Title: Every Now and Then
Author: Ange (AngelaSpringer⊕aol.com)
Rating: Nothing beyond R so far.
Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form, associated with or own any part of Roswell.
Summary: Without giving too much away, let's just say Liz comes up with an alternative way to make Max fall out of love with her in TEOTW. So after that episode, my AU takes over!
Author's Note: I am picking up the story a few years down the road. This idea has been running around in my head since the whole "Future Max" disaster. It eventually combined with another storyline rattling around in my Roswell obsessed mind until I came up with this. Anyone looking for a sequel to "The Ones They Left Behind", be patient. That's my next project, after I finish this up.
A convoluted mixture of dust, sand, and gravel slowly began to settle in the wake of the now stationary tires. She closed the car door as quietly as possible while glancing up and down the deserted highway she had just pulled off of. Her gaze finally settled on the sleeping toddler in the back seat, the peaceful smile she wore greatly contrasting with the drops of moisture pooling in the corners of her lashes. Quickly rolling her eyes skyward and blinking them repeatedly rid them of the offending tears, but unfortunately not the emotions that had originally produced them.
With a sigh, she silently acknowledged there was nothing that could completely obliterate the pain.
Walking to the front of her car, she gently hoisted herself up backwards so that she was seated on the still warm hood and planted her feet on the bumper. In the dimming light, she once again checked her precious cargo, making sure she hadn't jostled him awake. She hadn't. Another sigh...at least there was something she could do right.
Turning herself fully forward again, she took deep breaths and placed her head in her hands. Cleansing breaths...that's what Maria had always called them. If she remembered right, they were supposed to clear your mind and calm your emotions. All they were doing for her now was drying out her mouth and making her very aware of her elbows digging into the tops of her thighs.
A rueful smile now claimed her as she brought her head up. Realizing that she'd already reverted to hearing Mariaisms in her head only showed how close she was- physically and emotionally- to home.
That was another thought for her to ponder. It had been quite awhile since she had considered this home. A few more miles on this road and it would become official. The sign would make it so. She closed her eyes and saw it- "WELCOME TO ROSWELL!"
Noises from inside the car brought her swiftly out of her daydream and crashing back to the present.
He was awake. Liz Parker slowly slid off the car and made her back back to the driver's side door. "I'm right here," she called out softly as she pulled the handle and took her seat.
"Where are we?" He questioned in his sleep-soft child's voice.
"Almost home." She smiled and strapped her seatbelt across her lap. Clicking the device closed, she looked out the windshield at the sight she had stopped to see.
Inky blackness had begun to cover the desert, but she could just make out the outline of the giant outcropping of rocks in the distance.
Quelching the questions in her mind, Liz once again checked up and down the desert highway before easing her car back onto the blacktop. So many thoughts and emotions swirled in her head, only to be interrupted by the child behind her.
"Yeah?" She smiled into the rearview mirror at him.
Her smile fell, she paused and gave the only reply she knew, "We're almost there."
OK, I know it doesn't get into the story much, but I need some honest opinions here. I promise a dreamer ending and something horrible for Tess...lol...
posted on 22-Oct-2001 11:18:47 AM
Liz Parker settled into the silence in her mind with gratitude. It seemed that lately, especially the last few days while she'd been driving to Roswell, her thoughts had been loud to the point of riotous.
But, right now, at this very instant, the only sound to be heard was the soft fuzzy sound of the bathtub faucet dripping onto decadent mounds of bubbles at her feet. Gently sinking her head under the water line, she removed even that gentle reminder that the world was still moving.
After an all too brief escape into nothingness, Liz's memory began to stir back to life. Her eyes drifted shut from the onslaught of problems they brought with them. She struggled to recall her life before all this...history...came down on her shoulders. Was it only a week ago? Seven short days...no, she corrected herself...seven *long* days ago?
She shook her head and began to remove the pins holding her long chestnut hair in place while climbing out of the bathtub. Somewhere in her mind, she acknowledged that the bubbles had gone flat and the water had turned cold. Wrapping her silken robe around her small frame, she briefly wondered how long she had been in here. With an almost hysterical laugh, the notion that it was probably an hour, but could have been days flitted through her mind.
"The next thing you know, I'll be talking to myself."
Her voice sounded extremely loud and foreign to her ears in the quiet of the night. After reaching down to unplug the drain, she silently watched the water swirl out of the tub. "Get a grip, Liz."
Then, she laughed and checked her reflection in the mirror above the sink. Running a brush through the soft, straight hair, she realized it had grown since she'd last been here. It now reached to the belt of her robe. "I should really get this cut. I need a more adult style or something."
