posted on 24-Oct-2001 1:38:55 PM
Author: Fanatic101 (Dani)

E-mail: koval1⊕aol.com

Category: A\U with M\L

Rating: NC-17

Summary: I'm sick of all this alien sci-fi stuff on the show and no romance. So in this Fic, aliens ARE NOT involved. The pod squad are all normal humans with normal problems. This is for all the dreamers out there. Never give up hope!!!!!

Disclaimer: The idea of the story is the only thing I own. The rest I'm just borrowing.

My Dream Come True

Authors Note: Just to let you guys know, I'm rewriting this story to clean it up a bit. I noticed that I had quite a few puncuation and spelling errors, so as soon as I'm done, I'll just post the revised story over this one.

Part 1

Liz Parker ran down the halls of West Roswell High School. She quickly glanced at the clock that was hanging in the hallway. Damn! She thought to herself. She couldn't believe that she overslept this morning. On top of being late to school, she had to stop by her locker to get her books, making her even more late. After grabbing everything she needed from her locker, she ran to her first period class.

"Ms. Parker," Mr. Fortin, her chemistry teacher said as Liz walked into the classroom. "It's nice of you to join us. Could you stick around after class for a minute?"

Liz tried her best to hide her face and the blush that crept up her cheeks. She shyly nodded her head before taking her seat.

"Nice going, Parker," Kyle Valenti teased from his seat next to her. Kyle was a nice guy, but Liz only liked him as a friend. He had asked her out a couple of times, but after the first date, she realized that he wasn't someone she was interested in romantically. Just as a friend.

Liz glanced around the room and locked eyes with her best friend, Maria Deluca. Maria shook her head at Liz while smiling. She mouthed the words 'bad girl', which caused Liz to smile back and shrug her shoulders. The rest of the class hour went by rather slowly, and when the bell finally rang, Liz started gathering her things. She walked up to the front of the class and waited for Mr. Fortin to talk to her.

"Ms. Parker," he began after the classroom emptied out.

"I'm sorry I was late today," Liz interrupted. "I forgot to set my alarm, then my dad wanted to talk to me, and the drive over here took forever..." she suddenly stopped after noticing the look on her teachers face.

"I didn't want to talk to you about being late," Mr. Fortin said.

"Oh," Liz replied. "What did you want to talk to me about then?"

"I know that you're a junior," he began. "And not that many juniors make it into my advanced chemistry class like you did. I need your help."

This caught Liz by surprise. Her chemistry teacher was asking her for help. "With what?"

"With a struggling student in my fifth period class. He's a senior, and he needs to pass my class in order to graduate. I wanted you to help me tutor him."

"Sure," Liz responded, still in shock.

"I would give you extra credit for your help, but after looking at my grade book, I don't think you'll need it."

Liz smiled before she shifted her books from one arm to the other. "Sure, I'll help out. Who needs the help?"

"Michael Guerin," Mr. Fortin responded.

Liz's smile suddenly vanished as her mouth dropped open. "Mi...Michael Guerin?" she asked.

"Yeah. You know who he is?"

Did she know who he is? Of course she knew. He hung out with Max Evans, the hottest and most popular guy in school. He was a senior, too, and all the undergraduate girls drooled over him every time he walked by. Even all the senior girls wanted to be with him. Liz spent quite a bit of her time watching him at lunch, since they shared the same lunch hour. She noticed that he hung out a lot with his sister Isabel, and her boyfriend Alex. There was also a short blond that hung around him a lot. Liz thought her name was Tess, but she could be mistaken.

"Yeah, I know who he is," Liz responded after realizing that she had slipped into her own little dream world in front of her teacher.

"Great," Mr. Fortin responded. "Why don't you stop by here after school and we'll set up a tutor schedule with him."

"Okay, sure."

"You better get to your next class. I wouldn't want you to be late again."

Liz walked out of the classroom and found Maria waiting for her.

"So..." Maria said, urging Liz to tell her why the teacher wanted to talk to her.

"He wants me to tutor Michael Guerin," Liz said as she began walking down the hallway with Maria.

"Michael Guerin?" Maria asked. "He's a senior, isn't he?" After Liz nodded her head, Maria's eyes suddenly widened. "He hangs out with Max Evans, doesn't he?" After Liz nodded again, Maria let out a little shriek. "This is your chance, Liz."

"What are you talking about?" Liz asked.

"This is your chance to talk with Max," Maria clarified. "If you're going to tutor Michael, it would be a great opportunity to have him introduce you to Max. Can you imagine what it would be like hooking up with that hunk? You would have every single girl in the entire school envying you."

Liz shook her head. "Like that would ever happen. Have you seen him? Why would he want to go out with me?" Even though Liz said that, she couldn't help but image what it would be like to have Max hold her, to have Max kiss her. She figured that it wouldn't hurt to live in her own little dream world. In all honesty, Liz would be on cloud nine for the rest of her life if Max would just say 'hi' to her.

"You'll never know if you don't try," Maria said. "Well, I'm off to the wonderful world of mathematics. See you at lunch."

"Yeah, see ya," Liz said before walking to her next class.

...........................................

Lunchtime rolled around, and Liz found herself staring at Max Evans...again. She always stared at him during lunch. He was talking with his sister and her boyfriend, and he had a smile on his face. Liz loved the way that he smiled. His whole face lit up, and his eyes seemed to glow. She loved the little dimples that appeared in his cheeks as well.

"He's hot, isn't he?"

Liz turned her head to find Tess, the little blond senior that hung out with Max, standing right next to her. "What?" she asked. This was the first time that Tess ever spoke to her.

"Max Evans. I noticed you staring at him."

A blush came up Liz's face and she tried her best to hide it. "I was just looking for my friend when I noticed him. I have to tutor his friend Michael in chemistry, so I was thinking about asking Max where I could find him." Nice recovery, Liz thought to herself.

"Yeah, Michael doesn't think to much about school." After a brief pause, Tess introduced herself. "I'm Tess," she said, extending her hand to Liz.

"I'm Liz," she said as she shook Tess's hand.

"So...do you know Max?" Tess asked.

Liz looked over at Max again, and noticed that he was nearly doubled over in laughter from something that Alex had said. God, he looks so cute when he laughs, she thought. "No, not really," she responded.

"Do you want an introduction?" Tess asked.

Liz looked back at Tess in shock. Liz thought that Tess was Max's girlfriend, and here she was, offering to introduce her to Max. "No, no...that's okay. I really have to get going."

"Oh, come on. It will only take a second," Tess urged with a friendly smile.

Liz looked around desperately for an escape. She did want to meet Max, but she had no idea what to say to him, or how to act around him. Finally, she spotted Maria at the door and let out a sigh of relief. "I really should be going. My friend just walked in."

"Okay," Tess said. "It was nice meeting you Liz."

"Nice to meet you too," Liz answered before she walked over to Maria. She kept her back turned towards the cafeteria; just in case Max glanced over in her direction.

"Was it just me, or did I just see you talking to Tess?" Maria asked.

"Can we go, please?" Liz begged. She looked over her shoulder and saw Tess talking to Max. She quickly turned and faced the doors when she saw Tess look right at her and point to her.

"Oh my god!" Maria exclaimed. "Max in looking right at you." After glancing at her friend, Maria rephrased her last comment. "Well, actually he's looking right at the back of your head because you won't turn around to face him."

Liz felt her heart slamming inside her chest. She could practically feel Max's eyes on her, and the dozens and dozens of butterflies that were flying around in her stomach were doing so relentlessly. "Can we go, please," Liz pleaded.

"If you want to," Maria said. "Or we could stick around for about ten more seconds."

"Why ten seconds?" Liz asked.

"Because that's how long it will take Max to make it over here. He's walking straight towards us."

Liz's eyes grew and without thinking, she grabbed Maria by the arm and dragged her out of the cafeteria. Liz practically ran down to the end of the hall, trying to turn the corner before Max could see were she went.

"What was all that about?" Maria asked after they stopped.

"I can't meet him," Liz said.

"Why not?" Maria asked. "He's the hottest guy in school, and he was walking straight towards you. All you had to do was stand there and wait for him."

"I don't know what to say to him," Liz confessed.

"Tell him that he has really pretty eyes, or that you like his Jeep, or that you want to get down his pants...just say anything!!"

"Maria," Liz whined. "You don't understand. I've wanted to meet him ever since I was in seventh grade."

"And now, five years later, you finally had the opportunity to, and you practically ran away as fast as you could."

Liz let out a sigh. "I just have this certain image in my head about what he's really like, and I don't want to ruin that. If I really met him, he might turn out to be completely different."

"Yeah, completely better," Maria said. "Liz...you know just as well as I do that you would give anything to just talk to Max. I know that you're nervous, and I would be too. But don't run away like that. What do you think's going through his head right now? He just tried to introduce himself to you, and you ran away from him."

Liz felt her heart drop. "My god, you're right," she whispered. "He probably thinks that I hate him or something."

"Maybe he doesn't know what you look like," Maria said. "Maybe that's why he wanted to introduce himself, you know, to get a good look at you."

The look of panic on Liz's face was clearly read by Maria.

"Hey," Maria said. "Do you want to go back in there?" After Liz shook her head, Maria let out a sigh. "Okay. Just don't run away next time."

Liz nodded her head before she started walking down the hallway with Maria. 'God, please don't let him think that I hate him,' Liz thought to herself.

............................................

After school, Liz walked into Mr. Fortin's classroom.

"Ms. Parker," Mr. Fortin said from his seat next to Michael Guerin. Michael looked up at Liz. "This is Michael. Michael, this is Liz," Mr. Fortin introduced them.

"How's it going?" Michael asked casually.

"Pretty good," Liz responded. "You?"

"Stressful," Michael replied. "I just hope that I pass this class."

"Don't worry, Mr. Guerin," Mr. Fortin said. "Liz is my best student. I'm sure she'll be able to help you understand a little better." After a pause, Mr. Fortin stood and reached for a single piece of paper that was sitting on his desk. Liz noticed that it was a photocopy of a calendar. "Now...about the tutoring schedule."

After the meeting with Michael and Mr. Fortin, Liz walked out of the school and into the parking lot. She was going to meet Michael at the Crashdown Cafe tomorrow to start tutoring him. Maria worked at the cafe, since her mom owned it. Her mom offered Liz a job as well, but Liz was busy with after-school activities.

As she started walking to her car, an older style Honda Civic, she heard someone calling her name. She turned around to find Kyle running after her. "Hey, Kyle. What's up?"

"Not much. You heading home?"

"Yeah. I need to help my mom clean out the basement."

"Sounds fun," Kyle responded. "Listen, I was wondering if you wanted to go out later on tonight."

Liz really liked Kyle as a friend. She just wished that he would stop asking her out. "I don't know, Kyle. It's a school night, so I don't think my parents will let me go."

"What about tomorrow then? It's Friday, and a bunch of new movies are coming out."

Liz didn't want to go, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings either. "Sure," she said. "Did you just want me to meet you at the theater?" she asked. Maybe if she met him there, he would think it was a date.

"Why?" Kyle asked. "I've never had my date meet me at the theater."

Well, there goes that theory. Just as Liz was about to tell him that it wasn't a date, he started to run off.

"I'll pick you up around seven," he called before Liz could respond.

Great, Liz thought to herself. She climbed into her car and started to pull out of the parking lot. She noticed Michael running out of the school and over to a Jeep…a Jeep that had Max Evans in it. As she continued to look at the Jeep, she noticed that Max was staring right at her! Max Evans, looking right at me, Liz Parker, she thought to herself. He's p

...............................................

"Do you know who that is?" Max asked Michael as soon as he climbed into the Jeep.

"What?" Michael asked. After Max pointed to the Honda, Michael nodded. "Yeah, her name's Liz. She's my chemistry tutor."

"She's your tutor?" Max asked with excitement.

"Yeah, so?" Michael asked.

If she's Michael's tutor, then that would give me an opportunity to meet her, Max thought to himself. "I've never seen her before today," Max admitted. "I first noticed her at lunch...or rather I noticed the back of her head. Is she new?"

"Not that I know of," Michael replied. "Why are you aski..." He stopped mid-sentence and looked at Max before smiling. "NO WAY!!!" he exclaimed.

"What?" Max asked as he pulled out of the parking lot.

"I've know you since we were eight years old, and I've never seen you express even the slightest bit of interest in the female gender," Michael said, still smiling.

"I'm just curious," Max said, trying to sound casual.

"Uh huh, yeah right," Michael said, not believing his best friend for a second. After thinking for a minute, Michael decided to try something out. "I'm meeting her tomorrow for a tutoring session at the Crashdown. I think I'll ask Tess for a ride."

"I'll give you a ride," Max replied quickly...a little too quickly.

Michael's smile grew as he looked at his friend. After years of knowing Max Evans, Michael finally saw him showing interest in a girl.

"Besides," Max said. "It would be nice to meet the girl who's helping my best friend graduate from high school."

"Right," Michael said, not believing for a minute that that was the real reason why Max wanted to meet Liz. The real reason why Max wanted to meet Liz was because Max liked her.

...............................................

Part 2

The next day at school, Liz's mind was heading in ten different directions at once. One minute she'd be thinking about how to help Michael with chemistry, then the next she'd be thinking about that smile that Max had given her the day before. As a matter of fact, it didn't really matter what Liz thought about because her thoughts always ended up back at that smile.

"Earth to Liz, come in Liz," Kyle said from his seat next to her during chemistry.

Liz shook herself mentally as she turned to Kyle. "Huh? Oh, sorry Kyle. What is it?"

"I asked you what movie you wanted to see tonight."

"Oh, it doesn't matter," Liz responded. The only thing she cared about was thinking about that smile from Max. "Kyle, listen," Liz began. She wanted to make sure that Kyle knew that this outing between the two of them was just as friends. She didn't want to lead him on if he thought that more would happen. "I just want to make sure that we're on the same page here. I agreed to go out tonight, but I just want to make sure that you know it's just a friend thing. I really like you as a friend, but I just don't think that getting into a relationship is the best thing for me right now."

Kyle tried his best to hide the hurt he was feeling. "Oh...I know. That's all I wanted it to be anyway...just friends. I just like hanging out with you, that's all."

"Good," Liz responded. That was one issue that she wanted to clear up as soon as possible, and now that it was taken care of, she could concentrate on the lecture. Well more like Max, but she could make it look like she was concentrating on the lecture.

................................

After school Liz hurried to her locker. She was a little disappointed that she didn't see Max at lunch, but she was also thankful at the same time. She still didn't know what she would say to him if he ever walked up to her. She checked her watch after shutting her locker and noticed that she had to meet Michael at the Crashdown in ten minutes. She ran out to her car and drove as quickly as the law allowed to the cafe.

After parking her car, Liz walked through the doors to the restaurant. She quickly looked around and noticed that Michael wasn't there yet. She did spot Maria near the back of the cafe getting ready for her shift, though.

"Hey Maria," Liz called as she approached her friend.

"Hey Liz," Maria said in a cheerful voice. "What time are you meeting Michael?"

"Right now," Liz answered after looking at her watch again.

"Why don't you take that booth over there," Maria said, pointing to the far wall of the cafe. "It's in my section so you can stay as long as you want."

"Thanks Maria," Liz said before walking over to the booth.

Another ten minutes passed by and still no sign of Michael. Finally, ten minutes after that, Michael walked into the cafe...WITH MAX!! Liz felt her mouth drop open as her eyes widened. She quickly closed her mouth before anyone noticed, especially Max.

Michael scanned the cafe and found Liz sitting by herself in a booth. He started to make his way over when he noticed that Liz wasn't looking at him at all. Her attention was drawn to something behind him. He looked over his shoulder to find out what she was staring at when he realized that it was Max. Max hadn't noticed her yet; his attention was on the menu in his hands as he tried to find something to eat. Michael quietly sat down across from Liz.

"Hey Liz," Michael said.

"You're late," Liz said, still staring at Max.

"But I can see that you like what I brought in with me," he said, trying to see if she'd even notice what he said.

"Huh?" Liz asked, finally turning her attention to Michael.

Michael motioned with his head toward the counter and Liz turned to see that he was motioning toward Max. As soon as she looked at Max, she noticed that he was now staring right back at her. She immediately averted her gaze to the table in front of her. She could hear Michael chuckling softly from across the table, but she didn't really care at that particular moment. She just wanted to finish the tutoring session and make it out of the cafe without embarrassing herself.

"Hey...Maxwell," Michael called out. "Could you bring me a soda?"

Liz's head shot up and she locked eyes with Michael. She knew exactly what he was doing from the gleam in his eyes. He didn't really want a soda, he just wanted an excuse to bring Max over. A minute later, out of the corner of her eye, she saw Max walk up to the table. As he approached, her eyes tentatively looked up at him. He was looking right at her! She couldn't believe it. Max set the soda down in front of Michael and before he left, he gave Liz one of his smiles that always made her melt.

"Hey Liz," he said as he left, still smiling at her.

HE KNOWS MY NAME!!!! Liz's brain screamed at her in disbelief. How does he know my name? I never thought he even knew I existed.

"Liz?" Michael asked.

Liz turned her attention to Michael.

"Wow! I didn't know that a person’s eyes could get that big," he teased. "You might want to close your mouth though." After Liz shut her mouth, Michael chuckled to himself. "You look…dumbfounded."

"I am," Liz whispered to herself.

"About what?" Michael asked.

"Huh?" Liz asked, still in her own little world. She looked at Michael and realized that he had heard her last comment. Damn! she thought to herself. She never meant for him to hear that. "Oh...um, nothing."

Michael smiled at her. "What's so astonishing about Max saying 'hi'?" When Liz didn't answer, Michael decided to play matchmaker. "You know…he was asking me about you yesterday."

"HE WAS WHAT!!!!" Liz said loudly. A little to loudly because everyone in the restaurant looked over at her, including Max. A blush crept up her face and she tried to hide it with her hands.

Michael let out a laugh. "You are exactly his type."

Liz couldn't believe this was happening. Max Evans' best friend was sitting in front of her saying that she was exactly the type of person that Max wanted to be with. I must be dreaming, Liz thought. There was no way that this would happen in real life. Liz suddenly felt a burst of courage, so she slowly tilted her head to look in Max's direction. He was still at the counter, and he was stealing glances at her every few seconds. Liz stared at the table again, trying to get her emotions under control. This can't be happening, this can't be happening, she kept repeating to herself.

"Earth to Liz," Michael said, waving his hand in front of her face.

"Huh...what?" she asked before she realized that she had spaced out again. Thinking about Max always did that to her.

"Why don't you talk to him?" he repeated his question.

Liz took a second to gather herself before answering the question. "Because I've never met him before. I didn't even think he knew my name."

"Liz," Michael said, leaning forward. "I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Yesterday, when Max was asking me questions about you, he mentioned that he had never noticed you before. As I thought about it, I came to realize that I've only seen you at school a couple of times myself. Normally I notice people right away. I mean, he thought that you were new, but I remembered seeing you last year. Why don't you make yourself known?"

"I...I guess it’s because I'm a little shy," Liz confessed.

"A little?" Michael asked sarcastically. "Well, we'll change that."

"We?" Liz asked.

"Yeah. Why don't you start hanging out with us? Me, Isabel, Alex, Tess...and especially Max."

"That's okay," Liz said. "I don't think that my friend Maria would like it too much if I started hanging out with a new group."

"So bring her," Michael said. Liz started shaking her head, but Michael wouldn't take no for an answer. "Good. We'll all hang out in a couple of hours."

"I don't know anyone," Liz said.

"You know me. You know Tess. You surely know Max. I have to say, I've hung around Max long enough to realize when someone's crazy about him...like you are."

"I'm not crazy about him," Liz lied, trying to defend herself.

"Right," Michael replied. "That's why you spend your entire lunch hour staring at him?"

Liz felt the blush creeping back up her face again. She really hated the fact that she got embarrassed so easily.

Michael let out a short laugh. "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone. Why don't you talk to Max? Is it because you're shy?" Liz didn't respond, so that was Michael's cue to bring Max over. He and Max had worked out a plan in the car on the way over. Max wanted to meet Liz, so he made Michael agree to somehow work him into the discussion.

That was the only reason why Max was still hanging around the cafe. His food was packed and ready to go, so he could leave at any moment. But he was going to stay there until he talked to Liz.

"Did you need anything else?" a waitress asked Max, snapping him out of his thoughts. He turned and found that Maria was standing in front of him with her order pad. She was one of Liz's friends, Max realized.

"Yeah, actually there is something else," Max said, glancing at Liz out of the corner of his eye. "You're friends with Liz, right?"

Maria's eyes widened and she tried to hide the smile that was forming on her lips. "Yeah," she said, finally letting the smile spread across her face. What does Max want to know about Liz? she thought. The excitement that was running through her body was all for Liz. She was getting all giddy for her best friend.

"She's a junior, right?" Max asked. After Maria nodded, Max continued. "I'm getting the impression that she doesn't think too highly of me. I tried to talk to her yesterday, then again just now, and she wouldn't say anything. I mean, yesterday she ran the other way before I could even reach her."

Maria let out a giggle.

"What?" Max asked.

"Let me explain something to you, Max. Liz has been pining over you for the past five years. The reason why she ran the other way yesterday, and why she didn't say anything to you just now, is because she's nervous. She doesn't want to say the wrong thing. I mean, she's had a crush on you since she was in seventh grade."

A smile immediately crossed Max's face. She likes me, he thought. Maria noticed that Max's eyes were glowing with happiness. She had to control the impulse she suddenly had to shriek all the way over to Liz and spill the news. Max's expression suddenly changed, and a small frown appeared where the smile had been just seconds before.

"Why haven't I seen her around school then?" Max asked.

Maria let out a sigh. "She blends in REALLY well," Maria said. "Trust me. If Liz doesn't want to be seen, nobody sees her. That doesn't mean that she hasn't seen you, though," she said with a smile.

"What do you mean?" Max asked.

"Liz is going to kill me for telling you this, but what the hell. She spends her entire lunch hour staring at you. She enters her own little world, and whenever you smile, she smiles. I'm sure she knows more about you from just watching you at lunch than most people who've dated for months know about each other."

Max's smile was back in full force as he looked over at the booth. He noticed that Michael was giving him the signal. He quickly turned back to Maria.

"It's Maria, right?" Max asked. After Maria nodded, Max surprised her with a hug. He didn't care if he didn't know her very well. She just told him everything he needed to know about Liz, so he felt the overwhelming urge to hug her. After he pulled back, he looked at a very stunned Maria. "Thanks," he said before walking over to Michael's booth.

"Anytime," Maria said, still recovering from the hug. What was that all about, she thought to herself as she smiled.

..................................

Liz was still staring at the table, so she didn't notice Max walk up.

"Can I ask you something, Liz?" Max suddenly asked as he sat down next to Michael.

Liz's head shot up when she heard Max's sweat voice. She locked eyes with him, and found that she couldn't look away. Her voice wasn't working, so she nodded.

"You're on the prom committee this year, right?" After Liz nodded again, Max decided to take the plunge. "Could you get two tickets for me? I don't know if I'll have time to get them myself this year." He knew that if he really wanted to he'd be able to get the tickets himself, but this was a plan that he had thought of last night, so he wanted to stick to it.

Liz was taken aback. Max wanted her to pick up the senior prom tickets for him, which meant that he already had a date. She felt her heart drop. She always thought that Max was dating Tess, and now she had the proof right in front of her. "Um, yeah. Yeah, sure. When did you want me to give them to you?"

Max glanced at Michael for a second before turning his attention back to Liz. "Well...could you just hold onto them for us until I come to pick you up on prom night?"

HOLD ON!! Liz's brain was screaming. Did Max Evans just ask me to the senior prom?? No, it had to be a mistake. Liz found herself staring at Max in disbelief, and she noticed that her mouth was hanging open once again. She moved her lips and tried to say something -anything - but nothing came out.

"Liz?" Max asked gently, concern written all over his face. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Michael added. "You look like you're going to hurl."

Liz's eyes were transfixed on Max's face. They were roaming over ever single feature, looking for any indication that he was joking about prom...that it was a prank.

"Liz," Max said again. "Say something, please."

Liz moved her lips again, but her voice still wasn't cooperating. So she did the only thing she could, which was nod her head. Max was still staring at her, his concern growing by the second.

"Hey Maria," Max called. His eyes never left Liz's, and Liz in turn kept her eyes locked on Max's. After Maria walked over, Max simply pointed at Liz.

"OH MY GOD!! LIZ!!" Maria said loudly as she knelt by her friend. Liz's face almost looked green. "Just breath," Maria coached. "In, out, in, out." She then turned to Max. "What did you say to her?"

Max threw his hands up, surrendering. "All I did was ask her to the senior prom."

Maria's eyes widened and her attention turned back to Liz. "Oh, god," she muttered. "Liz...Liz, look at me." After Liz turned her head to face Maria, she locked eyes with her. "Please tell me that you said yes." Liz's eyes were still wide with shock and her mouth was still hanging open. Her complexion was pale, and Maria thought that her friend was going to lose her lunch right there at the booth. When Liz didn't answer, Maria decided to give her friend and Max some privacy. "Michael, can I talk to you for a minute?" she asked. She didn't really have anything to say, she just wanted Max and Liz to be alone. Maybe if nobody else were around, Liz would open up to him a bit.

Michael nodded, and the look in his eyes told Maria that he was on the same page that she was. He slid out of the booth, and followed Maria over to the counter. No words were spoken between the two; they just watched the booth that Max and Liz were sitting in.

"Liz," Max said again. "Please say something. You're really freaking me out here."

Finally, after spacing out for the past five minutes, Liz snapped out of her trance.

"NO!!" Liz nearly shouted in response, once again causing everyone in the cafe to look at her. Michael and Maria looked at her in amusement, and Max was just shocked by her sudden outburst.

She just said that she didn't want to go to the prom with me, Max thought. "Okay," Max managed to say. His heart felt like it had shattered into a thousand pieces with that one word that came out of Liz's mouth. "It was just an idea," he said. "I mean, you probably have a boyfriend so I understand you not wanting to go with me."

Liz looked at Max with a confused expression before the pieces to the puzzle finally fell into place. Liz gave Max a smile and said, "I mean...No, I don't have a date for the prom."

The smile that appeared on Max's face was nearly Liz's undoing. She was loosing control of herself, and all from one little smile from Max.

"So...did you want to go with me?" Max asked again.

"Well, yeah, of course. I'd love to, but won't your girlfriend be upset?" Liz asked.

"My what?" Max asked in confusion.

"Your girlfriend. You know, the short blond that hangs out with you all the time?"

Max let out a little laugh. "You mean Tess?" After Liz nodded, Max continued. "She's not my girlfriend. We tried the dating thing about a year ago, but after two dates, we both realized that we were better off as friends. She is a really good friend, but nothing more."

Liz was embarrassed that she asked that question.

"You get embarrassed really easy, don't you?" Max asked. After seeing Liz's cheeks turn bright red, he started to laugh. "I guess that answers my question," he said. "I think you look adorable when you blush." Where had that come from? Max asked himself. The look of shock on Liz's face was enough to shock Max. "I'm sorry," Max said. "Did I say something wrong?"

Liz immediately smiled at him and shook her head, which caused her hair to fall all over her face. "No...no you didn't say anything wrong."

Max noticed that a strand of her hair had fallen over her eyes, and without thinking, he reached across the table and brushed the strand behind her ear. At that very moment, the entire cafe disappeared around them and the only people that existed were the two of them.

The contact of his finger on her face sent chills through Liz's body. Her eyes slowly shut as she concentrated on following the path of his finger. She didn't open her eyes until she felt Max pull his hand back. She didn't care if she had a dreamy look on her face. She loved the feel of Max's hand touching her, and she wanted to remember every second of it. As she opened her eyes, she found herself staring right into Max's deep brown ones. The look he was giving her nearly caused her to gasp out loud.

"You still haven't answered my question about prom," Max said with a smile. He was slowly starting to lean closer to Liz from across the table.

Liz found herself leaning closer to Max as well, and her eyes instinctively lowered to his lips. She quickly brought her gaze back up to his eyes and noticed that he was staring at her lips in return. "I...I'd love to. But I have to ask you a question first."

"Go ahead," Max said, bringing his gaze back up to Liz's eyes.

"Why me? You don't even know me."

The smile that came across Max's face was a smile that Liz had never seem before in her many years of watching him. It made her feel special, to think that Max was smiling at her in a way that he didn't normally smile at other people.

"I want to know you," Max answered. "And the way I figure, we have about a month 'til prom. So that gives us a month to get to know each other."

The smile on Liz's face stretched from ear to ear. She was so happy she felt like crying. "Okay," was the only response she could come up with.

"Great," Max said.

The two of them spent the next few minutes staring into each other’s eyes. It wasn't until Michael came up that they realized they were still in a crowed restaurant.

"I really hate to break up the staring contest, but I do need to get tutored if I want to pass chemistry," Michael said.

Max and Liz both jumped a little before looking up at Michael.

"Right," Liz said before glancing back at Max.

"Are you going to hang out with us tonight?" Max asked.

Liz's face immediately fell. "I can't. I told a friend that I'd go to the movies with him."

"Him?" Michael asked.

"Yeah. You know Kyle Valenti?" Liz asked.

Max nodded. He knew Kyle from sports, but Michael only knew the last name. He and Sheriff Valenti knew each other very well.

"You mean the sheriff's son?" Michael asked.

"That's him," Liz responded.

"What about tomorrow?" Max asked. "Are you busy?"

"Nope. I don't have anything going on tomorrow," Liz replied.

"Great. Why don't you give me your number and I'll call you later tonight," Max said. After Liz wrote her number down on a napkin, she handed it to Max. As Max reached over to grab it, his hand came into contact with Liz's. The sparks that shot through his body from the contact was something that he had never felt before. I can definitely get used to this, Max thought with a smile. "What time will you be home tonight?" he asked.

After thinking for a second, Liz answered, "Probably around 9:30." She planned on going straight home after the movie, just so she wouldn't miss Max's call.

"Alright," Max said as he slid out of the booth. "I'll talk to you then. Bye, Liz."

"Bye, Max."

Liz watched as he walked back over to the counter, grabbed his food, (which was probably cold by now) and headed out the door. He glanced back at Liz just before he left and gave her another smile.

Maria walked by a minute later and dropped a note in front of Liz. Liz looked up at her friend and then turned her attention to the note.

Girl, we need to talk tonight. You better call me as soon as you get off the phone with Max.

Maria

Liz smiled as she put the note in her pocket.

"Shall we?" Michael asked, pulling out his chemistry book.

"Yeah," Liz said, still smiling. She didn't think that she'd be able to concentrate on chemistry right now. Well, actually, chemistry was exactly what she would be concentrating on, but not the kind of chemistry that would help Michael get a better grade. This was the chemistry that her and Max had. Her and Max, she thought. She never thought that those words would come out in the same sentence. Even though they weren't actually together, she loved the thought of having any kind of contact with Max. This was truly the best day of her life....so far.

...............................

Part 3

Later that night, Liz was sitting in the movie theater with Kyle, but she couldn't concentrate on the movie. She couldn't concentrate on anything but what the phone conversation with Max would be like after she got home. Kyle had insisted on watching some Dungeons and Dragons movie, but Liz didn't really care because she knew that she wouldn't watch the movie anyway.

Her mind kept wandering back to the conversation she had with Max at the Crashdown cafe earlier that day. She was so shocked that he actually knew her name, then to actually have him ask her, Liz Parker, to the prom...that was something that only happened in her dreams.

The movie ended rather quickly, especially since Liz barely remembered it starting. She walked out into the parking lot with Kyle, and climbed into his car. The conversation that took place on the way home didn't consist of anything substantial. They talked about school, sports, and college...then the issue of prom came up just as Kyle pulled into the driveway of Liz's house.

"So..." Kyle began. "I heard that the prom this year is a junior-senior prom."

"Yeah," Liz answered. "Since our school isn't that big, all juniors and seniors are invited."

"Right. So I was wondering if you wanted to go...with me."

Liz looked at him for a few seconds before turning her attention out the windshield. "Actually, I've already been asked," she said, avoiding Kyle's gaze.

"Really? By who?"

"Well...you know who Max Evans is?" Liz asked. She was well aware that Kyle knew who Max was. Everyone in the entire school knew who Max was.

"EVANS??" Kyle asked in disbelief. "I didn't think you guys knew each other."

"Well...we don't really. He came up to me today in the Crashdown Cafe and asked me if I wanted to go with him."

"Wow," Kyle muttered. "Every girl in school wants to go with him."

"It wasn't expected," Liz said. She felt really bad for Kyle. She didn't want to hurt him, but she didn't know what to do. She tried to tell him on more than one occasion that she wasn't interested in him, but he never took the hint.

"Well...I guess that a congratulations is in order." Kyle said in an even voice.

Liz could tell that Kyle was getting upset. "Kyle...there are plenty of girls who want to go with you."

"Yeah, whatever."

Liz looked over at Kyle, and she could tell that he was pissed...and that pissed her off. Who did Kyle think he was anyway? They were NEVER together to begin with, so why did he think that he could dictate what Liz could? Why did he think that he could tell her who she could hang out with and when?

"Kyle," Liz said, her voice rising slightly. "Max asked me to the prom, and I said yes. What gives you the right to get pissed at me? You and I are NOT together, and we never were. We sent out on ONE date, Kyle. ONE!! You were never my boyfriend, and if you can't handle being friends with me, then that's your problem!"

She reached for the handle of the door when Kyle stopped her.

"Liz...wait." After Liz turned to face him, he began. "Look...I know you're right, but it's just hard to like someone, and to not have that someone like you back."

Liz's heart softened as she looked at Kyle. "I know this isn't exactly what you wanted, but you need to realize that nothing is going to happen between us. I like you a lot, Kyle. As a friend."

Kyle gave her a weak smile. "I know. I guess I was just hoping."

Liz reached across and put her hand on his arm. "I'm sorry Kyle. I really am. But there are plenty of girls who want to go out with you."

"Like who?" Kyle asked in disbelief.

"Just open you eyes," Liz responded. "There's Vicki, Pam, Tish...do you want me to go on?"

Kyle's smile widened. "Thanks, Liz."

"For what?"

"For telling me that." After a brief pause, Kyle let out a sigh. "Well...I guess I'll see you at school on Monday."

"Yeah," Liz responded. "See you on Monday." She got out of the car and waived at Kyle as he pulled out of her driveway. She glanced at her watch and noticed that it was a little after 9:00. She ran into the house and into the kitchen.

"Hey Liz," her mom said from the dinning room table. "How was the movie?"

"It was alright," Liz replied. She didn't really remember anything about the movie, but her mom didn't need to know that.

"Are you hungry?" her mom asked.

"Yeah, a little. Where's dad?"

"He got called into the office. The computer system crashed again, so he had to go in and fix it."

Her dad worked as a computer analyst for a local software firm. He always got called into the office to fix problems.

"I made some tacos," her mom said. "They're in the fridge. All you have to do is throw the meat in the microwave."

Liz had just put the meat into the microwave when the phone rang. She nearly tripped over herself as she tried to reach the phone, but her mom beat her to it.

"Hello?" her mom asked. "Yes she is, may I ask who's calling?" She took the phone away from her ear and handed it to Liz. "Who's Max?" she asked with a smile. She had met some of Liz's friends before, but Max was a new one to her.

Liz returned her mom's smile as she took the phone. "Just a boy from school," Liz said, smiling from ear to ear.

"Uh huh," her mom said.

Liz took the cordless phone from her mom and ran upstairs to her bedroom. She closed the door and took a couple of deep breaths before lifting it to her ear. "Hello?"

"Hey Liz. It's Max."

"Hi Max. What's up?"

"Not much. How was your little outing with Kyle?"

He had to mention that didn't he? "It was alright, I guess. What about you? How did your night go?"

"Oh, it was pretty uneventful. We basically just hung around Michael's house all night."

"Sounds like fun," Liz replied.

"Not really. Listen, some of us are meeting up tomorrow to go rock climbing. I really want you to come."

"Rock climbing?" Liz asked. "I've never been rock climbing before."

"Good," Max replied. "I'll teach you."

"Who's going?"

"It's going to be me, Michael, Alex and Tess. You could bring Maria along if you want."

"I'm not sure if she's working, but I'll ask her. Why isn't Isabel going?"

"She's not really the outdoors type. But you're coming, right?" Max asked.

"Of course," Liz responded. "Just as long as you promise not to leave me stranded on the mountain side."

"I promise," Max said with a chuckle. "You don't have to worry about that because I don't plan on leaving you alone for a second."

The butterflies that had been circling around in Liz's stomach suddenly kicked into high gear. She couldn't believe that she was actually talking to Max Evan on the phone...and that he was flirting with her!!

"So, did you want me to meet you guys at your house?" Liz asked.

"Well, I was kind of hoping that you would let me come pick you up," Max said. "That way I can see where you live."

Liz didn't know how to respond. Max actually wanted to pick her up...at her house. "Uh...yeah. That...that would be great."

"Good," Max said. "Why don't you give me your address then."

As soon as Liz gave it to him she heard what sounded like Isabel in the background.

"Was that Isabel?" she asked.

"Yeah. She wants the phone so she can call Alex. Heaven forbid they actually go a whole hour without talking to each other."

Liz let out a giggle. "Well, you better go then."

"Are you that anxious to get rid of me?" Max asked jokingly. "I'm sorry to tell you this Liz, but you can't get rid of me that easily."

Liz's stomach suddenly felt as if it were flipping over and over and over. She was starting to feel light headed for some reason, and she was so nervous her hands wouldn't stop shaking. If this is how I react just talking to him over the phone, how will it be when I actually see him? she asked herself.

Her entire life (well...ever since the seventh grade) she was extremely shy when it came to Max Evans. So the words that came out of her mouth next surprised her even more than they did Max.

"Why would I want to get rid of you? You're the one who's going to have a problem getting rid of me."

Max's response was a lot quicker than Liz had expected.

"I just found you. I haven't even been able to take you out on a date yet. Why would I want to get rid of you?"

"My first guess would be that you'd get bored with me," Liz said honestly. That was her biggest fear. That Max would find her boring right away and he wouldn't talk to her again.

"Bored?" Max asked in shock. "With you? I find it hard to believe that you would be boring."

"Why do you think that?" Liz asked.

"Have you looked in the mirror lately?" Max asked. "I can't imagine that looking into eyes like yours would ever be boring. I could sit with you for hours and just look into your eyes. No words would be necessary because your eyes would tell me everything I wanted to know."

"Oh really?" Liz asked in disbelief. "And what exactly do you think they'd tell you."

"What you're feeling. I think that we could hold an entire conversation without even speaking to each other."

"Really?" Liz asked again in disbelief.

"Yep," Max replied. "But, if you don't believe me, I guess the only way to prove it would be to try it."

Now Liz's stomach was erupting with emotion. The butterflies seemed to have turned into a stampeding herd of rhinos. Max had just told her that he wanted to stare into her eyes. She didn't know if she could handle that. She would melt under his gaze in a matter of seconds.

"I...I guess we should then," Liz said in response.

After a brief pause, Max spoke up. "Can I ask you something Liz?"

"Yeah, go ahead."

"Have you ever had the feeling that something happened in your life for a reason?"

"What do you mean?" Liz asked, confused.

"Like...you meet someone at a certain stage in your life...you barely know the person...but yet...somehow you get the feeling that you've always known them?"

Liz knew exactly what he was talking about. "Yeah...I've had that feeling once."

"Really? When?" Max asked.

"I've had that feeling for about five years now. I hadn't actually met the person until recently, but I had that feeling the first time I saw him."

After another brief pause, Max finally confessed what he was feeling.

"I don't know what it is about you, Liz Parker, but I feel like I already know you. I can't shake this feeling that I've always known you," Max said honestly. "It's a feeling I've never felt before, and to be honest, I love it."

Just as Liz was about to respond, she heard Isabel's voice in the background again.

"It sounds like she really wants to use the phone," Liz said.

"Yeah...sorry about that. She can be a real snob sometimes."

"It's okay," Liz said. "What time will you be here tomorrow?"

"We wanted to leave around noon, so I'll be over there around 11:30, if that's alright."

"Sounds great," Liz said.

Neither of them really knew how to end the conversation, so a rather lengthy silence took place. Finally, Max found his voice.

"Alright. Well...I guess I'll see you tomorrow."

"Yeah," Liz responded. "See you tomorrow."

"Goodnight, Liz."

"'Night, Max."

After Liz hung up the phone, she threw herself onto her bed. A smile spread across her face as she thought about what it would be like to hang out with Max all day. She didn't really care if the others were there, as long as Max was within viewing distance. She knew that the nervous feeling she currently had wasn't going to pass any time soon, so that meant that she wouldn't get much sleep. She didn't care though. If she spent the entire night thinking about Max, and the time they would be spending together while rock climbing…that was perfectly fine with her.

Just then, she remembered that she promised to call Maria. She quickly punched in the number and waited for an answer.

"Hello?"

"Hey Maria. It's Liz."

"LIZZIE!" Maria exclaimed. "Spill it girl. What happened with Prince Charming?"

"I just talked to him, and he wants me to go rock climbing with him tomorrow."

"Rock climbing?" Maria asked.

"Yeah. And he wanted me to invite you. It's going to be him, Michael, Alex, Tess and me. You wanna go?"

"Well..." Maria said, dragging out the word.

"Please Maria," Liz begged. She would feel a lot more comfortable if she went with someone she actually knew.

"Oh, alright." Maria said. "What time are we leaving?"

"Max is picking me up around 11:30, which means that you need to be here around 11:00."

"In the morning?" Maria asked in shock. "You actually expect me to wake up that early in the morning?"

"It's not that early. If you want, you could spend the night. That way I could tell you everything that Max and I talked about."

"I'm there, babe," Maria answered. "Give me half an hour."

"Half an hour," Liz repeated. "Got it."

Liz hung up the phone and ran downstairs to get the food she had been heating up for herself. When she walked into the kitchen, her mom had the food all ready for her.

"Thanks, mom," Liz said as she grabbed the plate of food and took it over to the dinner table.

"Sure thing honey," her mom replied. "So...are you going to tell me about Max? Or do I have to go through Maria?"

Her mom always got the dirt about her through Maria. "Mom," Liz whined, trying to sound annoyed. But she couldn't help the smile that appeared on her face at the mention of Max's name.

"Oh boy," her mom said as she sat down across from Liz. "This must be quite the young man if he has you blushing at the mere mention of his name."

Liz's smile grew as she looked her mom in the eye. The next thing she knew, Liz had told her mom every detail about Max. His appearance, what car he drives, who his friends were...she even told her mom about the crush she's had on him since the seventh grade.

"Wow," her mom replied. "And he never noticed you before?"

"I blend in pretty well," Liz answered. "He’s a grade above me, so we've never had any classes together."

Just then, the doorbell rang and Liz looked at the clock. She had been talking with her mom for over half an hour.

"That's Maria," Liz said as she stood to answer the door. Sure enough, Maria walked in a few seconds later with a backpack and pillow.

"Hey mom," Maria called. She was so close to the Parkers that she considered them to be her second parents. Liz felt the same way about Maria's mom and dad.

"Hi Maria," Mrs. Parker said. "Don't stay up too late, girls," she said before walking into her bedroom.

Liz and Maria practically ran upstairs and into Liz room. They spent the next two hours talking about the conversation that Liz and Max had had over the phone.

"He's fallen for you," Maria said. "And he's fallen hard."

"Why do you think that?" Liz asked. She found it hard to believe that out of all the girls in the entire school, Max Evans wanted to be with her.

"Are you blind girl?" Maria asked in return. "He told you that he feels like he's known you forever. That's another way of saying that he's totally infatuated with you."

"Yeah right, Maria," Liz said.

"We'll see," Maria challenged. "Just watch. Tomorrow, I bet he won't be able to take his eyes off you for more than a second."

Liz smiled at the thought of Max watching her like that - not being able to take his eyes off her. "Yeah, we'll see," Liz said in return.

After that Maria was ready to go to sleep, so Liz let her.

Liz closed her eyes, but sleep didn't come. The only thing that came was images of her and Max together, and that was better than dreaming.

...................................

Part 4

Liz awoke early the next morning. She climbed out of her bed, noticing right away that Maria was still asleep and showed no signs of waking any time soon. As she entered the kitchen, Liz saw her parents sitting at the table, both reading different parts of the newspaper.

"Good morning, honey," Liz's mom said after looking up from the paper.

"Morning mom, dad," Liz replied.

"Morning," her dad replied. "Did you sleep well?"

"Yeah," Liz said. She actually slept better last night than she had in a long time.

"What time are you and Maria leaving today?" her mom asked.

"Max is picking us up around noon."

"Max?" her dad asked, putting his paper down to show Liz that she had his full attention. "I don't think you've told me about Max."

Liz let out a sigh. Deep down she was grateful that her parents cared about her enough to show interest in her life, but on the other hand, there were some things she wanted to keep to herself.

"He's just a boy from school," Liz responded.

"That's funny," her mom said. "That's exactly the way you described him to me yesterday."

"Well, if Liz doesn't want to talk about him, I guess we could always sit him down and ask him these questions when he gets here in a few hours," her dad suggested.

"DAD!!!" Liz half whined, half shouted. "Don't you dare!!"

"Boy," her dad said in an exasperated voice. "This Max guy is obviously much more than just a friend from school. I can tell by the way you're acting." He knew his daughter well enough to know when she was downplaying a situation.

"FINE!" Liz said, feeling defeated. "What do you want to know about him?"

"Does he have a last name?" her dad asked.

"Yes he does. It's Evans."

"Evans," her dad repeated. "Is he a junior like you?"

"No, he's a senior."

"An older man, huh?" her dad asked jokingly. "How long have you been dating him again?" he asked casually.

"We're not dating...yet," Liz said, whispering the last word, hoping that nobody heard it.

"Yet?" her dad asked.

Well, so much for that, she thought. "Look, I'm not really sure where we stand right now. I've gone to school with him for a while now, but we just barley met the other day. Actually, we just met yesterday. Other than that, I don't really know anything else about him. We're going to hang out today, and...oh yeah. He asked me to the prom yesterday." The last part of that sentence Liz said as quickly as she could before she bolted out of the kitchen.

"THE PROM?" she heard both her parents say in unison.

"ELIZABETH PARKER, YOU GET BACK IN HERE RIGHT NOW!" she heard her dad call.

Liz let out a sigh as a pained expression came over her face. She slowly walked back into the kitchen, and stood in the doorway. She looked at her parents, willing them to fill her in on why they still wanted to talk to her.

"Let me see if I got this straight," her dad said. "You just met this boy yesterday, and he's already asked you to the prom?"

Liz simply nodded her head as her eyebrows raised involuntarily.

"Interesting," her dad said with a smile.

"I'm going to take a shower now," Liz said, trying desperately to escape from the kitchen. She walked back into her room, and found that Maria was still asleep. Liz glanced at the clock next to her bed and saw that it was just about 9:45. Only a couple more hours, she thought to herself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Max looked at the clock that was hanging on the kitchen wall for the hundredth time in the past ten minutes. He had woken up around 6:00 that morning, and immediately realized that he wouldn't be able to fall back asleep. He was too excited about hanging out with Liz. He had showered around 7:30, and now all he could do was wait.

He looked at the clock - again - and saw that it was now just past 10:00. About one whole minute had passed by since the last time he looked at the clock. Max wanted nothing more than to just drive over to Liz's house and pick her up at that moment. I could just drive by her place, Max thought. I wouldn't have to stop, I could just drive by to make sure I wouldn't have any trouble finding her house later.

A smile appeared on his face as he ran into his bedroom, grabbed his keys and the piece of paper that he wrote Liz's address on, and ran out the front door. He jumped into his Jeep, and before he knew what he was doing, he found himself driving down the street Liz lived on. He looked from house to house, trying to find the one that Liz lived in. There are some really nice houses on this street, Max thought to himself.

He slowed the Jeep down when he saw the house he was looking for. He looked at the numbers on the house, then at the piece of paper in his hand, just to make sure that he had the right house. Just as he was about to pull away, something in Liz's driveway caught his eye. He turned his full attention towards it, and as soon as he realized what it was, his eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets.

"Oops," he whispered to himself as he felt a blush creeping quickly up his cheeks. "Busted."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Liz got out of the shower and dried herself off with a towel before pulling on her white bathrobe. She walked into her bedroom, using the towel to dry her hair, when something suddenly occurred to her.

"Crap," she mumbled to herself. She left her bag in her car overnight, and she needed some of the things that were inside it. She reached over and grabbed her keys off her dresser before hanging her towel over her bedroom door. She raced downstairs, out the front door, and over to her car that was parked in the driveway.

