posted on 1-Sep-2001 8:18:19 PM
Title: Never Cared Too Much For Love
Disclaimer: I do not own any of it.
Summary: Michael and Liz's POVs.
Category: AU Mi/L of course!!!
Rating: R I think
Author Notes: This is my first fanfic, so I insist on fb. Good or Bad.


PROLOGUE

I put the last of our bags in the trunk of our car. Roswell, NM here we come, I think bitterly. I can't believe that my parents, Philip and Diane Evans are actually going to move to a small hick town like that. What are they thinking? Then again, it is my entire fault. It's always my fault.

I'm the youngest of three. There is Isabel, who is the oldest by 1 year. She's the only one in this family who's actually happy that I'm even in this world, much less this family.

Then there's Max, he's the middle child, only older then me by 2 months. He's the golden boy, the son that can do no wrong. The one who if he could have it his way, which most of the time he does, I wouldn't be a part of this family.

Then there's me, Michael, the worst mistake my father thinks he ever made. Who am I to judge? I'm the one who's causing us to move to Roswell.

You see, I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. My father, being the most prestigious lawyer in New York City, couldn't bear the embarrassment his son and his delinquent friends had caused him in his hometown. We couldn't have that. Who cares what happened? I mean I lost my only genuine friend in this big city, who didn't judge me because of my last name. Nicholas was the only person who actually cared what happened in my life besides Isabel. It didn't matter; he had 2 strikes against him. First, he wasn't part of an esteemed family, and second he was my friend.

We're now on our way to Roswell, New Mexico. I wonder what's in store for us there. Isabel is in the back sitting in the middle talking to Max. I'm looking out the window thinking about Nick.

I can't believe he was killed over a girl. A girl. He said he loved this chick, but what is love? I sure as hell don't believe in it. Look where love got Nick. This chick, Ava, left her man for him. Nick didn't realize that her ex was psycho. One night we were just out and about, then this car drove by and started shooting. I yelled for Nick to get down. I saw him go down. When the car finally drove away, I went over there to check on him.
He wasn't answering me. There was blood everywhere. He died in my arms that night.

The police took me home. My father freaked when he saw the officer escorting me to the house. It didn't help matters that I had blood all over me. I swear if I wasn't in shock, I would have loved to see the look on his face.

They only told him that they were finished with me, and I was cooperative by answering all their questions. When they left that's when all the yelling began. I just turned my back to him and went upstairs to shower. Believe me, after that night I don't think I've had a good night's sleep since. Maybe Roswell will help me get my mind off of things.

My stomach growling wakes me up from my trance. I look over to my right and see Isabel smiling. "Don't worry. Daddy is getting off the next exit to find someplace to eat," Isabel says in between laughter. I gently elbow her and roll my eyes.

I can tell she's worried about me. She's the only one that knows what happened that night. She's the only one that notices that I haven't slept, and when I do, I wake up yelling. I've been distant ever since that incident, but then again I've always kept to myself. Max on the other hand is pissed at me because I'm the one making him relocate to another place.

My father finally finds a place that's decent enough to stop at to dine, Outback Steakhouse. We eat and get back on the road. I just stare out the window not really looking at anything. Thinking it should have been me.

PART 1

As the last bell rings signaling the end of class, I rush to my locker, relieved that school is over. I’m putting my last book into my backpack when Maria, my best friend for years, hurries to her locker, which is right next to mine. She asks me, "So, Liz are we going to the club tonight?"

I look at her and roll my eyes. "What do you think?" I reply sarcastically while I close my locker.

Just as we are about to leave, Doug approaches us and greets both Maria and I. I smile and reply, "Hi Doug.” While I grab Maria's elbow and retreat towards the school's exit I yell, "Bye Doug.

"When we are out of earshot from Doug, Maria stops and announces that I was rude. "How could you do that to him? He is so sweet and he likes you a lot. You should give him a chance. He could be the 'one,'" Maria states while using her fingers to represent quotation marks.

I look at her with my hands folded across my chest. "What is the 'one'?" I ask, imitating her.

"You know, the one you'll fall madly in love with. You know, true love. Are any of these things registering in that cynical heart of yours?" Maria asks sarcastically.

I look her in the eyes and start laughing out loud. I must be laughing louder than I intended to because people are starting to glance my way like I've lost my mind. I notice Maria standing there with her arms folded across her chest waiting for me to stop.

I finally compose myself, "There is no such thing as true love. I don't even think love exists at all," I state assertively.

"Aren't you being just a little cynical, Ms. Parker?" Maria inquires warily.

"No, I'm not. I don't believe there's such a thing as love. The public only uses the word to commercialize for sales." I utter irritably.

We continue to walk towards the exit in silence.

Not liking the silence, I ask Maria, "What time are you picking me up tonight?"

"I was thinking about 8 o'clock," replies Maria.

I shake my head and say, "Pick me up at 10. I should be finished with my homework by then."

"You do remember this is a school night, right?" Maria shrieks. I roll my eyes at her in response.

"I know, that's why I'm leaving after I finish my homework," I state flippantly.

"Not all of us have the luxury of their parents being out of town," Maria retorts.

"Just tell Mrs. Deluca that you're spending the night at my house," I mumble.

"God, Liz, you of all people should know she's going to freak. She wants me at home where she can see me by 11 on a school night."

"Maria, now you're freaking. Calm down," I state, perturbed. "You have a test in Chem. tomorrow, right?" Maria nods in response.

"Okay, then tell your mom that I'm going to help you cram, so you don't fail." Maria is about to interrupt, but before she can, I rush on to say, "You also have an extra credit project that's due on Friday and you don't want to wait till the last minute, especially since I said I'm willing to help you tonight and tomorrow." Maria smiles. Seeing that she's about ready to cave, I continue to say, "Your mom knows I passed Chem. with flying colors last year, and that I had the same teacher as you do now. She won't be able to say no, especially if she wants her daughter to pass the class with a high C."

Maria sighs in response. Then silence. She's probably thinking over what I just said. She then nods her head and smiles. "That would work," she says excitedly. I just look at her and shrug.

"You know the only reason why I'm still allowed to hang out with you is because you're a straight A student, and the teachers and the principal love and adore you." I just shrug my shoulders in response again.

"How does it come so naturally for you?" Maria asks discouraged.

"If you would pick up a book once in a while you'd probably pass high school with a high C average," I answer playfully.

"You should talk. How many hours do you dedicate to studying alone? I mean, if you're not out partying, you're working at your parents' store. Not only that, but you go to those stupid little karaoke pubs and sing all night, and you still get A's. I don't get it," Maria replies confused.

Realizing her frustration, I try to lighten the mood so I wink at her and say, "You just have to learn how to keep your priorities straight. Before I do anything fun, I make sure I give my brain the right amount of nourishment. That way I don't have to feel guilty when I'm having fun," I state matter-of-factly. "By the way, those karaoke pubs you mentioned are not stupid. I'm able to do something that I enjoy. So don't take that away from me," I say, a little hurt and angry because she should know how much I enjoy singing.

Trying to make up for what she said, she asks "Are you bringing a date with you tonight?"

I glance over my shoulder and smile, "No, but if there's someone there who is attractive, sexy, and a skillful dancer then he'll be my date." I smile when I see her roll her eyes and she shouts loud enough for me just to hear, "Slut!"

I just laugh and yell, "You're just jealous," as I continue to walk toward my brother Alex, who is waiting for me by his car.

Maria shouts, "I'll be at your place at 6," and laughs as she walks towards her own car.


************************************************************************

"We are now entering New Mexico," bellows Philip Evans.

Everyone starts to groan.

"How much longer to Roswell, Daddy?" Isabel asks, who seems to be getting restless.

"We should be at our new home in no more than 2 hours, right Dad?" states Max.

I just roll my eyes. I'm so glad we are almost there and out of this car. If I have to stay in this car and listen to Max kiss up to our father one more time, I'm gonna jump. This heat is making me irritable, and it doesn't help that my legs feel like they are about to fall off from staying in the same position.

I try to clear my mind and continue to look out the window. As I do, I see a vast expanse of empty desert. At least, I can go someplace where no one will be able to find me. I wonder what Roswell will have to offer? I guess all I can do is wait. Maybe this place will help stop my nightmares. I'm so tired, but every time I close my eyes, all I see is everything that I should've done and didn't. It seems so quiet here. I wonder if the quiet
is better? I guess I'll soon find out.

PART 2

"So what are your plans for tonight?" Alex asks me while we are driving home.

"I don't know, we may just stay in and study. What are you doing tonight?" I ask. He just shrugs his shoulders in response.

I smile at him. "You and Kyle are going to the club tonight, huh?" He casts a shocked look at me as he returns to looking straight ahead. "You are? You weren't going to tell me. I can't believe you. I thought you told me everything," I exclaim, pretending to be hurt.

Just as we turn into our driveway, Alex says, "And you and Maria aren't going to the club?"

I look at him with a mischievous grin and say, "Maria is coming over at 6, so I can help her study and with an extra credit project. She'll be spending the night. Is that alright?" I ask innocently.

"That's it, nothing else?" he asks suspiciously as we walk into the kitchen.

"Well, we really didn't discuss anything," I say nonchalantly.

"I already know you and Maria are going to the club," he says accusingly. "I can't believe you're trying to make me feel bad, when you plan on doing the same thing."

"Whatever," I say shrugging my shoulders. "Just don't tell Maria's mom."

He laughs at me saying, "Okay, I won't only if you don't tell Kyle's dad."

We shake hands. "It's a deal."

"Just remember you have to wake up early tomorrow, because we have to be at school early."

"I know," I say, sighing as I start on my homework.

************************************************************************

My mom's voice wakes me up from my trance saying, "Isabel, Max, Michael, we're here." Realizing that the car is stopped in front of a stunning house, I open the door to get out and nudge Isabel, who looks like she isn't waking up. She looks my way and I say, "We're here." She rushes me out of the car, as she looks up with her mouth hanging open.

"This house is so beautiful, Daddy," Isabel says in awe.

"I'm glad you like it, sweetie. Wait until you get inside," our father says as he's unlocking the door.

I have to admit, my old man outdid himself with this house. It's even more gorgeous on the inside. I also notice that he bought new furniture that compliments the Victorian ambiance of the house. My mother is going to love decorating this place. I look over at Isabel, and she looks stunned. Correction. My mom and Isabel are going to love decorating this place.

After looking around the lower level of the house, I ask my father which room is mine. He looks at me and says, "The master bedroom belongs to your mom and me. You kids can decide which one you want amongst yourselves." Before those words are out of his mouth, both Max and Isabel run up the stairs to choose. I follow behind at my own pace, and when I arrive at the top of the staircase, I look around.

After watching Isabel go in and out of every room excitedly she finally yells, "Oh my god, this is so beautiful." I follow her voice to see what all the excitement is about. Looking at the room, it has Isabel written all over it. There's this big bay window with a beautiful view that gives off the right amount of light. I can tell she's in love with this one.

Then I hear Max yell, "I found mine." Isabel and I walk towards him to see which one he selected. It looks similar to the one he left in New York. That's probably why he chose that one. He was never really good at change. Now that everyone else has chosen their rooms, it's my turn to start surveying the remaining rooms. To my amazement there are three rooms left. Well actually two. One of them is the master bedroom.

Just looking at the location of each room I know which one to examine first. I walk towards the one that is the farthest from the rest of the rooms. It's the one down the hall and across from the master bedroom. When I enter the room, I notice that there are three other doors inside. I open the first door I come to and behind it is a spacious closet. I don't think I'll ever be able to fill this up. The second door leads to a huge bathroom. I
wonder if every room has their own bathroom. I know this is my room when I open the third door. I could leave whenever I want without disturbing anyone. This room actually has its own exit.

I hear my father yelling for us to come downstairs. I close my own private door and leave my new room. Isabel and Max are already halfway down the stairs when I approach the stairs. When I join the rest of my family, our father starts his little speech.

"I just want you to unpack the important stuff, because you are not going to be up all night unpacking. You have the whole weekend for that. You all will be attending school tomorrow, so I don't want you up all night. Tomorrow will be your first day, and I want all of you to be on your best behavior," he says, looking directly at me when making his last statement.

"The school you will be attending, West Roswell High, has this program called the welcome committee. This is where their honor students of each grade level give tours and introduce new students to all the teachers. Since they had a shortage of volunteers, there are only two assigned to you three. Their names are." pausing to read off a sheet of paper, he continues, "their names are Elizabeth and Alexander Parker."

Isabel and Max chuckle quietly. He looks up to see what the commotion is about, sternly saying, "What's so funny?"

"Well when you said their names, the image I picture is Elizabeth being a short fat girl with 2 ponytails and braces. For Alexander, I imagine a tall skinny guy with polyester high water pants, thick rim glasses, and a pocket protector," Max says while laughing. I have to smirk at that.

My father just looks at him and shakes his head. "Since you two are in the same grade," he says while pointing at Max and me, "your guide will be Elizabeth Parker. According to the principal and guidance counselor, she is a very intelligent young woman. Therefore, I want you two to be on your best behavior. Especially you Michael," he says sternly while pointing at me.

I give him a mock salute and aggressively say, "Yes sir!"

He looks at me firmly, and then he softens his expression and turns his attention to Isabel. "Since you're a senior, Alexander will be your guide."

"So now that I finished my little speech, you guys can start getting unpacked or you can go around town and get acquainted with our new home. However, remember, not too late. You have to be at the school early for all the introductions. That's all I have to say."

When he's finished, he turns from us and goes to the living room to join our mother. I bring Isabel's bags and mine upstairs and head towards my room. I unpack all my clothes within the next half hour and head out through my own private door. Let's see what this town is all about.


PART 3

I walk around my new neighborhood. I don't want to go to far, because I'm still new here and don't want to get lost. Not only that, if my father finds out that I'm missing, I would lose my escape route, I think bitterly to myself.

I find a park and walk around it for a while. I finally sit down on a bench to watch the sun set. I never realized how amazing a sunset looked. Then again, it's kind of hard to see it through the city smog. I look around and realize all the things that I've missed out on, being the outcast of my family.

I see two children playing with their dad, smiling and laughing to my left. In front of me I see a mother and daughter walking their dog. To the right, I see three guys about my age playing basketball.

I've never had that. Why would I? Every time my mom looks at me, all she probably sees is my father's infidelity. I mean, I'm the creation of an affair my father had with his intern 16 years ago. I don't blame my mom for not truly accepting me, but I've never understood why my own father and my brother don't want me.

Max, he's definitely a reproduction of our father, in every sense of the word. He hates me as much as our father does. I don't understand that. I never did anything to him. There was never any competition between us because he always had all the privileges.

I remember a time when I was growing up. I did everything to make my father and brother accept me, to make them proud. I now realize that I just wasted my time. It's even a waste of time to dwell on it now. Realizing that the sun has been down for hours, I get up and head back to the house.

************************************************************************

I have just finished my last assignment, when I hear Maria barge in. I look up at her then glance at the clock. "Where have you been?" I ask her impatiently.

She huffs and sits down. "I told my mom your excuse and it seemed like she was going for it, but then when I was in the middle of packing my overnight bag, she told me that she wanted to see what I was packing,” She says, exasperated.

"What, she actually went through your bag?" I ask. I can't believe her mom would stoop that low.

She nods her head. "I think she was purposely trying to make me late. I have a feeling she knew we are going to the club. I guess she figured that if I got here late and since you're suppose to help me cram, we wouldn't be able to go to the club," she says frustrated. "I guess we can't go because I have to pass my test tomorrow so my mom doesn't think I'm lying to her. I'm sorry, Liz. I know you really wanted to go," she says dejectedly.

I look at her feeling sorry, but I'm not about to miss a night out. I need to unwind, especially if I'm going to have to deal with stuck-up rich New Yorkers just about all day tomorrow. Just thinking about it is getting me annoyed, but all I can think about is that it will look good on my college application.

I get up and sit next to Maria. "Listen, here's the plan. It's only 8 o'clock. We'll get dress and cram for 3 hours. Then we go out," I say insistently.

"Look, Liz, I can't, okay? You may not care what your parents think about you, but I do," she says to me heatedly.

"Maria, will you listen to me?" I say quietly, but forcefully. Even though I may take her for granted sometimes, she is the only good friend I have. When I finally get her attention, I continue to say, "You'll pass your Chem. exam with an A when I get through with you. All I need is three hours now and a crash course at lunch. Going out and having fun will only help relax you more so you can absorb information quicker and easier." She looks at me, somewhat skeptical.

"You wanted to know how I do well in my classes, didn't you?" I ask her inquiringly. She nods her head and I smile at her "Well I'm about to give you a crash course on studying 101. First, I study hard. Second, I go out, have fun, relax, and stop thinking about school and homework. Thirdly, I sleep and I'll wake up refreshed. Before my test, I skim over my notes and everything I studied the night before comes back to me, and voila, I pass my test. It's that easy."

Maria looks down at her hands and sighs. She just has to agree with it. She just has to. Then all my hopes are dashed when she shakes her head and say, "No." At first, she says it a little too quietly, but then she speaks louder. "I'm sorry, Liz, but I told my mom I'm going to pass this test and I'll study all night long if I have to, with or without your help,” She says miserably as she gets up and heads for her backpack.

I look up trying to calm myself down. "I'll help you, Maria. You know I'll always be there for you when and if you ever need me," I say trying to sound as calm as I can. "Come on, grab your books, and let's get started," I say, a little too gloomy for my taste.

We head upstairs towards my room, and I sit on my bed while Maria sits on the floor, gathering all her notes and books to prepare herself for studying. I should be proud of her. She hardly ever attempts to study, but me being the selfish person I am, I can't help but be depressed. I stand up, walk towards my window, and look out at the town. Wishing I was anyplace but here.

I wake up from my self-pitying to the sound of rustling papers. I look over at Maria and sigh. I walk over towards her and sit next to her. "If you want me to help you study then you'll have to learn to study my way," I say cheerfully. I don't want Maria to think that I don't want to help her.

Maria smiles and we begin on our late night cram session.

PART 4

I roll over and wake up when something jabs me in my side. Trying to figure out what it is, I start to roam my hands around until they land on the object in question. It's a book. How did that get there? I ask myself. I look around groggily and realize that I'm still on the floor. Then I remember the late night study session I had with Maria. I catch a glimpse of Maria sleeping on the floor right along with me.

Alex is shouting from somewhere downstairs, "Are you ready yet?" I look up at my clock and it reads 6:30. Damn it, I'm supposed to be leaving for school already. I quickly get off the floor and run to the bathroom to take a shower.

I trip over Maria during my frenzy. I hear her groan, "Five more minutes, mom." I look at her apologetically. "Go back to sleep," I whisper to her while running around trying to find an outfit to wear. I should've been on my way to school by now. Alex is going to kill me. I finally opt for my favorite sundress. I rush over to my vanity table to apply my makeup and figure out what to do with my hair. It's still wet from the shower. I decide to braid my hair into two pigtails. As I'm putting the finishing touch on my hair, Alex first knocks then opens the door.

"Are you ready?" he asks. I stand up, grab my backpack, and tell Maria I'll catch up with her at school.

"I am now. Come on, we are so late," I reply to Alex as I rush downstairs and grab a glass of orange juice to take with me.

"I told you yesterday that you had to get up early and you still didn't," Alex says restlessly.

"I'm sorry, what do you want me to say?" I respond solemnly. "I was helping Maria study last night and I must have fallen asleep. I didn't even sleep in my bed. Have some sympathy for your poor sister. My back is killing me," I explain as we are turning into the parking lot of the school.

************************************************************************

"We're here. Welcome to your new high school, guys, and remember I want all of you to be on your best behavior," our father says as we get out of the car. "Do you want me to pick you up or can you manage to find your way home yourself?" he asks us. Isabel and Max both say they can mange themselves. Isabel kisses him on the cheek, and we head for the school.

Just as we go through the doors, a man approaches us and asks, "Are you the Evans?"

"Yes, we are," answers Max.

"My name is Daniel Pierce I will be your guidance counselor," he replies. "And your names are?" he asks as he extends his hand out to Max first.

"I'm Max. This is my sister Isabel and my brother Michael," Max says introducing us to our new counselor.

"Well, let me show you to Principal Topolsky's office. That's where you'll be meeting up with your guides," Mr. Pierce says while he walks in front of us. "How do you like Roswell so far?" he asks. He seems to be genuinely sincere.

Isabel replies, "Well, we really haven't experienced Roswell yet. We just got in last night."

"I see, maybe your guides will suggest places to explore," he says while he opens the door that I'm assuming leads to the principal's office.

We notice two other people talking to a woman behind the counter. I hear Max whispering to Isabel, "These must be our guides. They fit our description to a tee." Isabel giggles softly.

The other two turn to the sound of Isabel's giggles. I have to admit that Max was right. They are what you would call your stereotypical geeks. If these are the ones who are going to walk us around this school, I'd rather take my chances getting lost.

As Mr. Pierce approaches the woman behind the counter, he greets the two people. "How is everything today, Paulie, Pam?" I hear Max and Isabel sigh in relief. Mr. Pierce leans into the woman behind the counter and whispers something to her. The door suddenly swings open behind us, just as the woman was about to say something to Paulie and Pam.

I hear a female's voice babbling, "I'm sorry we're late Ms. Topolsky, it's all my fault. Don't blame my brother. I was helping a friend study for a test last night and we stayed up pretty late. I guess I just overslept. I'm so sorry."

I look up at the woman behind the counter, and she has a small smile on her face and says, "It's okay miss Parker. They just arrived a few minutes ago." She tells the two people in front of her, "We'll continue this later." They nod their heads and proceed to the exit.

The woman approaches us and introduces herself to us. "My name is Kathleen Topolsky, I'm the principal here. I've heard great things about you from your previous school."

"It's nice to meet you. My name is Max Evans. This is my sister Isabel and my brother Michael," Max says in his polite voice.

"It's nice to meet you. Let me introduce you to your guides. Ms. Topolsky says as she turns us around to face where the female's voice came from.

When I turn around, I am amazed. There is the most beautiful person I've ever seen standing in front of me. She is wearing a stunning sundress that reaches to about her mid thigh. It shows off all her curves, and the color accentuates her beautiful brown hair and eyes. I don't realize I'm staring at her until Max's intake of breath brings me out of my reverie. I'm glad she didn't notice. She probably would have thought I was a dork. Where did that come from? When did I ever care what someone thought about me? I
question myself. I look in Max's direction and having the same reaction I did. My heart sinks to my stomach. If I had a slight chance with this girl, I know I don't now. Max always gets the girl.

Since I was in the middle of Isabel and Max, I whisper, "At least you've got the ponytails right." Max looks at me arrogantly. I just smirk at him. If I could remember how to laugh I would, but I can't even recall the last time I did.

************************************************************************

Alex and I rush into Ms. Topolsky's office. As I hurriedly open the door, I yell, "I'm sorry we're late, Ms. Topolsky. It's all my fault. Don't blame my brother. I was helping a friend study for a test last night and we stayed up pretty late. I guess I just overslept. I'm so sorry."

After Ms. Topolsky gets rid of Pam and Paulie, the only people left are the ones standing in front of her. Ms. Topolsky approaches them and I hear her introducing herself. It's so low I can barely make out their names. I look up at Alex and roll my eyes. He just takes my hand and squeezes it as he smiles at me.

When all the introductions are made, she turns them around so that they're facing us. The first face I see is the girl's. I think her name is Isabel, if I heard correctly. She's the one Alex will be taking around. I look at Alex's face and notice the interest there. I'll have to watch her. I don't want anyone hurting my brother, I think as I make a note to myself. A gasp brings me out of my thoughts. I look in the direction it came from and see a guy with dark hair and ears that stick out a little too far. What a dork. I remember the names of the ones I'm touring around are Max and Michael, but I don't know which is which. I glance at the guy standing in the middle and I'm about to look at Isabel again, when I do a double take.

Oh my god, he's gorgeous. He has this unruliness about him, but it only makes him sexier. He leans over to whisper something to Isabel, but the only word I can make out is ponytails. Then all of a sudden I feel self-conscious. I put my head down, debating if I should take my hair loose or not. Why did I put my hair in these stupid things?

Ms. Topolsky approaches me and says, "Elizabeth, Alexander, I would like to introduce to you Isabel, Michael and Max." Michael, his name is Michael. I look down and smile. Alex extends his hand to greet them. I follow Alex's lead until I come to Michael. As our hands touch, I swear I can feel electricity. Just as quickly, as I received it, the feeling is gone. I look up into his eyes to see if he felt the same thing, but I can't read anything. He isn't even looking in my direction.

What's wrong with me? I've never experienced this with a guy before. What difference does it make, Parker? He doesn't look like he's at all interested in you. What do you expect, Parker? He's used to those sophisticated city girls. You're just some small town hick. Why am I even worried about it? I don't want a relationship. I don't even care what other people think about me. I try and convince myself, but I know that for some reason this Michael Evans is making me reconsider my single status.

************************************************************************

Ms. Topolsky introduces us to the two that had entered the office. "Elizabeth, Alexander I would like to introduce to you Isabel, Michael and Max." Elizabeth, I repeat to myself. The guy, Alexander, extends his hand to us. I notice his exquisite sister following his lead. When our hands connect, I feel this surge that feels like electricity go through my hand.

I pull my hand away fast. What the hell was that? I have to look away. Out of my peripheral vision, I notice her looking at me. Did she feel the same thing? She probably thinks I'm some rude city boy. I try my best to act like I didn't feel anything. I don't want to get my hopes up and then have them shattered when she starts to date Max. She goes to shake Max's hand and gives him the most beautiful smile I've ever seen. See, Evans?
You don't stand a chance with your brother involved, I argue bitterly to myself as we're grouped off with our appropriate guides. This is going to be a long day-- Me, Max, and a girl, who we are both attracted to, hanging out together.


PART 5

Alex and Isabel are the first to leave, and we follow them out. I watch the way Alex looks at her and my heart tightens. Don't do this to yourself, I tell myself. I force a smile and turn around to face my escorts. My eyes first land on Max and I say, "First off, call me Liz, otherwise I won't respond." I glance over towards Michael. When our eyes meet my stomach flip-flops and my heart, that felt tight moments ago, is fluttering. I feel my face start to heat up. I have to break eye contact.

"Are you guys ready for an action packed day?" I ask trying to sound calm. "First I'll take you to get your books, then we'll head to your lockers. I'll give you a quick tour before your first class." I slow my pace down until I'm between them. "If you have any questions feel free to interrupt me at any time," I state as we head to our first destination.

***********************************************************************

I am bored out of my mind. I look at my schedule. The good thing is that lunch is next. The bad thing is that this class doesn't end for another twenty minutes. I start to sketch in hopes that it will speed up time. Usually when I draw, I go with my feelings or thoughts. I don't actually pay attention to what I'm drawing until the outlines are done. This is so I
can add definition. Most of the time, I just draw objects or scenery. I rarely draw portraits. However, this time there is a person looking back at me. I keep drawing vigorously to add shadows here and sharpness there. I want this to look perfect. I stop myself. Why did it matter? She's just some girl, right? Keep telling yourself that, Evans. You feel something for this girl. Whatever kind of spell she has on you, you can't deny you feel something.

I look down at my sketch. I'm so lost in thought that I don't hear the bell ring. Out of nowhere, I hear someone calling my name. It sounds like it's far away. I think I'm imagining it so I ignore it. Then I sense a figure standing over me. I look up. I quickly close my book and jump out of my chair. It doesn't register right away what she's saying to me. All I can think about is she almost saw my drawing. She'd think I was some kind of sicko or something.

