posted on 2-Sep-2001 6:27:17 PM
Title: “Let Love Lead You”
Author: Juliana a.k.a. KrystalParkerEvans
E-mail: julzparkerevans⊕
Disclaimer: the Roswell characters aren't mine, so don't sue!
Category: mostly M/L (I’m a dreamer!), but also M/M, I/? and T/K.
Rating: Pg-13 (sorry!), maybe R.
Summary:’s an AU fic, that's all I can say for now.
Author notes: I just wanna tell you that this is my first fic, so it’s not that good... Sorry if I disappoint you at any time. Also, I wanna thank Trinity Day (my beta, you’re the greatest!), Gaudy (for supporting me and helping me with this fic) and Mari(also for supporting me).
Feedback: yes, FEEDBACK PLEASE! You know, no feedback, no new parts...
Dedication: this goes to: Carol (Carol000), Ash , Yennie, Carey (carenicoleIQ), Kerry (IfMaxWasMine), Christine (SoulMates4ever), faile1, Phae, Sheeijan, Mary (BAMALOW), LadyStarlite, Pri and jasper711 (phew! I hope I didn't forget anyone!).



“C’mon Maria, we’re gonna be late!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming! Gee, can’t a girl work on her makeup anymore?”

“Of course she can, as long as it takes less than 30 minutes!” Liz said, laughing.

“ Ha ha, it seems like you don’t know your sister...” Maria said laughing, as she got the keys for her Jetta.

* * * * *

“MICHAEL you have 5 SECONDS to get your pretty face downstairs!” Isabel yelled. ‘I can’t believe we’re gonna be late AGAIN!’ “ONE...TWO...THREE...FO..”

“I’m here already, ma’am! Shall we go?” Michael said with a smirk on his face. He loved teasing his sister.

“Will you stop it? The day hasn’t even started and YOU already stressed me out!! You know how much I hate to be late!” Isabel knew she shouldn’t continue, otherwise her brother would keep teasing her, and she’d get more stressed out.

“Okay, okay, chill out!” Michael said hugging Isabel and heading towards the door. “You know, I don’t understand you women. You’re always complaining that we never even try to look good, but when we do, you complain anyway!” Michael couldn’t stop trying to get on his sister’s nerves, ‘It’s so funny to see her angry face’ he thought.

“Ah, really?!” Isabel asked starting the car “And I don’t understand you guys! You’re always trying to get close to us, but when you do, you just treat us like you wanted us to go away!” She knew that the ‘key’ to get to Michael was Maria and talking about her was the only way to shut Michael up.

Michael gave her a ‘you-better-stop-it’ look, but Isabel pretended she hadn’t seen it and continued,

“You know, the last time you two started arguing was so funny, I thought Maria was going to slap you at any second! Aw, you guys are like, so meant for each other, that’s all I can say!”

‘Damn sister! How does she do that?’ He wanted to tell her she was losing her mind, but the only thing that came out of his mouth was “Yeah, whatever...”

‘I got him!’ Isabel thought while stopping her car in the parking lot.

Michael was looking at the few cars parked there, and couldn’t stop a little smile when he saw a red Jetta parking right beside his sister’s car.

* * * * *

Max was having breakfast when he heard the phone ring.

“Hello, mom” He knew it was Diane, she used to call every morning.

“Hey honey...Are you ready to go to school?” Diane couldn’t help being overprotective of her son.

“Yes mom, just finished breakfast... Is everything okay there, are you okay?” Max couldn’t help being overprotective to his mother, either. After his father died in that horrible car accident two months ago, she was too shocked, that’s why he told her to go to Boston to visit her family and try to rest a little.

“Yes, everything is fine here honey. I’ll be back in two days, and then we’ll talk more... Hmm, is Tess there?”

“Uh, she’s changing right now, I think”

“Give her a kiss for me, right?! I have to go now honey, I love you.”

“I love you too, mom... Bye” Max hung up the phone and was cleaning the table when Tess got in the kitchen.

“Good morning, honey bear...” she said.

* * * * *


“When will you stop calling me ‘honey-bear’? We’re not 5 anymore!” Max said, not even looking at her.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot my brother has no sense of humor”

Max forced a smile “Is that better? C’mon, we’re getting late. Let’s go!” Max said while looking for his keys “Hey, where did you put the keys for my Jeep?”

“Over the table...Here!” She threw him the keys.

They went out of the house, locked the door and got in the Jeep.

“Excited about today?” Tess was really excited; it was their first day of their senior year.

“Why would I be? School, classes, teachers, homework,...” Max started.

“...Liz Parker...” Tess knew Liz was the only reason Max was going to school. Of course, he wanted to graduate and everything, but it was the thought of Liz that made him get up in the morning. She noticed Max trying to hide a smile when she said her name. “Don’t you think I see the way you look at her?”

“What way, the same way you look at Kyle?” ‘I can play her game too.’ He was friends with Kyle and every time he felt his sister was trying to make him confess he... liked Liz, he started talking about Kyle.

“No, not in a FRIENDLY way”, she said out loud. ‘He won’t get me this time’, she thought. “More like in a passionate way. You know Max, I could help you get to her...”

Max opened his mouth to talk about Kyle again, but Tess cut him right away “Okay, I know you don’t wanna talk about it. But I’m your sister, all I want is to see you happy, and okay, you’re happy, but I know you’d be happier if you were with her. You do whatever you wanna do, but just know that I’m here for you.”

Max was speechless. He never talked about Liz to anyone, not even to his best friend Michael. How could his sister know that much?! He didn’t feel comfortable talking about his feelings for Liz because he didn’t exactly understand those feelings. Every time he saw her his heart would stop beating. He’d stop breathing as if he thought the air around him should only be breathed by her. His eyes would never leave her as if she’d disappear at any moment. But she never noticed him. She’d only speak to him in Chemistry class, and that was only because they were partners. But that was last year, this year she’d have no reason to speak to him. ‘Yeah, maybe I could use some help,’ he thought. He needed help, and if there was anyone that could help and understand him, that had to be his sister.

“Okay”, he said.

“Okay what?” Tess smiled. Was that really happening? Was her brother, the shyest and quietest guy she’s ever known, going to ask her for help?

“Well... I like Liz,” he confessed. “I like her a lot, more than you can even imagine. But...” He wanted to ask her for help, but how?

“...but what?” It was getting interesting, she thought. And she’d do anything to help her brother and Liz get together. “You can’t talk to her, is that it?”

“Yes. I never know what to say. I keep thinking, you know, how to start a conversation, but whenever I get near her, I can’t speak.” He couldn’t believe he was telling his sister that. But that was good, he felt better talking to her. Somehow, he felt it... relieving.

“Okay,” Tess started as she got out of the Jeep. “First of all, you have to find a topic, a subject to talk to her about. So, think, what do you two have in common?”

The only thing that he could think of was their losses. Two months ago, his father and her parents went to a concert together – his mother wasn’t feeling so well, so she stayed at home. It was an opera concert, and it ended really late, about 3 AM. They shared a cab back home. Everything was normal, when a speeding car showed up out of nowhere on the wrong side of the road. The cab driver hadn’t had time to turn the cab around, and the last thing they knew was that the cars had crashed and no one survived. The ‘crazy’ car driver was only eighteen years old and was drugged; heroin had been found in his blood. Max remembered Liz’s face at the funeral. She never stopped crying, nor his mother and his sister. He had tried to be strong for them, he HAD to be strong for them, but he couldn’t hold the tears when the bodies were buried. He heard that Ms. Deluca had adopted Liz since she had no relatives. And every night he cried alone in his bedroom like a little child, wanting to turn back time.

“Max! MAX!” Tess was waving her hands in front of Max. He was so lost in his memories that he forgot she was there and that they were at school. “Are you there?” she joked.

“Uh, yeah, sorry...” Max was a little confused “It’s just that when you asked about what Liz and I had in common...the accident came to my mind and...” A single tear slipped out from his eyes.

“Shh, it’s okay” she hugged him and couldn’t stop her own tears streaming down her face.

* * * * *


“Maria, SLOW DOWN!” Liz shouted. She hated high speed, and she hated it even more after what had happened...

“Sorry Liz!” Maria said, ashamed of herself as she noticed a tear slipping down Liz’s panicked face. “I’m so sorry Liz. I forgot. It’s just that we’re so late and...”

“No, no, it’s okay Maria.” Liz wiped the tear out of her face. “Just... don’t drive so fast like that anymore, please...”

“Sorry...” Maria was very nervous. ‘God, how can I be so dumb?!’ “So, last year of High School, huh?!” she tried to change the subject so Liz wouldn’t think anymore about that accident. It had been only two months since Liz’s parents died – and Max and Tess’ father, too – and Liz was still really upset, even though she tried to cover it.

After what had happened, Amy Deluca, her mother had decided to adopt Liz, so she wouldn’t be alone since she had no relatives. ‘I love her like a daughter, and you love her like a sister. I think it would be better if she stayed with us. I’d love to have her in my house. You and I will give her all the love we can, and maybe this will help her move on with her life’, Maria remembered her mother’s words. When they spoke to Liz about it, and asked her if she would like to be a part of their family, they expected Liz to ask for some time to think, but to their surprise, it didn’t happen. Liz immediately said yes. ‘That would be the best thing that could happen now in my life, I would be honored to be your daughter Amy, and I would love to be Maria’ sister.’ Tears streamed down her face while Amy and Maria hugged her. And so it happened. The Crashdown was in Liz’s name, but Amy was running it. Liz and Maria stopped working there, Liz because she wanted to rest a little, and Maria because she had promised herself she wouldn’t leave Liz’ side until she was feeling better. They had moved out to the Parkers’ - ex-Parkers’ - and things were starting to get back to normal. At least, as normal as they could get.

“Yeah, I can’t believe it! Only one more year and we’ll be free from this torture!” Liz smiled, trying not to think about the accident. She’d never stop thinking about it, but she had learned how to control her thoughts and her feelings.

“Only to get more tortured after at college!” Maria was happy at the sight of Liz’ smile. “So, what’s your first class?” Maria asked as she parked her car.

“I don’t know, let me see...Biology! Yours?” Liz asked.

“Hold on”, Maria stopped the car and got her schedule from inside her purse. “Calculus, ugh! Could this day get any worse?” She asked as she got out of her car, when she heard someone by her side saying, “Yes, it can”.

‘Michael’, she thought. She could recognize his voice anywhere, even if they were in the middle of a rock concert.