She unlocked her car door and reached into the back seat, grabbing her bag. As she shut and locked her car door, she noticed another car driving by her house rather slowly. Normally, she wouldn't have given it much thought, but since the only thing she was wearing was her bathrobe, she wanted to make sure it wasn't someone who was looking for a peep show.

To her utmost surprise, the eyes that she found staring back at her belonged to none other than Max Evans himself. Liz stood rooted to her spot. Was it noon already? she thought to herself.

Max couldn't very well just drive off now that Liz had spotted him, so he pulled the Jeep over to the side of the road, and turned the engine off. He climbed out and tried desperately to hide the blush that covered his face from being caught.

"Hey Liz," Max said as he walked up to her.

Liz noticed right away what Max as wearing. It was a simple outfit, but for some reason, Liz had trouble remembering the last time he looked this good. He had on a pair of tan cargo pants, and a white t-shirt that had the sleeves cut off.

"Hi...Max," Liz stumbled. "It isn't noon already, is it?"

"No...no," Max replied. "I...I just...wanted to make sure I wouldn't have any trouble finding your place later on." Now that he heard his excuse out loud, it sounded ridiculous.

"Oh," Liz replied. She thought it was weird, seeing as how her street was probably the easiest to find in the entire town.

Then it hit her like a bolt of lightening. He came early because he wanted to see me! she thought, trying to hide the excitement that was coursing through her body. Yeah right, her mind told her. Like that would ever happen.

"Did...did you want to come in?" she asked nervously.

"Yeah," Max answered. "Yeah, that would be great. Besides, we should probably get you into some real cloths," he said, looking at her robe.

Liz blushed slightly, which elated Max to no end. He absolutely loved the way she blushed so easily.

Liz led the way to her house, but stopped abruptly just before she reached the front door. She wanted to warn Max about her parents; that they might bombard him with questions. But her sudden stop made Max stumble into her. He reached out and placed his hands just above her hips in an effort to keep himself from falling over, and to keep himself from knocking her over.

Liz felt his hands gently grab her just above the hips, and her stomach started doing flips. Her stomach always felt this way whenever Max was around. Just hearing his voice caused the butterflies to hatch. She stood still, her back facing Max. She could feel his body right behind her. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling that came from having Max touch her.

She had no idea what came over her, but she subconsciously leaned back into Max. She then found herself leaning her head back and resting it on his shoulder. She crossed her arms in front of her body, and reached down with her hands to cover Max's that were still on her hips. She had no idea when she became so bold, but she didn't care. She turned her head slightly into him, so her nose was nudging his neck softly. She rubbed her nose around his neck, reeling from the feelings that were shooting through her body.

As soon as Max felt Liz lean back into him, he was totally gone. The feeling of her so close to him, actually touching him, was more than he could handle. Then she leaned her head back and rested it on his shoulder. He turned his head towards hers, and immediately the smell of her shampoo hit him like a ton of bricks. It was a coconut scent, and it caused Max's head to spin. He felt Liz place her hands over his just before she turned her head slightly so she could snuggle into his neck. He felt her nudging his neck with her nose, so he leaned in and rested his cheek on her still wet hair. He rubbed his cheek along the top of her head, trying to fill himself with the smell of her hair. He placed a feather light kiss on the top of her head just as he felt his legs start to wobble. He realized that is was a good thing he had Liz to hang on to. Otherwise, his legs would surely give out from under him, and he would find himself lying on the front porch.

As Liz felt Max rub his cheek into her hair, and then softly kiss the top of her head, she inadvertently let out a gasp. The feelings that Max caused inside of her were feelings that she had never felt before.

"This must be Max," a voice called from the doorway.

Both Max and Liz snapped back into reality with a crack. Max instinctively took a step back from Liz, and immediately dropped his hands from her sides.

It took a few seconds for Liz to regain her senses, but she quickly tried to act normal.

"Yeah," she said. "Max, this is my mom," she introduced them.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Parker," Max said politely while extending his hand.

"Likewise," Mrs. Parker replied with a smile as she shook Max's hand. "Jeffrey!" she called to her husband. "There's someone at the door I think you want to meet."

A few seconds later, Liz's dad walked up behind her mom.

"This is Max," Mrs. Parker introduced him.

"It's nice to meet you, Mr. Parker," Max said, again extending his hand to Liz's dad.

"Max," Mr. Parker said, shaking the young mans hand. "Max Evans, right?"

"Yeah," Max replied in a shocked voice. "How did you know my last name?"

"Bye mom, bye dad," Liz said to her parents as she reached back and grabbed Max's wrist, pulling him into the house and away from her parents. Liz knew exactly what would happen next. Her dad would tell Max that Liz talked about him all the time, and that she was totally infatuated with him. Which was true of course, but Liz really didn't want her dad embarrassing her in front of Max. Not today anyway.

She pulled Max into her room, completely forgetting that Maria was there. As Max walked in, he immediately saw Maria standing in the middle of the room, wearing only a t-shirt and panties.

"Oh god," Max said as he turned around quickly, his back now facing Maria.

"Oh god," Liz repeated. "I am so sorry Maria. I completely forgot that you weren't dressed yet."

As soon as Max walked in, Maria had been frantically trying to find her pants. Once she did, she threw them on as fast as she could.

"Okay Max," Maria said. "You can turn around now."

Max took a peek over his shoulder before turning around, just to make sure Maria was dressed. "Sorry," he mumbled.

"Don't worry about it," Maria responded. "I'm sure you didn't see anything you haven't seen before."

"Don't be so sure," Max muttered under his breath. He didn't intend for either of the girls to hear his last comment, but Liz did.

She was standing slightly behind Max, staring at the back of his head in shock. She thought for sure that Max had experienced everything possible in a relationship, including the mating ritual. The thought that he was as innocent as her entered her mind, and she felt an overwhelming sense of joy and relief course through her body.

"Liz?" she heard Maria ask.

"Huh?" Liz replied, turning her attention towards her friend.

"You spaced out there for a minute," Maria informed her.

Liz looked at Maria for a second before turning her attention back to Max. She found that he was now staring at her, and as soon as her eyes locked on his, she was lost. She couldn't pull her gaze away from his eyes, and she didn't want to.

"Well, I'm going to shower," she heard Maria say, but she sounded miles away. "Not that anyone cares," she added before walking out the door.

Max and Liz were in their own little world for the second time since he arrived at her house five minutes ago. They stared into each other’s eyes for what seemed like an eternity.

Max didn't want to move from his spot, afraid that he might interrupt the precious moment if he did. He couldn't help the instinctive pull that Liz's mouth had, and he soon found himself staring at her perfectly shaped lips.

Liz was lost as soon as her eyes made contact with Max's. She held his gaze, which really surprised her. She suddenly drew in a sharp intake of breath when she noticed Max's eyes travel down to her lips. Subconsciously, Liz licked her lips, not realizing what an effect that small action would have on Max.

Max's eyes widened when he saw Liz run her tongue along her lips. This time, it was his turn to take in a sharp intake of breath. He had to control himself...and fast. He blinked his eyes a couple of times before forcing his gaze away from Liz. He then closed his eyes and took several deep breaths, trying desperately to control his emotions. He already liked Liz a lot, but he didn't want to move too quickly for her.

He suddenly realized that he must look strange; standing in the middle of her room, eyes closed, taking deep, deliberate breaths. He didn't care though. He had to regain his control, and this was the only way he knew how too.

Liz watched Max's facial expressions with curiosity and amusement. Normally, she was extremely shy, never doing anything bold. But with Max, it was different. She felt a comfort inside her that she never felt before, not even with her parents. She didn't know why, but for the first time in her life, Liz Parker actually felt....brave and unafraid…the exact opposite of shy in fact. Max Evans, the most popular guy in school, the guy that made every other girl nervous whenever he simply passed by them, made her feel totally at peace. He made her feel like she had nothing to be bashful about.

"So," Liz began, still keeping her eyes locked on Max's face. "Are you going to tell me the real reason why you were driving by my house two hours early?"

Max's eyes snapped open and he stared at Liz in shock. This time, it was Max who blushed from head to toe, making Liz smile widely. God, she has an amazing smile, Max thought to himself. He didn't notice until he heard Liz say his name that he had been silently staring at her for the past minute.

"Max?" Liz asked, barely above a whisper. The way he was staring at her made her blood boil. Normally, she would feel extremely self-conscious, but for some reason, Max's gaze caused her to feel the exact opposite.

"Huh?" Max asked. After staring at Liz for a few seconds, it finally dawned on him that he still hadn't answered her question. "OH...right...the question." He didn't know what to say. He didn't want to lie to her, but he also didn't want to confess that the real reason why he drove by her house was because he really wanted to see her.

"I just...really wanted to see you," Max said, mentally scolding himself as soon as the words came out of his mouth. Way to go, big guy, he thought.

But the smile that appeared on Liz's face nearly knocked him over. God, she is so amazing, Max thought. How did I not recognize her before?

Liz didn't know what to say. She couldn't control the smile that spread across her face, and she didn't want to. Max wanted to see her! She couldn't believe it.

"I'm really glad you did," Liz finally said. Then it was her turn to nearly be knocked off her feet. The smile that Max gave her was incredible. In all her years of watching him, she had never seen him smile like this. It was amazing.

"Yeah?" Max asked, a little bashful. "Why is that?"

The question caught Liz off guard, but she didn't get a chance to answer it. Her dad suddenly appeared in her doorway.

"Don't you think you should get dressed Liz?" Mr. Parker asked.

Liz looked down and noticed that she was still wearing her robe. Her hair wasn't even done yet. A small blush came to her cheeks as she glanced back up at Max. She noticed that he was smiling at her, obviously enjoying the embarrassment that she was feeling. She glared at him playfully, which in turn caused him to raise his eyebrows at her.

"Don't worry, honey," Mr. Parker continued. "I'll keep Max entertained until you're ready."

Liz spun around to face her dad, a pleading look on her face. She didn't want her dad to interrogate Max, or to embarrass her by telling Max stories about her childhood.

"Come on, Max," Mr. Parker coaxed. "Are you hungry? We have plenty of breakfast left over."

Liz turned back around to face Max, and gave him an apologetic look. Max smiled at her in return, trying to let her know that he would be all right. As he passed by her, Max walked close enough so he could touch her hand. He reached out before he passed her, and discreetly laced a couple of his fingers through hers. The touch sent goose bumps all over Liz's body. The touch only lasted a second or two, but it was two of the best seconds in Liz's life.

After her dad and Max walked out of her room, Liz quickly shut her door and threw on some clothes. She didn't want to leave Max alone with her dad for very long. She started combing her hair, trying to dry it as quickly as possible.

"Okay, Liz," Maria said as she walked into her friends room, fresh from the shower. "What is Max doing here so early?"

"He...he wanted to see me," Liz answered honestly.

Maria let out a shriek as she hurried over to where Liz was standing. "Are you serious? He actually told you that?"

"Yeah," Liz replied with an amazed smile on her face.

"So...where is he?" Maria asked, looking around the bedroom.

"He's with my dad," Liz replied. Maria covered her mouth with her hand, a look of shock on her face. "Yeah, I know," Liz said in response to the terrified look on her friends face. Maria knew better than anyone how her dad interrogated her friends. "I've got to rescue him."

Liz put down her brush, and was about to leave when she turned back to her friend, smiling form ear to ear. She had to tell someone about Max flirting with her. She couldn't keep a feeling like that to herself.

"What?" Maria asked after noticing the look on Liz's face.

"When Max left, he reached out and laced a few of his fingers through mine," Liz blurted out. "My stomach was doing flips, and I got goose bumps all over."

Maria and Liz looked at each other for a second before they both let out a quiet scream. Maria quickly hugged Liz before she ordered her friend out of the room.

"Go save your prince," Maria said as she pointed to the door.

Liz nodded with a smile, took a deep breath, and started walking towards the kitchen.

Once she got there, she fully expected to find her dad grilling Max. Liz had only brought over a few guy friends for her parents to meet, and her dad always made them feel uncomfortable. He didn't mean to...in fact he gave them a hard time because that was how his sense of humor worked. Only two of her boyfriends had ever met her dad, and once they did, they never felt comfortable coming over to her house again.

But what Liz actually saw when she entered the kitchen nearly floored her. Her dad and Max were actually LAUGHING TOGETHER!!!!!! Actually, her dad was laughing at something Max was saying. She NEVER saw her dad laugh at something one of her friends said. Then she looked at Max, and he actually looked like he was ENJOYING the conversation! That NEVER happened either.

"Hi Liz," Mr. Parker said in-between laughs as he notice his daughter standing in the doorway. "Max here is quite the comedian," he commented.

Max looked at Liz with that wonderful smile of his.

"Are you okay?" Max asked Liz as the smile slowly dropped from his face. She looked pale.

"Y...yeah. I'm...I'm fine," Liz stuttered.

"Well...I better go see if your mom needs any help," Mr. Parker said as he stood up. "It was really great to meet you, Max," he added as he extended his had towards the young man.

"It was nice to meet you, too," Max answered as he stood up and shook Mr. Parkers hand.

"You two have fun today," Mr. Parker said as he passed his stunned daughter.

Max and Liz stood rooted in their tracks for a few seconds, just looking at each other.

"Are you sure you're okay?" Max asked again.

"I have NEVER seen my dad act that way," Liz replied honestly. "He always grills my friends, usually making them feel uncomfortable."

"Your dad's great," Max said. "He's really easy to talk to."

"We are talking about MY dad here, aren't we?" Liz asked. She found it hard to believe that her dad was easy to talk to.

"Yeah," Max replied.

"What did you say to him?" Liz asked curiously.

"Oh, not much," Max replied as he started walking towards Liz.

All other questions fled her mind as Liz watched him make his way over to her. He stopped a few inches away from her, keeping his eyes locked on hers.

"Are you ready to go?" he asked softly, mesmerized by her deep brown eyes.

It took a few seconds for the question to register, but Liz finally answered: "With you? Anytime." Her eyes dropped down to his lips, wishing that he would kiss her.

Max noticed her attention lower to his lips, and he couldn't help himself as his gaze lowered to her lips as well. He started leaning closer, closing the distance between them. He saw Liz tilt her head up slightly in anticipation of the kiss; her eyes fluttered shut as their lips were mere inches away from each other.

"Let's get rolling," Maria called as she walked into the kitchen.

Max and Liz sprang apart and looked at Maria, startled by her sudden entrance. Liz looked back at Max before letting out a sigh.

"I know what you mean," Max whispered as he looked at Liz, responding to her sigh. "Okay," he said as he took a deep breath. "Shall we?" he asked as he motioned towards the door with his hand.

To Be Continued..........................

Part 5

As they walked out to the Jeep, Liz walked a few steps behind Max. She couldn't help but stare at him. The t-shirt he was wearing had the sleeves cut off and had a rip down the sides, so Liz could see parts of his bare chest and stomach. Her eyes were glued on his firm muscles as they walked.

Maria noticed that Liz was staring at Max's body, so she quickly put her arm around Liz's shoulders, trying to distract her friend before Max caught her staring at him.

"Do you really want Max to catch you staring at his bod?" Maria whispered in Liz's ear.

Liz looked at her friend with a shocked expression. She didn't even realize that she had been staring at Max until Maria pointed it out.

"We just need to stop by my house to pick up Michael," Max said over his shoulder. "Alex and Tess are going to meet us out there."

"Sounds good," Maria replied.

The drive to Max's house was a silent one. Max kept glancing over at Liz, who was sitting in the passenger seat. Liz noticed that Max kept glancing at her, and a couple of times, she returned his gaze, their eyes locking for a few seconds each time. These looks didn't go unnoticed by Maria. She saw the way Max was looking at Liz, and the way her friend was looking at him in return.

"So...Max," Maria said, leaning forward so she was in-between the two front seats. "Why isn't Isabel going with us?"

"Her idea of enjoying the great outdoors is putting the top down on her car on the way to the mall," Max replied. "She's not really into anything that might cause her to sweat."

That was the only conversation that took place, and it ended quickly. As Max pulled into the driveway of his house, Liz could help but gasp.

"This is your house?" she asked Max in disbelief.

"Yep. This is it," Max replied.

"What does your dad do?" Maria asked, just as shocked as Liz. The house was enormous, with a four-car garage, and a huge front lawn that had a fountain in the middle.

"He's a lawyer," Max replied. "He tries cases all over the place. Right now he's in Las Cruses representing a doctors firm in a civil trial."

"Wow," was all Liz could say.

"How big is this place?" Maria couldn't help but ask.

"Follow me and I'll show you," Max responded.

They all climbed out of the Jeep and headed into the house. The entryway was about the size of Liz's entire house, she thought.

"As you can see," Max began. "This is the entryway." There were large pillars that ran from the floor to the ceiling, strictly for decoration. "Down here is the kitchen," Max pointed as he walked down the hallway straight ahead of them. All together, there were seven rooms on that level...two bedrooms, a bathroom, the kitchen, the dinning room, the living room, and the den.

Just when Liz thought she had seen it all, Max surprised her.

"Let's head upstairs," he said.

Liz and Maria followed him up a slightly curved staircase. There were four bedrooms (including the master bedroom) three bathrooms, and a game room on that floor.

"Wow," Liz said again. "Which room's yours?"

"It's the second door on the left," Max said.

"Well, aren't you going to show us?" Maria asked.

"Sure," Max said a little apprehensive.

His room is probably a mess, Liz thought. But as she walked through the door, she was shocked. His room was extremely organized. His bed was made, and there was absolutely nothing on the floor. He had a computer desk set up in one of the corners, with his bed next to it. He had a rather large TV sitting on his dresser, which was located on the wall near the foot of his bed. He also had a VCR, a DVD player, and like most teenage boys, he had a Playstation.

"I could be entertained in here for days," Maria commented.

Max misunderstood what she meant, and he looked at her in shock. He could feel his face heating up from embarrassment.

Liz noticed the look on Max's face, and she immediately knew what he was thinking.

"She meant that you have enough electronics in here to keep her entertained for days," Liz whispered into his ear.

Max involuntarily let out a sigh of relief, which caused Liz to giggle.

"Why don't we head downstairs," Max suggested, trying to draw everyone's attention away from his room.

They all walked into the kitchen, where they found Mrs. Evans making lunch for the kids to take with them.

"Hey mom," Max said before walking up behind her and placing a kiss on her cheek.

That simple action nearly caused Liz to cry. Her dad always told her that you could tell how a man will treat you by watching how he treats his mother. Liz could tell that Max loved his mom very much, and just the thought of having him love her caused Liz to get all teary eyed. Where had that thought come from, she asked herself. She just met Max yesterday, and she was already thinking about what it would feel like to have him love her.

"I'd like you to meet some friends of mine," Max said to his mom. "This is Maria, and this is Liz," he said, pointing to each girl as he said their names.

"It's nice to meet you girls," Mrs. Evans said after turning around to face them. "I would shake your hands, but mine are covered with food," she said, raising her hands to show proof.

"It's nice to meet you, too," Maria and Liz said almost simultaneously.

"You're right," Mrs. Evans whispered to Max as she turned back around to face the counter. "Liz is very beautiful."

"Moooom," Max whined under his breath. He hoped that neither Liz nor Maria heard that last comment from his mom.

Liz couldn't believe her ears. Max's mom just said that she was beautiful, and apparently Max had said the same thing about her earlier. Max thinks I'm beautiful, Liz thought as she looked at him.

Max took one look at Liz and he could tell that she had heard what his mom said. But what he saw when he met Liz's eyes caused any embarrassment he felt to fly out the window. Her eyes were glowing, and the corners of her mouth were curling up into a smile. Max gave her a tiny smile in return, which caused Liz's smile to grow.

"So, when is Michael getting here?" Mrs. Evans asked, breaking Max's concentration away from Liz.

"Um, he should be here..." Max didn't get a chance to finish his sentence before the doorbell rang. "Right about now," he finished as he walked to the front door. A few seconds later, Max walked back into the kitchen with Michael following close behind.

"Hi Mrs. E.," Michael said. He had been calling Max's mom that ever since he was little.

"Hello Michael," Mrs. Evans replied, giving him a warm smile.

Maria turned to look at Michael as soon as he walked in, and she was blown away by what she saw. Sure, she had seen the guy plenty of times at school, but now that she saw him away from the classroom, he looked completely different. He was wearing a pair of black nylon warm up pants, a black tank top, and a pair of white and black tennis shoes.
He looks hot, Maria thought.

"Hey Liz, Maria," Michael said after he noticed that they were standing next to Max's mom. "I thought we weren't picking you guys up for another hour."

"We had a slight change in plans," Max said quickly. He didn't want his best friend to know that he got caught driving by Liz's house two hours early. Michael would never let him live that down.

"Okay," Michael responded, not thinking twice about it.

"How's chemistry going?" Mrs. Evans asked Michael. She was well aware of his scholastic problems.

"It's going a lot better. I have an extremely talented tutor," Michael said, winking at Liz.

"Oh good," Mrs. Evans replied. "Who's your tutor?"

"Actually...I am," Liz said.

Mrs. Evans turned to look at Liz, surprise written all over her face. She then turned to Max and whispered: "Beautiful AND intelligent? You really know how to pick them."

"Mooom," Max said more forcefully than before, telling her to stop embarrassing him. He glanced at Liz, and he could tell that she had heard his mom's comment once again. He gave her a weak smile, which she returned with a much bigger one of her own.

After Mrs. Evans finished making the lunches, Max and Michael packed all the gear into the Jeep. When Max walked back into the house, to his horror, he found his mom talking privately to Liz. He rushed over to where they were standing, trying to make sure that his mom wasn't embarrassing him by telling Liz stories about his childhood.

The smile on Liz's face when she looked at him told him otherwise. He looked at his mom with a stern face.

"What?" Mrs. Evans asked innocently, smiling at her son.

"You didn't tell her any stories about me when I was younger, did you?" he asked his mom with pleading eyes.

"Of course not," Mrs. Evans replied, still smiling.

"We're ready to go," Max said to Liz even though he was still eyeing his mom.

Liz started walking past Max, but she couldn't resist the urge to let him know that his mom DID tell her a story about when he was younger.

"Let's go...Donald," Liz said before giggling uncontrollably.

"Mooooomm," Max whined. "You told her about Donald Duck?!?!?"

"I'm sorry dear," Mrs. Evans said. "I thought you were really cute riding around the neighborhood on your Donald Duck scooter...completely naked. You were only three years old, Max. It's not like this happened last week."

"I think we should go before my mom discloses anything else," Max said as he placed his hand on the small of Liz's back, guiding her towards the door.

"Hey Liz," Mrs. Evans called before they walked out. After Liz and Max turned around to face her, she added: "I have pictures of him and Donald if you want to see them later on."

Max let out a groan, quickly turned Liz towards the door, and walked her out as quickly as possible. He looked down at Liz, and saw that she was still giggling.

"Laugh all you want," Max said. "But your dad told me some interesting things about you when YOU were younger."

That confession caused Liz to stop dead in her tracks. She looked at Max with wide eyes as her mouth dropped open.

Seeing the terror on Liz's face, Max decided to come clean. "I'm kidding," he admitted.

Liz's body immediately relaxed. It took her a second to recover, but when she did, she playfully hit Max on the arm. "You jerk."

Max let out a laugh. "It's not fair that you know the most embarrassing moment in my life, when I don't know yours."

"Well you're not getting anything out of me," Liz said as she stuck her nose in the air, showing that she wasn't going to tell him anything.

"Oh really?" Max asked with a smile. "I can be very persuasive," he said softly.

"I'm sure you can be," Liz whispered as she lost herself in his eyes.

"Let's get moving," Michael called from the Jeep. He could see that Max and Liz were standing just inside the doorway, sharing a look. He then turned to Maria. "Lets make a bet on how long it will take those two to kiss."

Maria looked at him and smiled. "You're on."

"Let's see...today's Sunday, and knowing Max, I bet they won't kiss until Friday," Michael said.

"Way too long," Maria commented. "I've seen the way they look at each other, and I bet they'll kiss by Wednesday."

"Okay," Michael said. "What's the bet?"

After thinking for a minute, Maria said: "If I win, you have to take me out on a date...and you have to pretend that you're enjoying yourself too."

Michael raised his eyebrows at her. "And if I win?"

"If you win," Maria said before thinking again. "I'll take you out on a date...and I'll even pretend that I'm enjoying myself."

Michael started laughing. "It's a bet," he said, shaking hands with Maria.

Maria was thrilled to no end. No matter what happened, she was going to end up on a date with Michael Guerin. A date that HE agreed to! Maybe he likes me, Maria thought. Then self-doubt started running through her mind. She didn't have a chance to reflect on it too long, because Max was helping Liz into the Jeep a few seconds later.

Liz sat in back, right behind Max, while Maria sat next to her, right behind Michael. After Max pulled out of the driveway and started to head out into the dessert, he and Michael started talking.

Maria then leaned over so she could talk to Liz. Having the top of the Jeep off made it kind of difficult to hold a conversation.

"Liz, I need you to do me a favor," Maria said.

"Sure, what is it?" Liz asked.

"I need you to kiss Max by Wednesday."

"WHAT?!?!?" Liz yelled, causing both Max and Michael to look back at her. "Sorry," she said to the two boys. After Max and Michael turned back around and continued with their conversation, Liz leaned towards Maria. "Could you run that by me one more time?"

"I said, I need you to kiss Max by Wednesday."

"And why is that?" Liz asked

"Because Michael and I have a bet going," Maria confessed. "If you two kiss by Wednesday, I win."

"And how does Michael win?" Liz asked.

"He wins if you guys don't kiss until Saturday."

"WHAT?!?!?" Liz yelled, again causing Max and Michael to turn around and stare at her. "Sorry," she said again.

Michael exchanged glances with Max, both of them trying to figure out what Liz was yelling about.

After the boys turned back around, Liz whispered: "Michael doesn't think that Max will kiss me until Saturday?" After Maria nodded her head, Liz whispered to herself: "I hope it doesn't take that long."

In the front seat, Michael and Max were talking about sports, when Michael suddenly changed the subject.

"What's up with Liz?"

Max turned to look at him. "What do you mean?"

"What's up with her yelling?" Michael clarified.

"I have no idea," Max replied as he looked at Liz through the rearview mirror.

"Listen," Michael said. "I need you to do me a favor."

"What's that?" Max asked.

Michael glanced over his shoulder to make sure that the girls wouldn't hear him. "You can't kiss Liz until Saturday," Michael said matter-of factly.

"SAY WHAT?!?!?" Max yelled, this time causing Liz and Maria to look at him from the back seat. "Sorry," he mumbled.

After Michael saw that Maria and Liz had started talking again, he clarified. "Maria and I bet on when you and Liz will kiss, and I bet that you two won't kiss until Saturday."

"Saturday?" Max whispered in shock. "What did Maria bet?"

"She bet you guys would kiss by Wednesday."

"WEDN..." Max started to yell before he caught himself. "Wednesday?" he whispered.

"Yeah. You have to hold out for me buddy."

"What did you guys bet on?"

After a brief pause, Michael said: "I can't tell you that until the bet's over."

Saturday, Max thought to himself. He wanted to kiss Liz right now. There was no way he could hold out until Saturday.

The rest of the drive went by rather quickly. Max pulled the Jeep up to a rock formation and parked next to Tess's SUV. Her and Alex were already putting on their gear.

"Hey Tess, Alex," Max called as he climbed out of the Jeep. Tess and Alex waved to him. After Liz got out of the Jeep, Max put his hand on the small of her back again, and led her and Maria over to his friends. "Tess, Alex, this is Liz and Maria," Max introduced them.

Alex shook their hands in turn. "Nice to meet you," he said with a friendly smile.

"Likewise," Maria answered.

Tess walked up to Maria and shook her hand. She then looked at Liz, and a friendly smile instantly came to her face. "We've met before," she told Max.

"Oh," Max said. "Right. Anyway, what rock are you two going to climb," he asked Alex.

"We're going to tackle K1," Alex replied. The group went rock climbing so much, they had names for every rock face. K1 was an extremely difficult climb, and Alex and Tess would have to split the climb up into two parts. "What about you?" he asked Max.

"I think we're going to start with Diamond Peak," Max answered. Diamond Peak was a simple rock, not too long of a climb, and not too steep either. "I want to let Liz and Maria get the feel of climbing before we throw them on Everest."

Everest was the highest, and toughest, rock face to climb. It normally took several hours to climb, and it required a break on a ledge that was halfway up the rock.

Alex and Tess smiled before they finished putting on their gear. Max walked Maria and Liz back to the Jeep, where Michael was laying the equipment out on the ground.

"You need all this?" Maria asked after seeing how much gear there really was.

"Not for the climb we're doing," Michael answered.

Liz turned to watch as Alex and Tess walked over to the rock they were going to climb. A few minutes later Tess started climbing, while Alex belayed for her. Max noticed that Liz was watching Tess climb so he walked over and stood next to her.

"She's definitely the best climber in our group," Max said as he watched Tess climb.

Liz looked at Max for a second before turning her attention back to Tess. She was really good, not having any trouble making her way up the rock.

"Come on," Max said. "Let's get you into a harness."

After everyone was ready to go, the four of them walked over to the rock they were going to climb.

"Did you want to place the line, or should I?" Max asked Michael.

"Go ahead. I haven't eaten yet, and you know I don't climb on an empty stomach."

Max let out a laugh before walking up to the rock. He quickly removed his shirt, which would just get in his way. Michael stood a few feet away from the rock and braced himself, just in case Max fell.

Liz watched as Max took off his shirt, finding herself instantly mesmerized by the sight. She couldn't take her eyes off his bare chest and shoulders.

"Wow," Maria whispered as she stood next to Liz. They were a few feet away from Michael, both watching as Max prepared to climb. "I had no idea he was so built."

"Yeah," Liz replied. The only thing she could think of was that muscular chest of Max's. She couldn't tear her eyes away from him if her life depended on it. She watched as Max climbed the rock, his muscles flexing as he made his way to the top. She couldn’t believe how sexy he was, all sweaty and out of breathe.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After everyone was done climbing for the day, they all packed up and headed back to Roswell. It was still early, so everyone decided to meet at Max's house so they could figure out what they wanted to do that night.

Liz couldn't get her mind off of seeing Max without a shirt on. She thought that he was gorgeous, but seeing him half naked made her think even more so. She kept looking at him through the rearview mirror. A couple of times Max had caught her looking. She smiled at him shyly before turning her head and looking out the window.

After Max caught her looking at him for the fifth time, he decided to make a bold move. Since Liz was sitting right behind him, he reached back with his left hand - since that was the hand that neither Michael nor Maria would see – and wrapped his fingers around her bare calf.

Liz was surprised to say the least. She looked down to find Max wrapping his hand around her leg, cupping her calf. She looked at him through the rearview mirror again, and saw that he was smiling at her. She smiled back as she felt him start to rub her leg with his thumb. She leaned forward casually, trying to make it look like she was tying her shoelace. She reached down and covered Max's hand with her own before she started rubbing the back of his hand.

Liz's stomach was flipping with such intensity that it was almost more that she could bear. Just having Max touch her was wreaking havoc on her system.

Max let go of her leg and intertwined his fingers with hers. He could feel his insides start to boil by just having Liz touch him. He wanted to touch her all the time. He couldn't get enough of her.

They held hands for a few minutes, until Liz finally let go and leaned back in her seat. If she stayed hunched over too much longer, Maria would start wondering what was wrong with her.

After Liz let go of his hand, Max brought it back and placed it on the steering wheel. There was absolutely NO WAY he could wait until Saturday to kiss her. Max glanced over at Michael, who was looking out the window.

Sorry buddy, Max thought. But you're going to lose the bet.

posted on 24-Oct-2001 1:42:20 PM
Part 6

"So...what are we going to do tonight?" Tess asked the rest of the group. They were all gathered in the living room at the Evans' home.

"Why don't we see a movie?" Alex suggested.

"Nah," Michael replied. "Lets go dancing."

"Dancing?" Maria asked. "Where can you go dancing around here?"

"Down at The Inferno," Michael answered.

"But don't you have to be twenty one to get in?" Liz asked.

"Technically...yes," Max answered. "But the owner of the club is one of my dad's best clients. He lets us in any time we want."

The idea of dancing really appealed to Liz. That would give her a chance to dance with Max all night. She could definitely live with that.

"Sounds good to me," Isabel said.

"Me too," Maria chimed in.

"Then it's settled," Tess said. "I don't know about you guys, but I definitely need a shower before we go."

"Alright," Max said. "It's about 5:00 now, why don't we all meet back here around 8:00?"

"Sounds good," Tess said. "Why don't I give you guys a ride home," she said as she pointed to Maria and Liz.

Liz looked at Max questioningly. She didn't know if he wanted her to get a ride with Tess, or if he wanted to give her a ride home himself.

Max walked over and whispered into Liz's ear: "Why don't you ride with Tess. I need to pick something up before we go out tonight anyway."

"Okay," Liz said, smiling weakly at him. She tried her best to hide the disappointment that she felt deep down inside.

Max put his arm around Liz's shoulders and walked her out to Tess's car. "I'll see you in a couple of hours," he said as he ran his hand through her hair. After Liz climbed into the car, Max turned to Tess and gave her a nod.

Tess gave a nod back before she pulled out of the driveway.

"So, where do you live Maria?" Tess asked.

"Not to far from here, actually," Maria responded. She gave Tess directions, and they soon pulled up to Maria's house, which was in the back of the Crashdown Cafe that her parents owned.

"I'll be back here around 7:45 to pick you up," Tess said before Maria got out.

"Sounds good," Maria said. "See you later, Liz."

"Bye, Maria," Liz responded.

After Tess pulled back out into traffic, she started heading in the opposite direction of Liz's house.

"Um, Tess," Liz said. "My house is the other way."

"I know," Tess responded.

"Then where are we going?" Liz asked hesitantly.

"I have orders to take you shopping so you can find an outfit for tonight and a dress for prom," Tess answered.

"Orders?" Liz asked, amazed. "Orders from whom?"

"I'll give you two guesses, but you're only going to need one," Tess responded.

"Max," Liz said without a doubt in her head.

"Bingo," Tess said with a smile.

"This is very nice of you," Liz began. "But I don't have the money for new clothes."

"Well, then it's a good thing you're not paying for them," Tess said casually.

"I couldn't possibly have you pay for them," Liz said.

"Well, then it's a good thing I'm not," Tess answered. "Max gave me enough money to cover all expenses that may arise."

"That's really nice of him, but..." Liz started to say before Tess interrupted her.

"But nothing. If you have a problem with it, you can talk to Max tonight. My job is to get you to the mall and to help you shop. I know better than to show up tonight empty handed. Max would kill me."

Liz let a tiny smile appear on her face. "Thank you."

"There's no need to thank me," Tess responded with a smile. "I'm happy to help out. You should really thank Max."

"Oh, I plan to," Liz responded quietly.

"Actually," Tess said. "I should be the one thanking you."

"For what?" Liz asked.

"I know that Max has only known you for one day, but I can already see a change in him. It's nice to see him open up a bit." After a brief pause, Tess continued. "I have to admit though; the fact that Max won't stop talking about you is really starting to get on everyone's nerves."

"Oh," Liz responded. She didn't know how to react. She was thrilled to know that Max talked about her so much, but she didn't want everyone in the group hating her because Max wouldn't shut up about her.

Tess glanced over at Liz and let a smile stretch across her face. "Liz...I'm kidding. Everyone loves seeing Max this way. It wouldn't bother me one bit if he talked about you 24-7."

Liz smiled back at Tess. "Thank you," she said quietly. After hearing that she felt her entire body relax. Now all she had to worry about was whether or not Max was going to wait until Saturday to kiss her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Oh my," Tess said with her mouth open slightly. "Liz, that looks incredible on you!!" Liz was wearing a navy blue tube top with a matching colored mini skirt.

"You think so?" Liz asked shyly. "It's kind of expensive."

"What did I tell you? Tess scolded her with raised eyebrows.

"That price doesn't matter," Liz repeated. "I can't help it though. I've never had anyone just buy me things like this before."

"Well, you can thank Max tonight. Speaking of Max...I know for sure that he will absolutely LOVE that outfit!"

"He will?" Liz asked with a bright smile.

"Definitely," Tess answered. "Now that we've found you something for tonight, why don't we find you a dress for prom?"

After another hour of shopping, Tess dropped Liz off at her house.

"I'll be back in about an hour to pick you up," Tess said.

"I can drive tonight if you want," Liz offered.

"That's okay," Tess said. "I don't mind driving. Besides, if you drove, Max wouldn't be able to take you home later on tonight."

Liz's eyes lit up as she smiled from ear to ear. After a brief pause, Liz hesitantly asked: "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," Tess responded.

"Max told me that you and him dated for a little while."

"Yeah, we did," Tess responded.

"Why did you guys break it off?" Liz asked.

"Well...we both decided that we were better off as friends. When we dated, neither one of us really felt anything for each other romantically. Don't get me wrong, Max is an incredible guy. I mean he's one of my best friends, and I can't tell you how happy I am that he's finally found someone like you."

"Does he share things about me with you?" Liz asked softly.

"Just how he feels about you," Tess answered.

"How does he feel about me?"

"Let's just say that he's never bought anyone a dress before. He's never really had a girlfriend, because he's never wanted one. But I can tell you that he already thinks the world of you."

"Really?" Liz asked with a smile.

"I probably shouldn't be telling you this, so you can't let Max know that I told you," Tess said. "You have to promise me that you won't tell him."

"I promise," Liz said, shifting in her seat to give Tess her full attention. She was excited and anxious to find out what the big secret was.

"Last night, Max went out and bought you something. Now I can't tell you what it is, but you should prepare yourself for a big surprise tomorrow at school."

"Just before we left his house, Max told me that he had to pick something up," Liz said.

Tess smiled. "That's got to be it," she said. "Trust me...you'll find out what it is tomorrow. Just brace yourself. I really don't want to have to drive you to the hospital because you're hyperventilating from shock."

"So, you know what it is?" Liz asked with a smile.

"Yes I do, but I've already told you too much," Tess responded. "I don't want to ruin the surprise, and I definitely don't want to miss the look on your face when you find out what it is."

"Oh, please!" Liz begged. "Just tell me. I promise I'll act surprised."

"Sorry," Tess said. "My lips are sealed. Now get out of here. I'll see you in an hour."

After that, Liz climbed out and headed into her house. What did Max get for her? Liz knew that she would be racking her brain until she found out what it was, but there was no way to find out until tomorrow. She couldn't just ask Max about it because she wasn't even supposed to know. Great, Liz thought. I guess I'm not getting any sleep tonight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I don't know about you going out on a school night," Mr. Parker said after Liz asked if she could go out with her friends.

"I won't stay out too late," Liz said. "Besides, I've had straight A's since junior high."

"Can't argue with you there," Mr. Parker said.

"Who are you going out with?" Mrs. Parker asked.

"It's going to be me, Maria, a girl named Tess, Isabel, a guy named Alex, Michael and....Max." Liz nearly whispered Max's name because she still wasn't sure how her parents felt about him.

"Max?" Mr. Parker asked, his interest intensifying. "Did you get a chance to talk to Max, honey?" Mr. Parker asked his wife.

"Not yet," Mrs. Parker answered.

"He's quite the young man," Mr. Parker answered. "I talked to him for about five minutes earlier today, and I have to say that I was really impressed with him."

Liz could hardly believe what she was hearing. Her dad just said that he was impressed with one of her guy friends. That had never happened before.

"If Max is going, tell him to have you back by midnight," Mr. Parker said.

"One o'clock," Liz countered.

"Eleven o'clock," Mr. Parker answered.

"Okay, 12:30," Liz offered.

"10:30," Mr. Parker said.

"Daaaad," Liz whined.

"Okay," Mr. Parker said, feeling defeated. "One o'clock. But not a second later."

"Thanks dad," Liz said with a smile before she hugged him and kissed him on the cheek. She then hugged her mom, and ran to her bedroom to get ready for the evening.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tess came to pick Liz up right on time. Liz had never really worn the kind of outfit that she had on, but she liked it. Besides, Tess said that Max would love it, and that's all that mattered to her.

"My ride's here," Liz called as she ran past her parents. "Bye mom, bye dad."

"Be careful," Mr. Parker called before the front door closed.

"Let's get rolling," Tess said as Liz climbed into the car.

After picking Maria up, the three girls headed towards Max's house.

"Wow, Liz," Maria said after taking in Liz's attire. "I didn't even know you owned clothes like that."

"I didn't before today," Liz said.

"Well, I must say that you look terrific," Maria said.

"I agree," Tess said, voicing her opinion.

"Thanks guys," Liz said with a smile.

After pulling up to Max's house, Tess killed the engine. "Okay," she said, facing the other two girls before they could get out of the car. "We need to surprise Max. Maria and I will walk in front so Max can't see Liz right away."

They all got out of the car, and made their way up to Max's front door. Tess rang the doorbell, and a few seconds later, Isabel answered it.

"Hey guys," she said before stepping aside to let them in. "Everyone's in the living room."

They all walked into the living room to find Alex sitting in a chair and Max and Michael sitting on the couch. As soon as the girls walked in, Max stood up. He could barely see Liz behind Tess and Maria.

As he started walking toward them, Tess and Maria suddenly stepped to the side, revealing Liz. Max stopped dead in his tracks as he looked at Liz. She looked incredible! He could feel his mouth dropping open and his eyes bulging, but he didn't care. The outfit she had on accentuated every curve on her body. Her hair was curled, then pulled back into a loose ponytail with a few loose strands framing her face. He tried to talk, but no words came out of his mouth. His lips were moving, but it felt like his vocal chords had been severed.

"Wow," Max finally forced out.

Liz smiled brightly as she stood on display for him. His eyes were roaming all over her body, and she could literally feel his gaze on her skin. She had been so nervous about what Max would think of her new outfit that she didn't even notice what he was wearing until just now. He was wearing black pants with dressy shoes (they looked like Doc Martins), and a black, tight fitting, long sleeve shirt. He looked HOT!!

"You...you look amazing," Max finally said.

"Thanks. So...so do you," Liz said, letting her eyes travel up and down Max's body.

"Okay love birds," Michael interrupted. "Let's get moving before you both melt." He then walked over to Maria and offered her his arm. "Shall we?"

Maria was surprised to say the least. She quickly linked her arm in his and smiled up at him. "We shall," she answered.

Max walked up to Liz and ran the back of his hand across her cheek before brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "You are so beautiful," he whispered as he ran his finger down her jaw line.

"Let's move, Maxwell!" Michael called.

Max closed his eyes and set his jaw in frustration. Michael's timing was always off. When he opened his eyes, he found Liz staring at him intently. He could get lost in her eyes so easily, it scared him a little. But the amazing thing was, he liked how it scared him. He shook himself mentally before he reached for Liz's hand.

"Ready to go, beautiful?" he asked softly.

Liz nodded, her eyes still locked on his. It wasn't until they started walking that she finally looked away.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They took Tess's SUV, and Max's Jeep to the club. After parking the cars, the group walked to the entrance.

"Hey, Freddy," Max said to the bouncer standing by the front door. Max liked the guy, even though he always gave him a lecture about not drinking while inside the club.

"Mr. Evans," Freddy replied. "Nice to see you. I see you brought some friends with you." After Max introduced everyone, Freddy began his speech. "Now...you guys are allowed inside, but that doesn't mean that you can drink. If I catch any of you drinking, the party’s over."

"Yes mom," Isabel replied with a smile. She was pretty good friends with Freddy, since she and Alex came to the club quite often.

"Watch yourself, Miss Evans," Freddy warned. "You wouldn't want me to give your boyfriend the microphone, would you?"

Isabel groaned. Every time she acted up, Freddy would let Alex sing and dance up on stage. It always humiliated her when he did that.

"Alright!" Alex exclaimed. He loved to get up on stage and let loose.

"Don't even think about it, buddy," Isabel warned with stern eyes. She then dragged Alex into the club, followed by the rest of the group.

Liz was amazed that they could fit so many people in the club. The place was packed from wall to wall. She felt Max walk up behind her, and place his hand on her hips.

"So," she said, turning her head so she could talk into his ear. The music was loud, and holding a conversation was difficult unless you were standing right next to the person. "You come here often?"

"Nah. I've never had a girlfriend to bring here before," Max said with a smile. "You ready to dance, princess?" he whispered into her ear.

Part 7

Max led Liz to the middle of the dance floor. The music was fast, and the two of them got into it right away. There were tons of people around them, but neither of them noticed. The only people that mattered were the two of them.

"You're a pretty good dancer," Max commented, talking loudly over the music. "You dance much?"

"Only at school dances," Liz said. "Well...I do dance a lot in my bedroom, but that doesn't really count."

"Sure it does," Max said with a smile.

"What about you?" Liz asked. "You're holding your own out here."

"That's what you get when you live with Isabel. She makes me dance with her whether I want to or not," Max said, making Liz giggle.

They had only danced to a couple of fast songs, but they were already starting to sweat.

"Do you want something to drink?" Max asked. Before Liz could answer, 'N Sync's 'This I Promise You' came on.

Liz smiled at Max while shaking her head. "I don't think so," she replied as she reached out and grabbed Max by the shirt, pulling him toward her. "I want you to dance with me," she whispered into his ear as soon as he was close enough.

Max didn't need to be told twice. He immediately reached out and wrapped his arms around Liz's waist, interlocking his fingers behind her back. He wanted to hold her as close as he possibly could. He could still feel her breath against his ear, and it sent goose bumps all over his body.

Liz reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck, resting her head on his shoulder. She started playing with the hair at the nape of his neck, twirling it around in her fingers. She didn't know at the time, but that drove Max absolutely crazy.

As soon as Max felt Liz playing with his hair, he almost lost control. He pulled back slightly so he could look at her. Their eyes met, and everything else disappeared.

Max's eyes lowered to Liz's lips and, feeling his gaze, Liz instinctively ran her tongue along her bottom lip. Max made a groaning sound that Liz barely heard through the music. His eyes flickered back up to hers, and the look he saw there caused his breath to catch. The longing he saw in her eyes was overwhelming.

Liz couldn't control the way she was feeling, and she didn't want to. Her eyes lowered to Max's lips, wanting nothing more that for his lips to press against her own. She raised her gaze, and noticed that Max was now staring at her lips again. She wanted to scream at him to kiss her, but she couldn't seem to find her voice. Just then, she noticed Max lowering his lips toward hers. She didn't realize it before, but she had been holding her breath. She had no idea how long she had gone without oxygen, but she didn't really care much.

As Max's lips came closer to hers, Liz raised her head, allowing him access. Her eyes flickered shut, waiting for the last few inches that separated them to vanish. And then it happened.

"ALRIGHT EVERYONE!!" The D.J. yelled over the microphone, snapping Max and Liz out of their moment. "LET'S GET THIS PARTY ROCKIN'!!" They hadn't noticed, but the song had already ended.

Liz looked at Max, trying to hide her embarrassment at the fact that they didn't notice the song ending. As Max looked back at her, they both suddenly burst out in laughter, nearly falling all over each other. They made their way over to an empty table so they could rest for a few minutes.

"How embarrassing," Liz said after the laughing fit ceased.

"Hey, it could have been worse," Max said. "The D.J. could have pointed us out to everyone else."

"I think everyone already saw us," Liz commented.

"Is that a bad thing?" Max asked, completely serious.

Liz noticed the look on his face, and immediately smiled. "Not at all," she said.

After a brief rest, Max and Liz headed back out to the dance floor. Just as Max was about to lead Liz to an open area, he spotted Michael and Maria dancing off to the side.

"Look at them," Max said, pointing to his friends.

Liz took one glance at Maria, and had to cover her mouth with her hand in order to hide her shock. "Oh...my...God!!" she exclaimed with a smile.

Michael and Maria were grinding into each other, completely oblivious to anyone else around them. It was a fast song, and Michael had one arm around Maria's waist, the other handing limply by his side while grinding his body against hers. Maria had both her arms wrapped around Michael's neck, grinding her own body against his in return.

"They're REALLY into each other," Max said with a laugh.

"No kidding," Liz replied, still shocked. "I've never seen Maria act this way."

"Come on," Max said, pulling Liz behind him as he headed out onto the dance floor.

They danced to a few faster songs, and before long, they both needed some fresh air.

"I want to show you something," Max said as he grabbed Liz's hand and led her up a flight of stairs. He turned down a hallway, and headed out the door at the end of the hall. Liz soon found herself standing on a private balcony, located at the back of the building. She was alone with Max, overlooking the dessert that surrounded Roswell. The moon was bright, and the stars were glistening in the sky. The view was truly breathtaking.