She must have asked me a question because she's standing there like she's waiting for a response. I try to get my thoughts in order to answer her question. I say, "I'm fine." It appears like she's still waiting for more. "I was just looking over my schedule," I say rudely. Why did I lie?

I'm about to tell her the truth, but she coldly replies, "Well come on, it's lunch time, and I don't want to wait for you all day." I silently follow her and Max to the cafeteria.

***********************************************************************

I'm anxiously waiting for Michael. Max keeps talking about something, but I'm not paying attention. What's taking him so long? I look at my watch. I'm startled from my thoughts by Max when he lightly touches my arm. I jump in response. I look at him with an apologetic smile and say, "I'm sorry, I'm suppose to meet a friend for lunch to help her review for her test next period. I'm going to check to see what's taking your brother so long."

I walk into the classroom and see Michael still sitting at his desk looking at something. I approach him cautiously saying, "Michael?" He still doesn't look up. I try to get a glimpse at what has captured his attention. I'm only able to see that it is a sketch of someone before he jumps up and closes his book.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean startle you, but I wanted to see why you didn't leave with the rest of your class," I say sincerely. "Are you okay?" I ask softly.

It doesn't seem like he heard me, so I'm in the process of repeating myself when he finally says, "I'm fine. I was just looking over my schedule." I know he's lying, but for some reason it hurts.

I just turn around and coldly say, "Well come on, it's lunch time and I don't want to wait for you all day."


PART 6

I head towards the cafeteria with Max and Michael on my heels. When I’m mad I have the tendency to speed walk. Why was I mad? You’re not mad, you’re just hurt, and I answered myself back. You know he wasn’t looking at his schedule. He was looking at a drawing of some girl. I did see that much. Again, I ask myself why am I hurt. Why do I care for that matter? We’ve only met each other a few hours ago, so him lying to me shouldn’t affect me, right? Then why is it?

I was brought out of my musing when Max takes hold of my shoulder. I turn around and yell, “What!” When I see the surprised look on his face, I smile and soften my voice to say “I’m sorry, I’m in a hurry and I shouldn’t have taking it out on you.”

He smiles at me while gently squeezing my shoulder and says teasingly, “It’s okay; I was just trying to get your attention to ask if you could slow down. For a short person you sure can walk fast. I was having trouble keeping up with you.”

I have to smile at his comment. “So you think I’m short, do you? Just don’t underestimate us short people you never know what we are capable of.” I say teasing right along with him.

I glance over at Michael to include him in our conversation, but he looks like he wants to be anywhere but here. I feel my heart drop; he’s probably thinking about the person that was in that drawing, she’s probably someone special to him. That thought makes my heart sink even lower. What if he does have someone? What if he has a girlfriend back in New York that he was or still is serious with? Why do I even care? I was asking myself all these questions not realizing I was still staring at him.

Max brings me out of my self-interrogation by saying “Whatever you’re thinking about must really be intense, because you’ve been staring at my brother for a while.”

I quickly turn my head towards Max and ask, “Was I?” I could feel my cheeks start to warm up, I look down and utter, “I didn’t realize.”

I took a deep breath and say shyly while looking up at Michael, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stare; it’s just that I have a lot on my mind. I’m also sorry for the attitude I displayed earlier.”

I regain my composure and to help lighten the mood I add, “If any of you tell anyone I apologized I’ll deny it; I have a rep to protect.” Max chuckles and asks, “What kind of reputation do you have to protect?”

I turn around to continue our walk to the cafeteria, where I know there is an impatiently waiting Maria; I reply mockingly “I’m known as the queen of bitches around these parts.”

“I don’t see how that’s possible.” Max responds smiling. “Believe me, you’ll see it sooner or later.” I say as I give him a sly smile.

************************************************************************

Let the games begin, I think to myself as we head towards the cafeteria. Max is already putting his charms to work and she’s eating it up, just like every other girl. They are joking and having fun amongst themselves oblivious of me.

I think back to moments ago when she was staring at me. I was excited at first because I thought she was looking at me, but when I got up the courage to look into her exquisite brown eyes it was like she was looking through me. I started to feel self-conscious; it felt like she was looking into my soul, almost like she was trying to find answers to questions she only knew. I looked away; I had to.

What if she sees things that I’m ashamed of; things I wouldn’t want her to know about me. Do you hear yourself Evans? You’re acting like she can read minds or something. You’re acting like she gives a crap about you. She must care if she apologized, right? Keep telling yourself that, Evans, she’s probably just being polite.

We enter the cafeteria and I spot Isabel with Liz’s brother. There were two other people, a guy and a girl, sitting at the table. I follow Max and Liz to the table, where the girl jumps up and run up to Liz talking a mile a minute.

Liz says something to the girl and she calms down; she grabs Liz’s arm and drags her to their table. Liz turns and looks at Max and me and says, “Max, Michael this is Maria and Kyle.”

The girl, Maria comes up to us and says while shaking my hand, “It’s nice to meet you, Isabel has been telling us all about you guys.” I roll my eyes and look over at Isabel and she just shrugs her shoulders. I curtly say, “Nice meeting you.” She glances at Liz and raises an eyebrow. Max says while extending his hand to her, “It’s nice meeting you.” He turns to Liz and says, “She must be the friend you were talking about.” She gives him one of her beautiful smiles and again the jealousy pours over me. I leave their friendly chatter and go over to sit by Isabel.

************************************************************************

“Maria calm down, I’m here; I know I’m late. We can get started on your review, but let me introduce you to these guys first.” I say a little flustered while being dragged by her to our usual table.

I swear she can be a handful sometimes. After the introduction, I notice Michael leave our group and sit with his sister. I guide Maria towards the table where she already has her books scattered everywhere. We begin on her review. When she finally feels confident enough about the subject, we join the group’s conversation.

I hear Kyle asking Max something about sports; figures all Kyle ever thinks or talks about are sports. I glanced around the table and see Isabel talking with both Alex and Michael. Actually, when she was talking to Alex, Michael kept to himself. He must be shy, that’s the only explanation I have.

Maria nudges my side and I turn to glare at her; she whispers in my ear “Michael is hot isn’t he?” I give her a confused look in response. “I saw you staring at him.”

I look at her indignant and whisper, “I wasn’t staring at him; I was looking at the interaction between my brother and that girl.” I was telling the truth, not all of it, but it is the truth.

“Her name is Isabel and if she makes him happy just let it be.” She says warningly. I look at her as if she grew two heads. “All that girl is going to do is break his heart. I’m not going to sit back and watch it happen.” I whisper harshly.

Maria sighs and murmurs, “Not everyone is out to hurt others and anyway love sometimes hurts.” I look at her and brashly say, “Ha!”

All eyes are now on me except Michael’s.

“What! Maria told me something ridiculous. I had to voice my opinion.” I say harshly.

I get up to leave, but Max stops me. Max smiles and whispers, “My sister isn’t going to hurt your brother; she’s not like that.”

I look at him and with a tight smile I frostily say, “I don’t mean to be rude, but she is your sister therefore you’re bias.”

“I understand the protectiveness you have towards your brother, but I know she won’t hurt him because she is my sister. It has nothing to do with me being bias. My sister has a warm, giving heart. I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I hope they become close friends.”

“Why?” I ask as I narrow my eyes at him and sit down.

“She deserves someone who actually cares about her, not the way she looks. I’m assuming your brother is like that.” I just sigh in response. “She was known as the ice princess in our school. She never really gave people a chance, because people only based her on her looks, not her heart.” He looks at me while saying this.

I had to give him credit he seems like he cares deeply for his sister. When I didn’t respond he continues by asking me “As a favor to me, could you please get to know her first before you judge her?” I shrug my shoulders and feeling guilty I reply, “You’re right, I’ll get to know her first. I have no right to judge anyone.” He squeezes my hand as the bell rings signaling the end of lunch.

************************************************************************

I’m talking to Isabel when she wasn’t talking to Alex. She looks comfortable around him. Every now and then, I’d hear her laughing; I’m happy that she found a guy who treats her with the respect that she deserves. In the past, she’d had some real losers. Guys who only thought of one thing. That’s one thing I agree with Max about, protect are sister at all costs.

I glance over at Liz every so often, I didn’t want to be caught staring. I notice her and Maria were in a heated conversation; then out of nowhere Liz shouts. I look down because everyone was looking in her direction. I hear a chair slide out. I risk a glance in her direction only to see Max holding her hand. My stomach drops, I feel like I’m going to be sick. They’re talking quietly amongst themselves until Liz sits down and pulls her chair closer to him.

Again Max gets the girl. The bell rings and I stand up; Isabel says something to me, but I wasn’t paying attention. I notice her giving me a concerned look before I start to head for the door.

I hear footsteps rushing up beside me and hear Liz ask, “You’re not going to wait for us?” I just shrug and keep on walking; I didn’t want to be around them when they start ‘flirting’. I hear Max say to her, “don’t worry about him; he’s naturally moody.”

I pull out my schedule hoping to drown both of them out. I was happy there were only four more classes after lunch. I look around trying to figure out which direction I’m suppose to go. I feel a hand touch my forearm. The feeling shocks me so I jerk away, when I see that the hand belongs to Liz, I regretted my action.

I look her in the eyes and could swear I seen hurt flicker in them for only a second. That’s just wishful thinking, Evans. Why would she be hurt? She slowly smiles and says, “Don’t worry I’ll show you where your classes are.” I just nod my head in response.

“Are you in that much of a hurry, to get away from us?” She asks with a half smile. I hear Max say to her, “He’s probably looking for a way to cut the rest of his classes. He’s not really the scholarly type.” I turn around I didn’t want to know her response; I didn’t even want to hear it. Good ‘ole Max, always there to make me look bad. I think bitterly.

Time seems to go by at a good pace. Before I know it, I’m on my way to my last class. I look at my schedule and glad that it’s art. I can relax in my last class of the day. I’m standing outside my classroom waiting for Liz, so she could lead me to my next class. Someone taps me on back and I turn around; it was Liz. She looks up and smiles at me.

“Are you ready” she asks me. I just nod my head; I couldn’t get over how beautiful she was, and I have her all to myself for a little while anyway.

“I’m sorry I took so long to meet you, but I took Max to his class already.” She says still looking at me. For some reason I felt nervous, I couldn’t say anything, much less think.

“You’re not one for talking much, are you?” She asks me.

“Why’d you drop Max off first?” I finally got out. She smiles and says playfully, “You do speak? I was starting to think you didn’t want to talk to me.” I give her one of my nervous smirks.

“Since we have the next class together, I figured it would be more convenient to drop him off first.”

“You’re taking art?” I ask her.

“Yeah, I needed an art credit.” She replies while nodding her head.

“You don’t like art?” I ask cautiously.

“Don’t get me wrong I love art, it’s just that I can’t draw if my life depended on it. I like to do my best at everything I do, but no matter how hard I try, I still can’t draw.” She says a little frustrated. I didn’t know how to react to that, so I didn’t say anything.

************************************************************************

“Now that I have you talking, my next task is to make you smile.” I say playfully as I opened the door to our class. He comes up behind me and helps me open the door; our hands briefly touch and I feel the same surge of electricity I felt before. I can’t believe how giddy I feel knowing that I’m going to have him all to myself in this class. I don’t think anything could upset me right now.

Our teacher, Mrs. Burns says, “I’m glad to see you’re finally happy to be in my class, Miss Parker. I just nod my head and head for a table that has two vacant seats. We sit down next to each other.

Our assignment is to draw the bowl of fruit that is sitting on Mrs. Burn’s desk. I moan because I was hoping we’d do the history of art today and not drawing.

I look over at Michael and see him sketching vigorously. I couldn’t get over how sexy he is. Why is he not paying any attention to me? Normally I could get any guy I wanted with no problem. I can’t even get him to have a conversation with me, not to mention a smile. I’m trying every, well almost, every trick I know to get him to notice me. Nothing I get no response.

I see him look up and I quickly turn back to my sketchpad and try hard to concentrate on my work. Maybe it’s for the best that he’s not interested in me. He’d probably end up hurting me.

I think back to what my grandma always use to tell me “Listen to your heart. It will always tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.” I never understood what she meant. I always asked her to explain, but she kept telling me “You’ll find out one day. One day your heart will scream out to you what it wants. Just promise me you’ll listen to it.” Those were her last words she will ever say to me.

Is my heart telling me something, now? I’ve never experienced this before. My heart never reacted to anything or anyone. Why now? I’ve always that I was ‘immune’ to love, that’s why I never believed in it. I still don’t, right? Then why does my hurt flutter every time I’m around him?

Michael brings me back to reality by saying, “The bell rang. Class is over.” I nod my head dumbly and gather my books, but one of them falls to the floor. I reach for it, but Michael beats me to it. As he rises up our faces are just inches apart. My heart was beating fast, all I have to do is lean forward a little and our lips would touch. Then he moves and my heart drops.

“Isabel is meeting me at my locker. I don’t want her to worry.” He says as he moves to the door leading him to freedom and away from me. I feel crushed. What good is it to listen to your heart when it leads you to hurt? My sadness turns to anger as I walk out and head for my locker.


************************************************************************

I ran out of that class fast. I had to get away. We were so close. I could feel her breathe on my lips. All I had to do was lean forward and our lips would’ve touched. I almost did. I was afraid of her reaction, that’s why I ran. You’re a coward, Evans. I just don’t want to get hurt. If I fall for all I’ll experience is heartache. She doesn’t like you. I’m not her type. Her type is probably someone like Max. I’m just a loser and she sees that. I’m some charity case to her. When I glanced at her in class, she was working hard on her assignment. She didn’t try to start a conversation with me. I even said something to her and she just ignored me.

What do you expect Evans? You’re a loser. I see Isabel up ahead talking to Alex. She sees me approaching and she’s about to say something, but she stops. She probably sees the anger in my eyes. As I open my locker, I hear Isabel whispering to me “What’s wrong? What happened?” I slam my locker in response and head for the exit. I hear her calling after me, but I ignore her. I have to go for a walk. I have to cool down. Then I can talk to Isabel, but right now, I’m afraid of what I might say. She’s the only one I have and I don’t want to lose her.

PART 7

I walk up to my locker to grab the books I need for my assignments. I’m concentrating so hard on the task that I don't notice someone approach me and say, “Hey.” I jumped dropping all my books on the floor. I turn around to see who scared the crap out of me.

It’s Max. I bend down to pick them up. If I say anything, right now I’ll curse him out. I’m not in a good mood, not after that incident in art class. While I’m bent down, I glance up and see Max looking at my ass. I take my time collecting my books in hopes of calming down Just before I can blow up, Maria comes over and bends down to help me and whispers, “Hey girlfriend, are you having a bad day?” I look at her and give her a tight smile. I stand up and first look at Maria, who’s giving me a “be nice” look and then turn to Max.

“Is there some reason why you scared the crap out of me?” I say trying my best to sound playful. I glance over at Maria and she smiles at me to show me how proud she is. She should be. I’ve been known to speak my mind. I roll my eyes at her and then turn back to Max waiting for his answer.

“I didn’t mean to scare you. I just wanted to stop by to say bye and thanks for all your help before I head home.” He says while giving me a big smile.

He must think that smile is sexy. Well he needs to think again. Before I can say something, my brother and Isabel walk up. Relief washes over me; I didn't think I could have held my tongue much longer.

I’m brought out of my fuming when I notice Isabel is standing in the midst of our group, and there is no Michael. He told me he was meeting her, why weren't they together? He lied again, Parker. Get over it. He doesn't want to have anything to do with you. He was trying to be civil by making up some fake excuse. Fine, if that’s the way he wants it then I’ll leave him alone. I can take a hint; I know when I’m not wanted.

Maria taps me on my shoulder whispering, “Are you okay? Why are you staring at Isabel?” I look at her confused and then back to where I was daydreaming and sure enough there is Isabel. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, staring at people and not realizing it. I finally take in her appearance and she looks a little frazzled. I turn to Alex and he gives me a questioning look.

I turn back to Isabel and say while smiling, “I’m sorry, I don’t think we were formally introduced.” She looks at me and gives me a small smile. I slowly extend my hand and say, “I know I’ve been acting like a real bitch to you for no reason, but I was a tiny bit jealous of you.” That got her attention. She smiles at me while she accepts my hand.

“Well it’s about time you spoke to her.” I hear Maria exclaim from my side. I smile at her. I gotta love her, she knows me so well.

“Where’s Michael?” Maria says. That perks my ears up.

Isabel’s smile falters a little while she says, “He was supposed to meet me at my locker I mean he did, but he ran off before I could get a word in edgewise. I’m a little worried.” At least he wasn’t lying about meeting her at her locker. She does look worried.

“He’s probably on some kind of rampage. You know how Michael is, Isabel.” Max says arrogantly.

I narrow my eyes at him and was going to ask him what he meant by that when I feel Maria's arm go around me probably to calm me down. “I offered to give Isabel a ride home. Do you want to go along for the ride?” Maria asks me changing the subject.

I’m about to decline the offer, but she says, “It’ll only be us girls. I figured since there’s only the two of us it was about time we added a new member to our little group. I thought bribing her for a ride home was the best way to force her to like us, that way she can't deny us her company."

I giggle. Leave it to Maria to make Isabel feel wanted by making it sound like it’s our privilege to be around her. I have to admit that I’m relieved that I don’t have to deal with Max and Michael. I don’t think my temper could deal with another one of Max’s conceited comments and my heart sure as hell can’t deal with another one of Michael’s rejections.

I nod my head and say, “I guess a girls bonding will do me some good.”

Maria jumps up and down and hugs me and grabs Isabel’s arm and my bag. “Come on, I can call my mom when we get to the car and tell her I’m going to be late. Do you think your parents will mind us coming over on such short notice? I mean they don’t know either of us. Should we call them first?” Maria says concerned.

“It’ll be alright. My mom is gonna be thrilled that I made two new girlfriends already.” Isabel says with a smile on her face. I have to admit she doesn’t seem all that bad.

“We can talk about Roswell, boys, and maybe a little bit of school. We can also help you unpack if you want.” Maria says excitedly while we walk to her car.

“How long will we have before your brothers show up?” I ask gloomily while I pile in the backseat of Maria’s car.

Isabel looks at me sympathetically and says, “Did they give you a hard time? Individually they’re sweethearts, but together they can give anyone a headache.”

Maria asks, “What’s their problem? When I was around them they either acted like each of them didn’t exist or they were giving each other looks to kill.” I had to agree with her, I definitely felt that between them too. I didn’t say anything because I’m trying hard not to think about either of them.

Maria and Isabel were chatting in the front and I just stared out the window. I couldn’t understand why Michael and Max didn’t get along. Isabel seems to get along with both of them, as long as they were separated.

If I didn’t have Alex, I don’t think I would have survived my family. Maria is like a sister to me, if her and Alex didn’t get along, I don’t know what I would have done. Knowing me, I’d probably lock them in a room together until they could clear up all their hostilities. Thankfully, they do because they might have killed each other.

I remember when I was growing up; my mother would treat me like her little princess and dress me up like one. When I’d go outside, I would end up ruining my clothes. She wanted a little lady to dress up and be her trophy daughter, but I wasn’t; I was a tomboy through and through. Since I didn’t follow in her footsteps, she lost interest in me. She was ashamed of me. All she wanted was to put me in pageants and be her beautiful angel.

I smile a little remembering what a little terror I was. I was the one who always started the fights and got into trouble. That’s what my grandma always said she loved about me. I always did what I wanted when I wanted. I loved her deeply.

I never had my dad’s attention; I don’t even think he knew I existed. Still doesn’t. It never bothered me because I adored Alex and my grandma they were everything to me. I remember following Alex around everywhere he went. I loved doing things with him. He never seemed annoyed by it. There was a time he didn’t want me around since he use to be a little runt growing up he would always get picked on. He was embarrassed about that since he knew I looked up to him, but when I was at the age where I knew about fighting, that’s when I started protecting him. I didn’t care what age, size or sex they were. I wasn’t about to let anyone tease or hurt him. I’ve always felt he’s all I got. To this day, I still feel the same way and will do anything to protect him, no matter what.

I guess that’s why I felt threatened towards Isabel. When I noticed my brother’s attraction to her, I didn’t want her to take him away from me. I already lost my grandma. I didn’t want to lose Alex too. I don’t know what I’d do if Alex wasn’t in my life.

Maria calling out my name brings me out of my thoughts. I look over at her still a little dazed. “You’re just like Michael. Every time he’s in the car I always seem to lose him to his thoughts.” Isabel says giving me a concerned smile.

“I’ve been calling your name for about a half an hour, girlfriend. Where were you?” Maria says also giving me a concerned look.

“I was just looking at the scenery. I’ve never been to this area.” I say trying to sound cheerful.

“Well we’re here.” Isabel and Maria say at the same time. We all get out of the car and head towards the house.

************************************************************************

I just walked around for a while trying not to think. You’ve gotta stop thinking about her, Evans. Just let it go. You’re not her type. She’s smart and beautiful; you don’t have a chance with her. She’s probably out doing something with Max right now.

I’ve got to stop this. If I keep torturing myself like this, I’ll never be able to calm down enough to go home. Even if she’s at all interested in me, I still can’t be with her. It seems like everyone I ever cared about was taken away from me. What if something happens to her? Look what happened to Nick. I just have to stay away from her.

I know Isabel is going to ask me questions about the way I left earlier. I hate lying to her, but I can’t explain to her what I was feeling. What I’m feeling right now. Hopefully by the time I arrive home, she’ll either be busy unpacking or doing homework and won’t notice me. Maybe I’ll just wait until I think she’s asleep before I head home.

I chuckle to myself. It’s funny, while I was growing up all I wanted was for someone to notice me and now all I want is to be invisible. Lately, I've been distancing myself from human contact. If it weren’t for school, I don’t think I’d be around people at all. I even feel myself pulling away from Isabel. After she goes off to college, who will I have then? It’s for the best that I distance myself from her now, so she won’t miss me too much when she leaves.

Knowing her, she’ll probably try her hardest to keep me in her life, but it’s for the best for both of us. I just have to get used to the fact that I’ll be a loner for the rest of my life.

PART 8

I arrive home is after the sun sets. I’m hoping Isabel is too busy to realize I’m home. I walk in and mom says, “You’re just in time for dinner. Go and wash up, guests will be joining us.” I nod my head and go up to my room. I take a quick shower and put on a pair of sweats. I head back downstairs and Max is already sitting at the table talking to our father and Alex.

“You didn’t have to get that causal, we do have guests.” He says to me disapprovingly while nodding his head towards Alex.

I just shrug my shoulders heading for my seat and say sarcastically, " What? I was supposed to impress him?"

“Isabel has friends joining us for dinner also," he replies. I just shrug my shoulders again. I lean back in my chair waiting for the rest of the people to arrive so I can eat. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I smelled my mom’s good cooking.

************************************************************************

Isabel, Maria and I have been talking and laughing in Isabel’s room for hours. I don’t remember when I had this much fun. I’m glad I came along. We talked about school, Roswell, and even New York. Isabel’s mom would come in every so often to offer us something to drink or eat. She seems nice. I guess compared to my mom any mom seems nice.

Maria changes the topic to something I really didn’t want to discuss. “Tell me are your brothers dating anyone?”

Isabel smiles at Maria and ask “Why? Are you interested in one of them?”

“Maybe you didn’t notice, but both your brothers are gorgeous.” Maria says breathlessly.

Isabel looks at me, I just roll my eyes at her and say, “Don’t mind her they’re just fresh meat. Since this is a small town when new guys move here every single women in Roswell will swarm around them. So, don’t be surprised if more than Maria approaches you.”

“Really, it’s that bad?” Isabel asks while laughing.

I giggle and say, “If you haven’t notice there really aren’t that many guys to choose from around here.”

“What about you are you interested in one of my brothers?” Isabel asks me. I smile and look away. “You are, aren’t you? Isabel asks excitedly. I look at her curiously.

“Is it my imagination or are you a little too excited?” I ask her while laughing.

“Well, actually I am.” She says hesitantly.

“Well are you interested in one of them?” Maria asks now joining in the conversation.

I just shrug my shoulders, turning my head towards the window and ask, “Why would you be excited, Isabel?”

Isabel gets up and sits next to me by her bay window and says, “It depends on which one you’re interested in. If it’s the one I’m hoping then yeah, I’m excited, because I know you’ll be perfect for him. I have a right to be excited.”

I look at Isabel first, her smile falters a little and it appears like she’s reluctant to turns her head away from me. Isabel turns towards Maria and apprehensively asks, “Who?”

“Michael,” Maria says shyly while blushing.

My heart becomes heavy. No, no, no. This can’t be happening. Maria starts on her interrogation by asking questions like, “Is he seeing anyone? Is he interested in anyone? What’s his type? Would I be considered his type?”

Isabel turns to me and looks at me concerned, but before she has a chance say anything I close myself off so I can hide my disappointment. I feel like I want to cry. How could Maria like the guy I wanted? You definitely don’t have a chance now. Do you hear yourself? You’re acting like he wants to be with you.

I hear Isabel say from next to me while she gently places her hand over mine, “I don’t know Maria, I don’t want to sound rude, but I don’t think you’re his type.”

“Why?” Maria whines.

Isabel glances over at Maria and cautiously replies, “He’s not really into the cheerful type. He’s the brooding type, and someone cheerful only annoys him. He needs someone who has a lot of patience and won't force him to reveal himself when he doesn't want to.”

I look down taking in what Isabel just said. She whispers in my ear, “Someone like you, Liz.” My eyes go wide as I look at her and she has a small smile on her face. Why did she say that? Does she know I’m attracted to him?

“Well I’m going to invite him on a tour of Roswell this weekend. Do you think he’ll accept?” Maria says hopeful.

“I guess you’ll have to ask to find out, Maria. I don’t know the answer to that.” Isabel says while she squeezes my hand.

Someone knocking on her door interrupts our conversation. “Come in.” Isabel yells.

“Honey, dinner’s ready.”

We all get up and follow Mrs. Evans to the dining room. Maria takes the lead. Isabel stops me before we exit her room and say, “If you’re interested in Michael, I say go for it. He’s a little stubborn and don’t let that stubbornness deter you. Give him a chance.”

“What makes you think I’m interested in him and what makes you think he’s interested in me?” I ask trying my hardest to sound causal. She just smiles at me and leads me to the dining room.

When we enter the room, I notice that everyone else is already seated. I’m about to head over to sit next to Alex, but Isabel takes my elbow and guides me to the seat next to Michael. Our eyes meet. I give him a shy smile before I sit down next to him.

“I guess we have assigned seats," I say glancing at Michael.

“I think she just wanted to sit next to your brother.” He whispers with a smirk. My heart feels like it’s soaring.

"That's all I get? A smirk? What happened to the smile you promised me?” I say playfully, for only him to hear.

He’s about to say something in return, but Maria taps him and whispers something I can't hear. My heart sinks. I look down at my food and realize that I’m not hungry anymore.

After a while of just looking at my plate, I finally pick up my fork and start to play with my food. Max leans over and whispers, “My mom is an excellent cook, so don't worry about the taste.”

I give him a tight smile and continue to look down. I’m starting to feel like I don’t belong. I can hear Maria flirting with Michael and that makes me feel even more uncomfortable.

************************************************************************

I finally hear people approaching. I look up to see who Isabel invited. I see Maria first. She looks at me and heads for the seat next to mine, smiling. All of a sudden, I feel uncomfortable. She starts talking, looking at me every so often. Damn, she needs to cut caffeine out of her diet. She is way too hyper. Where’s Isabel so we can start eating? I’m starving.