“Please, don’t tell me your first class is calculus, too!” She looked straight in his eyes after she locked her Jetta, and she could hear Liz and another girl laughing.

“Okay, I won’t tell you” Michael said, teasing her. ‘Could this day get any better?’ he thought as he walked away, heading to the high school halls.

Maria then recognized the other girl that was laughing. It was Michael’ sister, the airhead-ice queen Isabel. As they disappeared inside the halls, Maria looked at Liz, who was still laughing “How does he do that? And what’s so funny, huh? Ugh, I hate this guy!”

“Yeah, I know better than anyone else how much you hate him” Liz said with sarcasm in her voice.

“Don’t even start it, Liz!”

“Start what?” Liz asked, now with innocence in her voice.

“Is that it? Okay hun, war is war!” And, as if changing the subject, and with an innocent look in her face, Maria asked, “So, how’s Max anyway?”

“Max who?” Liz asked her back, trying to hide a smile that threatened to appear in her mouth.

“Right Liz, don’t you play dumb on me! Max Evans, you know, that guy you’re head over heels for, remember?” Maria knew better than anyone that Liz had always liked Max Evans, but couldn’t even talk to him. So, whenever she wanted to know something and Liz wouldn’t tell her, she threatened Liz she’d tell Max about her feelings. Max was like her ‘secret weapon’.

“Okay, okay, I’ll stop! See, I’m quiet now” Liz quickly said. She didn’t want anyone to know about her feelings for Max. He should be the first one to know about them. Okay, the second one, but only because Maria caught Liz once writing in her journal about his deep eyes that she loved to lose herself in...

Maria smiled, ‘Too easy’ she thought. “So chica, I’ll see you later, okay?” She said as they got into the halls.

“Yes, sis, see you later,” Liz answered as she headed towards her locker. She was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t see a guy and a girl hugging each other in the middle of the hall and bumped into them.

“Hey, watch where you’re going!” Tess said angrily, without even seeing who hit them.

“I’m sorry, I...” Liz started, but as soon as she realized whom she had hit, her mouth ran dry and her eyes met Max’s...

* * * * *


If a war started at that moment, Max would not even notice. He was so lost in Liz’s eyes that nothing mattered anymore. He felt like he was in heaven, and standing right in front of him was the most beautiful angel that had ever existed. He could’ve stayed there forever, staring at those beautiful eyes, if it wasn’t for that stupid bell that rang as if it didn’t want Max to be happy.

* * * * *

‘Oh my gosh, what’s happening?’ Liz felt a little dizzy, was she going to faint? No, she wouldn’t stop looking inside his deep eyes, she couldn’t. It was like she was under a spell; she couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. But if she was under a spell, she wanted it to last forever. It felt so good to be looking deep inside his eyes; it was like she could even see his soul. But her happiness didn’t last for long. The bell rang and suddenly she came back to reality and realized how embarrassing this must have looked. She started to blush and smiled when she saw Max was blushing too. She felt a little confused though, as she saw Tess smiling.

‘What am I going to say? Can I actually SAY anything?’ Max’s thought were racing and getting all mixed up.

When Tess noticed her brother would only embarrass himself if he actually decided to say something, she said, “Oh Liz, are you okay? I’m sorry, we didn’t see you, right Max?” He only nodded, which was the most he could do.

“Uh, yeah, I’m fine, I didn’t see you either, I’m sorry... Oh, I gotta go, I’m already late!” she said as she remembered the bell had already rung and the hall was almost empty. “Bye,” she managed to say before she went running towards the Bio lab.

“C’mon Max, we’re late! What’s your class?” Tess asked, as she got her schedule.

“Biology...Yours?” Max was feeling better. Well, at least he started breathing again.

“English. I’ll see you later, Max!” Tess turned around, prepared to run to get to class, but not before she could give her brother some advice. “Oh, and Max? Next time you see Liz, try to say at least ‘hi’, okay?”

Max headed towards the Biology lab. ‘First class of the year and I’m late, that’s great!’ he thought as he opened the lab door. “Excuse me, may I come in?”

“It seems you’re not the only one that’s late, Ms. Parker,” Mr. Harding, the Biology teacher said. “Yes, come in. And you are...?”

“Evans, Max Evans,” he managed to say. Liz was there, but he couldn’t weaken in front of the whole class.

“‘Bond, James Bond,’” Mr. Harding joked and the entire class laughed. Max noticed Liz biting her bottom lip to keep from laughing. ‘That’s great. Now she thinks I’m an idiot. Way to go, Max!’ He was kicking himself.

“Mr. Evans,” Mr. Harding continued, “you’ll be Ms. Parker’s lab partner, okay? All the others already have partners you know, because they happened to get to class on time... Go sit down now, will you?!” he said as he turned to the blackboard.

Max had never been so happy for being late. He headed to his seat, right next to his angel, and smiled as he noticed Liz smiling. She looked up and their eyes met.

“Hey,” he said as he said down, his eyes never leaving hers.

“Hey.” Her voice came out as a whisper, but loud enough for him to hear it.

“Uh, I’m sorry for making you get late,” Max gently said.

“No, it was my fault! Oh, and don’t worry about this partner thing, I’ll tell Mr. Harding what has happened so you can get another partner...” Liz hoped he hadn’t noticed the sadness in her voice as she said that.

“Don’t. I don’t want another partner...” Max was surprised. ‘Did I actually say that out loud?’ He hoped so.

“Me neither...” Liz murmured as she started to look at the teacher, thinking that Max hadn’t heard her. She wouldn’t be able to pay attention to the class, she knew it, but at least she should pretend she was interested in the class.

‘Oh my gosh, did she just say what I think she said?’ Max thought. ‘No, that can’t be possible Max, you’re dreaming... But I heard her saying it... You’re crazy Max, she didn’t, doesn’t and never will have any feelings for you, just forget it and pay attention to the class, or you’re gonna fail your senior year just like Michael did last year... But how am I supposed to, with this goddess so close to me?...” His mind was fighting against itself as he pretended to pay attention to Mr. Harding.

* * * * *

Maria took a deep breath as she got into the room. Michael was already there, looking at her. “Just don’t look at him Maria, you can do it! Sit down, as far away from him as possible, and just remain still till this stupid class is over” she said to herself. She took a seat in the back of the room, which was almost deserted. She closed her eyes as she sat down “You did it, chica!” She was used talking to herself; it was like ‘self assurance’.

“Who did what?”

Maria heard a voice right beside her, just like some minutes ago in the parking lot, but she didn’t have the courage to open her eyes to look at the person who was sitting next to her.

* * * * *


“Hello, somebody there?” Michael joked, waving his hands in front of her face, which made Maria open her eyes and look at him.

“Hey, Michael, what do you want?” Maria asked, knowing he was there only to piss her off.

“Hey, can’t a guy just wanna talk to his friend?” Michael asked with a smirk on his face. He knew he was making her nervous.

“Oh, no, sure, of course he can! And thank goodness we’re NOT friends!” She was trying to avoid him.

“You know Maria, you should treat your friends better, otherwise you might lose ‘em all!” Michael’s voice was soft and low, sort of irritating. He continued, “I come here to try to have a nice and polite conversation with you, and all I hear is-“

“OKAY MICHAEL, YOU PISSED ME OFF! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?” Maria yelled, without even noticing the class had already started. When she saw Michael’s HUGE smile it was too late, everyone was laughing at her.

“Do you have any problems Ms. ... Deluca?” the teacher asked sarcastically.

“Uh, I... I’m...” Maria was so embarrassed she couldn’t think of an excuse. ‘I can’t believe it. It’s all HIS fault!’

“Maybe you should go to the principal’s office to calm down a little.”

“No, I’m just... I’m fine, I’ll just sit back down,” she said as she shyly sat down, staring at the floor. She couldn’t look up, but could feel the eyes of every single student on her. She could still hear their laughter as well.

When everyone calmed down the class resumed, but all Maria could think about was... revenge! ‘Oh yeah, Michael is going down... He better watch his back, ‘cause I’m gonna make his life a living hell... No, wait, that’s just EXACTLY what he wants! Yeah, all I have to do is...the opposite! Maria, you’re really a smart-ass! I’m sure that he’ll go crazy if I just ignore him... But first, I just wanna get the hell out of this class...’

Maria then looked at Michael out of the corner of her eyes and with a smirk on her face. She had this ‘you can’t wait to see what I’m gonna do to you’ look on her face, which intrigued Michael, and made him a little worried. ‘What the hell is she planning on doing? Whatever, Michael. Just enjoy this precious moment. Yeah, you have her in the palm of your hand...’ Michael smiled as he watched her copying something off of the blackboard. ‘God, I love her concentration face...’

Michael had never been able to talk to girls. Maybe it was because he had never let anyone get too close to him and didn't know how to act when they did. The only people he trusted were his young sister Isabel and his best friend Max. Of course, he also trusted his father – his mother had died right after she gave birth to Isabel – but that was different. His father was always worried about work, not that money was a problem - it was actually the opposite, they had a lot of money – but because working was the way he distracted himself for the pain of his wife’s death.

Michael had talked to Max about Maria, but Max was like the worst person to ask for help, because he also had a ‘problem’ with girls. And Isabel... well, he was sure that the ‘ice queen’, as she was known by everyone, wouldn’t be the best person to help him either, even though she had a boyfriend and every guy in school was head over heels for her... Okay, she could be a good person to ask for help, but if he did ask her to help him, he’d have to put up with a LOT of babbling and extortion from her, so, she was NOT an option. So, he was... helpless... ‘Stop the drama, idiot!’ He kicked himself.

* * * * *

"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains"

-Jean Jaques Rousseau
posted on 2-Sep-2001 6:30:05 PM

‘Three classes already and no Kyle! He must’ve taken an invisible pill or something’ Tess was getting frustrated. She had spent a long time working up the courage to talk to Kyle, and when she finally felt ready to start a conversation with him, he was nowhere to be seen.

She walked to her locker, opened it and started getting the books she needed when she suddenly felt someone leaning back on the locker beside her.

“Hey Tess, how you doing?”

If surprised looks killed, Kyle would be deader than dead.

‘Oh my God, Kyle Valenti is speaking to me, and it’s not about my brother! No, it’s a dream, I’m daydreaming...’

“Are you okay?” Kyle asked a little worried, seeing that Tess had gotten pale all of a sudden.

‘Say something, you moron!’ It was like her mind had life and was yelling at her.

“Uh, yeah, I... I felt a little dizzy all of a sudden but I... I’m okay now... Sorry, what did you say?” Tess looked straight at his blue eyes and felt herself blushing.