It wasn't that cold out, and the soft breeze felt good against their hot bodies.

"Wow," Liz said with a smile, looking up at the sky. "The view up here is amazing."

Max's eyes had been locked on Liz ever since they walked onto the balcony. "It sure is," he replied, still looking at her.

At that moment, they heard 98 Degrees' 'My Everything' start to play from inside the club. The music wasn't very loud, but it was just right for them. Max immediately pulled Liz close to him, not wanting to waist a second of the song. He once again wrapped his arms around her waist, while she wrapped hers around his neck.

"We better listen for the end of the song this time," Liz said with a giggle.

But once she made eye contact with Max, all conversation went right out the window. The look in his eyes told more than any words could. This time around, Max didn't waist a second. He brought one hand up and ran the backs of his fingers across Liz's cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned into his touch. She wanted to savor every moment she had with him. He made her feel things she had never felt before. His touch sent shivers through her body, and she could feel her legs start to wobble.

She opened her eyes when she felt Max rest his forehead against hers. His eyes were now closed, savoring every moment just like Liz was. His hand never stopped touching her as he turned it over and rested his palm along her jaw line; his thumb rubbing gently across her cheek. He opened his eyes and stared at her, seeing exactly what he was feeling mirrored in her eyes.

He slowly lowered his head, tilting it slightly to one side. Liz's eyes fluttered closed once again as she tilted her head up toward Max. His hand was still resting along her jaw, and as he was about to bring his lips down on hers, he closed his eyes.

Liz could feel Max's breath against her lips as her stomach tied itself into knots. And then...she felt Max's lips brush gently against hers. He brought his lips back for a second before making contact again. This time, he gently captured her bottom lip between his. The kiss was so gentle, yet full of passion. Liz was reeling from the feeling of having Max's lips on hers. Her arms were still wrapped around his neck, and she gently pulled him deeper into the kiss. She could feel Max moan against her lips as she pulled him closer, encouraging her to deepen the kiss.

She captured Max's bottom lip this time, and gently sucked it into her mouth. She ran her tongue along his lip, loving the feelings that were shooting through her body at that moment. This move encouraged Max to do the same to her. After Liz released his lip, Max gently sucked Liz's bottom lip into his mouth. He mimicked Liz's actions, running his tongue along her lip. He moved his hand that was still on her cheek, and wrapped it behind her neck. He pulled Liz closer to him by using his other arm that was still wrapped around her waist. He heard her moan, and that nearly did him in.

Max knew that he had to stop before things got out of hand. He had just met this incredible girl, and he didn't want to rush this relationship. He wanted to take things slow. He broke their kiss, but he didn't pull back. Instead, he rested his forehead against hers again.

Liz felt him break their kiss, and she opened her eyes as soon as he rested his forehead against hers. She couldn't believe what just happened. She just kissed Max Evans!! She could feel Max taking deep breaths, and she started to worry that she did something wrong.

"Max?" she asked gently. "Are you alright?"

"No," Max answered softly, his eyes still closed. "You're driving me crazy."

The paranoid feeling that was running through Liz's body suddenly vanished. After hearing him say that he wasn't all right, Liz thought for sure that he regretted kissing her. Now she knew that the exact opposite was true. She pulled back and brought her hands up to cup Max's cheeks. He still had his eyes closed, and he looked just like an angel to her.

"Max," Liz said softly. "Max, look at me."

Max slowly opened his eyes, and found himself staring at his own angel. He couldn't believe that he had never noticed her before. She was perfect.

"What's wrong?" she asked. She knew that something else was bothering him.

After a brief pause, Max told her. "I don't want to rush you. I've never really been in a relationship before, so this is all new to me. I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable, and I have a feeling that the way we were just kissing made you uncomfortable."

"Max...the kissing made me feel anything but uncomfortable," Liz said gently. "I want to take it slow too, but that doesn't mean we can't kiss, does it?"

Max smiled at her. "No...I guess not. I just want to make sure that it wasn't too intense for you."

"Trust me," Liz said with a smile. "I've been waiting for a kiss like that for a very long time."

Just then, the song ended. As the tempo of the music started to pick up, Max pulled Liz into a hug. He held her close, burying his face in her hair. As he was holding her, Max suddenly let out a stifled laugh.

"Sorry, Michael," Max whispered to himself.

"What?" Liz asked, pulling back so she could look into Max's eyes.

"Oh nothing," Max said. He didn't mean for Liz to hear him.

"Did you just say, 'sorry Michael'?" Liz asked with raised eyebrows.

"It's a long story," Max said as he ran the backs of his fingers across her cheek again.

Suddenly, the thought that Max knew about the bet between Michael and Maria hit Liz like a freight train.

"YOU KNOW ABOUT THEIR BET!!" she said in shock, her eyes wide.

"Between Michael and Maria?" Max asked, equally as shocked to find out that Liz knew about it too. "You know about that too?"

"Yeah. Maria begged me to kiss you by Wednesday," Liz said.

"Michael begged me to wait until Saturday to kiss you," Max said.

After a short silence, a smile suddenly appeared on Max's face as his eyes lit up.

"What?" Liz asked, noticing the look on his face right away.

"Do you want to help me play a little joke on the two of them?" he asked, his eyes gleaming with mischief.

Liz smiled brightly back at Max as she ran her hand down his chest. "What kind of joke?"

Part 8

Max and Liz made their way back down to the club, hand in hand. As they walked, they kept glancing at each other, shyly smiling when the other caught them staring.

Liz had to smile after hearing about Max's plan to get back at Michael and Maria for betting on when they would kiss. As she followed Max back into the club, she spotted Tess dancing with a guy who looked like he was about 35 years old. Whatever floats her boat, Liz thought. Max had just found them a table to sit at when they heard a very familiar voice come over the speaker system.

"HOW'S EVERYBODY DOIN'?"

Both Max and Liz turned toward the stage to see Alex, shirt untucked and hair messed up, on the microphone while Isabel stood off to the side, hiding her face in her hands. The crowd roared in response to Alex's question, and Liz found herself laughing along with Max.

"Uh oh!" Max said, smiling. "Isabel is going to KILL him when they get home."

"All right everyone," Alex continued. "I figured it was about time for a live performance. What do ya say?!?"

Again the crowd roared its approval, and Alex then turned to the D.J. and nodded. The D.J. then put on a song that Liz had only heard once before. Alex started dancing on stage as he sang the lyrics.

"Everybody was kung fu fighting," Alex sang. "Those kicks were fast as lightning." He gave a little kick to illustrate that part of the song. "In fact it was a little bit frightening. But they fought with expert timing."

Max and Liz found themselves cheering Alex on. Liz saw Michael and Maria standing next to Isabel, and she pointed them out to Max. Max then grabbed her hand and led them over to their friends.

"Hey Iz," Max said with a huge smile.

Isabel looked up at her brother. "Don't say a word, Max! Not one word!" Isabel warned. Her brother always gave her a hard time whenever Alex embarrassed her.

Everyone but Isabel was having a good time watching Alex make a fool out of himself. The rest of the club seemed to be enjoying the show as well. The song ended, but that didn't mean that Alex was ready to get off the stage just yet.

"Alright," Alex began. "I see that my closest friends are standing right here," he said, motioning towards the group with his free hand. "How's it going Max, Michael?"

"Don't even think about it, Alex!" Michael warned.

Alex just smiled at him. "It looks like I'm going to need everyone's help in getting these two on stage," he said, looking back out over the crowd. There was a roar of applause. Everyone in the club was trying to encourage Max and Michael to go on stage.

Isabel had a huge smile on her face as she made eye contact with Liz, who smiled back at her. Liz could tell exactly what Isabel wanted to do, and she nodded her head in approval. The two girls then looked at Maria, who apparently had been thinking the same thing. They casually made their way around so they were all standing behind Max and Michael.

Isabel held out her hand, ready for the countdown. "One, two" she mouthed to Liz and Maria. "THREE!" she exclaimed as all three girls rushed forward and pushed the two boys on stage.

Max and Michael soon found themselves being pushed onto the stage, and before they could resist, it was too late...they were standing next to Alex. There was another roar of cheering from the crowd, and both Max and Michael realized that they couldn't get out of it now.

"ALRIGHT!!" Alex yelled. "Now...some of you probably know this dance, so feel free to bust a move wherever you are!" Alex then dropped the microphone and motioned toward the D.J. to start the music.

As soon as the music started, Max and Michael both let out a laugh. They decided to go along with it, not caring if they embarrassed themselves in the process. The three boys were soon in sync, dancing to 'The Electric Slide.'

Liz was having the time of her life. She watched Max on stage, dancing with Michael and Alex, and she couldn't help but smile and laugh. He was a really good dancer, and she could easily watch him for hours. She found herself swaying to the music, along with Maria and Isabel. Liz looked over at her two girl friends, and saw that both of them had smiles on their faces, and were laughing at the boys.

Liz turned her attention back to the stage. She noticed that throughout the song, Max would sneak looks at her, every time having a smile on his face. Every once in a while, the crowd would clap and yell "IT'S ELECTRIC!!" and Liz would join in on the chant with Maria and Isabel.

The song came to an end, but the three boys didn't get off stage. Instead they huddled together for a few seconds, obviously discussing something. When they broke their huddle, they sent Alex running over to the D.J. After talking to him for a minute, Alex jumped back on stage.

While Alex was talking to the D.J., Max walked over to Liz and smiled at her. He stayed on stage, squatted down, and reached his hand out to her. The smile on Liz's face immediately disappeared, replaced by a look of terror.

"Max, no!!" Liz said while backing away, her eyes wide in horror. After she saw Max start to walk toward her, she decided to beg. "Max, no!! PLEASE, no!!"

Max just smiled at her as he reached out and grabbed her hand. Liz tried to back away, but Max wouldn't let go of her. He gently pulled her close to him and whispered into her ear: "You push me on stage, then you run and hide when it's your turn to go up?" He pulled back and smiled at her. When she resisted again, Max changed tactics. He once again leaned in and whispered: "Are you really going to make me dance up there all by my lonesome self?" He spoke in a voice that made him sound vulnerable and sad. When he pulled back, he gave Liz his best puppy dog look, sticking out his lower lip to pout.

Liz took one look at his absolutely ADORABLE face, and she caved in immediately. She let out a frustrated sigh before following Max on stage.

Michael had no trouble convincing Maria to get up on stage with him. All he had to do was reach out to her, smile, and wiggle his eyebrows up and down a couple of times.

Isabel was the hardest one to convince. It wasn't until Alex came back from talking to the D.J. that she was finally forced on stage. Freddy, the bouncer, snuck up behind her and carried her on stage. He was strong, so all he had to do was grab her around her waist with one arm, and lift her up.

Once he put her down, Isabel turned and glared at him. She playfully hit him on the arm, and made a lame attempt at escaping off the stage. Freddy stopped her from retreating, and by that time, Alex had a gentle, but firm grip on her.

Alex motioned towards the D.J., and as soon as the song came on, Liz laughed. She thought for sure that she would be forced to dance on stage to a song she had never heard before, but this dance she knew. Her and Max glanced at the other four, and soon, all six of them were doing 'The Hustle.'

Liz was really nervous at first, but after she started dancing, she completely relaxed. She knew exactly why she was so relaxed, too. It was because of the person dancing right next to her.

As the song played on, every once in a while the crowd would yell "DO THE HUSTLE!!" Isabel finally relaxed and found that she enjoyed dancing on stage with her friends, although she would never admit that to anyone.

Max was so busy concentrating on Liz that he completely messed up the steps, causing him to fumble around a bit while trying to regain his rhythm. Liz noticed and couldn't help but laugh at him. Hearing her laugh was like music to Max's ears. He could care less that she was laughing at him, as long as she was laughing, he was happy.

Liz was so busy laughing at Max for messing up, that she messed up the steps herself. Now it was Max's turn to laugh at her. She reached out and grabbed onto his arm while she tried to get back in sync with everyone else. Max in turn reached out with his arm and placed his hand delicately on the small of her back. The touch sent Liz into her own dream world. The music slowly faded into the background as she looked up and met his eyes. She could tell that Max was feeling the exact same thing. It was a good thing that the song ended a few seconds later, because they were the only ones in the club that had stopped dancing before they were supposed to.

After the song ended, the crowd thundered its applause for the six friends that had just danced in front of them.

Isabel had jumped off the stage as quickly as she could, followed closely by Alex. She wasn't upset, but she didn't like standing up there while everyone watched her dance. Michael and Maria had decided that they needed something to drink, so they jumped off and headed for the bar. Max and Liz were the only ones left on stage.

Max was elated to find that the next song played was a slow song. Mandy Moore's 'I Wanna Be With You' came on as Max reached out and pulled Liz close to his body, dancing with her on stage for the whole world to see. He looked into her eyes before he reached up and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. He then trailed his index finger along her jaw, following his movement with his eyes.

"You know...this little joke you want to play on Michael and Maria will never work if we keep this up," Liz said, half joking, half serious.

"I've been thinking about that," Max answered in a serious tone. "To be honest, I'm not sure if I can go through with it. I don't think I can stay away from you for that long."

"Well..." Liz began. "We'll be at school nearly the entire time. We'll hardly see each other there, so it should make it easier to stay away physically."

"But not emotionally," Max said as he leaned his forehead against Liz's and closed his eyes.

"We just can't do anything until we're alone," Liz whispered as she to closed her eyes. Having Max this close to her was really causing a reaction from her body.

Max smiled. "I'll make you a deal," he said, keeping his eyes closed. "We'll see how they react after 'The Talk,' and if they don't bite, we call the whole thing off."

"Sounds good to me," Liz replied in a dreamy voice as she snuggled her face into his neck.

After the song ended, Max took a quick glance at his watch. "What time do you need to be home?" he asked.

"One o'clock," Liz replied.

"Well, we better get moving then," Max said, scanning the club for his friends.

"Why, what time is it?" Liz asked, starting to panic.

"It's about 12:30, but the walk up to your porch will take some time," Max replied, looking at Liz while grinning.

Liz in return had to smile herself. This is definitely the best night of my life, Liz thought.

Max rounded everyone up, and after a brief discussion, it was decided that Michael and Maria would go with Max and Liz, while Tess, Alex and Isabel would stay at the club for a little while longer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Max made his way towards Maria's house, he glanced over at Liz who was sitting beside him. He glanced back at Michael and Maria, making sure that they wouldn't hear what he was about to say to Liz, otherwise the joke would be ruined.

"Did I tell you how amazing you look tonight?" he asked with a smile.

Liz turned to look at him, a smile on her face. "Yes, but you can tell me again."

"You look amazing tonight," Max repeated.

"Thanks to you," Liz whispered, her eyes never leaving his.

Max pulled up to Maria's house and silently prayed that Michael would walk her up to the door.

"I'm just going to walk her to the door," Michael said from the back seat, unknowingly answering Max's prayers.

Max looked up at the sky and mouthed the words 'Thank You.' "Alright. I'm just going to run Liz home real quick. I'll be back in a few minutes," Max said before Michael climbed out of the Jeep.

"Alright," Michael replied, turning his attention toward Maria. He was grateful that Max was leaving because that meant that he and Maria would have some time to talk. He really liked her, and this would be the perfect opportunity to get to know her somewhat.

Max drove off, grateful that he was now alone with Liz. He reached over and took hold of her hand, lacing his fingers through hers. He then brought her hand up to his mouth and placed a feather light kiss on the back of it, keeping his eyes on the road the whole time.

Liz on the other hand, never pulled her gaze away from Max's eyes. She was in a trance. The feeling she had inside could only mean one thing: Liz Parker was falling in love. But we've only known each other for a little over a day, her mind told her heart. That might be true, but Liz had been watching Max for so long now, she felt like she's known him for years.

Max was having a hard time concentrating on the road. He was feeling something inside that would have normally scared him half to death, but when the feelings involved Liz, nothing scared him. There was only one explanation for these feelings: Max Evans was falling in love. You've only known her for one day, his mind told him. But his heart wouldn't listen because he felt like he'd know her his entire life.

Max pulled up to Liz's house, and turned the Jeep off. They sat in the car for a couple of minutes, just staring at each other, then Max climbed out and walked over to Liz's side of the car. He opened her door and helped her out. They walked hand in hand up to her front door, where they stopped on the porch.

Max reached out with his free hand and placed it along her jaw line, just like he had done at the club. He then slowly leaned forward and placed a kiss on her lips. Liz reached up with her free hand and wrapped it around the back of Max's neck. She pulled Max closer, encouraging him to deepen the kiss. He opened his mouth and ran his tongue along Liz's lips, urging her to part them. Liz allowed him access, and once their tongues came into contact with each other, they both let out a gasp at the same time. This was the first time their tongues had touched, and the feeling was intense.

Neither one wanted to pull back, even though the lack of oxygen was becoming a problem. They finally broke the kiss after hearing a noise from inside Liz's house. They both turned to look at the front door just as it opened.

"Oh...hi Liz," Mr. Parker said, wide-awake. He was obviously waiting for Liz to come home. "I thought I heard someone out here." He then turned to Max. "Max!" he said with a smile. "I see you brought my daughter home on time," he said looking at his watch. "Actually, you brought her home early! I knew I liked you."

"Dad," Liz said, trying to get him to leave her and Max alone for a few more minutes. "I'll be right in," she said, hoping he got the hint.

"Right," Mr. Parker said. "I hope to see you again soon, Max."

"I'm sure you will," Max said with a smile before Mr. Parker closed the door.

"Sorry about that," Liz said, slightly embarrassed.

"It's okay. Besides, I need to go pick Michael up before he hunts me down." Max gave Liz another quick, but sweet kiss. "I'll see you tomorrow," he said as he started backing away. He was still holding Liz's hand, which he reluctantly let go at the last possible second.

"See you tomorrow," Liz repeated as she watched Max back away.

He never turned away from her as he walked backwards to his Jeep. He was thankful that there were no rocks in the middle of her lawn, or he would have found himself sprawled out on the ground. Once he reached the Jeep, he moved around to the driver’s side, keeping his eyes on Liz the whole time. After climbing in and starting the engine, he slowly pulled away from her house. He looked up at her once more, just in time to see her blow him a kiss.

To Be Continued.....................

Part 9

Liz woke up Monday morning and even though she only got about five hours of sleep, she wasn't the least bit tired. She jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom, realizing that she would see Max at school today. Once she was showered and dressed, she headed downstairs and found her parents at the dinning room table reading the newspaper.

"Hey mom, hey dad," Liz said as she walked over to the fridge and grabbed the orange juice, pouring herself a glass.

"Good morning honey," Mrs. Parker said. "You didn't get much sleep last night, are you going to be okay at school?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine, mom," Liz said before taking a drink of her juice.

"You better be fine," Mr. Parker said teasingly. "You know something," he said, putting down the newspaper and turning his attention to Liz. "Your mother and I were just talking, and we'd like you to invite Max over for dinner sometime this week."

Liz nearly choked on her drink. She quickly grabbed a napkin and wiped the juice off her chin that had nearly shot out her mouth. "Dinner?" she asked.

"Yeah," Mr. Parker said, amused by his daughters reaction. "Your mom hasn't had a chance to talk to him yet, and I wouldn't mind finding out more about him myself."

"So this is going to be an interrogation dinner," Liz said, seeing her dad's true motivation.

"Think of it as a..." Mr. Parker began, trying to think of another way to phrase it. "Okay, well an interrogation dinner," he finally relented. "We just want to get to know him a little better, that's all."

"We promise that we won't make him feel uncomfortable," Mrs. Parker said, giving her husband a warning look.

Liz eyed her parents for a second. "I'll ask him," she finally said. "But I'm not promising anything."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Liz arrived at school a little early. She wanted to make sure that she was there just in case Max wanted to see her before their classes started. The hallways were always empty at this time of the morning. Most of the students didn't show up until the last possible second. She walked up and opened her locker, pulling out the books she needed.

"Hey Liz!"

Liz turned around to see Maria walking up to her. Now would be the perfect time to start the little joke that her and Max were going to play on Michael and Maria.

"Hey Maria," Liz answered in a less than enthusiastic voice.

"What's wrong?" Maria asked. "I figured that you'd be bouncing off the walls today. I mean, you and Max are now an item, right?"

Liz frowned at her friend. "Actually...no, we're not."

"WHAT?!?" Maria exclaimed. "But he seemed so into you last night. He even drove you home. Are you telling me that nothing happened on your front porch?"

"Nothing happened," Liz said, hanging her head slightly. She should get an Oscar for this performance, she thought.

"Not even a little peck of a kiss?"

"Maria," Liz said, trying to remember exactly what Max wanted her to say. "I need to tell you something." She took a deep breath before continuing. "Max likes someone else. Well, not just anyone else, but...one of my friends."

"One of your friends?" Maria asked in disbelief. "Which friend? I'll knock her around for you."

"It's you, Maria," Liz said, trying to hold back the laughter that threatened to overtake her after seeing Maria's reaction.

"ME??????" Maria yelled.

"Yeah, you," Liz repeated.

Maria didn't know what to say. She never thought in a million years that Max would fall for her. But she didn't like him like that. She liked Michael. She didn't know what to say to Liz, not to mention that she had no idea how to act around Max anymore. Should she tell Michael? No...Michael would just get pissed.

"It's okay, Maria," Liz said after seeing her friend's lack of response. "I know that you had nothing to do with it, and that you don't like him that way...but I have to ask you a favor." After seeing Maria nod, Liz continued. "Please don't act strange around Max. Just act like you don't know that he likes you. You can't let him know that I told you, Maria. PLEASE!"

Maria nodded. "Okay," she managed to chock out.

"And you can't tell Michael either," Liz said. "He'd totally flip out."

"Don't worry," Maria finally said. "I'll just pretend that you never told me."

Just then, Liz noticed that Max was walking up behind Maria.

"Hey Liz," Max said before he noticed that Maria was standing there too. Once Maria turned around, Max saw the look of panic in her eyes and he knew that Liz had already talked to her. The joke was on. "Hi...Maria," Max said in a sultry voice, smiling brightly at her.

"Max," Maria said with wide eyes, placing a hand over her chest in an attempt to calm her nerves. She was frantically looking around for an escape route.

Max continued to stare at Maria, trying his best to look love stricken with her.

Maria faltered under his gaze, and quickly turned to Liz. "I'm late for something," she said before rushing off.

Max and Liz watched her leave, and once she was out of sight, they both burst out in laughter.

"This is too easy," Max said between laughs.

"No kidding," Liz said, trying to control herself. "Did you see the look of panic on her face?"

They looked at each other for another second before they both started laughing all over again.

"Okay..." Max said after his laughter had died down. "On a serious note...I missed you last night," he whispered as he pulled Liz close to his body.

Liz smiled up at him as she placed her hands on his chest. "I missed you too," she said before she leaned up and kissed him softly. That was a BIG mistake. Almost immediately the soft kiss deepened, and she found herself needing more. She grabbed the front of his shirt in an attempt to pull him closer.

Just then, Isabel and Alex walked by.

"MAX!" Isabel exclaimed, causing her brother and Liz to pull apart. "If you want your little joke to work, you better cool it down. Michael's coming." Having said that, her and Alex walked off.

Max and Liz reluctantly pulled apart before Michael saw them together.

"Hey guys," Michael said after he reached them.

"Hey Michael," Max said in a depressed voice.

"Hi...Michael," Liz said in a sultry voice, smiling up at him. "I'll see you later," she said as she closed her locker and walked off, keeping her eyes on Michael.

"What's her deal?" Michael asked after Liz left.

"Isn't it obvious?" Max asked, trying to sound hurt. "She doesn't like me...she likes you."

Michael was shocked. "ME??????" He didn't know what to say.

"Yeah, you," Max said.

"You don't think that I..." Michael began, trying to convince Max that he had nothing to do with Liz liking him. "I mean, you know that I..."

"I know that you didn't do anything to make her like you...it's just hard to like someone, and to not have them like you back."

"I can imagine," Michael said, still trying to sort everything out in his head. He had no idea how to act around Liz anymore. He was not looking forward to their tutoring session later that afternoon. Should he tell Maria? No...Maria would just get pissed.

"You have to do me a favor though," Max said. "You can't let Liz know that I told you. Promise me you won't tell her...or make her feel uncomfortable around you."

Uncomfortable around me? Michael thought to himself. I'm the one that's uncomfortable around her. Michael just nodded his head in agreement.

"And you can't tell Maria, either," Max added. "She'll just get upset."

"Yeah, I know," Michael said, still in shock. "Listen, I have to stop by my English class before school starts, so I'll see you later." With that, he took off down the hallway.

Max smiled as he watched his friend leave. All the pieces to the game were in place...now it was time to play.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lunchtime couldn't come quick enough for Max. He knew that he and Liz had the same lunch hour, so he was frantically searching for her. He stood by the doors to the cafeteria looking from left to right, trying to find her.

As Liz walked into the cafeteria, she immediately saw Max standing right in front of her. She snuck up behind him and gently blew on the back of his neck.

Max suddenly felt a breeze on the back of his neck, making his hair stand on end. He smiled because he knew that Liz was the one causing the sensation. He turned around slowly and saw his angel standing in front of him, smiling brightly.

"Hey...I've got a surprise for you," Max said before taking Liz's hand and heading out of the cafeteria.

Liz was so excited, she was nearly bursting at the seams. This must be the surprise that Tess was talking about, she thought. She followed Max out of the school, and into the parking lot. They walked up to his Jeep and climbed in.

"Were are we going?" Liz asked.

Max smiled his adorable half-smile at her. "If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise now would it?"

Liz felt all giddy inside. She had no idea what Max was up to, but it didn't really matter. He could take her to the UFO Center for lunch and she would think it was the greatest surprise ever.

Max drove silently down Main Street, heading out of town. After driving about ten miles, he suddenly pulled onto a dirt road.

"If we don't stop soon, we'll never make it back in time for class," Liz said, looking over at Max. God, he's gorgeous, she thought.

Max smiled and glanced at Liz quickly before turning his attention back to the road. "We'll make it back in time. We still have forty minutes."

It only took another minute of driving before Max stopped the Jeep and got out. Liz climbed out as well and met Max near the front of the car. Max reached down and took Liz's hand in his own before leading her over to the edge of a cliff.

When Liz looked over the edge, she saw a lake. She had been here a couple of times before when she was little, but that was years ago. For some reason, the lake seemed much more beautiful when she looked at it with Max. She looked up at him and smiled.

"Come on," Max said, leading her away.

Liz stopped dead in her tracks when she noticed a picnic already set up on the ground nearby. She looked at Max in surprise, then back to the picnic. It was just a picnic, but it meant the world to her.

"Oh Max..." she said. "You didn't have to do this."

"I know," Max replied with a smile.

"This is quite a surprise," Liz said as she and Max sat down on the blanket that was spread out.

"This is only the beginning," Max said.

"And what else do you have in store for me, Mr. Evans?" Liz asked in a playful voice, leaning toward him.

"Well Ms. Parker...if you must know...you'll be getting another surprise before the day's out," Max said, leaning toward her.

"And what surprise would that be?"

"You'll see," Max said before capturing her lips with his own. Max had to remind himself that he couldn't get carried away out here, so he pulled back slowly. "You hungry?"

"Yeah, I am," Liz replied, looking at the food.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Liz was sitting in her last class of the day, wondering for the hundredth time what other surprise Max was going to give her. She was supposed to be working on an assignment like the rest of the class, but her mind just wouldn't focus on the task at hand. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn't even notice someone had entered her classroom. The rest of the class noticed, though.

"Can I help you?" the teacher, Mr. Brown, asked.

"I'm looking for a Liz Parker," he said.

Upon hearing her name, Liz turned to see what was going on. When her eyes came to rest on the stranger, her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened in shock.

"Liz," Mr. Brown said, looking at her. "Why don't you raise your hand."

As Liz tentatively raised her hand, the man made his way over to her. He was carrying about two-dozen red roses, a box of chocolates, and a letter. He handed the flowers and the candy to Liz, then unfolded the letter.

"Liz," he began to read out loud. "In the short time I've known you, you have filled my life with such joy that it's impossible to put into words just how I feel. Your beauty, the sound of your voice, the smell of your hair, your gentle touch...these are just a few of the things I look forward to experiencing each and every day. In the short time I've known you, you have made my life complete. You are my everything."

By the time the messenger had finished reading, Liz had turned five different shades of red. All eyes were on her as she fought to hold back tears of joy.

The messenger left the letter on Liz's desk and made his way out of the classroom to a round of applause from the class. The applause wasn't for the guy who had brought the flowers and candy, but for Liz. Even Mr. Brown was smiling.

"Alright class," Mr. Brown said. "Get back to work."

About five minutes later, a different messenger came into the classroom, carrying more flowers.

"Can I help you?" Mr. Brown asked.

"I'm looking for Liz Parker," the messenger said.

All Mr. Brown had to do was look at her, and Liz automatically raised her hand, showing where she was. The messenger walked over and gave her two-dozen more red roses. He then unfolded another letter and began to read out loud.

"Liz, the first time I noticed you, I could tell there was something special about you. Not just from the graceful way you always carry yourself, or from the enchanting way you laugh...but there is an inner beauty that you posses that takes my breath away."

The messenger placed the letter next to the previous one and walked out of the classroom. Once again, the class cheered.

"Back to work," Mr. Brown said with a smile after the clapping had stopped.

"Wait a second," a girl named Trish said. "Who are all the flowers from?" Her question was followed by several other people asking the same thing.

Liz was still recovering from the second delivery, and was about to answer the question when the classroom door opened once again. Mr. Brown didn't even ask this time, he simply pointed at Liz. Liz again raised her hand, this time without being asked. The messenger looked at Mr. Brown strangely, as if trying to figure out how he knew who the flowers were for.

He walked up to Liz and tentatively asked, "Liz Parker?"

Liz nodded before reaching up to grab the two-dozen red roses that the guy was carrying for her. She had to place all the flowers on the floor around her desk, noticing that 72 roses took up quite a bit of room. She had no idea how she would carry all these flowers out once school was out. She was just grateful that Max didn't have all these delivered during first period.

The messenger unfolded another letter and, just like the others before him, began to read out loud.

"Liz, every minute that I spend away from you is torture. I long to look into your eyes each and every second, to look right into your angelic soul.
You are my everything,
There's nothing your love won't bring,
My life is yours alone,
The only love I've ever known,
Your spirit pulls me through,
When nothing else will do,
Every night I pray on bended knee,
That you will always be my everything."

Liz realized that the poem was actually the lyrics to 98 Degree's 'My Everything', which was the song that was playing when her and Max first kissed. She couldn't hold back any longer as the tears ran freely down her cheeks.

The messenger then finished reading the letter.

"Liz...you are my everything. I know that I've only known you for a short period of time, but there is no doubt in my mind, heart or soul that I've fallen for you. Yours forever...Max."

"MAX!!!" all the girls in the classroom yelled in unison. This was a shock to all of them.

"Max Evans?" Trish asked in disbelief as the messenger left the classroom.

Liz was so chocked up from the letter that she could only nod in response.

"How in the world did you hook him?" Trish asked. "I know a ton of girls who have tried to hook up with him, but to no avail."

Liz shrugged her shoulders. "He came to me," was the only explanation she could give.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The rest of the class passed by without any further deliveries. Once class ended, Liz tried to pick up her books and all the flowers, which she soon found to be impossible.

"Ms. Parker," the teacher said. "Could you stay for a minute?"

"Sure," Liz said in response. She needed to let him know that she had no idea all these deliveries would happen. The last thing she wanted was for her teacher to be mad at her.

After the last student left, Liz decided to initiate the conversation.

"Mr. Brown, I had no idea this was going to happen," Liz said, motioning toward the flowers.

Mr. Brown smiled at her. "I did."

Liz blinked in shock. "You...you did?"

Mr. Brown nodded. "Max Evans approached me this morning and asked if it would be alright."

"He did?" Liz asked in surprise.

Mr. Brown nodded again. "He also asked me to keep you here until he could help you carry out the flowers."

As if on cue, Max walked through the door at that moment. Liz didn't hesitate...she ran over to him and threw herself into his arms. Max smiled from the unexpected hug that nearly knocked him over.

"If I get this kind of reaction every time I buy you flowers, I'll do it every day." After Liz pulled back to look at him, Max looked up at the teacher. "Thank you, Mr. Brown."

"No problem, Max. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have papers to grade," he said before walking out of the classroom.

Max turned his attention to Liz, who was now crying again. Max reached down and wiped the tears away. He leaned his head down, and brushed his lips against Liz's. The kiss immediately deepened as their tongues dueled. The only thing that caused them to break apart was the lack of oxygen.

After cooling down at bit, Max grabbed Liz's hand. "Come on. Let's get out of here." He helped Liz carry the flowers out to her car, causing everyone they passed in the hallway to turn and look at them. In the short time it took for them to make it to Liz's car, half the school had already heard about the incident.

"You think Michael and Maria heard?" Liz asked as she put the last of the flowers on the back seat.

"Nope," Max replied. "I made sure to give you the flowers during your last class because I know for a fact that Michael wouldn't be at school. He doesn't have a class for the last period, so he always goes home."

"What about Maria?" Liz asked.

"If she asks you about it, avoid the question until tomorrow."

"Why tomorrow?" Liz asked in confusion.

"Because tonight we're going to finish our little joke on them," Max said with a smile.

Part 10

Liz was sitting in a booth at the Crashdown Cafe, waiting for Michael to show up for their tutoring session. Max was also at the cafe, but he was sitting in a different booth behind Liz, trying to look infatuated with Maria who was busy waiting tables.

Liz had to smile at the sight of Max. She was smiling from the joke that was about to play out at her friends expense, but she was absolutely thrilled at the knowledge that after today, her and Max would be walking down the halls of West Roswell High hand in hand. She was pulled from her thoughts when Michael arrived.

"Sorry I'm late," Michael muttered, avoiding eye contact with Liz.

"No problem," Liz answered with a sweet smile.

Michael tried his best to stay as far away from Liz as he possibly could. It was bad enough that Liz liked him, but to be sitting with her in front of Maria was even worse. He pulled out his chemistry book and placed it on the table in front of him. He then put his hands on his lap, refusing to bring his gaze up to meet Liz's.

Liz had to suppress a giggle after seeing just how uncomfortable Michael really was around her now.

"Are you alright, Michael?" Liz asked gently, dipping her head down in an attempt to make eye contact with him.

Michael finally raised his head and looked her in the eyes. "Y...yeah. I'm fine."

"You sure?" Liz asked. "You seem...uncomfortable."

"No, no...I...I just have a lot on my mind," Michael answered, averting his gaze away from her again.

Max listened to the interaction with amusement. He couldn't control the smile that came to his face, or the quiet laughter that overtook him. Seeing the discomfort on his best friends face was something he would pay money for. Just then, Maria started walking by his booth.

"Um, Maria?" Max asked with a friendly smile.

Maria hesitantly turned to face him. 'Did he have to sit in my section?' she asked herself. "Yeah Max?"

"I was just wondering if I could get a refill please," he asked, raising his glass to her.

"Sure," Maria said with a forced smile. When she reached for the glass, Max made a point to touch her hand, and it nearly caused her to drop the glass on the floor.

"Jumpy?" Max asked with a lopsided grin.

Maria just smiled weakly and hurried away from his table as fast as she could. Once she was out of earshot, Max started laughing. He then turned his attention back to Michael and Liz.

The tutoring session seemed to drag by for Michael. All he wanted to do was run away as fast as his legs would carry him. It wasn't that he didn't like Liz...in fact he liked her a lot - as a friend. It was just uncomfortable being with her, especially with Max sitting just a booth away.

"Michael?" he heard Liz ask. He didn't realize it at the time, but he had completely spaced out. It wasn't until he felt Liz reach across and place one of her hands over his that she had his full attention.

"This will never work, Liz!!" Michael suddenly blurted out.

"Sure it will," Liz responded. "The equation is pretty simple once you know what to look for."

"I'm not talking about chemistry," Michael clarified. "I'm talking about you and me."

Liz looked at him with confusion written all over her face. "What are you talking about?"

Michael leaned in closer so that Max wouldn't overhear what he was about to say. "Look...Max made me promise not to say anything to you, but he told me that you like me."

"Did he?" Liz asked, trying hard to look pissed. She then turned away from Michael and looked at Max. When she saw Max trying to hold back his laughter, she nearly lost it herself. Looking at Max always made her smile. She quickly dropped her smile and tried to look pissed again before she turned around to face Michael. "What else did he tell you?"

"That was it," Michael said.

At that moment, Maria walked up to Max reluctantly. "Is...is there anything else I can get for you?" she asked.

Max looked up at her and smiled. "No thanks...I'm just enjoying the scenery right now," he said, his eyes never leaving hers.

"Look Max...this isn't going to work," Maria said. She was tired of the uneasy feeling she now had whenever she was near him.

"What isn't going to work?" Max asked, still smiling.

"You and me," Maria answered.

"Who told you?" Max asked, his smile fading.

"Oh man," Maria muttered. "Look...Liz told me, but you can't let her know that I told you."

"Liz told you," Max repeated before turning to look at the back of Liz's head. "Will you excuse me?" he asked as he stood up. "I need to have a little chat with Liz."

"NO!" Maria exclaimed as she blocked Max's path. "You can't let her know that I told you."

Once Liz realized that Max was trying to make his way over to her, she decided that she would follow suit.

"Will you excuse me?" Liz asked Michael as she stood up.

"Where are you going?" Michael asked as he stood up with her.

"I need to talk to Max," Liz responded.

Michael quickly blocked her path. "NO! You can't let him know that I told you."

Max noticed that Liz was now on her feet and facing him. "Liz," he called out. "We need to have a little talk," he said, trying to look and sound pissed.

"You don't say," Liz responded, looking and sounding just as pissed as Max.

Neither Michael nor Maria could hold them back any longer, so they just stepped aside and waited for the fireworks to erupt.

Max and Liz met halfway, still looking pissed at each other.

"I just have one thing to say to you, Liz Parker," Max said in a slightly raised voice.

By this time, Michael and Maria had quietly made their way over to each other. "He's pissed," Michael whispered to Maria.

"Yeah? And what would that be?" Liz asked, matching Max's tone.

"So is she," Maria whispered back.

Max then reached up and cupped Liz's cheeks in his hands, pulling her into a passionate kiss. Liz responded by wrapping her arms around his waist, running her hands up and down his back.

Michael and Maria both watched with their mouths hanging wide open. They had no idea what was happening.

Max and Liz finally broke their kiss and turned to look at their best friends. The look on Michael and Maria's faces caused them to burst out in laughter, nearly falling all over each other in the process.

It took Michael a couple of minutes to find his voice. "What the hell just happened?"

Max and Liz just looked at each other and smiled.

"Oh, Maria!" Max exclaimed in a dramatic voice. "Will you ever forgive me for kissing someone else?" he asked as he reached out and grabbed Maria's hands.

"Please, Michael!" Liz said, following Max's lead. "I know that we can work through this," she pleaded, grabbing Michael's hands.

Realization hit Michael first. "Oh MAN!!" he exclaimed, smiling despite himself. He whirled around to face away from the group as he tried to regain his composure.

"OH MY GOD!!" Maria exclaimed as she caught on to the joke a second later. "LIZZIE!! I can't believe you did that to me!!"

Michael turned back around to face his friends, a smile still on his face. "You really had me going there, Maxwell."

Max just smiled as he wrapped his arm around Liz.

"You two are horrible!" Maria said as she playfully hit Liz and Max on the arm in turn.

"We're horrible?" Liz asked in disbelief. "You two are the ones who bet on when we would kiss!"

Both Michael and Maria grimaced.

"Okay...I guess we deserved that," Michael said. It was then that one thought dawned on him, hitting him like a ton of bricks. "DAMN IT!!"

They all stared at Michael in confusion, wondering what he was upset about. Michael turned to Maria and saw that she was just as confused as Max and Liz.

"Do you realize what just happened?" he asked her. When Maria shook her head, Michael let out a sigh. "You and I bet on when these two were going to kiss," he said, motioning toward Max and Liz. When he saw that Maria still wasn't following, he threw his hands up in frustration. "THEY JUST KISSED!!!!!!!"

Maria's eyes lit up as she started jumping up and down. "I won, I won, I won!" she kept repeating.

Michael let out another sigh. "Yes, you won," he said, admitting defeat. "They kissed before Wednesday," he said, glaring at Max.

Max raised his hands in surrender. "Hey, don't blame me. You should have checked with me before you placed your bet."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Later that night, Max and Liz decided to go to a movie. Liz thought the best part of the movie was when Max reached over and grabbed her hand. She spent the entire time sneaking peaks at Max, and a couple of times she noticed that he did the same. Afterwards, Max drove Liz home and walked her up to her door.

"Max?" Liz asked a little nervously. She still had to ask him if he wanted to have dinner with her parents sometime that week.

"Yeah," Max responded as he pulled Liz close to him.

"I need to ask you something, but you can say no at any time." Liz took a deep breath before she continued. "My parents wanted me to invite you over for dinner sometime this week. You don't have to if you don't want...I mean I would completely understand if you didn't want to. I don't want to put you in a situation that would make you feel..."

Liz was cut off when Max leaned in and kissed her. She was a little surprised, but she quickly recovered. She threw her arms around his neck and sighed into his mouth.

Max broke the kiss, much to Liz's dismay. "I would love to have dinner with you and your parents sometime," he said with a smile.

"Are you sure?" Liz asked.

"You seem more nervous about this than I do," Max pointed out with amusement.

"I just don't want you to feel pressured into doing this. Like I said, I would totally..." She was silenced again when Max kissed her. She immediately pulled his lower lip into her mouth and caressed it with her tongue. This caused Max to moan into her mouth from the overwhelming sensation. Once their kiss broke, Liz looked at him through half-massed eyes. "Normally I would get upset about being interrupted...but if you interrupt me like that, you can do it anytime you want."

Max just smiled at her, hugging her close for a few more minutes. "It's late...I better get going," he said. "I'll see you at school." He then leaned in and kissed her again. It was supposed to be an innocent goodnight kiss, but it turned out to be anything but. Before they knew what was going on, their tongues were dueling for supremacy, their hands all over each other. They finally pulled apart, and Max reluctantly walked back to his Jeep.

Liz watched him drive away before she went inside. A smile lit up her face as she thought about the unexpected turn that her life had taken. Max Evans was the best thing that ever happened to her.

posted on 24-Oct-2001 1:43:22 PM
Part 11

It was now Friday and Liz was at home, running around organizing everything before Max came over for dinner. Once everything was to her satisfaction, Liz plopped down on the couch. She immediately thought about what had happened at school over the past week.

(Earlier in the week)
By the time she got to school on Tuesday morning, everyone knew about her and Max. All the girls she passed either whispered about her with a smile, or whispered about her with a glare. She could tell that most of the senior girls didn't like her because she was dating the guy they all wanted. She took it all with a grain of salt, not letting it get to her. Trish, one of the girls in her class, came up to her as soon as she walked through the doors and told her that everyone was talking about her and Max. She also said that all the girls were green with envy...and extremely jealous.

When Liz finally got to her locker, there was a red rose and a note taped to the outside of it. She smiled at she pulled them off and read the note.

Liz,
Just in case you lost the other roses I gave you, here's another one.
Love,
Max

Her smile grew as she closed her eyes and brought the rose up to her nose. It was then that she felt two strong, but gentle arms wrap themselves around her from behind.

"Hey gorgeous," Max whispered into her ear.

Liz kept her eyes closed as she leaned back into him. "Hey," she responded.

"I see you got my present," Max said, kissing her cheek.

"You know," Liz said as she turned around to face him. "If you keep this up, I won't have any place to sleep. My bedroom will be overflowing with flowers."

Max smiled and winked at her. "Then I guess you'll have to stay somewhere else. I do have a king sized bed, you know."

Liz smiled up at him and decided to play along. "When should I come over then?" she asked as she kissed his neck.

Max didn't know how to respond. He figured that she would blow off his lame attempt at seducing her, but she didn't. She was now seducing HIM!

Liz saw the shock on his face and she had to laugh. "You're not the only one that knows how to seduce someone, Max Evans," she said before turning around to open her locker. Max just laughed.

Once she had her books, her and Max walked down the hallway, arms around each other. Everyone was staring at them, but neither of them noticed. Before she met Max, Liz avoided drawing attention to herself at all costs. But now that she was with him, she didn't care if people made her the center of attention. As long as Max was by her side, she could handle anything.
(End of daydream)

A smile came to Liz's lips as she thought about the past week. She was pulled out of her daydream when the doorbell rang. She sprang to her feet and raced for the door...trying desperately to beat her parents to it. But she was to late. Her dad got there before she could.

"Max!" Mr. Parker said, opening the door and stepping aside so Max could enter.

"Hey Mr. Parker," Max said. "Thanks for inviting me over for dinner."

"I'm glad you could make it," Mr. Parker answered. "Dinner's almost ready, so why don't we go into the living room and relax for a little while."

Max followed Mr. Parker into the living room, where he found Liz standing there, waiting for him with a smile.

Max smiled in return. "Mr. Parker," he said as he walked toward Liz. "Liz won't tell me any stories about when she was younger." Max noticed that Liz's smile vanished instantly. It was replaced by a pleading look. "I don't suppose you would be willing to share a few, would you?"

Mr. Parker looked at his daughter, and he saw her pleading silently with her eyes for him not too. "I would be more than happy to, Max."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Apart from the stories her dad told Max about when she was little, the rest of the night went by pretty well. Dinner was good, and her mom liked Max immediately. There weren't any awkward silences like Liz had originally thought, and Max was great. He was talking up a storm with her dad - laughing, joking...even her mom got involved, which seldom happened.

Liz had to smile as she watched Max interact with her parents. Her parents had never opened up to any of her friends so easily, and never acted this way about a guy that she was dating.

She didn't notice that she had been staring at Max until she felt him rub her leg under the dinner table. She responded by reaching over and placing her hand on his thigh. She then started to draw lazy circles with her index finder on his leg. This caused quite a reaction from Max, who suddenly seemed distracted from his conversation with her dad.

Liz's smile grew when she realized just how much of an effect she was having on him. Max reached down and covered her hand his, stopping her from drawing on his leg. He couldn't concentrate when she did that. He looked at her, raising an eyebrow as if to ask if she knew what she was doing to him.

Liz bit her lower lip and shrugged her shoulders slightly, feigning innocence. Max shook his head and let out a stifled laugh. He then leaned over and whispered into her ear: "Behave yourself, or I'll get your dad to tell me more stories about your early years."

Liz hung her head in defeat, but kept the smile on her face. Max squeezed her hand before he turned to face her parents again.

The rest of the night was pretty uneventful. After dinner, everyone made their way out into the living room, where they sat and talked for another hour. Then it was time for Max to leave.

"Thanks for dinner," Max said as he walked to the front door. "It was nice to see you again Mr. Parker, Mrs. Parker."

"Please call me Jeff," her dad said, much to Liz's surprise.

"And I'm Nancy," her mom said.

This was a first. Her parents never wanted her friends to call them by their first names. Well...except for Maria.

Max shook hands with Jeff and Nancy, then looked at Liz. Nancy pulled Jeff away so the kids could have some privacy.

"I can't believe you got my dad to tell you stories about me," Liz said with a smile.

"Hey, I had to get you back. I mean, my mom did tell you about my encounter with Donald Duck."

Liz let out a laugh. "Yeah, that was pretty good."

"I don't know," Max said with a playful smile. "I liked the one where you lifted your dress up, and pulled your underwear down, in the middle of a wedding reception because your mom wouldn't take you to the bathroom."

"And if you tell anyone that story, I will KILL you," Liz said as she grabbed Max's shirt and pulled him to her.

"Hey, my lips are sealed," Max said with a smile.

"They better not be," Liz teased before she leaned up and kissed him, running her tongue along his lips in an attempt to get him to open his mouth.

Max didn't need to be asked twice, he immediately parted his lips and deepened the kiss. He didn't want to get too carried away with her parents in the next room, so he reluctantly pulled back sooner than he wanted to.

"Never mind," Max said. "My lips are never sealed."

Liz let out a laugh before kissing him softly again.

"I'll call you tomorrow," Max said against her lips.

"You better...if you know what's good for you," Liz teased.

Max kissed her again before he opened the door and left. Liz watched as he climbed into his Jeep and drove off. She closed the door and let out a sigh of satisfaction. Dinner went a lot better than she had thought it would.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Michael chose Friday night to take Maria out on their date. She could really care less about who paid that night, she just wanted to spend time with Michael. They had gotten pretty close over the past week, hanging out with each other almost every chance they got.

