posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:08:14 PM
DISTORTED REALITIES

Title: Playing For Keeps
Author: Nicole
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Roswell does not belong to me.
PlayingForKeepsbanner-vi
**#1-Playing For Keeps**

Prologue:

Roswell is a fairly small town. Practically everybody knows everybody else. But, surprisingly enough, the high school halls are filled.

The hierarchy of West Roswell High goes as follows: At the very bottom are the geeks. The nerdy kids in Chess Club. On top of them are the semi-cool kids, followed by the popular kids. These were the jocks, their girlfriends, or anyone else between the geeks and the unattainables.

The unattainables. The untouchables. The most ultimately cool kids you could possible imagine.

There were four of them. Haughty, indifferent, and uninvolved. The girls were bitches and the boys were players. But every guy wanted to jump the girls' bones and every girl was willing to be played.
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[ edited 6 time(s), last at 1-Sep-2002 8:34:27 PM ]
posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:10:48 PM
Part One:

Max and Isabel Evans, Tess Harding, and Michael Guerin sat at a table in the middle of the quad, ignoring the slight stares and drools of the other students.

He listened to Izzy and Michael laugh over their latest conquests as Tess ran her hand along the inside of his thigh. They had been together last night as the others were doing Tommy Hoag and Pam Troy.

They were together a lot lately. He sighed inwardly. The West Roswell girls just weren't fun anymore. Tess, on the other hand, was always fun. Max wondered if he'd have to broaden his horizons.
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Liz listened to the principal and her mother talk. She looked over her schedule again and then all the books on the desk.

"I think I'm going to find my locker and put my books in it so that I'm prepared for tomorrow." The adults looked at her. Principal Forrester nodded and Mrs. Parker smiled at her daughter.

"Okay sweetie."

She slowly wandered the halls of her new school. Posters hung everywhere, ones with alien heads and 'GO COMETS' in blue and gold lettering. God, she'd been dropped in UFO central. She hoped the kids weren't freaks or anything.
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He put his Bio book back in his locker and looked at the hall clock. Four o'clock. Great, it had taken an hour for that stupid extra credit lab. How was he failing Biology?

For some strange reason he was super smart. The others didn't understand why he liked school, or why he put so much effort into it when they could just wave their hands and have all the information locked in their brains. To tell the truth, neither did he, but whatever.

Still, Biology eluded him. He blew out a breath in frustration and slammed his locker shut. Hefting his backpack over his shoulder, he turned to go, saw her, and froze.

She kept glancing from side to side, trying to find her locker number. Where was the stupid thing? Something shifted...

"No!" she wailed, as her books slipped out of her arms and onto the floor. She closed her eyes, fighting back tears as she knelt down. Why had they moved to this God forsaken place? Why did she have to leave Sarra and Shelly in Boston? Why...A soft chuckle came out of nowhere.

She looked up, surprised, and felt her heart speed up. Suddenly she was glad she wasn't in Boston anymore.

He was standing above her, hands in his pockets, totally at ease. Outwardly, at least. Inwardly, not so much. His heart was going 100 mph and he felt like he was going to explode.

"Need help?" Max offered, sounding amused, even to himself. He supposed it couldn't be helped. Books scattered, a comical expression of despair on her face...

She blushed up at him. "Um...Yeah, sure. I guess." He smiled, bent down to pick up the books, and then stood up again. The girl brushed a strand of dark brown hair away, tucking it behind her ear, as she also stood.

"Locker?" he inquired.

"Oh, um...156?"

He nodded, "This way." She followed him back down the hall to the locker right across from his.

She took the books from him one by one, putting them on the top shelf. "Thanks," she said as she shut her new locker.

"No problem." He was leaning casually on the locker next to hers. Liz studied him quietly. She took in the well-muscled body, strong arms, black hair, perfect smile, and soulful eyes he seemed to have.

It was a few seconds before she realized he was waiting for her to speak.

"I'm new." He raised an eyebrow, and his eyes started to sparkle. She felt heat rise up in her face. "That's probably obvious."

"Yeah," he agreed.

"Liz!" She stuck out her hand. "Liz Parker."

"Max Evans," he said, reaching out.

A small jolt went through him at the touch of her hand. He frowned slightly, then noticed an identical frown on her face. She had felt it too.

"Liz," came a voice. They both turned around. An older woman stood at the end of the hallway. "Time to go."

"I'll be right there Mom." She turned back to him. "My mom."

"Really?" he joked. She blushed again at his teasing.

"Yeah. Well, I'll see you tomorrow."

"I'll be right there if you need anything," he told her, pointing at his locker.

"'Kay. Bye, Max. Oh, and thanks."

"Anytime," he called as she walked away. He cocked his head to the side, enjoying the view.

"Anytime," he repeated softly to himself.
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posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:13:02 PM
Part Two:

Liz walked down the steps to the cafe below. Her dad had bought the Crashdown on a whim. 'It'd be fun,' he had said. Liz sighed as she looked down at herself. The turquoise and silver uniform was kinda retro-cool, but the apron and antenna just put this place into obsessive-ville.

"Hey, babe! Ready for your first day of work?" She turned to look at the bouncy blond who was addressing her. A smile lit her face.

Maria DeLuca was like a mixture of Sarra and Shelly. She was just totally cool, and had seemed to adopt Liz after meeting her yesterday.

"I think so," Liz offered.

"Good. The masses are demanding greasy, alien-themed food, and by golly, we're gonna give it to them!" She laughed and followed her new friend into the main restaurant.
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This is kinda easy, she thought as she got into it. It was also kinda fun, too. Maria gave a running commentary on everyone who walked in and had introduced her to Alex, who also had the possibility of best friend material.

She sighed and stretched as she lounged against the counter. There was a lull in business, and she was getting tired. Just then the bells chimed to signal that someone had just entered. She turned and gasped.

"The unattainables."

"What?"

Maria nodded toward the four. "The unattainables. Max, Isabel, Michael, and Tess," she paused, "I guess I phrased that wrong. They are attainable, for like a night, but after that, you're not even a blip on their radars."

Liz was confused. What was Maria implying?

"Okay, babe, I'm gonna walk you through it. That's Max Evans in the brown leather jacket. The other one, in black, is Michael Guerin, Max's best friend. The tall blond is Isabel, Max's sister, and the short one, hanging all over Max, that's Tess Harding. They run our school. They take who they want, when they want, and nobody says no."

She tried to digest this, then looked at Maria suspiciously. She held up her hands in protest. "Never, babe, I was never approached. Of course," she mused, "If Michael...Never mind. I was just warning you. Don't let 'em get to you."

Liz nodded and walked toward the booth, unable to take her eyes off Max.

"May I take your order?" asked a breathy voice.

Max looked up into her doe eyes. They were a deep, velvety brown, and they were staring right into him.

He suddenly became aware of Tess' hand in his. He loosened his grip and reached for a menu, trying to act inconspicuous. He knew the others were wondering about him as they gave their orders.

"Max?" Liz asked.

"Um...I think I'll just have a Will Smith, Saturn Rings, and a cherry Coke."

"Okay. I'll be right back with your drinks." He gave her a slight smile and turned back to his incredulous friends.

"How did she know your name?" Tess asked.

"Who was she?" Izzy inquired.

"Who gets her first?" Michael demanded.

Max sighed. "That was Liz Parker, she's new to Roswell. I met her on my way home, and Michael..." He paused as the spiky-haired boy looked up at him. "You WILL stay away from her."

Michael nodded, and Tess seemed about to say something, when Liz returned.

"Okay, I've got a diet Coke, a water, an orange, and a cherry coke." She handed the drinks over one-by-one, blushing when Max's hand brushed against hers. The small blond, Tess, narrowed her blue eyes.

Was she Max's girlfriend? It certainly seemed that way, but Maria had said they didn't get "involved", even with each other.

"Your food will be ready in a few minutes," she muttered, and then fled to the back room.

"We figured it out."

"What?" She turned to Maria and Alex.

"Max has claimed you."

"What?" she repeated.

"You're new. New equals fresh meat, equals every guy is going to be on your tail. Now, at West Roswell, the hierarchy makes it so no guy will DARE approach you until either Max or Michael gets some. That's ONLY if they show interest, mind you, otherwise...Well, nothing'll hold the guys back. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, you have been chosen. By Max. So, you don't need to worry about the other boys. WARNING: Do not fall for the sweet and innocent act. Once he gets you in bed, you're done. He'll be gone by morning and won't register your presence afterward. I've heard it all a million times."

"Yeah," Alex agreed, "Watch your back." Then, as an afterthought, "Literally."

"Just don't give in, okay babe? He's not worth losing your innocence."

"Okay. Thanks you guys." They smiled and left. Liz peeked out the window of the door, sighed, and brought them their food.

"Thanks, Liz," Max said. He smiled and her knees felt weak. He just wants to use you, she reminded herself, remember what Maria said.

"Welcome," she responded, "Let me know if you want anything else."

"I'm sure he will," Michael said slyly, his brown eyes laughing at her. She blushed furiously and slowly backed away.
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posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:15:07 PM
Part Three:

The halls of West Roswell were buzzing with the news.

A new girl.

Everyone waited breathlessly for the verdict as they slowly went about their morning routines. Books came out, were put back, and then taken out again. Eyes switched back from the double doors at the end of the hallway to the group of four clustered around their lockers. Just waiting.

And then the door opened.

The silence was deafening. Liz felt nervousness start welling up in the pit of her stomach. She made her way to her locker, ignoring the stares, especially Max's. She could feel those golden-brown eyes on her as she opened locker 156.

She had memorized her schedule, so she knew which books she'd need for each class. Unfortunately, she had no idea where any of her classes were.

She shut her locker and turned around, studying her schedule and trying to figure out where to go. Liz looked up helplessly...And her eyes locked onto his.

He drew in a breath as he felt himself start to drown in those limitless eyes. He shook himself out of it and started forward, still lost in the sight of her.

For once he didn't notice the rest of the student body's eyes on him. He just saw her, and only her.

"Need help?" he asked softly. She opened those perfect lips to answer...when they were interrupted.

"But, Max," Maria exclaimed, breaking the trance, "your class is on the other side of the school."

"It's okay," he interjected quickly, "If she needs help-"

"Don't worry about it, buddy," Alex stated from behind him. He spun and narrowed his eyes at Whitman's lanky frame. "We'll take good care of her," he reassured Max, smirking.

"Um..." Liz said. He looked at her. "Thank you," she told him sweetly, smiling, "But Maria's in my first hour, and I don't want you to be late." He nodded slightly, basking in the glow from her smile.

"Come on, chica!" Maria ordered, and grabbed her arm, pulling her away from him.

"Bye, Max," she whispered as she passed him.

"See ya," Alex called, walking after his girls.
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"It's up to $150," Maria stated happily.

"What is?" she asked, tearing her eyes off Max.

"The bet," Alex said simply, as if that explained all. He took a bite of his sandwich and chased it down with a drink of his Jones.

"What bet?"

"The bet on how long it takes Max to get in your pants."

"What!" Liz screeched.

"Yeah, keep playing hard to get and it may go up to $300."

"Why would he..." she trailed off, close to tears.

"Oh, babe, Max doesn't know about it." She looked up.

"Yeah," Alex chimed in, munching on a chip, "Michael started it, he always starts it, and Max never knows." He paused, "You know, for some reason I think Max would get angry if he ever found out. He's like the only one of them who doesn't brag."

Liz wished they wouldn't talk about this as if it was an everyday occurrence, which it actually was around here. She looked back over at Max.

Was that sweet, shy boy really just an act? Was he really like Michael, betting on how long it took the new girl to lose her virginity? She shook her head.

She refused to believe Max would ever be like that.

Max stared at her from across the quad, she was staring right back, a pretty little smile on her kissable lips. He saw Maria walk up to her with Alex and sit down. Liz tore her eyes away from his to listen to them talk.

He felt like standing up, marching over there, and demanding they leave her alone. How was he supposed to moon over her perfection if they were in the way?

Her expression darkened and she looked stricken. What were they saying to her? If...Max suddenly became aware of a hand...

"Want to go to the Eraser Room?" Tess asked.

"Tess!" he exclaimed. He grabbed her arm and placed it on the table, away from his pants. She pouted.

"Come on, Max. I missed you last night." He glared at her.

"So then you are?" Isabel inquired.

"Are what?" he snapped.

"Going after the new girl." She jerked her head toward Liz.

"Yeah. So?"

"Maybe it's not such a good idea," Tess suggested, "I mean, you've been acting kinda weird since she came."

"What do you mean?" he asked guardedly.

"She may be right, Maxwell," Michael joined in, "I mean, she's already playing hard to get...And she looks tight. You could be waiting awhile for that one, and it may not be worth it." Max blinked at him, taking it all in.

"Hey," he protested, "I want her, and I always get what I want. Remember? Besides, I don't think she's really that frigid. She'll melt soon enough."

He sounded cocky and way to full of himself. It was the way he usually was, but now...He felt like a jerk.

Maybe they're right, he thought. He looked back over at Liz. She was sitting quietly now, picking at her lunch. She looked sad. Max suddenly had an urge to go over and make her smile.

He wanted to make her happy.

God! he screamed at himself, what the hell is wrong with you? You're acting like you're in love with her or something!

He gulped, suddenly losing his appetite. Maybe I should stay away from her. Max looked at Liz again, his heart started beating crazily.

This was going to be impossible.
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posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:17:25 PM
Part Four:

Indeed it was proving difficult. She was in all his classes except first period. And in Biology...

Ms. Hardy assigned him to be her lab partner, so he took his stuff off he and Tess' lab station and joined her in the back, ignoring the blonde's death stare at the petite brunette.

"Hey," he whispered.

"Hey," she smiled and said back. The exchange was, of course, witnessed by the entire class. Rumors would be flying by ninth he was sure.

Before, Max didn't know what had caused him to flunk Bio. Now, he had a valid reason. She was very distracting, and she wasn't even doing anything!

She was just sitting there, occasionally glancing at him, blushing, and looking down. It was driving him crazy. Her silky brown hair hung like a curtain, blocking her face. He loved her hair, he really did, but he wanted to see her face.

Max reached over, gently tucking it behind her ear. His hand brushed against skin as well as hair. She was soft all over. Liz was looking at him now, eyes surprised, full lips parted, as he cupped her head against his palm.

She drew in a breath at the touch of his hand, at the look in his eyes...Could anyone fake a look like that?

She didn't think he could. Liz was quite confident that the real Max Evans was looking out of those eyes, and the real Max was everything she dreamed of. Sweet, kind, passionate, wondering, gentle, tender, loving, and perfect all at the same time.

She stared back at him, willing him to see her as she saw him.

She closed her eyes suddenly as his thumb traced her cheekbone. She shivered beneath his fingers. He smiled, delighted that he could effect her like that. Her eyes opened again, long lashes fluttering. Max felt heat underneath his fingertips. Liz blushed furiously and turned away, concentrating on the lab report in front of her.

What? He tried to work his muddled brain around the cloud of euphoria in his head. Then he became aware of the intense scrutiny they were under. He felt his own cheeks flush in embarrassment. Why didn't people mind their own business?

God, what was she doing to him? He looked at her through the corner of his eye, memorizing her profile. He never got embarrassed, he never cared how mushy he acted to get the girl he wanted, never cared who watched, or who snickered.

So why was it happening now? What did he want to share these moments with her in private? Why did he care?

Why did he suddenly feel like he wasn't acting anymore?
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"So...Did you hear about the bet?"

"What bet?" Max asked, looking confused. Liz sighed, he really didn't know.

"Never mind then."

She turned back to the lab station. Ms. Hardy had asked her to tutor Max in Biology after school. Apparently he was failing, and Liz's transcripts indicated a strong preference for the subject, so perfect match.

"No, what bet?"

"It's not important." He poked her in the side and she let out an involuntary squeal. She glared at him as he grinned angelically.