“Oh, just asked how you’re doing. You know, I just got back from basketball camp a couple of days ago and my dad’s in Texas, so I just... I’ve just heard what’s happened. I’m so sorry, I wish I could’ve been there for you and for your brother and mother...” Kyle said, staring at the floor. He knew how hard it was to lose a parent, he’d lost his mother when he was eleven and it was still really hard for him to face that his mom wouldn’t be in the kitchen making breakfast when he woke up, or by his bed, kissing him goodnight when he went to bed.

“Thanks...” Tess’ voice was soft and sad, which made Kyle regret talking about her loss right there, in the middle of the school.

“Oh, sorry, I shouldn’t...” Kyle started, but Tess cut him right away.

“Oh, it’s okay... I just have to... get used to the idea of not... not having him around anymore...” Tess couldn’t hold back the tear that slowly made its way down her cheeks.

“No, it’s not okay,” Kyle said, as he pulled Tess into his arms, “I should’ve been more careful, should’ve chosen a better moment to talk to you about this.” He pulled her back a little, wiped the tear out of her face, gave her a small but sincere smile and asked, “Can you forgive me?”

Tess smiled back, “Sure, even though I don’t know why you’re asking for my forgiveness.”

“How about... for being an ass?” Kyle joked, wanting to lighten the air.

“You’re not! Never was, never will be,” Tess laughed. “Well, maybe just a little...”

It was Kyle’s turn to laugh. He was glad he made Tess laugh, even though he was the one that made her cry in the first place... ‘Well almost’ he thought. Only then did he realized she was still in his arms, and thought about pull away from the embracing. ‘But she feels so perfect in my arms, beside me...’ He looked at her eyes, and then at her lips ‘I wonder what they taste like...’ But common sense spoke louder than his hormones. ‘No, no!! She’s your friend’s sister and she’s vulnerable now! As much as you’ve always wanted to kiss her, and as perfect as this moment seems, it’s not the time!’

“Okay, we should get to our classes then, right?” Tess saw his mouth was moving, but couldn’t hear a word. The memories of her father still were on her mind, but the thoughts of being held by Kyle were there too. It was as if he was calming her down, as if she felt the pressure and the pain start to fade away just by being in his arms. But her thoughts were cut by the ring of the bell, along with Kyle loosening the embrace until she was not in his arms anymore.

“I gotta get to Spanish, or Mrs. Hernandez is gonna kill me” Tess said, locking her locker.

“Yeah, but be careful, she’s got PMS today. Oh, tell Max I’ll stop by at six today, okay?”

“Sure! Bye.” Tess looked at him one last time before heading to Spanish.

“Bye...” Kyle kept starring at her until she was out of sight, sighed and headed to the Chemistry lab. ‘Man, I should really stop being such a nice guy. This is gonna kill me someday.’

* * * * *


‘I can’t believe this first day of torture is finally over’ Maria thought as her last class finished and she went to the hall.

“Liz!” She yelled as she saw her sister and she ran towards her. “Let’s just get the hell out of here!” Maria said as she pushed Liz towards the parking lot.

“Hey, calm down!” Liz said, making Maria stop. “So, I guess today wasn’t a good day for you, huh?!” She smiled at the thought of today’s events. This had been a great day for her, she’d had four classes with Max, plus, he was going to be her lab partner for the whole year again, only this time, he’d be her Bio lab partner.

“WASN’T A GOOD DAY? No Liz, it was WORSE than that! And do you know whose fault it was?” Maria didn’t even give time for Liz to answer, “Michael’s fault, he managed to ruin my whole day! First, he made me go through this HUGE embarrassment at Calculus, and it was just the FIRST CLASS OF THE DAY! Then, when I was ready to pretend nothing had happened, I had to spend like TEN MINUTES listening to this ‘you must behave during class’ speech, which made me late for my second class, and Mr. Bronsom gave me this ‘you must not get late to your classes’ speech in front of EVERYONE, which was day’s embarrassment number TWO. Then, when it was FINALLY lunch time and when I needed some HUGE support and a shoulder to cry on, my wonderful sister decides to disappear and – no, let me finish -” she quickly said as she noticed Liz opened her mouth to explain her ‘disappearance’, “...and leaves me ALL ALONE, which gave Michael an opportunity to make me embarrassed AGAIN dropping orange juice on me. That was embarrassment number THREE. And, because of that, I had to hear ANOTHER speech – embarrassment number FOUR – because I was trying to clean my clothes and got late for another class! And then-”

“Maria, breathe!” Liz said loudly, almost screaming, which made Maria stop talking and obey, breathing in and out while she realized they had already gotten to the parking lot. Before she could start babbling again, Liz started, “Okay, now is MY turn to speak. I’m sorry I ‘disappeared’ at lunch, but I had to go to the principal’s office to help him make some changes in my ‘student profile’ or something like that, and I’m so, so sorry your day was like this, and I know I’ve been a bad sister and a horrible best friend today, but I’ll make it up to you, okay?” Liz asked with a puppy ‘I’m sorry’ face she knew Maria couldn’t resist.

“Okay Liz, I’m sorry, I think I was being a little selfish...” Maria said as she opened the Jetta. “You know what? I was NOT being selfish, I mean, my day sucked, and even after everything I’ve told you, about all the things I’ve been through, you didn’t stop smiling! YOU are the selfish one!” ‘Okay, I’m right, I know I am... right?’

“You are right, Maria” Liz said as if she’d heard Maria’s thoughts. “I should be like, sharing your pain and comforting you, but I can’t stop smiling, I mean, my day couldn’t have been better!” Liz happily said, feeling a little guilty though.

“Max, huh?” Maria, excited, asked, forgetting that one second ago she was mad at Liz.

“Well, no! Do you think Max would be like, the only reason for my day to be great? This has nothing to do with him.” Liz said looking at Maria, ‘checking’ if she had bought it. She hadn’t. “Okay, okay, I confess! It’s got everything to do with Max Evans. First off, even before the first class, we bumped into each other at the halls, and I got SO close to him, I mean, literally close! Then, I had four classes with him, for four hours I got to stare at his beautiful eyes you know I love! And the best thing was that, believe it or not, he was staring back at me all the time! Oh, and he is also my Bio lab partner!”

“So, today was like your ‘dream come true’ day, huh?!” Maria was really happy for Liz, but she felt she had the ‘right’ to play with her a little. “I guess that for every bad thing that happens, a good thing happens too. It just doesn’t happen for the same person though...”

“I’m sorry I’m not like, sad enough for ya, but you could be a little happy for me, huh?! Besides, I already promised I’ll make it up to you!”

“I’m just kidding. You know I’m thrilled for you!” Maria smiled. ‘At least she’s happier now... I think Max can help her move on, he’s been through the same thing... Actually, they can help each other... And well, as a bonus, she can help him get back the part of his brain he lost when he became friends with Michael...’

“Oh, Liz, I know exactly what you can do for me! You’ve heard about Pam Troy’s party, right?! Well then, this afternoon you’ll go to the mall with me and you’ll help me find a BEAUTIFUL dress for the party!” Maria said. ‘This party came in a really good time... I’ll just go, dressed to kill, ignore Michael, and do everything I’d never do. No, no, do what I always do, just... looking better.’ A smile started to appear in Maria’s face as she thought of Michael’s mouth dropping to the floor as she danced at the party. But her smiled faded before it fully formed.

“I can’t this afternoon” Liz quickly said, as if she had a very important thing to do in the afternoon.

“Oh, and may I know why not? ‘Cause you BETTER have a great excuse to turn me down!” Maria rudely said, giving Liz a very mad and disappointed look. ‘This is SO not my day!’ she thought.

“I’m meeting Max this afternoon” Liz’s voice came out shyly, unlike the smile that appeared on her face.

* * * * *

~* Lunch Time *~

“Hey Izzy! I missed you girl!” Christy Schwan hugged Isabel. She was one of those popular blonde friends of Isabel’s.

“Hey! Missed you too, Christy! How was your summer?”

“Oh, it was so awesome, you know, I went to Hawaii, and it was like so hot there! Oh, you should’ve seen those totally hot guys, it was like I was in Fantasy Island, ya know?! So, how was Europe this summer?”

Every year Isabel would go to France, England Italy and German on summer vacation.

“Well, England was a little more boring than the usual, ya know, but France was better than ever! You should come with me someday, you’ll totally love it!” Isabel liked France, not only because it was a beautiful place and she liked to speak French, but because her boyfriend lived there. She used to think she loved him, but as time passed by, she realized she didn’t. She just enjoyed being with him for a while; being spoiled. All her life she had everything she wanted, and her boyfriend would do anything she wanted or anything he thought she’d like. This made her feel comfortable, and she liked this feeling. But she sometimes wondered what it would be like to be contradicted. Not contradicted, she wondered what it would be like having to do things to receive something back, instead of being given anything for nothing.

“Oh I will someday, promise! And how was Jean?” Christy, like every girl of West Roswell High, envied Isabel for her natural beauty and for her gorgeous boyfriend.

“He’s just great! Oh, you won’t believe what he did! He took me to the Beaubourg Center and started singing ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ to me, in front of everyone! He even recited a poem he had written himself called ‘Isabel’, and everyone applauded. And when I asked him why he did it, he said ‘because you’re special, and I love you’. He’s such a sweetheart!” Isabel said, with a sweet and proud voice.

“Oh my God, Izzy hun, you’re SO lucky for having a boyfriend like him!” Christy smiled as she continued, changing the subject of their conversation, “So, you’re going to Pam’s party, right?! It’s gonna be like, so awesome!”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world!” Isabel said, and looked at her watch. “Oh gosh, lunch is almost over! I gotta go, I have to give Mr. Cowlin this letter from my dad... Well, you call me, okay hun? You have got to help me buy something for the party, my wardrobe is like, so old! See ya!” Isabel hugged her again and ran towards the principal’s office.

When she got there, she saw Liz Parker getting out of the office. She gave her a little smile – a false one – and thought, ‘Gee, I’ve seen this girl TWICE in one day. This cannot mean something good. I better watch out with my karma today!’ She waited for Liz to walk away and knocked on the office door and walked in when the principal told her to do so.

“Good morning, Mr. Cowlin”

“Good morning Ms. Guerin, or should I say good afternoon? How can I help you?”

“Well, my father asked me to give you this letter,” Isabel said as she handed Mr. Cowlin a small brown envelope.