Maria was sitting in the living room of her house, staring out the window, looking for Michael. Her mom walked in just then, smiling at the sight of her daughter. The Deluca's lived in the house located at the back of the Crashdown Cafe, which they also owned.

"Honey?" Mrs. Deluca asked, pulling Maria's gaze away from the window.

"Yeah mom," Maria replied.

"Someone's asking for you out in the restaurant," Mrs. Deluca said. "I think his name is Michael."

Maria's eyes twinkled as she jumped off the couch and rushed past her mom. She ran into the kitchen, then looked through the circular window in the door. There he was, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other, waiting for her to come out.

"Hey Michael," Maria said once she walked through the door. "I thought you'd show up at the front door to my house."

"Sorry," Michael said. "It's a habit to walk in this way."

"No problem," Maria responded with a smile.

"So...you ready to go?" Michael asked, returning her smile.

"Yeah," Maria answered. "I just have to let my mom know that I'm leaving." She then hurried back through the kitchen and into her house, where she found her mom watching TV.

"You heading out?" Mrs. Deluca asked.

"Yeah. What time do you want me home?"

"Midnight?" Mrs. Deluca asked, checking to see if that was okay with her daughter.

"Alright," Maria answered with a smile as she put on her jacket. "Bye mom," she said before she walked back out to Michael.

Michael drove to a rather nice restaurant located on the outskirts of town. They sat in a booth, and before long, they had placed their orders and were talking as they waited for their food to arrive. Neither of them really knew how the conversation started, but somehow the subject of prom came up.

"I really don't see what the big deal is," Michael said, referring to the prom in general. "You girls take it way to seriously."

"Us girls?" Maria asked with amusement. "The big deal is that the prom is the one night, besides graduation, that every high school girl looks forward to. It's the one night that everyone dresses up and lets loose, forgetting about their problems for a while."

Michael just shrugged his shoulders as if to say 'whatever'.

"So I take it you're not going?" Maria asked, more than a little disappointed.

"I never said that," Michael answered with a smile.

"If it's not a big deal, then why are you going?" Maria asked, her hopes rising again.

"Because everyone else will be there," Michael answered before biting into a dinner roll.

"Who are you taking?" Maria asked, averting her gaze away from him.

Michael noticed how uneasy Maria was, so he decided to be honest. Now was not the time for games. "I'm not taking anyone," he said. "I always figured I'd go stag. What about you?"

"Well...I've had a few guys ask me, but none of them really gets my flame cooking. If I go to the prom with someone, I want it to be with someone I like...you know?"

Michael nodded before taking a drink of water. He wanted to ask her if she would go with him, but these romantic, touchy-feely moments were never his strong suit. "Well, since neither one of us have a date, did you...uh...did you....want to...um..."

Maria smiled at his attempt at asking her to the prom. Even if he played it off as the two of them were just going out of convenience, she didn't mind. "I'd love to," she answered in response to the question he was having trouble asking.

Michael sighed and visibly relaxed, which caused Maria to giggle. "Alright then," he said.

"Did you want to go with Max and Liz, or did you have something else in mind?" Maria asked.

"No, no...going with Max and Liz would be okay. I think that Alex and Isabel are going with them too...and Tess with her date. We could just turn it into a group thing," Michael answered.

Just as Michael was finishing his sentence, their food arrived. The rest of the dinner was filled with small chat, talking about anything and everything.

After dinner, Michael took Maria out into the dessert. He didn't want to take her to a movie, because that was the typical date thing. He wanted to be different. He drove down a dirt path that led to one of his favorite spots. It was a little rock formation that he often drove out to when he wanted to clear his mind. He parked the car and got out, then walked back to the trunk. He opened it up and pulled out a telescope. By this time, Maria had climbed out and was looking around at her surroundings.

"What are we doing here?" she asked, a little confused.

"This," Michael replied as he showed her the telescope. "I borrowed this from Isabel. She's really into astronomy...the stars...things like that." He reached out and grabbed Maria's hand, taking note how soft it was. He stopped momentarily at the contact, but quickly regained his wits. He led her up to the top of the rock formation, where he set up the telescope and laid out a blanket on the ground for them to sit on.

They spent a few hours out in the dessert, just talking. They quickly forgot about the stars, both of them just enjoying the others company. It wasn't until Maria looked at her watch that their perfect night was interrupted.

"OH SHIT!!" she exclaimed.

"What's wrong?" Michael asked, startled by her sudden explosion.

"It's past my curfew," she said as she quickly jumped to her feet.

"What time is it?" Michael asked as he gathered the telescope and blanket.

"Almost 12:30," Maria answered. "My mom wanted me back by midnight."

They both hurried back to the car and headed into town. Michael pulled up to Maria's front door about fifteen minutes later.

"Wow," Maria said in amazement. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone make better time than you just did."

Michael just smiled. "I try," was all he said.

After a brief silence, Maria realized that she needed to get inside. "I better go," she said softly.

"Yeah," Michael replied. As Maria opened the door and started to step out, he reached over and grabbed her arm, stopping her. She sat back down and faced him, her entire body feeling weak from his touch. "I'll...um...I'll call you tomorrow. Maybe we could hang out...or something," he said.

Maria smiled at him. "Yeah...I'd like that." They looked at each other for another minute before Maria somehow gathered the strength to climb out of the car. "Thank you for tonight," she said.

"Anytime," Michael replied before she closed the car door. He waited to make sure she got into her house safely before he drove home.

Maria closed the front door to her house and leaned back against it. A smile lit up her face as she thought back on the events of the night. 'I've gotta tell Liz,' she thought as she made her way to her bedroom. She passed by her parent’s room on the tips of her toes, trying her hardest not to wake them. Once she made it to her bedroom, she closed the door and let out a sigh. Even though she made it to her room without her parents waking up, she knew that she was still in trouble. Her mom always knew when she came home late, and tomorrow morning, her mom was going to give her an earful.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Oct-2001 7:02:18 PM ]
posted on 24-Oct-2001 6:43:33 PM
Part 12

With prom now only a week away, everyone in school was talking about their plans. Max and Liz were going with their friends, Michael, Maria, Isabel, Alex and Tess. Tess had originally planned to go with some guy named Curtis, but his parents caught him drunk one night and grounded him until graduation. She wasn't worried about finding a replacement though, saying that she would go alone if she had to. She would still be there with her friends, and that's all that mattered to her.

The guys weren't disclosing any information about where they were taking the girls for dinner, or how they were all getting there. That was fine with Liz because she wanted to be surprised.

She found herself daydreaming in class all the time, and one of her teachers had caught her drifting off once. Thankfully it was the same teacher, Mr. Brown, who had allowed Max to deliver the three-dozen roses a few weeks earlier. He was an extremely laid back teacher, so his response to Liz's lack of attention was a little teasing, but nothing more. Finally the bell rang, signaling the end of school. Liz gathered her things and made her way to her locker.

"Hey you," Max said with a smile as he walked up to her.

"Hey yourself," Liz responded before she leaned up and kissed him. Things between her and Max were going better than ever. They had only been together now for about three weeks, but it felt like they had been together for years.

Liz knew that she loved him, but she hadn't voiced that to him just yet. She also knew that Max felt the same way about her, but he hadn't said those three little words yet either. When Liz thought about it, it seamed strange that they hadn't confessed their love for each other yet. The only thing she could think of was that Max was waiting for the perfect moment to say it. The irony about the situation was that the moment would be perfect no matter when he said it.

"You all ready for prom?" Max asked as he wrapped his arms around her waist.

"Oh course," Liz responded. "What about you?"

"I've been ready for weeks," Max responded. "It's a lot easier for a guy to prepare than it is for a girl. All we have to do is rent a tux, make reservations for dinner, and secure transportation. And since I already own a tux, all I had to do was make a few phone calls."

Liz closed her locker and started walking out to the parking lot with Max, who had wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Once they reached her car, she turned to face him. "You're picking me up tonight, right?"

Max smiled at her. "Of course. The movie starts around seven, so I'll be at your house as soon as I'm done helping Michael."

"What are you helping him with?"

"Oh...he's been fixing up his car, and he needs some help with the engine."

"So you're going to help him, and you're going to get all sweaty in the process, huh?" Liz couldn't help where her mind was taking her. "Can I come watch?" After seeing Max's confused expression, Liz giggled. "Sorry. I was just thinking about you all sweaty, wearing nothing but a tank top, your muscles contracting and relaxing, contracting and relaxing..." She didn't realize it, but she had closed her eyes and was now daydreaming once again, smiling from ear to ear. She had the dreamiest look come over her face. It wasn't until she heard Max's voice that she came back to reality.

"Liz?" Max asked, trying to get her attention. "Got a minute?"

"Sorry," she said, still smiling. "Whenever I think of you, my mind tends to drift off into fantasy land."

Max smiled. "There's nothing to be sorry for. The only question I have is when are we going to bring those fantasies to life?"

Liz playfully hit him on the arm. "Watch yourself, Mr. Evans. I'm not sure you want to live out some of my fantasies."

Max raised an eyebrow out of curiosity. "Why not?"

Liz moved in closer so she could whisper in his ear. "Because I don't think my biology teacher would appreciate whipped cream and chocolate all over his desk." She then playfully bit his earlobe before pulling back. The expression on his face was priceless, and it caused Liz to laugh.

"I'm never going to look at the biology room the same way again," Max said, still shocked by Liz's confession.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tess couldn't believe that Curtis's parent actually caught him while he was drunk. Normally she would have laughed at him like everyone else did, but since he was her date to prom, the humor in the situation wasn't there for her.

She was walking down the stairs of the school, ready to leave, when her book bag decided to open up and spill its contents all over the stairwell.

"Damn it!" she muttered to herself before she fell to her knees and started collecting her things. She was surprised when she saw another hand reach out to give her some of her papers. She looked up to see a familiar face.

"You look like you need some help," he said with a smile.

Tess recognized him from the several sporting events she had attended when Max was playing. "Kyle, right?" she asked.

Kyle was surprised to say the least that she knew his name. "Y...yeah," he responded.

"I'm Tess," she said, extending her hand.

"I know," Kyle said as he shook her hand, quickly averting his gaze away from hers.

This shy little action from him caused Tess's smile to widen. Most guys she hung out with - Max, Michael and Alex being the exceptions - were always full of themselves and a little too overconfident. She could tell that Kyle wasn't that way at all.

After all her things were picked up, both her and Kyle stood up.

"Thanks," Tess said with a smile.

"Anytime," Kyle responded with a smile of his own before he started to walk away. "I'll see you later," he said as he passed her.

Tess watched him walk away, the smile still lighting up her face. "I hope so," she said softly to herself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The night of prom came, and it found Liz, Maria, Tess and Isabel all gathered at the Evans' house, getting ready together. Isabel had kicked Max out of the house, telling him to go get ready at Michael's place. Max had protested, saying that nobody was going to kick him out of his own house. But after he saw Isabel's death stare, he promptly gathered his things and went over to Michael's.

Liz was the first one to arrive that afternoon. She was feeling so giddy inside that she hugged Isabel upon entering the house. They make their way up to Isabel's room, which was right next to Max's.

"Wait a minute," Liz said as they passed by Max's bedroom. Isabel stopped and turned around to find Liz opening the door to her brother’s room.

"I'll be in my room when you're done," Isabel said with a smile, shaking her head at Liz.

Liz walked into his room, and his scent immediately filled her body. She closed her eyes and took deep breaths, relishing in the aroma that was Max. She walked over to his bed, and placed a letter on his pillow along with a rose. She smiled as she walked back out into the hallway, closing his door behind her.

When she got to Isabel's room, she found that Maria was now there. A few minutes later, Tess arrived to make the group complete.

"Did you find a replacement date?" Maria asked, directing her question toward Tess.

"Nah," Tess replied. "I didn't really look that hard. Besides, as long as I go with you guys, I know that I'll have a good time." She paused as her friends smiled at her. "But...I may have to steal your men away for a slow dance or two."

"Dream on, girl," Maria said playfully.

"That's okay with me," Isabel said. "Alex knows that I'll be watching, so if his hands roam anywhere their not supposed to, he knows I'll cut them off."

They continued to chat as they got ready, laughing and joking as they listened to music.

Liz heard a song come over the radio, and she nearly gave everyone a heart attack when she yelled at them to be quiet. She then ran over and turned up the volume. It was 98 Degree's 'My Everything,' her and Max's song.

"Sorry," she said when she noticed all three girls looking at her like she was crazy. "This is mine and Max's song." That was all that needed to be said, the other three girls just nodded their heads in understanding. They waited until the song ended before they started talking again.

Diane Evans opened the door to her daughters’ bedroom, and saw four beautiful young women getting ready for one of the biggest nights in their lives to date. She smiled when she saw Isabel laugh at something Liz had said. Those two girls always made her smile. Liz had caused Max to open up in a way that she had never seen before, and she was grateful to this beautiful young woman for that. She pushed back her tears as she walked into the room fully.

"You all look gorgeous," Diane said once she had everyone's attention.

"Thanks mom," Isabel said before she gave her a hug.

When she pulled back, Diane gave her daughter the speech she had originally come up here for. "Now...as you know, your dad and I are going to leave tonight so that you can have the house to yourselves. But that doesn't mean that you can throw a party. You can have everyone in this room over, along with the guys. But you better behave yourselves. No drinking, no drugs, no sex..."

"Yeah mom," Isabel interrupted with a disgusted expression on her face. "We get the picture."

"Okay," Diane said. "I'll come back up here to let you know when the guys arrive."

"We have the house to ourselves tonight?" Liz asked with wide eyes once Diane left.

"Yeah," Isabel said. "I thought I'd surprise you guys with the news, so....SURPRISE! You all told your parents that you're staying the night over here, right?" All three girls nodded their heads to confirm. "Good."

"What about the guys?" Maria asked.

"As far as I know, they're all staying here tonight as well," Isabel said. "At least that's what I told Max to have them do."

Liz was beyond excited, just thinking about what could happen later on that night. Her and Max were going to be alone for an entire night. Maybe this was the night that they would confess their love for each other.

"God, I hope so," Liz whispered to herself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Max couldn't believe that he got kicked out of his own house. But after seeing the way Isabel was glaring at him, he was more than happy to leave, keeping all his limps attached to his body in the process. "You almost ready?" he asked Michael. He and Alex had been ready for a while now. They were just waiting for Michael to emerge from his bathroom so they could leave.

"Just give me a second," Michael said. "I can't get this damn bow tie on right."

"You should have gotten one that clips on," Alex said through the door. "If you need help, I'm sure your mommy would be more than happy to dress you."

Max couldn't help but laugh at that. If nothing else, it did get Michael out of the bathroom.

"What was that, Whitman?" Michael asked in a threatening voice.

"Your tie looks fine," Alex said in response. "We need to get going. We'll miss our dinner reservation if we don't leave soon."

Michael then walked over to his bed and put on his coat.

The tux that Max owned was all black, and it came with a white dress shirt. The only thing he needed to buy for is was a vest to match the color of Liz's dress. Michael had rented a black tux, along with a black vest since he didn't bother to ask what color Maria's dress was. Alex on the other hand chose to be a little different. His vest did match Isabel's dress, but he chose to go with black pants and a white coat. The lapel on his coat was black, as was his bow tie. He wanted to wear a top hat and carry a cane, but Isabel squashed that idea as soon as he voiced his opinion about it.

"Let's go," Michael said. They walked downstairs and found Michael's parents in the living room watching TV. "I'm off," he said as he entered the room. His mom and dad looked up at him and immediately turned off the TV.

"You look so handsome," his mom said. Michael just rolled his eyes, knowing that his mom was going to get all mushy on him. "Now you are going to bring your date back to the house before you go, right?"

Michael nodded. "Yes mom." He then hugged his mom and dad, and left the house with Max and Alex in tow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Diane walked back into her daughters’ bedroom to find all four girls putting the finishing touches on their outfits. "Your dates have arrived," she announced.

"Tell them we'll be down in a minute," Isabel said. Her mom then backed out and shut her door. "Are we ready to have the night of our lives?" she asked the others. Everyone smiled and agreed. "Alright then. Tess, you go down first, then I'll follow you. Maria, you come after me, and finally, Liz will bring up the rear."

Everyone agreed as they headed out into the hallway. Liz's stomach was flipping as she approached the stairs. She had been waiting for a month to see Max in his tux, and now the day had finally arrived.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The three guys were all standing in the entryway, waiting for their dates. They all turned toward Diane when they saw her come down the stairs.

"The girls will be down in a minute," Diane said before she reached the bottom step. Her and Philip waited next to the three young men, who all looked extremely nervous. She smiled up at her husband, who returned her smile. She couldn't believe her kids were growing up so fast. It seemed like they were just babies yesterday. She was pulled from her thoughts as she saw Tess walk down the stairs.

All three guys had their eyes glued to the stairs as Tess made her way down. Her dress was a silver color, and it fell down to her knees. It had spaghetti straps holding it up, and dipped down in front to reveal the slightest bit of cleavage. She hugged everyone, and then preceded to stand next to Philip, who put his arm around his daughters’ best friend.

Then all eyes turned to the top of the stairs as Isabel made her way down. Max heard Alex gulp in response to seeing his sister, and he had to agree with him. Isabel looked stunning. She was wearing a form-fitting dress that stopped about mid-thigh. The color was red, Alex's favorite, and she was wearing matching shoes. She walked up to Alex, who was still recovering from how beautiful she looked.

Isabel had helped Alex pick out his tux, so she already knew what he would look like in it. But seeing him fully dressed, with all the accessories, was not something she had seen before. He looked really good, and she felt like dragging him upstairs to her room so she could have her way with him, but that would have to wait until after the dance.

"You look beautiful," Max whispered to his sister as he pulled her into a hug.

"You don't look to bad yourself," Isabel answered as she straightened out his bow tie.

Everyone turned once again to the top of the stairs as Maria walked down, dressed in a long, dark blue dress that nearly touched the floor. To Michael's utmost surprise (and pleasure) the dress had a long slit, revealing her slender leg as she walked. She walked up to Michael and gave him a kiss on the cheek before she linked her arm in his. He was still staring at her, his mouth hanging open slightly.

Maria thought that he looked really good in his tux, but she could tell that he was just itching to take it off. Her mind started to wonder about how she would love to rip that shirt right off his...She shook her head to clear her thoughts. "Aren't you going to say something?" she asked him with a smile.

Michael nodded, but remained silent as he continued to stare at her. Maria let out a giggle as her eyes turned to the stairs, waiting for Liz to walk down.

Max was rubbing his palms together as he waited for his girlfriend. He felt like pacing, but he refrained, knowing that it would drive everyone else insane. And then, he caught sight of her...and she left him breathless. She emerged from the top of the stairs like an angel. She was wearing a lavender colored, form-fitting dress, that stopped a few inches above her knees. Even though Max couldn't see it at the moment, it was backless, which exposed a lot of her skin. Her hair was curled and pinned up, with just a few strands left dangling to frame her face.

As she walked down, everything seemed to go in slow motion for Max. He watched as she gracefully walked from step to step...he was taking in every little movement she made. She had a tiny smile on her lips, and Max felt his insides melt because he knew that he was the cause of that smile.

When Liz first saw Max, she hesitated on the first step as she looked him up and down. Words couldn't describe how good he looked. His tux molded to his body in all the right places, and his eyes were twinkling as he looked up at her. She started walking again, hoping that her legs wouldn't give out from underneath her. She absolutely loved the way he was looking at her. His face revealed everything he was feeling, including the state of shock he was in.

Liz finally reached the bottom, and everything seemed to disappear as she walked up to Max. Once she reached him, he raised his hands and cupped her cheeks.

"I always knew you were an angel," Max whispered, oblivious to anyone else around him. "You look incredible. My own personal angel."

Liz smiled as she felt her eyes filling with tears. She blinked them back, not wanting to arrive at the dance with her make-up smeared all over her face.

"You," Liz began, still a little choked up from his words. "Words can't describe how good you look," she said as she reached over and started to play with the lapel on his coat. "You're my own personal angel," she repeated his words back to him.

Max smiled in return before he heard a throat clearing loudly behind him. He turned to find his friends and family waiting for him and Liz to finish their greeting.

"Time for pictures and the corsages," Philip said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The guys had rented an eight-person limo for the night, and since Tess didn't have a date, there was an extra seat that gave everyone more room. They had stopped by everyone's house so their parents could see their children all dressed up, then they were off to dinner.

Since Tess was dateless, Alex took it upon himself to make sure she didn't walk into the restaurant alone. He held out one arm for Isabel, and the other for Tess. It was a nice gesture, but as Max and Michael followed them in, they started cracking jokes about how much of a pimp Alex looked like, wearing a tux with a girl on each arm. Maria and Liz laughed at their jokes, but lucky for them, Isabel didn't overhear any of it. If she had, Max and Michael would have been running for their lives.

Dinner went by without a hitch. They reserved a booth in the back of the restaurant so they could have as much privacy as possible.

Throughout dinner, Max would reach under the table and grab Liz's hand whenever possible. He needed to touch her as much as he could, so he grabbed her by the waist, and pulled her as close to him as possible without her actually sitting on his lap.

Liz loved this, for she needed to feel him at all times as well. Once dinner was done, her hands started taking on a mind of their own. With the corners of her mouth barely raised in a smile, she reached under the table and placed her hand as high on Max's thigh as she could without actually feeling him up.

Max was involved in a conversation with Michael, Tess and Alex when he felt Liz slide her hand over his thigh...REALLY HIGH on his thigh. He jumped REALLY badly, and his reaction got everyone's attention as he nearly broke the table in half with his knee.

"You okay there, Maxwell?" Michael asked as he steadied the table.

"Y...yeah," Max stuttered, his voice an octave higher than usual. Everyone stared at him for a few more seconds, then went back to their conversation. As soon as he was no longer the center of attention, he quickly turned to Liz and noticed that she was biting her lower lip, trying desperately to hold back her laughter. He playfully glared at her before he leaned in and whispered into her ear:

"Don't you know that it's not a good idea to play with fire?" he asked before he nibbled at her earlobe. The earrings she was wearing made it a little hard to suck her earlobe into his mouth, but even that didn't stop him. When he heard Liz's intake of breath and quite gasp, he smiled. He then pulled back to find a different look on Liz's face. The smile and near laughter that was on her face just seconds before, was now replaced with a look of shock and...DESIRE??? No, Max's mind told him. We've never taken it very far before, he told himself. We've only kissed, nothing more. She's not ready for anything else. But once he saw Liz's eyes lower to his mouth, and then saw her lick her lips, he knew that he had interpreted her look correctly. He swallowed as his own eyes lowered to her mouth, wanting nothing more at that moment than to kiss her senseless.

"MAXWELL!!" Michael called out loudly.

Max shook his head and turned to his friend. "What?" he asked, a little agitated that he was interrupted from his moment with Liz.

"I asked if you two were ready to go," Michael said.

Max looked at Liz, who nodded in return.

"Alright!" Maria exclaimed. "Let's party!"

"A woman after my own heart," Alex replied, only to get snacked on the arm by Isabel. "Oh, you know what I mean," he said as he pulled Isabel close to his side. "To the dance!" he announced as he and his friends walked out to the limo.

Part 13

They all arrived at the prom about an hour late, much to Alex's dismay. "I knew we should have left sooner," he complained.

"Alex, Alex, Alex" Maria said calmly. "We can't arrive at the prom on time. We need to make an entrance, and the only way to do that is to arrive late."

"Amen, girl," Isabel said, agreeing with Maria.

Alex then turned to Michael. "Help me out here, bud."

"Sorry," Michael said with a smile. "You're on your own with this one."

Alex then turned to Max, but Max spoke up before Alex could even ask the question. "Don't look at me. I know better than to argue with Isabel."

"Wimps," Alex muttered to himself.

As they walked through the doors, they noticed that nearly the entire school was already there. The music was pretty loud, but not to the point of rupturing an eardrum.

"Let's get our pictures taken first," Liz said with a smile, grabbing Max's hand and leading him over to the photographer before he could respond. Everyone else decided to follow their lead, and they all stood in line waiting for their turn.

Max and Liz stepped in front of the camera, and waited patiently as the photographer moved them into position. When everything was set, the photographer went back to his camera. "Alright...on the count of three. One, two, three," the photographer said, then took the picture. "Perfect."

Max and Liz smiled at each other as they stepped down, then Max pulled Liz close to his body while they waited for the rest of their friends to get their pictures taken.

Liz was smiling as she watched Michael and Maria fight for position in front of the camera, but her smile quickly faded when she glanced over and saw Tess standing off to the side, all by herself. Her heart went out to the short, blonde-haired girl. Liz then tugged on Max's sleeve, and whispered something into his ear. Max immediately looked over at Tess, then back at Liz.

"Are you sure?" he asked Liz.

Liz nodded and smiled, showing Max that she really wouldn't mind if he did what she had suggested. Max smiled in return before he kissed her lightly.

"You amaze me more and more each day," he said as he reached out and cupped her cheek in his hand.

Liz leaned into his touch slightly before she motioned for him to go. She watched as Max walked over to Tess.

"Hey," Max said as he approached his friend.

"Hey," Tess responded.

"So...are we going to get in line, or are we going to stand here all night?" Max asked, motioning toward the line that had formed from people waiting to get their picture taken.

"What?" Tess asked, confused.

"Come on," Max said as he reached down and grabbed her hand, leading her to the back of the line.

"You don't have to do this, Max," Tess said.

"What kind of a friend would I be if I didn't? Besides...I want to," Max said with a smile.

"But what about Liz?" Tess asked a little nervously. "I don't want to make her upset."

"This was her idea," Max said, noting the look of shock on Tess's face.

Tess turned to look at Liz and noticed that she was looking back at her. She saw Liz smile, and she soon found herself smiling back. "She's something else," Tess whispered to herself.

"Yes she is," Max agreed, barely hearing Tess's comment. He too was staring at Liz, but the look he was giving her was completely different from the look that Tess was. Tess was giving Liz a look of thanks, while Max was giving Liz a look of love.

After Max and Tess got their picture taken, Tess walked up to Liz. "Thank you," she said before pulling Max's girlfriend into a hug.

"You don't need to thank me," Liz responded. "I know that you and Max are really good friends, and that you would prefer to have your picture taken with him instead of Alex or Michael."

"Let's find ourselves a table to throw our crap on, then let's get out on the dance floor!" Alex said, taking charge. They found an empty table off to the side, and after the guys had shed their coats, they all walked out to dance.

Liz couldn't help but stare as Max took off his coat. God, he's gorgeous, she thought. She watched every move he made as he gently removed his coat and draped it over the back of one of the chairs. She thought he looked good with his coat on, but seeing him in his pants, white shirt, vest and bow tie caused Liz to lick her lips. She didn't want him to stop with the coat. She wanted him to keep on stripping.

"Care to dance?" Max asked, reaching out his hand for Liz to take.

Liz smiled at him as she tried to clear her head of the impure thoughts that were racing around. She knew that it was impossible to control her hormones completely, but she also knew that she needed to try. She didn't think that ripping Max's cloths off in the middle of prom was something that the principal would find acceptable.

Max led Liz out to the dance floor, right next to the rest of their friends. It was an upbeat song, so everyone was smiling as they tried to avoid bumping into each other. It was pretty crowded, so it was impossible not to run into someone else at one time or another.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dance was going by really well, and the music for the most part was pretty good. Whenever a slow song came on, Tess would make her way over to their table and wait it out. A couple of times, Max, Michael and Alex would walk over and drag her out to dance with them, while either Liz, Maria or Isabel would take a turn sitting out. The girls didn't complain because they only had to sit out one dance each the entire night. The rest of the time, they had their man all to themselves.

About halfway through the dance, just as everyone had expected, Alex jumped up on stage and grabbed the microphone. This was a habit of his whenever they went anywhere that dancing was involved.

"How's it going, West Roswell High school?!?!" he asked, then waited as everyone started cheering. "Now, I know that it's still early, seeing as how the dance isn't going to end for a couple more hours, but I've been asked to reveal the prom king and queen right now."

"I didn't know that Alex was announcing that," Isabel said, amazed.

"I asked him to," Liz said. She helped out with prom, and she knew that Alex would be perfect for this job.

"May I have the envelope, please?" Alex asked before one of the teachers handed him the names of the winners. Alex unfolded the paper, read the two names silently to himself, then let out a chuckle. "I have to say, I don't think this has ever happened in the history of West Roswell High...but the prom king is....Max Evans!!"

This announcement didn't really surprise anyone. Max gave Liz a quick kiss before he walked on stage. Liz watched him as he was crowned, wanting nothing more than to just run up there and yell at the top of her voice that he was her man.

"And now for the prom queen," Alex said. "The winner is...Isabel Evans!!"

Isabel walked on stage, giving Alex a quick kiss before she hugged her brother. She was then handed a dozen roses and crowned herself.

"Now...it's tradition for the king and queen to dance together, and seeing as how the king and queen are actually brother and sister, it should make for an interesting dance," Alex said, smiling widely.

Max and Isabel walked off the stage before they started dancing together in the middle of the dance floor. At first, it was just the two of them dancing, but after a few seconds, the rest of the school joined in.

Since Isabel was dancing with Max, Alex decided to dance with Liz. "Care to join me?" he asked as he offered Liz his arm.

"I'd love to," Liz replied with a smile. They then walked over and started to dance next to Max and Isabel.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tess once again sat off to the side as the slow song for the prom king and queen started to play. She had originally thought that she wouldn't mind going to the dance without a date, but whenever a slow song came on, she felt like crying. That's when she felt someone place their hand on her shoulder. She looked up to see Kyle smiling down at her.

"What are you doing way over here?" he asked. "You should be out there dancing."

"I don't have a date," Tess admitted sadly.

"I thought you were going with that Curtsey guy?" Kyle asked.

"You mean Curtis?" Tess asked. When Kyle nodded, she dropped her head slightly. "His parents caught him drunk one night, so they grounded him."

"Oh," Kyle responded. "Well...it looks like you and I are in the same boat then. Care to dance?"

Tess jumped out of her seat and led the way to the dance floor. Once her and Kyle were dancing, she resumed the conversation. "You don't have a date either?"

"I did," Kyle responded. "I came here with Vicky Delaney."

"Where is she now?" Tess asked.

"Last I saw, she was playing tonsil hockey with her ex-boyfriend. Well...I guess he wouldn't be her ex anymore."

Tess grimaced. "I'm sorry to hear that."

"Don't be," Kyle said. "I'm dancing with you, so I'd say that things couldn't get any better for me."

Tess smiled at his sweet words. "So you wouldn't mind hanging out with me for the rest of the night then?" she asked hopefully.

Kyle smiled. "I'd love to."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"I can't believe we both won," Max said as he danced with his sister.

"If you think about it, its kind of weird...and creepy," Isabel relied. "We're going to go down in the history book as the only brother-sister match-up to ever win the prom king and queen titles."

That's when they both noticed Alex and Liz dancing next to them. Isabel's face lit up when she saw Alex, and she noticed the same reaction from Max when he saw Liz.

"My sweat brother," Isabel started. "I don't know about you, but I for one would rather dance with someone that I can picture myself kissing without gagging."

Max smiled. "I couldn't agree with you more." They broke apart and stood next to Liz and Alex, who immediately stopped dancing. "You don't mind if I cut in, do you?" Max asked as he reached for Liz's hand.

"Not at all," Alex replied as he let go of Liz and grabbed Isabel.

As Max and Isabel started dancing with their significant other, Isabel suddenly stopped again and turned to face Max and Liz. She then reached up and took off her crown and walked over to Liz, placing it on her head instead.

Liz was surprised, and she couldn't help but smile.

"If Max is the king, then you're definitely his queen," Isabel said before she walked back over to Alex.

Liz looked up into Max's eyes, and she was immediately lost. She felt herself drowning in his dark pools, and it felt great. The way he was looking at her was causing quite a reaction from her body. She felt her temperature rise as his eyes steadily locked with hers. That's the way they stayed until the song ended, and they once again heard Alex's voice on the microphone.

"Now," Alex began. "I know that my friends love to get up here on stage with me and dance in front of everyone..." The entire room could hear Michael groan, and everyone at the dance promptly burst out in laughter. "Thank you for proving my point, Michael," Alex said. "Now...would Max Evans, Michael Guerin and Kyle Valenti please come on up! Come on everyone, let’s give them a hand to encourage them."

Everyone started clapping, none louder than the four girls who had arrived with these guys. Nobody was more surprised than Kyle. He had no idea what Alex was like, or what was going on.

"Come on Valenti," Michael said, putting his hand on Kyle's shoulder, forcing him up on stage with him.

"What's going on?" Kyle asked, visibly nervous.

"You'll see," Michael replied with a smile.

"Oh...and Isabel Evans, Maria Deluca, Tess Harding, and Liz Parker...you girls need to stay close, so could you please come right up here in front?" Alex asked, pointing to the area directly in front of the stage.

The seven friends made their way up to the stage, but not without a lot of complaining...mainly from Michael.

"Why do you always do this to me?" Michael asked Alex when he and Kyle reached the stage.

"Oh come on," Alex said, covering the microphone with his hand so nobody else would hear him. "You know you like it." Once Max was standing on the other side of him, Alex turned back to the crowd. "Now, this next song is an old one, but I think that everyone will like it. I personally know that Max Evans here knows all the words to the song," he said as he draped an arm around Max's shoulders.

Max had the look of a stunned deer that was staring directly into a pair of oncoming headlights. He had expected to have Alex force him up on stage to dance, but he never thought that he would have to sing.

Liz saw the look of panic in Max's eyes, and she started laughing uncontrollably. He looked like a little boy up there, desperately trying to find a way to get off the stage. She saw him look down at her with petrified eyes, and that's when she decided to help him out. She leaned against the stage, and motioned for him to lean down so she could talk to him. "Do you want me to get up there with you?" she asked once he squatted down.

The look on Max's face changed instantly. He knew that Liz didn't feel comfortable standing in front of a room full of people, but yet she was willing to do just that if it made him feel better. He smiled at her before he reached out and ran a hand down the side of her face.

"Thanks, but we might get a little wild up here with our dancing and I don't want you to get hurt," he said with a mischievous grin. He then stood up and grabbed the microphone away from Alex. "Start the damn music," he said.

Alex smiled and nodded, showing his approval of Max's new attitude. "That's my man!" he said before he turned to the D.J.

Max had no idea what song was going to play, but for some reason he didn't really care. A few seconds later, Max heard the opening notes of 'Twist and Shout' from The Beatles come on. He smiled at Alex, both of them knowing that this was Max's favorite oldie.

Liz had never heard Max sing before, so when he started singing the first verse, she was the one person at the dance that was most surprised. "MY MAN CAN SING!!" she yelled, causing Isabel, Maria and Tess to laugh. Max must have heard her as well, because he looked down at her and winked. He then jumped off stage - still singing - and reached for Liz's hand. He had changed his mind...he did want Liz up on stage with him.

Max walked Liz around to the stairs, then led her up on stage. Once they were on stage, Max noticed that Michael, Kyle and Alex were also bringing the other girls up with them. They all danced together on stage, while the rest of the school danced below them. Max sang the rest of the song with his eyes locked on Liz. He was pleasantly surprised when he heard the rest of the group sing the backup vocals to the song. Every once in a while, he would move the microphone in front of Liz, and every time he did, she would sing the backup lyrics without hesitation.

Since the song was only a couple of minutes long, it ended rather quickly. Max was out of breath from singing, but that didn't stop him from kissing Liz as soon as the song was done. Everyone was giving Max a round of applause, including all the teachers and chaperons.

"You were great!" Liz said after they broke their kiss. She could see that Max was sweating, and she had to resist the urge she felt once again to rip his cloths off.

"MAX EVANS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!" Alex said into the microphone before everyone started clapping again.

Max turned to the congregation and took a bow. He then wrapped his arm around Liz's shoulders and pulled her close to his side.

"And now..." Alex said, slowly turning toward Michael.

"No, Alex," Michael warned. "If you value your life, you'll stop right now."

But that empty threat didn't stop Alex. "Michael Guerin will now dazzle us with his vocal talents. I think we should stick with the oldies, what do you guys think?" he asked the crowd, who cheered him on. He then handed the microphone to Michael, who refused to take it.

"Come on, Michael," Maria begged. "I really want to hear you sing." When she saw him still refuse to take the microphone, she decided to use a different approach. "Please, Michael? Do it for me?"

Michael set his jaw stubbornly, but once he looked at Maria's pleading face, he caved in. He reached out and took the microphone from Alex, glaring at him the entire time. The crowd roared its approval as Alex once again motioned toward the D.J.

A couple seconds later, 'Great Balls of Fire' came on, and forced Michael to smile. He had to admit that he did like the song. The eight friends started dancing as Michael quickly started getting into the song.

Max and Liz were having the time of their lives up on stage, smiling at each other and laughing. Liz noticed that Michael wasn't too bad of a singer either, and when he got to the chorus, he would lean over to Maria and have her sing it with him. Those two made a terrific couple, even if they were both extremely stubborn most of the time. The song ended with all eight of them singing the chorus, immediately followed by a thunderous applause from the rest of the school.

Max and Michael exchanged looks, both thinking the same thing. They wanted to get to Alex before he forced Kyle to sing. Max nodded to Michael before he ran over to the D.J. Michael wrapped his arm around Alex's shoulders before he brought the microphone up to his mouth.

"Now we get to hear from Alex Charles Whitman!" Michael announced before he handed Alex the microphone.

Max ran back on stage just as 'Johnny Be Goode' came on. None of them knew why they all chose oldies to sing to, but nobody at the dance complained.

Alex loved to sing, so he jumped right into the song, swing dancing (or at least trying to) with Isabel as he did.

Liz had never swung danced before, so it was a new experience for her. She just followed Max's moves, and found that it was really fun. Max swung her around, picking her up at times, making sure that she enjoyed herself.

Michael and Maria were dancing up a storm. Michael would never admit it, but he actually danced pretty well. Maria was nearly a pro, so the two really hit it off, taking up the most room on stage.

Tess was extremely happy that Kyle had loosened up a bit. For the first two dances, she could tell that he was really nervous, and that in turn affected his movements. But he seemed to relax and just let himself go for this song, and by the time it ended, they were both laughing, leaning on each other while they caught their breaths.

"THANK YOU!" Alex called out once he stopped singing. Everyone up on stage took a bow before they started to walk off. The D.J. then started playing modern music, and the group decided to take a break.

"I should kill you," Michael said as he reached for Alex. Alex quickly moved out of the way and hid behind Isabel. "Hiding behind your woman, huh?" Michael asked with a chuckle.

"Exactly," Alex said, reemerging from behind Isabel.

Everyone sat down at their table after getting something to drink. They sat out a few songs, just chatting while they regained their breaths.

Max suddenly had an idea, and he glanced down at his watch. The dance was going to end in about a half an hour, so he had to move quickly. "Will you excuse me?" he asked as he stood up.

"Where are you going?" Liz asked as she turned in her seat to face him.

"I need to use the facilities," Max said before he leaned down and placed a kiss on Liz's forehead. "I'll be back in a few minutes."

Liz tried to watch him leave, but he quickly disappeared in the crowd. She let out a sigh before she turned back to her friends. A few minutes later, she heard the D.J. come over the system.

"Okay everyone," the D.J. said. "We're going to slow it down now with 98 Degree's 'My Everything,' so grab your date and get out on the dance floor."

"Oh no!" Liz exclaimed, searching the crowd for Max. "This is mine and Max's song. This was the only song I really wanted to dance with him to." The disappointment was written all over her face.

"I don't think you have to worry about that," Maria said.

Liz turned to face her friend. "Why not?"

Maria looked over Liz's shoulder and pointed. As Liz turned around, she saw Max...with a cordless microphone in his hand. Liz had to cover her mouth with her hand in order to hide the shock as Max started to sing their song to her, his eyes locked on hers.

"The loneliness of nights alone,
The search for strength to carry on,
My every hope had seemed to die,
My eyes had no more tears to cry,
Then like the sun shining up above,
You surrounded me with your endless love,
And all the things I couldn't see are now so clear to me..."

By now, Max was standing directly in front of Liz, and he could see the tears starting to form in her eyes. He gently reached out his hand and grabbed hers, noticing that her hand was shaking uncontrollably. He started walking toward the stage with her right beside him, his eyes never leaving hers.

"You are my everything,
Nothing your love won't bring,
My life is yours alone,
The only love I've ever known,
Your spirit pulls me through,
When nothing else will do,
Every night I pray on bended knee,
That you will always be,
My everything..."

Max gently led Liz onto the stage and over to the center. All eyes in the room were on them, but they didn't notice. The only people that mattered were the two of them. Max pulled Liz close using his free arm, holding her tight against his body as he started to slow dance with her.

The tears in Liz's eyes had now spilled over and were slowly running down her cheeks. She couldn't believe that this was happening; it was her dream come true. Not only was Max singing their song to her, but he was doing it in front of the entire school. Her heart swelled with love for this man dancing with her.

"Now all my hopes and all my dreams,
Are suddenly reality,
You've opened up my heart to feel,
A kind of love that's truly real,
A guiding light that'll never fade,
There's not a thing in life that I would ever trade,
For the love you give it won't let go,
I hope you'll always know..."

Max smiled at Liz while he sang, his own emotions starting to surface. He felt like crying right alongside Liz, and before he knew it, a single tear ran down his cheek.

Liz smiled back at Max and brought her hand up to catch the tear that ran down his cheek. Seeing him cry made her cry harder. As he started singing the chorus again, Liz could sense the quiver in his voice as his emotions came to life.

"You are my everything,
Nothing your love won't bring,
My life is yours alone,
The only love I've ever known,
Your spirit pulls me through,
When nothing else will do,
Every night I pray on bended knee,
That you will always be,
My everything..."

Michael, Maria, Alex, Isabel, Tess and Kyle had stopped dancing so they could watch their friends on stage. Isabel, Maria and Tess were all crying as they watched Max sing to Liz, while Michael, Alex and Kyle all smiled. The scene in front of them was truly emotional, and as they looked around, they noticed that the rest of the school had stopped dancing as well. Everyone was watching Max and Liz.

"You're the breath of life in me,
The only one that sets me free,
And you have made my soul complete,
For all time,
For all time..."

Neither Max nor Liz noticed that nearly two hundred sets of eyes were locked on them. Even if they did, they wouldn't have cared.

"You are my everything,
Nothing your love won't bring,
My life is yours alone,
The only love I've ever known,
Your spirit pulls me through,
When nothing else will do,
Every night I pray on bended knee,
That you will always be,
My everything..."

As Max went on to sing the chorus again, another tear escaped his eye. He couldn't help it, and he didn't want to. Liz was crying harder than before, and his heart swelled because he knew that they were tears of happiness.

Then the end of the song came, and Max slowly stopped dancing with Liz. Once they were standing still, he slowly knelt down on one knee in front of her, holding her hand the entire time.

"Every night I pray down on bended knee,
That you will always be,
My everything,
Oh my everything."

After the song, Max stayed on one knee for a couple of seconds before Liz let out a half laugh, half sob and pulled him up into an embrace. She hugged him with everything she had, never wanting to let go.

Max hugged her back with the same intensity. He couldn't get close enough to her. He pulled back slightly, and gently kissed her with all the emotion he was feeling.

It wasn't until they broke their kiss that they heard the thunderous applause. They turned to find everyone clapping, cheering and whistling at them. For the first time in her life, Liz didn't blush. She wasn't the least bit embarrassed and as she looked at Max, she could see that he wasn't either. He was smiling brightly. It was then that she heard Michael and Alex yelling and clapping.

"ALRIGHT MAXWELL!!" Michael yelled.

"WHOOOOHOOOOO!!" Alex added.

Max led Liz off the stage and back over to their friends. Maria, Tess and Isabel immediately pulled Liz into a fierce four-way hug, all four of them crying uncontrollably. Michael and Alex walked up to Max and patted him on the back.

"You've definitely got guts," Michael said with a smirk.

"No kidding," Alex said. "I thought I was the only one that would do something crazy like that."

Kyle then walked up to Max and smiled. "You sure know how to get everyone's attention," he said, hitting him lightly on the arm.

Max smiled back at Kyle, but before he could respond, Michael spoke up again.

"Oh maaannn!" he complained. The other three guys turned to see what he was whining about. "Thanks a lot, Maxwell," he said, pointing to Maria. "Now she'll be crying for the rest of the night."

All three guys laughed. A minute later, the girls broke their four-way hug, and they all walked back to their men. Liz walked over to Max and threw herself into his arms. She had stopped crying during the all-girl hug, but as soon as Max wrapped his arms around her, the tears started up again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As quickly as the prom started, it ended. The last dance of the night was to Splender's 'I Think God Can Explain,' and as Liz rested her cheek on Max's shoulder, she looked around at her friends. Michael and Maria were quietly talking, a smile on both their faces. Alex and Isabel both had their eyes closed and Isabel had her face buried in Alex's neck. Then she saw Kyle and Tess. Liz could tell that they were both nervous, not knowing how far to take things or where to put their hands. They were both staring into each other’s eyes, though no words were spoken between them.

"What are you thinking about?" Max asked gently as he rubbed Liz's bare back with his fingertips.

Liz pulled back so she could look into his eyes. "I was just thinking how great it's been...to have our friends get together like they have," she said, motioning toward the others. "But the one thing I'm really grateful for...is you." By this time of the night, Max's bow tie was undone, the ends hanging loosely on ether side of his collar, and his top button was also undone. Liz reached out and started playing with the next button down as if trying to decide whether or not she should unbutton it as well.

As soon as Max felt Liz start to play with his shirt, he stopped breathing. Is she really going to unbutton it? he thought to himself. He was answered when he felt the button give way, opening his shirt up farther.

"Liz," he whispered, closing his eyes as she started to run her hand over the newly exposed skin.

"Yeah?" Liz whispered in response, her attention drawn to Max's neck.

"What are you...what are you doing?" he asked, trying to control his bodies reaction to her. He finally started breathing again, but with short, shallow breaths.

"Nothing," Liz responded before she moved in and kissed the side of his neck as she continued to rub her hand across his upper chest.

Liz was sending a sensation through Max that he had never felt before. He had never gone farther than just kissing with any girl before...because he never wanted to. But Liz was different. He always had to be in control, but when it came to the beauty in his arms, he wanted to let go and lose himself in the emotions that she created.

"Liz," Max whispered again.

"Yeah," Liz said as she continued her assault on his neck.

Max didn't get a chance to respond as the song had just ended, and the D.J. was back on the microphone telling everyone to drive home safely. The only problem was that Liz was still kissing his neck, oblivious to the fact that the dance was now over. Max decided that enough was enough. He grabbed Liz's hand and walked toward the doors.

"Could you grab my coat for me?" Max asked Michael as he passed him.

"Where are you going?" Michael asked in return.

"We'll meet you at the limo," Max called over his shoulder.

After nearly running out the doors, Liz pulled on Max's hand. "Max," she said with a smile. "We need to slow down. I can't keep up with you."

Max stopped, turned around to face Liz, and then picked her up into his arms.

"MAX!!" Liz laughed out. "What are you doing?"

"I'm carrying you," Max responded as he started to jog toward the limo. "You got a problem with that?"

"Not at all," Liz responded as she leaned over and started to kiss his neck again.

"LIIIIIZZZZZ!!!!" Max whined. "You do know that you are making this extremely difficult for me, don't you?"

"Uh huh," Liz responded with a smile before she sucked his earlobe into her mouth.

When Max felt Liz tug on his ear, he nearly fell over, much to Liz's amusement. He stopped to regain his composure so he wouldn't end up falling on his face with Liz in his arms.

"Could you please wait the fifteen seconds it will take for me to reach the limo before you start torturing me again?" Max asked, looking Liz straight in the eyes. "Otherwise I'll probably end up falling flat on my face."

Liz smiled innocently at him while she nodded. But as soon as Max started walking again, her mouth reached out and started leaving hot, open-mouthed kisses along his jaw line.

Max let out a groan. "All right...that's it," he said before he started sprinting for the limo.

Liz let out a laugh as he started to run, knowing full well that he would attack her as soon as they got to the limo...and that's exactly what she wanted him to do. She wasn't disappointed either.

As soon as Max reached the limo, he slid Liz down his body. He leaned down and attacked her mouth with his, not even giving her a chance to set her feet on the ground first. He pushed her up against the car, trailing open-mouthed kisses from her mouth to her ear.

Liz closed her eyes and threw her head back, giving Max full access to her neck. "Oh...Max," she moaned, grabbing his shirt for support. "Don't stop..."