Just as those words enter my head, I see Isabel walking in, looking behind her and talking to someone. When the person comes into view, I feel my heart float. It’s her. What is she doing here? I hope she sits next to me. God, please let her sit next to me. My hopes are dashed when I see her head towards the chair next to her brother.

Before I put my head down, I see Isabel staring at me. Then she gives me a mischievous smile. What is she up to? She walks toward Liz and takes a hold of her elbow and escorts her to the seat next to me. My stomach feels like there are butterflies in it. Why am I nervous? All she’s doing is sitting next to me to eat dinner.

She leans in close to me and whispers, “I guess we have assigned seats.”

I want to smile because she is so close, but I don't. I don't want to risk people knowing that she makes me happy.

I reply back, just as quiet, “I think she just wanted to sit next to your brother.”

She shrugs and gives me one of her beautiful smiles and playfully says, "That's all I get? A smirk? What happened to the smile you promised me?" I feel like I’m in heaven. Is she flirting with me? I can’t believe she makes me want to flirt back. Me, Michael flirting, I never thought I’d see the day.

I’m about to reply back, but Maria taps me on my arm. Damn! This girl has the worst timing. What could be so important, that she has to interrupt my flirting with Liz?

“Since you’re new in town, do want me to take you on a tour this weekend?” Maria asks me quietly with this big goofy smile. Did I hear her right?

“Sure, Isabel and I would like to know what there is to do around this place.” I say noticing her smile fade a little. That confuses me. Did she expect us to go alone?

“I was hoping it'd just be the two of us, so we could get to know each other better.” She says, giving me a mischievous smile.

I guess that answers my question. She’s got to be kidding me. She wants me to go out with her alone. I’d probably end up killing myself if not her. She’s way too perky, I don’t know how to deal with perky.

“I’ll have to get back with you. I might have plans with Isabel or something. I’ll let you know.” I say trying to sound polite. That’s a characteristic I’m not good with.

“Did you enjoy your art class, Michael?” Isabel asks while giving me that same mischievous grin as before. Note to self: thank Isabel.

“Yeah, it was alright.” I say not really comfortable with the attention on me.

************************************************************************

“You should like it. It's the only class you’ll probably pass.” Max says while chuckling.

“I’ll have you know the teachers adore him," I blurt out, not liking the way he’s belittling Michael. I see Michael looking at me out of the corner of my eye looking surprised. At this point, I’m giving Max a fierce look.

“How would you know? You’re not even in the same classes as him," Max says, challenging me.

“For your information, his algebra teacher approached me and asked me to speak with the guidance counselor about him. He thinks that he’s in the wrong class.” I say glancing at Michael. He looks uncomfortable.

I’m about to continue, but Max interrupts by saying, “Yeah, he should be in remedial math.” Why does this guy get me so pissed off?

“Whoa, Liz this is not your place of residence. So be nice.” Alex says trying to get me to calm down before I continue.

I take a deep breath and say, “Actually, Michael’s teacher wants him to take a test to see what level he should be at, because he’s way too advanced for the class he’s in now.”

I give Alex a triumphant smile, because I was polite. He smirks at me. Isabel gives me a big smile and says, “Really, he said that?”

“Yeah, he told me at first he thought he was going too fast for him, because he wasn’t participating. So, he purposely put him on the spot by telling him to go to the board to solve a problem. You know, so he could see where Michael is. Michael did the problem with ease, with no hesitations. Now he knows, that he’s just bored. He wants me to point it out to the guidance counselor. I didn’t yet, because I wanted to ask Michael first.”

I glance over at Michael and ask, “Do you want me to talk to Mr. Pierce for you?” He just shrugs his shoulders in response.

“Yes, talk to Mr. Pierce for him. I’ve always known he was smarter than he let on," Isabel says excitedly.

“It’s up to Michael, Isabel. You can't decide what's best for him," I say timidly.

Isabel nods her head and says, “You’re right, I’ve just always wanted the best for my brother, even if he doesn’t.”

From that point on it’s quiet at the dinner table. No one says anything to anybody. When the dishes are ready to be cleared off, Alex stands up and says, “I guess Liz and I will be on our way. It was nice meeting you, Mr. and Mrs. Evans.”

I get up and follow Alex out while saying, “It was nice meeting you. I’ll see you guys in school tomorrow.”


PART 9

The next day at school went by fairly quick. Isabel is getting on my nerves because every time I’d see her, she’d try to convince me to talk to Liz. I don’t see why it’s so important for me to take that stupid placement exam. What’s the point?

My last class finally ends. Thank God!!! No school for two days. As I approach my locker, I notice Liz standing there. I pause. A small part of me wants to run. She finally notices me. I guess it’s too late to run now. I slowly walk to my locker.

“Hey,” Liz says giving me one of her stunning smiles.

“Hey,” I reply back.

There was this awkward silence. I didn’t know what to say. I glance at her; she appears to be debating something. I try to concentrate on collecting the books I will need to do my homework. I didn't want to stare but I couldn't help it. She's eye-catching.

“I’m sorry about last night. I just didn’t like the way Max was talking to you. I hope you’re not mad at me.” She says, interrupting my thoughts.

I look at her. Nobody ever apologizes to me. She sounds genuinely concerned that I might be mad at her. Why does she care? She couldn’t be interested in me. Could she? I had to ask her, “Why would I be mad?”

“I probably made things worse. I noticed how uncomfortable you looked, but I still proceeded on with my tirade. You’re parents probably hate me.” She says looking down at her hands.

“No problem. You can stop worrying about me being mad at you, because I’m not. I should be thanking you for defending me like that. Nobody ever did that for me. As for my parents, I wouldn’t worry about them not liking you.” I say trying my hardest to sound nonchalant.

I couldn’t help it, but it made me feel good that she cared enough to worry about my feelings. The only person who ever did that is Isabel. I wonder what I did to deserve this attention from this desirable woman.

“Can I ask you a question?” She asks giving me a shy smile.

“You can ask, but I’m not promising I’ll answer.” I say giving her a smirk.

“Okay, I guess I can handle that.” She says while laughing.

I notice she hesitates a little. Oh god, this isn’t gonna be good. She looks way too nervous.

“Have you thought about what I asked you last night? You really should consider taking that placement exam.” She asks while looking up at me.

“Why?” I ask.

She takes a deep breath and says, “Do you want people to underestimate you for the rest of your life? You could…”

I cut her off and say, “I’ve never cared what people thought about me before, why should I care now?” I slam my locker shut and notice her jump. I turn around about to leave, but she gently places her hand on my arm to stop me.

“I'm not saying you should care what people think about you. I’m the last person to suggest that. I just think that you’d feel better about yourself if you knew what you’re capable of.” She says quietly.

I turn my back to her and reply, “I already know what I’m capable of.”

She walks around me so that she’s facing me. She’s so close that I unconsciously back up. I stop only when my back hits the lockers. She asks, “Do you? Can you honestly tell me, you’re not curious to know if you’re as smart as Max or maybe even smarter? Why are you so afraid of a challenge?”

“What make you think I’m afraid? Why do you think you know me?” I ask her. I can’t believe she’s confronting me like this. Who does she think she is? Why am I still standing here? I would’ve of left by now if this were anyone else, but a little part of me wants to hear what she has to say. She seems determined. If she keeps asking me about this exam I know I’m gonna cave.

************************************************************************

God, why is he being so difficult? I just want him to take that stupid test. Why am I even trying so hard? If he doesn’t want to, I can’t force him. I just don’t want him to waste his life away by not trying.

“Michael, I just want you to know how intelligent you are.” I say pleading to him with my eyes.

“Why do you care? How is some stupid test going to show me how intelligent I am?” He asks while folding his arms across his chest.

I smile at him and say, “I’ve never met anyone who’s more stubborn then me. Fine, you’re right. It’s a stupid test, but if it’s so stupid then why don’t you just take it to humor me. What’s it going to hurt?”

There’s a pause. I’m guessing he’s thinking it over. He finally says, “Fine! If I take this damn test, are you going to stop hassling me about it?”

I giggle and say, “I won’t mention the test again if you take it. I won’t have too.”

“Okay. I’ll take it Monday morning,” he says.

“Why not right now?” I ask with a smile.

He looks at me and rolls his eyes. While shaking his head he says, “You knew I’d agree to it didn’t you? I can’t believe I fell for it. How did you know I would?”

I give him a playful grin and say, “Never underestimate my powers of persuasion.”

I take him to Mr. Pierce’s office. I tap on the door. When I hear “Come in” from Mr. Pierce, I open the door. He smiles and says, “I see you convinced him to take the exam.” I nod my head in response. He gets up and points to a desk for Michael to sit in. Before Michael sits down, he looks at me hesitantly.

“Just take your time. Answer the questions you know first and if you have time go back to the questions you skipped.” I tell him as I head for the door. “I know you don’t need it, but good luck.” I say smiling at him.

He nervously asks me, “Are you going to wait for me?”

I smile and say, “Of course. I’m gonna try to convince Mr. Pierce to grade your test after you’re done. Anyway, that’s what friends are for.” I leave and close the door behind me.

I look at my watch to judge how much time I have before he’s done. I go to my locker and gather the books I need for the weekend. When I close the door, I see Isabel standing waiting for me.

Anxiously she asks, “So? Did you convince him to take the test?”

I roll my eyes and say, “Do you know how stubborn your brother is?”

She nods her head looking disappointed and says, “He wouldn’t do it.”

I smile and say, “It took me half an hour to finally get him to agree. By that time, I think he only agreed to get me off his back. He can be frustrating. He’s definitely a challenge. You’re lucky I love challenges.”

She smiles at me and says, “I knew I shouldn’t have doubted you.”

I double-check my bag to make sure I have everything. I hear Isabel giggling. I try to ignore her, but my curiosity got the best of me. Looking up at her I say, “What?! What’s so funny?”

She shakes her head in the attempts to try to stop laughing and says, “Nothing. It’s just that…” pausing to laugh again. “I’m sorry, I just know how much you like a challenge.”

I squint my eyes at her. What does she mean by that? “What do you mean by that?” I ask feigning anger.

She continues to laugh. When she finally composes herself she says, “I don’t know why you try so hard to deny your feelings for Michael. I can see the way you look at him. I can also see that you respect him for who he is. That’s why I think you should go for it.”

I sigh. “Isabel, we’ve only known each other for two days. What makes you think you know me so well? Why do you think I have feelings for Michael? For all you know, I could be attracted to Max.”

Again with the laughter. This time I couldn’t hold back and I was laughing right along with her. I don’t understand why I feel comfortable around her. It does seem like I’ve known her all my life. I can see why Alex is attracted to her.

Isabel and I talk for a while. I glance at my watch and notice it’s almost time for me to meet Michael. “Come on, Michael should be done with his test soon,” I say. She nods her head and follows me to Mr. Pierce’s office.

“What are you’re plans for tonight?” She asks.

“I have to close up my parents store. The person who normally does it called in sick today.” I respond.

“What kind of store is it?” She asks.

I smile and say, “A clothing store.”

Isabel’s eyes light up. “Really? What kind of clothing store?”

I smile and say, “It has every thing. From hip hop clothes to formal wear. Do you want to help me close? You can see if you like anything.”

She nods her head and say, “Yes. I would love to.”

We continue to chat until Michael finally opens the door. I look at him and smile. We all walk back into Mr. Pierce’s office, where he’s grading the test.

“How’s it going so far? Do you need any help? I ask. I was anxious to know how well Michael did.

He looks up at me, shakes his head and say, “No, I’m just grading the written parts. The other parts all I have to do is put them through the scanner.”

************************************************************************

We are all standing there quietly, not wanting to distract him in anyway. When he finally finishes, he gets up and goes through a door. When he comes back, he has a smile on his face. He looks at all our faces then lands on mine and says, “I’m glad Ms. Parker convinced you to take this test, because you exceed the classes your taking now.”

I hear clapping and Liz says, “See I told you and you didn’t want to believe me.”

I look down. I’m feeling embarrassed. I look up at my guidance counselor and ask, “So, what does that mean?”

“That depends on you. You can remain in the classes you are already enrolled in or you can switch to honor classes.” He says.

Feeling a little self-conscience I say, “I’ll just stay in the classes I’m in already.”

“You don’t have to decide right now.” He says.

“He’s right, you have all weekend to weigh your options.” I hear Liz tell me.

I look over at her and say, “I’m not cut out for honor classes.”

Isabel opened her mouth to say something, but Liz blurts out, “That test you just took says your are. Like I said, you have all weekend to decide. Isabel and I will help.”

I look over at Isabel she nods her head and smiles. I give them both a half smile and nod.

Liz goes for the door and says, “Bye Mr. Pierce have a nice weekend. Thanks for all your help.” He waves his hand as we leave.




posted on 1-Sep-2001 8:34:24 PM
PART 10

During the drive to Isabel and Michael’s house, Isabel and I decide that when we finish closing we’re going to the club. Of course, I’m excited; I love going out and partying. I haven’t been to the club for three days. I need to have fun and unwind. We tried to convince Michael to come along, but he refused. I’ll try again later. All I need is a few minutes alone with him. I can be very persuasive.

We arrive at their house. Isabel and I feel it will be more convenient if she spends the night at my place. That way I can show her how to have fun my way without the risk of breaking curfew.

After we ask Isabel’s mom if she can stay at my house, we head upstairs to her room. She packs an overnight bag. She’s trying to decide which outfit to wear to the club. Out of nowhere she asks, “Do you think Alex would come along?”

I smile at her and nod my head. I know Alex will come along if she’s going. I look at the door and tell Isabel, “I’ll be right back.”

She smiles at me and nods her head. Just as I’m about to close the door behind me she tells me, “Michael’s room is to the right and down the hall.” I close the door. I hear her laughing.

I head for Michael’s room thinking this would be the perfect time to convince him to come along, especially if Alex is going. I refuse to have Kyle hanging around me. I softly tap on the door and wait for a few seconds. When I don't hear anything, I knock again a little louder. I still hear no answer. I look around before I open the door and peek my head in. I don't see Michael anywhere so I open the door wide enough for me to enter. I’m tempted to look around, but I don’t.

I walk farther into the room and see drawings on his dresser. I slowly walk over to them and hesitantly look at them. I feel like I’m invading his privacy. I see one that catches my eye. It's so beautiful. It's of a park. I'm so engrossed in his artwork that I don't hear the sound of a door opening and then closing.

“What are you doing?” Michael yells.

I turn around at the sound of his voice and see a half naked Michael. My God, I didn't think anyone could be that sexy. I stare at him. I can't help it. He must work out. I look him up and down and notice that the towel is too small. It only covers the essential parts. I wonder how he looks without the towel. What am I thinking? Realizing what I’m doing I face away from him, blushing profusely.

“I’m sorry. I knocked, but ….. I just …. I wanted …. I didn’t mean to …..” I say stammering. I couldn’t string words together. My mind’s so fuzzy. I take a deep breath trying to calm my body down. It feels like it’s on fire. All I want to do is go to him and take that towel off. With that thought, I blush more. When my head finally clears up I say, “I’m sorry. I knocked first, but you didn’t answer so I let myself in. I just wanted to talk to you and ask you a question. I wasn’t snooping. One of your drawings caught my eye.” Great, first you stutter and now, you’re blabbering. Get it together, Liz.

“I’ll leave so you can get dressed I’m sorry.” I say while I’m heading for the door. I open the door and head for Isabel’s room as fast I as can.

************************************************************************

The drive home is quiet, except for the chatting between Isabel and Liz. I don't mind it because their voices are soothing.

I look out the window and I smile, remembering the hard time I gave Liz about getting in the car with her behind the wheel. She started arguing with me. She’d mentioned something about not driving off a cliff today, only because it wouldn’t be right with a guy in the car. I think she was referring to that movie staring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. Thelma and Louise, I think it was called. Isabel was laughing at the two of us.

I had tried hard not to laugh, but for some reason Liz always seems to make me forget about my problems and my past. She makes me feel comfortable, like I don’t need to have my defenses up around her.

They decided to go to the club tonight. They keep trying to convince me to go. Since I can’t dance, I decline the offer. After about five minutes, they finally give up. Liz gives me a look that says ‘I’ll let it go for now, but I’m not finished with you yet’.

I face the window and just listen to them chatter. We arrive at my house where I get out and head for my room. Liz and Isabel head for the kitchen, I’m guessing so Isabel can ask mom if she can stay over at Liz's.

Once I'm in my room, I head for my bathroom where I undress to take a shower. For the first time in my life, I’m considering going to a club. Only to see Liz dressed up and dancing, but I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of her. I have two left feet. No matter how much Isabel tries to teach me, I just can’t dance.

I turn off the shower and reach for my towel. I put it on and realize I grabbed the wrong one. It’s too small. I unconsciously shrug my shoulders and head to my room to get dressed. The last person I expected to see is standing in my room looking at my drawings.

“What are you doing?” I yell. She looks like she’s snooping?

She jumps around and stares at me. I feel uncomfortable under her gaze. I should’ve gotten the bigger towel. Then she turns away from me. She starts stuttering and I can't catch anything she’s saying.

She takes a deep breath and starts blurting words out fast. I smile and notice her blushing. Then she quickly leaves.

I quickly get dressed and head for Isabel’s room. I knock on the door.

“It’s open,” Isabel says.

I open the door and see a smiling Isabel looking at Liz. Liz looks up and quickly looks away. This time Isabel is laughing.

“What’s so funny?” I ask.

Isabel looks at Liz then back at me and says, “It’s a girl thing Michael. Nothing you’d understand.”

I shrug my shoulders and say, “Whatever.”

"Now, if you two will excuse me while I change. I really don’t want an audience.” Isabel says while opening the door for us to leave.

************************************************************************

After I leave Michael's room I barge into Isabel's still blushing. She looks up at me. "What happened?" she asks me.

I look at her and roll my eyes. I’m afraid of the ridicule I’m going to get from her. I debate on whether I should tell her or not.

“You might as well spit it out, because you’re blushing for some reason," she says.

I sigh and say, “I saw Michael in nothing, but a towel. I didn’t expect that, so I’m a little embarrass.”

She smiles, then giggles and says, “What were you more embarrassed about, seeing him or your thoughts?”

My mouth drops open. How did she know that? “H..h..ow did you know that?”
I stutter.

She gives me this knowing smile and shrugs her shoulders. I go over to sit on her bed, trying to get more out of her. There’s a knock the door. Upon Isabel’s invite, the door opens to reveal Michael. I immediately look down. When I look at him all I see is him in that skimpy little towel. God, get over it. I hear Isabel laugh and I look up at her. I risk a quick glance at Michael and look away.

All of a sudden, Isabel is kicking us out of her room and Michael and I are in the hallway together. I feel a little uncomfortable. Now is not the time for me to be alone with him. Think of something else. I look over at Michael to start up a conversation. I open my mouth in hopes something intelligent coming out, but the only thing that comes to my mind is how sexy his chest looks, and those firm abs. I quickly close my mouth afraid I might voice that.

I hear him clear his throat and say, “You and Isabel still going to the club?”

I can handle that question. “Yeah,” I say.

I see him nod his head. “Are you sure you don’t want to come along?” I ask feeling a little more relaxed. Again, I see him nod.

With my confidence finally back I turn towards him and say, “Why don’t you want to go? What’s so frightening about having fun?”

“I’m not scared of fun. Why do you think that every time I don’t want to do something? You think I'm scared. Maybe it's just because I don't want to go and I don't like clubs," he states.

************************************************************************

That came out a little to rude, but I had to. I don't want to go to some stupid club. Why can't she just leave it alone?

I look her in her eyes, waiting for her comeback, but she says something I didn't expect.

“Why don’t you like me? I’m trying to be friends with you, but it seems like you don’t want to. All I wanted was for you to go someplace I enjoy going. You know, share it with friends. If you don't want to be around me, then why don’t you just say that, instead of just pretending like you do," she says turning her back to me, taking a shaky breath.

I do want to be friends with her. I enjoy being around her. I don’t want to make her feel unwanted, especially by me. So I say the only thing that I hope will make her feel better. I say, “I’ll go.”

She turns around to hug me and says, “You promise.” I nod my head. Excitedly she says, “You won’t regret it. You’ll have fun. I’ll make sure of it.”

When we disentangle ourselves, I look at her and she has a wicked look in her eyes. I gently push her and say, “You think you’re a good actress don’t you. I can’t believe you played me like that. I’m not going.”

She sticks her lower lip out while she gives me these puppy dog eyes and says, “But you promised.”

I sigh. I shake my head and say, “Fine, I’ll go. If you do that again, it won’t be pretty.”

Isabel comes out of her room and says, “I’m ready. Is Michael coming?” Liz nods her head.

“I’m going to change, I’ll be right back.” I say while heading for my room.

A hand stops me and Liz says, “We don’t have time. I have to be at the store in 20 minutes and it takes 30 minutes from here.”

I can’t believe she’s gonna let me go like this. I have on a pair of sweatpants and a sleeveless t-shirt on. She must have noticed my doubtful look and says, “Don’t worry about your outfit. I’ve got you covered.”

I shrug my shoulders and we head for Liz’s parents' store. The time passes quickly and I have fun. Liz picks out an outfit for me from the store. It’s definitely flattering. She also finds an outfit for herself. When she comes out from the back, I can't believe how sexy she looks. I know the guys are going to try to hit on her when we get to the club. I'm gonna have to mark my territory. What am I thinking? She's not mine to claim.

We head over to Liz’s place. Her house is beautiful. It’s smaller than mine, but definitely cozy. Alex comes down the stairs followed by Kyle. I notice Liz roll her eyes. I guess he's not her favorite person.

************************************************************************

When we arrive at my house, we wait for Alex to come downstairs so we can leave for the club. I took a shower and found an outfit to wear at the store. I found the most sexy and revealing outfit. I was trying to get a reaction out of Michael, but I didn’t.

I also found an outfit for Michael that makes him look sexier than he already is. I'd have rather him kept on his sweats, because I know there’s going to be a bunch of women trying to get with him. I’ll just have to stake my claim when I get there. What am I thinking? He's not mine. I don't care. I don't want anyone touching him, especially after I’ve seen what he has to offer.

Alex finally comes downstairs followed by Kyle. I roll my eyes. Doesn’t this kid ever have anything else to do?

He makes a beeline to me and puts his arm around my shoulders. He tries to pull me closer and whispers, “You’re saving me a slow dance, right?”

I take his arm off my shoulder and disgustedly say, “If you think I’m going to dance with you, you must be on something.”

I walk towards Michael and put my ID and some money in his pocket. He gives me a confused look. I smile and say matter-of-factly, “I don’t have any pockets, so you have to hold them for me.” He just shrugs his shoulders.

We finally arrive at the club. We get in, and I was right. Girls are eyeing Michael. I subtly place my ID in his back pocket and notice that that got the girls’ attention. I interlock my arm in his and ask him, "Do you want anything to drink?" as I lead him to the bar.

The evening goes by fast. I dance with Isabel most of the time. I’m having fun. Since Alex really isn't the dancing type, he and Michael hold up the walls. I try to get Michael to dance with me, but he turns me down. At first, I feel disappointed, but when I notice he’s turning everyone down, I feel better.

My favorite slow song comes on and I'm on my way over to Michael to make him dance with me, but some guy grabs my arm and pulls me to the dance floor.

"I don't want to dance with you," I yell over the music.

"You'll dance with me whether you like it or not,” the guy tells me.

I try to pull away from him, but his grip tightens. He starts to roam his hands all over me. I yell, “Get off me!!!” That only makes him more aggressive. He starts to guide me to the club’s exit and says, “I’m tired of dancing. I say we go to my car.”

I try to pull harder, but the harder I pull the tighter his grip on me gets. We are near the exit and suddenly I feel someone separate me from the guy. I lookup to see who it is, and it’s an angry looking Michael. He pushes the guy away from me.

I notice the bouncer coming towards us. I don't want Michael to be involved in any kind of trouble. I sense he’s about to punch the guy. I grab his arm just before he makes contact and won’t let go. He keeps his eyes on the guy while he tries to shake me off.

The bouncer, who is standing behind the guy says, “Is there a problem?" He directs the question to me.

“He literally mauled me and wouldn’t let go when I told him.” I say pointing at the guy in question. I feel Michael’s arm relax so I loosen my grip, but I don’t let go. The bouncer takes the guy and escorts him out of the club.

That’s when I relax and Michael’s arms go around me. My body starts to shake. I try so hard to calm it down, but I didn’t realize how scared I was. I can feel Michael’s embrace tighten. I start to relax because I feel safe in his arms.

************************************************************************

I’m standing by the wall listening to Alex talk to me. The only thing that is occupying my mind is watching Liz dance. She and Isabel are dancing together. I've never seen Isabel look that happy. I’m content with just watching them.

A slow song comes on and I see Isabel and Liz start in our direction. I turn away pretending like I’ve been talking to Alex the whole time. Isabel is the first to approach.

"Would you like to dance with me?” I hear Isabel ask Alex.

Alex smiles and says, “Of course.” He looks over her shoulder and ask, “Where’s Liz, wasn’t she with you?”

Isabel looks behind her and say, “She was right behind me.” She looks up at me.

I start to look around the crowd. I finally spot her being dragged towards the exit by some guy. I notice her trying to fight him off with no luck. The one time I look away and she’s in trouble. I’m pissed, not only at the guy but also at myself.

I walk fast over in their direction and yank Liz away from the guy. I push the guy and get ready to punch him, but I feel Liz’s hand grab my arm. I try to shake her off, because I really want to hit this guy. I don't want to pull away too hard because I’m afraid I might hurt Liz.

The bouncer comes and takes the guy out of the club, that’s when my arm relaxes. I put my arm around Liz and I feel her body shaking. I hug her tightly against me until I feel her relax. It feels so good to have her in my arms. I don't want to let go, because I’m afraid I’ll never get to hold her like this again.

She pulls away from me enough to look me in the eyes and say, “Thank you.” I see tears glistening in her eyes and I hug her again. This time she holds me tight. I feel her body shaking again and hear quiet sobs. I pick her up and take her outside. I know she doesn’t want to cry in a public place like this.

I continue to hold her, stroking her hair, trying to calm her down. When the shaking stops she pulls away a little while keeping her head down.

Quietly she says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to breakdown in front of you like this.”

I lift her chin up so she is looking at me. I wipe her tears away with my thumb and say, "You don't have to apologize." She gives me a small smile. She rises up and kisses me. It’s a small gesture. Her lips feel so soft and warm. I want to increase the pressure, but don't feel like it’s a good idea, so I start to pull away. She places her hand behind my head and traces her tongue lightly against my lips, asking for access.

I slowly give her permission. She slowly teases my mouth with her tongue. She wraps one arm around my shoulders to help her have the height to increase the pressure. Her other hand caresses the hair at the nape of my neck. I don’t think she knows that she’s driving me crazy.

My mind is fuzzy with passion. I wrap my arms around her petite waist and bring her closer. She feels so good. Her skin feels so soft. Her lips are so sweet. She smells so good.

Our tongues fight for control. I lift her up so I can get full access to her mouth. I hear a moan but I'm not sure who it came from. All I know is that this feels so good. For the first time I feel like I’m home. With that feeling, I pull away because I don’t deserve to feel like that. She deserves much better than me. I could never make her happy. She’s a very special person and I’m only some screw up.

