. He seemed shaken, like he was about to go off.

“Max, what’s wrong?” she asked softly.

Pulling away some, he sighed and ran a hand over his face. “I was just…”

When he trailed off, Liz thought it was because of their embrace. Trying to hide her disappointment, she started to turn to the window. “I should go.”

“No, don’t,” Max said quickly, putting his hand on her arm. Looking down at his hand, Liz finally glanced up at his face, finding it filled with worry and passion.

“What are you doing here?” he asked softly, walking a step closer to her.

Fighting to explain and not jump into his arms, she said hesitantly, “something just told me to come.” Looking back up at him, she questioned, “did something happen? Who were you calling?”

Looking down, he mumbled, “you actually.”

Liz, shocked, just listened as he added, “I was getting worried when you didn’t pick up and was about to head over to your place.”

Touched, Liz smiled slightly. “Max…”

“Are you sure nothing happened?” Max asked again, his voice full of emotions.

Getting a little paranoid, Liz asked, “why were you worried about me?” Pulling away completely, Max sat back down on his bed. Liz watched him as he struggled with himself.

“I had this feeling…something was gonna go down tonight.” Looking up at her, he added, “and you were the first one I thought of.”

Speechless, Liz walked over slowly and sat down beside him. “I’m fine.”

Looking down for a beat, Max said, “I am too now,” before smiling at her slightly.

Getting lost in his eyes, Liz didn’t know how long they sat there like that, but she could have stayed forever.

“Liz…” Max whispered softly, finally placing his lips of hers gently.

Feeling butterflies in her stomach, Liz kissed him back, feeling his arms come around her, pulling her against him tightly. The soft, gentle kiss was quickly turning deep and passionate as they both let their fears and hesitations go.

As he pushed her back onto the bed, the thought of stopping them before something happened entered Liz’s brain, but was pushed right back out when Max told her in a deep, husky voice, “I love you.”

Feeling tears come when he said those three simple words, Liz whispered back, “I love you too.”

The thought of turning back was now completely gone. ~

Gasping, Liz shot up in her bed, trying in vain to keep her emotions under control. Crying softly, she wished she were still sleeping while at the same time she never wanted to go back to that dream again. She hated reliving that night.

That was the last time Max told her he loved her.

Climbing out of her bed, she ignored the cold feeling as the bare floor encountered her feet. Walking slowly toward her kitchen, Liz felt like she was being stared at. Stopping to glance out her window, she pulled down the shade in an attempt to force the chill out of her body.

Wrapping her arms around her body, Liz sighed and looked around for her cat. Not seeing him anywhere, she shrugged and curled up in the corner of her couch, snuggling down as far as she could.

Picking up the remote, she pointed it toward her cd player and waited for her favorite song to start. It was morbid, but every time she couldn’t sleep she would listen to it.

As the soft, familiar tune drifted to her, Liz smiled sadly and pictured her ‘wedding’ dance on her balcony,

~ Come to me now and lay your hands over me. Even if it’s a lie, say it will be alright and I shall believe. I’m broken in two and I know you’re onto me. That I only come home when I’m so all alone.

But I do believe. ~

Crying softly, Liz placed her hand over her stomach and laid there, listening to the song over and over.

~ That not everything is gonna be the way you think it outta be. It seems like every time I try to make it right it all comes down on me.

Please say, honestly, you won’t give up on me.

And I shall believe… ~
***

The bags under her eyes were the evidence of her all night crying, but Liz was determined to get by today. It was a week later and she had another doctor appt at noon. She’d been the past few nights crying, feeling alone without anyone there to comfort her.

Alex had called again, saying he was worried about her. She lied and told him she was fine, not to worry. Maria called too, explaining how she was so close to getting that record deal. Liz was happy for her friend but couldn’t put the emotions behind it, leading Maria to ask what was wrong.

Lying once more, she told Maria she was coming down with a bug. After agreeing to take it easy, Liz had hung up and cried for hours.

She thought she had left her life of lying and keeping secrets back in Roswell, but it seemed to be catching back up with her.

Covering the bags under her eyes with make-up, Liz made her way toward the door only to hear her phone ring. Thinking about letting the machine get it, she finally picked it up.

“Hello?” When no one answered, Liz repeated the greeting. Still not getting a response, she sighed and slowly hung up the phone, not hearing the soft whispering of her name at the last second.

Walking out the door, she slammed it with a satisfying thunk, covering up the sound of the phone ringing again.
***

The walk to the doctors’ office had been upsetting. She could feel eyes on her the whole way, but every time she turned to examine it deeper, she couldn’t figure out who was watching her.

Feeling a little better when she reached the doctor, Liz’s stomach suddenly felt full of butterflies. What would he tell her? Was the baby ok?

She was now sitting on an examination table, clad in a thin hospital robe and socks. Nervous, she slowly swung her legs back and forth, looking around at all the posters on the walls.

Hearing the door open, Liz watched as a tall, dark haired man, looking to be about 30, walked into the room carrying a chart.

“Ms. Parker?” he asked with a smile.

Smiling back, Liz nodded, her stomach getting worse. She’d never been so nervous her whole life.

“I’m Doctor Wells. I see you’re pregnant,” he joked.

Smiling slightly, Liz laughed at his joke with effort.
***

About 30 minutes later, Dr. Wells finished examining her and said, “we’re gonna run a few tests on your blood sample. While I’m gone the nurse is gonna prep you for a sonogram,” he explained as a red headed nurse walked in.

Nodding, Liz watched him leave.

“Can you lift up your robe sweetie,” the nurse asked.

Obliging, Liz flinched when she rubbed a cold, jelly like substance across her stomach.

“I know it’s cold,” she said, “but you get used to it; trust me. After 4 kids it’s nothing,” she added with a smile.

“You have four kids?” Liz asked.

Nodding, her smile got wider. “2 boys and 2 girls. They run amuck when they come in here! Jason never gets too see his patients,” she joked.

“You’re married to the doctor?”

Smiling, she pointed to her nametag. ‘Jessica Wells’. “He delivered all four.”

Finishing up prepping her, Jessica added, “this is your first?”

Nodding, Liz smiled. “My first.”

“Where’s the father?” she asked innocently. “Had to work?”

Knowing that the nurse didn’t mean any harm, Liz tried to keep her voice level. “He’s not around anymore.”

Showing Liz some sympathy, Jessica added, “I’m sorry. I know how hard it is. When I was pregnant with my first, Sara, her father left me too.”

Liz, realizing that Doctor Wells wasn’t the father of all her children, asked, “does it get any easier?”

Smiling, the nurse said, “it did. I actually met my husband here when I came for my first appt.” And with that she left the room.

Thinking about her baby, Liz wondered if anyone would ever want to be with her when she already had a child. About 15 minutes later the Doctor returned with Jessica in tow.

“Ok, Ms. Parker, we’re gonna listen to the baby’s heartbeat and see if we can get a clear picture,” he told her.

Nodding, Liz flinched some when he placed the instrument on her stomach. A few seconds later she could hear a swooshing sound from above, making her look up.

“What’s that?” she asked softly.

Smiling softly, Jessica told her, “that’s your baby’s heartbeat.”

Smiling broadly, Liz added, “it’s so fast.”

“That’s normal,” the doctor told her. “Well, you seem to be a little over 2 months pregnant.”

Agreeing, Liz waited with worry to see if he was gonna to tell her anything else.

Looking at her, he asked, “would you like to see your child?”

Nodding, Liz watched with wide eyes as he turned a monitor her way. Looking at the screen, Liz’s eyes brimmed with tears. There, in the middle of all the black, was a slight outline of a small figure.

“Now, it’s too early to know the sex, but everything is perfectly healthy”, he added.

Wiping at her tears, Liz nodded, still staring at her baby.

Her and Max’s baby.
***
TBC

PART 3
The slow droning of her alarm slowly reached her ears and Liz sighed, rubbing her eyes as she rolled over, slapping the alarm with frustration.

It was 6 am already?

Sighing again, Liz snuggled deeper into her huge bed, trying to stay warm. She’d just finally dozed off into sleep at 4, having probably listened to her Sheryl Crow cd until it was withered down to nothing.

Hearing the phone ring, Liz lazily climbed out of bed, making her way toward the annoying noise.

“Hello?” she asked, her voice cracking with sleep.

“I wanna know and I wanna know now,” a very stern and loud Maria ordered.

Opening her eyes more, Liz looked at her clock. “Maria, you do realize it’s 6:09 in the morning, right?”

“Alex called me. Said you were at the doctor again yesterday!” Maria said instead of answering her question.

Groaning, Liz reminded herself to stop telling Stacey things. “Maria…I’m fine.”

“No, fine would be no doctor. Doctor twice in 2 less then 2 weeks is not fine. That’s past ‘not fine’!”

“Maria,” Liz exclaimed, making the other girl stop. “Look…I just can’t alright?” she added in a softer voice.

“Lizzie…what’s going on with you?” Maria whispered. “I’m so worried…”

“I’m fine; I promise.”

“You’re lying to me,” Maria added. “We never lied to each other; never kept secrets.”

Liz froze, nearly dropping the phone. Those words…

Choking back a sob, Liz placed a hand over her mouth. Max told her those exact words when they were in Arizona.

“Liz?” Maria’s voice was filled with concern and Liz took in a deep breath, trying to remain in control.

“Um…I have to—I have to go,” she stumbled out.

“What? No, Liz—“

“Bye,” she added before hanging up on Maria.

Sitting on her bedroom floor, Liz felt too numb to cry. What was she doing? She had no reason to lie to Maria. But if Maria knew, it wouldn’t be long before Ms. DeLuca knew. And if she knew, Jim Valenti would know. And then Kyle, and then who knew who else!

Actually, she knew exactly who else. Eventually it would get back to him.

Back to Max.
***

“This number is no longer in service. Please check your original number and try again,” the automated voice said.

Hanging up the phone with frustration, Liz paced her bedroom, still in her nightgown. She was due to work in less then an hour and she had yet to even take a shower.

Glancing back at the phone, Liz picked it back up, trying to remember the exact number of his place. The last 2 numbers were throwing her for a loop. Sighing, she threw the phone onto her bed and followed, lying on her back.

Why was she even doing this to herself? Did she really want to date other people? And who would call a guy they got a number from over 2 weeks ago at 6:45 in the morning?

Groaning, she sat up and rubbed her eyes. She couldn’t do it anyway, even if she remembered the number. Maybe she was forgetting it on purpose.

Dragging herself toward the bathroom, Liz decided to forget about moving on for now. It was still too soon. With horror and sadness, a thought crept into her mind.

Would it ever be soon enough?
***

Sipping on her Herbal tea, Liz watched the window with emotionless eyes. All the people walking past seemed so confident. Like they knew where they were going and what they were doing.

Unlike me.

Shifting, she sighed loudly when the staring started. Not even trying to find out who it was anymore, Liz just tried her best to ignore it. Seeing a shadow over her shoulder, she looked up too see Stacey looking at her.

“Stacey? What are you doing here?” Liz asked, confused. She had the shift right before Liz at the shop.

“Mr. Holmes fired me,” she exclaimed, sitting down across from Liz.

“What? Why?” Liz wasn’t really close to the other girl—she made it a point to keep to herself, but she did consider Stacey to be a semi-friend.

Scoffing, Stacey added, “he said I was too flaky!”

Not wanting to be rude, Liz just nodded her head as if to say, ‘what, you?’ if she had to admit it, Stacey was a flake.

“It’s just…I liked the job.”

“Did you tell him that?”

“What? And let him have the satisfaction of knowing how I felt? No way.”

Smiling, Liz couldn’t help but think of how much she reminded her of Maria.

Sitting up some, Stacey said softly, “don’t look now, but some hottie over by the door is looking at you.”

Feeling herself stiffen, Liz tried her best to casually glance over in the direction. Staring with shock, Liz saw the booth was now empty and door was swinging, the last evidence that he had been there.

She didn’t even see who it was.
***

“I know, but Mr. Holmes doesn’t carry—“

Sighing as the man cut her off yet again, Liz was half tempted to hang up on him. “Sir, if you would just—“

Seeing her boss, Liz prayed that he would come out front so she could hand him over the phone. Not even glancing in her direction, Mr. Holmes walked right past, going straight out the door.

So much for small miracles.

“Ok, sir, I will gladly direct you to another store if you want,” Liz said suddenly, cutting him off this time. Feeling empowered by her outburst, Liz couldn’t help but smile.
***

“Please tell me he wants me back,” Stacey pleaded as she sat down across from Liz at lunch.

Liz looked over at Stacey and sighed. She had agreed to meet he girl here in an attempt to devise up a plan to get her job back. Ironically, these were the first real plans Liz had made with anyone since moving here.

“He hasn’t said anything,” Liz replied.

Sighing, Stacey slumped down, putting her chin in her hands. “This bites.”

Biting into her sandwich, Liz savored the taste. She was too hungry. She’d have to start bringing snacks with her to work.

“Why don’t you ask him to come back,” Liz suggested after she swallowed.

Sitting up, Stacey shook her head. “Uh-uh. No way. I stand by my decision to quit.”

“I thought he fired you,” Liz said.

“Same diff,” Stacey said quickly. “I refuse to bow down.”

Looking at her watch, Liz noticed she was due back to work in a few minutes. Gulping down her lemonade, she sighed and stood up.

“Well, duty calls.”

“Hey,” Stacey looked up at her and asked, “what are you doing tonight? We could go clubbing together.”

Stalling, Liz pushed her hair behind her ears. “Um…well, see—“

“No sweat,” the other girl said. “You never did seem like the out going type.”

Smiling, Liz added, “I’ll hint about you coming back,” before walking out of the small café.
***

Rubbing her neck, Liz walked into her apartment, fumbling with her bag. Siting down on the couch with a sigh, she wasn’t shocked when Zan jumped up onto her lap.

“Sleep all day?” she mumbled, envying the cat. Mr. Holmes had worked her double hard today after Stacey was gone. Hearing the phone ring, Liz groaned and decided to let the machine get it.

“Hi, sorry I can’t come to the phone right now. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible,” the cheerful voice repeated, cutting off at the beep.

Waiting to hear who was calling, Liz heard nothing besides the click as they hung up. What the hell? She’d been getting those hang-ups all week! Most of them were creepy as hell, but a one or 2 seemed like whoever was calling was someone she wanted to talk to. The whole experience was getting on her nerves.

Getting up to see if there was anything else on the machine, Liz saw it was blinking with 2 messages. Pressing play, she waited.

“Lizzie…it’s me. Um, listen, me and Maria are both worried about you,” Alex said over the machine. “Look, just talk to us, ok? We know things have been hard these last few months and…well, we Love you.” Hearing the beep ending the message, Liz hit stop, not even listening to the other one.

Rubbing at her eyes, Liz sighed and sat down at her kitchen table. Why did he act like he understood? He didn’t know. No one knew what really happened except for her and him; her and Max.

~ So, what you’ve thought it over and decided I wasn’t worth it? ~

~ Just go, ok? I said go! ~

Shaking, Liz could feel the tears coming down, dropping onto her knees at a fast rate. Wiping her eyes, she reached over and played the last message.

“Hi…Liz? I don’t know if I have the right number or not.”

Recognizing the voice, Liz laughed. This was priceless…

“Ok, well, I’m in town and wanted to see if you wanted to hang out, get some coffee or something. Just call me back and let me know. The number is 555-8104. Later.”

And exactly what I need. Picking up the phone, she quickly dialed the number, clearing her throat.

“Hello?” a voice from her past said.
“Kyle? It’s Liz.“
***
TBC

PART 4
Fumbling with where to put her hands, Liz sighed and sat back in the booth, looking around the restaurant. This was one of the only places Kyle knew of, so they agreed to meet here.

As the waiter came over, Liz looked up.

The waiter was tall and had pitch black hair, making his light blue eyes stand up even more. “What may I get you?” he asked with a smile.

“Oh, uh, I’m waiting on my friend—“

“Liz!”

Looking past the waiter, Liz smiled as she saw Kyle “Hey,” Liz replied, standing up to greet him. The waiter backed up, bowing his head slightly.

“Wow…” Kyle said, stopping to look at her. “You look…wow.”

Smiling shyly, Liz looked down at her outfit. She was wearing a simple, blue slip dress with black heels and her hair was down with waves going through it.

“Thanks. You like it?”

Scoffing, Kyle walked over and gave her a friendly hug. “You look great.”

Pulling back, Liz couldn’t help but laugh. As they took their seats, the waiter popped back up.

“Are you ready to order now?” he asked, looking between them, his eyes landing on Liz a few beats longer.

Liz looked at Kyle. “Ladies first,” he instructed.

Liz bit her lip. “I’ll have…an order of the General Tao chicken and an egg roll with a cherry coke.”

“Oh, that sounds great,” Kyle said. Looking at the waiter he added, “I’ll have the same.”

Nodding, the waiter walked off, but not before smiling at Liz again. Laughing softly, Kyle shook his head.

“What?” Liz asked.

“Nothing. It’s just that…not matter where we are, Roswell, lovely California; I always have to vie for your attention,” he joked.

“What do you mean?”

“The waiter,” Kyle added, gesturing toward him.

Looking at him Liz asked, “what about him?”

Kyle, looking shocked, said, “Liz…he was hitting on you.”

“What? No,” Liz said quickly. When Kyle didn’t look convinced she added, “no…you’re wrong Kyle.”

“The guy was hitting on you Liz.”

Scoffing, Liz shook her head. “Kyle…”

“Watch,” Kyle whispered, smiling at her mischievously as the waiter walked back up to their table.

“Here are your drinks,” he said, giving them a smile, but mostly it was directed at Liz.

“So, Liz, are you still looking for a new guy?”

“New—“

“You know, since you broke up? You told me how you were looking for something new,” Kyle added, throwing her a look that said to play along.

“Yeah…I said that,” Liz mumbled.

Kyle, turning toward the waiter, asked him, “now, can you settle a argument for us?”

Liz shot a look at Kyle and widened her eyes.

The waiter, not noticing, said, “sure, anything to help a lady.” Then he gave Liz a smile, who returned it uncertainty.

“Great,” Kyle said, taking the conversation back over. “See, I was just trying to figure why a guy would dump a girl who looked like that,” Kyle said, gesturing toward Liz.

Widening her eyes, Liz shot Kyle another look as if to say, what are you doing?!!

“I mean,” Kyle added, avoiding her gaze, “tell me--uh, what’s your name?” he asked the waiter.

“Luke,” he replied.

“Ok, Luke. Tell me, would you ever dump by friend here?”

Liz, shocked, simply sat there while the waiter turned his attention on her. “Um…I’d have to say no; definitely no.”

Smiling, Kyle patted him in the back. “Thanks buddy.”

Nodding the waiter finally walked off.

“I can not…believe you just did that,” Liz hissed.

“I proved my point, did I not?” Kyle asked.

“No, you did not prove your point,” Liz replied. “You just proved that he wants a good tip!”

Kyle, giving his infamous smirk, added, “uh-huh. Then why did he size you up while pulling at his pants?”

Liz, trying not to laugh and look stern at the same time, mumbled, “I can’t believe you did that.”

Sipping at his drink, Kyle smiled over at her. “So…what has Liz Parker been up to?”

Shrugging, Liz also took a drink. “Nothing much. You?”

Beaming, Kyle said proudly, “get this—I’m training to be a cop.”

Laughing, Liz just looked at him. When Kyle didn’t join in, she realized he wasn’t joking. “You’re serious?” she asked him.

“Yep.”

Confused, Liz put down her drink. “Kyle, not too long ago you were appalled that Ms. Tolpolsky said you were best suited to be in law enforcement.”

“I know,” he said in honesty. “But…things change.”

Looking down, Liz mumbled, “maybe…but not that much.”

“This coming from the girl who’s not even going after her dream?”

Looking up at Kyle, Liz tried act like she didn’t even know what he was talking about. “I don’t need to anymore.”

“Liz, ok, you’re talking to an ex-boyfriend here, ok? And this ex-boyfriend listened to you talk about your one main goal in life: to become a molecular biologist.”

“That was before things happened Kyle,” Liz tried to explain.

“What things? You and Evans having an fall out?”

Looking away, Liz took in a deep breath.

~ I can’t even look at him right now. ~

~ I’m leaving Roswell…for good. ~

~ Does he know you’re leaving? ~

~ If he does, it didn’t come from me. ~

“Liz…”

Hearing Kyle’s voice she came back from her thoughts.

“Look, sorry, ok? I shouldn’t have brought him up,” Kyle said softly.

“No…you didn’t know,” Liz said finally, giving him a slight smile.

Nodding, Kyle added, “yeah well, I wasn’t his favorite person anyway. I mean, I did kinda let him think we slept together.”

“I asked you to,” Liz said.

“Yeah…but I coulda told him the truth after you left.”

“Did you?”

“No…I didn’t,” Kyle said as their food was sat down in front of them. “I love Chinese food,” he added before taking a bite.

Agreeing, Liz took a bite too.

“I’m not sure why I didn’t tell him. The guy wants to kill me.”

“Max isn’t like that,” Liz said.

“You didn’t see how he acted after you left,” Kyle said without thinking.

“What?” Liz asked, looking at him.

Obviously stalling, Kyle took a drink then asked, “do you think it’s cold in here?”

“Kyle…”

Sighing, he put his fork down. “Max went…he was like a robot after you left.”

Looking away, Liz could feel her tears coming. “Um…I have to go to the bathroom,” she said softly before getting up and walking away from the table. Making it to the restroom before crying, Liz braced herself on the sink and tried to calm down.

“What right does he have to be hurt?” she demanded to her reflection. “It was his choice—he pushed me away!!”

Wiping at her angry tears, she sniffed and reached for a paper towel. After getting her face to look halfway normal again, Liz walked out of the bathroom and back to her table.

Kyle was waiting, not even eating.

“Kyle, can we get outta here?”

“Of course,” he told her, placing some money on the table and getting their coats.
***

“So…the Granilith is a time machine?!”

Nodding her head in a yes, Liz looked up at the stars from her spot on the swings. They were so bright tonight, pulsating with fire.

“And Max actually used it?”

Smiling at Kyle, who was planted on a sew-saw a few feet away, Liz added, “well, a future version of him used it. But basically, yeah.”

Sighing, Kyle slowly pushed himself up and down a few times, contemplating all Liz had told him. “So…a future version of Evans was actually in your bathroom while we were lying in that bed? Clad in leather?”

“Yep.” Pushing with her feet, Liz propelled her self up into the air. “Oh, and his hair was shoulder length.”

“No way,” Kyle exclaimed.

“And had gray in it,” Liz added with a smile.

“I can’t wait to tease him about that,” Kyle said with a smirk.

Stopping abruptly, Liz eyed Kyle. “No, you can’t—“

“Don’t worry,” Kyle told her suddenly. “I’m good at keeping secrets. I mean, even when he wanted to kill me, I never told him we never did it.”

Looking at Kyle with curiosity, Liz asked, “why…I mean, he didn’t act like that before. Why now?”

“Well, you were there. And after you left Max blamed it all on me.”

“Kyle…I’m so sorry,” Liz told him softly.

“No biggie,” he said with a smile. “I know he was just mad at himself. And I was kinda relieved that he was letting it out. The guy never showed any emotions.”

“Yeah…he did. He showed them to me,” she said, thinking back on their time together.

“Ok, you know what?” Kyle asked her, getting up off the sew-saw. “I just found out that time travel is possible, and yet here I am, sitting in a empty playground at night. Now, that’s just wrong.”

“And what do you purpose to do about that?” Liz asked.

“Well…I say we get up, go find a bar, and get stupidly drunk,” he said, handing her his arm.

“Or…we could go rent some out of date horror movie like we used to,” Liz suggested.

Thinking about it for a second, Kyle nodded. “Good plan.”

Smiling, Liz took his arm and led him toward the video store.

“And with this plan, I won’t get my ass kicked by some biker when I start a drunken brawl.”

“Yeah…that’s what I was trying to prevent,” Liz told him.
***

Waking up, Liz opened her eyes to see she was in her living room, lying down on her couch. Sitting up, she noticed Kyle a few feet away, snoring, as he was about to fall onto the floor.

Rubbing her eyes, Liz looked at the clock. 5:49 am. Stretching, she winced at the pain in her neck. That was the last time she fell asleep watching a movie on the couch.

Thinking back on the night, Liz smiled as she remembered Kyle giving his details about having to have lived with both Tess and Maria now that his dad had married Ms. DeLuca.

Hearing a thump, she looked back over to see Kyle on the floor, coming out of his trance. “I’m up,” he mumbled.

Laughing, Liz pushed him with her foot. “You’re on the floor,” she told him.

Looking around, he added, “I know that.” Sitting up, he rubbed at his eyes. “What time is it?”

“Almost 6.”

Sighing, Kyle slowly crawled back up onto the couch. “What time did I fall asleep?”

“About 1.”

“And off the couch?”

“Few second ago. And you snored,” she added.

“I don’t snore.”

“You snore,” Liz told him before standing up. Running a hand through her hair, she cringed. “Uh…I need a shower.” Pointing toward the kitchen she added, “there’s some stuff out there for breakfast if you’re interested.”

“And turn down a free meal? I don’t think so,” Kyle said while going into the kitchen.

Smiling, Liz made her way toward her room to get some clothes. After collecting her things, she went toward the bathroom. Shutting the door, she heard the phone ring.

“Kyle, can you get that?” she called out.

“No prob,” he called back.
***

Looking at the clock, he knew it was early, but Liz would be up; he could feel it. Dialing the now familiar number, he waited while it rung twice. Maybe this time he would actually get up the courage to speak.

Reviling in the thought of at least getting to hear her voice, he held his breath while the phone clicked as someone picked up.

“Hello?”

Freezing, he suddenly felt all the color drain from his face. That was not Liz’s voice. It was guy.

A guy was answering her phone. Her phone was being answered by a guy; by a guy at 6 am!

“Hello?” the voice asked again, seeming irritated.

Numbly, he hung up, letting the phone fall to his bed. Standing there for a few moments, he was frozen with heartache. But that didn’t last long.

Over come with anger, he picked up the phone and hauled it at the wall, the batteries flying out and spilling all over the floor with a huge clatter.

Hearing his door open, he wasn’t surprised that someone had heard him. “Oh my god…what happened?”

“Nothing…nothing Isabel,” Max said finally.
***
TBC

PART 5
Wiping off the mirror, Liz looked at her face. She looked the same as she did when left Roswell, but under it all, Liz was a completely different person.

Quickly getting dressed, she made her way to the kitchen. As soon as she smelled the food, her stomach was growling. Walking through the doorway, she saw the table sit for 2. There were pancakes, eggs and sausages.

“Oh…food,” she moaned, quickly sitting down.

Kyle, coming from the sink, sat a cup of apple juice in front of her. “Eat up.”

Taking a bite, Liz closed her eyes. “Hmm…Kyle, when did you learn to cook?”

“Tess taught me,” he said casually. “And Amy; Maria doesn’t even know where the stove is,” Kyle joked.

Smiling, Liz nodded in agreement. Taking another big bite, she suddenly remembered the phone had rung earlier. Swallowing, she asked, “who called?”

“Oh, it was a hang up.”

Frowning, Liz sighed. “God, that’s like the 10th this week.”

“Want me to look into it?” Kyle asked.

“Look into it?” she repeated, taking a bite.

Nodding, Kyle took a drink. “Yep. I can do that; I’m a cop.”

Smiling at the grin on his face, Liz said, “well, as much as I’d like to see you in action, I’m gonna have to decline.”

“Ok, but if it keeps up—“

“I’ll let ya know,” she promised. Taking another huge bite, she could feel Kyle’s eyes on her. “What?”

“Hungry? I’ve never see you eat so much.”

Looking down, Liz mumbled, “I’m hungry, ok?”

“Ok…no need to get a tone,” Kyle mumbled back.

Feeling guilty, Liz sighed and looked up at him. “Kyle…I’m sorry…just…ignore me, ok?”

“I do anyway,” he said with a smile.

Throwing a napkin at him, Liz finished up her breakfast. Putting her plate in the sink, Liz looked at the kitchen window and could feel eyes on her.

Shuddering, she quickly pulled down the blind. Putting a smile in her face, she walked back over and sat down across from Kyle.

“So, when are you leaving?”

“Today. My plane leaves at noon.”

“I feel bad about monopolizing your last night here.”

Smiling, Kyle stood up to put his plate in the sink. “Don’t be. I had fun. I saw an old friend and found out some very interesting stuff.”

“That will be kept a secret,” Liz added.

“That will be kept a secret,” he repeated.

Standing up, Liz yawned. “Ok, we have one last thing to do this morning.”

“And what’s that?”

“You are going to go to my most favorite place here,” she told him.

“And where exactly is that?” Kyle asked.
***

“This place is kinda a bust.”

Scoffing, Liz slightly hit him on the arm. “I love this place. It’s quiet.”

“It’s dead,” Kyle said.

“It’s cozy and private,” Liz amended. “Besides, the coffee is great here.”

“Ok, I’ll give ya that,” Kyle said, taking a drink out of his cup.

Smiling, Liz added, “and it’s close to my work.”

Looking at his watch, Kyle sighed. “Man…I gotta swing by my hotel and get my stuff. You coming?”

With nothing else to do, Liz nodded. Walking out if the coffeehouse, Kyle flagged down a cab and they both got ready to climb in. Feeling a tingle at the base of her neck, Liz froze.

Scanning to see all around her, she didn’t see anyone she recognized. Someone was watching her, but it wasn’t like the others times. Whoever it was this time knew Liz. And she knew them.
***

Stopping at the front desk, Kyle finished signing out.

“Oh, Mr. Valenti, yes, you have a message.” Handing him a pink piece of paper, the woman smiled and walked off, leaving him and Liz alone.

“Oh, dad called.” Walking over to pay phone, Kyle dialed his dads cell phone.

Liz, leaning up against the wall, waited while Kyle talked.

“Hey…yeah, I hooked up with Liz…she’s fine,” Kyle said, giving her a smile. “Ok, just tell him I’m on my way to the airport right now. Ok, bye.” Hanging up the phone, Kyle told Liz, “that was Amy.”

“How is she?”

“Good. She was at the Crash eating.”

“Oh,” Liz said, hoping her parents hadn’t heard her name.

“So, I have about 20 minutes left…” Kyle said, stopping outside the hotel to look at Liz. “Do you wanna tell me what’s bugging you?”

“What?” she asked, completely caught off guard.

“You’ve been preoccupied all night. Wanna talk about it?”

Rubbing her stomach, Liz could feel the tears. God, it she was gonna by crying all the time she might as well stay at home!

“Liz,” Kyle said, noticing the tears.

“I’m pregnant,” Liz whispered, not looking at him.

Shocked, Kyle didn’t speak for a few moments. “Ok…not what I was expecting,” he said finally.

Walking over to a nearby bench, Liz sat down, quickly followed by Kyle. “I just found out about 2 weeks go.”

“Wow…do your parents know?”

Liz shook her head no. “No one does. You’re the first person I’ve told.”

“Not even Maria and Alex?” he asked.

“No…only you.”

Shifting Kyle asked softly, “um…it’s none of my business, but uh…whose is it?”

Looking up into his eyes, Liz said with conviction, “Max’s.”

“I thought so,” Kyle said quickly. “It’s just that…I saw him last week and he didn’t mention anything.”

“Like I said, you’re the first person I’ve told.”

“I assumed you told the father.”

Feeling guilty, Liz looked down. “Max didn’t want me in his life so would he want a baby?” she asked softly, more tears coming at the words.

“Oh…Liz, you can’t believe that,” Kyle added, pulling her close.

Crying, Liz didn’t respond. She just let Kyle hold her.
***

The glowing sign over the Crashdown café’s doors was a welcoming sight to his eyes. No matter how hard his life was, Max could always come here and forget it all; relive the days when she was his.

Sitting in his usual booth, he could still sense Isabel’s worry over him. “Iz…I’m fine.”

“I know you’ve been calling her,” she told him.

Shocked that she knew, Max couldn’t help but ask, “how?”

“I heard you asking—or should I say begging Maria for it,” Isabel explained.

Feeling his face get red, Max looked down at the tabletop.

“Max…what happened that day? What did you tell her?”

Closing his eyes, Max could visibly see Liz in his memory, her eyes welling up with tears as he spoke to her.

~~ We can’t be together. Last night can’t happen again. ~~

~~ Tell me you don’t love me. ~~

~~ I don’t love you. ~~

Rubbing his forehead, Max pushed those thoughts far back into his head. Reliving that night was too hard to deal with right now.

“I don’t wanna talk about it Isabel,” he said finally.

Sighing, Isabel sat back. “Michael called me last night.”

Looking up, Max asked, “he doing ok?”

“If he wasn’t he wouldn’t tell me. And definitely not you.”

“Isabel—“

“He’s your best friend Max. He was going through a hard time and you just made it worse.”

“Losing Maria was his own fault—just like it was my fault for losing Liz,” Max said with emotion.

Seeing how upset Max was, Isabel said softly, “you don’t know that Max. You don’t know why she left.”

“Yes I do. She left because of me,” Max said simply.
***

It was night by the time Liz ventured home. She had left Kyle at the airport earlier that day, promising to call and give him an update after her next doctors’ appt.

He’d already appointed himself as an uncle.

Walking slowly, she suddenly felt the chill from being stared at. Cursing herself for not getting cab, she upped her pace to a brisk walk. Looking ahead of her, she saw there were only 3 more blocks between her and her apartment.

Trying to calm her breathing, she suddenly became aware of the footsteps behind her. Upping her pace more, Liz’s heart thundered even harder when she steps behind got faster also.

Breaking out into a dead run, Liz raced across the street, panting with fright. Her stomach was already starting to cramp.

Only 2 more blocks, her mind told her.

Holding her stomach, she crossed the last intersection and breathed a sigh of relief. The side of her building was in sight now. All she had to do was get down this street and round the corner. Reaching the corner, Liz threw glance over her shoulder. Seeing no one was following, she finally came to a stop.

Trying to catch her breath, Liz spun back around and screamed, suddenly being face to face with someone.

“You ok little lady?” he guy asked, rubbing at his chin.

Backing up, Liz silently nodded. He was looking her up and down, licking at his lips. Feeling her heart start to pound again, Liz tried to put on a brave face.

Finally finding her voice, she added, “yes, I’m fine,” before trying to pass by him.

Feeling his hand grip her upper arm tight, Liz screamed and tried to pull away from him, only to feel his grip tighten. “No…” she gasped out, pushing him away.

Grabbing her by the waist, the guy pulled her away from her building. “Come on, I just wanna talk,” he said in her ear.

“No, let me go,” she cried out, pushing him away in an attempt to escape. Her mind was screaming for an escape. He was gonna rape her…

“Scream again and I’ll slit your throat,” he hissed.

Liz was now sobbing, terrified for her life and her baby’s. “Please…no.”

Running his hand up her side, he added, “I’ll make it quick.”

Staring at her home, she tried once more. “Please, I’m pregnant,” she told him, hoping it would turn him off. Her apartment was getting further and further away as he pulled her down the street.

Seeing him falter, Liz shoved him as hard as she could toward the ground and took off running toward her place, trying her best not to trip. She could hear him behind her and suddenly his hands were on her, shoving her hard up against a building, her back spazing with pain.

Crying out, she tried to duck down but he grabbed her by the throat, a knife in his hand now. Sobbing, Liz watched the blade with open fear.

“You little bitch,” he hissed, wiping blood off of his nose from where he had went face first into the sidewalk. Watching the knife, Liz didn’t even have time to flinch before his fist came in contact with her stomach.

Gagging with pain, Liz fell to the ground, curling up in a ball. Her stomach hurt so badly and the pain was about to knock her out. Panting for breath, she could just barely make out the door to her apartment a few feet away.

“Get the hell away from her.”

Faintly hearing the second voice, Liz was too far gone to look up and see who it was. As the blackness took her over, her last thought was of her baby.
***
TBC

PART 6
The sound of chirping birds was faint, just outside of her sleeping realm. Slowly opening her eyes, Liz could feel the sun on her face and her bed under her back, so soft and warm.

Looking around, she realized where she was; her room. Siting up quickly, she sobered, remembering what happened the night before. Holding her stomach, she suddenly felt ill.

Oh god…her baby…was it all right?!

Her breath coming in short, fast gasps, Liz reached for her phone. She had to make sure her baby was ok. Trying to get out of her bed, Liz nearly crumpled to the floor. She was too weak and upset to try and walk. Sobbing, she cried out in frustration.

Hearing her door open, Liz felt arms come around her a second later and place her back in the bed. “No…my stomach,” she insisted.

