|posted on 1-Sep-2001 9:18:02 PM|
|A Promise Kept|
Disclaimer: I do not own Roswell. Jason Katims, UPN, and Melinda Metz do.
Summary: Liz died in the shooting. Maria has to keep a promise that she made to her.
Author's Note: Tears ahead.
I’m crying again. Well, I’ve basically been crying steadily for the past two days. It’s amazing, really. You read about these things in the newspapers, hear about them on the news, yet somehow believe you have this protective bubble around you that won’t let it happen to you. But it can.
In a sick, twisted way it’s sort of funny. The way one bullet can affect so many lives. You see so many arguments in your life, but the one that you never expect to turn into anything is the one that becomes the biggest.
You start to feel angry at everything, you know. Angry at the person who shot the bullet. Angry at everyone who dodged out of the way. Angry at the world for letting it happen. Angry at yourself, for not being the one who was shot.
There have been so many times that I have replayed the scene in my mind, wondering how I could have changed it. If I had just dived in front of her, or if I could have called the ambulance faster, if I had applied enough pressure on the wound… But I can’t change the past. I can’t go back and stop it from happening. But I wish I could.
The scene is going to remain imprinted in my brain for the rest of my life. It is going to replay over and over in my mind. I can remember it vividly, every sight, every sound. It will remain with me forever.
It had been just an ordinary day. Go to school, after that, go to work at the Crashdown. Get lousy tips, but keep a smile on the face if we want any tips at all. Deliver greasy food to greasy customers. Same old, same old.
But not on September 18, 1999. I remember going to refill these two guys coffee, but they were arguing about something and told me to go away. Muttering something about how I better be getting a large tip as I walked away, I noticed Michael Guerin and Max Evans leaving. I remember thinking, ‘D⊕mn it!’ and waltzing over to Liz. She was staring out the door. Pathetic, really. Then I had realized I was doing the same thing.
I made some silly comment that made Liz blush and started walking over to some customers that had just walked in. Then the two rude guys who had told me to go away started arguing louder the one facing the back of the restaurant pulled out a gun.
Everything went into slow motion. The other guy twisted the gun, and it shot in our direction. I ducked yelling, “Liz!” Turning around, I saw her lying on the floor.
Everything sped up. I ran over to her and noticed blood pouring out of her stomach. I tried to stop the bleeding with a towel, but then realized that it might have been a good idea to call an ambulance. I noticed some spectator standing behind us, and I threw them the towel, telling them to apply pressure. I called the ambulance as quickly as I could, then once again took over towel duty.
In her mind, I think Liz knew she was going. I might have actually known it too, but there was no way I would have accepted it.
She kept muttering senseless stuff. I asked her what she was saying, and with one last bout of strength she lifted her head. “Your promise, Maria…don’t forget your promise…” Then her head fell back, and she was gone. And I started crying.
So that was what I was doing here, keeping my promise. Grasping the rungs, I climbed up the ladder. After pulling myself over the ledge, I just sat and looked around. The balcony looked like nothing had changed. I kicked a rock. But everything had changed. The balcony just didn’t know it yet.
I wiped my eyes and stood up. Time to keep my promise. I walked up to the bricks and pulled out the loose one. I felt around in the hole until at last my hand touched paper. I pulled the envelope out and placed the brick back in. Then I climbed back down the ladder.
While I was in the alley, I looked down at the envelope. ‘Maria,’ it said on it in Liz’s handwriting, ‘you know what to do with this.’ I tore open the envelope to find another inside. I looked at the name to make sure it was correct, then set out for the Evans’.
It didn’t take long for me to reach the house. I climbed up the steps and knocked, hesitating a bit. A weary Mrs. Evans answered the door.
“Hello?” she asked.
“Um, hi, I’m Maria DeLuca,” I said. “I’m here to talk to Max.”
Mrs. Evans hesitated. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
“Please?” I insisted. “It’s really important.”
Mrs. Evans seemed torn. “Well, I don’t know, with the funeral this morning and all.”
I nodded, dwelling for a moment on the events that had taken place. “I really need to speak to him.”
“Let her in, Mom,” a voice came from the hallway. I recognized it as Max’s.
Mrs. Evans nodded and moved aside. I walked over to Max. “I need to talk to you about, um…”
He nodded. “Come to my room.”
We went into the room and sat down, him on the bed and me in a chair. The bright fluorescent lights that had been absent from the hallway now showed what a wreck Max was. He hadn’t changed out of the black suit he had worn to the funeral and his eyes were rimmed with red. His unkempt hair stuck out in different places, making it look like it was a cross between him and Michael.
And Liz said she didn’t think he knew she existed outside of biology class.
After a moment of silence, Max spoke up. “So you’re here because…” He let the sentence hang.
I handed him the envelope. “This should explain everything.”
He looked down at the envelope quizzically, but realization dawned over his face as he recognized the handwriting. He looked up at me, and I nodded.
He couldn’t tear open the envelope fast enough. He pulled out the letter and started reading.
Maria is my best friend. Well that’s a weird way to start this letter. Anyway, I’ve known Maria and been best friends with her since I was about six. We’ve been friends with each other through thick and thin and I know I can trust her with this.
