posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:25:04 PM
Title: Flirting with Fate by nicolebehr
Rating: R to NC-17
Category: M&L
Summary: The story of that guy and girl in that show except there are no aliens! This is the crazy and wacky world of Max and Liz. *big*
Disclaimer: Roswell characters? Nope not mine but I wish they were.
Feedback: oh yeah love it but please be kind.
Link: I Shall Believe Fan Fiction
under nicolebehr in the authors section.




Part 1



Liz surveyed her surroundings with a look of desperation.

“Anything would be better than this! What the hell am I doing here?”

She wondered for at least the fiftieth time in the last ten minutes. She reluctantly looked over at her companion who was still prattling on about taxes or…. or ... or ... astrology for all she knew. She’d stopped listening to him a long time ago. God only knows what he was saying now.

She certainly had no idea or interest. She hadn’t listened to him for more than 30 seconds before realizing she could live quite happily without ever hearing another word he said.

How she ever managed to get talked into coming here in the first place was beyond her.

But then she was always being talked into ridiculous schemes, albeit mostly by Maria. ‘Just call me the statue of Liz,’ she thought sarcastically to herself, ‘except my motto is, give me your stupid plan, your harebrained scheme, your ridiculous idea and I’ll blindly go along with it like the fool that I am.’

She certainly never expected to be peddling away on an exercise bike, in a fitness center, on a Friday night, bored out of her brain and stuck conversing with a little troll of a ... a..., hell, she hadn’t paid attention long enough to even know what the troll did for a living.
All she knew was he was the first man she’d ever met who made Sean look like some kind of Greek Adonis.

The sudden image of Sean, in a toga, with a garland of olive leaves and a bevy of goddesses catering to his every whim, amused her so much she unintentionally laughed out loud. Surprising herself she immediately put her hand to her mouth to smother the laughter and, blushing, looked over at her companion hoping he hadn’t noticed.

No such luck!

He was staring at her with a look of absolute love and devotion and a smile so large and unadulterated it contorted his already genetically distorted face into one that it is hard to believe even a mother could love.

Liz barely suppressed her shriek of terror at the thought she was the object of his affection.

‘Oh God!’ she thought ‘I timed that laugh so well he must think I laughed at a joke of his. Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Now I’m never going to get rid of him.’

She smiled sweetly at him and began peddling furiously in a vain attempt to get as far away from him as possible. The fact the bike was firmly bolted to the floor seemed to have momentarily slipped her notice.

‘If I can’t have fun I may as well get some physical benefit from tonight’ she thought as she felt her heart-rate rising and muscles she had neglected a little recently screaming at their sudden and unexpected use.

Five minutes later she realized the little troll was standing next to her apologizing for having to leave so soon.

Realizing she was about to lose her ‘delightful’ companion She flashed her first genuine smile of the night.

“Yes me too” she replied to his stating he hoped to see her here again soon, all the while thinking, ‘Yes I’d like that as much as I’d enjoy running naked through the corridors of the courthouse pushing a wheelbarrow of horse manure’.

A chorus of cheers began in her head as, smiling, she watched him walk away. She regretted the action immediately though as, when he reached the door, he turned for one last look at his new love and saw her watching him. The delight evident on his face was irrefutable.

Her cheers quickly changed into a chant of ‘Don’t come back! Don’t come back! Don’t come back! Please God don’t come back!’ as he appeared to reconsider leaving.

She soon flashed him her second genuine smile though when he raised his hand and waved emphatically before turning and walking out the door.

Breathing a sigh of relief larger than the state of Massachusetts she looked over at his recently discarded exercise bike and wondered why she’d neglected to bring an ‘If you touch this bike I’ll shoot you sign’ with her tonight. ‘Bring on the next loser’ she thought as her eyes again began a scan of her surroundings and it’s inhabitants.

‘Loser ... loser ... loser ... loser’ she chanted as she looked at each of her next possible companions ‘loser ... loser ... loser ... loser ... oh my! ... helloooo baby!” she said before blushing fearing she actually said that last part out loud.

A quick glance at those around her eased her mind, as nobody seemed to have heard her if she did.

Her eyes immediately returned to the man with the piercing eyes whose face and body she is sure was designed, not only for her enjoyment, but for her lavish attention too.

Suddenly the chant of 'over here! ... look this way!... over here! ... come on come on come on dammit!' started up as she eagerly watched him scan the room.

Eventually his eyes met with hers where they paused, and she is positive they also twinkled.

Mind you her judgement may have been slightly impaired, as at the same time, she seemed to have also lost the ability to feel her legs. Legs that were now peddling so furiously she was feeling the sensation of her body flying through the air and was imagining said body crashing into him and wrestling him to the ground where she would ... and then the bastard looked away.

'Aaaarrrgggghhh!!!!!'

Her subsequent groan had to have been audible and she swore she heard her legs screaming at her to stop acting like a madwoman and peddle slower.

She watched as he continued to survey the room and for one heartbreaking moment he appeared to be about to head in the opposite direction.

She felt the scream begin to rise up in her throat but then he stopped, turned and casually walked towards her. ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ she chanted and all her energy was focussed on stopping her hands from high fiving and subsequently making a complete fool of herself in public.

“Is your friend coming back?” the dark haired sex god asked in a voice designed purely for seduction.

“My friend? ... What? ... Who? ... Ah... oh ... no!”

Liz managed to utter whilst mentally kicking herself for being such an idiot.

She received a smile for her effort and to his query of “May I?”

Liz managed to suppress her urge to scream “Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh God yes!” and merely replied with an indifferent smile and a shrug.

He climbed up and began to peddle.

Silence prevailed but the electricity between them was so strong, Liz firmly believed, if she reached out towards him she would receive a nasty shock. Either that or ... but then this was a public place and it’s best not to go there.

Eventually he turned to her and in a voice that immediately turned her into a quivering puddle he asked, “So you come here often?”

Liz barely suppressed her smile and answered, “No first time actually”.

“Really!” He replied in undisguised surprise.

Liz laughed and asked, “Why are you so surprised?”

“No it’s just you...” He paused and looked over at Liz allowing his eyes to roam slowly over her body not once but twice before reconnecting with hers and saying, “you look ... like you work out.”

Liz smiled and faintly blushed.

“I do ... sometimes ... I have been known to ... swim ... but this ... this isn’t really my scene.”

“So why are you here tonight then? Looking for company?”

Liz snorted before replying.

“Hardly! A client gave me a free pass so I thought I’d check the place out.”

“A client?” He asked suggestively to which she gave him a stern look and indignantly replied.

“I’m a lawyer!”

“Oh.”

“Yes and I represented the owner of this place in a small legal matter,” Liz said, before she leaned over towards him and whispered conspiratorially, “but I really shouldn’t be telling you that.”

He laughed and swore himself to secrecy.

They continued peddling in silence before he turned and said, “A lawyer huh? I would never have picked you for a lawyer.”

“Oh and why not?” Liz asked a little piqued.

“You just don’t look like the lawyerly type.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“It’s just ... you look like ... like you know how to have fun.”

“Lawyers can have fun too you know.”

“You ought to know.”

‘Oh I do know’ Liz thought to herself as she fondly and vividly recalled the last time she had had “fun”.

Eventually she tore herself away from her reminiscing and stole a glance at her new companion. He was watching her with at least as much love and adoration.

He smiled as he caught her eye and said, “You’re not thinking about the law now are you?”

Liz laughed.

“Maybe I am. Maybe I’m ‘really’ dedicated.”

He looked at her challengingly and said “or maybe you’re not ‘really’ a lawyer.”

“Evans, Guerin, Parker and Deluca.” She replied “I’m Parker.”

“A partner wow!... Actually, I’ve heard of them. Evans is supposedly very good.”

“Oh he is ... but ... I’m better.”

He looked at her surprised before smiling “modest too.”

They continued on in silence until this time Liz spoke.

“So what do you do?”

“Besides hitting on beautiful women in fitness centers you mean?” he grinned.

“Yeah besides that.” Liz laughed.

“Oh this and that. Actually I seem to spend most of my time trying to stop the wackos I work with from killing each other.”

Liz laughs. “Sounds stressful.”

“You’d better believe it baby.”

“Baby?” She mouths laughing to herself.

He sees her but chooses not to comment instead continuing with what he was saying.

“Yeah long hours, lots of aggravation, little appreciation..........”

“Oh poor ‘baby'. " Liz says sarcastically. “So is this list of grievances some attempt to gain my sympathy? Am I supposed to be feeling sorry for you right now?”

“What it’s not working?”

“Afraid not.”

“So you aren’t dying to take me home and pamper me until I don’t have a care in the world. You aren’t going to kiss it better.”

“No I have a wonderful hard working never complaining fiancée at home to pamper. I don’t need anyone else.”

“Never complaining?” he smiles.

“A girl can dream can’t she?”

He laughs. “Wonderful?”

“Yes very ... although... “ his ears prick up at this “if you’d asked me earlier today I might not have said so.”

“Why what did he do?” He asked genuinely concerned.

“Well for starters this afternoon he suggested it would do me good to go to the gym tonight.”

“And it hasn’t? Haven’t you had fun?”

“I wouldn’t say that. It has ... had its moments. But that’s not the point.”

“What’s the point?”

“When he suggested it he didn’t say anything about it being fun. He said it would do me good. Which I took to mean, he thought I needed it.”

“I’m sure he didn’t mean it like that at all.” He said sincerely.

“I realize that ‘now’ ” she laughs, “but that’s not even the worst of it.”

“There’s more?”

“There’s always more.” She grinned.

“True.” He said nodding in agreement before she shot him a dirty look and he gave her a contrite expression in apology.

Trying to disguise her amusement Liz continued.

“The worst part is, after he badgered me into agreeing to come here just to shut him up,” she paused to look at her companion. He was watching and intently listening to her, with a wry smile on his face, “he then refused my plea that he accompany me, saying ‘he’ was too busy.”

“Bastard!”

“That’s exactly what I thought.”

“Ditch the guy he’s not worthy. You know I’d treat you much better. I’d never let you come to a place like this on your own. I mean, you never know who might try and hit on you.”

“Someone like you for example” she says teasing.

Laughing loudly he says, “Exactly! ... So ... is he forgiven yet?”

“Oh he’s working his way up to being forgiven.”

“Ooooh so I’m still in with a chance?”

Liz looks over and smiles but doesn’t reply. She looks away and continues to peddle before turning back asking, “So how about you? Do you have someone?”

“I’ve been waiting for a girl like you all my life,” he says deadly serious.

Liz laughs loudly at that saying, “I can’t believe you just said that.”

He gives her a sheepish shrug before smiling a glorious smile challenging her to respond.

Unfortunately the affect of his smile has left her relatively speechless. She’s sure if she tried to speak it would be only unintelligible “um ... arg ... ungths” that came out and not the witty retorts she wishes she could come up with.

As much as she does not want to she finds she has to look away as its the only way to encourage her intelligence back out of her little toe and into her brain.

After a number of deep breaths and calming peddles she turns to him and says, “I have to go.”

“What? Why?” He says obviously surprised and disappointed.

“Well I’m supposed to meet Max out the front in twenty minutes.”

“So?”

“So I have to shower first.”

“Don’t!” He earnestly implores.

She looks over at him puzzled and amused.

“But I’m all hot and sweaty.”

“I know!” He says almost sighing wistfully.

Curious she asks, “What’s your point?”

“My point is, where would you rather shower, in a dingy, smelly locker room or at home with...”

The rest of his words were lost to Liz as his point was realized and her eyes unwittingly closed and her senses were overtaken with the enticing image and sensation of a hot hot shower, a soaped up Max and a tangle of arms and legs and lips and...

Suddenly a sultry voice whispered in her ear.

“So have you decided against showering alone?”

“I’m smelly.” She whispered in feeble protest.

“That’s kind of the point and, if he loves you, he won’t mind.” Came the enticingly insistent reply.

With a deep breath Liz opened her eyes, climbed down of the bike and as she looked at him emphatically stated. “I have to go.”

The obvious shock and disappointment at what he perceived as a rejection almost broke her heart.

Resisting the urge to reach out and comfort him she said, “Max may be early and I don’t want to keep him waiting. In fact I’m suddenly quite eager to get home.”

The change of his face from disappointment to outright delight was so beautiful she found it almost impossible not to throw her arms around him then and there and kiss him until they both stopped breathing.

The promise of what was to come once she got him home however managed to keep her under a semblance of control. Their eyes met and in silent agreement they agreed to hurry.

The time for fun and games was over.

Or maybe that should be the time for fun was just beginning.

She turned and left him, resisting the urge to sprint to the locker room for her bag and jacket, hoping she presented the image of a cool, calm and collected woman when on the inside she was as excited and giddy as a child let loose in a toyshop. No toy she’d previously owned had ever provided as much joy and contentment as that which she was planning on playing with tonight.

Luscious images filled her head as she hastily collected her things and prepared to wait for Max outside. She wondered about his emotions. Was he as much on edge as she? She hoped so. If the look on his face when she left him was any indication he too was ready to explode.

Tonight was going to be incredible.

Smiling to herself Liz stepped out into the cold night air to see Max standing on the footpath waiting for her. As his attention was momentarily diverted by the screech of brakes of a near collision and the resulting heated argument he failed to notice her arrival.

Liz’s smile broadened as she watched him and thought to herself ‘mine all mine’.

The sudden chill of the air quickly reminded her she had better things to do than stand there watching him from a distance. With each step towards him she took the temperature seemed to rise a couple of degrees.

When she wrapped her arms around his waist and nestled her chin between his shoulder-blades not an inch of her body felt the chill of the bitter winter wind. Although unable to see his face she swore she felt his smile spread throughout his body and knew it perfectly matched hers in intensity.

“Hey you.” He whispered before turning to look at her and saying with a leer. “Been behaving yourself?”

Liz with the most innocent face she could possibly portray without laughing replied.

“Why of course ... I mean, Max, what mischief could I possibly get up to in a fitness center?”

Laughing Max leaned in towards her.

Liz felt the pleasant throb of excitement pulse throughout her body as she anticipated his mouth capturing hers. She watched with joy his lips descending to hers anticipating their warmth against hers. Her eyes closed a mili-second before the expected contact only to open again almost immediately in astonishment as she realized they had passed her by.

His face and glorious mouth had moved past hers until his entire body was almost wrapped around her completely. His body covered hers, his arms held her tight and his chin rested on her shoulder.

Before she had time to release the groan of disappointment rising in her because of the missed anticipated kiss, Max, sniffed long and deep, the sound and sensation of which turned Liz’s legs to jelly and sent a pulsating heat throughout her entire body.

He then whispered deeply in a voice that rippled through her. “Mmmm....someone needs a shower.”

In an extremely half hearted effort, as she knew full well it was only his arms holding her securely to him keeping her upright, Liz’s hand rose to his chest and attempted to push him away.

Although wanting to say his name in a stern and disapproving tone, Liz bit down on her lip, knowing any attempt to speak would only result in a rather embarrassingly breathless moan.

Hating him for reducing her to this state and loving him because he so easily could, she held on tight, and willed her body to come back under her control. Willed it to ignore the warm sensuous heat nuzzling into her neck and pressing firmly against her.

When finally feeling confident enough to speak she stated emphatically, “I hate you!”

Unfortunately it came out in an erotic purr which delighted Max to no end.

Definitely not the effect she was going for.

He chuckled as he raised his mouth to hers and whispered, “I know,” before finally kissing her as she had anticipated being kissed earlier.

The kiss reminded her why her previous statement was so wrong. It also reminded them both they had somewhere far more important to be than a crowded city pavement on a Friday night. They broke slowly apart, resting their foreheads together as they struggled to regain control of their breathing.

“Let’s go home.” Max eventually said and Liz was delighted to hear a catch in his voice proving he was just as affected as she.

Hand in hand they turned to walk the block to their car.

A couple of steps away from the car and to Max’s amusement Liz stifled a laugh.

“What?” he asked curiously.

“Nothing ... it’s nothing at all.” Liz replied wishing she could stop finding herself so amusing and laughing at inopportune moments.

Max stopped, pulling her to a stop too, giving her arm a little tug he pleaded.

“Tell me!”

She looked up at him and saw the intensity with which he wanted her and the smile on her face grew until she couldn’t resist laughing one short quick laugh just from the sheer joy of being here with him.

Grabbing his arm and wrapping both of hers around it she looked him in the eyes as she kissed his shoulder and cuddled into him before stating, “It’s nothing I was just thinking.”

“About?” He encouraged when it appeared she wasn’t going to elaborate.

Sighing in resignation of having to explain she said, rubbing his arm affectionately, and leading him towards the car.

“I was just thinking ...Max it’s lucky we worked together first.”

Although not disagreeing with the sentiment Max didn’t understand her point and asked, “Lucky how? ... Or should I say why?”

“Well...” Liz began hesitantly. “Lucky because if I didn’t know you first ... if we’d just met at a bar or a party or ... something ... Max, with lines like yours you never would have got to first base.”

Max could think of no reply. He stood with eyes and mouth opened wide in astonishment.

Liz continued, enjoying herself as its not often she got to see that look on Max.

“Actually that’s not entirely true.”

Max’s mouth began to form a grin.

“Your face probably would have bought you five minutes Max... but after that, with nothing to back up the face, we never would have stood a chance.”

The grin that had begun fell away quickly and Max eyed her seriously for a moment too long for Liz’s comfort.

She quickly began to regret her comments fearing Max had taken them way too seriously. She was about to reach out and stroke his dented ego when he suddenly moved forward trapping her between his hard body and their car.

With his mouth against her ear and a voice that left her in no doubt as to his intentions he said, “Tomorrow night! Casey’s bar! I’ll use my best lines! And we’ll just see how many bases I cover.”

Pulling away as abruptly as he had moved forward Max left Liz a trembling mass of arousal as he walked around to the drivers side of the car.

Slowly turning around Liz’s eyes met his over the roof of the car. His grin was contagious and before they knew it they were both laughing as they climbed into the car.ksmile


[ edited 4 time(s), last at 16-Sep-2002 5:00:24 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:28:36 PM
Part 2



Max’s car, on the road upon leaving the gym 7 p.m.


They are discussing possible angles of appeal on a trial
they are working on.

“Max?”

“Yeah.”

“I’m starved and sweaty. Let’s just go home and I’ll cook dinner and we can just forget about it for the weekend. We haven’t had a night off in ages.”

“It will still be there by Monday morning.”

“Yeah but for this weekend let’s just help each other forget,” she says leaning towards him and wrapping her arms around his waist.

“I like the sound of that.” He replies before kissing her. “How about we start with the shower before we eat,” Max said in a teasing voice. “Your place or mine?”

“Mine. I want food and I doubt there’s anything edible in your fridge.”

Max laughs. “What about Maria?”

“She’s a big girl she can look after herself.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I think she’s got plans for tonight. We should have the place to ourselves.”

“Good.”

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


Maria and Liz’s apartment 7:30 p.m.


Max heard the shower start and could tell that Liz had gotten in by the sounds of the water hitting her flesh. He walked to the door and slowly opened it. He could see her standing behind the glass, a vision of loveliness.
He remove his shirt, his shoes, his sweat pants, his box….

His beeper beeped.

It was judge Topolzki, asking Max to call her regarding a case.


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


After a separate shower. 8:30 p.m.


Max and Liz are sitting at the table eating.

“Aren’t you glad I suggested this?’

“Yeah … definitely one of your better ideas … mind you, you still owe me a shower together and I’m kinda looking forward to desert,” he says suggestively.

“You’ll just have to wait” she laughs “I need plenty of sustenance for what I have planned for you tonight Max Evans.”

Max looks at her surprised, intrigued and delighted.

“Good things come to those who wait right?”

“That’s right.” She giggles as she pops a forkful of food into her mouth.

The front door opens and Maria walks in throwing her briefcase down on the ground.

“I thought you said she had plans” Max whispers.

“I thought she did.” Liz replies.

“Hey you two.” Maria says coming towards them looking longingly at their plates.

“There’s plenty of food left Maria if you’re interested I kinda over-catered.”

“Great I’m starved.” Maria heads for the kitchen
Max flashes Liz an annoyed look.

“It was supposed to be just us. You said she was a big girl who could look after herself.”

“I just thought…” Liz begins but Maria calls out from the kitchen.

“What was that Max?”

“Nothing.” He calls back.

“I heard something about big.” Maria persists.

“He said it’s about time you went on a diet you were getting a little big.” Liz calls out.

“Funny! … But what did you say really Max?”

“Nothing! I wasn’t talking to you Maria.” He says angrily.

Maria comes to the table with a plate full of food and a grin.

“A bit testy tonight aren’t we?”

Liz shoots her a warning look.

“Sorry forget it,” Maria says and begins eating.


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


Maria and Liz’s living room 10 p.m.


Max, Liz and Maria are all on the couch in front of the television. Max is hunched in the corner of the couch sulkily watching a basketball game while Maria and Liz chat. Liz gets up and begins to walk away.

“Where are you going?” Max asks gruffly.

“Bathroom. That ok?”

“Fine.”

“Fine.”

Maria watches this exchange amused. “You’re a grouch tonight Max what’s your problem?”

“Nothing.”

“It’s not like you’ve never lost a trial before.” She teases.

“Maria I’m trying to watch the game.”

“Fine just trying to be friendly.”

“Well don’t.”

“Well I’m going to bed.” Liz calls out from the hallway. “Night Maria.”

“Goodnight Liz.”

Max watches as Liz heads back to the bedroom then he jumps up and follows her.

“I thought you were watching the game?” Maria calls out after him with a smile on her face. She gets no reply.

“Idiot.” She mutters laughing after he’s gone and picks up the remote and changes the channel.

Max storms into the bedroom slamming the door after him. “Great Liz just great!”

She looks at him annoyed. “What?”

“That’s not exactly how I thought we were going to spend the evening.”

“No one’s forcing you to stay Max.”

He turns angrily and heads to the door. He opens it but stops before walking out. He pauses before eventually turning looking at her.

“Do you want me to go?”

“No.”

He stares at her a while. His face still angry but then he shuts the door and walks towards her.

Liz is relieved she thought he was going to walk out.

“Max … I’m sorry things didn’t … work out as you’d hoped but …” she stops talking as he pulls her top off over her head “... but I haven’t spent much time with Maria lately.”

“And you’ve spent too much time with me?”

“I didn’t … say that."

She’s finding it hard to concentrate on the conversation as he has managed to strip her completely and is currently occupied in planting soft kisses along her jaw-line and down her neck whilst his hands softly caress her back sending shivers down her spine.

She closes her eyes and takes a few deep breaths before instinctively reaching out for his clothes.

The main thought running through her head is he is excessively overdressed and she wants the feel of his skin and only his skin against her but she is disappointed when as she gets hold of his shirt he pushes her away and says, “No!”.

Her eyes open in surprise.

“You kept me waiting now it’s my turn to make you wait,” he says with a deadly serious look on his face.

Liz isn’t sure what to think but is relieved to see him start to remove his own clothes. With a smile starting on her face she walks towards him determined to help him because he is taking too long.

“No!" He says firmly and points to the bed. “Wait over there.”

Liz considers protesting for a second but then decides to see where exactly he is going with this. She backs towards the bed, climbing up onto it, never taking her eyes of him. She doesn’t want to miss a second of this floorshow.

He’s removing his clothing but in such a slow calculated manner that it is driving her mad.

Each article is removed separately and ever so slowly before being carefully folded and placed on a chair.

Liz grins as she spies her own clothes lying in a heap on the floor. He wasn’t so meticulous with those he practically tore them off her.

She moves to get off the bed and pick up her clothes but he growls.

“What are you doing?”

“I was just gonna…”

“Well don’t … I said wait there!”

“Max …” she begins to argue but then realizes he is finally finished undressing, he’s naked and heading towards her and suddenly she neither remembers or cares what her argument was.

Max stands at the foot of the bed looking ready to pounce.

Her whole body tingles in anticipation. Her breathing becomes ragged as she waits … and waits … and waits... but he doesn’t move.

Eventually she decides to speak. She fears he is never going to move and she’s worked out the rules of the game don’t allow her to but she can’t wait for him much longer … the anticipation ... the excitement … her whole body … is losing control ...

“Max?” She says and is surprised by how desperate her voice sounds.

“Yes Lizzy?” He asks in a calm and calculated voice that she feel run through her whole body.

Her hands grasp at the sheets under her as she stares into his eyes and whispers, “Please!” between deep ragged breaths.

A slight twitch of his mouth gives away his obvious delight in seeing her like this and thrills her further as she realizes he is not as unaffected as he is making out to be.

He watches her for a moment longer before slowly leaning forward and crawling, ever so slowly, onto the bed and towards her.

She giggles in anticipation and wiggles her body down until she is flat on the bed and he hovers above her. She can feel the heat from his body but she needs more … she needs to feel him … his skin against hers … but he remains on all fours above her watching but not touching.

Liz reaches a hand out to touch him but his hand clasps hers and throws it back onto the mattress trapping it above her head. The momentary thrill of his touch is soon overtaken by frustration.

She again tries to touch him reaching out with her other hand but it meets with the same treatment as the first. She’s now flat on the bed with Max on all fours above her but not touching her anywhere except her wrists where he firmly pins them to the mattress above her head.

Liz groans in frustration and he slowly leans his mouth down towards her and she is thrilled anticipating his kiss … but it never comes.

His mouth passes hers and stops beside her ear where he whispers, “Patience Liz. You have to learn to be patient.”

And she whimpers realizing the game is no where near over yet. Tears of frustration begin to well in her eyes and as Max raises his head again he sees them and almost relents.

Then he remembers he’s been kept waiting almost two hours while Liz chatted with Maria and his resolve returns.

He smiles at her and says, “Paybacks a bitch ain’t it Lizzy.”

“I hate you,” is her only reply.

“I know,” he says grinning and staring.

Liz incensed by that grin decides it’s time she did something about this. He’s been controlling the situation for long enough. A small smile develops on her face as she plans her next move.

Max is intrigued and delighted by this smile. He was beginning to waver in his resolve to make her wait. Being this close to her and not touching was becoming unbearable.

Seeing her, hearing her, smelling her and yet holding back and not touching her was taking a lot more self control than he had. He had been about to give in to his arousal and hers. He was about to succumb to his need to devour her, possess her, ravish her but that smile stopped him.

Now knowing she is planning something he’s prepared to wait a little longer. Just a little longer to see what she will do.

He feels her leg rub gently against his. She’s touching him in the only way he’s left possible. He allows her to rub against him 2, 3, 4 times and then he moves his leg lifting it back and out of her reach. Her leg reaches out searching for his before falling back against the mattress disappointed. He then puts his knee back down but these time its placed between her legs. He stares at her to see what her next move will be.

She begins to rub against his other leg and he repeats his own actions allowing her to rub four times before removing his leg and then placing it between hers. He looks down at her expecting to see annoyance but instead she gives him a triumphant smile and he realizes he’s fallen into her trap.

She wraps her now freed legs around his waist and with all the strength she can muster twists her body to the side knocking him off his knees and onto the mattress next to her. He has to release her hands to steady himself enabling her to get out from under him and throw herself triumphantly over him, as he lays prone on the bed.

He laughs.

“I didn’t see that one coming.”

“No more games Max.” She begs as she kisses him.

He returns her kiss and holds her tight to him. One hands on the back of her head the other on the small of her back gently and seductively stroking. He feels her relax as she begins to believe the game is really over … the wait is finally over … he’s finished teasing her.

She pulls away to take a breath and he flips her onto her back again and she cries out in disappointment when he hisses, “I’m not finished with you yet.”

She looks at him pleading and is relieved when he lowers his head to her and kisses her softly on the lips. She tries to hold him there and to encourage a deeper more passionate kiss but he has other plans.

His mouth ignores hers and travels to her neck as he plants soft kisses under her jaw, along her throat, across her shoulders before coming to rest between her breasts.

She is now panting and moaning and writhing underneath him trying desperately to pull his body down onto hers but he holds strong. He’s not going to let her overpower him again. She suddenly realizes his mouth isn’t touching hers anymore and opens her eyes and lifts her head to look at him.

He’s hovering with his face just above her breast watching her. Her eyes plead with him to do it, to touch her and he slowly reaches down with his tongue. She flings her head back onto the mattress, eyes closed and body throbbing in anticipation of his touch, his sweet touch but … nothing happens … she waits … and waits … but nothing happens.

Frustrated she opens her eyes and raises her head again to see he has moved his head further away from her breast not closer. She groans in frustration.

“Max!” She begs and is rewarded with a smile before he lowers his head and suckles on her breast.

She throws her head back in relief and savors the sensation … the pleasure pulsating through her body as his lips, his tongue; his teeth tease her nipple. She reaches up to him and entwines her fingers in his hair.

'Finally!' She thinks 'finally!' but all too soon he stops and lifts his head ignoring her attempts to push it back down.

She is about to raise her own and protest when she feel him descend again under her hands and his lips and tongue and teeth begin to attack her other breast.

“YES!”

She cries.

“YES!”

She hears and feels him chuckle.

“You like that?”

He asks without stopping and receives a moan in reply.
He chuckles again before pulling away.

“Nooooooo...!”

She groans as he pulls her hands from his hair and deposits them at her side. She reaches up to find him again but he’s not there.

She’s about to open her eyes to search for him when she feels his touch and her body bucks involuntarily and she’s incapable of anything but a long, soft moan. Ever so lightly he runs his hands down her body.

Softly, softly, softly touching and stroking.

Her body responding, writhing underneath him seeking his touch.

Anticipating and seeking his touch.

She opens her eyes wanting to see him and finds him perched on his knees between her thighs reaching out to her only with his hands.

Softly rubbing, stroking, touching her breasts, her hips, her thighs, her stomach.

Lightly touching and tormenting her skin.

She watches him close his eyes as his hands slide under her hips lifting them slightly from the mattress momentarily before sliding along her sides up to her breasts and back down along her stomach finally coming to rest on her thighs where they continue their soft, slow, sensuous caress.

His arousal is as obvious as hers is now and she believes he is as ready to stop the game as she is.

“Max.” She whispers softly and he opens his eyes and looks at her.

He stares at her before slowly leaning forward over her body.

"Yes."

She thinks, 'at last,' but he stops above her stomach, lowers his head and begins kissing her.

Kiss …

licks …

kiss…

lick …

kiss…

licks …

kisses slowly moving down towards her hips.

He softly bites and then sucks on her hipbone, which elicits a long guttural moan from her before continuing, down the outside of her left thigh with his mouth and the right thigh with his hand. He stops just above her knee remains still for an agonizing moment and then slowly works his way up the inside of her thigh.

Liz knows she hasn’t been silent whilst this was happening but she has no idea what she has said. She is incapable of thought any thought but that she wants him now. She is so ready and so close she needs him now… all of him … now.

“Max!"

"…oh Max!"

"… Please! …"

"NOW! … "

"PLEASE!”

Their eyes meet and in one frenzied fluid motion their bodies are joined.

Hands, eyes, mouths, hips all become one.

Bodies united.

Motions synchronized.

Hands, fingers, tongues explore while hips entwined thrust hungrily in unison.

Frantic, grasping, panting, pounding, moaning.

Names are called and oaths uttered as bodies writhe rhythmically in time with one another before convulsing, shuddering and eventually crashing in one entwined mass of arms and legs and panting mouths.

Foreheads resting together, eyes struggling to focus before meeting, staring then closing as mouths meet in a sweet love affirming kiss.

Max and Liz lie on their sides, bodies entwined, kissing, smiling, staring and kissing again before Max pulling Liz close rolls her onto her back, settles his head on her chest and drapes his arm across her waist. Liz lays there totally relaxed and totally content.

She runs her fingers through his hair eventually pulling his head up so she can look into his eyes.

Sleepy eyes look into hers questioningly and she says softly but emphatically.

“Oh … my … God!”

He smiles and says, “Worth the wait?”

She’d reply but it would require too much energy. She lets his head go and it flops back down onto her chest.

He reaches up and strokes her face before returning his hand to her stomach.

She entwines one hand with his as the other runs its fingers along his back reveling in the touch he’d denied her earlier. She feels him drift off to sleep and knows she’ll follow him very soon.

The bedroom door opens and she’s too tired to object.

“He asleep?” Maria asks.

“Yeah.”

“Just wanted to say the neighbors are starting to complain about the noise.” Maria says with a teasing grin.

“I don’t care.” Liz mumbles as she joins Max in sleep.ksmile


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 9:45:29 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:29:54 PM
Part 3



Liz’s bedroom. Early morning.



“Max?”


“Mmmmm.”


“Why?”


“Why what?”


“Why do you love me?”


A grin.


“Because.”


“Because why?”


“Because I do.”


“Oh very eloquent!”


“Elegant?”


“Eloquent and you heard me.”


A chuckle.


“Max, why?”


“Same question?”


“Yes.”


“Liz?”


“Yeah?”


“Why do you love me?”


“I asked you first.”


“I’m a gentleman.”


A grin.


“What?”


“Ladies before gentlemen.”


“I’m no lady.”


“So I’ve noticed.”


A whack to the stomach.


“Oomph!”


“Max?”


“Because you’re you!”


A sigh.


“No good?”


A look and a smile.


“No that was good.”


“I can do better.”


“Go on.”


A hand reaches out for another.


Fingers entwined it draws it to lips.


“Because I don’t know how not to ... Because it feels right ... Because you’re perfect.”


“I’m not you know.”


“You are for me.”


A smile.


Then he added.


“So are we still on at Casey’s?”


“Jerk!”


Another whack in the stomach.


“Oomph!”


“Max?”


“Mmmmm.”


“What don’t you love about me?”


“The way you spring these questions on me when I’m at my most vulnerable.”


A laugh.


“Do you want me to stop?”


“No?”


“Max?”


“Yes?”


“Is that all?”


“All what?”


“All that you don’t like.”


“Yeah that and the way you nag about the toilet seat.”


“I don’t nag about the toilet seat.”


“Oh that must be my other girlfriend then.”


Another whack.


Another, “oomph!”


“Max?”


“Yeah?”


“Your turn.”


“Already?”


“Yep.”


“Ok.”


Deep breath.


“Liz?”


“Mmmmm.”


A grin.


“Do that again.”



“What?”


“Mmmmm.”


“You liked that?”


“Yeah!”


“Why?”


“I thought I was supposed to ask the questions now.”


“Oh yeah sorry.”


“It’s ok. You’re forgiven.”


A smile.


“So you going to do it?”


“Do what?”


“Mmmmm.”


“Oh sorry I forgot.”


A giggle.


“Mmmmm.”


“Again?”


“Mmmmm.”


“Again!”


“Mmmmm.”


“Again!”


A glare.


“Ok maybe not.”


A giggle.


“Liz?”


“Mmmmm.”


A big grin.


“You just made me forget my question.”


A laugh.


“Liz why do you love me?”


“Because its harder not to.”


A nod and a smile.


“Ok and what don’t you love?”


“That it’s harder not to.”


A laugh.


“That all?”


“That and your hair.”


“A bet’s a bet Liz.”


A groan.


“Next time bet money it’s easier to live with that when you lose.”


A chuckle.


“Ok.”


“Promise?”


“I Promise.”


A sigh as a hand ruffles hair.


“Good.”


“Liz?”


“Yes?”


“Marry me?”


“Yes.”


A smile as eyes close.


“Max?”


Eyes open.


“Yes.”


“Marry me?”


“I’ll think about it.”


Another whack.


Another, “oomph!”


A smile.


A kiss.


A long embrace.


Asleep.ksmile


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 9:48:09 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:32:00 PM
*happy*Note: This is not a part of ‘Flirting with Fate’ but I suggest that you read it to understand what ( ) and { } are, in case you are wondering.





{So before, ‘Flirting with Fate’, whats the story between those two?}

(Ohh, let me tell you. They met in Roswell when Liz got..)

{Not their history geez, but their...story...you know?}

(Okay, let me see, where should I start....hmmmm...)


Title: Read Between the Lines
Summary: Writing a story is hard to make when you are in two minds as to which way to go.
Category: Take a wild guess.
Disclaimer: Some are mine and I’ve been trying to get rid of them for years.
Feedback: Helps quieten those pesky voices.

Sunlight streamed into the window. Max lay watching as its rays cascaded off Liz’s hair, framing her head like a halo. He treasured these moments. The precious minutes each morning when he could indulge in the
pleasure of watching Liz sleep. The moments when he could watch her unabated, her features so peaceful in sleep and her beauty intensified by the early morning light. The delectable curl of her ...


{Yeah yeah yeah Max loves Liz big time, we get it, now get to the point.}
(I’m setting a scene here.)
{You’re taking us to mushville central, move on.}
(Alright!)


Liz awoke as the alarm blasted its early morning wake up call. Max was staring at her again. She could probably count on one hand the number of mornings since they’ve been together that she’s woken without him watching her.


{So has she worked out he’s a psychopath yet?}
(Shut-up Max is NOT a psychopath.)
{Do you want me to quote the guys history?}
(Go to hell!)
{Hell ... I’m already there I’m reading your story.}
(Fine if that’s the way you feel I won’t continue.)
{No sorry ... go ahead ... continue.}


Max watches Liz sleep.


{I thought the alarm already woke her up.}
(I changed my mind got a problem with that?)
{No.}
(Good.)


Max watches Liz sleep. Unintentionally he reaches out and traces the line of her lips with his finger. Liz opens her eyes to see him intently staring at her. He has a smile on his face and a dreamy far away look in his eyes.


{Sounds like he’s on drugs.}
(Would you shut-up!}


Although he’s staring at her intently he hasn’t noticed she’s awoken and is watching him. “What are you thinking Max?” Liz asks smiling.
Startled from his thoughts he laughs and sheepishly says “I’m thinking about you. About your body.”


{See I told you the guy was a pervert.}
(No, you said psychopath, and anyway, SHUT UP this is a very romantic moment.)
{Could have fooled me.}


“Excuse me?” Liz asked with some trepidation.
Max realizing his comment ‘could’ have been misinterpreted scoots across the bed towards her “Just looking at you Liz brings to mind so many memories. Wonderful memories! Each and every part of you has a story to tell.”
“Such as?” she asks intrigued.
“Well, right then I was thinking about your lips. I was remembering that night I walked in on you and Maria having a food fight.” Liz laughs and Max continues. “When we were in your room, you had a bit of cake mix just touching your upper lip. God it was distracting. All I wanted to do was kiss it off. I decided, then and there, I’d fought my feelings for too long. I had to let you know I loved you. Had you let me, that night I would have...” he sighs and she continues for him.
“But I didn’t”.
He looks away and quietly says, “No you didn’t.”
With tears in her eyes she reaches out drawing his face back to hers. “But Max I do now.”


{Oh please you can’t be serious. No body talks like that.}
(What was wrong with that?)
{Nothing ... forget I said anything.}


Max smiles and Liz closes the final distance between them and kisses him.


(You know what you’ve killed the mood. I can’t do this now. This story’s going nowhere.)
{I could have told you that hours ago.}
(I’ve got another idea though.)
{ooh goody.}
(Hey there’s no need for sarcasm.)
{sorry}


Liz opens the motel room door.


{Why’s she at a motel?}
(Because I’m the writer and I say so and if you’d keep quiet for long enough you’d find out)


Hearing the phone ring she runs to it and picks it up breathlessly.


{You like that word don’t you?}
(What do you mean?)
{It’s just I think breathlessly is in every one of your stories.}
(Really? I hadn’t noticed)


Hearing the phone ring she runs to it and picks it up.


{Hey it wasn’t a criticism I was just pointing it out}
(Oh ok)


Hearing the phone ring she runs to it and picks it up breathlessly.
“Liz Parker”
“Hey! God Liz I’ve been trying to catch you all day.
“Max, hey. I wish you were here I miss you”
“Not as much as I miss you Liz”
“I doubt that”
Max chuckles, “So where have you been?”
“I’ve been busy ... working, trying to get everything organized so I can come home.”
“When are you coming home?”
“I don’t know. Probably not for a few more days at least. I have a motion to suppress tomorrow. There are some sixth amendment issues and I’m also looking into yadda, yadda, yadda insert legal jargon here”


{ yadda, yadda, yadda, insert legal jargon here}
(Well I don’t know many legal terms off the top of my head I’ll work that bit out later)
{So in other words you have no idea what you are writing about}
(No but I don’t need to, it’s not the point of the story)
{What’s the point?}

(Well if you’d be quiet you’d find out.)


In a seductive voice Max says, “Do you have any idea how sexy you sound when you talk like that?”


{ooh one of those stories}
(Do I have to say it again, SHUT-UP)
{sorry }


Liz laughs “Max if you ask me what I’m wearing I’m hanging up.”
“Hey Liz what are you...”
Beep beep beep


{What’s beep beep beep mean?}
(She hung up. Weren’t you paying attention? She said if he asked she’d hang up, he asked so she hung up)
{oh ... ok I get it I thought maybe she was swearing and you beeped it out}
(What planet are you from?)
{Hey there’s no need to get nasty}
(I’m sorry it’s just ... you keep interrupting and it’s frustrating)
{I’m sorry. I’ll be quiet.}
(Thank-you)
{you’re welcome }


Liz laughs “Max if you ask me what I’m wearing I’m hanging up.”
“Hey Liz what are you...”
Beep beep beep
Still laughing Liz removes her jacket and climbs onto the bed to wait. The phone rings again and she picks it up but doesn’t speak.
“So what are you wearing?” Max asks again.
“Less than I was before” she replies with a huge smile. She receives no reply from Max and her smile melts with concern “Max?”
“Sorry, I was just thinking, maybe it wasn’t a good idea for me to call you from the office.”
Liz laughs and then realizing the time says “It’s almost 11.30 in Boston what the hell are you still doing at the office?”
“No one to go home to”
She smiles “You’re hopeless Max.”
He laughs.
“Is anyone else still there?”
“Liz it’s twenty past eleven who else would still be here?”
“So what does it matter where we have this conversation?”
“Liz Parker are you suggesting what I think you are suggesting?” Max says feigning shock.
“Are you willing to find out?”
Again she is met by silence.
“Max?”
“I’m here” a squeaky voice says.
“You’re a bit quiet tonight Max is everything alright?”
He laughs “It’s just, you’ve got my mind spinning and I’m having a little trouble keeping up.”
She laughs “I didn’t think keeping up was going to be a problem.”


(Oh who am I kidding I can’t write this)
{Don’t stop now it was just getting good}
(Trust you to think so)
{What’s that supposed to mean?}
(Nothing. Ok I’ll try another story)


Max is lying flat on his back on the bed. His jacket is flung across the end of the bed. His tie although undone is still around his neck. His right arm is bent with the hand resting behind his head. His left hand is resting, fingers spread, on his stomach. His eyes are closed and his breathing is heavy. His left leg is stretched out straight on the mattress while his right is slightly bent and raised.

{Are we going anywhere with this}
(Sorry I got a bit carried away. I do like to be thorough though and it was a nice picture I was painting wasn’t it?)
{I guess}


Liz who has just arrived home stands in the doorway watching him. She’s surprised to see him home. She hadn’t expected him home this early tonight as he’s working on a very demanding case. She’s concerned about him; he looks so exhausted. She walks in quietly trying not to disturb him. Her concern outweighs her caution though and she decides to get a closer look.
She perches herself on the edge of the bed and his eyes immediately open.
“I’ve been waiting for you” he says.
“Is everything ok Max?”
“Yeah it is now” he reaches out and pulls her down on top of him. They kiss passionately. He rolls her over so he is on top and leaning back begins to unbutton her blouse.
“Max no wait” she says.


{Bitch}
(You were really getting into that weren’t you? Relax it will be ok)

Surprised and disappointed he looks down at her flushed face “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong Max” she laughs “It’s just ... Maria ... she’s here, she’s waiting for me in the living room.”
Max groans as he rolls off her and goes back to his original position. Liz gives him a peck on the cheek before getting up to change. Max watches her change and smiles when she whispers in his ear “I did like
where you were going with that Max maybe we can continue it later”
“Maybe” he mumbles and she laughs as she leaves the room.

Maria looks up when Liz walks into the room. “Gee Liz what took you so long? I was beginning to think you’d got lost.”
“No Max was there he ... um ... kinda distracted me.”
“Do you want me to go?”
Liz doesn’t reply immediately and Maria gets up off the couch “I’ll go”
“No Maria don’t. Really it’s ok. I haven’t spent time with you in ages. Max’s not going anywhere he can wait.”
“You sure?”
“Positive”
“Good because I’ve missed you”
“Me too”
“So he ... distracted you did he?”
“Maria don’t go there.”
“Ok if you don’t want to talk about your love life lets talk about my love life.”
“What love life?”
“Funny Liz very funny!”


{Enough with Maria and Liz where’s Max?}
(He’s asleep and I like Maria and Liz)
{Yeah well I like cheesecake but who wants to hear about that}
(Fine!)


Having said goodbye to Maria, her best friend and co-worker who she never seems to manage to spend any quality time with, Liz heads back to the bedroom and Max, who may as well be her Siamese twin considering the amount of time they spend together.


{ok now you are just being silly}
(Do you want me to finish the story?)
{Maybe ... I suppose }
(I’ll take that as a yes)


Liz is surprised Max didn’t join them tonight. She assumes he got caught up in going over his closing argument for tomorrow. She sighs thinking about Max’s case. It’s been a very emotionally draining trial.
The client is a young man who is liked by all at the firm. They genuinely believe him to be innocent but unfortunately are finding this frustratingly hard to prove. Closing arguments are tomorrow and the way things stand at the moment unless Max nails his closing the client, in all likelihood, will be found guilty. The trial hasn’t gone well for them at all but
reasonable doubt is still a possibility, although only a very remote one.
Liz has actually already started researching grounds for appeal for when they lose that’s how confident they are of winning. Max really is the only one who still expects to be able to sway that one juror.


{I bet he’s been making moves on all the single women on the jury just to make sure}
(Max wouldn’t do that! Besides, I’m sure jurors take their responsibility a bit more seriously than that)
{I wouldn’t}
(Now why aren’t I surprised?)
{As gripping as this story is, are we getting to anything interesting soon?}
(If you don’t interrupt again we might)


Liz was surprised to find Max home so early tonight but she is even more surprised at what she finds when she returns to the bedroom.


{I know all the tension and stress caused Max to spontaneously combust}
(Oh shut up!)


Max is still on the bed, still in his clothes and obviously fast asleep. Liz knows he’s exhausted, the whole office is exhausted by this trial, but she is worried about why he is here and why he is fast asleep before 10 o’clock. It’s so unlike him. She has no idea how things went in court this afternoon. She last saw him at lunchtime and he had only one more witness planned for the day. It wasn’t a witness he was even putting much faith in more of a character witness he hoped the jury would remember and consider when they were deliberating. The rest of the afternoon Liz had spent interviewing witnesses for another case. She had been out of the office all afternoon.


{Is Max going to wake up anytime soon?}
(I wasn’t planning for him to. No.}
{Wow exciting concept for a story Max sleeps and Liz watches. Gee I wish I’d thought of that.}
(There’s more to it than that! You’re just not seeing the bigger picture.)
{Well show me already}


Liz looks at Max unsure what to do. She’s concerned about him but she’s also concerned about his closing. She hasn’t read it and he always gets her opinion first before presenting it, not that they always agree.
She wonders should she wake him? Is he fully prepared for tomorrow and if he isn’t will he be mad at her for letting him sleep?
She thinks it would be better to wake him but he so obviously needs this sleep she really doesn’t have the heart to. She sits on the edge of the bed as she did before but this time there is no reaction. She reaches out and strokes his face.
No reaction.
She runs her fingers through his hair.
Still no reaction.
She stands up extremely worried now, Max is usually such a light sleeper and the slightest touch from her always wakes him. She feels his forehead. It doesn’t feel any warmer than usual. She doesn’t think he’s sick just exhausted. She doesn’t have the heart to wake him. She picks up his jacket and hangs it up. She picks up his briefcase and considers opening it and looking over his closing just to be sure he’s ready.
But then she changes her mind and decides to call Michael. He’s second chairing and he should know what’s going on. Surely Max has discussed his closing with him. She sits back down on the bed and picks up the phone looking worriedly at Max.

{Have you noticed all your stories involve beds}
(What exactly are you implying?)
{Nothing just an observation}
(You know you were the one who asked for a story with no aliens)
{Yeah but I just meant like in a park or something}
(In a park! You want a story about Max and Liz in a park?)
{Yeah what’s wrong with that?}
(Fine here’s your goddamn story)


Max and Liz went to the park. There were ducks. They ate hotdogs. It rained so they sheltered under a tree. Max carved their initials with his key. Liz was so impressed she kissed him. The rain stopped so they went home ... to bed.

(Happy now? If you don’t like that go write your own goddamn story)
{You know you’ve been bitchy a lot lately}

( )

{Oh so now you’re not talking to me}

( )

{Fine don’t talk see if I care}

( )

{You know that Maria and Liz idea was quite good}
(Really?)
{Sucked in!} ksmile





*happy* Note: If you’ve made it this far then it is probably obvious I am not the only one who hears voices when I’m writing. Feedback helps quieten those pesky voices and would really help me in writing ‘Flirting with Fate’.





[ edited 3 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 9:50:56 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:33:43 PM
THEY’RE BACK!
{So, what are you writing ‘Flirting with Fate Part 4’?}
(Ohh, just shut up! I’m trying to write the bar scene...)
{Geez, but you haven’t told us their story yet}
(Story?...What the hell do you think I’ve been writing in the last 3 parts?)
{Hello? That’s already the ‘And they live happily ever after’ part. Whatever happen to ‘Once upon a time’?}
(Ohhhhh.... I see. You want the whole ‘boy-meets-girl-girl-dumps-boy-boy-gets-girl’)
{So technically what you’re saying is a rewind of the story, right?}
(But you better shut up.)
{Okay. Why so sensi....}
(Ah! ah! ah!)
{ *bounce* }



Part 4



Three years ago....


{What a cliche, don’t you have a better...}
(Do you want me to continue this or not?)
{ *big* }



The two busy lawyers collide into each other.

Coffee flies every where and finds a home on Liz’s cream colored blouse.

Liz finds herself lying on the sidewalk shocked by what just happened. She looks up to see an outstretched hand offering to help her up. He is still by some miracle holding the coffee cup in the other hand.

“Here let me help you,” he say, “I’m really”.......

“Of all the stupid.” Liz interrupts him and ignores his hand.

“Would you just get out of my way?” Liz tries to get up, but finds her ankle is hurting too much and she can’t move.

“Oh.... great ...just wonderful I have a job interview at three, my ankle is probably broken and to top it off I’m covered in some imbecile’s coffee....Alex was right, I should have skipped this useless interview.”

Max listening to her comments is somewhat amused as he realizes this feisty woman is the one coming in for the interview.

Liz looks up into his face for the first time she is still upset, but those eyes.......wow then she realizes they are twinkling in amusement at her! The moment of wonder passes.

“What is so blasted funny about this? You ruined my suit...my job...I’m late ...this is the worst day of my..."

Max is offering his hand again to help her get up no longer amused.

“You weren’t paying attention to where you were going either it was an accident and if you would be quiet long enough, I have tried to apologize to you. Now let me help you up.”