“Is fine, you’re just weak still.”

Hearing the familiar voice, Liz finally looked up at the person through her teary eyes. “Michael?” she whispered.

Letting him put her in the bed, she gave up, lying down and not fighting him anymore. Still crying, Liz stared out her bedroom window, ignoring everything else for now.

Michael, seeing she was out of it, silently left the room.

Hearing the door shut, Liz sobbed, not even trying to hide it anymore.
***

Pacing the little kitchen, Michael eyed the telephone. Liz was in a bad place right now and could really use someone. Wanting to call Maria, he hesitated, realizing he didn’t know her number.

He could always call Isabel for it, or hell, Valenti if he had too. But he’d wait until he had to before he stooped that low.

Picking up the phone, Michael started to call Isabel but stopped himself. Did he really want to bring her and Max into this? And now matter how much Michael tried to stop him, Max would be all over this as soon as he heard Liz’s name.

And Liz didn’t need that right now.

Sighing, Michael put the phone back down.
***

Michael didn’t return to the room for an hour. When he did, Liz was still in the same position.

“You healed me?” she asked in an emotionless voice.

“I did what I could,” he said simply.

“My baby?” Liz finally asked, her voice cracking.

“It’s ok.”

Looking at Michael, Liz whispered, “thank you.” Noticing his look, she wondered if he knew. Looking back at her window, she tried to keep her tears silent.

“I um…I wanted to call someone—“

“Don’t,” Liz said, stopping him in mid-sentence.

It was a few minutes before Michael said anything else. “You should talk to someone.”

“I already did.” Hoping he wouldn’t push it, Liz bit her bottom lip when he did.

“Who?”

Taking in a deep breath, Liz said softly, “Kyle.”

“He’s the father?” Michael asked, his voice full of shock.

Crying, Liz finally turned her face toward him. “No…you already know who it is.”

Looking confused, Michael just stared at her. Suddenly his eyes flickered and he sat down at her desk, shock all over his face.

Knowing he understood now, Liz returned to looking out her window.

“You haven’t told him?” Michael asked.

“Like he would care,” Liz whispered.

“What? How could you say that?” Michael demanded, walking over to her.

Staring him down, Liz sat up. “Don’t defend him to me.”

“Max isn’t my favorite person at the minute, but I can’t even deny how much pain he’s going through right now!”

“Pain? Well, I’m glad!” Liz cried out. “He deserves it!! He deserves to feel every ounce of pain I’ve felt times 100!” She was sobbing again now, her body shaking with her anger and hurt.

Michael, taken back by her outburst, shook his head. “I don’t know exactly what Max told you or did to make you leave, but I do know that he did it to keep your ass safe. He would put his own freaking life down to save you.” Giving her one last look, Michael spun around and stormed out of the room.

Thinking about what Michael said, Liz could feel her heart breaking even more. She didn’t want this; she didn’t want to bring this all up again.

But the more she tried to not think about it, the more she did. Staring out her window once more, Liz could feel more tears coming from deep inside her soul.
***

~~ Liz’s heart was racing as she hung up the phone, wondering what Max wanted to talk about. His voice seemed emotionless, like he was trying to hard to keep everything inside.

Shrugging it off, she couldn’t help but grin as she thought about last night. Her and Max had made love. He was so gentle with her, but his passion and love was fierce. The combination made Liz’s knees weak just thinking about it.

Hearing a sound out on her balcony, Liz raced over to her window to see Max standing there. He was so still, staring at the ground. Smiling, she climbed out, wanting to be in his arms once more.

She could still feel them around her, holding her tight all night long.

Walking up to him, she wrapped her arms around his neck, smiling up at him. “Hey,” she said softly, placing a soft kiss on his lips. When he didn’t kiss her back, Liz looked up at him and noticed for the first time how worn out and ragged he looked.

Suddenly scared to find out what had happened since she had left him that morning, Liz asked, “Max, what’s wrong?”

Looking away, he pulled out of her embrace. “Nothing…” he said in a soft voice.

“You’re ok?” she asked, not believing him. He was upset about something; she was positive.

Looking back at her, Max just stared, drinking her in. She could see his eyes flicker and she quickly walked over, pulling him close. “Max…tell me what happened.”

Pulling her hands off of him, Max quickly ended that embrace also. “We have to talk.”

Feeling her heart speed up, Liz stood shocked, knowing that tone of voice. “What…what about?” she asked finally.

Spinning to look at her, Liz saw his eyes were completely emotionless now. “Us. It’s over.”

Feeling her heart drop, Liz numbly reached for the railing, trying to keep her emotions under control. “What?” she finally got out.

“We can’t be together. Last night can’t happen again,” Max said.

Shaking her head, Liz said, “no…you’re lying…you’re lying.”

“I don’t wanna be near you,” he added.

Looking up at him, Liz could see he wasn’t even looking at her anymore. “You love me,” she whispered. “You told me.”

Not answering, Liz took a few steps closer to him. “I could feel it last night. You love me as much as I love you.”

“No…I don’t.”

Stopping a few feet away, she didn’t move an in closer. No…her mind kept repeating. “I wanna hear you say the words,” she mumbled. “Tell me you don’t love me.” She looked right up into his eyes, begging him to tell her the truth.

Looking back at her, Liz could see a shimmer of love in his eyes before he cut it off. “I don’t love you,” he said, his voice coming out monotone.

“Why are you doing this to me?” she asked.

“I can’t lie no more…I don’t love you,” he repeated.

“No…” Liz said softly.

“I never loved you. I felt sorry for you.”

As Max went on, Liz could feel her heart breaking even more and more.

“Michael and Isabel were right. We don’t belong together and we will never work. When I saw you with Kyle I felt relived. It gave—“

“Stop!!” Liz screamed. “Just stop…”

“Why? It’s all the truth. But little Miss Lizzie Parker can’t handle the truth.” His face was twisted with a sneer but none of it ever reached his eyes.

Looking up at him, Liz couldn’t keep the venom out of her voice as she asked, “so, what, you’ve thought it over and decided I wasn’t worth it?!!”

She could see his eyes waver once more before he steeled himself. “All I feel after last night is regret that I let this charade go that far.”

Feeling the last blow, Liz broke down, her body rocking with all of her emotions. Neither of them moved for a moment as her sobs vibrated off the building.

She could hear him walking closer and the faint touch of his hand on her back. “Don’t touch me,” she hissed, pulling away. Liz could see the hurt and tears in his eyes but she couldn’t have cared less now.

“Just go, ok.” she told him. When he didn’t move she screamed, “I said go!!”

The last thing Liz saw before she crumbled to the ground was his tearful face as he climbed down the fire escape. ~~

The sun was starting to set by the time Liz finally climbed out of bed. Another day was ending and she wasn’t any better. In fact, she felt like she was in worse shape.

As she walked out toward her kitchen, she wasn’t surprised to see Michael was there. She had heard him walking around out here all day.

“Why are you still here?” she asked.

Not answering, Michael said, “you should go take a bath. You look like shit.”

Not even affected by his comment, Liz slid into a chair. “What happened?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’re lying.” As her and Michael glared at each other, Liz could feel her cheeks getting wet with more tears.

“God…pregnant women,” Michael mumbled. When Liz didn’t say anymore, Michael stood and pulled her to her feet. “Go…get a bath, eat some chocolate, punch a pillow, whatever. Just be ready to leave in an hour.”

Not even bothering to ask where they were going, Liz did as he said and took a long, hot bath.
***

“Why are we here?” she asked, looking around the small coffeehouse.

“Have you been to the doctor yet?” Michael asked her.

“Yes.”

“What did he say?”

Wondering what Michael was getting at, Liz just stared at him.

“Did he say anything looked abnormal?” he added.

“You mean ‘Alien’?” she amended, as it all dawned on her. Michael couldn’t have cared less if she was ok. “Well for your information no, everything is fine,” she spat out.

“What the hell are you mad about?!” he asked.

“Nothing. Stupid me actually thought for a minute there that you cared about what was happening to me. But all you care about is your precious little secret.” Standing up, she quickly strode out of the café.

With the wind blowing through her hair, Liz didn’t stop when she heard Michael coming after her.

“You are so heartless-“

Stopping, Liz turned on him. “Me? I’m heartless? What about you? Did you ever stop to think about what I’m going through? About what this is all doing to me?!”

“Would I be here if I didn’t? I could have easily walked away but I’m still here!”

“Why?!”

“Because you’re like my…” Stopping, Michael huffed, “look, I don’t need this. I should be gone by now.”

“Then explain to me why you’re still here!”

“Because you’re like a sister to me,” Michael exploded.

Shocked, Liz said softly, “really?”

Looking away, Michael mumbled, “you’re part of the group and Max would want us all to look out for each other.”

“So you care about me?” When Michael didn’t answer Liz sighed, feeling her expression soften to a smile. And then the tears came.

“Man…I knew I shoulda left,” Michael mumbled.
***
TBC



posted on 1-Sep-2001 6:41:30 PM
PART 7
“Get your feet off of my coffee stand,” Liz told Michael in low, threatening voice.

Huffing, Michael did as she said. Watching her he added, “you’ve cleaned this room 3 times today.”

“Well, maybe if you understood the meaning of the word ‘trashcan’ I wouldn’t have to,” Liz shot back.

She knew Michael wasn’t gonna push her on this. He’d grumble about her mood, say she was becoming a neat-freak or something along those lines, and then get up to paint.

It had been like that for the 2 past months.

Liz was actually a little shocked that she’d survived a whole month of living with Michael Guerin. If only Maria knew…

Thinking better of that, Liz continued her cleaning ritual.

“God, are all pregnant women this moody?”

“They’re called hormones Michael,” she mumbled back.

“Yeah, well, if you keep cleaning I’m never gonna get the smell of pine-sol outta my nose,” he said before heading over to the little painting spot he had in the corner.

Looking at the clock, Liz knew she would have to leave for her doctors’ appt. soon. Rubbing her stomach, Liz smiled as she thought about her baby. She was getting ready to enter her fourth month of pregnancy. And she wasn’t even showing yet still!

Hearing the phone ring she glanced up at Michael. He was too lost in his painting to even notice it; that, or he was just ignoring it.

Shaking her head at him, Liz made her way over to it. “Hello?”

“Hey girl,” Maria said in a sing-song voice.

Smiling, Liz said loudly, “hey Maria!” Seeing Michael pause and listen for a second, Liz threw a triumph smirk his way.

“So…what time is your appt?”

“In a little bit,” Liz said. “They’re gonna do another sonogram.”

Giggling, Maria added, “you better send me a picture!”

Smiling, Liz couldn’t help but be glad that she finally told Maria and Alex the truth. It had taken a lot of coaxing from Kyle, who said he was getting tired of listening to Maria complain about her lying to her. And then Michael said, as poetically as ever, “do it and shut both of ‘em the hell up.”

She knew Michael was directing that mostly at Kyle, but Liz also knew Michael was still upset over his and Maria’s break-up; although he would never fess up to it. Nor would he tell her why him and Max were fighting.

“I still think it was stupid of the doctor to wait 2 months before giving you another appt,” Maria said over the phone.

Glancing at Michael, Liz said simply, “yeah…well, what can you do?”

It wasn’t the doctors’ fault she had waited so long to go back. Her and Michael were both worried about ‘complications’ so they bid their time, trying too see if anything was gonna happen.

And besides the new revelations in her diet, everything was normal.

“Ok, so girl, when do I get to come and visit you? See your big old belly?” Maria joked.

“What?” Liz asked, casting Michael a quick glance. She couldn’t come and visit; not with Michael here!

No one knew Michael was there. Well, ok, Kyle knew, but that was an accident. Michael answered the phone one day and Kyle was on the other end and well, lets just say Kyle now has another secret to carry.

“I wanna come and see you; I’m only an hour away!”

“No! I mean, no, don’t be silly. You just got you record deal and you’ll be recording soon,” Liz said.

“And none of that can even compare to seeing my best friend again after 4 months!” Maria told her.

“Maria—“

“I’m coming,” she said sternly. “Now…pick a date. I gotta swing home in 2 weeks and see mom, but I can come up after that,” Maria suggested.

“Um, so in about 3 weeks?” Liz asked feebly.

“Yes, that works! Girl, we are gonna have so much fun! We can go shopping for the baby!”

Smiling briefly, Liz regretted hanging up the phone. Michael was gonna kill her. “Yeah, sounds great.”

“Oh! I’m so excited; I gotta call Alex—oh!!! Lizzie—we could invite Alex too!”

“I’m sure he’s busy with school,” Liz said.

Hearing that, Michael turned around to look at her.

“He’ll come! Oh, I can’t wait!”

“Me either,” Liz said, ignoring Michael’s stare. “Well, I better go.

“Ok, well, see ya in 3 weeks!”

“Yeah, 3 weeks,” Liz said cheerfully before hanging up.

“What’s in 3 weeks?” Michael asked.

“Um…nothing…just that Maria and Alex are coming to visit,” she said quickly before rushing off down to the hallway to her bedroom.

“What?” Michael exclaimed, following her. “We had a deal! No one knows where I am and I don’t spill you secret. And Maria visiting is not part of it!”

“Look, I couldn’t just tell her no, ok?!” Liz added.

“I don’t tell Isabel and Max where you are and what’s going on when I talk to them!” Michael threw back.

Pausing briefly, Liz paled at Max’s name. “You’ve talked to him lately?” she asked softly.

Calming down some, Michael crossed his arms. “Isabel. I called her last month.”

Nodding, Liz sat down on her bed and picked at her pillow. Why was this so hard? She could feel herself start to cry and cursed herself, taking a deep breath. “Look…we’ll figure something out,” she told him finally. “I’m sure Maria and Alex will stay in a hotel so at night-“

“Alex is coming too?”

“Michael…” Liz whined.

Huffing, Michael threw her look. “Fine…but I better have a place to sleep.”

Smiling, Liz looked at the clock. “Oh! I gotta go.” Glancing at Michael, she added, “you wanna come?”

“I’ll pass,” he told her, walking out of the room.

“You won’t have to come back with me,” she insisted, following him into the living room. “You can just wait in the waiting room.”

“No.”

“Why not?!”

“Liz—“ Michael spun to look at her. “I’m not Max, ok? And I’m not Kyle or Alex.”

“No, I’ hadn’t realized that,” Liz said with awe.

“Then why are we having this conversation? Cause I’m not going.”

Stalling, Liz thought. “Because…” Getting a great idea, she added, “someone should be close by to handle the ‘situation’; should one occur.”

“That’s cheating and you know it,” Michael mumbled.

“Ya, I won,” she gloated. “Now, suck it up Guerin. You’re my friend and I want you there,” Liz told him sternly.

Rolling his eyes, Michael grumbled something about bad choices and snatched up his coat.

Smiling with victory, Liz started to drum on Michael’s back as they walked out the door.
***

Dialing the number, Michael tapped his finger on the side of the payphone as he waited for someone to pick up.

“Hello?”

Just the person I was looking for. “Hey Iz.”

“Michael?” Isabel exclaimed.

“Yep. The one and only.”

“Why haven’t you called? Me and Max have been worried sick!”

“I’ve been busy with stuff,” he said quickly, trying to get to the point.

“What kind of stuff?” she asked.

“Stuff…stuff. Listen, I’m calling for a reason—“

“Is everything ok?” Isabel asked quickly.

“Yeah. I need you to do me a favor. Pay a little visit to Max for me.”

“What? No, Michael,” she said quickly.

“Just real quick; in and out,” he insisted.

“No! I’m not dream-walking him. You know how Max feels about that,” Isabel added.

“Since where has that ever stopped you?” Not waiting for her to respond, Michael went on. “Just find out what happened between him and Liz for me.”

“Why do you wanna know,” Isabel asked after a long pause.

“I’m gonna compare notes,” he said sarcastically. “Just do it.”

“Not until you tell me why,” she argued.

Michael sighed. When Isabel’s voice got like that there was no arguing with her. Glancing at his watch, he saw he needed to get back. “Look, I got a feeling and this could play into it. Now, are you gonna do it?”

Isabel was silent for a while and Michael cursed, bowing his head.

“I’ll do it tonight.”

Sighing, Michael said, “good.”

“Just promise me you’ll call if anything happens that I should know about—or Max should know about,” she added.

“Can do. I’ll call back later for the info.” Hanging up the phone, Michael headed back up to the doctors’ office. Just as soon as she sat down the door popped opened and Liz emerged from the back.

Looking up at her, Michael noticed how pale she looked. Her face was slack and she seemed to be staring into space.

Panicking, Michael jumped up and raced over to her. “Liz? What happened? Are you ok?!”

Focusing on his face, Liz simply nodded.

“Here you go sweetie,” the receptionist said, handing Liz an appointment slip. Taking it, Liz stuffed it into her pocket with out even looking at it. “Are you gonna be ok?” she asked her.

“What’s going on?” Michael asked out loud.

Smiling shyly, the nurse added, “I think she’s still in shock.”

“Meaning…”

Her smile getting bigger, she nurse said proudly, “congratulations. You’re having twins!”

“I’m not the father,” Michael said automatically. Then, after actually registering what the nurse said, he looked at Liz.

“2 babies,” Liz whispered. “I’m having 2, not 1, of his babies.”

Michael could see the tears coming from miles and sighed, letting her cry into his chest. Seeing the nurse give them a look, he added, “it’s a very emotional time.”

Nodding her head with sympathy, she smiled briefly before going back to work.

“Come on,” he told Liz, steering her out of the doctors office.

“Michael…what am I gonna do?” she asked him, not fighting back as he led her down the street.

“Maybe you should call someone,” he suggested, trying not to come over pushy. If there’s one thing he’s leaned about Liz it was that she didn’t like to be told what to do.

“Who?” she asked.

As casually as possible, Michael said, “Max.” Liz suddenly stopped and Michael braced himself, ready for her argument.

“No.”

Looking at her, Michael was kinda confused that she didn’t say anything else. “How do you know it won’t make everything better?”

“I have too much on my mind right now to throw that in,” she said in a low, way—too controlled voice.

“Liz—“

“I said no,” Liz stated, starting to walk again.

“Look, I know he pushed you—“

“No, you don’t!” Liz exclaimed.

Looking around, Michael could tell that people were noticing their little talk.

“He didn’t push, alright, he shoved!”

Seeing her distraught face, Michael remained quiet. Not saying anything else, Liz spun on her heel and started to walk toward the apartment.

Sighing, Michael started to follow her. Rubbing his forehead, he couldn’t help but wonder if calling Isabel had been a good idea.
***
TBC

PART 8
“Would you calm the hell down,” Michael muttered.

Glaring at him, Liz replied, “I am calm.”

Rubbing his neck, Michael threw his coat onto the couch.

“Hang that up,” Liz instructed.

Flexing his fingers, Michael picked up the coat and hung it by the door.

“I need someone to talk to,” Liz mumbled.

“Call Alex or what’s her name.”

Sighing, Liz threw Michael a look. Walking out of the room, she picked up the phone and dialed Maria’s number. After it rung for 5 times, she hung up and tried Alex.

“Hi. I’m busy conspiring with aliens and trying to save the world. I’ll get back at ya,” his answering machine said.

Waiting for the beep, Liz said, “hey, call me. And by the way, has Isabel heard that?” Clicking her phone off, Liz tapped it back and forth. Biting her lower lip, she turned her phone back on and dialed.
***

Walking into the Crashdown, Kyle scanned the room. A group of teenagers—freshmen at most, an older couple, and family of 5 was sitting around. Seeing Mr. Parker behind the counter, Kyle walked up and took a seat.

“Hey, Kyle.”

“Hey Mr. Parker. Can I get a large coke and a ‘over the moon’ burger to go?”

Nodding, Jeff Parker went about getting it ready.

Sighing, Kyle heard his cell phone ringing. Pulling it out, he opened it up. “Hello?”

“Ok, I asked Mom to get a little ‘basket’ together for me so you can drop off at Liz’s next week. I would take it my self but all the stuff is at your place—“

“Maria?” Kyle asked, cutting her off. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“You’re going to California still, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Then you can drop some stuff off at Liz’s for me,” Maria said. “Mom’s getting it ready.”

“What kind of stuff?” Kyle asked, his stomach dropping some.

“Well, just little stuff. Nothing big, don’t worry abo—“

“Maria,” Kyle said, cutting her off again. “What did you tell Amy?”

“That Liz was having a baby,” Maria replied.

“You weren’t supposed to tell!”

“No, Liz said not to tell Max. My mom is fine to know.”

“Maria, no offense, but your mother can not keep secrets, ok? All she has to do is see Mr. or Ms. Parker at the store and boom!”

“No…mom wouldn’t…I mean, I told her it was hush-hush…oh god, Liz is gonna kill me!” Maria shrieked. “You’re right, mom is gonna tell Jim then it’s out!”

“Ok, when did you tell her?” Kyle asked.

“This morning when I called. What if she already told them?!”

“Even though I wasn’t the one to spill, I’ll see what I can do. Try and call her,” Kyle added before hanging up and sitting the cell on the counter. “Oh…I hate that girl,” he mumbled.

“Hey Kyle,” Tess said cheerfully, coming to sit beside him. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I gotta go find Amy,” he said, starting to get up.

“Oh!” Tess exclaimed, catching his arm. “Amy just told me something about—“

“About Liz?” Kyle asked, praying he was wrong.

“Yeah,” Tess said, looking slightly confused. “You already know?”

Cursing, Kyle sat back down. “Listen to me Tess, you can not, and I repeated, can not tell anyone about this.”

“Why? It’s not like—“

“Tess,” Kyle interrupted. “Just don’t, ok?” Lowering his voice, he added, “she hasn’t told her parents yet and a couple of other people, and she’d like to do it in person.”

“You mean Max?” she amended.

Sighing, Kyle replied, “yeah, I mean Max.”

“You think he’ll flip to learn that his precious little Liz isn’t so sweet an innocent any more?” Tess asked with slight mocking.

“Tess…not now,” Kyle said quickly. “This isn’t about you or Max. This is about Liz.”

Sighing, Tess looked down guiltily. “You’re right. Tell her I said congratulations.”

“Can do. Now, have you seen Amy?”

Thinking back, Tess said finally, “last I saw she was on her way to get her hair done.”

“Ok…gotta go,” Kyle said suddenly, getting up and running out the door.

“Hey, I have his lunch,” Mr. Parker said, coming over with a bag.

Tess, looking the bag over, asked, “he pay?”

“Yeah.”

Smiling, Tess said, “I’ll take it. I can just buy him dinner later.” Taking the bag, Tess was about to get up and leave when she heard a ringing sound. Looking around, she saw Kyle’s cell phone on the counter.

Smiling, she sat back down and opened the phone. “Hello, Kyle’s phone.”

There was a slight pause on the other end then an uneasy voice asked, “is Kyle around?”

“No, but I can give him a message,” Tess said, wondering who she was talking to.

“Uh…um, can you just tell him to call Liz.”

“Liz? Oh, hi. It’s Tess.”

“Tess…wow. Hi. It’s been a while,” Liz said suddenly.

“Yeah…couple months. Um…”

“Yeah…ok, so you’ll tell Kyle I called?”

“Of course.”

“Ok…I should go,” Liz said finally.

“Uh…” Wondering if she should let Liz know that she knew, Tess bit her lower lip. “Um…can I talk to you for a second?”

“Sure…what about?” Liz asked.

“See…I was talking to Amy and she told me that you…well, you were pregnant.”

Liz didn’t say anything and Tess added, “Kyle explained to me about keeping it a secret and I wanted you to know that I will; keep it a secret that is.”

Liz was still silent and Tess wondered if she made a bad mistake by saying anything. She really felt bad when Kyle reprimanded her earlier and could actually feel where Liz was coming from. Granted, she’d never been pregnant, but Tess knew what it was like to tell people a secret as big as this.

“Thank you,” Tess finally heard Liz say.

“Your welcome.” Sighing, Tess added, “look…I know we haven’t been the best of friends—wow, that was the worlds biggest understatement,” she said suddenly.

“Yeah…maybe,” Liz said with the slight touch of humor in her voice.

“Well, I guess I just want you to know that if you ever need a girl to talk to…or something…” Taking a deep breath, Tess finally said, “I’m here.”

There was another long silence and Tess suddenly could feel all the confusion Liz was going through. Wrinkling her brow, she gathered that a connection must have started up.

But she didn’t do it.

Trying to think up an explanation, Tess suddenly picked up that Liz was thinking about Max; really thinking about him.

“Um, thank you Tess,” Liz said suddenly. “And I should really go.”

The connection severed, Tess just said, “ok. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Yeah…bye.” Then Liz was gone.

Looking at the phone with confusion, Tess shut it off silently and stood up, coming face to face with Max.
***

Hanging up the phone, Liz bit her bottom lip and stood there, contemplating what Tess had told her. And what she saw. Somehow Tess had to have opened a connection between them and Liz finally saw the real Tess.

And she was in love with Kyle Valenti.

“Hey, you gonna order something to eat?” Michael asked from the living room. “I thought we agreed on pizza.”

“Um…you know, I’m not—I’m not real hungry,” Liz said finally turning from the phone. Looking at Michael she added, “I’m just gonna go take a long bath.”

Michael gave her look then finally nodded. “Ok…well, it’ll be out here when you get done.”

Nodding back, Liz pushed her hair behind her ears in a nervous fashion before going to her bedroom. Shutting the door, she leaned her back against it.

In the back of her mind Liz had always blamed her and Max’s break-up on Tess. Max had decided to go on with his destiny and Liz was not it. So he broke up with her to be with Tess to save his home. It made sense.

And as far as she knew, for the last 4 months that had been going on; Max and Tess had been going on.

And no matter how hard it was to think about, it was easier to see it that way then in the way that Max simply got bored with her. At least this way Max might still love her, but he was doing it to save his home planet.

But it hadn’t. Of course she didn’t know; Maria and Alex never spoke about their ‘not of this earth’ friends. Although Maria always somehow wiggled Michael’s name into the conversation, Max was never mentioned.

Sighing, Liz made her way to get a robe and few clothes then walked into the bathroom. Running the bath water, she poured in a few bath beads and sighed, putting up her hair as the tub filled.

Looking in the mirror, Liz turned her head from to side. Her face was clear. Not one pimple or zit; which was good for a 19 year old. Sighing, she realized how subconscious she was making herself feel.

Shaking her head, Liz started to take her shirt off, pausing to look down at her belly. Looking in the mirror, she noticed it was starting to poke out some. Smiling, she rubbed it, ecstatic at the idea of there being 2 babies in there.

The doctor had told her she was still pretty small for being this far in the pregnancy but not to worry. Some ladies are late bloomers, he had joked.

Continuing to get undressed, Liz turned off the bathroom and slipped in, sighing.

She had freaked earlier at the thought of having twins, but now…well, the idea of 2 little Max’s running around was starting to appeal to her. Smiling, Liz started to drift off, not really caring about time.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. “Pizza’s been here for half an hour,” Michael called through.

“Ok,” Liz said sleepily.

There was another pause and then he added, “it’s getting cold.”

“We have a microwave.”

“You’ve been in there for a while.”

“So?”

“I gotta use the bathroom,” Michael said suddenly. “So get out.”

Scoffing, Liz finally climbed out of the tub, pulling on her robe and tying it shut tight. Flinging open the door, she eyed him. “You’re rude.”

“You take forever,” he threw back as she walked out and he walked in.

“You’re welcome!” Shaking her head, Liz patted into the kitchen, picking up the lid of the pizza box. “God…how many pieces did he eat?” she mumbled.

Grabbing a piece, Liz sighed. “It’s cold.” Taking a bite, Liz blanched. “What…”

“What’s wrong with you?” Michael asked, picking up another piece.

“Does this pizza taste ok to you?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said, giving her a look.

Glancing back at her piece, Liz too another bite and sighed. “Ok, this is really good now.” Taking another bite, Liz wanted to spit it out. “What the hell,” she exclaimed.

Throwing the piece down into the box, she sighed and was about to walk away when something caught her eye. Picking it back up, Liz noticed there was something on certain spots of the slice. Taking bite over on, she sighed, once again tasting the best pizza ever.

“Ok…” Looking around, she wondered what was on the slice. Heading into the living room, she saw Michael on the couch, a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the coffee stand by his feet.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, reaching for it as Michael pulled his feet back. Ignoring that, she poured it all over the slice.

“Hey!” Michael yelled, trying to stop her before she took a bite but he was too late. “What are you doing?!”

Smiling, Liz said with a full mouth, “this is good…really good.”

“Ok…” When Liz reached for the bottle again Michael grabbed it up. “You’ve had enough.”

“No…Michael,” she whined. Following him, Liz watched as he poured some onto the remaining pizza then pocketed the bottle.

“This is the last bottle and you’re not wasting it,” he told her.

Whimpering, Liz threw him a look before snatching up another slice. Seeing him reach for one, she slammed the lid shut before he could garb a slice. “Mine. You’ve had enough.”

“You can’t—“

“Mine,” Liz repeated, picking up the box and heading toward her bedroom.

“You owe half on that pizza!” she heard Michael yell.
***

“Max!” Tess exclaimed, dropping the cell phone in shock. “What—what are you doing here?” she asked as they both bent over to pick it up, but Max beat her to it.

“Getting something to eat,” he said, giving her a slight look before sitting down at the counter.

“Oh…ok,” she said, standing back up.

“Who were you talking to?” Max asked.

“Why do you wanna know?”

“Just curious.”

“Oh…” Biting her lower lip, Tess just shrugged. “A friend…” Then realizing that Max knew all of her friends, she added, “of Kyle’s.”

“Ok,” Max said.

“Ok. So I’m gonna go. Bye.” Quickly making her exit, Tess totally forgot about Kyle’s cell phone.
***
TBC

PART 9
“Twins?!” Maria squealed, making Liz pull the phone away from her ear. She imagined that Alex was doing the same thing.

“Maria…” she could hear him saying.

Laughing, Liz couldn’t stop the giddy feeling from swirling around her whole body. She was actually talking to her 2 best friends, at the same time. And she was happily pregnant with the love of her life’s babies. Except he had no idea and she hadn’t spoken to him in 4 months.

But who was picky?

“So, what now?” Maria asked.

“What do you mean?” Liz said, still munching on her pizza.

“Well, you’re gonna need more help. I mean, you can’t stay all the way out in California by yourself,” Maria explained.

Not wanting to lie to them, but also knowing she couldn’t tell them that Michael was staying with her, Liz said finally, “I have it covered.”

“Meaning what?” Alex asked.

“I’m not alone…”

“What?! Oh my god! Lizzie…are you dating someone?” Maria exclaimed.

“No—not dating,” Liz said quickly. “He’s just my friend.”

“Does he know that?” Alex asked.

“Yeah…I think he knows it.”

“Did…did you tell him about Max?”

Hearing Maria say his name, Liz got quiet. “Yeah…he knows.”

There was a long silence and Alex sighed. “Ok, no more moping,” he said suddenly.

“Right on!” Maria urged. “Oh, and Lizzie, I have a surprise for you…as long as you don’t kill me.”

“Why would I kill you?” Liz asked, stopping the slice of pizza a few inches from her mouth. Hearing her door open, she looked up to see Michael leaning in the doorframe.

“Well, I wanted you to have a surprise and I kinda had to tell my mom for it to happen…”

“What? Maria…” Michael come closer and Liz knew he was after the pizza. Seeing there was one more slice in the box, she spun it around so he could reach it.

Grabbing it up, Michael leaned back on the bed.

“I’m sorry,” Maria continued. “But I didn’t know…”

“Did she tell anyone else…oh my god,” Liz said suddenly.

“What?” Maria and Alex both asked while Michael shot her look of concern.

“That’s how Tess knew about me…Amy told her,” Liz said.

“Tess?” Michael mouthed.

Holding her hand over the phone Liz said to him, “she answered Kyle’s cell.”

“Liz, I told mom not to say anything.”

“Maria it’s ok,” Liz said into the phone. “Tess promised me she’d keep it a secret.”

“So…does she know all of it?” Alex asked.

“No,” Maria said suddenly. “I didn’t tell mom who the father was, so Tess can’t know.”

Feeling the conversation was going to the bad side, Liz said, “guys, I think I’m gonna head off now.”

“What? No,” Maria whined.

“Yeah, we just got on,” Alex added.

Suddenly Michael held up his watch, signaling he needed to talk to her. “Sorry…I’ll call you both tomorrow.” Clicking off, Liz looked at him. “What?”

“I wanna try something. You still hungry?”

Thinking about it, Liz nodded. “Actually…yeah, I am.”

“Ok, lets go.”

"Go where?” Liz asked.

“Out.”

“Wait,” Liz said suddenly. “I have one more call to make. I gotta tell Kyle about the babies.”
***

Walking into the salon, Kyle held his breath. Scanning the room, he saw Amy near the back. And there were a whole lot of people between him and her.

And 90% of them were girls.

Sighing, Kyle made his way past a few, feeling self-conscious. There wasn’t a lot that made Kyle nervous. But a room full of women could do him in.

Upping his pace, Kyle quickly reached his step-moms side. “Amy-“

“Kyle,” she exclaimed, looking at him through the mirror she was sitting in front of. “What brings you here? Isn’t today your day off?”

“Yeah, listen, I need to make sure you haven’t told anyone else about Liz.”

“I told Tess,” she replied, spinning around to face him.

“And that’s all?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

“Good. We really need you to keep it to yourself.”

“Wait…we? As in you and Liz?!” Amy asked.

“No…no, no, no, no, no, no,” Kyle said quickly, getting a relieved look from Amy. “I’m just here on behalf of friendship.”

Sighing, Amy said back down. “Good…I was about to think you were over Tess and—“

“Wait, over Tess?” Kyle asked, stopping Amy in mid-sentence.

“Yeah…you know, you and Tess.” When Kyle just stared at her Amy added, “you do know, right?”

“Why—why would you think something was going on between me and Tess?”

“Well, come on…they way you look at each other…I’m gonna stop while I’m ahead,” Amy said suddenly.

Shocked, Kyle just stood there. Him and Tess? As a couple? Him and Tess as a couple? With kissing and holding hands and making out?

No, he said in his mind. Although the making out didn’t sound too bad…

“No,” he repeated out loud.

Smiling, Amy asked, “are you packed and ready for tomorrow?”

Coming out of his trance, Kyle finally said, “oh, yeah.”

“Which one of you friends is getting married?”

“Tommy,” Kyle said, giving a slight smirk. Out of all of his old football buddies, he would've paid money to guess that Tommy would be the last to be wed. But when you find the right girl…

“You got a hotel yet?” Amy added.

“Yeah. Oh, I was supposed to call back an confirm.” Reaching for his cell phone, Kyle suddenly realized he had left it at the Crashdown.
***

After Tess had left, Max realized he was still holding her cell phone. Then he remembered that Tess didn’t have one; which only led to one conclusion

It was Kyle’s.

After finally deciding against smashing it with his foot, Max knew he should let Kyle know he had it.

Staring at it as it laid on the counter, Max couldn’t help but curse Kyle. After all, everything went wrong with him and Liz after they slept together.

Max refused to say they had made love like Liz had put it. They didn’t make love. How can do people who aren’t even in love do that? Liz and Kyle had sex. Hell Max didn’t even like using that word for it.

Now, himself and Liz? They made love.

Thinking back on that night, Max held his head in his hands. That seemed to be all he could think about for the past 4 months. That and the devastated look on Liz’s face as he told her all those horrible things.

That was actually the last time he saw Liz.

Well, he saw her after that, twice actually, but it was different. She didn’t even look at him. But he couldn’t blame her. That was actually what he had been aiming for when he talked to her on the balcony that night.

He didn’t want her to want anything to do with him. She needed to be far away from him as possible, but still close enough to be protected. He had seen her a few days after the incident at the café. She was talking to Maria. Her hair had been pulled up and Max was a little upset that he couldn’t run his hands through it. Not that he could if it was down either.

The second time he saw was in her own room. He had snuck up onto her balcony, staying in shadows as he watched her. She was sitting on her bed, pillow clinched to her chest as she stared straight ahead. Her eyes looked so hollow and she seemed almost empty.

That he nearly broken him, but Max convinced himself that he was doing the right thing. She was gonna get hurt if she stayed with him and Max could never let anything happen to her.

Then 2 days after that he heard she was leaving. Everyone had known but him and they never told him. He found out later that Liz had insisted upon it.

But Isabel finally broke down, telling Max a half an hour before she was due to leave.

Max had never driven so fast in his life as he raced to catch her. But he didn’t make it. He found Maria, Alex, and her parents looking out the window, watching her plane take off.

