Visions, Love and Vows (chpt 1)
Author: Ashton
Email: maxpert88⊕hotmail.com
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything Roswell, etc
Rating: PG or PG-13
Category: M/L with gang thrown in
Summary: Based on some spoilers for Viva Las Vegas. Post EotW. Max still doesn’t know Liz and Kyle didn’t sleep together. The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

Author’s note: Don’t hate me, please. I am working on my other stories (OotB and BatR to name a few)…this one just came to me and I had to write it…just to get it out of my system. This one is strictly about M/L and Max finding out the truth. There are no alien situations to deal with…no major crisis. Just a simple M/L reunion. Not going to be long. I give you ALL permission to cyber-flag me if it does. Hope you enjoy and I live off your feedback, ya’ll! So, let me know what you think!!!

BehrHugs,
Ashton
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~ chapter 1 ~

Jealousy bites.

And then, it nibbles. And with each tiny nibble, a part of self-confidence disappears. Piece by piece that acceptance and sense of belonging that wrapped itself so firmly around your entire being are replaced by rejection. Loss. Hopelessness.

Then the gnawing begins. Right in the middle of your chest. Every time you try to breathe, there's a catch. Every beat of your heart, skips. And your mind struggles against the fact that she's no longer yours. You have no rights. No claim that would allow you to tell whatever guy happens to be sending looks her way that she belongs to someone.

That she's yours.

And you're never letting go...

Max Evans slammed the journal he'd been writing in shut and quickly shoved it under his pillow as Isabel swung his door open. "Max? Are you ready? We're supposed to meet the gang at the Crashdown in ten minutes."

Max nodded and cleared his voice nervously as he moved to the edge of his bed. "Yeah. I've just got a few more things to pack…"

Isabel crossed her arms in front of her as she watch Max glance around the room as if searching for something when it was clear his bags had been packed and sitting at the foot of his bed for…knowing Max…probably two days. Isabel's gaze softened when she saw Max's hands shake as he absently reached for something on his dresser. "She doesn't like him, you know."

Max's head snapped up. "W-what are you talking about?"

"Liz. And Sean." Isabel shook her head slightly. "She's nice to him and yeah, she's probably flirting with the idea, but…" Isabel sent her brother a sympathetic smile. "…her eyes don't shine the way they do whenever she looks at you."

And the gnawing abated.

He knew Isabel was right. He felt it deep in his heart. Sean DeLuca was like the tiny puppy dog Liz had found outside the Crashdown one day. Wounded and abandoned, Liz's compassionate heart couldn't help but reach out to help it. And now, Sean with his juvie background and parentless upbringing was stirring the same chords of sympathy in her heart. But…it wasn't love. Or even interest.

Of all the people in the universe, Max Evans should know what Liz Parker looked like when she was in love. And Sean DeLuca wasn't it. Still, he and Liz weren't exactly what you would call 'together' and there always was the possibility…

Max swallowed hard as his gaze dropped. "Iz, I really don't want to…"

Isabel put her hands up in a form of silent protest. "Just a little sisterly observation, that's all. Besides that, Sean isn't even going." She waited to see the look of relief on Max's face before flipping her hair over her shoulder and turning to head out the door. "Oh, by the way…Tess called and said not to pick her up. She and Kyle will meet us there."

Max shut his eyes and stifled a groan. "Kyle's going?"

Isabel stuck her head back in the door. "Yeah. He got out of his plans last minute. Tess asked him along." Clapping her hands together, Isabel nodded at Max's bags. "Get a move on, Max. I swear sometimes you're worse than me when it comes to packing…"

Isabel disappeared down the hall and Max sank down onto his bed with a weary sigh. Great. Just what he needed. Kyle was coming with the gang on this weekend to Vegas. The one place he’d always wanted to share with just Liz. The guy that Liz said she slept with was now invited on a trip where they would be spending the night somewhere. Together. 'Said' being the operative word in that silent thought. Max still had a hard time swallowing that story hook, line and sinker.

Especially after analyzing it from every possible angle.

Too many things still didn't add up. Liz's repeated attempts to get him hooked up with Tess. The urgency in her actions…the fear in her eyes…that night. The confidence that things had to end between them…as if something bad would happen if they didn't. Then, of course, there was the fact that Liz barely gave Kyle the time of day since then. Not that *that* was anything different from before. Since breaking up with him last year then re-establishing good will between them, Kyle had been on the periphery of Liz's circle of friends. A comfortable, but distant friendship.

The problem was…Liz wasn’t acting at all like a dream of hers had come true. She didn't treat Kyle as if she's just shared the most intimate moment of her life with him. There was no added level of closeness. No inner, secret knowledge of sharing such a monumental step with someone. Max knew Liz didn't necessarily view casual sex favorably and yet, she seemed almost eager to shrug away her night with Kyle as just that.

And Kyle. He was less than solicitous of Liz. A passing nod of friendship at times or a quick smile of encouragement as they passed in the hall at school. The way he'd told Max he'd protect Liz that day they had to disappear out of town or disappear altogether. The message was clear. Kyle had meant he'd bring her back safe…to Max. It was as if Kyle knew she belonged to Max in the most profound ways. Ways he would never be able to touch. It was the kind of knowing that doesn't cross the line of intimacy without having serious designs of your own.

Which Kyle didn't. Unless, of course, you were talking about Tess. Max would have laughed at the irony of this situation if he'd found it the least bit funny. The girl who dropped into town and blew his life apart resulting in the loss of the only girl he would ever love, was now suddenly hanging all over another guy. And not just any guy…Kyle. Not that it bothered him. He was actually relieved to not be the focus of Tess' intense romantic attention. Still…he couldn't reconcile not being able to have Liz when it was pretty clear that Tess was beginning to see the light in a different direction.

Since when was it decreed Max Evans and Max Evans alone should never get a break in life? Or never know peace? Or never have Liz Parker in his arms for more than a moment in time?

And the biggest proof of all…Max knew Liz. He knew how powerfully passionate she could be. He also knew how careful she was about losing control. A contraction in terms, to be sure. But that was Liz. The methodical thinker who analyzed every possible outcome before taking a leap and following her heart…right into Max's arms. That romantic heart that had a dream of what her first time would be like. The right time. For the right reasons. With the right person.

Liz and Max had never really had to talk about it…they just knew. When the time came for them to make love the first time, it would be them. It would love. And it would perfect.

Kyle…just simply didn't meet the criteria.

Still, Max had seen what Max had seen. And in seeing, it appeared that Kyle had taken what Max felt deep in his heart was his. Even if all the numbers didn't add up and hooking up with Kyle was the last thing on Liz's mind, the image of Liz and Kyle in bed together was hard to dismiss. And after a while, its hard to even convince a stubborn heart like his that eyes don’t lie…

Pulling his journal from its hiding place, Max opened it back up and grabbed the pen he'd stuffed inside in his hurry.

And then come the moments when nibbling and gnawing aren't quite enough for jealousy. No. Jealousy is greedy. And ravenous. With a large mouth of despair that loves nothing better than to take whole chunks of your heart at a time. When will it ever learn that I don't have that much of a heart left to devour?

“Maaaaxxx!!!”

Max’s head snapped up at the sound of Isabel’s impatient call. “Coming!” Closing his journal with a sigh and tucking it safely under his bed, Max took a deep breath and grabbed his bag.

“Alright, Max. Even if whatever is left of you heart still belongs to Liz, she is a free agent. Do *not* ruin this weekend for her…” One silently spoken vow and Max Evans was ready to face the world.

Or so he thought…

tbc…