Max started kissing her neck, making his way down to the hollow of her neck. He swirled his tongue around, making her moan him name while she grabbed his shirt tighter. Max then reached behind her and lifted on the handle to the door. He opened it, pulling Liz against his body as he backed her into the limo. Liz fell onto the seat, with Max right on top of her.

They didn’t think far enough ahead to realize that the limo driver was sitting in the front seat. But lucky for them, the shield that separated the front from the back was up, so he couldn't see anything that Max and Liz were doing.

As soon as they were both inside, Max broke their kiss just long enough to reach back and shut the door, locking it in the process. When he turned back around, he looked down at Liz, who was biting her lower lip, anxiously waiting for his mouth to return to hers. He obviously wasn't moving fast enough for Liz, because the next thing he knew, she reached up and grabbed his shirt, pulling him back down on top of her.

Liz was frantically unbuttoning his shirt, needing to feel his warm skin under her touch. She was having trouble with the last button, so she decided to improvise. "Oh, the hell with it," she mumbled against his mouth before she grabbed the sides of his shirt and ripped the last button clean off, sending it flying to the other side of the limo.

Max smiled against her lips. "I'm going to need that button," he said jokingly between kisses.

"I'll fix it later," Liz responded before she pushed his shirt past his shoulders. She wanted to kiss him all over, but that was impossible to do with him still on top of her. So she pushed him over, sending him onto the floor...where she followed, falling right on top of him. She lifted her dress up her legs so she could straddle his hips, then she started her attack.

She started with his neck, slowly making her way down until she reached his perfectly defined chest. Just as she was about to attack it, she heard someone try to open the door to the limo.

"What the hell!?!" Michael asked as he tried to open the door one more time. "Maxwell? Are you in there?"

Liz pulled back and looked at Max, who was lying there with his shirt wide open and his chest exposed. Then they both promptly burst out in laughter.

"Yeah," Max said, quickly buttoning up his shirt. All except for the very bottom button that is.

"Then open the damn door!" Michael called back.

By this time, Liz had already climbed off of Max and was now sitting in the seat, fixing her dress. Max ran a hand through his hair, trying to hide any evidence of what he and Liz were just doing. When his shirt was buttoned up, he reached over and unlocked the door.

"What the hell were you two..." Michael began as he climbed in the limo after Maria. He stopped mid-sentence when he finally caught a glimpse of Max and Liz. He then smiled and threw Max's coat at him. "Never mind," he said while shaking his head.

Max smiled in return, shrugging his shoulders at his best friend. Then Isabel and Alex climbed in, followed by Tess, who apparently had invited Kyle over to the 'after prom party' and the Evans' house.

"Hey Kyle," Liz said after he climbed in.

"Hey Liz," Kyle responded before he turned to Max. "I hope you don't mind. Tess invited me over for the little shindig that you're throwing at your place."

"No...I don't mind," Max responded as he pulled the limo door shut. "But you'll have to pay the entrance fee," he quickly added.

"What's the entrance fee?" Kyle asked.

Max looked over at Michael. "Do you want to tell him, or should I?"

"I'll do it," Michael responded, turning his attention to Kyle. "You see, Valenti...there are certain things that must take place before you can walk into the Evans' house. First, you have to walk over and say hello to their neighbors dog."

"That doesn't sound to hard," Kyle said. His response caused everyone else in the limo to look at each other and laugh.

"You've never seen their dog," Michael responded with a smile. "Second - that is if you make it past the first challenge - you have to agree to let Isabel and the others here
do a little makeover on you." Michael was making everything up as he went, but all his friends agreed with him as if it had all been planned out earlier.

"Okaaay," Kyle said, a little tentative to agree to anything that involved turning himself over to four girls.

Max and Liz had to refrain from laughing out load.

"This should be interesting," Max whispered into Liz's ear as he pulled her close to his body and kissed the top of her head.

"No kidding," Liz whispered back just as the limo started to drive off toward the Evans' house.

"Hey," Isabel said as she reached down and picked something off the floor. "Is anyone missing a button?"

To Be Continued.......................

Part 14

Once they reached the Evans's house, Michael and Max stood off to the side while they watched a very nervous Kyle approach the next-door neighbors dog.

"Does Kyle have good reflexes?" Michael asked.

"Yeah, they're pretty good," Max replied.

"That's good. I'd feel really bad if he lost a limb over there," Michael said, his face completely serious.

"You guys are so cruel," Isabel said with a smile as she approached them. "You know that dog is Cujo reincarnated."

"Yeah," Max said with a chuckle. "That's what makes watching this so much fun."

"Come on girls," Isabel said as she dragged Liz, Maria and Tess into the house. "We've got better things to do than watch Kyle and my neighbors dog duke it out."

Liz didn't want to leave Max's side, but Isabel, Maria and Tess all dragged her in the house anyway.

"Come on Valenti!" Michael called out. "All you have to do is pet the damn dog! How hard can it be?" He then turned to Max, and the two of them started laughing.

Kyle took his time walking over to the neighbors. He could hear the dog growling at him through the wooden fence, and even though he couldn't see the mutt, he could tell that he wasn't dealing with Lassie here.

"Yeah, just pet the damn dog," Kyle muttered to himself. "Why am I doing this? Am I mental?"

He finally got to the fence, and carefully climbed it. He cautiously glanced over the top, and as soon as he did, the dog jumped up and tried to bite his face.

"HOLY SH*T!!!!" Kyle yelled as he lost his balance and fell off the fence, landing right on his back. He quickly jumped to his feet and ran back over to Max and Michael who were both rolling on the ground in laughter. "Ha, ha...very funny," Kyle said as he brushed the dirt off his tux.

"Sorry buddy," Michael said between laughs. "That was too good!"

"Your...your face," Max said as he pointed at Kyle, still unable to control his laughter.

When everything finally died down, Max and Michael exchanged looks, then promptly burst out in laughter again.

Kyle didn't know what to do, so he tried to be a good sport about it. He smiled and shook his head as he looked back to the fence he had just fallen off of. "After that, I am NOT letting those girls do a makeover on me!"

Michael nodded as he threw his arm around Kyle's shoulders. "I wouldn't either if I were you. I've seen Isabel's handy work on Alex."

"Alex lets her put makeup on him?" Kyle asked in shock.

"She did it when he was asleep," Max said, still chuckling. "She was mad at him, so it was her way of getting even."

"Now I know not to piss her off," Kyle muttered.

"That would be a good idea," Michael said as he led the way into the house.

Upon entering, Tess ran up to Kyle after she saw that he still had dirt on his tux. "What did you do to him?" she demanded, facing Michael and Max. Both guys threw their hands up in surrender as they backed away from her.

"Hey...he fell on his own," Michael said in defense.

Tess glared at both of them before she turned to Kyle. "Are you alright?"

Kyle nodded as he glanced down at his tux.

"Come on," Tess said as she grabbed his hand. "Let's get you taken care of."

Kyle turned back and gave Max and Michael a huge smile before he followed Tess into the kitchen.

Just then, Maria walked up to Michael and wrapped her arms around his waist. Instinctively, Michael wrapped his arms around her as well.

"You know," Max said. "For two people who just went to the prom as friends, you both look really comfortable like that."

Michael and Maria both shrugged, neither one letting the other go.

Max just shook his head and smiled in response before he scanned the room. "Where's Liz?" he asked in confusion.

"She went upstairs," Isabel replied from her seat next to Alex on the couch. "She said she had to grab something from my room."

Max nodded, then decided to go seek her out. He took the steps two at a time, but when he reached Isabel's room, Liz was nowhere in sight. He frowned slightly as he turned to walk back downstairs. When he passed his bedroom, he noticed that his door was slightly ajar. He pushed it open slowly, only to find his room completely dark.

"Liz?" he asked as he reached over and flipped on the light switch. His room was empty, and he was about to shut off the light and head back downstairs when something on his bed caught his eye. He walked over and found a red rose and a letter lying on his pillow. He smiled as he reached down and picked them up. He unfolded the paper, and began to read the note.

My Dearest Max,

It's so hard to put into words just how greatly you've changed my life. I've been watching you for so long now, and to finally have you all for myself is my dream come true. You have made the past month on my life unforgettable. I love the feeling I get each and every morning when I wake up, just knowing that I'll get to see you that day. Every night I fall asleep with a smile on my face as thoughts of you whirl around in my mind. Every time I see you're face, every time I see you're adorable smile...the smile you save just for me...I feel my stomach flip out of control. Every time you touch me, I feel sparks shoot through my body, touching my very soul.
I know it's only been a month since we got together, but it feels like we've been together forever. You mean the world to me, Max. You are the center of my universe, and you always will be.
I just wanted you to know that you hold the key to my heart, to my very soul. I know that you will always treasure it, and that you will never hurt me.
Knowing you has brought such happiness into my life that I can't imagine ever living without you. I don't know what I'd do if I ever lost you, Max. Please say that you'll stay with me forever. Tell me that you'll never leave me, no matter what. If you don't, I may as well stop breathing right now. Max, you are my life. You will always be...my everything.

Eternally yours,

Liz

P.S. Turn around.

Max had to read the last line over again because his eyes were completely blurred with unshed tears. When he finally realized what it said, he slowly turned around to find Liz standing there, nervously fidgeting with her hands as she bit her lower lip, smiling shyly at him. He felt his heart skip a beat as he looked at the beauty standing in front of him. He wanted to rush over and crush her to his body, but his legs didn't seem to be working at the moment.

Liz could see the unshed tears in Max's eyes as he continued to stare at her, a tiny smile on his lips.

When Max finally found his voice, he could only say one word. "Liz," he rasped out before his throat constricted again. He fought back the lump in his throat as he tried to speak again. "I...I love you."

Liz was doing fine up to that point, but hearing the three words she so desperately wanted to hear Max say instantly made her cry.

"Oh, Max!" she exclaimed as she ran over and threw her arms around his neck, crying happily into his neck. "I love you, too," she confessed as she buried her face deeper into his neck. "So much."

They stayed in each other’s arms for several minutes, both enjoying the feeling of completeness that always came over them whenever they were like this. When they finally pulled back, Liz reached up and ran her hand down the front of Max's face. Max smiled and kissed her fingertips before he brought both of his hands up and cupped her face. He then leaned forward and kissed her softly at first, but more passionately as the kiss went on. He urged her mouth open with his tongue, and let out a moan when he felt his tongue come into contact with hers.

They were so wrapped up in each other that they didn't hear Michael walk into the room.

"WHOA!!" Michael exclaimed after he saw Max and Liz lip locked. He spun around and faced the door before he apologized. "I'm sorry, I should have knocked first."

Max and Liz both heard Michael's apology, but neither of them broke their kiss. They didn't care if Michael was there, nothing was going to interrupt their kiss this time.

"I'll just leave you two alone," Michael said as he walked out of the room and closed the door.

Max dropped the rose and the letter gently on the floor before he picked Liz up and cradled her against his chest. He turned around and placed her gently on his bed before he laid down next to her. Liz pulled him down on top of her, needing to feel as much contact with him as possible.

"MAX!!!!!!!!!" they heard Isabel yell from downstairs.

Max groaned as he broke the kiss. "WHAT!!!!!!!" he yelled back angrily.

"We need you down here!" Isabel yelled.

Max looked at Liz, apologizing with his eyes. Liz smiled up at him before she climbed off the bed and grabbed his hand.

"We'll finish this later," she said as she pulled him out of the room.

"Promise?" Max asked, giving Liz that half smile that she had described in her letter.

"Oh yeah," Liz replied with a smile of her own. "You're not getting away from me that easily."

"Promise?" Max asked, this time looking at Liz with complete seriousness on his face.

"You want me to stick around, huh?" Liz asked with a playful smile.

"Definitely," Max replied as he pulled Liz into his body.

"Promise?" Liz asked playfully.

Max smiled before he leaned in and kissed her lightly on the lips. "Always," he said in response.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"What do you want, Iz?" Max asked as he and Liz entered the living room. He was visibly annoyed with his sister, and everyone noticed it.

Isabel was taken aback by her brothers’ attitude. "Well excuuuuuuuuuse me! What crawled up your crack?"

Liz couldn't help but smile. She pulled on Max's sleeve and gave him a look, telling him to play nice. Max just rolled his eyes before he turned back to his sister.

"Sorry," Max said with a forced smile. "You just caught me at a bad time."

"I just thought that you two would like to be included in the activities," Isabel said as she returned her brothers fake smile with one of her own.

"A game?" Liz asked as she pushed Max down on the sofa, then sat on his lap.

"Sure," Isabel responded. "What game does everyone want to play?"

"All I know is that if it's guys versus girls, the four of you don't stand a chance," Alex said as he pointed to the four girls.

"Oh really?" Isabel challenged.

"I have to agree with Alex," Max said, knowing that his comment would get a rise out of his sister. What he didn't expect, however, was for Liz to react the way she did.

"Is that a fact?" Liz asked, turning on his lap so she could glare at him. Max swallowed hard, knowing instantly that he had said the wrong thing.

"Do you feel the same way?" Maria asked Michael as she raised her eyebrows, challenging him to answer 'yes'.

"I suck at games," Michael said, raising his hands in surrender. "I'm staying out of this one."

"What about you, Kyle?" Maria asked.

Kyle glanced at Tess and noticed that she was curious to hear his answer. He decided to play this one safe, knowing that he would just get himself in trouble if he said the wrong thing. "If the game doesn't involve a ball and a helmet...I suck." His answer seemed to please Tess, because she smiled up at him and grabbed his hand.

"Good," Tess said before she turned her attention back to the two couples that were in disagreement. "It looks like we have a challenge here. What we need is a game to figure out which gender is better."

"What kind of game?" Michael asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.

"How about a game to see how well they really know each other?" Maria asked.

"That sounds interesting," Michael said, raising his eyebrows. "What did you have in mind?"

"Guys versus girls. Max and Alex versus Isabel and Liz. We'll make up some categories, then some personal questions and answers to go in those categories. Whichever gender answers the most questions correctly about their significant other, wins!" Maria explained with a smile.

Isabel and Liz agreed immediately, but Max and Alex were a little apprehensive.

"I was thinking more along the lines of...wrestling," Alex said with a smile.

"In your dreams," Isabel said as she rolled her eyes.

"How did you know that I dream about that?" Alex asked in surprise.

Isabel just laughed as she pushed Alex over.

"I don't know about this game," Max said, rubbing his hand over his chin as he thought about all the consequences that playing such a game could bring.

"Oh, come on," Tess urged. "Are you guys scared?"

"They sure look chicken to me," Maria said before she started flapping her arms like a bird while making chicken noises. Tess, Isabel and Liz soon joined, and the room was suddenly filled with flailing arms and noises that sounded like tortured animals.

"Nobody calls me a chicken," Alex said through gritted teeth.

"Don't fall for it, Alex," Kyle warned after seeing that Alex was about to agree to the game.

"You're on!," Alex announced, ignoring Kyle's warning.

"ALEX!!!!!" Max yelled in disbelief. He knew better than to engage Isabel in a game like that. His sister knew too many things about him, and he knew that his most embarrassing moments would come to life if he agreed to play.

"Hey, I'm not going to sit here and let them question my manhood," Alex countered. "Come on, Max! Grow a pair, will ya?"

"It’s okay, honey," Liz said in a sultry voice as she snuggled closer to Max. "I'll still love you even if you are a wussy. I have no problem being the one who wears the pants in this relationship."

Alex, Michael and Kyle all grimaced at Liz's comment, knowing that she just said the one thing that no man wanted to hear. Isabel, Tess and Maria on the other hand were laughing up a storm as they all pointed at Max.

"A WUSSY?!?!?" Max exclaimed as he pulled back and glared at Liz in surprise. "Oh, that's it! You're on woman!"

Now that the game was set, all that was left was the bet.

"Now...if we win," Isabel began. "You two have to take us shopping in Albuquerque, buy us anything we want...and the most important thing is that you HAVE to like it! You have to give us your honest opinion when we ask you questions about cloths, and under no circumstances are you to complain."

"And you have to walk around the mall with a smile on your face and a sign hanging around your neck that says 'My woman owns me'," Liz quickly added, causing everyone to look at her in surprise.

"Wow!" Isabel said. "I love that! How did you think of that one?"

"It just came to me," Liz said casually.

"Very clever, chica!" Maria added.

"You guys better hope you win," Michael said with a chuckle. "If you don't, I'm going to follow you around the entire mall just to make sure everyone sees that sign."

"I don't think so!" Max announced in horror, his face turning extremely pale all of a sudden.

"Alright!" Alex snapped in frustration. "That's fine...now it's our turn. If we win, you two have to take us out on a date to Chez Pierre, and halfway through the meal, you have to stand on top of the table and sing the song 'I Touch Myself' as loud as you can...and you HAVE to dance along to it as well."

Max nodded and smiled widely at Liz, who had suddenly turned pale.

"Nice one, Whitman," Kyle said with a smile.

"And since Liz is really into signs, you two have to walk around school for an entire week with one hanging around your neck that reads: 'Slave Of Max Evans' for Liz, and 'Proud Property Of Alex Whitman' for Isabel," Max added, improvising on Liz's idea.

"Okay...us girls will think of the questions and answers for Isabel and Liz, and you guys do the same for Alex and Max," Maria said before anyone else could respond. "Remember...the questions have to be about yourself, and you can't come up with any like 'What kind of engine do I have in my car?'"

After debating on the questions for a while, the game was ready to be played. When they looked at the board of categories and questions, they noticed that it looked a lot like 'Jeopardy.'

"We'll flip a coin to see who goes first," Maria said. "Max, call it in the air."

"Tails," Max said.

"Tails it is," Maria replied. "Gentlemen, choose your category."

Max and Alex looked up at the chart and noticed that there were eight different categories, with two questions for each category - one question for each girl.

"We'll take 'School Ties'...Isabel's question," Max said.

Maria reached over and pulled the card under the heading 'School Ties' off the board that had Isabel's name on it. "Name the teacher who gave Isabel extra credit because of her smile."

"Some teacher gave you extra credit because of your smile?" Alex asked in shock. This was news to him.

"Mr. Sampson," Max answered with a smile.

"How did you know that?!?" Isabel asked in shock. "I never told anyone that."

"My dear sister," Max said in a disappointed voice. "I know all."

"Yeah right," Maria said under her breath.

"Choose your category girls," Michael said.

"We'll take...'Subscriptions'...Alex's question," Liz said.

Michael pulled the card off and read the question. "Alex subscribes to 'Sports Illustrated', but they never spelled his name correctly. What name appears on the shipping label?"

"Oh, oh! I know this one!" Isabel said as she searched her brain for the answer. "It's...oh, man! It's...Alexerill Whitterby!"

"No, I'm sorry," Michael said. "It's Alensald Whitterfield."

"Actually," Alex said sheepishly. "It's MRS. Alensald Whitterfield."

Everyone promptly burst out in laughter; everyone except for Alex that is. He just smiled, knowing that the rest of them would surely give him a hard time about that in the near future.

"Okay, our turn," Max said, speeding up the games progress. "We'll take 'Early years'...Liz's question."

Liz smiled, knowing that this was one story that her dad hadn't told Max yet. She knew that Max enjoyed hearing stories about her when she was younger, so she wasn't as embarrassed as she was before.

"Alright," Maria began. "When Liz was younger, she had a case of mistaken identity. Who did she think she was?"

Max immediately burst out in laughter, much to Liz's surprise. Everyone else just looked at him and waited for him to calm down so he could share the story with the rest of the group.

"She...she..." Max began to answer before he started laughing again. "She...wanted to be a dog, so she would only answer to the name of......Fluffy. And she refused to eat or drink anything unless it was in a bowl on the floor!" He then started rolling on the floor in laughter.

Liz was mortified. She thought for sure that Max didn't know the answer to that question, but to top it off he had to go into detail about the name she wanted to be called and her eating habits. Those little details weren't something she expected to come out in the open.

The rest of the group tried to suppress their urge to join Max in laughter, but they soon found that that was impossible. They mostly just chuckled, not wanting to make Liz feel bad.

When Max regained control of himself, he looked over and saw that Liz was now pouting. He sobered up as he looked at her and cocked his head to the side slightly. He then leaned over and kissed her gently on the lips. "I'm sorry, babe," he whispered. "Your dad told me that story when you weren't around. I didn't mean to embarrass you." He then reached out and cupped her cheek in his palm, running his thumb across her bottom lip that she was sticking out, emphasizing her pout.

"NO TOUCHING!!" Maria exclaimed. "Max...get back over to your side."

Max looked up at Maria, then leaned in closer to Liz and whispered in her ear: "I love you, and I promise I'll make it up to you later." He then pulled back and complied with Maria's order. When he looked at Liz, he saw that she was now smiling shyly at him, her eyes twinkling.

"Girls...it's your turn," Michael said.

"We'll take 'Max...the younger years'," Liz said as she locked eyes with Max. She was determined to get back at him for his outburst of laughter.

Michael pulled the card off the board and read the question. "When Max was a baby, he and his mom went in to see the doctor for a routine check-up. What happened when the doctor took off his diaper for the exam?"

This time, Isabel was the one rolling around on the ground laughing. Max had hoped that she wouldn't remember the story, but her reaction proved otherwise. He turned five different shades of red, and he hid his face in his hands, waiting for the explosion of laughter that he knew would come from Liz and the others.

"He...he really had to..." Isabel began, trying to speak between laughs. "Apparently the doctor took his diaper off at the wrong time because he really had to go to the bathroom. As soon as the doctor picked him up to examine him, Max.......peed all over the doctor!"

This time, everyone started rolling in laughter with nobody holding back or attempting to suppress it in any way. Max blushed even more as he tried to hide his humiliation. Why did he agree to put that question on the board? He spread his fingers slightly so he could peek out, and once he did, he noticed that Liz's eyes had started to water because she was laughing so hard. He dropped his hands and hung his head as low as he could, trying his best to look hurt from everyone's laughter.

Liz looked over and saw that Max was hanging his head in embarrassment, and that made her laugh even harder. But when he looked up at her, the hurt in his eyes caused her to stop laughing almost immediately. She didn't think that her laughing would hurt him. He was the one that was rolling on the floor in laughter not more than a minute ago when her story came out. She leaned over and kissed him. "Why are you so upset?" she asked gently. "You're the one who started this."

Max tried his best to look hurt, but the truth was, he just wanted sympathy from Liz. He tried to force back the smile that was rapidly overtaking him, but he failed.

When Liz saw that little hint of a smile, she gasped, then hit his arm. "YOU JERK! You were just trying to make me feel bad for laughing!"

Max quickly leaned over and kissed Liz gently, but Michael saw to it that the kiss didn't last long. "NO TOUCHING!" he ordered, pulling Max and Liz apart.

Max looked at Liz and smiled widely. "I just wanted you to kiss me," he admitted.

"Next question," Maria said quickly, trying to get everyone focused back on the game.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After all the questions for the eight categories had been read, Michael announced the winners.

"Well," Michael said after he finished counting the points for each team. "It looks like we have a tie. Both teams have ten points."

"But..." Maria said with a smile. "Lucky for you, Michael and I were prepared for such an occurrence." She reached over and grabbed some flashcards. "The Lightning Round!" she announced.

"Oh, you two are so dead," Alex said to Isabel and Liz. "I am the king of 'The Lightning Round.'"

"No way, buddy," Isabel said in defense. "I own all records pertaining to 'The Lightning Round.'"

"Oh really?" Alex asked in challenge. "Care to raise the stakes then?"

"You name it," Isabel said, folding her arms across her chest.

"Hold on," Liz said. "I'm not sure we should bet on anything else."

But Alex and Isabel were on their own little battlefield, ignoring everyone else in the room. "How about...if we win, you have to walk around school next week wearing a Britney Spears T-shirt. A different shirt for each day of the week."

"Ooooohhhhh, that's good," Maria said, waiting to see what Isabel came up with in response.

"All right...and if we win," Isabel began before Liz cut her off.

"WAIT A MINUTE!! I am NOT walking around school wearing a Britney Spears T-shirt!" Liz exclaimed.

"Don't worry," Isabel said reassuringly. "We won't lose. Now...if we win, you guys have to let us dress you for an entire week, and you can't complain about it. If anyone asks, you have to tell them that you dressed yourself."

"NO WAY!!" Max exclaimed immediately. "I am NOT letting you dress me up in hot pink pants, a bright yellow sweater and a fluorescent orange scarf!"

Michael and Kyle both laughed at that image. They could just picture Max walking around school wearing that exact outfit.

"Oh, you think that's funny?" Max asked them threateningly.

"Yeah, I do," Michael replied, ignoring Max's tone of voice.

"Let's finish this already!" Alex said in an attempt to get everyone's attention back to the game. He was really into it now, and he wanted to win at all costs.

"Here are the rules," Maria said. "I have ten questions that I'll ask the girls, and Michael has ten questions that he'll ask the guys. You'll have thirty seconds to answer as many questions as you can, and the gender that has the most points in the end will win both bets."

After checking to make sure that everyone was ready, Michael took charge. "We'll flip a coin again to see who goes first," he announced. "Isabel, call it in the air."

"Heads," Isabel said.

"Heads it is," Michael replied. "Girls are up first."

"Let the Lightning Round begin!" Maria said with a smile.


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 24-Oct-2001 6:48:13 PM ]
posted on 24-Oct-2001 6:49:55 PM
Part 15
.
"Wait!" Kyle said before Michael could ask the girls the first question. "Do the rest of us get to see the losers carry out the bets? 'Cause personally, I would love to watch."

"I don't see why not," Michael replied.

"I DO!!" Liz exclaimed. "It's bad enough to think about having to sing and dance to 'I Touch Myself' in the middle of a crowded restaurant, but knowing that all my friends will be there to watch makes me want to puke."

"That's why we won't lose," Isabel said.

"Keep dreaming, babe," Alex muttered.

Isabel heard him and threw him an icy glare, which Alex responded by giving her a smug smile.

"First question," Michael said. "Are you ready, ladies?"

"Yeah," Isabel said emphatically.

"Alright...start the timer once I finish reading the first question..." Michael began reading question after question, and when the buzzer finally sounded, the girls had answered seven questions correctly.

Isabel and Liz gave each other a high-five and were now smiling at Alex and Max.

"Not bad," Max admitted.

"But not good enough to beat us," Alex quickly added.

"We'll see," Isabel said with a triumphant smile.

"Are you guys ready?" Maria asked.

"I was born ready," Alex responded.

Maria began reading off the questions, and the guys were doing pretty good. They only needed one more to tie, and they had three questions left.

"What is the name of Isabel's hairdresser?" Maria asked.

"WHAT KIND OF A QUESTION IS THAT?" Alex exclaimed.

"Next question," Max said, trying to find at least one question they knew the answer to.

"What is the name of Liz's hairdresser?" Maria asked with a smile.

"WHAT?!?!?" Alex yelled.

"Next question," Max said again, trying to control his frustration.

"Who owns the salon that Isabel goes to?"

Max and Alex looked at each other in disbelief for a few seconds before the timer went off, signaling the end of the game. Isabel and Liz immediately started jumping up and down, toughening Max and Alex as they danced around them.

"WE WON, WE WON, WE WON...HA HA," Liz sang as she did a little jiggle in front of Max. The response she got from him was not at all what she was expecting. She stopped dancing and singing when she noticed that he was smiling triumphantly up at her, his arms folded across his chest. "What are you smiling about?" she asked.

"If I recall correctly," Max began. "And, Maria, correct me if I'm wrong...but didn't you say that we couldn't have any questions that the girls couldn't possible know the answer to? I believe your exact words were, "You can't ask 'what kind of an engine do I have in my car?' If we weren't able to ask those kinds of questions, then why were they able to?"

"Good question," Michael replied as he raised an eyebrow and looked at Maria for an answer.

Maria swallowed hard, not knowing how to answer that question. "Well...um..." she stumbled out before she let out a nervous laugh.

"I think we need to have the judges review it," Alex said as he looked at Kyle, Tess, Michael and Maria in turn.

Liz and Isabel immediately sat down, their victory dance long forgotten.

They all watched as Kyle, Michael, Tess and Maria huddled to determine the winners. After a few minutes, Michael emerged with an answer.

"After talking it over, we as judges think that it wouldn't be fair to disqualify the girls," he said.

"WE WON, WE WON," Isabel started singing again.

"Not exactly," Michael quickly corrected her. Isabel sat back down and waited for Michael to continue. "The only fair outcome we could come up with is this: There were two sets of bets placed. We have the mall excursion with Max and Alex having to wear a sign that reads, 'My Woman Owns Me'; and we have the dinner date at which Isabel and Liz have to sing 'I Touch Myself' on the table top at Chez Pierre, and have to wear a sign to school for an entire week that reads, 'Slave of Max Evans,' and 'Property of Alex Whitman.' The second bet would require Isabel and Liz to walk around school for a week wearing a Britney Spears T-shirt, or would require Max and Alex to let Isabel and Liz dress them up for a week. The only solution we could come up with in all fairness, is to have each gender carry out one bet. "

"Dibs on the second bet," Isabel said quickly before she smiled at Max and Alex. She would much rather wear a Britney Spears T-shirt to school instead of dancing and singing at her parents’ favorite restaurant. "It looks like you two have to take us out on a shopping spree."

"Hold on," Michael said, raising his hand in the air. "Since you girls did technically break the very rule YOU made up, we have decided to let the guys choose which bet they want to take."

Alex and Max smiled at each other before they looked at the girls. They noticed that both Isabel and Liz were looking a little pale at the moment.

"Could we have some privacy to discuss our options?" Alex asked with a serious look on his face.

"Absolutely," Michael replied. "Why don't you use the kitchen?"

As Max was about walk past Liz, he stopped suddenly and knelt down in front of her. He looked in her eyes and smiled before he leaned in closer so he could whisper in her ear. "Is there anything you want to beg of me before I leave the room?" He pulled back and immediately saw the look in Liz's eyes turn from fright to mocked anger.

"You'd really love that, wouldn't you?" she asked as she glared at him.

"I just thought I'd give you a chance to beg for forgiveness," Max said with a smile.

"You won't get any such thing from me," Liz said as she folded her arms across her chest and stuck her nose up in the air in defiance.

Max let out a loud sigh. "Okay. But don't blame me when we come back with an answer. Just remember that you brought this on yourself. I gave you a chance to plead your case, and you refused to do it." He then stood up and started to walk out of the room.

"MAX!" Liz exclaimed as she jumped off the chair and ran up to him. "Please don't make me sing and dance at Chez Pierre! P-L-E-A-S-E!!!!!"

Max smiled before he reached out and cupped her cheek in his hand. "It's not entirely up to me, but I'll see what I can do."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had been about ten minutes since Max and Alex had wandered into the kitchen to 'talk' about which bet they wanted to take, and Liz was seriously starting to freak out. There was no way she would be able to dance on top of a table at Chez Pierre while singing 'I Touch Myself,' and she just knew that Max and Alex would make her do it anyway.

"I think I'll go check on them," Michael said as he stood up and made his way out of the living room. When he entered the kitchen, he found Max and Alex both doubled over in laughter. "What's up?" he asked curiously.

Max looked up at Michael and raised his hand, telling his friend to wait a minute while he got his laughter under control. After a few more chuckles, Max finally drew in a deep breath to calm himself. "Alex and I were just sharing images of what it's going to look like when we make Isabel and Liz sing and dance at Chez Pierre."

"I'm personally hoping for a lap dance, but I don't think that would be appropriate," Alex added. "Besides, I don't want to end up in jail because my girlfriend was imitating sexual acts in a public restaurant."

"You know...about the bet," Michael said as he sat down on a barstool. "Do you really think it's a good idea for your girlfriends to carry out this dancing and singing bet at the fanciest restaurant in town? Max...you know that your parents are going to find out. I mean...they're close friends with the owner for cripes sake!"

Max thought for a minute, reflecting on Michael's words. He was right. His parents wouldn't be the least bit happy to learn that their son had his girlfriend dancing and singing a VERY inappropriate song with the entire restaurant watching. What would his parents think about Liz if he made her do this? he asked himself. "You're right," he finally admitted.

"Hold on," Alex said. "They agreed to the bet. Now they have to live with their decision."

"Do you want to explain that to my father when he asks why his daughter was dancing and singing 'I Touch Myself' on top of a table at his favorite restaurant?" Max asked with raised eyebrows.

Alex swallowed hard as an image of a pissed off Phillip Evans crossed his mind. "Not especially," he answered.

"I didn't think so," Max said. He knew that Alex was aware of how his dad got when he was upset.

When Phillip Evans gets upset, he doesn't smash things and he doesn't yell. He chooses to deal with his anger through various looks and mental attacks rather than physical ones. But the most unnerving part is that he always stays completely calm and collected on the outside. His dad had never actually been upset with Alex before, but there was a first time for everything.

"Well, let's look at this from a different point of view," Max said. "Instead of trying to decide which bet we want to see the girls do, lets decide which bet WE want to do. One would require us to walk around the mall ALL DAY wearing a sign that says, 'My Woman Owns Me', or the other would require us to let the girls dress us for a week."

"I don't know how Liz is at the mall, but I dread spending the entire day there with Isabel," Alex said.

"I don't know about you, but I really don't want to walk around with a sign hanging from my neck that says I'm somebody's bitch," Max added.

"But do you really want to let the girls dress you up for an entire week?" Michael asked.

"Wait a second," Alex said. "Since we won't be making them dance and sing at Chez Pierre, that would allow us to think of another bet for them to carry out....right?"

Michael thought for a minute before he finally nodded his head in approval. "I suppose it would. Unless, of course, the girls really want to dance and sing at Chez Pierre."

Max had to think a little harder before he made his decision now that there was another option. "There has to be one rule before I accept the bet," Max said. "Isabel gets to dress Alex, and Liz gets to dress me. I am NOT letting Isabel pick out what I wear."

"HEY!" Alex complained. "Are you just going to leave me to the lion? Some friend you are!"

"Sorry," Max said with a smile. "We both know what Isabel would do, and I'm not letting her near me."

"That sounds fair," Michael said. "What about them? What do they have to do now?"

"I think we need a group decision," Max said with a tiny smile. "I'll go get Kyle to help us out here. I don't want to leave him alone with the girls for too long...they might turn him toward the dark side. There's nothing worse than having a guy in the group always agreeing with the girls."

Max made his way into the living room, where he found Liz pacing back and forth while she bit at her lower lip. He watched her for a few seconds in amusement before she finally realized that he was standing there. He walked up to her, reached out with his hand and gently pulled down on her chin, pulling her lower lip out of her mouth. "Don't do that," he whispered. "If you wanted your lower lip chewed on, you should have told me," he said before he leaned in and sucked her bottom lip into his mouth, nipping at it gently with his teeth.

Liz closed her eyes at the overwhelming sensation as Max nibbled on her lip. He was so gentle with his little love bites that it sent chills through Liz's body. Max pulled back slowly, dragging her lip out with him as he retreated. He finally released her mouth and opened his eyes to find Liz completely dazed. Her eyes were still closed and her eyebrows were raised slightly in sheer bliss.

Max leaned in so his mouth was right next to her ear. "I'll be right back," he whispered, causing Liz to shiver when his breath hit her ear. Max then pulled back and looked at Kyle. "Kyle, we need you in the kitchen."

"What? Why?" Kyle asked.

"We need help with something," Max responded, not wanting to give anything away to the girls just yet.

Liz finally snapped out of her daze and looked up at Max in question. "Help with what?" she asked.

"You'll find out soon enough," Max said with a smile. He reached out and ran his index finger down her nose before he walked off, followed by Kyle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another fifteen minutes had passed before the guys reemerged from the kitchen. They were all silent as they walked into the living room and sat next to their dates.

"Okay," Isabel said, already agitated. "What's going on? Why did you guys have to huddle up in the kitchen for fifteen minutes?"

The guys decided that Max would be the one to tell the girls about their decision, because everything that was discussed in the kitchen had been his idea.

"We have made a decision," Max said after clearing his throat. "Alex and I have decided that we are going to carry out the terms and conditions of the second bet." He waited a few seconds because he wanted to see the horror register on Liz's face as she thought about dancing and singing in the middle of a crowded restaurant. Before he continued, Max let out a chuckle as he saw the look of despair and potential embarrassment flood Liz's eyes.

"But....After discussing it with our counselors," Max said, gesturing toward Michael and Kyle, "We have decided to show mercy and not force you to dance and sing at my parents favorite restaurant."

Liz didn't allow Max to continue before she threw herself on his lap and started to plant kisses all over his face. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," she kept repeating as she continued to kiss any part of his face that she could.

Max smiled and looked at the rest of his friends in amusement as Liz continued to show her gratitude.

"Why don't you do that to me?" Alex asked Isabel.

"Oh, Alex!" Isabel exclaimed in a dramatic voice as she pretended to faint in his arms. "You're my hero!"

Alex just smirked and rolled his eyes as Isabel made fun of him.

"But..." Max continued once Liz became content with just hugging him. "We have come up with a replacement scenario for you."

Liz didn't like the way he said that, so she pulled back and looked into his eyes. 'I'm in trouble,' she told herself once she saw the mischief dancing around in Max's eyes. She tried to swallow, but her mouth had suddenly become dry.

"You still have to walk around school for an entire week wearing the signs, but we came up with something a little different to replacement the restaurant dance." Max made eye contact with Isabel, then Liz, and finally Maria.

"Why are you looking at me?" Maria asked nervously.

"You helped the girls come up with the questions, right?" Michael asked.

"Yeah, so?" Maria answered.

"So you allowed them to break the rules," Michael said with a smile. "You made the rule yourself, then you knowingly broke it. You're just as guilty as they are, if not more so."

"But I didn't agree to any of the bets," Maria said with a triumphant smile.

"We thought you might say that, so we'll leave you with two choices," Michael said. "You can either willingly take the scenario that Max is about to tell everyone, or you can refuse it and force us to take drastic measures."

"Drastic measures?" Maria asked with a laugh. "Like what? You'll tell my mommy?"

"We know where you live, we know what car you drive, we know what classes you take, we know which locker is yours, we know where you work...I could go on forever," Michael said.

"What could you possibly do?" Maria asked again, still not believing the threat.

"How's our supply of toilet paper, Max?" Michael asked.

"You wouldn't," Maria gasped, glaring at Michael.

Michael just smiled. "Wouldn't I?"

"Do you have any idea how long it takes to clean up my yard after it's been toilet-papered?" Maria asked as she folded her arms across her chest.

"Who says that toilet paper is the only thing we'll use?" Michael asked. "Besides, your house should be the least of your worries. If I were you, I'd be more concerned with your car and your locker."

"What about my car and locker?" Maria asked, starting to panic for the first time.

"If you refuse the bet, you'll find out," Michael whispered.

Maria thought for a minute before a smile spread across her face. "I think you're bluffing."

"Alright," Michael said, shrugging his shoulders. "We have Maria's answer, so go ahead and tell them the conditions, Max," Michael said.

Maria didn't like how Michael had accepted her answer so quickly. It seemed like he was hoping she would refuse. Maybe he wasn't bluffing after all, she thought. She then shook her head and told herself that nothing would happen to her.

Michael could tell that Maria was worried about what he might do, and for good reason. After he was done with her, she'd either be EXTRELEMLY pissed, or she would be begging for him to stop.

"These are the new terms and conditions," Max began. "First, you have to sing and dance in the middle of the cafeteria at lunch time, to a song of your choice."

"No!" Liz whined. "I thought you said we wouldn't have to!"

"No...I said you wouldn't have to do it at Chez Pierre," Max clarified. "But it's your choice. You can either sing 'I Touch Myself' in the middle of a crowed restaurant, or you can pick a song and sing it at school."

"Fine," Liz said through gritted teeth as she glared at Max. She made no attempt to remove herself from his lap, though.

Max then looked at Isabel and raised his eyebrows in question.

Isabel shook her head, but agreed to the bet vocally. "Fine."

"Good," Max said. "The other thing you two have to do is stand up in the middle of the school assembly this Friday...while everyone's quiet...and yell out....."

To Be Continued...................

Part 16

The rest of the evening went by rather quickly. The girls mostly talked while the guys all got into a game of poker. Since they didn't have a lot of money on them, they all decided to bet using m&m's.

"How ya doin', babe?" Liz asked as she wrapped her arms around Max's neck from behind, resting her chin on his shoulder.

"Pretty good," Max replied as he studied his cards. "I've almost got Alex and Kyle out of the game."

Liz then started to plant little kisses around his ear and along his neck, which proved to be quite a distraction. Max let out a growl as he glared at Liz out of the corner of his eye.

"What?" Liz asked with an innocent smile.

"You know what," Max replied with a teasing glare.

Liz leaned in closer to his ear so she could whisper something to him without anyone else hearing. "You mean this?" she asked as her tongue snaked out and ran along his earlobe.

Max jumped slightly and shook the table, which got everyone's attention.

"Are you trying to make me lose?" Max asked as he pulled Liz around and sat her on his lap.

Liz let out a little squeal as she landed on his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. She then kissed him softly on the lips before turning to look at his cards. "Are three Kings and two Aces good?" she asked as she pointed to his cards.

"I'm out," Alex said, dropping his cards face down on the table.

"I fold," Kyle said, mimicking Alex's move with his cards.

"I think you're bluffing," Michael said before he raised the bet.

Max glared at Liz again, knowing that she knew exactly what she was doing. After the betting between Max and Michael was settled, Michael showed his cards.

"Two pair...Queens and eights," he said with a smile.

Max smiled at him before he lowered his cards, showing three Kings and two Aces. "You should have listened to Liz," he said.

Michael looked at Max's cards in shock. He thought for sure Liz was bluffing.

"Are you almost done?" Liz wined.

Max smiled before he turned to his friends. "Do you guys want me to wipe you out completely, or do you want to keep the candy you got?"

"I'm done," Alex said as he quickly scooped up the remainder of his m&m's and left the table.

"I guess that's it then," Michael said as he too stood up. "I'll get you one of these days, Maxwell."

"You've been saying that since the ninth grade," Max said with a smile.

"And I'm gonna keep saying it until I beat you," Michael replied before he walked off to find Maria.

Some time during Max and Michael's conversation, Kyle had slipped away from the table, leaving Max and Liz alone in the dinning room.

"What do you say, handsome?" Liz asked as she wrapped her arms around Max's neck. "You ready for bed?"

Max wasn't expecting to hear those words come out of Liz's mouth. He looked at her in surprise before a smile erupted from his lips. His eyes instinctively lowered to Liz's lips as he thought about spending the entire night alone with her.

When Liz saw Max's eyes lower to her mouth, she couldn't help but stick her tongue out and wet her lips in anticipation. After hearing Max groan, Liz closed the distance between them and closed her mouth over his. It was a kiss pull of passion and desire, as well as longing.

After they broke apart, desperate for oxygen, Max leaned his forehead against Liz's. "I'm ready whenever you are," he gasped out.

Liz climbed off his lap and grabbed his hand before she led them through the living room. "We're going to bed," she said to her friends as she passed them on her way to the stairs.

"Uh huh," Maria said with a smile. "Yeah right."

Max didn't say anything, mostly because he was still having trouble finding his voice. He had never been so nervous in his entire life, and it was showing. He followed Liz up to his bedroom, then shut the door once they were both inside.

"Those two better not keep me awake!" Alex warned.

"ALEX!!" Isabel exclaimed. "That's my brother! EEEEEWWWWW, GROSS!! Thanks for the mental image."

Alex just shrugged before he turned to Michael. "Where are you guys going to sleep?"

Michael glanced at Maria, as if asking her what she wanted to do. All Maria wanted was for Michael to kiss her already, but it looked like she would have to wait a while longer. She knew that the two of them had said they were going to the prom as friends, but she knew there was more between them than just friendship. "We can do whatever you want, Michael," she said casually.

Michael raised an eyebrow at her as a crooked smiled came to his face. "Anything?"

Maria rolled her eyes before she slapped him on the arm. "Get your mind out of the gutter, space boy!"

Michael shrugged before he turned to Alex. "I guess we can stay in the guest rooms, but what about Kyle and Tess?"

"We can sleep out here," Tess said. "There's a hide-a-bed in the couch that one of us can sleep on while the other sleeps on the sofa."

"There you have it," Michael said.

"Well...we're off to bed then," Alex said as he grabbed Isabel's hand.

"We are?" Isabel asked in surprise.

"Unless you want to stay down here and watch everyone else sleep," Alex said.

"What time is it?" Isabel asked.

Michael looked at his watch, then read out the time. "Two thirty."

"In the morning?" Isabel asked in shock. It still felt like ten o'clock at night to her.

Michael walked over and looked out the window before he answered Isabel's question. "Well....I can't see the sun anywhere, so my guess would be....yes, two thirty in the morning. But I have been wrong before."

Isabel threw Michael a sarcastic look before Alex dragged her off to her room.

"What did you want to do?" Michael asked Maria again.

"About what?" Maria asked back.

"About sleeping arrangements. They have two spare rooms made up, so I'm giving you you're pick of rooms," Michael clarified.

"Why don't you show me where they are, then I'll decide," Maria said with a smile.

Michael nodded before he grabbed Maria's hand and led her down the hallway. "We have this one," he said as he opened the door and turned on the light. "Or..." he said, backing out and walking across the hallway. "We have this one."

"They both look the same," Maria observed. "Which one do you want?"

Michael turned to face Maria, noticing for the first time just how close she was standing to him. He looked down at her, completely lost by the way she looked.

Maria looked up at him, and when she saw the look he was giving her, her whole body started to heat up. She glanced down at his lips, absentmindedly licking her own as she imagined what he would taste like.

Michael was doing at admirable job in keeping his body under control, until he saw Maria lick her lips. He wasn't sure what happened, but something inside of him snapped. He quickly pulled Maria into his body, then fused his mouth to hers.

Maria was caught off guard to say the least, but she quickly recovered and threw her arms around his neck, running her hands through his hair. She reached back and kicked the bedroom door shut, never breaking contact with Michael. "I'll take this room," she said between kisses. "And so will you."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So..." Kyle said as he rubbed his hands together nervously.

"So..." Tess repeated with a smile as she looked at him.

"Well...I guess I'll take the sofa," Kyle said as he stood up and grabbed a pillow and blanket, throwing them on the couch that he would be sleeping on. He then helped Tess pull out the hide-a-bed, which ran right next to the other sofa. After getting the bed ready, Tess excused herself so she could put on her pajamas.

Kyle took that opportunity to strip from his tuxedo, leaving on his boxers and undershirt before he sat down and waited for Tess to get back. A few minutes later, she walked in wearing dark blue silk pajamas, and Kyle found himself in a trance as he watched her move.

"What?" Tess asked as she abruptly stopped after noticing how Kyle was staring at her.

"Huh?" Kyle asked as his trance wore off. He shook his head slightly before he stood up and looked away. "Nothing, nothing. You ready for bed?" he asked nervously.

Tess smiled as she walked over and climbed into bed, then waited for Kyle to turn out the light. She watched him as he laid down on the sofa, his head lined up with hers.

They spent the next half an hour talking, just getting to know each other. Sometime during that conversation, Tess had scooted over in the bed so she was within touching distance of Kyle. Neither of them remembered who made the move, but when they finally fell asleep, they did so holding hands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Max and Liz stood just inside the bedroom door, nervously looking at each other. They never turned on the light because the moonlight that was shinning through the window lit up the entire room.

"Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight?" Max asked reverently.

Liz smiled. "About a hundred times, but I always love to hear it."

"Are you scared?" Max asked quietly.

"A little," Liz replied. "I think I'm more nervous than anything else. What about you?"

"Scared sh*tless," Max replied with a nervous smile.

Liz slowly walked up to him, and noticed for the first time that his entire body was shaking. She reached out and grabbed one of his hands, letting out a gasp when she felt it shaking. She looked down at it, and it looked as if his hand were resting on a very old washing machine going through the spin cycle. The vibrations were so strong, it shook her entire arm. "You know, we don't have to do anything you don't feel comfortable with."

Max smiled at her before he let out a chuckle. "I think that's supposed to be my line."

Liz smiled as she nervously looked at the ground.

Max reached out and placed a finger under her chin, gently lifting her head up so she would look at him. "Just because I'm scared, that doesn't mean I'm having doubts. Maybe we should just go with the flow. You know...just relax. If it doesn't happen tonight, I'm not going to be upset or disappointed. To be honest, as long as I can hold you in my arms all night, I'll be the happiest man on earth."

Liz smiled as tears began to well up in her eyes. She reached out and cupped his cheek in her hand, then started to rub his cheekbone with her thumb. "I know," she whispered. "That's why I love you so much."

Max loved hearing those words come from Liz's mouth. He would never get tired of hearing them. "I love you, too," he whispered before be leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on her lips.