As he said this he notices his brief case is laying open on the sidewalk and the entire closing argument for the Thompson trial is intermingling with the traffic on the busy intersection.

“Shit.” He said under his breath. He had stayed up until 2 am working it all out the night before...he sighs and shakes his head.

Liz momentarily feels bad about his papers.

“Now would you please let me help you up?”

Liz decided she did not want to spend her day lying on a sidewalk even if it did mean accepting help from this jerk.

Max helps her hobble into the building they were both heading towards before the crash.

Liz is near tears due to the pain in her ankle.

Max settles her down on a bench inside and goes back outside to pick up what’s left of the contents of his briefcase. As he re-enters the building, Liz notices he brought her things in as well.

“Ouch,” Liz said as she is gingerly rubbing her swollen ankle.

“Here let me look at it,” Max said as he takes her foot in his hand.

He examines her ankle and the touch of his hand on her foot sends electricity through Liz’s heart. She can’t help wondering if he is married or not...

“It’s just a sprain. It’s not broken.” Max said.

Rolling her eyes Liz said sarcastically, “So how lucky can I get being plowed down by a doctor?”

Max looks up at her half-grinning but said nothing.

“Oh God! I’m going to be too late for the interview!” She sighs and said more to herself than to him, “Oh
Well from what I’ve heard it’s not exactly my type of place anyway. And from the looks of it the rumors are true.”

Max can’t help himself now. “So you have an interview? What for secretary?”

“No. I’m a lawyer.” Now she couldn’t resist as she said, “You will be very lucky if I don’t sue you for assault and battery with a deadly coffee cup.”

“A lawyer hum.... That explains....

“What?” Liz said defensively.

“Why you’re so argumentative.”

Liz gives him another roll of her eyes in response.

“Well I guess I will just call a cab and bag this interview. Looks like fate has saved me from this rat hole.”

Max asks her curiously, “What made you apply in the first place if everything you say is true?”

Liz shakes her head....”I don’t know. I saw this picture...” Liz opens her purse and hands the picture to him.

Max recognized it immediately. His associate Michael Guerin is in the picture and the caption mistakenly reads Max Evans and Associate. He remembers being amused by the misprint when he first saw it.

Liz went on to explain to him about the article The Lawyers Who Fight the Good Fight.

“It’s about a homeless woman they defended. She was caught stealing food for her little girl. They not only defended her but they also persuaded the grocery store she had stolen from to hire her. When I saw this I thought that is what being a lawyer should be about, serving a higher purpose than making money, and to work for a place that had a heart,” Liz finished.

Max listened to her and was touched by what she had said.

“So why don’t you just call them up and explain what happened and ask for another appointment?”

“I don’t know”. Liz replied doubtfully looking at the cracked paint and worn floors.

“So I take it you judge all books by their covers.”

“What’s that suppose to mean?” Liz said defensively, ready to confront this arrogant stranger.

“Nothing, you take one look at a building and decide no one here could possibly be worthy to work with Little Miss High and Mighty.”

This guy pushed her buttons....”You don’t know me or what I feel, or how I think. How dare you.... What are
you still doing here anyway...don’t you have some patients to get malpractice suits from Dr. Kevorkian? Why are you here anyway?”

“Hell if I know” Max replies angrily.

“Fine then go,” Liz said as she rubs at her ankle again.

Max starts to leave and then turns around to see her still in pain.

“Look,” he said, “I have some business on the third floor, where that law place is, I could stop in and explain what happened to you, and tell them you would still like to come for the interview. There is a restroom just over there,” he points it out to her. “you can comb your hair and button your jacket it will cover the coffee stains.”

“Why do you care?” she asks him suspiciously.

“You know I’ve been in those new buildings, made of marble and glass filled with cold tactics and cut throat agendas, and those are the buildings that should be judged by their covers.”

Liz sighed she knew there was truth to what he was saying that’s the reason she is here, she couldn’t bring her self to settle for doing unimportant research for corporate takeovers, or billing clients for endless hours of meaningless paperwork, and never seeing a courtroom for years. Still she hesitates...

“Hmmm” Max said. “I dare you to find out about the rats in this building.”

Silence from Liz.

Max said critically. “I didn’t think you would take the challenge.”

That settled it.

“Fine.” she said angry about his judgements of her. “If you’re sure you don’t mind telling them I’m on my way?”

“No it’s no trouble at all.” Max replies with a big grin.

That damn smile Liz is quickly finding irresistible and no wedding ring....”Okay tell them I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

He turns to leave.

“Oh, by the way my name is Liz Parker”, she said hoping he will exchange his. He smiles again, gets on the elevator and as the doors close on him Liz wonders if she will ever see him and those gorgeous eyes again.

Ten minutes later Liz takes the elevator up to the offices of Evans and Associates. She is nervous and trying to ignore her still sore ankle. She opens the office door and sees a guy working at the reception desk.
Isabel looks up and sees her.

“You must be Elizabeth Parker.”

“Yes, I’m so sorry I’m late, did that guy come in and explain what happened?”

Isabel hiding her amusement, “Uh...oh yeah he came in all right.”

“I hope Mr. Evans will still have time to see me.”

“Oh yes he is expecting you.” Isabel nodded knowingly “I’ll just let him know you’re here.”

Liz looks around her for the first time, seeing the total chaos law books everywhere files and file boxes stacked on the desks tables metal shelving. How in the world could you ever find anything here! She was flinching inwardly examing the gray dingy walls when she heard

Isabel tell her to go right into Mr. Evans office.

‘What am I getting myself into?’ she thought. A part of her wanted to run out the door. Then his voice echoed in her head “Little Miss High and Mighty.” Her resolve to see this through came flooding back as she walked towards the office door; she opened it and stepped inside.

What she saw made her heart skip a beat and her mind race a thousand miles a minute.

Max looked up from his desk and started to speak, “Hi..”

Liz felt the color spreading up her neck into her cheeks as realization washed over her. “you yo......our the blond man in the pict....” she stammered

“Wasn’t Max Evans,” he finished for her as he extended his hand his black eyes sparkling. “How do you do Ms. Parker,” he said.

Liz was totally speechless she stammered some more and those irritating dancing eyes....and those smile made her utterly furious. She finally found her voice.

“You knew the whole time.....How could you let me.....? I said and you let me go on and on ...Well you are a total jerk...what do you do get thrills out of making people feel like idiots...I wouldn’t work for you if you were the last lawyer in the universe!!!!!

“Well that’s too bad Ms. Parker because I think with your background and experience and that big mouth, you would be quite an asset to this law practice. And I was planning to offer you the job.” Max said seriously.

Liz again was speechless. This did not happen often in her life.

Max sensed this and hurried on to say calmingly. “Why don’t you have a seat and we can talk a little.”

Liz felt so caught off guard by this man, that she actually took his suggestion and moved towards the chair in front of his desk.

He remembered her ankle and came around from his desk to help her into the chair.

Trying to ignore his touch she managed to find her voice. “Why didn’t you just tell me who you were,” she said quietly.

“I’m not sure,” he said shaking his head. “I guess at first I didn’t want to embarrass you. Then later I was thinking you wouldn’t come for the interview if I told you.” Max looks at her sincerely. “Hey, lets just forget about the whole thing downstairs and start from here okay?”

Liz nodded, knowing in her heart that she could never forget the whole thing downstairs.


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


“Do you know what he has been calling me?” The anger in her voice getting hotter as she says it.

Alex sits back in the booth resigned to listen to Liz’s doldrums. “Rumplestilskin.” Alex guesses, hoping to lighten Liz’s mood.

Liz is near tears and doesn’t crack a smile. “He calls me Lizard! Alex, he calls me Lizard. I’m an associate and he calls me Lizard! Can you beleive that?” she laughs in a very unjoyful manner.

“The first time he did I thought I heard him wrong, I mean how could he....I’ve only been on the firm a week longer than Maria and he still calls her Ms. Deluca. How am I ever going to be accepted as a colleague, if my own idiot of a boss calls me that!!!

Alex was a little amused by Liz’s outburst of emotion.
He knew Liz pretty well, and decided there’s more to this than meets the eye, he wasn’t a DA for nothing!

“Liz whats really going on here? You’re over reacting to this just a bit don’t you think?”

Incredulous that Alex could not understand
her feelings, Liz burst out, “He thinks I’m a joke, someone he can tease and patronize.....He doesnt take me seriously, Alex...and I .......”

“You like him don’t you? I mean you’ve got it bad, girl, you don’t really care if the whole office accepts you, as long as he does, and ......”

Liz looks up at Alex and her eyes are flashing
angrily.

“Are you crazy? No not in a million years!”

“Liz, I’ve known you since high school. You must have really got it bad to have you so worked up.”

Alex is smiling now enjoying this. This lunch was turning out to be much more interesting than he had thought.

Liz looks at Alex in disgust.

“Bite me!”

“Liz you can deny it, but you like him, I know you, and this guy has gotten to you....”

Liz avoids Alex’s probing eyes and looks for her purse
to pay the bill.

“Alex I hope you’re better at solving your cases than you are at reading me.” she says sarcastically.

Alex looks directly into Liz eyes....and says softly
to himself....hmmmmmm will see.......


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


3 months later


It’s October 31st, Halloween night, and a couple of lawyers get involved in some serious trick or treating.


{Ohh goody! [exited] }
(Shut up!)
{Whatever! *tongue* }



“Come on Liz, come to this party with me.”

Max Evans had been trying the whole day to get his colleague Liz Parker to come to a Halloween party with him. A lawyer buddy of his had roped him into going, and he didn’t want to show up alone. Sure, he could have found someone to go along with him, some bimbo, but there was only one woman who he really wanted to go with.

“Sorry Max, I’ve got a heap of work to do.”

Liz was saying that, but her mind was thinking something else. The look on Max’s face right now made her want to accept any offer he gave her, but she just couldn’t go with him. She had lately been having some very improper thoughts about her colleague, and she didn’t think spending a night with him dressed in a Halloween costume would help to extinguish those feelings she was having.

“Alright Liz, you don’t want to come and have some fun. Fine by me. But it’s your loss.”

He gave her a sad puppy dog look and walked back into his office. He put on a brave front, but Max was very disappointed that Liz didn’t want to come out with him.

Lately he had begun to notice things about her that he hadn’t noticed before. The way she smiled, they way she walked ... and other things he probably shouldn’t be thinking about his colleague.

Ten minutes later, Liz decided to go home. She wasn’t getting any work done here, and all she could think about was Max. She had been a bit rude to him and wanted to apologize. She went to his office and knocked lightly, there was no answer. She opened the door and walked in. The door to Max’s office bathroom was closed. She was about to leave when the door opened and Max walked out ... half-dressed.

“Oh Max, I’m sorry.”

“Um, that’s okay ... I was just getting ready to go.”

Liz tried to keep her eyes focused on Max’s face, but that was kind of hard when he was standing there in a pair of black dress pants and no shirt. She had never seen him undressed in any form before, and she had to admit she liked what she saw. She shook herself out of it and looked back into those deep amber eyes of his.

“So what’s your costume?”

“If you agree to come to the party with me, I might tell you.”

“Max...”

“Come on Liz, I don’t want to go by myself. All those boring lawyers.”

“Max, we’re lawyers.”

He flashed her one of his million-dollar smiles and that was it. Her defenses had been shattered. It wouldn’t hurt to go to a party together, have a few drinks a few laughs, some dancing ... it was sounding better and better the more she thought about it actually.

“Alright Max, you win. I’ll come.”

“Great.”

“So now will you tell me what you’re going as?”

“Nope.”

“Max!”

“It’s a surprise.”

Liz turned to walk out of the office and then remembered something. She turned back to look at Max.

“Max, I don’t have a costume.”

“Well...”

“What?”

“I took the liberty of hiring one for you ... on the slim
chance that I was actually able to convince you to come along.”

Max smiled again and retrieved a costume off the back of his couch. He handed it to Liz.

“You don’t honestly expect me to wear this!”

“Come on Liz, where’s your Halloween spirit?” He smiled again.

Damn him, thought Liz. How the hell was she supposed to resist him when he was standing there shirtless with a gorgeous grin plastered on his face?

“Alright. What time are you picking me up?”

“In an hour.”

“Fine. I’ll see you then.”

Liz turned and walked out of his office back to her desk. She sat down to find Maria Deluca staring at her.

“What!”

“Whoa, calm down. I was just checking out your costume.”

“Max picked it out, okay.”

“I’m sure you’ll look great.”

Liz grabbed her coat and stormed out of the office.

Maria just smiled to herself and returned back to the case file she was working on.


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


1 hour later.....Liz's Apartment

Liz stood looking at herself in the full-length mirror. She had to admit that Max had picked out a rather nice costume for her. She heard a knock at the door and looked through the peephole.

It was Max, well, she thought it was. She opened the door.

“Ready to go, Catwoman?”

“As I’ll ever be, Batman.”

Liz looked at Max and decided that he looked absolutely delectable. He was wearing a full Batman suit, complete with the cowl and cape. He looked hot.

Max was thinking the same thing about Liz. He was really glad the salesgirl at the costume shop had convinced him that it was the best costume to get for his date. Not that Liz was his date ... this was two friends going to a party together.

“Max?”

Max realized he had been staring at Liz for a bit too long. He shook his head and looked back up at her face. She really did look cute.

“Sorry Liz. Let’s go.”

Liz grabbed her trench coat and slid it on, disappointing Max just a bit. He was rather enjoying the view. He held the door open for her and then followed her out, closing it behind him. This was going to be one very interesting evening.


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


20 minutes later, somewhere in downtown Boston


Max and Liz had made a rather grand entrance to the Halloween party. Both were wearing their masks so the rest of the partygoers spent the next half an hour trying to figure out who the couple were.

“Max Evans, is that you?”

Max looked up and was surprised to see Judge Kathleen Topolski looking back at him. She was dressed as a witch ... some people may see that as being appropriate he thought to himself.

“Judge Topolski, I didn’t expect to see you here tonight. This is my colleague Liz Parker.”

Topolski extended her hand, which Liz accepted with a smile.

“Nice to meet you Your Honor.”

“Same to you, Ms. Parker. I look forward to seeing you in my courtroom one day.”

“I look forward to it also.”

Judge Topolski nodded and smiled at Max and went to chat to an older man who resembled Robin Hood.

Max turned to Liz. “Having fun?”

“I have to admit it’s not as bad as I imagined.”

“Would you like to dance?”

“Sure.”

He extended his gloved hand and she placed her gloved hand into his. He guided her onto the makeshift dance floor where several other couples were dancing already to the music.

Just as they began to dance, a slower song came on. The couple next to them came together in each other’s arms and began to slowly move to the music.

Max slid an arm around Liz’s waist and pulled her close to him, moving in time to the soft ballad.

Liz relaxed in his embrace, laying her head on his chest as they danced.

“Liz...”

She pulled her head back and looked up at his face. She could see his eyes through his mask, and the look he was giving her both excited and scared her.

“Um, I think I need a drink.”

She broke free from his embrace and left him standing there alone on the dance floor. He couldn’t move, didn’t know what to do. It felt so right when they were dancing, why did she pull away like that? He decided he had to go after her.

“Liz?”

Liz bit her lip anxiously. “I’ve been gathering the nerve to speak to you.”

“Surely I’m not that scary.” Max laughed, a little nervously himself, as Liz looked serious. “What’s up?”

“I...I umm,” Liz stammered a bit trying to get the right words out, then she finally gave up and went for it. “Look, what I’m trying to say is: we’re both single - you are single aren’t you?” At his nod, she smiled slightly and continued. “So, we’re two single, young and professional adults, but I can bet we’re both lonely at nights...” Liz trailed off, looking for a response, but Max just stared at her.

Was she asking him out? The prospect was new to him - she was...well, she was Liz. Liz whose naiveté and idealism made her cry when she discovered that she may have to set drug dealers free, Liz whose win in her first ever case practically saved the firm, Liz the Harvard graduate who stuck by the firm when she could do so much better.

The prospect was new...but Max began to relish it. The image of dating Liz didn’t scare him, as it should, but instead, he remembered looking her over after they had first met. He had thought her cute, but now - now he thought that she was stunningly, heart achingly beautiful. Instead on acting on his first impulse to ask her out though, he had ignored it, because they worked together, and so it had died, or so he thought, buried under friendliness and comradeship. It seemed that he was getting a second chance.

“Liz, I think I know we’re your going.” Max smiled.

“I think that we should have sex.” She said bluntly.

“Excuse me?” Max coughed, sitting down with a thud.ksmile


[ edited 2 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 9:53:37 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:37:17 PM
Part 5



“You heard me. Like I said, we’re two single, lonely adults, who could use the comfort of each other at nights- but only at nights, I’m no good at relationships.”

She looked at him thoughtfully. “I think I would like making love to you, Max.”

“Well, I’m flattered, but...”

“No, it’s alright.” Liz interrupted quickly. “I told myself that if you didn’t want to, that would be fine. We’ll just forget this ever happened, okay?”

Give up a no-strings sexual relationship with a beautiful woman? Was he crazy?

“Liz, wait.”

Liz half turned and bit her lip. She had never done anything like this before, and inside she burned with the fear of rejection. When she had first started working for

Max, she had thought his smoldering black eyes to intense for hers, his face to perfect, and his mind to brilliant. He, like many other men she had thought extraordinary, was a dream, just a fantasy for long, cold, lonely nights. Mistakenly, she thought herself just average, pretty rather then stunning like she imagined Max was used to. Day by day though, Liz had begun to appreciate Max’s honor and kindness, recognizing similar flaws and seeing his human side rather than his perfection.

Inside, Max was a well of insecurities, just like her. So as her confidence in herself grew, Liz began to ask herself why she couldn’t at least try to date Max.

Hell, she was pretty, she was smart, and she deserved to have someone like him. When Liz made up her mind to do something, she did it straight away, and that night she decided that she was going to have Max - or at least make the offer to him. He would be a boost in her self-confidence if nothing else. She was young, and busy with work, so she didn’t want a relationship, especially not one with Max, who would surely break her heart. But, he would be incredible in bed, and perhaps she would improve in that area herself as she needed to loosen up and enjoy the moment.

So that was why she was doing it, for three reasons: To prove to herself that she could sleep with an incredible man like Max, to finally make her dreams into reality, and to improve herself sexually. It was a bit cold and clinical, but Liz was sure that there would be no complaints from Max - in fact it would be right up his alley.

“You...want to have sex, with me?” Max barely choked the word out.

“No, I’m talking to the handsome, single man next to
you.” Liz said it so matter-of-factly; Max half-turned to see if there was someone there.

When he turned back, Liz was laughing at him. “Sex, just like that?”

“Well, we couldn’t tell anyone, you know how much conflict that would cause, so it wouldn’t be a dating thing or anything. Just us, two people enjoying each other’s company. It may last weeks, or who knows, we may be still sleeping together in six months. We can discuss the terms later, okay?”

Liz in fact, had thought it out and knew the terms perfectly in her mind.

Max almost choked again, on the fact that they were going to be discussing terms at all, but he kept it back, as he realized that she was serious.

“Now?” He asked jokingly, and was surprised when Liz shrugged.

“Well, we could go to your house, or stop for some food, I am pretty hungry.”

“Umm...” Not really sure what to say, Max almost laughed at the absurdity. Normally, sex came naturally after dates, he wasn’t one to plan it out like this, but Liz seemed determined, and he wasn’t complaining!

“We could go Chinese on the way...”

“Perfect!” Liz smiled. “You ready to go?”

Max merely nodded. He didn’t know how to act, so he held open doors for her, made stilted small talk and acted like he was on a first date, rather than with a long time colleague and friend.

“Max,” she laughed as he rushed to open the car door for her, “I want sex not a chivalrous knight. Relax, okay?”

She didn’t know why she was telling him to relax, when her own stomach felt like there were billions of butterflies flying about inside.

“Okay, but how can you be so calm?”

“It’s only sex. I have no expectations, and none to meet. If we don’t like it, we don’t have to do it again, but if we do, then we can. It’s no big deal.”

At least, that’s what she’d been telling herself, and she’d been lying. She was making light of something that she had always taken very seriously.

Unbeknownst to her, so had Max. In fact, he was a little perturbed by her approach. It was supposed to be every man’s dream - uncomplicated sex, but it sure as hell wasn’t his. He was a bit old fashioned, and he believed in commitment and relationships, they scared him, but he believed in them. But, he also wanted Liz, almost unbearably now that the thought was in his head, and she had made it pretty clear that she only wanted sex.

They ate their Chinese at his house in silence, both too nervous to speak. Liz had slipped off her shoes and rubbed her feet anxiously together. What if she wasn’t good enough for him? She asked herself, trying to dismiss it by telling herself that she wasn’t some virgin, that she was moderately experienced. She stared at Max’s loosened Batman costume, distracting herself by imagining taking it all the way off...

“It’s a bugger of a case I’m on, Liz.” Max said finally, but it was sounded embarrassingly rehearsed, which it was. Liz looked up from her food and met his eyes.

“I don’t really want to talk about work.”

Embarrassed, Max looked down at his plate.

Suddenly, he didn’t feel like eating. Liz obviously did though; she had finished her own and was looking hungrily at his.

An evil little smile playing about his lips, Max decided to lighten the atmosphere. He picked up a bit of fried chicken with his chopsticks, and leaned over the table to shove it in her mouth.

Choking, she coughed and narrowed her eyes.

“Thanks.” She said dryly.

“I’m not hungry.” Max explained.

“That’s too bad then.” Liz smiled seductively, leaning back in her chair.

Max stood up slowly, he knew how to play this game, and the nerves left his stomach. He walked to her, kissed her softly on the lips - god, he hadn’t known she could feel so right, and gently tagged her hand on the way to his bedroom.

Startled Liz followed wide-eyed. She almost backed out as she realized that it was actually going to happen.

Even the kiss had been incredible, she sighed, what was she getting herself into?

In Max’s bedroom, Liz looked around, impressed with the way he kept it, but her eyes kept moving back to that bed...she swallowed, trying to look nonplussed. She was fine; she was cool...she was scared out of her mind.

“No second thoughts?” Max asked, seeing her nervousness for the first time. “Cause I’m warning you, this is your last chance to back out.”

She swallowed heavily.

“I’m fine.”

So Max drew her into his arms, and kissed her passionately. Liz felt dizzy and overwhelmed with emotions, whilst Max’s heart beat a million times faster. Liz did feel right; she felt more right then any one ever had before.

Their kisses are light and feathery at first, teasing, both are smiling and laughing softly, as they play a little, with each other.

As their deep passion for one another takes over, they explore hungrily. Their mouths are insatiable, tasting, touching each other, as if they will never have enough.

Max lowers his explorations of her as he remove her costume. He kisses the beckoning skin,

Liz moans softly, her hands fumbles with his costume off his shoulders, he quickly drops it to the floor. Her
fingers, run over his bare back softly at first then more intensely as his mouth returns to hers, pressing her down, into the plush matress of the bed.

He looks deeply into her eyes, searching for the sign that she is ready, to go further.
.
“Liz...."

“I want you, Max.” She answers, reading his thoughts.

“You’re so beautiful, Liz.” He tells her meaning it in every way.

She smiles.

Liz feels a momentary sense of panic, and a little shyness about revealing herself so completely to him. She grabs for the sheet.

He shakes his head...”You’re lovely, Liz, you don’t have to cover up.”

She lets go of it, as he bends down over her, and kisses her, until she relaxes completely lost in him.

Max sheds the rest of his clothes, Liz looks at him appreciatively, he’s everything she thought he would be and more.


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


Max settles at the foot of the bed taking her foot in his hand kissing each toe.

“Max what are you doing?” Liz says giggling a little as it tickles.

“Liz you have beautiful feet.”

“You’re crazy.” She laughs again, happily.

“Yeah I am. Crazy for you.” He agrees, smiling.

He kisses each of her fingers, then continues with her hands her wrists then change to a different part of her anatomy.

He continues kissing up her ankles… her knees,...at every touch.

Liz feels her nerve endings come alive. His mouth is gently teasing as he moves up her ankle...he kisses her knee, knowing it will make her laugh again. He kisses her right knee playfully, she moans in pleasure, Max looks at her surprised at this discovery. His mouth returns to the knee this time his tongue, teases it gently, her body involuntarily reveals it’s pleasure.

“OH Max.” She says sighing in satisfaction.

“You like that?” He asks in surprise.

“Mmmmmm hmmmm.”

He smiles at her closed eyes and the satisfied expression on, her sweet face. He continues to make her happy, glad she has two of these too!

She finds herself responding to his every touch, her hands move over him instinctively, wanting to bring him the same pleasure he has brought her.

Max is lost in his feelings for her, he revels in every new discovery. It has never felt this perfect with anyone before. He wanted to make love to her with every cell of his being, the intensity of his feelings overwhelms him. Yet he holds himself back, knowing, wanting to make certain, Liz is happy, and fulfilled first.

For Liz , she never thought it could feel this way. She never felt this happy. Her body and her mind are completely alive, this man has made her feel cherished, beautiful and desired.

Max runs his hands up her arms entwining fingers pressing them gently, against the bed. At last they join together, in a crescendo of love and pleasure that astounds them both.

Neither of them had imagined it could be like this, they had found a oneness, that far surpassed the physical alone.


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


Later, Liz lay still and amazed face down on the bed.

“WOW” was all she could think for a long time.

Had I done that?

Had he done that?

She couldn’t believe it.

And had she really asked him to suck her knees? That was her own secret fetish, she had never told anyone about it before, she was much to straight laced.

Slowly, Liz’s mind slowed to normal levels, and she began to gather her thoughts. She felt Max stir beside her, and she suddenly panicked.

What should she say? What should she do? Should go home, or should she stay?

Liz was sure he was used to girls who knew when to go, girls who knew what to do. Somehow, Liz had gotten it into her head that Max attracted women by the busload, and slept with them all. She imagined that he had a lot of one night stands, when in fact he wasn’t a one night stand kind of guy at all, though admittedly, he had done it a few times before.

She would just leave. Liz decided finally, and save them the embarrassment.

As she got up, Max’s hand snaked out and caught her.

“Don’t go.” He yawned sleepily, then rolled over and went back to sleep.

Liz stared at him for a moment more, then quietly and awkwardly got back into the bed. She lay awake for a long time, not wanting to move and wake him, though she wished she were brave enough to wake him with a long steamy kiss. She hated feeling so awkward, after she had just made passionate, incredible love to him, but she couldn’t help it, and despite his beautiful whisperings in her ear, she had no idea if he had enjoyed it as much as her.


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


Because of her lack of sleep, Max awoke a long time before her, and just sat in bed staring at her. She was so beautiful, he thought as he looked at her. Her face was troubled, even in sleep, and she curled into herself, like an echidna does for protection.

Noticing that made him notice how far she was away from him, like she was making an effort not to cuddle. He should have known that she wasn’t the affectionate type, though she was certainly passionate, melting, then simmering as soon as he kissed her.

He couldn’t believe it when she asked him to suck her knees. He had thought it was some sort of joke, but it threw her into fits of ecstasy. He found that incredibly sexy.

“Wake up, sleepy head.”

He finally whispered in her ear, though he could have watched her all morning.

She jolted awake immediately, then sat up with a start.

He laughed as she groped frantically for the sheets to cover herself, but he already knew every inch of her incredible body.

“Max. God, this is awkward.” Liz said, not looking at him.

“Why?” He asked, his tone light and in direct contrast to hers. She looked at him in amazement,

“Because now we have to go to work and pretend like nothing happened.”

“Well, you better get used to it, because it will be happening a lot from now on.”

“Oh.” Was all Liz could say, but inside her heart was doing flip-flops.

“You want breakfast?” He asked, jumping up. When she nodded, still dazed, he leaned over and kissed her witless, then pulled away the sheets, making her gasp, and try to grab them back.

“Liz, relax.” He taunted, using the same tone she had last night.

Liz felt her inhibitions hide again.

“Relax?” She teased, leaning back on the bed. “That’s a good idea.”

Max felt his heart thud to a stop.

“Breakfast...can wait.” He whispered huskily.


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


“Come in.”

Isabel opened the door to Max’s office. He was standing behind the couch, his jacket was off and his tie was loosened. He held a case file in his hand and appeared to be engrossed in it.

Liz was perched on the edge of the desk, she too was wearing no jacket and held a case file.

Max looked up at Isabel.

“What’s up Is?”

“Maria just left, and unless you need me for anything, I’m gonna get going too.”

“That’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Are you guys ever going home?”

Liz looked up from the folder at Isabel. She gave her a half-smile and a little shake of her head.

“I wish Isabel. We’ve got this big trial starting in a couple of days, got to be prepared.”

“Well, good luck. Try and get to a bed sometime tonight.”

“Thanks Is, good night.”

“Night guys.”

She closed the door to Max’s office and then left. It was after 11pm. She couldn’t believe how hard the lawyers here worked sometimes. She knew their methods were often a bit unorthodox, but no one could accuse them of not being dedicated. She wondered how Max and Liz ever managed to have any fun being cooped up in Max’s office most of the time.

If only she knew.

Max heard the front door close, and he dropped the case file onto the couch. He loosened his tie even more and stripped it off, dropping it onto the couch on top of the folder.

He walked over to Liz who was still seated on the edge of the desk, her nose stuck in the file. He walked around behind her and planted a soft kiss on the back of her neck.

“Max.”

“Mmm-hmmm.”

She stuck her nose deeper into the file and shrugged her shoulders, trying to shake him off. But he continued his exploration of the back of her neck, his right arm sliding around her waist, pulling her further onto his desk.

“Max ... we’ve got work to do.”

“Mmm, it can wait.”

“Didn’t we agree to keep things at the office strictly professional?”

“Do you really want me to stop?”

“Yes.”

He removed his arm from around her waist and his lips from her neck and stood up. He walked back around to the front of the desk, standing directly in front of her.

He placed a finger under her chin and lifted her head so she was looking at him.

He smiled.

He leant down and kissed her tenderly. Her right hand dropped the file and her left hand slid around the back of his neck, trying to draw him closer.

The kiss turned passionate and as Liz began to get right into it, Max pulled back.

“Max, what are you doing?”

“You told me to stop.”

He turned and walked over to sit on the couch, picking the case file back up. Max pretended to be interested in the file, but could feel Liz’s eyes boring into him. He heard the soft rustling of material and looked up to see

Liz’s shirt fall off her shoulders and onto the floor, leaving her standing there in a black skirt and black silk bra.

Max gulped, but went back to the file, trying his best to ignore her.

“Max.”

He couldn’t look at her. He kept his eyes on the file as he spoke.

“Liz, you are not being professional.”

“On the contrary I think I am being extremely professional.”

He kept his eyes glued to the page in front of him as she walked around to the back of the couch. He felt her hands come down over his shoulders, sliding across his torso. Her fingers undid the top few buttons on his dress shirt, sliding her hands over the hard muscles of his chest. He tried to remain calm, not wanting her to win this little game, but he gave up all resistance when she began to suckle on his left earlobe.

“Alright Ms. Parker, you asked for it!”

He threw the folder to the floor and reached up behind him to grab Liz by her arms. He pulled her over his shoulder and down next to him on the couch. He began to tickle her, sticking his fingers into the sensitive area around her ribs.

“No Max ... stop it! Ah!”

He kept on tickling her until she could stand it no longer.

She slapped at his hands until he finally gave up. She looked up into his deep black eyes and smiled.

“You’re going to pay for that one, Evans.”

“Ooh I hope so!”

She reached up and slid her right hand around the back of his neck, drawing his lips down to meet hers.

All thoughts of work were forgotten for the night.ksmile


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 9:56:59 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:38:35 PM
Part 6A


The next morning ...

Knock. Knock.

“Max?”

Max awoke with a start at the sound of Isabel’s voice.

He was about to call out to tell her not to come in when the door opened and she was standing there in the doorway, staring at Max and Liz on the couch.

“Am I interrupting something?”

“No, of course not.”

Max was lying on the couch with Liz sprawled half on top of him. He thanked God that they were decently dressed and could claim innocence. Max gently shook her shoulders to wake her up.

She looked up and was about to say something but he cut her off.

“Isabel, we were working really late last night. I guess we just fell asleep.”

Liz looked up and saw Isabel standing in the doorway. She looked back at Max. She gave him a little wink that Isabel did not see.

“Max, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you like that.”

“That’s all right, I couldn’t let you sleep on the floor.”

“Thanks.”

They managed to untangle themselves and get off the couch.

Liz grabbed her jacket and the case file she had abandoned last night and headed towards the door.

“I’m going to go home and shower and change. I’ll be back soon.”

“Okay, great.”

She smiled at Isabel and headed out of the office.

Isabel turned to look at Max. He shrugged his shoulders at her, as if he had no idea what she was talking about.

“What?”

“I didn’t say anything, Max. Not a word.” She smiled and walked back out to her desk, closing the door to Max’s office behind her.


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


1 Hour later ...

Liz walked into the office, freshly showered and dressed. She couldn’t believe how close she and Max had come to being found out this morning.

Thank God they had been in a fairly innocent position on the couch, and could use the excuse that they had just fallen asleep. She was not sure if Isabel had bought it though. She had to talk to Max. She grabbed a folder relating to their trial and went and knocked on his door.

“Come in.”

She entered his office, closing the door behind her.

“So Max, what did Isabel say?”

“Nothing. But I think she’s a bit suspicious, we’d better be careful the next few days.”

“No more late nights working at the office?”

“Well it’d probably be more comfortable working at your apartment ... don’t you think?”

He walked over and placed his hands on her hips. He gave her a brief kiss.

“Better get out of here before she gets more suspicious.”

“Okay.”

She opened the door of his office and spoke loud enough for the others to hear.

“I’m going to dig up a bit more background information on this, okay Max.”

“That would be great Liz, thanks.”

Liz gave Max a knowing smile and walked back out to her desk. She was flipping through the file when she heard Maria speak.

“So Liz, sleep well last night?”

Liz’s head snapped up and she glared at Isabel.

“What’d I do?”

“I don’t know Is, how about spreading rumors around the whole office.”

“Oh Liz, I didn’t spread any rumors. I just mentioned to Maria how you and Max were working late and you happen to fall asleep on the couch together.”

“Well, that’s what happened.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“Nothing. I’m due in court.”

Liz shoved a few folders into her briefcase, took her coat, and walked out of the office, slamming the door behind her. This was going to be through the whole office, and everyone would think that she was sleeping with Max.

Well, she was sleeping with Max, but they didn’t all need to know that.


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


Later that night ... Liz's Apartment

Max and Liz sat opposite each other on the couch in Liz’s apartment. Both were still dressed in their work attire, minus the jackets.

“Come on Liz, don’t let it bother you so much.”

“I just don’t want them to know.”

“Why not?”

“What do you mean why not Max? If they found out we were sleeping together then they would think that I am sleeping my way to the top or something.”

“We’re not a big law firm, Liz. There is no top or bottom. We are all lawyers, all doing the same job.”

“You know what I mean.”

“You know Liz I didn’t come around here to talk about this.”

“Well what did you come here to talk about?”

“Who says I want to talk?”

Liz smiled at that. She slid over and pushed Max back into the couch, straddling him. Just as they began to kiss, the telephone rang.

Out of habit, Max reached over to pick it up.

“Hello.”

“Max, is that you?”

“Um, yes. Hey Maria.”

“I was looking for Liz.”

“We’re working on our strategy for the trial. I’ll just get her for you.”

Max handed the phone to Liz.

“Hello.”

“Hi Liz. Working late again?”

“Actually yes. What’s up Maria?”

“I wanted to ask you if you’re free tomorrow to help me out on a case. But I guess you’re a bit swamped with Max... I mean the trial.”

“Yes I am swamped with this trial, Maria. But I’d be happy to help you out. Can we talk about it in the morning?”

“Sure. Give my best to Max.”

“Goodnight Maria.”

Liz slammed down the phone. She stood up off the couch and began to pace around the room.

“We have to tell them Max.”

“A few minutes ago you said we couldn’t tell them.”

“That was until they all began to figure it out anyway.”

“Maybe they haven’t.”

“They are all intelligent people Max. All those late nights working in your office, the fact that neither of us are dating anyone.”

As she said that last sentence, Max’s eyes lit up. A slow smile crept onto his face.

Liz sat back down on the couch next to him.

“What is it Max?”

“I think I just had a great idea.” He reached over and picked up the telephone.


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


The next morning at the office ...

Isabel arrived early at the office as usual. She heard a woman giggling. The sound was coming from Max’s office.

She smiled and muttered to herself. “Max and Liz ... are you two asking to get caught red-handed?”

She dropped her bag on her desk and went to the door of Max’s office. This time she was determined to catch them in the act. She didn’t knock, she just swung the door open.

“Oh Max, I’m sorry.”

Max was on the couch again, this time with no shirt or tie. He was in a passionate embrace all right, but it wasn’t Liz he was with. Tangled up with Max was a half-dressed beautiful brunette. The two looked quite cozy together, the brunette was lying on top of Max and they had been in the middle of a hot and heavy kiss when Isabel walked in on them.

“I’m really sorry Max.”

“That’s okay Is. Um, can you close the door on your way out.”

“Sure.”

Isabel apologized again for interrupting and left the office. She shook her head to herself and sat at her desk.

How could she ever think that Max and Liz were sleeping together?


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


Max office ...

“Vicky, that was a sensational performance, thank you.”

“Anything for you Max.”

She gave him a light kiss and extracted herself from him and the couch. She pulled on her shirt and jacket and left the office, smiling at Isabel as she passed her desk. Isabel appeared back in the doorway of Max’s office as soon as she was gone.

Max was still lying on the couch, still with no shirt on.

“So who was that Max?”

“Vicky.”

“Is she a lawyer?”

“Yeah, we went to law school together. We’ve known
each other for a long time. She works in New York now, but she’s in town for a couple of weeks. We decided to catch up on old times.”

They heard the front office door open and Liz soon appeared. She looked at Max half-naked on the couch and then at Isabel.

“What’s going on?”

“Max was working late again last night.”

“On what?”

“Female, about five-six tall, brown hair, long legs..”

“Thank you Isabel. That’ll be all.”

Isabel left.

Liz gave Max a wink and a smile and left his office as well. They had set this whole thing up. When Liz had mentioned that the others were suspicious because neither of them were involved, Max thought of an ex-girlfriend of his who was in town for a couple of weeks.
He gave her a call and she was more than willing to help him out.

A few strategic phone calls, messages, bunches of flowers and mysterious men and women appearing at the office made sure that neither Isabel nor Maria or anyone else in the office mentioned anything about Liz and Max sleeping together for quite a while.

They made up a signal to tell each other whether they were available or not that night. When Liz was, she hung her jacket on the coat rack each morning, but if not, she would put it over her chair.

When Max was free and if he had seen her coat, he would leave his coffee mug by the copy machine. It was simple, and fun, and they both enjoyed the intrigue, and the fact that they made themselves free more often than not.

Liz took to staying late after everyone else had gone, and they wouldn’t even make it to either of their homes. She grew to know his couch quite well, after a few weeks.


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


“Come on Liz.”

“I told you Max, I can’t.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m having dinner with the new assistant D.A. Tess Harding.”

“Wouldn’t it be a lot more fun spending the evening with me?”

Liz looked up from the file she was reading. She was sitting on the couch in Max’s office. Max was standing in front of her, leaning back against his desk. He was giving her that goofy grin that usually she couldn’t resist.

“Probably. But I have a case to discuss with Tess.”

“Well can I come with you then?”

“And why would you want to do that?”

“Because I want to meet the woman who is denying me an evening with you.”

“Fine. But only if it’s okay with Tess.” Liz picked up the phone and dialed Tess’s work number.

“Hello?”

“Tess? It’s Liz.”

“You’re not going to cancel on me are you?”

“No, of course not. I’m actually calling to ask if you mind if someone else joins us for dinner.”

“Who?”

“Max, my boss.”

“Sure, no problem.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes Liz, it’s fine. I’ve heard so much about this boss of yours it’s about time I got to meet him.”

“Alright. We’ll see you at 7.”

“Great. Bye.”

Liz hung up and turned to look at Max. “You can come.”

He smiled. He then looked at his watch. It was almost 5:30. Everyone had left the office except for them. He smiled again.

“Max, don’t even think about it.”

“What?” He tried to look innocent, but it didn’t work.

She gave him a warning look, but he ignored it, walking over closer to her.

He leant down and kissed her softly on the lips. He went to pull away, but she snaked her arm around his neck and pulled him back down. They fell back onto the couch together.

Liz awoke to find herself tangled up on the couch with Max. He was naked from the waist up, and she had no idea where her shirt had ended up. She looked at her watch. It was 6:50pm.

“Max!”

“What!” He awoke with a start.

Liz jumped off him and hunted around for her shirt. It was on Max’s desk.

Max sat up, rubbing his eyes. He looked over at Liz frantically gathering the clothes that had been strewn about the office.

“What’s the matter, Liz?”

“We’re supposed to meet Tess at her office in 10 minutes!”

“We’ll be fine, come here.”

“Max! That’s why we’re late in the first place!”

She pulled on her shirt and jacket and threw Max’s shirt and tie at him. He took the hint and got himself dressed.

“Sorry we’re late, Tess.”

“That’s okay Liz.”

“Um, Tess Harding, this is Max Evans.”

Max extended his hand and Tess smiled and shook it.

“Nice to meet you, Tess.”

“Very nice to meet you, Max. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“I’m to afraid to ask. Shall we go?”

“Sure.”

Max let the ladies leave the office, being the kind gentleman he is, and followed them out, closing the door behind him.


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


Liz was getting very frustrated with Tess. She had been flirting with Max at every available chance since they met. She couldn’t really get mad though, because Tess didn’t know that Max and Liz were... well, what were they?

Liz wasn’t sure anymore. They did agree that if either of them ever met someone, then they’d stop. But she didn’t want to stop what they had started.

“So Tess, you like being an assistant D.A?”

“Mmm, I love it. I love beating you arrogant defense attorneys.”

“I take offense at that, Ms. Harding.”

“Then I apologize Mr. Evans.”

Liz was ready to throw up. She regretted ever introducing the two of them.ksmile



*happy* TBC..... *big* *big* *big* *big* *big*




Part 6B


2 hours later, Max's Apartment

Max and Liz were sitting on Max’s couch. They were kissing. Things were beginning to heat up when Liz pulled away.

“Max, I have to go.”

“Why?”

“Because I just do.” Liz got up from the couch and headed towards the door.

Max jumped up and stopped her before she could leave. He placed his hands on her shoulders.

“Liz, what is it?”

She dropped her gaze to the floor. “Nothing.”

“Liz.”

She looked up into his deep hazel eyes. She knew she shouldn’t have. She had to tell him the truth.

“Max, do you think Tess is attractive?”

“Whoa, where did that one come from?”

“Seeing the two of you tonight, it just got me thinking. We said that if we ever met someone else, that we should stop.”

“Liz, I don’t want to stop. If I ever want to stop... you know I’d tell you. I’ve never been anything but honest with you.”

Her gaze dropped back to the floor.

“I know.”

He tilted her head back up so her eyes once again met his. He leant down and kissed her softly. He traced his lips across her cheek, along her jaw line and then down to her neck. His hands glided across her back.

“Still want to leave?”

“Not a chance.”

Her hands grabbed his head and pulled his face back to hers. They kissed passionately and made their way back to the couch.


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


Despite the great sex, they fought often and bitterly, mostly over cases and the way they treated
each other during the day.

Inside, Liz was beginning to get upset that they couldn’t be open, despite the fact that she enjoyed the secrecy.

In Max haste to make sure Liz received no special treatment, Max was a little too harsh on her, making her angry, because she did crave that special wink, or the squeeze of a hand that he reserved for her.

With each passing week, Liz feelings grew more and more for Max, until she could no longer bear their time apart.

She finally decided that she would have to end them, before she crashed completely. She secretly wished and wished in her heart that Max would request for them to be open, and start a real relationship, but she knew that he wouldn’t for she thought that he was happy with their current arrangement.

One night, about four months later, she entered his office much the same as she had before.

“Liz, I’m glad you’re still here, c’mere.” Max smiled, standing and holding out his arms.

“Max, we need to talk.” Liz said softly.

“What?” He asked, coming around from his desk, but sensing the news bad.

“We aren’t working out, Max. This...it isn’t right.”

“What do you mean, it’s perfect!” Max cried, afraid of losing her. “We have wonderful, incredible sex almost every night, what’s not to work out?”

“I need more!” Liz almost shouted, but instead, she just shook her head.

“I want a reason!”

“Max, please don’t.” She started to pull away but, he turned her to face him.

He studied her carefully, brows lowered.

“Why?”

“Max, please.” Liz shook her head. She knew she was losing. “I can’t bear to make a fool of myself.”

Her own emotions were too strong for her, pressuring her. And his eyes were too direct and too demanding. She could feel the ground slipping out from under her.

Longing, needs, fears, realizations were crashing down on her. The moment was fast approaching when she would have no choice but to give her emotions to him- without restrictions.

“Let me go,” she told him, struggling to compose herself.
“No.” His grip tightened. “Not enough. Not until you explain to me why.”

“Explain to you!”

She threw back her head in sudden anger. “I don’t have to explain anything to you. Why should I?”

“I think,” he said slowly, “the more valid question is why shouldn’t you?”

She was hurting and her temper rose to protect her.

“How could I have thought you were perceptive? How could I have thought that when you don’t see what’s staring you in the face? I’m falling in love with you!”

Her breath caught on a gasp of shock and dismay. They stared at each other, both rocked by the words.

“I didn’t mean to say that.” Liz shook her head and tried to push away. “I lost my temper I didn’t mean to say that. Let me go, Max.”

“No.” He shook her once to stop her struggles. His eyes as they stared into hers were dark and intense. “Do you think you can tell me that, then walk out of here? No, you didn’t mean to say it,” he said slowly, “but did you mean it?”

“If I said no?”

“I wouldn’t believe you.”

“Then it’s academic isn’t it?”

She tried to draw away again, but he held her still.

“Don’t pull that on me now, it won’t work.”

“Max.” Liz voice was steady again. “What do you want from me?”

“I’m not sure.” He loosened his grip, abruptly aware that he must be hurting her. “Are you in love with me Liz?”

She started to back away, but he shook his head. “No. Look at me and tell me.”

She took a long breath. “I love you, Max. There’s no strings attached. I know some people are uncomfortable being loved. I don’t understand it.”

“As simple as that,” he murmured.

“As simple as that,” she agreed and smiled. The weight of holding back was gone. “Don’t frown Max,” she told him. “Being love is easy. It’s the loving that’s difficult.”

“Liz.” He hesitated. She had moved him, unsettled him, until he was no longer certain what he was feeling. “I don’t know what to say to you.”

“Then it’s best not to say anything.” This isn’t easy on either of us, she thought and tried to smooth the path a bit. “Max, I’d like to explain myself to you. I’d do it better if you weren’t touching me.”

After a moment he released her and she stepped back. The absence of contact helped steady her nerves.

“I told you I loved you. That might have been a mistake, but it’s done. I’d like you to accept it as it is given.”

Liz could see he didn’t understand. Emotions, given freely, were always difficult to understand. How could she explain to him something that her heart had accepted over the objection of her mind?

“Please just take it and don’t ask me any more questions now.”

“I don’t even know what questions to ask.”

He wanted to touch her again, to hold her, but the expression in her eyes stopped him. He didn’t want to hurt her. “Liz, don’t you want anything from me?”

“No.” She answered him quickly, as though she had anticipated the question. “I told you there were no strings, Max, I meant it. I don’t think we can continue doing this Max and I certainly don’t think we can talk rationally about this right now. It’s late and I have to be in court early tomorrow.”

She was already heading for the door.

“Liz.”

It cost her a great deal to turn back around.

“Yes?”

His mind had gone from crowded to blank. He felt like a fool.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Max.”

Liz managed to get through the door before the pain started.ksmile


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Sep-2002 10:02:28 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:40:02 PM
Part 7A



NINE MONTH’S LATER


MAX’S POV


Let me give you a little bit of background about myself.



{What? Nobody gives a background of themselves in a POV}
(Well in my story’s POV, you can! Got a problem with that?)
{I was just being analytical.}
(Well don’t. Didn’t I tell you to keep your mouth shut.)
{Fine! Get on with your freaking POV}



I was born in Roswell New Mexico, in a middle class neighborhood, and I have a happy childhood. We may not have had a lot of money, but there was love in my household. It shaped me from an early age. My parents had a happy marriage, there was always a lot of open affection.


{Is there a point to all this?}
(Trust me all of this has a point and we might actually get there if you would just keep your mouth shut!)
{Yeah, right.}



What I'm trying to lead up too is the fact that, you'd think that coming from such a happy household I'd want that for myself. That bond my parents had, someone to love me as unconditionally as my mother loved my father. To have children with, to grow old with.

You think.

So far, I’ve never met someone, not that I am consciously looking, that would make me want to make that leap.

It might sound a little conceited to admit that a few have tried, but really I know no other way to phrase it. But I stood strong, you see, I always had a life plan and love just didn't factor into it. Romantic love that is, I don't want you to start thinking I'm incapable of love, I love my mother and father, I love my friends, I even love my great aunt Edith -ugly hairy mole and everything.

So all of this is by way of saying that while I'm not opposed to dating, if anyone's looking for something more serious, they're looking at the wrong guy.

Until now.

Imagine my surprise to now be working with someone who I've just realized I can't live without, and she has no interest in me.

None whatsoever.

Isn't this a dilemma?

And how did I get myself into this situation?

Funny you should ask.

I've known Liz for a little over two and a half years, so I should point out that this was not an immediate thing. Certainly not from my point of view, I have no idea what she was thinking. But I had a life plan in place, one that's entire charter consisted of – DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN ANY RELATIONSHIP THAT CAN LEAD TO MARRIAGE.

Besides in my defense at the time I had a business that was failing, I had associates that depended on me, clients that depended on me, and a rather large debt. So you can forgive me if I was a little preoccupied. When everything did start picking up --largely due to Liz- I had a little more time to evaluate things.

Firstly, I noticed how many hours she worked, she was always the first one to arrive in the morning and usually the last one to leave, -of the associates I mean, I pride myself in working longer than anyone. Because of this we often found ourselves alone together.

At first it was all perfectly professional. We were just two hardworking adults doing our jobs. But somewhere along the line things changed. It started off small, there were little things like when I'd go out to get coffee, or she would come into my office looking for a reference book, and suddenly we'd find ourselves in a conversation. What we talked about wasn't important, just the fact that we were talking was. I'd find myself telling her things I'd never told anyone before. And I never once questioned why.

Before we knew it we'd formed a bond, to say it transcended friendship might be overstating the case a bit, but it was strong, and it was real, and it was important. Which is why it was almost a natural step to take it further. We had the intellectual connection, and the physical one just fell into place- well, I won’t go into the details of that again, because you just got finished reading that. It was our own little secret, and it meant more because it was just between the two of us. We had absolutely no outside influences to interfere with what we'd created. If anything happen it would be entirely our fault.

Or as it turns out, mine.

I guess you could say one night my life plan, just reared up it's ugly head when Liz told me she love me. Suddenly I was in a relationship that could really go somewhere, that probably already had, and I panicked. My life plan was in serious jeopardy, so I chose the fastest escape route I could find.