Mr. Cowlin took it, looked at it, and was going to put it in his desk drawer, but was interrupted by Isabel’s voice.

“Oh, Mr. Cowlin, my father also asked you to read it right away and give me an answer as soon as you finished reading it,” Isabel said, making herself comfortable on a sofa that was in the office.

“Well, if ‘the boss’ said so,” Mr. Cowlin joked. He was very young comparing to the other principals West Roswell High had had, but he was just as competent. He had once worked for Dylan Guerin, and even with the age difference, they got to be friends, and even after he stopped working for him, he’d call him ‘boss’.

Just as Mr. Cowlin started reading Mr. Guerin’s letter, someone knocked on his door and opened it.

“Hey Mr. Cowlin, how-” the guy that had gotten in the office stopped talking as he spotted a girl inside the office. ‘Another pathetic cheerleader,’ he thought. “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know you were busy. I’ll wait outside,” he said, motioning to get out of the room.

“No, it’s okay Mr. Whitman, you can stay here. I’ll just finish reading this letter and I’ll get to you, okay?” Mr. Cowlin said. “Oh, Alex, this is Isabel Guerin, in case you don’t know her.”

“Yeah, Guerin, I remember her. She looks different though,” ‘More dumb,’ he added to his mind. “Hey Isabel, remember me?” Alex asked sitting beside her and letting the principal finish doing ‘whatever he had to do’. He was a little annoyed that he’d have to talk to her, ‘probably still an airhead,’ he thought, but it would be fun to talk to a brainless girl.

* * * * *

Isabel was shocked when she spotted the guy that walked into the principal’s office. He was quite charming, she thought, so, she shot him a breathtaking smile. Unfortunately, it didn’t take his breath away, he didn’t even notice it. That’s when he turned to her and asked if she remembered him. ‘Remember him?’ She had been so lost in her thoughts that she hadn’t even noticed Mr. Cowlin had mentioned his name. She looked at him a little confused, trying real hard to ‘remember’ him.

“I knew you wouldn’t. You’ve always been so caught up in your own cheerleading, popular little world you wouldn’t even notice someone who wasn’t a cheerleader or a football player or basketball player. I’m sorry to see you’re still like that,” Alex said, sure that no one had ever dared to speak to her like that. The thing was, he couldn’t care less as to what she thought.

Once again, Isabel was in shock. But this time, it was because of the way ‘prince charming’ had spoken to her. No one had ever been so rude to her. She was speechless. But she wouldn’t leave it like that, she had a reputation to take care of!

“Who do you think you are to talk to me like that?” She angrily asked.

“Alex Whitman, it is NOT a pleasure seeing you again,” he said, trying to hold back the laughter at the sight of her shocked face.

Isabel was perplexed. How dare him talk to her like that? She thought again over his name when it finally hit her.

“Oh, Alex, aren’t you that geek that went to live in a country in Europe, Switzerland I think, two years ago?” She asked with a grin on her face. It would be VERY easy to take a geek down.

“I’m glad to say I WAS that geek who used to think of you as a goddess. It’s great that I finally got realistic and realized what a dumb stuck up you are. I still kick myself sometimes for being so stupid back then” Alex proudly said. He was sure Isabel would get more than irritated with his last comment, but it was time for her to pay for what she’s done to him, for ignoring him for almost three years, and for being such a bitch to him and to his friends.

Isabel was going to give him a ‘hard’ answer, but was interrupted by the principal.

“Ms. Guerin, tell your father I’ll purchase all the stocks, but ask him to give me a call for some last arrangements, okay?” He said, putting the letter inside his briefcase.

“Yes, Mr. Cowlin, I’ll tell him.”

“Now, you should go to your class, lunch has ended fifteen minutes ago, and I don’t want you missing any classes,” Mr. Cowlin said, writing a note and handing it to Isabel. “Give this to your teacher so he or she will let you into the class.”

“Okay, thank you Mr. Cowlin,” Isabel said, opening the office door. She threw Alex a killing look, only to get a mocking look back, and left the room.

‘This is going to be a hell of a fun year,’ Alex thought.

* * * * *

Max was sitting on his jeep with a huge smile glowing on his face when he caught the sight of his sister, slowly walking out of the school. He honked to try to make her go faster – he had a LOT to do in the afternoon before ... – but Tess didn’t seem to notice. She was absolutely disconnected from the world around her. She had been like that at lunch, too, and Max was starting to wonder if it had anything to do with a certain basketball playing friend of his. He was almost sure it has to do with ‘matters of the heart’, after all, he was feeling the same way, like nothing else existed besides him and his angel...

‘Get back to the real world, Max! You can daydream about her being yours later. First off, you have to go home – no, not the CrashDown, not today – and settle everything up for a part of your dream come true afternoon! Then you’ll be free to think of whatever you want to. That is, her... STOP IT!’ his mind yelled at him.

“TESS, COME ON” Max shouted.

Just then Tess realized her brother was already waiting for her in the jeep. Slowly, she started making her way towards him. She’d been acting like that all day long - walking slowly, speaking softly, not really paying attention to anything except her daydreams. After she spoke to Kyle she had lost control of her mind, along her heart. Kyle had been so sweet, truthful and caring to her it drove her crazy. Crazily happy. And that had only happened in her dreams before. With a smile on her face, the smile that had appeared on her face after her rendezvous with Kyle, and it surely wouldn’t fade away any time soon, she got in the jeep.

“Tess, is there something wrong with you? I mean, not wrong, but... too right?” Max asked her, turning the engine on.

“What? What are you talking about, Max?” Tess tried her best confusion face – er, happy confusion face.

“Well, you know, you’ve had this dreamy look on your face since before lunch.”

“Oh, you mean the same dreamy look YOU have on you face?”

Max started blushing. ‘No, no, Max. No blushing. Don’t let her turn the table on you,’ his voice ordered.

“Yeah, right, and what makes you think I have that look on my face?”

“Just THAT,” Tess got a small mirror from her purse and turned it to Max, so he’d see himself.

Max looked at his reflection in the mirror. He had the most dreamy-happy-loveliest glowing look he’d ever seen. How could he have been so obvious?

“Yours looks just the same, only more than mine,” Max lied and turned the mirror to Tess. “Now,” he started as he got out of the parking lot, “don’t you try to turn this on me. Just spit out. What happened today that’s made you so happy?”

“”I’ll tell you only if you promise to tell me about your day too. Do we have a deal?” Tess smartly asked.

“Hmm,” Max pretended to be thinking about whether or not to agree. “Okay, deal. Spit it!”

“Okay. Four letters,” Tess was a little embarrassed to talk about Kyle, but it’d be good to talk to her brother about her feelings for him. Well, not only because Max was Kyle’s friend, but because this way her brother and she would be closer, and she needed him to be there for her anytime, just like she’d be there for him.

“Oh, that’s hard!” Max joked. “These letters wouldn’t happen to be K, Y, L and E, would they?” He smiled.

“Well...” Tess shyly said.

“Okay, what about him? Just remember I’m not your girl friend and I don’t need any ‘juicy’ details.”

“Max! Who said anything about ‘juicy’ details? No, we didn’t do anything that would have ‘juicy’ details to talk about... unfortunately...” Tess said, trying to suppress a smile.

“Ugh, Tess!”

“Just kidding, Max! Gee! As if you never wanted to do anything like that with Liz...”

“Like that what?”

“Oh, not like THAT, I mean... maybe like that, but not just exactly, you know?”

“No, I don’t. Care to explain?”

“C’mon Max, look me in the eyes and tell me you have never wanted to grab Liz and kiss her till she couldn’t breathe anymore?” Tess was starting to get a little mad at Max, he was acting like such an older brother! And he wasn’t even older than her! Okay, he was only fifteen minutes younger, but still...

“Tess, will you stop rambling and tell me already what’s happened between you and Kyle, or will I have to ask him?” Max tried to escape Tess’ insinuation, he wouldn’t be able to lie to her looking at her in the eyes. He was a HORRIBLE liar, and Tess knew that.

Tess smiled as she saw Max furiously blushing at her question. Her smile grew even bigger as he tried to escape her question. She was okay that he didn’t answer her question, after all his eyes and his actions had already given him away. Okay, she’d play along with him if that was what he wanted.

“Okay, Max, chill out! As I said, it was nothing big, I mean... well, long-story short, he mentioned dad, I got a little upset, he comforted me,” Tess put her finger on her brother’s lips as she noticed he was about to interrupt her with that ‘overprotective older brother’ thing, and continued, “as in HUGGED me and tried to calm me down with caring words... I know what you’re thinking, ‘Kyle Valenti, saying caring words’ right?!”

“Right,” Max answered out loud, but the rest of his answer was said only in his mind, ‘but not when it’s to the girl he’s head over heels.’ Max smiled. It had hard keeping from his sister that the guy she was in love with was in love with her too, for a long time. He would’ve told her if it weren’t for Kyle’s request to keep quiet.

“Well, but he did,” Tess continued, excitedly, “and he said he’d stop by today to talk to you and, you know, probably hang out at home.”

Max paled. ‘No, no, no, NO!’

“He can’t. Not today,” he managed to say, trying not to look desperate.

“Why ‘not today’?” Tess looked at Max, confused. And as she glanced at Max’s face, it hit her. “Oh, something tells me it’s got something to do with whatever has happened today,” Tess chanted.

Max simpered. But how could not him simper at the thought of his angel? No, not HIS angel. THAT angel... He looked at Tess who seemed to be anxiously waiting for him to say something, and then back at the road.

“I’m meeting Liz this afternoon...” his voice came out shyly, unlike the smile that appeared on his face.

* * * * *

"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains"

-Jean Jaques Rousseau
posted on 2-Sep-2001 6:32:19 PM

“You are WHAT?” Tess, surprised, asked.

* * * * *

“You are WHAT?” Maria, surprised, asked.

“You heard me Maria! I’m meeting Max this afternoon at seven,” Liz answered as if it was the most normal thing in the world. ‘It should be,’ she thought.

“OH MY GOD, Liz! You two are FINALLY going out on a date, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!” Maria, excited, exclaimed. She’d be jumping and hugging Liz if she weren’t driving.

* * * * *

“No, Tess, it’s not a date,” Max said, with a disappointed look on his face, “We’re meeting to make a Bio assignment,” he explained.

“Yeah, right, JUST a Bio assignment,” Tess sarcastically said.

* * * * *

“I bet you two will study the human body, and your assignment’s title will be ‘The depths of the mouth from a tongue’s point of view’,” Maria continued joking. She received a slap on her arm for her effort.