Maria had tried to console him, but Max left, coming back to his house feeling more alone then ever. Liz was gone. And he only had himself to blame.

Still staring at Kyle’s cell phone, Max contemplated on calling Liz. It had taken 2 months, but Max had finally talked Maria out of Liz’s number. She was living in California.

With a guy, he added. He hadn’t even been able to try and call her since he heard his voice.

Sighing, Max ran a hand over his face and waited for Mr. Parker to come over and take his order. He didn’t know if was because he still missed his daughter, but Max knew that Mr. Parker had yet to hire anyone knew since Liz had left. And even after Maria was gone he still didn’t.

Glancing into the back, Max saw Jose was at the grill, taking over Michael’s shifts. Michael had left 2 months ago and hadn’t returned since. He called twice, only talking to Isabel. She said he never told her where he was, but Max knew Michael wouldn’t be too far away.

He never could stray too far, no matter how much he wanted to. Michael always needed someone close by who really knew him.

Hearing Kyle’s phone ring, Max looked down at it. Should he answer it? It may be Kyle calling to see who had it. Still deciding, it rung again. After letting it ring for the 3rd time, Max sighed and picked it up.
***

Sighing, Liz heard the phone ring a third time. Wasn’t Kyle gonna pick up?
***
TBC

PART 10
Placing his hand over the phone, Max picked it up and was about to flip it over when he heard Kyle’s voice.

“My phone,” Kyle said.

Looking guilty, Max handed it over. When did he come in? “Yeah…you left it here,” he said in a stiff voice.

“Thought so,” Kyle mumbled, getting ready to answer it.

Seeing Kyle was gonna stay, Max stood up. “I’m outta here.”

“Hello…hello?”

Stopping dead in his tracks, Max listened to Kyle’s annoyed voice.

“Hello?! Damn hang-ups,” Kyle mumbled.

Numb to his bones, Max couldn’t stop the thoughts from entering his brain. That was the guy at Liz’s.

Casting another look at Kyle, Max could feel his anger boiling over. He would kill him if he was there… Shaking his head, Max knew he had to get a handle on things. Kyle was in Roswell, not California.

But the thought still lingered in the back of his head.
***

“This is stupid,” Liz said in awe, looking at Michael.

“Just try it.”

“I don’t even like mustard,” Liz whined.

“Look…just try it. All 3 of us like it,” Michael argued.

Grimacing, Liz looked down at what was sitting in front of her. Michael had taken her out for ice cream, which was nice, and so not a Michael thing, but then he showed her this. Chocolate and strawberry ice cream with caramel and mustard topping.

“You know…I could deal with the rest, but mustard?”

“It makes it spicy,” Michael said.

“Yeah ok, what’s the point of this again?”

“You nearly drowned a whole bottle of Tabasco sauce like me, Isabel, and Max do.”

“So my tastes have changed a little—but I’m pregnant,” she insisted.

“By an alien,” Michael threw back. “Now eat.”

“This is torture,” Liz said finally. “Can’t I just eat my vanilla?” she asked, reaching for it as Michael pulled it further away.

“No. Eat.”

Looking back down at the ice cream once more, Liz slowly picked up the spoon, getting some of everything on it. Throwing Michael a look, she slowly pulled it up, sniffing it as she could tell if it was gonna be good.

“Just eat it already,” Michael mumbled.

Giving him one last glare, Liz took a deep breath and closed her eyes, placing the spoon in her mouth.

“So?”

Still holding the concoction in her mouth, Liz was afraid to swallow. Finally taking the plunge, she let it flow down her throat. Thinking about it, Liz thought she was gonna gag.

Seeing her face, Michael asked, “you didn’t like it?”

“No…I’m gonna be sick because I did,” Liz exclaimed, taking another bite. “This is just so…”

“Well, there’s my first theory.”

“What theory,” Liz asked, taking another bite.

“Being pregnant by one of us is changing you some,” Michael explained. Giving him a look, Liz just let the comment slide as she took another bite.

“Ok, here’s your vanilla,” Michael said, scooting it back over to her.

Liz looked down at it and just shook her head. She liked this much better.

“Liz…come on, that’s mine,” Michael said, reaching for it. “I ordered it!”

“Eat the vanilla,” she told him, taking another bite.

“It’s too plain,” Michael argued, reaching for his again as Liz pulled away. “Ok, it’s not funny anymore,” Michael insisted. “Liz!”
***

Max walked into his house, closing the door behind him softly. The thing with Kyle at the Crashdown just wouldn’t stop bothering him.

Was it really Kyle at Liz’s?

Sighing, Max ran a hand over his face and walked toward the living room, hearing Isabel laughing.

“Yeah, well, I resent that message,” Isabel was joking, talking on the phone.

Walking in the room, Max looked at Isabel. He didn’t have to ask to know whom she was talking too. Isabel only laughed like that with Alex.

“Hey Max,” she called, looking up at him.

Smiling slightly, Max said, “hey Iz.”

Turning back to the phone, Isabel added, “hey, I’ll talk to ya later…ok…ok, I promise!” Giving a little laugh, she hung up the phone.

“You didn’t have to get off of the phone for me,” Max told her.

“Yeah, well, I wanted to,” Isabel said, giving him a smile.

Sighing, Max knew she was trying to hide it from him; she was all the time trying to make him feel better by hiding her and Alex’s relationship. They might not be dating anymore, but they were best friends.

“I can deal with you guys,” he said with impatience.

“I never said you couldn’t.”

“But you imply it all the time!”

Sighing Isabel added, “Max, you have been dragging your feet around her since she left, maybe even before! Your schoolwork is suffering and…” Trailing off, Isabel just looked at him. “Max…you take classes in the morning and work all night…I’m worried about you,” she whispered.

“I’m fine,” Max insisted.

“Max, you hardly ever sleep. I hear you pacing all night,” Isabel added. “It’s—it’s like…like you’re afraid to go asleep.”

Feeling his heart thumb at her words, Max spun around and looked out the window. “When are mom and dad coming back?”

Letting him get away with the subject change, Isabel mumbled, “I don’t know. Pap-pap isn’t doing too well.”

Nodding, Max was about to leave when Isabel asked, “where were you tonight?”

“Out.” When Isabel just looked at him he added, “grabbed a bite at the Crashdown.” Even though he didn’t actually eat.

“Oh…anything interesting happen?”

“Isabel—“

“What? I can’t ask about my brothers day?” she exclaimed.

Sighing, Max thought back once again to his short encounter with Kyle. Anger started to boil through his veins and Max blew the air out of his nose in a huff. “I ran into Kyle.”

“Oh…Max,” Isabel said softly.

Ignoring the sympathy in her voice, he went on. “He had left his cell phone in the café and came back to get it. Then he answered and his voice was…” Stopping himself from saying too much, Max just shook his head. “I have to be wrong.”

“Wrong about what?” Isabel asked.

“Nothing,” he said quickly. “I’m think I’m just gonna go to my room.”

Nodding, Isabel didn’t say anything. Giving her one last tight smile, Max got all the way to the door before turning back around. “Has Kyle been…has he went away in the last couple of months?” he asked finally.

“No…I don’t think so. I mean, he hasn’t mentioned it if he did,” Isabel said looking a little confused.

Nodding one last time, Max added, “goodnight,” before walking out of the room, not seeing Isabel’s concerned look.
***

“I should try Kyle again,” Liz mumbled, going over to the phone. When he hadn’t picked up by the 5th ring last time she had hung up. Looking over her shoulder, Liz saw Michael was still sulking.

“Oh…I’m sorry,” she told him, sitting down beside him on the couch.

“I’m fine,” he mumbled and Liz figured that living that with a pregnant woman was starting to get to him.

“Ok, you know what. I am gonna go make you a snack,” she stated, getting up and heading toward the kitchen.

“What kind of snack?”

“Something you’ll like,” she called back, searching to make sure they had all the ingredients. Pouting, Liz realized they missed a few. Grabbing a piece of paper, she quickly wrote down what they needed.

Walking into the living room, Liz asked, “hey, Michael, can you run to the store and get a few things—it’s for your surprise.”

“Oh, it’s a surprise now?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Are you gonna go?”

Thinking about it a second, he finally stood up. “Do I have a choice?” he mumbled.

“No. Here,” she added, handing him the list.

Looking it over, Michael asked, “what the hell are you gonna make with this?”

“Something. Now go.” As he was about to slam the door Liz added, “and get some more Tabasco sauce!”
***

“Ok…I was not expecting this,” Michael said, taking another drink of his ‘Blood of alien’ smoothie. “It’s like being at the Crashdown.”

“Well, I know the owners—they told me the recipe,” Liz joked.

Adding a little more Tabasco sauce to his, Michael handed it over so that Liz could do the same.

“So, any good?” she asked.

“Hmmm…it’s ok,” he said, throwing her a smirk.

Smiling, Liz got up to take her empty cup into the kitchen. “Well, I think I’m gonna go take a nap,” Liz added, stretching as she walked back to Michael. “I’ll see ya later.”

Heading into her room, Liz went over to her window and opened it, letting the night air drift in. Glancing up at the stars, Liz could feel the tears coming.

“God…all I do is cry,” she mumbled, turning from the window. As soon as she did she felt it, felt eyes on her. Slowly spinning around, Liz gazed out the window. Shaking her head, she added, “stop it; just stop it. There’s no one there.”

Leaving the window open just a crack, Liz drew the curtains closed and quickly changed, snuggling down into her bed.
***
TBC

PART 11
Isabel was pacing her room, tears threatening to run down her face any moment. Every 5 seconds she would look at the phone, as if to will Michael to call. She didn’t have a number to reach him by and she needed to talk to someone.

Hearing the phone ring finally, Isabel dove for it. “Michael?”

“Isabel, you--” Michael asked.

“Oh god Michael…” she gasped, trying to calm her breathing down.

“What happened? Are you ok? Is Max ok?” Michael asked in a panic.

“I’m—I’m ok. But Max…I went into his dream…he’s in agony,” she stated.

“What did you see?” Michael asked, trying to remain calm.

“It’s suffocating him…what he did—his guilt and love for her. It was so black and I couldn’t find him…”

“What do you mean? He had to be there; it was his dream!”

Knowing that he was getting upset, Isabel tried to explain. “He’s so hurt, Michael. He doesn’t sleep anymore and…I—I yelled at him about it! But if that’s what happens when he does…Michael…he’s so lost without her.”

“Then why did he send her away?” Michael asked finally.

Sighing, Isabel thought back on her dream-walk and shuddered. The images she got from his mind were enough to cause her physical pain. “He’s been having this nightmare…about Liz—someone hurting her,” Isabel said, her voice shaking. “She was in trouble because of him in the dream and he—he broke up with her to keep her safe.”

“Why? He had to know it would hurt her,” Michael exclaimed.

“Don’t you think he knew that Michael?! He hates himself for what he did! But he wouldn’t risk Liz getting hurt…he loves her too much. So instead of her getting killed, he hurt her himself so she would stay away.”

“That dream scared him that much?”

Thinking back on it, Isabel couldn’t help but let a little sob out. “Michael I saw…I saw some of it…oh god Michael…he was hurting her.”

Michael paused on the other end and Isabel heard him say in a low, controlled voice, “when did he start having the dream?”

“I don’t…I don’t know; before she left sometime. But she’s safe now…right? I mean, she’s no longer with him. Liz was with him in the dream when—when it all…she’s safe now, right?” Isabel asked.

“Yeah…I’m sure she is,” Michael said finally and Isabel could hear the determination in it. “Where’s he at now?”

Looking at her door, Isabel said, “his room…still asleep.”

“You left him in the dream?!”

“He’s in too deep; he won’t come out…he’s fine though,” she added. “Michael…he needs her; he needs her so much…”

“I know,” he whispered. “She needs him too.”

“I hope so,” Isabel said softly. “Cause Max is too hurt to be able to stand this much longer.”
***

Liz shot up in bed, gasping for air. She couldn’t breath; it was like she was suffocating on all the blackness around her. Reaching for her class of water on the stand, she tried to catch her breath.

Only succeeding in knocking the class off of her stand, Liz heard the glass shattering and her vision was getting dizzy. Stumbling out of her bed, she managed to reach her window before falling down, landing on her back as she continued to gasp and breath hard.

Everything around her was spinning and Liz knew she needed help. Trying in vain to call out, Liz just thought Michael’s name over and over in her mind.
***

Hanging up the phone, Michael zipped up his coat and headed back toward the apartment. He always used a pay phone when calling home so it couldn’t be traced back to Liz. She was letting him stay at her place; the least he could do was keep her secret.

Reaching the building, Michael had a sudden urge to get home and get home fast. Jogging up the steps, he quickly pulled out his keys, undoing the lock and opening the door as he heard the sound of glass breaking.

“Liz?” he called. Taking off for her room in a dead run, Michael stopped dead in his tracks when he saw her lying on the floor, still and not moving.

Scooping her up off of the floor and onto the bed, he noticed how fast her chest was moving up and down and how she struggling to catch her breath. Panicking, Michael placed his hand over her heart and tried to form a connection, but he got nothing.

“Come on,” he urged, trying a second time. Still getting nothing, Michael grabbed up the phone and started to dial 911, his other hand still on Liz.

“911. May I help you?”

Just as Michael was about to tell them what was going on he felt the connection open. Dropping the phone, he quickly focused back on Liz. Finding nothing wrong physically, Michael knew he still had to help her breath.

Placing his other hand on her neck, he steadily started to help Liz control her breathing, taking long, deep breaths. He could feel her pulse slowing down to normal and color even started to fill back into her face eventually.

Trying to think rationally, Michael wondered what had caused her attack. Still in the connection, he suddenly got a flash of darkness; pure black. The feeling closed in on him and Michael could feel it crushing him as he fell down to his knees.

Then it was over. Breathing heavily, Michael watched as Liz finally opened her eyes. She seemed confused and lost, trying to take in everything around her.

“What happened?” she asked in a choked up voice. “I couldn’t—couldn’t breath and…”

“It’s ok,” Michael told her softly, still kneeling by the bed.

Looking at him with teary eyes, Liz asked, “you healed me?”

“Yeah…”

“You saved me…again,” she whispered. “Thank you.”

“Thank me later. You need to rest now.” Checking one last time to make sure she was ok, Michael finally stood up. “I’m gonna go make a call. I’ll be right back.”

Softly shutting the bedroom door behind him, Michael made his way to the phone in the kitchen. Not even thinking twice about hiding the number, Michael dialed.

“Hello?”

“Isabel, get him out of that dream now,” Michael said.

“What?” Isabel asked. “He’s ok—“

“Do it now,” Michael interrupted. “Get him out!”

“Ok,” she said in a shaky voice and Michael could hear her running into Max’s room. “Max, Max!!” she cried.

A second later he heard Max waking up and Isabel sighing.

“Look, don’t tell him about this, ok?” Michael asked.

“Michael, you promised to tell me if anything was wrong!”

“Isabel—“

“Tell me,” she demanded.

“I can’t…” Michael said finally.

“This has something to do with Liz, doesn’t it?” Isabel asked and Michael could hear Max now, suddenly fully awake.

“No,” Michael said quickly. “This has something to do with Max.”

Max was yelling in the background, asking about Liz and Isabel was trying to calm him down. Sighing, Michael closed his eyes and hung up the phone.

It was gonna be a long night.
***

“Call him back!” Max ordered. “Call him now!!”

“I can’t,” Isabel yelled back. “I don’t have his number.”

“Then get it!!”

“Stop yelling at me!” Isabel screamed. “I don’t have it!!”

Trying to calm down, Max could see Isabel’s tears in her eyes. “I just…I need to know that she’s ok,” Max tried to explain. “I need too!”

“I understand,” Isabel said after a few minutes.

“No, you don’t,” Max told her, sitting down on his bed. Looking down at it, he remembered the one night they shared together. When he started to talk again, his voice was low and soft. “I pushed her away so she’d be ok and I have to protect her; I have to keep her safe. She’s all I have left and…and she’s so far away and alone.”

Sitting down on the bed beside him, Isabel whispered, “maybe she’s not alone.”

Feeling his heart constrict at the thought, Max swallowed. He couldn’t think like that; he’d go insane if he thought like that. But he had heard it with his own ears. There was a guy there.

“I’m sure Liz has friends wherever she is and she has Alex and Maria,” Isabel added.

“Friends,” Max repeated numbly.

“Oh…Max, no, I didn’t mean it that way,” Isabel said suddenly. “I don’t think she’s dating anyone.”

“But it’s a real possibility.”

“Max…”

Ignoring Isabel’s plea, he stood up and walked to his window, looking up at the stars. He heard Isabel sigh once more before getting up to leave him alone.
***

Waking up, Liz slowly opened her eyes. Seeing her room was completely dark, she sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. Feeling something other then the floor, Liz almost cried out as she quickly pulled her feet back up.

Slowly looking over the edge, Liz could feel her heart warming up at the sight of Michael sleeping on the floor. Making an ‘awe’ sound, Liz smiled. He was worried about her.

Feeling a tingle at the beck of her neck, Liz looked around the room, her eyes landing on her window. It was now completely open and her shades were pulled back, flowing to the sides as the wind blew in.

Careful to step over Michael, Liz got up and slowly walked to her window, the feeling of being watched getting stronger. Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes for courage, Liz opened her eyes and leaned out the window, looking around.

Suddenly the telephone rung and Liz screamed, jumping back in the window. Michael jumped up too, looking ready to attack.

Wiping at her face, Liz shared a quick glance with Michael before picking up the phone. “Hello?”

When no one answered Liz asked again, “hello?” her voice shaking.

“Who is it?” Michael asked, walking over.

As soon as Michael spoke the person on the other end hung up. Placing the phone down, Liz walked back over to the window and slammed it, pulling the shades closed tightly.

She had never been happier to have Michael near by.
***

Hanging up the phone, Max cursed himself for even calling her. He could never make himself talk. And tonight just made it worse.

He had known she was scared by the tone in her voice. He might have even felt it before he called. But then he heard the guy in the background asking who it was.

It was 3 in the morning! Whoever it was, he had to be staying there. At least he knew it wasn’t Kyle.

But the worst part was that Max almost recognized the voice. He sounded so familiar but he just couldn’t place it.
***
TBC

PART 12
“You’re what?” Michael asked, following Liz around the room as she gathered stuff to take a bath.

“I said I’m going to work,” she repeated.

“No way,” Michael stated.

“What do you mean ‘no way’?”

“Just that. You’re not going to work today.”

Sighing, Liz grabbed up her robe and walked toward the bathroom with Michael still following her. “I’ve missed too much as it is.”

“After last night there is no way you’re going anywhere,” Michael insisted.

Scoffing, Liz walked into the bathroom. “I told you—“

“And I told you,” Michael interrupted her, stepping into the tiny room. “You were using a dream-walking power!”

Shaking her head, Liz placed all of her things onto the toilet and said, "“ok, so what if I was? Is that such a bad thing?”

“Yes. I means that the babies are affecting you!”

Rubbing her eyes, Liz looked around the room. “Look…I just wanna take my shower and go to work, ok? Now, will you please leave or do I have to get undressed in front of you?!”

As if remembering where he was, Michael suddenly backed out of the room. “Fine…but we’re not done. We are talking about this.”

Shutting the door, Liz sighed and leaned against it. Was he telling the truth? Were having Max’s twins doing something to her? Not wanting to dwell on it, Liz rubbed her temples and got ready to take her shower.
***

Hearing the bath water turn on, Michael finally left the hallway and sat down on the couch, flexing his back. After spending all night on the floor he was starting to miss the lumpy sofa.

Sitting back, he planned on waiting for Liz to get out of the shower. He had to make her see what was going on. There was no other way around it. Liz had been dream-walking Max last night.

And then that call was weird.

Sighing, Michael closed his eyes, hoping to relax when heard the doorbell ring. Getting up, he looked out the peephole and scoffed, pulling the door open to show a tired looking Kyle Valenti.

“What are you doing here?”

“Nice to see you too, Guerin. I’m here to see Liz,” Kyle said.

Opening the door wider, Michael told him,” she’s in the shower.”

Nodding, Kyle sat down and sighed. “I’m so tired.”

“You look like shit,” Michael offered.

“I was up all night at my buddies bachelor party. Got here last night, checked into my room and haven’t seen it since.”

“Bachelor party?” Michael asked, getting a nod from Kyle. “Stripper?”

“Oh yeah,” Kyle replied, smirking. “So…what did you guys do last night?”

“Not much…” Michael said. Should he tell Kyle about Liz?

Hearing the phone ring, Michael just ignored it, mumbling, “wonder who called last night…”

“She got another call?” Kyle suddenly asked, sitting up straighter.

Glancing at the bathroom door, Michael asked, “another?”

“Yeah, she had gotten a few while I was here,” Kyle explained. “She told me they stopped.”

“They did…last night was the first since I’ve been here…” Michael mumbled.
***

Letting the hot water run down her head, Liz wanted to cry. So much was happening to her and the one person she needed to help her get through it all was nowhere around.

Sighing, she wiped at her eyes and closed them, focusing on everything around her. She could hear Michael’s voice from in the living room, but there was someone else too. Straining to make them out, Liz’ eyes flew open when she felt him.

Someone was watching her.

And what made it worse was that there wasn’t a window in the bathroom.

Feeling violated, Liz quickly reached for her robe and pulled it on, not even caring that it was getting wet on the one side.

Still feeling the eyes, Liz turned off the shower and climbed out, stumbling on the rug and catching herself on the sink. Trying not to cry, Liz knew whoever it was intended to hurt her.

Standing back up, she spun around, trying to see if anything was different.

“I’m not scared,” she whispered, her voice shaking. Still feeling someone, Liz picked up her hairbrush, holding it like a baseball bat.

“I’m not scared,” she repeated, a little louder this time. Feeling as if they were all around her, Liz screamed out, “I’m not scared!!” before shrinking down to the floor in her wet robe as she cried.

Suddenly there was a pounding behind her as someone threw their shoulder against the door. “Liz!” they asked, pounding some more.

Was the door locked? When did she lock it?

A few seconds later there was a crash behind her and she heard the wood of the door splitting. “Liz,” Michael called, coming into the room.

“Liz? What happened?” Kyle asked, getting down beside her on the floor. Michael was still standing, looking all over the room to see what happened.

Not answering Kyle, Liz just sat there crying until Michael pulled her into his arms.
***

Pacing her bedroom, Isabel twisted her hands, wringing them at the side after a few minutes. She hadn’t been able to sleep much more over the night and she knew Max had been up too.

Still pacing, she cast another glance at the phone. She wanted to call Michael back so bad. Max was so upset; he stayed up all night worrying about Liz.

Suddenly remembering they had *69, she picked up the phone and punched in the code, waiting for the last number that called.

“What…” Pulling the phone away some, Isabel couldn’t believe what she was just told. The last number that rung their residence was from California.

Where Liz was.

Still staring at the phone, Isabel put it down and grabbed her coat, walking out of her room and into the front hall. Looking out the window she saw the jeep was gone.

Grabbing the keys to her moms’ car, she walked outside and got in the silver car, starting it up and backing out of the driveway. Making her way to the Crashdown, she looked around for the jeep. Pulling into a parking spot, she got out and continued to look.

Still not knowing what to do with this new information, Isabel sighed, running her hand through her hair. Well, she could at least get some breakfast.

Not seeing Max anywhere, she sighed and finally headed into the café, spotting the sheriff standing at the counter talking to Mr. Parker. Taking her usual booth, Isabel pulled out a menu, looking over the breakfast selection.

“Well, good morning, Isabel,” Valenti said, stopping at her table.

“Sheriff,” Isabel said nicely. “Where’s Kyle? Thought you two patrolled together.”

“Oh, yeah, but Kyle’s outta town.”

“Where’d he go?”

“Oh, he’s running around out in California,” Jim said with a smile. “Well, I better go. Duty calls.” He added.

California… “Yeah…I mean, of course,” Isabel said finally.

Watching the sheriff walk out of the café, Isabel suddenly stood up, nearly knocking into Tess, who had just walked in.

“Isabel—“

“Oh Tess, um, I gotta go,” Isabel said quickly before jogging out of the café, getting in the car and driving to her house.

Quickly running inside, she walked into the living room and got the number once more. Taking a deep breath, she punched in the numbers and waited.
***

She could hear them talking in the kitchen, thinking she was still in bed. Looking around the corner, she could see that Michael was pacing and Kyle was resting against the sink.

“She said they were watching her,” Kyle stated.

“There ain’t a window in the bathroom,” Michael threw out.

“So…you think she imagined it?” Kyle asked in a doubtful tone.

“No…I’m saying someone was watching her…but that person wasn’t a person.”

Taking a deep breath and swallowing, Liz continued to listen to them.

“You think it was an alien?” Kyle asked finally.

“I’m not thinking, I know,” Michael added as he kept pacing.

“How?”

Stopping for a slight pause, Michael rubbed his eyes before sitting down and sighing. “I called Isabel; asked her to dream-walk Max. I wanted to know why he pushed Liz away and I knew he wouldn’t just come out and say it,” he explained.

“So what did Isabel say?” Kyle asked.

Liz was frozen on the other side of the doorway. She held her breath as she waited for Michael to answer.

“Isabel said…Max’s dream was dark and so full of pain and self-hate…Max was upset over what he did.”

“So, what does this have to do with Liz getting stalked or something by an alien?”

“Look, Liz’s getting shit from being pregnant; she dream-walked Max and it nearly killed her.

“So…you think Liz could feel the guy—the other alien,” Kyle deduced.

Liz was getting worked up as she listened to them. She had alien powers now? Shaking her head, she accidentally hit the picture beside her, making a slight scrapping noise.

“Something along those lines. And Max’s nightmare—“ Michael stopped mid sentence when he heard a slight noise.

“So what do we do?” Kyle asked.

Ignoring the noise, Michael turned back to Kyle. “We come back,” he stated.

Kyle suddenly stopped cold and looked past his shoulder. Turning around, Michael saw Liz standing in the doorway, her face pale.
***
TBC



posted on 1-Sep-2001 6:44:10 PM
PART 13
“What?” Liz whispered, looking between the 2 guys.

“We’re going back,” Michael stated suddenly.

“No…no, we’re not.”

“Liz…you need help. Some guy is stalk—“

“I thought it was an alien,” Liz hissed, her face getting red with anger. “Oh, wait—didn’t want to tell me that? Well, guess what? I’m not going!”

“Yes you are,” Michael replied.

“Really? We’ll see,” Liz challenged.

Scoffing, Michael started down the hallway. “Either you pack or I pack for you.”

“I’m not going!” Liz exclaimed, storming into her room. Kyle stayed in the kitchen, not wanting to get into the middle of it. He could still hear them though, bickering back and forth.

“Get off my stuff,” Liz was saying.

“Then pack!” Michael exploded.

“No…no! I am not going back there with him!!”

There was an eerie silence and Kyle waited in the kitchen, wondering what was going on. Then heard Michael, his voice getting louder with each word.

“Liz…that bathroom door was sealed shut. There is someone after you and if you do not pack your shit right now, I am getting on the phone and calling Max and Isabel! Do not mess with me!!”

“I can’t…I can’t see him,” Liz sobbed suddenly, breaking down. Hearing her crying, Kyle suddenly walked into the room, letting her rest on him. Looking at Michael over Liz’s shoulder, Kyle knew he didn’t want Liz to cry either.

“Look…we’re—you’re not safe here. And the fact that you now have powers is making it worse. We have to leave,” Michael said softly, trying to convince her. “How many of those calls have you gotten?”

“A lot…almost one everyday there for awhile,” she finally said. “But…some of them weren’t bad…it was like…almost as if he was good,” she added in a whisper.

“Liz…you’re being stalked. You’re in danger—your life is in danger.”

Sniffling, Liz looked up at Kyle. Sighing, he finally said, “I think he’s right. You need to go someplace safe.”

Pulling away, Liz wiped at her face. She was quiet for a long time. After what seemed like hours, she finally said, “ok…but we have to wait till next week.”

“Why?” Michael asked suddenly.

“I have a job to secure so I can come back to it and another doctors appt.”

Sighing, Michael ran his hands through his hair, obviously not liking the idea of waiting that long.

Walking up to him, Liz added, “I promise—one week.”

Finally nodding Michael sighed. “One week…then we leave. And until then you don’t go anywhere alone. Understand?”

Nodding, Liz sat down on her bed.

Looking between them, Kyle sighed. Hearing the phone ring, Kyle looked at Michael and Liz, who were both looking at the ground. Picking it up, Kyle said, “Parker residence.”

They’re a pause on the other side then a girl said shyly, “Ky-Kyle?”

“Yeah…who’s this?” he asked finally.

“It’s Isabel.”

“Isabel?” he repeated.

Michael and Liz both spun to look at him, their faces pale.

Shit.

“Oh…Isabel…how are you?” he asked lamely.

“Um…I have to go,” she said suddenly, hanging up.

Looking at the phone then the others, he hung it up. “She had to go.”

“How did she get my number?” Liz finally asked.

Michael, looking down, said, “I called her from here last night.”

“What…does—does Max have it? Does he?!” When neither of them answered, Liz walked out of the room.

“She gonna be ok?” Kyle finally asked.

“Yeah…she’s a lot stronger then she looks,” Michael said after beat.
***

Hanging up the phone, Isabel sat down on the couch. Kyle was with Liz. Michael was with Liz. Which meant that Michael had lied.

Last night did have something to do with Liz.

And Max was gonna kill Michael for not telling him.

Hearing a car door, Isabel jumped up and looked out the closest window. Max was home. Panicking for a second, Isabel started to pace.

What was she gonna tell Max?”

If he knew Kyle was there, he was gonna go off. There would be no way to keep him from going after the other boy. Max already had such anger built up for Kyle; this would be the last straw.

And what about Michael? Why would he keep something like this from Max? Unless Liz wanted…

Isabel knew how hurt Liz was—she may not want Max to know if she was in danger. Still fumbling over her decision, Isabel heard the front door open.

“Isabel?” Max asked, walking in the room.

Standing still, she looked at him. “Yeah, Max?”

“Tess was looking for you. She said to give her a call.”

“Ok,” Isabel said, starting to walk past him and out of the room, but he stopped her.

“You ok?”

Placing a smile on her face, Isabel turned to him. “Yeah…I’m fine,” she lied, her stomach churning the whole while.

Finally nodding, Max added, “ok.”

Walking out of the room, Isabel was starting down the hallway when Max called out, “Isabel?”

“Yeah?” she called back, not looking at him when she heard him walking a little closer.

“Has um…have you heard from Michael again? By any chance?” he finally asked.

Closing her eyes, Isabel willed herself to keep her voice level. “No…not since last night.”

“Ok…but if he does—“

“You’ll be the first to know,” Isabel finished, still not looking at him. She could hear him retreating and sighed, hating the fact that she just lied to Max.
***

Walking into the living room, Max sighed and sat down on the couch, rubbing his eyes. Turning on the light beside the couch, Max spotted the notepad sitting there with Isabel’s handwriting on it.

Glancing at it quickly, Max picked it up and was about to put it back by the phone when something caught his eyes. Turning it so he could see, Max stopped cold in his tracks.

Liz’s phone number was written in Isabel’s handwriting across the note pad.

Looking in the direction his sister had gone, Max finally looked back at the note pad. It was written sloppy, like she was in a hurry or something. Making a discussion, Max walked down the hall and stood in front of Isabel’s door. Finally, after taking a few deep breaths, he knocked.

There was a slight scuffle and he could hear Isabel’s muffled voice telling him to come in. Opening the door, he saw she was sitting at her desk, a few textbooks from her college classes open in front of her.

“You wanted something?” she asked casually, but Max could see her eyes were wavering.

“I um…” Trying to think of the best way to approach this, Max sighed and sat down on the edge of her bed. “You know that I have Liz’s number right?”

Isabel nodded after a beat, her back to him as she looked at her desk.

“I’ve called her, well I call and try to talk…but nothing ever comes out of my mouth,” he explained. “I hear her voice and everything just stops,” Max added, getting caught up in talking about Liz and forgetting about why he was really there.

“Her voice would always be the same—soft and gentle, but strong in a way I will never understand. And that’s all that would matter; her voice. I called her 8 times and all 8 times I chickened out and hung up,” he added

“Why are you telling me this?” Isabel asked, spinning to look at him.

Remembering why he was there, Max slowly pulled the note pad out from his back pocket. “Because of this.”

Isabel’s eyes got wide and she stared down at it.

“Why do you have Liz’s number, Isabel?” Max asked.
***
TBC

PART 14
The rain was pelting down in sheets as Liz looked out her bedroom window. Everything looked gray and Liz couldn’t help but think of a song on one of her favorite cd’s.

Looking at her small cd player on the stand that she kept in here, she slowly walked over and flipped it on, the cd already in it. Going to song number #6, she listened to the slow start before going back over to the window.

~ My tea’s gone cold; I’m wondering why I got out of bed at all. The morning rain clouds up my window, and I can’t see at all. And even if I could it would all be gray. ~

Max glanced out his window at work, slightly rubbing his brow. It had been raining all morning and the weather didn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.

Noticing his boss giving him a worried look, Max went back to work.

~ I drank too much last night; got bills to pay. My head just feels in pain. I missed the bus and there’ll be hell today; I’m late for work again. And even if I’m there they will all imply that I might not pass the day. ~

Hearing Michael rushing around out in the living room, Liz sighed and finished packing up the last of her things. Pausing, she finally walked over to her closet and pulled down the box.

Setting it on her bed, she opened the lid and pulled out the filmstrip lying on top. It was happier times, when her and Max were still a couple. Sighing, she sat it back in the box with the rest of her memories and put the box in her suitcase.

~ I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life. ~

Trying to keep his mind off of Liz, Max finally sighed, realizing it was useless. She was all he could thing about.

Her body, her looks, her words plagued his every thoughts. How could one woman have so much affect over a guy?

He figured it was probably useless to think about that too.

He knew he would never be happy again until she was back in his arms; until she was his once more. The mere thought of being able to touch her again was driving him insane.

He needed her; Max needed Liz.

~ Oh, just to be with you is having the best day of my life. ~ ***

“Is that everything?

Liz looked around her bedroom and finally nodded, closing her suitcase after looking at the shoebox one last time.

“Yeah…that’s everything,” she told Michael.

Sighing, he came over and picked it up, taking it to the front door with the rest. Following, Liz pulled out the envelope she still had to drop off at the supers’ apartment. It was the next four months rent in advance.

“Ok, well, Valenti should be here any minute,” Michael added.

Nodding, Liz just stood by the door. Kyle had opted to stay the extra week, wanting to be here if anything should happen. He was going to fly back with them today.

Fly back…

Feeling her stomach roll, Liz tensed. Placing a hand over her mouth, she quickly walked to the bathroom, got down in front of the toilet and threw up. A few seconds later she sat back, wiping at her face. She hated throwing up; it was the worst feeling ever. Rubbing her stomach, Liz was wondering how she was gonna hide it. She was starting to show finally.

Noticing Michael standing the doorway, Liz sighed.

“You ok?”

“Yeah…my nerves,” she mumbled softly, not making eye contact.

“Or it could’ve been the scrambled eggs with sugar, Tabasco sauce and cherries you ate for breakfast,” Michael joked, walking over to help her up.

“Curse you aliens with your weird eating habits,” she joked back, trying to smile. Taking his hand, she slowly stood up, not trusting her legs.

“You really ok?” he asked again, noticing her look.

“Yeah…it’s just—“

“Your nerves,” he finished for her.

Nodding, she let go of his hand and walked past him, hearing the doorbell. Opening it up she saw Kyle smiling, holding a mug that read ‘worlds best mom’.

“I saw it and automatically thought of you,” he added with a smirk.

Taking it, Liz gave him a quick hug and kiss on the cheek. “Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me; thank the kindly souvenir stand owner who sold it to me for only 10 dollars.”

“10 bucks?” Michael asked, coming up to them. “You got screwed.”

“Yeah, well 10 was better then 18.”

“I think it’s sweet,” Liz said, giving Kyle another quick hug.

“So, we ready?” he asked with a grin.

Liz, feeling her stomach tense up again, closed her eyes in an effort to keep from getting sick.

“Hey…you ok?” Kyle asked.

“Yeah…” Finally opening her eyes, she added, “we’re ready. Lets go.”

“Finally,” Michael mumbled, helping Kyle pick up the luggage. When Liz went to pick up one both guys yelled at her.

Pulling her hands back quickly, Liz stifled a small smile as she watched them both struggle to carry it all.
***

Fastening her seatbelt, Liz tried to take deep breaths to stop the rolling feeling in her stomach.