Unfortunately for all concerned that escape route involved Tess. Probably not the best move on my part, but hey, cut me some slack, I was desperate.

Of course Tess and I were about as suited for each other as you might think, which is to say, not at all. It was over quickly and we didn't really end on the best of terms. I could tell you that I was torn up about it, but the truth is that I wasn't. What I was torn up about was the fact that my friendship with Liz had also suffered. Probably beyond repair.

So now when we worked late I didn't dare go out and get coffee, and Liz no longer had anything to reference. Which isn't to say we still didn't work well together. We were professionals after all, and we both had jobs to do. But whatever personal spark we seemed to have, had diminished. And I wanted it back, God damn it.

Here's something you may not know about me: I'm actually a pretty shy guy when it comes to women. I'm not that confident at all. But I'd won Liz once surely I could do it again. My greatest obstacle was winning back her trust, or so I thought.

It turns out my greatest obstacle was something much harder to overcome. My greatest obstacle was now Liz's new man.

Yes you heard me right, Liz has met someone new.

Oh God.

I found out this interesting piece of information when I eavesdrop, I mean, inadvertently overheard her talking to Isabel, about -- get this -- Kyle. Kyle? Who would even consider dating someone called Kyle?

I mean call me a snob but I get an instant mental picture of an overweight trucker, chewing tobacco. Don't you?

But apparently Kyle makes Liz smile, in a way I thought I was the only one who could. And when she mentions him to Isabel, there's a tone to her voice I haven't heard in a very long time.

At this point I'm thinking I should probably be happy for her, I should let my presence be known, and congratulate her or something.

Fat chance of that happening.

I mean this is the woman I've decided to change my life plan for, and she's willing to throw it all away on some joker named Kyle?

Yeah right.

Liz doesn't know it yet -actually I think she's entirely unaware of the whole situation- but I'm not about to give up without a fight. It occurs to me that I'll probably need some help, so I go back into my office to make up a list of possible accomplices. I'm assuming I can count on everyone in the office, -- because I mean they wouldn't want Liz to be taken for a ride -note my use of a clever truck driving pun here-- by this Kyle character either. So of course they'll help.

You know now that I think about it I bet he's got tattoo's as well, and probably a wife too.

That's it, I have to save Liz from this tattooed, tobacco chewing, truck driving, adulterer if it's the last thing I do.

All I can say is watch out Kyle, you're about to meet your worst enemy.

You're about to meet me. ksmile




Part 7B



MAX’S POV


I sit at my desk to draft a plan -mostly because I'm a lawyer and as such I like to write things. Being that I am a lawyer I think it shouldn't be very hard to come up with a strategy. I mean I do this for a living. You could say I'm a professional strategist. So here goes nothing.

Step one. Collect information.

That's important I think, because misinformation could just lead to trouble down the path. Now my objectives in completing this step would have to be: Recruiting scouts to gather said information -because if I do it all myself Liz would wonder why I was asking so many questions. And a suspicious Liz is nobody's friend, let me tell you. Plus I don't want to tip my hand too early.

On that point I make a side note to only recruit reliable people who can actually keep a secret. That's very important. Another objective may require a bit of sleuthing, because Liz may not want to impart all the information, so I pledge to leave no stone unturned. I should probably buy some dark glasses and a hat, just on the off chance my sleuthing makes it necessary too follow them around sometimes. Not that I think it'll come to that, but you never know. And if it does, well then I definitely don't want to get caught, because not only would that be extremely embarrassing, but it would also be potentially harmful to my new life plan. You know the one that now includes Liz. Besides I wouldn't want her to think I was some sort of stalker. I'm not you know, I'm just looking out for her, I mean how safe can she be with a tattooed, tobacco chewing, truck driving, adulterer. Really I only have her best interests at heart. Okay I think that'll do for step one.

Onto step two. Analyzing the collected data.

I don't really need to say too much about this step because really it's fairly self explanatory. But that doesn't diminish it's importance.

Because only after careful analysis of all collected data, can I move onto step three, which I'm sure you would already know to be: Formulate a plan of attack.

Now I know what you're about to say. 'Doesn't that sound a little militant?'.

Well the answer to that question is no. When I say 'plan of attack' I'm not referring to border crossings, and flanking your enemy or even ambushes. I'm merely referring to the strategy I will devise to rid Liz of her… -well I don't really need to describe him again do I? We all know who I'm referring to.

Let me just take this moment to assure you that what ever strategy I adopt will be carried out with totally civility, my only objective to show Liz the error of her ways and steer her back to the one person in the world she really belongs with.

Me.

Which brings us to the totally nerve wracking portion of my plan, what step was I up too? I think it's four.

Okay, step four. Implementing my plan.

Oh God. This part truly terrifies me. I don't know why because it's not like I've even come up with the plan yet. But I think what terrifies me is that I have this gut feeling that despite all my strategizing and formulating, I'll probably just end up groveling and begging her to give me another chance.

Why don't I just start there then? You ask.

Well I would but for one very simple reason.

I hate begging and groveling. I'm not good at it, I sound really stupid when I try it, and I avoid it if at all possible. Not to say if it comes down to it I wouldn't do it for Liz, I mean what's a bit of embarrassment in front of the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with?

But still I'm going to give my plan a damn good try first.

I hear a knock at my door and I look up, Maria is standing there. I smile to myself, and beckon her inside.

It's time to put step one into play.

Now I know you're probably wondering why I've chosen Maria, -and no the answer isn't because she was the first to knock.

I would have chosen her anyway, and the reason is simple: Maria is a closet romantic.

Not many people are aware of this, I myself found out completely by accident, -I'm not going to reveal the circumstances because she swore me to secrecy under punishment of death and well quite frankly the woman terrifies me, but it was a very funny incident. I'm chuckling now just thinking about it.

Anyway to get back on track, I think because of this she'll be happy to help me out. And if not I always have my trump card. I'll tell you more about that later if it becomes necessary. And so I beckon her into my office and smile pleasantly at her.

She gives me a suspicious look and closes the door. "Max" she says as she sits down on my couch "What's going on?"

I give her what I'm sure is a confused look, but keep the smile in place "What do you mean?"

"You're smiling"

My smile immediately vanishes "So?"

"So, you never smile" Her eyes narrow as she looks at me "What do you want?"

Okay I should point out that at this point I'm a little offended by her suggestion that I would only smile at her when I want something. But because I do want something I keep my offence to myself. "Just a small favor"

Her eyes narrow even further, boy who knew Maria was so suspicious! "How small?"

"I want you to let Liz help you with the Baxter trial"

Now her expression changes into one of astonishment "Liz wants to help me on a petty theft charge?"

"No" I say, "It's me that wants her to help you with the case"

Her brow furrows, and I have to say I'm enjoying her confusion a little bit. "Max, why would you want two lawyers on a court appointed case that's probably going to amount to a plea bargain?"

"I don't care about the outcome of the case Maria, I just want you to spend a little bit of time with Liz and this is the only way I can see to arrange it"

Why?" There's just no way to say it but straight out. I take a deep breath.

"Because she's got a new boyfriend and I want you to find out everything you can about him, and report back to me"

I think her expression is just this side of incredulous, and unfortunately when Maria gets incredulous she also gets loud "Report back to you?" she all but shouts.

I wince at her tone and try to quieted her "Maria" I hiss "Would you keep your voice down?"

She leans back in the chair with her arms crossed in front of her, and a nasty frown on her face, but when she talks thankfully her voice is a lot lower. "Max I think you'd better start explaining"

What is it with women that they need all the details up front?

Wisely I don't actually ask that question, instead I say "It's really quite simple Maria…." I pause because explaining it isn't actually that simple at all. Maria waits impatiently for me to continue. "… Umm, I guess you could say that over the last couple of weeks I've come to realize….. That is I think I have…… Feelings…."

Yeah, feelings is a good word, it explains some without giving too much away. "…. For Liz that is, and now I've just found out that she's involved with this guy, Kyle…." I wince as I say the word, I mean honestly what a stupid name "And so I ……"

I what? I pause not knowing exactly how much to reveal.

"You want to find out everything you can about him so you can sabotage their relationship?"

Ouch!

Well when it's put like that it possibly doesn't sound too good.

I open my mouth to correct her interpretation, but she goes right on talking "And you want me to help you?"

"Maria….." I try to get a word in I really do, but she's on a roll now.

"Max Evans, have you lost what little sense you had to start with?"

Okay I really think that was uncalled for "Maria!" I say a tad louder, just to get her attention, you understand.

She pauses to draw breath and I jump in as quickly as I can "You're misunderstanding the situation"

"Oh really?" she asks, eyebrows raised, arms still crossed.

I nod vigorously "Yes"

"So you don't want me to gather information about Liz's new relationship?"

She doesn't even give me time to answer, you know I've never really realized before exactly how one sided conversations with Maria are. "You don't want me to bring you back said information, so that you can then formulate some half-assed plan to break them up?"

Half-assed? That's not very nice, I mean I know I haven't come up with my plan yet, but I'm sure when I do it will be thorough and effective.

Maria's glaring at me waiting for me to answer. "Well" I say, scratching my chin "I guess maybe you're not as far off track as I originally thought…. Except…" I add before she can interrupt "…. about the half-assed plan part, because mines going to be thorough and effective" I feel a real need to point that out, but considering her glare has now reached new levels, I think I may have made a slight miscalculation.

"Max…. Why on earth would you honestly think I'd want any part of this harebrained scheme?"

Gee she's just rolling out the flattery today isn't she? I should really talk to Maria more often she does wonders for my ego. Not. "Actually, there's two very good reasons Maria"

As much as I would love to only have to use one of these, I know she won't be easily swayed and it's best just to get it all out in the open. I go for the hardest one first. "Because I'm in love with her"

Wow, I've never said those words out loud before. The effect on me is staggering, I silently thank God I'm already sitting down, because I'm actually feeling a little dizzy. Is it hot in here suddenly?

Maria seems similarly surprised. And kind of touched. I told you she was a romantic. "You are?"

I can tell she's wavering, but she's not yet convinced, time to bring out the trump card. "And because you owe me"

Okay there goes the dreamy look, the frowns back in place. She pretends not to know what I'm talking about "No I don't"

I grin "Well then let me refresh your memory, approximately two years ago….."

"Okay, okay" She says quickly, holding up her hands as if to ward off my words "It's starting to come back to me"

My grin turns into something of a smirk "I thought it would"

"So if I do this for you we'll be even?"

Now it's a full fledged smile "Not by a long shot"

"Max!"

I think there's a slight pleading note to her voice "Cut me a little slack here"

"I am" But I decide to take pity on her, because I am after all a nice guy "Help me out with this thing Maria… from start to finish" I clarify "And we'll be even"

"And you'll never mention the…. the incident again?"

I make a cross sign over my heart "I promise"

She sighs "I don't want Liz to get hurt, Max. If it looks like that's going to happen I'm pulling the plug on your entire operation"

"I don't want her to get hurt either Maria, that's what this is all about, anyone can tell he's totally wrong for her"

"Considering none of us have met him what are you basing that astounding piece of logic on?"

Because he's not me. Of course I don't say that, in fact I don't say anything, but I think Maria understands anyway.

She nods and stands up, but she turns back to me before opening the door. "One other thing Max"

"What?" I ask

"Exactly how am I supposed to convince Liz I need help with a petty theft case, considering I did, you know, actually go to law school, and a high school student could win this one?"

I smile my first genuine smile of the day "I'm sure you'll think of something"

"Yeah, yeah" she mutters, and she leaves to go and talk to Liz.

I wait until she closes the door behind her, and then lean back in my chair.

Step one is now in motion, I just hope I know what the hell I'm doing. ksmile


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Nov-2001 11:10:14 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:41:43 PM
Part 8



MARIA’S POV



{Wooo, wo, what’s going on here? Another freaking POV}
(So?!)
{Just asking. *big* }



How the hell did I get involved in this?

I mean what does it have to do with me?

Nothing, not one single thing.

But here I am trying to think of a plausible reason to get Liz to help me with a petty theft case -which isn't easy let me tell you, I mean a 12 year old could win this one blindfolded- and all because I chose that moment to knock on Max's door to ask him a question. Which now that I think about it, I never got around to asking him, damn.

Well I'm not going in there again, God knows what he'll con me into this time. No sir, I've learned my lesson, next time Max smiles at me, I'm heading for the door. And even then I should have said no, I should have held firm --even though he does have that thing to hang over my head- but still I should have refused, I was going to refuse.

And then he told me he loved her.

How was I supposed to respond to that?

Gee Max, bad timing?

I don't think that would have gone over well. And besides I could see how sincere he was when he said it. The original Mr-love-em-and-leave- em himself, has finally taken the fall, and he's asking me for help.

There's no way I could say no.

I mean I have a heart. I believe in love --I believe in it so much, I'm wishing it could find me too, but that's another story- so I'm going to do what Max asks, and I'll help him as long as Liz doesn't get hurt.

Just call me cupid.

I wander casually over to Liz’s desk, and wait for her to look up, when she does she gives me a curious look

"Hey"

"Hey" I reply, I smile at her and she looks at me suspiciously.

At this point it becomes glaringly obvious to me that no one smiles enough in this office, we should work on that. I make a mental note to bring it up at our next staff meeting.

"What's up?" Liz asks, she's put down her pen and I seem to have her complete attention. Also Isabels, doesn't anyone mind their own business around here? Something else to mention at the next staff meeting.

"Nothing" I say while trying to look totally innocent --I should point out that this isn't a natural look for me so I don't think I'm pulling it off too well.

"What are you working on?"

The way she's looking at me you'd think I'd never asked about any of her cases before. Actually now that I think about it maybe I haven't, what can I say small talk just isn't my thing.

"Roger Patterson, attempted murder" She replies.

Great. This'll be easy, what am I supposed to say 'Don't waist your time on that silly attempted murder case, Liz, come and help me with my petty theft one instead'?

Sometimes I could just kill Max.

"Oh" She sigh's and I think she's losing patience with me.

"What do you need Maria?"

Aspirin, and heaps of them, thanks for asking. Instead of saying that I respond "I was hoping if you had a bit of time you could look over a case for me?"

Her eyebrows shoot up and I'm thinking I haven't asked for her help in a long time. I should really work on my people skills more.

"What case?"

There's just no way I can say this without sounding stupid "Umm, the Baxter case, petty theft"

If possible I think her eyebrows get even higher "You need help with a petty theft case?"

No, no I don't. I bite back a sigh "Well there's some constitutional things that I was hoping I could go over with you"

Liz nods slowly "Okay, I'm a little busy right now though."

"That's okay" I answer quickly, at least that'll actually give me some time to think of a constitutional problem for my case.

"How about later this afternoon or tonight?"

Liz looks over at Isabel, who is making no attempt to hide the fact that she's listening to our conversation "Well" She says "I'm going out tonight so I really wanted to be out of the office by six, is five okay?"

I nod hurriedly "That's great, thanks Liz" I walk quickly back to my desk and sit down. I've got a lot of work to do between now and five o'clock.


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


"Maria"

I look up from the brief in front of me, surprised, Liz’s standing in front of my desk.

"Yes?"

"It's five o'clock" she says

"Oh?"

You know that saying 'time flies when you're having fun'? Well it also flies when you don't want it too. Liz’s giving me a strange look so I stand quickly and gather some files.

"Sorry….. Umm, do you want to go into the conference room?"

I'm certainly not going to try to get information out of her with Isabel sitting so close. Not to mention Michael's due back soon.

"Okay"

She walks in ahead of me and I close the door behind us, we both take a seat.

"So what's the problem?" She asks.

"Well, I think I might have grounds on unlawful search and seizure" I reply, I've wracked my brain and this was the only possible constitutional problem I could come up with.

"What sort of problem?"

“Umm, well…. The merchandise was locked in my clients shed, the police only had a search warrant for his house, I think I have a fourth amendment claim"

Okay did that sound stupid too anyone else? Liz apparently thinks so.

"You THINK you have a fourth amendment claim?" she asks somewhat astonished.

I nod.

"I mean obviously I know it was an infringement of my clients fourth amendment rights" I explain "The problem is….and what I wanted your help with, is that I've pulled Judge Lewis, and you know how he always asks for examples, so I was wondering if with your knowledge of the constitution you could recommend some?"

Whew, that sounds plausible right?

"So you just want me to give you some examples?"

"Specifically pertaining to this case" I respond.

"Commonwealth v Tyler, fourth circuit, 1982"

Okay, that's just freaky, nobody should be able to do that from memory. I've never even heard of Commonwealth v Tyler, but I have no doubt that if I went and looked it up it would be exactly what I just asked for. Lets see if she can do it twice.

"Do you have another?"

She blinks at me "You need more than one?"

"If it's not too much trouble"

"Commonwealth v Jensen ….." She breaks off thinking, then stands "Hang on a second" she says, walking out to retrieve a reference book. She returns quickly.

While she's flicking through the book, I seize my opportunity.

"So you've got plans tonight, hey?"

"Hmmm" she replies, distracted.

I try again

"Hot date?"

She tears her gaze away from the book "What?" then she realizes what I've asked, and I swear she's blushing "Uh no, just dinner with a friend"

"Oh, anyone I know?"

"Just a guy I went to college with" she starts flicking through the book again.

I sigh, this is like pulling teeth. "So where are you going?"

She doesn't look up, whether that's deliberate or not I can't tell. "Carlotta's"

"Wow"

I can't help being impressed, it's only the best restaurant in the city. Where did Liz find this guy, and does he have a brother? I nearly ask that but remember just in the nick of time that Max probably wouldn't appreciate it, so instead I bight my tongue.

She finally finds the page she's looking for "Here it is, 1993" she pushes the book towards me "Do you need any others?"

"No" I say, shaking my head "This'll be great Liz, thanks for your help" I look over at the clock on the wall, "Wow, you'd better pack up didn't you say he was picking you up at six?"

"No seven, I said I wanted to leave by six"

"Oh, okay then"

Man I'm good at this whole getting information thing, Max better appreciate this. "Well, I won't take up anymore of your time, thanks again"

"Sure" she responds, she seems a bit confused, like she senses something's going on but isn't sure what.

Maybe I'm a bit more transparent than I thought. I leave quickly before she starts asking any questions of her own.


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


I wait impatiently for Liz to leave, as soon as she does I go into Max's office.

He's slouched in his chair, reading, but as soon as I enter he sits up. He waits until I've closed the door before asking.

"What did you find out?"

I sit down opposite him, "Not much, you know it really isn't that easy getting information out of Liz, she's like a clam. And let me just tell you that whole thing about the petty theft case was just downright embarrassing. I'm sure she thinks I'm the worst lawyer….."

"Maria!" He interrupts, rather rudely I might add.

I mean I embarrassed myself for this guy today the least he could do is listen to me complain about it. I roll my eyes.

"Alright, alright, she's got a date with him tonight. She just left in fact"

"WHAT!" Max exclaims, really loudly.

"Max" I hiss "Be quiet, or you'll have the entire office in here" I lean in closer "Do you really want everyone to know what you're hatching in here?"

"Maria, I don't even know what I'm hatching yet"

"That's not a very good point, Max. In fact it kind of works against you."

He sighs "Did you find out anything else?"

"Yes, oh ye of little faith. As a matter of fact I did"

"Well?" he says impatiently.

You know, I'm not really enjoying the attitude here, I mean I went to a lot of trouble this afternoon, all for him, the least he could do is let me savor the moment. But since it looks like that's obviously not going to happen, I continue.

"He's an old college friend"

"That's it?" He asks, somewhat unimpressed.

I tell you it's the last time I ever do a favor for him, well apart from the beginning to end thing of this stupid plan. But after this, no more favors, he can forget it.

"No that's not it. In case you're wondering he's taking her to Carlotta's tonight, he's picking her up at seven"

I sit back smug, waiting for my praise, because I'm sure it's about to be heaped lavishly.

Boy, when I'm wrong, I'm really wrong.

"Carlotta's?" Mr. Ungrateful asks.

I glare at him "That's what she said, I don't think she'd have any reason to lie" Okay so I'm a bit testy here, what do you expect, he could have at least said thank you.

He smiles, I don't know why but I really wasn't expecting that reaction. "That's great"

I give him my most confused look, because I am actually really confused. "Why is it great, Max?"

I think this is a very reasonable question, I mean he's just found out that someone else is taking the woman he loves, to Boston's number one restaurant, and he's happy? What a weirdo.

He looks over at me like the answer should be obvious "Because there's really only one course of action to take now" He responds, and he's actually looking at me like I'm supposed to know what that is.

"Go home and drown your sorrows?" I guess.

He shakes his head, and gives me a disappointed look "No Maria, we have to go there too"

"What?" I'm sure my jaw just hit the ground.

"You heard me"

I shake my head, because I'm sure there must be something seriously wrong with my hearing. "No Max, I can't have, because what I think I heard you say, was that we, as in you and me, should go to Carlotta's"

He nods "That's right"

"It's Carlotta's, you do get that don't you Max?"

"Sure, why?"

"Then you'd know they have a waiting list, you have too make a reservation like four months in advance, you can't just walk in and expect to get a table"

"That's not a problem"

"Why?" I ask, slightly exasperated.

"Because I know the maitre’d, we grew up together, he said anytime I wanted to come by just to let him know and he'd arrange a table. So what do you say?"

"I say it's a terrible idea, Max"

"Why?"

"Because she'll see us, and she'll wonder why we're there, and being that she just told me where she was going, I think she'll put two and two together and figure out what we're doing."

"No she won't"

Oh, I've got to hear this "Why not?"

"Because she won't see us, have you ever been to Carlotta's Maria?"

"No, some of us cant afford that kind of establishment on what we make" I answer with a pointed stare in his direction.

He ignores me.

Bastard.

"It's full of alcoves"

I raise my eyebrows "Alcoves?"

"Yeah, it's a restaurant designed for the romantic night out" He seems to think about the implication of that, and Liz being there with another man, and frowns "People go there not to be seen, we'll be alright"

I shake my head "This is a bad idea, Max"

"Come on" he gives me a hopeful smile "You said you'd help"

I sigh, and wonder, yet again, what I've gotten myself into, and I find myself nodding.

He gives me a big grin "You're the best, Maria"

I nod, because that's the first thing he's said since I walked in that I actually agree with, but somewhere deep inside I just can't shake this feeling that something's going to go wrong. ksmile


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Nov-2001 11:11:29 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:43:07 PM
Part 9



MARIA’S POV


Max knocks on my door at 7.15.

I'm a little surprised that he's actually on time, because he usually runs late for everything. He steps inside, looking around with curiosity, and I realize that in the four years that I've been living here, he's never been over. Nor for that matter has anyone from the office.

I REALLY need to start working on my people skills.

"Nice place" He comments idly "Bad neighborhood though I was nearly afraid to park my car outside"

Well that's an opening sentence if I ever heard one. I shake my head in amazement and wonder -not for the first time I might add- if I'm actually doing Liz a favor here, maybe she'd be better off with Kyle.

"Are you ready to go?" Max asks, he's standing by the open door holding my coat, so I guess I have to be.

The drive to the restaurant is fairly quiet, I spend most of it being tortured by the music emanating from the cd player.

Here's a fact I never knew about Max: He loves country music. And I'm not talking about Garth Brooks or Reba McIntyre or Randy Travis. I'm talking about Tammy Wynett, I'm talking Kenny Rogers for God sake. I'm actually astounded. I mean at this point I become convinced that somehow I must have been transported into some strange 'Twilight Zone' alternate reality. Because never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I would be sitting in car with Max, while he sings along too 'Islands in the Stream'. Did I mention that's a duet with Dolly Parton.

Just shoot me now.

Fortunately we finally arrive, the streets kind of full, so Max pulls into a loading zone and parks the car.

"Max" I say, looking up at the sign "I don't think you can park here"

"Sure I can, it's after 7"

"So?"

"So, you can park in loading zones after 7"

Unless I have actually crossed into a different universe where the government actually passed that law, I'm pretty sure he's wrong. I point out as much.

"You can Maria" he responds insistently, "And anyway we don't have time to worry about it, we're running late."

I shrug, I've tried my best, and after the torture he and his stupid music put me through in the car, I don't think I'm really going to care if he gets a ticket or not. I mean he can afford it. Then a nasty thought occurs to me, I stop in the middle of the sidewalk "You're paying for dinner, right?"

He's a few steps ahead of me before he realizes I'm no longer beside him

"Come on Maria, we have to get inside"

I notice he hasn't yet answered me. "I'm not stepping inside that restaurant until you assure me you're footing the bill" I say emphatically. I'm digging in here, this whole thing was his idea, and I don't even know what the meals cost here, but I know they're totally out of my price range.

"I'm paying the bill" he says, and I start walking again. "You know you have a really suspicious personality Maria, you should work on that"

I glare at him as we approach the door, if he keeps this up he can damn well eat on his own. I've got better things to do than be insulted all night. I note with some relief as we enter that the entryway is separated from the rest of the room by a row of palms, so we're fairly well hidden from the diners. I push aside a frond to take a quick peak inside, and my jaw drops.

Wow.

There are at least four different levels, and Max was right about the alcoves, each section is designed to give the diner the illusion that they are the only people in the room. Each alcove opens up to an aisle way that the waiters use to deliver the food, before retreating quietly away. I'm not sure but I think I hear harp music. Did I say wow already? If I did I think it deserves to be said again.

Wow.

Max smiles as the maitre’d approaches. "Marty" he greets, happily.

"Hey Max, long time no see" Marty replies. He looks at me curiously.

"Oh this is Maria Deluca, from my office"

Well that's a great introduction. "Hi" I say smiling.

He smiles back. "Hi" Have I mentioned Marty has a nice smile?

What? A girl can look.

Unfortunately he turns back to Max. "I've reserved a table for you on the second level, if you'll just follow me" He turns and walks up a flight of stairs, Max motions for me to precede him.

Marty holds out my chair as I sit down, and I give him my friendliest smile. Max sits down opposite me. There are candles on the table, and the lighting is just dim enough so that they cast a warm glow over the white linen. The whole setting would be really romantic, except for one thing.

I'm here with Max.

Now I know some women find him attractive, all that dark hair, and brown eyes. He might even have a dimple, I don't really know. But what can I say, I don't think of him like that. If anything I think of him more like a brother…. or maybe a distant cousin. So instead of being romantic the whole setting is actually kind of creepy, I wish they'd turn up the lights. But then I remember that we're here to spy on Liz, and I think it's best if they leave them dim, less chance of getting caught.

As if reading my mind, Marty says. "If you cast your gaze over to the lower level, east wing, you might find the view interesting." He smiles as he hands us our menu's "I'll be back in a moment to take your orders" And with that he leaves us alone.

Max's frantically searching the lower level.

"Max" I say rolling my eyes "East is that way" I nod my head in the right direction, as it turns out I actually have a better view of their table than Max does, but he cranes his neck around to see where I'm indicating.

"I knew that" he mutters.

I roll my eyes again, but it has little effect as he's not looking at me "Of course you did"

We can only really see Liz from where we're sitting, as Kyle has his back to us, but considering we're a level above them and we're looking over a frosted glass separation, I don't think she'll be able to see us. Marty must be a very good friend.

"She looks really great, doesn't she" Max asks, not taking his eyes off Liz for a second.

If he keeps in that position much longer he's going to get a sore neck, not that I really care, considering he didn't say a thing about my appearance. The jerk. He finally turns back around.

"Swap seats with me?" he asks, well he orders actually.

"No" I'm not feeling particularly charitable, this evening. He shouldn't have made me listen to that country music.

"Maria" he whines, "I can't see"

"Well, I can, so if anything interesting happens, I'll be sure to let you know"

"You know, you're not a very nice person sometimes, Maria"

He's just figuring that out now?

"Fine" he sighs, "But you'll let me know?"

"Sure" I look back over in Liz's direction

"Ooh"

"What?" his head snaps back around.

"That waiters really cute"

He turns around and glares at me "Not funny Maria"

I thought it was, it's not my fault Max doesn't have a sense of humor. I try to look contrite. Try was the operative word there.

"You're right Max, I'm sorry, it won't happen again" I almost said that with a straight face.

"Promise?"

I nod, because any response I gave would result in me laughing and then he really would make me swap seats. He doesn't look too convinced, but he lets the subject drop.


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


Okay let me tell you how the night proceeded. It went like this.

Max spent most of the evening alternatively looking over his shoulder to see what Liz and Kyle were doing Even though I repeatedly told him nothing was going on – I guess he didn't believe me, go figure?

Max keep rubbing his neck, because looking over his shoulder was hurting it. Every time he rubbed his neck he gave me a look that pretty much said 'If you'd swapped seats with me when I asked you too, my neck wouldn't be hurting right now'. I'd shrug and ignore said look. He paused this routine long enough to eat his meal, -- can I just interrupt at this point to tell you how truly spectacular the food here is? I'm currently dining on glazed duck, with a side of spring salad, and it's glorious. I don't know what Max's paying for this meal, but it's worth every cent.

Anyway the night's pretty much following the same routine, which isn't really all that interesting, because the whole time Max's looking at Liz he's making no attempt to make conversation with me. Which under normal circumstances wouldn't bother me, but I don't find staring at Liz as interesting as Max apparently does, so I'm a little bored.

This whole sleuthing -Max filled me in on this part of his plan in the car, I think that was in between 'Stand by your man' and 'The Gambler'- thing isn't nearly as much fun as it looks in the movies.

In the movies something always happens to put the characters in an awkward situation, and further the plot line.

Why can't that happen here?

Which would be about the time Liz stands up from the table, I'm in the process of kicking myself for tempting fate, because that's never a good idea, when I notice she's walking right towards us. It's uncanny, if I didn't know any better I'd swear she knew exactly where we were, and was coming to join us. Which would be impossible, because we've been sleuthing, and as such were, you know, stealthy.

I look at Max in horror.

He mirrors my look back at me, which doesn't give me a lot of encouragement.

It's then that I notice the sign on the door to the left of him.

Ladies Room.

Oh my God, of all the tables in this place we had to get the only one right next to the female toilets.

Unbelievable.

Liz's getting closer to us by this stage, so thinking quickly I throw Max's dessert menu towards him and we open them up, sort of hiding behind them in the process. I would imagine we must look pretty ridiculous, but fate must be on our side because Liz walks right by us without a sideway glance.

We put our menu's down and Max looks somewhat shaken by our close encounter. I'm just starting to see the funny side too it.

"Maria" he hisses "This isn't funny"

"I know Max" I respond, "But you should have seen your face when she started walking up here" I'm giggling again.

"How could you have not noticed the Ladies Room was right there?" he asks, with a glare.

"I'm sorry Max, next time I'll study the blueprints more thoroughly"

"This isn't a joke, Maria"

"Obviously" I reply, boy this guy could use a sense of humor.

"We can't be here when she walks out" he says.

I look at him a little exasperated "Well where do you want us to go Max? We could always open a window and climb out onto the ledge, that always works in the movies."

He gives me another glare, and scans the room, then he stands up suddenly "Come on"

"Where?" I ask not moving.

"There's a dance floor over there" he says pointing "That should be far enough away"

I turn my head and look, there are approximately half a dozen couples dancing in the small space. "You want to dance?" I ask incredulously.

"Hurry up" he says practically dragging me to my feet, and across the room. He takes us to the far side of the dance floor, and we start moving to the music.

Max's still looking over in the direction of our table, which means he's not exactly paying attention to what he's doing.

"Ow!"

He looks at me "What?"

"You stood on my foot" I say, rather unhappily.

"Sorry" he mumbles and looks away again.

Can I just reiterate how much I'm not really enjoying tonight.

We watch Liz come back into the room and head back towards her table.

"We should go, Max"

"Why?"

"Because" I explain, in the tone I save for stupid children "We've tested our luck enough tonight, it's time to go"

He looks like he wants to argue the point a bit, but I stand firm and pull him towards the exit.

He settles the bill with Marty and we head out onto the street. Which is when we discover that Max's car is missing.

As in gone, vanished, no longer there.

Uh-oh.

This can't be good. I look over at Max, who has an expression of disbelief on his face

"I told you not to park in the loading zone" I say, from the glare he gives me I get the impression he doesn't appreciate my input.

You'd just about have to think this night couldn't get any worse, wouldn't you?

You'd be wrong.

We'd been so preoccupied by the missing car, that we hadn't heard the door opening behind us, until we heard the voice.

"Max, Maria, what are you doing here?"

Uh-oh again.

Both Max and I turn to face a very confused Liz. ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:44:44 PM
Part 10



MAX’S POV


This is bad, and I mean really bad.

I slowly turn around, and my eyes settle on Liz.

My mouth goes dry, I thought she looked great in the restaurant, what an understatement. In my defense it was kind of hard to see with the dim lighting inside, standing here underneath the streetlight I have no such problems. I rake my gaze over her, probably fairly obviously, she's wearing this moss green dress, that's fairly low cut, I have no idea what material it's made out of, you'd have to ask Maria if you want those kind of details, all I can say is it's soft and it hangs in all the right places. Unfortunately when my gaze travels back up to her face it doesn't appear as if Liz has appreciated my obvious appraisal of her. I know this because she's frowning at me.

Whoops.

So I decide to focus on Kyle. This is the guy Liz's throwing me over for?

You have to be kidding.

Well I guess I should say that he doesn't really fit my impression of a truck driver, nor can I see any indication of tattoos, but then he's wearing a suit so he could just be hiding them. I don't really have enough evidence to comment on the tobacco chewing, but if I find out I'll let you know. I'm reserving judgement on the wife thing.

Now onto his appearance, the first thing I notice is that he's short. I have a good one inch on him, at this point I'm straightening my shoulders and bringing myself up to my full height, so it may be closer to one and a half inches. He's blonde, and he appears to have green eyes, I don't really know, because quite frankly I don't really care. He's got this air about him that says he was born with money and he's never had to work a day in his life. So if I didn't already hate him for the whole Liz thing, I'm sure I would now anyway. He's got a look that just screams 'I was an Ivy leaguer'. Jerk.

I can see how some women might find him attractive, at a first glance, but really I'm not that impressed at all. I look over at Maria, she appears to be drooling.

Traitor.

"Liz?" Kyle asked "Do you know these people?"

Did I mention he has his arm around her? I want to break his fingers.

Liz's still giving me a confused stare, she turns to her right "Yes….. They work at my office" She turns back towards us "What are you doing here?"

At this point I figure I have two viable options, I can either throw my arm around Maria and make up some fictitious relationship, which has a few things going against it, firstly I don't think Liz would buy it, secondly Maria would probably deck me or I could try to talk my way around it.

I go for option two.

"Umm, my car got towed" I reply, I really don't want to lie to her if I can help it.

She looks even more confused "From where?"

I point to the loading zone "Over there"

"What was your car doing over there?"

Boy, no wonder she wanted to become a lawyer, she's just full of questions.

"Waiting for me?" I try.

Her lips quirk "Obviously not"

Talk about chemistry, I bet she doesn't joke around with old Kyle here, like that.

Speaking of which, I turn to him and hold out my hand. "Max Evans" I say.

He shakes my hand "Kyle Vallenti III"

Who introduces themselves like that? What a stuffed shirt, I think I like him better as Kyle.

"So what are you doing here?" Liz asks again.

Man she just won't get off his point will she?

She's like a dog with a bone. I sigh and close my eyes in defeat, she's never going to let this go, and I've been about as honest as I'm going to get. "Umm, we were meeting a client"

Liz looks surprised "Here?"

"No not here, over there" I wave vaguely at the row of houses on the other side of the street.

"Who's the client?"

God! What is it with all these questions?

"No one you know, I just got the call as I was leaving the office."

"Oh"

She's taking in our appearances, I'm still wearing the same suit I had on at the office, but Maria looks kind of dressed up to be making a visit to a client. I try to steer the conversation away from us

"So what are you doing here?" I ask with what I hope sounds like polite interest, and not, you know, jealousy.

"Oh" Liz says giving Maria a confused look, "I thought you must have known, we were having dinner"

"Why would I know that?" I ask innocently.

"Well I mentioned it to Maria this afternoon."

I turn my head, "Maria, why didn't you tell me Liz was going to be here?"

Maria turns towards me mouth agape. That gets her back for the drooling thing.

Maria's recovered enough to glare at me. "Because" she says between clenched teeth "I don't spend my time talking about the social lives of the people I work with." She gives me a pointed look.

Kyle clears his throat and turns to Liz, "Well we really should be going"

She nods. "Yes"

He holds out his hand to me again "It was nice to meet you"

I shake his hand but can't quite make myself return the sentiment. He nods towards Maria and takes a step away from us, before stopping. "Do you need a lift?" he asks.

"What?" I'd been concentrating on the way his hand was holding onto Liz's waist so it takes me a moment to catch up.

"You don't have your car, can I drop you off somewhere?"

What a great idea, I mean it's got to be heaps easier to follow them around if we're in the same car as them, I'm just about to nod when Maria jumps in.

"No, we're fine thanks, we'll catch a cab"

I shoot her a killer glare, and turn back, but Kyle's already nodding and guiding Liz away.

"Maria!" I exclaim, "What did you do that for?"

"Because Max, we've invaded their privacy enough for tonight."

"But…"

"No but's" she says, "Come on we have to go and call a cab."


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


I arrive at the office the next day not in the best of moods.

To be totally honest I'm still a little pissed at Maria for cutting our evening short. When we'd finally managed to flag down a cab, I had innocently suggested maybe we should take a quick drive by Liz's just to see if she'd gotten home safe.

Maria told me in no uncertain terms that we certainly wouldn't be doing that. She'd then insisted on dropping me off first, and left me with the words of warning that she'd be ringing all the cab company's tomorrow to make sure I hadn't hired another one. She's just suspicious enough to follow through with that threat, so I didn't take the chance. And since I no longer had my own transportation that left me nothing else to do all evening but sit around and wonder what Liz was doing.

With Kyle.

I came up with quite a few scenarios. None of which I was happy about. That being the case I found I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.

So now I'm grumpy. And running late.

Maria's already at her desk as I arrive, as is Isabel. I assume Michael's probably in his office. Michael's at court.

I notice that Liz has yet to arrive, the thought of which doesn't make me any happier. I walk past Maria and she glares at me, although I have no idea why, I think I behaved well last night, I glare back.

"Good morning Max" Isabel greets.

"Morning" I mumble and walk into my office.

About 5 minutes later I hear the door open, and Liz walks in.

I watch her for a moment through my window and then walk outside. Just to, you know get a file.

I pick one up off Maria's desk, she frowns at me again and snatches it away. She's no help at all, none I tell you.

I shoot a look at her and pick up another file, daring her to take this one from me. She seems to think about it but decides against it. While I'm pretending to read the file, I secretly study Liz.

What I'm basically trying to ascertain is whether or not she got any last night. I hate to sound crude, but the thoughts been driving me crazy.

Apparently there's supposed to be all these telltale signs.

Unfortunately I don't know what they are. Well this isn't getting me anywhere, I look down at Maria, women are supposed to pick up on these things aren't they?

"Maria?" I ask her in what I hope is a normal tone "Can I see you in my office for a moment?"

She looks at me suspiciously "Why?"

I give her a killer look and say "I need to discuss that new case with you, the one we got last night"

She looks like I've just asked her to spend 10 days in the desert with no water. "Right now?"

"Yes" I say insistently "Right now"

She sighs and walks really slowly into my office, when she eventually gets there she walks over and leans against my desk her arms folded in front of her.

"What now, Max?"

I walk over to her "Do you think she had sex last night?" I ask in a whisper.

"What!"

Maria's looking at me like I've just grown another two heads and she can't figure out which one to hit.

"Shush" I say "Maria it's been driving me crazy all night, but I can't tell, go and look for some signs."

"Signs?" she asks.

"Yeah you know, go and see if she's glowing or something"

"Max" she says totally exasperated, "I'm not doing that"

"Maria" I plead.

"No way, I think I've been fairly helpful up until now, but you're taking this too far, maybe you should get some therapy or something"

"What!" Now I'm the one who's yelling "I don't need therapy"

Which is when I hear a sound behind me. I turn and realize I've left the door to my office ajar.

Oh Shit.

Isabel's leaning against the doorframe.

"Hey" she says moving into the office and actually managing to close the door behind her --I should learn that trick. "What's going on?"

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


"Is" I say, in strangle sounding voice "How long have you been standing there?"

"Long enough" she replies, and settles onto my couch.

I look out my window, Liz's on the phone apparently oblivious to our impromptu meeting. She's smiling and I have a sinking feeling she may be talking to Kyle.

"So" Isabel repeats "What's going on?"

"Nothing" I answer quickly, "There's nothing going on"

"Yes there is" Maria interjects.

"No there isn't" I say glaring at her.

"Max" she says "I'm sick of being the only puppet in this ridiculous little play you're orchestrating. It's time to bring in some new players."

"Maria" my tone holds a definite warning. Which she totally ignores

"No Max, I'm sick of suffering alone, it's Isabel's turn, she's known you longer after all"

Isabel's been looking back and forth between us, now she holds up her hands to interrupt. "Someone just tell me what's going on?" she demands in that no nonsense tone she's so fond of.

I glare at Maria, but she talks anyway, fortunately she keeps her voice low.

I check just to make sure the door is actually closed.

"Max's jealous of Liz's new boyfriend so he's trying to break them up" she says.

I gape at Maria.

Isabel gapes at me.

"Maria, that's not true!" I exclaim.

Okay so it's a little true, but she could have found a way to phrase it better. "Maxwell Philip Evans, I can't believe you!" Isabel yells.

"Shush" I say.

"Shush! Don't you tell me to shush!"

You know I think Isabel would have made a great school teacher.

"Isabel" I say, with a patience I'm just not feeling "Would you kindly keep your voice down?"

She leans back and frowns at me "Tell me everything"

I open my mouth to comment but she shakes her head, "Not you… You" She says pointing at Maria.

"Why her?" I protest.

She gives me that school teacher look again. "Because I trust her to be more honest"

"That's not very nice" I say, well it comes out more like a grumble.

"Shut up Max" she turns back to Maria. "Go on"

Maria doesn't really look too happy to be in the hot seat either, but I shoot her a look that clearly says 'this is all your fault' and wait for her to speak.

"Well" she says, "Yesterday I innocently knocked on Max's door to ask a question…"

I roll my eyes "Oh please"

"Max, don't interrupt" Isabel says, she nods to Maria to continue.

Maria smirks at me "At which time he tells me that he knows Liz has a new boyfriend and he wants me to find out all the information I can about them and report it back to him."

I'm back to gaping at her, talk about hanging a guy out to dry. Isabel can't decide which of us she should be more angry at so she swings her glare back and forth, thankfully she decides to focus on Maria.

"And you agreed to this?"

Maria blushes "Well yes…. but it was reluctantly"

"Why?"

My ears perk up, finally something that's not about me, let's see Maria answer this without discussing 'The Incident'.

"Because he said he loved her"

I slump down again, I'd forgotten about that part. Damn. Isabel's gaze swings back toward me

"You did?"

I can feel myself blushing. How embarrassing "I might have mentioned it" I mumble, and then glare at Maria "In confidence"

She shrugs.

"And this is the way you treat the woman you love? By invading her privacy?"

I'm getting crushed by the weight of her glare.

She turns back to Maria "Go on?"

"With what?" Maria asks. I think she's just getting the idea that Isabel's not any more happy with her role either.

"Well I'm assuming that whole exchange yesterday afternoon, was your idea of a fact finding mission?" Maria squirms "Maybe"

"And?" Maria and I exchange looks.

Isabel sighs "You may as well tell me all of it, because I won't be happy if I find out later you were holding anything back."

I want it on the record here that I was willing to stand strong and not answer any more questions, but Maria buckled. All of a sudden she's talking about her conversation with Liz, her subsequent conversation with me, our trip to the restaurant. She even had to bring up my car getting towed --which I might add the two of them had quite a chuckle over.

Isabel stopped laughing though when Maria mentioned how we still happened to be standing outside the restaurant when Liz and Kyle emerged.

"They saw you?" she asked incredulous.

We both nod.

"So let me get this straight, you manage to get through this whole cloak and dagger thing in the restaurant and then you get sprung standing right outside it?"

Did her lips just twitch?

Maria's looking somewhere in the vicinity of her feet "Yes" she mumbles.

Isabel's lips twitch again. I'm so glad she can find enjoyment in this "Well that was pretty stupid"

"We appreciate your input" I say sarcastically.

She glares at me.

Whoops.

"So what was he like?" Isabel asks.

"Nothing special" I answer.

"He was gorgeous" Maria says at the same time.

I curl my lip into a sneer. "He was pretentious"

I turn to Isabel, "You should have heard him introduce himself, 'Hello I'm Kyle Vallenti the third'" I roll my eyes after giving what I think was a fairly accurate impersonation of him. For some reason both Maria and Isabel seem particularly amused.

"Don't look now Max but you're turning green." Maria says.

Boy am I beginning to regret asking her for help.

Isabel decides to take pity on me "So, what was today's argument about then?"

Maria glares at me "He wants me to go out and ask Liz if she had sex with Kyle"

I'm momentarily thrown by her referring to him as 'Kyle' but Isabel's high pitched "What!" brings me back around.

I look at Maria with exasperation "Can’t you get any of the facts right?" I ask. "I didn't say to go and ask her, I said go out there and look for signs"

"Oh, because that's a huge distinction" Isabel states, somewhat sarcastically I should add.

"He wants to know if she's glowing"

I turn to her "Thank you Maria I think you've said enough for one morning"

Isabel seems to agree, "Maria if you don't mind I'd like to speak to Max alone for a minute"

Maria nods and moves to leave.

"There's nothing else I need to know before you go?" Isabel asks.

"Yeah" Maria says "He listens to Kenny Rogers in his car, I was glad the damn thing got towed" and with that parting shot, she exits. ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:46:26 PM
Part 11



ISABEL’S POV


I waited until the door is firmly shut behind Maria, before standing in front of Max with hands on hips "Max ?" I asks "What the hell is the matter with you?"

He's stalling.

It's actually quite interesting to watch, you can practically see the wheels turning in his head as he tries to decide exactly how much he can get away with now that Maria isn't here to blow the whistle on him.

"Nothing" he answers slowly.

That's it? He spends two minutes trying to think up an answer and that's the best he can come up with?

I point to the couch "Max sit down"

He frowns "I'm fine standing, thanks"

"Sit" I say in my most authoritarian voice.

He does. I walk over to stand directly in front of him

"You know what you're doing is wrong, don't you?"

He doesn't answer.

"Max you can't just go around sabotaging people's relationships on a whim"

"It's not a whim, Isabel"

"What is it then?"

"I'm trying to save her from a tru…." He breaks off looking faintly embarrassed, "I'm trying to win her back" he finally admits.

I knew it! Something was going on between Max and Liz.

I can feel myself starting to soften though, because he has this sad puppy dog expression on his face, which isn't a good thing because I haven't yet made my point.

"You realize the best way to do that would just be to go out and tell her how you feel." I point out reasonably. I can't believe Maria didn't mention this to him. I remind myself to have a long chat with her later about encouraging Max's stupid schemes.

She should know better.

He's looking at me like I'm from another planet.

"I can't do that"

"Why not?"

"Because she'd laugh at me"

I sigh, he's really pushing me to my limits

"Max she won't laugh at you, she has a right to know how you feel"

He stands up suddenly and I have to take a quick step back before he crashes into me. He starts pacing.

"Isabel if I go out there and say I've suddenly realized I'm in love with her, and I want her to get back together with me, she's just going to think I'm saying it all because I'm jealous"

"Max you are jealous"

"Yes" he admits, turning to face me "But I got jealous after I figured out I loved her"

I'm having trouble keeping up with his train of thought "As opposed too?"

"As opposed to her thinking I'm jealous of Kyle and am therefore saying I'm in love with her as an easy way to get her away from him."

I shake my head "She won't think that"

"Yes she will, and I can't take that chance" he stops pacing "Do you know how many women I've said the words 'I love you' too Isabel?" he asks.

Considering how many women he dates, I can only assume many. I shake my head.

"None"

If I look startled here, it's because I am. I am absolutely floored.

He continues "I never allowed myself to feel love for any of them, it was…." He pauses, struggling to continue "It was a defense mechanism, hell I didn't even let myself feel it for Liz the first time around."

His voice gets this raw, emotional quality too it I've only heard a few times before. "And when I do finally tell her, I want her to believe it's coming straight from me, not because I'm jealous over some stuffed shirt like Kyle Vallenti the third"

Okay I'm more than softening I just turned into a big puddle of goo. Who knew Max had all these words in him?

But still as much as I can now see his point of view, my first instinct was that this plan of his was the wrong way to approach this situation, and I can't shake that.

Loyalty to Liz also means I can't participate.

"I can't have anything to do with this plan of yours Max" I tell him.

He nods "It's your decision"

"It's not that I don't see where you're coming from… It's just…"

"It's okay Is, I understand"

"Okay then"

"You're not going to tell her are you?"

He seems quite worried by this prospect. I shake my head. "I'm not going to interfere, on your side or hers"

He smiles "Thanks"

I point at his desk "Now don't you have work to do?"

He nods and I swear I can see the wheels turning in his head again. Already thinking up the next part of his plan.

"Real work Max, you know the stuff that actually pays the bills?"

He gives me a sheepish grin "Oh yeah, of course…. umm that's what I thought you meant"

I roll my eyes and leave the room.


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


I firmly believe in fate.

I mean sometimes there's just no other explanation for the things that happen in your life. Take for example lunchtime today. Normally I bring my lunch into work, a nice salad or fresh sandwich, whatever I've prepared the night before. But last night my refrigerator decided to go on the fritz and so while I was busy transferring all my perishables into my neighbor Kathy's place and arranging for her to be home the next day to let the repairman in, I didn't have time to make anything.

I wasn't really worried about it, I mean I've been known on the odd occasion to eat out, so it wasn't really any big deal. My usual café of choice is this small place a couple of buildings down from the office called 'The Stuffed Duck'. I know the name sounds really silly, but the food is fabulous.

So I wander down there at about 1.15 and order my usual, when I'm eating here that is. Caesar Salad and an Iced Coffee. I pick up my tray and turn around.

This is where the fate part comes into it.

Because sitting not two tables away from where I'm standing are Alex and Liz. And I don't even have to guess what they'd be talking about. This is unbelievable I've never in the entire time I've been coming here, seen either one of them before. And now straight after I find out about Max's stupid plan here they are. At this point I think I have two options, I can let my presence be known and join them, or I can quietly back up to the counter and change my order to take-away.

I take a step backwards.

Which is when Liz, with all the timing of a Swiss clock looks up and spots me.

She smiles "Hey Is, I didn't know you were eating out today"

"My refrigerator broke down" I say kind of defensively.

Damn Max now he's got me on edge too.

Alex and Liz exchange a look, and Alex pats the chair beside him "Do you want to join us?" He asks.

Here's the thing, I really don't. I can't get past this feeling that just by being there I'm going to end up involved in this whole situation, which is not at all what I want.

However I can't think of a good excuse not to and Alex looks really cute.

Huh? Where did that come from?

"Well I don't want to interrupt" I try.

Alex pulls out the chair, "Don't be silly, actually you're timings really good, Liz was just about to tell me about her date last night"

My tray bobbles as I put it on the table.