She found her eyes in the reflection and a shudder ran through her. "Just don't start answering yourself and you'll be fine," she whispered to herself with a grin.
Leaving the bathroom, she quietly stepped into her childhood bedroom. He was sleeping, safe and sound, on her old bed, the comforter tucked under his chin. The air quickly chilled her skin through the damp robe so she grabbed the warm pajamas out of her suitcase.
As she changed, she looked around the room she had practically grown up in. While buttoning the top of her favorite sleep shirt, her gaze settled on the photographs still displayed on her dresser. She had left them, sure that she would be back to get them. Only, she'd never come back.
The sadness they caused made her want to look away, but she was transfixed. Though she didn't recall walking to them, her hands gently lifted them one at a time for a closer look. Blowing a fine film of dust off the glass, she stared hard at each person in the pictures.
First was her prom picture, she smiled tenderly...she was wearing a black floor length gown and Kyle looked so handsome in his tuxedo.
The next was Michael and Maria, wearing their Crashdown uniforms and grinning with their arms around each other.
Then came the picture from Maria's sweet sixteen party. That was the year she had cut off her glorious golden curls. Liz had always envied Maria her blonde ringlets and had been horrified at the "pixie cut". Maria had one arm around Liz and the other around...Alex.
Liz didn't return this particular photo to it's spot, instead she held onto it in her left hand while picking up the last picture with her right.
It was another shot from prom. Four girls in gowns with smiles plastered on their deliriously happy faces. "The Four Musketeers," her father had called out as he took the snapshot.
The first girl was Maria, her right hand held up in a peace sign while her left hand pointed to the crown worn by Isabel. Prom Queen, Isabel Evans had her right arm wrapped around Maria's waist while her left was slung over Liz's shoulders. Liz was using her right hand to hold the crown on Isabel's head because Maria had poked it loose, while her left arm was linked with the right arm of...Tess.
Liz quickly placed the frame face down on the dresser and looked back at the one in her other hand.
Secret...so many secrets. And lies. Her secrets...their lies. Or vice versa. Which had come first? It was hard to remember. It was all so...distant. So difficult to grasp onto.
She carried the picture to the bed and sat down, trying not to disturb the boy sleeping behind her. Carefully, she placed the frame under the lamp on the bedside table and picked up the phone.
The dial tone sounded harsh in her ear and caused her to glance behind her. She'd been doing that constantly in the past week. Caring for this child and looking over her shoulder.
With a glance at the clock, she calculated the time difference and began to dial. When she heard the, "Hello?" on the other end, she slowly released the breath she hadn't known she was holding.
"It's me." Liz whispered, not wanting to wake the sleeping child.
"Liz?" Came the reply, "are you in Roswell?"
"Yeah...I, uh, got in a few hours ago. I wanted to wait until everyone fell asleep."
"Very cloak-and-dagger of you," he said with a chuckle.
A genuine smile graced her face. "I've heard I used to be pretty good at that." After a pause, she continued in a more serious tone, "I thought it was necessary. Couldn't have my parents asking who I was calling."
"True," he replied with a sigh. He paused and Liz knew he hadn't been disconnected only because of the slight noise made by his breathing. "How's Adam?" he finally asked.
"Fine. Asleep right beside me, actually."
"How did you explain him to your parents?"
"They know I do volunteer work at the shelter," Liz began, recalling the story she had told her folks earlier. "I said someone brought him in, that he was alone and needed help, so I decided to foster him."
"Not too far from the truth." He noted wryly.
"Good lies hardly ever are." Liz answered, then released a sigh of resignation.
"I know this hasn't been easy, Liz. We...believe me, we had no choice. Tomorrow, contact Maria. Hell, call them all. They'll think it's strange if you don't. Give them the same story you told your parents."
"Then what?" Liz asked desperately.
"Then...I'm not sure. But..." Liz heard a familiar female voice in the background, and then he continued, "He's safe there, Ok? Just...enjoy being home. I'll be in touch."
"Alex?" Liz whispered urgently.
A dial tone.
Replacing the phone onto it's base, she again picked up the photograph of her, Maria, and Alex. With shaking hands, she turned it over and read the newspaper clipping taped to the back.
"Whitman, Alexander C.-
Passed away May 19, 2001 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. "Alex" was survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Whitman of Roswell, New Mexico. Services will be held..."
Liz drifted her eyes away and let the tears fall. Her mind softly replayed the song Maria had sung at his funeral. She had carried the pain of losing Alex in her heart all these years. Up until seven *long* days ago.
After replacing the picture and turning off her lamp, Liz settled herself under the blankets beside Adam. She probably had four or five hours until he woke up.