“So, you guys nervous about seeing everyone?” Kyle asked.

“No,” Michael said quickly, but his voice didn’t seem so sure.

Letting their conversation drift into the background, Liz stared out her window. Watching the rain, she thought back to another night where she had watched Max and Tess kiss in the rain.

Feeling a ball churn in her stomach, Liz paled. “Oh…I’m gonna be sick,” she said suddenly, pushing past a confused Michael to get to the aisle.

“I’m gonna let her have the aisle seat,” she could hear him saying as he scooted over to hers.

Placing a hand over her mouth, she quickly made her way to the bathroom in the back of the plane, not noticing the dark haired man sitting right beside it.
***

Sitting down in his favorite booth, Max knew he only had 35 minutes of his lunch break left. Isabel was due any minute with Tess and they were supposed to have lunch together.

Sighing, Max wished he could get out of it but Isabel had insisted. She had insisted on spending so much time with him lately. Especially after he confronted her about Liz.

Which only made his curiosity perk even more.

Isabel had denied she knew anything really, except that she had gotten the number from the Parkers’ so that she could check up on Liz. She too was worried and wanted to make sure Liz was ok.

Then when Max asked her what Liz had said, Isabel got quiet, but finally said that she didn’t talk to Liz, but a friend of hers. And she quickly added that it was girl.

But Max knew she was only saying that for his benefit.

Isabel was his sister. He could tell when she was lying. And she had lied to him about something that night.

Hearing the door chime sound, Max looked up to see Amy DeLuca-Valenti walk in. Smiling at him, she walked over.

“Hey Max. Where’s your sister and Tess? She mentioned they were meeting you today when she picked up Tess.”

“Oh…they should be here any minute,” Max finally said.

Nodding, Amy added, “well, I’m glad Tess is getting out. She’s been bumming around the house all week with Kyle gone.” Smiling, she started to walk away. “Well, I should leave you be—“

“Wait, Kyle’s gone?” Max asked quickly.

“Yeah, he’s visiting some friend out in California,” she said before walking away.

Shocked, Max sat still as he watched the door, waiting for Isabel to come. He had some words to share with her. Finally seeing her in the doorway, Max stood up and walked over, taking her arm and quickly leading her into the back, ignoring Tess’s shocked face.

“Max!” she exclaimed, pulling her arm away. “What is your problem?”

“You lied to me,” he stated, not bothering to make small talk.

Isabel, tensing some, looked away, “I don’t know—“

“You called Liz because you knew something. What did you know Isabel?”

“Max—“

“Answer me Isabel!”

Flinching at his tone, she looked down. “I think it did have something to do with Liz.”

Feeling his heart sped up, Max said, “who answered the phone?”

Spinning around, Isabel sighed. “Max, it’s not—“

“Who answered the phone?!” he exclaimed.

Looking at him, Isabel motioned to the steps. “Liz’s parents are gonna hear you.”

“I don’t care. Who did you speak to, Isabel?”

“Tess is waiting for us out front—“

“Who did you speak to?” he asked again, trying to control his anger.

“Max, we can talk abou—“

“Answer me Isabel!!” he demanded.

Looking away, she shook her head. “I called her because I was worried that Michael was lying. In fact, I know he was lying.” She still hadn’t answered his question, but at least she was getting toward something.

“How do you know he was lying?” Max asked, feeling a pit grow in his stomach.

Finally looking back at him, Isabel added, “because he called us from Liz’s place.”
***

Hearing her throwing up in the small bathroom, his smiled. This was prefect. He was going to enjoy this greatly. He would enjoy killing them all…slowly and painfully.

But she was first. It was only fair. They had a history.

Watching her walk back to her seat, his smile grew more as Liz slowly rubbed her lower stomach; right over the womb.

Noticing the kings second in command was close to her, he couldn’t help but groan with annoyance. ‘Rath’ wasn’t very bright and impulsive, but he was powerful.

He would be hard to get around, but it wasn’t impossible. It could be done. Seeing how close he and the girl seemed, he wondered if it were possible that they knew.

Betting against it, he returned his attention back to her. She was quite stunning, just like it was told. ‘Her beauty was a glow that circled her’, was how it went if he remembered right. She was just as beautiful now as she was then.

Chuckling slightly, he saw how she was still rubbing her womb.

Do it while you can, he thought. There was no way he was letting those spawn be born.

On that he would guarantee.

His smile was now pure evil as he picked his magazine back up.
***
TBC

PART 15
Max slammed his cell phone shut with a grunt, making Isabel jump. “She still not picking up?” she asked.

Max just held his hand on the phone. “No…” Then he picked it back up again. “Try yours,” he ordered, still not looking at her.

“Why, you’re calling—“

“Just do it,” he said.

Getting worried for her brother, Isabel did as he said. “It’s busy.”

“Good…that means I’m getting through at least.” Sighing, Max leaned his head against the wall. “She’s in trouble…”

“You don’t know that,” Isabel was quick to say.

“Did you get a hold of her?” Tess asked, walking back up to the booth.

“No. What did her parents say?” Isabel asked.

“Not much. As far as they know everything’s ok.”

“You didn’t give them anything to worry about, did you?” Max asked.

“No.”

“Good.” Silence took over and Max pulled open his cell again.
***

“Please use us again for your travel needs,” the cheerful flight attendant said as Liz, Michael, and Kyle stepped out of the terminal.

“Well…we’re almost there,” Michael muttered.

“Yeah…only 45 minutes to Roswell,” Liz mumbled. Rubbing her eyes, she walked over to get their luggage. Still feeling the looks, Liz shuddered.

“You ok?” Kyle asked, picking up a suitcase.

“Yeah,” Liz said cheerfully. “I’m good.”

Grabbing up her book bag, she waited for the guys to get the rest. Looking around, she could still feel someone staring. Crossing her arms, she led the way to Kyle’s car.

“You’re acting funny,” Michael said suddenly.

Liz, deciding not to tell them, said, “I’m just nervous.”

“That’s all?” Kyle asked.

“Yes,” Liz said quickly.

Both guys shared a look, but didn’t say anything else. Finally reaching Kyle’s car, Liz waited while he unlocked the doors and both guys put the luggage in the trunk.

“Lets go.”

Looking around one last time, Liz finally climbed in the car and Kyle pulled off.
***

Watching the red mustang take off, he came out of the shadows. Smiling, he started to walk toward the direction they went.

He’d give some time; lull her into a sense of false security.

Then he’d strike, taking down the whole Royal family.

Chuckling, his whole body shimmered and started to fate, leaving nothing but footprints.
***

“Um…can we swing my your place first?” Liz suddenly asked, looking at Kyle.

“You gotta face ‘em eventually Liz.”

“I know, but…I wanna change and…other stuff,” Liz said feebly.

“Ok. We’ll go there first,” Kyle finally said.

“And my place,” Michael threw out.

Looking over her shoulder, Liz asked, “you still have it?”

“Yeah…always works to pay ahead on rent. Never know when you might have to leave town for awhile.”

Nodding, Liz spun back around and saw the town sign looming up ahead. Getting excited about seeing Max, Liz could feel her pulse speed up. But it only lasted a second. It wasn’t long before she remembered their last words.

Staring at the sign, Liz mumbled, “home sweet home.”
***

“She’s close,” Max said suddenly, sitting up straighter.

“What?” Isabel asked.

“Liz…she’s nearby.”

“Are you sure?” Tess added.

“I’m positive,” Max said. Then he suddenly slumped back down. “I lost it. I can’t feel her anymore.”

“Maybe she was just thinking about you,” Isabel offered.

“Or she called her parents, you know? Then was nearby…sorta…” Tess trailed off, seeing that Max was once more leaning his head against the wall.

“Um…why don’t we try her again,” Isabel suggested.

Opening his phone, Max hit redial and waited. After the 7th ring he hung up. “Still no answer,” he said in a monotone voice.

“Maybe I should try Kyle,” Tess said.

“What?” Max asked, looking at her and Isabel just sighed, clicking her teeth.

“Uh…he might be able to try for us?” Tess asked.

“He’s with her…” Max mumbled.

“As a friend,” Tess said, as Isabel added, “not like that.” Then both girls just looked at each other.

“You know?” Tess asked.

“I know; you know?” Isabel said.

“I know.”

Max, standing up, turned to the table. “You both knew that Kyle was with her and didn’t tell me?!”

“I didn’t know Tess knew,” Isabel defended.

“And Liz said to keep it a secret.”

“She wanted to keep her and Kyle’s friendship a secret?” Max asked in a low voice.

“Um…” Tess suddenly realized they only knew about Kyle—not the baby. “I guess Liz might think you would—“

“You should have told me,” Max suddenly exclaimed, turning to Isabel.

“—Flip out like you are,” Tess finished, getting ignored.

“Max, I knew you would get upset—“

“Damn right! I have been worried sick about her!”

Sighing, Isabel rubbed her eyes. “Max…can we just talk about this rationally?” When he didn’t answer Isabel looked up to see his face hard and full of anger. It wasn’t until she spun that she knew what was going on.

Kyle had just pulled into the alleyway beside the Crashdown.
***

Getting out of the mustang, Liz pulled at her red dress. It had finally stopped raining and she had decided to wear one of her summer dresses but was now dreading that decision.

Reaching for her beg, she quickly pulled out a sweater and threw it on. Looking down, she noticed it didn’t match.

“Michael?”

“Fine,” he mumbled, knowing what she wanted. Touching her shoulder, he slowly turned the blue sweater white, matching the design on the bottom of her dress.

“Thanks,” Liz told him. “So…do I look pregnant?”

“Just a little thicker,” Kyle said finally.

Taking a deep breath, Liz blew it out and followed Kyle and Michael toward the front of the café. Feeling her heart pounding like crazy, everything went into slow motion as she reached the sidewalk.

Kyle finally reached the café and pulled open the door, walking in. Michael was a few feet behind; the door almost shutting by the time he reached it.

Just as she was about to step in front of the window, Liz stopped, not being able to take another step. All she could do was stand there and take quick breaths.

Seeing this, Michael spun back around and came to her, sending everything back into the normal speed.

“Liz?”

“I—I can’t do this,” she told him, trying to fight back her tears.

“Yes you can.”

“No.” Holding up her hand, Liz stared at it as it shook. “Look at me!! I can’t do this!”

Sighing, Michael looked her in the eye. “Liz, you are the bravest person I know. I have never seen you back down. You’re so god damn stubborn that it’s annoying—really annoying.”

Touched by his words, Liz added, “you’re not a picnic yourself either.”

Michael raised his eyes brows and Liz sighed, closing her eyes for a second. Taking a deep breath, she finally opened them.

“Lets do it.”
***

Kyle had just walked into the Crashdown when he saw Max storming his way. He barley had time to react before he was shoved against a wall.

“Ok…I take it you know where I’ve been,” he said.

“Max! Stop it!” Isabel yelled.

“Let him go!” Tess added.

“I should knock your head off,” Max seethed, his face inches from Kyle’s.

Seeing all the anger in his eyes, Kyle swallowed. “Ok, that’s one plan. But can I make a suggestion?” When Max’s grip got tighter Kyle winced. “Ok, maybe not.”

“Max!” Kyle heard Tess yelled again, but like before, he ignored her.

“I swear, if you touched her—“

“I didn’t—I swear!” Kyle said. Max didn’t release his grip and winced again. “Look…”

“Max,” Isabel suddenly called. When he didn’t respond Isabel tugged on his arms. “Max!”

“Max, look at the door,” Tess added, but Max still ignored them.

Casting a quick look, Kyle saw Michael and Liz walking in. “Ask her yourself,” Kyle told Max, motioning with his eyes.

Huffing, Max looked over and froze. Michael had just walked in, leading Liz right behind him.
***

Walking in the café, Liz stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Max had Kyle pinned up against a wall. Letting go of Michael, they both ran over.

“Max, let him go,” Michael said, pulling them apart. Max, staring at Liz, didn’t fight back anymore.

Rubbing his neck, Kyle looked at Max. Everyone was quiet and Liz could feel Isabel, Tess’s, and Max eyes on her. Looking at Kyle, she asked, “are you alright.”

“Yeah…I’m good.”

Still standing by Michael’s side, Liz finally looked at them. “Hi guys.”
***
TBC

PART 16
The tension in the room was thick as Max, Isabel, and Tess all looked at Liz. Kyle coughed and Max threw him a look of pure hate before focusing on Liz once more.

Liz could feel his staring but refused to meet his eyes yet. She wanted to just run up and throw her arms around him but she kept picturing the scene on her balcony. Her had hurt her so much…

Tess, seeing that no one was going to make the first move, smiled at Liz and stepped forward. “Hey, welcome back.” Then in a move that shocked Liz and everyone else, Tess leaned forward and gave Liz a slight hug.

“How’s the baby?” she whispered.

Truth be told, Tess was happy that Liz was pregnant. It meant that she wasn’t with Max. But then again, Tess wasn’t with him either. And it didn’t bother her that much. But she did value his friendship. And it had grown since Liz left.

As they pulled back, Liz smiled slightly and said, “ok.”

Giving her one last nod, Tess turned to look at Kyle. “Hey,” she said happily as he took the cue and walked over to hug her. Tess, holding the embrace a bit longer then necessary, smiled up at him as he stayed at her side.

This was also on the other side of Liz, which was why Max shot Kyle another glance.

Isabel, seeing that, cleared her throat and walked forward to hug Michael, hoping Max would take her lead and go to Liz—but he didn’t. He just kept staring at her.

Looking up at Michael, Isabel whispered, “I missed you.”

“Ditto,” Michael mumbled, not saying the actual words.

Shaking her head, Isabel looked at Liz, who was staring at the floor. She knew Liz was probably nervous under Max’s gaze.

“So…welcome back,” Isabel said with a warm smile, getting one back. On impulse, she leaned over to hug Liz too. Pulling back, she looked down at the other girl. If she wasn’t wrong, Isabel had a sinking feeling that Liz was hiding something…something big.

Liz, eyes wide, just looked. She could feel Michael beside her. It was like he was sending off a vibe that said everything would be ok.

Everyone had now stepped back and Liz finally looked up, meeting Max’s gaze head on. The intensity of his look nearly made Liz’s knees weak. She could feel all his love for his radiating from his eyes. But there was also a deep feeling of sorrow, heartache, and regret.

Swallowing, Liz opened her mouth to speak—

“Lizzie!”

Spinning to look at the door to the back of the café, Liz froze when she saw her father. “Dad…” Instantly her fingers latched onto Michael’s hand.

Max, seeing this, could feel his heart going numb. First he finds out that Michael knew where Liz was. Then Kyle did too. And his sister and one of his close friends had neglected to tell him. Then he finds out that Liz could be in danger and Michael, who he considered his best friend, choose not to tell him that either.

And now here he was, face to face with the love of his life once more and she turns to his best friend.

“Honey! Liz, when did you get back?” Mr. Parker said, coming over to hug his daughter.

Not letting go of Michael’s hand, Liz hugged him back. “Um…now actually,” she said nervously.

“Wow…it’s so great to see you. Come on, your mother will be thrilled,” her father added.

“Oh…um, yeah. Ok,” she said, looking at Michael.

“I’ll be right here,” he told her softly. Nodding, Liz followed her dad upstairs.

Everyone was quiet until Kyle finally said, “so…what’s new?” getting him an annoyed look from everyone in the room.
***

Liz was trying to hold back her tears as her father paced, his face hard with anger. Her stomach was churning again and Liz knew she needed to calm down or she was gonna get sick.

“I can not believe…” her father started to only stop again. “Who was it?” he asked finally.

“It doesn’t—“

“Is he downstairs? Did he have the nerve to come here?!” her father demanded.

“Dad stop it!” Liz exclaimed, standing up to look at him. “Just stop it, ok?” Swallowing, Liz knew she had to lie. “He’s not here…he’s in California. So just stop.”

“I will not stop it! Some guy got you pregnant and didn’t even have the decency to come with you to tell us!”

Confused, Liz said, “but you just said—“

“I know what I said. I just would like to know what you were thinking!!”

Trying to keep it together, Liz looked at her mother. “Mom…” she said softly. Her mother had gone quiet and hadn’t said a word the whole time.

“Honey…me and your father have to talk. Why don’t you go to your room,” she said without looking at her.

Liz, not being able to hold back the tears anymore, sobbed and did as they said, running to her room.
***

Michael tapped his finger on the top of the table as he tried to ignore Max’s stare. Sighing, he cleared his throat. Still feeling his eyes, Michael scoffed and finally met the stare.

“It’s getting old Maxwell.”

Max’s face got even harder and Michael knew the guy was about to go off, which just made him smirk.

Isabel, stopping it before Max replied, said suddenly, “Michael, why don’t you tell us about California.”

“Or why you’re here with Liz,” Max said, his voice low and threatening.

All Michael said was, “California was fine.”

“Good,” Isabel said finally. “I’m glad it was…good.”

Kyle, who was in the next booth with Tess, added, “it was sunny.”

Max, ignoring everyone else, said to Michael, “do you enjoy lying to me?”

“I didn’t lie to you,” Michael threw back.

“Like hell you didn’t.”

“Max—“ Isabel said.

“What if I did? What are you gonna do about it?” Michael asked, cutting Isabel off.

“Michael!” she exclaimed, feeling Max tense beside her. “God, look at you 2! Jumping to stupid conclusions!! Both of you need to back off!!”

“Go Isabel…” they all heard Kyle mumble.

“Kyle,” Tess was quick to say.

Looking at Isabel, Michael didn’t say anything for awhile. Neither did Max, but he was still looking at Michael every few moments.

“Now…Michael…what did the other night have to do with Liz?” Isabel finally asked.

Shifting in his seat, Michael was trying to think of something to say.
***

Liz was lying on her bed, cradling her old teddy bear to her chest when she heard her door open. Looking over, she saw her mother standing in the doorway.

“Liz…um, me and your father spoke and we think it’s best if you stay here from now on.”

“What?” Liz asked, sitting up. “You mean—“

Just then her father walked in, although her mom was trying to keep him from doing it. “Jeff—“

“You’re moving back home.”

Looking from her mother to her father, Liz was shaking her head. “No, I have a place and—“

“Who’s the father?” he dad suddenly asked.

Liz was taken back. There was no way she could tell them it was Max. “It doesn’t matter.”

“He’s no longer coming near you.”

“No…you can’t do this!” Liz exclaimed.

“Liz, we just want to help you,” her mother tried to explain, throwing Jeff a look.

“You mean control me!”

“You need a little control,” he father threw back.

Standing up, Liz was still holding the bear. “No, I don’t. I am an adult—“

“You’re 19 years olds and too young to be a mother! And as long as you’re under this roof you will listen to what I say!”

Shocked, Liz numbly sat the bear back on her bed before looking at parents once more. “Then…I guess I’m no longer under this roof.”

Walking past her mom’s upset face, Liz kept going. She was halfway down the hall when he father yelled, “you leave and it’s over.”

Choking back a sob, Liz kept walking.
***

Everyone was waiting for Michael’s response when the back door to the café opened and Liz walked through, her face full of tears.

Everyone was on his or her feet in seconds, but Michael was the first to reach her.

“Liz—“

“I—I…” she sobbed and finally said, “I need to go,” walking out of the café.

“I don’t think it went well,” Kyle said softly.

Michael sighed. “No…you think?” he said sarcastically.
***

Liz had only made it to the edge of the sidewalk beside the alley before she broke down in tears. She had been sitting there for a few moments when she could feel someone behind her.

Wiping at her tears, Liz said, “Michael—“

“I’m not Michael.”

Looking over her shoulder, Liz was surprised to see Tess standing there. “Tess…what are you doing here?”

Shrugging, she slowly sat down beside her. “Michael was about to come after you but he isn’t really good with his feelings and then Max made a move for the door but I…I figured that was the last thing you needed right now.”

Nodding, Liz was silent.

“Were they mad?”

Sniffling, Liz said, “my dad…he thinks I should move back home so he can watch over me.”

“And what do you think?” Tess asked.

“I don’t want to,” she admitted.

“Then there’s you answer.”

Looking at Tess, Liz added, “it’s not that easy. He’s my father.”

“Look…I’ve never had a dad; the closest it the sheriff…but he’s not. So all I know is that it’s your life and you have to live it.”

Scoffing, Liz said, “that’s your advice?”

“That’s it. You can’t live your life for someone else. You can’t change your life for them—live by their life plan instead of your own,” Tess added softly.

Looking at Tess, Liz suddenly understood what she other girl was saying. It wasn’t just about her parents—it was about what she wanted to do with her life.

“Thank you.”

Shrugging, Tess just said, “I’m only telling you what I know.”

Liz nodded and continued to sit there.

“Does he know yet?” Tess suddenly asked.

Stumbling, Liz said, “you mean Max?”

“Yeah. Does he know you got pregnant in California?”

Shaking her head, Liz didn’t say anything. Tess didn’t know who the father was either.

“Well…everyone’s is probably wondering where we’re at,” Tess said, standing up.

Getting up too, Liz added, “thanks.”

“You like saying that, don’t you?” Tess joked.

Smiling slightly, Liz followed the other girl back into the café. Everyone’s eyes were immediately on them.

“Are you ok?” Isabel asked when they reached the table.

“Yeah…I think I was just banned from my house though,” she said finally. Catching Michael’s eye, Liz nodded.

Standing up, he told her, “come and get me when you’re ready,” before reaching for Isabel. “Come on.”

“What?” Isabel asked, not moving at first.

“I’ll fill you in later,” Michael told her as he led her away.

Tess and Kyle both left too, leaving Max and Liz alone.
***
TBC

PART 17
~ If shame had face, I think it would kinda look like mine. If it had a home, would it be my eyes? ~

Liz swallowed and looked at, Max who had yet to speak after she told him. She could feel her tears coming and tried to hold them back. He had asked her why she came home, she said ‘I’m pregnant’ and then the conversation was no longer a conversation.

~ Would you believe me if I said I am tired of this? Well, here we go now one more time.
I tried to climb your steps; I tried to chase you down. I tried to see how low I could get down to the ground ~

“Who’s the father?”

Hearing his monotone voice, Liz paused to look at his face. He couldn’t even look at her. He was just staring over her shoulder.

No matter how much she tried not to, Liz thought back to their break-up on her balcony. He didn’t look at her that night either.

~ I tried to earn my way; I tried to change this mind. You better believe I tried to beat this. ~

The more she tried to put all the pain from the past away, the more it came rushing back. Liz wiped at her face and swallowed once more, knowing what she had to do.

~ When will this end? It goes on and on, over and over and over again. It keeps spinning around; I know it won’t stop till I step down from this for good. ~

“He’s out in California,” Liz made herself say, her voice cracking as her heart broke into a thousand pieces at the look on his face.

But she had to do this.

Liz had heard Michael talking. Max had pushed her away for a reason and it had hurt—it hurt so badly that she felt like she couldn’t breath sometimes. And no matter how much she loved him, no matter how long or deep all that love ran, she couldn’t get past the pain.

~ I never thought I’d end up here; never thought I’d be standing where I am. I guess I kinda thought it would easier then this.
I guess I was wrong, now one more time. ~

Max’s eyes were now misty too as he continued to look over her shoulder. Wiping at her own tears, Liz looked at him one more time.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispered. Slowly standing up, Liz could feel her stomach churning as she turned to walk away.

“Where are you gonna stay?” she heard Max ask softly.

God, the sound of his voice made her heart break even more. She could hear the tremble from deep in his throat as he fought for control.

Wiping at her face in an attempt to look normal, she finally said, “Michael’s. He’s gonna let me stay there a few days until Maria gets here.”

“Then what?”

Looking down, Liz added, “I don’t know. Alex’s been wanting me to visit him so…”

Taking in a deep breath, she finally faced him again. Suddenly, he looked at her; his eyes twitching with unshed tears. Just as quickly as he looked at her he looked away

“I missed you,” Max whispered so low that Liz wasn’t even sure he had said it.

She didn’t even realize she had been holding her breath until Max quickly stood up and walked away and Liz let it out, a sob escaping too. Placing her hands over her face, Liz stood there and cried.

She stayed that way until a set of arms engulfed her and Liz leaned into them, instantly recognizing Michael.

“I lied to him…”

“It’s ok,” he said, not even yelling at her for it.

Placing her head on his shoulder, Liz looked over to see Isabel standing a few feet away, watching the whole scene with a detached look on her face.
***

He could hear the key in the door all the way in his room. The sound vibrated through the darkness that was his room like a knife. The click of the lock was a thump as the door was pushed open.

Hearing the sound of her walking, he knew she had just entered the kitchen and was stopping to see if there were any messages on the machine.

He knew there were 2. What they were he had no idea. He didn’t even stop to listen on his way through the house.

There was a slight click then a mechanical voice droned, “you have 2 message.”

Another beep and then his mothers’ voice filled the air.

“Hey Max, hi Isabel. Just calling to check in. You 2 are probably at the café; you practically live there,” she joked.

Not any more. If he never went there again it would be too soon.

“Well, me and your father wanted to see how you 2 were getting along. I guess I’ll try back later. Love you,” his mother added before hanging up.

There was another beep then Alex’s cheerful voice came crashing down on his devastated ears.

“Hey Izzy. I should be in Roswell next week—Maria’s making me come; then we’re heading to Liz’s.”

Wincing at her name on the inside, Max’s features never once changed on his face.

“Well, call me when you get this. Later.”

As the answering machine turned off, the sounds of footsteps could be heard, getting closer and closer to his bedroom door. After a slight knock, there was a pause then, “Max…are you in there?”

Not answering, he just continued to stare up at the ceiling.

“Max…answer me. I know you’re in there.” There was another pause then the sound of the doorknob rattling. “You melted the lock. Ok…well…you know where to find me when you want to talk.” Then the footsteps were going away from the door.

If. If he wanted to talk. She forgot to add that. Why should she just assume he was gonna open up and tell her exactly how he felt.

How hurt he was.

How heartbroken he was.

How angry he was.

How guilty he felt because he was the one who actually drove her to it.

How was he supposed to just open up and tell Isabel all that?
***
TBC

PART 18
Liz stared out the window, looking up at the moon with wide eyes. She couldn’t believe she was already six months pregnant. Her stomach was sticking out a lot more now and her eating habits had gotten worse.

And last week she found out something else. She now had powers.

Closing the blinds on the window, Liz turned around, walked over to the bed, and sat down. Pulling her legs up to herself as best she could, she picked up the phone and stared at it, wondering if she should call.

Closing her eyes, Liz thought back on the last few months.

Her and Max didn’t speak one word to each other after that day in the café; in fact, she hadn’t seen him since. He kept away from anywhere she might be and Isabel once mentioned how he didn’t sleep much.

She had kept in touch with Isabel a little; but the friendship was strained to say the least. Liz didn’t blame her for choosing her brother over her. In fact, Liz was surprised that Isabel even made time for a friendship.

She kept close to Kyle too; he had called today to see what was up. And ironically enough, Tess had even got on the phone to say hi. Her voice had been cheerful and Kyle later confirmed that him and Tess had finally starting to date. He said it was weird, but really good.

Kyle was always good with words.

Maria called everyday now. She was finally over the whole ‘not-telling-that-Michael-was-there’ anger now. She finally calmed down and said she understood. And even went as far as saying that it might have been good to have him around; he knew what to do if any ‘non-normal’ problems came up.

But that was as far as her niceties toward Michael went. After that he was a selfish, stubborn, non-committal, Jackass who could burst into flames for all she cared.

But Liz could tell it was said with love.

Michael, he just refused to even speak about Maria. Liz knew he was still in love with her and his acceptance of it was denial. She let him get away with it, but every once in a while she would just casual bring up Maria’s name to get a reaction.

It was more then often met with a click as he hung up on her.

Michael always had a way with words too.

Hearing the phone ring, Liz smiled and picked it up. “Let me guess: 10 minutes away in a cab?”

Laughing, Alex said, “ok, I’m caught. You go to the doctor today?”

“Can’t you wait to ask me this when you get here?”

“Well…I’m not really 10 minutes away in a cab…”

“So what are you?”

“I’m about 2 hours away at work still,” he said in a guilty voice. “I’m sorry, but I got some—“

“It’s ok Alex,” Liz said. “I’m fine; I can be home alone, you know.”

“I know, but you came out here to visit me so you could have some fun and all I’ve done is work.”

“Look, I’m having a great time just laying around and relaxing.”

“Yeah, but Michael made me promise to keep you safe and—“

“Look, ignore Michael; I’m fine. He needs to get a life.”

“Or get Maria,” Alex added.

“Or her. Look…I’m gonna call him then I think I’m going to bed.”

“Hey…you really ok?” Alex asked softly.

Swallowing, Liz finally said, “yeah…I will be.”

“Ok…love ya.”

“Love you too,” Liz said as she hung up. Sighing, she pulled out the desk drew by the bed and looked at the plane ticket. In 3 days she was going back to Roswell.

Hearing a slight thump outside of her room, Liz quickly looked at her door. Placing the plane ticket back, she got up and walked to the door, slowly opening it before looking around the hallway. Everything was normal.

“I need to get a grip,” she mumbled, shutting the door and spinning around only to come face to face with the guy who tried to rape her a few months ago.

Liz screamed and bolted up in her bed, her heart beating like a drum in her ears. Instantly Alex was there, pulling her in his arms.

“Liz, it’s ok; it was just a dream,” he told her, his voice low and soothing.

Trying to calm her breathing down, Liz nodded, still clinging to him. Her stomach was upset and Liz shivered, her body freezing.

“You cold?” Alex asked, pulling her blanket around her shoulders. “Better?”

“Yeah…thanks,” she finally said.

“No problem.” Pushing some of her hair off of her face, he added, “maybe you should call Michael and have him meet us at the airport tomorrow night.”

“He’ll just get worried,” Liz mumbled.

“Good. Then I won’t be the only one.”

“I’m fine Alex.”

“Liz…you’re not fine. You constantly have nightmares and you’ve suddenly grew powers—“

“It wasn’t suddenly,” she added.

“You haven’t did anything in a long time Liz—and you were always connected with someone then. This is different.”

“I’m having an aliens baby Alex…weird things go with it,” she said finally.

“Liz…I’m calling Michael. Even if I’m wrong it won’t hurt to have him there.”

Sitting there, Liz just nodded and Alex walked out of the room. She could feel the staring again. It chilled her down to the bone and she could feel the evil and hatred behind it.

Wrapping her blanket around her body, Liz stood up and walked to the wall, staring at the open window. The same window she shut before going to bed.

Shutting it softly, she stared out into the open space, not even blinking.

She wasn’t going down without a fight.
***

“What are you doing here?” Maria demanded, placing her hands on her hips.

“Alex called me,” Michael said simply.

“Why? He knew I’d be here,” she insisted, looking at the terminal that Liz and Alex were due to walk through any minute. “He’s got a lot of explaining to do!”

“I’m sure he does,” Michael added.

“What does that mean?” Maria asked, looking at him.

Before Michael could say anything there was a slight clatter then the door opened and people started to come out of the terminal. A few seconds later a very pregnant Liz Parker and tired Alex Whitman emerged.

“Lizzie!” Maria squealed, running up to hug her best friend.

Smiling, Liz hugged her back. “Hey Maria.”

Pulling back, Maria looked down at her stomach. “Oh, look at you!”

“I know…I feel like I’m carrying around 100 pounds of luggage.”

“When I am actually am,” Alex said suddenly, dropping the bags.

“Hey,” Maria said, going over to hug him too.

“Get over here,” Liz said to Michael, pulling into a quick hug.

“You got big,” Michael said and grinned when Liz smack him on the arm.

“So, why is he here?” Maria asked, facing Liz and Alex.

“No reason,” Liz said quickly before Alex could answer. “I just wanted him here.” Michael and Alex both threw her looks but she ignored them, focusing on Maria instead. “So, how have you been?”

Giggling, Maria came over and looped their arms together. “Get this—I got a regular gig at a club in California starting in a month. The place is always crawling with agents!”

Both girls walked off, leaving Alex and Michael with the bags.

“They always seem to get out of doing any work,” Alex mumbled.

Grabbing up a few, Michael asked, “why’d you call?”

Starting to walk, Alex said, “Liz. She’s still having the nightmares.”

“They getting worse?”

“I don’t know. She never says what they’re about.” Looking at Michael, he added, “has Max had anymore?”

“If he has I don’t know about them. We aren’t exactly on good terms these days.”

“Sorry to hear that. Well, Isabel hasn’t mentioned him having any.”

“Yeah…well, he can’t have any if he doesn’t sleep,” Michael added.
***

A slow song was wavering in through the window from Isabel’s room as Max looked out his own. Staring up at the stars, he could feel her. She was close and getting even closer as he stood there.

Liz was back in Roswell.

~ Do you ever think about me? Do you ever cry yourself to sleep? In the middle of then night when you awake, are you calling out for me? ~

Feeling her close was making it worse. Max was having a hard enough time dealing with it while she was in Seattle with Alex.

Now he had to deal with it face to face.

Looking at his bed, Max could feel his control wavering as he thought back to their only night together.

~ Do you ever reminisce? I can’t believe I’m acting like this. I know it’s crazy; how I still can feel your kiss.
It’s been 6 months, 8 days, 12 hours since you went away. I miss you so much and I don’t know what to say. I should be over you; I should know better. But it’s just not the case.
It’s been 6 months, 8 days, 12 hours since you went away. ~

Closing his eyes, Max willed those thoughts away. Liz was no longer his. He couldn’t still claim her as his love and touch her like he wanted to.

All he could do was jump every time the phone rang, wondering if it was Alex calling to say something was wrong or maybe even Liz, saying she wanted him back.

~ Do you ask about me? Do your friends still tell you what to do? Every time the phone rings, do you wish it was me callin’ you? ~

Rubbing his eyes, Max knew he needed sleep. But he couldn’t. Every time he did he would dream of Liz.

A constant image of her face, her smile, he lips, her hands, her hair, her kisses, the feel of her body along his. Then in a flash they were on her balcony and he could see her crying again, saying she wanted him to leave and not to touch her.

Then it would go into a blur of her, scared, frightened, and crying out for help. Then it all would come crashing down in a wave of darkness that almost suffocated him.

He had the same dream every night until he quit sleeping. He would just go into trance now. All he could do was think of her and put himself through misery.

He didn’t know if she was ok, if she was happy, if she even still loved him.

~ Do you still feel the same? Or has time put out the flame? I miss you. Is everything ok?
It’s been 6 months, 8 days, 12 hours since you went away. I miss you so much and I don’t know what to say. I should be over you; I should know better. But that’s just not the case.
It’s been 6 months, 8 days, 12 hours since you went away. ~

Her presence was filling his every sense and Max closed his eyes, picturing her face. There was no way he could see her and not give in to all of his emotions.

His heart was full of pain and loneliness and his mind was saying to move on, it was over but…just one look and he was a goner. She would do him in.

~ It’s hard enough just passing the time, when I can’t seem to get you off my mind. And where is the good in goodbye?
Tell me why? Tell me why! ~

Opening his eyes, Max stood up and paced his room. He had to do something. He couldn’t just lapse back into this again. He couldn’t go back into pining away for Liz while she kept pushing him away.

Sighing, Max ran a hand through his hair and grabbed his coat. He needed to get some air.
***
TBC



posted on 1-Sep-2001 6:47:52 PM
PART 19
Feeling the wind blow through her hair, Liz smiled and walked slowly down the street. She had missed the quiet streets of Roswell and the clear skies. Looking up, she focused on a certain constellation and sighed. It was shinning extra bright tonight.

Rubbing her stomach in a comforting circular motion, Liz crossed the street and made her way toward the Crashdown. The dark windows seemed empty and sad as she lightly trailed her fingers down them. Sighing, Liz placed her whole palm against the cool glass before walking away. Continuing down the sidewalk, she walked until she saw the park up ahead.

Walking into it, she made her way toward the swings and sat down. Leaning her head up against the chain, Liz closed her eyes and started to swing back and forth slightly. Looking back up at the stars, Liz wondered which one was exactly his. Would he have to go back to it someday? Would he if he had the choice?

Feeling her heart break at the thought, Liz sighed once more and wiped at her eyes. She constantly seemed to be crying lately. Catching a glimpse of her watch, Liz knew Michael and Alex would be furious with her for coming outside by herself so late.

They were convinced that she needed protection from some big evil. And maybe she did. But it didn’t mean she was gonna stop living her life like they wanted her to.

Feeling the babies’ kick, Liz looked down at her stomach. They were moving around pretty good now. She couldn’t wait until they were born. Every time she went to the doctor they were moving around too much to find out the sex. So she had no idea what she was having; 2 boys, 2 girls, or 1 of each.