"She was?" I ask.

Alex gives me a strange look "Are you alright Isabel you look kind of strange?"

"I'm fine" I reply taking a large swallow of my drink, I can do this, I can listen to Liz talk about her date and remain totally neutral. I just won't ask any questions.

There that's it, I'll just listen and anything I find out I'll keep totally to myself. No problem.

"So how'd it go?" I ask.

Whoops.

Well after that one I won't ask anymore.

Liz smiles "It was wonderful, he took me to Carlotta's…"

I choke on a large piece of lettuce "Carlotta's" I interrupt, kind of mid cough. Max and Maria left that part out, when they said they trailed her to a restaurant somehow that wasn't what I had in mind.

Alex's patting me on the back. "Are you okay?" he asks.

I nod and take another mouthful of drink. "I'm just surprised" I say covering. "I've heard about Carlotta's it's supposed to be wonderful."

"Yeah I've never been there either" Alex says wistfully, he turns to Liz "How did Kyle manage to get a table at such short notice?"

Liz shrugs "I didn't ask"

"Kyle always was resourceful"

I don't think I even want to know what he means by that.

"So tell us more Liz" I urge, just to be polite.

"Well the food was exquisite, I had…"

"We don't care what you ate" I interrupt. "Tell us about you and Kyle, what'd you say, what'd he say back, was there any ….?"

"Isabel!" Liz exclaims.

I roll my eyes "I don't mean THAT Liz."

"Oh" Liz looks mildly embarrassed.

"So what did you talk about?" I asks again, just trying to be sociable.

Liz sighs "All sorts of things, he told me what it was like working at his fathers firm, I discussed my work, we swapped stories about family and friends. He still remembers you by the way" She says to Alex.

"Who could forget me?" Alex asks.

Isabel leans in closer. "So enough about the restaurant what happened after?"

Liz gets this really confused look on her face "Well it was kind of strange"

"How?"

"Well we stepped out of the restaurant and you'll never guess who we bumped into"

"Who?" Alex asks, intrigued.

I pop a crouton into my mouth and refuse to make eye contact with either of them, just in case I inadvertently give away the fact that I know what Liz's about to say.

"Max and Maria" she says.

Yep color me surprised.

Liz turns her gaze towards me "You don't think they have a thing going on do you?" she asks.

The crouton becomes logged in my throat. "Excuse me?" I croak.

Alex's pounding on my back again.

Liz shakes her head absently "I mean they said they were visiting a client, but the whole thing just seemed really strange"

"In what way?" I ask, as soon as I can speak again.

"Well for one Maria was really dressed up. More like she was on a date than visiting a client. And they seemed to be hiding something." She shakes her head as if to clear it of all thoughts.

"I'm sure it's nothing"

"I can ask him if you want?" Alex volunteers.

"No!" Did I say that really loudly?

Oh well. I turn to Alex the last thing this whole fiasco needs is him in the middle of it.

"They really were visiting a client, I was looking at the file this morning"

Alex turns her attention back to Liz "What happened when he took you home? You did go straight home didn't you?"

Liz blushes again "Alex"

"Oh come on Liz, its me your talking to. We want to know don't we Isabel?"

He's looking at me like he's expecting me to jump in and back him up. I'm giving him that whole 'deer stuck in headlights' look back.

"He was a perfect gentleman" Liz answers.

"Well that doesn't mean anything" Alex said.

I think I'm scrunching my face up here, because really I did NOT want to know that. Liz's frowning at Alex too, I'm thinking it was too much information all around.

"He didn't come inside" she says.

"Who's decision was that?"

I'm thinking this sort of tenacity is what makes Alex a good DA. He never gives up on anything.

"It was mutual, I mean it was only our first date"

"So did he kiss you?" I ask.
.
"Yes" Liz answers.

"And? God Liz, stop being such a clam."

"It was nice"

Alex and I both look surprised

"Nice?" I asked, "That's not exactly a ringing endorsement"

"Well it was our first kiss, you know those are usually awkward, so for a first kiss it was nice"

"Is there going to be a second?"

"Alex!"

"I'm just asking if you're going out with him again, Liz. Lighten up."

Liz sighs "Friday night."

At this point I think I've heard enough information. Information I might add I that have no intention of sharing with Max and Maria.

So I stand.

"I've got to go" I say.

"Okay well I'll see you back at the office" Liz replies.

I nod, "Okay, see you guys later."

"Bye, Isabel" Alex says.

I leave in a hurry, heading back to the office and hoping that by some miracle neither Maria or Max will be there when I get back. I like to think I'm a strong willed person and that they will respect my decision not to get involved in this whole affair.


But I know the reality of that is unlikely. So I open the door and find out that fate has dealt me yet another blow.

Because they are the only two people in the office.

Unbelievable.

By some strange turn of events Maria and Max are standing in the middle of the room having yet another argument.

They both stop talking as I enter. "Well" Max asks, straight away "How'd it go?"

"How'd what go?" I ask, confused.

"Your lunch with Liz and Alex."

I stand there gaping at him, how the hell did he know that? ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:49:13 PM
Part 12 A



MAX’S POV


Isabel's gaping at me and she doesn't look too happy.

"Max" she says coldly "How do you know who I had lunch with?"

She's looking accusingly at both Maria and me.

"Did you tail me?"

I look at Maria for help.

As usual she provides none

"No" I answer, somewhat indignantly "Of course not."

She crosses her arms, I also notice that her foot is tapping. This can't be good.

"Michael told us" Maria remarks.

Isabel's jaw drops again. "You've told Michael about this?"

She's waving her arms around in frustration, "Why don't you just take out a sign?"

"Isabel!"

I focus her attention back onto me, which after noticing her glare may not have been my smartest move.

"We didn't tell Michael anything, he was picking up a brief for me and he mentioned seeing you through the window on his way back."

"Where is he now?"

"He went to lunch, I wouldn't be surprised if he's down at The Stuffed Duck"

For some reason I'm not sure of, that terrifies me, anyway, Isabel smiles "Well then won’t he get an earful."

"Why?"

She crosses her arms again "I don't suppose either of you would be interested in Liz's theory of why you were outside the restaurant last night?"

We both nod.

Isabel points at both of us "She thinks you might have a thing going on."

"A thing?" I ask, somewhat confused.

She rolls her eyes at me "You know, a THING."

Suddenly it hits me.

I look at her with astonishment "You've got to be kidding!"

I look towards Maria, her expression is one I can only describe as pure horror.

How insulting. I mean as far as I know I'm quite a good catch, I'm sure many have thought so. Maria apparently isn't one of them. Her mouth is hanging open. She snaps it closed

"Me ….. and him?"

She asks in a strangled tone, taking a step to the side as if to place greater distance between us.

"Nobody would believe that"

I'm starting to agree, I glare at her just out of principle.

Isabel's lips twitch, and then it seems that she can't control herself and her smile blooms "Well Liz might"

I turn towards Isabel, "This isn't good"

She lifts an eyebrow "You think?"

"You have to set her straight"

"Me!" She's shaking her head furiously.

"Uh-uh it doesn't have anything to do with me, you set her straight"

"Oh and how am I supposed to do that?"

"I don't care" I glare at her, then turn towards Maria "You do it?"

She holds up her hands "Forget it, I've done enough, you got me into this situation, you get me out."

I think I may be turning purple right about now, "You are no help" I tell her "None at all"

"Good" She says, sitting at her desk "In that case you won’t need me any more. It's been fun and all that, though"

She looks rather satisfied with herself. I turn to Isabel

"You know Is I don't know if I've ever told you this before, but about two years ago, I walked into…."

"Max!" Maria exclaims.

I give her a pointed look.

"Fine" She grumbles, "But I'm still not talking to Liz that one's on you"

"Don't worry about it" Isabel says, "I covered for you, I confirmed you were working on a case."

"You couldn't have mentioned that about five minutes ago?" I ask, more than a little annoyed.

Her lips quirk again. "I wanted to see your reaction."

"Well since you're enjoying yourself so much you're really going to enjoy the rest of your participation in the plan." That wiped the smile off her face

"No way, I'm not getting involved, remember?"

"Too late Isabel, you're already involved, you just covered for us, which means if all this breaks Liz's gonna know you knew. So you might as well help out completely"

She seems at a loss for words, Maria on the other hand is nodding "He's right Isabel, you're in"

I think she just doesn't want to be the only one involved, but at this stage what do I care.

"This isn't fair" Isabel sputters.

"What can I say," I shrug, "That's life."

Now Isabel's turning purple. "I want this on the record that I am an unwilling participant"

"Join the club" Maria mutters.

"Justify it any way you want" I say, "Just tell me everything you know"

"She didn't have too much to say, apart from, you know, hypothesizing about the two of you"

"Isabel" I say in warning.

"Fine" She sighs "It was my impression, and it is just an impression…."

God, sometimes I could just strangle Isabel.

"That possibly Liz didn't have that great a time on her date"

Whoa, this sounds promising, I stand up straighter. Finally something I want to hear. "Why?"

She shrugs "I don't know it was just the way she talked, she wasn't very enthusiastic. She didn't sound like a woman who was really looking forward to her second date."

"So will there be a second date?"

"Not that she mentioned."

This is great, and I mean really great. I smile, at both Maria and Isabel "Well good."

"Until we know specifics we should probably lay low for a couple of days Max" Isabel adds.

"Okay" I look at both of them "But you'll keep your ears to the ground, just too make sure?"

They both nod. "Good" I say again, and then head into my office.

I think I may be whistling. ksmile




Part 12 B



ISABEL’S POV


I watch Max walk into his office and close the door. The idiot's whistling.

With a shake of my head I turn to Maria and motion her down towards the library, where I take out a reference book and hand it to her. We need a cover if Max comes out of his office again and wants to know what we're talking about.

"We have a problem" I say as soon as we're both seated.

Maria looks worried "What sort of problem?"

"Liz does have another date Maria, on Friday night"

"What!"

"Shush" I say, with a quick look towards Max's office, thankfully the door stays closed.

"I had to Maria, he's getting too carried away with this thing, he needs to take a step back."

"And how have you helped with that?"

"Well" I say somewhat defensively "I've brought us some time"

"He's gonna find out Isabel."

"Not if we keep him occupied."

"And how do we do that?" Her voice is getting louder.

"Okay here's my plan…"

At this point Maria leans her head on the table and mutters something about people and plans, that I don't actually catch but I sort of get the impression it's not too flattering.

"Maria pay attention" I wait until she lifts her head. "I think it's been a while since we all had one of our staff outings to Casey’s. Why don't we plan one for Friday night."

"And what reason do we give for Liz not being there?"

"We don't give any reason at all, in fact he won’t know about it until it's too late."

Maria's looking at me like I just been released from the insane asylum, and she's trying to decide whether or not to have me recommitted.

"How exactly do we manage that?"

"Well think about it for a minute, he's not going to talk to Liz about anything even remotely social. As far as he's concerned that's why he's roped us into this whole ridiculous scenario" Maria nods in agreement "So we just tell him that we've talked to everyone about it, and that it's set for Friday night, and by the time he figures out Liz's not coming it'll be too late."

"Knowing Max, he'll just cancel the night and we'll be forced to follow Liz around again, trust me I've been there and it's not as much fun as it sounds."

"That's the beauty of the plan." I say leaning forward. "He won't be able too, because Michael will be coming with us, and how will he be able to cancel without telling him why?"

"I'm sure he'd think of something."

"He won't have time, trust me this'll work."

She sighs, but eventually nods "Okay Isabel, I'm going with you on this one, but if anything happens I just want you too know right up front that it's all your fault."

I look at her and smile.

After all, what could possibly go wrong? ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:51:13 PM
Part 13



MAX’S POV


Friday night.

I step out of my office and look around. "Is everyone ready to go?"

Michael, Maria and Isabel all nod.

"Where's Liz?" I ask.

Maria and Isabel exchange a look, before Isabel replies "Liz's not back from the courthouse yet. Perhaps we should just go, she can meet us over there later."

Michael's already in his coat, but I shake my head "It's okay we can wait"

With that the door opens and Liz walks in.

"Hey are you ready to go?" I ask.

She looks confused "Go where?"

"To Casey’s"

Her confusion deepens "Casey’s?" She shrugs "I don't know anything about it, but I can't go anyway I've got plans"

"What plans?" I have a sinking suspicion I already know though from the way Maria and Isabel are refusing to look at me.

"I've got a date" she answers, oblivious to the sudden tension in the room. "Kyle's taking me dancing"

"Really?" I ask with a pointed stare at my two co-conspirators, both of whom have a sudden fascination with our furnishings.

"We should go, Max" Isabel says, tearing her gaze away from the filing cabinet.

"Yeah, I'm thirsty" Michael adds, "Too bad you can't join us Liz, but have a good time." He smiles at Liz "See you Monday."

"Yeah."

And this is when I finally realize how easily they've played me. I'm totally trapped. There's no way I can pull out of tonight without arousing the suspicions of Michael and Liz. So instead of following Liz to wherever her date with Kyle will be, I have to go to Casey’s.

But I do not have to be happy.


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


I'm beginning to think this night will go on forever.

We've been here for just under two and a half hours and I'm more than ready to make my excuses and leave. It's not like the others wouldn’t miss me anyway, because my contribution to the conversation has mostly been in single word sentences. Isabel and Maria are avoiding any sort of direct eye contact with me --exactly like the guilty parties that they are, and Michael, oblivious to everything, just keeps talking.

Our waiter seems to have lost our latest drink order so I calmly suggest Michael go to the bar, and order some more. I'd like a word with my cohorts before I leave. They watch him go nervously.

"Well" I say as soon as he's out of earshot "Haven't we been busy" They look at each other guiltily, as well they should. "Does someone want to fill me in on when our plan changed from 'Lets break up Liz and Kyle' to 'Lets let Liz and Kyle have a romantic uninterrupted night out?'"

I think I may be yelling at this point.

Isabel's the first to speak "It was my idea Max"

"You're a traitor" I say emphatically.

She looks exasperated "Max"

"We had a plan Isabel"

"No we didn't Max" Maria jumps in "You had a plan, that you forced us into. But it was wrong, Liz should make her own decisions about who she wants to be with, we shouldn't interfere"

"Fine" I say, crossing my arms "If you don't want to help I'll just do it myself"

"Fine" They both agree together.

The traitors.

We sit there glaring at each other until Michael comes back with the drinks.

"Hey where's Liz?" He asks.

A sinking sensation appears in the pit of my stomach "On a date with Kyle, why?"

He looks confused "Because I just saw her come in here when I was at the bar, she was heading over to the table"

Maria, Isabel and I all look at each other with horror, as realization hits us.

I whip my head around desperately hoping that she just got stopped by someone on the way over here, but I can't see her anywhere.

"She must have overheard us" Isabel says.

"Saying what?" Michael asks.

I don't wait around for Isabel's answer, if Liz's left it couldn't have been that long ago, maybe I can still catch her. I nearly knock my chair over in my hurry to stand up, and race outside. But when I get there the street is empty.


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


I'm hating the world at large right now.

Well that's not true, mostly I'm hating the female half of the world. The way I figure this, the whole situation is all their fault. I mean, lets recap.

First Liz screws with my new life plan and gets another boyfriend. Then Maria and Isabel screw with my perfectly feasible plan to break Liz and said boyfriend up, which results in Liz misconstruing my plan and being what I am only assuming to be royally pissed. I can only assume this because I can't actually get in touch with her. And believe me I've tried. There's been about 50 phone messages, okay I may be exaggerating here but you get the idea, it's a lot.

When that didn't work, I tried knocking on the door, I had to leave when the neighbor threatened to call the police. So I went back home and tried phoning again. I can only assume Liz decided not too speak too me. To make matters complete Liz didn't show up for work this morning, and because she won't answer her phone I have no way to contact her.

Alex is another matter. Wisely I didn't call his direct line because I figured he wouldn't take my call, so I rang Fred Taylor a friend of mine in the DA's office. He assured me he was in. So here I am, about to confront him. He's going to tell me where Liz is because I'm not leaving his office until he does. And he'd better watch out if he tries to stall me too, because like I've said, I've had more than enough at the moment.

If I'd only asked Michael to help me, I'd probably already be back with Liz now, instead of facing what I'm sure will be a lot of begging and groveling --which I might have mentioned I hate doing, in order just to get her to talk to me. I am not in a good mood, and Alex is about to be made aware of that.

I open his door without knocking, he's sitting at his desk writing, but he looks up as I enter. "I want to know where she is Alex" I say "And I want to know now." ksmile



Part 14



ALEX’S POV


What a bastard.

And trust me that's the nicest thing I can think of to say about him. After everything he's pulled he should be cowering under his desk, or hiding a corner.

But no, in true Max Evans manner he's in here throwing around orders.

"Get out" I say, with what I consider admirable restraint.

He sits down opposite me "Not until you tell me where she is"

"Max you may not realize this, being as you are one of the more stupid men walking the planet, but I have what you may call considerable influence with the Boston Police Department, you don't want to be messing with me right now"

"You're wasting your threats Alex, I'm not leaving. I need to talk to her"

"So you can say what exactly?" He looks uncomfortable

"That's none of your business"

"Say it to me Max, or don't say it at all. Because in order to talk to Liz you have to get through me first"

"She has to come back sooner or later, I can wait"

I lean back in my chair "Okay"

He sighs "Please Alex, I just need to talk to her, I need to know what she heard."

"So you can make up excuses"

"No" The pig manages to look as if I've just offended him.

"So I can explain"

"Then explain it to me because I'd love to hear it. I think you've sunk to new levels even for you Max."

Now he's getting angry, I can actually see his face turning red.

"You know I don't think I need to justify myself to you Alex, after some of the stunts I've seen you pull."

Bad move "I'm assuming you're referring to things that have happened in the courtroom, but we won't even go there. Nothing I've done Max, would even begin to compare with setting out to break up you're ex-girlfriend's new relationship, and enlisting half of your office to help you!" I'm screaming at him right now, but really I don't care. I mean he does deserve it.

He blinks at me, surprised "I don't think you're in any position to judge considering you don't have all the facts."

"Then explain it to me" I say again.

"No" He repeats, I swear the man gives new definition to the word stubborn.

"You know what I think it's about Max?" I ask.

He gives me a 'This I've got to hear look' but doesn't comment.

"I think you were just jealous of Kyle"

"I was not" he sputters.

"Max you're like a three year old with last years Christmas toy, you don't want it anymore but you don't want anyone else to have it either"

"You couldn't be more wrong Alex" I give him my most disbelieving look.

"There's no other explanation Max" I remark "I mean it can't be about love"

"Why not?"

I'm incredulous by this point "You mean apart from the fact that you wouldn't treat the woman you love the way you've treated Liz these past few days?"

He manages to look contrite "Yes apart from that"

"You don't fall in love Max, if there's one thing that the women who date you understand, it's that. You're very clear on the subject."

Now he just looks uncomfortable "Maybe I've changed"

I raise my eyebrows "Maybe?"

He nods. "I have changed, I'm a new man. And I'm in love with Liz"

I'm not convinced "It's easy to say it Max, proving it's another matter"

He looks somewhat stunned "What do you think I've been doing the last few days?"

I glare at him "Acting like a jerk"

He stands up and starts pacing my office "Have you ever considered that maybe that's because I've never been in love before, and I don't know how else to act?"

I absolutely will not buckle. He hurt my best friend damn it.

He turns to me with tears in his eyes.

Oh God, I'm starting to buckle.

What do you expect of me, I'm not made of stone. He's in love with my best friend. I know damn well she's still in love with him.

Under other circumstances we'd all be celebrating right now, those circumstances being Liz not still being royally pissed. Still she is my best friend so if I can help, then I'll help. But only for Liz you understand, I still think Max was a jerk.

I sigh and point to the chair he'd been sitting it. "Sit down Max and tell me everything." I raise my eyebrow "And I mean everything, it's in your best interest not too leave anything out."

He sits down opposite me and starts talking, by the time he finishes my stomach hurts because I've been both laughing and crying, and I've come to the realization that this is a story Liz should hear. But it needs to be her decision.

I look over at Max, he's stopped talking and he's looking at me expectantly, I sigh and give him the only answer I can

"She's gone away for a few days Max, I'm not sure when she'll be back but I'll let you know as soon as I've talked to her."

"If you give me the number I can talk to her myself" He replies.

While I see the logic in that, I shake my head "I can't do that. Just stay by the phone I'll call you when I can."

He nods, knowing he's not going to get anything else out of me. Then just when I thought I couldn't be surprised anymore by this conversation he proves me wrong by saying

"I don't want your friendship with Liz to be affected by this as well Alex, I've stuffed up enough relationships as it is. If she doesn't want to talk to you about it then just be her friend, I'll worry about everything else myself"

I'm momentarily stunned. Maybe he has changed. I nod "I'll let you know"

"Thanks" He smiles at me and leaves the office.

I wait until the door closes before I reach for the phone. This is a conversation I don't want overheard. ksmile



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Nov-2001 1:04:59 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:52:39 PM
Part 15 A



LIZ’S POV


I'm pacing around the apartment nervously, as I wait for the doorbell to ring.

Alex told Max that I'd be home Friday night at about 7. Which means knowing Max as well as I do he'll probably be arriving at about 6.45 on the off chance I've arrived early and to try to catch me before I can go back out again.

It's now 6.40.

In reality I actually arrived home yesterday afternoon.

Alex rang me from his office to tell me that he'd talked to Max and there was some information I needed to know. He wouldn't tell me what that was over the phone, but he convinced me it was worth the return trip. It wasn't that hard a sell, I mean I couldn't stay at my parents forever, especially since I didn't bother to pack before I left, and I trust Alex's judgement.

So back I came.

We spent the entire night talking, which I don't think we've done since college, and it was actually kind of fun.

That is after I got through being angry, which only took me about three hours. I came in venting, angry, calling Max every name I could think of --and some I just made up off the top of my head, can I just say I think I'm pretty creative when I'm mad.

Alex listened to me for awhile, nodding sympathetically, then after he thought I'd expressed enough emotions, calmly told me to sit down and shut up, it was his turn to talk.

By the time he finished I wasn't angry anymore.

I actually suggested to Alex that he may want to switch sides because he put up a hell of a defense on Max's behalf.

Which doesn't go to say that I condone the method with which he went about his stupid plan, but I can't complain about the reason.

Actually I'm very happy about the reason.

What can I say, I love the idiot man.

I'd actually just told Kyle that very thing on Friday night, when I'd told him I couldn't keep seeing him because it wasn't fair to lead him on. He'd taken the news well and we'd parted as friends, he went home and I went over to Casey’s looking forward to spending some out of work time with my colleagues.

And then I overheard their conversation.

And I saw red.

So what I'm getting around to saying here is that while I'm very happy that my feelings for Max are not one sided, I still think he needs to learn a lesson.

You shouldn't play with people the way he did, you certainly shouldn't blackmail your workmates into becoming accomplices. If we're going to have a relationship it has to be based on honesty.

To make sure he really understands that, he's about to get a taste of his own medicine.

Lets see how he likes it.

I hear the doorbell ring and look at my watch.

It's 6.45.


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


MAX’S POV


For the fourth time in as many minutes I glance at the clock on my office wall.

It's 6.05.

I can see everyone still working busily outside. Isabel and Maria have been avoiding me for the last couple of days, but I can't concentrate.

Alex rang to tell me Liz would be home at about 7 tonight and I can't wait to see her. I know she'll probably kick me out on my ass, but I've got to try to talk to her, at least to re-establish our friendship if nothing else.

These last few days I've come to realize that I can't lose Liz totally from my life, if friendship is all she'll offer I figure at this point I'd be thankful to accept it.

But I won't give up without a fight.

At this point I figure explaining things is probably a waste of time, Alex already told me he relayed our conversation to Liz, so I know she has all the facts, the thing I think Liz needs from me right now is the one thing I absolutely hate doing.

Begging and groveling.

Right about now I'm desperately wishing I could jump into a magic time machine and go back to the day I thought up this stupid plan and just start with the begging and groveling because quite frankly back then I had less to beg and grovel for.

But instead I went and screwed up everything, no matter how well my intentioned was, and now I think it's going to take the greatest begging and groveling exercise ever known to man, to fix this situation.

I straighten my shoulders, if anyone's up to the task it's me.

I pick up my pen and write a list, because I'm at my best when I make lists.

First I'll need flowers.

I'm not much of a flowers man but I think the situation calls for them so I'll make a exception, just this once you understand. I definitely think roses are in order. Not red, because that's too obvious, maybe pink. It's romantic without being too over the top.

Then chocolates.

This is going to cost me a fortune, but well it's my fault so what the hell. I don't know anything about buying chocolates, but if Liz doesn't like the flowers I'll need a back up plan.

What next?

I'm wishing I hadn't slept through all those romantic comedy movies I've been dragged to over the years, they might have come in handy now.

I try to think of any books I might have read lately that could help me out, but the last book I picked up was about five years ago, what can I say I've been too busy reading legal briefs. I read some Shakespeare in college but I can't imagine myself standing underneath Liz's balcony calling out "Liz, Liz where art thou."

Still poetry could work.

I'm a highly educated man, I can write a poem that sums up my feelings. I mean how hard could it be.

Fifteen minutes later I'm very proud of my accomplishment.

Here's what I came up with.



There is a young lady called Liz
Who means everything in the world to me.
But I made a stupid mistake
And now I have an apology to make
So I'm here before her on bended knee




Don't be too harsh it's my first attempt at poetry, and I only plan on using it as an absolute last resort.

Lets hope it won't come to that.

I look at the clock, it's 6.20, if I leave now I can be at Liz's by about 6.45, just in case she's home early.

I pick up my coat and head for the door. ksmile



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



Part 15 B



LIZ'S POV


I take my time opening the door --even though I was standing right behind it, it's all part of my strategy, and it seems to be working.

Max's fidgeting nervously.

Which can't be that easy to do considering he's holding a bunch of flowers in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other.

It's hard to suppress my grin, but somehow I manage it.

"Max," I say, my demeanor not one of a happy person.

"Liz," he gives me a shy smile. "Can I come in for a minute?"

I seem to think about it for a moment then reluctantly step back.

"Alright."

He looks around uncertainly. "Is Kyle here?"

I cross my arms.

"Why? Are you here to see him?"

"No" he answers quickly, "I was just wondering if we were alone?"

We are actually but I don't want him to feel too secure. "For the moment."

"Oh okay." He suddenly realizes he's still holding the candy and flowers, and holds both of them out at the same time. "These are for you"

I look at them but make no attempt to take them from him.

"Really?"

He nods, his arms still outstretched, he actually looks quite comical.

"Why?"

"They're a peace offering"

I give him a dissatisfied look but take them anyway, and place them on the table.

"You're going to have to do better than that."

He nods as if expecting that answer, and the next thing I know he's down on his knees.

"What the hell are you doing?" I ask.

"I'm begging for forgiveness." He replies.

Oh for a camera.

I lean back against the table, "Okay."

He looks surprised that I'm actually going to make him go through with it, I'm thinking he thought just making the gesture would be enough.

Boy did he think wrong.

I cross my arms and wait for him to continue.

"Liz," he says, "What I did was wrong, I totally understand if you never want to speak to me again. And I want to say that I'm truly sorry"

I quirk my eyebrow.

"That's it?" I ask, fairly unimpressed.

His face seems to fall, and for a moment I feel bad, but then I think of everything that he's pulled and I don't feel that bad.

"Well no," he looks at me kind of uncertainly. "I also wrote a poem."

My jaw drops and it takes me a moment to recover.

"You did what?"

"I wrote you a poem," he replies.

Oh this I've got to hear.

"Alright."

He looks faintly embarrassed as he pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket and unfolds it, then he clears his throat.

"There is a young lady named Liz….."

I cough into my hand to disguise my laugh, he looks up at me accusingly.

"Are you laughing at me?"

"A limerick, Max?"

Now he looks really embarrassed.

"It was all I could think of."

I motion towards him, "Then by all means continue."

He shakes his head, "I don't think so" he stands up, groaning a little as he does, and placing the piece of paper back in his pocket.

I make a mental note to read it later because I'm really curious about the rest of it.

"Liz, I came over here tonight to apologize, what I did was unforgivable. I totally understand if you never want to speak to me again. And umm…" He seems to have a lot of trouble getting the words out "I wish you and Kyle the best of luck in the future."



Okay, I can't hold out any longer, I'm amazed I've lasted this long.

It's time to put the poor guy out of his misery.

"Max there is no more Kyle."

It takes him a moment to get my meaning.

"There isn't?" he asks, not quite sure if he should be hopeful or not.

I shake my head.

"Since when?" He asks.

"Since Friday night, about half an hour before I went to Casey’s"

"Oh."

I can see him putting the pieces into place.

"Why'd you break up with him?"

No way, this is his show. I'm not going first.

"Why'd you come up with that stupid plan?”

He reaches out for my hand holding it tightly "Because I love you Liz, I always have, and the thought of losing you to another man, before I had the chance to tell you that, made me resort to stupid tactics."

I blink at him surprised. Well that certainly covered all the bases.

"So why'd you break up with Kyle?" He asks again.

"Maybe I love you too" I admit grudgingly.

His lips quirk, "Maybe?"

"Possibly?"

He shakes his head "I think you can do better than that."

I sigh "Well if you're going to force the issue. Okay, I love you Max"

He pulls me into a tight embrace. "I really am sorry Liz"

I lean my head against his chest. "Just don't ever do it again."

He nods then leans down and kisses me. "I promise."


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


MAX'S POV


I'm really nervous, I can hear her inside but it's taking her forever to open the door, so I'm standing out here looking like an idiot clutching both the chocolates and the flowers in my hands.

Liz's next door neighbor has already opened the door to glare at me, and I have a feeling if Liz doesn't open her door soon, he may go ahead with his earlier threat and call the police on me.

I sigh with relief when I hear the lock turn, and then I see her.

She looks beautiful.

And also very angry.

I start fidgeting again, in the process nearly dropping the flowers.

"Max," she says holding the door open, but keeping her arm on it, so I can't pass.

I give her my friendliest smile, but it feels a little wobbly.

"Liz, can I come in for a minute?"

At this stage I'd crawl in on my hands and knees if she asked me too.

After what seems like an eternity she finally steps back.

"Alright."

I look around as I step past her.

"Is Kyle here?" I ask, the last thing I want to do is make a fool of myself in front of Kyle as well.

Liz's got her arms crossed and if possible her frown increases, “Why? Are you here to see him?"

Well this isn't going well.

I'm actually thinking at this moment of fleeing for the door, only pride stops me, well that and the thought of losing Liz forever. I absolutely refuse to let that happen.

"No, I was just wondering if we were alone?"

She nods, and I notice her arms are still crossed.

"For the moment."

What does that mean? Is she expecting company? Is she expecting Kyle?

I decide not to waste any more of my precious time alone with Liz on useless questions, I have to get her to forgive me and I have to do it fast.

I hold out both the flowers and the chocolates, "These are for you."

She makes no attempt to take them. "Really?" She asks, "Why?"

She's not giving me an inch, and I look like a real idiot standing here with my arms extended, but I guess I deserve a little embarrassment.

“They're a peace offering," I try lamely.

I get the privilege of seeing one of the most dissatisfied expressions ever when she looks at me, but at least she takes them from me.

"You're going to have to do better than that," she places them on the table behind her.

Okay this just isn't working at all, I throw all pride out the window and get down on both knees, if begging is what is required then I'm going to do it right.

Liz looks downright astonished, which is better than dissatisfied, so that's a step up.

"What the hell are you doing?" she asks.

"I'm begging for forgiveness," I say, giving her my most hopeful grin.

She leans back against the table and crosses her arms again.

"Okay."

I can't believe she's actually going to make me go through with this, I mean I was kind of hoping the gesture would be enough, but apparently not. I pray she doesn't feel the need to share any of this with Maria and Isabel at a later date, that would be all I need. Well if it's an apology she wants, it's an apology she'll get.

"Liz," I say, "What I did was wrong, I totally understand if you never want to speak to me again. And I want to say that I'm truly sorry"

There, that says it all don't you think?

Apparently not.

"That's it?" she asks.

I sigh, it's time to pull out all the stops.

"Well no."

I pause here, not really sure if I can go through with this, but then I remind myself again what's at stake, and I know I can. Besides I can't look anymore stupid than I already do.

"I wrote a poem," I say, still somewhat reluctantly.

Her jaw drops, "You did what?"

I guess she doesn't think I can be romantic, boy is she about to be proven wrong.

"I wrote you a poem," I repeat.

She makes herself comfortable against the table.

"Alright."

I know I'm blushing as I pull the piece of paper out of my pocket but I really can't help it. I clear my throat refusing to look up at her.

"There is a young lady named Liz…."

If I'm not mistaken I think that sound emanating from her is laughter.

I look up, "Are you laughing at me?" I'm kind of insulted.

"A limerick, Max?" She asks.

Now I know I'm blushing "It was all I could think of."

She makes a motioning gesture in my direction, "Then by all means continue."

Not likely, I've embarrassed myself enough for one evening.

"I don't think so" I say standing up. I sigh, I may as well just give a straight apology. "Liz, I came over here tonight to apologize, what I did was unforgivable. I totally understand if you never want to speak to me again. And umm….." I nearly choke on the words, "I wish you and Kyle the best of luck for the future."

Oh God, that was harder than getting down on my knees and saying poetry. I wonder if she can tell how much I want to take those words back. I have an overwhelming desire to leave before she tells me exactly how happy she is with Kyle.

"Max there is no more Kyle."

What?

Well maybe I can stay another few minutes. "There isn't?" I ask.

Did that sound too hopeful?

Who cares? She shakes her head.

"Since when?" I don't really care, but I ask anyway.

"Since Friday night, about half an hour before I went to Casey’s."

"Oh."

The true weight of my stupidity falls on me.

"Why'd you break up with him?"

I'm extremely curious about this point.

Instead of answering my perfectly reasonable question she asks, "Why'd you come up with that stupid plan?"

She's going to make me say it first this time. That's okay, I can be the bigger person.

I reach out and take her hand, what can I say I'm getting into this whole romance thing.

"Because I love you Liz, I always have, and the thought of losing you to another man, before I had the chance to tell you that, made me resort to stupid tactics."

There you go, top that Liz. She seems speechless, but in a happy way.

I smile in a purely self congratulatory way and ask again, "So why'd you break up with Kyle?"

Lets see how eloquent she can be. "Maybe I love you too," she says.

Good try.

Not.

She's holding out on me I can tell, so for now I play along.

"Maybe?"

"Possibly?" She tries.

I shake my head "I think you can do better than that."

She gives an exaggerated sigh, "Well if you're going to force the issue?"

She looks up at me and I nod, confirming I am indeed going to force the issue.

"Okay, I love you Max."

I've never heard any more wonderful words in my life. I have to hold her, I've held out long enough.

"I really am sorry Liz," I say pulling her towards me.

She comes willingly and the feel of her arms wrapping around me is unbelievably good.

"Just don't ever do it again," she says against my chest.

"I promise," I say, giving her a quick kiss to seal the deal.

I mean why would I need to, my new and improved life plan has just been realized. ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:55:06 PM
Part 16



Liz wakes feeling slightly disorientated.

She's puzzled by the heavy weight that seems to surround her. Her mind is foggy from sleep and her body feels unusually numb.

Confusion reigns supreme as she tries to will her eyes to open.

Slowly the fog begins to clear only to cause a greater confusion as her senses kick in.

She sees three hands on the mattress in front of her.

She decides either she's grown an extra arm over night, and a rather large muscular one at that, or she isn't alone. The fact she can hear and feel someone breathing behind her tends to lend support to her latter theory. At least that would also explain the weight pressed against and over her she concludes.

Her eyes open wider as she attempts to take in her surroundings.

She soon realizes that she is definitely not alone in her bed.

A groan escapes her mouth.

Almost immediately the large hand resting before her rises and leaves her field of vision. She feels the weight of the attached arm lift from her side and then a soft gentle caress as the hand lands on her thigh and travels slowly up to her hip.

"You ok?" a croaky sleep riddled voice asks and Liz remembers exactly how she ended up where she is and smiles.

Max!

"I'm fine!" she answers him leaning back contentedly into his warmth.

She reaches down until her hand rests on his as his thumb continues to rub across her hip. She squeezes his hand softly before bringing hers back to rest in front of her.

Relaxed, she begins to drift off to sleep.

She feels his hand lift from her thigh as he reaches over her drawing her even closer to him before allowing his hand to come to rest on top of hers. She opens her eyes and looks at where her hand once was, where it still is but is now completely hidden. Only his hand is visible to her now. His strong slender fingers are all she can see. His large, powerful yet tender hand completely enveloped hers. The image it creates is beautiful, magnificent, breath-taking.

She can't stop the smile or the emotion the image brings forth but nor does she want to. For the first time in a long time she is happy.

Completely happy.

And not just because of the man sleeping behind her but because of the future. The future, that had been put on hold, until yesterday.

Until Max told her he was sorry.

The sweetest words she'd ever heard. The sweetest words, that is, until sixty seconds later when Max told her he loved her for the first time.

He kissed her.

A soft chaste kiss immediately followed by a kiss full of passion and longing and a love he no longer denied. And he'd hung on to her. Hung on as if he was afraid if he let her go she would run from him. And he begged for her again to give him a chance.

"I know that I hurt you and blew it the first time Liz...but ... Liz I love you ... and I can't go another moment without telling you that. I want to be with you ... You're all I think about ... I want us to be a couple ... I want to kiss you and touch you and love you ... please ... Liz, let me love you!"

And she said yes.

Not with words but with a kiss and they held each other tight. They've been in each others arms ever since and there is no where else she would rather be.

She can't wait to spend this day exactly there, in his arms, the whole day.

And then she remembers. "Oh shit!"

"I have to go" Liz says hurriedly disentangling herself and standing.

"Liz wait!" Max pleads confused by her sudden flight. He manages to grab her hand preventing her from moving away from the bed.

"Max please I have to go!" She tries to pull away but he won't let her go.

"Liz" he scrambles across the bed towards her.

Kneeling he pulls her against him "I thought you were ok with this ... with us ... I thought..."

"Oh I am Max" she kisses him caressing his face "I'm more than ok with it Max. I'm happier than I've ever been ... but ... now, I've really got to go!"

"Why?"

She sighs "I'm having lunch with my father today ..... In less than an hour he'll be picking me up and it won't look good if he sees you here. I have to get showered and dressed before he gets here, so Max, please I really have to go! And you also have to leave."

He lets go and sits back on his heels watching as she hurriedly picked her clothes.

"Can I see you tonight?" he asks.

"Yes! ... Definitely yes! ... I'll call you as soon as I'm free ... " She gives him a quick peck on the cheek and rushes out of the room into the bathroom.

He flops back down on the bed letting out a long contented breath.

He looks up and sees her come back into the room and jumps from the bed meeting her half way. They kiss long, deep and passionate before, breaking and sighing, she breathlessly says "I've really got to shower."

He nods and kisses her softly before she spins out of his arms and runs out to the bathroom again.

He looks over for his clothes and dress.


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


After 15 minutes drive.

Max heads to his kitchen.

A strong cup of coffee is in order. He finishes making it and is just taking his first sip when the phone rings.

"Max Evans" he answers.

"It's me ... I was in such a rush I didn't think ... do you want to come to lunch?"

"With you and your father?"

"Yeah"

"Do you want me to?"

"Only if you want to."

"So we're at the meet the family stage already are we? That was fast."

"You're right ... it's too soon ... forget I said anything bye" she hangs up.

Max mentally slaps himself and dials her number.

"Liz Parker"

"I was only teasing Liz I'd love to come."

"Really? Because you don't have to."

"I know I don't have to. I want to."

"Ok ... great"

"So where are we eating?"

"I don't know it's dad's choice. I'll let you know when I find out."

"So I'll see you then"

"Yeah ... Bye"

"Bye"


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


Liz is sitting at the table with her father.

Fifteen minutes of travel time and five minutes of waiting in the restaurant and they have already exhausted every topic of conversation.

The stilted atmosphere between them is tortuous and she greatly regrets having invited Max to join them.

It was an entirely impetuous decision. Had she given it any thought she wouldn't have made the call. These lunches with her father are always the same. She just got out of the shower, panicked and rang and invited Max hoping it would make it better but deep down she knows it won't.

The icy strained atmosphere between her and her father will only be made worse by including an outsider; a man who is a stranger to her father. A man who means the world to her and who, just last night, she entered into a relationship with.

A relationship so new they are yet to establish its boundaries.

How could she have been so stupid as to subject it to this on it's first day?

"Stupid idea Liz stupid!" she says to herself.

If she could take back the invitation she would but she can't.

It's too late now anyway Max has arrived.

Liz watches him enter the restaurant and look around for her and as much as she regrets having invited him she is pleased to see him. She watches him scanning the diners searching for her and enjoys watching him. She knows instead of just staring she should signal to him but then remembers she is yet to tell her father she's invited someone to join them.

"Now's as good a time as any" she thinks and turns her attention back to her father.

But the words don't come.

How do you tell your father you've invited someone else to join you in what is supposed to be an intimate father daughter lunch?

Most people's fathers would probably take it well, she thinks, but hers won't. Once again she will be disappointing him. She's still wrestling with the words to tell him when she hears her name and looks up to see Max standing next to her.

"Max!" she says surprised.

He kisses her softly on the cheek and she turns to look at her father who is watching none too pleased.

"Dad this is Max Evans, Max, this is my father." Max extends his hand to shake Mr. Parker's saying,

"Pleased to meet you sir."

"Likewise ... Evans? ... You work with Liz right?"

"Yes"

"Well it was nice to meet you Mr. Evans." Mr. Parker says dismissing Max and once again reading his menu.

"Dad ... um ... Max is actually joining us for lunch."

"Oh! ... This is the first I've heard of it Liz." He says sternly and with an aggrieved expression.

"I'm sorry Dad I should have said something sooner" she replies with eyes downcast.

"Yes you should have Liz ... well am I to assume then that he is not 'just' a colleague?"

"No Dad he's not"

Mr. Parker looks from Liz to Max "Well Mr. Evans..."

"Max"

"Well, Max, sit and join us."

Max sits feeling like an unwelcome intruder. He looks at Liz and her father noting both are studying the menus as if they will be examined on them later. He's never felt so uncomfortable and given the situations he's been in the past that's saying something.

The waiter arrives shortly and takes their orders and the menus leaving Liz and her father with nothing to use as a distraction.

After five more minutes of uncomfortable silence Liz gets up and excuses herself practically running to the bathroom.

The moment she's gone Mr. Parker looks at Max and says "So how long has this been going on?"

Max is startled, first, that he's been spoken to and second by the tone of the question. "Liz and I have been together now for um...." he pauses to calculate "17 hours."

Secretly he's pleased by the shocked expression on Mr. Parker's face.

"Seventeen hours and you're already meeting the family" Mr. Parker mumbles not really speaking to Max.

Max laughs and Mr. Parker looks at him annoyed. He was only making an observation and not a humorous one at that he thinks.

"Well she's already met my dad I guess she just wanted us to be even" Max comments.

"She's already met your family?"

"Well, yes. They came to see the office renovation and extension. You know Liz did an amazing job on that."

Mr. Parker nods looking away seeming to have lost interest in the conversation. Max doesn't bother continuing. They sit there silently watching the other diners and not acknowledging each other.

Max's mobile rings and embarrassed but relieved he apologizes and answers it. "Max Evans"

"It's me"

"Where are you?"

"There's a payphone outside the toilets. Max go outside we need to talk."

"Ok hold on a moment." He excuses himself from the table and walks out.

"What is it?"

"I'm so sorry."

"For what?"

"This ... lunch ... everything."

"It's not that bad"

"Liar!"

Max laughs.

"Max I don't want to do this."

"You ... you want me to go?"

"Yes ... no ... yes ... I mean ... yes but not just you ... I don't want to stay. I want to leave with you. I want to be with you ... just us."

"I like that idea very much."

"God I wish we could"

"Do you have your phone?"

"Yes it's in my bag. Why?"

"Look go back to the table and I'll call you. You can tell him you have to leave on urgent business."

"I can't!"

"Whatever. It's up to you Liz." She's silent for a moment and then Max hears

"Ok ... lets do it."

He gives a squeal of delight and she laughs. She hangs up and heads to the table

"Where's Max?" she asks her father as she sits down.

"He got a phone-call just after you left."

"Oh ok" she answers impatiently waiting for Max to call.

Three more minutes go by and she is starting to get anxious when her phone rings.

"Liz Parker" she says grabbing it out of her bag and answering it.

"Have I ever told you how sexy you sound on the phone" a husky voice says.

Barely managing to keep a straight face she says in an annoyed voice "You've got to be kidding!"

"No I'm totally serious. I've never heard anything like it. When I hear you I can't stop thinking about you ... and how good you feel pressed against me ... and how good you taste ... and how much I want to..."

"I'll be right there!" she says jumping out of her seat and hanging up.

"I'm so sorry Dad but I have to go immediately."

"It's Saturday" he protests.

"I know but in this job it's just another day. Sorry but I have to go."

"Liz are you sure you know what you're doing?"

"What do you mean?"

"This Evans character."

She sighed picking up her bag. She kisses her fathers cheek saying "He's a good man Dad and I love him" before walking away with a smile that just won't go away.

Max grabs her as she leaves the restaurant. They kiss long and hard.

"Did you mean all that?" she asks when they break.

"Every word!" he answers kissing her again.

"I can't believe we are doing this" she laughs

"Kissing?"

"No ditching my father."

"No offence Liz but we are."

"None taken and I'm glad."

"Let's go" he reaches for her hand

"Not yet"

"What? Why not?"

"Max you have to go back inside."

"What! ... Why?"

"Max you have to tell him you're leaving. You can't just answer the phone and then disappear permanently. What sort of impression would that make? ... Besides" she grins "your overcoat is still in there."

He sighs, "Ok but don't you move."

She smiles watching him purposefully walk back into the restaurant.

"Mr. Parker I must apologize I'm afraid I can't stay. I have a panicked client who insists on meeting with me. Please apologize to Liz when she returns and tell her I'll call her later."

"Oh Liz's been and gone already also on business."

"Really? Well I am sorry I know how much she was looking forward to today." Max puts on his coat and places some money on the table "That should cover our food. I hope we can try this again sometime soon. Bye."

When he gets outside to Liz he asks her, "Did you drive?"

"No."

"Perfect," he grabs her hand pulling her to the car park.

"Perfect why?" she asks when they reach his car.

"Perfect because this time you can't go rushing off on me" he puts his arms around her waist "Without your car you're stuck at my place until I decide to take you home."

Smiling she places her arms around his neck and says "Have you ever heard of a taxi Max?"

He leans against her heavily pushing her against the car. Staring directly into her eyes he asks "Have you ever heard of sex Liz?"

"I have" she grins "and I've heard it can be quite..." leaning up until her lips are against his ear she whispers "pleasurable."

He takes in a sharp breath, drops his arms from her waist and rushes to the driver's side of the car. "Get in" he shouts when he's unlocked the door. "Don't talk and don't touch" he warns as she gets in.

"What?" she laughs.

"I'm serious Liz. My brains only working on 10% capacity after your last comment. If you want me to get us home alive you'd better behave yourself."

She giggles until he pulls out of the car park so fast that she actually becomes concerned for their safety. She watches him grip the steering wheel so tight his knuckles are turning white and becomes just as tense and anxious to get home as he is. The screech of brakes as he pulls up outside his apartment building is so loud that despite the tension they laugh. It feels so good to have finally arrived.

"Anyone would think you are in a hurry to get home for something," Liz teases.

Max turns to reply but when their eyes meet the smiles drop off both their faces as the tension rebuilds. Without speaking they are out of the car and into the building in a flash.

Max repeatedly pounds on the elevator button as Liz leans against the wall trying to compose herself. Fists clenched, eyes closed and breathing deeply she waits for the ring of the elevator to signal it's arrival. Max moves to her, placing his hands on the wall either side of her head and leaning into her.

She opens her eyes and stares into his. They wait for the elevator for what feels like an eternity but in reality is little more than 30 seconds. They do not speak but their eyes tell each other all they need to know.

The elevator arrives and they enter almost before the doors have finished opening. Max pounds on the close door button with one hand and reaches for Liz with the other. The door begins to close and Liz wraps her arms around his neck pulling him towards her.

A frantic voice calling "Max!" from outside the elevator interrupts them.

Slamming his body into the doors to prevent them from closing Max looks out to see old Mrs. Riley from the apartment above him struggling with her shopping bags and rushing, desperate to get to the elevator.

Liz steps out taking some of the bags from her and helping her in. When she is safely in Max moves away from the doors allowing them to close. He stands behind Liz and wraps his arms around her waist. She leans back into him with a barely audible sigh.

Mrs. Riley looks over at them and smiles. "It's about time you found yourself a nice girl Max I was beginning to wonder if you had your eye on me."

Max smiles at her "Is that an offer Mrs. Riley?"

"Get away with you you cheeky monkey" she chuckles.

Max introduces Liz to her.

The door opens at his floor. Max, with his hands on Liz's hips, gently pushes and guides her out.

"You two have fun now." Mrs. Riley says as they exit the elevator.

The doors close and Max looks down at Liz.

She turns in his arms running her hands up his chest.

He forgets the smart-ass comment he was about to make. He forgets everything he learnt in law school and the years of practice since. If pressed he'd probably even find he'd forgotten his own name but what he does know is he wants this woman in his arms. He wants her more than he's ever wanted anything in his life and looking into her eyes he sees this same want reflected. And he loses what little sense he had as he begins to devour her.

Thought no longer comes into it.

Everything is now about sensation.

Touching and being touched.

Kissing and being kissed.

More! More! More!

He wants more!

He wants her closer.

He wants her tighter against him.

Despite the fact he is already holding her firmly against him he steps forward, hoping to bring her closer still.

His movement, however, causes them to lose balance and stumbling they slam against the wall and the elevator buttons.

The chime as the door opens startles them.

Separating they look up and are relieved to see the elevator is empty.

Panting they turn to look at one another.

Liz is surprised to see just how successful her hands have been whilst she was otherwise occupied. Max is standing there with his shirt totally untucked and unbuttoned. The look in his eyes warns her she is about to end up the same way unless she acts to stop it now.

She steps to the side just as he steps forward reaching for her. Ignoring his groan of protest she grabs his hand and pulls him after her as she walks intently towards his door.

Realizing her action wasn't one of rejection but an attempt to get them closer to their true goal he follows willingly.

Ten steps later though he decides just their hands is not enough connection.

He stops and pulls her to him.

She allows him one kiss before imploring, "Max!"

He compromises.

Without letting her go and continuing to kiss her, he begins to move towards his apartment.

She struggles with her footing as she is forced to walk backwards and contend with his roving hands but he reaches around her waist and holds her to him keeping her upright.

Finally, and in an almost decent state, they manage to get to his door.

He shows no interest in opening it though so she reaches into his coat pocket pulling out his keys and opening the door.

Quite a considerable effort considering this was managed without breaking the kiss.

She steers them inside slams the door behind them and then gives up all semblance of self-control.

Giving in to her own desires.

Giving in to the pleasure of Max so totally consuming her.

When did he develop five extra hands?