"Tell me."

"No."

He wagged his finger warningly. "Tell me."

"No," she giggled.

"Yes." And then he attacked. She shrieked and retaliated. A tickle fight ensued. "Tell me. Tell me, tell me, tell me," he chanted.

"Fine!"

He stopped tickling her. "Good."

She lay on the floor, spent, and stared up at him. His eyes were sparkling with mirth, his hair was mussed, and he was smiling his perfect smile down at her.

Liz took a deep breath and wondered whether he used this much charisma on every girl. It would make sense. Any girl would melt under that playful-yet-shy, little boy act.

"Well?" he prompted.

"Help me up." He extended his hand and Liz took it, relishing the little spark that passed through her.

Max's breath caught in his throat at the shock. He looked down at her, not releasing her hand. Her eyes were dark and bottomless, her tongue flicked out, wetting her bottom lip...He swallowed hard, leaning down slightly, he couldn't help himself...

She tore away from him, wiping her hand on her jeans and pushing her hair back behind her ear. It was a nervous habit he had picked up on. He thought it was adorable.

"So...the bet," she started.

What? "Right! Right, the bet," he repeated, bringing himself back down to earth. "What's it about?" She wasn't looking at him anymore, she was looking at her hands and wringing them. "Liz?"

"Maria told me about it at lunch. She said it was up to one hundred and fifty dollars. Alex said Michael started it, that he always starts it." She looked up at his confused face.

"Started what? What's the bet?"

Oh God, she thought, could this be more embarrassing? Liz closed her eyes. "Michael started a bet on how long it would take you to havesexwithme," she blurted out, the last part a jumble.

She peered up at him through her lashes. He was completely still, trying to catch up with the actual content of her words.

"He what?" Max asked in a strangled voice.

"Look, Max," she said gently, "I don't know if it's true. Maria and Alex just told me...I didn't mean to bring it up, okay, just forget about it. Forget I said anything." She turned back to the lab and started cleaning up.

Max slowly calmed the rage inside of him. What had Michael been thinking? He looked over at Liz, contemplating what she had told him. His brain seemed stuck on the words "you", "sex", and "me".

Okay, so he did want to sleep with her, he'd admit that, but it wasn't in the way he usually did. He didn't want just sex.

Liz was different, and he could wait. For once in his life, he could wait.

"Hey." He nudged her. She looked at him, cheeks flushed. "It's not..." he trailed off, trying to figure out how to say what he wanted to say. He didn't want this to screw things up, not before he had a chance to discover what it could potentially become, so he had to find the right words.

"I like you, Liz, a lot. And whatever Michael, or Isabel, or Tess, or even Maria and Alex say, it's probably not true." Her eyes widened slightly. "If sex...You know, if that was all I wanted, I'd just go to Tess. But...Jeez, why is this so hard? You...are just...You're different Liz. You make me FEEL different. You're special."

"Really?" Thank God, he hadn't messed everything up. He took her small, dainty hands in his, twining their fingers together. Max bent forward slightly, so that their foreheads touched.

"Yes really," he teased, "but the whole feeling different thing kinda scares me. It's like the person I've been my entire life isn't who I am, and I'm kind of lost on who the real me is...You understand?" She nodded, not taking her eyes of him. "So, can we take things slow?"

"Maybe," she purred. Max felt a slight smile cross his lips as he leaned down further.

Liz shivered at the touch of his lips, so soft and gentle. He deepened it, just a little, and she felt lightheaded. "Max," she breathed. He pulled back, resting his forehead against hers again. She giggled, he looked as dazed a she felt.

"Wow," he stated. He looked down at her, eyes huge, "WOW."

Liz felt herself blush. She found herself doing that a lot lately, more so than usual. "That was my first kiss," she said shyly.

"Really?" he asked, echoing her earlier sentiment. She nodded. "Wow," he repeated again.

Liz suddenly felt really shy. "I should go," she said, "My shift starts soon."

"Need a ride?"

"Um, sure."

He grinned, "Great."
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He dropped Liz off at the Crashdown, kissing her lightly and saying he'd be in for dinner.

Michael, Max thought grimly. No. I will not lose control, he told himself as the indignation rose up again.

Max pulled up outside of the apartment building and walked in, trying to quell his anger. He did a pretty decent job until he got to the apartment door.

"What the hell were you thinking?" he exploded as soon as he slammed the door shut.

"What are you talking about, Maxwell?"

"The bet, Michael," he reminded him icily.

"Oh." He visibly paled. "How did you find out?"

"It doesn't matter how I found out. What on earth possessed you to do something like that?!"

"Chill, Max, it was just for fun."

"Fun? Michael, fun?! I don't believe you. You are...impossible."

Max, I don't see what the problem is."

"The problem, Michael, is how incredibly vulgar you are. Do you know how degrading it is to be betted on? You can't just...You can't do stuff like that Michael."

"Fine. You know what? I'll call it off."

"Good."

"She's got to you." Michael shook his head, looking disappointed.

"What?"

"Look at yourself, man. The Max I know would never get this worked up over a girl."

"Well maybe you don't know me as well as you think."
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posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:18:29 PM
Part Five:

Liz hung up the phone after her three-way conversation with Sarra and Shelly. They had demanded the whole scoop on the town, the school, and the boys. Luckily, due to Maria, she had been able to answer all their questions.

She didn't say anything about Max though. That was too new. She didn't want to share it yet.

"Oh, miss?" She turned, plastering on her waitresses smile...which turned into a real smile.

"Yes, sir?"

"Could I possibly get a Blue Moon burger and a Mercury milkshake, please?"

"Coming right up." She made the milkshake and placed it in front of where he was sitting at the counter. "Your order will be done in a minute."

"I'm in no rush," he said, grinning at her.

She giggled and walked away to take the orders of the customers who had just walked in. One Alex Whitman and one Maria DeLuca, who wasn't working today. Maria raised an eyebrow at her, staring at the guy at the counter. Alex chuckled and pulled the blond into a booth.

Twenty minutes and ten customers later, she paused in front of him. "Can I get you anything else?"

"You," Max teased, pulling her flush up against him. She slapped him playfully.

"I meant along the lines of dessert." He looked her over, making her blush.

"You look tasty enough to me."

"Max!"

"Okay, okay. Um...a piece of Men in Blackberry pie?"

"Excellent choice."

"Thanks. I pride myself on my culinary know-how." He nodded in a smug, self-satisfied way, arrogance belied by the twinkle in his amber eyes.

He watched her laugh, the way she threw her head back, exposing her neck...He groaned inwardly, fighting the desire to drag her into the back room. He probably should have stayed away from the subject of dessert, cause now he was wondering if the rest of her tasted as strawberry sweet as her lips.

This was way too weird.

He had wanted girls before, but he had never needed them. And that's what he was feeling now, an intense need to possess her. To make her his.

But at the same time he knew he'd have to give her all of himself to do that. And that scared him, because he had no idea who he was. His human and alien sides were always at odds, and he didn't know if she could handle him being different.

If she couldn't, he'd want to die.

"Cancel that, okay?"

"What?" she asked, confused.

"I gotta get home." He gave her a quick kiss and took off.

Liz stared after him as he left, feeling lost. What had just happened? One minute he was all flirty, and the next...freaked.

"Liz?" She spun, coming face to face with Maria and Alex.

"Hi, guys!" She made a weak attempt at nonchalance.

"Spill!"
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Max sat at the kitchen table, trying to concentrate on his Biology homework. But Biology reminded him of Liz, and Liz reminded him of that kiss...

Her first kiss. He had been her first kiss.

Max smiled to himself, then shook himself out of it. Biology. Think Biology. I hate Biology! He frowned.

"Is something wrong, Maxie?"

"No, Mom."

"Are you sure?" He looked at her.

"Well..."

"Yes?"

"There's this girl. That at I like. A lot. And I've never really felt this way before...I don't know what to do!"

"But Max, you've had plenty of girlfriends. A new one every week, come to think of it..."

"I know, but Mom...This is...different." She looked at him.

"Well, honey...Nice girls like flowers, candy, especially chocolate. They like compliments, an notes, and being treated with respect. It's the little things that define a relationship."

Max nodded, mulling over her words. Than he smiled. "Thanks Mom."
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posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:19:30 PM
Interlude One:

The weeks wore on, turning into months. The whole school was in a state of confusion over Max and Liz. His group and her group were just as much in the dark.

Max had never put this much effort into a girl. He was buying flowers and candies and jewelry for her, and, didn't appear to be getting any.

He never would have stuck around for half a year before, whether or not he had jumped her. Plus, his whole I'm-better-than-you face had worn away, leaving instead a nice, polite young man.

He was even passing Biology.
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posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:21:35 PM
Part Six:

Max frowned, concentrating on his Bio book, and then realized what he had been forgetting. He smiled and wrote the new answer in his review packet. He was actually having fun just being him, and everyone else seemed to enjoy it, too. His teachers were praising him like mad, and Ms. Hardy was about to fall down on her knees to worship Liz for bringing about this miraculous change in the school’s number one player.

Of course, it would only be deserved. He raised his head from the problems of inter-species breeding to watch his girlfriend. His smile began to widen.

She was absolutely gorgeous. There really was no other way to describe her. She was a goddess, and anybody not willing to humble themselves before her should be punished. Her hair was a rich, luxurious chestnut, her eyes deep and dark, her body petite, fitting perfectly against his body, and the way she kissed…

Even that hideous waitress uniform couldn’t diminish her vibrancy. It tried its best mind you, but the only problem he had was with the alien head apron. He still didn’t get the obsession humans had with aliens. It’s not like they were out to take over the world or anything. They had just crashed here, there was nothing they could do.

But anyway, that was off the beaten path. Back to the uniform. It was…It just, for some odd reason looked good on Liz. He’d never give another of the waitresses a second glance, but Liz, well, he just couldn’t STOP looking at her.

The cute way those antennae bobbed on top of her head, the short skirt,-if Kyle Valenti ever dropped something on purpose again, he’d give him worse than a rash…-and, the most important of all, easy frontal access. Those snaps…Ooh.

He was pulled from his thoughts as she disappeared into the back room. He sat for a second, contemplating his next move, then, with a grin, he quietly left the booth.
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Maria groaned in disgust as she walked away from the table of football players. She tried as hard as possible to still the swaying of her hips and to ignore their catcalls. One of them was already wearing a pitcher of ice water that she had “accidentally” spilled when her grabbed her ass.

The only guy she ever let do that was Michael Guerin, and even he didn’t escape a tongue-lashing. Of course, she’d really like to give him a different type of tongue-lashing, but-

“Hey! Maria, where’s our ketchup? I asked for it what, like ten minutes ago?”

She turned. “Chill, Kyle, my chica’s in the back getting it.” She rolled her eyes at him and then wondered abruptly what was taking Liz so long. She walked into the back.

“Liz,” she called, “Ketchup doesn’t take that long to get. You just grab another bottle from the shelf and go.” She looked around, there was no Liz in sight. Darn the girl! Where was she? “Liz?” She gave another cursory glance and spied something on the ground. It was Liz’s order book. “What?”

Then she spotted Liz’s apron, antennae, and scrunchie also on the floor. Then she heard a soft cry coming from the storage room. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously and she sneaked over, bypassing Liz’s belongings. She peeked in and froze in surprise.

Liz was sitting on top of a deep fryer. Her uniform was hiked up, almost to her waist, her legs spread out, and snaps unsnapped…But that wasn’t the strange part in Maria’s eyes.

The strange part was the fact that Max Evans was between those legs, and that they were kissing. A lot. Maria ducked out.

“I didn’t see that,” she told herself firmly.
<><><><>

Max deepened the kiss, pulling Liz’s soft body even closer to him. But it wasn’t close enough, it would only ever be enough when he had finally buried himself within her. He groaned at the thought of it, at the thought of making love to Liz.

It would be perfect. She was always so perfect, she always made him feel so amazing.

His hands slipped beneath the fabric of her uniform, his cool hands a sharp contrast to her feverish skin. She hissed into his ear, nipping lightly, and he smiled. Lowering his head further, he ran his mouth over her collarbone, flicking his tongue into the hollow at the base of her neck.

Moving his hands over her silky skin, he traced the bottom of her bra until his fingers were playing teasingly with the clasp in front. He wanted to rip it off of her, he wanted to reveal the smoothness she possessed, wanted to…He cupped her.

She threw her head back, her body instinctively arching into him, setting fire burning in his veins. He wanted to bare her to him, he wanted to feel every inch of her…He wanted to make love to her NOW.

Her lower body ground into his, eliciting more of a response than he had believed possible, and she whispered his name urgently. He came out of the haze he was swimming and broke away from her.

He couldn’t believe he had actually thought about taking her on a deep fryer! She deserved so much more…

She let out an involuntary cry when he pulled away, but he didn’t let go of her completely. He just held her as they both tried to calm down.

She didn’t know how it had happened. She had come back here, and then he had come back here, then his hand had touched her hair, and she had looked into his eyes, and then they had smiled at one another…And it had seemed like forever since the last time they had kissed, so…

“Liz,” he whispered.

“What?”

“Stay here, I’ll be right back.” He did pull away from her then, and Liz stared confused as he left the room. When he returned she was still sitting on the deep fryer, waiting.

She smiled as Max held up his hands, her accessories in each one. She had forgotten about them. He came back, resuming his position between her thighs, just in a less sexual way. She was wet anyway though. Max’s proximity never ceased to arouse her. It had been disconcerting at first, but now she loved it, loved her body’s natural reaction to his…

He set her stuff beside her, then slowly began snapping up her uniform. She flushed, realizing she must be looking ravished right about now. He smiled and ran his hands through her hair, she closed her eyes at his gentle touch, and he put it up in a loose ponytail. She opened her eyes again and he smiled sweetly, placing the silver antennae back in her hair. Then he kissed her nose and she wanted to cry at his tenderness.

Lifting her up, he set her carefully back down on the floor and turned her around. He snatched up the apron and his hands came around, looped it around her waist, and tied it for her. Then he moved up, his front solid muscle against her back. She could feel his reaction to her presence and she smiled at the power all females had over there counterparts.

His hand came forward, holding an order book, which he slid into the front pocket of her apron, letting his hand linger at the joint of her thigh. Heat coursed through her body again and she shivered with delight. Max certainly had his own share of power.

Turning around she tilted her chin upward, looking him square in the eyes. “Well, do I pass inspection, sir?” she inquired teasingly.

“You do indeed, Private Parker,” he teased back, voice husky, and his eyes roamed over her again, warming her head to toe, “You do indeed.”

“Well, you don’t.” She giggled at his stunned expression.

“Beg pardon?”

“You have lipstick smeared all over you.” She took a napkin out of her apron and wet it, then reached up to clean his face. “Now you’ll pass.” He stopped her when she was done and took the napkin from her hand.

“I suppose I should return the favor?” he asked, sounding aggrieved.

“I thought you said I passed inspection.”

“Oh you did, on my terms, but on your terms…” He shook his head, wiping gently around her lips, then he sighed. “I personally enjoyed seeing you looking ravaged.” He smirked, eyes twinkling with fun.

Liz threw her hands up in mock frustration. “What am I supposed to do with you?”

“Well…You could always…”

“Always what?” she asked, moving closer.

“Always…” He leaned his head down toward her lips, knowing he shouldn’t start this again, but she was just so tempting…

“LIZ!” Maria’s impatient voice came from outside. They looked up to see her leaning against the doorway, tapping her foot. “Those football jerks are driving me insane and Kyle keeps complaining about his ketchup.”

“Oh, yeah.” She bent down and grabbed the bottle off the floor, glad the glass hadn’t shattered. “Here it is.” She smiled innocently.

“Good. Now come along with me and let lover-boy over there finish cleaning himself up.” She turned on her heel and Liz started after her.