But she was hoping for the last one.

Looking over at the sandbox, Liz could picture a little girl and boy playing. The little girl would have dark curls and a toothy grin. The little boy would have dark hair also and his ears would stick out just a little bit like his daddies. And they would both have his eyes; Max’s deep, soulful eyes.

Thinking about Max again, Liz found herself looking back up at the stars. Would Max ever be hers again? She wanted nothing but to run into his arms and collapse there, never to leave again. But so much had happened in the past. There was so much pain and heartache that it could have filled the cliffs out in the desert.

But their love?

There wasn’t any place big enough to contain it. Wiping at her tears once again, Liz looked down at herself and scoffed. Here she was, pregnant, wearing sweats, sitting on the swings crying.

“I must look like an idiot,” she thought out loud.

“You could never look like that.”

Quickly looking up, Liz’s breath caught in her throat when she saw Max Evans standing a few feet away.
***

Max watched closely as Liz stood up, seeming to be very nervous. Wiping at her face, he could see her tear tracks as she tried to hide them.

“Max…what are you doing here?” she asked finally.

Hearing her voice, Max closed his eyes for a split second. If he could stop time, everything would be perfect.

“God…I must look awful,” he heard Liz say softly.

Opening his eyes, Max said with pure honesty, “I’ve never seen you look more beautiful.”

Liz’s face lit up some and Max could have stood there forever. There was glow about her and she seemed to be radiating her beauty; magnifying it by a thousand.

Walking a few feet closer, Max added, “why are you out here all alone?”

Looking around, Liz just shrugged. “I needed to get out.”

Nodding, Max could relate. Looking back at her again, all his feeling of anger or hostility left when he saw she was fighting to keep some control.

“Do you wanna talk about it?” he asked.

Shaking her head, Liz said softly, “I can’t,” as a few more tears came.

Nodding, Max looked down. He could tell she was about to bolt so he pointed back to the swings. “Do you wanna swing?”

Finally nodding, Liz sat back down and Max got behind her, pushing slightly so not to go too high. Careful not to touch her back, Max made sure to push by grabbing the chains instead.

They stayed that way for a few minutes and Max watched Liz as she looked up at the night sky. “It’s beautiful,” he said softly.

“I know…the stars are so bright tonight,” she replied.

Looking down, Max added softly, “I wasn’t talking about the stars.”

Stopping the motion of the swings, Liz looked up at him with wide eyes brimming with tears. Suddenly she looked down at her stomach and gasped.

Panicking, Max came around to her front. “What? What’s wrong?”

“The babies…I’ve never felt them kick this hard,” she exclaimed happily, automatically reaching for his hand.

Letting her guide him, Max placed his hand, palm open, over her womb with Liz’s small hand covering his. Holding his breath, Max felt a jolt run through this body as there was a slight thumb under his hand.

Overwhelmed with feelings, Max got down on his knees to kneel beside Liz, placing his free hand on the small of her back. There was another kick and Liz giggled a little, making Max smile.

Staring at her belly, Max suddenly could hear a loud, rhythmic thumping and a whooshing sound. The beating was fast and it seemed to echo, making it bounce around twice. Then it dawned on Max what was going on.

He was hearing the babies’ heartbeats.

Looking up at Liz, he gazed at her face while she had her eyes closed and a serene look on her features as happy tears streamed down her face. There was a slight breeze and her hair blew back off of her shoulders.

Moving his free hand up, Max slightly ran his hand through her hair.

“Max…” Liz whispered, her eyes still closed.

“Yeah…” he whispered back.

Looking down at him, Liz opened her eyes and Max couldn’t take it anymore. Leaning up slightly, he stopped to look in her eyes for a second before softly placing his lips over hers. Liz sighed and moved closer, prompting Max to cradle the back of her neck with his hand, rubbing it the way he knew she liked, electing another sigh from her.

As soon as the sound escaped her lips Max could feel a flash coming on. Everything was red as he faintly made out the outlines of 2 small babies, cradled beside each other in Liz’s stomach.

As sense of recognition washed over him, but before he could place it the flash ended and Liz was pulling away, her breath shallow as she continued to hold his hand over her stomach.

Looking into her eyes, Max sighed and took a deep breath, trying to organize his thoughts.

What just happened?
***
TBC

PART 20
“Did you…did you see that?” Max asked is a low voice.

Nodding slightly, Liz stared down at her stomach before slowly removing his hand and standing up.

Still on his knees, Max thought back on what just happened. The images came from Liz, but so did the power behind them. He didn’t open the connection; she did. Standing, he watched Liz’s back as she rubbed her neck, obviously upset over something.

“Liz…”

She gave a tearful laugh before saying, “no matter how much I try and try I just…I just can’t stay away…” Her voice was sad and she was looking up at the stars again.

“Do you really want to?” Max asked finally.

Shaking hear head, she let it drop, her back still toward him. “It doesn’t matter what I want.”

“Why not? We always have a say in our lives.”

“No, we don’t,” Liz exclaimed, spinning to look at him suddenly. Her face was full of tears and her hands waved as she talked. “We have tried and tried to make it work and every time one of us gets hurt! And I can’t do it anymore; I can’t do it because my heart wouldn’t survive again.”

Trying to see her logic, Max just couldn’t agree. “No…we can make it work,” he insisted, walking up to take her in his arms.

Shaking her head, Liz looked away. “Max…”

“No, listen to me,” he stated, turning her face toward his. “I love you and I’m not letting you go again. I don’t care about what’s happened in the past. I don’t care about you and Kyle. I don’t care that you’re carrying someone else’s babies…all that matters is that we’re together.”

Liz’s face was unreadable as she listened to his proclamation. He could see she was fighting with herself over something, but what he wasn’t sure.

Finally blinking back some tears, she opened her mouth to speak. “Can-can you just take…take me home? I need to think…about some things,” Liz said, her voice cracking.

Trying to hide his disappointment, Max nodded and walked with her out of the park slowly, looking back over his shoulder before going down the sidewalk.

He had this weird feeling of being watched.
***

Coming out from his hiding spot, the light from a streetlight made his eyes shine with determination. He was going to break that up if it was the last thing he did. If the king and her got back together, all hope of killing their offspring would be lost. The little runts were already strong. He had seen how they pulled the once-leader right into a connection.

He had to act fast. If they formed a permanent connection it would be over. To much was happening; he had to stop it all. If they all found how important she was…that she was the key to their survival…

He just would not let that happen. He’d rather die himself then see those spawn be born.

Walking down the sidewalk, he grinned. He had places to be, things to do, people to kill.
***

The walk back to Michael’s was silent as Liz thought about everything Max had said. Every once in awhile she would sneak a peak at him when he wasn’t looking.

He was still so handsome it took her breath away. He was so gentle and caring in how he made he feel so important; like she was everything. He had an inner strength that amazed her and yet he was so humble. He didn’t even see how perfect he was.

Finally reaching the building, Liz opened the door and walked into the hall, heading for the steps with Max right behind her. Glad that they only had to go to the third, Liz walked the last few feet till they reached the door. Finally turning to look at him, she could feel her face getting red under his close inspection. Swallowing, she placed her hand n the doorknob.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Liz said, starting to turn the handle as Max reached for her hand, stopping it. Feeling her resolve crumble, Liz closed her eyes and blurted “Max, we need to ta--”

“Liz…I need—“ Max started at the same time but stopped when the door suddenly opened to show Michael and Alex, both looking not happy. Noticing Max, they both relaxed some, but not much.

“Where have you been?” Maria demanded, stepping around the guys. “We have been worried sick,” she lectured Liz. Noticing Max, she added, “hey Max.”

“Hey…” he mumbled.

Knowing this was about to get ugly, Liz turned to him and said, “I should go—but we can--”

“Talk…” Max filled in.

“Yeah—talk tomorrow…ok.”

“Yeah, ok…”

“I’ll see ya tomorrow I guess; I mean, we will; definitely—talk tjhat is…if my body guards allow it,” Liz added in a joking manner. Her nerves were shot right now and she needed something to lighten the mood.

Nodding, Max told everyone goodnight before giving Liz another look then leaving. Watching him leave, Liz could feel some tension in her stomach.

“And what was that?” Maria asked. “Did he have to save you from some psycho stalker bent on killing you?”

Looking at Michael and Alex, Liz asked, “you told Maria?” before walking in the door.

“In our defense, she is very annoying if you keep things from her,” Alex said.

Maria, throwing Alex a look, turned back to Liz. “I can not believe you didn’t tell me about some guy stalking you!”

“I don’t have anyone stalking me,” Liz insisted, sitting down on the couch. At least she hoped not…

“Yeah, and space-boy over there is over me,” Maria added.

“I’m over you,” Michael replied, not even acting like that was a weird statement.

“Not by a long shot,” Maria shot back. “Look, Liz, you are carrying a alien-king-leader-type guys’ babies, ok? And, if I might add, I saw him looking at you tonight like some eye candy. I don’t know what happened but—“

“Maria, does this have a point?” Alex asked.

“Besides that Michael’s not over me yet?” she asked with smirk his way.

“So over you,” Michael added.

“In your dreams.”

“Where you’re replaced by that chick off of ‘Dark Angel’.”

“Jessica Alba,” Alex said quickly.

“Yeah, her.”

Maria shot Michael a look of disgust as he smiled before returning to Liz. “I’m just saying that there could be a billion people and ‘things’ out there that could want you dead.”

“Thanks for not making me nervous,” Liz said finally.

“Ok, after running that through the ‘Maria filter’, this is what I got: we want to keep you safe. Be careful,” Alex said. “I believe I covered all the bases.”

“I’ve got one more. You don’t go anywhere alone,” Michael stated.

“Does the bathroom count?” Alex asked suddenly.

Ignoring him, Liz turned to Michael. “I haven’t got a call or threat or anything since California. I refuse to live my life like a prisoner!”

Hearing the phone ring, Michael said to Liz, “you need protection,” before walking over to answer it.

Sighing, Liz sat back and groaned.

“Hey, buck up, sweetie,” Maria said. “It’ll be fun. We can have sleepover’s and go baby shopping.”

“I guess…” Liz said finally, picking up Zan as he stalked by.

“Alex,” Michael called, holding out the phone. “Isabel.” Grinning, Alex went to take the call.

“Like I always said: a puppy in heat,” Maria exclaimed.

“I know,” Liz agreed.

“Ok, spill.”

“Spill what?”

Scoffing, Maria tickled Liz’s belly. “What did you and Max talk about? Huh? Huh?!” Meowing, Zan seemed disturbed and ran off.

“No, I didn’t tell him,” Liz said between laughs. Finally calming down, Liz added, “I almost did though…and I will—tomorrow…”

Seeing Liz’s sad expression, Maria asked, “why not now? Call him in a few. You obviously want to.”

“God…he told me he didn’t care that I slept with Kyle or that I was having someone else’s baby.”

“But you didn’t sleep with and Kyle and they’re his babies.”

“I know; that’s the point,” Liz exclaimed. “He was just…”

“Too perfect?” Maria asked.

“Yeah…that too. But…Maria, he did this thing—I placed his hand on my stomach to feel the babies kick and then I could hear them and then we kissed and I actually saw them!”

“Wait—you kissed?!”

“Ok, so missing the point in that sentence!” Liz said, standing up.

“No, I’m not. You guys kissed. You always get flashes when you kiss.”

“I know but this…it was different,” she insisted. “I didn’t open the connection and Max didn’t open it.”

“Then who did?” Maria asked. When Liz just stood there Maria glanced down at her stomach. “You mean…no, they couldn’t…could they?”

“Could they what?” Michael asked, walking over.

“Could the babies have powers already?” Maria asked quickly.

With a little shock, Michael looked at down to her belly too.

“What are we looking at?” Alex asked, glancing down too after hanging up the phone.

“Would you like me to lift up my shirt so you could have a more close up view?” Liz asked suddenly, extremely weirded out by them all staring.

All three looked up quickly. “Ok…I’m still a little lost. Why are we not looking at her stomach?” Alex asked.

“The babies have powers already,” Maria exclaimed.

“We don’t know that,” Michael was quick to say.

While they all argued over it Liz sighed and walked away, going over to the window. She was never gonna survive the next 3 months if it as gonna be like this.
***
TBC

PART 21
Hearing a knock at the front door, Liz called out, “I’m leaving.”

“What?” came Michael’s muffled voice from in the shower.

Letting Maria in, Liz added, “I’m leaving!”

“No, you’re not.”

Sighing, Liz looked at Maria. “Help?”

Smiling, Maria walked over to the bathroom door. “Hey, space-boy, me and Lizzie are going baby shopping.”

“Not without any protection,” Michael said.

“What am I? Chop liver?”

“I said no.”

“Hey, you are not my boss,” Liz said. “We’re leaving.”

“I said no and I mean no,” Michael tossed back.

Huffing, Liz crossed her arms “I’m gonna keep that in mind the next time you wanna leave in the middle of the night,” she shouted at the bathroom door.

“What?” Maria asked suddenly. Turning toward the door, Maria exclaimed, “where the hell are you going in the middle of the night?!”

Liz could hear Michael sighing on the other side. “Tell her to mind her own business and you’re not leaving.”

“Hey—I can hear you!!” Turning back to Liz, Maria mumbled, “if I could reach the toilet I’d flush it right about now…”

“We’re leaving,” Liz called out again.

“No, you’re not!”

Shaking her head, Liz got an idea. Looking at the door, she concentrated and closed her eyes, letting all of her energy pulse around her. Opening her eyes again, Liz refocused on the door and let it out.

A few seconds later they could hear Michael calling out in shock. “What did you do?” Maria asked.

Grinning, Liz replied, “I flushed the toilet.”

“Yeah, that’s my girl,” Maria said as they high fived and walked out the door.
***

Watching Isabel and Alex laugh, Max realized how much he so did not want to come here today. Looking around the Crashdown, Max sighed and tried to think about anything other then Liz. Suddenly Isabel laughed and Max looked over to see Alex was whispering something her ear, a grin on his face.

That was the last straw.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” he said, getting up and walking away quickly. Shutting the door behind him, Max sighed and leaned against it. He couldn’t stop thinking about last night: the talk, the flash, the kiss.

Especially the kiss.

Going to the bathroom, Max quickly washed his hands and headed back out front before Isabel wondered what was going on and came looking for him. Nearing the door, Max sighed when he heard more laughing. Pausing, he picked up someone other then Isabel joining in. Looking through the hole, he smiled when he saw Liz and Maria had walked in, totting about 6 bags.

Coming out front, he quickly walked over to take a few, same as Alex did.

“You guys went shopping,” Alex said, sitting them on a nearby tabletop.

“And without me,” Isabel joked, looking through a few bags.

Taking a few out of Liz’s hands, Max smiled at her. “Here, let me get those.”

“Thanks,” Liz replied, smiling back. She seemed a little tense and he wondered what they were supposed to talk about. Sitting them on the table too, Max waited to see where they were gonna sit down at.

“Where all did you guys go?” Alex asked, eyeing all the bags.

“Just about every store in town,” Liz said as she sat down at the counter, easing onto the stool slowly so not to hit her stomach.

Seeing she was having a little bit of trouble, Max instantly placed his hand on the small of her back and took her hand, helping her onto the stool. Liz smiled at him and didn’t do anything when Max kept his hand on her back. Something from deep inside him was willing him closer, but he resisted for the moment. Liz seemed to be preoccupied with something and he didn’t want to push her.

“So, you guys have fun?” he asked, smiling, hoping to lighten her mood..

“Oh, they have some of the cutest baby stuff out there,” Maria gushed, taking the seat next to Liz.

“Next time count me in,” Isabel said, sitting down on Maria’s other side. “I love shopping.”

“It was fun, but Maria tired me out,” Liz said finally. “I’ll sleep good tonight.”

“If Michael’s snoring doesn’t keep you up,” Maria joked. “He sounds like a lawn mower.”

Tensing some, Max tried to keep a look of jealousy off his face. He still didn’t like the fact that Liz was staying with Michael.

“Come on, he can’t be no worse then you Maria,” Alex said. “I mean, what the hell are those little noises you make?”

“Oh, don’t even get me started on them,” Liz added. She seemed a little more relaxed now.

Scoffing, Maria shook her head. “Fine…I see what kind of friends you are.”

Everyone laughed and Max smiled, realizing how much he had missed all this. He missed having everyone happy and getting along.

“Oh, I don’t have to worry about Michael’s snoring. He doesn’t when he sleeps on the couch,” Liz said casually.

“Wow…he gave up the bed,” Isabel said.

Scratching his eyebrow, Alex suddenly asked, “wait—Michael actually let you 2 go shopping alone?”

Maria suddenly looked at the ceiling and Liz asked, “what have you 3 been up to?”

“What did you do?” Alex asked.

Maria grinned and Liz sighed. “We just distracted him,” Maria said finally.

Alex sighed and Max wondered what was going on. Why wouldn’t Michael want Liz and Maria to go out?

“I’m not gonna protect you after this stunt.”

Standing up, Maria walked over to Alex and faked being scared. “Oh, please, please save us from the angry little boy.”

Shooing her off, Alex just nodded while Maria laughed. “Mock all you want, but he’s gonna be pissed.”

“Oh come on, what’s he gonna do?” Going behind he counter, Maria added, “put us on a curfew?”

Sitting down in her seat, Alex just said, “we’ll see.”

Isabel, leaning onto him, asked, “Michael’s gotten protective?”

“You could say that,” Liz said with a frustrated sigh.

“Or you could say he’s went over the deep end,” Maria added. “Can we please say that one?”

“You agreed with him,” Liz said suddenly.

“That was a momentary lapse of judgement. I have reconsidered it and decided that I can not choose a side that he’s on.”

Turning back to Alex, Liz asked, “have you seen him today?”

“Nope…” Looking at the door, Alex added, “not until now.”

Everyone turned to look and Maria said, “oh…he looks mad,” in child’s’ voice as she leaned on the counter.

Max saw what Maria meant and could see how Michael did indeed look mad. As he walked over to the group, he focused on Liz and Maria. “That was a cheap shot,” he grumbled.

“What are you talking about?” Liz asked, her face confused, but Max could tell that she was lying.

Eyeing her, Michael added, “that was low.”

“Really? Huh.” Looking at Maria, Liz asked, “do you think we did a bad thing?”

“No, I think we were in the right.”

“What did you guys do?” Isabel asked.

Both girls look at Michael, who just huffed and kept quiet. “We did nothing,” Maria said, coming back around and taking her seat back from Alex.

“Oh, by the way, how as your shower Michael?” she asked with a smirk.

“Ok, so, Michael, how are you?” Alex asked suddenly, shooting Maria and Liz a look.

Seeing that, Max looked back down at Liz. She was biting her lower lip, a look between guilt and humor on her face. looking up at him, she suddenly swallowed and looked away quickly.

What was up with her today?

“I’m fine,” Michael said, answering Alex’s question.

“Sure ya ain’t cold?” Maria offered.

Throwing her a look, Michael walked behind the counter to get a drink.

“Well, we better go,” Isabel told Alex.

“Yeah,” he agreed, standing up. Pointing to Liz, he added, “don’t forget we got plans tomorrow,” before kissing her check.

“I remember.”

Saying goodbye, Isabel was about to remind Max that they were his ride but decided against it, seeing his hand on Liz’s back. Smiling, she took Alex’s hand and walked out the door.

Liz watched Michael as he fixed his drink, realizing how thirsty she was.

Looking at Liz and Max, Michael asked, “you guys thirsty?”

Smiling, Liz said, “you read my mind.”

“I’ll take one,” Max added.

Hoping Michael remembered how she liked her drink, she took a sip when he handed it to her. The weird concoction reached her lips and Liz sighed. Perfect.

“What about me?” Maria asked as Max was given a drink too.

“You know how to work the soda machine.”

Scoffing, Maria just said, “be that way.” Reaching for Liz’s drink, she picked it up and took a sip.

“No, Maria—“ Liz tried to stop her but it was too late.

Gagging, she pulled it back from her lips. “What the hell is in that?”

Taking it back, Liz just mumbled, “stuff.”

Glancing down at the drink, Max wondered what as in it. Feeling Liz stretch her back slightly, Max moved his hand, rubbing it in a circular motion.

“Your back sore?” he asked.

Looking back up at him, Liz replied, “a little.”

Smiling, Max continued to rub her back, moving up some. Liz closed her eyes and Max saw the small smile playing at her lips. Forgetting about the others, he placed his other hand on her shoulder, massaging it too.

Liz sighed and Max looked down at her lips, wanting nothing more then to kiss her again. Reaching up to trace her jaw, Max moved closer. Suddenly there was a slight cough and Max pulled back from Liz, seeing Maria smiling at him.

“Hi Max…remember us? Remember the café you’re sitting in?”

Liz opened her eyes suddenly and looked away, her face red with embarrassment. Knowing the moment was over, Max pulled his hands back. In doing so, he saw Liz’s face fall some. Smiling, he knew he had gotten to her.

“Um…we should go,” Liz said, getting down off of the stool. Glancing back at Max, she paused. “um…” Looking around at Maria and Michael, she finally sighed and mumbled something about calling him later before giving Maria a look.

“Ok lets go,” Maria added, starting to pick up the bags.

“Do you need some help?” Max asked.

“No,” Liz said quickly.

Stopping, Max eyed her. Her voice was shaky and she seemed upset about something.

“I mean, we can handle it,” Liz added, not looking him in the eye.

Backing off, Max tried to hide his disappointment but knew he didn’t when Maria gave him a sympathetic look.

“Come on,” Michael said, coming over to grab some bags too.

“No, we’ve got it,” Liz said, taking them back from him. “You’re staying here.”

“Liz—“ Michael tried to argue.

“No, we’ve got it,” Liz insisted, stopping him. “Come on Maria,” she added before walking off.

Picking up the last of the bags, Maria gave them one last look before following Liz.
***
TBC

PART 22
“The poor guy is gonna get a complex if you keep this up,” Maria exclaimed, looking over her shoulder at Liz as they climbed the steps up to the apartment.

“I know…but I’m so confused; I don’t wanna be hurt again,” Liz replied. “and I was about to suggest we go somewhere to talk today and…” When Maria just gave her a look, Liz sighed in frustration. “I chickened out—ok?”

“Look…just talk to Max, Liz; please? You’re telling him tonight—right?!”

Nodding, Liz added, “I’m gonna try—I mean, I will, I AM,” as she pulled out her key. Opening the door, both girls screamed when there was a loud hiss and something black jumped out the door.

“Zan,” Liz breathed, realizing it was just her cat.

“What’s gotten in him?” Maria asked, trying to calm her breathing down.

“I don’t know. Maybe he…” Liz trailed off as she walked into the apartment. Something was wrong; she could feel it. Hearing the door slam behind her, Liz spun to see Maria had closed it.

“What?” she asked, noticing Liz’s panicked look.

“Noth-nothing,” Liz said softly, looking around. Still trying to figure out what was wrong, she sat the bags down on the table and mumbled, “I’ll be back,” before walking toward the bathroom.

“Ok,” Maria said, looking at her strangely before starting to unpack the bags.

Walking into the dark bathroom, Liz slowly turned on the light switch. Finding everything normal, she exited and looked at the bedroom, a feeling of dread washing over her as she noticed it was slightly adjure.

“Hey, you want something to drink?” Maria called out suddenly.

Not even bothering to answer, Liz slowly reached out and pushed the door open. Her hands shaking, she reached for the light switch. Hearing the click of it turning on, Liz froze when she walked in.

He had been here; she could feel it.

Her breath coming in gasps, Liz backtracked from the room. He was still after her.

Spinning around, she ran over to Maria. “Here’s your drink—“ Liz ignored the glass in Maria’s hand and just pushed her toward the door. “Liz!”

Ignoring her friends plea, Liz threw open the door to have Zan run back in, screeching.

Oh god…

Liz could feel the coldness wash over her. Slamming the door shut, she sobbed.

“Liz? What is going on?!” Maria screamed.

There was an eerie silence and Liz backed away from the door, pulling herself and Maria toward the counter. Her heart was pounding in her ears and Maria was starting cry.

“Liz…”

“He’s here…” she whispered.

“What? Who’s here?!” Maria demanded, her voice shrill.

Closing her eyes, Liz felt the cold take over her whole body as Maria screamed. The last thing she heard was the shattering of glass.
***

Michael looked at Max, wondering what he was thinking. The guy was just sitting there, staring out the window. Sighing, Michael got up to get a drink. Hearing the doorbell chime, he looked up too see Kyle and Tess walking in, their hands intertwined. Wondering when that happened, Michael just nodded.

“Hey,” Tess said cheerfully.

“Yeah,” Michael replied, continuing on his way to get a drink.

He saw Kyle and Tess walking up to Max.

“Hey, Max? What’s going on?” Tess asked.

“Not much,” Max mumbled.

“Ok…” Kyle said, standing there awkwardly.

Shaking his head, Michael filled his cup and started back to the table. Halfway there he stopped, a dizzy feeling suddenly taking over his body.

Staring down at this glass, he suddenly let go of it, watching in slow motion as the glass drifted closer and closer to the floor. As soon as it hit there was a loud crash and the floor shifted, looking like an off yellow for some reason. As the pieces of glass flew in every direction, he could see someone’s legs as a girl collapsed right beside it, their dark hair flying into the glass.

Gasping, Michael came out of the flash, gripping onto a nearby table for support.

“Michael?” Tess asked, here voice sounding far away.

“Mike, you ok?” Max’s voice this time and it sounded a little closer.

Finally feeling normal again, Michael took in a deep breath and looked up at Max. They didn’t have much time.
***

Max was taking the steps three at a time as him and Michael raced up the steps to his apartment. The closer he got the more he could feel the energy in the air.

Busting around the last corner, Michael cursed and Max looked up to the apartment door was open. Flinging it against the wall as they ran though, both boys stopped when they saw the mess. Nothing was left; everything was demolished. The table was broken, the couch was overturn and there was stuff everywhere.

“Liz! Maria!” Michael screamed, looking in the living room.

Rushing to the back of the apartment, Max called out, “Liz!!” as he searched.

“Oh my god, Maria!”

Not seeing Liz, Max rushed back out front to see Michael digging on the other side of the couch. With fear, Max noticed the limp hand sticking out.

Michael had finally pulled her out, cradling her limp body against his. “Maria, oh god, Maria,” he kept calling out. There was a deep cut across her forehead and blood was tricking down her face and onto her neck.

“Is she—is she ok?” Max got out.

“I don’t know,” Michael screamed out in harsh anger. At the sound of his voice, Maria stirred a little, moaning softly.

Walking over, Max saw she was trying to open her eyes.

“Liz…” she whispered.

“It’s ok,” Michael, told her. “I’m here.”

Opening her eyes, Maria suddenly tried to sit up. “No, Liz! We have to get her!”

“I know, I know,” Michael said, trying to soothe her.

Crying now, Maria clung to Michael. “He’s gonna hurt her.”

His heart pounding in his ears, Max shut down, falling to his knees. Liz was in trouble. They were after Liz because of him.

His nightmare was coming true.

“Why?” he asked in a choked voice. “Why are they after Liz?”

Michael ignored the question and picked Maria up. Looking back down at Max, he said “come on Max, we gotta go.”

“Why?” When Michael didn’t answer again, Max stood up and shouted, “you know why they have her!! Now tell me!!”

“They’re after the babies,” Maria sobbed, clinging to Michael’s neck. “They want your children.”

Max froze and the words ‘your children’ kept repeating over and over in his head. reeling, Max numbly thought back on the night before.

The connection. He had felt it in the connection! Oh god…Liz had tried to tell him and all he could do was remind her that she had told him they weren’t his!

“Maxwell, now is not the time, we have to find her,” he could hear Michael saying, but everything seemed so far away. It was like he was under water and everything around him was rippling.

Everything started to get a red tint to it and suddenly Max could hear two very loud, fast heartbeats. Everything in front of his eyes fell away and Max could only see the forms of Liz’s babies; his babies in her womb.

And there, one each of their foreheads was the royal seal, glowing bright against the red liquid.

Feeling a sharp pain in his head, Max doubled over, crying out in pain as the scene in front of his eyes shifted into a blur of dark colors. It was someone running, their bare feet tripping as they ran.

Feeling her fright, Max knew it was Liz in trouble. She was crying and begging for help, her light purple dress she had been wearing earlier standing out against the blurry dark colors surrounding her. Everything was moving too fast and was too blurry for Max to make out anything clearly besides her tear-streaked face.

Screaming her name, Max came out of the flash, huddled on Michael’s floor. Looking up, he could hear Maria’s sobs and see the tears threatening to spill out of Michael’s eyes.

Shakily, he finally stood up, walking out of the door with a newly found determination and Michael carrying Maria right behind him.

He was gonna find the bastard who was doing this to Liz and his children and make him pay.
***
TBC

PART 23
Feeling the ground underneath her move, Liz moaned and shifted, feeling the cold floor be exposed to her bar arm. There was another bump and Liz opened her eyes, immediately trying to sit up to only realize she couldn’t due to the fact that her wrists were handcuffed behind her back.

Her breathing coming in short gasps, Liz looked around the interior of the car. She was in the backseat, lying down in her side. Trying to roll over, move, or do anything, she cried out when the cuffs dug into her wrist.

“Well, well, well…she finally awakes.”

Hearing the voice, Liz froze, her whole body shivering. It was him; it was the guys who had been watching her. She knew it. Looking toward the front seat, she couldn’t even see his head from her point of view

“Don’t wanna talk?” he asked.

Looking around, Liz tried to see out a window or anything, but she was too low. Her fear starting to get the worst of her, Liz started to whimper as she tried to feel herself.

“Now, now, don’t get any bright ideas.” His voice was sarcastic and Liz could tell he was enjoying this.

“What…what do you want with me?” she finally asked.

“Oh come on. I know you’re smarter then that Liz…” he said.

Panicking, Liz knew she had to get away. He was gonna kill her and babies. No! She screamed in her head. He is not hurting my children.

Feeling a surge of energy convulse through her body, Liz gasped and closed her eyes, trying to block out the pain. It felt like her skin was on fire and the flames were trying to escape.

Throwing her head back, she opened her mouth in an attempt to scream but nothing came out. Flashes start to fly past the back of her eyelids and Liz suddenly realized it was the babies, trying to fight off the dark vibes around her.

They could feel the enemy and it was natural for them to fight back, but Liz’s body couldn’t take the pressure. Shaking, she tried to hold it in a little longer.

Not being able to take anymore, Liz screamed in pure agony as a bright white light filled the whole car. The light seemed to capture everything and Liz couldn’t hear anything until the whole car jerked sharply, a loud crunching noise and screeching tires suddenly breaking though the silence.

Being thrown from the seat, Liz didn’t have anytime to react before her head hit the floor.
***

Isabel burst through the Valenti’s door without even knocking, with Alex right on her heels.

Seeing, Kyle, Tess, Michael, the sheriff, and Max all in the living, Isabel asked, “what happened?”

“Where’s Liz?” Alex demanded suddenly.

Sucking in her breath, Isabel noticed Liz was missing. Finally looking at everyone, she took in their worried glances toward Max, who was sitting in the chair with his head in his hands.

“She’s gone…” Maria whispered and Isabel saw her cut and bruised face as she clung to Michael.

“Oh god…” Alex sat down on the floor right where he was standing, a look of pure horror on his face.

“Where—where did she go?” Isabel finally asked.

“One of the skins took her,” Kyle said.

“What? Why?”

Michael, casting a quick look over at Max, finally said, “they’re after her babies.”

Shocked, Isabel could feel herself faltering. “But why?”

No one said anything at first, all of them taking another look at Max. Getting the clue, Isabel gasped. “Oh my god…Max?”

“We have to do something,” Alex said, standing back up. “We have to do something now!”

“You don’t think I don't know that?” Michael asked.

“Then why aren’t you doing something?!”

“We don’t know where she is!!”

“Just stop it!” Valenti said suddenly. “Arguing isn’t gonna help us find her any quicker.”

“He’s right…we have to work together,” Tess added softly.

“She was so scared,” Maria whispered. “I could hear her crying out…” She broke down into sobs, cradling her face to her knees. Alex was there in an instance, pulling her into his arms.

“What are we gonna do?” Isabel asked.

“Maybe you could get another flash,” Kyle suggested.

“I already tried,” Michael said defensively.

“Try again,” Isabel said.

“I tried! I tried 50 million times! I’m not getting anything.”

“Maybe if someone connects you,” Tess said.

Sighing, Michael nodded. “Yeah, ok.” Looking around the room, Isabel saw Michael’s eyes land on Max, who was still sitting in the chair.

“Max?” He was really still and his eyes were clinched shut like he was in pain. Fearing the worst, Isabel ran over and kneeled beside him.

Suddenly he popped out of the seat, striding over to the middle of the room. His face was covered with tear tracks and his voice was loud when he spoke.

“I saw it again, more-more clearer this time.”

“What did you see?” Michael demanded.

“Green…I saw green and brown and I could hear crunching.”

“Crunching?” Tess repeated.

“Crunching like someone was walking on leaves?” Jim asked.

Nodding, Max started to get more hope. “Yes, yes! The brown could—no, they were trees; lost of trees.”

“Ok, so she’s, like, in the woods,” Kyle said.

“It was dark…” Max added, looking at the window. The sun was just now starting to sit. “We don’t have much time…”

Isabel, coming over, asked, “so we have to go to Frazier woods?”

“We don’t for sure if she’s there,” Tess said. “There are plenty of places in Roswell with trees.

“But only a few places could be dark already,” Alex added from the couch.

“Ok, that leaves Frazier woods and a few of the parks have little wood clearings,” the sheriff offered.

Taking charge, Max started to bark out orders. “Me, Michael, and the sheriff are going to Frazier woods. Isabel, you, Kyle, and Tess check out the parks then meet us out there. Maria and Alex are staying here. Got it?”

Everyone nodded, except Maria, who was shaking her head. “No, I’m coming,” she said, getting off of the couch.

“No you’re not,” Michael was quick to say.

“Michael—“

“You are in no shape to go running around and there’s no way I’m letting you get hurt!”

Seeing the emotions in his eyes, Maria finally gave in.

“What about me?” Alex asked.

“We need someone here in case we need help,” Max said.

Alex didn’t seem to like the plan but finally nodded.

“Ok, let’s head out,” Jim said as him, Max, Tess, and Kyle went out the door.

Michael quickly pulled Maria in an embrace and kissed her hair. “Bring her back safe,” she whispered.

Hugging Alex, Isabel kissed his lips and said, “we’ll be back soon.”

“I know you will.”

Filing out, Michael climbed into the cruiser with Max and Valenti while Isabel climbed into Tess’s explorer. Pulling out of the driveway, they each went a different way, leaving Alex and Maria to stand in the doorway alone.
***

Feeling something run down her eye, Liz opened them, only to see black. Blinking, she tried to focus. Feeling like she was upside down, she tried to move. There was loud groan of metal and Liz suddenly remebered what happened.

The car had wrecked and she had been thrown onto the floor. Trying to move again, Liz knew she needed her hands free before she could do anything. Trying to breath, Liz looked away from the car seat and saw her hands weren’t too far away from the door.

Maybe, just maybe she could get it open. Straining, Liz pushed as hard as she could but she was still a few inches short of the handle. Grunting, she sighed, relaxing for a second. She had to get these handcuffs off.

Thinking about how she made the toilet flush earlier, Liz closed her eyes and tried to let all the energy build up inside her, careful to use only hers, not the babies.

She couldn’t do that again.

Hoping she had enough, Liz craned her neck until she could see the cuffs. Feeling a slight pain in her stomach, she sighed and continued to work on the cuffs. Imaging them falling off her wrist, she waited a few seconds to see if anything was gonna happen.

Nothing.

Ready to give up, Liz was about to turn away when there was click. Gasping, Liz pulled her hands apart, sighing in relief. Untangling herself from the floor, she sat still for a second, trying to calm down her breathing. Reaching up, she pulled her hand back down with blood over it; her head was bleeding.

There was another long groan and Liz looked around, seeing the front end of the car was wrapped around a huge tree. Freezing, Liz also so the body slumped into the steering wheel.

Trying to remain calm, Liz reached for the door handle, never taking her eyes of him. When the door didn’t budge, she pushed against it. It still wouldn’t open.

“No…” Trying the other door, Liz found it sealed shut too. Panicking, she quickly started to push on the windows, hoping one of them would break.

Realizing what she was doing was gonna cause noise, she stopped, breathing in short, shallow gasps. Knowing she only had one way out, Liz looked toward the front seat. The drivers’ side was smashed into the tree, knocking it onto the hood and across the windshield.