She doesn't know but he must have them because she can feel him everywhere at once.

Every part of her body tingles with his touch.

And yet it still it isn't enough.

More!

She must have more.

Whereas last nights lovemaking was slow and tender, almost hesitant, as if Max was afraid at any moment Liz would change her mind and he wanted to savor every moment she was willing to give.

Today he's ferocious.

Last night merely whetted his appetite and now he's desperate for more, much more!

An animalistic longing overtakes both of them. A desire for all the tension and uncertainty of the past months to be abated here and now.

They are both sure enough this time that their own feelings are reciprocated to feel comfortable about expressing their own need.

They feel comfortable about staking their claim.

Comfortable about taking exactly what they need from each other and are more than willing to give to the other in return.

Look out clothes.

Look out furniture.

Look out walls.

Anything that gets in their way is meted with harsh treatment.

They don't make it to the bedroom, they barely make it through the front door, but geography really isn't the issue.

Why waste time taking it some place more comfortable when the issue can just as adequately be resolved here and now.

And it is resolved.

Resolved very well indeed.

As the discarded clothes, broken vase, upturned side table and entwined sated bodies lay testament too.


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


"We almost did it" Max says.

"Did what?"

"Made it to the couch"

"Hmmm" is her only reply. She isn't concerned at all that they never made it.

She is quite happy with where they are for the moment.

Quite happy to be laying where she is with Max as her cushion.

He places his hand on hers bringing it up behind his neck.

"Hold on" he says.

"I have no intention of letting go" she whispers.

He kisses her cheek before planting his hands on the floor beside him and pushing until his body slides up taking her with him until he is leaning against the couch. He relaxes against the cushions pulling her against him.

"Better?" she asks

"Much"

She settles comfortably against him. Neither one willing to break the connection they've made.

Content to remain in each other's arms.

Content to enjoy the feel of skin and the sound of the other's breathing.

Like seeks like.

Fingers play with fingers.

Eyes explore eyes.

Lips meet.

"What time is it?" Max eventually asks.

"Just after three I think ... why?"

"You promised me lunch Liz and the instead of lunch I get a full body workout."

"So what you are trying to tell me here is you are hungry?"

"Starved!"

"Do you have any food in the apartment Max because I really don't want to move."

"I have cake!"

"Just cake?"

"Oh no I have more than cake I just like to get to the best bits first."

"So I've noticed." Liz closes her eyes and snuggles in to him.

"Oh no you don't" he says "get up ... come on ... lets grab some food and have breakfast in bed."

"Breakfast?"

"And lunch and dinner and everything in between."

"Ok Evans show me what you have to offer."

"I thought I already did that."

"Food Max! Because trust me you are going to need it."

"Is that a promise?"

"It's a promise."


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


Twenty-four hours later......

Liz waking shifts down in the bed and grimaces with the pain that shoots through her body.

A slight moan emits from her before she smiles
recollecting why she feels as she does.

Why every muscle aches and she feels so physically exhausted.

The end justifies the means she's often thought but this time the opposite is true. The means justifies the end.

She would suffer this pain again and again willingly if she could relive the pleasure involved in creating it.

Steeling herself for another bout of screaming muscles she rolls over to look at the cause of her pain and the source of her pleasure; Max.

Sprawled is the word that comes to mind when she sees him.

He's sprawled across the foot of the bed. Whereas she'd rolled over and curled up when she drifted off to sleep he'd remained sprawled on his back with his arms and legs outstretched. In the exact same position he was in when she crawled off him, how long, she checks the clock, 50 minutes ago.

She guesses she's not the only one who's going to be sore upon wakening.

She reaches out placing her hand in his outstretched one.

Without opening his eyes and in a voice riddled with sleep he asks,"Am I still alive?"

"I hope so." She replies playing with his fingers.

He turns his head to look at her and smiles.

She wiggles over until she's laying against him with her head on his chest.

"This is going to be a good day" he says, "I've already got everything I wanted." He brings his arm up and around her stroking her hair "How about you Liz? Have you got everything you want?"

She looks up with a grin and resting her chin on his chest says, "I don't know yet. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what the rest of the day brings me."

"Oh you're a hard woman to please" he groans.

"You're doing well so far Max" she replies sliding up his body and kissing him.

She curls back down against him and begins to look around the room.

Not surprisingly considering they have barely left it in the past twenty-four hours it's a mess.

She sees plates that once held sandwiches, the crumbs of which she can feel under her hip. Wine bottles, glasses, fruit some fresh some just the skins or remnants of past feasts. A tub of ice cream, she winces at the
thought of the melted goo that must now contain. A cake or at least the chunk left behind from handfuls being taken and devoured, cutlery was not considered necessary at the time.

A wholesome diet?

No, but one that has managed to sustain them so far.

She reaches out and grabs a bunch of grapes taking one for herself and slipping one into Max's mouth.

He smiles as he chews.

"It's going to take more than grapes this time Liz."

She doesn't reply but gives him another.

"I feel so old" he moans.

Laughing she says "Look around you Max."

"What?"

"We've totally trashed this room. I bet you haven't had a room like this since you were in college."

He raises himself up on his elbows looking around and then looks at her with a sly grin "You are a bad influence on me Liz Parker!"

"If I recall correctly Max most of this was your doing." She protests.

"And if I recall correctly Liz you didn't make any objection at the time."

"I still don't!" she emphatically states leaning in and kissing him.

Looking back around the room he says "The only thing missing is the beer cans and empty pizza boxes."

He turns to look at her and simultaneously they say "Pizza!"

He rolls over grabbing the phone and dialing.

Giggling she scoots up to the head of the bed and lays back.

Max hangs up and rolls over to her.

"It'll be here in 25 minutes. So, Liz, what are we going to do for the next 25 minutes?"

"I thought you were feeling old Max?"

"Not anymore!"

"Thank God for pizza!" she vows as his mouth descends to hers.



Pizza or feedback ... Pizza or feedback ... Pizza or feedback ... Oh bloody hell ... I think I prefer feedback. *wink*



{Wait! Wait, you can’t end it yet.}
(Why not?!)
{I have a question, that’s why.}
(Ahh….why am I not surprised?)
{So, that’s it? But when did Max propose?}
(Well lets see, Maria and Liz became really chummy and became roomies..)
{Then Max propose? *bounce* }
(Not really.)
{What do you mean?}
(Isabel and Alex got hooked up first, then…)
{Then Max propose? *bounce*}
(Not exactly.)
{Don’t tell me…the gerbil returns. *sad* }
(Actually Michael and Maria had a whirlwind romance, then it was Christmas and there were champagne & strawberries.)
{What does Christmas, champagne and strawberries got to do with Max proposal of marriage?}
(Oh, well Max proposes to Liz during the Christmas season and they had champagne & strawberries to celebrate.)
{Christmas, champagne and strawberries, huh *tongue* , so how did that go?}
(Okay.)
{Grrrrrr, would you care to elaborate on that.}
(Sure.)
{Like when? in the next part?}
(Maybe.)
{I was thinking maybe Max could make a grand gesture on his proposal considering the way he has been acting in the past.}
(That’s a great idea.)
{Really?!!! *bounce* Coz’ you know I was also thinking, maybe we can include whipped cream and chocolate syrup in their [togue] ‘celebration’?}
(Don’t push it.)
{Why not?}
(You know, maybe you should just stop thinking and stick to being rude by talking while I write.)
{Shesh, just making suggestions. *wink* } ksmile



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Nov-2001 11:12:58 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:56:05 PM
Part 17



MAX’S POV


This day I've been known to be incredibly stupid sometimes.

Actually stupid is one of the nicest things I've been called in my life.

For the purpose of this story I won’t list the others, at the moment they aren't relevant anyway.

In fact I wouldn't be bringing up the stupid part either, except from the look of the woman standing in front of me it appears as if I've done it again.

"Max" she says, hands on hips adopting what I would term a defiant stance "How dumb are you?"

Dumb? Well that's better than stupid isn't it?

Maybe things aren't as bad as I originally thought. Best to tread lightly though when answering such a general question, on the off chance I make myself sound stupider.

"Well" I say, reaching up to scratch my chin "I can't be too dumb" I'm careful not to use the word stupid, if Liz didn't use the word, I'm certainly not going to be the first too.

I mentally pat myself on the back for that piece of reasoning, and then note she's waiting with some measure of impatience for me to continue "I mean I had the foresight to hire you didn't I?"

I give her my most charming smile.

She doesn't appear impressed.

"You just stood up in open court and called Judge Pierce an unmitigated jackass"

There's just no denying the facts, especially when they're laid right out there for you.

"Yes"

"In open court"

I nod solemnly "Yes"

"Why?"

She's waving her hands around in a strange pattern, I believe to show her confusion, but I'm not entirely sure. Maybe it's a new dance move

"Why would you do such a thing?"

I force myself to focus "Well it's like this Liz, the guy is an unmitigated jackass" I try to lighten the moment "You know you're lucky I didn't call him what I was thinking, I toned it down considerably"

She crosses her arms over her chest and at this point I'm thinking that I may have made some sort of miscalculation, but I'm not entirely sure where.

"I'm lucky?" she asks frostily, oops there it is. "I'm not the one that just spent the better part of four hours in a holding cell. You're lucky he's not going to report you to the bar"

"I don't think he can report me for telling the truth"

I'm guessing by the look on her face that if I don't say another thing ever again it'll be too soon. Wisely I close my mouth.

"It was in open court Max" I nod but stick to my new no speaking policy "I mean you shouldn't call a Judge names even in chambers, but you definitely shouldn't do it IN OPEN COURT"

She's yelling at me now, so using my astute powers of observation -- which I might point out I wish had kicked in a little earlier -- I'm assuming she's taking this situation a lot more seriously than I am. I throw caution to the wind and abandon my new no talking policy.

"It's not that serious Liz, I've had run ins with Pierce before, it never amounts to anything"

"This is a very sensitive case, Max. It was a hard one for us to win from the beginning, exactly how are you making things better for us by getting the Judge off side as well"

Uh-oh her arms are crossed again, this cant be good. But on a side note I'm thinking she looks particularly sexy when she's pissed.

Hmmm…

I push that thought aside --for the moment- and choose to focus on the matter at hand.

"I should apologize"

Just the thought of apologizing to that unmitigated -- hmm I probably shouldn't go down that road again -- to Judge Pierce is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, but for the first time since I got released from the cell Liz isn't frowning at me so I'm thinking I've finally said something right.

She nods as if to confirm my previous thought "You really should"

I sigh and start to walk down the corridor, since we're still at the courthouse at least I don't have to go far to find him, actually now that I think about it, that's probably why Liz refused to let me go back to the office.

It takes me a few seconds but I suddenly realize she's following me.

"I think I should come with you"

"Why?" I ask, more than a little annoyed.

Hey I've had a bad day here, I've yelled at a Judge --okay that part was fun- but then I spent four hours cooling my heels in a cell, only to be released and yelled at by one of my associates, I think I'm entitled to a little annoyance.

"Because Max, if you go in there alone, he'll say something to make you angry, all thoughts of an apology will fly from your mind, and you'll end up saying something else stupid"

Okay did she have to use that word? I thought we'd agreed on dumb.

"At least if I'm there, I have a chance of preventing that"

"You were at the courthouse" I point out with what I consider to be totally reasonable logic "You didn't prevent my outburst then"

She crosses her arms again.

I really need to stick to my original no talking policy.

"Well some of us learn our lesson, and some of us are entirely too…."

Okay I swear if she uses the word stupid again I'm really going to crack, fortunately --or not depending on your opinion of her substitution- she doesn't.

"… idiotic to realize when to quit"

About this time I'm thinking it's very fortunate that we've arrived at the Judges chambers, I've had about all the yelling I can handle.

"I'm going in alone" I say stubbornly.

She opens her mouth to protest but I jump in before she can.

"No Liz I mean it, despite your obviously stellar opinion of my character I do know how to apologize, and being that I am an adult I think I can do it without supervision. Besides…"

I try for the charming smile again but my second attempt seems no more successful than my first

"… It's best you distance yourself from me, because if he throws me in jail again, you'll have to take over the case"

And with that sterling piece of logic I make my exit.


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


LIZ’S POV


I'm so mad I could scream.

Or maybe just kick something really hard. I'm in the process of deciding which one would be better as I enter the office.

Even though it's after 7 everyone's still there working. It doesn't surprise me we hardly ever get out of the office before 8.30 any night.

Maria and Michael break off a heated discussion as I enter.

I guess I must be conveying some sort of emotions because Maria gives me a strange look.

"Liz are you okay?"

"I'm fine" I'm gritting my teeth so the answer comes out a lot harsher than I meant it too.

If I don't stop soon I know my jaw will start to ache, so I force myself to take a couple of deep breaths.

I seem to have captured the attention of the entire office now, which is okay really because I'm feeling an overwhelming desire to vent.

"Anything you feel like sharing?" Michael asks.

You can always count on Michael to ask the right questions, I'd smile at him if I wasn't still so angry.

"Only that…. that…" I struggle to find a word to convey my true feelings

"Nincompoop, of a boss we're all misfortunate enough to work for"

Nincompoop? Where the hell did that come from?

Of course I blame Max for this as well, normally I'm a very articulate person, but well he's gotten me so angry, and now I'm coming out with words like Nincompoop.

"Nincompoop?" Isabel sums up my thoughts. "Did you just call Max a nincompoop?"

I'm not entirely sure but I think she's laughing at me. At least if she is she has the grace to cover it up behind her hand.

"Yes"

Michael sighs, "What'd he do this time?"

"He stood up in open court and called Judge Pierce an unmitigated jackass."

There are varying degrees of emotions from the other people standing in the room.

Isabel and Maria seem to share my distress --I knew I always liked those two, and Michael …. well the only way to describe Michael's reaction would be 'pure mirth'.

It takes him a moment to stop laughing.

"Man" he says wiping a tear from his eye "I wish I'd been there to see that"

"No Michael" I think you could safely describe my tone here to be cold "You really don't."

I take a deep breath and reign in my temper.

"We were finally making headway, I'm pretty sure we had the jury on our side, which isn't that easy a thing to accomplish when they've just sat through four days of the most boring testimony ever submitted, and Max goes and creates a scene."

I click my fingers "And like that we're back to square one"

"Where is he now?" Isabel asks.

I allow a hint of a smile.

"He's apologizing, if everything went well with Judge Pierce, and if he can get a cab at this time of night, he should be back."

I look at my watch.

"Soon. If not…." I shrug.

"Aren't you overreacting a little bit Liz" Michael asks "I'm sure it's not as bad as you think it is"

I guess that's Michael's idea of being encouraging, but if you ask me it falls significantly short of the mark.

"No I'm not overreacting, Michael" I say, and I also note that I'm gritting my teeth again. "I've put in a lot of work on this trial. I've been working on it for three months, and in the space of two minutes my…."

I falter again.

"Nincompoop?" Maria supplies helpfully.

I glare at her "… Idiot of a boss goes and ruins it."

I hear the door open, and in walks the idiot himself.


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


MAX’S POV


I walk into the room and it feels like I'm about to face a firing squad.

I'm getting a myriad of disapproving looks from everyone.

Well actually I'm not getting one from Michael, he looks downright pleased, which doesn't make me feel any better.

Rather than face the room at large I decide to focus on the one person I can't avoid.

"Liz can I see you in my office for a minute."

She shrugs and walks in ahead of me.

I close the door firmly at my back, hoping the others get my not so subtle 'Do not disturb' message.

Realistically though I already expect at least half of them to be listening at the door.

"You couldn't have waited?" I ask.

She shrugs again and makes herself comfortable on my couch.

I'm thinking she's heard of my no talking policy and has decided to adopt it.

I try again.

"I was expecting you to be there when I came out."

This time she raises her eyebrow, I don't know if that's an improvement or not, and frankly I'm too scared to ask.

But two can play this silence game.

I stare her down.

She stares back.

Well this isn't quite going to plan, I'm just about to crack and probably start babbling like an idiot when she finally consents to speak.

"You didn't tell me to wait."

I'm sure I'm gaping at her.

"I didn't what?"

"You didn't tell me to wait"

"It was certainly implied."

"No Max it really wasn't, I believe your exact words were, I want to do this alone."

"So you took that to mean, 'Go back to the office and leave me stranded without transportation'?"

She nods, "Yes."

"I couldn't get a cab, Liz."

I whine, yes I'm actually at the stage of whining now.

"I had to walk."

Her lips quirk, and I do not take any amusement in her enjoyment of the situation, I mean lets recap my day again because it just keeps getting better, I get thrown in jail, yelled at by my associate, forced to apologize to what I can only charitably refer to as a disgrace to the robe, deserted by aforementioned associate, and made to walk back to the office -- have I mentioned that it's raining outside? -- and am now being laughed at by said associate.

If I kept a journal I'd really want to rush home and write all this down because this is certainly a day I'll want to relive for the rest of my life.

"It's not funny, Liz"

Her expression grows somber again and for a moment I'm sorry I took her smile away, she really does have a beautiful smile.

"I know."

She does?

"You do?"

She nods.

"I was there Max, I know how unfunny the whole situation is"

Okay I really think we're talking about two different things here. I open my mouth to set the record straight but she continues before I have a chance.

"How'd it go with Pierce?"

"Fine"

I was hoping to convey an air of confidence when I said that but somehow I don't think I pulled it off. I couldn't say for sure but it looks like Liz's gritting her teeth.

"What happened Max?"

"Nothing"

She rises swiftly and starts pacing the small area to the right of my desk, and now I'm positive she's gritting her teeth.

I want to point out that if she continues to do that her jaw will start to ache, but I don't think she'd appreciate my advice. No matter how well intended, so I wisely keep it to myself.

“It went well" I say quickly. "I offered an apology which he accepted, and I didn't say anything to cause us further problems or embarrassment"

I offer her my most trustworthy expression and either I'm a better actor than I thought I was, or she believes me, either way she noticeably relaxes.

It's not that I'm not actually telling the truth, I'm just leaving out the 10 minute lecture Pierce subjected me too, about showing proper respect for Judges, and how lawyers like me --his words- are what's wrong with the legal profession today.

I mean why should I bog Liz down with the details?

I'm actually doing her a favor.

So instead I just smile, and for once it seems to work, because she smiles back at me.


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


LIZ’S POV


I'm smiling at him, which frankly after everything he's pulled today surprises me a little.

But what can I say, Max has that affect on me, when he smiles -- and I'm talking full fledged smile here not that cocky grin he's so fond of, although that's cute too -- but when he actually smiles I find it extremely hard --ok I'll be honest- I find it all but impossible to resist him.

Of course I'd never tell him that because all that would get me would be a cocky grin.

Still he's smiling and I'm smiling and I can practically feel the tension seep out of the room.

Which is nice because I really don't like fighting with him.

As much as sometimes he can be a real --okay I'm grimacing as I say this but it's honestly the first word that pops into my head- nincompoop, for the most part he's a great boss.

He's looking at me like he's expecting me to say something "Well good then" I manage.

His face falls and I'm guessing he was expecting a little more praise than that.

A couple of quips about men and their ego's immediately pop into my mind but I bight them all back. Most of them were fairly racy and considering where my train of thought was a moment ago I decide it's safer all around not to go there.

I'm about to make a further comment to stroke said ego --was that a bad choice of words?- anyway I have a quip at the ready when I glance up at Max.

He's regarding me with an expression that can only be described as incredibly intense.

We're standing less than a meter apart and I can literally feel the heat radiating from him.

If I didn't know better I'd swear he could read every thought that had been going through my head. The thought of that of course brings a blush to my cheeks --damn my fair complexion- and now his expression while no less intense is laced with humor as well.

And I know without a doubt that he does know what I am thinking, even though I don't know how he does.

He takes a small step forward and I hold my ground.

I like to think it's because I'm making a statement and has nothing to do with the fact that his desk is behind me and I couldn't retreat even if I wanted too, --which for the record just in case you were wondering, I don't.

Unfortunately Isabel chooses this moment to knock softly on the door and open it.

She looks back and forward between us, and I wonder if everyone can feel the charge in the air, --although I'm hoping Isabel can't because that would be embarrassing considering I was so angry with him earlier- but I'm thinking she's more than likely just making sure we haven't killed each other yet.

She announces that everyone is going home, and with a small smile --that leads me to believe she's probably more astute than I gave her credit for- she closes the door again, a couple of minutes later we hear everyone leaving.

Max turns back towards me

"We're all alone."

I nod and swallow hard, he's standing really close to me now, and quite frankly it's distracting in all the best ways.

Not that I'm complaining but it does make it hard to concentrate.

He reaches out and lightly tucks a stray piece of hair behind my ear, and all thoughts of concentration fly out the window.

"Liz" he asks, and I think --although as I just said I'm not really paying attention- his voice sounds a little uncertain.

"What would you say if I told you I really wanted to kiss you right now?"

I swallow again --even harder than before if that's possible- and I'm sure my voice sounds about three octaves too high.

"I think I'd say yes"


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


MAX’S POV


I'm not sure I heard her correctly.

Liz just gave me permission to kiss her.

I've been wanting to kiss her since we were in court earlier, especially after giving me those sexy-pissed look.

We're in my office and we're standing close, and I mean really close.

I can't believe it.

Of course I'm glad she said yes, -apart from for the obvious reason, because if she'd said no, I'm pretty sure I've already broken about 6 sexual harassment laws, and considering she's a lawyer too, I'm pretty sure Liz will be aware of what they are.

But instead of threatening to sue me, she's actually giving me permission.

Okay I can do this.

I mean I've kissed her several times and heaps of girls right?

Alright maybe not heaps but enough to know what I'm doing.

So I take another step forward --a small one because there wasn't that big a gap to bridge in the first place- and I kiss her.

She responds with enthusiasm --which is always nice- and suddenly I am deepening the kiss, pulling her tightly against me, and her arms have found their way around my neck.

It's an unbelievable sensation, kissing Liz, no matter how many times I kiss her it is simply unbelievable!

Actually, it’s become my favorite pastime these days.

Well, whenever she’s not angry at me anyway.

After a moment she pulls away, and though I loathe to let it end I ease away from her slightly.

She runs her tongue along her teeth and sighs.

"Wow!"

I'd be feeling pretty smug right now if she hadn't taken the rug out from under me as well.

As it is all I can do is mirror her sentiment.

"Yeah, wow!"

Her lips quirk into that small smile I've always found endearing and she trails her hands from the back of my neck to my shoulders.

"What happens now?"

I raise my eyebrows "Well if you don't know....."

Her lips quirk again, and I decide to make it my permanent mission in life to always keep Liz smiling.

"Max!" she punches lightly on the arm, and I chuckle and pull her close again.

This day has just gotten a whole lot better. ksmile




*happy* TBC.. *big* *big* *big* *big* *big*

posted on 27-Nov-2001 7:58:53 PM
Part 18



MAX’S POV


This whole Horrific True Tale, I swear it is! All started with me wanting nothing more, than to do a good deed for our dear, sweet, devoted friend Maria!

Not buying it huh, okay, try this version then.

It all started from me wanting just a bit of privacy. I wanted a waking breathing moment alone with Liz! But could we get rid of the wicked witch of the ... Oh don’t look at me like that! I’m innocent I didn’t do anything wrong. Although, if I let Liz tell the story you’d hear differently, but I won’t. I want you to know the truth so I’m telling it.

Maybe you should get a snack this could take awhile....

First of all, I’m engaged.

Sometimes I can’t believe it myself.



{Well, you and me both sister!}
(Here we go again. How many times do I have to ask you to shut up?!)
{You said we’ll have a Merry-Christmas,-champagne-&-strawberry part for the proposal! }
(Well I lied, so will you just shut up now, so we can go on with the story.)
{ *sad* }



It still feels like a blur; the last piece of my life plan that turned out to be the answer to my prayers.

My life is perfect!

Well almost perfect, except for one tiny little spec of a problem!

You guessed it, Maria!

Maria! How to describe her? I can’t really. She defies anything normal or understandable. The only thing I can tell you for sure is, we couldn’t get rid of her. Not for one millisecond!

God she was even there for the proposal! This is no joke she is ruining every chance I have to keep my private life private!

I proposed at their apartment.



{Wait a minute, since when did Liz and Maria share an apartment?}
(Since part 16, if I recall, I told you that after you rudely interrupted my ending.)
{Well you also said you are going to give us a Christmas-champagne-and-strawberry for the proposal?}
(Well I didn’t say I lied about that part about Liz and Maria sharing an apartment!)
{Oh, so now you also give rotten-good-for-nothing-false spoilers, huh? Huh? HUH?}
(Why not? This is a fan fic for Roswell, in case you’ve forgotten!)
{Touche! *big* }



Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yeah, my proposal at their apartment. Not the most romantic setting but I didn’t have a choice. Liz was there and I’d made up my mind to propose and wasn’t interested in any delay. I wanted to do it then and there. I’d just learnt you should never put off today for you may not have a tomorrow.

Deep? I know. I can be at times. Liz prefers to say dense!

I’m not sure I like that term!

Anyway back to the apartment. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I never wanted to be apart from her again! It was the right time, as for the place; well we had flowers they cheered the place a little. I should probably mention the flowers were courtesy of our client, a psychotic killer that owns a flower shop that goes by the name of Khivar!

I really should send him a thank you note but I don’t particularly want to encourage him to resurface.

The ring was burning a whole in my pocket. The smile was plastered on my face, now Liz and I could be...

A gust of cold damp air hit me.

I turned around.

I don’t know why, I should have known instinctively who it was!

Maria Deluca, the most infuriating, interfering, nosey etc. I could go on forever but I won’t. I asked her politely to leave.

It didn’t work.

No Siree she was there to stay. Try as I did to get rid of her, I might as well have tried to flatten Mount Everest, for all the success I had.

I figured, fine I’m proposing no matter what. If she wants a front row seat the least she can do is sit quietly and plug her ears!

Fat chance.

Miss stubborn heard every word!

I proposed, annoying interfering audience and all, in retrospect that was a fatal error on my part. Maria witnessed what should have been a most private intimate moment, I thought ‘okay I could live with that.’

But then she even had the tenacity to decide she was the one who should answer my proposal!

“Say YES!”

I was patient, I didn’t let her get to me, I ignored her, which is like ignoring a growling gorilla breathing down your neck, and focused on Liz. I bit the bullet and I gave it my all.

To my utter and complete relief, Liz eventually said, “Yes!”

I seem to recall Maria may have at one point too which probably explains the mess I’m in now.

Why else is she there with us every waking and just waking moment?

It’s set the pace for every private moment Liz and I have had.

Liz found our attempts to get along highly amusing and I guess we settled into a routine. It became habit to spend evenings together; talking, watching videos, playing games, whatever. Just the three of us doing normal boring friends stuff.

We really, really, REALLY wanted to be alone.

Did that ever happen?

Hell no!

We were rudely and crudely interrupted, daily by cyclone Maria!

It was as though Maria had some sacred right to be in on every intimate second of our lives. The fact she and Liz shared an apartment only contributed to her lack of consideration!

I mean they shared the apartment 50/50 but unfortunately Maria couldn’t see where the line was drawn. Nowhere appeared to be off limits to her!

In the last month alone she has walked in on us in the shower, our bedroom, the back seat of my car!

We got more inventive, until sadly she played ‘hide and seek’ and found us in the broom closet, the laundry room, the basement, and yes even the fire escape!

We tried my place but she’d show up there too. Her constant presence and meddling was beginning to create a rift between us. Frustration was setting in and we were taking it out on the wrong person.

There’s a delicate balance when dealing with Maria. Liz’s the kind of woman who is so loyal to her friends; she refuses to let it come between any of us!

I hate to admit it but I struggled with it every day. I’m with Liz but somehow that now seemed to be a package deal. Love me love my friend.

Well I like Maria don’t get me wrong. But there are times when a little Maria goes a long way.

A long looong way.

Like too much of something sweet can make you sick. Are you getting my point?

So let’s just say, at that moment, hers was the last face I wanted to see. But there was no eluding this woman!

There was only one solution to the problem.

I knew that in order for Liz and I to form a more perfect and less crowded, if you get my drift, union, Maria needed to make herself scarce!

I decided she has too much time on her hands.

I reasoned she wouldn’t be nearly so intrusive if she had a male distraction of her own. If anyone needed a man it was Maria. So, it was time to take the said “bull” by the horns and find Maria a man.

How difficult could that be?

All I needed was to come up with the perfect man.

Well maybe not perfect, what can I say he’s Liz’s now.

So who could I get?

I confess it crossed my mind to set her up with my cousin the dentist. They are both pretty whiny; they’d suit one another. Plus she’d have free dental for life if it worked out. That’s got to be a bonus right?

Then I realized she would also be at every family gathering we had for the rest of my life.

Scratch that idea!

Ok what about Alex, he’s eligible?

No, no stupid thought Evans, as then Alex would have an inside pipeline to my practice! Not like he doesn’t already but there’s no need to double it.

No, I needed someone who would get her out of my hair. All my single friends just seemed to ensure I’d see her more and I DON’T want that!

I needed someone who’d get her away from me.

Someone not from my social circle and I guess clients were out too what with her persnickety dislike of criminals. They are people too but try to convince her of that!

I needed someone I knew, who was good looking, ambitious, with a decent personality, no criminal history and only a very distant, cordial, relationship with me.

I know someone like that.

Sean! My Chiropractor! Perfect!

Liz’s always going on about how Maria loves a good massage. Who could be more perfect than a man who knows his way around her spine could?

Sean has been single as long as I’ve known him, he has money, nimble fingers, and I only have to see him about four times a year!

So now I had the perfect plan.

I had the man of Maria’s dreams but how was I going to get them together? I tried to conjure a circumstance of a contrived accidental meeting but it was useless, I couldn’t come up with anything.

Short of breaking Maria’s back there was no way I could subtly get these two in a room together. I knew I was going to need Liz’s help on this. I also knew she wasn’t going to be keen on the idea.

Apparently this month Maria had sworn off blind dates. Mind you she says that after each and every one but I’ve never known her to turn one down. Then again I’ve never known Maria to turn anything down but don’t get me started on that track.

Anyway, I knew it was going to be a hard sell. I’d need Liz’s help and she’s not going to trust my motives. There is no way I’d be able to convince her I’m doing it out of the goodness of my heart and I’m not sure I want her knowing the true reason either.

I was afraid of how she’d react if she knew how desperate I am to have her all to myself again. Maybe she’d think I was too needy, too pathetic even.

I spent a few days agonizing over how to bring it up and then she gave me the perfect opening. We had one of those all to brief minutes without Maria and Liz turned to me and said “Max I’ve been thinking, Maria’s been a bit depressed lately we need to do something to cheer her up.”

I so love this woman! Sweeter words I’d never heard.

Ok slight exaggeration.

Not about the love thing that’s true, I mean the words bit. I’ve heard sweeter. The word yes on many occasions has had a profound affect on me but those words spoken at that precise moment were the answer to my prayers.

They were a godsend.

I smiled at her and said, “It’s funny you should say that. I was just about to make an appointment with Sean, my chiropractor, and I thought he’d be perfect for Maria.”

I looked at her with my best ‘totally legitimate, not up to anything’ face. I was careful to make it all seem innocent, a grand gesture of friendship, and a generous thoughtful deed! Of course Liz knew me better than that!

First she gave me a ‘yeah right” look than she said “Max, are you sure he’s a decent guy?” in a doubtful suspicious tone.

“Liz, don’t you trust me?” I asked full of sincerity.

“Gee Max should I?” she asked right back smugly. My fiancée has such a sense of humor. Its just one of the reasons why I love her!

“Of course!” I said trying to sound offended she’d thought it necessary to ask.

She gave me a weak nod then stared at me hard. I knew I hadn’t fooled her and I may as well come clean.

“Liz, you know we need to do something!” I plead. So much for trying not to appear pathetic.

“Oh poor Max, is this getting hard on you?” she giggles. Maybe her sense of humor needs work! “Max, she means well.” She sighs apologetically.

“She spies well!” I retort.

Liz tries to appear annoyed but I see the happy glint in her eye before she looks away; she wants this as much as I do.

“Hey I saw that look” I say triumphantly “I’m not the only one who’s tired of this. Admit it! You want this as much as I do.”

She smiles, we share so much with just a look and that smile says it all!

“You’re sure he’s perfect?” she asks and I know I’ve won her over. I can’t whoop for joy and maintain my suave manner so I do the next best thing. I tease.

“Only one guy better!”

Liz gives me ‘the look’. You know the one the ‘Max if you’re not careful you’ll live to regret it’ look. As usual I take it as a sign to misbehave.

“C’mon Liz, you know I’m every woman’s dream.” I taunt. Liz’s eye’s roll back into her head so severely I’m afraid she’s having some sort of convulsion. I need to do something to stop that. “But they’ll just have to dream Liz because I’m all yours.”

She had the good grace not to laugh at me although I knew that’s what she wanted to do. Her smile is contagious. It lights me up inside. Did I mention she is the most perfect woman on this planet? Hell the universe!

The best thing was she reluctantly agreed to my plan. I don’t think she totally approved but I got the feeling she was just as desperate for this as I was. Just the thought she was thrilled me beyond belief. So I made the appointment to see my back man, it hadn’t been three months since the last visit, but you can always do with the benefit of a spinal adjustment right?

It was all set. Liz took the idea to Maria. We agreed it would be less suspicious coming from her, and frankly the less I had to deal directly with Maria the better!

Ok you think I’m a big jerk don’t you? In my defense, lucky I’m a defense attorney considering all the times I have to come to my own defense. I should put myself on a retainer! Anyway as I was saying in my defense in some strange way I maintained a somewhat respectable friendship with Maria. Don’t ask me how or why. I’ll concede she has her good points but they are few and far between.

The main thing she has going for her is she is Liz’s dearest friend. Plus once she knew the score between Liz and I, she was my most enthusiastic cheerleader and a guy can always do with a little help. So this was really the least I could do.

To be honest the only problem I have with Maria is, ... well, she cramps my style. Oh and she’s Maria. Kind of like Michael is Michael, which means ... oh never mind it would take way too long!

So the night of Liz’s and my emancipation arrived, imagine how happy I was. I stood on the curb watching Sean head towards me. From behind him I saw the girls getting out of Maria’s car. I was excited this was going to be perfect!

“There they are.” I said pointing them out to him. The smile on his face was instantaneous.

“Oh man, Max, she’s beautiful, Wow, you weren’t kidding, absolutely stunning!” He smiled widely shaking my hand vigorously.

Visions of Liz and I alone, totally alone and loving it ran through my head. He was smitten and I was almost free.

I should have known better!

Since when has anything gone my way that easily.

Before I knew what was happening, Sean had rushed up quickly, embracing my fiancée tightly in his arms.

Liz laughed not bothering to disengage herself, or rectify the mistake. Somehow this wasn’t going the way I pictured. I had to set him straight.

“Well actually, Sean, meet my fiancée, Liz Parker.” I helpfully put a dampener on any dreams he was having.

His face fell.

I understood completely but I also didn’t care. Liz’s mine, all mine and he’s delusional if he thinks I plan to share!

I introduced him to Maria. Her lily-white hand extended to Sean, her most seductive smile ready and waiting.

“Oh...uh...nice to meet you.” He mumbled taking her hand in his, then dropping it quickly. I wondered if he was suddenly shy or was he playing hard to get.

Maria feeling spurned was not impressed either way.

First impressions count and as far as Maria was concerned Sean’s score had dropped below zero.

This is not good.

Sean turned back to Liz and began to gush at what an honor it was to meet her. I cleared my throat while pulling Liz into the circle of my possessive and loving arms.

“Well shall we?”

I gestured to them to enter the expensive restaurant.

I’d wanted to do Pizza. Cheap, quick, easy, we get them together then ditch them!

But no Liz insisted atmosphere was everything!

I offered to bring candles to the pizza place but Liz said ... well I can’t really print what she said.

So a “real” restaurant was decided on. Fine I thought what’s a couple hundred on dinner, if this worked out; it would be well worth the little financial setback. I had been seriously considering bribing Maria to give us some privacy so at least this way I got a decent meal out of it too.


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


LIZ’S POV


Ok here we are on a blind date with Maria. Which, surprisingly enough was all Max’s idea.

Got to love a man who will go to any lengths to be with his girl and I do love the man!

This was all Max’s idea!

I couldn’t believe it when he suggested it. In the past he’s gone so far out of his way to avoid double dates, especially with Maria that it’s almost comical.

Actually this is the first time he’s agreed to. Not that Maria’s attempted to date lately. Hell, she’s been perfectly happy to allow all romance in her life to come from us. I think she looks at us as her own personal trashy romance novel but I’m sick to death of her peaking under our cover.

That’s why I agreed to this plan of Max’s.

I am so desperate to be alone with him I’d be willing to agree to ANYTHING!

I just wish I’d been the one to pick a man for Maria because Max has picked a real moron here. Well maybe he isn’t a total moron, he does think I’m stunning, but damn he is a moron. I’m engaged to Max, he knows it but he’s still making moves on me. He’s here to be with
Maria and there she is dripping in sexu ...butter ...oh Maria ... stop eating!

There is no way this is going to work out.

Poor Max!

When will he learn?

And if Sean looks at me like that one more time I’m going to kick him in the shins ... or higher! Granted he has great taste. It’s kind of nice to have some attention but he’s taken this devotion thing too far. Besides the only attention I’m interested in is from Max!

“So Liz, what do you do?” Sean asked totally turning his body into mine.

“I’m an attorney.”

“Really, well do you and Max ever oppose each other?”

“All the time.” Maria mumbles, chewing on a rubbery piece of bread.

“Liz and I are partners.” Max says grimacing at Sean and he adds, “In every way” pointedly.

“Oh you don’t say.”

Sean downs his drink and signals the waiter to bring him another.

Max seconds the motion.

“So Liz if I need some good legal assistance I could turn to you!”

“Uh well..” I try to move away, the only man I want to be pressed against is the one glaring at us angrily. I give Max a ‘well you invited this jerk’ stare. He doesn’t appreciate it.

Sean rubs his knee against my leg in a gesture that could hardly be mistaken as accidental. “You would be available to me if I needed your opinion wouldn’t you?” He persists.

“Well of course, you’re a friend of Max’s so if you needed some help...”

“Oh yeah Max, well he won’t object, after all I’m the one who keeps his spine in line.”

“What a guy.” Maria grumbles popping a couple olives from the appetizer tray into her mouth.

Max downs his scotch like he’s been stuck in a desert without water for a week.

“So you’re a lawyer huh?” Sean asks as his wondering eyes look everywhere but my face.

I put on my fake smile then try to remind him why he’s here “Maria too, we’re roommates!”

“You are?”

He seems interested in this and turns to look at Maria. Thank God I think and good riddance

“So Maria, is Liz a good lawyer ?”

Sean’s totally enamored, just the way Max planned, only one little problem; he likes the wrong girl!

“Oh yeah!” Maria’s voice is edgy, not the most attractive she can be.

“I bet you had those judges eating out of your hand!” He slides in a little closer to me his thigh brushing my bare leg.

I quickly looked at Max to see if he noticed. He did. I’m not surprised. The shorter my skirt the more possessive Max gets and I’d made the mistake of wearing a very short skirt tonight.

“Speaking of eating.” Max said raising disapproving eyebrows hoping to give the proper chastisement.

I’m not quite sure whether it was for Sean or me. In retrospect, I’d say the trouble started as soon as we ordered.

“Oh I can’t decide between the lobster and steak or the shrimp and scallops!” I said reading from the menu. “It all looks so good.”

Sean looked at me sweetly, “How about I have the steak and lobster and you have the other and we can share.”

I may have been over enthusiastic in my response but I was hungry and undecided. “What a wonderful idea, Max why don’t you ever think of that!”

Max gave me a look resembling, someone whose underwear was just a bit too tight.

I chose to ignore it. I’d only spoken the truth. He’s never offered to share. Not surprising considering he doesn’t like giving away pieces of his pie.

I’m wondering if it’s an only child thing or just Max.

“So Sean, you should know Maria here is very active physically, she loves to exercise.” Max tries to put Sean’s interest back where it belongs.

Maria’s glare bores into Max’s skull I could almost see the light shining through the hole she made.

I don’t really blame her. It was quite a weird thing to say, even for Max, and it’s false.

Maria exercise! Please!

We did decide to jog together once but we both got called in to work so we took that as an omen and never tried again.

Now if what he just said is some kind of man code for something else ... well he just may have earned himself a slapping and not one he’s going to enjoy either.

“Max, that isn’t quite...” I begin going to a fuming Maria’s defense.

“That’s nice,” Sean says vaguely not listening to Max and breathing too close to my ear for my liking.

The next round of drinks arrived.

Max downed his and ordered another.

That should have been a warning sign the evening was headed to the ‘Wish we hadn’t Hall of Fame!’

Max doesn’t drink often. It’s a control thing. He likes to have it, ALWAYS!

So for him to be hitting the bottle so hard so soon ... well I’m a little afraid. Something must be wrong.

What it is I don’t know.

Did something happen at work after I left?

It can’t just be Sean and jealousy. He knows I’m only interested in him. I mean that’s the point of tonight isn’t it, so we can finally be alone together.

“So Sean, do you massage your patients before you...” Maria asks.

I can’t help but smile I know the way Maria thinks. The guy may be an ass but if he can help keep the cellulite out of her glutes then he’s a keeper.

Maria so loves her rubdowns.

“What...uh...” he looks at me for help.

It wasn’t that hard a question. Am I sure I trust this guy to the welfare of Max’s spine?

“She wonders if you get your patients relaxed with a massage before you adjust them?” I whispered trying to explain.

He smiles lustily at me, “For you Liz anything. I’d give you extra tender loving care. What hurts you the most?”

“Uh...” I hesitate then consider his offer “sometimes my lower back gets knotted up a bit...”

“Yeah...” he looks at me delighted.

Max is seething, that and the excessive alcohol consumption make him act like a schmuck!

“Why wait when there’s an empty table right over there...I’m sure we could get the silverware removed, and you could have at her already and leave the rest of us to enjoy our meal.”

“Max shut up!” I glare at him “You can be such a complete imbecile!”

“Me!”

He sputters slamming his umpteenth empty glass on the table and having the cheek to look insulted!

Maria stuffs a cracker in his gaping mouth! He looks like he might choke and to be honest I’d let him.

I try to smooth things over.

“Sean, my back is fine. Its Maria who wanted to know...”

“Oh...” He reluctantly turns her way. “I have a vibrating chair that should work for you!”

Max snorts. He liked that comment.

The five-piece band begins playing softly.

The calming music does nothing to ease the tension in the air.

“Liz, what do you say we dance?” Sean asks hopefully.

I look at Maria who is now chomping on a slice of cucumber in one hand and a broccoli tree dripping with ranch dressing in the other.

Poor Sean, Maria’s lost interest and she can be very cold when the guy isn’t her cup of tea!

I look at Max who gives me an ‘as if I care’ look and then gets up and walks over to the bar to put a rush on his next order of drinks.

I accept Sean’s offer. After all Max hadn’t bothered to ask! He’s too busy holding up the bar. Why should I have a miserable evening just because he and Maria are in a mutual funk!

I would try my best to rescue the evening if either of them gave me a sign they’d help.

But no Maria’s busy stuffing her bored face and Max’s walking back with two drinks in his hands.

His eyes look beadily at me as I take Sean’s hand. I don’t think I’ve ever viewed them as unattractive before tonight but there’s a first time for everything!

He downs both drinks and turns back to his precious bar.

I have to wonder if marrying him is the best idea after all. ksmile



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Nov-2001 11:17:09 PM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:00:30 PM
Part 19



MAX’S POV


How could she accept that slob’s invitation to dance?

The slob is smiling smugly with his arms wrapped way too tight around ‘my wife!’

So ok, we’re not married yet she’s still the future Mrs. Evans. Plus she has the ring! They should make those things with flashing beepers to remind, the wearee, they are taken.

The barman is getting on my nerves. Isn’t it his job to serve me drinks?

Why does he keep looking at me like I’m some kind of lush...I can hold my liqueur. I scratch him off the Christmas card list.

Damn!

If I keep this up Hallmark will go out of business. But hey, that’s not my problem and I’m sick of their crappy cards anyway!

Just like I’m sick of this loser who’s threatening to cut off my supply if I don’t go back to my table. I may as well go back to the table but I swear, if Maria provokes me she’ll live to regret it.

I make my way back to the table wondering how all the chairs had moved so much that I keep bumping into all of them!

I got to the table and there was my nemesis sitting right there chomping away on escargot and carrots like she may never eat again... she must know I’m paying...

This whole fiasco is all her fault I set her up with the stud of the month and she decides to make food her lover for the night!

Talk about ungrateful!!!!

I slide in next to her knocking her elbow, which causes her to spill her $12 per glass wine on her dress!

“Max I’ll get you for this!”

“You spilled it! It’s not my fault!” I tell her in no uncertain terms.

“Not the wine you demented fermented idiot! The jerk who is too dumb to even know who his date is! This is some set up Max! I’ll get you for this.” she hisses.

“What’s your problem Maria? Where’s the charm that’s normally oozing out of your pores? Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten how to attract a guy? Why the hell don’t you do something?” I snipe back, giving the too close for comfort odd couple an evil whammy look, which they choose to ignore.

“Why don’t I do something? Why the hell don’t you? This is entirely your fault! Are you the only one who hasn’t noticed you can’t even keep your own fiancée interested in YOU!”

I’ve learned to ignore Maria, it’s not easy but I’m getting good at it. Practice makes perfect. Plus Liz’s out there putting on a show that grabs my attention more than the whiny tone droning in my ear.

“My God he’s moving his hand towards her butt! What the hell does he think he’s doing?” I can’t take anymore. I’m cutting in.

“Max sit down. You’ll only make things worse! Liz is handling it” Maria waspishly advises.

The fifth round of drinks comes as I wonder how she thinks it could be any worse. I down it and order a sixth!

I’m about to tell Maria if she’d had the decency to handle Sean’s goods we wouldn’t be in this situation when I notice he’s nuzzling Liz’s neck and her hand is running along his chest!

That’s it! ENOUGH!

I rise from my chair, the double scotches kick my ass right back down, as I nearly stumble and trip a passing waiter.

Maria laughs at me and I turn all my fury onto her.

“You know the only reason we are here is to try to get you a life of your own. Liz and I are so damn sick of you buzzing around us all the time! You’re just bitter we are happy and this is your way of getting back at us. You’re trying to punish me for stealing Liz. I was hoping, if I could get some poor sap to take you to bed, you’d get out of ours! You’re nothing but a pathetic peeping pervert!”

I’m sure if I’d had a clear head I’d have known when to stop, but after a month of foreplay, foreplay and nothing but foreplay because of someone’s predilection to walking in on us, I was a little frustrated.

“YOU Jackass!” She screeched.

“You and me both!” I agree wholeheartedly.

“What the hell are the two of you talking about?” My bride to be isn’t very happy, but then neither am I!

“Liz we’re leaving!”

I say it with the authority of a whipped drunken mouse if Liz’s reaction is anything to go by. I thought I was being tough and firm but she replied with “Like hell we are I haven’t eaten yet!”

Sean helpfully offers to drive Liz home if she wants to stay. He places his hand on her arm.

By now the entire restaurant is listening in on us!

Who is having what with whom, is the look on everyone’s faces. I, being a man of unsound mind, due mostly to way too much scotch and a rampant case of jealousy, decide to cut the night, if not Sean’s legs, short!

“You get your stinkin’ hands off my fiancée!”

I rise from my chair looking as menacing as I can in this condition. My eyes feel glassy, my speech is slurred but this is my woman we’re talking about.

I grab for her planning to stake my claim. She pulls away, angrily.

I stumble into another poor waiter, sending a tray full of hot steaming food flying to the floor. As it goes so do I landing flat on my back.

I feel the twist as a wrenching pop sends daggers up my spine. The pain is shooting like lightening bolts and I nearly black out. Sheer willpower keeps me awake. I won’t let them have the satisfaction of knowing I’m hurt, especially not lover boy!

“What has Max done to you?” Liz asks Maria who’s gone all weepy for God knows why.

What have I done? Why the hell is it always my fault?

Good to know my fiancée has such a high opinion of me.

From the floor, as I don’t think I could rise without screaming in pain, I hit back “Absolutely nothing! Been there done that!”

Maria is still sniveling away so I make sure the blame goes to the right place.

“I don’t know why Maria and Sean didn’t hit it off seems they both like to go for the grope.”

Maria’s face goes white then red. She rises from the table and turns her wineglass upside-down over my head!

Before I know what’s hit me Liz throws my just delivered plate of Shrimp Linguini where she knows it will have the most symbolic effect!

“Here Max, I think you’ve had a little too much to drink. Maybe you just need some food!” As the slimy noodles slide down my three hundred-dollar Armani slacks I look up at her wondering if she has lost her mind! They give me a ‘you should know better than to mess with us’ look and stomp off leaving me, and Dr. Horny to duke it out.

The way I’m feeling it had better be verbally or I’ll be pummeled to a pulp.

After several threats to turn my skeleton into a pretzel if I ever set foot in his office again he leaves me to my own miserable company.

This is what I get for trying to help a friend.

Do I deserve this? NO!

I was so pissed I had half a mind to call off the wedding ... oh don’t look at me like that ... I said HALF and that was the half that was pickled in booze!

I have mentioned I was pissed haven’t I?


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


I went home ALONE to sulk.

I was a little unsteady on my feet, as it had been a long day. The bedroom seemed too far away, so I thought I’d just flop onto the couch until the bedroom came closer.

In a graceful dive, ok a swaggering tripping tumble, I fell to the couch but where was the damn couch? It was there a minute ago but moved almost a foot away while I was in mid air.

Who did that?

I’m going to get the bastard when I find them. I would have kicked the couch if I could have, but I couldn’t move without excruciating pain shooting across my back. Every sorry bone in my body was screaming in agony! I’m quite happy for that to happen in ecstasy but I’m not likely to be experiencing that again any time soon.

Anyway so now I’m in agony on the living room floor, my back is out and I know I’m going to need a chiropractor in the morning. The problem is those guys are crooks and I’m not letting just anyone mess around with my spine.

Sure up until about two hours ago I had the best man in the business.

Yeah I know everyone thinks their guy is the best but mine was until, before my bloodshot eyes, he’d become my sworn enemy.

Now I wouldn’t trust him to come near me if he was the last spine mangler on earth.

This is all Maria’s fault! She owes me big for this one.

Somewhere in the fog of pain and alcohol in my brain I got a brilliant idea.

So I called Isabel.

She wasn’t overly happy to hear from me, so much for being a friend. Some people make a big deal about the time of day.

So what if it was 2 a.m.

I didn’t need to be told so four times.

Anyway I asked her for her chiropractor’s number because I needed an appointment. She told me she didn’t have a chiropractor. I said she did. She said she didn’t and we continued this discussion for far longer than I would have liked.

I told her I didn’t appreciate being lied to when I’m in agony and that I distinctly remember her bringing a chiropractor to the office and that I need to see one pretty damn quick.

She said if I meant Nicolas Spivak then he was her friend not her chiropractor and anyway he’s in prison. I asked if she thought he’d see me.

She replied rather snidely, “Well gee Max I don’t know, do you want me to ring and see if he’ll make a housecall.”