Of course the kiss almost immediately deepened, and before long, they were both lost in the passion that they felt for each other. Max broke the kiss just long enough to pick Liz up and cradle her against his chest. He slowly made his way to the bed, gently placing Liz down once he reached it. He followed her down, careful not to squash her under his weight.

"Max..." Liz moaned between kisses, trying to get his attention.

"Hmm?" Max replied as he started to trail kisses around Liz's neck and ear.

Liz completely forgot what she was going to say as soon as Max started to suck on her earlobe. "Max..." she moaned again, this time out of sheer bliss. "Don't stop."

Max started to kiss every inch of skin that was exposed, but it didn't take long before that wasn't enough. Liz must have felt the same way because she hurriedly stood up from the bed, her back facing Max, so she could take off her dress. "Max?" she asked with a smile, biting her lower lip.

Max was staring at her back, completely lost in his own little dream world. "Huh?" he asked after noticing that Liz wanted something.

"Could you help me take my dress off?" Liz asked as she moved her hair to the side, then glanced over her shoulder at him.

Max didn't need to be asked twice. He jumped off the bed and pressed his body against her back, raising a shaky hand up to the zipper of her dress. He slowly unzipped it, leaving a trail of kisses down her back as he went.

Liz closed her eyes when she felt Max kiss the skin between her shoulder blades. He was driving her crazy, and she wasn't sure how much more of this she could take.

Once the dress was unzipped, Liz pushed the straps off her shoulders, then let the dress fall to the ground...leaving her wearing just her bra, panties, stockings and high heels.

Max sucked in his breath when Liz turned around and faced him, wearing just her underwear. He had trouble swallowing the lump in his throat, and felt a shiver run down his spine when Liz reached out and started to unbutton his shirt. He looked down for a second to watch her hands work, then raised his eyes to meet hers. She kept her gaze on him, watching all the emotions that he was feeling clearly reflecting through his eyes.

Once Max's shirt was unbuttoned, Liz pushed it off his shoulders, letting it fall to the floor next to her dress. Her eyes then roamed over his bare chest and she couldn't resist the urge to run her hand over his skin. Max closed his eyes as Liz began to explore his upper body with her hands, then jumped slightly when he felt her open mouth leave kisses all over. Before he knew what had happened, she had somehow managed to take his pants and socks off, leaving him standing in just his boxers.

Max picked Liz up again and laid her down on the bed before he knelt next to her legs and began to take off her shoes. The butterflies in Liz's stomach were hatching at record pace as Max reached out and started to take off her stockings. He dragged his hand along her leg, loosing himself in the silky feeling of her skin. After taking one stocking off, he repeated the process with the other. Once he was done there, he made his way back up the bed, leaving Liz in her panties and bra.

Max laid down next to her, staring into her eyes as he reached out and started to run his hand through her hair. "I love you...so much," he whispered.

Liz smiled at him. "And I love you." She then leaned over and kissed him, adding fuel to the already out of control flame of desire that was burning inside both of them.

Max pulled back and looked into her eyes again before letting out a shaky breath. "Are you sure about this?"

Liz smiled as she raised an eyebrow at him. "I thought we agreed to go with the flow."

Max smiled back before he leaned in for another kiss. His hand tentatively made its way down to Liz's bra, where he paused, unsure whether or not to continue. Liz sensed his hesitation, so she reached behind her and unfastened her bra, discarding it on the floor before she grabbed his hand and guided it over her chest.

Max sucked in his breath again as his hand came into contact with Liz's breast, causing a feeling inside of him that he had never felt before. As he slowly moved his hand around, he reveled at how soft she felt. He could hear her moaning his name against his lips as he massaged her. He broke the kiss and made his way down to her newly exposed chest, desperately needing to know what she tasted like. As his tongue ran over her nipple, she jumped slightly, then ran her hands through his hair, pulling him closer, urging him to continue his exploration with his mouth.

Max sucked one nipple into his mouth just as his head started to spin. He could hear Liz's moans getting louder as she squirmed under his touch. It wasn't long before Max made his way back up to her mouth, where she greedily attacked his lips as soon as she could. Once they both got under the covers, she reached for his boxers and pushed then down his legs, leaving them at the end of the bed. She cautiously ran her hand around his stomach, not daring to go too low on her own.

Now it was Max's turn to take Liz's hand and lead her down to his sensitive flesh. He gasped and moaned when Liz's hand surrounded him, barely noticing the gasp that escaped Liz's lips at the same time. He then looped his fingers around the waistband of her panties and pushed them down to the end of the bed. Max was a bit more comfortable with exploring Liz now, so he ran a hand over her inner thigh, slowly making his way up.

When his hand came into contact with her hot center, they both let out a gasp and closed their eyes at the same time. After a few minutes of torturous exploration, Liz pulled Max on top of her, having him rest between her legs. They were so close to consummating their relationship, Max nearly forgot about protection.

"Wait," he said as he reached over and grabbed a condom from his nightstand drawer.

Liz grabbed his hand before he could open the package, causing him to look at her in confusion. "I'm on the pill," she said calmly. "This is our first time, and I want to be able to feel you...all of you."

Max smiled as he dropped the condom package on the floor. "Sounds like you've been preparing for this night," he teased.

Liz smiled and playfully hit him on the arm. "I have irregular cycles. I've been on the pill for a while."

Max nodded, still smiling.

"Are you just going to lay there all night, or what?" Liz asked as she raised her eyebrows at him.

Max's face took on a look of surprise before he gently rested his body over hers, careful not to put his full weight on her. He leaned down and kissed her, then felt her reach between their bodies to bring his manhood up to her hot center. He pulled his head back and looked into her eyes before he started to enter her. Their eyes held steadily on each other as they both moaned from the sensations that were overwhelming them. When he reached her barrier, he paused, unsure of what to do next.

"Just push," Liz whispered. She then saw concern float through his eyes, which caused her to smile.

"Won't it hurt?" Max asked, his eyebrows furled together in concern.

Liz decided to take the initiative, so she quickly grabbed Max around the waist and pulled him down as she thrust her hips upward, breaking through her barrier. This move caught Max completely off guard, and if Liz hadn't kept a hold of his hips, he would have pulled out of her immediately.

"What did you do that for?" Max asked, on the verge of a breakdown as he watched Liz's eyes well up with tears. He ran his hands over her face as he watched her pain filled expression start to fade away.

"To answer your first question," Liz began once the pain had faded somewhat. "Yes...it does hurt. And to answer your second question, I did that because I knew you would never do it yourself if you knew it would hurt me." When she saw that Max was still panicking, she reached out and ran her hand along his jaw line. "I'm fine now. In fact, if you would start moving again, I'm sure I would be great."

Max smiled weakly at her, slowly pushing his way back in until he was fully engulfed.

"I can't believe you're really inside of me," Liz said in awe, a beautiful smile lighting up her face.

"I know what you mean," Max said as he smiled back.

They both laid still, staring into each other's eyes as Liz got used to him being inside of her. When Max felt her start to move under him, he knew that she had adjusted to him. They started at a slow pace, but quickly picked it up. It didn't take long before they both felt themselves climaxing.

Liz clung to Max and moaned out his name as her release came, and if Max hadn't closed his mouth over hers, the entire neighborhood would have heard her scream when the waves of pleasure crashed over her.

Max let himself go at the same time as Liz, and he covered her mouth with his in order to keep himself from screaming out. He moaned her name into her mouth as he felt a kind of pleasure rip through his body that he had never felt before.

When the waves of passion finally faded, Max collapsed on top of Liz, then rolled off to the side so he wouldn't squash her. He pulled out of her as he rolled to the side, causing Liz to let out a wine due to the lack of contact. It took them both several minutes to recuperate, but when they did, they found themselves staring into each other eyes as they laid next to each other.

"Wow," Max whispered as he sighed.

"Yeah," Liz whispered back as she took a deep breath.

Max turned so he was lying on his back, then reached over and pulled Liz into him, wrapping his arms around her body.

Liz rested her head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat as she rested an arm across his stomach, and a leg across his thighs.

From the combination of their recent activity, and given the fact that it was nearly three in the morning, sleep came rather quickly. They both drifted off with the slightest hint of a smile on their lips.

To Be Continued.....................

Part 17

Max had been awake for a little over an hour, just staring at Liz while she slept. He reminisced about the night before, but more importantly, about what they DID the night before. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time, but now that it was over, all the terror seemed to disappear. Now all he wanted to do was make love to her over and over and over again.

Max was pulled from his daydream when he felt Liz start to stir against him. She still had her head resting against his chest, at a perfect angle for Max to look at her angelic face. He started to rub his hand up and down her back, causing her to smile even though her eyes were still closed.

“Good morning, angel,” Max whispered before he kissed her forehead.

Liz let out a dreamy sigh as she leaned into his kiss, her eyes still closed. “Morning,” she replied as she crawled up and snuggled her nose into the crook of Max’s neck.

“I see someone’s still tired from our activities last night,” Max joked as he wrapped both arms around her. He could feel her smile against his neck before she spoke.

“I just want to lay here all day,” Liz said.

“What about me?” Max asked with a smile. “Did you want to lay here all day by yourself?”

“Well… I guess you can stay,” Liz said as she let out a dramatic sigh.

“That’s very generous of you,” Max said sarcastically. “But I’m not sure I want to stay now.” He then started to climb out of bed, pretending like he was going to leave her alone.

“Noooooooooo,” Liz whined before she buried her face in his pillow while she reached out for him.

Max just smiled as he climbed back into bed and laid on top of her, careful not to squish her with his body weight. He then leaned down and placed a kiss right in front of her ear. “Are you hungry, beautiful?” he whispered, causing her to shiver.

“For you,” Liz responded before she turned over and opened her eyes for the first time all morning. She then reached up and wrapped her arms around Max’s neck, pulling him down into a passionate kiss.

Since they were still naked, the kiss soon turned into something much more. Max reached down and slid his hand between Liz’s legs, but immediately pulled it back when he felt her wince in pain.

“I am SO sorry,” Max said. “I should have known that you were going to be sore this morning. I didn’t mean to hurt…”

He was cut off when Liz placed her index finger over his lips. “Yes, I am a little sore, but you don’t need to be sorry. I’m not. Besides, it will remind me of last night,” she said with a smile.

“But how long will you be in pain?” Max asked, concern written all over his face.

“Well, the last time I lost my virginity, the pain lasted for about a week,” Liz joked, still smiling. After seeing that Max wasn’t the least bit amused by her attempt at humor, she moved her hand up and cupped his cheek. “I’m not sure how long it will last.”

“Is there anything I can do?” Max asked.

“Not unless you have the power to heal me,” Liz said as she rubbed Max’s cheek with her thumb.

After cuddling in silence for a few more minutes, Max decided that he was going to make Liz breakfast.

“What do you want to eat?” Max asked as he ran his hand up and down Liz’s arm.

“Are you going to cook for me?” Liz asked with a smile as she stared into his eyes.

“Of course,” Max answered before he threw his legs over the edge of the bed and pulled a still naked Liz onto his lap.

“Ohhhhh, I could get used to this,” Liz said as she wrapped her arms around Max’s neck and kissed him softly on the lips.

“So could I,” Max replied against her lips.

______________________________

Maria woke up and nearly screamed when she saw Michael lying next to her in the bed. She didn’t remember falling asleep with him the night before, so she quickly looked under the covers just to make sure her clothes were still on. She then searched her mind and let out a sigh when she remembered exactly what had happened. Her and Michael had had a heated make-out session, but they both decided that having sex was not the best way to start out their relationship.

Michael groggily opened his eyes when he felt Maria lifting up the covers, but he didn’t move his body an inch. “What’s wrong?” he asked as he closed his eyes again, hoping that it wasn’t something he would have to get out of bed for.

“What? Oh…nothing,” Maria said before she laid back down. “I was just making sure that our clothes didn’t somehow manage to get removed during the night.”

“They didn’t?” Michael asked before he lifted the covers himself only to see that they were both still dressed in their night-ware. “Huh. I guess it was just a dream then,” he said as he closed his eyes and flopped back down onto his pillow.

“A DREAM?!?” Maria asked in shock. “You had a dream of us having sex last night?”

“Truthfully,” Michael said as he strategically positioned himself on the bed. He just knew that what he was about to say would cause Maria to jump off the bed in a heartbeat. He also knew that she would initially be pissed at him, but he just couldn’t pass up this opportunity. “I was dreaming about sex, but I’m not sure it was you that I was dreaming about.”

He watched as Maria’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped to the floor. The countdown had started inside his head, and once it reached zero, he reached over and grabbed her just before she jumped off the bed.

“Let go of me you prick!” Maria said as she started to pound on his chest with her fists.

Michael just laughed as he pinned Maria to the bed and held her arms above her head so she couldn’t hit him anymore. That didn’t stop her from squirming, though.

“Maria,” Michael said after his laughter had died down. “I was kidding. Would it make you feel better if I told you that I was dreaming about you and me getin’ it on on top of the table in the art room at school?”

Maria immediately stopped squirming, and looked up at him in shock. “The art room table?” she asked with a giggle.

“What can I say,” Michael said with a shrug. “I like drawing, and I like you… put them together, and that’s what I was dreaming about.”

“I didn’t know you could be so kinky,” Maria said with a mischievous smile. “Come here,” she whispered.

Michael kept her arms pinned above her head as he leaned down and closed his lips over hers. The kiss was just starting to get intense when Michael’s eyes shot open and he let out a painful cry.

Maria wasn’t about to let him get away without some sort of revenge. As soon as she felt Michael start to relax, she sprang into action. She sucked his bottom lip into her mouth and ran her tongue along it before she clamped down on it with her teeth and didn’t let go. She didn’t bite hard enough to cause bleeding, just hard enough to get his attention.

“Don’t you EVER play with me like that again,” she said, still holding his bottom lip between her teeth. “Do you understand me?”

Michael nodded frantically, now wishing that he had controlled his earlier impulse to have some fun with Maria.

“Good,” Maria said before she released his lip.

Michael ran his tongue along his bottom lip as he jumped off the bed. “God… you’re mean in the morning!”

Maria just smiled as she climbed off the bed, then reached for Michael. He backed away, not wanting her to inflict any more pain than she already had.

“Oh, come on,” Maria cooed as she reached for him again. This time Michael didn’t back away, but he looked as if he were going to flinch if she made any sudden movements. “I’m sorry,” she said before she reached up and ran her finger along his bottom lip. “Do you want me to kiss it and make it feel better?”

“If you’re going to kiss it like you just did, no thanks,” Michael said as he started to back away again. The only problem was that he was now standing up against a wall.

Maria slowly raised her head until she was just a breath away from his lips. “I promise I’ll be gentle,” she whispered, then kissed him senseless before he could respond.

When they finally pulled apart for air, Michael looked at Maria’s lips as a smile spread across his face. “That’s more like it,” he said before he pulled her in for another kiss.

_____________________________________

Spending the night together was nothing new for Alex and Isabel. They had been a couple for well over two years, so they had been in this position several times before.

Isabel was the first to wake up, but when she stretched her body, she accidentally hit Alex on the head with her elbow.

“Yeow!!” Alex cried as he reached up and rubbed his head.

“Oh! Sorry,” Isabel said soothingly as she reached over and placed her hand over his. “Are you okay?”

“You know,” Alex said as he opened his eyes and sat up. “You should have told me that you wanted to play ‘Smackdown’. That way, we could have wrestled last night.”

Isabel smiled as she swatted his arm. “I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Alex said as he swung his legs over the edge of the bed.

Isabel reached over and pulled him back on top of the bed before he had the chance to stand up. “Can I make it up to you?” she asked innocently.

“Well… that depends on what you have in mind,” Alex said seriously.

Instead of answering with words, Isabel climbed on top of him and started nibbling on his lips. When she finally pulled back, she noticed that Alex was smiling from ear to ear.

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Alex exclaimed before he pulled Isabel back down for another kiss.

______________________________________

Max and Liz were the first ones to emerge from their bedroom, and the way they were dressed reflected just how little they cared about what everyone would say. Max was wearing a pair of nylon running pants, with no shirt.

Liz on the other hand, was wearing one of Max’s oversized shirts, so it fell down about mid-thigh.

Max always walked around the house without a shirt on, and he wasn’t about to change his habits just because a few of his friends had stayed the night.

They made their way down the stairs and as they walked past the living room, they both stopped and stared in disbelief at the sight in front of them. Apparently some time during the night, Kyle had climbed onto the bed with Tess. They were both sleeping on their sides, with Kyle draping one arm around Tess’s midsection.

Liz looked up at Max in question, but Max was just as confused as she was. He just shrugged his shoulders before he continued to lead the way into the kitchen.

“I didn’t know they liked each other,” Liz said as she opened the refrigerator to grab some orange juice.

“Tess never mentioned it to me,” Max said as he turned on one of the burners on the stove and started to scramble some eggs. “You like your eggs scrambled, right?”

Liz smiled as she walked up and wrapped her arms around his waist from behind. “I love how you always pay attention to my preferences,” she said before she planted a kiss on his shoulder. “Yes… I like my eggs scrambled,” she answered him.

“Hey… look who’s up,” Michael said as he walked into the kitchen, giving Maria a piggyback ride. Like Max, Michael was not wearing a shirt, only a pair of sweatpants.

Maria was still wearing her pajamas, and when she saw Liz, she looked her up and down, taking note of her lack of clothing. “Later,” was all she had to say in order to convey that the two of them were going to have a LONG talk about what had happened the night before.

“You guys hungry?” Max asked.

“Yeah,” Michael and Maria said in unison.

“You need any help?” Michael asked as Maria climbed off his back and walked over to Liz.

“You could fry some bacon and start with the hash browns,” Max said as he pointed to the fridge with the spatula in his hand.

Liz and Maria stood back and watched as Max and Michael cooked breakfast. They were not only surprised that they could cook, but amused that they actually WANTED to cook.

Max looked over his shoulder at the girls, and raised his eyebrows in question. “What?”

Michael looked over his shoulder as well and waited for the girls to answer.

“You two have got to be the only guys in the entire school that can cook,” Liz said.

“Not only that,” Maria added. “But you two have got to be the only guys that actually LIKE to cook.”

Just then Alex and Isabel walked into the kitchen.

“Ahhhh, breakfast,” Alex said as he walked over to Max and Michael. “Did you want pancakes, Iz?”

“Yeah,” Isabel replied as she poured herself a glass of juice, then walked over to Liz and Maria. “Blueberry,” she quickly amended.

“Coming right up,” Alex said before he reached into a cupboard and pulled out the pancake grill.

Liz and Maria were staring at Isabel in shock.

“What?” Isabel asked as she stood next to them.

“All three of them cook?” Maria said, motioning toward the boys.

“Yeah,” Isabel said, shrugging her shoulders. “They do it all the time.”

“How come you’ve never cooked for me before, Maxwell Evans?” Liz asked, placing her hands on her hips.

“Busted,” Alex whispered under his breath.

“You never asked me to,” Max said in defense as he turned around to face her.

“I never knew you could!” Liz exclaimed.

“What’s all the commotion about?” Tess asked in a groggy voice as her and Kyle walked in. Tess knew all about the boys’ cooking, so she didn’t even think twice about it. She just walked over and sat on a barstool.

Kyle on the other hand, stopped dead in his tracks as soon as he entered the kitchen. He looked at the girls, standing on one side of the kitchen just talking…then at the guys, standing in front of the stove…COOKING!!! Before he walked in, he fully expected to see a scene similar to this…but he figured that it would be the guys doing the talking, and the girls doing the cooking.

“Kyle’s in shock,” Maria whispered to Liz and Isabel.

“You okay there, Kyle?” Isabel asked, trying to hide her smile, but failing miserably at it.

Kyle looked at Isabel, then shook his head in an attempt to clear it. “What… I….are you guys actually… cooking?” he asked as he walked up to the stove.

“No…we’re just standing in front of the stove trying to warm our hands up,” Michael said sarcastically. “Don’t tell me you’ve never cooked before.”

“Hey, the only cooking I’ve done is the microwave dinner kind,” Kyle said in response. “Hell, my dad rarely even cooks.”

“What about your mom?” Tess asked.

“Well…my mom left when I was four years old,” Kyle said.

“Oh,” Tess replied. “I’m sorry, Kyle. I didn’t know.”

“Don’t be,” Kyle said with a wave of his hand. “It was a long time ago. I don’t really remember it.”

“Well, go ahead and grab some O.J.,” Max said. “Breakfast should be done in a few minutes.” He then glanced at Liz, who still had her hands on her hips, glaring at him playfully. “Could you watch the eggs?” he asked Alex before he handed over the spatula. He then walked over and grabbed Liz’s hand, leading her out of the kitchen.

Once they were in the living room, Max wrapped his arms around Liz’s waist. She just folded her arms across her chest as she continued to playfully glare at him.

“Why does it bug you that I never told you I could cook?” Max asked with a smile.

“Because if I would have known, I would have made you cook for me more often,” Liz said, trying to keep a straight face and not give into Max’s charm.

“What if I promised to make it up to you?” Max asked as he leaned in and started to suck on her earlobe.

“That would…be a good start,” Liz said breathlessly as she closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him in closer.

“What else would it take?” Max whispered in her ear before he started to kiss a trail from her ear to her mouth.

“Oh….I don’t know,” Liz said with a smile. “But I like the way your mind works, so I’m sure you can think of something.”

Max then picked Liz up and cradled her against his chest, causing her to let out a little shriek in the process. He quickly made his way to the stairs before realization hit him. “You’re still sore, aren’t you?”

Liz grimaced slightly at his question. “Yeah…a little.”

“Then I guess you’ll have to wait,” Max said before he changed directions and headed back to the kitchen. He put Liz back on her feet and wrapped his arm around her shoulders before he walked into the kitchen.

“That was quick,” Alex joked as he watched Max sit down on a barstool, then pull Liz down onto his lap.

“So,” Maria said as she walked up and wrapped her arms around Michael from behind. Since nobody knew that her and Michael were a couple yet, everyone stared at them and waited for an explanation. “Oh… didn’t we tell you? Michael and I are a couple now.”

Everyone knew that it was going to happen sooner or later, so nobody acted surprised.

“Anyway, as I was saying,” Maria continued. “What are we going to do today?”

“What time are mom and dad getting back?” Isabel asked Max.

“Not until late tonight,” Max answered.

“Then we could hang out here all day,” Alex said.

“Why don’t we go out for a little while,” Tess suggested.

“And do what?” Kyle asked.

“We could drive to Albuquerque,” Michael suggested. “It’s only a couple of hours away.”

“Sounds good to me,” Liz said as she snuggled closer to Max.

“Me too,” Maria said.

“Any objections?” Max asked before he looked around the room. Since nobody spoke up, it was settled. “Okay then, Albuquerque it is. We’ll leave as soon as everyone’s ready. But right now, let’s eat. I’m starved.”

posted on 24-Oct-2001 7:11:10 PM
Part 18

“Come on, come on, let’s go,” Alex called out as everyone rushed out the door. Since there would be eight of them going to Albuquerque, they decided to have Michael, Maria and Liz go in the Jeep with Max, while Kyle, Isabel and Alex went in the SUV with Tess.

“Maxwell,” Michael said as he leaned between the two front seats. “Maria and I can’t seem to agree about something, so I wanted your opinion about it.” Max looked at his friend through the rearview mirror, giving him the ‘what’s new’ look. “She says it’s impossible to dance to alternative and heavy metal music. I disagree. What about you?”

Max looked at him as if he were crazy. “Michael, the only dancing you can do to heavy metal is the kind that requires medical attention afterward. I’m not really into mash pits, myself. And I have to agree with Maria about the alternative thing too. I can’t fathom what kind of a dance you could coordinate into the music.”

“I think you can,” Liz said, agreeing with Michael. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in a mash pit, but I definitely think you can dance to alternative.”

“How?” Maria asked as she leaned forward in her seat.

“Just listen to the beat,” Liz said, shrugging her shoulders.

“Listen to the beat?” Max asked in disbelief. “Nearly every alternative song I’ve ever listened to has an irregular beat. How are you supposed to get a rhythm when the beat changes every other second?”

“I guess it just takes talent, right Liz?” Michael asked.

“Talent?” Maria asked with a laugh. “Is that what you call it? I hate to tell you this, but I’ve seen you dance, Michael. If that’s what you call talent, then I’m glad I don’t have any.”

“Maria, you wouldn’t know what talent was if it jumped up and bit you on the ass,” Michael shot back.

Max glanced over at Liz, who was smiling back at him as she listened to Michael and Maria argue. “This is all your fault, you know,” he said.

“My fault?” Liz asked in shock. “What did I do?”

“You agreed with Michael,” Max said with a smile. “And you did so knowing that you were wrong.”

“I was wrong?” Liz asked in disbelief. “For your information, I am NEVER wrong.”

“Well then, little Miss Priss…prove it,” Max challenged. “The next time we go to the club, I want you to see just how many people stand off to the side when that type of music comes on.”

“It’s not my fault if nobody else knows how to dance to it,” Liz said.

“But you’re going to show me?” Max asked with a smirk.

“YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT I AM!” Liz shot back. It was then that they realized that Michael and Maria had both stopped arguing with each other, and were now concentrating on their argument instead. “WHAT!” Liz yelled.

“Hey, calm down,” Michael said as he raised his hands in surrender. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard you and Max argue. I just want to make sure I don’t miss anything, because this sort of thing only happens once in a blue moon.”

Liz let out a laugh when she realized that while it was all in good fun, her and Max were going at it pretty good. The thing she really liked about it was that the argument was all good-natured. She wasn’t mad, and after seeing Max smile brightly, she knew that he wasn’t mad either. “Well, you know what they say. Make-up sex is the best.”

That statement immediately sent Max into a coughing fit, as he somehow managed to choke on the air he was breathing.

“You alright there, buddy?” Michael asked as he patted Max on the back.

Max raised his hand as he continued to cough, telling everyone to give him a minute. After he calmed down, he glanced over at Liz, who was looking at him in amusement.

“Let’s change the subject,” Michael said, not wanting to hear about Max and Liz’s sex life.

Michael and Maria went on to talk amongst themselves, while Max continued to recover from Liz’s last statement.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Liz asked as she reached over and grabbed his hand.

“You’re something else, you know that?” Max asked with a smile as he shook his head.

“Yeah, I know,” Liz responded with a smile of her own. “That’s why you love me so much.”

Max looked over at her, his face suddenly becoming very serious. “That’s just one of the MANY reasons why I love you so much.”

Liz’s smile widened as she raised Max’s hand up to her lips and kissed his knuckles.

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

None of them knew what to do once they got to Albuquerque, so Max pulled over as soon as he entered the city so they could decide.

“I don’t know about Liz, but I definitely need to go cloths shopping,” Isabel said. “I need to find just the right outfit for Alex to wear.”

Alex let out a groan as he threw his head back. “Great. Pink spandex and wonder bra, here I come!”

“Actually, those two things never even crossed my mind, but thanks for the suggestion,” Isabel said with a smile.

Alex let out another groan. “I’m just going to shut up now before I reveal my worst fashion nightmare.”

“I, for one, can’t stand shopping,” Max said. “The day you get me to shop for more than a half an hour is the day I suddenly develop some strange alien powers.”

“Perfect,” Isabel said. “This way, neither one of you will know what we bought for you to wear until the morning you have to put it on.”

“I don’t know,” Alex said. “I don’t think we can separate Max and Liz without a surgeon.”

“You guys go your own way, and us girls will go our own way,” Maria said. “Where and when do you want to meet up?”

“Do you really think it’s safe for you girls to walk around town on your own?” Kyle asked, voicing the exact question that Max was thinking.

“Yes, dad,” Tess said with a smile. “After all, we are probably going to stay at the mall the entire time. I promise I won’t take any candy from strangers, or get into a car with someone I don’t know.”

“Hey, I was just trying to look out for you,” Kyle said, defending his reaction.

“I know,” Tess said as she walked up and wrapped her arms around his waist. “We’ll be fine. I promise.”

Kyle was much easier to convince then Max was. He pulled Liz into a hug and refused to let her go, even when Isabel and Maria tried to pry her out of his embrace.

“Max,” Liz said with a laugh. “I’ll be fine. Go have some fun with the boys.”

Max actually contemplated going shopping with the girls, just so he could be with Liz. But he realized that he needed to hang out with the guys just like Liz needed to hang out with the girls. He couldn’t be selfish and just hog her to himself all the time, could he?

“Only if you promise that we’ll be able to spend the entire night together,” Max replied.

“But your parents are going to be home tonight,” Liz said.

“I’ll take care of the details,” Max said with a smile.

Liz’s stomach started to flip inside out as she thought about spending another night with Max. “Alright,” she said with a smile. “It’s a deal.”

“Let’s meet back up in three hours,” Michael said. “That should give you girls enough time to shop.”

“Alright,” Isabel said. “Let’s meet up at the Foot Locker in the mall, then.”

“Works for me,” Kyle said.

Max kissed Liz really quickly before Isabel and Maria hauled her off.

“Come on, Maxwell,” Michael said. “Let’s go see how much trouble we can get into.” As the four boys made their way toward Max’s Jeep, Michael turned to Kyle. “Your dad’s the sheriff, right?” After Kyle nodded, Michael smiled widely. “So if we got into trouble with the law down here, he’d be able to take care of it, right?”

Kyle suddenly turned deathly pale.

Alex noticed the horror cross through Kyle’s eyes, and he let out a chuckle. “Kyle, my man…he’s just kidding.”

Kyle let out an involuntary sigh of relief as he wiped his forehead with the back of his hand.

Michael started laughing, with Max following suit as they all climbed into the Jeep.

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

The boys had driven around Albuquerque and eventually stopped at a sporting goods store. Max, Michael and Alex all headed straight for the rock climbing gear, with Kyle following suit.

“You guys are into rock climbing?” Kyle asked once they reached that department.

“Of course,” Alex replied. “There’s nothing better than a five hundred foot rock face and three hours to waist.”

“Have you ever been?” Michael asked.

“Rock climbing?” Kyle asked back.

“No, ice fishing,” Michael said sarcastically with a smile. “Yeah, rock climbing.”

“Nope,” Kyle said. “But if you can do it, it can’t be that hard.”

Max and Alex both laughed and nodded their heads in approval of Kyle’s lashing back at Michael with some sarcasm of his own.

“Now you’re catching on, Valenti,” Michael said with a smile as he patted Kyle on the back.

After buying some supplies at the sporting goods store, they decided to grab a bite to eat. They stopped at a fast food joint, and ate their food leisurely. Max looked down at his watch and noticed that they still had two hours to kill.

“What are we going to do now?” Alex asked.

“Let’s go bumper bowling,” Kyle suggested.

The other three all looked at each other in confusion.

“You know, Kyle,” Max said. “I know we’re not the best bowlers in the world, but I don’t think we need bumpers to prevent us from throwing gutter balls.”

“I can see you’ve never been bumper bowling then,” Kyle said with a smile. “The rules are different. Come on, I’ll explain them when we get there.”

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

They stopped at the nearest alley, and as everyone put their rented bowling shoes on, Kyle started to explain the rules.

“Okay. The object of a normal bowling game is to knock over as many pins as you can, and be the one with the highest score.”

Michael hit the side of his head lightly with the palm of his hand. “That’s what you’re supposed to do? All this time I’ve been trying to AVOID the pins.”

Kyle ignored Michael and continued as if he had never been interrupted. “The point of bumper bowling is to be the one with the LOWEST score. In other words, like Michael just said, you want to avoid hitting the pins.”

“This sounds too easy,” Alex said as he grabbed his bowling ball and threw it down the lane. It bounced off the bumpers a few times before it finally knocked over six pins. He just stared down the lane for a few seconds before he turned to the others. “Okay…so maybe it’s not as easy as it looks.”

When the game finally ended, Kyle was the one with the lowest score, followed by Max, then Alex, and finally Michael.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had that high of a score when I’m actually TRYING to knock the pins down,” Michael said.

“That’s it!” Alex said, slapping Michael on the back. “The next time you go bowling for real, try to MISS all the pins and see what happens.”

“Alex, if he’s trying to miss the pins, all he has to do is throw a gutter ball,” Max pointed out.

“Right,” Alex said as he nodded. “I forgot about that little detail.”

“Well guys,” Max said after looking at his watch. “It’s time to meet up with the ladies.”

“We wasted nearly two hours in there?” Michael asked in disbelief.

“I know,” Max responded. “At least we didn’t get stuck shopping.”

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

The girls were having a blast as they shopped for outfits to make Max and Alex wear that week during school. Liz knew that Max would be horrified with the one she had picked out for him to wear on Monday. With Isabel’s help, she was able to pick out just about everything that Max wouldn’t voluntarily be caught dead in.

Since Isabel already knew Alex, she had no trouble rounding up some hideously looking cloths for him. The problem with Alex was that he was a bit goofy to begin with, so some of the outfits she almost bought would have worked out just fine as far as he was concerned.

Tess and Maria were just tagging along, occasionally buying something for themselves. Maria had gotten Michael something, although she wasn’t sure if he would like it. Tess hesitated when it came to buying something for Kyle. They had gotten really close the night before, having eventually slept in each other’s arms. They weren’t officially a couple yet, but if she had anything to say about it, they would be shortly.

They were all sitting in the food court conversing when Liz casually looked at her watch. It took her a few seconds to realize that they were supposed to meet the guys over at the Foot Locker half an hour ago.

“We’re late!” Liz exclaimed, surprising everyone.

“Who cares,” Isabel said nonchalantly. “Let them wait.”

“You can stay here if you want to, but I’m heading over there,” Liz said as she started to walk away.

“Liz,” Maria called. “Hold on. I’m going with you.”

Isabel let out a groan before her and Tess followed.

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

By the time the girls arrived at the Foot Locker, Michael was leaning against the wall just outside the store, impatiently rocking back and forth on his heels. Alex was lying down on a bench that was nearby, while Kyle and Max had somehow managed to keep themselves entertained by trying on every pair of shoe they could.

Michael was the first to notice them, and his exaggerated sigh could be heard clear back in Roswell. That got everyone else’s attention as they all walked out to meet the girls. The salesman inside the store was all too happy to see Max and Kyle leave. He had been running back and forth, grabbing every style of shoe available for them to try on.

“What the hell?” Michael asked once everyone was together.

“We’re really sorry we’re late,” Liz said as she looked at Max, pleading for forgiveness with her eyes.

“Yeah, right,” Alex said with a smirk. “Knowing Isabel, she probably said something like, ‘who cares, let them wait.’”

“I did not!” Isabel said defensively. Alex just looked at her in disbelief before she finally changed the subject. “So…are we ready to go?”

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

The drive back to Roswell started out with a lot of tension, as Michael was still upset about having to wait so long for the girls. As the drive went on, he eventually got over it and started to chat with everyone in the car.

By the time they got back, the sun was starting to set. Max had talked with Michael earlier in the day, finalizing the plans for later that night. All that needed to happen now was for Liz to tell her parents that she was going camping with Maria.

“So…what’s the plan?” Liz asked, turning to Max once they walked into his house.

“You need to tell your parents that you’re going camping with Maria,” Max said as he walked up and wrapped his arms around her waist.

“But what if my mom calls her house just to make sure?” Liz asked as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “She’ll know something’s up when she finds out that Maria isn’t with me.”

“I got it covered,” Max said with a smile. “Maria is going to tell her parents that she’s going camping with you.”

“Alright, what about you?”

“Same thing,” Max said. “I’m going to tell my parents that I’m going camping with Michael, while he tells his parents that he’s going camping with me.”

“And are we actually going to go camping?” Liz asked, starting to get excited about the idea.

“Of course,” Max said. “If I recall correctly, you’ve never been camping before, right?” When Liz nodded, Max smiled. “Well, after tonight, you will have.”

Liz smiled brightly at Max before she leaned up and kissed him soundly on the lips. “You’re the best.”

“No, I think you beat me out on that one,” Max responded. “But I’m desperately trying to catch up.”

“When are we going to meet?” Liz asked.

“We’ll meet up at the abandoned gas station just off the highway when you first leave town,” Max said. “Maria will pick you up, and I’ll pick Michael up. Let’s meet there in an hour.”

“Sounds good to me,” Liz said before she kissed him again. She then walked out and climbed into the SUV with Tess, who gave her a ride home.

Liz really wanted to talk to Max about graduation and what he was going to do about college, and tonight would be the perfect opportunity to do so. She needed to know what was going to happen to them, since she was only a junior and still had a year left of high school. She knew that her and Max wouldn’t break up over it, but she didn’t think she could handle being away from him for an entire year while she finished school. She just prayed that it wouldn’t come down to that.

Part 19

Liz could barely hold in her excitement as she and Maria waited for Max and Michael out at the old gas station off the highway.

“What are you so happy about?” Maria asked. “We’re going camping, Liz! CAMPING! My idea of camping is rolling down the windows of the jetta on my way to the mall!”

“Oh, lighten up, Maria,” Liz said with a smile. “At least Michael will be there.”

“Yeah, at least,” Maria mumbled under her breath.

A few minutes later, Max’s jeep pulled up behind the jetta. As soon as Max climbed out, Liz was already running over to him. She threw herself into his arms, hugging him tightly as a permanent smile etched itself over her face.

“How’s my angel?” Max asked against her ear, causing Liz to shiver.

“What took you so long?” Liz asked as she pulled back and looked up at him.

Max nodded over toward Michael, who was making his way over to Maria. “We needed to buy Michael some new camping gear.” He then leaned in closer so he could whisper into Liz’s ear. “I think his old sleeping bag had something living in it.”

Liz wrinkled her nose up in disgust. “That’s gross!”

Max just shrugged. “You think that’s gross? Michael was actually going to sleep in it.”

“Okay, lets talk about something else,” Liz said, desperately trying to turn the conversation in a different direction.

Max let out a laugh as he walked over to Michael and Maria, his arm wrapped around Liz’s shoulders. “Let’s get this show on the road before it gets too dark,” Max said.

Liz went in the jeep with Max, while Michel went in the jetta with Maria. On the way out to the campsite, Liz started to bounce in her seat as she smiled widely.

Max looked over at her and couldn’t help but smile. “If you don’t calm down a bit, I’ll need to replace the springs in that seat when we get back.”

Liz turned and smiled at him. “I can’t help it. Where are we going? Frazier woods?”

Max switched his gaze back to the road in front of him. “Nah…too crowded. Michael and I have a camping spot out in the desert, away from everything.”

That got Liz even more excited. It was now getting really dark, and Liz began to worry that they wouldn’t be able to find any wood for a fire. “Where are we going to find wood for a campfire if we’re out in the desert?”

Max smiled again as he motioned toward the back of the jeep. “Got it covered. Michael and I grabbed a bunch of wood on our way out here, along with food and drinks.”

Liz couldn’t control the urge she had to lean over and kiss her boyfriend. The move caught Max completely off guard, and the jeep swerved back and forth on the road as he fought for control.

“Sorry,” Liz said shyly after she pulled back, a smile still covering her face. “But you’re just so damn irresistible!”

Max let out a laugh as he glanced over at his girlfriend. “Next time, put on your turn signal before you merge into my lane.”

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

The conversation in the jetta was very different from that of the jeep. Maria had been complaining to Liz earlier about going camping, and now she was doing the same thing to Michael.

“I can’t stand bugs,” Maria said, rambling. “And the coldness and all those animal noised you always hear at night…”

”Maria,” Michael said in an annoyed voice, trying to get her to shut up. “There won’t be any bugs. I can’t do anything about the coldness, or the animal noises. Those are just a part of camping.”

“AND SNAKES!” Maria suddenly blurted out. “I didn’t even think about snakes! What if someone gets bitten?”

Michael shook his head slightly before he rested his arm against the door and placed his head in his hand. He then let out a deep sigh as Maria continued to explain her many fears of camping. He was just thankful that she wasn’t driving.

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

“Finally,” Michael muttered as he saw Max pull over at the campsite in front of him. He climbed out of the car as quickly as he could, needing to get away from Maria before she made his head explode.

It was nearly pitch black now, so Max left his headlights on as he and Michael began to unpack the gear.

“What can I do?” Liz asked as she bounced up to them.

“Calm Maria down,” Michael said as he walked off to set up his tent.

Liz looked over at her friend, and realized that she needed to do something before Maria completely lost it. Like Michael said, it was time to calm Maria down.

Max didn’t want his and Liz’s tent to be anywhere near Michael and Maria’s, but he didn’t have much choice. He wanted to stay close to the campfire, just in case Liz got cold that night. After he had finished setting up his tent, he went to help Michael gather the firewood out of the back of the jeep.

Before long, the two boys had the fire roaring. They had plenty of wood to last them throughout the night, as long as someone was awake to throw more onto the fire.

“I’ll grab the food,” Michael said as he walked back to the jeep.

Max stood up and looked around for Liz and Maria. He found them walking over toward the fire, and was surprised to find that Maria was actually pretty calm now. Liz walked up and slipped her arms around Max’s waist, resting her cheek against his chest.

“What did you say to her?” Max asked as he wrapped his arms around Liz and rested his chin on the top of her head.

“Not much,” was all that Liz said in return.

Michael walked back over to the fire carrying a cooler, cautiously looking over at Maria the entire time. After he put the cooler down, he felt Maria walk up behind him and wrap her arms around his waist. “You doing better?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Yeah…much,” Maria replied. “Sorry about freaking out in the car.”

“I just want you to have a good time,” Michael said as he turned around and wrapped his arms around her.

“I will,” Maria said with a smile. “As long as you don’t wonder off and leave me alone.”

Michael pulled Maria closer to his body, then glanced over at Liz. When she made eye contact with him, Michael nodded his appreciation.

Liz just smiled back before she turned to face Max. “What’s for dinner?”

That question seemed to put everyone into motion. Max and Michael pulled out a couple of sticks, then proceeded to roast some hotdogs on the ends of them. Liz and Maria walked back to the jeep and pulled out two large blankets. They laid them out next to fire before they sat down and waited for the hot dogs to cook.

Max and Michael talked about sports while they cooked dinner, while Liz and Maria talked about everything under the sun. Once dinner was ready, the chatter died down as everyone ate. After that, it didn’t take long before Michael pulled out the marshmallows and started to roast them.

Max moved back on the blanket and pulled Liz over so she was sitting between his legs. She leaned back into his chest as he wrapped his arms around her, and let out a sigh of contemptment as she laced her fingers through his.

“Have I told you how much I love you lately?” Max whispered into her ear, causing Liz to smile. They may have only recently confessed their love for each other, but Liz knew she would never get tired of hearing it.

“No. In fact, I don’t think you’ve told me all day,” she replied as she tilted her head to the side and looked up into his face.

Max gasped as his eyes widened. “I haven’t? What kind of a boyfriend am I? I love you so much,” Max said, planting little kisses all over Liz’s face as he continued to repeat his love for her.

Liz started to laugh, then pushed Max onto his back before she turned over and laid out on top of him. “You’re forgiven,” she whispered before she leaned down and sucked his bottom lip into her mouth. Before they had the opportunity to get carried away, Maria broke them apart, as always.

“Can’t you two wait until you get in your tent?” Maria asked with a smile, knowing that her interruptions really annoyed her two friends.

“No, Maria…we can’t,” Max said, refusing to let her break the moment between him and Liz this time. He reached up and wrapped his hand around the back of Liz’s neck, pulling her down gently for another passionate kiss. Max was really starting to enjoy the kiss when he felt something hit him in the head. Startled, he pulled away from Liz and looked around to find the offensive object…a marshmallow. He glared at Michael, who was looking up at the stars as he whistled, trying to act casual.

Liz reached out and grabbed the marshmallow, then threw it back at Michael. Her aim was a bit off, and it accidentally hit Maria in the face. “Oops,” Liz said as she covered her mouth with her hand. “I’m sorry, Maria. I was trying to hit Michael.”

Maria turned to glare at Liz, then grabbed a couple of marshmallows from the bag. She ignored Michael, who was laughing his head off next to her, and threw all the marshmallows in her hand at Max and Liz. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before a full-fledged marshmallow war broke out between the two couples.

Max aimed for Michael as Michael aimed for Liz. Maria was just happy to hit anyone, it didn’t matter who. Liz threw a couple at Michael before she ran and hid behind Max, causing both Maria and Michael to unload their assault on poor Max. Max raised his arms as he tried to protect his face from the oncoming marshmallows.

When Michael and Maria were out of ammunition, Max whirled on Liz and glared at her as he raised the three marshmallows that he was holding in his hand. Liz’s eyes widened as she started to back away.

“Max! We’re on the same team here!” Liz pleaded.

“Are we?” Max asked with a raised eyebrow and a crooked grin. “Is that why you used me as a human shield?”

“Max, please,” Liz begged. “I’ll do anything.”

That comment caused Max to stop in his tracks. “Anything?” he asked.

“Anything,” Liz repeated with pleading eyes.

Max rubbed his chin with his hand as he thought about Liz’s offer. “Sorry, babe. Nothing comes to mind,” he said before he raised the marshmallows, all ready to smash them onto Liz’s forehead.

Liz closed her eyes and winced as she waited for Max to make a gooey mess all over her face. She let out a shriek when Max picked her up instead and swung her around in the air. When Max finally set her back on her feet, she looked up at him with thanks written all over her face.

“I’m taking a rain check on that offer of yours,” he said before he led Liz back over to the fire.

The rest of the night went by without any further action. The four friends stayed up for another hour, just talking about anything that popped up. Michael and Maria were the first ones to turn in. Maria was really tired, but she refused to go anywhere near the tent unless Michael went with her.

Max was sitting behind Liz again, with her sitting between his legs, leaning back against him.

“Max?” Liz asked gently after several minutes of silence.

“Yeah,” Max replied in a soft tone.

“There’s something I need to talk to you about,” Liz said nervously. This was it…the big ‘college talk’.

“What’s that?” Max asked.

“It’s about college,” Liz replied.

“What about it?” Max asked, confused.

“Well, I still have another year left of high school, and you’re graduating next month. I was just wondering what you were going to do for college, and what was going to happen to us,” Liz said softly.

Max took a deep breath before he planted a kiss on the top of Liz’s head. “I don’t know. I’ve thought about that quite a bit, but to be honest, I haven’t come up with a solution yet. The only thing I know for sure is that being away from you is not an option.”

“Max, you can’t put off college just because of me,” Liz said.

“Just because I might take a year off doesn’t mean that I’ll never go,” Max said. “Besides, I’ve thought about taking some classes through correspondence.”

“What about your parents?” Liz asked.

Max winced. “I haven’t talked to them about it yet.”

“They’re going to be upset, aren’t they?” Liz asked softly.

“Just give me a little more time,” Max said before he kissed the top of her head. “I’ll figure something out.”

Liz tried to relax, but it was difficult at first. She kept thinking about what she’d do if Max went away to college. It would be bad enough not being able to see him at school, but if she were unable to see him for months on end, it would drive her insane.

“I may just commute to UNM,” Max said out of nowhere, referring to the University of New Mexico.

“But that’s a couple hours drive each way,” Liz said as she pulled back and looked up at Max. “That’s crazy.”

“No…crazy is what I’ll be if I can’t see you every day,” Max said as he ran a finger along Liz’s jaw line.

Liz smiled, even though she didn’t feel like it. She couldn’t help that Max was so sweet, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I know what you mean,” she whispered before she leaned up and kissed him.

When they broke apart, Max took a deep breath, then looked up at the stars. “You ready for bed?” he asked as he looked back down at Liz.

“Yeah,” Liz responded. “But not the sleeping kind.”

Max continued to look at Liz, and the expression on her face was one he had never seen before. There was no hint of playfulness anywhere. She was completely serious as she stared back at him, and he realized that she needed to be with him at that very moment. She needed to feel his arms around her as he kissed her passionately…but most of all, she needed to feel the safety that only he could provide her.

Max stood up slowly with Liz, then picked her up and cradled her delicately against his chest. Liz wrapped her arms around his neck, placing tiny kisses wherever she could as she buried her head into his neck.

Once inside their tent, Max helped Liz into the oversized sleeping bag before he climbed in himself. “I feel sorry for Michael and Maria,” he said out of the blue.

Liz looked at him strangely, wondering why he was thinking about them right now. “Why?”

“Because you scream so loud, I just know you’re going to wake them up,” Max joked before he started to kiss Liz’s neck.

Liz smiled, too wrapped up in the feelings that Max was causing to do anything but pull him closer. “Then you better find some way of keeping me quiet,” she whispered before she pulled his face up and kissed him on the lips.

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

Nobody wanted to get out of their sleeping bags the next morning. There was a chill in the air that kept them from wondering out. The only thing that got Michael moving was the need to relieve himself. By the time he got back to his tent, he knew he couldn’t fall asleep again, so he decided to start breakfast.