Seeing one of the tree branches had broken into the passenger side window, Liz knew she had to try to get out it. Glancing back at the ‘skin’ in the front, she saw he was still out cold.

Trying to keep quiet and go slow, Liz timidly started to climb over the seat, staying as far away from him as possible. Biting her lower lip, she shifted to get her lower body across, and not hit him or her stomach on the tree branch sticking in.

Almost there, Liz pushed through the window, hitting her back on some of the broken class still in the window. Willing herself still until the pain past, Liz dared another look over at her kidnapper.

He was still just lying there.

Shifting to fit her stomach through the window, Liz put her feet on the seat, pushing up while using her arms to pull her top half out of the car. Straining from the effort, Liz gripped onto the tree to balance herself as she finished her climb out.

Just as she was about to pull her legs out, Liz felt ice-cold fingers grip her ankles. Screaming, she kicked her feet, trying to make him let go. Feeling energy pulse around her, Liz knew he was about to blast her.

“No!!” she screamed, giving him one hard last kick, knocking herself off balance. His hands gripped her feet as Liz fell backwards, leaving him with only her shoes as she fell onto the ground.

Sobbing, Liz climbed to her knees and looked at the car, seeing his shadow moving around as he tried to get out.

With her heart pounding, Liz got to her legs shakily and looked around. With nowhere else to run, Liz took off for the woods, limping slightly from where he gripped her ankle too tight.

Her only hope to save her children was to reach the Indian reservation on the other side before he reached her.
***
TBC

PART 24
The only sound for miles was the sound of her hurried breaths and the crunching of leaves as she ran blindly through the woods. Looking over her should constantly, Liz realized she wasn’t getting very far.

Trying to keep in control, she pushed herself farther, ignoring the pain in her feet and ankles as she ran. Her whole body was covered in sweat by now and her skin was cut up by wayward tree branches.

Stopping to catch her breath, Liz pulled in a lung full of air and spun in a circle, trying to figure out which way to go. Running her dirty hands over her face, she wanted nothing more then to just break down and cry.

It’s what’s best…

Gasping, Liz spun around in a circle quickly, trying to find him. Panting, she backed up. Shaking her head, she sobbed silently. Placing a hand over her stomach, Liz started to run again.

You can’t out run me…I’m watching you.

Panting for breath, Liz kept going, barley keeping herself upright as she ran as fast as she could. “You’re not hurting them…” she sobbed. “I won’t let you!”

Still running, Liz could feel the stress slowing her down. Gasping, she pushed on, stopping only when she tripped and fell into a tree.

Still crying, she rubbed her stomach and said, “I won’t let him hurt you…no one’s gonna hurt you…” Pushing her back up against the tree, Liz froze when she heard a tree branch snap to her left.

With her heart pounding in her ears, Liz slowly looked, see nothing. Pressing back up against the tree, she waited, hoping he would give a clue to where he was. When nothing came, she realized she was gonna have to move on.

Going right, Liz walked around the tree and screamed, finding herself face to face with a dark figure.

“You really shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep,” he said, looking down at her stomach.”
***

“Do you see anything?!” Isabel called, coming back toward the middle of the tiny wooded area. Seeing Tess coming froward, she looked at her hopefully.

“Nothing,” Tess said finally.

“Kyle?!”

Seeing a slight movement to the left, Kyle emerged a second later. “This place is empty.”

Running a quick hand over her brow, Isabel nodded. “Ok, that’s our last spot. That only leaves Frazier Woods.”

“I guess we’re on our way,” Kyle said, starting to walk toward the car.

“I hope the guys are they already,” Tess said, getting behind the wheel. “It’s a hike.”

“Well, lets get going then.” Isabel looked out the passenger window and whispered, “we’re on our way Liz.”
***

Jumping out of the car, Max sprinted toward the junked-up Oldsmobile that was wrapped around a tree. “Liz!”

“Is she there?” Michael asked, going around to the other side.

Practically climbing through the window, Max saw the car was empty. “No…shit!”

“Liz!” Michael called out, walking toward the woods.

Max, noticing the blood on the backseat, paled and looked in the direction of the woods. “We split up. First one to find her gets the hell outtta dodge, got it?!”

“How will we keep in touch?” Valenti asked.

“Stick with Michael,” he instructed, taking off into the woods before they could argue. “Liz!!”
***

Pressing her back against the tree, Liz sobbed as he said, “you didn’t really expect to get away, did you?”

Not answering, she just looked at him. The sun had set by now and his features weren’t noticeable.

“You really pack a good punch,” he added, rubbing the back of his head. “Was that you or the little litter you’re carrying?” he asked while reaching out to the stomach.

Pushing his hand away strongly, Liz seethed, “don’t touch me.”

“So violent and rude…you’ll have to be taught a lesson.”

With wide eyes, Liz cried out and doubled over in pain, clutching her stomach. Fighting against the feeling to throw up, Liz managed to choke out, “stop…please.”

“See, that’s all I wanted,” he said, reducing the blow he was sending to her. “A little respect.”

Still weak from the blast, Liz slid down to the ground, crying as she held her stomach. “What do you want?” she finally asked.

Shaking his head, he started to pace. “Why, to kill the grand kings offspring’s, of course. I can’t just let the most powering royal line be born. 100% alien in human form?” Looking back at her, he added, “can’t let that happen.”

Confused, Liz mumbled, “100%…no, I’m—“

“Human?” he asked with a slight chuckle.

Hearing the sarcasm in his voice, Liz looked up. “I am.”

“You’re more alien then all of them combined,” he exclaimed, getting down in her face.

Seeing his eyes up close, Liz gasped, pulling back as far as she could. His eyes were pitch black, the coloring a vapor that was swirling around. Looking away, she glanced at his chest and froze.

It seemed like his whole body was full of the vapor, swirling its cold blackness all through him. She could see it just was well as his shirt and clothes.

Looking at himself, he smirked. “Oh…guess my cover is blown.”

Trying to remain calm, Liz held her sobs back. “How…”

“It’s my evil within,” he said casually. When she just stared at him, he added with frustration, “you will only know them by the evil within.”

Hearing that phrase, Liz’s mind suddenly clicked. That was the same thing Max and Isabel’s mother told them that fateful day at the pod chamber.

Looking back at him, Liz realized she was seeing his evil.

“You know, it’s no fun if I have to explain everything,” he added before standing back up. “I had hoped you’d remember something.”

Getting even more confused, Liz shook her head, no longer trying to hold her tears back. “No…no, I’m human. I have human parents.”

Sighing, he looked back at her. “If I must…did you know your mother was in a car accident before she had you?”

Liz remembered. That was what triggered her birth, making her be premature.

“Well, technically, the baby died.”

Looking up at him, Liz was even more confused. “No…I’m aliv—“

“You are not their daughter. You are an alien. How many times do I have to tell you? You lived before. On a planet far away? Do I have to go through the whole spiel?”

Shaking, Liz’s breath started to come in shallow gasps. She had no powers, no alien sides, nothing to make her believe this. “I don’t—I don’t believe you.”

“Do you not see through me? Alien power.”

“But…I wasn’t in a p-pod like the others or—“

“You were sent later. Put in your mothers body and born a human. And now you’re alien side is waking up.” Getting back in her face he added, “it took me forever to find you and I was almost too late. You know, Nasedo could have killed you. He would have killed the royal fours only hope of survival.”

Stand back up, he grinned. “But he didn’t—he failed where I won’t.”
***
TBC




posted on 1-Sep-2001 6:50:19 PM
PART 25
Getting out of Tess’s car, Isabel saw the cruiser was empty and the smashed up car too. Looking at the others, Isabel said, “ok, you two get right and I’ll go left.”

“Isabel, maybe we should stick together,” Tess said.

“No…we’ll cover more ground like this.”

“She’s right,” Kyle agreed. “Lets just go.”

Nodding, all three took of into the woods, all praying for the best.
***

Breathing deeply, Liz could feel herself starting to black out as he paced. She knew he was doing something to her but she couldn’t stop it.

Looking at her, he sighed and got down in front of her, slightly caressing her face. “You were as beautiful then as you are now,” he said softly. “Noble blood…you would have made a lovely wife. But you had to wait for him…”

“I don’t…please, stop this,” she begged.

“You and your brother lived on the palace grounds. You were being groomed for the life of being lady and he was soon to take over his fathers position of being the kinds second in command.”

With her mind slightly fuzzy, Liz tried to comprehend what he was telling her. “Brother…”

“You know him as Michael, I believe. He was older then you. The same age as the soon-to-be-king Zan and the lovely princess Vilandra. You were almost 2 years younger then them. Both you and Vilandra both shared the passion for knowledge and adventure. Best friends even through the age difference.”

“I know a few years is nothing down here but up there it was everything. Even at your young age you had tons of suitors vying for your hand.” Looking at her intensely, he added, “even I was one of them…”

Looking back, Liz said, “how long before I tossed you on your ass?”

Growling, he quickly hit her with a blast to the stomach. Screaming in pain, Liz dropped down on her side, gripping her stomach until he let up.

“Don’t you realize that you’re already dead? Why are you even fighting back?”

Too weak to even try to sit up, Liz just laid there. “He’ll find me…”

“Who? You’re precious little king? Do you really think he’ll make the same mistake again? It was because of you that the war broke out. It was because of you that they were all killed. It was even because of you that he was found out down here!”

Getting down in her face, he added, “Zan had it all. He was to become king on his 18th birthday, had a beautiful bride already lined up, a life of privilege all laid out for him. But then…then he fell for you…”

Swallowing, Liz couldn’t even push his hand away as he touched her face.

“He risked it all for a love that was forbidden. And look how it all ended. You still aren’t together like it was meant to be. That’s the thing with destinies; one little thing can wreck it all.”

“That life it was his duties to the crown and this time it’s me…I guess I should feel proud,” he added with a grin.

“Liz!!”

Max’s voice rung through the air and Liz’s eyes widen, her fear for him running through her whole body.

“Well, well, well; if it isn’t our noble hero. Guess I should go welcome him.”

“No…no…” Liz sobbed, too weak to anything else.

“Don’t worry, I won’t make you watch…I’m not that sadistic,” he said right before touching her head once more.

Feeling everything around her shift, Liz tried her best to keep her eyes on him, watching in horror as he simply disappeared, his body shimmering until it just was gone.

With a sigh, Liz closed her eyes, not being able to see anything anymore. With her last once of strength, Liz called out to Max and Michael before everything went black.
***

Max sagged against the tree, panting as he tried to force the pain as far back as possible. She was hurt, the babies were hurt; everything was hurting.

Straining to keep moving, Max pushed away from the tree and went right, feeling her pull. He walked for a few more minutes before he fell to his knees.

“Liz!!” he cried, a sharp pain overcoming his head. Gasping, he tried to breathe.

Max…

Her voice was in his head and Max closed his eyes, seeing her lying on the ground not moving. Then her stomach glowing as a shadow hovered nearby.

Then the pain was gone; everything he was feeling from her was gone. All he got was a feeling of lightness.

“No…no,” he said, straining to feel anything again. “No…Liz!!”

Getting up, he stumbled as he ran the way he had been heading earlier. He had to find her before it was too late.
***

Michael blinked his eyes, gasping as the flash overcame him in waves. She was there, lying on the ground as she fell deeper and deeper unconscious.

Max…Michael…

Leaning into a tree, Michael could see Max now, stumbling through the bushes as he frantically searched for Liz. The last thing he saw was Liz’s stomach, glowing slightly as a woman he didn’t recognize kneeled over her.

Coming out of the connection, Michael looked up to see the sheriff a few feet ahead, shining his flashlight around as he searched.

“Hey, Michael, can you feel anything from her now?” he asked.

Not getting an answer, Jim spun around. The other boy was no where to be seen. “Michael?”
***

Isabel stopped short, feeling a slight pull to go right. Looking around, she realized she was near the cave. Upping her pace, Isabel broke out into a run when she felt a charge in the air.
***

“How long have we been walking?” Kyle asked, looking his shoulder to Tess. She was still, her eyes closed and breathing deeply.

“Tess?” he asked.

Jarring her eyes open, she grabbed his hand. “This way,” she said, pulling him to the left. “She’s this way.”

“How do you know?” Kyle asked, trying to keep up.

“I can feel it,” Tess said simply, upping her pace even more.

Kyle not being able to se in the dark as good her, squinted to make her form out. “Tess, slow down; I can’t see you anymore!”

But it was too late, she was gone. Cursing, Kyle scoffed. “Great…Tess?!”
***

Looking down at Liz’s sleeping form, she smiled slightly, running a hand through her hair.

“It’s all gonna work out…” she whispered. “Fate doesn’t ever give up, no matter what’s thrown at it.”

Backing away slightly, she hoped the others had gotten the message. Liz had called Max and Michael on her own, but this was gonna take all of them.

Looking at the cave then back down at Liz, she knew she’d be ok here for now. Lightly touching her face, she smiled even more.

“You have to remember…this is the only way. Sleep tight honey bear.”

Then she was gone.
***
TBC

PART 26
**The sky was bright and sunny as she made her way toward the main palace. Closing her eyes for a brief second, Mera sighed and took a deep breath. She always felt a little intimidated when she went to visit Vilandra.

They had been friends for years, ever since they took class together when they were younger. But things had changed when they, and by they she meant Vilandra, Zan, and Rath, had turned 13. They had only 5 years to be prepared for their roles in life.

So they started to take special classes, leaving Mera alone in her studies.

Pushing those thoughts back, she smiled and walked up to the steps, entering the wide hallway. Heading straight for the living quarters, she made her way to Vilandra’s room.

Knocking, Mera waited a beat then walked in, seeing Vilandra sitting in front of her mirror.

“Hi Mera,” she said cheerfully, giving the younger girl a smile.

“Hi. You ready?” she asked, sitting down on the bed to watch the other girl prep.

Mera was best friends with Vilandra, but the differences in them were so many and so noticeable. While Vilandra was tall, blonde, confident, and 17 years old, Mera was shorter, brunette, slightly insecure, and only 16; just barley. Her birthday had been only last month.

“Have you had any more demands on your hand?” Vilandra asked with a smile as she stood up.

Shrugging, Mera sighed. She had just turned 16 and already had suitors' asking for her hand in marriage. Looking at Vilandra, she said with emotion, “I envy you. You’ve known your whole life that you were getting married. You didn’t have to worry about any of it.”

Turning away, Vilandra added, “and sometimes I envy you.”

“Me?” Mera asked.

Sighing, Vilandra sat back down. “Mera, you can marry and guy you want to. You can find the love of your life and be happy. Instead of being forced into a marriage with someone you care for but don’t necessarily love.”

Seeing her point, Mera just nodded. Vilandra was betrothed to her brother, Rath. They were to be married on his 18th birthday. Though they were friends, there was never anything more going on.

“Come. Lets get going,” Vilandra said suddenly, jumping up and grabbing her books.

Smiling, Mera joined her and they started down the hallway. Giggling, the two girls were about to go out the main doors when they were stopped.

“And where are you two going?”

Groaning inwardly, Mera turned to see her brother and Zan standing behind them.

Rath was tall and well, built, his frame made for fighting. And he often used that fact to his advantage. He had dark hair and eyes like herself, but Rath was more outspoken where Mera was not.

“We’re going to the library to study,” Vilandra said, answering Rath’s question.

“But the library is that way,” Zan said, pointing over his shoulder.

“We’re going to the public one,” Mera added.

“Do you have permission?” Rath asked, already not liking it.

“We do not need permission,” Mera replied.

“You may not, but Vilandra certainly does. She’s has a place in this city to uphold.”

Squaring her shoulders, Mera chose to put a brave front o her brothers’ comment. Rath was constantly reminding her of her ‘status’ in their lives. Second in command or not, he was still her brother.

“I am well aware of her position, Rath,” she finally responded.

“Mera, Rath was just asking so you would not get in trouble,” Zan added.

Mera knew that was not true, but still smiled as Zan none the less. He was always trying to make everyone happy.

“I know my brother and his reasons,” she said with a smile.

Zan smiled back and Mera could not stop the flush from forming on her cheeks. Though she did not think of him that way per say, Zan was strikingly handsome and noble. His dark hair and deep eyes had more then once caught her attention when they all used to be schooled together.

But it was no use. She was much too young for him and it was well known that Zan had a betrothed already waiting for him when he turned 18.

“Are you blushing, sister?” Rath suddenly asked, giving Mera a smirk.

Clearing her throat, Mera felt her face getting even redder. Zan was merely looking down, a slight smile on his face also. Turning to Rath, she said, “would you care to join us? I’m sure you can us all the extra study time you can get.”

Though she was nearly 2 years younger, Mera was well on her way to being just as smart and maybe even smarter then most if the older children. And it had been proven once before of her higher intelligence over Rath.

Vilandra, openly smiling, added, “yes Rath. Maybe Mera could even tutor you.”

Mera smiled smugly as Rath’s face hardened and Vilandra laughed. Zan, trying to be nice, was holding his back.

“Mera, are you wearing heels? You almost reach my chest today,” Rath said back.

Crossing her arms, Mera lifted her chin and added, “at least I can spell chest.”

Knowing that Rath could very well spell it too, Mera still said it. She needed some kind of come back. Seeing the familiar smirk on his face and glint in his eyes, Mera squealed out as Rath rushed forward and threw her over his shoulder.

“Say you're short,” he told her.

“No,” she responded, grabbing on the back of his shirt so she wouldn’t fall. She could hear Vilandra laughing behind her.

“Say it.”

“I will not.”

Suddenly Rath started to tickle the back of her knees and Mera let out a squeal of half delight and half torture. “Stop it!”

“Not until you admit to being short!” Rath said back.

Near tears from laughing, Mera called out, “Vilandra,” through her giggles.

“I was just waiting for an invitation,” Vilandra said, coming over to tickle Rath’s side.

Focusing on Vilandra, Rath let his grip on Mera slip some and she could feel herself starting to fall. Loosing her grip, she closed her eyes, expecting to feel the hard floor any second. But instead she was being pulled upward fast, the sudden change making her hold her breath.

Looking up, she found herself face to face with Zan, her small body cradled in his arms. Feeling her face get a deep red, she couldn’t help but stare.

“Are you alright?” Zan asked, his deep voice low.

Nodding, Mera still couldn’t find any words to say. His strong arms held her so easily and Mera realized for the first time how well built he was.

Hearing laughter in the background, Mera realized where they were. Looking at her brother, she saw he and Vilandra were too engulfed in their play fighting to notice her and Zan.

“Children!”

Hearing the slight upset but still friendly voice, Zan quickly sat Mera back down and Rath let Vilandra go. Trying to look dignified, all 4 teenagers got quiet and stood up straight.

“What was all that noise?” Kayla asked.

Seeing Vilandra and Zan’s mother, Mera smiled. She was so beautiful, nice, and fair; she was perfect a queen.

“We were just talking, mother,” Zan said.

Smiling, she added, “well, maybe we could do it in a more quiet way next time."

“Yes mother,” Vilandra said.

Smiling, Kayla looked at Mera. “Mera. I’ve missed you lately. My, you look so lovely…just like your mother.”

Smiling, Mera said, “thank you, miss.” There was a slight pause after that and Mera could not help but think of her mother. She had never got to meet her; she died when Mera was still a baby, but people told her constantly that she was growing to look more and more like her each day.

Mera’s mother was well known in the land for her beauty. She was said to be more beautiful then Kayla.

“And where are you two off to?” she asked, looking at Vilandra and Mera in turn.

“We were heading toward the library,” Vilandra said. “Father told us it was alright.”

“Of course. I just worry about you young girls going out of the walls all alone,” her mother responded. Casting a quick look at Rath and Zan, she added, “maybe your brothers would like to escort you.”

Mera could see Rath didn’t want to, but Zan smiled and replied, “of course mother.”

Smiling, Kayla kissed his forehead and then Vilandra’s before saying, “my kingdom will be safe in your hands.” Then she was gone.

“Must we always do everything together?” Vilandra asked her brother before turning to go out the door.

“I second that,” Rath muttered.

Smiling, Mera simply turned and walked out the door with Vilandra. She wasn’t too happy about Rath joining them, but if he was unhappy it was worth it.

Rath, crossing his arms, turning to Zan and added, “you could have declined.”

Smiling, Zan said, “we can make the most of it,” as he glanced at Mera and started out the doors also.

Scoffing, Rath mocked Zan before following.**
***

Trying to find his way through the bushes, Kyle sighed and kicked one. Turning around, he saw a slight up ahead. Trying to decided if it was good person or bad, he figured the evil ‘skins’ weren’t gonna be waving them down.

Walking closer, Kyle sighed when he saw his father. “Dad!”

Jumping, Jim Valenti flashed his light right in Kyle’s face.

“Whoa—son here.”

“Oh,” pulling his light away, Jim added, “sorry Kyle.”

“It’s ok.” Looking around, Kyle asked, “you seen anyone else.”

“Not a damn one of ‘em. Michael was supposed to keep near by but he took off suddenly.”

“Tess did the same thing,” Kyle added. Looking at his dad, he added, “I think we’re missing it.”

“Well, if we knew where it was we could go and help,” Jim replied, starting to walk again.

Shaking his head, Kyle muttered, “this is ridiculous. I mean, you’re a cop and I’m a cop’s son. And here we are, not even being able to find 4 teenagers in the woo—“

“Kyle, I know where we are,” Jim said suddenly.

“Where?”

“We’re heading toward that cave again.”

Thinking back, Kyle asked, “from the camping trip.”

“Yeah…come on.” Following his fathers’ lead, Kyle took off toward the cave.
***

Tess had been running for a long time before she saw or heard anyone. Stopping, she tried to catch her breath and find out if it was friend on foe. She had been following them for a few minutes now.

Hearing a branch break behind her, Tess spun around quickly to find Isabel there, a slight smile on her face.

“Isabel!”

“I always seemed to get followed in these woods.”

Not getting the inside joke, Tess simply asked, “anything?”

Her face falling, Isabel shook her head. “But I felt something—“

“Me too,” Tess said quickly.

Thinking about it a second, Isabel asked, “do you remember the cave we told you about?” When Tess nodded she added, “we’re close to it. About 20 more minutes away. I think Liz is there.”

“Would she go there?”

“If she needed somewhere to hide. Come on, I can take us there,” Isabel added as they started to walk again.

“What about the guys?”

“If I know Max and Michael, they’re already there or a lot closer then us,” Isabel said over her shoulder.
***

Max was panting hard by the time the cave came into view. Rounding the last tree, he nearly broke down in sobs when he saw her limp body just lying on the ground beside the entrance.

“Liz,” he exclaimed, rushing over to her and pulling her light body into his arms. Her head was bleeding and she was bruised and dirty, but Max never been more happy to see her in whole life.

“Max,” looking up, he saw Michael running up, his face full of fear. “Oh my god, is she ok?”

“She’s breathing,” Max said. With trembling hands, he pushed her hair back off her face and placed a kiss on her cheek. Then he placed a hand on her stomach, reveling in the thought of his babies being in the womb.

“No…” he whispered.

“What?” Michael quickly asked.

“I can’t…” Panicking, Max tried to open a connection but he wasn’t getting anything. “No—I can’t feel them!”

“Let me try,” Michael said, placing his hand on her stomach also. Max’s heart was beating on double time as Michael sat still, his eyes closed.

“I can’t either…”

“No…” Trying to form one with Liz and the babies, Max was still not getting anything. “No!! They’re not dead!!” Crying, he hugged her body close. “No…”

“Max…” Michael whispered.

Not looking up, Max ignored him as he held Liz in his arms.

“Max,” Michael repeated, a little louder this time.

Finally looking up, Max followed Michael’s eye line and froze, not believe what he saw in front of him.

“Hello Max…”

“Max, who is that?” Michael asked in barley controlled anger. “I saw her over Liz in a vision.”

Looking back down at Liz then back up, Max said, “she’s not gonna hurt us…”

“How do you know?”

“Because…she’s Liz’s grandmother,” Max said finally.
***
TBC

PART 27
Michael looked at the women, his shock evident all over his face. “Max, I thought she died,” he said finally, never looking away.

“She did,” Max said back.

“Are you sure?”

“I was there,” Max added, still looking at woman.

“Well…I think you missed something,” Michael replied, moving a little to try and protect Liz.

Claudia Parker smiled, looking at them both before focusing on Max. “Hello again Max.”

“Ms. Parker,” Max said finally, a little unsure.

“Please, call me Corala. That is my true name.”

“True name?” Michael asked.

“Yes. I’m not from around here.”

“Is she ok?” Max asked, pulling Liz closer.

“She’s fine…just asleep,” Corala said, smiling down at Liz.

“How-how…what exactly are you?” Michael got out finally.

“I was sent here with Mera to protect her. I took on this role to keep close,” she added.

Max, looking from Liz up to Corala, finally said, “she’s not human…”

“What?!” Michael exclaimed, looking down at Liz too before back up at the other woman.

Smiling, she got down near Liz and placed a hand on Liz. “Liz is very special…but we didn’t realize it until it was too late. I was sent by your mother, “ she added, quickly glancing at Max before continuing, “to bring her to you.”

Max looked down at Liz, a mixture of shock and happiness all over his face. “She’s meant to be with me…isn’t she?”

Nodding, Corala went on with the story. “Mera is the key…I had to hide her; keep her safe. I came across a couple in a car wreck. The woman had lost her baby and it knew that was my chance; that she would be safe with them until she came into her true self.”

“You switched Liz with Nancy Parker’s baby?” Michael asked.

“Yes.”

Trying to take all that in, Max was lest in shock. Liz was an alien? Liz was his?!

Liz was his!!

Hearing a branch break behind him, Max and Michael both spun. Scooping Liz into his arms, Max said to Michael, “we have to go.”

“No, you can’t,” Corala said. “The others are coming.”

“If we don’t Leave Liz could get hurt,” Max threw back.

“You need everyone to defeat him.”

“Right now we need to get Liz to safety,” Michael said.

Nodding, Max stood up and started away with Liz, Michael right behind him.

Watching, Corala fretted. This was not how it had to happen. They all had to be together. Looking around, Corala sighed and closed her eyes, disappearing a few seconds later.
***

**Mera laughed as Vilandra took off running, sprinting down the slight hill toward the min gate. Trying to keep up with her, Mera started to run too, hearing Rath and Zan not too far behind.

Mera could see Rath easily gaining on her. Pushing harder, she smiled as she saw the gate up ahead. With her long legs, Vilandra was already there, smiling smugly in her victory.

Crying out in delight, Mera was next, with Rath and Zan only a second behind. She still beat them. Her and Vilandra laughed, watching as the guys tried to catch their breath.

“Cheaters…” Rath said softly.

“We won fair and square,” Vilandra declared, smiling as she walked over to gate and waited for it to be opened.

“I even beat you with my short legs,” Mera added, smirking at her brother.

Zan softly laughed and Rath hit his arm, signaling him to stop, but Zan only smiled more. Shaking her head, Mera walked out of the palace gates with Vilandra, Rath and Zan following a few steps behind.

The walk to town was short and quiet. Mera and Vilandra smiled and talked quietly while Rath and Zan were silent. As they were going through the town, Mera noticed some of the young men smiling her way.

Smiling back, she watched as they frowned a beat later, scurrying off quickly. Hurt, she was about to stop responding at all when Vilandra softly elbowed her. Looking, Mera saw Vilandra was looking behind them from the corner of her eye.

Casting a quick look, Mera saw Rath stare down another guy who was about to come up and bid the girls’ hello. Furious, Mera was about to say something when she noticed they were at the library.

Settling on just giving him a glare, Mera was about to open the door when Zan stepped up quickly and did it, holding it wide her.

“Such a gentleman,” Vilandra cooed, playfully pinching his cheek as she walked in.

Swatting her hand away, Zan’s face got a little red. Smiling, Mera walked in, saying, “thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Zan replied.

She was through the door when she heard Rath say, “you’re taking this noble king thing too far.”

Smiling, Mera walked further in.**
***

**“He has no right to act that way,” Mera insisted, shutting her book with a hint of frustration. “Do you know he has sat in on every one of my talks with any guy?”

Looking around the room, Mera could see she was drawing attention to herself. She saw a few young men smile at her and she smiled back, hoping Rath saw that.

“He’s just trying to look after you,” Vilandra added. “It’s kind of sweet.”

“It’s not sweet. It belittling. I’m surprised he even lets me talk to Zan.”

“Rath knows you can’t have any kind of relationship with Zan,” Vilandra added.

Her face falling some, Mera looked down to hide her disappointment. “Yes, well…it’s still not my cup of tea.”

“Did you hear father was taking Zan and Rath with him to Vesure?” Vilandra suddenly asked, trying to change the subject.

“Yes…Rath was gloating about it all morning,” Mera said with disdain.

“It’s not fair. Zan gets to do all the fun things while I learn how to greet quest properly.”

“I agree. Rath may be the heir to father’s position, but I’m still his daughter. I get to do nothing while Rath does everything.”

Smiling, Vilandra shut her book and leaned closer to Mera. “Want to know a secret?”

“Yes,” Mera said eagerly, leaning froward too.

“I’ve been having Josey give me fighting lessons.”

“What? How?” Mera exclaimed.

Smiling, Vilandra said smugly, “if I am to be a warrior’s wife I should at least know who to defend myself.”

Giggling, Mera added, “your father would be so upset if he found out.”

”Which is why he won’t. Josey said he would keep it confidential.”
Sighing, Mera shook her had and finally went back to her studying.**
***

**Zan peeked over top the shelf and watched as Mera slammed her book, saying something to his sister with emotion. He noticed her smiling a second later, looking in the direction of a young man.

Looking away quickly, Zan could feel his face getting red. Waiting a few seconds, he looked to see where Rath was. Seeing him a few rows down, prowling through some fiction books, Zan turned his attentions back to Mera.

Her and Vilandra were giggling about something, leaning in and speaking in hushed tones. Watching for a few more minutes, Zan jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

Spinning, he saw Rath right behind him. “Rath…”

“What are you watching?” Glancing toward the girls, Zan saw Rath’s face harden.

Looking himself, Zan watched with disbelief as the guy from earlier walked up to the girls. Looking away with sadness, Zan suddenly realized Rath was gone.

Looking back over at Mera, Zan sighed when he saw Rath was with them. Making his way over, he stood of to the side.

“We were just leaving,” Rath told the guy, his voice harsh with commands. “So you should bid your goodbye.”

Zan could see Mera taking in a deep breath as she regarded Rath. “You have to excuse my brother. He does not know how to mind his manners.” Smiling, she looked over at the other guy. “It was nice to meet you.”

“You too miss,” he added with a slight bow. “Princess Vilandra,” he added before walking off.

Grabbing up her books, Mera looked to Vilandra and said, “I am quite done. What about you?”

“Yes,” she replied, getting her books too. “It’s gotten cold in here,” Vilandra added with a glance at Rath.

Without another word, Mera and Vilandra left.

“I don’t get her,” Rath mumbled.

Sighing, Zan said, “I think Mera is upset with you…she thinks you’re controlling her life,” he added.

Looking at him, Rath said, “I don’t want her to marry someone who doesn’t deserve her.”

Shocked, Zan asked, “she has suitors?”

Scoffing, Rath added, “she has many.”

Looking down a beat, Zan couldn’t help but feel sad. He knew he could never be with Mera like that, but he had always prided himself on the knowledge that he was the only guy, besides her brother, that was close to her.

“We should go,” Zan said finally, guiding Rath out the doors. He wanted to catch up with Mera.**
***
TBC

PART 28
Max sighed, pulling Liz closer to his body as Michael cursed.

“She’s doing this,” he exclaimed. “That woman is making us go around in circles!”

Looking at the cave, Max knew Michael was more then likely right.

“Why the hell is she doing this?!” Michael asked, looking up toward the sky.

“I don’t care why, I just want it to stop—we have to get Liz out of here,” Max said in a loud voice, hoping she would hear.

When nothing happened, Michael raked a hand through his hair and sighed. “Ok…what if we meet the others half way?! Huh?”

Hearing a branch break behind him, Max spun around, peering into the dark.

“Did you—“

“Yeah,” Max answered, cutting Michael off.

There was a slight wind and Max could feel the goosbumps forming on Liz’s body. The air in the area shifted and Max could feel this…feeling…of hostility roll over him.

“Max…someone’s out there…” Michael said softly, coming up to stand right beside him.

Nodding, Max looked down at Liz in his arms. He had to get her out of here soon.

And the sooner the better.
***

**Mera walked briskly down the sidewalk beside Vilandra, too upset with Rath to even bicker with him. He had no right to control her life. He was not her father or mother.

She didn’t care who he was going to be—he was still just her brother and needed to let her live her own life.

She could feel him behind her and knew every time a guy even looked at her that he was turning them away with one of his glares. Upping her pace, she held her head high and waited for another suitor to walk by.

Seeing a young man up ahead looking her way, Mera smiled fondly, waiting to see his reaction. When he smiled back, Mera looked away coyly, sneaking a peak at Rath.

But what she saw was even more shocking.

Zan was staring him down too, looking even more upset then Rath. Quickly looking back ahead, Mera watched as the boy ran off rather fast. She assumed anyone would run away if the future king glared at him or her like it was their death day!

Trying to rationalize Zan’s actions, Mera told herself that Rath must have inlisted Zan in his attempts to rule her life.

Yes, that’s all it was. Even though Zan almost looked…jealous.

Shaking her head, Mera reminded herself that Zan was to be married in a few months. His bride was already picked and she was being groomed for her life as a queen.

And she wasn’t interested in Zan that way. He was like another older brother; except she actually got along with him.

And even if she wanted to be with him like that, it was impossible. She was only 16 and Zan was to be 18 soon. She was much too young for him. And not of royal blood.

“Mera…what are you thinking?”

“What?” she asked quickly, glancing at her best friend.

“What are you thinking about?” Vilandra repeated.

With a red face, Mera looked down and mumbled, “just my studies.”

Nudging her arm, Vilandra joked, “if that is all you think of, then Rath may not be needed to push your suitors away.”

Smiling, Mera nudged her back and both girls laughed. Nearing the palace grounds, Mera looked ahead and sighed. It was a privilege to live within the walls, but sometimes it felt like living in a prison.

On rare occasions did she dare to go out the gates and not many were let in. Her list of friends revolved around Vilandra, Zan, and Rath. And it would only be a matter of time before she lost them; they had already been separated from being schooled together.

Entering the gates, she cast one last look outside before the loud clang could be heard as they were sealed shut once more. Turning back around, Mera froze when she saw Zan looking at her. It was as if he was trying to figure out what she was thinking.

Holding is stare for a beat, Mera was disappointed when he finally looked away and started toward the palace.

Sighing, she trudged along last. Why she even getting her hopes up.

There was no possible way that Zan had feelings for her.**
***

**The evening was dull and lifeless as Zan left the dining room, wondering around the palace halls. Vilandra was in her room; more then likely doing her hair or make-up and Rath was out getting some training.

Wondering toward their library, Zan thought back on the events of the day. He knew Mera caught him watching her, but he was finding it more and more harder not to.

There was something about her that made his stomach flutter and his heart beat one double time. His palms would sweat and his brain would stop working.

And her beauty was astounding to him. Mera was so lovely, yet she seemed oblivious to it. She would constantly shy away from attention, much rather to bury her nose in a book then be paraded around like a trophy.

And he admired her for that. He wished sometimes he could just get away like she did. But he was constantly being pushed into the spotlight. It was like suffocation to him.

He tried to explain it to Vilandra one day, but she didn’t understand. She liked the life of privilege. He suspected that she loved all of it, except for the marriage to Rath. And Rath…he took it all in and just did it. To him it had to be done so he was gonna do it and not gripe.

Mera was the only one who would understand.

Reaching the library doors, Zan was about to go in when he heard another door open. Looking away, he saw the door to their old classroom shutting.

Wondering whom would being in there this late, Zan walked over and quietly opened the door. Walking in he froze, seeing Mera’s back as she sat in one of the chairs.**
***

**Tracing her hand over the name carved in the wood, Mera remembered exactly when it had been done. Rath and Vilandra had been fighting over the seats so Zan decided that they would each carve a name in the seat they were in, marking it as theirs.

Looking up at the blackboard, Mera couldn’t help but let out a sigh. She missed the simpler times when they all were kids and not future kings, or princess, or warriors; just themselves.

Or kings already betrothed…

Mera couldn’t help but look down in regret after what she had heard that night at diner. Zan’s future wife was coming to visit soon. Her name was Ava and she was reportedly very beautiful.