“Hey!” Max burst out, “You said…” He broke off as she shot him a look over her shoulder, smiling cheekily and winking. He stared after her for a few seconds then shook his head and headed toward the bathroom to see what else had missed Liz’s “inspection.”
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:24:33 PM
Part Seven:

Michael strode into the Cafe as if he owned the place, gave the interior a quick once-over and turned to his companion. "I thought you said he'd be here."

"He is." Isabel rolled her eyes and walked past him toward a booth in the back. "See, his stuff is right here." She slid into the booth. He looked down at the textbook and shook his head in disgust. Max was turning into such a goody-two-shoes.

And it was all that Parker girl's fault.

Izzy let her eyes roam around the diner, noting each and every patron, analyzing them and then dismissing them. Her eyes then caught sight of the object of her brother's affections.

She inspected Little Lizzie Parker meticulously, wrinkling her nose at that thing they called a uniform. She didn't understand what her brother found so fascinating about the human girl. She really wasn't that beautiful.

Not as beautiful as Max made her out to be. Of course, he went about panting after her like a puppy all day, so she really couldn't hold his opinion in high regard.

Max was making her sick these days with all those lovey dovey looks he was sending her. And the girl was human. As in not even the same species.

No human was worth making a fool of herself. Except, maybe...

Her brown eyes straying further, she watched the dark-haired young man flipping burgers on the grill. There was just something about him that drew her. Maybe it was his smile, or his blue eyes, or his friendly attitude, hell, it could even be his lean, but yummy, body...

She wasn't sure. All she knew was that she was infinitely more attracted to him than she was to Michael. But Alex Whitman was beneath her in the society's eyes, so even stopping for a brief tumble was a no-no.

She sighed, wondering why her current lifestyle was starting to seem less satisfying than usual.
<><><><>

Michael was getting really impatient. Where the hell was Maxwell? Not that he actually wanted to see him. Max would start some spiel about proper public behavior and then he would say some sarcastic, but witty, retort, and then they'd get into yet another big fight.

Tell the truth, the whole thing was getting old.

He wanted everything to go back to the way it was before. When Max slept around as much as he did and was only loyal to his group. Now it was always 'Liz this' and 'Liz that'. It was enough to make a grown man cry.

"What can I do for you?" He looked up, surprised at the sudden voice, and found himself staring into spark-filled emerald eyes.

Maria DeLuca.

The girl was on his 'to do' list. Most definitely. He'd always gravitated toward her. She was a regular firecracker, sure to be great in the sack. Probably a screamer, too, he mused.

"Michael? Hello? Mr. Space Cadet, you gonna order?" He hid a grin. Ah, the famous DeLuca tongue. She was the only female alive who stood a chance of giving him whiplash from verbal abuse. He loved it.

"I'll just have a cherry coke and a plate of Saturn Rings."

She wrote it down. "Eating light tonight, are we? Got some strenuous plans?" She grinned at him winningly.

"Well, you know. I'm on a diet, trying to watch my manly figure." He smiled back up at her.

Her eyes raked him from head to toe, and he felt a sudden hardening as her gaze lingered hotly on his crotch. "A diet, really?" She leaned in conspiratorially. "I wasn't going to say anything, but just between you and me, I'd watch out for those crullers you like so much. They go straight to your butt."

He was stunned speechless for a moment and then decided the best way to win this game was to play it her way. He smiled coolly, "How'd you know crullers were my favorite?"

She blinked repeatedly then straightened completely, blushing and not looking him in the eye. "I...I, well..."

"You know," he said, "I was thinking about exercising tonight. You want to swing by and help out?" He raised his eyebrows suggestively.

She stared at him, obviously trying to figure out if he was serious or not. When she realized he was completely and totally, actually inviting her over for a little rendezvous, she regained her composure.

"I might just have to take you up on that offer. I've been looking for a little incentive to start working out, and I've heard you've got a fabulous machine. The girls all say it does wonders for their bodies." She gave him a saucy wink and walked away, her ass wiggling invitingly.

He contemplated grabbing it, but then she'd yell at him, and even though she was as sexy as hell when she was angry, he didn't want to ruin what he just accomplished.

Yup, a quick dip with Maria would do wonders.

"You are so kinky," Isabel pointed out, then went back to sipping Max's cherry coke.

He ignored her. "Where is Max? He better not be fucking Parker right now, or I swear..."

"Michael, chill. Liz is at the register. Besides," she sent him a piercing glare, "I thought you wanted him to get it over with."

"I do, but not right at this moment," he grumbled. "I just want him to realize she's not worth the trouble he's going through, he hasn't gotten any for like five months Izzy. That kind of abstinence could kill a man," he told her solemnly.

She just laughed.
<><><><>

Max walked down the steps from Liz's apartment. He had taken longer than necessary cleaning up. Spending the majority of the time going through Liz's stuff. Okay, okay, he knew it was wrong, but he couldn't help it.

He really should have though. That little black lace concoction in her underwear drawer had sent him back into the bathroom. In fact, her whole room had just...gotten to him.

Her scent all over everything, her laughing presence haunting every corner. He had finally managed to leave, if only to preserve his sanity. He had to be able to be around her and NOT want to drag her up stairs and make wild, passionate sex to her.

He sighed heavily. "Hey." Arms slipped around his waist, and a soft body pressed against his while a sweet jasmine and vanilla scent wafted up, causing his head to spin with desire.

"Hey," he repeated. She moved to stand in front of him, and her smile turned into a small frown.

"What's wrong?" she asked, concerned.

He looked at her, surprised. "Nothing." Then he smiled. "I was just thinking about how it's getting harder and harder to stay away from you."

"So don't." She smiled prettily, and stood on her tiptoes to grant him a quick peck on the cheek. His smile increased. "My parents are away at a convention this weekend."

He looked at her sharply, expression guarded, but she wasn't looking at him. Her gaze was fixed on the floor. He could just imagine the flushed, hopeful look on her face, her tongue flicking out nervously. "Really?"

"Yeah, um..." She finally looked up at him, tucking her gorgeous dark hair behind her ear. "I was thinking, since you're going to be over everyday to study, you might as well just stay the whole weekend. Maximize our time and everything..."

"Liz, I don't know if that's..."

"Please, Max, I don't...I don't want to stay here alone." She looked so helpless and earnest, he really couldn't say no.

He really didn't want to say no.

"I guess it would okay. If I slept on the couch..."

"Oh, thank you!" She jumped into his arms, kissing him all over. Okay, maybe this wasn't such a good idea, he thought as he tugged her upward, deepening the kiss.

She was dangerously irresistible.
<><><><>

"There you are!" He suddenly found himself face-to-face with Michael.

"What?" He started gathering his things. He had to go home and pack before he came back.

"Iz and I wanted to know if you wanted to go see a movie tonight."

"Oh, I can't."

"You can't?"

"Yeah," he said, not looking at Michael, "Liz and I have to study for the Biology finals on Tuesday."

"Study tomorrow, or Sunday."

"We are." He looked at his sister. "Iz, will you cover for me at home? Tell them I went camping or something?"

"Yeah, sure," she said, waving him away. He smiled at her.

"Thanks, Isabel." Then he left.

Michael stared after him. "That is screwed up."

"Here's your bill." Maria dropped the paper on the table. "I get off at nine. Be there."

Now he stared after her. At least his evening wasn't totally shot.
<><><><>

Liz hummed happily, not even flinching when Max's sister and best friend glared at her when they paid. Nothing was going to ruin her mood.

She had been more than ready to consummate her relationship with Max for months. She was just trying to find a subtle way to let him know. This weekend would be perfect.

This weekend she was going to make Max Evans lose control.
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:28:48 PM
Part Eight:

She blew on her nails, trying to dry them, then she remembered-DUH!-alien powers. She swiped a hand over the other one and then repeated the process the opposite way. Smiling happily, she held up her hand to the light, enjoying the way the sparkles glittered. “This is fun!”

Isabel sent her one of those ‘you’re-so-stupid’ looks she was known to give to every drooling dog at their school.

“I mean it Izzy, we haven’t had a girl’s night since, like, seventh grade.”

“That’s because whenever you come over now, it’s to fuck Max.” The taller blond went back to her magazine.

“Speaking of which, where is he?” She had managed a quick peek into his room earlier to discover it empty. She was missing him. True, she had other guys to keep her busy, but none of them had Max’s prowess in the bedroom.

“He’s at Liz’s, Tess, you know, his girlfriend,” Izzy said and rolled her eyes.

Tess felt like cold water had been dropped on her. Max spent way too much time with that Parker girl. He was supposed to be hers. He was supposed to shower her with attention and gifts. She tried to maintain a calm façade. “Hasn’t he fucked her yet?”

“He probably will this weekend,” her friend replied absently, her scrutiny of the model’s outfit in the magazine was more important than Tess’ love problems.

“Well then, I expect he’ll be visiting me soon,” she thought aloud, happy. Max always came to her after boinking another human girl. He claimed she was the best, and after the bumbling attempts made by the inferior species, he needed a good fuck. She was always happy to oblige.

“I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Her head shot up from another critical examination of her nails, were they too sparkly? “What do you mean?” she asked, alarmed.

Isabel shrugged. “You said it yourself. He’s been acting weird since she came. I mean, God, have you seen the way he follows her around, and the money he’s spent on her? And, ack, the gooey way they stare at each other? It’s so disgustingly sweet I want to hurl. No. Mark my words Tess, Max won’t be playing Liz. This time it’s different. She…she like, changed him or something.”

Tess sat in frustrated silence. Izzy was right, Max had changed. But there was no way she was letting him choose a mousy little human over her, his destiny. There was only one way to end this. She’d have to get Isabel and Michael on her side, get them to understand that Liz was dangerous.

“Isabel, has anyone ever considered the possibility that Liz isn’t what she seems?”

“What do you mean, Tess?”

“I mean, don’t you think it’s a little strange that she just showed up and all of a sudden Max is all head-over-heels in love?”

“What are you saying?”

“Maybe, maybe she’s FBI, or even one of our enemies.” Isabel was looking at her with wide eyes now.

“And what if she’s just a normal human being?”

“Then she’s human, but she’d still be dangerous.”

“How?”

“Well, assuming Max is as ensnared as you believe, wouldn’t it stand to reason that he’d be blind enough to tell her our secret and trust her to keep it? And if he does that it’d only be a matter of days until she sold us out, right?”

“Oh. My. God.” Isabel had never looked so stricken. “You’re right, Tess, he’s got in way over his head, he could…he could betray us all without knowing…” Tess smirked, she had gotten through, implanted a little mind warp and Isabel was now totally ready to back her up. Now, to get Michael, and then Max, and then get rid of the human.

“Don’t worry, Izzy, I have a plan.”
<><><><>

She locked up and turned, then let out a little shriek. “What’re you doing here?! Did you WANT to give me a heart attack?”

He looked unperturbed. “You said nine, right?” She gaped at him. He had actually been serious about her coming over. He wanted her.

Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle, she thought. “Yeah, nine,” was all she said, “So lets get going.” She walked past him, heading to her Jetta. He followed.

“Yes, lets.”

The car ride was silent, the walk up to his apartment was silent, and the opening of his door was silent. They walked in, and all hell broke loose.

“Don’t you clean?”

“Beg your pardon?”

“You should.” She gestured around at the cluttered apartment and unwashed dishes. “This place is a mess! You can’t expect to do anything in HERE!”

“No one else has complained,” he retorted snappishly. She glared at him, green eyes flashing.

“Well, I guess tonight will be a ton of firsts for you, now won’t it? You had three hours to get this place in order. Three HOURS! Where have you been? Or did it not occur to you that I liked things in order. God, you could catch a disease in this room.”

Not likely sweetheart, he thought, and what does she mean ‘firsts’? “The bedroom is clean. Wanna check it out?” She stopped mid-rant and gave him a mischievous smile.

“I’ll do that.” She walked forward picking her way over the piles of clothes littering the floor and sent a disgusted look at the half-eaten box of pizza on the coffee table. She reached out carefully and opened the door to his room. She flinched back, as if expected something to fly out of it. He suppressed a chuckle, she was too funny.

When nothing happened she made a cautious step forward, followed by another and another until she was completely in the room. It was clean, and it smelled nice too, like leather and eucalyptus and something that was all Michael. She heard the door slam shut behind her and whirled around to come face to face with Michael.

He placed both of his hands on her shoulders, then leaned down and took her lips with his. It was deep, passionate, their tongues fighting for dominance. She refused to submit like a lamb, and gave back as good as she got.

Finally, they both needed air, and parted. His hands slipped under the thin straps of her blue tank top, running lightly over her skin. He started walking forward, driving her toward the bed.

“I believe something was said about exercising?”
<><><><>

How had this happened? They had been studying, and then BAM! They were making out on her couch.

His hands moved under her shirt, caressing each portion of sensitive skin beneath his fingertips. God, she was so soft, and she felt so…Perfect. Without thinking, he stripped off the baby-tee she was wearing, eyes feasting on the flesh revealed.

He went down, his mouth latching on to any part of her sweet, strawberry skin. “Max,” she moaned, her nimble fingers working at the buttons of his shirt. She curved up into him, placing light, ghost kisses along his neck.

He felt his shirt ripped off his shoulders, but he was in too deep to care. Her body was intoxicating. He wanted more of her. He wanted all of her. His hand strayed downward to the button on her jean shorts, undoing it and the zipper quickly. Max let his hand slip inside, between fabric and flesh, until he felt her essence on his fingers.

She gave a little gasp and wiggled against his fingers, aching for more. The fire was consuming her. She wanted him in her, satisfying her. “Max,” she pleaded, moving against him again.

“Oh, God, Liz,” he gasped. All of a sudden she felt the loss of his fingers, the loss of his body on top of hers.

She sat up, confused. “Max?” she asked.

He stared at her. Taking in her shirtless state, her bra strap falling down one shoulder, her shorts hanging on her hips, her hair mussed from his questing hands, her puffy, puffy lips, the way her tongue kept flicking out, and the hungry, questioning way her brown eyes stared up at him. “Liz…”

“I’m ready, Max,” she told him earnestly, leaning forward, eager for his touch.

“I know, sweet, and you don’t know how much I want to make you mine-“

“So do it,” she interrupted. He watched her, speechless at her wantonness, as she crawled into his lap, laying her head on his chest. “I know you want me Max, and I want you, too. I want you to love me. Why won’t you?”

She was looking up at him, head tilted back, chin resting on his skin. And he knew that this was it. He had to tell her the truth. He had never been more sure of anything in his life. He had to his girlfriend what he really was.

He wasn’t thinking about the consequences. He wasn’t thinking about how Isabel, Michael, and Tess would react. He was just scared to death that she wasn’t going to accept him and he’d lose her. But if he didn’t tell her why, he might lose her anyway. He didn’t have any choice.

Plus, as much as he was afraid, he wanted to tell her.

“Liz, I need to tell you something.”
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:30:29 PM
Part Nine:

Michael suddenly found himself on his back, with the blond spitfire straddled over him. He didn’t bother asking anything, because her hands were quickly becoming a distraction. They managed to somehow divest him of his pants within seconds, leaving only a pair of gold boxers.

“Oh,” she teased, running hands over his bulging erection, making him moan. The girl knew how to use her hands. “Sparkly,” she purred, “I like.”

“Good to know, but I think I’d prefer them off,” he groaned, thrusting into her palm. She giggled.

“Somebody’s impatient,” she sing-songed, but hurriedly removed that obstacle, too. She gasped at the sight of him fully revealed. Sure, she’d fantasized, but nothing had ever…

She reached out cautiously, tracing his hot shaft with one finger. He twitched slightly, and she almost pulled away, but he was tugging her urgently upward, plundering her mouth with his.