Maria walked out and joined him a few minutes later, wearing all the cloths she brought with her along with the sleeping bag that was securely wrapped around her body.

“Morning,” she said groggily as she leaned into Michael and rested her check against his back.

“Morning,” Michael replied as he began to make pancakes on the portable propane grill that he had brought with him. “You slept well.”

“How do you know?” Maria asked as she pulled back.

“Because there aren’t any trees around, so the sawing noise I heard all night must have been coming from you,” Michael said with a smirk.

Maria gasped in shock, then slapped Michael on the shoulder. “How do you know it wasn’t coming from Max and Liz’s tent?”

“Because I heard different noises coming from their tent,” Michael said with a laugh.

Maria’s eyes widened. “Like what?”

“Let’s just say that those definitely weren’t coyotes that were howling last night,” Michael said.

Maria started to laugh uncontrollably as she reached out and grabbed Michael’s arm for support. Once her laughing fit was over, she turned serious. “You better not embarrass either of them,” she warned.

“Who, me?” Michael asked with a smile.

“I mean it, Michael,” Maria said with a stern look. “Not a word out of you.”

Just then, Max and Liz climbed out of their tent, both rubbing the sleep from their eyes.

“What are you two laughing about?” Max asked as he walked up to Michael and Maria, his arm wrapped around Liz.

“The call of the wild,” Michael said, promptly causing Maria to smack him on the arm. “Ow,” he mumbled.

Max and Liz both looked at Maria in confusion, but just passed it off without questioning her further.

They ended up spending a few more hours out at the campsite, then packed everything up and headed home. Max and Liz drove back in the jeep, Michael and Maria in the jetta. They stopped at the same gas station they did the previous night, so Liz and Michael could switch seats. They didn’t think it would look to good if Max dropped Liz off at home after she told her parents that she was going camping with Maria.

“Call me,” Max said before he gave Liz a goodbye kiss.

After dropping Michael off, Max headed home. It was about noon by the time he pulled into the driveway.

“Hi, honey,” his mom said as he walked through the front door. “Did you have fun camping?”

“Oh yeah,” Max said with a smile.

“Good,” Diane replied. “Did you want something for lunch?”

Even though Max had just eaten pancakes a couple of hours ago, he was starving. “Yeah. Do we have any sandwich meat?” he asked as he opened the refrigerator.

“Yeah,” Diane replied. “But you go sit down. I’ll make it for you.”

“Thanks,” Max said before sitting down on a barstool at the counter. “Where’s Iz?”

“She had some shopping to do,” Diane replied. “Your birthday is next week, you know.”

“Please tell me she isn’t planning a surprise party for me,” Max said, resting his head in his hands.

“You don’t like parties?” Diane asked as she looked over her shoulder at her son.

“Not when I’m the center of attention,” Max replied.

“Oh, come on, Max,” Diane said. “I know you’re soft spoken, but you haven’t been this shy since you were ten years old.”

“I’m not being shy,” Max replied. “I just don’t like people making a big fuss over me, that’s all.”

“Well, I’m not saying that you’re going to get a surprise party,” Diane said, then totally contradicted her statement by saying: “But just know that this means a lot to Isabel. She’s put a lot of work into this. She wants you to have a memorable eighteenth birthday. So, if you don’t want to do this for yourself, do it for your sister.”

“Fine,” Max mumbled as his mom handed him a plate with a sandwich and some chips on it. “Speaking of shopping, did Isabel show you what she bought yesterday?” He desperately wanted to know what he would be forced to wear to school the next day.

Diane smiled at her son. “Of course she did. But she made me promise not to tell you or Alex.”

Max let out a distressed sigh. “But…you have to tell me, mom. I have to know what I’m going to be forced to wear tomorrow.”

“Sorry, honey,” Diane said. “I will tell you that it’s quite…colorful,” she said with a smile before she walked out of the kitchen.

“Great,” Max mumbled to himself before he took a bite of his sandwich. What he needed was to get into Liz’s closet. Then he’d be able to find out what she was making him wear. A smile crept over his face as he took another bite of his lunch, already formulating a plan in his mind to distract Liz enough to find out what he needed to know.

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

After Max got out of the shower, Liz called to see what time he was coming over. Max told her that he’d be there as soon as he could, then hung up the phone and walked downstairs.

“I’m going to Liz’s,” he called out to his mom, who was in the living room, folding laundry. He climbed into his jeep, and soon found himself in front of Liz’s house. After he rang the doorbell, he stepped back and waited for Liz to answer.

“Max!” Mr. Parker said with a smile after he opened the door. “Come on in. How have you been?” he asked as he patted Max on the back.

“Pretty good, thanks,” Max replied. “How about you?”

“Oh, the usual,” Mr. Parker said. “The boss of the house keeps giving me more and more stuff to do.” Just then, Mrs. Parker walked up. “And here’s the boss now!”

Mrs. Parker waved her hand at her husband, then smiled at Max. “Liz is upstairs. You can go on up.”

“Thanks,” Max said before he walked up to Liz’s room. Her bedroom door was halfway open, and he could see her sitting at her desk writing something down. He knocked lightly before he pushed the door open and walked in.

Liz turned in her seat to find Max walking over to her. She smiled as she stood up and hugged him. Max glanced over her shoulder to find out what she was writing down, and was surprised to find that it was a list of people’s names. More importantly, the names of his friends, or people he knew.

“Liz?” Max asked as he pulled back. “What’s that?” he asked, pointing at the list.

“Oh!” Liz exclaimed before she quickly covered the paper up with a book that was sitting nearby. “Nothing!”

“Liz,” Max said, looking at her with raised eyebrows. “Please don’t tell me you’re actually helping Isabel with my surprise party.”

Liz was taken a back for a second. How did he know about the party, she thought. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, trying to sound confused.

Max just sighed and tilted his head to the side as he continued to stare at her. He then decided to play along. “Alright then. I was thinking that for my birthday, I just wanted to spend the night alone with you. Is that going to be okay?”

“Um…yeah. Yeah, sure,” Liz said. She didn’t want Max to find out about his party from her, so she was willing to say anything. “Whatever you want, babe.”

Max smiled as he shook his head slightly. “Promise?” He knew that Liz would never be able to promise anything unless she knew she could keep it.

Liz stomped her foot on the ground and started to pout. “I hate you,” she announced as she folded her arms across her chest.

Max let out a little laugh before he reached out and pulled Liz into a hug, despite the fact that she tried to pull away. “My mom already told me about the party,” he said, trying to get her to hug him back.

Liz stuck her chin up in defiance as she refused to look Max in the eyes.

“If you’re not going to talk to me, I won’t have any other choice but to tickle you until you do,” Max said as he slowly ran his hands over Liz’s ticklish spots.

Liz’s hands immediately shot out and grabbed his, stopping them from roaming any further. Her eyes finally met his, and she let out a sigh. “This means so much to Isabel,” she said, a look of sadness in her eyes.

Max’s heart nearly broke at the sight. “I’m sorry,” he said, his face taking on a pained expression. “I promise I’ll act surprised. Besides, she doesn’t need to know that I know.”

“You better act surprised, or you’re in big trouble, buster,” Liz said, pointing her finger into Max’s chest.

“You ready to go out to a movie?” Max asked with a smile.

“Give me one minute,” Liz said as she walked into the bathroom that was connected to her room.

Since Liz was out of eyesight, Max took advantage of the opportunity and walked over to her closet. He had to find out what she was going to make him wear that week. He quietly opened the closet door, scanned everything in sight, but found that there was nothing but Liz’s stuff.

“If you’re looking for your new wardrobes, you won’t find them in there,” Max heard Liz call out from behind him. He slowly turned around to find that she was leaning against the bathroom doorframe, her arms folded across her chest, a smile on her face.

Max smiled back, mentally kicking himself for getting caught. “Just give me a hint,” he begged as he walked over to her.

“Nope,” Liz said with a smile. “Not after everything you’re making me do this coming week.”

“Just…please tell me you aren’t going to make me wear leather pants,” Max said, rubbing his temples with his hands.

Liz just smiled as she brushed past him. “I can’t promise you anything.” After hearing Max groan, she began to giggle. “I’m ready to go now.”




posted on 24-Oct-2001 7:13:42 PM
Part 20

The moment that Max had been dreading since the night of the prom finally came. It was Monday morning and he was sitting on the couch next to Alex, who looked just as terrified as he felt. Everyone wanted to come over first thing in the morning so they could be the first ones to witness the hell that Max and Alex would have to go through that day. Michael and Kyle were in the kitchen getting something to eat, while Maria and Tess were upstairs with Isabel and Liz. The four girls were putting together the outfits that were to be worn that day.

“Tell me again why we agreed to this,” Alex said as he turned his head to look at Max.

Max turned to Alex and just stared at him for a few seconds. “Because I let you pull me into a gender war with YOUR girlfriend, even though I knew she would be as ruthless as a banshee in heat when it came to making the bets.”

“MY girlfriend?” Alex asked in disbelief as he turned his whole body to face Max. “She’s YOUR sister! And I didn’t drag you into anything. If I recall correctly, you didn’t join up with me until Liz called you a ‘wussy’.”

“Oh yeah,” Max said, nodding in agreement. “I forgot about that. It will be fun to watch them dance around the cafeteria while they sing though,” he said as he smiled at his friend.

“No joke,” Alex said as he smiled back. “I still can’t believe they’re going to stand up in the middle of the assembly this Friday and yell…” he was cut off by Maria and Tess as they stumbled into the living room, nearly falling over from laughter. “Oh great,” Alex muttered. “This is NOT a good sign.”

“Th…they’re ready…for you,” Maria said between laughs.

“Alright!” Michael exclaimed from the kitchen. “Lets go see what the boys will be forced to wear.” He and Kyle ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time.

Max and Alex, however, where in no hurry to find out. Max actually thought about faking like he was sick so he wouldn’t have to go to school, but he knew that he would only be delaying the inevitable. Besides, he would rather be humiliated with Alex than by himself.

Max led the way as he and Alex slowly, but surely, walked up the stairs and down the hall. Just as they were about to walk into Isabel’s room, Michael and Kyle walked out, their faces pale.

Michael stopped and put his hand on Max’s shoulder. “I’m sorry,” he said with a straight face before he stepped to the side so Max and Alex could pass.

Max took a deep breath and closed his eyes momentarily before he found the strength to continue on. When he opened his eyes again, he walked into the bedroom, determined not to feel embarrassed about what he would be forced to wear...but nothing could have prepared him for the scene that he found. He stopped dead in his tracks when his eyes landed on the bed. He felt his stomach fall to the floor as pure fear raced through his body.

“Oh. My. God!” Alex exclaimed. Max could tell from the tone of his voice that Alex felt just as sick as he did.

“Hi boys,” Isabel said with a smile. “This is your outfit, Alex,” she said, pointing to the one lying next to her. “And that ones yours, Max,” she said, pointing to the one by Liz.

Max looked up and met Liz’s eyes. She had the biggest smile on her face as she looked back at him. He pleaded with his eyes, begging her not to make him do this.

Liz’s face took on a sarcastic look of sympathy as she stood up, walked over to him, and then wrapped her arms around his neck. “You’re the one who decided to go through with this,” she reminded him.

Max swallowed hard as Liz reached over and handed him his outfit.

“Now go change so I can make sure everything’s in place before we go to school,” Liz said with a smile.

Max walked out of Isabel’s room with his shoulders slumped, the outfit in his hands. Alex followed behind him as they both walked into Max’s room and closed the door.

“Never in my worst nightmare did I think they would pick out something so humiliating,” Alex muttered as he started to change.

“I think I’m going to throw up,” Max said as he made a dash for the bathroom.

Alex quickly followed him, just to make sure that his friend was going to be okay. When he got to the bathroom, he saw that all Max wanted to do was splash cold water on his face; he wasn’t really going to throw up. “Let’s get this over with.”

Max nodded as he grabbed a towel and dried off his face.

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

The rest of the gang, including Phillip and Diane, were waiting in the living room for Max and Alex to come down.

“They sure are taking a long time up there,” Tess said.

“I would be to if I had to wear outfits like theirs,” Michael said.

Everyone stopped talking when they heard Max’s bedroom door open. “I’m wondering where they found outfits like this,” they all heard Alex say.

Then the moment of truth came.

Alex was the first to walk down, and everyone promptly burst out into laughter when they saw him. He was wearing black spandex with a red Speedo on the outside, the letter ‘A’ printed in bold on the middle of the Speedo. The top was a bright yellow t-shirt, a white-feathered coat, and a hot pink scarf.

“Alex, you look fantastic,” Diane said as she covered her mouth with her hand to hide her laughter.

Alex gave them all a sarcastic smile before he walked in and sat down on the couch. That’s when they also noticed that he was wearing pink bunny slippers.

After the laughter had died down somewhat, they all turned to the stairway again and waited for Max to come down.

“Maaaax,” Liz called out. “You up there?”

“No,” Max replied, wanting nothing more that to crawl under his bed and hide.

“We’re going to be late for school,” Isabel said.

“And that would be a bad thing because……” Max said. Being late for school sounded pretty damn good to him right about now.

“Maxwell Evans,” Diane called out. “Get down here right now!”

Max took a deep breath and lowered his head as far as he could. He slowly made his way down the stairs with his shoulders slumped, then stood where everyone could see him. He kept his eyes locked on the ground in front of him as he listened to everyone laugh and whistle.

He was wearing white long johns with a pair of ‘Power Rangers’ boxers over the top of them. The top was too small for him, so it showed off a good portion of his stomach. The picture on the front of the shirt was a group photo of the Backstreet Boys, with hearts surrounding the photo and the saying ‘Backstreet Fanatic’ written in bubble letters. Over that he had to wear a fluffy yellow button down sweater that was also too small. To top it all off, as he turned around to walk into the kitchen, they noticed that he was wearing a pair of cowboy boots.

Diane felt like she had to say something to her daughter, otherwise the principal was sure to call her into his office to discuss Max’s outfit. “Isabel, Liz…could I have a word with you?” she asked as soon as her laughter had ceased.

They all walked into the den, where Diane closed the door before she faced the two girls. “I have to admit that those outfits are hilarious, but I think you’re forgetting something.”

“What’s that?” Isabel asked. “A hat? Do you think we need to make them wear hats?”

Diane shook her head. “That’s not what I mean. I think you’re forgetting that not only will this humiliate Max and Alex, but the school will probably have a problem with the way their dressed. Especially if you make them wear outfits like that all week.”

“Hey, they agreed to it,” Isabel said, defending her actions.

“Okay,” Diane said with a sigh. “Just so you know, if the principal calls me down to discuss Max’s attire, I’m going to call the bet off and let the two boys wear whatever they want.”

“That’s not fair!” Isabel exclaimed.

“What wouldn’t be fair is if I had to drop everything and hurry down to the principal’s office to explain why Max is dressed like a clown,” Diane said.

Isabel let out a sigh but nodded her agreement. “Alright. We’ll tone it down the rest of the week.”

“Thank you,” Diane said before she opened the door and walked out.

“We can’t let them get off the hook that easily,” Isabel said. She then smiled as she looked at Liz. “We’ll tone it down for the rest of the week, but I say we make them wear those outfits until the principal tells them to change.”

“Sounds good to me,” Liz said as she followed Isabel back out into the living room.

*********

Max, Liz, Alex and Isabel all drove to school together. Max thanked the stars above that he had the top of his Jeep on as they sat in the parking lot, staring at the school. It didn’t take long before Michael pulled up with the rest of the gang.

“Alright, let’s go,” Isabel said as she clapped her hands together.

“Could you two give me a minute alone with Alex?” Max asked in an even tone, his gaze never leaving the front of the school.

Liz was starting to get worried. Max hadn’t looked at her, or talked to her, since he put on his outfit. She leaned over and gently placed her hand on his arm before she whispered: “Are you okay?”

Max didn’t answer. He just set his jaw and continued to stare at the school.

“Max, please…talk to me,” Liz begged as quietly as she could so nobody else in the car would hear her.

Max turned his head to the side and glared at Liz for a second before he turned back to look at the school.

At least he looked at me, Liz thought. She started to pull her hand back as a look of sadness overtook her face. Max quickly reached out and grabbed her wrist, preventing her from backing away. She looked over at him nervously as he slowly turned his head to face her.

“You’re lucky I love you so much,” he said with a pissed off face. He then shocked Liz when he winked at her before he let go of her wrist and turned back to look at the school.

Liz leaned over again so she could whisper something into his ear. “Max, I need to know if you’re pissed at me. If you are…” She wasn’t able to finish her sentence because Max interrupted her.

“I want to be,” he said. “God, I want to be SO pissed at you right now for making me wear this…but I can’t.” He then turned to face her and looked straight into her eyes. “I could NEVER be pissed at you, Liz. Never.” He gave her a reassuring smile before he turned to look at Alex and Isabel in the back seat. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to have a word with Alex.”

Isabel and Liz both climbed out of the jeep and waited while Max and Alex talked.

“Here’s what I’ve been thinking,” Max said, turning in his seat so he could face Alex. “We need to keep our heads held high and act like the cloths don’t bother us. If we walk in there with confidence instead of embarrassment, we give the impression that we dressed like this on purpose.”

Alex nodded as a smile came to his face. “And if we make it look like we dressed like this on purpose, people will probably think it’s a joke on the school dress code and cheer us on.”

“But if we walk in there all embarrassed, the joke will be on us,” Max said with a smile. “Instead of making fun of the school, everyone will be making fun of us.”

“Good thinking, Max!” Alex said as he patted his friend on the shoulder. “Now, I say we walk in there side by side and strut our stuff. Just ignore the girls until we get to our lockers.”

“Right,” Max said before he took a deep breath. “Ready?”

“Let’s do this,” Alex answered.

Both Max and Alex climbed out of the Jeep with smiles on their faces. They stood side by side, looked at each other and then stuck their chins in the air as they strode over to the front doors of the school. They ignored their friends behind them who were all laughing, especially Isabel and Liz.

Isabel was starting to get worried though. Her goal was to humiliate them, but as she watched her brother and boyfriend enter the school, she couldn’t help but notice that they were both walking with a bounce in their step.

The looks that all the other students were giving them as they entered were exactly what Max and Alex had expected. They played it up as much as they could, looking at various students as they strutted down the hallway. Every once in a while someone would comment on their outfits, and all Max and Alex said in return was, ‘We’re giving Roswell High a new style.’

By the time the two boys reached their lockers, nearly everyone in the hallway was clapping their approval. Max suddenly stopped in the middle of the hall, grabbed Alex’s wrist, then turned around and gave a bow. This caused quite a few people to start hollering and whistling.

Isabel was shocked to say the least. Not from the reaction of the other students, but from how well Max and Alex were handling it all. She fully expected them to run to their lockers as fast as they could, grab their books, then run off and hide in their classrooms. But here they were, soaking up the attention with smiles on their faces. These two were definitely not the same boys who had their heads hung as low as possible back at her house not more than a half an hour ago.

Liz was just as shocked, but what really got her attention was when a few of the cheerleaders walked by Max and Alex and looked them both up and down with seductive smiles on their faces. She glanced over at Isabel with wide eyes, wondering if her friend had just seen the same thing she had. From the look on Isabel’s face, Liz could tell that she had.

Isabel and Liz both walked up and stood next to Max and Alex, glaring at the cheerleaders until they left.

“That’s it!” Liz exclaimed as she grabbed Max’s hand and dragged him off to the eraser room.

Isabel did the same - reaching over and grabbing Alex before she followed Liz.

Michael and Kyle were both leaning against the lockers, trying to keep themselves from falling over from laughter. Maria and Tess were nearly as shocked as Isabel and Liz, but after the two boys were dragged off to the eraser room, they both broke out into a fit of giggles themselves.

“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!?” Isabel demanded once the eraser room door was shut and locked. She folded her arms across her chest as she walked up and stood next to Liz, who also had her arms folded across her chest.

Max and Alex looked at each other before they faced the girls.

“What?” Alex asked.

“Okay, marching into the school with your pride still intact was one thing,” Isabel said. “But FLIRTING with the cheerleaders?”

“We did not flirt,” Max said in defense.

“Then what would you call it?” Liz demanded.

“They flirted with US,” Alex said. “Hey, you two picked out these outfits. I can’t help it if the ladies find the two of us irresistible.”

Max could literally see the steam coming out of Isabel’s ears as she listened to Alex talk. “Uh oh,” he whispered.

“Let me make something perfectly clear to you,” Isabel said as she walked up and poked Alex in the chest with her finger. “I’m the only one who can touch you. I’m the only one who can flirt with you. If another girl tries to flirt with you, you had better put her in her place. Am I making myself clear?” she asked with a glare.

There was nothing Alex hated more than when Isabel was so pissed, she talked calmly and evenly. When she did that, she was way beyond pissed. He nodded his head quickly before his lack of response got him into even more trouble.

”Good,” Isabel said before she grabbed Alex’s hand and walked out of the room, leaving Max and Liz alone.

Max tried not to look at Liz, but when the silence got too much for him to take, he finally glanced up at her. She was glaring at him as she impatiently tapped her foot against the floor, her arms still crossed over her chest.

“Hi,” Max said with a nervous smile. “Look, Liz - I wasn’t flirting with anyone back…” He stopped talking as soon as Liz took a step towards him. He swallowed and watched as she slowly made her way over, finally stopping once she was standing toe to toe with him.

Liz opened her mouth to say something, but changed her mind and closed it. What she did next nearly gave Max a heart attack. She reached out and grabbed his shirt with both hands, pulling him to her forcefully before she attacked his lips with her own. She quickly threw her arms around his neck, then jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist as she continued to devour his mouth.

It took a second for Max to recover, but once he did, he wrapped his arms around Liz’s waist and ran his hands up and down her back. He backed her up against the far wall as he broke free of her mouth and attacked her neck.

Liz pulled at his cloths, trying desperately to strip them off. It didn’t take long before Max’s boxers and long johns were down around his ankles, and Liz’s jeans and panties were nothing more than a bundle on the floor.

“I need you, Max…” Liz begged. “Please.”

Max didn’t need an engraved invitation - He quickly made himself one with Liz. Their lovemaking was fast and hard, and it didn’t take long for either of them to reach their climax. Max closed his lips over Liz’s, capturing each of her moans and screams into his mouth. He then lowered himself to the floor with Liz still clinging to him before his legs gave out from under him.

“I love you so much,” Liz whispered as she planted a few kisses on Max’s face.

“I love you more,” Max said before he captured Liz’s lips for another scorching kiss. “We better get out of here before someone walks in.”

They quickly dressed each other, then straightened out their hair before they opened the door and walked back out into the hallway.

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

“Okay girl, spill it,” Maria said as she and Liz walked down the hallway on their way to lunch. They were going to meet up with the rest of the group out in the quad.

“What are you talking about?” Liz asked, confused.

“You know what I’m talking about. When we first walked into the school this morning, you were definitely pissed when you dragged Max off. Ever since then, you’ve had a permanent smile etched on your face,” Maria clarified.

Liz felt her lips curl up as she thought back on what her and Max had done in the eraser room earlier that morning. “Let’s just say that Max and I came to an understanding.”

Maria looked at Liz for a second before she stopped dead in her tracks. She waited until Liz stopped as well to look back at her. “You didn’t,” she said with a smile.

“Didn’t what?” Liz asked, unable to wipe the full-blown smile off her face.

“You DID!” Maria exclaimed before she rushed over to her friend. “You and Max…in the eraser room?”

Liz thought about denying it, but she could tell that Maria’s mind was already made up. “Alright, so we did,” Liz admitted as she rolled her eyes. “But you can’t tell anyone. I don’t want Max to find out I told you.”

“What was it like?” Maria asked as they started walking again.

“Maria, the things I do with Max are private,” Liz said. “You should be thankful I even admitted what happened this morning.”

“Oh, come on, Liz,” Maria whined. “You know I won’t tell anyone.”

“If you really want to know what it’s like, you shouldn’t be asking me…you should be asking Michael,” Liz said with a smile.

“Michael and I are nowhere near that stage of our relationship,” Maria said. “So I won’t know what it’s like for a long time unless you tell me.”

“Maria, drop it,” Liz said as she pushed open the doors that led out to the quad.

“Alright, alright,” Maria said, raising her hands in surrender. “I was just hoping to get a few juicy details, that’s all.”

The two girls walked over to the table the group normally sat at, and notice right away that two people were missing. They could see Isabel making her way over to them, but Max and Alex were nowhere in sight.

“Where’s Max and Alex?” Liz asked.

“Principal Williams dragged them into his office during the middle of last period,” Michael said with a chuckle. “You should have seen the look on his face when he saw what Max and Alex were wearing.”

“Oh no!” Liz exclaimed as she rushed over to Isabel. “Max and Alex are in Principal Williams office!”

Isabel’s eyes widened. “How long have they been in there?” she asked as she and Liz made their way down to the front office.

“Michael said they were pulled out of class last period,” Liz responded.

“My mom is going to kill me if she has to come down here,” Isabel said.

When the two of them finally reached the office, Isabel realized that she was too late. Her mom, along with Mrs. Whitman, where standing next to Max and Alex in the middle of the hallway.

“Hello Isabel,” Diane said. “Could I have a word with you please?”

Isabel swallowed hard as she followed her mom down the hall.

“Maybe you could tell me what part of our conversation this morning was unclear to you,” Diane said as she folded her arms across her chest.

Isabel looked down at the floor, unable to meet her mom’s stern gaze. “Today was the only day we were going to make them wear anything like that.”

“I hope so, because Max and Alex aren’t allowed back in school until they change,” Diane said. “If we have to have this conversation again, it’s going to involve your father. When I told him that I had to go down to the school to talk to the principal about Max’s inappropriate attire, he was not pleased.”

“I promise that I’ll tone it down for the rest of the week,” Isabel said as she finally looked up at her mom.

“Alright,” Diane said before she walked back over to Max.

Max had been staring at Liz the entire time, a smug smile on his face. Liz walked up to him as soon as Diane dragged Isabel down the hallway.

“Are you in trouble?” she asked nervously.

Max turned and looked over his shoulder at Isabel. “Not as much as she is.”

“What did the principal say?” Liz asked.

“He said that Alex and I wouldn’t be allowed back in class until we changed,” Max said. “He said that our attire was totally unacceptable, and that if we continued to wear outfits like these, he’d give us one detention for each class we attended dressed this way.”

“I’m so sorry,” Liz said. “I never thought you’d get in trouble.”

“That’s okay,” Max whispered with a smile. “What happened in the eraser room this morning made it all worth while for me.”

Liz smiled shyly and felt a blush creep up her cheeks as she noticed Diane and Isabel walk back over.

“Let’s go Max,” Diane said. “We need to hurry if we’re going to get you back here in time for your next class.”

Max gave Liz a wink before he followed his mom out to the parking lot. Liz glanced up at Alex as he walked by, and she could tell that his mom must have given him an earful because his shoulders were slumped. He glanced over at Liz and Isabel and tried desperately not to smile, but failed. He quickly wiped the grin off his face before his mom noticed.

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

Max and Alex had changed back into normal cloths to finish out the school day. After school, everyone gathered in the Evan’s living room, excluding Kyle and Tess, who were out on a date.

“I have an announcement to make,” Isabel said as she stood up. “Since Liz and I aren’t allowed to dress Max and Alex up like we did today, we’ve decided to do the next best thing.”

Max glanced suspiciously at Liz, who was sitting next to him on the couch.

“And what would that be?” Alex asked.

“We’re going to dress you in the cloths WE think you’d look hot in, but you’d never normally wear on your own,” Isabel said with a smile.

Max’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open slightly as he realized that his worst fashion nightmare was about to come true. “NO!” he said, looking back and forth between Isabel and Liz.

Liz just smiled as she wiggled her eyebrows up and down. “You’re going to look HOT tomorrow,” she said, licking her lips. “I just have to make sure you stay attached to my hip at all times so no other girl can make a pass at you.”

Max looked over at Alex, who was completely lost. “What are you talking about?” Alex asked.

Max swallowed before he ran a hand through his hair. Tomorrow was definitely going to be a nightmare. If his instincts were correct, he’d much rather wear the outfit he wore today that what he’d be forced to wear tomorrow.

To Be Continued………..

Part 21

“Max,” Isabel called through the bathroom door on Tuesday morning. “You can’t stay in there forever.”

“You wanna bet?” Max called back.

“Oh, come on!” Liz said as she stood next to Isabel. “Alex looks hot in his outfit.”

“I’m sure he does,” Max said. “But I’m still not coming out.”

“Maaaaaaaax,” Liz whined through the door. “I’m getting lonely out here.”

“You have Isabel to keep you company,” Max replied.

“But I can’t do the same things to Isabel that I want to do to you,” Liz said as she bit her lower lip.

“Fine,” Max said. The two girls could tell that he was gritting his teeth even though they couldn’t see his face. “But consider yourselves warned. I’ve never worn this crap before, so don’t expect anything spectacular.”

There was a soft clicking sound as Max unlocked the door, then hesitantly opened it. The second he stepped out of the bathroom, Liz felt her jaw drop to the floor. Max was wearing tight black leather pants, a form fitting black ribbed t-shirt, and a black leather jacket that was optional to wear if he wanted to. He wore black dress shoes that matched his leather pants perfectly.

“God help me,” Liz muttered to herself as she looked Max up and down a few times, her eyes lingering on some parts a little longer than others.

Max was starting to feel a little uncomfortable with the way Liz was looking at him, especially since his sister was standing right there.

Isabel cleared her throat, admitting to herself that her brother looked a lot better than she thought he would. “I think I’m going to head downstairs now,” she said as she made her way to the stairs.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Max asked once he and Liz were alone.

Liz shook her head slightly to clear her mind from the impure thoughts that she was having before she walked up and ran her hands all over his body. It didn’t take long for those impure thoughts to creep back up, though. “I could just eat you up,” she said as she leaned in and playfully bit his neck.

Max smiled as he reached out and wrapped his arms around Liz’s waist. “Well…we still have another half an hour before we need to leave for school…”

“And just what did you have in mind?” Liz asked with a smile as she wrapped her arms around Max’s neck and played with his hair.

“For some reason, I’m starting to get flashes of the eraser room yesterday morning,” Max said before he lowered his head and closed his lips over Liz’s.

“God, I want to rip those leather pants right off your body,” Liz said once they broke apart. She slid her hands down his back until they came to rest on his firm behind. “That’s it,” she said before she attacked his lips with her own, grabbing the front of his t-shirt with both hands before dragging him forward into his bedroom.

Liz reached back and kicked the door shut before she pushed Max onto his bed.

“MAX!!” Diane called out from the bottom of the stairs. “Your sister needs to go to school early today.”

Liz let out a whimper as her and Max broke apart.

“Have her take the Jeep,” Max replied as he stared at Liz’s swollen lips.

“How are you going to get to school then?” Diane asked.

“Liz has her car here,” Max said. “I’ll just go with her.” He didn’t hear anything more from his mom, so he figured the driving arrangements were all set. “Now…where were we?” he asked with a smile.

Liz smiled back before she licked her lips slowly and deliberately. “Right about here,” she said as she lowered her lips down to Max’s after hearing him groan.

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

“Looking good, Max!” Maria said as the group met up for lunch out in the quad.

“You know,” Michael said as he pointed to Max’s t-shirt. “When you’re done with that, do you mind if I give it to my ten year old cousin? It should fit him nicely.”

Max just rolled his eyes as he sat down next to Liz.

“You do look like you’re ready to bust out of it,” Tess added.

“How in the hell did you get that thing on anyway?” Kyle asked. “Did it come with some sort of shoe horn or something?”

“I think he looks hot,” Liz said, taking pride in the fact that her boyfriend was showing off his well-chiseled muscles. “And I’m the only one who matters.”

“That’s right,” Max said, glaring at the rest of his friends.

“Hey guys,” Alex said as he and Isabel walked up. His outfit was similar to Max’s, except his t-shirt was white instead of black.

“Hot tamale!” Maria exclaimed once she got a good look at Alex.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Alex said as he sat down. “You know Max, at least your shirt and pants are the same color.”

“I don’t know what you’re complaining about,” Max said. “You’re not the one who has to wear all black out on a day that feels like its a hundred degrees.”

Alex nodded his agreement as he shrugged. “Are your pants sticking to you like mine are?”

Max nodded. “Yeah…and every time I take a step, I can feel them grabbing the hairs on my legs.”

“You guys whine too much,” Isabel said. “You should be thankful that Liz and I didn’t make you wear outfits like the ones you wore yesterday.”

Max gave his sister a disbelieving look. “You’re not fooling me, Iz. The only reason we’re not is because mom and dad would ground you till graduation if you did.”

“With outfits like those, I’m surprised you guys haven’t had every girl in school give you there phone number,” Tess said.

Max and Alex shared a look, each thinking the same thing. R-E-V-E-N-G-E.

“Well, actually,” Alex said. “So far I’ve got about a dozen numbers, and five or six offers for dates. What about you, Max?”

“Yep,” Max replied as he took a bite of his sandwich. “Loren and Becky want to go out with me at the same time this Friday. I told them I’d get back to them.”

Both Max and Alex made it a point to avoid looking at Liz and Isabel, knowing that if they did, their little game would come crashing to a halt. They would no longer have the testicular fortitude to continue.

“Loren and Becky on Friday?” Alex asked as he took a drink of his soda. “They wanted to go out with me on Saturday. They must be into that three-way thing.”

Michael and Kyle were trying their hardest not to bust out in laughter. They all knew exactly what Max and Alex were doing, but that didn’t stop Liz and Isabel from getting pissed with a capital P.

“Maybe we could wrangle up a few more girls and have one big orgy,” Max said with a straight face.

That sent Michael and Kyle rolling to the ground in laughter. Maria had just taken a drink of her water before Max had said that, and she immediately spat it out in front of her, spraying Tess in the process. Michael and Kyle started to laugh even harder after that, while Tess slowly reached for a napkin and started to dry herself off. Even though water was dripping from her face, Tess couldn’t help but giggle.

“I’m so sorry,” Maria said with a laugh as she reached over to help dry Tess off. “See what you made me do?” she said, turning to Max and Alex who were both snickering lightly.

That’s when Max found the courage to glance over at Liz. As soon as their eyes met, he knew that if they were living together at the moment, he would be sleeping out on the front lawn. From the look in her eyes, she wouldn’t even let him sleep on the couch.

“Uh oh,” Max whispered to himself.

“You’re damn right, uh oh!” Liz said as she continued to glare at him, her arms folded across her chest. “You think you’re pretty funny, don’t you? You enjoy getting a rise out of me just to amuse yourself.”

“Liz, I didn’t say that to…” Max began, only to be silenced when Liz raised her hand in the air.

“I’m not done,” Liz said through gritted teeth. “You want to have a big orgy party, huh? How about I invite some guys over when you and Alex are out? Isabel and I will even videotape it for you. Is that something you’d like to watch?”

“It was a joke,” Max said with a half smile. “The only orgy I want is the one you give me.”

“What if I said no sex for two months?” Liz asked.

“But…” Max started to whine.

“You think that’s too harsh a punishment?” Liz asked.

“Two months for a joke?” Max asked. “It’s not my fault you have no sense of humor.” As soon as those words came out of his mouth, he winced, immediately regretting them.

Liz raised an eyebrow at him. “No sense of humor? How about this?” she asked as she reached over, grabbed his can of sofa and held it over his head, threatening to dump it on him.

“Liz,” Max said softly as he leaned closer to his girlfriend, completely ignoring the can of soda that was hanging over his head. “Why are you so mad? I was only kidding. You know there’s nobody else in this world for me but you. I’m sorry if I made you mad. I was just trying to make the best of the situation you forced me into when you made me wear these cloths.”

Liz slowly lowered the can of soda and looked Max square in the eyes, her anger slowly leaving her body. “I just don’t like to hear about you being with someone else the way you are with me. I know it was just a joke, but it still hurts. I guess there’s just some things that I can’t take lightly, and that’s one of them.”

“I’m sorry,” Max said as he wrapped his arm around Liz’s shoulders, pulling her close to him. “I’ll never do it again. I promise.”

Liz grabbed the front of his t-shirt with both hands and held on tight as she buried her face into the crook of his neck.

Alex, on the other hand, didn’t get off so easily.

“Iz?” Alex asked with a smile.

“Don’t you Iz me,” Isabel said, flames practically shooting out of her eyes. “If you ever cheat on me, I’ll make sure it’s the last time you have sex for the rest of your life.”

Alex involuntarily winced as his legs seemed to close up on their own accord. “I never have, nor will I ever cheat on you,” he said.

That wasn’t enough for Isabel. “Who gave you their phone number?” she asked angrily.

“What?” Alex asked, momentarily confused. “Nobody. I was just kidding.”

“Alex,” Isabel said in a stern voice. “I want to know who gave you their phone number, and I want to know now! You mentioned Loren and Becky. Did they ask for your number?”

“NO!” Alex cried. “It was just a joke. Everyone knows that I’m with you. If anyone tried to give me their number, I’d tell them that.”

“YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT YOU WOULD!” Isabel yelled before she stood up, climbed onto the table and faced the rest of the school. “EVERYBODY, LISTEN UP!” she yelled, getting the entire school’s attention. “IF I CATCH ANYONE GIVING THEIR PHONE NUMBER TO EITHER MY BOYFRIEND OR MY BROTHER, I SWEAR ON EVERYTHING THAT’S HOLY IN THIS WORLD, BY THE TIME I’M DONE WITH YOU, YOUR OWN MOTHER WON’T RECOGNIZE YOU!”

Having said that, she climbed down and sat next to Alex again. “So,” she said in a cheerful voice, looking over at Alex as he tried to hide his face in his hands. “When are you picking me up for our date tonight?”

Alex looked up at her in confusion. “I didn’t know we had anything planned tonight.”

“We do now,” Isabel said with a smile. “And from this day forward, every time I want to go out, you had BETTER take me out.”

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

Friday finally came and Isabel and Liz had done a great job avoiding the bet they had to carry out. Since the assembly was that afternoon, they couldn’t delay singing in the middle of the quad during lunch any longer.

They did have a blast dressing Max and Alex up all week, though. They made their boyfriends wear everything from spandex and Speedos to leather, to retro cloths and things that should only be seen in a 70’s movie.

On their last day, Max and Alex were grateful to find that the two girls had chosen something that was acceptable to them. They had to wear surfing shorts, a button-down shirt that was only halfway buttoned, and sandals. The only problem with the outfits was the shirts. Max’s was bright orange with wild flowers on it, and Alex’s was bright yellow with a surfer on the back.

“So, what song are you going to sing for me?” Max asked as he and Liz walked out into the quad for lunch.

“What are you talking about?” Liz asked, hoping beyond hope that Max had forgotten about the bet.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about little lady,” Max replied with a smile.

Liz shrugged her shoulders. “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

As they walked up to the table, they noticed that everyone was already there. Isabel and Liz exchanged looks, both dreading what they were about to do.

“Any time you’re ready girls,” Alex said with a smile once Max and Liz sat down.

“Let’s get this over with,” Isabel muttered as she reached over and grabbed the stereo that Michael had brought for her to use.

“Have fun,” Michael muttered as the two girls walked off to the middle of the quad.

“How did I let you convince me to sing two songs?” Liz asked as Isabel put the tape into the machine.

“Just think of it this way,” Isabel said as she looked over at her friend. “You’ll get Max to think about things he shouldn’t be thinking in pubic.”

“Still,” Liz muttered as Isabel reached over and pushed the play button.

“You ready?” Isabel asked.

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Liz responded. The butterflies in her stomach were fluttering up a storm. She thought for a second that she was going to pass out from nervousness.

Isabel and Liz slowly made their way back over to the table, and just as they reached it, Blonde’s ‘One Way or Another’ came blaring out of the stereo. Both Max and Alex turned around on the bench and leaned back against the picnic table as they faced the girls.

Isabel and Liz started to move to the music, both ignoring all the other students who were now staring at them. When the first verse came, they both started to sing as loud as they could, their eyes never leaving their boyfriends.

They did a little dance in front of Max and Alex before they walked over and climbed on top of the table. They both started to dance again, now with their boyfriends looking up at them in amusement.

When the song came to end, both girls’ jumped off the table to a round of applause from everyone who was eating lunch in the quad.

Max started to stand up, but Liz pushed him back down before she backed away. “We’re not done yet,” she whispered.

A few seconds later, Bell Biv Devoe’s ‘Do Me’ came on, and the two girls changed modes in a heartbeat. They walked up and stood in front of their boyfriends as they started to sing. They had to change the lyrics a little since the original song was sung by three guys. It was nothing major; instead of saying lady, they said baby - instead of saying girl, they said guy.

When the chorus came, Isabel walked over to Alex, bent down so her lips were just inches away from his, then continued to sing. She pushed his legs apart and then knelt down in front of him, rubbing her well-endowed chest against Alex’s.

Alex was in shock. He didn’t know what to do, or how to react. He was expecting that the two girls would be too embarrassed to do anything but sing the song as quickly as they could, then bolt for the bathroom and hide. This was definitely not what he had expected.

Liz, on the other hand, was a bit more frisky than Isabel was. She walked right over to Max and started to give him a lap dance, grinding herself into him as much as possible. The only thing Max could do, besides stare, was reach out and gently place his hands on Liz’s hips to make sure she didn’t fall off. She was turning him on so badly that he thought he was going to explode at any moment.

Liz moved her face within inches of Max’s while she continued to grind herself into him. She ran her tongue along her lips deliberately when there was a break in the lyrics, devilishly smiling when she saw Max’s eyes darken. She could feel that Max was extremely excited, and to add to his current condition, she leaned in a little closer and licked his lips with her tongue.

When Max tried to kiss Liz, she pulled back and shook her head softly as she started to sing again. She stayed on his lap for the remainder of the song, taking full advantage of her current dominance over him.

When the song came to an end, Isabel and Liz back away from their boyfriends so suddenly that both Max and Alex stumbled forward a bit in their seats. The girls then walked back over to the stereo while the rest of the students in the quad cheered and whistled, laughing the entire time. They were lucky that there weren’t any teachers or administrators out in the quad at the time, otherwise they would have gotten into serious trouble.

Max quickly crossed one leg over the other in an attempt to hide his reaction to Liz. He glanced over at Alex and noticed that he had done the same thing. He could hear Michael and Kyle behind him, and when he turned to face them, he saw that they were both leaning against each other, tears streaming down their faces from laughter.

“You…you should have…seen…your face,” Michael said between laughs.

Maria and Tess were both laughing as well, but nowhere near as hard as Michael and Kyle.

“You both looked like deer that were caught staring into oncoming headlights,” Maria said.

Max turned back around to find out where Liz had gone. He could see her and Isabel talking with a small group of girls halfway across the quad. He noticed that she kept glancing at him, and every time she did, she would smile cockily.

“So that’s how you want to play it, huh?” Max muttered to himself as he playfully glared back at her.

“What was that, Max?” Tess asked.

Max didn’t answer. As soon as his lower extremities would allow, he stood up and determinedly walked over to where Liz was standing.

Liz watched Max the entire time. The look on his face as he walked over to her was exactly the kind of reaction she had hoped for – pure lust.

As soon as Max reached the small group of girls, he reached over and grabbed Liz, throwing her over his shoulder before he continued to walk away from the quad.

Liz let out a giggle as she started to bounce up and down softly on Max’s shoulder. She waved at the girls she had just been talking to, smiling at Isabel when she gave her a knowing look.

Max continued to carry Liz on his shoulder as he entered the school.

“You know, Max,’ Liz said. “Now that you’ve carried me away from the other students like a caveman, I think I can walk on my own.”

Max ignored her. He wasn’t in the mood for talking. All he wanted to do was get to the second floor eraser room as quickly as possible.

“Alright,” Liz said with a sigh. “Have it your way.” She had been trying her hardest to resist the urge to reach down and grab his butt, but her resolve failed. She couldn’t help herself.

Max jumped a little when he felt Liz grab his butt. He couldn’t wait to get to the eraser room. He started to run as fast as he could, listening to Liz laugh as she bounced on his shoulder. He took the steps two at a time, and as soon as he reached the eraser room, he finally put Liz down.

Liz’s feet didn’t even hit the ground before Max started his assault. He reached back and locked the door before he pulled Liz’s shirt over her head. With both of them tearing at each other’s cloths, it didn’t take long for them to remove the essentials.

Max pulled back slightly and playfully glared at Liz again. “You, Miss Parker, are a walking, talking addiction of mine.”

Liz smiled before she seductively licked her lips. “Then why don’t you come get your fix and take care of that craving of yours?”

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

Liz glanced up at the clock during her fifth period class, silently dreading what the end of that class would bring. That’s when the school assembly was going to take place, and she wanted nothing more than to hide out in the bathroom for the rest of the day.

The bell rang and Liz gathered her things. When she stepped out of the classroom, she saw Max leaning against the lockers next to the door.

“Hey,” Max said with a smile.

“Hi,” Liz said, forcing out a smile of her own.

“Don’t look so terrified,” Max said, still smiling. He was going to enjoy this assembly immensely, and the fact that Liz was so nervous about it just added to his amusement.

“I’m sure you’re just loving this, aren’t you?” Liz asked, glaring at him.

Max just continued to smile. “After the crap you’ve made me wear all week, you bet your ass I’m loving this.”

“Is there something I can do to get out of this?” Liz asked with a seductive smile as she reached out and started to play with the buttons on Max’s shirt.

Max couldn’t help but chuckle at Liz’s sexual attempt to evade the inevitable. “Well…now that you mention it,” he said as he leaned in and started to plant hot open-mouthed kisses along her neck, causing her to moan softly. He made his way up to her ear, then whispered: “No.”

Liz let out a gasp as she pulled back with wide eyes. “You jerk!” she exclaimed as she pushed him away and then started to walk down the hallway.

Max laughed lightly as he caught up to Liz. He reached out and wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and when she tried to push his arm off of her, he moved behind her and wrapped both arms around her waist as they continued to walk.

Liz tried to squirm away, but Max held on tight.

“Come on, babe,” Max said into her ear. “You know I want your bod. It’s just that I can’t do the things I want to do to you here at school. Besides, I left my handcuffs and blindfold at home.”

Liz started to laugh, even though she didn’t want to. “Handcuffs, huh?” she asked over her shoulder as she covered his hands with her own.

“I thought we’d try something new,” Max said as he shrugged his shoulders.

“Hey guys,” Maria said as she and Michael walked up to join them. “Isabel and Alex are already in there saving us some seats.”

The four friends walked into the theater that the assembly was going to be held in, and spotted Isabel and Alex right away. Kyle and Tess had already joined them, so everyone was accounted for.

Liz sat next to Isabel, both of them trying to draw strength from each other. Max glanced over at Liz, and noticed that she had twisted her hair into a ball on the top of her head. She only did that when she was extremely nervous.

Max leaned over and grabbed Liz’s hand. “Are you okay?” he asked as he looked into her eyes with concern.

Liz smiled as she reached over and ran her hand down Max’s cheek. “I love you,” she said quietly.

“I love you, too,” Max said as he looked at her a little strangely. “Where did that come from?”

“I just wanted you to know,” Liz said. “Don’t worry…I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?” Max asked.

“Yeah,” Liz said before she leaned over and kissed him gently on the lips.

“Alright, everyone settle down,” Principal Williams called out.

Isabel and Liz exchanged glances, both taking a deep breath at the same time.

The assembly had been going on for about fifteen minutes, and it was time for Liz and Isabel to stand up for their first outburst. Max and Alex smiled at each other as they waited for their girlfriends to find the courage to stand. Liz was supposed to go first, immediately followed by Isabel.

The principal was in the middle of his speech when Liz suddenly stood up and said as loud as she could: “MAX EVANS IS A SEXUAL TIRANISOROUS!” She sat down as quickly as she could, trying to hide her face from the entire school.

Principal Williams stopped mid-sentence and stared at Liz in disbelief. The rest of the student body didn’t know how to react at first, but it didn’t take long for them to burst out into laughter. Principal Williams was about to say something to Liz when Isabel stood up and yelled: “ALEX WHITMAN IS THE MASTER OF MY UNIVERSE!”

Again Principal Williams didn’t know how to respond. It took him a second to find his voice, and when he finally did, the first thing he did was quite the rest of the student body who were all laughing.

“Alright people,” Principal Williams said. “Let’s quite down.” He then turned his attention to Isabel and Liz. “Ms. Evans, Ms. Parker…while it’s always nice to hear the students opinions, I think that maybe in this case you should both hold your tongues.”