“MARIA!” Liz shouted.

* * * * *

“TESS!” Max shouted.

“What? It’s not like I’m making something up! I’m just predicting the future!”

* * * * *

“Oh, really? Let me predict your future then,” Liz faked a fortune teller expression. “Hum... I see you running after Michael Guerin...”

* * * * *

“... after Kyle Valenti, and when you reach him, he tells ya that he’s an alien, a king of another planet called, hmm...”

* * * * *

“... Antar, and that he’s in love with Pam Troy! And then, he kisses her right in front of you and the two of them leave Earth to live happily ever after!”

“VERY funny, Lizzie!” Maria said with a bitter voice. Ha! As if Michael would EVER choose Pam over her... or would he?

* * * * *

“VERY funny, honey bear!” Tess said bitterly. Ha! As if Kyle would EVER choose Pam over her... or would he?

“Gee, sorry, I forgot my sister has got NO sense of humor!” Max smiled, almost mimicking what Tess had said to him before school.

“Okay, Max, I got it! But anyways, where are you guys meeting at?!”

“At home,” Max naturally said.

“WHAT?” Once again, Tess asked, once again in disbelief.

* * * * *

“You are going over HIS house? Why aren’t you guys meeting at the Crashdown or somewhere more, uh... PUBLIC?” Maria asked in shock. ‘Liz and Max meeting, that’s good. The two of them kissing and ‘getting along’, that’s great. But they hadn’t done any of that yet, and she’s going to his place? What if no one will be there but them and Max tries to take advantage of Liz? Okay, that would totally NOT Max, but again, I don’t know him well, he could be a psycho pervert for all I know, it could happen! Bad, crazy, improbable things ALWAYS happen to good people! I’ll just kick everyone’s asses if I have to in order to keep my sister from getting hurt, that’s all I can say’, she thought.

“Oh, Maria, c’mon! I told you, NOTHING is going to happen! If we went to somewhere more public, like you said, we probably wouldn’t be able to concentrate on our assignment-”

“I think that the two of you won't be able to concentrate anyway, just being near each other," Maria thought out loud.

“Maria! Anyway, as I were saying, I know that that’s what libraries are for, but it’d be easier to go to his home, we’d be more comfortable – don’t even think about that – and plus, there are lots of Biology books there since his father used to be a biologist,” Liz said. She tried to push aside the thought of why his father USED to be a biologist and wasn’t anymore, succeeding since she was getting used to hide her feelings...

* * * * *

“Are you going deaf or something? I said-“

“Max, I heard what you said, you two are meeting at home, but... have you seen the mess our house is?” Tess asked. It was really a mess: dirty dishes, laundry to do, the kitchen to clean- no, every room to clean, things thrown all over the place...

“Yes I have, my dear sister. Have I told you today how beautiful you are? Oh, and your hair looks great today, well it always does...” Max had to try his best to convince his sister to help him get the house cleaned in three hours. Little did he know that the ‘compliments tactic’ had stopped working when they were like eight years old.

Tess looked at her brother. She could tell by the look on his face he was trying to drag her into cleaning the house with him.

“No, no, no, no, NO! You are by yourself this time Max! I’m really tired of saving your butt so many times, you’re not gonna get my help this time!” She stomped her feet. That was final.

A little time later...

“This is the LAST TIME I’ll ever do anything like that for you Max!” Tess yelled while she washed the dishes. “Why am I doing this again?” she asked as her brother passed by the kitchen getting some stuff off the floor.

“Because you just love your brother and because he happens to know exactly how to blackmail you,” Max said giving a peek on Tess’ cheek.

Tess sighed. Thoughts of all the things she’d still have to do were floating in her mind when she had a wonderful idea. She quickly finished the dishes and ran to the living room, where Max was.

“Max, why don’t you go get the rooms upstairs and I’ll get the living room done?” Tess offered.

“Huh? Oh, okay...” Max agreed and ran upstairs.

Tess watched as Max went upstairs and disappeared inside his room. She then turned to observe the living room. ‘Okay now, I gotta make this messy room look like a wonderful romantic room... Hum...’ Tess thought as she opened the cabinet. ‘Starting with the lighting... I think some candles will work great here...’

* * * * *

“Okay now Liz, DON’T PANIC! We’ll find something suitable for you here...” Maria said while picking some more clothes from inside Liz’s wardrobe and throwing them on the bed, along with almost EVERY piece of clothing Liz owned.

“Maria, you’re the one that’s panicking here! I’ll just wear some jeans and a sweater, we’re going to STUDY, and not going to a ball or something!” Liz laughed at the way Maria was losing it.

“Do you really think I’m gonna let you go meet Max with a pair of OLD jeans and an ugly sweater?” Maria said pointing to the clothes Liz had picked up.

“Hey! What’s wrong with my sweater? And these jeans, I bought them 2 weeks ago!” Liz asked with her hands on her waist.

“Yeah, sorry Liz, but they’re totally beaten up!” Maria said, still going through every part of Liz’s wardrobe. She HAD to find something decent for Liz to... “Aha! I found just the MOST PERFECT thing for you to wear!” Maria happily exclaimed.

“What is it?” Liz curiously asked, trying to look at what Maria had in her hands.

* * * * *

“I mean, who does he think he is?”

“I know! I was just like, dumbfolded, you know?!” Isabel was on the phone with one of her friends, doing her nails and discussing the Alex incident.

“Yeah hun, figured! But you know what? Don’t worry, I mean, if he’s coming back to our dear West Roswell High, we’ll put him back in his place.”

“Absolutely! Oh well, enough about that geek. We’ve got more important things to talk about, like Pam’s party!” Isabel blew on her nails one more time and got up, heading towards the kitchen. “Do you know what you’re wearing for it?”

“Oh, I have like, no idea, you know? I was thinking about going to the mall to buy something...”

“Me too! I bought some wonderful high-heeled shoes, slippers, and high-heeled sandals in Europe, but I don’t have new matching clothes! Oh, do you think we can go today to the mall?” Isabel asked, biting an apple and sitting on the living room sofa.

“Sure, I have nothing to do here anyways!”

“Can you pick me up? My brother needs the car to go do something for my dad today, so there’s no way I can get to the mall.”

“You liar!” Michael exclaimed as he got in the living room,

“Shush, Michael!” Isabel whispered, blocking the speaker with her hand.

“Oh, sure, how about I pick ya up in forty-five minutes?”

“That’s great, thanks! See ya hun!” Isabel hung up the phone and threw a pillow at Michael.

“What a bad girl you are, Izzy, lying to your friend like that,” Michael teased her.

“Just back off Mikey, I’m just not in the mood for driving, that’s all,” Isabel said, turning the TV on.

“You know,” Michael started as he sat next to her on the sofa, “maybe if you weren’t so false with your friends and with yourself, you’d get to be more social and have more NICE friends.”

“What, MY BROTHER trying to give me some insight?” Isabel asked in disbelief, laughing. “Yeah, right, maybe in some other lifetime, sweetie.”

“Isabel, Isabel, I may be a little dumb at school, but I’m not stupid. I know there’s a different Isabel there, inside of you,” he said, pointing at her chest, “that is sick and tired of being around stupid girls that only care and talk about their looks and the others’ clothing and non-important things like that.”

Isabel tried not to look in Michael’s eyes, for fear he’d eventually ‘awake’ that Isabel he was talking about and then, everything she’d built to hide her ‘real heart’ would fall apart. It was threatening to just as he continued.

“Isabel, sis, I may not be the deepest person you know, but you should know that I know better than I know myself. I mean, you’re my little sis, ya know, I’ve always looked after you even without you noticing it. And I know you’re not this airhead, empty girl. You’re more than that, and deep down inside, you know that, too. Will you help me save my sister?” Michael wasn’t used to being that deep and opened up, but after he’d heard his sister’s talk with one of those dumb chicks over the phone, he felt that maybe he could show Isabel she was not only the Ice Queen everyone knew, that she was more than that. How did he know? Well, eighteen years living with a person could do that, could help making you see the person behind her or his eyes.

“What the hell are you talking about, Michael? As you can see, I’m perfectly fine, you’re delusional!” Isabel still didn’t dare to look at him in the eyes, for fear by doing that, she’d open up to him, let him into her heart, He already was, but it wasn’t like he could see it. For fear that she’d fall apart, let her defenses down, and be... vulnerable. “You know what, Michael?” she asked, standing up and walking towards the stairs. “I’ll leave you alone with your ridiculous and crazy thoughts, and just go take a shower, otherwise I’ll be late for my ride. When you decide not to say stupid things like that, come back to talk to me, okay?” Isabel finished and ran to her room. She closed the door behind her and went to the bathroom. As she opened the shower, letting the water wet her completely, she allowed some tears to run freely down her face, mixed with the water running down the shower.

Meanwhile, Michael remained sitting in the living room, smiling, thinking of ways to ‘help’ his sister. Just then, an idea crossed his mind.

‘Perfect!’ he thought, grabbing the car keys, writing Isabel a little note, and leaving to the Crashdown with a smile on his face.

* * * * *
Part 12

“Oh my gosh, Maria! I didn’t even remember I had these in my wardrobe, they’re beautiful!” Liz said, taking the clothes Maria had picked out.

A red blouse with no sleeves that had two Japanese symbols that meant “I love you” in black, and a black knee-length skirt with some silver glittered details on its border.

Liz put the outfit in front of her body, looking at herself in the mirror.

“But isn’t this outfit a little too ‘classy’ for a study session?” Liz asked, still checking herself on the mirror.

“Of course not, Lizzie, it’s just perfect!” Maria said, smiling. “And I bet our little Maxie won’t even think straight when he sees you!”

“That’s the thing, Maria, I need him to think straight. We are going to do the Bio assignment and IF he happens to ask me out or anything like that, we’ll do it ANOTHER day and then I’ll dress myself to make him drool, okay?”

“Oh, so you DO want him, huh?!” Maria couldn’t help to smile even more. She had actually gotten Liz to admit she liked Max. Well, almost admit it.

“Oh, shut up, Maria,” Liz playfully said, throwing the chosen outfit at Maria, and the entering the bathroom to take a long bath. She just wanted to be clean and smell good because it was hygienic and polite, it had NOTHING to do with her wanting to look perfect for Max. Nothing at all. ‘Yeah, right,’ she thought as she turned the shower on.

Twenty minutes later, Liz stepped out of the bathroom wearing her undergarments but still rolled up in a towel. A smell of vanilla and roses filled up her room.