“Maria,” he moaned, his voice throaty and needing. It almost made her lose sight of her original goal:

She wasn’t going to let him play her.
<><><><>

Isabel lay down on her bed, Tess was already asleep. She wondered why the other girl hadn’t wanted to go straight to the Parker's and rescue Max, but Tess had said he wouldn’t tell her anything THIS weekend. He would wait until he got some before trusting her. Tess said he’d probably use the promise of information to lure her into bed.

Isabel thought Tess didn’t know Max that well.

But for some reason Izzy was no longer so concerned with Max trusting Liz. She may not be fond of the girl, but she could tolerate her, and Liz did have a good effect on her brother…

He was more…real with her. More himself. And that was great for Max, it really was, but it wasn’t for her.

Right?

She considered calling Michael, but then she remembered the Maria factor, and decided now wouldn’t be a good time. So she did what she always did to calm herself down. She reached onto her nightstand for her yearbook.

Flipping the pages quickly, she stopped, and smiled. Placing one finger on the smiling picture and concentrating. She felt the small hum that indicated a successful dreamwalk run through her, and she opened her eyes.

Just in time to see Alex Whitman sprinting past.
<><><><>

He felt the heat cascading over him, following her tongue. His Metallica shirt was ripped in two, baring his chest to her, and he didn’t even have time to mourn the loss of his favorite T-shirt before she descending on him again.

Oh, baby! She was so hot! Why hadn’t he screwed her before now? He clutched at her thighs as she made her slow, tantalizing way down his body. He thought for a moment that it wasn’t fair for her to be totally dressed, and him completely naked.

Okay, not totally. “You’re…You’re not wearing any underwear!” he panted. He slipped his fingers further beneath her black miniskirt.

“Michael,” she hissed, biting down on him slightly.

“’Ria…” She tore away, and before he could yell in protest, she was sucking him again. Only this time it was farther down. “Ma…Maria…”

She grinned, taking him in her mouth again, her tongue swirling around his head. She had no idea what she was doing. Sure, she wasn’t a virgin. There was Doug Sahn in the eighth grade, and then Neal just this year, but she’d never given a blowjob before.

She figured she was doing it right though, when he began to thrust his hips upward slightly, his hands in her hair. She licked him up and down, blowing on the wet spots before swallowing him again. She felt him harden even more within her hot mouth…She felt the tightening of his balls…

And then she slowly released him, jumping off the bed and straightening her skirt. She stared down at his bewildered, pain-filled face for a moment before leaning down.

She trailed one manicured fingernail over his manhood, making him shudder. She licked her lips, watching him as his gaze became riveted on her mouth. “This was fun,” she murmured.

Then she strolled leisurely to the door and paused at his strangled cry. She turned and winked. “We should do it again sometime.” Then she blew him a kiss and left.

Leaving a confused and very unsatisfied Michael Guerin in her wake.

He couldn’t move, his erection was rock hard and throbbing. He groaned, wanting her mouth on him again. She wasn’t going to get away with this. He’d have Maria DeLuca if it was the last thing he did.

And considering how easily she had manipulated him, it probably would be. But he couldn’t just let her get away with it.

Nobody played HIM.
<><><><>

Maria was laughing giddily as she drove home. That had been way too much fun. Giving Michael a taste of his own medicine…

Of course, he wasn’t going to let it go. He’d come after her, and eventually she’d give in, but not for awhile. Not until he realized he wanted her more then anybody, that he needed her the way she’d needed him for years.

Until she tamed him.

Maria couldn’t wait to tell Liz. Her home-girl could learn a few things to deal with Max when he got too pushy. Not that he had been, but that hot little scene in the freezer room…

Not to mention the fact that Max had returned to the Crashdown with a duffel bag and Liz was grinning like a light bulb. Tonight probably wasn’t a good night. In fact, the whole weekend would more than likely be off limits.

Something was going down this weekend with Liz and Max.

For some reason, she suspected it would be Liz’s virginity.
<><><><>

She waited patiently, he looked very serious. She was trying to figure out if this was going to be a good conversation or a bad one, but she knew it was important.

It was something that could change everything.

He sat her up, looking deeply into her innocent eyes. She looked slightly scared, and he desperately hoped that look wouldn’t deepen into hate and disgust when he finally told her the truth.

She looked ravaged, her expression dazed and desiring, something he was infinitely proud of. Making him want her. He wanted to put off telling her until he had loved her properly, and she had loved him in return. He just wanted a little part of her if she did decide to turn away from him.

But he didn’t think that idea would go down well. She might think he had used her, betrayed her. And he didn’t want that.

If she was going to love him, it would be ALL of him, non-human and all…

He took a deep breath. “Liz, I’m an alien.”
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:34:58 PM
Part Ten:

He waited with bated breath for her reaction. At first she just looked at him, confused. He realized she didn’t understand what he was saying, and he started to talk again, when she got up.

“Liz?” She spun to face him, arms wrapped around herself. To his relief, she didn’t look afraid or disgusted, but the relief was short-lived. Her eyes were shiny with unshed tears, and she looked at little mad.

“Well, I don’t know what you want me to say,” she said, voice shaking with emotion, “I th…thought you wanted to be with me, but even if you didn’t, you could have at least came up with a better excuse, Max.”

She didn’t believe him. Max had never even considered the possibility that she wouldn’t believe him. “Liz…” He jumped off the couch and grabbed her, spinning her around to face him. “Liz I’m serious. I am an alien.”

She shook her head, not comprehending why he was trying to lie to her, but she met his gaze forthrightly, letting her anger show through. An anger that slowly tapered off when she realized he was being serious. He actually believed he was an alien.

“Max, it was a weather balloon, and it crashed, like, fifty years ago.”

“There were incubation pods on board, for the four of us.”

“Four of…” He sighed, leading her back to the couch. Sitting, he settled her comfortably on his lap, afraid she might take off running when he finished talking.

“Michael, Isabel, and…Tess are also…”

“Oh.” She was silent for a while, not moving, and he didn’t want to break the slight calm by saying something. “But…But why are you here now? I mean,” she looked even more confused, “Why did you come to Earth?”

“There was a civil war, or something, on our planet, and the four of us died. Apparently we were royalty and they placed our essences in these pods and combined them with human DNA and this is how we came out. So now we have to find these “enemies” that are supposedly on Earth and wipe them out before we can go home, and to do that, we have to figure out how to work the Granolith.” She opened her mouth to ask... “We don’t know what specifically it is, or what it does, but we know it’s our way home.”

She nodded against his chest, not looking at him. He started to worry again. “Liz, are you…okay? With all this, I mean.”

“It’s a little strange,” she said, finally lifting her head. “Okay, it’s a lot strange,” she conceded, laughing at his raised eyebrow. “But I think I understand.” She frowned suddenly. “Is that why you four are so…closed off?”

“Basically. It’s easier to hide, especially when you’re so different, and I guess we’ve been pretending for so long it just took us over.”

“No,” Liz said, “You’re not a player anymore, Max, and I can see behind Michael and Isabel’s masks too, but Tess…”

“Tess is Tess, Liz, she’s always been that shallow and, well, stupid.” Liz giggled and he finally smiled, but he didn’t let her out of his hold, she still might leave. Where to, he didn’t know, considering this was her apartment, but the fear was still there, irrational or no.

“But you still sleep with her,” she pointed out, sounding hurt.

“No,” he rushed to reassure her, “Maybe once, but not now, not ever again.”

“Why did you in the first place?” This whole thing was just confusing her. Her boyfriend was an alien. Way weird.

Great, the one thing he didn’t want to tell her about, his destiny. But he could tell she wasn’t going to let him off the hook, and she deserved to know everything. She did, it was only fair. He just hoped she’d still love him.

“This is really hard to talk about-“

“It’s really hard to hear,” she interrupted, “But continue anyway.”

He nodded, “There’s this thing Tess calls destiny…”
<><><><>

Isabel sighed happily and rested her head on his shoulder, letting him lead to the soft music playing in the gym. She had managed to convince him that he wasn’t late for Mr. O’Brien’s calculus exam, but he had an appointment with a certain lady for a dance in the gym.

So now here they were, she had used her powers to alter the dream, decorating the room, adding music, giving Alex a tuxedo and her a hot red dress. She felt really…content.

“Isabel?”

“Hmm?” She lifted her head, staring dreamily into his blue eyes.

“How come you’re not usually like this?”

“Like what?”

“Like you are inside. No offense, but you’re normally a bitch, you don’t let people see who you really are.”

“And you see who I am, Alex?”

“Yes,” he told her, nodding.

“What do I look like?”

“You’re beautiful. You’re afraid of exposing yourself Isabel, but you’re perfect. You’re sweet and caring, and, and…just absolutely the most wonderful girl in the world.”

“Alex…” She smiled, really smiled. He was so adorable. “Thank you.” She leaned forward and kissed his cheek gently. He gave her one of those grins that made her insides quiver and twirled her around, making her laugh.

“Isabel...” he murmured, eyes serious as he leaned down. She tilted her chin upward to meet his kiss…

“ISABEL!”

She shot up in bed to see Tess staring at her. “What?” she demanded angrily.

“You were laughing.”

“And THAT was a reason to wake me up!”

She shrugged. “It woke me up,” she said simply. Isabel gave her a look of disbelief and then growled, burying underneath her covers. Tess was just…Grr.
<><><><>

Alex woke up with a shock. He lay in his bed for a while, attempting to get his bearings. That dream…Had it been a dream? It had felt so real.

But of course it was. After all, Isabel Evans would never allow her true self to show through, especially to him. He was chess boy, computer geek, freak, and fry cook Alex Whitman. He’d never get a chance to get close to Isabel, let alone gain her trust.

He groaned. He’d never be able to get back to sleep now.
<><><><>

“There was this hologram of my mother, mine and Isabel’s, she said I was the “beloved leader” of our planet and that Tess was my “young bride” and Michael and Isabel were betrothed. We pretty much just accepted it and went on with our lives. There was no reason not to be together, it wasn’t like we actually cared about anybody. So we screwed each other and whatever other people came along and we were okay with it.”

“And then I came.”

“Yeah, you changed everything Liz. You changed the way I looked at the world. You made me care, Liz, about you, about my actions…about life. You made me feel."

“But what if I can’t…please you,” she whispered, mortified, “and you go back to Tess?”

He snorted and she looked up, surprised. “That’s not going to happen, Liz, just seeing you gives me more pleasure than being with Tess.”

“Max…”

“I’ll show you Liz.”

“How?” He grasped her chin, forcing her to look him in the eye. She looked scared, but not of him, it was as if she were afraid she wasn’t GOOD enough. The thought made him want to laugh. He was the unworthy one, unworthy of her trust, her love.

“Liz…” He leaned down, his breath mingling with hers. “Close your eyes and try and let your mind blank out.” She did as he said, and when he was sure she was ready, he kissed her, and the flashes came.
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:42:01 PM
Part Eleven:

Liz wasn’t quite sure what was happening. Max had just kissed her out of the blue, in the middle of a serious discussion. She almost pulled away. Didn’t he know this wasn’t the time to make out?!

Then pictures began to form on the inside of her eyelids. Pictures accompanied by emotions that weren’t hers.

They were Max's.

She could see him breaking out of a green pod, feeling confusion at his surroundings. She watched as he saw another small boy and a blond girl whom he felt an immediate kinship to. The little girl reached out her hand to him, silently asking him to follow. He took one look around and spotted an unopened pod, a curly-haired girl floating inside. He went to it, staring at her, feeling detached. Then he turned to the other girl. Isabel, she thought.

He was outside now, cold, but safe. The girl was still with him though the boy had run. They had seen him awhile ago, standing on a rock, but he hadn’t come to them. Now they were alone, but not really. Crunching on gravel sounding and he turned. Light washed over the two naked bodies and the big thing stopped. He was scared now, but he didn’t move. His sister trusted these two people and he stayed with her.

He waited quietly with his sister in a plastic chair, swinging his feet back and forth. He still felt uncomfortable in these clothes and with this language. It was unfamiliar, but then again everything was unfamiliar in this place. They called him “Max” here, and his sister was “Isabel”.

“Max, Izzy.” He looked instinctively to where the caring voice was coming from. It was the lady who had found them. Isabel ran to her and he followed more slowly, still wary. He was enfolded in warm arms immediately, head burrowed into the bright yellow sweater, the smell of lemons enveloped him. “Don’t worry babies, I’m your mother now. You’re safe.” He began to relax.

Tears soaked the pillow from where he had buried his head in the navy cotton. He didn’t understand this feeling of incompleteness, of being lost. This was his home now, with Diane and Phillip and Isabel. There wasn’t any other place. Not one he could remember.
She moved forward, then realized she wasn’t real. This was a memory, and she couldn’t provide the comfort she was aching to give to this small, lonely, little boy.

The door opened and his mother walked in cautiously. “Maxie?” He turned his head, wiping away any sign that he’d been crying. ‘Boys don’t cry’ his dad had said. “Sweetie, please tell me what’s wrong.”

“Nothing’s wrong Mom.”

“Honey…” She approached the bed and sat down beside his prone form, rubbing his back lightly she continued. “I know this has been hard, adjusting and all. But we love you and Isabel so much, and we want you to be happy here, with us. Now I realize you don’t remember your…real parents-“

“Mom-“ he protested, sitting to face her. He didn’t want her to think she was an inadequate mother. She was the best…

“No, honey, I understand. But we don’t know anything about where you’re from, all we know is that you’re ours now. And we hope you consider us your family and this your home.”

“I do, Mom. I love you and Dad and the house.”

“But you’re still crying every night, Max.”

“I know.” He rubbed his head in frustration. “I don’t know why though, I just don’t know…why I feel so lost all the time.” Tears began to burn his eyes again.

She nodded and reached for the package she had placed on his dresser when she had first sat. She handed it to him. “Open it.”

He looked at her, and then concentrated on the gift. He unwrapped it methodically, careful not to tear the paper. When finally he was finished, he held a porcelain house in his hands. “Mom?”

“It’s a magic house sweetie. If you close your eyes and hold on to it, it’ll take you home.” She smiled down at him and kissed his forehead. “I’ll leave now. You better get some sleep mister.” Now he smiled and stared at his mother as she left.

“Mom,” he called. She paused in the doorway. “Thank you.” Her smile grew wider, happier.

“Good night, sweetie.”

“Night Mom.” He waited until she turned off the light and closed the door, then he placed the toy house on his nightstand, smiling wistfully. He really wished it could actually take him home, but he didn’t know where home was.


Liz nearly broke down right there. She felt so sad, he had been so alone…
<><><><>

Max deepened the kiss. He didn’t want this to end, all her memories, her emotions…

He had seen her the first time she met her two best friends, Sarra and Shelly. Saw all the escapades the three of them had gone on, the pranks they’d pulled, and the trouble they caused. He saw her at her awards ceremonies, her happiness at making her parents proud.

He could feel her horror when she had been informed of the move. He could feel it increase as she entered the smallest of all small towns. When she enrolled in the school and found the overpoweringly lame alien theme over EVERYTHING.

Max could feel her awe the first time she saw him. His ego swelled to enormous proportions at the emotions she was throwing at him, her happy thrill at the spark between them, at the fact that he was interested in her of all people.

She was confused when her new friends warned her to stay away from him. When they told her he was a player. The shock of Michael’s bet and the inner struggle inside her of who to believe. She was caught up in a war between society’s views of him and the demands her heart was making.

He knew, with a joyous leap of his heart, that she had seen through his exterior mask easily, piercing him to the very core of his being. She had seen a lost, lonely boy in need of love that she was more than willing to give.

A small jolt of awareness seeped into him from the connection. It was Liz, reaching out for him, delving deeper, wanting more. His tongue clashed with hers and he gave his consciousness up, taking hers in return.
<><><><>

She was discovering every crevice of his life, every nook and cranny of his mind, every tiny detail of his soul. She was learning him inside and out and letting him do the same with her. This was what she had always dreamed a relationship would be, in a less odd fashion, but the complete sharing…

She knew when he had found out he and Isabel were different, when he had healed a pigeon, when they drew strange symbols they recognized but didn’t know in the sand, when they met Michael, and…Tess.