I’m sure there was a jibe in there or something but I said, “yeah that would be great”.

She laughed, I don’t know why and asked the most stupid question I’ve ever heard “Don’t you already have a chiropractor Max?”

I answered “I did but Liz stole him.”

Isabel said “Max are you drunk?” and I realized I didn’t want to be in this conversation anymore so I hung up. I now know never to turn to her when I’m in need.

So much for friends and partners, talk about kicking a guy when he’s down!

Well from there, things just went from bad to worse.

What you don’t think they can be worse than writhing in agony, drunk as a skunk, on the floor?

Well they can!

Try being totally and utterly ignored by an irate Liz.

Although whilst in my drunken stupor I’d vehemently vowed she’d have to come crawling back to me begging for forgiveness before I’d talk to her again, by morning
I’d changed my tune.

I wanted her.

So first order of the day was to call her.

Well second actually, first order was to swallow copious amounts of painkillers in the hopes of being able to move faster than a snail and to try and remove the jackhammers that had taken up residence in my head.

So I called her to apologize.

I wasn’t too surprised to get the machine. I don’t remember all of last night but if she drank even half what I did then this morning listening to someone talk was not something she would want to do.

So I waited patiently through her message, “This is Liz, leave a message and I’ll get back to you.” I waited ready to speak as soon as I heard the tone but instead I heard, “Unless it’s Max in which case you can go to hell!”

There goes my plan for the day.

I’d been hoping she’d drive me to the chiropractor and if there was a problem she could smooth talk Sean for me.

Going by her little message there I don’t think that is now going to happen any time soon.

So I bit the bullet and called his office myself but his receptionist, hearing my name, laughed and said she’d been informed he refused to take my calls.

I was frantic.

I was in pain.

I needed help and he was the only person I could turn to.

I had to make him see me.

To achieve this I only had one option.

I called a cab and had it take me to his office. I presented him with the Celtics tickets I’d waited almost a year to use. The first game was now only a month away. They were floor seats no less but now I would have to get used to the fact the closest to a front row view I’ll get will be 10 feet from my TV!

Needless to say, after the receptionist took the tickets into him, I was ushered into his office quick smart. Lucky for me Sean was a quick to forget guy. He’d proven that last night with Liz and his inability to remember she is mine!

Half an hour later and with a schedule of twice weekly appointments for the next month I left. I was almost feeling like a new man. More stiff than sore but feeling like my body was well on the road to recovery, unfortunately my heart was another matter!

I went straight to Liz’s apartment.

What can I say, I missed her.

I can’t remember the last time I had to fall asleep without a goodnight kiss or wake up without her soft breath whispering in my ear.

Nicotine has nothing on her. She’s the most addictive thing I’ve ever faced in my life. So I got to her apartment, put my key in the lock, opened the door, pushed it forward two inches and then thwack. It stopped.

They’d put the damn chain on!

I did what any man would do in this position.

I whined.

“Liz!”

But who answered my call?

You guessed it.

I nearly screamed when a green slime-faced Maria greeted me.

Maybe that’s why the door is double locked: To keep her in!

Isn’t she scary enough without enhancements?

Her white teeth gleamed out of the muck and the vision began to have an adverse affect on my already queasy stomach. I was sure my face was beginning to turn just as green as hers.

I didn’t laugh, I didn’t scream and I didn’t groan. It took everything in me but I kept a straight face as I asked to speak to Liz.

“Liz doesn’t want to talk to you,” she said with a smirk.

For the person who’d caused all this fuss she was looking decidedly too happy “Go away and leave her alone. She’ll call if and when she ever wants to talk to you again.”

The door then slammed in my face.

Not really because its hard to build up enough momentum to slam with only two inches but I had enough imagination to hear the slam Maria would have done if she could have done.

So I went home and called Liz every hour on the hour.

Leaving message after message until finally ... no she didn’t answer my call. She must have taken the phone off the hook because I couldn’t get through anymore.

‘Fine!’ I thought.

I can survive until Monday without seeing her.

And I did, if you call moping around the house carrying her picture surviving without her. But a picture can’t do for me what she does and a picture doesn’t make those cute little noises. A picture doesn’t giggle, sigh, and say “Max you’re crazy!”

By Monday morning I was desperate for her.

My fear was she wouldn’t come in to work. In my anticipation to see her I arrived at the office an hour early.

I realized the stupidity of this as I sat alone for an hour imagining the worst.

Slowly the others began to trickle in. I couldn’t handle the wait and so hid in my office ears pricked for her arrival. I heard her laugh and was out of the chair and running in less than a second. She stopped laughing as soon as she saw me and walked past me and into my office.

I couldn’t help but smile.

Finally we were going to talk.

I followed her in and watched her take an envelope out of her bag before slamming it down on my desk.

She looked at me and said “Read it” then walked out.

Ok so our talk consisted of two words, it was still the most I’d heard from her in two days.

I opened her letter greedily and began to read.

“Max, I did a lot of thinking over the weekend and I hope you did too.”

I sure did. I thought of all the things we’d do together when she finally came to her senses but somehow I don’t think that’s quite what she meant. I continued reading.

“I’ve come to a decision”

Suddenly I froze not sure I wanted to read more.

What if it’s a resignation letter? Or worse, what if she’s about to break up with me. No it can’t be that. Can it? She is a lawyer, and lawyers like to get everything down on paper, but no not that. Liz wouldn’t do that to me in a letter. I need to believe that.

Ok be strong and read.

“We really need to talk but the office isn’t the place to do this.”

Snidely I thought that if she’d spoken to me over the weekend we could have had this sorted out by now.

“I know what you’re about to say but I needed the weekend to think.”

Embarrassed I realize how well she really knows me. The fact she loves me in spite of this amazes me.

“We will talk but not now. I need you to promise not to bring it up here. No discussion of our private problems can be made during business hours or while colleagues are present. If you are unable to make this promise and keep our relationship purely professional tell me now and I’ll work from home until we get this sorted out. If you agree to act professionally sign on the dotted line and return this letter to me. If I haven’t received it by 9 a.m., I will be going home.”

I slammed her letter onto my desk, then did what any red-blooded male would do, I seethed in anger!

I was pissed at her now.

All I wanted was to go out there and tell her exactly what I thought of her little rules and regulations but I didn’t. No she wants to pretend we’re only professional well I’d show her I could be just as professional as she can. She won’t be getting the better of me this time.

I signed her damn letter and left it on her desk as I went into the conference room.

For the remainder of the day we barely said two words to one another.

When everyone else had gone home she came to my office. I’d had all day to realize Liz had decided to make me pay. Which translates to I’d had all day to sulk and become indignant.

Ok so maybe I screwed up, but I wasn’t the only one who was in the wrong and I’m not going to take all the blame!

“He was an ass!” I said angrily.

She sighed and asked, “Is that all you have to say?”

I shrugged and said, “I’m sorry he was an ass.”

“There’s no point in continuing this conversation if you won’t take it seriously, goodnight Max!” she said.

I was silent, I know she really wanted to talk it out with me but to be honest I just wasn’t in the mood. I guess she eventually realized this because she turned and left.

I let her go.

‘Good’ I thought ‘Go’. I was angry, I don’t like being pushed around and I figured what’s one more day without her. I can handle that. I was sure she’d come to
her senses soon.

The next day, after another day of silence, we repeated the same dance.

She came to my office after everyone was gone. I said, “I’m sorry I got drunk” and she looked a little hopeful, then I said “but he got on my nerves. He deserved everything he got.”

Her hopeful look faded into resignation and disappointment.

She stood there as if expecting more.

What more did she want?

I’d said I was sorry, that should be the end of it, but she can be so damn stubborn and unreasonable. I crossed my arms and gave her the stare down of her life!

She stayed a little longer, trying to get something, God knows what from me but eventually she left yet still nothing was resolved.

After she’d gone I was annoyed. I was sick of playing games. We’d just gone ten rounds in one of those ‘if you don’t know then I’m certainly not going to tell you’ ping pong matches. She wanted something from me but of course she couldn’t possibly tell me what it was?

Oh no that would be too easy.

Women ramble on incessantly about the need for communication but when they want something do you think a guy can pry it from their lips. Not a chance!

Can I just say that would have to be the most annoying habit women have, actually among the most annoying habits women have, because the more I think about it, the more of them I can come up with. I’m just not dumb enough, despite what Liz thinks, to allow myself to be quoted listing them.

Wednesday I gave new meaning to the word stubborn.

No way would I give in first. It was now a matter of pride, oh alright yeah, it also had a lot to do with I didn’t have a clue what to give. I wasn’t going to be pushed around anymore.

If it was game she wanted then she’d have to play by my rules.

Instead of going back to the office I went home directly from the courthouse. If she wanted to speak to me she knew where to find me.

I did the same on Thursday too but she never came.

By Friday I was desperate for her forgiveness again.

I was afraid we were never going to work this out. I’d tried everything and knew I had only one untried option left.

I talked to Maria.

The fact I was willingly approaching Maria should be a true indication of how desperate I was.

After a warm welcome, images of Siberia come to mind, and lots of begging she agreed to listen. I had 5 minutes and a threat that if I didn’t make it good I wouldn’t get another chance.

Despite my best efforts to convince her to speak to Liz on my behalf, all the response I got was, “It’s got nothing to do with me. I seem to recall you requesting I stay out of your relationship so that’s what I’m doing.”

Normally this would have been music to my ears but now I needed Maria to run interference for me. I needed someone with Maria’s tenacious overbearing quality to make a dent in Liz’s rock solid resolve. I hadn’t got anywhere and the only person more stubborn than me is Maria.

I didn’t think before my next word left my mouth “Look Maria you owe me!”

See what I mean. Not the wisest words but then my carefully constructed plea hadn’t had the desired affect so maybe outright desperation would.

Or not.

What she said in reply is completely unprintable.

Words I’m not sure I know the meaning of came spewing out of her. For a moment I thought I was watching a new version of the Excorcist.

She finally stopped and I was left wondering if she’d been a sailor in a past life.

I mumbled something and ran, more annoyed than I’d been.

I stewed over our unproductive encounter all afternoon.

There was no way Liz would come around if she had Maria influencing her against me. Obviously I’d done something to upset her too. How I ended up having to appease so many people I’ll never know. Well basketball tickets worked for Sean I just needed to find Maria’s weak spot.

I turned up at her hearing the next day with a voucher for an all inclusive spa day.

Her eyes lit up, her pupils dilated and she was out of her chair, hugging me and screeching in my ear before I knew what hit me.

I again asked if she’d talk to Liz for me and surprisingly enough she agreed. I was again flavor of the month it seemed.

I spent the weekend waiting for Liz’s call but it never came. I knew Maria would have spoken to her but obviously she’d been as successful as I. I decided I couldn’t sit back and wait any longer. I needed to do something to make her come back to me.

Gifts had seemed to work for Sean and Maria so why not for Liz too?

So Monday when she arrived at work there was an enormous bunch of flowers on her desk. She thanked me then placed the flowers where they most brightened the office but from her desk were hardest to see.

That night we went through the same dance as the week before: I apologized, then she left disappointed as if she’d expected more.

Ok if it’s more she wants more she will get.

On Tuesday there were more flowers and chocolates too. She gave them to the others to eat. Every time I saw someone from the office they had a chocolate in their mouth. Michael actually thanked me thinking I had treated the office. Liz never touched any though, no that would be surrender.

Well the next gift is going to be personal; something she can’t possibly share.

Wednesday a gift box accompanied the new flowers.

In it was lingerie. I watched her open the box and then quickly slam it shut again. It was shoved under her desk and she looked madder then ever at me.

What the hell did I do wrong this time?

The only thing I could think was, maybe that had been too personal, so Thursday’s gift was theatre tickets.

When she came to the office to thank me and we went through our perfunctory dance it was obvious she still hadn’t forgiven me.

What more did I need to do?

I thought, maybe she didn’t like the show I’d chosen and offered to exchange the tickets for opera ones if she’d prefer. She sighed and looked at me as if I was completely dense.

“Max I’m not holding out for better gifts. That’s not what I want from you.”

Not what she wants!

Well what does she want then?

Frustration was fast becoming my middle name. As a last resort I voiced my feelings, “Then what the hell is it you want Liz?”

I’ll admit I was also a little annoyed she hadn’t let me know she didn’t want gifts before I’d spent all that money. I think my mood may have been catching, as she was looking pretty frustrated herself.

“If you’d just think about it you’d know what I want” she said as she left me again.

Like hell I would! If I think anymore, my brain will explode!

What does she think I’ve been thinking about for almost two weeks now?

Ok gifts weren’t working. She’d berated me on Monday for using her friends for my own dirty work so asking Maria for help again would not be a good idea.

I briefly considered speaking to Isabel I mean she is a women maybe she can crack this crazy code Liz seems to be operating on. I decided against this though as she’d made such a big deal of keeping this disagreement out of the office.

I swear I’m never falling for that trick again.

If we ever get back on the same page all future disagreements are public domain. I need all the support I can get.

I just couldn’t think of what to do next.

She has to know how sorry I am, doesn’t she?

The only thing I could think to do is, sit her down and really convince her of this.

Maybe she just hadn’t believed me the first one million times. We need to talk. Really talk, not just frustrated words in passing at the end of the day. ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:01:57 PM
Part 20



LIZ’S POV


We need to talk. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I had no idea it would take this long for him to apologize.

He’s unbelievable.

Max can be so infuriating. I love him dearly but sometimes he just makes me scream, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Surely I’m not asking for too much. All I want is, for him to admit what he did was wrong and then apologize.

But Max, when it comes to being wrong lives in a permanent state of denial.

I can see him now as a little boy, hand stuck firmly in the jar, cookie crumbs on his chin and chest, chewing on another one as he vows he didn’t touch them. I can see it clearly because to be honest, in that area of his psyche, he is still that little boy.

If you look at him with even a hint of disappointment in your eyes his immediate reaction is I didn’t do it. No matter how obvious or how much evidence there is that he did.

So why am I surprised he hasn’t said sorry yet?

Oh I should correct that he has said he’s sorry.

He’s been saying it all week So far he’s been sorry Sean was a jackass, an idiot, a creep, goaded him, deserved it, had it coming and a number of other things. He’s sorry Maria was in a mood and went out of the way to ruin the night. He’s sorry I was bored with his company and encouraged Sean’s attention. So far he’s admitted he’s sorry for everyone’s behavior bar his own.

Plus he seems on a mission to gain my complete forgiveness without giving me a true apology.

I can’t do it.

I can’t let him think just because he makes those puppy eyes at me, and seems to be walking with his tale between his legs I’ll let him off easy.

No if I do that it will be the death of me in this relationship. He’ll think, ‘oh she’ll forgive me this once and that once and the next once.’

NO Way! I’m not falling for his charms no matter how adorable they are.

I have to take a stand.

I have to set limits but God this is getting hard!

So he said he was sorry over the answering machine at least fifty times not good enough!

Almost every night we’ve had the same discussion. He’s begged for forgiveness for everyone else’s faults and

I’ve held out for him to admit his own. Somehow he managed to bribe Maria into supporting him and it’s slowly driving me insane.

He’s tried to sweet talk me. He’s tried to buy my forgiveness. He’s tried to seduce me. God the lingerie almost killed me. Imagining his face, amongst other things, when I wore it almost made me cave.

What can I say I miss Max!

But I can be stubborn too and he won’t be forgiven until
I get what I want.

All I want to hear is three words.

“I was wrong.”

Is that really too much to ask?

“I was wrong”

Is that really too hard to say Max?

I’ve all but told him what it will take to get my forgiveness. I can’t just say, say this Max, because I want him to say it because he means it, not because he knows its what will get him results.

But I can’t hold out much longer.

I miss him. I need him. I’m slowly going crazy without him.

God this is so hard.

One more day and he’ll win the battle!

I mean if I hear Maria spouting off about Sergai her Spaman and his magic fingers one more time I’ll climb the walls!

If I have to take one more cold shower or I watch one more sexy romantic comedy with Maria, Max will find himself pinned to his desk and attacked unmercifully! He wont get to utter a word before my lips are locked to his and you’d swear super glue has gone amok!

Oh boy I really shouldn’t be thinking about those lips now.

Everyone has gone home and it’s just us here.

Soon I’m going to have to confront him again in the hopes what I want has finally penetrated that beautiful thick head of his and I need all my presence of mind to do that.

I can’t go in there thinking of all the things I’m missing out on.

Keeping myself under control is getting so hard to do.

As it turned out he didn’t give me a chance to regain my composure.

He came out of his office, stood in front of my desk and said, “Liz I don’t know what else to do here. You know I love you. You know I’m sorry I acted like an idiot. I don’t know what more you want from me. I don’t know what else I can do.”

I pinched myself and stared at him in disbelief.

He began to shuffle his feet nervously.

I think I just heard him say what I’d been waiting to hear but I’m scared I wanted it so much I may have imagined it.

“What did you just say?” I ask hopefully.

“Liz I’m at my wits end. What can I do to make you believe how sorry I am how horrible I feel about the way I behaved?”

He is saying what I want to hear. I can’t believe it.

I stand still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I say “But?” expecting the excuses I’m sure are soon to come.

“But nothing. I’m sorry! I was wrong and I’m sorry. I can’t ... I need you Liz. Forgive me please. I miss you so much. I’ve got an 8 o’clock booking at Maison de l’amour please come with me?”

I wasn’t sure which surprised me more, his apology or his offer.

I was overwhelmed.

That’s why the next words out of my mouth weren’t the loving ones he wanted to hear.

“You hate it there Max!” Yep even to my ears it sounded catty.

“I know but you love it and I love you and I just want to make you happy.”

He said it so sincerely, his eyes pleading with me for the forgiveness I knew he already had.

“I’m sorry Liz I know I was an idiot and if it will make you feel better you can tell me so all night long and I won’t argue I promise. Please let me make it up to you.”

Yes I was going to let him make it up to me but in ways that didn’t involve dinner.

Who needs food at times like these?

“Can we go to Maison de l’amour tomorrow night instead” I asked.

“I’ve booked for tonight!” He said with a frown.

“I’m sorry but I have other plans for tonight.”

Max looked heartbroken and mumbled “ok sorry to interrupt” as he turned to walk away. I had to stop him leaving.

“Aren’t you going to ask what my plans are?”

He was barely able to look at me when he said, “I don’t think I want to know.”

“Oh but you really do trust me!”

I walked towards him and ran my hand across his strong masculine chest. He whimpered softly, afraid to believe what he wanted was going to occur. It was a beautiful sound. I’d never realized before how much power I had over him, how emotionally invested in us he is.

“First” I said “I am going to do this” and I put my arms around his neck.

His eyes begin to show hope.

“And then this” I raised myself up on my toes and kissed his lips softly before pulling about an inch away and pausing.

Max pulled me back to him immediately, we kissed with all the passion, and intensity two weeks of pent-up emotion can muster.

Oh my God it was amazing.

Weak kneed, heart pounding, breathless, dizzy but no intention of stopping.

I could have died and I wouldn’t have stopped.

I’d missed his mouth, his hands, his warmth, and those lips so much.

Actually I’m getting aroused now just thinking about it ... anyway where was I ... oh yeah that’s right the kiss. Well of course eventually we did pull away and to say I was shocked at what I saw ... well I was shocked.

He had tears in his eyes.

The little things that Max does unintentionally that show he loves me really floor me.

When he puts his mind to it he can use the perfect words and he can make me swoon but the thing is, I know he’s meaning to do it. But sometimes without intending to he does something so natural, so sweet, so perfect that I fall for him harder and harder until I feel ... well I feel like I do now, like he’s my life and I don’t know how I could live it without him.

I reached up and brushed away the tears he didn’t know had fallen and said to him “Do you see now why I didn’t want to be in a public place tonight?”


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


MAX’S POV


I could have answered her question.

It would have been so easy to just say yes but I couldn’t. It would have been a waste of time.

Time that would be far better spent recapturing that mouth that has been denied me so long. Those lips that are still so enticingly close to mine.

So that’s what I did. I answered her with a kiss. We then continued with a long, long discussion.

Non verbally of course!

Hey I had to do a thorough examination it had been two whole miserable weeks since I’d been enveloped in the warmth. I had to check for cavities.

Who knew what changes might have occurred in there since I was last granted entrance!

I was pleased to discover it all felt just right.

Just right?

No that doesn’t sound good.

I don’t mean that in a negative way it was perfect, it was incredible, it was amazing. I meant just right in that it felt like coming home. Like I was returning to where I belonged and suddenly, once again, all was right with the world.

She soon shattered that illusion though because she pulled away slightly and after lapping at my neck a little, ooh I’d missed that, she whispered into the ear she was biting on “I have plans for you Mr. Evans take me home now!”

I groaned, and not the pleasurable kind either, actually I’d been doing that ever since she returned to my arms.

No this was a groan of despair.

A groan of a man who has been showed his world and then had it taken away.

Think of it like this, you’re a little kid and you’ve been asking Santa for the same thing for as long as you can remember. On Christmas Eve you happen to wake and go downstairs just as he’s delivering and you see your hearts desire peeking out from the top of his sack so you scamper back off to bed to await the morning when it will finally be yours. Morning comes and you run downstairs but it isn’t there the fat old bastard was giving it to the kid next door.

Ok so I may have been making a big deal about this but have I mentioned lately that I’ve gone two weeks without being allowed to touch, or speak or kiss her, amongst other things.

And now here she is telling me to take her home.

Telling me she’s just as eager as I am.

Telling me she wants to be alone with me only me.

Telling me we are about to have the best goddamned make up sex known to mankind ... ok I may have been interpreting a little more into her words than you think there was but you forget I know her inflections. I know what she meant and what she was thinking and what I just said; well that’s what she was thinking. But I wasn’t going to be able to deliver.

Hey stop laughing. I don’t mean it that way!

Of course I could do that! What I meant was ... well just shut-up for a minute, listen and you’ll learn.

Ok I think I’ve already mentioned I groaned well I pulled away too because I had to look her in the eyes when I did this to her.

She looked at me confused.

‘You and me both babe’ I thought.

Her hand came out to me as if to comfort me or to ... I don’t know what but I could see on her face she thought she’d done something wrong.

So I grabbed her hand and squeezed it a little.

Reassuring her I wasn’t upset with her but with circumstance. Then I explained the problem.

“Remember a while ago I said my cousin was coming to Boston for a weekend and I’d told him he could stay at my place.”

Realization dawned on her. She nodded and had this adorable ‘oh well it’s not perfect but it’s still doable’ expression on her face.

All I could think was ‘I wish!’

She smiled sadly and wrapped her arms around my waist.

Nuzzling into my chest she said “Bad timing”.

I answered something like “mmmmm” oh no that was to the nuzzling to the words I said, “You don’t know the half of it.”

She pulled back and looked at me with a cute ‘what the hell are you talking about’ expression.

“It gets worse,” I said and her eyebrow raised questioningly, have I ever told you how cute she is doing that?

Ok time to stop procrastinating and tell her the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

“He showed up with his seven months pregnant wife so I could hardly make them share the couch.” I said it as quick as I could, like pulling a Band-Aid off fast to try and lessen the pain.

It didn’t work.

But Liz smiled and with a sigh said, “I guess we’re going to my place then.”

“Like hell we are!” I replied so forcefully that I think I scared her.

Her eyes opened so wide I was afraid they’d drop out of her head.

“I want you only you and I’m not interested in playing hide and seek with Maria” I quickly explained.

“What are you suggesting?” she asked all confused but excited at the same time.

I could tell, remember I know her inflections.

So I said “The Ritz!”

“Max!” she screeched I’m not sure if it was from excitement or horror “You can’t afford that!”

I picked her up then. She just looked too damn cute I had to do it. It was either that or throw her to the floor, ... so I picked her up, said, “The only thing I can’t afford Liz is losing you”, and it wasn’t just a line I meant it.

“Oh Max” she whispered and my heart just about leapt out of my chest “You’ll never lose me”

“Promise?”

“Promise!”

So then I carried her off and ... well I’m keeping my private life private so the rest I’ll leave up to your imagination.

I will tell you this though, Maria was out of sight and out of mind and Liz took me out of this world.

Just try to imagine it for yourself because I’m not saying another word. ksmile




*happy* TBC.. *big* *big* *big* *big* *big*

posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:06:40 PM
Chapter 21



MAX’S POV


We’d been living together for three days when it happened.

Three days of uninterrupted sex ... oh God I can feel Liz’s slap from here. ... I mean three days of sex without Maria ... no that isn’t right either. That statement could get me three years on the couch without parole and lonely sex is a place I don’t want to go.

So let me rephrase ... what I mean is three days of sex without Maria walking in on us ... not three days non-stop ... hang on, can I just start this over again?

Liz and I had just moved in together.



{Why didn’t they did that in the first place?}
(Well, you’ll find out why, later, if you would just shut up and let me finish this part.)
{ *big* }



So, Liz and I just move in together.

It was late at night on the third day and I was spooned up behind her, one breath away from sleep, when I heard a sleepy, “Max you awake?”

I quickly ran the logistics through my mind, time required, energy available and after I thought about it some, decided to answer with a yes.

I never thought the time would come when I’d say no.

What can I say I’m a guy!

After what happened next, I’ll be giving it more thought before answering the same way another time.

Liz rolled over towards me.

At the time I wondered did she want to be able to see me or grant me easier access.

Being a lawyer you’re always looking for ulterior motives in people. I settled on her reason being access, as it was too dark to see. Plus that was the option with the better possibilities.

Hey I heard that yawn.

Look I’m sorry, the thing about being a lawyer is you become a stickler for details, but obviously I’m going for too much information here and losing my audience.

Ok stay with me and I’ll make it as brief as I can.

“Max I’ve been thinking” she said and then did that little rub my chest thing she does to stop me panicking.

Come to think of it that would be why she rolled over wouldn’t it?

Never mind, I remember I promised to be brief. It’s just, when it comes to Liz I love all the little details.

So where was I?

Liz, chest rub, that’s right, so when her hand came in contact with me, I immediately thought, “she wants me.”

But when she did the rub thing I knew better.

That move means she wants something ‘from’ me.

An entirely different thing altogether and one which costs me dearly most of the time!

Anyway I wasn’t panicking yet. I was still naive enough not to be scared by that phrase. In fact I was so green not even the next words she said worried me.

Do you want to know what they were?

Yeah I guess there wouldn’t be much point to this story if you didn’t.

Ok here they are “I think it’s time our parents met.”

Nothing to be worried about there right?

Wrong!

At the time I was surprised by her suggestion but certainly not concerned. It was just something I would never have thought of. I knew her folks and she knew my folks but it had never occurred to me that her folks should know mine.

I had no objection to the idea I just hadn’t ever thought of it. No one had warned me about the pitfalls of marry me marry my family.

Let me tell you, if males were warned of the impending in-law doom marriage brought upon them, weddings would be few and far between, trust me on this.

I’m learning it all too painfully!

By the way consider yourself warned. No need to thank me, you’re perfectly welcome.

Anyway fool that I was then, I said, “Fine we’ll have them all over to dinner one night.”

By her sharp intake of breath I guessed it was time for me to do the chest-rubbing thing.

My eyes lit up; my hand reached out but was immediately knocked away with a stern “Not now!”

I guess she had a point. It was already late and we did have an early start in the morning. Didn’t stop me being disappointed though that’s for sure.

“I was thinking more along the lines of a restaurant,” she said sounding hopeful.

“Are you kidding! Restaurants are so impersonal. No one gets to talk.”

She was silent making me wonder if that was her point.

If it was I wasn’t buying.

I did my best to sway her.

“C’mon Liz it’ll be much better to have it here then everyone can really get to know each other.”

“Alright” she mumbled. I don’t think she was convinced she certainly didn’t sound so but she wasn’t arguing.

“We’ll talk about it more in the morning” she said and rolled back over.

I knew what that meant.

That’s Liz speak for I’m going to need all night to think of a way to change your mind.

‘Good luck!’ I thought because I did not intend to have my mind changed. She’d already passed up her usual method of persuasion twice tonight. She’d have to be good to find something else as affective as that to use against me.

I was determined to do it my way for two reasons.

First I’m proud of the fact we’ve made a home together and I wanted to show it off. I wanted a chance to show everyone how happy we are together.

Ok yeah I just wanted to impress my in-laws.

Is that so wrong?

I wanted them to look at me with pride and acceptance instead of suspicion.

I knew it wouldn’t be an easy task. Her Mom I won over almost immediately but her father was proving a tough sell. I thought it made sense that, if he saw how happy we are, he’d have to accept us.

My second reason against a restaurant was if I go to one with my dad he insists on paying for my meal. It’s something he takes pride in doing and it’s just not worth arguing with him about it. It’s surprising how stubborn he can be at times. So to help him I usually chose cheaper places I know he can afford, but for a dinner like this, it would have to be good. Plus he’d probably want to pay for Liz too now. I think he actually loves her almost as much as I do.

From the first day my folks met her, my Dad looked at her with some kind of awe. He’s probably trying to work out how she allowed herself to become mixed up with his idiot son.

Well, good-luck Dad, if that’s what you’re doing, I’m college educated and I still can’t work it out.

I love watching them together.

My Mom adores her and fusses over her. Maybe she’s thrilled to have a feminine influence in my life or, more likely, she’s just charmed her.

Whatever the reason, since we’ve become engaged, you can’t stop them smiling.

It’s cute ... God what a girly word but I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

But my point is there is no way my Dad can afford to pick up the tab for this dinner and I refuse to embarrass him by taking him somewhere he couldn’t make the offer.

It’s dinner here or nothing!

I can be stubborn too.

So while Liz lies awake trying to think of ways to change my mind, I’ll lie awake thinking of ways to show her I’m right.

I’m pleased to say when morning came I was the most persuasive, yes 'knees' : lol were involved but I’m not saying any more than that.

Although Liz did score one point: she ruined my dream of showing off our domestic bliss. Apparently daddy dearest isn’t to be told of the change in our living arrangements.

I’d always thought she was joking when she used his disapproval in our debates about her moving in.

Obviously I was wrong. She’s serious, and under threat of death, her father is ‘not’ to be told.

The best reasoning behind this she could give me was “There are rules Max, with my father there are rules.” She’d couple this with an exasperated sigh and a ‘you’d never understand’ look.

She’s right I don’t, but if it’s that important we do it her way, then so be it.

It’s a slight setback in my plan but hey, nothing I can’t cope with. She knows him best, so we’ll play by her rules.

All I know is he’s big and scary looking so I’m quite prepared to not flaunt that fact I’m shacking up with his little girl in exchange for keeping a full set of pearly whites.

Think of it like this, I have her living with me, her dad has his delusions and we’re all happy.

A night was settled on and invites went out.

God I wish it’d been that easy!

At first it appeared the dinner would need to be held sometime in 2007 to get everyone there on the same night.

To bring it forward sacrifices had to be made.

We picked a fateful date, after juggling, my basketball and baseball, her art class, my father’s bowling meet, my mother's garden club meeting, not to mention her mother’s yoga class and her father’s assorted undisclosed commitments.

Let’s just say the only night everyone else agreed upon was the one night I had red socks tickets. So who among us had to make the sacrifice?

You guessed it.

ME!

It hurt to see the tickets go.

Alex looked like he’d won lotto when I handed over the tickets. I never realized before how much Alex resembles a Cheshire Cat when he’s happy.

I hate happy cats!

It briefly entered my mind that Alex orchestrated this whole mess. No I wasn’t getting paranoid because I was sulking. It’s the type of thing Alex might do.

You don’t know him as well as I do. Beneath that cuddly exterior is a devious mind.

I plan to instruct Liz to keep far away from him from now on and next time I buy tickets, I’ll just hand them straight to Alex. He’s the one who always ends up with them so why delay the inevitable.

This dinner had cost me the ultimate sacrifice, red sox tickets and my sworn silence, Liz owed me big time!

Being a man, naturally I made her pay!

It was certainly a day to remember. I’ll say one thing about Liz; she does like to stay out of debt!

As a lawyer you have certain instincts about when it’s best to play your hand. Well this opportunity was too good to be missed.

So I played and I played hard.

To tell the truth, she was a more than willing participant, I never heard even one objection from her.

We acted like newlyweds. We smiled incessantly and were too wrapped up in each other to believe any setback could occur.

Then, her father called!

He’d phoned Liz at “her apartment” getting Maria.

To my shear amazement Maria got her story straight for once. She advised him Liz was working at “my place” so he may want to call her there.

Do you know how long it is since I’ve had to use the excuse of homework to have a girl in my room?

There’s nothing like talking to an over protective father to make a grown man feel like an errant teenager again.

The feeling of being caught red handed heightened as the sound of the shower reminded me, not only is Liz here, but she’s naked too!

This wasn’t good, well it was for me, I was more than happy but I didn’t think her father would be too pleased.

It was obvious even to me if she wasn’t suppose to live here she most likely shouldn’t be naked here either.

So I handled it like any adolescent would.

I lied.

I told him she’d gone to the office for something.

Ok yeah a bit of a pathetic lie, but in my defense, I was sidetracked thinking of Liz naked.

It wasn’t until he started bellowing my name that I came back to my senses. I told him Liz would be back shortly but I could take a message if he wanted. Of course I was then subjected to a string of abuse for letting her go to the office alone at night.

Didn’t I know the kinds of clients we handled? What sort of an insensitive imbecile was I?

I figured, if I’m already lying, what’s the harm of one more. So I told him she wasn’t alone she had another colleague with her and then proceeded to describe Michael to him.

That seemed to calm him down a little and I think the idea we weren’t going to be alone in my den of iniquity turned him into a semblance of a reasonable man.

He talked away to me and I nodded along with him.

Stupid thing to do on a phone, I know, but at the time I was also wildly gesticulating to Liz who’d just entered the room to be quiet.

“I’m ringing about this dinner thing,” he said and my ears pricked up.

He’s going to change the day and I can use my tickets.

“Oh you can’t make it?” I asked possibly a bit too eagerly because he sounded a little put out.

“No that’s not it at all I’m letting you know I’m bringing someone.”

“Oh ok” I think I hid my disappointment “No problem sir I’ll let Liz know when I see her.” I winked at her and I think she got the hint because she mouthed “my father?”

I nodded proud of my genius girl.

She then pulled a face, which almost had me laughing. I must have been making some noise because he asked if I was ok. I claimed I’d had a bit of a cough and he asked, “You won’t forget to tell her though will you?”

This guy thinks I’m a moron.

“No I won’t forget. I’ll tell her first thing.” I replied.

“Ok so I’ll see you then?” he asked and I got the distinct impression he was hoping I wasn’t going to show up.

Sorry buddy, this party’s mine.

“Yep looking forward to it” I said and received a gruff grunt and then dial tone as a reply.

“What did he want?” Liz asked.

“He’s bringing a date to the dinner.”

Liz went deathly pale and by the panicked look on her face you’d think I’d yelled “FIRE GET OUT.”

“Max are you out of your mind?” She screamed.

I began to think that maybe one of us was and I don’t mean me. What the hell was she so upset about?

So being a complete idiot I voiced that thought.

“What am I upset about? God you have no idea do you!”

Well I thought that statement was painfully obvious and I wondered when my beloved was going to stop berating me and actually inform me what I did wrong THIS time.

“You realize I’m going to have to tell my mother,” she shouted.

I stood there in a bit of a daze, trying to work out if that was the big explanation I’d been looking for. If it was, I was in serious trouble, because I was still confused. There had to be more of an explanation than that.

I tried to show her why I didn’t understand.

“Well they’re divorced, I would think one of them dating wouldn’t be too big a shock to the other.” I said in my voice of reason.

“Well a lot you know!” was her angry and not very helpful reply.

“Fine! Maybe after ‘our’ divorce I’ll know the proper etiquette for these situations!”

The horrified look on her face stopped my grin cold.

It was a joke!

Obviously not a funny one though.

I never thought she’d take me seriously but I could tell I’d just hurt her. There are some things you should never say to the woman that you’re planning to marry.

Apparently the word divorce is top off the list. I needed to fix this.

I needed her to know how much I regretted my throw
away comment.

I walked over and wrapped my repentant arms around her then kissed her hair.

“I’m sorry Liz that was a stupid thing to say. It’s just; I’m in the dark here. Tell me what’s wrong so I can understand!”

I tilted her sadly bent chin up and looked into her watery eyes.

“I didn’t mean that crack please believe that!”

She burrowed her body closer to mine and I heard a resigned.

“Why couldn’t you have just said no?”

“Liz I don’t have a copy of the Parker family rule book. Why exactly was I supposed to?”

“Because now Mom is going to insist on bringing Jim.”

She answered with an adorable pout. I was getting more lost by the minute. Not a new situation for me to be in.

“Who’s Jim.” I asked.

“Her boyfriend.”

“Her boyfriend!!!!” I practically shouted before dialing my voice back when she jumped enough to hit the roof. “Your mother has a boyfriend? Well that’s good isn’t it .....doesn’t that make it even?”

I didn’t think what I’d said was very funny but Liz thought it was hilarious. Her sudden laughter had me feeling like a real dill.

“Liz?” I pleaded.

“My Dad doesn’t know she has a boyfriend.”

“Well does she know he’s got a girlfriend”

“He’s always got girlfriends they last about a month or so usually.”

“Let me get this straight I rubbed my poor tired suddenly throbbing forehead “Your Dad has a girlfriend, he’s moved on but your Mom can’t do the same. Why?”

“Because it’s ... he’s... he’ll blow a gasket! Do you have any idea how my father is going to react to my mother bringing a date? Especially this one! He hates him!”

“Hang on you said he doesn’t know Jim. So how can he hate him?”

Am I the only one missing something here?

“He knows Jim. They used to play golf together and believe me, my father hates him, always has. He doesn’t know Mom and Jim are dating and he’s not going to like it one bit.”

“So...he’s not the one dating him? He doesn’t have to like him.”

I reason away the problem with my superior male mind.

“OH...you just don’t ever get it!”

Why is that always her response to my use of logic?

I decided to explain to her exactly how well I do get the situation.

“What I’ve got so far is, you know about your mother’s boyfriend but your father doesn’t. You mother knows we’re living together but you father doesn’t. So what is it you know about your father that your mother doesn’t and what is it he knows about you that your mother doesn’t?”

She just groaned at my cocky grin and went to the phone.

I was beginning to appreciate how lucky I am with my non-invasive, totally agreeable, always pleased to see me, no complications father and mother.

Ok so my father never wants to get into a conversation deeper than sports scores and my mother always had this delusion that I live in a perpetual day to day fairytale, but hey, it works for us.

From the sound of things Liz’s family should try it sometime. Instead they have some complicated system where this can be told to that person but not this person and that can be told to this person etc, etc and you wonder why I’m confused.

Inadvertently I’d stepped in a mess and I watched Liz try to clean it up.

She groaned through a conversation with her mother.

Liz tried to convince her it’d be better if she didn’t bring Jim, while at the same time, she insisted she fully supported her mother’s relationship with him.

In the end she gave up.

It became obvious, if Dad was bringing a date, then Mom was bringing one too.

There was nothing Liz could do about it but sit back and smile.

Well she sat back but she didn’t smile.

Consequently I found myself in the doghouse. I tried to dig myself out but everything I said seemed to only further aggravate her.

I gave up after a few hours.

I pride myself on my sleek, suave way of escaping insurmountable odds in court but with Liz I seemed to be a mass of bumbling words and irritating gestures. With her after every inch I make I sink a foot deeper.

I wondered as we lay in bed that night, as far to our separate corners as possible, if she would ever talk to me again.

She may as well still be living with Maria there was so much space between us.

You want an example; well the Grand Canyon comes to mind.

I tried to close the distance but got a more than obvious sign I wasn’t wanted. I think it’s going to bruise too.

I rolled away from her grabbing the mattress just in the nick of time as, in a huff, I’d rolled too far too fast.

I could just imagine her glee to see me sprawled out yelping on the floor.

By morning she’d either forgiven me or become resigned to the fact she’d promised to love me faults and all, because to my surprise, she acted as though we had cuddled all night.

Did I miss something last night besides all the covers?

Whatever the reason I wasn’t complaining.

We were a team again and I wasn’t going to rock the boat.

We worked hard in the hopes of making this night a success. But as the hour drew closer and our tension levels rose we just seemed to get under each other’s feet.

We tripped over each other in the kitchen, got in each other’s way in the bathroom and even dressing became a battle between us.

Setting the table was a particularly traumatic experience. The cutlery and napkins are still exhausted.
She’d move them. I’d move them back and then we’d start all over again. I thought I was being discreet but unless they had legs she thwarted my every move.

The dinner party I’d originally been somewhat excited about left me now with only an ever-increasing feeling of dread. Liz obviously feeling the same had become silent.

Communication fell away to a few sullen words, monosyllables or stilted sentences.

Twenty minutes of complete silence and she broke it by repeating her mantra of the past week “Max don’t even think of breathing a word!”

“I get the idea Liz” I told her sweetly, “Daddy’s not to know. Breathe a word and I won’t be breathing again!”

Yes sweetly, it’s my version remember? Don’t ask her it won’t be remotely the same!

I don’t know why she didn’t believe I could keep our living arrangements secret.

I can keep a secret!

I’m a lawyer, a defense attorney, privy to enough information about the majority of my clients to keep them from seeing the light of day for many, many years, but do I tell?

No, my lips are sealed, wild horses won’t get it out of me!

Yet my blushing bride to be, okay the red cheeks were a rash that developed after I told her about her father’s date, doesn’t believe I can be trusted.

She has so little faith in me.

I’m a catholic for God sakes! Thou shall not gossip is almost part of my religion!

On this, if nothing else, I can be trusted.

The fateful time arrived.

I’d stirred the sauce so much the spoon was about to melt.

Liz had rearranged the flowers on the table so often the petals were falling and wilting was setting in!

If something didn’t happen soon to offset the tension one or the other of us was going to explode.

I heard her groan and rushed to her side afraid she’d taken ill.

Visions of dealing with the Parker’s on my own rushed through my head and they weren’t at all pretty. If their own daughter was reluctant to see them then you can imagine the feelings of a not overly accepted, bumbling fool, not my opinion a quote from the old man, of a future son in law.

“What’s wrong?” I asked fully prepared to give Liz the ‘tough it out’ pep talk. She was not deserting me now. If worse came to worse we’d move the whole thing to the emergency room but I was not doing this alone!

“Have a look at that” she moaned, no I’m not exaggerating, she was pointing at the window and actually moaning.

I looked outside and saw her father on the other side of the street.

“It’s your dad,” I said stating the painfully obvious.

I didn’t get it.

She knew he was coming here. This should not have been a surprise for her.

She looked at me as if I was the stupid one and mockingly said “Duh Max, like I wouldn’t recognize him after 29 years! Not him. Her!”

I smiled apologetically. I was now on my best behavior as sarcastic Liz is usually only one step away from run for your life she’s gonna blow Liz.

Being a good boy I had another look out the window and then wished I hadn’t.

I had to hold in my laughter. I managed but it was hard.

I looked at her distraught face. ‘Say something compassionate’ I thought.

So I opened my mouth and said, “He never mentioned he’d gotten a babysitting job.”

Ok so my intention had been compassion but you know what they say about best intentions.

Oh and have I ever told you my girl has the scariest glare known to man?

Well I got the glare, I got a nipple twist, ouch, and I got a “Max that’s not funny! That’s my father you’re laughing at!”

I suppose you’ve guessed by now I’d lost control of my laughter “I’m sorry!”

I pleaded but I don’t think she took me seriously. The fact I was almost doubled over in hysterics probably didn’t help.

The doorbell rang and we both looked out the window.

Nope they were still out there.

It must be someone else.

I practically ran to the door.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to get someone else between Liz and I for protection and this was one of those times.

I opened the door to my beaming Dad and Mom.

“Hi son” my mom mumbled and rushed over to hug Liz.

Whatever hapenned to the princely son?

"Son" my dad mumbled but smiled at Liz and give her a hug.

Well, nice to see you too dad.

Well at least they’d made her laugh now too.

Liz couldn’t stay angry when she looked at my folks face especially my dad's. I don’t know his secret but I wish I’d inherited his charm along with his amber eyes.

I loved watching my folks with Liz. There’s a light in their eyes whenever she’s around them that I haven’t seen for such a long time. I’d missed it and somehow, through her, our family were becoming closer too.

Maybe I could repay her the favor with her own father.

Well a guy can dream can’t he?

I’d barely made it over the room to them when the doorbell rang again.

I looked at her and saw the apprehension on her face.

“Time for the show” I heard her mumble.

I rubbed her shoulder and went to the door.

Yep, there was Daddy, his arms around someone I’d have to card if she asked for wine with her dinner.

I ushered them over to Liz so introductions could be made.

“I’m Pam” she giggled throwing her arms around a startled Liz.

“Pam?” Liz almost choked on the word.

“Well Pamella but all my friends call me Pam and I can just tell that we are all going to be best friends. Hey great sweater is it Ralph Lauren?”

Liz and I looked at one another with a mutual but unseen eye roll.

Before Liz could respond Pam had lost interest and was exploring “Oh this place is darling! I love it all! Don’t you Tom?”

“Tom?” Liz practically screamed.

I wondered why she was having such a problem with names tonight.

If I said Max was she going to scream that too?

Hmmm.....actually I wouldn’t mind her screaming Max but later when everyone is gone.

I was relieved to finally know her father’s name it wasn’t until he got to the door that I realized I’d never asked.

He’d always just been Mr. Parker to me.

We met when Liz and I decided to ditch him in a luncheon, a while back, so its not like she could give a decent introduction and no one else bothered to.

That and the fact, in his eyes, I was the one dating his baby girl, didn’t exactly put us on a first name basis.

Even now he only used mine if he had to and it was usually preceded by a rather derogatory term, see above bumbling fool remark.

He turned to Pam and said “You’d better make it Jeff tonight to save confusion.”

‘Too late buddy’ I thought ‘I’m way past confused’.

Liz saw my face and probably afraid I was about to say something stupid, like I would ever do that, pulled me down so she could whisper in my ear.

“His name’s Jefferson Thomas, I’ve just never heard him called anything but Jeff before.”

I whispered back “She’s probably only got up to spelling three letter words at school.”

Liz bit back a laugh and shot me a ‘behave’ look before rushing after Pam, who appeared to be about to explore too close to our, but don’t tell her father that, bedroom. ksmile




[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Nov-2001 12:38:33 AM ]
posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:10:09 PM
Chapter 22



LIZ’S POV


Somehow I found myself chasing a prepubescent down the hallway towards my bedroom.

Ok prepubescent is probably a bit harsh but God she’s only a child!

What on earth does she see in my father? He’s old enough to be her grandfather ... almost. She’s not going to live long enough to hit puberty if she uncovers evidence I’m living here.

No if that happens then little Miss Pam is going to wish she’d never popped out of whatever sugar bubble she came from.

I grabbed her arm and mumbling incessantly about anything and everything to keep her vacuous, limited mind occupied, I led her back to the others.

Max’s dad was looking a little lost but his face lit up when I returned. He’s such a sweetie.

I noticed Max trying to explain to my over inquisitive father why we were holding the party here instead of at my apartment.

I hoped to God that he’d remembered to tell his folks not to let the cat out of the bag.

I snuck a peek at Philip and Dianne.

Philip winked while Dianne gave me an understanding smile.

Good, one thing less to worry about. Philip and Dianne are reliable and won’t tell but Max is another matter.

He’s a cannon waiting to go off.

I’d warned him repeatedly but Max can sometimes best be described as thick.

Oh don’t look at me like that I’m not being mean. I’m being realistic.

If it’s not important to him he has a tendency to be blind about things and I was afraid this was one of those times.

I knew how happy he was he’d finally twisted my arm and convinced me to move in with him. I know he’s proud of the fact we live together and I doubted, under pressure or excitement he could keep it to himself.

I just knew he was going to let it slip. I just knew it!

I was terrified of what he’d say to my father. I listened intently ready to jump in and rescue the situation if it looked necessary.

He surprised me though by giving a credible, and what my father found acceptable, explanation. He told him Maria was involved in a big case that’s taking up a lot of her time and it would have been unfair to invade her space for our party. Plus we’d wanted this to be just family so his apartment seemed the better option.

Pleased with him I kissed his cheek and handed Pam back to my father. He’d brought the child; the least he could do was supervise her.

I was just starting to relax when the doorbell rang again.

It could only be Mom and Jim.

I was suddenly unsure letting Jim walk in unannounced was a good idea. Surely it would be better if I warned Dad of his impending presence. “Daddy...” I began but too late.

Max’s father, always so willing to help, grabbed the door.

Prepare to dive...take cover the room is about to implode.

Surprisingly, although the tension became almost unbearable nothing too calamitous happened.

My father and Jim circled each other like alpha males battling to be top of the pack. Each waiting for the other to make the fatal mistake and promising at any moment to attack in a testosterone frenzy.

I’m surprised they never got to the stage of snarling and frothing at the mouth but I guess they were saving that for later, not wanting to peak too early.

My mother, meanwhile, was attached to me like super-glue, whispering snide remarks into my ear about the delectable Pam, who was prattling away to us about her latest retail conquests, Gucci this and Prada that.

Pam was totally oblivious to the absurdity of the situation and the scorn with which her audience held her in.

Max and his folks stood observing all this in fascination.

I can only imagine the image we presented to them. I almost expected at any moment a tour-guide to pass saying, “Observe the disturbing display of the Parker's dysfunction.”

I was thoroughly regretting ever having told Max he was dysfunctional. I knew after tonight that remark would be coming back to bite me on the ass. I just hoped Max wouldn’t leave teeth marks.

The tension in the room was intolerable. It was a stalemate, a rather embarrassing one at that, but I didn’t know how to break it.

Unfortunately my dear sweet future father in law solved that problem for me.

“Seems we are all here now let’s have a toast to the beautiful couple.” He said and raised his glass enthusiastically.

He received little reaction from the rest of the room.

Not wanting Philip to feel put out Diane, Max and I held up our glasses and drank ours too.

Philip looked around wondering why it was such a tough crowd tonight. He seemed to fold in on himself and I knew he wouldn’t be initiating conversation again any time soon. His actions did seem to spur the others on to conversation though.

Did I mention already that this was an unfortunate action?

Just when I’d figured nothing could make things more tense the inmates decided to speak.

Why fate always feels it has to prove me wrong, I don’t know.

I suppose it would’ve been too much to hope we’d get through the night in companionable silence.

“Nancy,” my dad who’d finally decided to stop harassing Jim said. Yes he sounded like a drill sergeant while addressing my mother but it was a start at least they were talking.

“Jefferson” My mother replied in an equally clipped tone.

During marriage it had been Jeff and Nan. It’s funny how the names get longer as the tempers get shorter.

“This is my Pammy.” My father pushed sexy Pam forward as if to rub vinegar in an open sore.

“Oh she’s with you? I thought she was here to sell Girl Scout cookies.”

My mother sounded bitter but can you blame her?

“But of course Jefferson you know my Jimmy already, so no introductions are needed there.”

Things were off to a flying start!

“Oh God ...where’s the bathroom ... I think I’m going to be sick” The lovely Pam has punctuated the conversation with my feelings exactly. She threw down her appetizer and headed in the direction of Max’s pointed hand.