“Who, me, wanting to impress Max Evans? OF COURSE not!” Maria mocked of Liz, who just rolled her eyes and took her clothes. She then put them on, and put some small sandals. She dried her hair and just lightly put some powder on her face.

Liz examined herself on the mirror once, twice, three times. “Maria, this is just too fancy! I would NEVER go studying wearing this!” Liz said, looking at the mirror for the tenth time.

Maria just rolled her eyes. “C’mon, Lizzie, can’t you be a little more loosen up? Believe me, you look perfect for a studying session, and NOT too fancy. If it was me going to study at a hottie’s, I’d be way much fancier!”

“Well, Maria, your fashion sense is VERY different than mine and-”

“No, no, Liz,” Maria said, cutting Liz’s sentence, “we’re NOT going through this again, do you hear me? Now, just get whatever books you need to and let’s get going, or you’ll run late.”

Liz sighed. Arguing with Maria was just unnecessary; that was a lost cause. “Okay, okay! Now, do me a favor and get the car keys, will ya? They’re on the living room table, I think.”

Maria smiled. “Okay!” She went out of Liz’s room, but immediately after that she stuck her head in again. “Now, don’t you even think on changing clothes!”

“I won’t, sis. Promise,” Liz said, smiling, while picking some of her notes and notebooks and putting them on her book bag.

Maria went downstairs, expecting to find her mother sitting in the living room, working – as usual – with money and bills. To her surprise she found no one, nothing but the car keys and a piece of paper on the table, which said:

“Maria and Liz,
There had been a kind of emergency, and I had to go to
Delaney’s office. It’s nothing Delaney couldn’t handle by himself, but our lawyer said it would be better if I went there. So, I’m leaving the café in your hands, girls. Take good care of it!
Love, Amy”

‘Damn, mom!’ Maria thought as she finished reading the note. ‘Couldn’t you have picked a better time to leave?’

“Maria! Did you get the keys?” Liz loudly asked, coming downstairs.

‘Damn, damn, damn! Liz can’t see this note!’ Maria thought, frantically walking around the room, looking for a place to hide the note. “Er, yes, I did, Liz!” Time. She needed time. “Didn’t you forget anything in your room, or upstairs somewhere?” ‘I told you to put your apron on, but did you listen to me?’ Maria asked herself.

“No, Maria, I don’t think so,” Liz answered. When she was about to turn to Maria from the end of the stairs, her book bag hit a vase, which fell on the ground and broke down. “Oh, no!” Liz looked at the vase, or what was left of it, and bent down to pick the pieces up.

“Thank you,” Maria mouthed, looking up to the sky. Or ceiling, whatever. She quickly ripped the note up and threw it under the carpet, right on time for Liz to get up with the pieces of the vase on her hands.

“Maria, could you throw that away for me?” Liz asked.

“Yeah, sure,” Maria said, picking the former vase from Liz’s hands, who went back to the stairs to pick her book bag she had left on the floor to clean the mess she’d made up. “Just hold on a second and I’ll be back to take ya to Max’s.”

“No, Maria, you don’t have to. I’ll drive myself there,” Liz said, already with the keys in her hand.

“Are you sure, Lizzie, ‘cause it won’t be any problem for me to-”

“Maria, I’m sure. Besides, this way I won’t have to call you to pick me up later, for I may bother or wake you up,” Liz explained.

Maria stared at her sister with eyes wide open. “You’re intending on coming home late, missy? Okay, who are you and what have you done to my sister? I mean, I like this one better, but still, I loved old Liz, too,” Maria joked.

“Ha ha,” Liz faked a smile, “very funny, ‘Ria, you just crack me up.”

“Aww, you know you love me, sis.”

“Of course I do, but Maria, I’m running late!” Liz said, pointing at her watch.

“Okay then,” Maria said, pushing Liz towards the door, “you just go, have fun, I mean, study a lot,” Maria won a sarcastic look from Liz, “and don’t come back after midnight, Cinderella!”

“I won’t, my dear fairy godmother,” Liz joked along.

Maria was already closing the door when Liz stopped, and turned back at her. “Are you sure you’re gonna be okay here, Maria, and working?” she worriedly asked.

“Yes,” it was Maria’s turn for reassurance, “goodbye, Liz.” This time, Maria quickly fully closed the door so Liz wouldn’t notice the lie in her eyes. ‘I know I’m lying, but it’s for a good cause,’ she reassured herself.

Just then it hit her: she had to work for two now, and was already late! Maria quickly pulled her hair up in a ponytail, put on her antennas and apron and headed to the kitchen.

“Everything okay here, Jose?” She asked, getting her order pad.

“Si, chica, everything’s okay. Now, you get to work! There are lots of hungry people out there!” Jose, the cook, jokingly demanded.

And he was right. All the booths were fully occupied, and so were the tables inside and outside the café. Maria was panicked, but managed to put on her best smile to serve the clients.

And just as Maria stepped in the Crashdown from the back, from the front door entered a mysteriously happy Michael...

* * * * *

"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains"

-Jean Jaques Rousseau
posted on 2-Sep-2001 6:35:12 PM

Liz went out of her home; actually, she was more thrown out of her home... Slowly, she made her way towards the car, for she wanted to think about... everything. About Max, about her parents, about his father, about how the one thing they had more in common was one of the worst things that could happen to someone... About what she felt for him, or what she thought she felt for him, or... There were just so many things running through her mind at the exact same moment, it was overwhelming.

Just as she thought she’d be starting to put her thoughts in order inside her head, that she realized she was already inside the car. ‘Okay, Liz, you have to get there safe and on time, so, just breathe, push all this thoughts aside, and leave them on hold. You can get back to them later... Now, it’s time to think about Ma- Biology!’ Liz did as her mind told her to, and turned the car on. ‘Now, on to the Evans’s... No, hands, it’s not time to shake now!’ Her mind ordered. That car ride towards Max’s was going to be one hell of a journey...

* * * * *


“Damn it!” Isabel kicked the car tire. “Your car is gone hun,” she told her friend, “and we’re in the middle of the road! What if a truck driver stops here and kidnaps us and OH MY GOD, I don’t even wanna think about it!” Isabel sank down to the ground, beside the flat tire and sighed, closing her eyes forcefully.

“Let’s not panic, Izzy, LET’S NOT PANIC!” Mary Anne, her friend, frantically shouted.

“Okay, okay, we’ll just call someone and ask them to get us. That simple, no freaking out,” Isabel said, getting her cell phone from inside her purse. “I’ll call Justin, he’d go anywhere I asked him to, I’m sure he’ll come save us.” Isabel started dialing Justin’s home phone.


“What the... damn it, stupid cell phone!” Isabel yelled, throwing her cell phone on the back seat of the car. “Stupid battery! It would die at the worst time!!! Mary, gimme your cell phone to call Justin, I can’t stand being here for one more minute!” Isabel said with an annoyed voice, sticking her hand towards Mary Anne to get the cell phone.

Mary Anne just shifted her gaze to the road. Isabel rolled her eyes and turned to her again.

“Well, I’m waiting... I don’t have to whole day, hun...”

“Yeah, well, Izzy...” Mary Anne started, not knowing how to say it, “ I kinda have uh... I.... I mean...”

“Say it already!” Isabel yelled, she had already lost her patience, and just wanted to get the hell away from that boring girl.

“I... I don’t have my cell phone here...” Mary Anne stated, pushing herself as near to the car door as she could.

Isabel just laughed. “Come on, Mary, it’s not a good time for jokes. Now, give it to me. Now.”

“I... can’t, Izzy, I told ya. I don’t have it here.” Mary Anne was now scared of what Isabel’s reaction would be.

To say that Isabel was furious was downplaying it. She was way past furious.

“Why the hell do you have a cell phone if you don’t take it with ya?” she yelled, throwing her hands up.

“Well, Isabel, how could I possibly imagine that this was going to happen? Plus, I knew you were going to bring yours... And you know how much I hate being interrupted when I’m shopping!” Mary said, as if it were normal for a person to feel that way.

“Yeah, but now, because of your stupidity, we’re stuck here until a good soul comes save us!” That was it. Isabel was NEVER going shopping with a blond again. Ever.

“Izzy, don’t worry, I’m sure somebody’s going to see us! I mean, people do go shopping on Monday.... I think.” Mary Anne stood beside the car, and with her arms crossed in front of her chest, she prayed that someone showed up, so Isabel wouldn’t be so mad at her.

“Well,” Isabel said, standing up, “why don’t we just camp here, light a fire and try sending smoke signals, huh?” she mocked. ‘Yeah, right, as if-”

Her thoughts were interrupted by an engine sound, and Mary’s annoying screams.

“We’re safe! We’re safe! Oh, dear Lord, thank you!” Mary Anne was now jumping up and down in the middle of the road.

‘Oh, God, please, don’t let it be Josh, please... No, I mean, please, LET IT BE Josh, please....’ Isabel thought, seeing as the car approached them.

A red Ferrari stopped just some meters away from them. Josh Meltsen stepped out of it, taking off his sunglasses. ‘Thank you,’ Isabel mouthed towards the sky.

“Hey, gorgeous... oh, and hey, Mary Anne,” Josh said, nearing them.

Mary suddenly jumped on Josh. “Oh, Josh, I can’t believe you’re here! You can’t believe what’s happened!”

“I suppose you’re going to tell me, right?” Josh said, putting Mary back on the floor.

Then Isabel started. “Well, Mary’s car broke down, and my cell phone has gone crazy, we were trapped in the middle of nowhere, as you can see it, just hoping that someone would find us... and give us a ride back home. And then,” she sweetly said, gently touching his bare arm, “You showed up...”

Josh swallowed hard. “Well.. yeah, I was on my way to the, uh...” It was getting hard concentrating on anything with that goddess by his side, Josh was losing his track of thoughts, “... to the gas station, yeah.”

Isabel smiled. She knew the power she had over almost every guy on West Roswell High. No, over almost every guy EVERYWHERE. “So, Josh, could you take us a ride?” Isabel asked, seductively batting her eyelashes.

“Sure, it’ll be a pleasure... There one problem, though. You see, there’s only room for two people on my Ferrari, so... one of you will have to stay here till I take the other home...”

Josh hadn’t even finished his last phrase, Mary Anne ran to his car.

“I’ll go first, my house is nearer than Izzy’s... Right, Izzy?”

Isabel just stared at her, her mouth hanging open. How dare she?

“Don’t worry, gorgeous, I’ll get back quickly to get ya, okay?” Josh said, giving her a peck on the cheek.