NO! Oh God, no! She didn’t want to see this, she didn’t want to see them together. It would rip her apart. She tried to pull away from Max, but he was too deeply entrenched in her soul to feel it.

She watched as he first met Tess, felt the slight flare of a connection that disappeared quickly. When he first met Ed Harding, who told them what they were, what they had been engineered for. Their past still remained a blur, but they had a future. A destiny.

They started to pull away from their human sides as they concentrated on their powers and fulfilling their destiny. They became aloof, and suddenly the other kids were seeing them as superior, as beings to be worshipped. Ed said this was how it should be. They ruled the high school the minute they stepped into the building their freshman year.

Max was so unhappy.

Make it stop, she pleaded as she saw Tess slip her hand into Max’s, taking him with her to a room, blue eyes hypnotizing, voice saying she was his destiny. His wife. She felt the awkwardness of his first time. She felt his brief feeling of completeness only to have it gone within a second.

That’s when he started playing. But none of the girls gave him the briefest amount of the feeling he craved. So he returned to Tess again and again, just for that one, lightning instant of home. But he felt nothing towards her as a person, she was just there, the only thing he had left of a place long forgotten. He began to distance himself from emotion.

Then she had come. She had swept through him like a whirlwind, leaving behind a disoriented young man with a pounding heart and sweaty palms. A nervous, stammering boy who thought she was the most beautiful creature in the universe. Liz felt giddy all of a sudden as she felt what he felt for her.

She saw all the times she had been embarrassed by something stupid she had said and he had thought that she was adorable. That tucking her hair behind her ear was cute, her blushing sweet, her plain old brown eyes were sparkling and alluring, and her pouting mouth sexy.

She began to warm all over, Max’s hands on her back burning her flesh. She wiggled closer to him.
<><><><>

He felt her body press more tightly against his and he let his hands wander down further. She felt so good.

Like home.

The flashes were still coming, but now all he saw was himself. Himself in her eyes. She loved him. He still found that an unconceivable notion. That she could love someone like him. But she did. He could feel it

He could feel it when he first kissed her. Even then, that long ago. That first time…He could feel it every time she looked at him or touched him or kissed him. It permeated into every fiber of his being.

Max could read her readiness to further their relationship. Her hunger for him to complete her the way she knew only he could. The way he knew only he could.His possessiveness of her would allow no other man to have her. Ever.

He could feel her unease that she might not be as…experienced…as he was used to. She knew he went back to Tess after every girl. Now, after every human. What if she was the same? What if she wasn’t alien enough for him? Her worry was more of that than the knowledge of him being not of this earth.

He wanted to laugh. Liz was a trillion billion times more...everything, than Tess. She was his dreamgirl, he supposed. A dream turned reality that would never fade. She was the one.

The only one.

He suddenly wondered what she was getting from his head, would she understand these thoughts?
<><><><>

He was excited about being her first kiss. He wanted to be her first everything. The thought sent trills of pleasure down her spine. He did want her! He did!

But she had known that, because he had known that, she just needed it confirmed.

She knew because she confused him. He had wanted to stay away and couldn’t. He wanted to be different, to be worthy of her attention. She listened to his conversation with his mother about how to treat a lady, his lectures to himself to take everything slow, his anger at Isabel and Michael for not understanding his need to be with her, his annoyance at Tess for clinging, and his absolute, shining bliss whenever he was near her.

He wanted to wait to make it special for her. He wanted to wait until she knew she was his forever, his only one. He wanted to wait until he worked up enough courage to tell her the truth about himself. He wanted her to know he loved her. He wanted her to accept all that he was.

He wanted her to know that she was his home.
<><><><>

They opened their eyes at the same instant, amber staring into velvety depths. Understanding and mutual love flowed calmly between them as they rested from the emotional high in each other’s arms.

“Max…”

“Liz…”

The staring contest continued, broken only by soft sighs and small, fleeting kisses. Small, secret smiles were etched on their faces, they had no need to speak.

This was the afterglow of their first lovemaking.

Their souls were now one.

The kiss started gentle and tender, then began to take on the attributes of their earlier passion. Sighs intermingled, hands tangled, and the kisses grew deeper.

Liz broke away suddenly, standing before him. She was still ravished and she looked like an angel. Max stared up at her. She shyly extended her hand to him and he took it, her small paw lost in his larger one. He got to his feet. They stood for a moment, eyes locked, making a decision.

She led him toward her bedroom and he followed wordlessly.
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:46:15 PM
Part Twelve:

“Where the hell have you been?”

Maria paused at the sound of her mother’s voice. She turned around and immediately lost her bouncy, giggling self. Mom was definitely not a happy camper.

“What?” she asked, trying to play innocent. That’s right, ‘Ria, she told herself, keep them big green eyes of yours wide open, remember to look innocent.

“It’s eleven THIRTY, Maria, your curfew is eleven. ELEVEN! Not eleven THIRTY!”

“Mom, chill,” she said alarmed at her mother’s attitude. Then she took full stock of her appearance. Her hair was mussed, her robe hanging loosely, and she looked like a cross between frantically worried and mad as hell, and that was not a good thing. In fact a mad Amy DeLuca was a very bad thing.

“Chill? You want me to CHILL?!” She tried to say something, but her mom wouldn’t hear of it. “No, Maria, no excuses.” Amy took a deep breath. “Just tell me. Is it drugs?”

“No, Mom!”

“Oh thank God.” She smiled at her daughter and pulled her into a hug. Maria breathed a sigh of relief.

“I’m going to bed, okay? I have to work at seven tomorrow. Mr. Parker is a slave driver!” She kissed her mom’s cheek and headed down the hall to her neatly cluttered room.

“Maria.” Again she stopped and turned. Her mother was eyeing her miniskirt suspiciously. She nervously tugged it down a little further. “Is it a boy, Maria? Are you having sex?” the last bit was said in a dreaded whisper.

Maria said nothing.

Amy’s expression became horrified. “Maria! Oh my God, my baby girl is having sex!”

“No, Mom. I’m not having sex. I’m not, I swear.” She held up her hand in the Girl Scout promise. Innocent eyes, innocent eyes, innocent eyes…It was technically true. She hadn’t had sex since the beginning of the year, and what she had done to Michael couldn’t officially be termed sex.

Her mom kept up the staring contest and Maria kept up the innocent eyes. Finally Amy relented. “All right, Maria, I know you wouldn’t do that. I just get scared sometimes. You’re my baby girl, I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did. I don’t want you to wind up pregnant and alone by eighteen.”

“I won’t, Mom.”

“I know sweetie, I know you wouldn’t do that to me.” She wrapped an arm around her beautiful daughter. “I trust you. I want you to know that, Maria. And I don’t want you to think I pressuring you to abstain from boys, just wait. Until you’re about thirty, okay?”

Maria laughed and hugged her mother again. “I promise.” She paused and then turned back suddenly for another embrace. “I love you, Mommy,” she whispered, then ran down the hall to her room.
<><><><>

Alex shoved his hands in his pocket, his guitar strapped to his back. He was walking. Not sure where to yet, but he was walking.

That dream had done him in. He hated dreaming about Isabel Evans, he could never get back to sleep again. So the nighttime walks had become routine. He wandered aimlessly around Roswell and tried to forget feeling Isabel’s body, or the sound of her voice, or the fact that dream-Isabel was the real Isabel he saw inside the Ice Princess.

He sighed and stopped, looking around. Roswell Elementary it was. He started for the playground.
<><><><>

Isabel Evans was NOT in a good mood. She jammed the pillow more firmly over her head, trying to drown out the sounds of Tess snoring. No wonder Max always left in the middle of the night. She sounded like a fucking foghorn.

“Stupid bitch,” she muttered and got out of her bed. She grabbed a sweatshirt and put it over her jammie top and then, not bothering to be quiet, even though it appeared Tess could sleep through this but not giggling, and opened the window. Making sure her drawstrings were secure, she slid out and shot Tess one more disgusted look before climbing down the tree and walking away from her house.

She shivered and hunched further into herself, it was chilly. Of course, Max wasn’t here…She looked left, then right, then behind and touched one hand to her nose. In a second she was warm and toasty. Thank you supernatural powers.

She smiled now and continued on with a bounce in her step. She was just passing the old elementary school, where even then she had reigned supreme, when the soft sound of music reached her ears.

Isabel paused, staring through the chain link fence at the darkened playground. She wasn’t imagining things, someone was in there. Someone who could make beautiful music. Almost in a trance, she wandered over to the gate and slipped through the gap in the two halves. She headed over to the merry-go-round, where the sound was coming from.

She stopped dead in her tracks and hid suddenly behind a tree, her heart beating unnaturally loud. She peered back out at the merry-go-round, at the dark head that was bent over a guitar, lightly strumming. What was Alex Whitman doing here???

Oh well, it didn’t matter, she was leaving. Isabel turned to leave, but the throaty sound of his voice stopped her. He was singing the song from their dream. Oh God…She swung back around.

“I’ve been watching you and all you do, for quite sometime…”

“Knowing all the ins and outs of you, I should of known what was on your mind…” Oh God! What had made her do that?
<><><><>

Alex stood up abruptly, surprised when the feminine voice had joined his, and found himself staring straight at Isabel Evans. The Isabel Evans, the one he had been dreaming about, the one that had sent him out here in the middle of the night. Miss Ice Princess herself, and…

She looked embarrassed.

That, of course, was obviously a devious trick his mind had played on him to cover up for his embarrassment, because Isabel Evans never got embarrassed.

“Uh, Isabel, hi,” he said lamely.

“Hi Alex.” She knew his name! Wow. Isabel Evans knew his name. This had to be another dream. “You look confused,” she told him, walking over to where he still stood.

“Oh,” he snapped out of his trance, smiling at her nervously, “Um, no?” Great Whitman, real suave, he thought sarcastically. She moved past him, sitting on the spot he had just vacated.

“’Let Me In’?” she asked, patting the area next to her.

“Uh, yea,” he sat eagerly, “Save Ferris is awesome.”

She nodded in agreement, smiling at him, and he felt his stomach drop to his feet. “It’s one of my favorite songs.”

“Mine too,” he was nodding stupidly and grinning, totally aware that he was making an ass out of himself, but not caring. Isabel Evans was talking to him! Voluntarily! “So, uh, what are you doing out here?”

“What are you doing out here?” she countered.

“Oh, um…” He silently cursed himself and hoped she couldn’t see him blushing. “Couldn’t sleep.”

“Bad dream?”

“No actually, a really good dream.” He glanced at her through the corner of his eye, surprised to see her smiling, almost reminiscently.

“What was it about?” He wasn’t sure, but he thought he detected a note of teasing in her voice. Did she know…No, she couldn’t, but he wasn’t going to be the one to tell her he was absolutely infatuated with her.

“Oh no, no diversions. What are you, Miss Isabel Evans, doing at an elementary school at,” he checked his watch, “midnight?”

“Tess,” she said simply.

“Tess? That’s not helping, I’m gonna need a few more clues.” She laughed, again surprising him, and he looked at her amazed. She was so different in private than she was in public, but he had known that.

“I was asleep and then SHE woke me up. She said I had been LAUGHING, as if it was some big crime or something. She’s so exasperating, but anyway, she went back to sleep and I started to, but then she started snoring! SNORING! How the hell am I supposed to sleep with a lumberjack in my room?” she explained, “So I took off for a walk and wound up here.” She looked at him. “Satisfied?”

“Quite, but if you don’t like Tess so much…Why invite her over?” Her response was a sigh.

“I didn’t. She decided we needed a “girl’s night”, but it was just an excuse to see Max, even though she knew he wasn’t going to be home.”

A slight feeling of panic came over him. “And where is Max?” he asked guardedly.

“He’s spending the night at Liz’s,” she told him dismissing the matter. Full blown panic ensued. “I think they’re finally going for it. Tess is thrilled.”

“And why would Tess be thrilled?” his was voice tight.

She looked at him curiously. “She thinks Max will come crawling back to her now.” Her tone indicated she didn’t have the same belief system as Tess. He relaxed a bit, but he had to make sure Liz would be safe. If Max Evans broke her heart, so help him, he’d break something of Max’s!

“And you don’t?” She was playing with her hands now, not looking at him.

“I know my brother,” she answered cryptically.

“And just what is that supposed to mean?!” he exploded. Now she looked surprised.

“Why do you care?” Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Have you got a crush on Parker?” For a split instant he thought she looked jealous, and then hurt, but he brushed his overactive imagination aside.

“No.” A brief flash of hope in brown eyes. Down brain, he ordered, don’t jump to conclusions. He’d been friends with girls for too long, he was starting to think like them , analyzing every little detail. His mind was like a hamster in an exercise wheel. “She’s one of my best friends and I don’t want her getting played.”

“I know my brother,” she repeated, “and I know he wouldn’t do that to Liz.”

“How do you know?” he demanded. She grinned.

“I like you all dominant,” she said and he felt like melting into a puddle of mush, but he had to be steel against her regard. For Liz. “I know because I’ve seen them together, Alex. I’ve seen the way he acts around her, the way he talks about her…She’s it for him, Alex. The way he looks at her…” she trailed off wistfully and then gave a self-deprecating laugh, “Every girl dreams of somebody looking at her that way.”

They stared at each other.
<><><><>

He started kissing his way down her neck, sucking on her strawberry skin. She tasted so good! He pulled her closer and her hands ran through his hair, her body clinging to his. These clothes need to go, he thought, but he made no move to remove them. He was too busy memorizing the skin beneath her shirt and the taste of her.

They were going to have to lay down soon, not soon enough, by his standards, but he had to make sure Liz was ready. She was so innocent, he wanted to go slow to make sure she experienced everything.

He finally slid her tank top off. He cupped her breasts through her bra and felt her harden. Oh God…He dipped his head down again, tongue trailing over the new skin revealed, his hands trying to go everywhere all at once. He couldn’t stop kissing her. Couldn’t stop touching her. She was just…Everything.

“Max,” she gasped as he continued his exploration, “I’ve never done this before…Of course I haven’t, if my first kiss…Oh God…I mean…” she trailed off in her mutterings, clasping him closer to her body.

But he finally stopped his assault, wanting anything to further implement it, but the hesitance in her voice scared him. He could feel her readiness in her body’s response and through their connection, but when he looked at her…Her eyes were so unsure.

“Liz…” His hands now cradled her head, wondering what he had done wrong. Had he gone too fast? Was her reaction frightening her? Was he frightening her?

She bit her lip. “Max…I don’t know how!” she wailed.

He felt all the air rush out of his body in relief, his anxieties disappearing. She was still worried about her inexperience. He chuckled softly and then kissed her deeply, halting all embarrassment as her tongue again collided with his.

“I’ll show you, Liz,” he whispered as he lay her on the bed, her dark hair fanning out over her pillow, “I’ll show you.”
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:50:26 PM
Part Thirteen:

He stared down at her as she lay on the bed, trusting him to teach her the ways of a man and a woman, to teach her how to make love.

The hesitance, together with the shy excitement in her brown eyes, gave her the aura of a young girl venturing into a strange new world called womanhood. The whole effect left Max feeling both very protective and extremely possessive.

Liz was his.

She was giving herself to him the way she had never given herself to another. It was an act he would treasure forever, just as he treasured the knowledge that he, of all people, held her love. Held her heart and soul.

Max reached a trembling hand into his back pocket, pulling out the condom he had placed inside as a precaution, and placed it on the nightstand beside her bed. She watched each move he made curiously, not knowing what to expect, but waiting for him to show her.

He sat down cautiously on her bed, almost afraid it would break beneath him, and slowly began to take off his gray T-shirt. He felt her helping him, tugging at the cotton fabric until it was on the floor. He looked at her, surprised by her eagerness, but her attention was elsewhere.