“My God Jeff you brought her here with the flu!”

My mother is a total germ freak.

“No Nan of course not!”

Ah back to sweet endearments but I’m sure it has nothing to do with affection and a lot to do with deflection.

“She’s probably just a little carsick.”

“Oh don’t worry Jeff she should outgrow that when she reaches her teens!”

Yes the sweet nothings were stronger than ever!

The look my parents shared was, to put it mildly, not friendly.

So Max, did I mention yet what a great man he is?

I didn’t, well I’ll make up for it then.

My wonderful hunk of an amber eyed sex God tried to steer the conversation to pleasanter topics.

Did I go too far with my praise?

Well according to him I owe him big for life so I’m just trying to pay off some of my debt. Although the way I see it, if we’d stuck to my plan, an impersonal restaurant, this whole disastrous situation would have been avoided. So really he should owe me!

Ooh this could be good I get to make him pay. I like the sound of that mmmm ... sorry I got distracted.

Anyway back to the story.

Every effort of Max’s to steer the conversation towards pleasanter topics was ignored by the grownups.

They were having too much fun misbehaving.

Finally Pam rejoined our loving fold.

She’d taken so long in the bathroom I was beginning to wonder if she’s still at the age where she required someone to wipe ... oh no not going to go that far.

Behave Liz!

Max announced dinner and we all sat down at the table.

After passing the delicacies there was a slightly awkward moment when Max, Philip, Diane and Jim, bless him he didn’t have anything going against him in my opinion, said a Catholic Grace.

I took the opportunity to pray the ensuing meal wouldn’t result in a food fight, but the way my parents were acting, I wasn’t confident even God could prevent that.

“So kids when is the wedding?” Jim asked in an attempt to distract the debating Parkers.

“Uh well we haven’t set the exact date yet.” I replied.

“Do you have a dress picked out?”

“She does.” Max interjected helpfully.

What’s a little white lie to keep the peace?

I nodded agreeing with him.

He reached over and squeezed my hand. Little did I know at the time, he was completely serious!

But that was a discussion for a later date. Boy that story’s a doozy, wait until you hear it ... do you have a month?

“Is it white?” My father almost growled.

Okay so my father is a control freak. He has to have everything his way and everything exact. Max teases me that he knows where I get it from now. I don’t appreciate his comments.

It’s only in situations like this that I realize how bizarre my fathers thought processes are. I guess after all theses years I’m used to his rules but you know, I try to be understanding, and just let things slide but what’s wrong with this picture.

We have a middle aged divorcee running around with a teenager refusing to believe his adult daughter is allowed sex in her life.

Well all I can say is, if Dad wants to delude himself about that, I’m certainly not going to set him straight.

I’m quite happy for him to stay out of my sex life.

Max seemed to want to humor him though or at least that’s what I thought he was doing at the time.

Remember previously stated long wedding dress story.

“Yes sir it’s pure white and absolutely beautiful just like your daughter.” Max said smiling proudly.

I felt a blush arise as I looked at the joy in his eyes and couldn’t help but love the beautiful man I was going to marry.

My father, Jeff, the Harasser, my fiancée now calls him, gave Max a very through glare.

Maybe fearing he’d gone too far, Max quickly excused himself to get more rolls.

I decided he wasn’t going to enjoy his respite alone and I followed him into the kitchen. I felt he needed a reward for his so far impeccable behavior. You know what they say; constant rewards make training easier.

In hindsight this may have been an error on my part as leaving our guests unattended was certainly a colossal mistake.


MAX’S POV


We never should have left them out there alone. I really did only go into the kitchen for some rolls but Liz followed me in.

Well it was a much more appealing option to stay in there, with her in my arms, then return to the scene of the crime and the third degree from her father.

“Hey are you okay?” I asked her compassionately.

I felt her head nod against my chest. At least I hoped it was nodding because regardless I wasn’t letting her out of this.

I needed her to hang in there with me if we were going to survive. To be fair, separately all the components of our guest list weren’t awful, but together!

Lets just say, I had an experiment in my chemistry lab in high school that went really bad, smoke, fire, sirens but the terror of that day didn’t come close to comparing with this!

“Remind me again why we are doing this” I teased.

“It was your idea!” she argued.

“What!” I said in disbelief. “You’re a liar”

“Is that so” she pulled away from me and looked me dead in the eye “No, no, no Liz we can’t go to a restaurant, it’s too impersonal, no-one can speak there... is any of this coming back to you Max?”

I laughed.

The girl had a point but I wasn’t ready to concede yet “Well, with normal people this wouldn’t have been such a bad idea Liz. How was I to know you’re descended from lunatics.”

She gave me ‘the look’ so I swooped in and kissed her before she could say something I wasn’t going to want to hear.

That kiss led to another and then another and before we knew it ... ha had you fooled.

I know what you were thinking, but no, nobody heard pots and pans banging. All I meant was, ten minutes had passed and we realized we should be getting back to the maddening crowd.

We left the kitchen just in time to hear Jim and Philip engage in an animated discussion of mid-life crisis.

Jim seemed convinced and find it unbelievable a man could go over his life without a woman or the same woman for that matter.

I later learnt from Liz Jim has six ex-wives.

My father quietly insisted when you already had the best woman available nobody else could compare while my mom smiled lovingly in the direction of my dad.

Another trait to be added to the growing list I wished I inherited from my dad.

Jim scoffed at this sentiment saying “Philip, man was not meant to be alone, there are a bevy of beauties out there. Lovely woman just waiting to be back in the swing. "

Of course my father ever the gallant and perfect husband just shook his head and insisted it wasn’t necessarily so. He didn’t seem offended just uncomfortable but Liz’s dad was livid.

“How can you be wasting your time with this loser Nancy you know he’ll never stick around.”

“Well you’re certainly one to talk Mr. ‘till death or midlife crises do us part’. I didn’t notice you sticking around for long either” Nancy responded before turning to Pam and saying “Don’t expect him to see out your teens with you dear.”

“I’m 25!” Pam stated indignantly, drawing incredulous looks from all at the table. If I were a betting man I would have gone for 18.

My father, who doesn’t like harsh words at the best of times, tried to calm things down “Now, now, there’s no need for all this. Let’s just enjoy the lovely meal the kids have provided.”

He received a few harsh looks for his effort but their attention was quickly turned back on each other.

Liz’s parents began bickering again while Pam, who was mumbling about never being treated as well as she deserves, stuffed her face as if she hadn’t seen food in a week.

If anyone had noticed our return they showed no sign of it.

I’d started to wish we hadn’t left the kitchen, as it seemed our presence wasn’t needed here at all.

Another look at my parents changed my mind.

While Liz’s parents and Pam amused themselves, my father and my mom became increasingly agitated and flustered.

I didn’t know what to do to stop it.

I looked at Liz who must have seen the fear in my eyes because she immediately stood up and shouted “ENOUGH!”

Suddenly all was quiet and everyone stared at Liz. I noticed she was holding my mom’s hand and that her color was returning to almost normal. She released it and looking at me said, “I have an announcement to make.”

The room was deathly silent as everyone, including me, waited to hear what she had to say.

Well everyone except Pam who squealed out the pronouncement “You’re pregnant too!” at the exact same time Liz stated “Max and I are living together.”

Liz’s father turned red and he screamed at Liz “You’re what?”

While her mother shouted at Pam “What do you mean too?”

Again they responded simultaneously.

Liz stating “I’m living with Max” while Pam giggling excitedly said, “I’m having a baby.”

“You’re what!” everyone at the table shouted at Pam.

Almost dancing in her seat with excitement she said “ I found a test in Liz’s cupboard, I took it, and I’m having Tom’s baby!”

“Who’s Tom?” Mrs. Parker asked and when her ex husband, in hushed tones, answered he was she laughed.

“Jefferson Thomas Parker you can be called by whatever name you chose it won’t change the fact you’re an ass!”

“Way to go Tom not only did you rob the cradle but you’re filling it up again.” Jim laughed holding up his glass in a toast. “A new father and a grandfather all at once not a bad effort for an old man.”

Liz’s ears suddenly pricked up and she shouted “No! No! I’m not pregnant!”

Four disbelieving sets of eyes ran up and down her body.

“Oh for God’s sake I’ll go pee on a stick if you don’t believe me.”

My horrified mom tried to convince her there was no need for that as she moved her wineglass out of reach.

By the look on dad's face I’m not sure he knew what Liz was talking about but I’m sure he believed she didn’t either.

As for me I was stunned.

First that Liz had made the offer, and second, that there were such things as pregnancy tests in my home.

Is this one of the joys of living with a woman? Strange things appearing in strange places?

My mind was in overdrive.

Is it normal to have them in your cupboard? Is there any reason to have them except for a suspicion that you may be pregnant? Has Liz not been telling me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

The other four people at the table remained unconvinced and, to prove her point, an annoyed Liz left the room to do exactly what she’d threatened to do.

I wanted to follow her. I wanted to do this with her. Not that I thought I’d be wanted at the exact moment if the look she shot me as she left was anything to go by.

I guess if I’m not supposed to have had sex with her, I shouldn’t be too excited about the results of a pregnancy test either.

In fact I wondered why an irate father wasn’t berating me already.

Didn’t Liz just announce to all and sundry what she’d instilled the fear of death into me about all week.

I looked at her father but his ashen face reminded me he’s got problems of his own.

I hoped Pam’s little announcement distracted him at least until he got home, after that we’ll avoid his wrath by refusing to answer the phone.

I had a lot of time to think, as Liz seemed to be gone forever.

When she returned with a light in her eyes and an aura of delight I felt my heart leap out of my chest and into my mouth.

I couldn’t believe this was happening.

I wasn’t sure I was ready but knew it was too late to decide that now.


LIZ’S POV


I couldn’t believe I was peeing on a stick while my parents, their dates, my fiancé and his folks waited right outside.

They’d better not be right outside.

They’d better be sitting quietly at the table, behaving themselves as the responsible adults they’re supposed to be or so help me God I’ll be sticking a few things where the sun don’t shine.

What a disaster!

Unbelievable!

How the hell did I end up doing this?

I stared at the damn stick waiting for something to happen and when the results came through I almost fainted.

I stared at the two tests in front of me, thanks a lot for tiding up after yourself Pam, and thank you so much for rummaging through my cupboards in the first place.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

OH MY GOD!

I grabbed the box, reread the instructions, and felt an overwhelming sensation of joy envelope me.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep this to myself for long, but I had to, the only one I wanted to tell was Max.

I walked out and proudly informed them all there was a negative test sitting on the counter if they felt it necessary to go check.

Thankfully none did, apparently I can now be trusted, why I had to pee for that to happen I don’t know.

Max kept staring at me as if I had two heads.

Maybe leaving him alone with my parents was a big mistake. I was sure he was scrutinizing me trying to see signs of inherited behavior. I wondered if I’d be able to convince him, after they’d left, that I was adopted.

I realized it would take a lot more than peeing to achieve that, especially as I’m almost a carbon copy of my mother. I’ve always maintained she is a beautiful woman.

Everyone appeared to be behaving now.

It may have had something to do with the fact my father was obviously in deep shock. He was almost catatonic and therefore had no further interest in sparring with my mother.

Jim grinning, looked at me, stood and then said, “Seems we are all making announcements, I have a little one of my own.”

I heard a sharp intake of breath from my mother and looked at her.

I saw her give Jim a warning look.

I hoped Max didn’t notice it, because it was the exact look I use on him all the time.

I made a mental note not to ever do so again.

I’m sure that resolution will last all of half a day or at least until Max spoke again.

Just like Max does, Jim ignored the look. He looked directly at me and said, “I’ve asked your mother to marry me and she said yes.”

I was shocked but not upset.

I looked at my father but he didn’t seem to have heard.

I’m sure the only thing he heard at the time was the clinking of the ice in what appeared to be a quadruple scotch.

Oh and Pam droning on next to him about “baby gap” and “itty bitty outfits” and “maybe a nanny” and “Isn’t this just darling!”

No my father had heard all he was prepared to hear that night. He might have been there in body but his spirit had long since left us.

“Congratulations” I said to my Mom.

I honestly can’t see the attraction but if Jim makes her happy then I guess that’s all that counts. He’s harmless in an annoying sort of way and despite all his big talk he does seem to care for her.

My mom knocked me speechless though with her next comment.

“We’re moving to California to live in a self sufficiency commune. Jim’s going to farm and learn to surf and I’m going to make pottery.”

I realized then that none of this could possibly be happening.

I knew I had to be in a time warp or a drug induced hallucination. It was the only plausible explanation.

Max found this all fascinating and quizzed them in depth on their plans.

While I listened in stunned disbelief trying to picture my mother the socialite in a commune. I found it a bit astounding.

My mother, who’s had weekly manicures her whole life, is going to use her hands to mold clay and tend crops with surfer Jim.

I thought they’d be lucky to last two weeks tops but they seemed so keen and excited it was actually catching.

Not that my father noticed.

He didn’t even stay long enough to finish his meal. He excused himself claiming he didn’t feel too good and took the chattering Pam home.

Jim and Max acted like the best of friends.

My mom seems to be having a fascinating discussion with Diane about the pros and cons of organic farming.

I’m sure Max was most impressed with the fact Jim was taking my mother to the other side of the country.

Now if he could only manage to send my father to Australia he would be a very happy man.

Philip wasn’t happy though but Max was too preoccupied to notice.

Philip seemed withdrawn and all my attempts to draw him into conversation failed. I was caught between trying to keep him company and convincing my mother I was thrilled with her plans.

Eventually Mom and Jim left and Max took Philip and Diane home.

I breathed my first relaxed breath for what felt like months and then began to tidy up.

The sooner I cleared the mess the sooner I could forget any of this ever happened.

When Max arrived home I rushed to him and threw my arms around him. He’d been on his best behavior all night and I wanted him to know how grateful I was.

“You ok?” he asked concern in his voice.

I nodded and held on tight not wanting to let him go.

He pulled away and framing my face with his hands tried to speak “Are we ... did it ... was it...”

His eyes pleaded for an answer but I had no idea what the question was. He was hyperventilating and I didn’t know why.

It scared me.

“Use full sentences Max or at least a keyword so I know what you’re talking about.”

He did his best but all that came out was “test ... pregnant ... you?”

At least that went some way to explaining the terrified but delighted look on his face.

I wasn’t sure if what I had to say would be considered good news or bad but I couldn’t leave him wondering anymore.

“Max I’m not pregnant.”

“You sure?” he asked making me wonder if I’d put on weight as I was having such a hard time convincing everybody of this.

“Positive ... or I should say negative as the case turned out to be”

“But you thought you might be? You bought a test?”

I shook my head.

“It wasn’t mine. Max, it was in the guest bathroom. My best guess is Maria planted it there to stir things up a bit. She likes to snoop in people cupboards. She also likes to plant things to surprise other people who might be snooping. We should count ourselves lucky it was only pregnancy tests she put in there.”

I laughed but he didn’t join me.

He looked at me strangely and asked, “So what’s going on then?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve got your smug I’ve got a secret face on.”

He was right. I did have a secret.

“Ok I’ll trade you,” I said.

He grinned seeing my playful mood, “What do you have to trade?”

I raised my eyebrows at him then said “If you finish cleaning up, I’ll tell you my secret.”

He laughed “I’ve got a better idea” he began to walk predatorily towards me.

“Really?” I asked backing away but he followed me until I’d backed myself into a corner. He reached for me. His hands grabbed my hips as his body leant into me.

I found myself stuck between a wall and a hard body. I wasn’t complaining.

“We’ll finish cleaning together, then after you’ve told me your secret, I’ll...” his mouth and hands filled me in on the rest of his plan.

It seemed like an excellent plan to me too.

I decided to reward him for his ingenuity and let him in on my secret early.

Ok yes I wanted to ditch the cleaning and just jump right into what he’d just suggested.

Can you blame me? You have seen my fiancé haven’t you?

“I’m not the only one not pregnant.” I said.

He looked at me not understanding what I meant so I explained.

“Pam misread her test. She isn’t pregnant, there is no baby.”

“And you didn’t tell your father?” He looked shocked.

“Nope” I smiled. “He’ll find out soon enough and maybe this scare will knock some sense into him. Plus that’s what he gets for misbehaving here tonight.”

“Remind me to never get on your bad side” Max said with a smirk.

“Remind me never to let any of our parents near each other again” I countered.

Max didn’t respond but I felt his body tense up.

I looked into his soulful eyes, they were filled with love for me, something I’m only starting to get used to seeing, but they were also filled with nervousness.

“What is it Max?” I asked becoming concerned.

He continued looking at me then his mouth turned up at the corners.

“It’s ... just ... I ... um” Max isn’t the greatest when it comes to expressing his feelings. I’ve learnt the more he stutters, the deeper his feelings are. Sometimes he just needs a little help to get them out.

“You can tell me anything!” I assured him touching his cheek softly.

He took a deep breath and then blurted it all out. “The baby, Liz if there was one ... I ... it would be ok ... really okay!” He smiled relieved he’d said it then the nervousness appeared again as he asked, “How do you feel about it?”

Stunned was the word that came to mind.

This is an all new subject for us.

Until a few months ago the only future I was envisaging with this man was one of trials and briefs. We still expect plenty of trials and briefs but hopefully some are of a more personal nature, if you know what I mean.

Wow this was big.

So far we’ve just been having fun, living for now and only vaguely contemplating the future and here we were suddenly talking about the possibility of creating another human being together.

Life certainly is full of surprises and not all of them unpleasant.

Max sighed and began to pull away.

I realized he’d taken my silence the wrong way and had to set him straight.

“Max, if it had been positive and I was having your baby it would be ... wonderful ... more than I ever dreamed.”

I could tell the smile I could no longer contain touched him, by the way his hand caressed my neck. He pulled me closer towards him as if embracing me to him for all eternity.

“So when the right time comes, we agree?”

I looked up into his face and nodded wordlessly. I smiled at him then realized there was something we needed to get out in the open first.

“Are you sure, after tonight, you want a little person running around here who is a product of my gene pool?”

He laughed “Liz with your looks and my personality we can’t go wrong.”

To protect himself from the right hook I know he hopes I don’t pass onto our child he grabbed my hands. Holding them against his heart he said, “You know Liz it may not be the right time for a baby yet but there is a lot to be said for practicing.”

I couldn’t argue with that.

What can I say?

When Max’s right he’s right and this was one of those rare times.

How did the rest of our evening go you ask?

Well let’s just say we sealed our agreement with a kiss.

One thing led to another and soon the events of the painful evening quickly faded away as we indulged ourselves in pure pleasure.

Practice makes perfect they say and we are both very dedicated. ksmile




*happy* TBC.. *big* *big* *big* *big* *big*





posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:11:40 PM
Part 23




[center]Honeymoon ... honey I’d like to send you to the moon![/center]




LIZ’S POV


It should have been obvious to me from the start. I’d been told often enough that I have a brilliant mind so why didn’t I use it?

Well because add Max to the mix and my mind becomes mush. It just doesn’t function as well around him.

Not a good sign for the future when you consider I’ve committed the rest of my life to him. Oh well what’s a girl to do?

Anyway as I was saying, it should have been obvious. I should have seen the clue.

Warning bells should have clanged when on my way to the most dazzling mouthwatering, mind-blowing vacation, otherwise known as my ‘Honeymoon’.

I snagged, no tore is a better word, tore a hole in my favorite beige silk sweater on the nail sticking out precariously from the doorway of our apartment.

The same nail I’ve been telling my dear, sweet, adoring, lazy husband to fix for two weeks now. It’s not like he has an excuse for not fixing it.

Ok he has a bit of an excuse we are newlyweds afterall.

But if I can’t get him to fix things now, while still in the fresh glow of our marriage, what hope am I going to have fifteen years down the track.

I don’t even want to think about that!0

Anyway what was I saying?

Nail ... door ... tear ... that’s right. Looking back it definitely was an omen!

But at the time I was oblivious. Instead of considering it, as I should have, I just glared at him. My glare softened as I beheld my husband’s guilty remorseful look. I took him into my arms and I forgave him for it instantly.

Fool that I was.

Little did I know I would shortly be seeing that look more times than I care to remember!

It all started out ... no wait I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me go to the beginning.

We got married that’s where this whole mess started.

We had a big ceremony planned. Actually an enormous ceremony considering 390 people were invited.

Good God!

But that was just a mistake.

NOT MINE, I might add.

So to cut a long story short we eloped!

The wedding was perfect, just our closest friends were there. It was arranged that very afternoon as a surprise for my ceremony shy groom.

To say he was surprised is an understatement. To say he rewarded me for it later is ... well fact!

We had a wonderful wonderful wedding night.

Forget it! I’m not telling you a thing. Not even Maria got details of that. If I can resist her nagging I can easily resist yours.

Max’s so happy I often catch him staring at his ring in disbelief, with delight in his eyes and a very sweet grin on his face.

Have I told you I love him?

He’s not perfect but boy do I love him!

Anyway, one day while living our blissful newlywed lives; I made a huge inexperienced blunder. I made a suggestion without a fully thought out plan in place first.

I didn’t carefully consider each detail I just blurted out off the top of my head “Max sweetheart, I’ve been thinking, Memorial Day weekend is coming up and we haven’t had a chance for a real honeymoon yet so why not that weekend?”

My very amorous husband’s amber eyes lit up immediately.

The light bulb flashed over his head.

He was goosed by the idea, his fevered little brain was working at 100 miles per hour and I went along for the ride.

“I love it!” he said. “I owe you for the wedding” he said. “Leave it all to me” he said and what did I say?

“No no no this is something we should plan together.” Of course not!

I was an idiot.

I said “That’s sweet” and showed him exactly how appreciative I was about it.

I’ll say it again.

IDIOT!

But remember newly married, fresh glow and all that.

Stupidity thy name is Liz.

I forgot, that while my Max is very sweet, planning anything, on his own, without my expert opinions, really isn’t a good idea.

But as all new brides tend to be, I was still sitting in the rosy illusion that my marriage would be the most perfect of unions, unhampered by a little detail called man.

The weekend of our dreams arrived and we were all packed.

Max had refused to tell me where we were going. He would only say warm weather, beautiful surroundings, all expenses paid; nothing’s too good for you honey.

So I packed like any smart woman would. Three suitcases with an outfit for every “Just In Case” scenario.

The fact that my dear considerate husband had to carry them all down three flights of stairs didn’t really phase me.

It’s hardly my fault the elevator chose that day of all days to malfunction. Besides it gave him something to do while I changed out of my now ruined sweater and gave me time to swallow my wrath, I mean really what would it have taken for him to tap in the damn nail?

We were soon off to our own private Paradise, or so I thought.

We were delayed, slightly, as the airport road was under construction. Max was forced to take detours. In the process of which he managed to get us lost.

Completely!

And of course in true male fashion he refused to ask for directions.

“I’ve lived in Boston my whole life Liz I know where the airport is dammit!”

I didn’t say another word.

I did find it necessary to tap out my annoyance in Morse code on the window though. By the increasingly agitated look on his face I guess Max studied Morse code somewhere too. He seemed to know exactly what I was calling him.

Eventually we made it to the airport only to find, our flight taxiing on the runway.

Max pleaded, begged and then used threats to try and get us onboard, not a good idea in a high security facility.

But try telling ‘him’ that.

After I talked them out of calling armed guards, I politely asked them to put us on another flight, which they happily did.

Now comes the best part.

All that was available was first class!

Oh the luxury! And for only three hundred dollars more for each ticket!

Max had gotten unusually quiet probably regretting the nail or maybe getting lost, whatever, I was ecstatic and thought I’d ease his mind.

“Honey its okay, these things happen.” I say in my calming wifely tone, being with Max, I had a lot of practice using it even before we got married!

“Don’t worry about it for the next four days it’s just you and me in perfect harmony”

What could I say I was inspired to poetry.

He smiled and kissed me and I hoped every woman who’d ogled him as we’d made our way to our seats was watching us now and could see he is MINE!

“I love you” he purred contentedly.

“I love you!” I responded emphatically and I actually meant it at the time too.

The flight was uneventful.

I wish!

Have I ever told you about Max and shopping lists?

Why is it if you send a man to the store, tell
him the most important item to purchase emphasizing its imperative he get it, it turns out to be the one item he forgets!!!

He tells me if it’s more than three things he needs a list.

What is it about the magic fourth item that makes the rest impossible to remember!

I mean how hard is it to remember Dramamine for Christ’s sake!

‘Here Liz I bought us some peanut butter.’ Big aren’t I clever grin.

‘Gee thanks Max how about you put it with the other 26 jars we already have.’

As far as Max is concerned peanut butter is a food
group.

‘Max where’s the Dramamine I asked for?’

Confused look ‘The what?’

‘Arrghhhhhhh!’

As I was saying, the flight was pleasant, if you don’t count my three running sprints to the restroom to throw up!

I was feeling like crap and, as it was our honeymoon, a time for caring and sharing, I let him know about it too.

Oh and there was that extra stop in Tampa for a mechanical problem. Little did I know what a big chicken Max is!

While we were in the airport concourse waiting he was busy asking how to purchase flight insurance and trying to get seats on a different flight out of there.

He outright refused to reboard the plane until I was forced to use my secret weapon.

I described my new nightie in minute detail. Well, actually the fact it was minute, was the detail that sent him scurrying back to the “Death Trap” as he’d so vehemently earlier called it.

Why men will risk life and limb to see a woman in sheer silk and lace is beyond me, but thankfully Max is all man.

We arrived at our destination, the Island of the Bahamas!

Despite its auspicious start, our dream weekend was kicking in.

The honeymoon to be remembered was underway. I had no idea how true ‘that’ description would prove to be. Our Hotel was absolutely beautiful!

The Atlantis Resort was like a dream come true!

A continent I wouldn’t mind getting lost on. The swaying palm trees, the scenic waterfalls, the floral surroundings and greenery that left me breathless.

We approached the front desk. I stood back letting my gallant man take care of checking in as I looked around in awe of the grandeur. ‘Max you did good!’ I thought.

With a grin and a wink to me he said “Mr. and Mrs. Evans” I had refused to take the name professionally, but had given my okay for him to use it privately and hearing how happy it made him to say it, I was happy too.

“Could you say that name again please?” the harried Desk clerk requested testily.

“Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell Evans.” My husband repeated a little warily.

I moved closer to his side like a mother bear ready to protect her cub.

“I’m sorry sir there is no reservation in that name.”

“Try Parker” I suggested.

I thought I was being helpful but Max glared at me as if I’d stabbed him in the back.

I backed away.

‘Fine sort it out yourself’ I thought.

“Of course there is a reservation! Check again. Evans. E.V.A.N.S. I made it myself!”

Max pulls out a truckload of assorted mess from his wallet as the clerk looks pleadingly at his computer. Finally, triumphantly, Max finds the receipt and slams it onto the counter.

“See prepaid in full, its all here in black and white!”

He turns to me and nods with his ‘don’t worry they’re just trying to have some fun with us but I’ve got everything under control’ look.

I was not convinced.

“It certainly is Sir, except the dates on this are for next weekend.”

The long-suffering clerk tries his best not to smirk at the idiot tourist while I try my best not to hit my dashing groom upside the head!

It was at this point that I remembered I should have done the organizing myself. It was a bit late to do anything about it now though.

“Look” Max glanced at me, hoping I wasn’t getting mad, I wasn’t ... yet ... I always try to stay calm long enough to know all the facts before I completely explode!

“Look, this is our Honeymoon, we’re not coming back next weekend we need a room now.”

“I’m sorry sir but the only free room we have this weekend” he pauses eyeing my husband skeptically “well I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested.”

“Try me.” Max says challenging him.

I bristle with pride my guy knows how to get things done. I love him primed and ready for action.

“Well, sir its a luxury VIP suite, every thing you can imagine...sauna, two Jacuzzis, one inside, one outside, grand piano, fully stocked bar, plus many other wonderful amenities reserved only for this suite.”

“Sounds perfect how much?” Max asks no doubt picturing getting some action by the suddenly orgasmic expression on my face.

Not that I could see my face but let me tell you if it was anything like the rest of me that look was there.

“Just $1500 per night.” The clerk says smugly anticipating Max’s reaction I’m sure.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” Max starts to laugh “Who the hell would pay $1500 a night for a hotel room? What kind of idiot would do that?”

His voice trails as the look I gave him warns him to stop before he digs himself any deeper.

In typical Max fashion he digs anyway!

“Forget it! Where else can we stay?”

“Well sir its a very busy weekend. As you can see the “Carnivale De Bon Séjour” is underway and most of the better hotels are fully booked. There may be rooms at the Calliente but...” he looks at me shaking his head “...they’re certainly not worthy of your bride.”

“That’s right near the airport isn’t it?” I ask recalling our drive in.

The clerk nods.

I look daggers at Max.

I’d laughed driving past that hotel and joked ours had better be better than that or Max would be single again real soon.

Max looks at me hoping I’ll agree to a sub standard hotel.

I’m not a snob. Normally I wouldn’t mind making do with a three or four star hotel, but this is my honeymoon!

Who can blame me for a little spoiled moment?

But I was good I didn’t stamp my foot I just emphatically stated the facts, “Max, that was a dump!”

He countered with “Liz $1500 per night!” and then looked directly at me with his secret weapons.

I could see him convincing me if I wasn’t careful.

Ignoring the power of his puppy dog eyes I did the only thing I could do in this situation.

I pouted and whined.

“Maaaaaaaax, it’s our honeeeeeeeeymoooooooooon.”

“But Liz....”

Oooh he’s a tough sell today.

“Max, its a one time thing, pleeeeeeeeease!!!!!!!”

My hand just happened to find it’s way to his cheek as I said this.

To my immense pleasure he gave in.

Shrugging his shoulders he handed over our Gold card.

I controlled my urge to dance ... barely.

“If this place sinks under the weight of too much money like its namesake city then don’t blame me” he grumbled as we waited for the key.

He tried to sway me with his own pout but I was immune, visions of splendor dancing in my head.

“Max, Atlantis was a continent not a city.”

I advised in my most helpful ‘watch your temper voice’ before running off after the bellboy to find my room.

You know it’s seldom wives get their due credit. But by making him take this room I did him a huge favor.

The room was absolutely beautiful, a view of the ocean on one side, and the reflecting pools on the other. The sound of crashing waves mixed with the reggae music drifting up from the beach concert put us back into the honeymoon spirit pretty damn quick!



But the hunger pains were calling and I insisted we enjoy the luxury of room service before we did anything else.

Max tried on his pout again but by God I was hungry!

So I countered his pout by choosing that moment to remind him I’d lost my breakfast because of him, so the least he could do, is let me have lunch.

That shut him up quick smart.

I ordered a sample of every mouthwatering delicacy on the menu afterall Max had said the rooms were all inclusive.

The feast arrived.

I wondered why Max looked suspiciously green as he signed the bill.

Maybe he was about to regret forgetting the Dramamine too.

He was grumbling some weird words under his breath, I’m sure some were swear words, but I wasn’t listening. I was famished.

“Liz do you realize, the cost to eat one meal here would pay for our grocery bill in Boston for an entire month!”

“Oh that’s impossible.” I tell him as I pop a strawberry into his mouth. He’s so much easier to handle with his mouth full.


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


MAX’S POV


“Impossible!”

I tried to say incredulously. Of course with the sudden
onslaught of fruit it came out more like “imooommmoobl”

“Besides we’re on our honeymoon” she practically sang.

I had a feeling it would be a jingle before long.

This is entirely my fault as usual. Screwing up the reservations made our previously ‘all inclusive’ package null and void!

We were now in rooms that cost 4 times more than what I’d budgeted for and Liz was spending like there was no tomorrow.

I’d been telling her all week nothing was too much for her. That anything she wanted she could have.

How could I now turn around and say take it easy?

I couldn’t.

I needed to grin and bear it and try to work out how I could pay for all this stuff!

The room service meal alone will cost me going out to lunch for an entire year and by the end of the trip I’m sure I’ll be buying my next suits from k-mart!

But no sacrifice is too much for my beautiful bride!

And look how happy she is. She deserves this. I can afford it ... sort of.

I tell myself that over and over again hoping that soon I’d believe it.

So I might have to file bankruptcy at the end of this trip, we’d never forget it. It would be the honeymoon to end all honeymoons and I’d have the chapter twenty-three papers to prove it!

What’s money compared to her happiness?

I graciously ate the succulent strawberry; trying to hide the fact swallowing it was costing me at least $2 a chew by my calculations!

With her stomach full she turned to me with a glint in her eye.

‘Here we go!” I thought with a sudden desire to rub my hands together mischievously ‘Time for the good stuff’

“So...should we take in the sights a bit before dinner?”
My innocent love asks sweetly.

Uh dinner? We had just eaten!

What did we need dinner for?

I wondered would she be very upset if I suggested we diet a little to prevent that fifteen-pound newlywed spread I’ve so often heard about. I didn’t say it though.

I know the golden rule; never suggest a woman should diet if you want to sleep in the same bed with her.

And boy do I want to sleep in Liz’s bed!

I want this for many reasons 1. Well I love her, 2. We are on our honeymoon, ok so the jingle ‘is’ catching, and 3. I couldn’t afford another damn room!

I could only guess what they would charge to bring in a cot!

The sight of her standing before me in her undies soon pleasantly interrupted my thoughts.

How the hell did we get this far without me noticing?

Ah things were finally looking up so to speak.

To my immediate disappointment, she began to pull on fresh clothing. My only consolation was the dress was an enticingly sexy and did nothing to hide her ... attributes.

It did however remind me what I was here for, not that I’d ever really forgotten.

Not one to give up easily I tried to remind her, or to be more specific, ravish her.

“Sure” I agreed smiling seductively “But what’s the rush? Why don’t we give the bed a little whirl first?”

She flashed me a thousand-watt grin and giggled “Max is that ‘all’ you ever think about? C’mon let’s go.”

She grabbed my hand and led me to the door.

I didn’t even hear a hint of “Later” in her tone.

Would it be pathetic of me to inquire of her plans for later?

I looked longingly at the big BIG bed but obediently followed her down to the lobby, trying to drum up some enthusiasm for sight seeing. The only sight I wanted to see was sashaying oh too temptingly in front of me.

I was confused. Was I wrong or isn’t that what people are supposed to do on a honeymoon?

Admittedly I’ve never been on one before, so I’m no expert, but isn’t that what we should be doing? Not if her behavior was anything to go by.

We were now in the downtown mall and I’d just paid the taxi driver, double what a person should ever pay for a taxi.

Make that a year and a half of no lunch whatsoever and I think k-mart is even beyond me now.

All because of some fruit and a stinking car ride!

We started walking down the street hand in hand: talking, relaxing, and weaving in and out of streets literally swarming with people.

A parade began and Liz stopped to watch, cheer and clap. The parade didn’t really interest me but I sure enjoyed watching her.

Then there was a sudden onslaught of people and I was pushed aside. When I got back to where I thought we’d been she wasn’t there. Somehow I’d lost sight of her.

To this day I deny it had anything to do with a float of scantily clad women. I had my very own scantily clad woman by my side I was NOT looking at anyone else!

I glanced around thinking she had to be close by. All I could see was a sea of strange and somewhat scary faces. I desperately shouldered my way through the crowd retracing our steps and bellowing her name, looking, inspecting, turning to double check, but no Liz.

I grabbed a taxi. I ordered him to drive slowly as we stopped at each and every tourist attraction. After paying for the slow driving, and climbing more historical stairs than I can count or care to remember, I gave up.
She was no where to be found.

I had to admit I needed help.

It was our honeymoon I was hot and sweaty but dammit I was also alone. That is not how it’s supposed to happen!

Upset, dizzy from the sweltering heat and the fact my wallet was getting thinner by the minute I decided to return to the hotel and enlist a native’s help in locating my wife!

Defeated and worried sick I entered our overpriced over dimensioned room to get her passport to show the authorities when I encountered the last thing I ever expecting to find.

There she was, lying on a long table by the Jacuzzi tub, getting a massage from an Atlantian God.

She was moaning softly as his hands worked over her naked back!

“Liz!” I said trying to keep my voice even. Not a small feat for a guy who is ready to punch someone’s lights out; most likely candidate, the man with his grubby hands on my wife.

“Liz...what the hell are you doing?”

Ok so the calm voice hadn’t lasted long. Can you blame me?

The scumbag looked a little scared.

Good! Glad I could intimidate someone because I sure as hell didn’t scare my wife.

She’d barely acknowledged my return to the room.

In a matter of fact voice she said, in between moans I should add “Oh well, when I lost you, I decided to come back here and wait for you.” Then she turned her head to look at me accusingly “What took you so long Max?”

She raised her head and shoulders, giving me a tantalizing glimpse of cleavage.

I looked at the masseur to make sure he wasn’t seeing anything he shouldn’t be seeing.

“Don’t tell me you got lost again?” she said laughing at me, a little too condescendingly for my taste.

She was making stretching motions in her towel clad body that made me want to throw a bedspread over her and cart her to the nearest bad wife behavior facility whatever that may be.

I planned on opening one when I got back to Boston if I didn’t find one.

“So you took a bath, and then called ‘Wonder Boy’?” I calmly asked.

Ok so calm isn’t the right word but would you have been calm?

“It comes with the room” she explained yawning then stretching again.

The towel slipped some more and her lovely behind began to appear.

I grabbed a ten spot from my pocket, slapped it into the almost to be beaten to a pulp guy’s hand and shoved him out the door.

If anyone’s going to see my wife’s ass it’s going to be me!


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


LIZ'S POV


“Not anymore it doesn’t.” Max growled as he slammed the door.

Conveniently he missed my pleased look. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean I shouldn’t keep the guy guessing a bit.

A girl needs to shake things up every now and then. I’d always wondered if Max knew just what exactly was involved in a spa day.

My little performance got just the attention I’d wanted.

Max refused to let me rise from the table. He showed me the only massage I needed was from his own very capable fingertips.

I wondered if I’d ever be allowed near a spa again.

Mind you why should I have to pay for it when I can get this for free.

Mmm mmm I knew there was a reason for keeping him around. To reward him for his skills I treated him to some strategic moaning and stretching.

Before I knew it we were finally giving our sunken bedroom a christening it won’t soon forget.

We then recovered with a delightful session in our outdoor Jacuzzi before we dressed for dinner.

Max helped me zip my new sexy black dress.

I love having a valet all to myself.

Although this one did have a mind of it’s own because the zipper made its way up then somehow straight back down again.

“Max, we have to...” I began to say.

“I know we definitely do” his lips nuzzled my neck, and I conceded we were going to be very late for dinner.

When we finally emerged from our room, me in the re-zipped black dress and my gorgeous guy in a tux, I pulled a red rose from the huge elaborate floral arrangement by the door and slipped it into his lapel.

We had the most romantic dinner ever, prepared at our table, tossed, flipped and flamed to perfection.

Max began to look pale as he signed the bill so I suggested a moonlight walk on the beach.

He readily and happily agreed but as we were about to exit the hotel I heard the casino’s bells. Thinking this could be fun I pulled and tugged at him, until he followed me.


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


MAX'S POV


I saw the tables with stacks of chips and money and instinctively knew this would be trouble.

‘Relax’ I told myself trying to rationalize.

‘After all what’s twenty or thirty more dollars to see the excitement as my girl wins a few quarters’.

I indulged her by giving her some chips and made the fatal mistake of offering her a margarita too.

‘What have I done?’ I asked myself one hour and three hundred dollars later.

Not only had I uncovered a new side to my ever loving wife, I’d created a monster!

Liz was gambling like there was no tomorrow.

It wouldn’t have been so horrible if she had have won something!

But no my gambling rose had lost every penny I gave her, and each time she lost she became more determined than ever to keep trying ... Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, slots, you name it she tried it, and tried it and tried it. She played and failed to the tune of over a thousand dollars.

She was also on another new tangent.

She’d discovered the joy of the Perfect Margarita!

After sampling every fruity flavor they had to offer, she settled on the plain kind and had at least three more of those!

Somewhere after the 3rd, 4th or 7th margarita. I’d long since lost count, she forgot those nice little plastic disks she’s playing with actually equate to money. I soon learned after ten perfect margaritas my little woman loses all her inhibitions.

In the privacy of our room I wouldn’t mind a bit but in a very public, crowded Casino, well let me just say, I hope no one took pictures. Our grandchildren will never believe it!

Not to mention our parents, colleagues, clients and friends!

I have little doubt our law practice will attract even more of the wrong kind of element should they know ‘all’ Liz’s capabilities.

Did I ever tell you she wanted us to move there and become professional gamblers?

I being of sound mind, made an immediate mental note to change my will. I planned on contacting a trustee to take care of Liz as, left to her own devices; she’d completely wipe out any inheritance I leave. I thought, in the event of my death, she’d be on the first plane back here indulging in more perfect Margaritas.

She actually warned me of this.

She said “Max, you have to try these they are to die for...but then I’d be a widow so...maybe you’d better not... or maybe...” then she paused deep in thought.

I don’t want to know what she was thinking but with the suddenly delighted expression on her face I wasn’t feeling too secure in my future.

I worked hard at persuading my adoring wife to come back to our room with me. I was terrified we’d be thrown out of the casino for lewd behavior if she didn’t.

She was ALL over me, giggling out of control and telling me how much she loved me. This type of behavior would normally have me on cloud nine but it kind of lost it’s charm when she also said professed her undying love to the croupier, the barman and the man exiting the elevator as I tried to maneuver her in.

Saying her senses were fried is an understatement.

I spent the entire elevator ride struggling to keep her decent. She refused to believe me when I insisted we weren’t already in our room.

Of course by the time the elevator reached the tenth floor and I got her to our room she was practically catatonic.

Her vocabulary consisted of little more than “mmmm”, “oooh”, and “ahhhhh” interspersed with hiccups and giggles.

I undressed her tenderly, ministering to her, as a devoted yet quite pissed husband should.

As she passed out on the bed, I told myself, ‘This is good. Liz never gets a chance to relax this much. She needed this. What’s a little debt compared to her complete happiness.’

I kissed her forehead and whispered “Sweet dreams my Love!”

Then I phoned Isabel to wire me some cash.

I lay awake beside her, reminiscing over our earlier activities and wondering how I’d managed to convince this wonderful woman to be on my side.

I’d just convinced myself I was the luckiest man alive when the object of all my love and desire moaned and opening her luscious eyes.

She smiled gloriously, kissed me on my nose and emphatically said “I love you J.J.” before drifting back out of consciousness.

J.J!

Who the hell is J.J?

I was stunned.

I needed an explanation and I needed it now!

No amount of shaking would wake her.

All I got for my effort was a burp any guy would be proud of, but Liz’s not a guy and my name is not J.J!

Who the hell is J.J?

If I couldn’t find out from Liz I only had one other option.

I didn’t care what time of day it was I called Alex.

We’d failed to inform him we were going on our honeymoon.

So luckily I escaped unmerciful ridicule, as Alex didn’t know I was talking to ‘him’ on the first night of my honeymoon.

Could you imagine what he would have been like if he knew!

Insufferable!

Anyway as usual he was no help.

The supposed fountain of all knowledge had never heard of J.J.

He did offer to tell me every guy Liz had been with though but I promptly hung up on him.

There is some information I’m not ready to know. If nobody name names I can pretend I’m the only man Liz’s been with and denial is a river in Egypt.

Needless to say I slept well that night.

NOT!

I lay there breathing in the scent of my tequila soaked senora, listening to the symphony of surf, suspicion and snoring and plotting my plan to make J.J wish he’d never been born. ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:14:05 PM
Part 24



LIZ'S POV


I woke to a spinning room with a blaring sun.

The massive windows with their far too bright display mocked me. Squinting my eyes to escape the light, I pulled the covers over me, groaning in misery as my throbbing head assaulted my senses.

What the hell happened last night?

I couldn’t remember a thing.

Peeking my head out of the covers I looked around, wondering who I was with and where the hell I was.

“Well, well if it isn’t my little lush deciding to join the land of the living again.” Max’s plainly not amused face appeared above me.

“Ahh ...what time is it?” I asked hesitantly while wondering “What day is it? What happened? Why do I feel so bad?”

“Oh only three o’clock in the afternoon on the second day of our honeymoon, but hey don’t worry... I love, watching you snore ... I’d willingly fly 1600 miles just to see that.”

‘Oooh someone’s a little cranky today’ I thought.

I sat up trying to focus.

Ow ... I touched my head, which was feeling like it had swollen to the size of a Great Pumpkin, and lay back down again.

High ... altitude ... not ... good.

“Why did you let me sleep so long?”

“Let you sleep! Liz do you even remember the events of last night?”

“What event’s?”

“I didn’t think you’d remember. Well, after I maneuvered you to the room, you passed out like a lump ... Sleep, I suppose you could call it that, but I think stupor is a far more appropriate word.”

“No way! I did not! Max are you insinuating I was drunk?”

Ow ... head ... hurt! Talking bad!

“No insinuation Liz, you were drunk! Sloshed! Pickled!
Hammered! Need I say more.”

“You’re crazy!” I shouted and lived to regret it.

Scrunching up at the unpleasant, ear splitting; head wrenching sound of my own shrill voice.

Max sat on the edge of my bed, our bed.

“If I’m crazy why is your head aching like it’s in a vice?”

He looked entirely too pleased with himself. I didn’t like that. I decided it was time to make the old man learn a thing or two.

“My head is perfectly fine. I’m sorry I fell asleep. Obviously I’d just had a little too much excitement”

I sat up straight, putting all my concentration into not falling back to the pillows.

“Excitement!” Max snorted unattractively.

He stood and walked to the other side of the room.

‘Good riddance’ I thought trying to remember if I still loved this man.

“Well if it was only excitement you won’t mind if I turn on some music.”

The loud drum beats of reggae music pounded along with the orchestra in my brain.

I pasted on a smile; gingerly getting out of bed, hoping the bathroom was soundproof.

I got to my feet and watched warily as Max approached.

I would have made a hasty getaway if only I could remember how to walk “Care to dance Liz? After all it is our honeymoon.” He said grinning.

“Ah sure” was all I could think to say. Its a little more romantic than not really I need to pee. But I really and truly did!

He held me gently in his arms swaying my body back and forth in what normally would have been a soothing, sensual, rocking rhythm.

But it wasn’t that day.

The nauseated feeling quickly rose within me, threatening to spew forth. I yelped something unintelligible and ran for the bathroom.

I swear I heard Max’s wicked laughter echoing in my torture chambered head, but to be perfectly fair, I also saw the walls closing in on me and my footsteps sounded like bomb blasts, so it may not have happened.

I finished regurgitating, what a way to spend a honeymoon and somehow managed to steer my tired lifeless body towards the bed.

“What’s the matter dear?” my horrible husband said far too loudly “Don’t you want to honeymoon with me?”

“I want a divorce!” I mumbled falling into the cool welcoming sheets.

I was snoring again in no time flat but not before having a weird conversation about J.J. the Jolly Jumper; my beautiful pink stuffed bunny.

No that couldn’t have happened. That must have been a margarita-induced hallucination.

God Max would have a field day if I told him that memory. Forget I said anything and please remind me never to drink EVER again.

Margarita’s bad!


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


MAX’S POV


I sat by the bed finally beginning to see the humor of the situation.

That and the fact Isabel had wired me some cash helped take the anger out of me.

What an idiot I’d been!

I was jealous of some stuffed toy she loved and lost when she was seven years old.

I made a mental note to find out as much about this bunny as I could in the hopes of surprising her with a replacement.

Hey I wasn’t only thinking this because I was hoping for a reward.

Sometimes I do nice things purely because I’m a nice guy. I don’t know why people have such a hard time believing that.

Except Liz she knows it.

She loves me.

I put cold compresses to my completely aggravating yet irresistible spouse’s head and forced her to drown a glass of water every time she woke.

For better or worse had just been made loud and clear.

“Max, I’m so sorry ... I think I may have had one too many Margaritas...” she moaned about 6 p.m.

“I know honey... drink this ... I love you ... go to sleep...”

I had two reasons for my generous heart.

One if she slept she wouldn’t need to eat and two if she slumbered she wouldn’t get near the Casino again.

Yes I’d be generous... sneaky ... and generous ... and very forgiving.

How could I do anything else?

She’s my wife after all and I’m sure I’ve already mentioned I love her?


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


LIZ’S POV


Well I’ll admit I missed most of the second day of our trip but I woke about 8 p.m. and after a shower and an attack on our fruit basket I began to feel almost human.

I remembered we were on our honeymoon and as I was grateful to have been so well looked after I decided to reward my loving husband.

If I do say so myself Max and I had a very memorable time.

I was still in a bit of a margarita haze but I distinctly remember Max made me feel very good, I’m pretty sure it was him!

It had to have been him because the next time I woke his arms were around me and his lips were pressed to my shoulder even in sleep.

He’d obviously forgiven me my over indulgence, so pleased, I snuggled into his delicious warmth.

I slept the remainder of the night the sleep of a thoroughly contented woman.

I had a hell of an appetite when I woke the next morning but I was hungry too, so I ordered everything on the breakfast menu.

Max looked ready to pout until I sat on his knee and feed him thoroughly.

We gave finger food a whole new meaning. After completely satisfying my hunger in every way I needed to shop.

Its times like these Max wishes I was a smoker. He complained but I ignored him. I mean what’s a trip without sentimental souvenirs!

Max tried to convince me souvenirs are just commercialized overpriced trinkets that no one wants and will be next year’s rummage or good will offerings.

When I insisted I wasn’t going home empty handed, he steered me towards a pile of cheap and nasty shirts bearing the slogan, ‘My friends went to the Bahamas and all I got was this lousy T-shirt’.

I ignored him.

Standard behavior when shopping with a man let me tell you.

A souvenir is a nice way to reward our friends and family for all their support and I would be getting them whether he liked it or not.

He didn’t.

I dragged him all over the streets and markets making him carry the overload of packages, he was strangely quiet.

I decided he really needed to find a way to relax!

I thought he might like to try some gambling, he needed to loosen up and that might be fun. I wouldn’t know I’ve never tried it myself.

After hearing my suggestion he quickly seemed to recover his vacation mood. He suggested we rent a boat and travel to a nearby island our concierge had recommended.

I didn’t know why he was horrified at the idea of gambling but I didn’t mind because I liked his idea much better.

Max and I being taken on a cruise, how romantic!

I was horrified upon arriving at the dock to find a driver didn’t come with the boat.

Looking at Max I mistakenly said “But you can’t drive one of these.”

He glared, he pouted, he stormed to the office and plonked down some money, grabbed my hand and almost threw me on the boat.

Mental note to self, questioning a man about his ability to do ‘manly’ things not good. It only reinforces his illusion that he can!

Avoid this at all times in the future!

I hid my snicker as he looked over the controls with an expression of confusion.

“What does this button do?” I innocently asked batting my eyelashes as I pointed to what was “obviously” the ignition.

I saw his eyes light up before he turned to me and oh so expertly said, “Why Liz that’s to start it with.”

I didn’t scream “DUH!”, as I was tempted to, instead I sat and waited and waited and waited some more.

After a not too promising start he proved himself to be an ‘almost’ capable sailor. I was content enough to accompany my very own captain to the ends of the earth.

Little did I realize that would almost be the case.