Like I said, Maria and I have been friends forever. We’ve always had sleepovers and the like, and we practically live in each other’s homes. Her mother is like a second mother to me, and my parents are like second parents to her.
Anyway, during those many sleepovers we had, we always talked about one thing. Boys. And no matter who we were going out with at the time, or who we thought was cute at the time, we always came back to two names. One for each. You were mine. It was always you and…well, I can’t tell you Maria’s because then she’d kill me. But then again, if you’re reading this, then I must be already dead, so that’s no biggie. But still, she’s my best friend, so I won’t betray her trust.
Three things contributed to this letter. A movie, a car crash, and a strange sense of foreboding. You see, Maria and I had rented this movie for a Girls’ Night, and so we watched it. It ended up being pretty stupid. It was about this girl who was in love with this guy, her best friend, but he didn’t know it. He was going to marry this other girl. So the first girl finally gets the guts to go and try and stop the wedding, only her plane crashes and she dies. So the guy and the second girl get married. Like I said, stupid movie.
But it got Maria and I thinking. And when we were driving to the video store to return the movie, because it was due before midnight, it was raining, making the road slippery. The car in front of us, I don’t know what exactly happened, but it started spinning out of control. And it spun into us. I would just like to say, thank goodness for airbags. The Jetta was lucky, it only came out with a dent, broken mirror, and broken headlight. We were lucky, too. We could have been seriously hurt. Sheriff Valenti said it could have even been…fatal.
But anyway, after that, Maria and I went back to her house. We needed some normality or something. We started talking, but it was stilted, as if we couldn’t believe what had happened and were trying to come to terms with it. All of a sudden Maria just blurted out, “I don’t want to be like the girl in the movie.”
Naturally, I looked at her oddly. “What?”
“I don’t want to be like the girl in the movie,” she repeated. “I don’t want to die and not have the person I love not know that I loved him.”
This conversation led to her suggestion that we write letters. Letters to the people that we love. We would hide them and tell only the other where we put them. When we died, the other person would give the person we loved the letter, and that way they would know.
So that’s what this is.
I said also that a sense of foreboding led to the writing of this letter. I had been putting off writing it, partly because I was embarrassed, but now, on September 15, 1999, I have the sudden urge to write it. That I needed to write it before something horrible happened.
I don’t know what year it is or where I was in life at the time that I died. I don’t know if you know half the things this letter will tell you. I don’t know if we’d lost touch, or what has happened. But as of right now, this is what I can say.
I love you, Max. I do. I’ve felt this connection with you since I first saw you, in the third grade. I remember going home and thinking that you were the most beautiful boy in the whole world.
In the sixth grade, Maria finally got me to admit that I had a crush on you. Slowly, that crush grew to an obsession. And then that obsession quickly grew to love.
I have this feeling, I don’t know, that this is it. That this is the forever love type of thing. That there will never be anyone for me besides you.
When we were assigned to be chem. partners last year, in ninth grade, I was just ecstatic. I was practically skipping to my classes. Maria said that I was “unusually happy for the first day of school, so what had happened with Max”. Because she knew that you determined my mood. I was happy or sad depending on if you were happy or sad. It was like this connection.
Maria always said that you liked me, but I would never believe her. It just seemed too good to be true, so I always said that it wasn’t. She was convinced that you were staring at me and on more than one occasion she had commented that you “didn’t come to the Crashdown every day for the gourmet cuisine”.
Love. It’s strange, really. Most people would say that I’m too young for love. I’m only sixteen. But how would they know? Maybe it’s different for different people. All I know is, there is something strong that I feel for you. Stronger than friendship, stronger than lust, stronger than any bond that I have with anyone. Or ever will have with anyone.
I can totally understand if you don’t like me in the same way. If you don’t feel anything more than friendship or acquaintanceship with me. Because I can deal with that. Just seeing you and maybe even exchanging a few words or pleasantries with you is enough for me.
I don’t want this to obligate you in any way. Feel free to go on with your life in any way you choose, with anybody you choose. I only want you to be happy.
And if there’s any way that you happened to like or even love me too, I wish I could have known. Or perhaps I do know. Because I don’t think fate would be so cruel as to take me away before I had the chance to kiss you, hold you, be with you… Or that it could just pull me from your grasp.
And please don’t mourn me too long. I want what’s right for you. And I want you to find happiness. Still, remember me. But don’t dwell on me.
Once again, I love you, Max Evans. And I always will. You now have your own personal guardian angel. I promise to watch over you and those you love forever. Till death do us part.
I watched many emotions flicker over Max’s face as he read the letter. The most abundant ones were love and loss. Apparently, I had been right.
Figuring that he should be alone, I whispered a soft goodbye and walked out of the room. I don’t think he even noticed.
I said goodbye and thank you to Mrs. Evans, and then left the Evans’ house. Lizzy was gone, a bullet cruelly stealing her life away. Max was essentially gone, a shell without a soul. Why did fate do this? And who would be next?
But I kept my promise. And that is what I was meant to do.
"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains"
-Jean Jaques Rousseau