Small hands caressed his now bare chest, chocolate eyes trained on each muscle the patches of moonlight revealed. She leaned forward, placing soft kisses on his skin. He groaned, maybe she didn’t need to be shown so much.

Liz glanced up at him, encouraged by his moan that she was doing all right, so she renewed her efforts. Skimming fingertips lightly over his broad back, sucking at his throat and shoulders, trying desperately to bank the fires touching him had caused in her body.

“Liz…” She was suddenly crushed beneath him, her lips taken in his own. He demanded entrance to her mouth, demands which she yielded to immediately. She could never hold back anything from him, and she let the passion that was threatening her take over.

It would be okay tonight. It would be okay to give him everything. He wanted her, he loved her…

And she had been waiting so long for this night. For him to finally give in to the need they both felt for each other.

One of his large hands deftly unclasped the small, unsexy, red polka-dotted, white, cotton bra. She felt a pang of jealously with the knowledge that he had become so adept at the task by loving other girls.

“I love you,” he gasped, “Only you, Liz.”

She kissed him fiercely in response to his assurance, still amazed at the connection that was flowing between them. Amazed at the trail of glowing fire his touch left on her body. Having an alien as a lover definitely had its advantages.

She felt the slight rumblings of laughter in his chest as he read her thought, and answered it with a breathy giggle of her, before need tore at her again and she arched into his skilled hands as they kneaded her breasts.

“Max…” she pleaded, wanting more.

“I know, love, just be patient.”

He replaced his hands with his mouth, tasting every portion of skin he could get his tongue on. She was so sweet.

He could read her need through the connection as easily as he could read his own. They both needed more. He eased his hands down her slim body, slipping them between silky fabric and trim, shapely hips. In one motion he had effectively removed all clothing that had been hampering his exploration of her glorious body.

She was unaware of her sudden nakedness, still concentrating on the feelings his mouth was producing. This was all new. The furthest they had gotten was second base, due mostly to Max’s reluctance, not for her lack of trying, but he had been firm. Now she knew why.

Because he loved her.

He was stroking her gently, attempting to bring her to the edge before he began his penetration of her heat. She had been wet for him already, and the essence of her was flowing thickly, leaving him with a manly sense of exultation at the knowledge of what he could bring her to.

“Max!” she gasped. She became aware of her vulnerable state with a shock.

“No, Liz,” he told her, staying her knees as they instinctively came together to hide herself from his view. He gazed down at her, smiling gently at her mortification. “I need you to relax, sweet, I need you open for me.”

He coaxed her legs back into their original, welcoming position. He planted kisses along the inside of her smooth thighs, inhaling her intoxicating scent.

“Max,” she whispered, still embarrassed. He slid between her thighs and kissed his way back up her body until he was again feasting on her mouth. The slight stain of pink was everywhere, and he gently slid one finger into her. “Max!”

Her brown eyes were suddenly opened wide, staring at him in surprise. “Max, what are you doing?”

“I’m getting you ready for me, love.” He slid another finger in her, gently stroking, bringing on more of her honey.

“R…ready? OH, Max!” She trembled slightly, her legs clenching around his still jean-clad body. They were getting uncomfortably tight, Liz’s response to him was intensely gratifying. He took his fingers from her, smiling at the slight sigh of disappointment from the girl beneath him. “Max?”

“One second, Liz, I just need to get these damn clothes off.”

She sat up, reaching for his zipper. “Let me help,” she ordered urgently. She wanted him in her again, producing those amazing sensations that had almost made her come undone into a million pieces. She wanted him to make her reach that shining place that she had been denied.

Groaning in frustration, she realized he was wearing boxers underneath his jeans and pulled those down too. “Hurry,” she begged. He kissed her deeply and she sensed his equally powerful desire for her. She sighed and lay back down, content to wait, knowing he would give her what she craved, because he craved the exact same thing:

Completion.

Max finally managed to wriggle out of his pants and boxers and reached for the strategically placed condom. The need for the thing annoyed him, he wanted to be able to feel Liz. All of her, all around him…

But he couldn’t take the risk of her getting pregnant. Maybe in the future, but not now. They were too young to worry about kids.

“Max…” Her sweet voice caused him to harden even more and he groaned, wondering at how she made him lose control so easily. He settled back between her legs and tangled his hands in her silky brown hair. He gazed down at her, poised to enter. He could feel her want for him, but he needed her to say it.

“Are you sure?” He gulped away sudden nervousness and waited.

Her bottomless eyes were a charming mixture of trusting, childlike innocence and womanly passion. She wrapped her arms around his back, her body melting against his, and she smiled at him.

“Yes.”

One word. One tiny, three letter word that held all hope for a happy future. One small, seemingly insignificant word that brought him to the brink of insanity. Yes.

But he couldn’t give in to that out of control desire to plunge into her. He needed to go slow, to make it good. She needed to experience true lovemaking.

He pushed gently in her soft, silken body. Slowly, slowly, he warned himself. He didn’t want to hurt her and he didn’t want to scare her. This had to be perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Just like her.

His fingers felt different when they were in her, but this was proving equally enjoyable. Liz had been afraid in the beginning that he would be too large to fit in her, but she found that her body was accommodating him nicely.

“Max…” she moaned, clinging to him as he began to thrust more deeply into her tight body.

Pleasure rippled through him, and he knew he was fast on his way to falling apart, but he couldn’t give in yet, she needed to experience everything, and he wasn’t about to give in to oblivion until she had had her release. Even if it killed him.

Max suddenly met with resistance, and he paused in his steady penetration. “Max?” she queried in a love-hazed voice, “Why did you stop?”

“Liz…Love this is going to hurt for a moment.” Alarm swept through her.

“What’s going to-” He cut her off with one of those drugging kisses and quickly broke the barrier.

She cried out in pain against his lips, tears stinging her eyes. He stilled within her, and lifted his own wet eyes to meet hers. “Sorry,” he apologized hoarsely, “I’m so sorry, Liz. Do you want me to stop?”

She stared up at him as the pain that had jolted through her body suddenly became lost in a sea of other, more intriguing emotions. “No,” she told him, tugging his head back down, “No, don’t stop, Max.” She kissed him deeply and thrust her hips up as his crashed downward once more. “Don’t ever stop,” she murmured against his lips.

Max renewed his efforts vigorously, still at a steady pace, but faster, designed to bring her to the edge quicker. Her touch was burning into him and their bodies were both taking on a silvery glow, whether due to alien powers or moonlight, he wasn’t sure, but he had a hunch it was his other worldliness.

She was getting closer. She could feel it with each stroke of him, she was coming closer and closer to the precipice she had wanted to reach before. The one that had almost shattered her with sensations. “Oh, God…MAX!” she screamed, tumbling over into an endless pit of pleasure.

Her delicate body shivered beneath his, his name ringing in his ears. He felt utter joy as she came apart in his arms. The knowledge that he had produced such a remarkable response in her, that it was he she had given herself to. No other man would possess her like this, no other man would see her in the throes of ecstasy. She was his.

Mine.

It was the last coherent thought he had before plunging one last time into her depths. His release was upon him immediately and he tensed, her name torn from his lips, until the overwhelming sense of belonging enshrouded him and he collapsed in her arms.
<><><><>

He woke two hours later, not completely sure as to his surroundings. He raised his head and took in the still dark exterior of the world and the digital clock that read 4:00 in annoyingly bold, red numbers.

Who the hell got up that early in the morning?

Max grumbled further about the ungodly hour and pulled the covers tighter around himself. The earlier events of the night were still catching up with him and he sleepily closed his eyes, burying his head back into Liz’s hair and bringing her sweet, naked body flush with his.

He never remembered the fact that he had timed his internal clock to wake him up at a specific hour after sex, leaving him adequate time for a visit to Tess’s and to get home for a shower before school.

He didn’t remember because he hadn’t used it for months and would likely never use it again. After all, his playing days were over.
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:54:08 PM
Part Fourteen:

She woke up slowly, deliciously aware of Max’s naked body pressed tightly against hers. He was still here.

She heard him groan softly and turn over, taking her with him so that she was lying on his chest, her long dark hair caressing his skin. He opened his eyes sleepily and gave her a lazy, loving smile.

“Hey,” he whispered, kissing her gently.

“Hey,” she whispered back, feeling uncontrollably giddy. She bounced up slightly, peppering his face with kisses, unable to stop smiling. He laughed at her and looked at her curiously.

“Why are you so happy?”

“You’re still here.”

His eyes turned serious, but he kept a smile on his face and a teasing note in his voice. “Where else would I be?”

Her hand snaked out, coming to rest above his heart. She looked at him when he covered it with his own, and she said nothing, only smiled.

Their connection had faded, but it was still humming lightly in the back of their minds, and any and all doubts were erased.

Liz felt the need to break the soft silence surrounding them, she was filled with this rush of energy to do something. Anything. “How would you feel about a shower and some breakfast?”
<><><><>

He plopped himself down in a booth, smiling happily. He just couldn’t seem to wipe the grin off his face, no matter how doofus-like it may look, it wouldn’t go away. Of course, it didn’t have any reason to.

After all, he, Alex Charles Whitman, was meeting Isabel Evans, the Isabel Evans, for breakfast.

Oh, yeah, I’m the king of the world.

“Hey! What’re you doing here, you have the lunch rush and the dinner shift, not breakfast.”

He looked up at the green-eyed pixie he called best friend and gave her one of his goofiest grins.

“I’m meeting someone for breakfast, that is, if she shows up.” Which she might not, he considered, she had probably realized by now what a stain on her reputation meeting a geek would be and decided to bail. She-

She was probably walking through the door right now.

“The Ice Queen cometh,” Maria murmured, watching Isabel suspiciously. Alex didn’t notice, all he saw was the disdaining frown on Isabel’s face dissolving into a brilliant smile as soon as she saw him.

“And she melteth away, now leave Maria.” He ignored her surprised expression and backed off.

“Whatever you say, dude.”

He rose with a smile to greet Isabel and then they both sat down. “So…” he started, “What would you like to eat? It’s my treat, so don’t worry about paying or anything.”

“That’s really sweet, but I’ll just have whatever you’re having.”

“Oh, okay.” He gestured Maria over, but she just gave him a dirty look and sent Agnes. The old lady made her way over to them at a snail’s pace and offhandedly took their order, then she decided to go on a cigarette break. Alex and Isabel just stared after her as she sat at the counter and then looked at each other and shook their heads. “I’ll just go tell Jose.”

She nodded, smiling up at him, and he felt on top of the world for the second time that day.
<><><><>

So Alex and Isabel? She hadn’t seen that one coming, no way, no how, but…They did look kind of cute together. She wondered how it had happened and decided it really didn’t matter, just to see that smile on her best friend’s face…

She peered out the little window at their booth. Alex was just returning from handing in their order, considering Agnes was so not dependable. She felt a little guilty at doing that to him, but he had had no right to speak to her the way he had.

It was rude and mean. Maria sniffled to herself, what made Isabel so much specialer than her? Alex wanted her, the whole male population of Roswell wanted her, excepting her dad and Max, of course, ‘cause that was eww, even Michael…

Michael…

She felt guilty about leaving him hanging like that, she’d have to call him today to straighten everything out. But he had to know that she wasn’t going to let him use her like he did every other girl in this town.

She was just about to go back into the dining room when a crash of thunder sounded outside and rain started pouring, and then the front door chimed open, revealing a very wet, very angry Michael Guerin.

Uh-oh.
<><><><>

Max got out of the shower, water dripping off of his well-muscled body, and grabbed the towel Liz had left out for him. He dried himself off and stared into the mirror over the sink.

He briefly touched a hickey on his neck and another on his chest. He could make them disappear if he wanted, but he felt no compulsion to. They seemed perfectly natural, a part of him, even, something that was always there.

He figured that was because Liz had made them and she was a part of him, it was just visible proof of their bond.

He groaned, wanting to be touching her again, holding her again, inside her again. But he had to deny himself that pleasure. He didn’t have any protection on him.

That had been the one thing stopping him from inviting her into the shower with him. He knew if she was in with him that he’d take her again. His need of her was an ever-present ache…

She felt like home.

So he had suggested she scrounge up breakfast and eat while he showered and then they’d switch places. It was safer that way. Much safer.

He wandered out of the bathroom and back into the bedroom, startled to find Liz stretched out on her bed.

“Guess what?”

“What?”

“We have no food.” She gave him a sheepish smile, one that started his blood boiling.

“I’ll go down and order us something from the Crashdown while you take your shower, ‘kay?”

“Mm-hmm.” Her eyes were hooded, sweeping over his body with uninhibited desire. Her tiny pink tongue darted out enticingly, wetting her soft lips as she watched him dress. “Tell Maria it’s on the house.”
<><><><>

“Ow! Let go of me you neanderthal!” she screeched, pounding on his hand.

“Hey! That hurts! Stop it!” He cowered away from her until he was backed up into the lockers, still under her onslaught.

“You jerk! You have no right to just come in here and maul me! This room is for ‘EMPLOYEES ONLY’, or can’t you read the sign!”

“I wanted to talk to you!”

“Oh.” She paused for a moment from beating his ass. Michael lowered the hand that was protecting his head, hoping the attack had stopped. But then she began anew. “Why didn’t you try doing it the way normal human beings do it?!” she demanded.

That hurt. It hurt more than he’d care to admit, and he wanted to inform her that he wasn’t a normal human, but she wouldn’t comprehend the implication. Golden-haired pixies had no right trying to pry into his life…

So he didn’t bother answering her question.

“What the fuck was that last night?”

“Well,” she smirked, “fuck it wasn’t.” She gave a small giggle, making him even more impatient.

“Maria.”

“Michael,” she responded sweetly, batting her eyelashes at him as she pressed him up against the lockers.

“Um…” She was too close, he couldn’t think, he needed space and some time away from those piercing emerald eyes, but…He really, really wanted her, and after last night, she basically had him begging for more.

The fact that he was at the mercy of a girl, a human girl at that, totally slipped his mind.

“I think we should try again,” he said.

“Last night?”

“Yeah. I think another attempt would be a good idea.”

“You do?”

“Yeah.”

“So,” she said slyly, “You want to be with me?”

“Well…Yeah.” What was she driving at?

“Too bad.” She pulled away from him.

“Excuse me?”

“Michael, if you want me, you have to earn me.”

He snorted. “This isn’t a Boy Scout merit badge.”

“No,” she retorted, “It’s a relationship.”

Stop. Rewind. Relationship???? Michael Guerin did not get into “relationships”. He had a reputation to think about. A reputation for being a player. Getting involved with just one girl could ruin it. He could end up a sap like Maxwell.

But…

“Fine.” She smiled up at him, wiping away his uneasiness about jumping into something over his head.

“Great!” she exclaimed, kissing him deeply, “Now you have to meet my mom.”

“Your mom?” he repeated dumbly.

“Uh-huh, she’s going to want to meet my boyfriend.” BOYFRIEND?! He was a boyfriend? He tried to concentrate on the ramblings of his…gulp…girlfriend. “And then she’ll invite you to dinner, and then she’ll give you the lecture on treating her baby girl with respect and never hurting her, and how you’re not allowed to touch me in a sexual manner, or she’ll kill you and bury you where the authorities will never find your body, and-”

This was getting to be too much, he had to shut her up…
<><><><>

“It’s quiet,” Isabel stated, “too quiet.” They were staring at the door to the back room with fear in their eyes. Michael had torn back there after Maria had let out a squeak, that had been twenty minutes ago. Now, an eerie silence had descended over the two occupants in the back booth. “Do you think she killed him?”

“I’ve learned not to put anything past Maria when she’s in Hurricane DeLuca mode,” Alex said knowledgeable, wisely nodding his head. With glasses, he’d look like an owl. She found this a funny thought and began giggling.

Alex looked at her, a gleam of humor in his blue eyes and he told her seriously, “The death of your friend is not a laughing matter.”