I have to get control of myself. I look at her and her eyes are searching mine. I turn away, but she grabs my arm to force me to look at her. I see tears in her eyes and she asks, “What’s wrong with me? Why don't you want me?" My mind is still fuzzy and I can't believe she thinks I don't want her, that something’s wrong with her. During my hesitation, I see a tear slip down her cheek.

I grab her face in my hands and say, “It’s not you. Don’t ever think it’s you. You are the most beautiful person I’ve ever met, Liz. It’s just you deserve someone better than me.” I drop my hands from her face and head back to the club to get Isabel and Alex. I think it’s time to go home.

PART 11

The next day I wake up in a grumpy mood. I get up and head for the shower. As the water runs over me, I remember what happened last night. I have never been so humiliated in my life. I basically told him that I wanted to be with him and he turned me down. I wash my hair, hoping to stop from thinking about it. All it is doing is depressing me more.

I get out of the shower and get dressed. I head downstairs and I hear Alex and Isabel already up. They look in my direction and say "Good morning" at the same time. Why can't I be happy like that? Why is it no one wants me?

I just grunt at them on my way to the refrigerator to find something to eat. When I don't find anything I want, I slam the door shut.

I feel someone come up behind me and hug me. I know its Alex. I stay there for a while letting his hug comfort me. His grip around me gets tighter. I pull away suddenly because I know if I stay that way any longer, I'll end up crying. I'm not going to feel sorry for myself. Who cares if Michael doesn't want me?

Alex guides me over to our table and pushes me into a seat. Isabel places her hand over mine and asks, "Are you okay?" I look at her and then at my brother. I just nod my head. Alex scoots his chair closer to mine and puts his arm around me to say, "You don't have to pretend, Liz. I can tell you're not okay."

I push my chair away from the table and angrily say, "I'm fine. So don't feel sorry for me."

Isabel stands up and says, "We don't feel sorry for you, Liz. You were a wreck last night. Now, today you act like nothing’s wrong."

I just shrug my shoulders and say, "I guess that guy from the club bothered me more then I thought. Lucky for me he wasn’t able to take me far. I'm fine. I'm just going to go upstairs to study and do my homework."

Just as I walk up the stairs, Isabel says, "I thought you were going to take me on a tour of Roswell?"

"Can't Alex take you? I really need to catch up on my school work," I say, trying my best to sound cheerful.

"I would if I could, but you know Saturdays I coach the peewee's baseball team," Alex says.

"I'll take you then. Maria should be off of punishment. I can invite her along. I'm going to change and then I'll call her. Why don't you and Alex pack up a picnic lunch for three people?" I say while going upstairs, not waiting for a reply.

I call Maria to ask if she wants to come along and she agrees. I tell her to pick us up, since Alex is going to take the car. She says she'll be here in an hour. I put on my bathing suit under a half tank top and some hip hugger shorts. I pack a bag with some towels and two giant picnic blankets.

I head downstairs and see Isabel packing a lunch by herself. I walk towards her and ask, "Did you bring your bathing suit?"

She shakes her head and says, "No. Do I need one?"

"Well, I was going to take you to this place that is beautiful with a lake that's always warm this time of year. We could stop by your house so you can pick up your suit," I say.

She smiles and says, "Yeah, I'd like that."

Just then, Maria knocks on the door. I go to answer it and a bouncy Maria comes in and hugs me. "I'm so glad to be free," she says with a smile.

I smile at her and ask, "You did bring your swimsuit, right?

"Of course, I did. Unless we can convince Isabel's brother to come along. Maybe I'll forget it somewhere," she says winking at me.

I give her a forced smile and say, "You might be in luck, because we have to stop by Isabel's so she can pick up her swimsuit."

We pile into Maria's car and leave for Isabel's house. The ride is quiet. Nobody is talking. Occasionally I catch Isabel looking at me through the side view mirror. I just ignore her.

We get to Isabel's in good time. We all get out of the car and follow Isabel into the house. I notice Max in the kitchen talking to his mom. I just keep following Isabel to her room.

When we reach the top of the staircase, I see Michael coming out of his room. I pretend like I don't see him. I just walk with my head straight to Isabel's room. Maria, on the other hand, stops to talk to him. My heart sinks. Maybe he just wants someone like Maria, someone with no problems and no history. I take a breath and rush to Isabel's room.

************************************************************************

I've just gotten out of the shower. I’m about to head downstairs when I see her. I’m gonna wave to her, but she walks right by me without acknowledging me. I know she saw me. Maria is behind her and she's on her way over to me. I don't think she deserves me, but I do want her as a friend. I want her more than that way, but I'll settle for friendship. It doesn't look like I have that anymore.

"Hi, Michael," a bubbly Maria says.

"Hey," I respond.

"Liz and I are taking Isabel for a tour around Roswell. Do you want to join us?" asks Maria.

Before I get a chance to answer her question, a pissed off Isabel comes at me, pushing me into my room while saying to Maria, "Will you excuse us for a minute, Maria? I have to talk to my brother." She slams the door behind her.

"What was that all about?” I say irritably.

She pushes me so that I'm sitting on the bed and says, "Of all the stupid, ignorant things you've ever done. How could you do that to her? For pete's sakes, couldn't you just try to go with your feelings instead of that stubborn head of yours?"

I've never seen my sister act like this. "What is your problem?” I ask confused.

"Michael, what happened last night?" she asks, sounding calmer than she did a couple of minutes ago.

"Nothing. Why?" I ask.

"For one thing, you and Liz were almost inseparable up until the incident with that drunk. Then nothing. I see you look at her, but she avoids you. Like right now. What did you do to her?” Isabel asks concerned.

I run my fingers through my hand and just sigh. "Alex is worried about her. I wasn't at first, because she's acting normal to me," she says sighing.

"What do you want me to do? She doesn't want to talk to me. You saw that yourself," I say sadly.

"Can I ask you a question? Depending on this answer, I'll help you the best I can to try to rectify this. Okay?" she says. I nod in response.

"Do you like her?" she asks while taking a seat on my bed.

I put my head in my hands and take a deep breath. I say, "Yes, I do."

She smiles and says, "Then why are you pushing her away? She likes you too, Michael. Can't you see that?"

"It's not that simple. I'm .."

"Don't even say it. Don't even think you're not worth anything. Liz doesn't care about your past. She cares about you, the way you are right now. Your past isn't going to change that," she says cutting me off.

I exhale noisily and say, "It's too late now. She hates me."

She looks at me, puts her arm around my shoulder, and has this mischievous glint in her eyes. "If you promise me you're not going to push her away, I will make sure she talks to you, but you have to tell her how you feel in here," she says while she points to my heart. I look down and smile.

"Do you think I have a chance? What makes you think I know what my heart feels? Sometimes I don't. And aren't you afraid I might screw up again," I say.

"Just let her in. Your heart will surprise you. Once you give her a chance, she'll make sure you don't screw up. That's why I like her. Now get dressed and don't forget your bathing suit. We have a tour to go on," she says pushing me into action.

I salute her and teasingly say, "Yes, ma'am."

PART 12

Isabel, Maria, Liz, and I are driving around Roswell. Liz opts to drive, to get away from me no doubt. I hate this. Maria keeps touching me as much as possible. She can definitely make a person feel uncomfortable, or maybe just me. Isabel is talking to Liz up front while Maria would point things out for me and leans on me.

The drive is mainly quiet. The only sound is the radio playing. It’s hot even with the AC on. I look out the window not really looking. I knew it was a mistake tagging along. I've already lost Liz. Nothing I say or do will change that. She hates me. I just want to go back to my room and be alone. I might as well get used to it.

"It's hot, isn't it about time we head for the lake? I could use some cooling off," Maria says out of nowhere.

I have to agree with her on that. I could use a good swim.

"You read my mind, Maria. I'm heading for it right now," says Liz.

I feel the car stop. I don't see a lake so I assume we must have stopped for another reason, but Liz opens my door and reaches over me to grab her bag. She’s so close all I’d have to do is grab her waist and she would be on top of me. I shake my head to get that thought out of my head. I don't think my body could handle that. She pulls away from me and without looking at me she says, "Coming?"

I nod my head. I don't even get a look from her. I get out of the car and close the door. Isabel comes up beside me and links her arm with Liz's and mine.

"Don't think I've forgotten about your transferring to honors classes. With Liz's persuasive know-how, it'll be a cinch to convince you. Right Liz?" Isabel says.

She shrugs her shoulders in response.

"You are still going to help me convince him, right?” Isabel asks.

"Why? That would mean he'd have to see me everyday. Something he made clear he didn't want," Liz responds quietly, but loud enough for me to hear. She disentangles herself from Isabel and walks towards the cliffs.

"Where are you going, Liz?" Maria shouts.

"To scout out a nice spot for us," she replies as she goes out of view.

I look after her feeling like someone just punched me in the stomach.

"What did you do to her, Michael? I can't help if I don't know what happened last night," Isabel says with concern.

"I told her she deserves someone better," I say.

Isabel shakes her head and sadly says, "She probably thinks you were letting her down easy. With Maria hanging all over you and you not doing a thing about it, she probably thinks you don't want her. This is going to harder than I thought."

Maria comes running up to us and says, "Liz found the perfect spot. You guys really should see it. Come on. It's hot and time for a swim."

I go swimming for a while, but every time I go anywhere near Liz, she moves away. So, I sit on the sidelines and watch. Liz is wearing a two-piece. It’s not skimpy like Maria's, but the color and the way it clings to her makes her look sexy. I have flashbacks of the kiss we shared last night and all I want to do is swim to her and kiss her. I have to go in the water to cool my body off from thinking about things I would love to do to her.

**********************************************************************

I pretend like I'm not paying Michael any attention, but in reality I can't help but look at him. He looks so sexy in his dark blue swim trucks. Nothing compares to him in just that towel, but this will do. I think back to last night and that kiss. I couldn't sleep well because I kept having fantasies about him. All I'll have now are fantasies because he doesn't want me.

It hurts to see him with Maria, especially since I practically threw myself at him and he turned me down. Maria does the same thing, except for the kiss, and he loves it. My heart feels like someone is squeezing it so tight that I'm having trouble breathing. Isabel keeps telling me to give him a chance, that he doesn't even know what he needs or wants. I just reply that he knows he doesn't want me, and go swim underwater until my lungs feel like they are about to explode.

We finally head out of the water. We grab our towels and wrap ourselves in them. Since the sun is almost down, there is a cool breeze. I sit down on the blanket and wrap myself up.

"I'm starving," Maria says sitting as close as possible to Michael.

Everyone eats and I just pick at my food. My stomach feels like it’s in knots so I'm not hungry. The conversation goes on around me. I’m not really paying attention, until Maria says, "Why don't we play a game?"

Isabel is the only excited one in the group. I can't help but smile at her, because her laughter is contagious. She gives me this evil look and says, "I suggest we play Truth or Dare."

I narrow my eyes wondering what she has up her sleeve while Maria excitedly says, "That's a good idea."

PART 13

Great. Not my favorite game. The only reason why I’m willing to go along with it is that Isabel looks like she has a plan and hopefully it has something to do with Liz.

I hear Liz say, “I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but we can’t play that game.”

“Why not?” asks Isabel.

Liz gives Isabel an innocent smile and says, “For two reasons, one being there aren’t enough people to play to make it good, and the second being there isn’t any kind of consequences for those that don’t accept.”

“We could take off an article of clothing,” Maria offers.

Isabel snorts and says, “In case you haven’t noticed, Maria, but there are way too many females here for that, and the only male is my brother. I really don’t want to be scarred for life seeing my brother naked.”

Liz giggles and says, “I can see your point there.”

“Come on, Liz, it’ll be fun,” Isabel says trying her best to convince her.

“Fine, I’ll play. I don’t like it, but I guess majority wins,” Liz says.

I hope I don’t regret this. I have a feeling that this game is going to cause trouble.

Isabel goes first. She picks Liz and says, “Truth or dare.”

Liz shrugs her shoulders and says, “Dare. I’m guessing that’ll be a safe choice.”

Isabel smiles and says, “Hmmm, what to do….. I dare you to kiss my brother.”

I try to hide my smile. I’m actually looking forward to that. Then I’ll be able to feel her lips on mine again.

“Hell no!!!!! I’ll take truth instead,” Liz yells.

I try my best to hide my disappointment, but it’s hard. I guess she got me back for turning her away. I look at Isabel and she gives me a sad look.

“You can’t just change in the middle like that,” Isabel counters.

“I’m out then. I’m not playing,” Liz says.

“Stop being a baby, Liz,” Maria says.

“Truth. It’s okay. How about…. What does your brother think of me?” Isabel says, trying to keep the peace.

Liz smiles and responds, “Don’t worry, he likes you as much as you like him. Did I answer it to your liking? Now it’s my turn, right?” Maria and Isabel nod.

“This is for you, Maria. Truth or dare?” Liz says.

“Truth,” Maria says.

Liz smiles and says, “Who and where was the last person you made out with?”

Maria looks horrified. She sighs and says, “That’s unfair. It was Doug, and it was under the bleachers at school.”

Liz looks upset and angry. Maria says, “Get over it. You didn’t want him. So why act like you’re hurt?”

Liz coldly says, “It’s your turn.”

Maria puts her finger on her chin. She smiles and says, “I dare Michael to kiss me.”

I gasp. I didn’t expect that. There is no way in hell I’m going to kiss her. I ask, “What’s the alternative?”

She looks hurt and says, “If you refuse the dare then that’s when truth comes in. My question to you is, did you find someone that interests you here in Roswell?”

That’s an easy question. I say, “Yes.” I look down because I don’t want to see Liz’s expression. Ever since Maria’s confession, she seems distracted and hurt. I just want to go over there and hold her. I’d feel so much better if she would just smile.

Maria smiles at me and says, “Are you going to tell us who?”

Isabel giggles and says, “I guess you’ll have to wait next time around for that answer. Now it’s Michael’s turn.”

I look around at their faces, not sure who I should call on. I’m thinking about Liz, just so she would look at me, but I can’t think of anything to ask or dare her with. Oh well, maybe a thought will come to me, so I say, “I choose Liz. Truth or Dare?”

Liz looks at me surprised. She looks in my eyes and says, “Truth.”

I didn’t expect that. I try thinking of a question to ask her that isn’t too personal, but informative. I know. I glance over at Maria and say, “What bothered you about Maria making out with Doug?”

For a brief moment, there is sadness in her eyes. She looks away and angrily says, “What bothered me? Let’s see where to begin. Once upon a time, I did like him until a little birdie told me he was under the bleachers making out with some girl. I just had to go see, and who it was? None other then my best friend.” She gets up and walks away.

Isabel says, “You should go after her. It’s getting dark and I don’t want anything to happen to her.”

I stand up and start to go in the direction Liz went. Maria’s voice stops me. She says, “Don’t worry about her. She can take care of herself.”

I open my mouth to say something, but Isabel beats me to the punch. Isabel says, “I’d feel so much better if Michael followed her. Is that alright with you?”

“Whatever,” Maria says and crosses her arms.

That’s the last thing I can hear her say, because I’m off in search of Liz. I don’t like the idea of her out here alone.

************************************************************************

I walk away from the group. I’m not upset at the fact that Maria was making out with Doug. What I’m upset about is that Maria wants Michael. Every guy she ever wanted she always got.

I stop when I’m in front of a cave. I sit down and hug my knees to my chest. It’s getting chilly out here. I’ve never been in this area before. It’s somewhat creepy out here, but I’m not ready to go back yet.

I hear rustling and I lift my head up off my knees and yell, “Who’s there?”

Michael comes into view. I let out my breath I didn’t know I was holding and say, “You scared the hell out of me. What are you doing here? I left because I wanted to be alone.”

He sits down next to me, but there is a lot of room between us. I still feel hurt and angry with him. I don’t want to be here alone with him. He looks at me and softly asks, “Do you hate me?”

I exhale loudly and stand up. “I want to, but I can’t,” I say defeated. I don’t understand why my feelings for him are so strong, but what really hurts is that he doesn’t return them. Now with Maria in the picture, it just hurts more. She can have him anytime she wants. Even though Maria doesn’t care who I like and don’t like, I’m still torn between my feelings for Michael and my best friend’s feelings. What am I suppose to do? Then again, I don’t have to worry about it, because he doesn’t want me. He already proved that.

“Do you still like this Doug guy?” he asks hesitantly.

“What do you care? You don’t want me,” I say harshly.

“Listen, I’m sorry about last night,” I hear him say.

“No. No, you’re not. I don’t blame you. Why would you want me, especially since you can have someone like Maria? You can have Maria,” I say, walking closer to the shore and looking out across the water.

“What makes you think I want Maria?” he asks.

“You don’t want me and you even said you’re interested in someone in Roswell,” I say shivering.

“It wasn’t Maria I was talking about.” He’s now standing next to me.

I turn towards him reluctantly and look up at him. I see him staring at me. Feeling self-conscious I say, “What!?”

“Nothing. It’s just…. Do you realize how beautiful you are?” he says softly.

I feel my cheeks heating up. I turn away before he can see me blush. He gently places his hand on my shoulder and turns me around so that I’m facing him. I still don’t look at him. He doesn’t know what he does to me, how he makes me feel. With his other hand he lifts my chin up so our eyes meet and says, “You have the most beautiful eyes and smile I’ve ever seen.”

I shyly smile at him. The hand that’s on my shoulder trails down my arm until it reaches my hand. He leads me over by the cave. He tells me to sit down. I obey dazedly. I can’t concentrate when he’s this close. He sits down so close to me that our thighs are touching. He lets go of my hand.

“We have to talk,” he says.

Oh God. This can’t be good. What could he have to say to me? I hope it’s not a repeat of last night. I try to get up. I know I don’t want to hear this. He’s going to tell me he wants Maria, but he doesn’t want to lose my friendship. He stops me by placing his hand on my thigh. The heat of his hand catches me off guard. I stay down, because I don’t want to move. I close my eyes. I love the way his hands feel against my skin. His hand is just below the seam of my shorts, high up on my leg. My body was cold before but it’s now warm. I shake my head. I shouldn’t be feeling this. I’m stronger than this. I hear his voice, but the words aren’t penetrating through my hazy thoughts. I move his hand away. The cold breeze hits my body helping it to cool off. His words are finally taking form. I run my fingers through my hair and say with an awkward smile, “I’m sorry, can you repeat that? My mind wandered.”

He looks at me with concern. He goes to touch me, but I stop him saying, “If you have something to tell me, then just say it. Just please don’t touch me.” I don’t think I can concentrate on his words if he touches me.

He looks hurt, but nods in understanding and says, “I still feel like you deserve ……”

I open my mouth to interrupt him, but he raises his hand to stop me and says, “Let me finish first. Then you can say what you want. Okay?” I nod.

“Isabel told me when I was growing up that I should fight for what I want, because it’s not going to be handed to me. I believed her, but when I saw Max have everything handed to him, I gave up. That proved to me that I didn’t deserve anything, that I wasn’t worthy of anything good. That’s why you deserve someone better than me. I’m nothing but a screw up. This is different. When you kissed me last night you made me feel wanted. You make me feel special. That scares me. I’ve never had anyone make me feel like this.”

He sighs and looks down and runs his hand through his hair. Before I can say anything he continues to say, “I care about you a lot, Liz. My feelings for you are so strong that it frightens me. What I’m more afraid of is, once you know who I am and about my past, you’ll be ashamed of me, maybe even hate me. Not only would I lose your friendship, but also I’d lose you. I don’t think I could handle that. If you’re willing to take a chance with a screw ……”

I straddle him and stop him from putting himself down by brushing my lips softly against his. Since I catch him by surprise, I’m able to enter his mouth with my tongue. He doesn’t resist me. I move closer to him. I still feel like I’m too far away. I want to be closer, as close as I can possibly be. His arms finally wraps around me, pulling me closer. Our chests are pressed against each other, and I sigh. I feel like I’m melting, like I’m on fire. His hands are touching my bare skin. I toss my head back and moan. God, his hands are incredible. He kisses my neck, and I moan again. His mouth feels so good. He trails kisses down my neck until he reaches my collarbone. He nibbles and licks at it. He trails his tongue to my shoulder and then nibbles on it.

I feel a bulge against my abdomen. I’m glad I’m not the only one affected by this. He takes my lips, kissing me with more passion. I kiss him back with the same intensity. I want more. I move to his ear to nibble on it and roll my tongue around his earlobe. I trail little butterfly kisses down to his neck and do the same thing. I hear him moan. I go in for another kiss when he puts his finger on my lips and in a husky voice says, “We have to stop.”

I open my mouth and slowly suck on his finger.

“Oh God,” he moans.

“Just listen to your body,” I say wanting another kiss. I lean in, but he lifts me off his lap.

He takes a deep breath and stands up. “I can’t do that,” he says.

I stand up. I stand behind him and wrap my arms around his waist. “Why? It feels good. It also feels right. We don’t have to wait. I can see you want this as much as I do,” I say clinging to him trying to make him lose his will power.

He turns around taking my hands to kiss my palms and says, "Remember when I told you that you make me feel special?" I nod my head. "I want to return that favor. You are special, so I'm not going to let our hormones take control of us. I hope that we have plenty of time for this to happen. Let's get to know each other first, take our time. I want to make sure you don’t regret this, regret me.

My eyes are stinging from unshed tears. "You already make me feel special, Michael. I could never regret being with you," I say with so much emotion.

He gently strokes my face and says, "Like I said before, my past is something I'm not proud of. One day you're going to find out and you'll…"

I touch his lips with my index finger and say, "I'm not perfect either, Michael. There are things I've done that I'm not too happy about myself. I wouldn't, I couldn't judge you by your past."

"You say that now," he says with a mixture of doubt and hope.

I take his hand and say "You ready for the walk back?"

He nods and with a smirk he says, "Definitely."

I grab his hand to start our walk back to the others and say, "I have one more question. Are you going to join me in honor classes?"

He smiles and says, "Was that your tactic to convince me?"

I softly laugh and say, "If it worked. I'll take the credit for it."

He chuckles. He lightly brushes his lips to mine and say, "You are an amazing woman, Elizabeth Parker."

I smile and we start our hike back to the others. When we arrive, Maria bombards us with questions. She wants to know what took us so long, but we just shrug our shoulders and leave it at that. I don't want to share our experience with Maria. I'm afraid if I do, I might lose Michael to her. He must sense what I’m thinking because he takes my hand and squeezes it.

I'm in the backseat on the ride home. Isabel, being the saint that she is, calls shotgun. I know there will be a lot of explaining to do tomorrow. I don't want to think about it because I'm happy right now. I end up falling asleep on Michael's shoulder with a smile.



posted on 1-Sep-2001 8:38:54 PM
PART 14

The next day I feel like I can walk on water. Isabel laughs at me every time our paths cross. I know she’s happy for me. She keeps trying to obtain information from me about last night. I try hard to dodge her questions, but she can be persistent. I don’t want to share my experience with her yet because I’m afraid it might all be a dream.

I go in the kitchen in search of something to eat. I notice Max and my parents watching me. I don’t think they’ve ever seen me smile this much because they keep giving me strange looks.

My old man narrow his eyes at me and asks, “Are you on something?”

I laugh harshly and say, “Whatever.” Figures he would think the worst of me. Why can’t he ever be happy for me? I set out to leave, but he grabs me by the shoulders and slams me against the wall, knocking the breath out of me.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you. I want to see for myself you’re not on drugs. I’ve told you before I don’t want any of that stuff in my house.” He says violently.

I open my eyes wide so he can see if my pupils are dilated or not. When he seems satisfied, I roughly shove his hand away and say, “Are you satisfied?” I turn my face away from him.

I barely hear the doorbell ring when he seizes my face to twist it around so I can meet his intent look “Fine, but if I find out that you have a stash somewhere in this house. You’ll be out on your ass. Do you understand me?” With a great amount of force he releases my face.

I rub my face and mockingly say, “Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir.”

Isabel enters the room. She looks between us and from the expression on her face, I know she senses the tension between us. Quietly she says, “Liz is here.”

Max immediately leaves the room. I bet he’s on his way to aggravate her. Then it just hit me, he could tell her about what just happened here and my past. I’m panicking I have to get in there. I don’t want him to ruin any chances I might have with her. Isabel gives me a small smile and leaves in the direction Max did.

I turn to my father and sardonically say, “Are we done?”

“For now we are,” he says fiercely.

I take a deep breath and walk into the living room. I notice Max is all over Liz, and that pisses me off. When the door swings close behind me, Liz looks up and bestows me a brilliant smile. I can’t help but return it.

***********************************************************************

I’m standing outside of Michael’s house debating if I should ring the bell or not. I think I’ve been out here for five minutes already. Michael has been on my mind all day and I just want to see him. I’m afraid I’m being too presumptuous thinking I could pop up anytime I want. What if he thinks I’m checking on him? Even worst, what if he thinks I’m stalking him? I take a deep breath and ring the bell. Here goes nothing.

Isabel answers the door and says, “Hey Liz. I didn’t expect to see you.”

My smile wavers and I say, “I’m sorry. Do you think it was a mistake for me coming here? I mean Michael didn’t invite me.”

Isabel smiles and says, “Come in. You don’t need an invitation to visit me or my brother.”

I exhale in relief and enter the house. I’m feeling nervous. I start pulling at my shirt and smoothing my jeans. I feel like I have to do something with my hands. This is crazy. Why am I so nervous?

Isabel giggles and says, “I’ll be right back. I’ll go tell Michael you’re here.” I nod in response.

I’m waiting for Isabel to come back with Michael in the living room. I start to pace trying to ease my nervous energy. I hear the doors swing close and my heart starts to flutter. I turn around expecting to see Michael, but Max is standing before me with a ridiculous grin. I try hard not to roll my eyes.

“Hi,” he says trying to sound sexy I’m guessing.

“Hi. Is Isabel coming back out soon?” I say politely. For some reason this guy rubs me the wrong way.

He saunters towards me to put his arm around my shoulders and say, “You look sexy in that outfit.” His eyes travel up and down my body. His eyes are nothing like Michael’s. When Michael looks at me the sensation my body has is incredible. I feel violated when Max looks at me. Feeling uncomfortable, I pull away from him. What’s taking them so long?

He follows me and surrounds my waist with his hands. He draws me flat against his chest and whispers in my ear, “Come with me up to my room where we can converse privately.”

Who the hell does he think he is? Some kind of playboy. What makes him think I want to go up to his room? I venture to pull away, but his grip around my waist tightens. I open my mouth to tell him the get the hell away from me, but Isabel comes into the room. She looks between us and asks, “What the hell is going on?”

I give her a tight smile still attempting to pull away from Max. I wish he would just let go. I hear the door swing open.

“She’s joining me up to my room. Right, Liz?” Max says removing his hand from my waist and places it on my shoulder.

I barely heard him because the reason why I’m here is standing in front of the doorway. I smile at him with relief because he looks as if he’s happy to see me. Then his gaze turns towards Max and the smile that lit up his face seconds ago turns to anger.

I realize that Max’s grip on me has loosened so I push him away and go to Michael. I support my hands against his face trying desperately to get him to look at me.

When he finally does, his anger dissolves and a small smile plays on his lips. “Hey,” I say. When he looks at me that way he makes my heart flutter. “No kiss?” I say boldly. I want to feel his lips against mine. I’ve been wanting that ever since our first kiss. I also want to show Max that I’m not his and never will be his.

Michael hesitates for a moment, but I reach up on my toes and he slowly meets me for a soft brief kiss. I take his hand and lead him upstairs.

“I say we go to your room and talk privately.” I say quietly, but loud enough for Max to hear.