Hearing a floor board creek behind her, Mera spun around in her seat to see Zan standing near the door. Looking away quickly she berated herself for acting this way.

“Are you alright?” he asked finally.

Sighing, Mera gave him a slight smile and said, “yes…just remembering old times,” before standing up.

“Your seat,” he said with a grin. “You always had to sit up front.”

“And you liked to hide in the back,” she added, pointing to his seat.

Both chuckling, Mera smiled as she remembered something. “Rath would always throw paper in my hair during class and I remember you would always come to me afterward and tell me,” she said softly. “I would always forget one and you would say, ‘you missed you’ and get it out for me…”

Realizing what she just admitted, Mera looked down and added, “you probably think I’m foolish for remembering something so mundane like that.”

“No…I don’t.” Zan said simply. He was looking at her intensely again and he walked a few feet closer.

“I--…I heard from Rath that you were to be called by your title from now on.”

Stopping, he seemed uncomfortable suddenly. Smiling, Mera added, “should I bowel in your presence now, your highness?”

“Please don’t,” he said with a slight grin. “I already had enough of that from Rath. He loved it.”

“Yes, well, Rath…he would bowel before I would. I know too much about you to see you as king.”

Smiling, Zan took a few more steps until he was in front of her. “Do tell…what all do you know about me?”

Feeling her heart speed up, Mera couldn’t look away. His eyes were so deep and forthcoming; it was like she knew everything about him from that one look.

“What do you know about me?” she questioned.

“More then you know,” he whispered. “What do you know about me?” Zan asked again.

“More then I should,” Mera finally said. “But I know the most important part.”

“And what is that?”

Looking away, she added, “that you are betrothed to another.” Giving him one last look, Mera walked past him, intending to walk out the door but Zan stopped her.

“Don’t go,” he said, placing a hand on her arm. Walking around to stand in front of her once more, Zan pushed a strain of hair behind her ear before saying, “does the fact that you have suitors make your feelings for me less?”

“No…” Mera finally whispered.

“And my being betrothed does nothing to my feelings toward you,” he replied.

Looking up at him, Mera was once again lost in his eyes. “This is forbidden,” she managed to get out before his arms circled around her waist, cutting off any further arguments.

“I do not care,” Zan said, looking deep into her eyes before placing his lips over hers.

Feeling his lips tenderly touch hers, Mera melted into him, placing her hands on his arms to balance herself. As he pulled her close, she sighed, wrapping her arms around his neck to be even closer.**
***

**It had been a month since their first kiss. Mera and Zan continued to meet in secret, telling no one for fear that they would be forced apart. The more time she spent with him, the deeper Mera fell in love with him.

She had yet been able to actually tell him. And today just made it worse.

Ava, Zan’s soon to be bride, had come to visit. It was their first meeting and Zan had not been able to meet her that day.

Everyone had been talking about how beautiful she was and Mera was almost convinced that Zan would take one look at Ava and completely forget about her. Mera had seen the girl when she had arrived.

She had sparking blue eyes and bouncy blonde hair—the complete opposite of herself. Rath made a comment about how perfect she looked for Zan and Mera lost it, saying she had leave.

She had escaped away all day, just walking around the palace grounds, trying to stay as far away as possible. How was she going to handle his wedding if their first meeting nearly broke her heart?

Looking up at the rising moon, Mera sighed, wrapping her arms around herself. Ava had left hours ago but she was still outside. She didn’t feel like seeing anybody yet.

“I’ve been looking for you all day.”

Hearing Zan’s voice, Mera spun around, giving him a sad smile. “I guess you found me.”

Seeing her upset expression, he walked over quickly, pulling her close.

“She’s very lovely,” Mera whispered after a few minutes.

“She’s nothing compared to you,” Zan replied, stroking her hair.

Resting her cheek over his heart, Mera added, “I guess I have to get used to you with her…”

There was a pause then Zan said, “it’s not easy…I watch all your suitors come around and I…” he trailed off, simply hugging her closer.

“I don’t want them, I want you,” Mera whispered with emotion.

“I know…” Placing his thumb on her chin, Zan turned her face up to his before lightly kissing her on the lips. “I want you too.”

Deepening the kiss, Mera let all of her worries fly away; if only for a little bit.**
***
TBC

PART 29
**Zan rushed toward the house, hoping to find Mera there. Knocking on the door, he was about to knock again when the door opened, showing Rath.

“Zan?” he asked, confused on why he was there.

“Um…I was just—“

“I need to speak to you,” Rath said suddenly, ushering him into the house. “I know tomorrow is your wedding day.”

Hearing those words, Zan cringed.

“But I need your help. Mera is—“

“Mera?” Zan asked, giving Rath his whole attention.

“She’s upset. Father is making her—“

Without waiting for the rest, Zan rushed back outside, knowing where to find his love. If Mera were upset she would be down by the reflection pool. Nearing the water, Zan finally spotted her, sitting near the bank staring into the pond.

“Father told me tonight of his decisions regarding my marriage,” Mera said, her voice dull and lifeless as she continued to look downward. “I am to be wed in one month to a man of his picking.”

Sinking down to his knees beside her, Zan couldn’t find any words to express his complete heartache at the thought of someone else being married to her.

“I don’t…I don’t want to marry anyone else,” Mera finally said, her voice over-come with emotions as she started to cry. Looking up at Zan, she added, “I want to marry you.”

Pulling her close, Zan added, “I want to marry you too.”

Hugging his chest, Mera placed her cheek over his heart, listening to it beat. “I would be your queen and we could be together forever… We would be one in every aspect,” she whispered.

Closing his eyes, Zan added, “I love you more then anything…I will always.”

“And I you…I will love you always,” Mera said back, looking into his eyes before kissing him. Their kiss lingered on longer then normal and deepened. It was as if they were both trying to hang on to the moment for as long as possible. Pulling away finally, Mera watched as Zan stood up, looking down at her with hooded eyes. She could feel the blood pumping through her veins as he held his hand out, waiting for her answer.

Knowing the question, Mera took his hand, letting him pull her up. Kissing once more, she closed her eyes as he moved his lips down to her neck, ever so softly kissing a way back up to her ear before pulling away, leading her toward the palace.**
***

**The sky was full of smoke and cries of pain and sorrow as Mera raced toward the palace gates. She could hear her husband calling out for her, but she never stopped.

She had to reach him; tell him who was causing all this.

There was crowd outside the gates, looking at the palace with wide eyes. Looking too, Mera screamed out when she saw the flames. Pushing her way to the front, she tried to maneuver through the mourning families of the soldiers who were off to battle.

Death was all around them and Mera knew who was behind it.

Reaching the gates, she pushed against them, trying to get in. she had to warn them; had to save them. Looking over her shoulder, Mera saw Merck, her husband, coming up. Dashing to the right, she crawled through the whole she knew of. Rath had put it there years back as a way for him and Zan to sneak out when they needed some time away.

She and Vilandra came across it one day too.

Getting her dress caught on the over hanging gates, Mera grunted and could hear ripping as she got up, running toward the palace. Reaching the doors, she pulled them open and recoiled as she hit with a wave of smoke.

“Zan!” she screamed, dashing inside and toward the war room—she knew him and Rath would be there. Everything went into slow motion as she passed people running for the exits and screaming about a traitor.

Pushing further into the burning building, Mera’s eyes were watering. Seeing the room she searched for up ahead, she felt a burst of energy and ran through them.

Moaning, she nearly broke down right then and there when she saw her, the queen, Ava, laying on the floor her neck at an impossible angle. He had been here.

Khivar had beaten her.

Seeing another body, Mera shook her head and started to cry. “No…no…” Her brother Rath was a few feet away, his chest raw from where he had been hit. Going to his side, Mera sobbed, kissing her palm and placing it on his cold cheek before getting back up.

Backing away, Mera’s sobs got worse and she rounded the corner and saw Vilandra. She was lying on a table, her eyes unseeing as she stared up toward the ceiling.

“Vilandra…” Walking over to the girl, Mera reached out with shaky hands and shut her eyes. Nearing all she could take, Mera placed a hand over her mouth and back out of the room.

She had to find Zan…

Running back into the hallway, Mera saw Miss Kayla running for the war room.

“No, miss!”

“My children,” she sobbed. “Are they…”

Crying, Mera hugged the older lady. “Vilandra…I have yet to find Zan…”

“Who would do such a thing?!”

Pulling away, Mera looked into her eyes and answered, “it was Khivar…he had this planned all along.”

Paling, Kayla started to drift closer and closer to the ground, leaning on Mera.

“Mera!” Looking up, Mera saw Merck running toward her. “We have to leave—“

“No! I must find Zan!”

“Mera—“

Helping Kayla up, Mera told her husband, “take Miss Kayla and see she gets out to safety.” Then she took off, running through the smoke for Zan’s living quarters.

Reaching them, she opened the door to find the room completely filled with smoke. “Zan!!” Not hearing anything, she yelled again. Taking a deep breath, she rushed into the room, trying blindly to find the window. Feeling the glass, she quickly pushed it open, glass shattering as she forced it.

Letting clean air in, the room cleared some and Mera could see the blood on the floor. Gasping, she followed it around the bed and screamed out, seeing Zan lying on the floor with a bloody chest.

“No! No!!” Rushing to his side, Mera heard him give a rough cough, signaling he was still alive. “Zan!”

Opening his eyes, he looked up at her, wincing in pain. “M-Mera…”

“Yes, Mera. Come on, we have to get you out of here,” she sobbed.

“No…he’ll be back to—“

“No!” Mera cried, not letting him finish the sentence. “I am not letting you die!”

Closing his eyes, Zan whispered, “I always loved you…all these years…”

“And you will. For many more years to come,” Mera insisted, her tears making her voice crack. “We’ll be together forever and always be in love.”

“Forever,” he repeated.

Taking his hand, Mera nodded, adding, “yes.” Trying to help him up, Mera could feel the life literally draining out of him. “Please…Zan,” she sobbed. “I need you!”

Opening his eyes on last time, Zan added, “always,” before he stopped trying to get up.

“No…no…” Crying, Mera placed her hand over his wound, trying to stop the blood from flowing. “No!! You can’t leave me!! I love you…no…”

Placing her head in his shoulder, Mera broke down in sobs, refusing to leave his body as the flames got closer and closer.**
***

Max placed his free hand up, ready to attack along with Michael when Isabel and Tess broke through the bushes, calling out for them to not shoot.

“Isabel?”

“Max! Thank god, Liz! Is she ok?” Isabel demanded, rushing over along with Tess.

“She’s—“

Suddenly there was a pulse in the air and Michael was thrown back into the wall when a bright light connected with his chest.

Isabel and Tess both screamed as Max threw his hand out, making a bright green, pulsing, wall appear between them and the area the attack came from.

Concentrating on his power, Max could only hear Isabel and Tess behind him as they check on Michael. Sinking down to his knees, Max cradled Liz in his lap as he held the wall up.

“Who’s shooting at us?!” Isabel screamed.

“He’s invisible,” Tess added as a ball of energy just formed in the air and hurled at them.

It hit the field and Max winced, the light flickering a second. “How’s Michael?!” he got out.

“He’s fine,” came Michael’s voice, wincing some as he crawled toward Max. “Max—“

“Take Liz,” he breathed out. “I’ll keep him here—“

“No!” Isabel exclaimed. “We’re not letting you fight him alone!”

“Liz is defenseless!! She needs to get out of here!!” Max was getting weaker and weaker as the seconds passed.

“Tess!! Liz!!” Everyone looked up to see Kyle and Valenti rushing toward them. They both stopped as they hit the green wall, not being able to pass through.

“I got a shot! Drop it!!” Michael screamed.

Hoping he was right, Max winced and pulled the power back, covering up Liz as Michael let a blast of energy fly in the air. A second later there was crackle and blue sparks sparked then nothing; everything was quiet.

“Max…” Isabel breathed.

Breathing hard, Max looked up too see Kyle embracing Tess and Valenti helping Isabel up.

“Take Liz and get her out of here,” he told Kyle, pulling Liz up some.

Nodding, Kyle came over and took Liz, looking Max in the eyes and saying, “I won’t let anything happen to her.”

“Go with him,” Michael instructed Tess.

“But—“

“I said go,” Michael exclaimed. “Nothing happens to her.”

Finally nodding, Max watched as Tess and Kyle took off through the woods.

“Come on,” Valenti said, pulling out his gun and cocking it, looking toward the spot the sparks came from.

“Is he…is he even there?” Isabel asked.

“One way to find out,” Michael said.

All four of them walking froward, Max and Michael both held their hands out in preparation.
***

Tess and Kyle both huffed as they raced back toward the cars, trying their best to hurry.

Feeling her head tingle some, Tess stopped. “Kyle,” she whispered, gripping his arm.

Stopping, he tried to catch his breath as he said, “what?”

Closing her eyes, Tess reached out with her mind and felt a linger of energy in the area. It was cold and black. “He’s here…”

“What?!” Kyle exclaimed, spinning around.

Breathing deep, Tess motioned him to stop as she did a warp, hiding them from anyone’s eyes.

Hearing a tree branch break, Tess could hear Kyle’s soft curses, realizing the ‘skin’ was right beside them. She could hear him walking a circle around them.

Hearing a soft moan, Tess strained to keep the warp going as Liz started to wake up. Wincing as she gripped her head, Tess nearly passed out as she finally left the other presence leave.

Sighing, she slumped toward Kyle’s arm as she let the warp up.

“Is he gone?” Kyle asked.

“For now..” Tess said, straining to keep upright.

“Tess?”

“I’m fine,” she said quickly. “Is Liz…”

Liz was moving her head from side to side, her eyes stilled sealed shut. “She’s waking up,” Kyle added.

“Good…” Looking around, Tess said, “we should get moving.”

Casting one last look around, Tess and Kyle started walking again.
***

Waving their hands over the entire area where Michael had blasted, the three aliens were getting nothing.

“He’s not there,” Michael said. “Here’s gone…”

Looking around, Isabel gasped. “Oh god…he could be anywhere!”

Everyone spun to look a different way, their backs touching.

“Do—do you think he went after Liz?” Valenti finally asked.

Feeling a cold blast run over his arms, Max threw up his hand just in time to have it encounter a chest. A bright blew light flew out of his palm, outlining a body as it convulsed.

The sizzling if flesh filled the air and Isabel cringed while Michael simply watched. The body finally drifted away, the light stopping as Max pulled it his back, weak from the power blast.

“Is he…” Valenti asked, his face full of shock.

“No…not by a long shot,” Max whispered. “He’s not a skin.”

“Then what is he?” Isabel asked, her voice high.

“100% pure alien hunter…and he’s after my children,” Max said with venom as he started toward the way Kyle and Tess had taken Liz.
***
TBC

PART 30
Seeing an opening in the clearing, Kyle upped his pace. “We’re almost there!”

Nodding, Tess was quiet as they went into the clearing, heading toward her car. Feeling the tingle at the back of her neck again, Tess leaned against the car for support as she closed her eyes.

“Tess?” Kyle exclaimed, putting Liz on the backseat. “Get in!”

Taking a deep breath, Tess opened her eyes and climbed into the passenger seat, letting Kyle drive. Jumping in, Kyle turned the key and gunned the engine, pulling out in a cloud of dust. “Whoa-hew! Beat his ass!”

Seeing Tess was still quiet, Kyle looked at her and asked, “Tess…we kicked ass, right?’

Opening her eyes, Tess looked at him. “He’s not gonna stop…not till Liz is dead.”

Glancing in the rear-view mirror, Kyle watched as Liz slept on the backseat.
***

Maria was pacing the Valenti living room while Alex stood by the window.

“They’ve been gone way too long,” Maria exclaimed.

“Uh-huh; you said that last hour too.”

“How can you bee so calm?! Our best friend is being stalked by a psycho alien-Demon thing!!”

“I know that!” Alex threw back. “I’m not calm ok? I’m about a second away from storming out that door and saying ‘screw Max!’ I’m going to Frazier woods!”

“Then lets go!” Maria said, going for the door. As soon as her hand touched the knob the telephone rung. “Oh god…”

Going to answer it, Alex asked quickly, “Max?”

“No—not Max,” Tess said.

“Is it Max?!” Maria screeched.

“Where’s Liz?” Alex said, pushing Maria back some.

“With us—me and Kyle are bringing her to the hospital.”

“We’re on the way,” Alex added before hanging up and steering Maria toward the door.

“Is she ok?!”

“We’re meeting them at the hospital—“

“Hospital?!!”

Going out the door, Alex slammed it with flare. A few seconds later screeching tires could be heard tearing out of the driveway.
***

“They’re gone,” Isabel said, trying to catch her breath as they broke into the clearing where the sheriff’s cruiser was.

“Come on,” Max instructed jumping the car.

Climbing in the back, Isabel looked at Michael, wondering what they knew that she didn’t. “What do you know?”

Jerking as Valenti pulled out, Isabel watched as Max and Michael shared a look. “Guys…”

“Apparently Liz is an alien,” Michael said finally.

“What?!”

“She was on our home planet with us,” he added.

Hearing the sirens come on, Isabel saw red and blue lights flicker around the car. They were speeding down the road and Max was steering straight ahead from the passenger seat. “Max…”

The lights bounced off his face as he said, “she’s an alien.”

Clearing his throat, Jim said, “but she was born to Nancy Parker. She certainly looks human.”

“That’s what we were supposed to think. She was hidden in plain sight.”

“Why was she hidden? Why didn’t she come out of a pod?” Isabel asked.

“We’re not sure…she said Liz was the key,” Michael added.

“Who said that? What exactly happened back there?!” Isabel demanded, looking between both guys.
***

“Oh my god!” Maria screeched, watching as Kyle carried in an unconscious Liz with a weak Tess following. Running over, Alex took Liz away from the other boy.

“What the hell happened?!” Alex demanded, rushing her toward the emergency room.

“That’s how we found her,” Kyle said.

“Where are the others?!” Maria asked.

“They’re still back at the woods—“

“Why—the sicko who did this to her is gone, right?” Maria said.

When Kyle and Tess both stood there Maria paled. “Why not?!”

“Maria—not now,” Alex told her, holding Liz closer. “Come on, we gotta get her help.”

Nodding, all four teenagers rushed down the hallway.
***

Maria jumped when a hand touched her shoulder. Spinning around, she saw young man, standing behind her.

“Hi. I’m Doctor Merckaskly. I was asked to check up on Elizabeth Parker. Is she friend of yours?”

Nodding quickly, Maria replied, “best. Is she ok? All these doctors have been going in and out and none of them will tell me anything on her.”

Placing another hand on her arms, he added, “I’m sure she’ll be fine. People only get what they deserve.”

Looking up at him, Maria got a chill when he smiled softly. “Yeah…”

“Well, I must go check on my patient.”

“Um, there’s a doctor in there with her now,” Maria added.

“That’s great—someone to compare notes with.”

Nodding, Maria felt a chill when he looked toward Liz’s room. Crossing her arms to ward off the cold, she frowned. The doctor placed his hand on the doorknob and Maria hugged herself closer. That guy was kinda creepy.

Looking over her shoulder, he smiled and added, “it was nice to meet you Maria.”

“You too, Dr. Merckaskly,” she said finally.

“Please…call me Merck.” His dark eyes seemed to shine as he grinned from ear to ear.

Maria watched as he entered the room, a sinking feeling in her stomach. Looking away, she sighed before starting to pace again, her eyes staying on the door.
***

Busting through the hospital doors, Max and Michael quickly made their way to the front desk. “Is there a Liz Parker here?” Max asked.

“Hold on, Parker?” the nurse asked.

“Parker—P-A-R-K-E-R.” Michael added.

“Max, Michael!”

Looking over their shoulder, Max saw Tess, Kyle, and Alex coming toward them.

“Alex,” Isabel sighed, rushing to his arms.

“Where is she?"

“They’re running some tests to make sure her and the babies are ok,” Tess said, pointing to the doors over her shoulder.

“So she’s alright?”

“Yeah—she was starting to wake-up when they took her back,” Kyle added.

“Where’s Maria?” Michael asked suddenly, looking at Alex.

“Oh, she’s back with Liz.”

“I need to see her,” Max added, rushing for the doors.

“Sir—you can’t go back there,” the nurse called out. Ignoring her, Max burst through the doors. “Sir!”

“Official police business,” Valenti told her as Michael and Isabel, tugging on Alex, raced through too. Within seconds they all were running down the hall toward Liz’s room.
***

Merck entered the room, grinning as the other doctor looked up. “Who are you? This room is off limits to—“

Throwing up his palm, the doctor froze, his eyes getting wide as he clawed at his throat. Gagging, he tried to pull in more air as his lungs continued to be crushed.

Walking closer, Merck watched him squirm, trying in vain to cry out for help. With his face blue from a lack of oxygen, the older man stared up at him.

“Help…” he managed to get out before collapsing to the floor.

Stepping over him, Merck fixed his eyes on Mera, watching as her head turned from side to side. She was still a little out of it.

“Mera darling…it’s time to reminisce old times.”
***
TBC




posted on 1-Sep-2001 6:53:33 PM
PART 31
Liz slowly opened her eyes, groaning with the force. Seeing all white, she blinked and sat up some. Where was she?

“Mera sweet…how was your nap?”

Paling, Liz looked toward the voice. It was him…somehow it was him. “Merck,” she whispered. His whole form was full of a black, cold gas that seemed to pulse with pure evil.

“You remember me? Your husband?”

Feeling lightheaded, Liz said, “in words if only.”

“Of course,” he said snidely. “Your heart was always the kings…” Sticking his hand out, Liz swallowed when a dark red ball of energy swirled around.

“You can’t do this,” Liz said, her heart racing as she tried to think of an escape.

“Really? Well, I did that,” Merck said, looking toward the foot of her bed.

Daring a glance, Liz placed a hand over her mouth. There was an older man lying in the floor, his face a slight tint of blue. “No…”

Walking closer, Merck whispered, “my Mera…you can never escape me…” his hand touched her cheek softly.

Feeling like her whole body was tingling, Liz recoiled from his touch. “No!” she screamed, shoving him away, her hands glowing white as they touched his chest.

Merck flew back a few feet, but managed to stay upright.

With her breath coming in short gasps, Liz crawled out of the bed, pulling her IV right out. Her skin felt tight and she was dizzy with the overload of powers pulsing through her body.

“You bitch,” Merck roared, making another ball of energy form.

Opening her moth to scream, Liz slid to her knees, holding her head in her hands. Her eyes were sealed shut as she cried out.

Then there was nothing.

Trying to calm her breathing, Liz slowly opened her eyes, staring in awe. Her whole form was in-closed in a white ball of light. There was no sound, no color, no nothing, but her.

Looking around, Liz could see Merck outside, staring in shock. She could hear a slight buzzing sound as he charged another ball, intending on throwing it at her.

Closing her own eyes, Liz charged all the energy around her, letting it throb with her heartbeat. The feeling was heady and Liz was positive her whole body was throbbing.

Liz stood up, the light following her. She felt detached, like she was watching the whole scene from the sidelines as her body opened its eyes. They were a bright, glowing blue and an instant later the light surrounding her body was filled with what looked like little blue fireflies.

Merck let his blast go and Liz watched as her other self calmly put up her hand, making his ball of energy explode into a million pieces.

“No…no…” Merck kept repeating over and over as he backed up.

With out any warning, the blue and white light surrounding her shot out, covering Merck’s whole body as he screamed out in pain.
***

Maria bit her lip as she stared at the door. She couldn’t hear anything but a second ago there was a bright light from under the door. Blowing all her air out, Maria reached for the door handle, looking down at it when she found it locked.

“What the hell…” Pushing on the door, Maria’s panic rose. “Liz? What’s going on? Liz?!” Shoving the door, Maria cursed and spun to find someone. The hallway was empty.

“Hey!! I need some help!!” she shouted loudly, turning back around to pound on the door.

“Maria?!”

Hearing Michael’s voice, Maria spun around. “Michael!” Him, Max, Isabel, Alex, Kyle, Tess, and the sheriff were running toward her.

“Where’s Liz?” Max demanded.

“In there—the doors locked,” she added when he reached for it.

“Move back,” Michael shouted, holding his hand up. Everyone turned away as wood splintered and the door flew open. Max was through the door in an instant. Racing in, Maria nearly fell over when she saw the scene unfolding in front of her eyes.

Liz was standing in the middle of the room, engulfed in a white and blue light. Her eyes were glowing as she stared at the hunter, who was on the floor convulsing; he too was surrounded by the light.

“Liz!” Max exclaimed, trying to reach her, but he stopped by the light.

“What is she doing?” Isabel whispered. Maria noticed the others had followed them into the room too. Everyone was too shocked to do anything but watch.

“She’s killing him,” Tess said.

“You think,” Kyle muttered.

“She’s killing herself,” Michael added, going up to her other side. “She can’t take this!”

“Stop her then,” Maria screamed.

“Liz!! You have to let it go,” Max told her, straining to get through the wall she had up.

Suddenly there was a loud hiss and the alien hunter was gone, leaving nothing but ashes. Just as quickly as he was gone, Liz’s eyes returned to normal, the ball of light left her and Max rushed forward.

“What…”

He barley had time to react as Liz collapsed, falling into his arms. Maria rushed up to them with Alex right behind her.

“Oh my god…” Isabel said, pointing toward the end of the bed.

Looking, Maria gasped at the sight of the doctor, dead and blue, lying on the floor. She turned back around and buried her face in Michael’s chest, feeling his arms come around her waist.

She didn’t think she could take anymore.
***

Everyone was silent as Isabel finished relating the things she had learned from Max and Michael about Liz and their past. The small waiting room looked like it was full of mannequins as everyone stared at her.

“Ok…I missed a lot while I was gone,” Alex muttered, running a hand over his face.

Kyle, licking his lips, finally said, “ok, so you’re telling us that Liz is an alien—full breed now, and didn’t know.”

“Yes,” Isabel replied.

“And you guys couldn’t tell?”

Tess, who had been quiet ever since the scene in Liz’s room, finally spoke up. “I don’t…I don’t buy it. Liz is human—she was born to HUMAN parents. She didn’t hatch from a pod!”

“Give it up Tess; you just don’t want to find out Liz is Max’s real destiny!” Maria exclaimed.

“Maria,” Alex said, placing a hand on her arm.

“No…no. I wanna say something. I have always thought Max and Liz had this whole soul-mate thing and this explains it.”

“Didn’t Liz get flashes or something?” Kyle asked.

“She’s not an alien,” Tess added. “I would know.”

“How would you know?” Maria added. “You had no idea about Michael and the others until Max told you.”

“But I could sense—“

“Sense shit!” Maria shouted.

“Didn’t that Ava chick say something about Liz being changed?” Alex suddenly brought up.

“And we can trust them? They tried to kill Max!!” Tess added.

“Ava didn’t,” Alex pointed out.

“Who’s Ava?” Kyle asked.

“And I liked her a lot better then you!” Maria told Tess, ignoring Kyle.

Tess’s face hardened and she turned toward Maria. “Ok, you know what?”

“What?” Maria mocked.

“I am—“

“Everybody stop!!” Isabel screamed. When they all looked as she added, “Max and Michael were told Liz was an alien—“

“By who?” Tess asked.

“They didn’t say.”

“Then how can you be sure they were telling the truth?” When no one argued with her, Tess went on. “Exactly; we don’t know.”

“She’s right,” Alex admitted. “It could have been a shape-shifter.”

“Whoa—ok, wasn’t that Nasedo guy one of them?” Kyle asked.

“Yep, good old Nasedo,” Maria muttered.

“Yes, he was one,” Tess said, shooting Maria a quick look. “But he was a good guy.”

“So this other person could be a good guy,” Alex offered.

“But you don’t know that.”

Maria, blowing out all of her breath, stood up. “Ok, Tess. We’ve been getting along pretty good these last few months and all, so I’m gonna be nice about this. We all agree that the person saying this could be lying. But if you don’t have anything other then that to back up your story, you need to shut up.”

“Ok…everyone back to your corners,” Alex muttered. “Lets think about this rationally. Liz is the only human of us who has had the flashes.”

“But she was always with Max,” Tess replied.

“But he was in another state when she dream-walked him,” Maria said.

“Isabel was there,” Tess threw back.

Everyone turned his or her eyes to the other girl. “Well, I could feel…she had something of her own,” Isabel said finally.

“Ava said Max changed her,” Kyle added.

“Another point,” Alex said. “Max and Liz have this weird connection thing.”

“Which goes with her being a whole alien thing,” Maria said smugly.

“Ok, well what about this—I don’t remember her.”

“What are you talking about Tess?” Kyle asked.

Standing up, Tess tried to explain. “I have these…pictures, sorta like flashes of our past life. I can feel things; like what was being felt at a certain moment.”

“We don’t,” Isabel said.

“Nasedo taught me some memory retrieval techniques; I offered to help Max with it.”

“I’m sure you did,” Maria muttered.

Tess and Maria got into it again and Isabel sighed, rubbing her temples as she leaned against the wall.

“All anyone has to do it mutter ‘destiny’ and all hell breaks lose.”

Opening her eyes to see Alex, Isabel nodded her head in agreement. Seeing that Maria and Tess were getting louder, she said, “we should break them up.”

“Or let ‘em duke it out,” Kyle offered, coming over to them.

“Alien powers, boys,” Isabel added.

“Got it,” Alex and Kyle said, going to break up the girls.

“You know, you are a whinny little—“

“That’s enough,” Alex said, pulling Maria back while Kyle got Tess.

“No, I wanna know what she was gonna say,” Tess exclaimed.

“You wanna know?” Maria added.

“No, she doesn’t,” Alex answered while Kyle was making Tess sit down.

“I could take her,” Maria muttered, finally sitting down too.

“I’m sure you could,” Alex mumbled. “Ok, ground rules everyone.”

Taking over, Isabel came to stand between the 2 girls. “No one is going to get out of hand when we go back to Liz’s room.”

Sighing, Maria finally muttered, “you’re right. Liz doesn’t need all this.”

“Agreed,” Tess said finally.

“Good…” Isabel finally sat back down.

“How long have they been back there?” Alex asked.

“About 2 hours,” Kyle said, looking at his watch.

“Did the doctors say the babies were ok?” Isabel asked.

“Um…they said they were in stable conditions…whatever that means.” Thinking it over, Maria added, “I just can’t seem to get the picture of Liz surrounded in blue out of my head.”

“Was that her or…” Alex trailed off, looking at Isabel and Tess for an answer.

“I don’t know,” Isabel admitted.

“Liz looked like she was possessed,” Kyle added.

“It must have been the babies,” Tess said. “ I mean…they are Max’s,” she added finally, crossing her arms.

“Yeah…” Isabel mumbled, looking at the door. She wondered what was taking so long. Max and Michael had been back there with Liz for a long time.

Isabel couldn’t help but worry that something had went wrong.
***
TBC

PART 32
Max’s eyes never left Liz and his hand never left hers as they waited for her to wake up. Michael was sitting in the windowsill, but his eyes would wonder back to Liz every couple of seconds.

Holding her hand tightly, Max brought it up to his cheek, wanting her to be at least a little bit closer. They had moved Liz to another room after Dr. Mill’s lung suddenly ‘collapsed’.

A few other doctors had come in to get blood work and such, all saying that everything looked good; they just wanted to keep her a few days to be sure.

Evidently the others told the people in the emergency section that a mysterious stranger had beaten her. Max didn’t really care what that said, just as long as they kept Liz and the babies alive.

His babies.

Letting his eyes go down to her stomach, Max watched as it slightly rolled as the babies moved. Smiling, he lightly traced his fingers over it, watching it roll again.

“They’re feisty today.”

Hearing Liz’s groggy voice, Max’s head whipped around to see her eyes were open now. Michael was coming closer too, his interest on Liz.

“You’re still here?” she asked Max.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he told her, squeezing her hand.

Liz smiled slightly and closed her eyes. “I’m so tired…”

“Then go back to sleep; we’ll all be here when you wake,” Max added, leaning in to kiss her forehead softly.

Nodding again, she rolled her head, squinting to look at Michael. Smiling, she reached out a hand. “Hey…”

“Hey,” he said back, taking it.

“You still hovering around?” she teased, ending the sentence with a yawn.

“I guess. Go back to sleep.”

Liz smiled softly with her eyes closed and added, “you were as controlling then as you are now.”

“I’m not controlling,” Michael replied.

Liz sighed and added, “uh-huh. But I love you for it.” Then she was out.

Max could feel his jealousy for her saying ‘I love you’ to Michael and not to him rising. Looking at him, Max could see he was smiling softly, trying to hide it as he looked back out the window.

“Um…I’m gonna go tell the others she woke up for a little bit,” Michael suddenly said, walking out of the room before Max could argue.

Pulling Liz’s hand back up to his face, he lightly kissed her knuckles. Glancing at her, Max reached over and brushed some hair back off of her face. While doing so, Liz sighed and leaned her cheek into his embrace.

“I love you, Max,” she whispered.

Chuckling softly, Max leaned in and lightly kissed her lips. “ And I love you, Liz.” Glancing at her stomach, he leaned down and lightly kissed it too.

“I love you guys too,” he added with a grin. Her stomach slightly rolled again and Max wondered if they could hear him.

“They can feel you.”

Looking over his shoulder, Max saw Liz’s Grandmother standing there. “They recognize who you are,” she added.

Looking back at Liz, he asked, “they’re ok, right? All of them.”

Claudia nodded and walked closer, standing on the other side of the bed. “The babies powers are a little much for Liz…she’s still coming into herself.”

“It was them? The powers?”

She nodded again. “They senses she was in trouble and reacted.”

“And it could have killed her,” Max said softly, gripping her hand tighter.

Claudia was silent for a minute. “She’s starting to come into her powers.”

Looking up at her, Max asked, “you said earlier that Liz was an alien…how?”

Chuckling softly, Claudia looked down at Liz fondly. “Liz was named Mera back home. She was your great love…I’ve yet to see anything so powerful in my life. Mera gave up her own life for you.”

With a weak voice, Max mummered, “she died for me,” remembering back to a certain conversation when she said she wouldn’t give up her life for him.

“She died with you…”

Hearing those words, Max bowed his head. Liz shouldn’t have had to give up her life on his account.

“Max…it was her decision—she didn’t want to live without you,” Claudia told him.

“Were we married?” he asked, still looking down.

There was a slight pause then she said, “no…you each had arranged marriages to another.”

“Tess,” Max whispered.

“Yes, you were married to her in a former life.”

Finally looking back up at Liz, Max added, “I didn’t want Tess…I wanted Liz.”

Nodding, Claudia smiled sadly. “It was tragic that you couldn’t be together. No one even knew of your love until it was too late.”

Swallowing, Max traced Liz’s outlines as he tried to remember it all. She looked so peaceful. Finally pulling his hand away, Max looked at Claudia.

“Ms. Parker—“

“Please, call me Corala.”

“Ok…Corala…I want to know everything.”

“I can only tell you want I know; what happened between you and Liz is between you and Liz,” she told him.

“Then tell me what you know.”

Nodding, she explained. “We found out of your love when Mera’s journal was found.”

Max couldn’t help but smile at that. Liz’s need to write everything down always seemed to cause trouble—but this time it was good.

“You, Rath, Vilandra, and Ava had already been sent to earth; to your new home. Your mother insisted that Liz be sent to you immediately. So I was sent with Liz; given the job to make sure she found you. You weren’t due to come out of your hibernation period for some few years to come.

I wasn’t sure on what to do until I came across a couple that had been in a horrendous car accident. The woman was pregnant and the baby had been lost. They had no idea of it and…I knew it was my chance to keep Liz safe and even help make them happy.

So I put Mera into the other child’s spot…she would be born human but am completely alien. The fact of that would be hidden to help keep her safe and she would come into her powers later on; once she meet you,” Corala finished.

Trying to take all that in, Max was left a little stunned. “My mother insisted that Liz be with me?” he asked finally.

“Yes…she approved of you and her together.”

“But the message in the cave…” Max muttered, lost.

“Was sent with you before we learned of Mera,” she added.

Sighing with happiness, Max kissed Liz’s knuckles again. She was his!

Liz Parker was Max Evans destiny.

“I knew the minute she mentioned you in her room that day that you were the one. The way her face lit up gave it all away. That’s why I had came to visit; to see what was going on. I could feel the shift.”

Looking at her Max added, “then you had a seizure?”

“My human body did…I had no choice but to go along with it,” she added softly. “I missed getting to see her so much after that.”

“How long have you been…how long has her real grandmother been gone?” Max finally asked.