This only served to make her laugh harder.
<><><><>

Max descended the steps to the café in a bit of a daze. He was imagining Liz in the shower. Wet, naked, slippery, and oh so tempting…

He stopped short at the sight of Michael and Maria, making out against the row of employee’s lockers. He raised one eyebrow and cleared his throat loudly. They broke apart and looked at him, Maria with surprise and Michael with…Well, he was glad their powers didn’t include death rays shooting out of their eyes, or he’d have been fried.

He turned his attention back to the blond, who was regarding him with curiosity, as if he were some strange oddity or a new type of fungus.

“You’re still here?”

That was the second time this morning he’d heard that phrase, but for some reason he found hearing it from Liz's sweet lips and husky, awed tones, better than Maria’s annoying ones.

“Obviously,” he replied, irritated.

“What do you want?”

“Breakfast. For two, whatever Liz likes, and she said to tell you it’s on the house.”

“Of course she would,” Maria murmured, “Fine. Follow me.” He followed until she stopped abruptly and pointed a finger at Michael. “You stay here, I’m not through with you yet.” Then she sashayed through the swinging door. To Max’s amazement, Michael did as told.

Max went through the door himself, a little frightened by Michael’s acquiescence, only to be confronted by the sight of a laughing Isabel.

Must be something in the water, he decided.

“Here you go.” Maria was back, filling his arms with take-out bags.

“Thanks.”

“No problem. By the way, Max…” He looked at her. “I’m thinking big tip.”
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 7:57:18 PM
Part Fifteen:

“Yum. Pancakes.” Liz smiled at her boyfriend as she dug into the meal. She was absolutely famished.

Max poured an excess amount of Tabasco on his breakfast before starting to eat. Liz looked at him curiously, she’d noticed before that he practically smothered all his food with hot sauce. Before she had thought it an odd dietary quirk. Now, she wondered if it had something to do with his being an alien.

Max caught her glance and smirked. “Sweet and spicy.” She looked at him politely. “We all like things extremely sweet mixed with extremely spicy. Now Tabasco,” he picked up the bottle and waved it around, “is the perfect compliment to most meals. Michael and I prefer it. Izzy and Tess put it on some things, but they lean more towards sugar.”

“Must be a girl thing,” Liz said, nodding at him. It was obvious he didn’t find sugar a proper substitute. “You know, ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’?”

He looked at her blankly. “Never into Mother Goose and nursery rhymes, huh?” she stated.

“We were too old for that stuff by the time we could read. Mom used to sing lullabies and stuff but…” he trailed off as he stuffed his face.

Liz shook her head. Guys were guys no matter what planet they came from.
<><><><>

“Oh. Tess. What are you doing here?”

Tess looked up from the frittata she had just reheated for her breakfast and saw Mrs. Evans staring at her confused. The older woman had a blue robe on and she was looking at her unexpected houseguest questioningly.

“I spent the night with Isabel, but she was gone when I woke up,” she shrugged, “So I came down to eat.” She gave Mrs. Evans a sunny smile, which was returned forcedly. “You know how you always say make yourself at home.”

“Um…Yes, I do.” She rubbed her neck. “But normally my children are home when you make yourself comfortable.”

“Oh, well…” Should she squeal? “Max is camping and Isabel’s…” She didn’t know where Isabel was.

“Izzy’s at the Crashdown. She left a message on the answering machine.”

“Great!” Tess stood up, wiping her mouth, “Then I guess I’ll go meet her there.” Maybe catch Max on his way out…

Diane watched the small blond walk out of the room without a backward glance and then looked at the dirty dishes she left on the table. She sighed. At least someone liked her frittatas.
<><><><>

Isabel shifted in her seat. As empty as the Crashdown was this morning, the few families that had come in all had at least one teenager with them. One popular teenager. Lower than her on the social scale, of course, but still critical to her reign as Ice Queen.

And those one teenagers were all staring at her.

Her and Alex.

All wondering what Isabel Evans was doing with Alex Whitman, the computer geek, the chess nerd, the boy so obviously beneath her.

She was suffocating under their stares.

“Isabel? Are you okay?”

She looked up at Alex. Sweet, caring Alex, and she tried to steady herself against the public ruin that would befall her. He was worth it.

Right?

“No. I’m really not. How about we get out of here?” She gave him a big, seductive smile, “Maybe somewhere more private?”

His just stared at her, then his eyes widened. “Oh,” he breathed, then blushed, “Oh, um…okay.” He rose from the booth just as the door chimed open again. Isabel ignored it, concentrating on Alex.

She couldn’t let his adorable eyes and heart-melting smile get to her. She had to do this. Just love ‘em and leave ‘em, Izzy, don’t forget your motto.

“Isabel,” a screeching voice called, and both Alex and she looked up to see a drenched Tess coming toward her. She was shaking rain out of her bleached blond hair, getting Alex’s shirt wet in the progress. A bitching out was in order.

“Tess.”

“Hi! How come you didn’t wake me up to come to breakfast with you? You were just gone when I woke up, I was worried.”

Yeah right.

“Well, you were just sleeping so soundly and you looked so peaceful…I just couldn’t bear to wake you up.” She tried for an innocent smile. Tess, being Tess, just plopped down in Alex’s seat as he gaped at her. “Besides, I ran into Alex on my way and he kept me company.” She gave him a real smile.

“Oh.” Tess finally looked at the young man. “Hi Al. I didn’t notice you.”

“It’s Alex.” He said, irritated.

“Whatever.” She waved a hand wildly, obviously dismissing him, and turned her attention back to Isabel. “So, what are we eating for breakfast?”

“Actually Alex and I just ate and we were about to leave.”

“Oh. Well, I’ll just tag along. You don’t mind do you Al?”

“It’s Alex."

“See, he doesn’t mind, Izzy.” She just stared at her, aware yet again of how stupid her “best friend” really was. “We can go to a movie!”

“You know what?” Alex said, “You two go. Lunch is gonna start in two hours and I’m on duty, so a movie’s out.”

“We don’t have to see-”

“Isabel if he doesn’t want to go, then he doesn’t have to go. I’ll meet you in your car. Bye, Al.” Then she got up and left.

“It’s Alex,” he repeated for the third time. He looked down at Isabel. “I see what you mean.”

“Yeah. We could ditch her?”

“Nah. She’d probably just hunt us down.”

“Oh.”

“I’ll see you at school?”

“Sure.”

“Yeah.”

She stood up. “Well, bye, Alex.”

“Bye, Isabel.”

“I had fun,” she told him, not wanting their time together to end. She knew that once they were back at school, she wouldn’t give him the time of day. It was obvious he knew it too. Their faces were twin expressions of regret, but his was mixed with determination.

“Me, too. And we will again.”

“Yeah,” she said, though the agreement was half-hearted. Social standings sucked.

“Bye again, Isabel.” He held out his hand. She ignored it, leaning forward impulsively, not heeding interested stares, and kissed him on the cheek.

“Good-bye.” Their was a slight tremor in her voice, and a unexplainable tear in her eye as she turned away. She walked slowly, stately, to the door, looking neither left nor right, nor behind. Only ahead.

The door shut behind her. And unconsciously she looked back through the glass, dripping door, meeting Alex’s eyes. He gave her a goofy grin and a thumb’s up and she rolled her eyes at him, but she was smiling.

The rain continued to come down in sheets as she made her way to her car. She had parked it next to Max’s Jeep, which, by some lucky fate, had it’s top up, thus saving the interior.

Tess started talking before she was fully in her seat. “I can’t believe Max is still over here.”

“Yeah.” What a surprise. She started the car, heading to the theaters, not able to completely drown out the other girl’s whines.

“And Alex Whitman?” Isabel stiffened. “Can we say loser, puppy dog? I can’t believe you actually spoke to him! That is an all-time low.”

She said nothing in defense, for herself or Alex.

Slipping back into Miss Teen Princess was an easy adjustment, after all, she’d lost little Izzy Evans back in fourth grade.
<><><><>

Max swept the dishes away from the table before Liz had a chance to blink. “Where do they go?” he asked.

“You have to wash them first,” she said from her seat, amused. He turned a plate toward her, a completely clean plate. Her jaw dropped.

“Done, now where do they go?”

“Cabinet,” she told him, pointing, “Those powers must come in really handy on chore day.”

“Oh, they do.” He sat back down across from her and took her hand.

“So,” she asked languidly, “What do you want to do now?”

Max gulped, reading the desire in her voice and wished for the billion-kajillionth time, that he hadn’t decided to be a gentleman this visit.

He had originally planned on bringing no condoms. But his faith in personal restraint as well as Liz’s hadn’t been very…high. So he allowed himself to bring one, just one, just in case. He had no idea he would become this addicted to her.

Then when he had spied Michael, he had thought to ask if he had one on him, at risk of ridicule, but then Maria had waltzed back in and avoiding embarrassment was top priority.

Again, he cursed himself an idiot.

“How about we study?”

“Study?” she repeated dumbly, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, that was what we planned for this weekend, right?”

“Yeah,” she agreed, looking hurt, “Studying for Biology.”

“Exactly.” At least it’s not anatomy, he thought.

“All right. I left my book in my room, I’ll just go get it.” She got up and started walking to her bedroom. The one with her bed. Her soft bed. With satin sheets…

Max stifled a groan and watched her as she walked. Then suddenly he frowned. Was she limping? “Liz?” he called.

She stopped and turned to face him. “Huh?”

He got up, approaching her slowly. “Are you okay? You looked like you were limping.”

“Oh!” She blushed and started gazing at the floor. “I’m just…a little…sore.”

Shit. He had forgot Liz had been a virgin. Okay, so he hadn’t forgot about LIZ being a virgin, he was well aware of that fact, he had just forgot about the after effect of a virgin’s first time.

“Oh, Liz,” he felt so guilty, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t think about…”

She looked up alarmed, “I thought it was normal! A book-”

“No, no, it’s normal.” She seemed to relax. “It’s just that I didn’t even remember…If I had, I would’ve healed you right away.”

“Healed…”

Max reached down, his fingers slipping between skin and fabric, his hand was cupping her heat, fingertips skimming silky thighs. Liz widened her legs, letting out a small moan, clinging to his shoulders as she swayed.

He opened their connection and reached for her hurt with his powers, soothing over the ache. Then he removed his hand, gripping her firmly around her waist as she steadied herself against him.

“How’s that?” he asked anxiously.

“Better,” she said, voice muffled in his T-shirt. She lifted her head, fathomless brown eyes begging for him, for his touch… “Max.”

For one weak instant he was going to cave. To give into the promise of unimaginable pleasure and damn the consequences, but he regained control. He couldn’t submit Liz to that type of commitment without her knowledge.

Stupid, Max, he told himself, only bring one condom…Moron!

“So…Biology?” he suggested.
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:01:38 PM
Part Sisteen:

“Mom? Hey…”

“Maria, honey, aren’t you supposed to be working?”

“I’m on break right now, so anyway, I have the most amazing news to tell you…” she paused, to add dramatic effect, but a low rumble from the other end of the phone put her good news on hold. “Mother, is there a man with you?” she demanded.

“Oh, no, Maria.” Her mom gave a high-pitched, so obviously fake laugh, “What would make you say that?”

“I don’t know, maybe the fact that I heard a man’s laugh through the phone…”

“Oh, no, sweetie, it’s just Jim. You know Jim.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Of course you do, honey, he’s Kyle’s dad.”

"SHERIFF VALENTI!!!" she screeched, “You’re going out with the SHERIFF?! Are you insane, Mother?!” She started hyperventilating.

“Maria…Maria, sweetie…MARIA! Calm down! Breathe…That’s it, deep breaths…”

She closed her eyes and pulled out the small amber vial in her apron pocket. Uncorking it, she took a sniff and imagined herself in a forest, a large cedar forest…the calming scent flowed through her system and she felt up to relaying her concerns to her mother.

“Mom, listen to me, okay? You cannot date the Sheriff, I don’t know how much I can stress that fact. You can’t do that, Mom, you can’t do that to me. Do you realize what will happen if word of this leaks out? Do you?! I could be facing social ruin! I could end up lower than Barnaby Shamus! And he has braces and thick glasses and pimples and he never washes his hair and he drools and smells and…and…Mom, please…pretty, pretty please, don’t make me go through that…”

“Maria, stop. You make it sound like the plague-”

“IT ISSSSS!" she wailed.

She heard her mother sigh. “We’ll discuss this later, Maria, at home. Now what did you want to tell me?”

“What?”

“What did you call me for?”

“Oh! Oh, right. I wanted to know if I could bring Michael home for dinner.”

“Michael who?”

“Michael Guerin, Mom.”

“Oh, isn’t that the boy you’ve had a crush on since you knew what crushes were?”

“Yes, Mom.” Let the teasing begin, she thought as Amy started squealing.

“When did this happen?”

“Just today…I cornered him and made him admit he liked me and then conned him into agreeing he’d be my boyfriend.”

“That’s my girl!”

“So…Can I?”

“Bring him to dinner tonight? No-”

“Mom!”

“I’m sorry honey, but I told Jim we’d have dinner at his house, Michael can eat over tomorrow.”

“I can’t eat at HIS house…”

“Maria,” her mom’s voice held a touch of warning.

“Fine,” she said shortly.

“Fabulous! Be home by six. I love you, sweetie.”

“Love you, too, Mom. Bye.” Static from the storm was prompting a faster end to their conversation.

“Bye, Maria, and honey…”

“What, Mom?”

“No sex.”

The click of a phone being placed back in its cradle echoed through the line as Maria yelled, “MOM!” She harrumphed and shut her cell, very much annoyed with her mother, and walked back out into the main dining room. Every face was turned to her, curious and nosy. She scowled at them all and stepped over to Michael at the counter.

“Interesting talk with your mom?” he inquired, smirking.

“Shut up,” she told him, giving him a light smack on the shoulder. “By the way, you’re coming to dinner tomorrow, six-thirty, and you better not be late!” she threatened.
<><><><>

Alex watched Maria flirt with Michael from his place at the stove. He’d have to keep an eye on Mikey as well as Max, it seemed. He sighed, big brother types had a lot of work cut out for them. He hoped Maria and Liz appreciated all he suffered through for them.

Like sitting on a merry-go-round in the middle of the night talking to the most beautiful girl in school, just to get information on Max so he could protect Liz.

His smile faded just slight as he thought about Isabel. He knew she thought they’d never have another night like last night. He had seen it in her eyes.

But Alex Whitman was determined that he and Isabel Evans would be together, hierarchy or no…And when a Whitman man decided to do something, he stuck to it!

Isabel was gonna be his girlfriend by the end of the semester.

Now, all he had to do was figure out a way to accomplish this goal. He thought about the way she smiled at him, the way she laughed…He thought about his dream of her, dancing away in his arms…Her eyes when he had told her she was perfect and that she didn’t have to hide around him…

He grinned suddenly, a broad, full-out smile that would have blinded even perky little Maria had she been confronted by it. He reached over and grabbed a napkin and a pen from the order up counter and scribbled furiously.

He had just found the one way to melt the Ice Queen’s heart.
<><><><>

His stomach grumbled hungrily and he glanced over to the little clock on her nightstand…It was obscured by a stack of school books. He sighed and looked down the bed.

Liz was sprawled across the end of it, her black baby-tee had ridden up, exposing the smooth skin of her stomach. His eyes roamed over it greedily, and he suppressed a groan, aching for the feel of her again.

They had been studying for a while and he was retaining little to no information on the subject at all. His attention was fixated on his sweet girlfriend. On every move she made, every breath she took, every little sigh she made…

“What time is it?” he asked abruptly.

She glanced at him sideways, smiled slyly, and turned over…her book sliding forgotten to the floor. Slowly she crept her way up the bed like a tigress approaching it’s prey. Max gulped, feeling very aroused with no way to stop it or defend himself. If she attacked now, he’d submit without a fight.