Everything was going well. The sun was shining brightly, we were relaxed and enjoying the spray of the water on our cheeks. Not another person in sight. Just blue skies and delicious ocean. We were becoming lost in the moment of our glorious escape.

Ok yes what happened next is probably a little my fault but he looked so good standing there steering our boat I just had to give him a big old hug.

That’s all I intended I swear!

But when Max leant in to kiss me, our lips met our eyes burnt into each other and before we knew it we’d lost all control and turned into voraciously exploring bodies eager to be joined.

Unfortunately control of our bodies wasn’t all we lost.

Max while lifting me to gain a better angle rammed me against a lever, which gunned the motor sending our sailing vessel speeding ominously towards the aforementioned Island and us falling into a heap on the floor.

The thrill of our union was lost in the water splashing furiously by.

“Max!” I screamed throwing him off me as we struggled to our feet.

I rose in time for my life to flash before my eyes as the bottom of the boat ran up a sandbank causing it to become airborne and land five feet onto the island. We however were thrown overboard and ended up taking an impromptu swim.

The next thing I remember is being hauled to shore by my idiotic hero.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to swim when someone has you in a headlock?

Who else but a hero would hang on while his ungrateful drowning victim lashed out screaming and kicking at him as he made his way determined to get us to a shore.


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


MAX’S POV


Well we were alive!

Considering, Liz wanted to kill me I wasn’t sure how long it would last though.

“Now what Einstein!” I heard her wrathful, angry, did I happen to mention shrewish voice say.

I took a very deep breath, actually after my heroic rescue I was gasping for breath so if she was looking for a quick answer it wasn’t coming.

I ignored her; deciding discretion was the better part of valor.

Instead of answering I stood there staring at the boat that somehow made it to shore before we did. It was now firmly stuck in the sand. Even if I could somehow drag it back into the water, I doubt I’d be able to start it again.

Lets face it, as a sailor, I make a good lawyer.

I’d only suggested we do this because I was desperate.
Liz was heading back to the casino with a glint in her eye.

I think I stood there for at least ten minutes panting and shaking my head.

I couldn’t believe what had just happened.

Boats aren’t designed to fly and they certainly aren’t designed for crash landings. No matter how you look at it we were stranded there.

Stranded on an isolated private island.

The words that previously had a romantic sound now reverberate with menacing possibilities.

I looked at my bedraggled sputtering wife; seaweed clinging seductively to her wet T-shirt, ... hmmmm maybe this situation has possibilities after all!

“Maxwell Evansl get your mind out of the gutter!”

Then again maybe not.

How does she do that? I didn’t say a word!

I thought maybe I could change her mind. It was worth a try. I mean just look at what I’d get if I succeeded.

“It’s suppose to be a honeymoon Liz! You know a chance to make our fantasies come true.”

“You’ve got to be kidding! Here ... in the wilds of ...God knows where? If you want to make my fantasies come true Max I suggest you forget about sex for once in your life and try to concentrate on HOW THE HELL DO YOU PLAN TO GET US BACK TO OUR HOTEL!”

She screamed and I could only assume it was at me... I looked around hoping for some wild native to take the brunt of her wrath ... but no ... no such luck.

There was no one here but me and did she have to remind me another $1500 gone to waste!

Talk about ruining the mood. I was pissed now too.

“I don’t know why you’re angry at me Liz? This wasn’t exactly part of my plan!”

“Whether you planned it or not does not change the fact we are marooned on an island in the middle of nowhere with no food, no dry clothing, no shelter and ... and ... and about to be exposed to God knows what for God knows how Long!”

Although I knew she wasn’t looking for me to say anything I couldn’t resist trying to make her smile.

One day I’ll remember to let it rest but that day I didn’t, instead I unsuccessfully quipped, “What was that you once said about being marooned on my island.”

I watched the emotions play out over her face and knew I’d made a fatal error.

“Congratulations, Max, you managed to say exactly the wrong thing once again!”

She turned trudging up the beach trying to get as far away from me as possible.

I began to wonder why I agreed to plan this trip in the first place, in fact why did I agree to go with Isabel and Maria when they blindfolded me?

If you have to be tricked into going somewhere it’s obviously not a smart place to go. I’d know better next time.

The loud howling of some other woebegone animal brokes the silence.

‘Probably a male who made the mistake of bringing the wrong catch of the day back to the lair and has just been reemed out about it’ I thought sulkily. I felt his pain. I’ve been there done that!

He’s also my new best friend as his impeccable timing sent my furious bride scurrying back to me, hurling herself in my surprised arms, knocking us down to the ground and begging me to hold and protect her.

Her body was pressed firmly against me. I’ll admit it I was momentarily tempted to push her off and let the wild beast have his way. That would teach her to shout at me ... oh don’t get upset ... I didn’t do it.

I was a good husband I held on tightly stroking her soaked head and cooing at her lovingly.

I’m the man afterall and nobody hurts my woman when I’m around.

Besides her little hands clutching and clawing at me felt damn good.

As if I would ever choose to put a stop to that. We might be stranded but who says we can’t have a good time while we’re at it. And no I didn’t take advantage of her in her vulnerable moment. The thought barely crossed my mind.

Hey if I could resist Liz the lush then I can resist distressed Parker.

I just held on and made plans.

I believed the situation had distinct possibilities and was just waiting for her to discover that for herself.

I mean how often do you get an island all to yourself?

I figured I had plenty of time to talk her around to my way of thinking.


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


LIZ'S POV


It wasn’t so much that things were going less than perfect; it was his attitude that had fueled my fire!

Speaking of fire he managed to get one going later...is that all you think of too!

I meant a campfire on the beach.

We huddled together drying out, watching dusk descend, knowing a rescue party would not arrive this late and our evening was going be spent here, in this barren wild primitive wilderness.

Max seemed inordinately happy with the situation and did his best to excite me too. He took palm fronds and leant them against the boat to construct a makeshift shelter. A blanket and some life jackets made a somewhat passable bed.

I decided the least I could do was provide us with some kind of food and scrounged around looking for some.

I never strayed too far away from my hero though, as who knew what was lurking in the shadows. I found some fruit and a coconut.

Max had managed to find a tackle box tied down to the boat floor and inside was a knife.

As the stars made there twinkling way over our oasis, I began to relax, and even saw the humor in our predicament.

To say we made the best of a bad situation is an understatement.

Maybe it was the constant foreign sounds making me move closer to him, with each scary yowl, or maybe it was that his chest was so much more comfortable than a lumpy life jacket. Not sure which but as the heat of our now dry bodies connected we found a way to forget all our troubles, quite a few times too.

Max and I made some interesting primal noises of our own.

I only hoped we would scare off the competition.

We fell asleep, clinging to each other, as though we had just fallen in love.

In truth we had all over again.

A highly recommended experience.


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


MAX’S POV


The night turned out much better than I ever expected.

Let me just say being stranded on a deserted Island with Liz is full of surprises, lots of them!

At about ten in the morning we were rescued.

Luckily it wasn’t any earlier because that would have been embarrassing.

When we woke we’d taken a little swim, clothes were optional, we’d both opted for no.

The owner of the boat was confused as hell and looked to me for an explanation.

I just shrugged.

I mean what could I say, just because I was there when it happened, doesn’t mean I understand how the boat landed on the sand.

Liz to calm him down immediately offered him money to pay for the damages.

I could have strangled her.

I’d been working up to threatening to sue him for negligence. He hired us a boat that flies for Gods sake!

Surely I could have turned that to my advantage and paid off some of the honeymoon with the compensation.

Instead we returned to the Price isn’t Right Honeymoon
Suite, needing to pack furiously to make our flight home.

We called ahead to tell the airport we were running late but were on our way. We were informed final boarding had already been called so it wouldn’t matter if we arrived in the next five minutes or five hours we weren’t getting on the plane.

The airport agent hung up on me, guess she didn’t care for my choice of four letter words. At least I’d had the intelligence not to buy non-refundable tickets.

We were now booked on a plane flying out TOMORROW!

Liz tried to calm me down.

I side stepped her outstretched hands heading down to the front desk.

Good news, bad news.

Good news we could keep the room ... Bad news ... do you have to ask...with the discounted weekend rate over it would cost $250 more per night!

I stomped back into the room, the steam rolling off my back, it did nothing to calm me down to see Liz had ordered another decadent feast!

“What the hell is all that for!” I shouted.

“Well I thought if we have to stay longer we might as well make the best of it and besides I’m hungry!”

“Great! Why didn’t I know about your insatiable appetite before we got married? What, were you keeping it from me so I wouldn’t run scared of a gigantic grocery bill every week!”

Too my utter and complete amazement my cool calm always up for a fight girl began to cry, huge sobs, tears streaming like an endless waterfall as she stood fists at her sides.

“I’ve had it with you Max, you’re a pompous Jackass! This is supposed to be our honeymoon but all you’ve done since we arrived is complain! I’m sorry we have to stay one more day and you’re forced to be alone with me. I thought that was the point just the two of us alone but you...you... jerk! All you ever do is bitch and moan...I’m sorry I’m such a weight around your neck! But don’t concern yourself Max, I won’t bother you anymore!”

With that she threw down the napkin and ran out of the room before I could find my voice to stop her!

I ran after her but was too late.

All I could do was watch the doors of the elevator close on her tear stained face. I guess it’s the stairs again for me.

Why the hell do elevators have it in for me anyway?

I finally caught up with her.

We were standing at the pool surrounded by about eighty extremely curious people.

So much for being alone.

She was crying, I was begging, we made a complete spectacle of ourselves but I didn’t care. All I cared about was getting her to see I was sorry.

Hopefully it won’t take two weeks to convince her this time.

“Liz ... don’t ... please ... I’m sorry ... I’m sorry...you’re right...please baby...”

“This is supposed to be the happiest time of our lives”

She wept with that irresistible hiccup punctuation that always compounds my guilt.

“I know...I know...Liz...” I took her trembling hands into mine. “I love you, I blew up over nothing and I’m sorry.
I promise I am having a wonderful time. Being stranded on that island with you was a highlight of my life! God I’d do it again in a second Liz.”

“You would”

I felt her softening so kept talking before she’d get a chance to think.

“I love you Liz. I do WANT to be alone with you. ALWAYS. I’ll never tire of it. You’ve got to believe that!” her eye’s told me she wanted to believe so I persisted. “Liz I’m lonely when I can’t see your face.”

For some reason that statement, to my horror, made her cry harder instead of smile.

I was about to panic thinking what have I done wrong now when she slowly approached me and entered my welcoming arms.

At first I was too relieved to speak but then I said, “C’mon sweetheart lets go back to the room and have that delightful feast ...and some food too...”

She smiled that “I don’t know why but I’m forgiving you again” smile that totally melts me and I thanked God once again for blessing me with my smile and puppy dog eyes.

Hey that’s what she calls them don’t look at me like that!

And anyway I bet if you knew what your secret weapon was too you’d be using it every chance you got.

We returned to our suite and I began to see the trip for what it truly was: OUR HONEYMOON.

I’d become so consumed with thinking of it as merely a money guzzler that I’d forgotten to think about what she was feeling!

I remembered Liz had given up the wedding of her dreams for me and now here I was making a mockery of her honeymoon fantasies too.

From the moment we became engaged I’ve grumbled and fought every step of the way when it came to anything to do with the wedding.

Well no more!

I’m going to make it up to her here and now.

“Liz...this last day...you won’t ever forget it...I promise!” my eyes vowed this to her sincerely.

I hoped through them she could see all the devotion and adoration stored in my heart.

“Max, I’m not likely to forget any day of this trip!” She smiled lovingly back.

“I know “ I laughed “but this one will be a good memory I promise.”

I started to plan.

I know what you must be thinking but this time I was going to get it right.

I knew exactly what I was planning for and I do better planing on the spur of the moment. If you don’t believe me ask Liz!

She always says ‘you’re a pain Max but you do have your moments’.

Well this was going to be one of my moments.


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


LIZ’S POV


I have to say...the rest of our honeymoon was absolutely perfect.

We had a leisurely lunch, followed by his and hers back rubs which led to us spending a wonderful intimate afternoon in each other’s arms.

Around five, to my surprise, Max pleaded with me to run some crazy errand.

Suddenly now he wanted to buy a souvenir.

After all his complaining the other day he’d now decided he wanted a memento, that represented what our honeymoon means to us and he wanted me to pick it out on my own so he’d truly know what he meant to me.

Talk about putting pressure on a girl.

I should have been suspicious of his motives but I wasn’t.

When Max asks me in just the right way there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for him. He has a way of managing to circumvent my intelligence with the wink of an eye.

So once again I was putty in his hands.

Instead of being in his arms I was traipsing through the markets alone. It took me over an hour but I eventually found the perfect thing. I was excited and rushed back to the hotel to show him.

I got as far as the lobby before the manager called me over.

‘God who has Max upset now?’ was my first thought but I chastised myself remembering his sweet behavior all afternoon.

The manager asked if I’d be willing to fill out a quick survey and he promised it would only take five minutes.

I wanted to moan ‘but Max’s waiting’ but decided after all we’d put them through I could afford five minutes.

He led me to his office where I sat and sat and sat as he excused himself over and over again to take phonecalls or speak to employees or customers.

An hour later and only having answered three questions I’d had enough.

I was frantic and knew the cure for all my frustrations was upstairs waiting for me. I tried to be polite but I admit I was anxious to get back to my own private paradise and it’s adorable inhabitant. I apologized profusely, said I couldn’t stay one moment longer, used some ridiculously flimsy excuse and ran to my room and Max.

Upon entering our room my mouth fell open in utter amazement.

The sun was setting and our room was lit in beautiful candlelight.

Lobster, and steak dinner complete with every ala Carte temptation awaited me.

Flowers filled the room. Roses in every color! Lotus blossoms floated in the tub.

And best of all...by far best of all... there was my beautiful loving husband, waiting for me, sitting at the baby grand piano, smiling in delight at the success of his surprise!

“Come here...” He said softly.

I walked over to him although at the time I felt like I was floating. The swish of my silk skirt and my pounding heart were the room’s only sounds.

To my complete astonishment Max began to play the piano.

“My mother insisted I take lessons,” he sheepishly said.

He plays beautifully and I never knew. How many more things could he amaze me with?

“But I only know how to sing one song” he said with a grin.

Singing! Oh Boy!

“Sing it for me” I begged.

Yes I’m not ashamed to say it.

He had me panting for more.

His soft, resonating, melodious, surprisingly good voice filled the room. His long fingers playing as though he practiced every day!

He was a natural and I was stunned.






[center]“It had to be you...
It had to be you...
I wondered around all over this town searching for you...
I wanted to beat the guy touching my sweet,
So I’d be the one to make her have fun...
It had to be you...
It had to be you...
Wonderful you...
You might have a vice it’s a roll of the dice.
But no one else would do. It had to be you!
Now I find you near, at long last you’re here.
My dreams come true only with you
My wonderful you...
It had to be you.”
[/center]






“Max.” tears filled my eyes. Those looks, that voice, he could be a star.

But he’s all mine and I’m his very own groupie. I couldn’t believe he was singing me a song, or more accurately he’d massacred a song for me. I stared at him stunned.

Max...is serenading me ... almost on key even!

Am I dying?

I looked into his twinkling eyes and realized he’s up to something.

The words he’s singing registered and my smile widened in amazed amusement.

I’ll get him for this one... later.

He rose from the piano and flipped on a switch.

The music continued as he took me in his arms and we danced wrapped tightly against each other.

“This is perfect...” I began to say to thank him but he stopped me.

“Shhh ... I have a big finale.” He began singing again, this time right against my ear.






[center]“It had to be you...
It had to be you...
Angels have sung you are the one.
I know it’s so true.
It had to be you...”
[/center]






“Max....”
“Sshhhh not finished...






[center]It had to be you...It had to be you.
Liz my love, you’re heaven sent from above
It had to be you.
I was so lost, heart sore and tossed
Now I am found though we almost drowned
I wouldn’t trade one escapade
It had to be you.
My wonderful you...
Baby it’s true
It will always be you...”
[/center]






Our eyes meet, his smoldering while mine wept as he dipped me in a final grand gesture.

I’m not sure if it was part of the plan but we ended up lying entangled with each other on the floor, laughing, kissing, murmuring, amongst other things.

We were on our honeymoon so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess what we did next.


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


MAX’S POV


Morning came and we reluctantly rose and left our tropical paradise.

The trip home was uneventful, unless of course you count the flight attendant giving us raised eyebrows and disapproving looks when we asked for an extra blanket.

What can I say I wanted my wife and I wanted privacy!

What I wouldn’t have given to be back on our deserted island for at least another night.

I bet you’re wondering if Liz ever found out about the true cost of our honeymoon ... of course ... my wife ... its like living with Sherlock Holmes nothing gets by her.

Believe me I’ve tried.

The minute the bill arrived. She came barging through my office door.

“Max there is a horrible mistake on your Gold Card bill!”

“Oh?”

I acted innocent trying to decide how to explain it without totally ruining her memories.

“It is a mistake right?”

“Well uh...not...entirely...”

“What! Max, the hotel bill is for over $10,000 dollars!!!!”

“Well that sounds about right” I said and took cover behind my high-backed leather chair. It’s just the right height to protect the part of my anatomy I was afraid I was about to loose.

“10,000! How? Four nights at $1500 is 6000 you said the rest was all inclusive!”

I shook my head and she looked ready to kill.

“I don’t understand. Max you told me it was all inclusive!”

“The original deal was but when we um ... lost our reservation, the all inclusive no longer applied.” I explained gently.

“What!!!!” She obviously wasn’t impressed with my explanation “You never said! All the food ...the masseuse ... the drinks...” her eyebrows rose in fright “...not the gambling too?”

I nodded silently, over and over hoping she’d get over it someday and I’d survive long enough to see it happen.

“Max why didn’t you tell me?”

“You were so happy and I didn’t want to spoil our Honeymoon!”

“No wonder” she said barely above a whisper.

She stared at me, really looking hard, like she was trying to see deep inside me. I’ll admit, I was scared. Maybe she saw that.

I don’t know all I know is the sweetest expression appeared on her face and sighing she said “Max, Oh...Max...” and she flew into my arms.

To my complete delight she showered me with kisses.

“Hey...we’re at the office.” I reminded her wishing it wasn’t true.

She ignored my protest knowing full well that I wasn’t sincere.

“You are absolutely the sweetest most, generous, guy! I’m so lucky to be your wife.”

Well that is always nice to hear and not wanting to argue I showed her how much I appreciated her praise.

She doesn’t let me kiss her at the office often so on those rare occasions she does I like to get my fill.

Before we knew it we were curled together on the couch.

No we weren’t doing ‘that’.

It’s 11 a.m. on a workday. Gee is that all you ever think about?

Mind you if I could have guaranteed we wouldn’t have any interruptions or witnesses we probably would have considered it but I couldn’t.

She looked at me seriously and said “Max that was one very expensive four day weekend!”

“Worth every penny my love.” I mumbled around an earlobe.

I actually do believe that now. When we got back I met with a financial planner, he drew up a plan and so this whole expense thing doesn’t bother me too much anymore.

Plus I truly believe she does deserve everything I have to offer.

“Max I love you” she moaned against my neck before kissing the life out of me.

Have I told you she’s absolutely the most perfect woman?

Uh ... except for that attraction to margaritas thing.

But I think she’s over that now. She turns green every time someone mentions them.

My poor little adorable lush. ksmile






*happy* TBC.. *big* *big* *big* *big* *big*

posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:16:23 PM
Part 25



It’s the middle of a long hot energy draining summer.

Having left the office early for the day, Max is working from home, dictating instruction into a tape recorder. He hears the apartment door open and close shortly followed by a heavy thud thud.

Liz’s home and if the flinging of her shoes is anything to go by, it hasn’t been a good day.

He leans back in his chair, a slow smile spreading over his face as he watches for her to appear. Impatience has almost set in when she finally comes into his line of sight.

He has to control his urge to laugh at her appearance.

In a calm voice, which belies his true feelings, he asks
“Should I be concerned about who you rode up in the elevator with?”

The surprise of hearing Max’s voice in what she’d assumed was an empty apartment makes Liz almost jump out of her skin, much to Max’s pleasure.

“God Max you scared me! What are you doing home?” she asks walking towards him.

“You haven’t answered my question,” he says grinning.

Liz smiles thinking about the vision she must appear as to him; flushed face, bare foot, panty hose in her hand, shirt untucked and hanging open. She hadn’t expected him to be home and has been preparing herself for a shower from the moment she shut the front door.

“For your information I was alone in the elevator” she informs him curtly, then shakes her head realizing her mistake, as delight spreads across his face.

Max is not a good poker player. Before he has time to make a comment she tersely says, “Max shut-up!”

His face displays a look of pure innocence.

She doesn’t believe it for a second.

She leans against his desk and takes a long drink from
the glass of iced water she finds there.

“You going to answer my question now?” she asks.

He shakes his head at her.

“You told me to shut up.”

He pouts and she stares at him warningly until he grins and says, “The air conditioning in the building shut down. The conditions weren’t exactly conducive to working.”

Liz pulls a disgusted face at the thought of it and then moans “I’m so hot.”

Max laughingly says, “No kidding!”

He slides his hands over her shoulders drawing her shirt down her arms and off. It falls softly to the floor unnoticed, their attention is centered on the actions of his inquisitive hands.

Liz giggles and playfully knocks his hands away saying, “You know that’s not what I meant.”

He’s set on a task though and ignores her. His fingers reach for the clasp of her bra and in a move that pleases him greatly he manages to undo it first try.

“Max” she sighs less than encouragingly. This is certainly not what she had in mind as she dragged herself home.

All she wanted was to cool herself down but Max is having the exact opposite effect on her.

He pulls her closer to him until she’s straddling him on the chair and runs his hands along her bare back.

She watches his eyes roaming over her and when they rise to meet hers she leans in and kisses him. Whether she wants to or not she can never resist him when she finds herself this close.

Liz’s mind wars with her body. Her mind telling her she’s tired of the heat and doesn’t want to feel hot any more, while her body delights in the additional heat now
coursing through it.

As she kisses him her hands and body drape over him seeking more. When her chest meets his she realizes
for the first time he too is shirtless and chastises herself for not having noticed that sooner.

She loves the feel of him against her; the soft yet rough feel of his hair against her skin. His hands warm and strong holding and molding her. His whole body surrounding her, protecting her, loving her. She knows she could quite happily live the rest of her life in his arms.

Laughing at the image of them locked in an eternal embrace and the impracticality of such a circumstance Liz hears a mumbled “what” from the mouth nibbling at her collarbone. She chides herself for letting her mind wander instead of her hands.

Pulling back, smiling at his curious eyes, she shakes her head.

Running her hands through his hair she says, “It’s nothing” then leans in to kiss him before he can debate it further.

Preferring Max put his mouth to a much better use than a discussion of her irrational, weary day, thoughts.

As pleased as Max is to be kissing her he’d like to know what she was thinking, especially as he suspects she was laughing at his expense.

He pulls away from her lips and zeroes in on her neck.

Liz throws her head back in pleasure, elongating her neck, offering it all to him.

Max allows her to lose herself in the sensation momentarily. When he’s sure he has her exactly where he wants her he pulls away eliciting a breathy sigh of despair from Liz. While staring intently into her eyes he says “Tell me what you were thinking?”

Liz lets out a puff of air in frustration. Knowing she won’t get another thing out of him without giving him some kind of answer, she decides to tell him everything she was thinking as she made her way home.

“I hate hot weather ... I’m sick of summer ... I can’t do this any more ... I want to leave ... I want to get out of the city ... People just don’t care any more. There’s no courtesy, no consideration and I swear Max, if one more person bumps into me like I’m a bowling pin and then just walks off without saying anything, I’m going to...”

With a full head of frustration Liz isn’t too sure exactly what she’s going to do. Her arms wave around in frustration as she tries to determine her course of action. Her motions causing her body to move in what Max finds a very tantalizing manner.

When Liz notices his ‘distraction’ she stops her movements and places her hands firmly on her hips.

Sitting half naked on his lap this pose doesn’t have anything like the desired effect. He is in no way chastened. She stares at him with an expression of disgust until he raises his eyes to again look into hers.

She finds it hard to keep a straight face when witness to the delighted expression on his but she’s stubborn too and doesn’t relent.

“If you’re the pin Liz can I be the ball because I’d sure like to bowl you over” Max says.

Luckily for him he says this with such an idiotic grin on his face Liz is left in no doubt that the line was deliberately pathetic.

She answers him with an eye roll before reaching towards his desk.

Max, delighted, watches her body stretch and strain to reach the desk. His delight quickly turns to concern when she straightens up and he can see a stapler in her hand.

Somewhat nervously he asks, “What are you going to do with that?”

“Staple your mouth shut before you say something that makes me regret marrying you.”

She says with a deathly serious look on her face.

Max wiggles around under her and cockily says, “Could you ever really regret this?”

She shakes her head finally giving in to her need to laugh.

Pleased he kisses her softly, then against her lips says, “But you still want to get away?”

She nods and looks at him with a sad expression.

Max takes the stapler from her hand and puts it back on the desk, as far away from her as he can get it.

“So where do you want to go?” he asks, thinking they probably should get out of the city for at least a weekend.

“I don’t know ... Somewhere cold? ... Alaska maybe.”

Max’s eyes light up. He reaches over to the glass on his desk and captures a cube of ice.

“So you want ice”

She watches him nervously.

He brings it slowly to her lips but before she can taste it he draws it away again. He teases her like this with the cube hovering just out of reach. Eventually he allows it to touch her lips.

Her tongue snakes out and wipes the moisture it leaves there. Her lips seek out the cube and suck more moisture from it and from the fingers that have yet to let it go.

She enjoys the cold sensation and expects Max to let the ice go but he doesn’t. Instead he moves it away from her.

“I don’t think Alaska is such a good idea” he says.

“You don’t?” she giggles, while moving around on him trying to avoid the ice cube with which he’s now threatening. He got the tip of her nose with it before she knew what he was up to and she won’t be caught napping again.

“No. You don’t seem to like ice after all”

“Well it all depends on what you do with it” she retorts.

He just grins and continues his attack on her.

“So where do you think we should go then Max?”

“Me?”

“Yeah”

He runs his eyes over her, his finger following the trail they leave behind as if there was a road map imprinted on her skin. He travels from cheek to neck to collarbone, up and over breast, playing with her nipple before moving across ribs, down, down, circling her belly button and then finally coming to rest at the waistband of her skirt.

His fingers play across it, reaching for the zipper and drawing it down, smirking he looks into her eyes and says, “I’m rather partial to heading down south.”

“So I’ve noticed” she answers with a grin.

“You complaining?”

“Not at all!”

He grabs hold of her wrist, drawing her hand away from where it was contentedly running through his hair. He kisses her palm and then holding her arm firmly with one hand slowly draws the ice cube up the inside of it with the other.

She squirms trying to pull away but to no avail. Her body reacts to the sensation. Goose bumps rising, her whole body tingling with delight, liquefying, she feels as if she is melting right there on his lap.

Liz’s barely able to keep her eyes open so she can look into his dark delighted gaze.

Max begins whispering words of devotion in the bedroom voice that always breaks through her last line of defense. His fingers pause at the inside of her elbow drawing ever increasing circles there with the ice as she debates whether to beg him to stop or beg him for more.

It feels so good it’s almost too good.

She’s not sure how much more she can take and still stay in one piece but she isn’t willing to have it end just yet. Her senses are too raw, her body too willing to give up the day’s frustrations for her to turn away from pleasure now. She gives in to it completely; allowing her body and mind to sink under Max’s control, her body thrusting and writhing over his.

He slowly moves the cube to the outside of her knee where he begins circling the bone, mimicking the time honored method normally performed by his tongue.

Liz moans incoherently as she feels her body explode.

Her back arches, breasts thrust forward and she throws her head back panting “Oh God oh God oh God!”

Soon sensation returns and she realizes she can no longer feel the ice against her skin. Her head raises in time to see Max pop the almost completely melted cube into his mouth.

“Maybe you do like ice after all?” he grins.

She’s unable to compose a witty reply. She’s unable to do much of anything.

He reaches for her, cupping her cheeks in the palms of his hands, his thumbs lovingly run over the contours of her face.

She leans into his warm hands and touch.

He peppers her face with soft tender kisses. Her lips search out his, wanting more but she always seems one step behind. She can never quite get him where she most wants him.

In the end she decides to stop seeking and just take.

She relaxes into him, accepting what he’s giving, no questions. Her hands play along his sides and back enjoying the silky smooth feel of his skin as his mouth and hands continue to worship her face. She feels him release his hold on her face, but is so consumed with the sensation of his fleetingly soft kisses and her hands gliding over his skin, that she doesn’t take the time to wonder why.

An error of judgement his deliberate actions have lulled her into.

Her body is humming, her mind attuned only to the feel of him, her logic and reason no longer in use.

Max loves that she’s willing to give herself over like this.

His lips hover near hers; barely touching the corner of her mouth. Offering so much more than he is giving.

She wants more.

She wants him there.

She wants to drink from him, to feel him inside her.

She is again about to try to initiate contact when suddenly her body is wracked, nerve endings set alight by an ice cube slowly being drawn down her spine. She gasps, arching her back in a desperate and instinctive bid to avoid the contact.

Max swoops onto her open mouth, stealing the breath she expelled and plunging furiously in.

One hand rests on the back of her head holding her mouth to his while the other, still cupping the ice, presses into her lower back.

Her body writhes in an attempt to get away from the cold but the unbroken connection of their upper bodies and his hand firmly anchoring their hips together makes her attempts futile. The constant cold borders on painful but the friction of their lower bodies rubbing together shoots spasms of pleasure throughout her.

The warring sensations stir her into a fever pitch of emotion and arousal.

When he releases her mouth from his she cries out “Max!”

He pauses waiting to see if she has anything else to say but she doesn’t. It was merely a proclamation.

She reaches out grabbing his face and bringing it firmly back to hers.

Again they kiss feverishly. Her hands now desperately hold his face to hers allowing him to release his hold on her.

Liz sighs in a mixture of disappointment and relief when his hands, and therefore the ice, lose contact with her skin.

She feels his hands begin to play along her shins. They slowly rise up before coming to rest again on her knees.

His thumbs tantalizingly circle there, whisper soft but full of purpose.

She smiles against his mouth, amused at the contrasting feel of his hands. The one that had held the ice was initially cold and wet until warmed by her own skin, while the other radiated constant heat.

His hands quickly become restless again and begin gliding over her soft skin, from her knees to the tender insides of her thighs. His actions pushing her skirt until it’s completely bunched up around her hips.

His hands fan out and come to rest on her hips while he turns his attentions to intensifying their kisses.

Their mouths explore while their hips rock and bodies caress.

Stroking and molding.

Friction and stimulation.

The tension and desire for release building, building, building.

Max pulls away and looks into Liz’s eyes.

She brings her hands to rest on his shoulders.

He exert more pressure on her hips as he pushes her up and off him.

Her legs shakily find solid ground.

He holds her firm steadying her until her hands move from his shoulders to his head.

Grasping him she raises his face to look at her.

His hands relax their hold and move out from under her skirt.

He reaches for the waistband and drags her skirt and underwear down.

As she steps out of her clothing his hands run back up her body coming to rest on her waist. When she’s ready he draws her towards him into the v of his legs.

He loves the warmth and softness of her body and with his mouth and hands he shows her how much he adores her.

As his mouth suckles and his hands massage and caress she writhes, once again, against him.

She appreciates his patience and dedication but she’s been well and truly ready almost from their first kiss. She attempts to push away from him but his hold on her is too firm.

Her hands seek his and when she finds them she entwines his fingers with hers and draws them away from her body before stepping away from him.

He groans when her breast leaves his mouth and his lips hungrily follow her.

“Max” she laughs pushing him away again “c’mon it’s your turn.”

He sits back in the chair and smiles at her “My turn?”

She rests her hands on his knees and leans in to kiss him softly.

Kneeling she slides her hand up his thigh and tugs at the leg of his shorts “It’s time to get rid of these.”

He leans in and kisses her again.

She lets him get away with it for a little while but she has a goal in mind and won’t allow any further distractions.

Pushing against his chest to get his attention she says between kisses “Shorts ... off ... now!”

Max grins and gripping her shoulders for support lifts his hips.

Liz runs her hands along his sides reaching for the waistband of his shorts. She slowly begins to draw them down allowing her fingernails to rake over his skins as she removes the last barrier between them.

He hisses and his hips buck in reaction to her touch.

Liz looks up at him with a grin but continues with the job at hand.

His answering look is a mixture of amusement and arousal.

She knows that look well. It’s the look of a determined promise.

Her body immediately responds to it.

Her temperature rising, a liquid warmth erupts in a body throbbing in anticipation.

“Get back up here” he says and grinning Liz places a languid kiss on his thigh, his abdomen, his chest, his chin and finally his lips.

She drinks from them with relish and authority, removing practically all but his last breath.

His hands instinctively find their way back to her hips where they again rest possessively as their tongues and lips duel furiously.

They break for air and their eyes meet and lock.

Liz shifts forward and then slowly begins the delicious descent as their bodies meld into one.

Stretching she welcomes him in.

They pause when their communion is complete to cherish the sensation coursing through them.

Her arms move from the stabilizing influence of his shoulders to drape around his neck.

She slowly returns her lips to his.

Moments before they touch she whispers “I’m home.”

His hands slowly glide across her back, caressing her and drawing her tighter against him.

Skin against skin.

They kiss once, twice, three times, four, then they begin to move, slowly, ever slowly, touching, exploring, rising, falling, until the intensity builds and their speed increases.

Grace and finesse disappear when their bodies take over in a desperate bid for fulfillment.

Faster, harder, seeking pleasure, striving for release.

Tightening, building, exploding, shuddering.

Liz collapses boneless against Max’s chest riding out the final waves of pleasure. She clings to him her head resting against his shoulder as she quietly urges him on.

Max can feel her breath puffing against his cheek as he writhes in release.

Emptying into her he feels as if his whole body is being given over.

Muscle and bone, heart and soul hers forever.

Numbed and exhausted his head drops back panting deep reviving breaths.

His hands slide from her body and hang down beside the him lifeless.

Feeling slowly returns and he considers himself strong enough to again attempt movement. He starts simple though as his nerve endings are still on fire.

Finding her legs his hands slowly skim up her body. One plants itself on the center of her back anchoring her to him whilst the other cups the back of her head stroking her hair.

He slowly turns to look at her, the beauty and love he sees overwhelms him.

She watches the emotion play over his face and their lips again seek each other out. This time they are slow leisurely kisses, leading nowhere but much treasured nonetheless.

Thoroughly sated they share long lingering kisses. Not looking to ignite, merely to enjoy. Neither are willing to break their connection, to allow this perfect moment to end.

Nothing could make Liz give up Max’s hands, his lips, his warm silky inviting skin, his smell, his taste, his voice offering words of devotion, the feel of him in her and around her. These wonderful elements that make up the very essence of him, that penetrate her mind until nothing else matters but that they are together, that she can hold him and love him.

The outside world could end here and now but she wouldn’t care as long as she could stay in this moment.

This post coital bliss with endorphins coursing through her, her body alight with pure delight.

Joy, that’s what this moment is and she never wants it to end.

“Me too” she hears Max mumble against her mouth.

She has no recollection of having spoken aloud but at moments like this, she feels as if she’s given him her soul, so she isn’t surprised to discover he also knows what’s in her heart.

His hands, which had merely been resting on her, seem to gain strength and purpose.

They run over her body, taking it all in.

She wonders if he is cataloguing what’s his or checking to see if she’s all there. She felt as if she broke into a million pieces at one stage.

However now, with his hands wandering over her, she feels them offering her new sensations, new life, making her again whole and strong. They started with her face then traveled to her neck, her shoulders, down her back, over the backs of her legs and up the inside, across her hips, abdomen and ribs until coming to rest against her breasts.

“All present and accounted for?” she asks with a sly grin.

He chuckles in reply.

His hands moving to cup her breasts, holding their weight while thumb and forefinger explore.

Pinching, tugging, rolling, teasing.

He’s mesmerized by his ministrations.

He slowly raises his eyes to hers and whispers “So beautiful!”

The intensity of his gaze reignites the slow burn in her.

She floods him with her love.

His body seems to grow and loom over her as he straightens his back, sitting up tall and proud and pulling her close.

“So beautiful!” He whispers again as their mouths meet.

She feels her body succumb to his again only this time, sated, they are willing to take it slow and enjoy.

They take the time to savor each touch, to play, taste and explore.

A nip here, a tease there, a lick and a giggle.

Fingers entwined and with arms outstretched to ground them they wrestle for superiority.

The victor being the one who can get to the other’s earlobe with their teeth without being caught themselves.

After a narrow miss Liz throws her head back emitting a full throated belly laugh that Max feels reverberates throughout his body.

Max delightedly watches her laugh and, seeing her exposed, is about to go in for the kill when a loud click is heard coming from his desk.

Liz’s body immediately tenses as she looks to the desk then back again.

She separates their hands and gives him a quizzical look.

His answering look is just as confused.

Their eyes scan the desk.

Pens, files, glass of water, stapler, papers, books ...

Then they see it.

Liz turns to him and nervously asks, “Max what we’re you doing before I got home?”

With a mischievous look on his face, the likes of which Liz knows has melted every woman who’s ever encountered it, he says “I was dictating instructions for Isabel.”

Liz’s answering breathless gasp of “Max!” is met with a chuckle from him.

This soon turns into a groan when she stands up leaving his rejuvenated body feeling somewhat bereft. With barely a look at him she reaches for the tape recorder and leaves the room.

It takes a few seconds and deep breaths for his body to recover from the sudden loss of her before he stands prepared to hunt her down.

He finds her in the bedroom splayed out invitingly on the bed; delight in her eyes, a rewinding tape recorder in her hand with her finger poised enticingly over the play button.

Max’s knees almost buckle at the sight of her and he finds himself reciting as many gruesome cases as he can think of to stop this being over before it even gets started.

His body is screaming at him to get over there with her but he doesn’t think enough blood is actually getting to his brain to enable it to direct his legs to work.

He watches her spellbound until the click of the tape finishing rewinding and her finger pressing play set him in motion.

In less than five strides he’s there and flinging himself onto the most luxurious and soft bedding he has ever encountered.

His actions are met with peals of laughter that drown out the bored monotone of his recorded voice.

Max raises himself up on his elbows easing his weight off the tempting seductress under him.

He’s about to speak when he hears, over the sound of his recorded self taking a breath, the sound of their apartment door opening and closing.

This is followed shortly by a soft thud thud.

They look at each other and with ear splitting grins say in unison “shoes.” ksmile

posted on 27-Nov-2001 8:44:30 PM
Chapter 26



Memories are what we make of them but most important of all is who we make them with.



Tired, stressed and a little on edge, Liz arrives home. She’s dreaming of a hot bath, warm sheets and a long, long sleep.

Opening the door she realizes the interesting smells that exude throughout the building’s hallway originate from her own apartment. She sighs and thinks ‘finally something has gone right for the day’.

Max is home and, if her nose isn’t lying, dinner is almost ready. Smiling, for quite possibly the first time since she kissed him goodbye this morning before heading to the courthouse, Liz saunters into the kitchen.

There she finds Max busy making his infamous clean out the fridge stew. Without a word she slides up onto the bench top and prepares to partake in one of her favorite pastimes, Max watching.

He looks up with a grin when he hears her enter. He watches a little incredulously as she silently settles herself comfortably. She appears oblivious to his presence.

‘Hi Max so pleased to see you, missed you so much’ he mouths.

She softly smiles but remains silent. He wonders what’s up and is determined to get a reaction from her.

“Feel free to help,” he says.

Liz looks at the mess he’s made of the kitchen and resists the urge to groan. Max has a tendency to forget rule number one of cooking; you make the mess you clean it up. She knows, eventually he’ll coerce her into helping, but for now she plans to just watch. As she has absolutely no intention of getting involved she smiles at him again and says, “I am helping ... I’m supervising.”

With a chuckle he mumbles something suspiciously like, “So what’s new,” under his breath and scampers quickly to the other end of the kitchen before her suddenly outstretched leg can connect with his ass.

The expression on his face informs Liz he’s mighty pleased with himself. It also leaves her wondering what’s put him in such a good mood tonight. She’s a little jealous. The best she can say about her day is; it officially sucked! Her one consolation is it’s almost over.

Max turns back to the stove once more.

Liz watches amused by his serious concentration on the task at hand. She loves watching him when he’s focussed intently on something. The unguarded moments when she feels she gets to see the real him. The impression she always comes away with is, ‘Damn sexy! Thank God he’s mine.’

Today is no different. Food smudged face, a little sweaty, hand-messed hair, jeans, a T-shirt and naked toes. Relaxed, self-assured and content. A nice package indeed!

Her eyes run over him one more time before rising to find amber eyes twinkling at her and a ‘like what you see’ grin on his face. She refuses to be embarrassed, he’s her husband after all and she’s allowed to look if she wants, nevertheless she feels a blush rising on her face.

Not wanting to allow him to feel he’s got the better of her she says, “Come over here I want a taste.”

“It’s not finished cooking yet,” he whines horrified she could even suggest it.

He can be such a stickler for procedure at times.

“C’mon Max it’s plenty hot enough for me,” she insists in a voice that broke no argument.

Max first throws his arms in the air to display his disgust before reluctantly dipping the spoon in and moving towards her. He is slowly carefully bringing it towards her mouth when Liz reaches out and, taking hold of his wrist halts his action.

His face registers confusion and he’s about to ask what’s wrong when her other hand cups the back of his neck drawing his face towards hers until their lips meet.

‘Ah hunger finally satisfied!’ she thinks ‘This is what I should have been doing all day.’

After a full and thorough taste test, she slowly pulls away, murmuring, “mmmm delicious.”

“Want seconds?” she hears and suddenly her hunger returns even stronger than before.

“Always,” she declares milliseconds before their lips meet again.

Suckling, biting, licking, teeth, lips, tongues, exploring, tasting, devouring.

Finally they break and as she regains enough oxygen for her brain to again process thought, Liz wonders why Max’s hand is so hot. Hot and moist come to think of it. She looks down realizing it isn’t his hand but a lovely deepening stain spreading over her shoulder and blouse.

The idiot’s spilled the contents of the spoon on her!

“Max you grub!” she shouts pushing him away.

He looks at her not contrite at all; in fact he’s grinning.
When she glares at him he laughs.

“Hey it’s not my fault you accosted me remember?”

She looks from his face to her shirt and back again.

“It’s going to stain,” she moans although not really caring. The blouse is a small price to pay for the little piece of heaven she just experienced.

There’s no need to let him know that though. Although she suspects he already does by the cocky look on his face.

Grinning he moves in towards her, intent on a new task.

“We’d better get that shirt off you then and see what we can do about it.”

Liz remembers why she married him.

He’s a brilliant man after all.

Max sets to work undoing her buttons. For some reason he deems it necessary to kiss and lick each new exposed piece of skin.

Why?

Liz doesn’t really care. She certainly isn’t planning on complaining about his methods. Sure it may take a little longer but there is nothing wrong with being thorough.

She allows her head to roll back and a soft sigh escapes her lips.

This is perfect.

Why is it they can’t do this 24/7?

“Max ... I’ve been thinking,” Liz says surprising herself because she doesn’t recall forming a thought. She has no idea what she was going to say next. Not that it matters, as before she can say another word, Max’s hands and mouth are gone and he’s standing against the opposite wall, arms crossed over his chest and a defensive look on his face.

“Max?”

Liz cries out disappointed at being so suddenly left
bereft.

Not altering his stance or expression Max says, “C’mon let me have it.”

Liz’s mind is swirling, her body trembling with anticipation as she wonders ‘isn’t that what I was doing?’

Her confusion results in the utterance of a somewhat exasperated, “What?”

Unfortunately Max’s attempt at an explanation fails when his eyes encounter the exposed skin of her chest and he becomes distracted. Her cleavage seems to be beckoning to him, daring him to reach out and touch.

He’s mesmerized.

He can feel his heart pounding faster and faster as thoughts such as, ‘want ... now ... must have ... now,’ invade his head.

Eloquent and detailed they’re not but still they are very persuasive.

A sweet yet stern voice somehow penetrates his foggy brain, “I have eyes Max!”

Busted!

He looks up and grins, “I know that Liz but you know how the saying goes?”

Her eyebrows raise questioningly, “what’s good for the goose,” he says smugly.

Well she can’t argue with him there. She had been ogling him only a moment ago, so she can hardly criticize him for doing the same.

Still, this is Max and allowing him to get the better of her this early in the evening will only spell disaster. Attack always puts him on the back foot so attack she does.

“Oh so you’re calling me a goose now?”

Max laughs but sensibly refuses to answer.

Liz, unable to decide what he’s up to tonight and really not in the mood for his mind-games asks, “Max why are you over there?”

“Why? Do you miss me?” he smugly replies.

Rolling her eyes, Liz decides shaking things up a bit is the only way she’ll get anywhere with him tonight.

Sometimes the best way to get Max to show his hand is to convince him you don’t want to play. She begins to climb down off the bench.

Max realizing he’s probably pushed her too far says, “Ok, ok I’ll explain.”

Liz settles back down, hiding her smile of satisfaction.

He’s so easy to play.

She crosses her arms and waits patiently.

Max grins and says, “The four words that bring the most fear to my life Liz are, ‘Max I’ve been thinking’.”

“Technically that’s five,” she hits back making Max realize tonight is going to be one of ‘those’ nights.

When Liz has been bothered by work she has a tendency to snap at him. He doesn’t mind her taking it out on him, but prefers a much more constructive and intimate way for her to release those pent up frustrations than bickering.

When he doesn’t reply to her comment she attempts to goad a reaction with, “And anyway I would have thought the words you’re most afraid of are ‘you’re sleeping alone tonight’.”

“Nah that doesn’t scare me I know you’d never go through with it.”

“There’s a first time for everything Max,” she warns.

“Just look at me Liz how could you resist.”

His calm teasing exterior hides the fear he may be about to prove himself wrong.

Liz replies with a glare. Her annoyance only heightened by the fact it’s true. No matter how angry she gets with him he always manages to win her over again in the end. If they were in any other room but the kitchen she’d throw something at that cocky face, but the only implements at hand would do bodily damage, and she’s not that annoyed yet.

“Those four words terrify me Liz,” he says when she gives no reply.

Liz mouths five at him but he chooses to ignore it, “nothing good ever comes of them.”

She stares at him not sure where he’s going with this.

When he doesn’t appear in a hurry to elaborate she says, “Such as?”

“Well ‘Max I’ve been thinking’ is normally followed by a suggestion I know is either going to end up being expensive or ... or painful or...”

“Painfully expensive,” she helpfully suggests.

He laughs, “See now you’re catching on.”

Liz looks at him quizzically. Sometimes all she wants to do is wring his neck the smart-ass. He knows how to annoy her, and delights in doing so, but tonight she’s determined to give as good as she gets. She got pushed around enough in court she’s not going to let it happen at home too!

“So you got anything to back up this ridiculous claim with Max?”

“What you mean like evidence?”

She smiles resigned to the fact he’s going to make her play. She must admit a playful Max is kinda ... cute!

“Yes Max that’s exactly what I mean.”

He grins.

“You don’t think I can do it do you?”

She shakes her head and he puts his hand over his heart pretending to be wounded.

“You know what they say Max,” she says with a deadpan voice. She’s really starting to enjoy herself.

“No tell me, what do thy say?”

Barely controlling her grin Liz declares, “I know you can talk the talk but can you walk the walk?”

Max walks towards her a predatory look on his face.

Liz is at once both aroused and disconcerted. She wonders what exactly Max’s been cooking up while she was away. She’d check the ingredients but to do so she’d have to take her eyes off him, and when he’s coming towards her and looks so good, that is a hard thing to do.

He reaches her and leans against the bench she’s sitting on, forcing her to move her legs to make room to accommodate his body. All the while his eyes haven’t left hers. His hands rise slowly and slide into the open blouse, softly brushing against her stomach and chest, before gliding to her back. One high and one low they pull her towards him until their bodies are pressed closely together, very closely together.

Liz gasps. She is now perched precariously on the ledge of the bench. The only thing keeping her upright is Max’s presence and his tight hold on her. Although she trusts him not to let her fall she instinctively wraps her legs around his thighs and her arms around his neck before she feels completely secure.

“So Liz how much evidence do you need?” he asks in a voice barely above a breath but that reverberates through her whole body.

Liz, who is a little distracted by the situation she’s now in, thinks, “Huh!” Quickly followed by “God he smells good, and feels good, and...” With an ear right there begging to be tasted she does just that “and yep even tastes good too ...

what’s he saying? ...

Evidence? ...

Of what again?

.... Mmm he’s all nice and warm... She holds on even tighter, “Oh that feels so good." ... what’s he laughing at?

She opens eyes that she doesn’t remember closing and looking at him asks, “What?”

“Do you want me to repeat the question?” he laughs “I could do it really slowly.”

“I heard the question!”

“And?”

“And I’m considering contingencies.”

“Contingencies?”

“Yes like for example what happens if you can’t provide me with this hard evidence Max?”

Max’s eyes open in disbelief, his hands skim down to her hips pulling hers even tighter against him.

“You’re doubting the evidence.”

Liz’s head drops to his shoulder as she takes a moment to suppress her laughter. No there is no doubt what he is up to now ... so to speak.

“Tell you what,” she hears “If you’re not satisfied with the evidence then the couch can be my new best friend for the night.”

Liz’s head pops up, alarm unmistakable on her face, until she sees his cocky grin.

“You don’t think there is any way that will happen do you?” she asks.

“Not a chance!”

He’s amused by the thoughtful expression on her face.

“Liz how long have we known each other?”

“Too long sometimes” she cheekily replies.

He nips her ear warning her to behave.

Laughing she says, “What’s that got to do with anything anyway?”

“I’m just saying how long I’ve known you is how many years of evidence I’ve got stored up.”

“Ok three then.”

“It’s been more than three...”

“No give me three examples.”

“Gee challenge me why don’t you!”

“You didn’t really give me an incentive to want you to fail in this Max.”

Nodding slowly and thoughtfully he grins, his right hand snakes up her back until he’s cupping her head and kissing her.

She’s left in no doubt he’s pleased with her last response. When they separate she takes his face in her hands.

“But I want specific examples” she warns.

“What do you mean?”

“I want one of each.”

He looks at her as if he’s not sure they’re having the same conversation.

‘Typical’ she thinks, ‘one magnificent kiss and he loses cognitive ability.’

She explains in a slow, methodical, teasing voice “I want ... ‘one’ painful ... ‘one’ expensive ... and ... ‘one...”

“Painfully expensive,” he laughs. “Ok I can do that.”

He begins to think but the hiss of the stew boiling over onto the stove distracts him. Pulling away from the bench and easing her onto the floor, he swears and rushes to the stove to move the pot.

He looks up at her and grins.

“This mess is your fault. You distracted me Liz so you have to help me clean up.”

Liz’s left wondering if this whole charade was merely an elaborate plan to get him out of half the housework. She wouldn’t put it past him.

As Max works to save their dinner, Liz removes her blouse and gives it a rinse in the sink.

Five minutes later she’s pleased she’s removed most of the stain. A bit