Both Isabel and Liz were embarrassed beyond belief. They slumped down as low in their chairs as they could, trying to hide their faces in their hands. Max and Alex both had smiles on their faces as they tried to hold in their laughter. There was still one more thing the two girls needed to say, and it was going to happen towards the end of the assembly.

When the time finally came, Max turned to Liz and smiled, indicating that it was time for her and Isabel to finish their bet. Liz swallowed hard as she turned to face Isabel and saw that her friend was just as terrified as she was. The two girls held hands and took one last deep breath before they stood up and yelled at the same time: “WE ARE BOTH LOVE SLAVES TO OUR MEN!”

Principal Williams wasn’t the least bit impressed by their outburst, considering that he had already warned the girls about their behavior no more than a half an hour ago.

“Ms. Evan, Ms. Parker…I would like to see both of you in my office immediately after the assembly,” Principal Williams announced.

Max and Alex shared a nervous look. Neither one of them thought that the girls would get into trouble for what they did.

“Thanks a lot,” Liz muttered to Max, her face bright red from embarrassment and anger. She refused to look at him, and shrugged him away every time he reached over to hold her hand.

“Come on, Liz,” Max whispered, realizing that she was seriously mad at him. “If I recall correctly, earlier this week Alex and I both ended up in the principal’s office because of what you made us wear, but I didn’t get mad at you for it. Don’t get mad now that the tables have turned.”

“What Isabel and I have to go in there for is a bit worse that what you and Alex did,” Liz responded, throwing a glare Max’s way.

“Fine,” Max said, leaning back in his seat. “Get mad at me if it makes you feel better.”

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

After the assembly, Isabel and Liz waited in the principal’s office while he talked to a couple of students out in the hallway. Liz knew that it wasn’t entirely Max’s fault that she was in trouble, and realized that she had been the one who had gotten him into trouble earlier that week, but she was still mad at him. She had never been called into the principal’s office before; at least not for anything bad.

“Ms. Evans, Ms. Parker,” Principal Williams said as he walked into his office and closed his door halfway.

“Before you say anything, can we at least explain why we did what we did?” Liz asked, desperately wanting the principal to know that she would never do anything like that on her own accord.

“There’s no need to,” Principal Williams said. “I already know why you did it.”

“You do?” Isabel asked in disbelief.

“I know all about the bet you two have with your boyfriends,” Principal Williams said.

Isabel and Liz glanced at each other in shock.

“How did you find out?” Liz asked.

“Mr. Evans just told me about it out in the hallway a few minutes ago,” Principal Williams said. “Apparently he was concerned that the two of you would get into trouble for something that he made you do.”

“He was?” Liz asked, her anger towards Max suddenly disappearing.

Principal Williams nodded. “I just want you two to know that if this incident happens again, there will be disciplinary action taken, bet or no bet.”

“So that’s it?” Liz asked. “We’re not going to get detention or anything?”

“Not the two of you,” Principal Williams said. “Mr. Evans volunteered to take the punishment for the both of you, so he’ll be spending the next two weeks in detention.”

Liz was in shock. After the way she had just treated Max, he still went out of his way to make sure she wouldn’t get into trouble. “What if I don’t want him to take my punishment?”

“Then you’re more than welcome to sit in during detention,” Principal Williams said. “Voluntarily. You’ll be able to leave whenever you want because I’m not going to hand out any detention slips to you. If you have a problem with that, talk to Mr. Evans.”

As Isabel and Liz walked out of the front office, they both let out a sigh.

“I can’t believe my brother did that,” Isabel said.

“Neither can I,” Liz responded. “I need to find him.”

The two girls hurried down the hallway and spotted Alex at the far end, grabbing a few things from his locker. They still had one more class period left, but Liz didn’t care if she missed it or not. She needed to find Max and apologize to him.

“Alex!” Liz exclaimed. “Have you seen Max?”

“He left,” Alex said simply as he shut his locker and turned to face the girls. “He was pretty upset about something. How did it go with the principal?”

“Do you know were he went?” Liz asked, completely ignoring Alex’s question.

“To his house?” Alex guessed as he shrugged his shoulders. “Truthfully, I have no idea.”

“I’ll see you guys later,” Liz said as she ran towards the doors that led out to the parking lot.

“What’s with her?” Alex asked.

“Walk me to class and I’ll explain,” Isabel said as she linked her arm through Alex’s.

Part 22

Max sat on a lawn chair on the back deck of his house, looking out over the back yard. He was trying to figure out why Liz was so edgy lately. She seemed to snap at him at the drop of a hat. He couldn’t even tease her anymore without her getting mad at him. Truth was, it scared him to death. He started thinking that maybe she didn’t want to be with him anymore, that she had grown tired of him.

“Knock, knock,” he heard someone call out softly from the sliding glass door that led out to the balcony.

Max turned to find Liz standing there, both hands behind her back, a nervous smile on her lips. He turned his gaze back to the yard, sadness evident in his eyes.

“Hey,” he replied softly.

Liz slowly walked up and produced a single red rose from behind her back. She held it out for him to take.

Max glanced at the rose, then up at Liz. He reached out, took the rose and stared at it as the corners of his mouth turned up slightly.

“I’m sorry,” Liz said as she sat in the chair next to him.

“What’s going on with you Liz?” Max asked gently as he looked at her.

Liz looked down at her hands as she started to fidget with the rings on her fingers, unable to answer Max’s question.

“You’ve been on edge for the past couple of weeks,” Max said. “I feel like I can’t even talk to you anymore without you getting pissed at me.” He paused a second before he continued. “You know…if you don’t want to be with me, just tell me.”

Liz’s head shot up and she locked eyes with Max. The sadness she saw there caused tears to well up in her own eyes. She reached over and ran her hand down his cheek, then switched chairs, leaving the one she had been sitting on and sat on Max’s lap instead. She buried her face in the crook of his neck as she wrapped her arms around him. “Please don’t ever think that.”

Max wrapped his arms around Liz’ s waist as he buried his face in her hair. “Talk to me, Liz,” he begged. “Please.”

After hearing his plea, Liz started to cry. Her shoulders started to shake as she held on to Max even tighter.

Max let her cry on his shoulder, patiently waiting until she was ready to talk. After a few minutes, Liz’s sobs died down and she relaxed her grip on Max a little. She kept her head resting against his shoulder as she started to play with the buttons on his shirt, needing something to distract her while she tried to explain.

“I want to be with you more than anything in the world,” Liz said.

“Then what’s wrong?” Max asked.

“Me,” Liz said simply. “I know I’ve been acting like a bitch lately, and I’m sorry. I don’t mean to snap at you, and I definitely don’t mean to start fights with you. It’s just that…you’re leaving me in a couple of months.”

“What are you talking about?” Max asked, confused. “I’m not leaving you anywhere.”

“We both know that your parents won’t let you take a year off from college,” Liz said. “And I seriously doubt that they’ll let you take correspondence classes.”

“You’re worried that they’ll make me go away to college?” Max asked.

“Yeah,” Liz said. “I don’t think I can make it through an entire year without seeing you.”

“Even if they make me go away, I’ll still come back whenever I can,” Max said.

“But what if you go to California, or some school on the east coast?” Liz asked. “I’ll only see you a couple of times throughout the year.”

“That won’t happen,” Max reassured her. “If they insist that I attend a major university, I’ll go to UNM for the first year, then transfer out after you graduate so we can go to college together. I’ll be home every weekend, and could even come to visit a few time during the week.”

“It won’t be the same,” Liz said. “I won’t be able to see you every day. I NEED to see you every day.”

Max took a deep breath as he hugged Liz close to him. “Just think of it this way…after you graduate, we won’t ever have to be separated again. We can move in together…and maybe…maybe get…get married.” He whispered the last part, not knowing if it would scare her away.

Liz froze for a few seconds, desperately hoping that her ears weren’t playing tricks on her. She pulled back and looked Max square in the eyes, the corners of her mouth turned up slightly as a sparkle entered her eyes. “Ma…married? You want to marry me?”

“Well, now that I think about it,” Max said, raising his eyebrows slightly as a half smile came to his lips. “After the way you’ve been acting the past couple of weeks, I’m not so sure anymore.”

A full-blown smile overtook Liz’s lips as she looked down nervously.

Max’s smile grew to enormous proportions as he watched Liz smile. The only thing that kept running through his mind at that moment was, ‘She’s back. My Liz is back.’

“By the way,” Liz said, looking back up at Max. “You are NOT going to take my punishment and end up in detention for two weeks.”

“Sorry babe,” Max said as he shrugged. “Things are already set in motion and I can’t stop them.”

“If you’re not going to let me take some of the punishment, I’m just going to have to sit in with you voluntarily,’ Liz said.

“That’s crazy,” Max said with a smile. “Who would want to go to detention voluntarily?”

“Me,” Liz said. “That’s where you’ll be, so that’s where I want to be.”

“Let me ask you something,” Max said as he shifted closer to Liz. “Would you have come over here if I hadn’t talked to the principal and gotten you and Iz off the hook?”

“Eventually,” Liz said as she nodded. “Although I doubt you would have gotten a flower.”

“I thought the flower was part of your apology for snapping at me the last couple of weeks,” Max said.

“Nope,” Liz said as she tilted her head back and looked into his eyes. “This is part of the apology for snapping at you the last couple of weeks,” she said before she closed her mouth over his. She shifted in the chair until she was straddling him and then slowly kissed her way down to his neck, unbuttoning his shirt in the process.

Max stood up with Liz still straddling him, having her wrap her legs around his waist, her arms around his neck. He then made his way inside and up to his room.

“Apology accepted,” Max mumbled against Liz’s lips as he kicked his bedroom door shut. He laid her down on his bed, then pulled back slightly when he noticed that she was smiling. “What?”

“I was just wondering where those handcuffs were,” Liz said with a mischievous gleam in her eyes.

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

The next several weeks flew by and before anyone knew it, graduation was upon them. The seniors rehearsed everything from the Baccalaureate to walking down the isle and sitting in the right chairs to crossing the stage for their diplomas.

Ever since the conversation Liz had with Max out on his deck, she had loosened up dramatically. She realized that while he would be two hours away, he would ONLY be two hours away. She could easily make a trip out to Albuquerque during the week if her need to see him became too great. And he would be home every weekend just to see her. It was only for a year, but the great part about it was that college semester’s were shorter than those for high school, so Max would be home for most of December and wouldn’t have to go back until the third week in January. They would have over a month and a half to spend together during Christmas break.

One of the biggest accomplishments for Liz over the past year, besides hooking up with Max, was Michael. She continued to tutor him and was elated to hear that not only did he pass chemistry, but he raised his grade from a failing one to a C. When he heard that from Mr. Fortin, Michael was on a rampage as he walked through the school hallways looking for Liz.

When he finally found her, encased in Max’s arms of course, he walked right up and pulled her away from Max, then picked her up and spun her around in the air a few times. Liz was surprised to say the least. She started laughing as Michael put her down and pulled her into a hug. He held on for a few seconds, nearly suffocating her with his grip.

He then turned to Max who was looking at him with an amused half smile. He walked over and pulled Max into a hug, catching him off guard. Max hugged him back briefly before Michael let go and turned to the rest of the gang. Everyone, especially Max and Liz, were looking at him strangely.

“I’m going to get a C in chemistry!” Michael explained, the large smile still plastered on his face.

Liz gasped as a smile came over her lips, her eyes wide. She threw her arms around Michael’s neck and started to bounce up and down from the excitement. “Congratulations! I knew you could do it.”

“Thanks to you,” Michael said as he pulled back and looked down at Liz. “Thank you.”

“Not to ruin this happy moment for you two lovebirds,” Max said with a half smile. “But I think it’s about time we had a graduation celebration.”

“Good idea,” Liz said as she walked over and planted a soft kiss on Max’s lips.

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

The day of graduation came, and the high school quad was packed full. The seniors were all given a certain number of assigned seats for their relatives to sit in, so Max, Isabel, Michael, Tess and Liz’s parents all sat together. Liz, Maria and Kyle all sat with them, taking up the rest of the row.

Max’s parents weren’t too happy to hear that he was going to UNM next year. They thought that he would be going to one of the more prestigious schools he had been accepted to. But after Max explained that he would be transferring to one of those schools the following year, Phillip and Diane reluctantly agreed. Although it was never said out loud, both parents knew that Max was sticking around for Liz.

The Baccalaureate had already taken place a couple of days earlier, and it was nothing extravagant. A speech from the principal was just about all that happened.

As they all waited for the seniors to walk down the isle, Liz and Maria were talking.

“So, what is Michael going to do now?” Liz asked.

“He wants to draw for a living,” Maria said. “The only problem is that he didn’t even bother to apply to any colleges, so he’ll have to wait at least another semester until he can go to school.”

“What’s he going to do for the next six months?” Liz asked.

“I think he wants to go live with Max in Albuquerque,” Maria said with a smile.

Liz let out a little shriek. “That would be so perfect - both our men living together. We could drive out there together and visit them…maybe stay over night a few times.”

Before Maria could respond, the music started to play and the first seniors made their way down the isle. The honor students were first, so Max was near the front. Everyone stood up, and as Liz’s eyes locked with Max’s, they both smiled at each other. He and Tess walked down the isle together, both wearing ‘Honors’ banners around their necks.

Max’s eyes stayed glued to Liz for as long as possible. Once he was past her, he walked over to his seat, turned around and continued to stare at her. She was staring right back at him, a teary smile on her face. She mouthed the words ‘I Love You’ and then blew him a kiss.

Max smiled as he mouthed back ‘I Love You’, then added ‘Always’.

The next ones down the isle were Alex and Isabel. Alex had his chin raised in the air as he strutted down the isle with Isabel on his arm, both of them also wearing ‘Honors’ banners. As Maria looked at them, she couldn’t be certain, but it didn’t look like Alex was wearing anything underneath his graduation robe.

Student after student made their way down the isle, until Michael finally came into view. The graduating class ended up having one more guy than girl, so Michael had immediately volunteered to walk down the isle solo. He was the last one, and as he proudly made his way to his seat, a smile plastered itself across his face.

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

The ceremony had been going pretty well until the last two speeches. The Valedictorian speech was rather bland, but not nearly as bad as the vice principals. Nearly the entire congregation fell asleep and had to be woken up by the band afterwards.

Then came the diplomas.

Students’ names were called out one by one, each student walking up on stage to receive their diploma. Instead of reading off the students’ names alphabetically, the school read them off in the order they walked down isle, starting with the honors students.

When Max’s name was called, the applause from the crowd was deafening. Max had always been a popular guy, so it came as no surprise that the entire student body was cheering for him. But out of the hundreds of people that were gathered there, as soon as Max had his diploma in hand, he turned to Liz. He held it up for her to see, then turned to his parents and showed them.

The process followed with Tess, Isabel and Alex. True to Alex’ personality, when he got up on stage he did a little dance once he had his diploma in hand, causing the entire student body to cheer and whistle. He was about to unzip his robe and expose himself to the audience when he made eye contact with his mom. He looked away, quickly losing the nerve to bare all.

The last person to be called was Michael, and as he walked up on stage, Max, Tess, Isabel and Alex all stood up and started to applaud. As soon as Michael had his diploma in hand, he stopped center stage and triumphantly raised it over his head. Liz, Maria and Kyle were also standing and applauding, each of them knowing just how far Michael had come in order to graduate. It wasn’t that he was a bad student; he just lacked the self-motivation to do his studies.

After the ceremony, all the parents and undergraduate students stood around the quad as they waited for the seniors to make their way over to them.

“Max, Isabel!” Diane Evans called out when she saw her two children. She quickly closed the distance between them and hugged both of her kids at the same time. “I’m so proud of you two!”

When they pulled back, Max and Isabel saw Phillip walk up. “Come here you two!” he said with a smile as he pulled them into a hug.

Mr. Parker then walked up and shook hands with Max. “Congratulations Max.”

“Thanks,” Max replied before Mrs. Parker pulled him into a hug.

“I consider you part of our family, so it feels like I have a son graduating today,” Mrs. Parker said before she released her hold on Max.

Max smiled as he pulled away. He then noticed Liz standing off to the side, waiting for her turn with him. He made his way over and stopped right in front of her. Liz smiled and let out a laugh as she threw herself into Max’s arms. “Love you,” she whispered.

“Love you,” Max replied as he buried his face into her hair. “So much.”

“Come on you two,” Diane called out. “Let’s take some pictures.”

posted on 24-Oct-2001 7:16:42 PM
Part 23

“I’m ready to party!” Maria exclaimed as she and Liz walked up to Max’s front door. Since it was graduation night, the gang decided to go out and party. The school had planned a senior trip, but nobody wanted to go on it. They all preferred to hang out with their small group friends.

Just as Liz was about to open the front door and walk in (Diane had insisted that Liz just walk in without knocking whenever she came over) she heard someone call her name from the roof. She backed up a few steps with Maria and looked up to find Michael and Max standing on the shingles above the front door.

“Hey babe,” Max said. Even though it was getting dark out, Liz could still see his face perfectly.

“Hon…what are you doing up there?” Liz asked.

“Oh…Alex made a bet that Michael and I wouldn’t be able to jump off the top of the roof without hurting ourselves,” Max said with a smile.

“MAXWELL EVANS!!” Liz exclaimed as she put her hands on her hips. “GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!”

“I was just kidding,” Max said with a chuckle.

“I don’t care,” Liz said with a bit of an attitude. “Get down here now!”

“Yes dear,” Max mumbled, hanging his head as he climbed down a nearby ladder.

“That’s better,” Liz said with a smile as she wrapped her arms around Max’s neck and kissed him softly.

“And just what do you think you’re doing up there?” Maria asked Michael who was still standing on the roof.

“I’m waiting for Max to get his ass back up here so we can finish putting up these lights,” Michael said as he glared at Max, his arms folded across his chest.

“What lights?” Liz asked after she ended her kiss with Max.

“Isabel won’t let us leave tonight until we put up some Christmas lights,” Max said with a sigh as he walked back over to the ladder.

“Christmas lights in the middle of June?” Maria asked.

“It’s going to say ‘Class of ’01’,” Isabel said as she walked out the front door just in time to hear Maria’s question. “Aren’t you guys done yet?”

“Why don’t you get up here and help if you’re so impatient,” Michael said. “This whole thing is your idea anyway.”

“Boy…somebody’s got a temper,” Isabel muttered.

“Where’s Alex?” Liz asked, looking over Isabel’s shoulder expecting to find Alex nearby.

“He was smart,” Max said from the roof as he stapled a row of lights in place. “He split as soon as he saw Isabel grab the box of lights.”

“But I thought we were all going to hang out tonight,” Maria said, confused.

“We are,” Isabel said. “Alex should be here any minute now. He had to run home really quickly because his parents wanted to take some more graduation pictures.”

“What a load of crap,” Michael said with a smirk. “The only reason he left was because he didn’t want to help out with your little light project.”

“Michael, quit bitching and hand me another strand of lights,” Max said, getting slightly annoyed.

“Bitching!?” Michael demanded. “Bitching? Don’t even try to tell me that you’re enjoying yourself up here.”

“No, but moaning and groaning about it isn’t going to get the job done any faster,” Max said.

“You tell him, Max,” Isabel said, glad that someone other than herself was tired of hearing Michael gripe.

“Don’t even get me started on you, Iz,” Max warned, glaring down at his sister.

Isabel glanced at Liz and Maria, flashing them a playful grimace before she quickly retreated into the house.

“DONE!” Max announced, raising both hands in the air triumphantly.

“Finally,” Michael muttered as he climbed down the ladder. “If those lights don’t work, you better not expect me to go back up there to find out what’s wrong with them.”

“Not a chance,” Max said as he followed Michael down. “That’s Alex’s job.” Just then, Alex drove up and parked behind Liz’s car on the street. “Speaking of Alex…he sure does have good timing.”

“Hey guys,” Alex said as he glanced up at the roof. “Nicely done boys.”

“And guess who gets to clean it up all by himself?” Michael asked as he wrapped his arm around Maria’s shoulders.

“Oh, come on, Michael,” Alex said with a mock frown. “It wouldn’t be fair to make Max clean all that up by himself.”

“Ha, ha…very funny,” Max said as he grabbed Liz’s hand and led her inside the house.

“Aren’t you going to see if the lights work?” Maria asked.

“I have to go get Isabel and my parents,” Max called out over his shoulder. But once he and Liz were alone in the house, Max turned and pushed her up against the wall, closing his mouth over hers.

The move initially caught Liz off guard, but she quickly recovered, wrapping her arms around Max’s neck as she pulled his body closer to hers. She then pushed him back slightly before she hopped up and wrapped her legs around his waist. Out of the corner of his eye, Max spotted the empty bathroom just down the hallway. He held Liz close as he carefully walked into the bathroom and closed the door, locking it.

“You have to be quiet,” Max warned between kisses.

“What?” Liz asked, still in a daze.

“My parents are upstairs so we have to be quite,” Max clarified.

“That might turn out to be a big prob…” Liz began, stopping mid-sentence and letting out a moan when Max reached down and touched her exactly where she desperately wanted him too.

“Shhh,” Max whispered with a smile before he continued his assault on Liz.

“If you want me to keep quiet, you’ll have to gag me,” Liz said through gritted teeth as she ripped at Max’s cloths.

“I’m sure we can think of a way to keep those moans down,” Max said before he dove in for another kiss.

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

“Where the hell’s Max?” Michael asked as he stood out on the front lawn with the entire group, including Phillip and Diane.

“Watch your language,” Maria said, motioning toward Phillip and Diane with her head.

“I’ll go check on him,” Phillip said as he started to walk back into the house.

“Michael!” Maria hissed, elbowing him in the side.

“What?” Michael asked, annoyed.

“Put two and two together, will ya? Max AND Liz are missing…together…in the house…alone…” Maria let her sentence drop off, hoping that Michael would catch on to what she was saying.

“Yeah…” Michael said, not really paying attention to what Maria was saying at first. “OH!! OH, YEAH!!” he said, rushing after Phillip. “Why don’t you let me go find him, Mr. E. Max said that he needed to go check on something in the garage, so it’ll only take me a second.”

“Oh, okay,” Phillip said with a shrug. “Thanks Michael.”

“No problem,” Michael said as he walked into the house. Max was going to owe him big time for this. “MAXWELL!!” he called out as he walked down the hallway. He could hear muffled sounds coming from the end of the hallway, and as he got closer, the bathroom door flew open to reveal a very flustered Max.

Max let out a sigh of relief when he saw that it was Michael and not his dad. He reached back and grabbed Liz’s hand before he walked out of the bathroom with her. “You scared the crap out of me!”

“You owe me big time,” Michael said as he folded his arms across his chest. “Your dad was about to come in here looking for you, but I convinced him to let me go instead.”

“You’re a pal,” Max said with a smile as he patted Michael on the shoulder, then walked past him on his way outside, Liz in tow.

“Uh, Max?” Michael called out.

“Yeah,” Max said, turning around to face his friend.

Michael glanced down at Max’s shirt with a raised eyebrow, waiting for his friend to figure out what was wrong.

Max followed Michael’s gaze and looked down at his shirt, noticing for the first time that it was inside out and backwards. “Uh…thanks,” Max mumbled as he fixed his shirt, his face bright red just like Liz’s.

“Come on,” Michael said with a smirk as he led the way outside.

When Max and Liz walked out of the house together, both Phillip and Diane gave them a suspicious look.

This did not go unnoticed by Isabel, who cleared her throat in an attempt to get everyone’s attention. “Alrighty then. Let’s see if the lights work.”

Max nervously looked anywhere but at his parents, happily walking over to plug in the lights just to get away from their scrutinizing gaze. Liz followed him, not wanting to feel his parents’ stare any longer either.

“This is all your fault,” Liz whispered as Max picked up the plug to the lights.

“I didn’t hear you complaining a few minutes ago,” Max said, looking over his shoulder at his parents.

“Well…that was a few minutes ago,” Liz said, trying to defend her argument.

“Oh please,” Max said with a half smile as he looked at Liz. “You know just as well as I do that you’d do it all over again if given the chance.”

Liz gasped as she looked at Max, trying to think of a good comeback to hit him with. She opened her mouth a few times to speak, but no words came out. “So,” she finally said as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.

Max let out a chuckle as he plugged in the lights. He then wrapped his arm around Liz’s shoulders as he walked back over to the group. “How about this,” he whispered into her ear. “Later on tonight, I promise to pick up where we left off in the bathroom.”

Liz smiled as she gazed up at Max. “And just where are we going to do this? Your parents will still be here later on tonight.”

“Leave that to me,” Max whispered before he placed a feather light kiss on Liz’s earlobe, causing her to shiver.

“Well done boys,” Diane said with a smile as she looked up at the roof. ‘Class of ‘01’ was written perfectly in cursive, much to Max and Michael’s relief. They both knew that if one light was out of place, Isabel would make them go back up there and fix it.

“So,” Diane said as she turned to face the group of teens that were gathered around her. “What are you guys doing tonight?”

“The Inferno,” Alex announced with a smile.

“Well, have a good time then,” Diane said. “And if you guys see Greg, say hi for me.”

“Will do Mrs. E.,” Michael said before he led the group over to their cars.

“Who’s Greg?” Liz asked Max.

“He’s the owner of the club.”

“Oh,” Liz said, nodding her head. “Did you want to drive, or did you want me to?”

Max looked back and forth between his Jeep and Liz’s Honda Civic, a devilish smile suddenly forming on his face. “You have a VTEC engine in there, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” Liz said, dragging out the word, not liking the way Max was smiling at her.

“Hey Michael,” Max called out. “Catch.” He threw his car keys over to his friend and then turned back to Liz. “Can I drive your car?” he asked with the same devilish smile.

“I don’t like that look in your eyes,” Liz said, narrowing her eyes at her boyfriend.

“I promise that nothing will happen to your car,” Max said.

“Okay,” Liz answered before reluctantly handing over her keys. “Not a scratch.”

“Right,” Max said, looking over at Michael again. “Tag?”

Michael smiled as he nodded and pointed at Max. “You’re on!”

“Wait!” Liz called out as she followed Max over to her car. “Tag? What’s tag?”

“You’ll see,” Max said as he opened Liz’s door for her.

“I want to be on the winning team this time so I think I’ll go with Max,” Alex said as he dragged Isabel over to the Honda.

“You picked the wrong car if you want to be on the winning team,” Tess said as she and Kyle climbed into the Jeep.

“Ro sham bow to see who’s it?” Michael asked as he and Max approached each other.

“Of course,” Max said. The two friends held out their hands and proceeded to play rock-paper-scissors.

“Sorry buddy,” Max said. “Rock beats scissors.”

“Best two out of three,” Michael said, holding out his hand again.

“Yeah right,” Max said as he started to back away. “You’re it. We’ll play until we get to the nightclub. I’ll take the long route just so you can fool yourself into believing that you have a chance to win.”

“You’re going down Maxwell,” Michael said before he turned and ran to the Jeep.

Max turned and ran to the Honda, jumping into the drivers seat before quickly starting the engine.

“What’s going on?” Liz asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Is everyone buckled in?” Max asked.

“Yeah,” came the resounding answer.

“Max?” Liz said. “What’s going on?”

Max just smiled at her before he released the parking brake. “Hold on.” He floored the accelerator and looked into his rearview mirror to find Michael gunning it out of the driveway, trying to catch up with him.

Max took a sharp left, causing the tires on the car to squeal.

“MAX!” Liz exclaimed, trying her best to sound pissed but failing miserably at it. “What the hell are you doing!?”

“If you roll your window down it heightens the experience,” Alex said as he leaned forward between the two front seats.

Isabel rolled her eyes as she too leaned forward. “Men and their testosterone,” she said, sharing a laugh with Liz.

“Hold on,” Max said as he looked in the rearview mirror at Michael, who was trying to gain ground on him. He took a sharp right, then a left, knowing that his Jeep wouldn’t be able to take the corners as well as the Honda could.

“Okay, I have one big concern here,” Liz said. “How exactly does Michael ‘tag’ us? Please don’t tell me that he’s going to hit my car.”

“Well,” Max said, raising his eyebrows.

“MAX!” Liz yelled. “Please tell me you’re joking!”

“Okay…I’m joking,” Max said unconvincingly.

“Are you joking now, or are you serious?” Liz asked.

“Just relax,” Max said with a chuckle. “All Michael has to do is pass me.”

Liz let out a sigh as she leaned her head back against the seat. “Please don’t let me die, please don’t let me die,” she kept repeating to herself.

Just then Liz’s cell phone rang. Liz reached into her purse and answered it. “Hello?”

“LIZ!”

“Hi Maria,” Liz said with a sigh.

“What the hell are these two psychos doing!?” Maria screeched into the phone.

Liz could tell by the tone of her voice that her friend was starting to freak out. “Just relax, Maria.”

“RELAX!?” Maria asked in disbelief. “They’re going to kill me!”

“Look, I have to go,” Liz said. “I can’t talk to you and brace myself from the sharp corners at the same time. If we make it to the club alive I’ll talk to you then.”

Just then Max made another sharp left. Michael anticipated his move and quickly pulled up alongside him. Luckily for them no other cars were on the road. Max and Michael exchanged smiles before Max gave his friend a solute and floored it, taking full advantage of the VTEC engine.

“Alright, Max!” Alex said with a smile. “Put the pedal to the medal!”

Several minutes, and several sharp turns later, Max and Michael pulled into The Inferno’s parking lot.

“WE WIN!” Alex announced as he climbed out of the car.

“You cheated,” Michael said as he approached Max.

“Cheated?” Max asked with amusement. “How did I cheat?”

“You had better handling and a better engine,” Michael said.

“Better engine?” Max asked in disbelief. “My Jeep has a V-6 in it!”

“And Liz’s Honda has a VTEC engine,” Michael pointed out, crossing his arms over his chest. “It takes a lot more horsepower to get your Jeep going than it does the Civic.”

“Rematch, rematch,” Alex started chanting.

“NO WAY!” Liz said, shaking her head adamantly. “You are not racing in my car again! Max…give me the keys,” she said as she reached out with her hand.

Max turned to Liz with puppy dog eyes, giving her his best pout.

“Don’t,” Liz said, turning her head to the side so she couldn’t see him. If she looked into his eyes for too long she knew that she’d give in.

Max let his head drop and his shoulders slump. He reached out and placed the keys in Liz’s hand, letting out a sigh in the process.

Now that Liz had the keys in her hands, she turned and looked at Max. “Oh, you poor thing,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck, pretending to be sympathetic.

“I want to drive,” Max said, still pouting.

“Tell you what,” Liz said as lightly placed her lips over Max’s. “If you show me a good time tonight, I just might let you drive us home.”

Max’s face lit up as he raised his head and looked into Liz’s eyes. “You’re on!” he said, grabbing her hand before leading the group to the front door.

“I still want a rematch,” Michael said before the group entered the club.

“The only way I’m going home with you is if I get to drive,” Maria said to Michael.

“Alright,” Alex said with a smile, a plan forming in his head. “Now that Max and Michael have played against each other, how about their women play on the way home?”

“Maria against Liz?” Michael asked with a laugh. “Car tag?”

“Yeah,” Alex said with a smile.

“Yeah right,” Michael said, dismissing Alex’s suggestion.

“What’s the matter Michael?” Max asked. “Afraid your girlfriend drives better than you do?”

“Chicks can’t race,” Michael said, acting as if that explained everything.

“Oh really?” Liz asked, placing her hands on her hips.

“Maybe Maria can’t, but I’m willing to bet on Liz,” Max said with a smile, wrapping his arm around Liz’s shoulders.

“What do you mean ‘maybe Maria can’t’?” Maria asked, glaring at Max. “That little car of Liz’s doesn’t stand a chance against me!”

“Little car?” Liz asked. “That ‘little car’ will kick the crap out of that semi you have to drive.”

“Hey!” Max said, backing away as he looked at Liz, offended by her comment about his Jeep.

“Sorry babe,” Liz said, throwing him an apologetic look. “Just trying to make a point that she doesn’t stand a chance.”

“Oh,” Max said, wrapping his arm back around Liz’s shoulders. “Okay.”

“So the bet’s on!” Alex said as he clapped his hands together. “What are we going to bet on?”

Max and Michael exchanged looks, both thinking the exact same thing. There was no way they were going to subject themselves to the kind of things that had taken place the last time there was a bet.

“MONEY!” they both said in unison.

Part 24

Since it was Saturday night, the dance club was pretty packed. As soon as the group walked through the front doors, they were greeted by Greg, the owner.

“Congratulations everyone!” Greg said with a smile.

“Thanks,” Isabel said as she gave him a quick hug. “Mom and dad say hi.”

“Yeah, I just talked to them a couple of seconds ago,” Greg said as he shook Max’s hand. “I took the liberty of reserving you guys a table. I hope you don’t mind.”

“There is a God,” Alex said, letting out a sigh of relief. Finding a table on a Saturday night was not the most pleasant of experiences.

Everyone followed Greg over to the far corner of the club where a secluded table sat in the corner booth. “Can I get you guys something to drink?” he asked as everyone began to sit.

“Nothing for me,” Alex said as he reached down and pulled Isabel out of the booth mer seconds after she had sat down. “Lets dance Momasita.”

Isabel let out a laugh as Alex dragged her onto the dance floor.

“I’ll have a burbon, on the rocks,” Michael said, trying his best to act of age.

Greg nodded with amusement as he turned to the others.

“Nothing for me right now,” Max said before he turned to Liz.

“I’m fine, thank you,” Liz said politely.

“I could use some water,” Maria said.

“Same here,” Kyle and Tess said in unison, smiling at each other.

“Okay, so I’ve got three waters and a root beer,” Greg said, smiling at a very disappointed Michael. “I’ll be right back.”

As soon as Greg left, Max turned and pulled Liz into his side. “What do you say beautiful? Care to dance?”

“With you? Always,” Liz said with a smile.

Max smiled back before he slid out of the booth and led the way onto the dance floor. He walked to the middle of the floor before he stopped, pulled Liz close to his body and began to dance with her. ‘All My Life’ by K-Ci and JoJo was playing, and as Liz buried her face into the crook of Max’s neck, she realized that the words to the song described exactly what she was feeling.

“What are you thinking about?” Max whispered into Liz’s ear after he felt her smile against his neck.

Liz pulled back and looked into his eyes adoringly. “I was just thinking about how perfect these past few months have been.”

Max smiled as he cupped Liz cheek and ran his thumb along her cheekbone. “I know what you mean,” he said before he slowly moved in for a kiss.

Liz’s eyes slowly closed just as Max’s lips met hers. She couldn’t help the smile that came to her face as she kissed him back.

“Get a room,” Alex muttered, causing both Max and Liz to break apart and look over at him. He and Isabel where both smiling as they danced next to them. Before Liz could say anything in return, the song ended and Will Smiths’ ‘Getti’ Jiggy With It’ came on. “Come on Maxie!” Alex said, pointing at the stage.

“Don’t even think about it Alice,” Max warned.

“Lets do it out here then,” Alex said with a smile.

Max eyed him for a second before he agreed. “Fine.”

“Do what?” Liz asked.

“Just watch,” Alex said with a smile. Both he and Max started to dance in sync, each doing the exact same moves as the other. It didn’t take long before a circle of people gathered around them on the floor, cheering them on.

Liz watched with amusement as Max and Alex danced. She could tell that they had practiced this little dance routine of theirs before. When the song came to an end, both Alex and Max did a back flip to finish off their little dance performance, eliciting cheers and whistles from all those who had gathered around to watch.

Max was completely out of breath as he walked back over to Liz. Alex on the other hand absorbed the attention, bowing and waving to the crowd. “Thank you, thank you. I’ll be here ‘til midnight.”

“Wow,” Liz said as she wrapped her arm around Max’s waist. “It looks like you’ve done that before.”

“Once or twice,” Max said as he took deep breaths.

“Did you want to take a break?” Liz asked with a giggle.

“Of course not,” Max said with a forced smile. “Just give me a second.”

By this time, Michael, Maria, Kyle and Tess had all made their way out to join their friends.

“Nice one, Maxwell!” Michael said as he slapped his friend on the back. “You do realize that at some point tonight Alex will get us up there on stage, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I know,” Max said. “I’m just trying to put if off as long as I can.”

“I want to dance,” Maria whined as she pulled on Michael’s shirt sleeve.

“Then dance,” Michael said with a shrug.

Maria rolled her eyes as she grabbed Michael’s arms and forced him to dance with her.

Max smiled when he heard Michael let out a groan. He then glanced over at Kyle and Tess, who where both really into each other at the moment. Tess had her hands all over Kyle’s body and vice versa. Granted they weren’t groaping each other, but they were practially doing everything else.

After Max and Liz danced to a few more songs, they decided to take a break.

“Come on,” Max said with a smile as he grabbed Liz’s hand. A smile lit up Liz’s face when she realized exactly where Max was taking her. He was taking her to the balcony on the top floor of the dance club – the spot where they had shared their first kiss.

When they walked out onto the balcony, into the hot summer night, Max wrapped his arms around Liz and started to slow dance with her. The sounds of the club where a faint hum in the background, everything expect for the music.

Liz giggled as she wrapped her arms around Max’s neck. “Um, honey…this isn’t a slow song.”

“Yes it is,” Max said with a smile, his adoration for Liz evident in his eyes. “It’s always a slow song in here,” he said, placing the palm of Liz’s hand against his chest, right over his heart.

Liz smiled at Max before she closed her eyes and leaned in, resting her cheek against his chest, right next to her hand. She let out a sigh of contempment as she snuggled closer to the love of her life. “I love you.”

“And I love you,” Max said as he nuzzled the top of Liz’s head with his cheek. A few seconds later, Aerosmith’s ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ started to play down in the club. “Here’s your slow song,” Max said as he reached out and placed his index finger under Liz chin, raising her head until she was looking at him. He slowly bent down, his eyes focused on Liz’s lips.

Liz’s eyes fluttered shut as she anticipated the kiss. She didn’t have to wait long before she felt Max’s lips brush against hers. The kiss was slow and tender, filled with love and understanding. They took their time, neither in a hurry to break apart any time soon.

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

“Alright, where did Max and Liz run off to?” Alex asked as he scanned the crowd.

“Do you really want to know?” Michael asked, causing Kyle to chuckle softly.

“I don’t,” Kyle said with a smile, holding his hands up in the air.

“Well we can’t start having fun until we find them,” Alex said.

“No…you mean we can’t go up on stage and embarrass ourselves until we find them,” Michael corrected his friend.

“You’re not going to make us go up on stage, are you Alex?” Tess whined.

“Hey, it could be fun,” Alex said defensively as his eyes wandered over Tess’s shoulder and focused on the stage. A few seconds later, Greg’s voice came out over the speakers.

“I hope everyone’s having a good time,” Greg said, causing the crowd to cheer in response. “Good. Listen…tonight is a very special night for a few of our guests. You see…today was graduation day for West Roswell High School, and some very close friends of mine were among those who graduated. Now…I know that minors are not normally allowed in the club, but I’m sure that most of you regulars already know who I’m talking about. Come on up graduates!”

Alex was the first to move, proudly walking up to the stage with his chin in the air. Isabel was next, only because Alex had a firm hold of her hand. Michael and Tess followed her, leaving Maria and Kyle out on the dance floor.

“Oh no you don’t,” Greg said, looking directly at Kyle and Maria. “You may not have graduated yet, but you still belong up here on stage.”

Kyle and Maria looked at each other for a second before Kyle shrugged and motioned for Maria to walk ahead of him. Once they were on stage, Greg looked around the room, his eyes narrowing when he couldn’t find Max or Liz.

“MAX EVANS!” Greg said loudly, his voice booming off the walls of the club. “YOU HAVE TEN SECONDS TO GET DOWN HERE BEFORE I HOP OFF THIS STAGE, TRACK YOU DOWN AND GIVE YOU AN ASS WHOOPIN!”

The entire club was silent as everyone looked around for the two teenagers. Everybody’s attention was directed to the stairs leading to the second floor when they heard two sets of feet running down them.

Max and Liz stopped halfway down the stairs when they noticed that everyone was staring at them, both turning five different shades of red when everyone started to cheer. Max lowered his head and Liz tried her best to hide behind him as they made their way onto the stage.

“Nice of you two to join us,” Greg joked. “Now, in case you’re all wondering if I’m going to make this group of graduates – and soon to be graduates-give us a little performance here on stage, the answer is no.” A chorus of boos erupted from the crowd as Greg walked over and wrapped his arm around Max’s shoulders, who was smiling at him with gratitude. “I’m not going to make them perform. But I do want to give them their presents now.”

Max reached out and covered the microphone with his hand as he leaned closer to Greg. “You didn’t have to get us anything.”

“I know,” Greg said with a smile. “Just think of it as a reward for the numerous performances you guys have given here at the club over the past year or so.” Greg reached behind him and opened a bag that had been sitting on stage. “First up is Michael. I still remember the first time you came to my club. It was on a night where we allowed anyone over eighteen in, and we let the crowd pick the songs that were played. Someone requested Britney Spears, and I can vividly remember the look of nausia that passed across your face. I thought I’d give you something to remember that night, so here you go.” He handed Michael a neatly folded sweatshirt.

Michael held the sweatshirt up to see what was on it, quickly turning to Greg with raised eyebrows as soon as he did.

“Show the crowd what you got,” Greg said with a smile.

Michael turned to the audience and held up the sweatshirt. On the front there was a gigantic picture of none other than Britney Spears.

“Very nice,” Maria said with a smile as she wrapped her arm around Michael’s waist.

“Yeah right,” Michael muttered.

“Next is Alex,” Greg said, reaching into the bag again. “Every time you come here, you always give us a performance. I thought you might like something that shows off your immence talent,” he said, handing Alex a plack.

Alex let out a laugh when he saw that the plack showed a picture of himself dancing up on stage with a caption reading: “” He held it up for everyone to see while Greg read off the caption.

“The next present is for Isabel,” Greg said, pulling another sweatshirt from the bag. “Even though she’ll never admit it, I know she has a secret crush on this guy.

Isabel held the sweatshirt up, shaking her head as she turned it around to show the others. There was a picture of Justin Timberlake, a member of ‘N Sync.

“Whatever,” Isabel said with a smile, taking the joke lightly.

“Max and Tess,” Greg said as he reached back into the bag. “Even though you don’t remember this, your parents sure do. When you two were kids, you’d pretend that Tess was a princess trapped inside the tower of a large castle, and Max would be the knight in shinning armour, fighting his way up to save Tess from the gigantic dragon.”

Max covered his face with his hand as he shook his head, a blush visible from ear to ear.

“Here’s your present, your highness,” Greg said, handing Tess a sculpted figure of Belle from ‘Beauty and the Beast’. “And for you, oh fearless warrior,” Greg joked as he handed Max a Superman costume. After Max showed his present to the crowd, Greg motioned toward the DJ. “Lets get this party rockin’ again!”

The group of teenagers walked off the stage and met back at their table.

“My hero,” Liz said dramatically as she wrapped her arms around Max’s neck.

“I’ll show you a hero,” Max said with a smile before he quickly wrapped his arms around Liz’s waist and dipped her fairly low, then pulled her back up and kissed her senseless.

“Wow,” Liz said with a smile once Max took a step back, their eyes locked together.

“I just want to let you guys know that those aren’t your real presents,” Greg said as he walked over to the table. “Could you guys hang out for a little bit? I need to go take care of a little problem over at the bar, then I’ll give you the real presents.”

“Works for me,” Max said, his eyes still glued to Liz. “Care to dance, princess?”

“Of course,” Liz said, still smiling as she followed Max out to the dance floor.

Max pulled Liz close to him and ran his hands up and down her back. Liz sighed as she wrapped her arms around his neck and started to play with his hair.

“You know,” Liz said, “It’s hard to believe that we’ve only been together for a couple of months.”

“Yeah,” Max agreed. “It seems like we got together a lifetime ago. I still remember the first time I ever tried to talk to you,” he said with a chuckle. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone run the other way so fast.”

Liz playfully slapped him across the chest. “Shut up. Besides, you should have tried talking to me a lot sooner than you did.”

“True,” Max said with a nod. “And I would have if you didn’t blend in so well.”

“Hey, give me a break,” Liz said. “I was shy.”

“That’s an understatment,” Max mumbled.

“I heard that!” Liz said as she glared at Max.

Max let out a laugh as he wrapped his arms tighter around Liz. “But everything turned out for the best.”

“Yeah, it did,” Liz said with a smile as she closed her eyes and buried her face into the crook of Max’s neck.

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

The night came to an end and everyone gathered around their cars in the parking lot of the night club.

“Okay, I can’t believe he gave each of you a hundred bucks,” Kyle said, referring to Greg’s real graduation present to the former seniors.

“Max, I feel bad accepting a gift like this,” Isabel said, holding the money in her hands.

“So do I, but you know just as well as I do that Greg won’t take it back,” Max said. “That’s why he wouldn’t let us open these envelopes inside the club. He knew we’d try to give it back.”

“I’ll take it,” Kyle said hopefully.

“Let’s go,” Tess said with a smile as she pulled Kyle over to Max’s Jeep.

“Yeah, lets go,” Alex said with a smile. “It’s racing time!”

Liz and Maria winked at each other as they climbed into their cars. They had a little talk inside the club earlier that night and had formed a plan for the race.

“Are you okay?” Max asked Liz as he buckled his seatbelt. “If you don’t feel comfortable racing, you don’t have to.”

Liz smiled sweetly at Max. “This is my car. Of course I feel comfortable driving it.”

“Just checking,” Max said. “So who’s it?”

“I am,” Liz said as she followed Maria out of the parking lot.

Alex was all hyped up for the race. He was leaning between the two front seats, waiting for the action to start. After a half a mile, he glanced over Liz’s shoulder and looked at the speedometor. Maria was still in front of them, but both her and Liz were going the speed limit.

“You do know that in racing you want to be faster than the other car, right?” Alex asked.

“Yeah,” Liz said casually.

A few seconds later, Maria pulled off to the side of the road and allowed Liz to pass her. They went another mile or so before Liz pulled to the side and allowed Maria to pass. They continued back and forth like that until they came to the road that Max and Isabel lived on.

Liz and Maria pulled alongside each other after checking to make sure that no cars were coming. Just when all the other passengers were starting to relax, both girls punched the gas, causing everyone to fly back in their seats. They continued to accelerate for a while, then suddenly slammed on their brakes, causing everyone to fly forward.

“Good God!” Michael cried out. “Where the hell did you learn how to drive?”

Both Liz and Maria pulled up to Max’s house at the same time. They climbed out of their cars and met on the front lawn, both smiling at each other as the others tried to figure out who the winner was.

“That was a very…interesting race,” Max said as he wrapped his arm around Liz’s shoulders.

“I guess it’s a tie,” Tess said with a smile.

“I think I have whiplash,” Alex said, rubbing the back of his neck as he headed toward the house.

“I need to head home,” Maria said as she glanced at her watch.

“Me too,” Liz said as she looked up at Max. “Walk me to my car?”

“Of course,” Max said with a smile.

When they reached the car door, Liz turned and grabbed the front of Max’s shirt, pulling him to her as she leaned back against the car. “I love you Max Evans.”

“I love you Liz Parker,” Max said before he lowered his head and captured Liz’s lips with his own. One of the things that Max loved most about kissing Liz was that every time he did, it felt different…like each kiss was their first. The one part he hated the most was breaking the kiss, which had to happen eventually. “Drive safe,” he said as he leaned his forehead against hers.

“I’ll call you tomorrow morning,” Liz said as she opened her car door and climbed in.

“You better,” Max said with a half smile before he closed her door and watched her drive off.

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

It’s June 16th and I’m Liz Parker.

I haven’t written in this journal for a while, mostly because I’ve been too busy to even pick it up. The past couple of months have been magical for me. I finally got to meet the guy of my dreams and I know that things couldn’t possibly get any better than they are now.

Since Maria, Kyle and I still have another year of high school left, the upcoming year is going to be hard on all our relationships. Alex and Isabel are moving out to San Francisco for school, and Tess is going with them. Her and Kyle decided that they’d try to keep a long distance relationship, and when Kyle finally graduates, he’ll move out there with her.

Max and Michael are going to live together in Albuquerque while they wait for Maria and I to graduate. That should be interesting. I give it a week before they get on each others’ nerves.

Michael is going to tag along with Max whenever he comes back to Roswell, which better be often! Maria and I are already planning the days throughout the year when we’ll be able to drive out there to visit them.

To sum it up, Alex and Isabel are moving out to San Francisco along with Tess. Tess and Kyle are going to try and stay together, and when he graduates, he’ll move out there with her. Michael is moving out to Albuquerque with Max, and he and Maria are going as strong as ever.

As for me…well…I’m living proof that dreams do come true.

THE END