Before we could reach the stairs Max abruptly says, “What the hell is going on here? You can’t want him. He’s a nobody, a screw up. The ……”

I feel Michael’s body become rigid. I turn to look at him and he looks as if he’s ready to kill. Before he can lunge for Max, I stand between them. I whisper to him, “Don’t.” I see that he’s debating whether to beat the crap out of Max or go upstairs. I lean up to his ear and seductively whisper, “Wouldn’t you rather take me upstairs and seduce me?”

His mouth gapes open and then it turns to a smile. He leans towards my ear and whispers, “I’d much rather be with you anytime.” He takes my hand and we head for his room.


PART 15

The next day at school, Alex and I arrive early. I quickly grab the books I’ll need for first period and rush over to meet Michael by his locker. I tap my foot anxiously waiting for him. We’re supposed to meet here so we can get his new curriculum together. I smile at that thought. Together. Maybe he’s the ‘one’ Maria is always talking about. I can honestly say I feel comfortable with him, maybe I can even open up to him.

Maria rushes over to me and says, “Here you are. I’ve been waiting for you by our lockers. Why are you here?”

I look past her shoulder not paying attention to her anymore, because I can see Michael approaching us. He opens his locker and drops off some things. With a half smile he says, “Sorry I’m late.”

Maria pushes past me and presses herself against the locker next to him. She gives him a sexy smile and places a hand on his arm. I wince at the contact. I don’t like the fact that some other female is touching him, even if it is my best friend. “You must have been pretty busy last night because I kept calling you, but Isabel would say you were busy,” Maria says softly while still touching him. This feeling of insecurity starts to wash over me. I drop my eyes to the floor and shift my weight from one foot to the other. I don’t want to see this. Maria is never going to give up.

“I had company and I didn’t want to be disturbed,” he says.

I try to hide my embarrassment. We had started out studying, but then we ended up in a heavy make out session. I have to smile at the memory.

“I have to go,” he says taking my hand and leading me to Mr. Pierce’s office. I can see the look of shock on Maria’s face, before we leave.

The day goes by fast because I’m ecstatic that Michael has ended up being in most of my classes. Just thinking about the possibilities excites me. I can just see it, study sessions that last all hours of the night that end up with us groping each other. Just thinking about it is making me dizzy with desire. I have to stop this or the next time I see Michael I might have to jump his bones.

I see an impatient looking Maria waiting by my locker. Well there goes my mood. I already know what’s about to happen. I straighten my shoulders and prepare myself for the volcano that’s about to erupt before I walk over to her.

“Hey,” I say sounding causal.

“What the hell is going on with you and Michael?!” Leave it to Maria, always going for the direct approach.

“What’s the problem?” I ask innocently. I know I shouldn’t be pushing Maria like this, but I just can’t help it.

She shoves me so I’m facing her and says, “You know damn well what I’m talking about. You were all over him all day. What’s that about?”

The shove itself pisses me off. I glare at her and sternly say, “What the hell do you think you're doing? Don’t ever push me like that, understand?”

“You think you’re the shit now because you stole my man. Let me tell you that you’re not, you’re just a slut.” She crosses her arms and gives me a fierce look.

I laugh at her and say, “I’m the slut, I’m not the one caught under the bleachers making out with some guy. I’m not…..”

Maria interrupts me to say, “Don’t even go there. I thought you were my friend. You knew I liked him.”

“Maria, I’m sorry, but I like him. Why can’t you be a friend and be happy for me? I care about him and he makes me happy,” I say trying my best to keep from fighting. I don’t want to lose our friendship.

“So, you and him are going out now?” she says while laughing. “I’ll admit I was pissed at first, but when I think about it I’m not worried. It’s not going to last. You’ll find some way to screw it up. You always do. Like you said yourself, you don’t believe in love.” She gives me a callous stare. She continues by saying, “When he finally learns who you are, you’ll lose him. But don’t worry, I’ll be there to mend his broken heart.” With that, she stomps off.

I huff and turn towards my locker to grab the books I need. I try not to think about what Maria said. I don’t want to be like that, but I have the tendency to push people away, especially when I know my heart will be involved. He doesn’t deserve that. He’s worrying about him not deserving me, when actuality I may not deserve him. I'm deep in thought when I feel someone’s arms wrap around my waist.

************************************************************************

I silently come up behind her and wrap my arms around her waist. I love the feel of her in my arms. I hear her sigh and she leans into me.

“Do you do that to everyone who hugs you?” I ask teasingly.

She slowly turns around and reaches up to give me a soft kiss. She smiles at me and says, “We may have just started going out, but I know your arms anywhere.”

I stare deep into her eyes and smile. “How do you do that?”

She looks confused and asks, “Do what?”

I lower my lips to hers and lightly brush hers. I smile and say, “Make me feel special.”

She shakes her head and says, “You’ve got it all wrong. You’re the one that makes me feel special.” She looks sad.

“What’s wrong?" I ask her softly as I place a strand of her hair behind her ear.

She smiles and says, “Do you want to walk me home? I don’t live too far from here.”

I take her backpack and she smiles at me.

“We can walk anywhere you want,” I say taking her hand and leading her out of school.

We walk for a couple of minutes before Liz stops. “Are you sure this is what you want?” she asks while she points her finger between us.

I chuckle. I can’t believe she thinks I don’t want this, want us. The seriousness on her face stops me from laughing. “What brought this up?” I ask. I’m curious to know what would give her that idea.

She shrugs her shoulders and continues walking. This time I stop her and say, “Liz, talk to me.”

She exhales slowly and says, “I just wanted to make sure, that’s all.”

We walk in silence until we finally arrive at her house. When we step into the kitchen, we see Alex eating a sandwich.

“Where have you been? I waited for you by your locker and you never showed up.” Alex asks Liz.

“I wanted to walk home. I guess I should have told you, sorry,” she says in response.

“Are you okay?” Alex asks with concern etched on his face.

I watch for an expression from Liz. I know something’s wrong too, but she isn’t talking.

“Nothing. Are you ready to study, Michael?” She says. I nod.

She leads me up to her room. Once we enter it, she flops down on the bed. I stay standing in the doorway. She rolls on her side with her head propped on her hand and says, “Are you going to stand there all night?”

I look around for a place to sit. I go for the chair by her desk. I’m tempted to sit with her on the bed, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself around her. I want to take things slow with her, but the way she comes on to me, I’m not sure how much longer I can last.

“I won’t bite,” she says smiling while she pats at the space next to her on her bed.

Trying to avoid close contact with her I ask, “Liz, tell me what’s wrong.” I know something is bothering her because her face doesn’t light up when she smiles. She’s holding something back. I can feel it.

She sighs and rolls on her stomach. “I thought I was persistent. It’s nothing really. Maria and me had an argument.” She softly chuckles and continues with, “She thinks I stole you away from her.” She turns around so she’s facing me and says, “Besides my brother she’s the only friend I ever truly had. It upsets me because she’s supposed to be my best friend and she’s willing to throw it away. She also said some things to remind me who I really am.”

I take a seat on her bed. She rests her head in my lap and I start stroking her hair soothingly. “Is that why you asked if I was sure about us?”

I hear her exhale slowly and she says, “I’m terrified that she might be right. Honestly, I’ve never been in a relationship before. Not a real one, anyway. I’ve never met anyone who I’m willing to open myself up to.” She sits up so she can look intently in my eyes and continues to say, “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m not an outgoing person. I prefer to be alone, I don’t handle others well. I don’t like talking about my feelings or myself. It never really mattered because nobody ever cared before.”

I cup her face in my hands and say, “I care and we can be two loners together. Don’t worry about it. Let’s take Isabel’s advice and see where this takes us. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but why don’t we just let our hearts lead the way.”

She tilts her face up to award me with a tender kiss. “My grandmother always use to tell me that. I never listened to her before. I was afraid to, I still am. I guess I’m willing to trust my heart this time. Why not? It feels like I can trust you.” Her face turns stern and she lightly pokes my chest. “But if you hurt me, you’re a dead man. You got it?”

“I got it,” I say feigning fear.

She giggles and lies back down on my lap. Her voice becomes serious again and says, “I promise to try my best not to hurt you.”

“I know you will, I’m not worried about that,” I say with confidence I didn’t know I had, especially with my heart. I’ve never entrusted my heart to anyone, but I’m willing to with her.

“Now that’s done. What do you want to do now?” She gives me a seductive smile as she sits up to move closer to me.

“We can always study.” I pretend to act naïve.

Liz giggles. She scoots up to her headboard and says, “Or we can make out. I prefer the latter. What about you?” She pats the bed giving me a sultry look.

I feel like I’m going to melt at any moment. A knock at the door and Alex’s voice helps bring the temperature down between us. Alex opens the door and says, “Don’t forget, Lizzie, Mom and Dad will be home tomorrow.”

Liz rolls her eyes and says, “Great. I can’t wait.” Alex closes the door and Liz gets up and grabs her backpack. “Come on, let’s get started on our homework.”

I wonder why that changed her mood. One minute she’s trying to seduce me, the next she looks disgusted. I guess I’m not the only one who doesn’t get along with their parents.

PART 16

I sit up panting hard. I wipe the sweat off my forehead. They’re starting again. Why are they starting again? I haven’t had a nightmare like that ever since I moved here to Roswell. I get out of bed and head toward the bathroom so I can splash some cold water on my face. I dry myself off and when I’m about to get in bed, I hear a light tapping. I don’t know where it’s coming from at first. Then I realize it’s coming from the outside door. I don’t know who it could be, because nobody knows about that door. I open it and smile.

“Hey,” Liz whispers.

“Hey,” I say opening the door wider so she can come in.

“Did I wake you?” She looks at me.

“No, I couldn’t sleep.” I’m glad that it’s dark in here so she can’t see that I’m lying to her.

She smiles at me and says, “Then what took you so long to answer the door?”

I point in the direction of the bathroom and say, “I didn’t hear you knocking at first.”

She laughs “Oh.”

She seems like she’s uncomfortable or maybe she’s tense. Then it dawns on me what she is doing here at this hour. Something must be wrong.

I take her hand and lead her to my bed. She follows willingly and leans against me once we’re seated on the bed.

I wrap my arm around her and ask, “What’s wrong?” I feel a small tremor go through her. I squeeze her tighter to me.

“I had a bad dream. I didn’t want to be alone,” she says in a small voice.

I lie flat on my back and bring her along with me. “Do you want to talk about it?” I feel her head shake against my chest.

“Just hold me.” She wraps her arms around me. Funny, she comes to me for comforting, but she doesn’t know she’s comforting me.

***********************************************************************

I let Michael cloak me in his arms. I feel safe and warm here. I don’t want to talk about my dream. I can’t remember it even if I did, but know it was about him. The only things I can recall is I was hurting emotionally and Michael had to choose between me and something else. What I can’t recollect, but I know it wasn’t good. I just hope I’m being paranoid. It doesn’t help that my parents have been back for two weeks now and I’m eager for them to leave again.

I can’t wait until I graduate from high school so I can leave all this crap behind me. I don’t want to think about this anymore. Especially since there are things that are more important I can think of. I slide my body up Michael’s and whisper, “If you can’t sleep and I can’t sleep, how about we make each other tired?”

“How do you suppose we do that?” he asks with a half smile.

“Oh, I don’t maybe a little bit of this.” I trail small kisses up and down his neck. “And a little bit of this.” I nip and suck on his neck and trace my tongue to his ear. “Don’t forget about this.” I lightly blow in his ear and nibble on his lobe. “And a lot of this.” I leave wet kisses around his jaw until I reach his lips where I outline it with my tongue until I hear him moan and that’s when I invade his mouth. Softly caressing his tongue with mine. I pull away slightly so that only our tongues are still touching and I roll my tongue around his.

I twist my body so I’m lying on top of him without breaking our kiss. I subtly rock my body against his. One of his hands is fondling my back and the other one is in my hair. I lean my head back and revel in the feel of his hands. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until now. He seizes my neck in his mouth and gently bites it. He trails his lips down to my shoulders and scrapes his teeth lightly across my skin. I moan again louder this time. He meets my mouth for another kiss that drowns out my groans.

In between kisses, he whispers, “Shh, you don’t want to wake my dad.”

I try to stay quiet, but with every caress, every feel he’s driving me wild. I pull at his shirt in attempts to take it off. I want to feel his skin under my fingers. I want to feel his skin against mine. At first, he resists so I glide down his body staying as close to him as possible. I feel his hands urging me to stop or maybe just slow down, but I don’t want to. Not tonight, tonight I want more.

************************************************************************

She is driving me crazy. It’s taking all my control, not to flip her over and start to undress her. She pulls at my shirt trying to remove it. I know if my body feels hers this close I might lose it. She slides down my body and plants small kisses on my stomach. She stops at my belly button and rolls her tongue around it, every so often dipping into it. It feels erotic the way she does it. I throw my head back and bite my lip to stop from moaning. My mind is fuzzy with passion as she slowly ascends my chest. She stops at my nipples and gently flicks them with her tongue. It takes every ounce of self-control to not take her right now. My body aches for her.

She gently bites my nipple and drags her tongue across my skin until she reaches my neck. I don’t remember losing my shirt. She lifts up off me and I immediately miss the warmth of her body against mine. In one swift movement, she takes her shirt off. Seeing her bare chest, I gasp. She is more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. She leans toward me and I meet her halfway and assault her mouth with mine. I nibble lightly on her bottom lip. I stroke her back, wanting to feel her soft skin.

I trail wet kisses down her neck stopping to nibble and suck. I can hear her moan, but I forgot where I am. All I know is who I’m with and that’s the only thing that matters. I slowly travel up her stomach with my hands until they come to rest on her breasts. I knead them and roll her perfect buds between my fingers, eliciting a moan from her. She captures my mouth and plunges her tongue deep in my mouth. I feel her hands fumbling with the string of my sweatpants and that’s when my senses slowly come back to me. That’s also when I finally hear someone banging on my door.

I try to calm my breathing down and say, “Who is it?”

“Open this goddamn door,” my father yells from the other side.

I look to Liz and see panic in her eyes. I gently lift her off of me and hand her her shirt. I wait for her to get dressed and for my body to cool off. I point to the bathroom and she quietly goes in. I rearrange my pants so no evidence is showing before I open the door for my dad.

He glares at me and starts to look around my room. When he doesn’t see anything he says, “What the hell took you so long to answer the door and why is it locked?”

“I was a sleep. It is 1 o’clock in the morning. It’s my door. I can lock it when I want,” I answer sarcastically.

“What are you hiding and what was all that noise I heard coming from here?” He looks at me angrily.

“I didn’t hear anything,” I tell him meeting his glare.

He narrows his eyes at me and says, “Get to bed and I don’t want to hear a peep out of this room. You got that?”

“Whatever.” I close and lock the door after he turns to leave. I take a deep breath.

Liz comes out of the bathroom and says, “I’m sorry for getting you in trouble.”

Turn to her and say, “Don’t worry about it. He acts like that all the time.”

She comes up and hugs me tight. “Maybe I should go.” She looks up at me with a look that says she really doesn’t want to leave.

I smile at her and lean down to gently kiss her. “Stay. Just be good, Okay?”

She softly giggles and says, “I promise. I don’t want a repeat of what just happened.”

“Neither do I,” I say glancing at the door. I lead Liz over to my bed and we stretch out on the bed. We just hold hands for a while, and then I pull her to me so she can rest her hand on my chest. We fall asleep in that position.

PART 17

School is the last thing on my mind these days. I haven’t been sleeping and I know my appearance is a wreck. I’ve been avoiding Liz because I know she’ll worry and start asking questions. I smile at the thought that someone would actually worry about me.

I’m staring up at the ceiling, trying to figure out what is triggering my nightmares. They’d stopped when we moved to Roswell, so I don’t understand why they’re starting again. I wonder if it’s because it’s been a year since his death or is it because she is here in town. Why did she have to enter my life again? If Liz finds out I’ll……

A light tapping at my door disrupts my thoughts. “Go away,” I yell to the person on the other side of the door. The knocking grows louder and more persistent. I try to ignore it; maybe they’ll get the hint. When the knocking doesn’t halt, I stomp to the door yelling, “What the hell do you want?” I swing the door open and take in an angry Liz standing in the doorway.

Liz gives me a quizzical look. I smirk and ask, “What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in school?” I walk away. I don’t want her to view me like this and I definitely don’t want her to be around me when I’m in this frame of mind.

I wish with everything in me that I could tell her about my life. I want her to know me but I’m too terrified she’ll leave me. Now that she is here, my fears are suffocating me. Isabel thinks Liz has the right to know about her. After all, she is attending our school now. Isabel is right. I know in my heart if Liz finds out from someone other than me my life will be over, because she won’t be in it.

“Well it’s nice to see you too.” I can hear the anger and hurt lace in her voice.

I hear her backpack drop to the floor and she stomps toward me. I grin at her actions. She’s sexy when she’s mad, but she can also be a handful. I normally love teasing her when she’s like this, but today I’m just not in the mood.

When I don’t hear any movement or sound coming from her, I glance over my shoulder and she’s giving me that same questioning look I've seen before. I face her and pat my bed for her to sit down with me. She hesitates for a few seconds before she seats herself besides me.

“When did you start cutting classes?” I ask playfully poking her side trying to lighten the mood, trying to improve my disposition.

“I’m not, it's lunchtime and you know I have a free period afterwards. I just wanted to come by and see how you’re doing. I also have your homework assignments.” She points to her backpack. “If you want I can come by after school, but if you just want to be alone, I’ll understand.” She stands up and slowly advances to the door. I think she’s waiting for me to stop her. I don’t want her to leave. For the length of time I’ve known her, she means the world to me. She always makes me feel at peace. With her help, I’m beginning to like the person I’ve become.

She stops suddenly and quietly says, “If you don’t want to be with me just tell me.”

Her words are piercing my heart. How can she think that? I love being around her, she keeps me smiling and laughing. She makes me feel special and wanted, how can she doubt that? Not that I blame her, this past week I have been distant. My best friend haunts me in my dreams. How can I be happy when Nick can never be? The guilt I feel for my best friend and my girlfriend is overpowering. I’ll be sure to make it my first priority to tell Liz about her.

I dart to her and put my arms around her. “Baby, how can you think that?” I ask. My grip tightens around her for fear of her slipping away. I can’t lose her, not when I just found her.

“For the past few days you’ve been distant. If you’re tired of me just tell me.” I carefully turn her around so she’s facing me. Her eyes are glistening with unshed tears. She averts her eyes and again my heart tightens. This is your fault, Evans. I’m always screwing things up.

“Look at me, please.” When she meets my gaze I say, “Don’t ever think I don’t want you. You’re the best thing that’s ever happen to me. I don’t want to lose that or you. I just have a lot on my mind.”

A tear slides down her cheek. She looks down and says, “Then why are you pushing me away?” Her voice gives away all her hurt and vulnerability.

I wrap my arms around her and squeeze her tight. I never noticed how insecure she was before. I wish I could dissolve her insecurities away. I stroke her hair until she calms down.

“I’m not pushing you away.” I cautiously walk back pulling her along with me until I feel the edge of my bed at the back of my knees and sit down settling her on my lap. “I’ve been having nightmares, so I haven’t been sleeping at night. I tend to be grouchy with lack of sleep. I don’t want to take it out on you, you don’t deserve that.” She caresses my cheek. I close my eyes reveling in the feel of her touch. I feel her thumb trace under my eyes. I open my eyes and watch how her eyebrows knit together with concern.

“What are they about?” she asks with concern.

I stand up and gently place her back on the floor. I snatch up her backpack and carry it over to the bed. I dump the books out, picking each one up.

“Are you going to come by after school to help me sort through this stuff?” I say pointing to the pile of books on my bed.

She chuckles and softly sings, “Whenever you need me I’ll be there.”

I smile and say, “You better go I don’t want you to be late for class because of me.”

She nods and gives me a quick peck on the lips. “I’ll see you later. Okay?”

“I better,” I say as tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She quickly kisses me before she dashes off to class.

************************************************************************

I arrive at school just in time for my next class. Good thing I brought my books with me. I rush to my class just as the late bell rings. I can’t wait for this day to be over.

I hustle to my locker when the last bell rings. I’m elated because this is my opportunity to see Michael again. I have to find out what’s bothering him. Each day that passes, I feel him slipping away. I’m starting to think it’s because of me. He doesn’t call me as much as he used to. When I visit him, it’s like he’s somewhere else. I wish he would talk to me.

As I draw near to my locker, I see Maria talking to that new girl. I frown. Even though I don’t know her I don’t like her. There are rumors circulating that the new girl has her sights set on Michael. The idea of Maria and her becoming friends doesn’t sit well with me. We aren’t as close as we were before, but we did restore some of our friendship. It took two weeks of Maria not talking to me and me finally swallowing my pride and apologizing to her. I don’t think she fully forgives me, but it’s a start.

The two of them are deep in conversation when I reach my locker. They’re whispering amongst themselves. I try to tune in at least some of the words, because I’m curious to know what they would have to discuss. What can be so secretive?

When I can’t hear a word of what they are saying I decide to make my presence known and say, “Hey Maria.”

She jumps and turns towards me. “Hey Liz. How’s it going? I missed you in lunch today.”

She looks startled. Or is it guilty? I think it's guilt because she resembles a child with their hand caught in the cookie jar. “What’s going on?” I ask sounding blasé. I don’t want to seem nosy, but them being together bothers me

Out of the corner of my eye, I see her look over to the new girl. She smiles at her. Maria says, “Have you met each other yet?”

I turn towards them and look at the girl. I shake my head and say, “I don’t believe we have.”

Maria smiles and says, “Liz, this is Tess Harding. Tess, this is Liz Parker.”

Tess extends her hand and I take it. “Nice to meet you, Liz,” she says. I plaster a fake smile on. This girl is giving off bad vibes. Her smile seems bogus and she looks like she’s up to no good. Then it dawns on me, she wants Michael. Of course, that’s why she’s acting phony towards me. In her eyes, I’m the obstacle to her desire.

I close my locker and say, “I hope you like Roswell so far. I would love to stay and chat, but my boyfriend is expecting me. Maybe we could talk some other time.”

Tess smiles and says, “I would really like that.” I turn away to leave, but before I’m too far Tess yells, “Oh, could you please tell Michael that I would really like to see him again and for him to give me a call?”

I spin around not believing what I heard. Before I can say anything, she and Maria are gone. What could she mean by that? When did Michael see her? That’s why he’s pulling away from me; it’s all making sense.

I don’t know how long I’ve been standing in the middle of the hallway. Everything I believed in is crumbling right in front of me. I rush home instead of going to Michael’s. I don’t want to see him, not when my heart feels like it’s breaking. My parents are arguing in the living room as usual and I rush past them without a word. I slam the door to my room and look at myself in my full-length mirror not fond of what I see. I’m way too skinny, have no cleavage. I turn sideways to see my profile to show myself I have no ass. No wonder he’d choose her over me. She has everything I don’t, blond hair, big boobs and probably a round ass.

I pace my room and the more I do the angrier I become. I walk to my dresser and look at the sketch Michael drew of me. I was so amazed by it I had it framed. I kept it on my dresser where it was visible from all angles of my room. I pick it up and throw it at the mirror. I continue to pace, urging the tears not to fall.

My body starts to feel weak so I sit on my bed and place my head in my hands. Alex barges in asking, “What happened? What was all that noise?”

I look up at him and he’s looking at the mirror with shock on his face. He looks back at me and asks, “Are you okay?” I still don’t respond. I’m afraid if I open my mouth to speak the tears I’m desperately trying to hold in will fall. He points to the mirror and asks, “What happened?”

I just shrug my shoulders.

He leaves. I curl up into the fetal position. I’m not going to cry. This was bound to happen. It was stupid of me to think he actually cares about me, to actually follow my heart.

I hear the door open. I don’t bother to see who it is, I already know. I hear Alex sweep up the glass. I hear him approach and the bed’s protest as he lies next to me. He reaches over and places the drawing in front of me. The glass is cracked making the picture seem distorted. I chuckle. It looks more like me now. He snatches the picture back and I roll over to face him.

“This has something to do with Michael doesn’t it?” he asks keeping his eyes on the picture.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I say nearly yelling at him.

“He places my sketch on the night table. He rolls to his side facing me and says, “I thought you said you were going to Michael’s after school?”

I slide up into a sitting position and say, “I told you I don’t want to talk about it.”

He furrows his eyebrows and says, “What did he do?”

I bring my knees up to my chest to hug them. “He’s cheating on me,” I choke out.

He pulls me to him in a hug and says, “Michael adores you. What makes you think he’d do something like that?”

I exhale noisily and lean into my brother. I feel like I don’t have anyone. What am I going to do when he leaves? I’ll be utterly alone.

“Don’t you trust him?” he says as he tightens his hold on me.

I scoff and say, “Trust. It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t talk about themselves, who doesn’t talk to me.”

I bury my face in his chest and say, “He’s been pulling away from me and by coincidence it started happening when she arrived in town. Then she told me today to tell Michael that she can’t wait to see him again and to call her. Why would she say that?”

“You have to ask him that. He’s the only one who can answer those questions,” he says soothingly.

I take a deep breath to keep from crying and say, “I wish it were that simple. He doesn’t tell me anything. Why doesn’t he confide in me about anything?”

Alex lifts my chin up and says, “Do you?”

That’s when the tears fall. I can’t hold them back any longer. I’ve never hurt this much, I’ve never allowed myself to hurt like this. Why did he do this to me? I try to calm down, but I can’t. Alex holds me and says, “I guess you have. I really liked the closeness between the two of you, because he seems to make you happy. I still think you should talk to him when you calm down.”

“I can’t,” I say in between sobbing.

“Oh Lizzie, the only thing I can tell you is to have faith in him. It may not be what it seems,” he whispers to me.

I lay my head in his lap. I can’t believe how pathetic I’ve become. I told myself not to cry. Why am I crying? “I don’t care. He can have her if that's what he wants,” I say hoarsely.

Alex strokes my back and says, “I know you don’t mean that. Talk to him.”

I close my eyes trying to block out my heartache. Maybe this is all just a bad dream. The pain I’m feeling is all just part of a nightmare. I can deny it all I want, but I know I want Michael. I don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t want me. I guess I’ll have to live my life like before. Now knowing there is no such thing as love. I don’t even know why I even thought someone would actually love me. I cry myself to sleep on Alex’s lap.

PART 18

I glance at the clock wondering where Liz is. She said she was coming after school, but it’s already ten o’clock and there’s no sign of her. Not even a phone call. I finally decide to call her again for the twentieth time. I pick up the phone hoping somebody will answer this time. I’m starting to worry something might have happened to her. The phone rings several times before someone finally picks up.

“Hello,” the person whispers.

“Hi. May I speak with Liz, please?” I say.

“Michael, is that you? This is Alex,” he says quietly.

“Alex? Hey, how’s it going?”

“Not to good. Listen, Liz wasn’t feeling good. She’s sleeping right now. That’s why I’m whispering,” he says

“Is she okay? Should I come over?” I ask with concern.

“No. This is not a good time.” There’s a pause and he continues to say, “You should have taken Isabel’s advice. I’m hoping it’s a misunderstanding on Liz’s part, but if it’s not...” Another pause. “You better clear it up as soon as possible,” he says with a sternness I’ve never heard from him before.

I can’t believe what I’m hearing. He can’t be talking about Tess, please God, don’t let it be about Tess. “What are you talking about?” I ask trying not to sound worried.

Alex sighs and says, “You know damn well what I’m talking about. Isabel told me about most of it.”