“Yeah, whatever...” Isabel said, sitting on the road. The Ferrari was now nowhere to be seen, and she’d have to wait for at least twenty minutes till Josh got back. ‘That’s great, could my life get ANY worse?’

Right then, she heard another engine. Isabel quickly got up, and tried to recognize the person driving the black Mustang.

‘No, that can’t be... can it be him? No, no way...’ Isabel thought, and was slowly backing away.

The Mustang stopped near Isabel. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Getting out of the Mustang, there was Alex Whitman, with the biggest smile on his face...

* * * * *
Part 14

Liz had made her way to Max’s house; she was almost late. Just as she pulled her car near the Evans’ house, she saw someone... Ringing the door bell at Max’s... It was kinda dark, so Liz couldn’t make the person that was there... Was that... Kyle?

* * * * *

20 minutes earlier...

Max was running like crazy from one room to another. The clock was working against him; soon, Liz would get there, and there was no way she could see his house a mess. Max ran to his room, after checking all the other rooms. It was almost sparkling clear, like the others.

Max quickly went to the bathroom to clean himself. The house was clean – at least upstairs – and he had to be, too. Tem minutes later, he stepped out of the bathroom, and went back to his room to change into decent clothes.

‘What to wear, what to wear?’ he thought to himself. ‘C’mon, Max, you’re just studying!’ his mind told him. ‘Put something you feel comfortable in, and that’s it!’ Max picked a new white shirt he had bought – casual, really – and dark jeans. He dressed himself, brushed his hair, ran to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, put a nice cologne on, and checked himself in the mirror. ‘Yeah, I look good... I think... Damn, do I? Gotta ask Tess, I better ask her!’

“Tess!” Max shouted, making his way to the stairs. No response. He started going downstairs. “Tess, I need your opinion on wha-“ Max stopped as he got to the living room. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The room was all lit up with candles, red, yellow and white candles.

Tess was standing in the middle of the living room with a huge grin on her face. A proud and happy grin. “So, what do you think, Max? Isn’t this perfect?” she asked, looking at her astonished brother.

“I... Tess, what is this?” Max brought himself to ask. “Liz and I are meeting to study, we’re not on a date or anything like that!” Max didn’t know what to think. What would Liz think when she saw all of this? She’d freak out, thinking he wanted in her pants or... Or wouldn’t she? Damn, Max didn’t know what she’d think, he knew a lot about her, but that was different.

“Max, c’mon, it’s no big thing!” Tess smiled. “You could tell her all the lamps of the room are broken! Or that you prefer seeing her with candlelight...” Tess laughed.

Max jokingly threw a pillow at Tess, and got it thrown back at him. “What if she thinks I’m a pervert?” he asked seriously.

“Well, she won’t unless you can’t stop yourself from touching her,” Tess joked, running to the kitchen to avoid getting hit by a pillow once again.

Max went after her. When he reached her, with a devilish grin, he started tickling her. He knew she was in his hands now.

“Max, stop it!” Tess managed to say between her laughter. “C’mon, tell me you didn’t like it!”

“Well,” Max said, stopping the tickling and sitting on a chair. “It is nice, but I don’t know what Liz is gonna think about it...” he confessed.

Right when Tess was about to say something, the doorbell rang. Tess laughed at Max, who had a surprised and horrified expression on his face.

“Don’t worry, Max, you look great, Liz won’t even notice the candles for she won’t take her eyes out of you!” Tess said, running to open the door.

Max stood up, not knowing what to do. Should he go to the room, act like he was not desperate for Liz to get there? Or would that be too obvious? He decided to stay right where he was, trying to breathe normally.

When Tess opened the door, Max held his breath. ‘Act normal, Max,’ his mind warned him. He let out his breath again, relieved, as he saw who was at the door. Tess didn’t have the same reaction, though. She was pretty sure that it would be Liz standing outside, that she couldn’t hide her surprised look and smile when she saw Kyle.

* * * * *

Michael couldn’t help but smile as he saw Maria in her uniform, staring at him. He sat in a booth in Maria’s section – he always sat in her section when he was alone, since Max would always drag him to sit in Liz’s when he was with him – and waited for Maria to go ask his order.

Maria was surprised to see Michael there without Max. But then again, Max was going to... oh, yeah, study with Liz. But Michael was a little bit too happy... Every time he went to the Crashdown by himself and sat in Maria’s section, he’d put a bad-ass expression on his face, and be a smart ass to Maria, all of the time. ‘Maybe he’s figured a new way to piss me off,’ Maria thought, making her way towards his booth.

“Welcome to... whatever, what’s it gonna be, Guerin?” she bitterly asked, her order pad in her hand, waiting for him to mutter something. She hadn’t forgotten what he’d done to her at school, and in no way she intended to be nice to him.

“A little bitter, are we?” Michael teased her. “Okay, okay, I didn’t say anything!” he said as he saw the cold glare Maria gave him. “Well, I actually wanted to talk to you... but I don’t see that in the menu...”

“Yeah, you don’t see it because it’s NOT there. Won’t happen, Michael. Is there anything else you want? ‘Cause I gotta work, you know, those four letter that don’t exist in your vocabulary?” Maria was a little preoccupied. What was wrong with the guy? Was that really Michael? He was being way too nice to her... Maybe... he wanted something from her... But what would that be?

“Gee, calm dawn Maria, will ya? I just want to talk to you, differences aside, okay?” Seeing that Maria wouldn’t give in unless he told her the reason he wanted to talk to her, Michael continued, “I, uh... I need to ask you a favor, I kinda need your help on something...”

Maria couldn’t hold back her laughter. “Oh my God, YOU need MY help? I’m sorry, this is just way too funny!”

‘I should’ve known this was coming... Gotta use a different tactic, then...’ He thought to himself. “Actually, it’s not me that needs your help... Isabel needs it.”

Maria laughed even more. “Ice queen needs MY help! This just keeps getting funnier! Thanks for making my mood better, Michael, you are a great joker!” Maria had to sit down in order not to fall down.

Michael just stared at her, seriously staring at her. When her laughter subsided, he asked, “Can we have a real conversation now?”

“Sure, spit it out. I think I deserve a few more seconds of fun... But be fast, will ya?” Maria said. Her day was getting better and better.

“Well, I was thinking – shush – that maybe you could help Isabel stopping being so... you know, Isabel... I mean, I’m sure her brain will soon melt if she keeps hanging out with those stupid girls... Isabel’s not like that, I know my sister. And I know that you would be the perfect person to make the real Isabel come out.” Michael finished saying, looking at Maria and waiting for her response to what he said.

“Hmmm...” Maria put a ‘thoughtful’ look on her face, “Sorry, it’s not gonna happen,” she laughed.

“C’mon, Maria, you do me this one favor, and I’ll do something for you back, okay?” Michael tried one last time.

Maria was getting up, but sat back down as Michael offered something back in order for her to... help, whatever that supposed to mean, Isabel. “Now we’re having a conversation...” she grinned. “Okay, what’s your offer?” Maria couldn’t help but wonder what Michael could offer her.

“Well...” ‘Think fast, Michael! Think fast!’ Michael had no idea of what to say. “You choose,” he said, hoping he wasn’t making a huge mistake.

“Anything?” Maria asked, excited. Now THAT would really be good. Michael Guerin, in debt with her.

“Yes, anything. As long as you don’t come up with anything stupid like me having to run naked, you can ask anything,” Michael said making sure she understood what he said.

“Deal,” Maria said, shaking Michael’s hand. Both of them felt a shiver through their spine as their hands touched, but decided to pretend they had felt nothing.

“Deal,” Michael said, releasing the hold on Maria’s hand. “Now how about you bringing me a... uh, let me see...” Michael said, examining the menu a if he didn’t know it by heart, “a Will Smith and a Cherry Coke?”

Maria stood up, writing down his order, and smiled at him. “Right, be back in a sec with your order.”

Michael smiled, and watched as Maria went away, giving the cook his order, and attending other clients. ‘I think our relationship just got better,’ he thought. ‘Yeah, whatever our relationship is...’

* * * * *

‘Could this day get any worse?’ Isabel thought, as Alex approached her.

“It’s not good for a girl to be alone in the middle of the road at this time,” Alex said, smiling. “Need a ride?”

Isabel just rolled her eyes, answering him with an annoying voice, “No, Josh will be here in a second to pick me up. You can go, like, now!”

“Relax, Isabel, stress is no good for your skin...” Alex had to take this opportunity destiny gave him, to make Isabel pay back what she’s done to him.

“What would you know about good skin?” Isabel said bitterly, not even looking at Alex.

“If that was supposed to make me feel bad, you better try again later, missy,” Alex said with the same bitter voice Isabel had used. “You see, had I been like I was when I left, I’d feel crushed, horrible for you treating me like this, but not anymore. And you know why? Because I’m not the pathetic young guy who was head over heals for you I used to be. I grew up. Unfortunately... you didn’t.” Alex was now standing beside an astonished Isabel. “Now,” he said, “you will quit being a stuck-up princess and take the ride I’m offering you? ‘Cause I’m a gentleman, but I’m not stupid to keep waiting for you to get down from your platform.”

Isabel opened her mouth, but no sound came from it. She was supposed to be incredibly mad, telling him to knock it off trying not to be a geek, but... she couldn’t. She just couldn’t. Maybe because, deep inside, she knew he was right. She was nothing but a spoiled, stuck-up girl. And somehow, the way he spoke to her, even though it had been kinda rude, she could feel that he meant every word he was saying.

Weird. Isabel Guerin, listening to what a guy rudely said to her. But... there was just something about him... kinda like inviting her not-‘stuck-up’ side to come out, kinda like inviting the coldness in her to warm up. And she didn’t know what to say.

She didn’t know what to say. That was a first time. Isabel just stared at Alex, her mouth hanging open, not knowing what to say. She noticed Alex had taken a step back. For some reason, her mind screamed, ‘No!’. “No!” Isabel shouted. “I mean... Yes, I’ll take the ride... if it’s not too much trouble...” She said in a low voice, staring at Alex, trying to show him she wasn’t being... well, the Ice Queen Isabel.

It was Alex’s turn to lose his voice. He saw the truth in Isabel’s eyes and voice. He then walked towards his car, and opened the passenger’s door to Isabel. Isabel walked to Alex’s car, but before getting in it, she looked at Mary’s car, abandoned in the middle of the road. Should she leave it there like that? ‘Yeah, why not?’ she thought to herself. ‘Mary must’ve already called someone to get it... And if not, oh well, it’s not my car anyway...’ She thought, and hopped inside the passenger’s side.