Sighing, Corala looked back at Liz. “She was 2 when Claudia Parker died; Liz had only meet her once. I took over her place before anyone knew she difference; I didn’t like the lying part but…after awhile…it didn’t feel like lying anymore.”

Max could see how deeply the other woman cared for Liz. “She missed you when you were gone.”

“I know,” she whispered. “I checked up on her a few time.”

They were both quiet and Max looked back at Liz, placing his hand on her stomach without even realizing it. It was like a second nature to placed his hand there.

Corala saw this and smiled. It was time they had a little happiness.
***

Michael saw Maria getting a drink out of the soda machine and headed over to her. She saw him come and walked closer, stopping a few feet in front of him.

“How’s Liz? The babies?”

“Good; everyone’s good.”

“Good,” Maria said, popping her soda top and just looking at it.

“Yeah…she woke up for a second. Called me controlling,” Michael added.

“So everything’s back to normal,” Maria mused.

“Yeah…I guess.”

“You know, normal except for the fact that my best friend since forever is suddenly an alien,” Maria said casually, still staring at her soda.

Seeing how upset she seemed, Michael added, “she’s still the same Liz.”

“I know,” Maria mumbled. “She is but she’s not,” she added after a minute. “She’s now gonna have all these powers and I’m…I’m just…”

“Just a human?” he finished for her.

“Something like that,” she admitted finally.

“Look…I’ve always been a alien—that wasn’t a problem,” Michael said.

“That’s different.”

“Not it’s not,” Michael replied.

“Yes it is.”

“How? How is me being an alien different from Liz being an alien?”

“You’re just you,” Maria exclaimed. “Liz is my best friend—we’re supposed to share everything. And now we can’t.”

Finally getting down to the bottom of it, Michael sighed and walked up to Maria, rubbing her arm. Sighing, Maria wrapped her arms around his chest, holding his close so he could put his arms around her.

“I’m happy she’s Max’s destiny; I really am. But I don’t wanna lose my best friend,” Maria said softly.

“You’re not,” Michael told her. “I won’t let it happen.”

Chuckling, Maria looked up at him. “Liz was right; you are controlling.”

“I resent that,” Michael muttered as Maria placed her lips over his, stopping any further argument.
***
TBC

PART 33
Alex glanced over at Isabel, wondering what she was thinking about. She was sitting still, her eyes glossed over as she stared into space. Thinking about it a second longer, he finally got up and moved to a seat beside her.

“Ok, you’re either deep in thought or pod people have taken over your mind,” Alex joked, waiting for a reaction. When Isabel didn’t stir, he added, “and it just occurred to me that I’m talking to an alien so the latter could be true.”

Suddenly looking at him, Isabel asked, “what?”

“I just asked what you’re thinking about,” Alex said, grinning slightly.

“Oh…” Isabel went back into staring mode and mumbled, “just stuff…”

Waiting to see if she was going to say anything else, Alex finally sighed. “Okey-dokey,” he said with false cheerfulness as he stood back up.

Sighing, Isabel stood up and added, “I’m sorry Alex. I’m just…”
“Thinking about stuff?” he finished.

Giving him an apologetic look, Isabel nodded. “Yeah.”

“Ok, so shoot. Whatcha thinking about?” When she just shifted slightly, Alex added, “hey, it’s me; best little buddy. You can tell me anything.”

“I know; and I can,” Isabel said quickly.

“Except this,” Alex filled in, feeling his heart sink some.

Isabel looked down and bit her bottom lip. She was obviously fighting herself over something and Alex felt even worse.

“Hey…you don’t have to tell me,” he told her. “But I’m still here.”

Smiling, Isabel looked back up and hugged him. “You’re great, you know that?”

“I’ve always said so.”

Slightly laughing, Isabel pulled back and added, “come on, lets go for a walk.”

Taking her hand, Alex led Isabel out of the waiting room, spotting Maria, Michael, Tess, and Kyle a few feet down the hallway.

“What’s going on?” Isabel asked.

“I don’t know…but we’re about to find out,” Alex said, quickly making his way over.
***

Max was still holding Liz’s hand when she started to mumble in her sleep, reaching up with her hand to wipe at her face. “No…Merck…”

Glancing at Corala, Max asked, “who’s Merck.”

Sighing, Corala looked at Liz. “Merck was Liz—Mera’s husband.”

Max could feel his heart pang at the thought of someone else being with her like that; even if it was only in her past life. “He was in love with her?”

Corala looked a little confused herself as she tried to explain. “Merck was very fond of Liz; he may have loved her, I’m not sure. But he was very jealous and protective over her. He even banned her from visiting family and friends. She wasn’t even allowed to set foot on the palace grounds.”

Max looked back at Liz and saw she was slightly moving her lips, but no sound was coming out. “How long were they married?”

“2 years…like your older self and Ava.”

“Me and Tess were married for 2 years,” Max said softly. Looking back at Liz, Max asked, “so we didn’t see each other for 2 years?”

“Mera stopped coming around the palace and would only during formal occasions. None of us really knew why she was keeping away.”

“Except for me…”

Corala nodded. “And Merck. Max, you must know something.”

Hearing the emotion in the older lady’s voice, Max looked up. “Know what?”

“Merck was working with Khivar. Mera found out about Khivar’s real plans and tried to warn you, but it was too late. She wasn’t sure of her husbands’ involvement…but he was. And we he found out that Mera sacrificed her life for you he was outraged.”

Putting two and two together, Max said, “the hunter was Merck.”

Nodding, Corala added, “I found out too late of him also to warn Liz.”

Max looked back at Liz and closed his eyes, thanking his prayers for being answered and keeping Liz safe. Sighing, he pulled her hand close again, softly kissing it. “I can’t believe I let her get away.”

Smiling, Corala took Max’s free hand and said, “don’t make the same mistake twice Max.”

Looking down, he simply said, “and if Liz does?” These last few days he had been wondering if Liz was still willing to try and make it work.

“She loves you.”

“And I love her. But is that enough?”

“Why do you doubt its strength?”

Not answering, Max looked back at Liz. She was now more restful, her face relaxed as she slightly groaned. Reaching up, he pushed her hair back from her face once more. Like before, Liz leaned into his embrace.

“Love is strong…but true love is unbreakable.”
***

“I don’t get why everyone thinks I’m controlling,” Michael was muttering.

“Because it’s true,” Isabel offered.

“Hey, Liz woke up,” Maria said with a grin.

“She’s ok? The babies?” Alex asked.

“All good.”

Sighing with relief, Alex pulled Isabel a little closer.

“Did she mention anything about…you know,” Tess said.

Scratching his eyebrow, Michael just shrugged. “She said something about how I used to be—but she’s pretty drugged up at the moment.”

“Can we go see her?” Alex asked.

Maria crossed her arms and pouted. “No…she’s still asleep so we’re banned for a little bit longer.”

“Only family,” Michael added.

“You’re not family—and neither is Max,” Kyle pointed out.

“Ok, we forgot to do one little thing,” Maria suddenly said.

“What?” Isabel asked.

“Call her parents!”

“Didn’t the sheriff do that?” Alex asked.

“No, he reported the dead doctor,” Kyle said. “I thought you was gonna do it,” he added, looking at Michael.

“I told Maria.”

“And I told Alex,” she said.

“I asked Isabel to do it for me,” Alex added.

“I was busy with Max, so I asked Tess.”

“Then Kyle said he would do it,” she amended, looking back at Kyle.

“I told Michael,” Kyle said, starting the whole line all over again.

“Wait—so no one actually did it?” Alex suddenly asked. Everyone shook his or her heads and Alex looked down.

“I got it,” Maria said, looking at Michael with her hand open.

“What?”

“Can I have a quarter?” When he just looked at her she added, “you were supposed to do it in the first place.”

Scoffing, Michael pulled out a quarter and flipped it to her. Catching it, Maria smiled and walked off, heading toward the phones.

“Well, I’m going back,” Michael said, heading back toward the doors.

“Wait—you don’t have anything else to tell us?” Tess asked.

Looking at her, Michael muttered, “like what.”

“Like who told you that Liz was an alien?”

“Yeah, I’d kinda like to know,” Maria added, coming back over.

“That was quick,” Kyle commented.

“No one was home—I left a message.” Looking back at Michael, Maria added, “spill space boy.”

Michael sighed and rubbed his neck, casting a quick look over his shoulder.
***
TBC

PART 34
Liz sighed, rolling closer to the warmth. Smiling, she could sense love and protection all around her. Finally opening her eyes, Liz immediately saw Max, his head propped up on the pillow beside her as he slept in the chair by her hospital bed.

Looking around for clock, Liz saw it was 3 am. Rubbing her eyes with her free hand, she noticed someone standing in the corner, their face hidden by the shadows. Glancing back at Max, she was tempted to wake him up but declined, suddenly feeling the warm vibes coming off the stranger.

Watching closely, Liz gasped when she saw them step into the light casting in from the hallway.

“Grandma…” she whispered, her eyes immediately filling with tears at the sight of her grandmother.

“Hi honey bear,” her grandmother said, smiling warmly as she came to the side of the bed.

“But…” Liz looked hard at her, reaching out to hug her with one arm. “I’ve missed you so much.”

“I’ve missed you too.”

Pulling back, Liz couldn’t help but ask, “grandma…how are you here?”

Smiling sadly, Claudia Parker said softly, “Liz…there’s a lot you need to know. About me, about Max, about your self.”

Not really understanding, Liz replied, “what—how do you know about my past?”

Placing her hand on Liz’s face, her grandmother whispered, “look deep and you will see.”

Closing her eyes on instinct, Liz was transfixed on the scene playing out in her mind.

**Everyone was rushing about, trying to fix any last minute problems that might have arose. Mera was sitting in the middle of it all, her white gown billowed around her as she stared out the window with a yearning.

God, how she wanted to jump up and run away as fast as she could. Run away from her life, her arranged marriage, her father; run from it all and into the arms of her one true love.

Wiping at some stray tears, Mera sighed and turned away from the window with a heavy heart. She did not need to think about Zan on this day—she couldn’t. If she did it would surely kill her.

Zan was no longer hers. And she silently asked if he ever was. Zan had been born with a purpose that she had no place in; a life that revolved around duties and honor with leadership.

A life where he had another love.

Mera near that Zan did not love his new queen, but the fact did little to her aching heart. Zan and Ava were married and they would be expected to bare children that one day would take their places on the throne.

And she too would be expected to have children with her soon to be husband, Merck.

Mera feared that thought. She did not want him touching her such intimate ways. The thought made her want to scream with agony. Her body had been pledged to one man and one man alone a month ago.

Closing her eyes, Mera could still feel Zan’s breath on her neck as he slowly undressed her, planting feather light kisses on her skin that was being exposed to him. His hands on her bare skin had been tantalizing as he explored her body.

The feelings he aroused in her that night would never go away, nor would her deep and undying love. Mera wished for nothing more then to be back in his arms once more; to feel his presence surround her in way that was smothering and freeing at the same time.

In a way that made her feel so loved and strong that she could take on anything.

Suddenly feeling suffocated, Mera stood up and raced for the door, opening it to find Vilandra and her brother standing on the other side.

“Mera…you look so lovely,” Rath told her.

Not even trying to smile, she just nodded. Glancing around, Mera could feel her heart breaking when she noticed they were alone.

Seeing her looking around, Vilandra said, “Zan couldn’t make it. I know he felt bad about not being here on your day…”

Nodding once more, Mera held back her tears. It was probably for the best that he did not. “I understand,” she could feel herself saying. “He has duties now as king.”

“As do we, but I made an exception,” Rath said. “Even though I don’t really enjoy the reason.”

“No more then I do,” Mera whispered.

“Mera, are you alright?” Vilandra asked softly.

“Yes…I must just be a little nervous—actually I know I am,” Mera admitted.

“It’s natural.”

Looking past them and into the hall, Mera said, “I think I need to go for a walk.”
“Would you like us to come along?” her brother asked.

“No…I’ll be fine.” Giving Vilandra a slight hug and kissing Rath on the cheek, Mera walked past them, picking up the him of her wedding dress as she went down the steps and out into the back courtyard.

Sighing with unhappiness, she walked as far away from the church as she could get. Kicking off her shoes, Mera placed them by a tree and walked barefoot through the grass.

“You might get sick,” a voice said behind her filled with loneliness.

Not turning around, Mera added, “then I might not have to go through with this,” in a sad voice also.

Feeling his hands brush her bare arms, Mera closed her eyes and tried in vain to hold back her tears. Feeling his arms enclose around her waist and pull her close, Mera gave up and cried, saying his name softly.

“Zan…”

Turning her around, Zan held her body close, running his hands up and down her back in the way she liked. Mera inhaled his scent, clinging to him for dear life.

“I didn’t think you were coming.”

“I wasn’t…but…I had to,” he whispered into her hair.

Looking up at him, Mera said with emotion, “I’m not ready to give up what we have…”

“I’m not either,” Zan replied, wiping at her tears. “God…I want nothing more then to just run away with you.”

Hearing the hesitation in his voice, Mera closed her eyes and finished in a whisper, “but we can’t.”

There was a long silence and Mera kept her eyes closed as Zan lightly touched her lips with his, soft and gentle at first, but it wasn’t long until the kiss deepened.

Drowning in the feel of him, Mera had to tear herself away before she couldn’t take anymore. Pulling from his embrace, she turned away, wrapping her arms around herself.

With tears, she whispered, “you should leave before we do anything we might regret.”

“I could never regret anything I do with you,” Zan said finally.

With an aching heart, Mera added, “you are a married man and I am soon to be taken also.”

“Don’t do this,” Zan whispered, his voice suddenly right behind her ear. “I can’t…I love you.”

“I love you too,” she whispered back. “More then anything.”

Feeling his lips on her neck, Mera leaned into him, giving her more access to her bare skin. Turning her around, Zan moved his lips up to hers, taking Mera’s mouth with unbridled passion and love.

Sighing, Mera moved her hands up his arms, linking them around his neck. Finally breaking away, she gazed up at him and whispered, “forever…always and forever.”

“Forever,” Zan repeated, placing his forehead against hers and closing his eyes.

Suddenly hearing the church door open, Mera could feel Zan pulling back. Watching him, she bit her lips to keep from calling out to him as he walked backwards a few feet before turning and leaving without looking back.

With a teary face, Mera turned back around and walked slowly over to retrieve her shoes. Her whole body seemed numb as she sat down in the grass to put them on.

“Miss Mera,” a female voice called out. “You’re going to ruin your dress.”

Recognizing Corala’s voice, Mera said numbly, “sorry,” as she stood up.

Noticing the distressed look on Mera’s face, the older woman said softly, “your brother is looking for you…I’m sure he can help.”

Nodding, Mera let Corala lead her back into the church. Glancing over her shoulder as she walked through the doors, Mera paused when she saw Zan standing at the edge of the yard, watching her with haunted eyes.

Knowing that this was more then likely the last time she would be able to be in his arms, Mera slowly looked away and walked into the church to marry another man.**

Liz gasped and pulled out of the flash, trying to calm her breathing down. Her ached so much as she had walked into the church. With teary eyes, Liz glanced up at the older woman.

“You’re not my grandmother.”

Nodding, Corala added, “I was a dear friend of your mothers…and young Zan’s.”

Looking back at Max, Liz reached over and lightly brushed some hair out of his eyes. “When?”

“You were still very young…she died she same way I-…the same way this human form did,” Corala said.

“Did I ever meet her?” Liz whispered.

“Once…oh, sweetie, she loved you so much.”

Hearing Corala call her sweetie, Liz closed her eyes. “I…I was so…you were dead and I missed you,” Liz finally got out. “But I never even knew you.” Looking up at her, Liz added, “you lied to me about who I was; who you were.”

Looking away Corala simply nodded.

“I only have one thing to say to you.“ Glancing at Max quickly, Liz squeezed his hand and saw the flash of smile appear on his sleeping face. “Thank you.”

Looking slightly confused, Corala smiled. “You always were noble…”

Looking down, Liz said softly, “I’m his destiny?”

“The one and only.”

Smiling, Liz looked back up and asked, “and I’m an alien? I have powers?”

“Quite a few,” Corala said with a smile. “You have all of the royal fours and more.” Glancing at the door, she added, “would like to go for a walk and discuss it all? Just me and you?”

Looking at Max then at all of the equipment she was hooked up to, Liz asked, “how?”

Speaking softly, Corala instructed Liz to, “lie down and relax. I want you to close your eyes and picture your self up and about.”

Doing as she said, Liz relaxed and closed her eyes, picturing herself standing in the middle of the hospital room. There was a slight buzz of energy over her skin then nothing.

Sighing, thinking that it didn’t work, Liz opened her eyes and gasped. She was standing in the middle of the room looking at herself in the hospital bed, still holding hands with Max.

“How…but…” Looking down at herself, Liz gasped and threw a hand over her flat stomach. “My babies—“

“Are fine, honey bear,” Corala said, coming up to her. “Take a look.”

Looking back at the bed, Liz saw her sleeping form was still swollen with pregnancy. Looking back at herself, she even realized she was wearing a pair of jeans and her favorite red shirt.

“This is how you present yourself,” Corala explained to her.

Looking back at her other form, Liz asked, “will she—I, will I be ok? The babies?”

“They’re fine. Your body in a deep sleep—nothing harmful.”

Nodding, Liz slowly walked over to Max, kneeling by his side. Watching him breathe, Liz lightly placed her hand on her chest, feeling his heart beat.

“Lizzie?”

Hearing her grandmothers’ voice behind her, Liz slowly stood up and walked over, watching her for a beat before engulfing the older lady in a hug. “To me, you’re still my grandmother.”

“And you’ll always be my honey bear,” Corala said back.

Looking at Max one more time, Liz and Corala walked out into the hallway. A nurse passed right by them and Liz asked, “can they see us?”

“Yes…if you want them to.”

Nodding, Liz watched as another nurse passed by, this one actually looking in their direction before moving past.

“Liz…you need to know some things.”

“Like what?” she asked, looking up at Corala.

“Your mom and dad…aren’t your mom and dad,” Corala said finally.

Looking down, Liz was silent.

“You’re 100% alien…you’re not a hybrid like Max.”

“But…but my blood…it’s human,” Liz said finally.

“Your body is human, but your essence, the real you…is Mera.”

“I’m not her anymore. Just like Max isn’t Zan and Michael and Isabel are their selves,” Liz said, stopping to look at her. “We have new lives.”

“Liz…I’m aware of that. Max is not Zan and you are not Mera—not anymore. But you are still a part of Mera. Just like Michael is still your brother and a part of Rath.”

Hearing those words, it finally hit Liz that Michael was her brother. Swallowing, she placed a hand over her mouth. “My brother…”

Smiling, Corala added, “your very protective brother.”

Starting to walk again, Liz finally asked, “Merck knew of me and Max?”

“No…but he knew of your closeness to your brother, Vilandra, and Zan and wanted to eliminate that.”

“He was working with Khivar.”

“Yes…”

Seeing the waiting room up ahead, Liz peeked in and stopped, seeing all of her friends. Looking back at Corala, who nodded, Liz entered, going over toward Alex and Isabel, who was leaning on his shoulder.

Bending down, she softly scratched right under his ear, smiling when he squirmed. Doing it again, Alex’s eyes fluttered open.

“Wha—“ Seeing who it was, Alex’s eyes flew open the rest of the way.

Placing a finger over her lips, she silently told him to be quiet. Seeming totally confused, Alex did as she asked.

“I need to talk to you,” she whispered.

Nodding, Alex carefully slipped out from under Isabel. Glancing at Maria, Liz made her way over. Watching for a second, Liz smiled at how Maria was curled up to Michael, practically lying on his lap.

Touching her friends’ shoulder, Liz nudged her.

Sniffling, Maria mumbled, “5 more minutes mom,” with out even opening her eyes.

Sighing, Liz nudged her again. Feeling Alex beside her, Liz tried again and this time placed her palm on Maria, sending a little shock to her friend.

Opening her eyes, Maria was about to scream out when Liz quickly stopped her by placing a hand over her mouth. With wide eyes, Maria looked from her to Alex.

“You have to be quiet,” Liz mouthed.

Nodding, Maria flexed her mouth as Liz left go.

“Come on,” Liz added, backing away.

Slowly climbing out of Michael’s embrace, Maria followed them both out into the hallway.

“Liz?” she breathed, pulling her into a tight embrace.

“We need to talk,” Liz said, pulling back and hugging Alex too.

“What are you doing up? Are you ok?” Maria fired off. “Are the babies—“ Glancing down at her stomach, Maria jumped back. “Oh my god!!”

“Liz!” Alex exclaimed, placing a hand on her stomach as if to make sure it wasn’t there.

“Guys, I’m ok,” she assured them. “The babies are fine.”

“How can they be fine?!” Maria screeched.

“They’re not there!!” Alex added.

“Because she’s not there either,” Corala said, stepping up to them.

Looking at Corala, Maria moaned and backed away while Alex was frozen in his spot.

“Maria, Alex—“ Corala started.

“No! You’re dead!” Maria said, pulling Liz away from her too.

“Liz…what’s going on?” Alex finally asked.

Walking back over to Corala, Liz said, “Alex, Maria, I would like you to meet Corala…she’s from Max and the others home.”

“Oh my god…” Maria said, her voice a high moan.

“Your—your grandmother is—was—is—or is it was—“

“Alex,” Liz said, cutting him off. Walking over to her friends, Liz took both of their hands. “Guys…Corala was never my grandmother. She was sent her with me to keep me safe.”

“With you?” Maria repeated. “So…you are…”

Nodding, Liz added softly, “I’m still me though…”

Alex, coming out of his trance, leaned forward and engulfed Liz in an embrace. “I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Smiling, Liz kissed his check before he pulled back. “Thank you.” Looking at Maria, her smile slowly slipped away.

Maria was fighting back tears, looking between Corala and Liz. Finally settling on Liz, she whispered, “where’s you stomach?”

“She’s not really here,” Corala said.

Looking at Maria, Liz added, “I’m projecting myself. I don’t really know how long it’ll last.”

Swallowing, Maria sighed and pulled Liz into a tight hug. “Don’t ever do this to me again; I’ve been worried sick!”

Laughing, Liz could feel the tears brimming her eyes. “I won’t.” A second later Alex joined in, putting his arms around both girls.
***

Max shifted in his chair, a lull pulling at him from just outside of his sleeping realm. Meaning softly, he shifted again and could feel the hard chair under him. Another pull was made at him and Max finally woke up.

Opening his eyes, he immediately focused on Liz, taking in her beauty as she laid before him. Her face was expressionless as she slept. Wiping at his face, he moved his eyes down to her belly and smiled slightly.

Placing his free palm over to the womb, he immediately felt the connection to his children, and at the same time a coldness swept over his body.

There wasn’t a connection Liz.

Quickly looking back to her face, Max squeezed her hand and could feel a slight hum from her; a slight sliver of energy but that was it. It was like she was in a deep trance.

Fear and panic taking over, Max placed his hand over her heart, intending to connect and wake her up. Closing his eyes, he could sense her slight vibes around him and latched on, hoping to dig deeper into the connection.

But he couldn’t.

Gasping and opening his eyes, Max looked at all of the machines. They were fine. Liz was alive and breathing. In full panic more now, Max quickly jumped up and raced out of the room.

He needed the others.
***
TBC

PART 35
Michael groaned and shifted in his seat, trying to get comfortable. Still not happy, he sighed and opened his eyes. Glancing around casually, he closed his eyes again tilted his head back.

Sitting up quickly, Michael looked around the room for Maria. He saw Tess, Kyle, Isabel, and Valenti, but no Maria; and Alex was gone too. Standing up, Michael stalked over to Isabel, intending to wake her up. But there was a sudden sound of footsteps in the hallway.

Thinking it was Alex and Maria, Michael walked out into the hallway and stopped when he saw Max. “Max?”

“Something’s goin--”

“Where’s Liz?”

“That’s it. She’s in like a trance of something!” Max exclaimed.

Without anymore info, both men raced back toward Liz’s room.
***

Maria’s arms were still linked through Liz’s as they walked down one of the side hallways near her room.

“So…you’re not grandma Claudia?” Alex asked, looking at Corala.

Liz, smiling at the older lady, replied, “as far as I’m concerned she is.”

“But, you’re not really her though? Right?” Maria asked softly. It had been so hard when she died and now…

“Corala’s been in grandma’s form since we were little…I only meet her once,” Liz said softly. “But I’ve had Corala.”

Corala smiled. “I know this is hard for all of you. I love you all like my own grandchildren…but I am not her.”

Letting go of Maria, Liz walked over and hugged Corala. “You’re still my grandma though.”

Feeling the tears coming, Maria said, “oh…I want in,” and joined the hug. “It’s good to have you back,” she told Corala.

“I feel left out,” Alex muttered, prompting Liz and Maria to pull him in between them. Everyone stood there in the hug, all laughing or slightly crying. “This way too much estrogen for me.”

Laughing at Alex, Maria was about to say something to Liz when she disappeared, making Maria and Alex fall forward.

“Liz!” she shrieked. “Grandma?”

Alex spun around the hall, but they were both gone. Seeing Maria was about to freak, Alex grabbed her hand and they both took off for Liz’s room.
***

Liz gasped and shot up in bed, her head protesting all the while. Moaning, she reached up and rubbed it. Looking at her hand, Liz glanced to her side and saw Max was gone.

Oh no.

“Max? Grandma?” Liz called out. A second later Corala was there. “Where’s Max?”

“He’s on his way back to you right now.”

As if on cue, Max ran into the room with Michael right one his heels. “Liz,” he breathed, rushing to her side and pulling her as close as he could. Michael was right over his shoulder, looking her up and down.

“You’re ok?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Liz said, pulling back from Max some. Before she could even say one word Max was kissing her. Squeaking in surprise, Liz let herself go in the kiss, placing her hand on his neck to keep him close as a flash started.

*Rath and Mera play-fighting in the palace, Mera, Vilandra, Rath and Zan walking down the sidewalk. Zan peeking glances at Mera from behind the bookshelf in the library; Mera seeing Zan getting jealous over her suitors, their first kiss in the classroom and then their last kiss on her wedding day.*

Pulling out of the connection slowly, Max and Liz stared at each other silently. Swallowing, Max whispered, “I always said you were my destiny.”

“What?” Michael asked, clearly left out of the loop.

Liz glanced at Michael and opened her mouth to speak, but only heard Maria’s voice called out, “Liz!” looking at the door, Liz saw Maria and Alex rush in. Max, seeing them also, pulled back some, leaving his hand to rest on Liz’s back.

“Are you ok?” Alex asked.

“You just left us so quick!” Maria exclaimed.

“What are talking about?” Michael asked, getting even more confused. “Liz hasn’t left this bed.”

Glancing at Corala, Liz said, “actually…that’s not true.”

Max, crinkling his brow, looked at Liz and asked, “what do you mean?”

“She was projecting herself,” Corala explained.

“It’s a new power,” Liz added.

“What?” Michael exclaimed.

“Keep up—new power,” Maria told him. Michael shot her a look and she just shrugged.

“But you’re ok?” Alex asked, his face full of concern.

Smiling, Liz held her hand and gripped his. “I’m fine.”

“Good,” Maria said quickly. “Cause I want all the details about you being an alien!”

Glancing back at Max, Liz could see he too wanted answers. “I’m not sure where to start. I guess we should get everyone in here.”

“I’ll go and get them,” Corala offered.

“Do you know who they are?” Alex asked. When she just smiled he added, “yeah, alien on planet with them, got it—you know ‘em.”

“I’ll be back,” she said, suddenly gone in thin air.

“That’s new…” Michael muttered.

“Can you do that?” Alex asked Liz.

“Um…I don’t think so,” Liz said finally.

“So…” Maria said, coming to sit on the bed beside Liz, “is this one great story?”

Smiling, Liz looked at Michael then at Max. “Yeah…it’s one great story.”
***

Isabel could feel someone calling out to her softly, lulling her away from sleep. Sighing, she opened her eyes, expecting to see Maria or Tess, and jumped; the woman in front of her was not Maria or Tess. She was older and had light blonde hair. Although she was a stranger, Isabel could sense she was on their side.

And there was something vaguely familiar about her.

“Who are you?” Isabel asked, looking around for the others. Noticing that Alex, Michael, and Maria were gone, she added, “where are the others?”

Smiling, the women said, “with Liz. They wanted me to get you.”

As soon as Liz was mentioned, Isabel’s mind started to spin. “Liz? Is she ok?”

“She’s fine.”

Nodding, Isabel finally stood up and walked over to Tess and Kyle. “Get up,” she told them, shaking them both. “We gotta go to Liz’s room.”

Tess stretched and Kyle mumbled, “ok,” before standing up. Noticing the older lady, he cursed and jumped back, which woke up his dad.

“What? What’s going?” Valenti asked, bolting up.

“That—that—that…” Kyle pointed at the older lady, not getting anything else out.

“What?” Isabel asked.

“She’s dead,” Kyle said finally. “That’s Liz’s grandmother.”

“What?!” Isabel spun back to the older lady.

“I know you…” Tess added softly, looking her up and down. “You were there with us; on our home planet.”

“What?!”

“I know this is strange, but I am Corala. And yes, I am like you,” she told Isabel and Tess. “And I m also Liz’s grandmother—in this form,” she added, looking at Kyle then at the sheriff, who was watching the whole exchange with shock.

“Ok…” Jim mumbled.

“Liz and the others are waiting back in the room,” Corala added with a smile as she walked out of the room, leaving the others to follow.

“This just gets weirder and weirder,” Kyle muttered.

“Come on,” Isabel instructed them, eager to get to Liz’s room and get to bottom of everything. Walking out into the hallway, she saw the other lady, Corala, was gone. Ignoring it, she led the others to Liz’s room in a slight jog.

Walking in the doorway, Isabel paused slightly when she saw Liz, Max, Maria, Michael, Alex, and Corala already there. No one seemed to mind the other lady so Isabel didn’t say anything.

“Hey guys…we have to talk,” Liz said.
***
TBC

PART 36
Liz looked at all of her friends and then up at her grandmother. Corala smiled and nodded, signaling Liz to go on. Nodding back, Liz took a deep breath.

“Ok…so I guess it’s out that I’m not exactly a normal human being.” Liz wondered how everyone was going to take this. Feeling Max squeeze her hand, she smiled at him.

“Yeah,” Kyle said.

“We just don’t know how,” Alex added.

“Ok, well…Corala brought me here and put me as my…parents…child,” Liz started.

“Why weren’t you put in a pod?” Isabel asked.

“Well, I wasn’t sent down with you—I came later.”

“You were with them on the…other planet?” Jim Valenti asked. Liz nodded.

“I don’t remember you,” Tess said suddenly.

“Well, we didn’t really meet,” Liz added while looking at Corala.

“Why not?” Tess was quick to ask.

“See…you weren’t around with the rest of us,” Liz added, motioning to her, Max, Isabel, and Michael.

“You knew us?” Isabel added.

Sharing a look with Corala, Liz smiled and looked at Michael. “My name was Mera and I was Rath’s sister.”

Everyone looked at Michael, who was staring at Liz. “Sister?” he asked.

Nodding, Liz added, “I was younger and I was also good friends with you Isabel.”

“And Max’s girl, right?” Maria asked, still perched on the bed.

Liz quickly glanced at Tess before saying, “it’s a little more complicated then that.” She could feel Max squeeze her hand again.

“What about Tess? Where was she?” Alex asked.

“Well…Tess, or well, Ava was off being prepared to be queen.”

“So me and Max were married?” she asked.

“It was an arranged marriage,” Corala informed her. “Like Rath and Vilandra.” Isabel and Michael shared a look after that. “But nothing was all it seemed.”

“Meaning what?” Jim asked.

“Well, Zan and Mera were in love.”

Max and Liz shared a look and Max smiled, placing a kiss on her hand he held.

“But they didn’t get married?” Maria inquired.

“No…we have other arrangements made by our parents,” Liz said.

“Actually…the hunter was Mera’s husband,” Max added.

There were exclamations all around the room and Michael added, “he was one of Khivar’s followers?”

Liz nodded. “I found out about Khivar’s deceit right before…it was still to late,” she added softly and everyone in the room knew what she was talking about. It was too late to save them.

Isabel looked away and Liz noticed. “Isabel…you didn’t betray anyone,” she told the other girl.

Corala nodded. “No one knew of Khivar’s true intentions. We all were under his influence and were blind to his real ways.”

“I don’t understand all this—if Liz was so important why wasn’t she sent with the rest of us?” Tess asked.

“Tess—“ Maria started but Liz stopped her with a hand.

Corala, seeing this was going to get out of control, replied, “Liz is very important but none of us knew how much. When Kayla found out of her and Zan’s love, I was sent to bring her down.”

“Kayla?” Isabel whispered.

“Our mother,” Max told her, smiling at his sister.

“What about ours?” Michael asked suddenly.

Liz looked down and said, “she died when we were young…” Michael was frozen for second then finally nodded. “I’m sorry,” Liz added.

“For what? It wasn’t your fault,” he muttered.

Alex, who had been pretty much silent through it all suddenly asked, “so what about you and Max? You guys are meant for each other, right?”

Liz exchanged a look with Max, who was smiling. “Yeah…we are,” he said.

“But your mother…the message,” Tess mumbled.

“It was sent before she found out us,” Max added.

Looking at Michael, Maria asked, “so you guys can have other relationships? It’s ok?”

Liz nodded. “Yeah.”

Alex grinned and looked at Isabel. “So we have the ok.” Isabel rolled her eyes but was smiling.

Kyle, peeking a look at Tess, saw she was staring into space. “You ok?” he asked.

“Yeah…just everything I was taught was wrong,” she said softly.

“Tess, that’s not true,” Liz said.

“She’s right dear. You 5 are meant to be together; in fact all 8 of you are stronger together then apart,” Corala added.

“8?” Alex asked.

Corala nodded. “You all lend something in.” There were looks all around the room after that.

“Ok, but why is Liz so important?” Maria asked.

“Liz can see the ‘evil within’,” Corala explained.

“Our mother said that,” Isabel added.

“That’s how we know the skins apart from everyone else,” Michael added.

“And Liz can do that?” Alex asked.

“But Whitaker—you worked with her,” Tess pointed out.

“I wasn’t into my powers yet,” Liz added.

“Which are so cool—that thing you did with us earlier was wicked,” Maria gloated.

“New power?” Kyle asked.

“She can project herself,” Alex added.

“Project?” Jim asked.

“Watch,” Liz said, ready to do it.

“No!” Max said quickly, making everyone look at him. “I mean, you’re still weak.”

“Max—“

“I don’t want you getting hurt or the babies,” he added, stopping her arguing. Liz nodded and gave him a little smile.

“So…Max is a daddy,” Alex added, a grin on his face.

Max beamed too and Isabel walked over to give him a hug. “Congratulations,” she told him and Liz.

“You too. You’re gonna be an aunt,” Liz added. She then turned to Michael. “Or an uncle.”

Michael looked down at her stomach and gave a half smile.

“Ok, one more question,” Kyle said. “The babies—do they have powers?”

Liz nodded. “Oh yeah. They got some kickers.”

“Like the daddy,” Maria giggled. Liz smiled then looked away, yawning suddenly.

“Ok, I think it’s time we all clear outtta here,” Jim said, giving Liz a smile. “Congratulations.”

“Thanks,” Liz said.

Tess followed him and Kyle said his good-byes and left too. Alex gave her a quick kiss them him and Isabel were gone.

“I’ll be back later, honey bear,” Corala said, kissing Liz’s cheek.

“Bye grandma,” Liz added, watching the older lady disappear.

Max looked at Michael and Maria.

“I’m not going nowhere,” Maria stated.

“Me either,” Michael added.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door and everyone looked up to see Mr. and Ms. Parker standing at the door.

“I’ll see ya later, babe,” Maria said quickly, patting Liz’s hand.

“Ditto,” Michael said, leaning over to kiss her cheek, surprising everyone in the room. Liz smiled and whispered to him, “I always wanted a brother or sister.”

Michael smiled and added, “ditto,” one more time before him and Maria left.

Liz watched the leave then turned to her parents, who were rushing over.

“Sweetie, are you ok?” he mother exclaimed.

“I’m fine,” Liz insisted, hugging her mom with her free arm.

Her father hugged her too, glancing at Max. “I’m so glad you’re alright,” he told her.

Smiling, Liz tried to keep it there as her parents looked at her and Max’s intertwined fingers.

“Um…mom dad…me and Max have something to tell you,” Liz said finally.

“What?” her mother asked, glancing at Max again.

Max clearer his throat and said, “Mr. and Ms. Parker…I’m the father of Liz’s babies.”
***
TBC