No wonder Liz isn’t here. What happened? Did Tess say something to her? My heart drops. I can’t lose her. I should have told Liz about Tess when she first arrived. I should have told her Tess came by my house that first day she arrived in town.

“Tell her to call me tomorrow. That’s it’s urgent that I speak with her,” I say desperate now.

“I’ll try, but …” I hear him sigh and whisper something to someone. Then there’s a new voice on the phone.

“Just leave me alone, Michael. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. You’ve made your choice,” Liz yells over the phone.

“No, Liz, listen to me. It’s not what you think. I don’t know what she told you, but can’t you just let me explain?” I plead to her.

“It’s too late. You had all the time to explain, but you chose to push me away.” I hear the sadness in her voice.

“I’m coming over,” I say with force. Before she can object, I hang up the phone.

I knock on Isabel's door and ask to borrow her car. She gives me the keys and I leave out my side door. I arrive at Liz’s in record time.

I knock on her door and her father answers it. He gives me the once over before he asks, “Can I help you?”

I smile and say, “I’m sorry to come at such a late hour, but it’s urgent that I speak with Alex. Would that be alright with you?”

He moves aside and makes a gesture for me to come in. He says, “He upstairs in his room.”

I thank him and rush up the stairs. I open the door to Liz’s room and the first thing I notice is the broken mirror. I look to Alex first and he says, “She’s okay. I mean from the effects of the mirror.” He gives Liz a sideway glance before he leaves and closes the door behind him.

I see Liz lying on the bed facing away from me. I lie next to her and spoon her. She stays in that position for a couple of seconds before she jumps off the bed.

“You shouldn’t have come. I don’t want to talk to you. There's nothing to say.” My heart slowly rips apart with each rejection.

I sigh and say, “I just need you to trust me, Liz. I'm begging you just to trust me. I would never do anything to …..”

She interrupts me to say, “Trust you. How am I supposed to trust you? Please explain that to me.”

I run my fingers through my hair and say, “Haven’t you trusted me?”

She chuckles softly and say, “I did even when you dodged all my question, pushed me away and separated me from everything in your life. Now it’s different because there’s someone else in the picture. Someone who is making it a point of getting you into their life. Someone who arrives around the same time you start pulling away from me. What am I supposed to think? That your nightmares won’t let you sleep, so you tend to be grouchy.”

“Why didn’t you come and talk to me first?” I ask.

She rushes at me and says, “Why? So you can tell me it’s nothing? That it’s not what it seems? That you care about me? What are the other lines you use to avoid a question of mine?”

I bow my head. She’s right I’ve been hiding from her and now everything is backfiring on me. I scratch my eyebrow and say, “What do you want to know?”

She looks at me and sits next to me on her bed. I continue to keep my head down.

“I’ll start with an easy question. What does the G stand for in your initials?” she asks quietly.

“Guerin,” I reply. I look up at her and she looks expectantly for more. I continue to say, “It’s my mother’s maiden name. My father named me after her." Now she looks confused. “I’m only a half sibling to Isabel and Max. I guess that’s the main reason why I’m the outcast of the family.”

“Why haven’t you told me this before?” she asks with concern.

“Why? So you can feel sorry for me?” I stand up.

“Alex is only my half brother,” she says.

I turn around and look at her. I squint my eyes at her and say, “Don’t lie to me.”

She gives me a half smile and says, “I’m not. The man downstairs was in an accident where he wasn’t able to produce children anymore. My mom desperately wanted a daughter, but she wanted her with the same genes as her husband. So she slept with her husband’s brother. That’s how I was conceived. My real dad died in a car accident with my grandmother, which was the same day I found all this out.”

I don’t have a response to that. I wouldn’t have thought Liz’s family was as dysfunctional as mine. I stare out her window and say, “My dad had an affair with his intern who in turn became pregnant with me. He almost lost his family, but he blames me for it. My mom died giving birth to me. So my stepmom took me in after she and my dad made amends.”

“What are your nightmares about?” she asks me next.

I sigh and say, “My best friend died three months before we moved here. Ever since that night, I’ve been having dreams where he haunts me saying it was my fault. That I should have been the one killed not him.” I take a deep breath and continue, “They stopped when I got here, but they started up again recently. I don’t know if it’s because it almost been a year since it happened or if it’s from seeing Tess again.” I stop, realizing I mentioned Tess's name. I continue to say, “I also think it might have something to do with guilt. When I’m with you I’m happy. My friend can never be happy like that again.”

“You shouldn’t think of it that way. I blamed myself for my grandmother’s death even though I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I know she's happy wherever she is. It’s just your guilt talking through your dreams. If you meant anything to your friend, he’d be happy for you,” she tells me

“Maybe, but he was happy before he died,” I say sadly. “He had a girlfriend who he fell in love with. This was when I didn’t believe in love. I would always tell him he’s foolish.” I brace myself against the window, all my memories flashing before me. “He told me I just hadn’t found the right one yet. He was about to tell me how Ava made him feel, but he never had the chance."

“Where does Tess fit into all this?” she asks.

I chuckle and say, “You want me to share everything with you tonight don’t you?”

She huffs and says, “If you want me to trust you, then yeah.”

I walk over to her bed and sit next to her. I turn her towards me so we are facing each other. I reach my head up to remove a stray piece of hair from her face, but she stops me.

“Don’t,” she says.

I place my hands in my lap and say, “Tess was my ex-girlfriend, my first girlfriend. I was overjoyed when she wanted to go out with me. Nobody ever wanted me, so I tried to do everything in my power to make her happy and for her to stay with me. She was expensive and since I don’t have in with the old man, I had to make my own money. I was fourteen at the time and my father wasn’t about to let his son work in a fast food restaurant. So I had to find ways to make money.” I pause. I don’t want to tell her how I made money. “She always had this strange pull over me. I could never say no to her. I'm not sure if it's only because she was the first person to pay attention to me.”

“Do you still feel that same pull to her?” she asks me quietly, not looking at me.

I rub my face and say, “A little, but ….”

“So you’ve seen her alone after she arrived here?” she says cutting me off.

“Yeah, but ……”

“Were you ever going to tell me?” she says as her voice starts to rise.

“I was going to tell you tonight,” I say trying to keep my voice steady. I don’t like the way this is turning out.

She shakes her head and says, “You weren’t going to tell me. Maybe you thought about it, but you weren’t going to. How do I know your not hiding anything else from me?”

I reach for her hand and she moves out of range. I close my eyes and say, “Liz, I’m telling you everything.”

She gets up and distances herself from me. She stares at me and says, “This pull thing, how do you know you’re still experiencing it?”

I run my fingers through my hair and before I can say anything Liz states, “Because you kissed her. If it weren’t true, you would have objected already. Get out, Michael. I don’t want you anywhere near me.”

I stand up and approach her, but she backs away. “Liz, I don’t want her. I want you.” I keep walking forward until there’s nowhere else for her to back up to. “I want you,” I repeat getting closer.

She starts pushing me on my chest. The pushing turns to pounding. I wrap my arms around her until she calms down. We slide to the floor where we cry. I don’t want to lose her. I whisper to her, “Tess is my past, you’re my future. I wouldn’t know what I would do with myself if you weren’t in my life. That’s what scares me the most. You not being in my life.”

She sits up and wipes her eyes. She looks me in my eyes and says, “I can’t do this, Michael. If you meant that, you wouldn’t have kissed her. There’s a reason why she has this pull over you and until you figure that out I can’t be with you.”

“Don’t say that. I can control it. I know what I want,” I respond.

“Then why did you kiss her?” she asks.

“I.. I don’t know,” I stutter.

“Because you don’t have it under control. I’m not going to let you walk all over my heart while you try to find out who or what you want. So until that day comes, it’s over.” She gets up and opens her door. “Can you please leave now?” She doesn’t even look at me. I walk slowly over to the door and gaze at her. I open my mouth to say something, but she says, “Leave.”

I walk out of her room and out of her house. I speed home feeling lost in my heart. When I get home, Isabel is waiting in my room. She looks at me with a concern. I’m glad she doesn’t say anything. I tell her to leave me alone and she hesitantly does. I stand in the middle of my room breathing heavy. Angry at me, angry at Tess, angry at the world. I observe myself in the mirror, hating the person looking back at me. That’s when I crack. I shove everything off my dresser to the floor. I throw my books at the mirror. Once my room is demolished, all my energy is drained. I collapse on my bed and cry myself to sleep.


PART 19

Today I’m not up to going to school. After that night I kicked Michael out of my house, I haven’t been able to sleep. All I’ve been doing was crying or exercising. I climb back into my window and glance at the clock to see it’s 5 am. Time to get ready for school. I head for the shower. I’ve been jogging on nights that I can’t get to sleep or just feeling sorry for myself. Jogging and/or singing have always been a way for me to forget my problems. I turn off the water and get dressed. I go downstairs to the kitchen and try to eat breakfast. Another thing I haven’t been able to do was eat.

I’m playing with my food when Alex comes downstairs. “Did you make any for me?” I push my plate to him and stand up. “You’ve got to eat, Lizzie.” I shake my head in response.

“What happened, Lizzie? Why don’t you talk to me?” I shake my head. I’m not ready to say, Michael and I are no longer a couple, because I don’t want to think about it. I lift my head up and close my eyes willing myself not to cry. You can do this. Just drown out all your emotions. You’ve done it before so it’s not hard. “Please, Lizzie. Maybe if you talk about it, it won’t hurt as much.” I don’t say anything. I can’t talk about it, not yet. That wound is still fresh. Alex walks up behind me and turns me around to hug me. I feel my body begin to tremor so I push away from him. I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself. “I’m fine.” I hear him sigh. “Why don’t you stay home? You don’t have to go to school.” I shrug my shoulders and say, “I’ll have to go eventually, so I might as well get it over with now. There’s a knock at the door and my heart sinks. That can’t be him. I can’t see him, not yet, not this soon. Alex walks to the door and answers it. I let out my breath in relief when I see Isabel at the door. They greet each other with a kiss and I turn away.

“Hey.” Isabel says when she enters the kitchen followed by Alex. I smile at her the best I can and she gives me a sympathetic look.

“Is Michael going to school today?” Alex asks Isabel. I had to turn to look at him, because there’s a hint of bitterness in his voice. Isabel must have heard it too, because she’s almost hesitated to answer. “He is. Daddy wouldn’t let him stay home another day. Since he …. Since he doesn’t appear to be sick anymore.” I know Isabel and I know she’s hiding something, so I reply, “What his girlfriend came over?”

Isabel cast her eyes downward and says, “Daddy is just mad at him, right now.” I laugh bitterly and say, “But you still didn’t answer my question. Did he have a guest over or not?” I know she’s lying for him because the way she don’t answer my question. “Forget it. I’m walking.” I say harshly. I leave slamming the door behind me.

************************************************************************

I try to stay home, but my old man wouldn’t let me. He thinks if I’m able to disappear with out a trace and have friends come over, I’m healthy enough to go to school. In a way, I do want to go, because then I’m able to see Liz. I’ve tried to call her all day yesterday, but she wouldn’t take my calls. I could also tell Alex was getting pissed at me, so I stopped calling her and went to her house, but she wasn’t there. So, I just stood outside her window for a while hoping she’d be home soon, hoping she’d take me back. I headed back home depressed. An unwelcome Tess was waiting for me. I couldn’t believe she had the nerve to show up, when she the one who caused me to lose Liz, the person that made me feel whole. I had kicked Tess out, upon seeing her. I didn’t want her near me; I didn’t want her to think I wanted anything to do with her. Isabel hadn’t liked the way I handled the situation, but I didn’t care.

I notice Isabel is already gone. I’m guessing she’s meeting up with Alex. I wish she had told me. Now I have to ride with Max. I’m waiting for Max to get his face out of the mirror. When he finally approves he heads for the door and I follow behind him. He unlocks the door and say, “I would have never guessed you’d swallow your pride to ride with me.”

“It was either that or walk. I rather torture myself than walk.” I said briskly. We both get in the car and the drive is silent.

I look out the window hoping Liz will talk to me. I don’t think I can take it if she doesn’t. How am I going to prove to her I want her and not Tess? I just have to get her alone then maybe I’ll be able to convince her.

“Has Liz put out yet?” Max asks bringing me out of my thoughts. I look over at him hoping I didn’t hear what I thought I did. “Excuse me?” Max’s voices rising repeats “Has Liz put out yet? She looks like she could be an animal in bed.”

“Shut the hell up.” I scowl. Max laughs and says, “I guess she hasn’t. If it were me, bro, she would have given it up a long time ago.”

“Didn’t I tell you to shut the fuck up? What part of that didn’t you understand?” I growl.

“Don’t get all worked up. I was just asking a question.” Max replies.

“I don’t want you to ever talk about Liz like that. You got that?”

Max rolls his eyes and says, “Or what? You going to kick my ass? So it’s okay for you to lead her on and fuck some other girl?”

I narrow my eyes at him and say, “What the hell are you talking about?” Max laughs, “Didn’t you hear?” He laughs again.

“No, so why don’t you just spit it out.”

Max parks the car in the school’s parking lot and says, “Well first off, you were caught making out with Maria under the bleachers. I hear that’s her favorite make out place. Then when Tess arrived into town. Well she the other girl you’re fucking. Were you ever going to tell Liz? Do I have to go and comfort the poor girl? You’re such a screw up Michael, but seeing how we’re half blood and all. I’ll let you in on a little secret. When it comes to woman, don’t piss them off, because they’ll find ways to hurt you.” I watch Max as he heads toward the school, but he suddenly comes back to me and says, “And I’m only telling you this because Isabel asked me too. I know they are only rumors and you need to go to the source to get it straightened out. But this time it’s not Tess.” I dazedly watch Max walk off. I can’t believe he’s helping me. What’s got into him?

I quickly walk into the school in search of a certain person.

************************************************************************

As I approach my locker, I see Max waiting for me. I’m not in the mood to deal with his shit. “What do you want, Max?” I sigh.

Max smiles and says, “I just wanted to tell you two things.”

“Make it fast.” He chuckles and says, “In a hurry are we.” I roll my eyes and face him with my arms crossed. “First I want to tell you how beautiful you are.” I slam my locker close and about to walk off, but Max stops me by placing his hand on my shoulder. “Wait. I also want to tell you that I like you Liz and I know I’ve been a jerk before, but since you’ve been such a good friend to Isabel I just want to return the favor, Okay.” I nod wondering what he’s trying to tell me. I try to get a glimpse of his eyes, but they are downcast. He looks up in my eyes and says, “You’re going to hear rumors going around, but don’t believe them. Also don’t take your anger out on the innocent person.” Max rolls his eyes and continues, “I can’t believe innocent and …. well never mind. Anyway believe me when I say this, the betrayer isn’t the one you’d expect.” He walks off with out a glance back. What the hell does he mean? Why was he speaking in riddles? Whatever, I’m not going to worry about it.

PART 20

Ever since Michael and I broke up. During lunch, I’ve been going to the library instead of the cafeteria. Isabel stops me before I walk through the doors of the library. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” I look at her and shake my head. “Please Liz. I just ….”

“I have a test next period. I really need to study.” Isabel looks down and nods her head. I regret the words as soon as they left my mouth. Ever since she moved here, she has been nothing but a friend to me. “Isabel wait.” She slowly turns around. “Okay, lets talk. Just not here okay.” She smiles and nods. “Where do you want to go?” I look around, then grab her arm and lead her outside. We end up in the quad behind a big oak tree. This is where Maria and I use to come when we wanted to talk about something important without worrying about other people hearing us.

I sit down and pat the ground for Isabel to join me. “So what do you want to talk about?” I ask her getting right to the point.

“About this morning. I wasn’t lying for my brother. I .. I felt guilty…..” She stops in mid sentence. She looks as if she’s debating on how to continue.

“Guilty of what?” She closes her eyes and says, “I consider you a good friend Liz and I don’t want to do anything to hurt you.” I shake my head starting to get frustrated.

“Just spit out, Iz. What’s so bad that you can’t tell me?” I say trying to keep the irritation out of my voice.

She takes a deep breath and looks up at me. “Tess has been coming by almost everyday since you and Michael broke up. He …..” I stand up and say, “I don’t want to hear this. I don’t care what Michael does with his free time anymore.” Isabel stands up just as fast and says, “No wait. Just let me say what I have to. Please?!”

I sigh and sit back down. “Go ahead, I’m all ears.”

“He always kicks her out, but instead of worrying about your feelings, I’ve been concerned with Tess’s. I don’t know why, but the way he’s been treating her frightens me sometimes,” she says.

“He not going to hurt her if that’s what you’re worried about.” Isabel looks at me with her head slightly tilted to the side. “How do you know that?” she asks.

I shrug my shoulders and say, “I just know.”

“He doesn’t want her, Liz. You’re the one he wants. He’s hurting, just as much if not more than you.” I look down finding my fingernails interesting all of a sudden.

“Can I tell you something?” she asks. “Whatever,” I say.

She softly giggles and abruptly stops. I glance up to figure out why. Her eyes has a far off look as she says, “My brother and his best friend, Nick were almost inseparable. They did everything together, until Tess appeared. When Michael found out, she had a crush on him. He was ecstatic. You see, my family doesn’t give him the attention he deserved or wanted and when he got it from her, he did everything in his power to make her happy.” She pauses.

“That’s great and all, but he’s told me all about this,” I reply, not really eager to hear about Michael’s first love.

She glances and smiles at me. “I thought you were going to let me talk.” I give her a small smile and say, “I’m sorry. Please continue.”

“At first I was happy for him, because he seemed genuinely happy. The only time I would see Michael smile was when he was around Nick. As their relationship progressed, I noticed Michael was starting to be stressed. He wasn’t happy it was more like possessed. All he wanted to do was give Tess whatever she asked for so she’d continue giving him her attention. I know he never loved her, not that he ever told her that. But she’d use those words to get what she wanted from him. I think it’s because of her he doesn’t believe in love. She used him, badly. Nick caught on and tried to show Michael the whole picture, but he wouldn’t listen. By that time, Nick had his own girlfriend and was happy he wished Michael would find someone like his girlfriend. If you ask me the reason why Nick didn’t interfere earlier was because he didn’t have anyone and knowing Michael he would have accused him of being jealous.” Isabel stops talking and I look at her.

“Why are you telling me all this, Iz? Michael made his choice,” I say sadly.

She touches my hand and continues to say, “Nick and Michael argued and stopped talking for a couple of days, so he spent most of his time with Tess. Well, one day he caught Tess with some other guy. He was hurt, but he was angry more so. He stopped talking to everyone even me. I was getting worried about him and I decided to call Nick to see if he could cheer him up. Being the good friend that he was, he came over that same day. Michael’s pride almost got the best of him, but Nick convinced him to go out with him and have fun. You know, just the guys.”

Her face becomes sad. She says, “The next then I know, cops are knocking at my door escorting Michael in. He was covered in blood, but what really scared me were his eyes. They were dead. There was no emotion in them whatsoever. He walked away from us. I tried to find out what happened, but he wouldn’t talk to me. I lost my brother that day. It was like he crawled up inside himself and closed himself off from everyone.”

Oh God, that’s why he feels guilty for Nick’s death. He thinks he wasn’t a good friend to him before he died. That explains a lot. That explains why he thinks he’s not suppose to be happy.

Isabel interrupts my thoughts by saying, “Liz when he came here to Roswell and met you. I slowly saw his eyes light up. He started to open up and smile more. I’m afraid if you keep this up, I’m going to lose my brother again. I don’t want to do that. I want him happy and that’s what you do. You make him happy. Right now, he’s hasn’t closed himself off to anyone yet only because he’s determined to get you back in his life, but if you keep ignoring him. He’s going to give up on himself. I don’t want to see that happen. Not again.”

I don’t know what to say or what to think. What am I suppose to do? “Iz I wish it were that simple, but it’s not,” I say.

“Do you love him, Liz?” I look up at her in shock. How can she ask me that? I haven’t known Michael that long to be in love. I don’t even know what love is or even if there is a such thing. I shrug my shoulders.

She touches my arm and say, “Can you at least talk to him. Just be his friend if you’re not ready for a relationship yet.”

I shake my head trying to keep the tears at bay. “I can’t, I can’t…” I say in a shaky voice. Isabel hugs me and says, “I know it hurts Liz, but the only reason why it hurts is because you do love him. I know you don’t believe in it or know what it is, but what you’re feeling for my brother is love.”

I cry on Isabel shoulder. She continues to hug me rocking me back and forth until the bell rings. She gives me her compact and helps me fix my makeup and my blotchy eyes. She stands up and holds her hand out to help me up. “Do you promise to talk to him?” I nod and head for class.

**********************************************************************

I’m at my locker feeling exhausted glad the day is finally over. Liz won’t even look at me. Each day it keeps getting harder. I just wish she would just talk to me. I slam my locker and see Tess standing there. I roll my eyes and say, “What do you want?”

“I want to talk to you,” she replies. “I already told you I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Why can’t you accept the fact that I’m with Liz?” She chuckles.

I turn to walk away, but she grabs my arm and says, “I’m sorry, but I thought you guys broke up.” I narrow my eyes at her and say, “Thanks to you and Maria.” She holds her hand up and says, “It was all Maria’s idea. I don’t know if you noticed how bad she had it for you.”

“So what? I’m supposed to fall for her because she starts rumors about us and hurt me and her best friend.” She laughs.

“Hey your family’s the one that moved to this hick of a town,” she says.

“It doesn’t help that you went along with her to circulate those rumors. Now does it?” I reply.

“Listen, Michael. Liz wasn’t good for you anyway. She’s changing you. I think we’re perfect together. Just give us another chance. We were great together than and I know we will be again,” she says as she puts her hand on my arm. I look at it and then at her. “I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Why can’t you get that through your head?” She moves closer to me and says, “But can’t you feel it Michael the chemistry, the energy between us? Why do you want to throw that away?” I move closer to her and say, “Sorry, I don’t feel a thing.”

“When we kissed…” I cut her off by saying, “It was a mistake. Didn’t you notice it only happened that one time? It was because I don’t want you. That I don’t feel anything for you.”

“I know you’re drawn to me, you’ve always been. If you weren’t then why did you kiss me?” I chuckle.

“Because I had to prove to myself that there is nothing between us. If I want a solid relationship with Liz, I had to make sure I’m the person she believes I am. Liz gave me her trust with no questions asked. So, I had to make sure I wouldn’t hurt her,” I whisper. I don’t know why I’m telling her this, but that’s how I feel. Liz makes me believe I can do anything, but without her I’m back to the person, I’ve always known and hated. I don’t want that. I want Liz to be proud of me.

“What happened to you, Michael? You use to be this carefree guy who didn’t care about anyone else, but yourself,” she states.

I shrug my shoulders and say, “Just leave me and Liz alone. Okay. She doesn’t deserve what you and Maria are doing to her. She’s a better person then anyone of us and I want her back in my life.” Tess looks down and I notice Max walk past me, looking past my shoulder and winking. My curiosity taking the best of me I turn around to see who he was winking at and to my surprise, I see Liz standing behind me.

***********************************************************************

After my last class, I decide this would be the perfect time to talk to Michael. I’ll see if he wants to walk with me to my house and since my parents are going away again. There’ll be privacy for us to talk. I slowly walk in the direction of Michael’s locker afraid that maybe I might have already lost him. When I get within 30 feet of his locker I notice he’s talking to someone. I stop short when I see that it’s Tess. I watch them for a while. I look down taking in a shaky breath. I glance at them one more time and they are inches apart, I turn to leave not wanting to see anymore, but I bump into someone. I look up to see who it is, and it’s Max. Great, he’s just going to dwell on my misery. I move to go around him, but he blocks me.

“Just leave me alone, Max.” His only response is to grab my hand and pull me over towards Michael. I try to stand my ground. I didn’t want to go over there, but his strength overpowers me and I’m eventually standing a few feet behind Michael.

Tess gives Max a strange look, but I don’t bother to glance over at Max. Tess catches my eye contact and slyly smiles. She moves closer to Michael and brushes herself against him, whispering something to him. I narrow my eyes at her, and to my dismay, Michael moves closer. I unconsciously lean against Max unable to hold myself up anymore. My heart is hurting more now than it ever did. I feel Max steady me from behind and I bring my attention back to the couple in front of me.

We weren’t that close to them, so I can’t hear what they are saying, but the look of smugness is wiped off of Tess’s face. I wonder what he’s saying to her. Max pushes me closer to them and I hear, “…….. and I want her back in my life.”

Max leaves my side and before he retreats, he winks at me. I smile a thank you to him just as Michael turns around. He looks at me as if he’s in shock. I move closer, letting my body and heart lead me. I slowly wrap my arms around his neck and brush my lips across his. I feel his body relax and he pulls me closer and holds on to me with such force that I can hardly breathe. I don’t pull away because I miss the feeling of being in his arms, the scent of him. The way he runs his fingers through my hair. He keeps whispering, “Thank you,” over and over again in my ear. Before we disentangle ourselves he whispers, “This is where I want to be.”




posted on 1-Sep-2001 8:39:48 PM
PART 14

The next day I feel like I can walk on water. Isabel laughs at me every time our paths cross. I know she’s happy for me. She keeps trying to obtain information from me about last night. I try hard to dodge her questions, but she can be persistent. I don’t want to share my experience with her yet because I’m afraid it might all be a dream.

I go in the kitchen in search of something to eat. I notice Max and my parents watching me. I don’t think they’ve ever seen me smile this much because they keep giving me strange looks.

My old man narrow his eyes at me and asks, “Are you on something?”

I laugh harshly and say, “Whatever.” Figures he would think the worst of me. Why can’t he ever be happy for me? I set out to leave, but he grabs me by the shoulders and slams me against the wall, knocking the breath out of me.

“Look at me when I’m talking to you. I want to see for myself you’re not on drugs. I’ve told you before I don’t want any of that stuff in my house.” He says violently.

I open my eyes wide so he can see if my pupils are dilated or not. When he seems satisfied, I roughly shove his hand away and say, “Are you satisfied?” I turn my face away from him.

I barely hear the doorbell ring when he seizes my face to twist it around so I can meet his intent look “Fine, but if I find out that you have a stash somewhere in this house. You’ll be out on your ass. Do you understand me?” With a great amount of force he releases my face.

I rub my face and mockingly say, “Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir.”

Isabel enters the room. She looks between us and from the expression on her face, I know she senses the tension between us. Quietly she says, “Liz is here.”

Max immediately leaves the room. I bet he’s on his way to aggravate her. Then it just hit me, he could tell her about what just happened here and my past. I’m panicking I have to get in there. I don’t want him to ruin any chances I might have with her. Isabel gives me a small smile and leaves in the direction Max did.

I turn to my father and sardonically say, “Are we done?”

“For now we are,” he says fiercely.

I take a deep breath and walk into the living room. I notice Max is all over Liz, and that pisses me off. When the door swings close behind me, Liz looks up and bestows me a brilliant smile. I can’t help but return it.

***********************************************************************

I’m standing outside of Michael’s house debating if I should ring the bell or not. I think I’ve been out here for five minutes already. Michael has been on my mind all day and I just want to see him. I’m afraid I’m being too presumptuous thinking I could pop up anytime I want. What if he thinks I’m checking on him? Even worst, what if he thinks I’m stalking him? I take a deep breath and ring the bell. Here goes nothing.

Isabel answers the door and says, “Hey Liz. I didn’t expect to see you.”

My smile wavers and I say, “I’m sorry. Do you think it was a mistake for me coming here? I mean Michael didn’t invite me.”