Alex went to the driver’s side, got in the car, started the engine and turned the car around. “You’re gonna have to tell me how to get to your house,“ Alex said, smiling “’cause I don’t remember where it is anymore.”

“Okay,” Isabel said, also smiling,” just get out of this road and I’ll explain you the rest.

Right then, oblivious to both Alex and Isabel, a Ferrari passed by them, stopping by Mary’s car. Josh got out of it, looking around. “Isabel? You there?”

* * * * *

“Kyle!” Tess exclaimed. “I thought you had given up on coming tonight!” Tess tried hard not to think how gorgeous he looked.

“No, I just thought I’d get here sooner, but my father decided it was ‘maid’s day’ today, so I had to clean up the house.” Kyle told her, not able to stop his eyes from staring at hers.

“Kyle, come in,” Max said, breaking Kyle and Tess’ staring game. If he hadn’t broken it, they wouldn’t be fighting, but... ‘Better not think bout that,’ Max told himself.

Tess opened the door wider. “Yeah, sorry, come in.” She looked down, so Kyle wouldn’t notice her blushing.

“Hey Max, how you doin’ man?” Kyle asked, giving Max a ‘man hug’, two taps on his back. “Sorry I wasn’t here for you two... I feel really bad for not-“

“Kyle, it’s okay, you don’t have to blame yourself... How could you know that anything would happen?” Max interrupted Kyle. “You couldn’t... But I’m glad you came here, and you comforted Tess today. It meant a lot to me, to the both of us.”

“Yes, it did Kyle, thanks.” Tess said, while putting her hand on his shoulder, not able to keep some tears from streaming down her face. “Thanks for being here for us.”

Kyle sympathetically smiled. “That’s what friends are for... Anytime you two wanna talk or something, just come to me.”

“We will... “ Max said, almost not able to keep the tears from forming on his eyes. “So, what are you up for tonight?” He asked, changing the subject. It was still hard for him to talk about what had happened.

“Nothing, actually... I just thought I’d step by and hang in here for a while...” Kyle said, sitting on a chair in the kitchen. But he immediately stood up, alarmed by a shout.

“No!” Tess shouted. Max and Kyle both stared at her in surprise. Max was going to do the same, but Tess was ahead of him, and it surprised him she did so. “I mean...” ‘Think, Tess, think! There’s only one thing you can do... Just breathe and do it!’ her mind decided. “It’s such a beautiful night, why don’t we go for a walk to talk? The three of us.”

Kyle didn’t know why Tess had shouted like that, but actually liked her idea. “Sure, it is nice outside, not too cold or too hot...”

“You two go, I have a lot of homework to do... AP Bio, Mr. Harding thinks we have no life...” Max said, noticing the smile forming on both Kyle’s and Tess’ mouths.

“Okay, see ya later, Max...” Kyle said, walking towards the front door. Just then he looked at the living room, and saw all the candles. “What are all those candles for?”

“Er, we’re trying to economize electricity here...” Tess said, pulling Kyle towards the door. “Bye Max, nice studying!” She smiled, and opened the door.

Tess jumped back, not falling down because Kyle held her, when she saw Liz outside, her finger almost ringing the doorbell.

Kyle, still holding Tess – which felt really good – looked at Liz, then at the living room, then back at Liz. “Oh... Got it now...” He saw the awkward look on Liz’s eyes, and then noticed he was still holding Tess. He almost dropped her, but of course, wouldn’t let her get hurt. So he helped her get on her feet. “Hey Liz...”

“Liz! How you doing?” Tess quickly said, not even letting Liz answer her. “We’re great, and just leaving... Good to see ya, nice studying, bye-bye!” Tess smiled and pulled Kyle by the hand, leaving the house and a confused Liz by the door.

Max was standing still, on the exact same spot he was before. He was as surprised as Tess and Kyle when he saw Liz, only that he couldn’t move. Max kept staring at Liz all the time. She looked... beautiful. No, way more than beautiful. She looked... perfect.

Liz didn’t know what to do. Tess had opened the door right when she was about to ring the doorbell, and then everything happened so fast, she was still wondering what had happened. Just then it hit her. She was standing by their front door, staring at Tess and Kyle walking out of the Evans’ front garden, but... where was Max? Liz shivered as she felt someone inside the house staring at her. Slowly she turned around, and when her eyes met Max’s... she couldn’t even remember what she was doing there. Where was she again? Oh, yes, of course, she was in Heaven...

* * * * *
Part 16


“So...” Kyle repeated. He and Tess had been walking for about ten minutes, and haven’t said a word to each other. “Max finally got the courage to ask Liz out, huh?”

“Not really...” Tess laughed lightly. The silence that had fallen upon them was fading away, finally. “They are going to study... I mean, they are supposed to study tonight.”

“We’ll never know what these two are up to... though I think they’re both too... shy, and blind, too” Kyle said, matter-of-factly. “I don’t think they’ll ever find out that their feelings are mutual on their own...”

“What do you mean? Liz also...” Tess had noticed Liz glancing at Max sometimes, but... Liz liking her brother as much as he did, that was something new.

“Oops...” Kyle laughed. “Well, I’m not blind, and I’ve talked to Liz a couple of times... Asked her a couple of favors...” Kyle lightly blushed, and looking away, changed the subject. “But anyways, where do you wanna go? Something tells me we’ll have to put up with each other for a while...” Kyle joked. He was actually very glad he and Tess were going to spend some time together, without the pressure of a date... Just talking, hanging out... but together, nonetheless.

Tess looked suspiciously at Kyle. He looked like was hiding something... And Tess' curiosity would always take control. Favors. He asked Liz some favors. Could it be something to do with her? ‘Tess, wake up, will ya? It’ll never be about you... Friends, you’re just friends... And that’s what you’ll always be. So deal with it!’ Could... could it be about Liz? Did Kyle like Liz? Or Liz’s best friend, Maria? There was only one way to find out: slowly approaching that subject back...

“Yeah, think you can handle me, Valenti?” Tess grinned. “Well, we could go to the Crashdown... Or to the park... What do you prefer?”

“Park, I think... I prefer the natural view... And it’s been a while since I last went there...” Kyle lied. He’d always go to the park, and even though he had been away for the summer, he’d gone to the park as many times as those who had spent the summer on Roswell. Kyle liked it there... He felt at peace there. The park was usually quiet, empty, and Kyle thought that there was not better place than there. He’d go to the park to think, to clean up his mind, to relax. And for the last months, he’d go there to think about his life, about... about his feelings for Tess. They were getting stronger, even though Kyle made no effort to even get closer to Tess. But as he saw her more, as he exchanged words and glances with her, he’d felt those feelings getting stronger.

And he’d always go to the park to seek for courage to talk to her. To open up. He’d been afraid to let his feelings show, for he’d be vulnerable, and he was afraid to get rejected. Not for what anyone would say, he didn’t care what the others said. But for his heart, that would be crushed. So he kept it to himself. Until Max found out, of course, but still... He never talked a lot to Max about his feelings for Tess, for two reasons. One, that she was his sister, and two, that she should be the first one to know what his feelings were. That was, if ever got the courage to confess them...

“I like it there, too... It’s just the perfect place when you wanna put your thoughts in order, when you need to clear your mind up...” Tess shyly said. “Whenever I’m feeling bad, sad or when I need some space, I go there... Just watch the view, and listen to that silence... It’s just perfect...” Tess looked away, afraid to see Kyle’s expression after she said that. He’d probably be thinking she was a freak. ‘Way to go, Tess!’ her mind mocked her.

“That’s exactly what I do... The park is probably the only place where I feel... you know...” Kyle didn’t quite know how to express that feeling... It was like he could feel at peace with himself.

“... at peace with yourself,” Tess completed his phrase. “I feel the same way too.”

Kyle smiled. “Exactly. You and I have a lot in common, Evans.”

“Yeah? Is that a good or a bad thing?” Tess looked at Kyle, shyly, but simply smiling.

“Definitely a good thing,” Kyle looked at her in the eyes, and the to the sign in front of them. They had just gotten to the park.

* * * * *

Time. What’s that again? How fast does it past by? Is it important? Time...

Max and Liz had been staring at each other for God knows how long. It was like time had stopped and nothing else existed around them. They were dancing in each other’s eyes, sweetly shivering from the warm feeling that was passing in their bodies...

A honking car broke the magic that was in the air. Liz and Max both turned away, blushing so much that it looked like their skin was burning. Liz slowly closed the door behind her, trying to steady her breathing. Max started putting away some plates that were on the table. He slowly walked towards the sink, time enough for his face to get its natural color back. At the same time, Max and Liz turned towards each other, and their eyes met again. If that went on all night long, they wouldn’t even get out of the kitchen.

“Hey, Max... Sorry I’m late...” Liz decided to speak, trying to wash the awkwardness.

“It’s... not a problem, don’t worry... Sorry for the, uh...” Max still couldn’t form the words very well.

“Yeah, it’s okay... I was, uh... too...” Liz said, staring at the floor. “Did I make any sense now?”

They both laughed. “Yes, perfect sense...” Max answered. Before he let silence fall over them again, walking towards the kitchen door, he said, “we better start the paper... I don’t think we can hand Mr. Harding a text about staring contests...”

“Me neither... It would be very easy for both of us, though,” Liz smiled. She was still amazed of how they could so naturally make fun of their... staring...

Max just smiled back at her, and went closer to her so he could lead her way to the living room. That must have probably been one of the longest not-school topic conversations they had had, and he already felt as it they had known each other for a long time...

And just when they got to the living room, Max remembered about the candles. He noticed how Liz abruptly stopped as she saw the candle lit room, and how her eyes slowly examined the whole room.

Max looked down. ‘Bye Liz, see you when you recover from this and see that I’m not a freak perverted psycho that wants in your pants... It was nice to see you still sane...’ He thought, getting ready to watch Liz running away from him. ‘Oh well... since when anything in my life is perfect?’

Liz had her mouth hanging open. She felt a shiver up and down her spine. Finally, she found her voice to speak. “Max, this is just... perfect...”

Max looked up. “You... Do you think so?” he asked, looking at her straight in the eyes to make sure she meant what she was saying, and was not trying to make him think she liked it so she could run away as he turned around.

Liz, still amazed, only nodded.

Max shyly smiled, quietly thanking his sister.

* * * * *


"Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains"

-Jean Jaques Rousseau