Isabel smiles and says, “Come in. You don’t need an invitation to visit me or my brother.”

I exhale in relief and enter the house. I’m feeling nervous. I start pulling at my shirt and smoothing my jeans. I feel like I have to do something with my hands. This is crazy. Why am I so nervous?

Isabel giggles and says, “I’ll be right back. I’ll go tell Michael you’re here.” I nod in response.

I’m waiting for Isabel to come back with Michael in the living room. I start to pace trying to ease my nervous energy. I hear the doors swing close and my heart starts to flutter. I turn around expecting to see Michael, but Max is standing before me with a ridiculous grin. I try hard not to roll my eyes.

“Hi,” he says trying to sound sexy I’m guessing.

“Hi. Is Isabel coming back out soon?” I say politely. For some reason this guy rubs me the wrong way.

He saunters towards me to put his arm around my shoulders and say, “You look sexy in that outfit.” His eyes travel up and down my body. His eyes are nothing like Michael’s. When Michael looks at me the sensation my body has is incredible. I feel violated when Max looks at me. Feeling uncomfortable, I pull away from him. What’s taking them so long?

He follows me and surrounds my waist with his hands. He draws me flat against his chest and whispers in my ear, “Come with me up to my room where we can converse privately.”

Who the hell does he think he is? Some kind of playboy. What makes him think I want to go up to his room? I venture to pull away, but his grip around my waist tightens. I open my mouth to tell him the get the hell away from me, but Isabel comes into the room. She looks between us and asks, “What the hell is going on?”

I give her a tight smile still attempting to pull away from Max. I wish he would just let go. I hear the door swing open.

“She’s joining me up to my room. Right, Liz?” Max says removing his hand from my waist and places it on my shoulder.

I barely heard him because the reason why I’m here is standing in front of the doorway. I smile at him with relief because he looks as if he’s happy to see me. Then his gaze turns towards Max and the smile that lit up his face seconds ago turns to anger.

I realize that Max’s grip on me has loosened so I push him away and go to Michael. I support my hands against his face trying desperately to get him to look at me.

When he finally does, his anger dissolves and a small smile plays on his lips. “Hey,” I say. When he looks at me that way he makes my heart flutter. “No kiss?” I say boldly. I want to feel his lips against mine. I’ve been wanting that ever since our first kiss. I also want to show Max that I’m not his and never will be his.

Michael hesitates for a moment, but I reach up on my toes and he slowly meets me for a soft brief kiss. I take his hand and lead him upstairs.

“I say we go to your room and talk privately.” I say quietly, but loud enough for Max to hear.

Before we could reach the stairs Max abruptly says, “What the hell is going on here? You can’t want him. He’s a nobody, a screw up. The ……”

I feel Michael’s body become rigid. I turn to look at him and he looks as if he’s ready to kill. Before he can lunge for Max, I stand between them. I whisper to him, “Don’t.” I see that he’s debating whether to beat the crap out of Max or go upstairs. I lean up to his ear and seductively whisper, “Wouldn’t you rather take me upstairs and seduce me?”

His mouth gapes open and then it turns to a smile. He leans towards my ear and whispers, “I’d much rather be with you anytime.” He takes my hand and we head for his room.


PART 15

The next day at school, Alex and I arrive early. I quickly grab the books I’ll need for first period and rush over to meet Michael by his locker. I tap my foot anxiously waiting for him. We’re supposed to meet here so we can get his new curriculum together. I smile at that thought. Together. Maybe he’s the ‘one’ Maria is always talking about. I can honestly say I feel comfortable with him, maybe I can even open up to him.

Maria rushes over to me and says, “Here you are. I’ve been waiting for you by our lockers. Why are you here?”

I look past her shoulder not paying attention to her anymore, because I can see Michael approaching us. He opens his locker and drops off some things. With a half smile he says, “Sorry I’m late.”

Maria pushes past me and presses herself against the locker next to him. She gives him a sexy smile and places a hand on his arm. I wince at the contact. I don’t like the fact that some other female is touching him, even if it is my best friend. “You must have been pretty busy last night because I kept calling you, but Isabel would say you were busy,” Maria says softly while still touching him. This feeling of insecurity starts to wash over me. I drop my eyes to the floor and shift my weight from one foot to the other. I don’t want to see this. Maria is never going to give up.

“I had company and I didn’t want to be disturbed,” he says.

I try to hide my embarrassment. We had started out studying, but then we ended up in a heavy make out session. I have to smile at the memory.

“I have to go,” he says taking my hand and leading me to Mr. Pierce’s office. I can see the look of shock on Maria’s face, before we leave.

The day goes by fast because I’m ecstatic that Michael has ended up being in most of my classes. Just thinking about the possibilities excites me. I can just see it, study sessions that last all hours of the night that end up with us groping each other. Just thinking about it is making me dizzy with desire. I have to stop this or the next time I see Michael I might have to jump his bones.

I see an impatient looking Maria waiting by my locker. Well there goes my mood. I already know what’s about to happen. I straighten my shoulders and prepare myself for the volcano that’s about to erupt before I walk over to her.

“Hey,” I say sounding causal.

“What the hell is going on with you and Michael?!” Leave it to Maria, always going for the direct approach.

“What’s the problem?” I ask innocently. I know I shouldn’t be pushing Maria like this, but I just can’t help it.

She shoves me so I’m facing her and says, “You know damn well what I’m talking about. You were all over him all day. What’s that about?”

The shove itself pisses me off. I glare at her and sternly say, “What the hell do you think you're doing? Don’t ever push me like that, understand?”

“You think you’re the shit now because you stole my man. Let me tell you that you’re not, you’re just a slut.” She crosses her arms and gives me a fierce look.

I laugh at her and say, “I’m the slut, I’m not the one caught under the bleachers making out with some guy. I’m not…..”

Maria interrupts me to say, “Don’t even go there. I thought you were my friend. You knew I liked him.”

“Maria, I’m sorry, but I like him. Why can’t you be a friend and be happy for me? I care about him and he makes me happy,” I say trying my best to keep from fighting. I don’t want to lose our friendship.

“So, you and him are going out now?” she says while laughing. “I’ll admit I was pissed at first, but when I think about it I’m not worried. It’s not going to last. You’ll find some way to screw it up. You always do. Like you said yourself, you don’t believe in love.” She gives me a callous stare. She continues by saying, “When he finally learns who you are, you’ll lose him. But don’t worry, I’ll be there to mend his broken heart.” With that, she stomps off.

I huff and turn towards my locker to grab the books I need. I try not to think about what Maria said. I don’t want to be like that, but I have the tendency to push people away, especially when I know my heart will be involved. He doesn’t deserve that. He’s worrying about him not deserving me, when actuality I may not deserve him. I'm deep in thought when I feel someone’s arms wrap around my waist.

************************************************************************

I silently come up behind her and wrap my arms around her waist. I love the feel of her in my arms. I hear her sigh and she leans into me.

“Do you do that to everyone who hugs you?” I ask teasingly.

She slowly turns around and reaches up to give me a soft kiss. She smiles at me and says, “We may have just started going out, but I know your arms anywhere.”

I stare deep into her eyes and smile. “How do you do that?”

She looks confused and asks, “Do what?”

I lower my lips to hers and lightly brush hers. I smile and say, “Make me feel special.”

She shakes her head and says, “You’ve got it all wrong. You’re the one that makes me feel special.” She looks sad.

“What’s wrong?" I ask her softly as I place a strand of her hair behind her ear.

She smiles and says, “Do you want to walk me home? I don’t live too far from here.”

I take her backpack and she smiles at me.

“We can walk anywhere you want,” I say taking her hand and leading her out of school.

We walk for a couple of minutes before Liz stops. “Are you sure this is what you want?” she asks while she points her finger between us.

I chuckle. I can’t believe she thinks I don’t want this, want us. The seriousness on her face stops me from laughing. “What brought this up?” I ask. I’m curious to know what would give her that idea.

She shrugs her shoulders and continues walking. This time I stop her and say, “Liz, talk to me.”

She exhales slowly and says, “I just wanted to make sure, that’s all.”

We walk in silence until we finally arrive at her house. When we step into the kitchen, we see Alex eating a sandwich.

“Where have you been? I waited for you by your locker and you never showed up.” Alex asks Liz.

“I wanted to walk home. I guess I should have told you, sorry,” she says in response.

“Are you okay?” Alex asks with concern etched on his face.

I watch for an expression from Liz. I know something’s wrong too, but she isn’t talking.

“Nothing. Are you ready to study, Michael?” She says. I nod.

She leads me up to her room. Once we enter it, she flops down on the bed. I stay standing in the doorway. She rolls on her side with her head propped on her hand and says, “Are you going to stand there all night?”

I look around for a place to sit. I go for the chair by her desk. I’m tempted to sit with her on the bed, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself around her. I want to take things slow with her, but the way she comes on to me, I’m not sure how much longer I can last.

“I won’t bite,” she says smiling while she pats at the space next to her on her bed.

Trying to avoid close contact with her I ask, “Liz, tell me what’s wrong.” I know something is bothering her because her face doesn’t light up when she smiles. She’s holding something back. I can feel it.

She sighs and rolls on her stomach. “I thought I was persistent. It’s nothing really. Maria and me had an argument.” She softly chuckles and continues with, “She thinks I stole you away from her.” She turns around so she’s facing me and says, “Besides my brother she’s the only friend I ever truly had. It upsets me because she’s supposed to be my best friend and she’s willing to throw it away. She also said some things to remind me who I really am.”

I take a seat on her bed. She rests her head in my lap and I start stroking her hair soothingly. “Is that why you asked if I was sure about us?”

I hear her exhale slowly and she says, “I’m terrified that she might be right. Honestly, I’ve never been in a relationship before. Not a real one, anyway. I’ve never met anyone who I’m willing to open myself up to.” She sits up so she can look intently in my eyes and continues to say, “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m not an outgoing person. I prefer to be alone, I don’t handle others well. I don’t like talking about my feelings or myself. It never really mattered because nobody ever cared before.”

I cup her face in my hands and say, “I care and we can be two loners together. Don’t worry about it. Let’s take Isabel’s advice and see where this takes us. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but why don’t we just let our hearts lead the way.”

She tilts her face up to award me with a tender kiss. “My grandmother always use to tell me that. I never listened to her before. I was afraid to, I still am. I guess I’m willing to trust my heart this time. Why not? It feels like I can trust you.” Her face turns stern and she lightly pokes my chest. “But if you hurt me, you’re a dead man. You got it?”

“I got it,” I say feigning fear.

She giggles and lies back down on my lap. Her voice becomes serious again and says, “I promise to try my best not to hurt you.”

“I know you will, I’m not worried about that,” I say with confidence I didn’t know I had, especially with my heart. I’ve never entrusted my heart to anyone, but I’m willing to with her.

“Now that’s done. What do you want to do now?” She gives me a seductive smile as she sits up to move closer to me.

“We can always study.” I pretend to act naïve.

Liz giggles. She scoots up to her headboard and says, “Or we can make out. I prefer the latter. What about you?” She pats the bed giving me a sultry look.

I feel like I’m going to melt at any moment. A knock at the door and Alex’s voice helps bring the temperature down between us. Alex opens the door and says, “Don’t forget, Lizzie, Mom and Dad will be home tomorrow.”

Liz rolls her eyes and says, “Great. I can’t wait.” Alex closes the door and Liz gets up and grabs her backpack. “Come on, let’s get started on our homework.”

I wonder why that changed her mood. One minute she’s trying to seduce me, the next she looks disgusted. I guess I’m not the only one who doesn’t get along with their parents.

PART 16

I sit up panting hard. I wipe the sweat off my forehead. They’re starting again. Why are they starting again? I haven’t had a nightmare like that ever since I moved here to Roswell. I get out of bed and head toward the bathroom so I can splash some cold water on my face. I dry myself off and when I’m about to get in bed, I hear a light tapping. I don’t know where it’s coming from at first. Then I realize it’s coming from the outside door. I don’t know who it could be, because nobody knows about that door. I open it and smile.

“Hey,” Liz whispers.

“Hey,” I say opening the door wider so she can come in.

“Did I wake you?” She looks at me.

“No, I couldn’t sleep.” I’m glad that it’s dark in here so she can’t see that I’m lying to her.

She smiles at me and says, “Then what took you so long to answer the door?”

I point in the direction of the bathroom and say, “I didn’t hear you knocking at first.”

She laughs “Oh.”

She seems like she’s uncomfortable or maybe she’s tense. Then it dawns on me what she is doing here at this hour. Something must be wrong.

I take her hand and lead her to my bed. She follows willingly and leans against me once we’re seated on the bed.

I wrap my arm around her and ask, “What’s wrong?” I feel a small tremor go through her. I squeeze her tighter to me.

“I had a bad dream. I didn’t want to be alone,” she says in a small voice.

I lie flat on my back and bring her along with me. “Do you want to talk about it?” I feel her head shake against my chest.

“Just hold me.” She wraps her arms around me. Funny, she comes to me for comforting, but she doesn’t know she’s comforting me.

***********************************************************************

I let Michael cloak me in his arms. I feel safe and warm here. I don’t want to talk about my dream. I can’t remember it even if I did, but know it was about him. The only things I can recall is I was hurting emotionally and Michael had to choose between me and something else. What I can’t recollect, but I know it wasn’t good. I just hope I’m being paranoid. It doesn’t help that my parents have been back for two weeks now and I’m eager for them to leave again.

I can’t wait until I graduate from high school so I can leave all this crap behind me. I don’t want to think about this anymore. Especially since there are things that are more important I can think of. I slide my body up Michael’s and whisper, “If you can’t sleep and I can’t sleep, how about we make each other tired?”

“How do you suppose we do that?” he asks with a half smile.

“Oh, I don’t maybe a little bit of this.” I trail small kisses up and down his neck. “And a little bit of this.” I nip and suck on his neck and trace my tongue to his ear. “Don’t forget about this.” I lightly blow in his ear and nibble on his lobe. “And a lot of this.” I leave wet kisses around his jaw until I reach his lips where I outline it with my tongue until I hear him moan and that’s when I invade his mouth. Softly caressing his tongue with mine. I pull away slightly so that only our tongues are still touching and I roll my tongue around his.

I twist my body so I’m lying on top of him without breaking our kiss. I subtly rock my body against his. One of his hands is fondling my back and the other one is in my hair. I lean my head back and revel in the feel of his hands. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until now. He seizes my neck in his mouth and gently bites it. He trails his lips down to my shoulders and scrapes his teeth lightly across my skin. I moan again louder this time. He meets my mouth for another kiss that drowns out my groans.

In between kisses, he whispers, “Shh, you don’t want to wake my dad.”

I try to stay quiet, but with every caress, every feel he’s driving me wild. I pull at his shirt in attempts to take it off. I want to feel his skin under my fingers. I want to feel his skin against mine. At first, he resists so I glide down his body staying as close to him as possible. I feel his hands urging me to stop or maybe just slow down, but I don’t want to. Not tonight, tonight I want more.

************************************************************************

She is driving me crazy. It’s taking all my control, not to flip her over and start to undress her. She pulls at my shirt trying to remove it. I know if my body feels hers this close I might lose it. She slides down my body and plants small kisses on my stomach. She stops at my belly button and rolls her tongue around it, every so often dipping into it. It feels erotic the way she does it. I throw my head back and bite my lip to stop from moaning. My mind is fuzzy with passion as she slowly ascends my chest. She stops at my nipples and gently flicks them with her tongue. It takes every ounce of self-control to not take her right now. My body aches for her.

She gently bites my nipple and drags her tongue across my skin until she reaches my neck. I don’t remember losing my shirt. She lifts up off me and I immediately miss the warmth of her body against mine. In one swift movement, she takes her shirt off. Seeing her bare chest, I gasp. She is more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. She leans toward me and I meet her halfway and assault her mouth with mine. I nibble lightly on her bottom lip. I stroke her back, wanting to feel her soft skin.

I trail wet kisses down her neck stopping to nibble and suck. I can hear her moan, but I forgot where I am. All I know is who I’m with and that’s the only thing that matters. I slowly travel up her stomach with my hands until they come to rest on her breasts. I knead them and roll her perfect buds between my fingers, eliciting a moan from her. She captures my mouth and plunges her tongue deep in my mouth. I feel her hands fumbling with the string of my sweatpants and that’s when my senses slowly come back to me. That’s also when I finally hear someone banging on my door.

I try to calm my breathing down and say, “Who is it?”

“Open this goddamn door,” my father yells from the other side.

I look to Liz and see panic in her eyes. I gently lift her off of me and hand her her shirt. I wait for her to get dressed and for my body to cool off. I point to the bathroom and she quietly goes in. I rearrange my pants so no evidence is showing before I open the door for my dad.

He glares at me and starts to look around my room. When he doesn’t see anything he says, “What the hell took you so long to answer the door and why is it locked?”

“I was a sleep. It is 1 o’clock in the morning. It’s my door. I can lock it when I want,” I answer sarcastically.

“What are you hiding and what was all that noise I heard coming from here?” He looks at me angrily.

“I didn’t hear anything,” I tell him meeting his glare.

He narrows his eyes at me and says, “Get to bed and I don’t want to hear a peep out of this room. You got that?”

“Whatever.” I close and lock the door after he turns to leave. I take a deep breath.

Liz comes out of the bathroom and says, “I’m sorry for getting you in trouble.”

Turn to her and say, “Don’t worry about it. He acts like that all the time.”

She comes up and hugs me tight. “Maybe I should go.” She looks up at me with a look that says she really doesn’t want to leave.

I smile at her and lean down to gently kiss her. “Stay. Just be good, Okay?”

She softly giggles and says, “I promise. I don’t want a repeat of what just happened.”

“Neither do I,” I say glancing at the door. I lead Liz over to my bed and we stretch out on the bed. We just hold hands for a while, and then I pull her to me so she can rest her hand on my chest. We fall asleep in that position.

PART 17

School is the last thing on my mind these days. I haven’t been sleeping and I know my appearance is a wreck. I’ve been avoiding Liz because I know she’ll worry and start asking questions. I smile at the thought that someone would actually worry about me.

I’m staring up at the ceiling, trying to figure out what is triggering my nightmares. They’d stopped when we moved to Roswell, so I don’t understand why they’re starting again. I wonder if it’s because it’s been a year since his death or is it because she is here in town. Why did she have to enter my life again? If Liz finds out I’ll……

A light tapping at my door disrupts my thoughts. “Go away,” I yell to the person on the other side of the door. The knocking grows louder and more persistent. I try to ignore it; maybe they’ll get the hint. When the knocking doesn’t halt, I stomp to the door yelling, “What the hell do you want?” I swing the door open and take in an angry Liz standing in the doorway.

Liz gives me a quizzical look. I smirk and ask, “What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be in school?” I walk away. I don’t want her to view me like this and I definitely don’t want her to be around me when I’m in this frame of mind.

I wish with everything in me that I could tell her about my life. I want her to know me but I’m too terrified she’ll leave me. Now that she is here, my fears are suffocating me. Isabel thinks Liz has the right to know about her. After all, she is attending our school now. Isabel is right. I know in my heart if Liz finds out from someone other than me my life will be over, because she won’t be in it.

“Well it’s nice to see you too.” I can hear the anger and hurt lace in her voice.

I hear her backpack drop to the floor and she stomps toward me. I grin at her actions. She’s sexy when she’s mad, but she can also be a handful. I normally love teasing her when she’s like this, but today I’m just not in the mood.

When I don’t hear any movement or sound coming from her, I glance over my shoulder and she’s giving me that same questioning look I've seen before. I face her and pat my bed for her to sit down with me. She hesitates for a few seconds before she seats herself besides me.

“When did you start cutting classes?” I ask playfully poking her side trying to lighten the mood, trying to improve my disposition.

“I’m not, it's lunchtime and you know I have a free period afterwards. I just wanted to come by and see how you’re doing. I also have your homework assignments.” She points to her backpack. “If you want I can come by after school, but if you just want to be alone, I’ll understand.” She stands up and slowly advances to the door. I think she’s waiting for me to stop her. I don’t want her to leave. For the length of time I’ve known her, she means the world to me. She always makes me feel at peace. With her help, I’m beginning to like the person I’ve become.

She stops suddenly and quietly says, “If you don’t want to be with me just tell me.”

Her words are piercing my heart. How can she think that? I love being around her, she keeps me smiling and laughing. She makes me feel special and wanted, how can she doubt that? Not that I blame her, this past week I have been distant. My best friend haunts me in my dreams. How can I be happy when Nick can never be? The guilt I feel for my best friend and my girlfriend is overpowering. I’ll be sure to make it my first priority to tell Liz about her.

I dart to her and put my arms around her. “Baby, how can you think that?” I ask. My grip tightens around her for fear of her slipping away. I can’t lose her, not when I just found her.

“For the past few days you’ve been distant. If you’re tired of me just tell me.” I carefully turn her around so she’s facing me. Her eyes are glistening with unshed tears. She averts her eyes and again my heart tightens. This is your fault, Evans. I’m always screwing things up.

“Look at me, please.” When she meets my gaze I say, “Don’t ever think I don’t want you. You’re the best thing that’s ever happen to me. I don’t want to lose that or you. I just have a lot on my mind.”

A tear slides down her cheek. She looks down and says, “Then why are you pushing me away?” Her voice gives away all her hurt and vulnerability.

I wrap my arms around her and squeeze her tight. I never noticed how insecure she was before. I wish I could dissolve her insecurities away. I stroke her hair until she calms down.

“I’m not pushing you away.” I cautiously walk back pulling her along with me until I feel the edge of my bed at the back of my knees and sit down settling her on my lap. “I’ve been having nightmares, so I haven’t been sleeping at night. I tend to be grouchy with lack of sleep. I don’t want to take it out on you, you don’t deserve that.” She caresses my cheek. I close my eyes reveling in the feel of her touch. I feel her thumb trace under my eyes. I open my eyes and watch how her eyebrows knit together with concern.

“What are they about?” she asks with concern.

I stand up and gently place her back on the floor. I snatch up her backpack and carry it over to the bed. I dump the books out, picking each one up.

“Are you going to come by after school to help me sort through this stuff?” I say pointing to the pile of books on my bed.

She chuckles and softly sings, “Whenever you need me I’ll be there.”

I smile and say, “You better go I don’t want you to be late for class because of me.”

She nods and gives me a quick peck on the lips. “I’ll see you later. Okay?”

“I better,” I say as tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She quickly kisses me before she dashes off to class.

************************************************************************

I arrive at school just in time for my next class. Good thing I brought my books with me. I rush to my class just as the late bell rings. I can’t wait for this day to be over.

I hustle to my locker when the last bell rings. I’m elated because this is my opportunity to see Michael again. I have to find out what’s bothering him. Each day that passes, I feel him slipping away. I’m starting to think it’s because of me. He doesn’t call me as much as he used to. When I visit him, it’s like he’s somewhere else. I wish he would talk to me.

As I draw near to my locker, I see Maria talking to that new girl. I frown. Even though I don’t know her I don’t like her. There are rumors circulating that the new girl has her sights set on Michael. The idea of Maria and her becoming friends doesn’t sit well with me. We aren’t as close as we were before, but we did restore some of our friendship. It took two weeks of Maria not talking to me and me finally swallowing my pride and apologizing to her. I don’t think she fully forgives me, but it’s a start.

The two of them are deep in conversation when I reach my locker. They’re whispering amongst themselves. I try to tune in at least some of the words, because I’m curious to know what they would have to discuss. What can be so secretive?

When I can’t hear a word of what they are saying I decide to make my presence known and say, “Hey Maria.”

She jumps and turns towards me. “Hey Liz. How’s it going? I missed you in lunch today.”

She looks startled. Or is it guilty? I think it's guilt because she resembles a child with their hand caught in the cookie jar. “What’s going on?” I ask sounding blasé. I don’t want to seem nosy, but them being together bothers me

Out of the corner of my eye, I see her look over to the new girl. She smiles at her. Maria says, “Have you met each other yet?”

I turn towards them and look at the girl. I shake my head and say, “I don’t believe we have.”

Maria smiles and says, “Liz, this is Tess Harding. Tess, this is Liz Parker.”

Tess extends her hand and I take it. “Nice to meet you, Liz,” she says. I plaster a fake smile on. This girl is giving off bad vibes. Her smile seems bogus and she looks like she’s up to no good. Then it dawns on me, she wants Michael. Of course, that’s why she’s acting phony towards me. In her eyes, I’m the obstacle to her desire.

I close my locker and say, “I hope you like Roswell so far. I would love to stay and chat, but my boyfriend is expecting me. Maybe we could talk some other time.”

Tess smiles and says, “I would really like that.” I turn away to leave, but before I’m too far Tess yells, “Oh, could you please tell Michael that I would really like to see him again and for him to give me a call?”

I spin around not believing what I heard. Before I can say anything, she and Maria are gone. What could she mean by that? When did Michael see her? That’s why he’s pulling away from me; it’s all making sense.

I don’t know how long I’ve been standing in the middle of the hallway. Everything I believed in is crumbling right in front of me. I rush home instead of going to Michael’s. I don’t want to see him, not when my heart feels like it’s breaking. My parents are arguing in the living room as usual and I rush past them without a word. I slam the door to my room and look at myself in my full-length mirror not fond of what I see. I’m way too skinny, have no cleavage. I turn sideways to see my profile to show myself I have no ass. No wonder he’d choose her over me. She has everything I don’t, blond hair, big boobs and probably a round ass.

I pace my room and the more I do the angrier I become. I walk to my dresser and look at the sketch Michael drew of me. I was so amazed by it I had it framed. I kept it on my dresser where it was visible from all angles of my room. I pick it up and throw it at the mirror. I continue to pace, urging the tears not to fall.

My body starts to feel weak so I sit on my bed and place my head in my hands. Alex barges in asking, “What happened? What was all that noise?”

I look up at him and he’s looking at the mirror with shock on his face. He looks back at me and asks, “Are you okay?” I still don’t respond. I’m afraid if I open my mouth to speak the tears I’m desperately trying to hold in will fall. He points to the mirror and asks, “What happened?”

I just shrug my shoulders.

He leaves. I curl up into the fetal position. I’m not going to cry. This was bound to happen. It was stupid of me to think he actually cares about me, to actually follow my heart.

I hear the door open. I don’t bother to see who it is, I already know. I hear Alex sweep up the glass. I hear him approach and the bed’s protest as he lies next to me. He reaches over and places the drawing in front of me. The glass is cracked making the picture seem distorted. I chuckle. It looks more like me now. He snatches the picture back and I roll over to face him.

“This has something to do with Michael doesn’t it?” he asks keeping his eyes on the picture.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I say nearly yelling at him.

“He places my sketch on the night table. He rolls to his side facing me and says, “I thought you said you were going to Michael’s after school?”

I slide up into a sitting position and say, “I told you I don’t want to talk about it.”

He furrows his eyebrows and says, “What did he do?”

I bring my knees up to my chest to hug them. “He’s cheating on me,” I choke out.

He pulls me to him in a hug and says, “Michael adores you. What makes you think he’d do something like that?”

I exhale noisily and lean into my brother. I feel like I don’t have anyone. What am I going to do when he leaves? I’ll be utterly alone.

“Don’t you trust him?” he says as he tightens his hold on me.

I scoff and say, “Trust. It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t talk about themselves, who doesn’t talk to me.”

I bury my face in his chest and say, “He’s been pulling away from me and by coincidence it started happening when she arrived in town. Then she told me today to tell Michael that she can’t wait to see him again and to call her. Why would she say that?”

“You have to ask him that. He’s the only one who can answer those questions,” he says soothingly.

I take a deep breath to keep from crying and say, “I wish it were that simple. He doesn’t tell me anything. Why doesn’t he confide in me about anything?”

Alex lifts my chin up and says, “Do you?”

That’s when the tears fall. I can’t hold them back any longer. I’ve never hurt this much, I’ve never allowed myself to hurt like this. Why did he do this to me? I try to calm down, but I can’t. Alex holds me and says, “I guess you have. I really liked the closeness between the two of you, because he seems to make you happy. I still think you should talk to him when you calm down.”

“I can’t,” I say in between sobbing.

“Oh Lizzie, the only thing I can tell you is to have faith in him. It may not be what it seems,” he whispers to me.

I lay my head in his lap. I can’t believe how pathetic I’ve become. I told myself not to cry. Why am I crying? “I don’t care. He can have her if that's what he wants,” I say hoarsely.

Alex strokes my back and says, “I know you don’t mean that. Talk to him.”

I close my eyes trying to block out my heartache. Maybe this is all just a bad dream. The pain I’m feeling is all just part of a nightmare. I can deny it all I want, but I know I want Michael. I don’t know what I’ll do if he doesn’t want me. I guess I’ll have to live my life like before. Now knowing there is no such thing as love. I don’t even know why I even thought someone would actually love me. I cry myself to sleep on Alex’s lap.

PART 18

I glance at the clock wondering where Liz is. She said she was coming after school, but it’s already ten o’clock and there’s no sign of her. Not even a phone call. I finally decide to call her again for the twentieth time. I pick up the phone hoping somebody will answer this time. I’m starting to worry something might have happened to her. The phone rings several times before someone finally picks up.

“Hello,” the person whispers.

“Hi. May I speak with Liz, please?” I say.

“Michael, is that you? This is Alex,” he says quietly.

“Alex? Hey, how’s it going?”

“Not to good. Listen, Liz wasn’t feeling good. She’s sleeping right now. That’s why I’m whispering,” he says

“Is she okay? Should I come over?” I ask with concern.

“No. This is not a good time.” There’s a pause and he continues to say, “You should have taken Isabel’s advice. I’m hoping it’s a misunderstanding on Liz’s part, but if it’s not...” Another pause. “You better clear it up as soon as possible,” he says with a sternness I’ve never heard from him before.

I can’t believe what I’m hearing. He can’t be talking about Tess, please God, don’t let it be about Tess. “What are you talking about?” I ask trying not to sound worried.

Alex sighs and says, “You know damn well what I’m talking about. Isabel told me about most of it.”

No wonder Liz isn’t here. What happened? Did Tess say something to her? My heart drops. I can’t lose her. I should have told Liz about Tess when she first arrived. I should have told her Tess came by my house that first day she arrived in town.

“Tell her to call me tomorrow. That’s it’s urgent that I speak with her,” I say desperate now.

“I’ll try, but …” I hear him sigh and whisper something to someone. Then there’s a new voice on the phone.

“Just leave me alone, Michael. I don’t want to have anything to do with you. You’ve made your choice,” Liz yells over the phone.

“No, Liz, listen to me. It’s not what you think. I don’t know what she told you, but can’t you just let me explain?” I plead to her.

“It’s too late. You had all the time to explain, but you chose to push me away.” I hear the sadness in her voice.

“I’m coming over,” I say with force. Before she can object, I hang up the phone.

I knock on Isabel's door and ask to borrow her car. She gives me the keys and I leave out my side door. I arrive at Liz’s in record time.

I knock on her door and her father answers it. He gives me the once over before he asks, “Can I help you?”

I smile and say, “I’m sorry to come at such a late hour, but it’s urgent that I speak with Alex. Would that be alright with you?”

He moves aside and makes a gesture for me to come in. He says, “He upstairs in his room.”

I thank him and rush up the stairs. I open the door to Liz’s room and the first thing I notice is the broken mirror. I look to Alex first and he says, “She’s okay. I mean from the effects of the mirror.” He gives Liz a sideway glance before he leaves and closes the door behind him.

I see Liz lying on the bed facing away from me. I lie next to her and spoon her. She stays in that position for a couple of seconds before she jumps off the bed.

“You shouldn’t have come. I don’t want to talk to you. There's nothing to say.” My heart slowly rips apart with each rejection.

I sigh and say, “I just need you to trust me, Liz. I'm begging you just to trust me. I would never do anything to …..”

She interrupts me to say, “Trust you. How am I supposed to trust you? Please explain that to me.”

I run my fingers through my hair and say, “Haven’t you trusted me?”

She chuckles softly and say, “I did even when you dodged all my question, pushed me away and separated me from everything in your life. Now it’s different because there’s someone else in the picture. Someone who is making it a point of getting you into their life. Someone who arrives around the same time you start pulling away from me. What am I supposed to think? That your nightmares won’t let you sleep, so you tend to be grouchy.”

“Why didn’t you come and talk to me first?” I ask.

She rushes at me and says, “Why? So you can tell me it’s nothing? That it’s not what it seems? That you care about me? What are the other lines you use to avoid a question of mine?”

I bow my head. She’s right I’ve been hiding from her and now everything is backfiring on me. I scratch my eyebrow and say, “What do you want to know?”

She looks at me and sits next to me on her bed. I continue to keep my head down.

“I’ll start with an easy question. What does the G stand for in your initials?” she asks quietly.

“Guerin,” I reply. I look up at her and she looks expectantly for more. I continue to say, “It’s my mother’s maiden name. My father named me after her." Now she looks confused. “I’m only a half sibling to Isabel and Max. I guess that’s the main reason why I’m the outcast of the family.”

“Why haven’t you told me this before?” she asks with concern.

“Why? So you can feel sorry for me?” I stand up.

“Alex is only my half brother,” she says.

I turn around and look at her. I squint my eyes at her and say, “Don’t lie to me.”

She gives me a half smile and says, “I’m not. The man downstairs was in an accident where he wasn’t able to produce children anymore. My mom desperately wanted a daughter, but she wanted her with the same genes as her husband. So she slept with her husband’s brother. That’s how I was conceived. My real dad died in a car accident with my grandmother, which was the same day I found all this out.”

I don’t have a response to that. I wouldn’t have thought Liz’s family was as dysfunctional as mine. I stare out her window and say, “My dad had an affair with his intern who in turn became pregnant with me. He almost lost his family, but he blames me for it. My mom died giving birth to me. So my stepmom took me in after she and my dad made amends.”

“What are your nightmares about?” she asks me next.

I sigh and say, “My best friend died three months before we moved here. Ever since that night, I’ve been having dreams where he haunts me saying it was my fault. That I should have been the one killed not him.” I take a deep breath and continue, “They stopped when I got here, but they started up again recently. I don’t know if it’s because it almost been a year since it happened or if it’s from seeing Tess again.” I stop, realizing I mentioned Tess's name. I continue to say, “I also think it might have something to do with guilt. When I’m with you I’m happy. My friend can never be happy like that again.”

“You shouldn’t think of it that way. I blamed myself for my grandmother’s death even though I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I know she's happy wherever she is. It’s just your guilt talking through your dreams. If you meant anything to your friend, he’d be happy for you,” she tells me

“Maybe, but he was happy before he died,” I say sadly. “He had a girlfriend who he fell in love with. This was when I didn’t believe in love. I would always tell him he’s foolish.” I brace myself against the window, all my memories flashing before me. “He told me I just hadn’t found the right one yet. He was about to tell me how Ava made him feel, but he never had the chance."

“Where does Tess fit into all this?” she asks.

I chuckle and say, “You want me to share everything with you tonight don’t you?”

She huffs and says, “If you want me to trust you, then yeah.”

I walk over to her bed and sit next to her. I turn her towards me so we are facing each other. I reach my head up to remove a stray piece of hair from her face, but she stops me.

“Don’t,” she says.

I place my hands in my lap and say, “Tess was my ex-girlfriend, my first girlfriend. I was overjoyed when she wanted to go out with me. Nobody ever wanted me, so I tried to do everything in my power to make her happy and for her to stay with me. She was expensive and since I don’t have in with the old man, I had to make my own money. I was fourteen at the time and my father wasn’t about to let his son work in a fast food restaurant. So I had to find ways to make money.” I pause. I don’t want to tell her how I made money. “She always had this strange pull over me. I could never say no to her. I'm not sure if it's only because she was the first person to pay attention to me.”

“Do you still feel that same pull to her?” she asks me quietly, not looking at me.

I rub my face and say, “A little, but ….”

“So you’ve seen her alone after she arrived here?” she says cutting me off.

“Yeah, but ……”

“Were you ever going to tell me?” she says as her voice starts to rise.

“I was going to tell you tonight,” I say trying to keep my voice steady. I don’t like the way this is turning out.

She shakes her head and says, “You weren’t going to tell me. Maybe you thought about it, but you weren’t going to. How do I know your not hiding anything else from me?”

I reach for her hand and she moves out of range. I close my eyes and say, “Liz, I’m telling you everything.”

She gets up and distances herself from me. She stares at me and says, “This pull thing, how do you know you’re still experiencing it?”

I run my fingers through my hair and before I can say anything Liz states, “Because you kissed her. If it weren’t true, you would have objected already. Get out, Michael. I don’t want you anywhere near me.”

I stand up and approach her, but she backs away. “Liz, I don’t want her. I want you.” I keep walking forward until there’s nowhere else for her to back up to. “I want you,” I repeat getting closer.

She starts pushing me on my chest. The pushing turns to pounding. I wrap my arms around her until she calms down. We slide to the floor where we cry. I don’t want to lose her. I whisper to her, “Tess is my past, you’re my future. I wouldn’t know what I would do with myself if you weren’t in my life. That’s what scares me the most. You not being in my life.”

She sits up and wipes her eyes. She looks me in my eyes and says, “I can’t do this, Michael. If you meant that, you wouldn’t have kissed her. There’s a reason why she has this pull over you and until you figure that out I can’t be with you.”

“Don’t say that. I can control it. I know what I want,” I respond.

“Then why did you kiss her?” she asks.

“I.. I don’t know,” I stutter.

“Because you don’t have it under control. I’m not going to let you walk all over my heart while you try to find out who or what you want. So until that day comes, it’s over.” She gets up and opens her door. “Can you please leave now?” She doesn’t even look at me. I walk slowly over to the door and gaze at her. I open my mouth to say something, but she says, “Leave.”

I walk out of her room and out of her house. I speed home feeling lost in my heart. When I get home, Isabel is waiting in my room. She looks at me with a concern. I’m glad she doesn’t say anything. I tell her to leave me alone and she hesitantly does. I stand in the middle of my room breathing heavy. Angry at me, angry at Tess, angry at the world. I observe myself in the mirror, hating the person looking back at me. That’s when I crack. I shove everything off my dresser to the floor. I throw my books at the mirror. Once my room is demolished, all my energy is drained. I collapse on my bed and cry myself to sleep.


PART 19

Today I’m not up to going to school. After that night I kicked Michael out of my house, I haven’t been able to sleep. All I’ve been doing was crying or exercising. I climb back into my window and glance at the clock to see it’s 5 am. Time to get ready for school. I head for the shower. I’ve been jogging on nights that I can’t get to sleep or just feeling sorry for myself. Jogging and/or singing have always been a way for me to forget my problems. I turn off the water and get dressed. I go downstairs to the kitchen and try to eat breakfast. Another thing I haven’t been able to do was eat.

I’m playing with my food when Alex comes downstairs. “Did you make any for me?” I push my plate to him and stand up. “You’ve got to eat, Lizzie.” I shake my head in response.

“What happened, Lizzie? Why don’t you talk to me?” I shake my head. I’m not ready to say, Michael and I are no longer a couple, because I don’t want to think about it. I lift my head up and close my eyes willing myself not to cry. You can do this. Just drown out all your emotions. You’ve done it before so it’s not hard. “Please, Lizzie. Maybe if you talk about it, it won’t hurt as much.” I don’t say anything. I can’t talk about it, not yet. That wound is still fresh. Alex walks up behind me and turns me around to hug me. I feel my body begin to tremor so I push away from him. I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself. “I’m fine.” I hear him sigh. “Why don’t you stay home? You don’t have to go to school.” I shrug my shoulders and say, “I’ll have to go eventually, so I might as well get it over with now. There’s a knock at the door and my heart sinks. That can’t be him. I can’t see him, not yet, not this soon. Alex walks to the door and answers it. I let out my breath in relief when I see Isabel at the door. They greet each other with a kiss and I turn away.

“Hey.” Isabel says when she enters the kitchen followed by Alex. I smile at her the best I can and she gives me a sympathetic look.

“Is Michael going to school today?” Alex asks Isabel. I had to turn to look at him, because there’s a hint of bitterness in his voice. Isabel must have heard it too, because she’s almost hesitated to answer. “He is. Daddy wouldn’t let him stay home another day. Since he …. Since he doesn’t appear to be sick anymore.” I know Isabel and I know she’s hiding something, so I reply, “What his girlfriend came over?”

Isabel cast her eyes downward and says, “Daddy is just mad at him, right now.” I laugh bitterly and say, “But you still didn’t answer my question. Did he have a guest over or not?” I know she’s lying for him because the way she don’t answer my question. “Forget it. I’m walking.” I say harshly. I leave slamming the door behind me.

************************************************************************

I try to stay home, but my old man wouldn’t let me. He thinks if I’m able to disappear with out a trace and have friends come over, I’m healthy enough to go to school. In a way, I do want to go, because then I’m able to see Liz. I’ve tried to call her all day yesterday, but she wouldn’t take my calls. I could also tell Alex was getting pissed at me, so I stopped calling her and went to her house, but she wasn’t there. So, I just stood outside her window for a while hoping she’d be home soon, hoping she’d take me back. I headed back home depressed. An unwelcome Tess was waiting for me. I couldn’t believe she had the nerve to show up, when she the one who caused me to lose Liz, the person that made me feel whole. I had kicked Tess out, upon seeing her. I didn’t want her near me; I didn’t want her to think I wanted anything to do with her. Isabel hadn’t liked the way I handled the situation, but I didn’t care.

I notice Isabel is already gone. I’m guessing she’s meeting up with Alex. I wish she had told me. Now I have to ride with Max. I’m waiting for Max to get his face out of the mirror. When he finally approves he heads for the door and I follow behind him. He unlocks the door and say, “I would have never guessed you’d swallow your pride to ride with me.”

“It was either that or walk. I rather torture myself than walk.” I said briskly. We both get in the car and the drive is silent.

I look out the window hoping Liz will talk to me. I don’t think I can take it if she doesn’t. How am I going to prove to her I want her and not Tess? I just have to get her alone then maybe I’ll be able to convince her.

“Has Liz put out yet?” Max asks bringing me out of my thoughts. I look over at him hoping I didn’t hear what I thought I did. “Excuse me?” Max’s voices rising repeats “Has Liz put out yet? She looks like she could be an animal in bed.”

“Shut the hell up.” I scowl. Max laughs and says, “I guess she hasn’t. If it were me, bro, she would have given it up a long time ago.”

“Didn’t I tell you to shut the fuck up? What part of that didn’t you understand?” I growl.

“Don’t get all worked up. I was just asking a question.” Max replies.

“I don’t want you to ever talk about Liz like that. You got that?”

Max rolls his eyes and says, “Or what? You going to kick my ass? So it’s okay for you to lead her on and fuck some other girl?”

I narrow my eyes at him and say, “What the hell are you talking about?” Max laughs, “Didn’t you hear?” He laughs again.

“No, so why don’t you just spit it out.”

Max parks the car in the school’s parking lot and says, “Well first off, you were caught making out with Maria under the bleachers. I hear that’s her favorite make out place. Then when Tess arrived into town. Well she the other girl you’re fucking. Were you ever going to tell Liz? Do I have to go and comfort the poor girl? You’re such a screw up Michael, but seeing how we’re half blood and all. I’ll let you in on a little secret. When it comes to woman, don’t piss them off, because they’ll find ways to hurt you.” I watch Max as he heads toward the school, but he suddenly comes back to me and says, “And I’m only telling you this because Isabel asked me too. I know they are only rumors and you need to go to the source to get it straightened out. But this time it’s not Tess.” I dazedly watch Max walk off. I can’t believe he’s helping me. What’s got into him?

I quickly walk into the school in search of a certain person.

************************************************************************

As I approach my locker, I see Max waiting for me. I’m not in the mood to deal with his shit. “What do you want, Max?” I sigh.

Max smiles and says, “I just wanted to tell you two things.”

“Make it fast.” He chuckles and says, “In a hurry are we.” I roll my eyes and face him with my arms crossed. “First I want to tell you how beautiful you are.” I slam my locker close and about to walk off, but Max stops me by placing his hand on my shoulder. “Wait. I also want to tell you that I like you Liz and I know I’ve been a jerk before, but since you’ve been such a good friend to Isabel I just want to return the favor, Okay.” I nod wondering what he’s trying to tell me. I try to get a glimpse of his eyes, but they are downcast. He looks up in my eyes and says, “You’re going to hear rumors going around, but don’t believe them. Also don’t take your anger out on the innocent person.” Max rolls his eyes and continues, “I can’t believe innocent and …. well never mind. Anyway believe me when I say this, the betrayer isn’t the one you’d expect.” He walks off with out a glance back. What the hell does he mean? Why was he speaking in riddles? Whatever, I’m not going to worry about it.

PART 20

Ever since Michael and I broke up. During lunch, I’ve been going to the library instead of the cafeteria. Isabel stops me before I walk through the doors of the library. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” I look at her and shake my head. “Please Liz. I just ….”

“I have a test next period. I really need to study.” Isabel looks down and nods her head. I regret the words as soon as they left my mouth. Ever since she moved here, she has been nothing but a friend to me. “Isabel wait.” She slowly turns around. “Okay, lets talk. Just not here okay.” She smiles and nods. “Where do you want to go?” I look around, then grab her arm and lead her outside. We end up in the quad behind a big oak tree. This is where Maria and I use to come when we wanted to talk about something important without worrying about other people hearing us.

I sit down and pat the ground for Isabel to join me. “So what do you want to talk about?” I ask her getting right to the point.

“About this morning. I wasn’t lying for my brother. I .. I felt guilty…..” She stops in mid sentence. She looks as if she’s debating on how to continue.

“Guilty of what?” She closes her eyes and says, “I consider you a good friend Liz and I don’t want to do anything to hurt you.” I shake my head starting to get frustrated.

“Just spit out, Iz. What’s so bad that you can’t tell me?” I say trying to keep the irritation out of my voice.

She takes a deep breath and looks up at me. “Tess has been coming by almost everyday since you and Michael broke up. He …..” I stand up and say, “I don’t want to hear this. I don’t care what Michael does with his free time anymore.” Isabel stands up just as fast and says, “No wait. Just let me say what I have to. Please?!”

I sigh and sit back down. “Go ahead, I’m all ears.”

“He always kicks her out, but instead of worrying about your feelings, I’ve been concerned with Tess’s. I don’t know why, but the way he’s been treating her frightens me sometimes,” she says.

“He not going to hurt her if that’s what you’re worried about.” Isabel looks at me with her head slightly tilted to the side. “How do you know that?” she asks.

I shrug my shoulders and say, “I just know.”

“He doesn’t want her, Liz. You’re the one he wants. He’s hurting, just as much if not more than you.” I look down finding my fingernails interesting all of a sudden.

“Can I tell you something?” she asks. “Whatever,” I say.

She softly giggles and abruptly stops. I glance up to figure out why. Her eyes has a far off look as she says, “My brother and his best friend, Nick were almost inseparable. They did everything together, until Tess appeared. When Michael found out, she had a crush on him. He was ecstatic. You see, my family doesn’t give him the attention he deserved or wanted and when he got it from her, he did everything in his power to make her happy.” She pauses.

“That’s great and all, but he’s told me all about this,” I reply, not really eager to hear about Michael’s first love.

She glances and smiles at me. “I thought you were going to let me talk.” I give her a small smile and say, “I’m sorry. Please continue.”

“At first I was happy for him, because he seemed genuinely happy. The only time I would see Michael smile was when he was around Nick. As their relationship progressed, I noticed Michael was starting to be stressed. He wasn’t happy it was more like possessed. All he wanted to do was give Tess whatever she asked for so she’d continue giving him her attention. I know he never loved her, not that he ever told her that. But she’d use those words to get what she wanted from him. I think it’s because of her he doesn’t believe in love. She used him, badly. Nick caught on and tried to show Michael the whole picture, but he wouldn’t listen. By that time, Nick had his own girlfriend and was happy he wished Michael would find someone like his girlfriend. If you ask me the reason why Nick didn’t interfere earlier was because he didn’t have anyone and knowing Michael he would have accused him of being jealous.” Isabel stops talking and I look at her.

“Why are you telling me all this, Iz? Michael made his choice,” I say sadly.

She touches my hand and continues to say, “Nick and Michael argued and stopped talking for a couple of days, so he spent most of his time with Tess. Well, one day he caught Tess with some other guy. He was hurt, but he was angry more so. He stopped talking to everyone even me. I was getting worried about him and I decided to call Nick to see if he could cheer him up. Being the good friend that he was, he came over that same day. Michael’s pride almost got the best of him, but Nick convinced him to go out with him and have fun. You know, just the guys.”

Her face becomes sad. She says, “The next then I know, cops are knocking at my door escorting Michael in. He was covered in blood, but what really scared me were his eyes. They were dead. There was no emotion in them whatsoever. He walked away from us. I tried to find out what happened, but he wouldn’t talk to me. I lost my brother that day. It was like he crawled up inside himself and closed himself off from everyone.”

Oh God, that’s why he feels guilty for Nick’s death. He thinks he wasn’t a good friend to him before he died. That explains a lot. That explains why he thinks he’s not suppose to be happy.

Isabel interrupts my thoughts by saying, “Liz when he came here to Roswell and met you. I slowly saw his eyes light up. He started to open up and smile more. I’m afraid if you keep this up, I’m going to lose my brother again. I don’t want to do that. I want him happy and that’s what you do. You make him happy. Right now, he’s hasn’t closed himself off to anyone yet only because he’s determined to get you back in his life, but if you keep ignoring him. He’s going to give up on himself. I don’t want to see that happen. Not again.”

I don’t know what to say or what to think. What am I suppose to do? “Iz I wish it were that simple, but it’s not,” I say.

“Do you love him, Liz?” I look up at her in shock. How can she ask me that? I haven’t known Michael that long to be in love. I don’t even know what love is or even if there is a such thing. I shrug my shoulders.

She touches my arm and say, “Can you at least talk to him. Just be his friend if you’re not ready for a relationship yet.”

I shake my head trying to keep the tears at bay. “I can’t, I can’t…” I say in a shaky voice. Isabel hugs me and says, “I know it hurts Liz, but the only reason why it hurts is because you do love him. I know you don’t believe in it or know what it is, but what you’re feeling for my brother is love.”

I cry on Isabel shoulder. She continues to hug me rocking me back and forth until the bell rings. She gives me her compact and helps me fix my makeup and my blotchy eyes. She stands up and holds her hand out to help me up. “Do you promise to talk to him?” I nod and head for class.

**********************************************************************

I’m at my locker feeling exhausted glad the day is finally over. Liz won’t even look at me. Each day it keeps getting harder. I just wish she would just talk to me. I slam my locker and see Tess standing there. I roll my eyes and say, “What do you want?”

“I want to talk to you,” she replies. “I already told you I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Why can’t you accept the fact that I’m with Liz?” She chuckles.

I turn to walk away, but she grabs my arm and says, “I’m sorry, but I thought you guys broke up.” I narrow my eyes at her and say, “Thanks to you and Maria.” She holds her hand up and says, “It was all Maria’s idea. I don’t know if you noticed how bad she had it for you.”

“So what? I’m supposed to fall for her because she starts rumors about us and hurt me and her best friend.” She laughs.

“Hey your family’s the one that moved to this hick of a town,” she says.

“It doesn’t help that you went along with her to circulate those rumors. Now does it?” I reply.

“Listen, Michael. Liz wasn’t good for you anyway. She’s changing you. I think we’re perfect together. Just give us another chance. We were great together than and I know we will be again,” she says as she puts her hand on my arm. I look at it and then at her. “I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Why can’t you get that through your head?” She moves closer to me and says, “But can’t you feel it Michael the chemistry, the energy between us? Why do you want to throw that away?” I move closer to her and say, “Sorry, I don’t feel a thing.”

“When we kissed…” I cut her off by saying, “It was a mistake. Didn’t you notice it only happened that one time? It was because I don’t want you. That I don’t feel anything for you.”

“I know you’re drawn to me, you’ve always been. If you weren’t then why did you kiss me?” I chuckle.

“Because I had to prove to myself that there is nothing between us. If I want a solid relationship with Liz, I had to make sure I’m the person she believes I am. Liz gave me her trust with no questions asked. So, I had to make sure I wouldn’t hurt her,” I whisper. I don’t know why I’m telling her this, but that’s how I feel. Liz makes me believe I can do anything, but without her I’m back to the person, I’ve always known and hated. I don’t want that. I want Liz to be proud of me.

“What happened to you, Michael? You use to be this carefree guy who didn’t care about anyone else, but yourself,” she states.

I shrug my shoulders and say, “Just leave me and Liz alone. Okay. She doesn’t deserve what you and Maria are doing to her. She’s a better person then anyone of us and I want her back in my life.” Tess looks down and I notice Max walk past me, looking past my shoulder and winking. My curiosity taking the best of me I turn around to see who he was winking at and to my surprise, I see Liz standing behind me.

***********************************************************************

After my last class, I decide this would be the perfect time to talk to Michael. I’ll see if he wants to walk with me to my house and since my parents are going away again. There’ll be privacy for us to talk. I slowly walk in the direction of Michael’s locker afraid that maybe I might have already lost him. When I get within 30 feet of his locker I notice he’s talking to someone. I stop short when I see that it’s Tess. I watch them for a while. I look down taking in a shaky breath. I glance at them one more time and they are inches apart, I turn to leave not wanting to see anymore, but I bump into someone. I look up to see who it is, and it’s Max. Great, he’s just going to dwell on my misery. I move to go around him, but he blocks me.

“Just leave me alone, Max.” His only response is to grab my hand and pull me over towards Michael. I try to stand my ground. I didn’t want to go over there, but his strength overpowers me and I’m eventually standing a few feet behind Michael.

Tess gives Max a strange look, but I don’t bother to glance over at Max. Tess catches my eye contact and slyly smiles. She moves closer to Michael and brushes herself against him, whispering something to him. I narrow my eyes at her, and to my dismay, Michael moves closer. I unconsciously lean against Max unable to hold myself up anymore. My heart is hurting more now than it ever did. I feel Max steady me from behind and I bring my attention back to the couple in front of me.

We weren’t that close to them, so I can’t hear what they are saying, but the look of smugness is wiped off of Tess’s face. I wonder what he’s saying to her. Max pushes me closer to them and I hear, “…….. and I want her back in my life.”

Max leaves my side and before he retreats, he winks at me. I smile a thank you to him just as Michael turns around. He looks at me as if he’s in shock. I move closer, letting my body and heart lead me. I slowly wrap my arms around his neck and brush my lips across his. I feel his body relax and he pulls me closer and holds on to me with such force that I can hardly breathe. I don’t pull away because I miss the feeling of being in his arms, the scent of him. The way he runs his fingers through my hair. He keeps whispering, “Thank you,” over and over again in my ear. Before we disentangle ourselves he whispers, “This is where I want to be.”