Without warning the book was snatched from his grip and thrown haphazardly to the ground.

“Hey, I wasn’t done-”

She cut him off with a demanding kiss. “It’s time to stop studying.”

“Liz-” Again, he was unable to say anything. Her soft mouth was on his, pleading for a response and he responded eagerly. His hands moved of their own violation, slipping under clothes, his mouth traveled downward, feasting on the intoxicating taste of her…

“Max,” she moaned.

What little control he had had snapped, and his mind’s protests were lost in the sea of desire and need than coursed through his body in never-ending waves. “Liz,” he growled, rolling her beneath, hands frantically tearing at her jeans…wanting them off of her…
<><><><>

The movie ended and Isabel got up, preparing to leave by herself, but Tess bounced right up behind her, chattering incessantly.

“So, what do you want to do now, Izzy?”

Isabel made a annoyed noise in the back of her throat. “Don’t you ever go home?” she muttered.

“What was that?”

“I’m going home.”

“I’ll come with.”

“That’s okay, Tess, you don’t have to.”

“But I want to. Besides, Nasedo left on one of his little “trips”, and my house is too creepy to stay in at night.”

“Nasedo left?”

“Uh-huh.” They were at the car and Tess climbed in after Isabel had unlocked it.

“He didn’t tell Max he was leaving.” She waved a hand over her front, drying off instantly.

“Oh, well, he said it wouldn’t take long. He probably just didn’t want to concern Max with it, it was so unimportant.”

“Probably,” Isabel agreed hesitantly, but she still didn’t like the implications. Nasedo had made it no secret over the years that he didn’t like Max’s pacifist views on their situation, and that he wanted to rebel against the “no killing” decree his Majesty had set upon him, but he had never just skipped out without informing his charges…

But they’d deal with that later, right now, she had bigger things to worry about. Like how to get rid of the gerbil…
<><><><>

They had gotten naked very, very fast…Max’s brain suddenly reconnected to his raging body and he stopped, pulling away from Liz as though she had leprosy. “Max?”

“We can’t do this,” he stated.

“Why?” her lower lip trembled, “I thought it was…good…last time. I thought I was good…”

She thought he didn’t want her anymore! The knowledge hit Max like a low blow. She was still afraid of him playing her…Of course, he reasoned, he hadn’t exactly been very encouraging to her hints.

“No...No Liz, that wasn’t what I meant love.” He took her in his arms, willing himself to calm down. “Last time was amazing, you know that, you felt that.” He looked down into her shiny chocolate eyes. “It’s just…I don’t have anymore protection. I told myself that I wasn’t going to make love to you this weekend…and we can see how well that turned out…but I still brought one. And we used it,” she blushed and he grinned, “We can’t make love without…something."

“Why not?” She was in scientist mode now, he could tell.

“Because you’re not on birth control…” he raised and eyebrow and she nodded.

“I couldn’t make an appointment…I was afraid my mother would-”

Max nodded. “I understand. It’s another alien thing…Sex with no protection ends up in pregnancy. It just takes the one time…”

“How do you know?”

“Michael and Isabel…Their first time was together. They’d been having these dreams and went for it, it was before Nasedo explained about our people’s reproduction cycle…Isabel got pregnant…she was only fourteen…and they were so scared. She started having these seizures and the baby aborted itself within the month of incubation time…”

“Oh my God…That must have been so horrible for her.”

“It was. She was trying so hard, but she just shut everyone out…As much as she didn’t want to be pregnant…she still wanted that baby. They had a connection, she was so devastated…She started being an Ice Queen to Michael and I then, wouldn’t let Michael touch her again, even though he was hurting too.”

“Max…”

“Family means so much to both of them. As much as Isabel tries to hide it, she’s one of the most nurturing people I’ve ever seen, and Michael, he just wanted to prove he could be a real father, not like Hank. He wanted a tie to something real…”

“Did-”

“Oh, they got past it, healed it up, they don’t speak about it anymore. I don’t think Michael remembers, Isabel either…”

“How could they forget?”

“Tess is good at mind manipulation, she can make you see things that aren’t there, improvise your memory, I think Nasedo got her to do it. He gets fed up if we show too much emotion.”

“Why did…the baby die like that?” He looked at her. She was frightened of the concept, but needed to know more.

“Alien gestation is a one-month process. But the baby can’t survive in Earth’s atmosphere, and it ends up dying without a chance to live. If an alien mated with a human, it would be different. The gestation would be longer, and the child could survive.”

“So you think you’d get me pregnant.”

“No, I know I’d get you pregnant. I can’t risk that Liz. When we have a baby, it’s going to be when we can support it and give it anything and everything it needs. When we have a baby, it’s going to be after a huge wedding and a very quiet bonding ceremony, where I make you my life mate…”

“Max…” He drew his eyes away from her wall, where he’d been envisioning their future, and back down at her. She was crying. Alarm ran through him.

“Liz!”

“You want to be with me forever, Max? You want to marry me?”

“Yes,” he breathed, “You’re my home Liz, for eternity, and I’ll be with you for twice as long.” He smiled, trailing a finger across her cheek. “Think you can stand me for that long?”

She giggled and kissed him passionately, pulling him to an abyss of pleasure that he’d never be free of…Nor did he want to be, but right now…

“Liz,” he warned.

“So,” she asked, staring him in the eye, “Lack of protection is all that is keeping you from making love to me right this very second?”

“Yes.”

Surprisingly, she smiled. She twisted in his arms and reached down into the small drawer in the night stand, pulled something out, and put it into his hands. He stared, dumbfounded, at the box of condoms his innocent girlfriend had just given him.

“Liz!” he choked out, even as he ripped open the package and placed one of the latex condoms on his quivering member. He leaned down, settling in between her thighs, and raised one eyebrow. “May I ask what, you, the adorably naïve Liz Parker, is doing with a box of condoms in her drawer?”

She shrugged, looping her arms around his neck and pulled his lips down to hers. “My boyfriend’s a player, what did you expect?” He released her lips and looked down at her.

“I’m not playing anymore,” he said seriously.

“I know,” she whispered, then gave him a very naughty smile…
<><><><>

She was on fire…everywhere his hands touched glowed silver and gold. She thrashed below him, aching for completion, her hands grappled against his back, she thrust her hips upward…wanting him buried deep within her…

“Max…” she moaned urgently.

“I know, love…I know…” The storm raging outside was nothing compared to the one in the small bedroom. The rain pounded against the small window in time to Max’s thrusts, and the thunder clapped with Liz’s pleas….

She looked up into Max’s eyes, which had turned molten gold from the electricity streaking between, and uttered a final cry of exultation, one that blended harmoniously with his…

Thunder crashed again, fierce and frightening and the lightening lit the sky, turning the world white, and the power failed. Lights flickered off suddenly, leaving her room pitch black except for the glow of their bodies and the flash of lightening outside.

“Did we do that?” Liz murmured.

“I think so…”
<><><><>

Downstairs, the entire dining room had gone silent. People sat frozen in their seats, unable to see a thing, even though it was the middle of the afternoon, the dark gray clouds had long since blotted out the sun, and now the lights had gone out.

“Power outage!” Maria called from her position behind the counter, “Nobody panic.” She looked over to where she had last seen Michael. “Hey,” she said cheerfully, “Maybe now I don’t have to go to dinner with my mom and the Sheriff!”

The sound of a match being lit echoed around in the silence following Maria’s last comment. Alex had found some candles in metal holders that had once decorated the tables. He lit them one by one, the candlelight reflecting eerily on his face. He passed the sources of light to Maria, who bustled around and put them on the tables and booths.

Alex grinned at Michael, who was sitting illuminated at the counter. “Hope you like your burgers raw, Guerin.”
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:03:28 PM
Interlude Two:

The power came back on around five o’clock, the Café was reopened, and, will wonders never cease:

Max and Liz actually got some studying done.

Tess has decided to spend the night at the Evans’ again, much to Isabel and Diane’s dismay. Mr. Evans is in Clovis, so he thankfully doesn’t have to deal with the gerbil’s unwanted presence.

Alex is working, finalizing his plan to gain his beloved Ice Queen’s heart, and worrying about the after-effects of Max’s weekend and Michael’s sudden change of heart.

Maria is also working, bopping around in her usual hyperactive manner and trying to come up with a way to get out of dinner with her mother and the Sheriff all the while wondering if Michael will let her pick out his clothes for tomorrow.

Michael is strategizing on how to get out of the trap that Maria-girl put him in. Boyfriend…Hah! Michael Guerin didn’t do the boyfriend thing. He was a stone wall, a rebel, a loner… Maybe he should wear something clean, he didn’t want Maria angry at him.

Or maybe he did…
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:11:08 PM
Part Seventeen:

“One pound ground beef, fourth a cup chopped onion, half a teaspoon of salt, one-fourth teaspoon garlic powder, half a cup catsup, a fourth cup of sour cream, and a 10 ounce can of Hungry Jack biscuits.” Liz lay all the necessary ingredients for Sloppy Joe Turnovers on the counter and then turned to Max. “Heat the oven to 375 degrees.”

“Yes, ma’am!” He grinned at her and did as she bid. “I still don’t see why you just don’t let me do it.”

“Because, I am making you dinner, not the other way around. But you can help if there’s no hocus-pocus involved. Deal?”

“Deal.”

“Good.” She nodded in satisfaction and placed at pan on top of the stove. “Now then, we need to brown the meat and onion in here and then drain it when it’s done.”

“I can do that,” Max offered, trying to be helpful.

“All right, then I’ll start on the dough.” She went into a cabinet and pulled out a jar of flour as Max turned the burner on and began browning the ground beef and onions. She looked around, and, not seeing enough room on the counter, dumped a good-sized portion of the white powder on the empty kitchen table.

“Um, Liz?” Max inquired, “It doesn’t say anything about flour on the recipe card,” he pointed out, holding up the pink index card her mother had so lovingly printed the recipe on.

She made an annoyed sound in the back of her throat and slammed the biscuit container on the table. Max jumped. "The biscuit dough will stick if there’s no flour,” she informed him as she began to separate the dough into individual pieces and place them onto the flour. Then she grabbed a rolling pin and started flattening the dough into 4x4 squares that looked more like ovals. "Don't even think about it Mister!"

Max froze, sheepishly taking his hand away from the top of the pan. “It’d be so much quicker…” He trailed of at the foreboding expression on her face, but couldn’t help but be turned on by her flashing brown eyes and flushed cheeks. “Fine.”

She smiled at him and blew him a floury kiss. He stirred the meat around a bit, but didn’t take his eyes off her. The way she coated the rolling pin with flour, the way she kneaded the dough, the way her body moved as she rolled it flat…His jeans suddenly seemed too tight and he was forced back to his duty as the meat began to sizzle.

Oops.

“Um, the meat’s done Liz.”

“Really? That fast? Max…did you?”

“No!” At least, not on purpose…

“Okaaay, I believe you.” She walked over to him and planted a sweet kiss on his cheek. “Now drain it and mix in the rest of the ingredients in that bowl.”

He sighed heavily as she turned away again and walked back to the table, her cute little ass swaying back and forth seductively…He suppressed a groan and put the meat and onions into the indicated bowl and combined it with the salt, garlic powder, catsup, and sour cream. Then he mixed it all together.

“I’m done!”

“Me, too,” Liz echoed. She smiled at him again and his heart started beating double-time.

“So…Now what?”

“Now, you take that cookie sheet and bring it over here along with the meat mix.” He set everything down next to her. “And I put a couple spoonfuls of meat on the dough, fold over the corners into a triangle and seal the edges with this fork.” She did the same thing until she ran out of dough and mixture and placed all the turnovers on the cookie sheet, cutting three slits in the top of each one.

The oven buzzed. “Perfect timing.” Liz moved the sheet over to the oven and opened it, placing their dinner inside, and setting the timer for 20 minutes. “There. Now we wait.” She turned back to Max, who had an innocent expression on his face, and noticed how flour-free the table was and how well stacked the dishes on the counter were. “Max!” she exclaimed.

He gave her a “What did I do?” shrug and grinned at her sexily. She felt her knees begin to wobble.

“Max,” she said again, but this time softer. He recognized the change in her eyes and his grin widened. She walked toward him with an almost predatory intent and she slid up against him, pressing her small hands against his black T-shirt. “It’s awful hot in here, isn’t it?” she murmured, wiping a hand over her forehead and leaving a little streak of flour.

“Awful hot,” he agreed, his arms moving around her waist and gripping the hem of her shirt, “maybe we shouldn’t be so bundled up.” She lifted her arms and he slid the baby-tee off, leaving her in her skimpy black bra and low-slung jeans. “Liz…” he breathed, kissing her neck lightly. She gave a little moan and then grappled with his own shirt, discarding it on the floor.

“Max…” She leaned into his mouth, into his caress, and let her hands trail over his spine…down to his pants, where she played with his waistband before undoing the button in front and sliding down the zipper. He hadn’t put on a pair of boxers after their explosive encounter afternoon, and his erect shaft sprung free.

Max gave a heartfelt groan as he felt her hands on him and lifted his lips from her skin to stare into her brilliant brown eyes. She kissed him deeply, her tongue sliding over his, drugging him...And then she descended downward, leaving a wet trail down his chest and pulling his jeans along as she knelt before him.

Liz was slightly hesitant as she looked up at him, his amber eyes questioning as he took in her new position. She leaned forward and kissed him gently. Max jumped slightly, as if a shock had run through him. “Liz!” he gasped, “What are you doing?”

“I’m not sure yet.” She leaned in again, touching the tip of her tongue to him and then finally taking him wholly in her mouth. He tasted…spicy, all of him, and she had a feeling she’d never get enough of the taste of him.

“Liz,” Max breathed again raggedly, as he tangled his hands in her silky hair and brought her mouth up to his. If he had let her continue her ministrations he would have been gone in a matter of mere seconds, and he wasn’t quite ready to give in yet. He reached around her trim waist and slid a hand into her back pocket, pulling out the second condom from the pack of three Liz had had in her drawer, a fact he was still having trouble comprehending.

He spun her around suddenly, reveling in her small shriek of surprise. He then proceeded to feast on the sweet skin of her neck, trailing open-mouthed kisses along her shoulder blade. She moaned softly and reached back, spearing his jet-black hair with her slender fingers.

He drew tiny circles with his hands on her stomach, pressing the condom into her free hand before undoing the ties on her jeans and pushing them off of her and onto the floor. Apparently he wasn’t the only one who had found underwear an encumbrance after their hour in bed.

Reaching down, he slowly inserted a finger into her wet heat, producing another needy moan from her. “Maaaax,” she hissed, “I need you.” He nodded into her neck, allowing her to turn around again and face him. Their lips never left each other’s as she fit the condom over his erection.

She abruptly found herself on a hard wooden surface, her boyfriend climbing on top of her, his desire thick in his eyes. Liz reached upward, drawing him closer and she felt him began to thrust into her.

Her head fell over the edge of the small, four-person table, and she saw that they had only four minutes until their dinner was ready. “Max, hurry, we don’t-” But she was cut off as his thrusts started coming faster, becoming more urgent and frenzied.

“Liz, I can’t wait-” He broke off with a triumphant grunt and went rigid against her trembling form. His final thrust had triggered something deep within her, causing the orgasm that had been pending since he first touched her.

He moved, his elbows on either side of her head, and he stared down at her love struck, starry expression with satisfaction. He had been worried that he wouldn’t be able to pleasure her this time, he had been too far gone the minute he had entered her to go slow and steady.

She felt his hand touch her cheek and then move to her hair, twirling a strand around his finger. She smiled up at him lazily, all thought of dinner banished from her mind. “It’s a good thing my grandfather made sturdy tables,” she drawled. He looked astonished for a second, but then grinned, causing her to giggle.

“Very good,” he agreed and gave her a soft kiss.

BUZZZZZ

They both looked over at the oven. “Dinner’s ready!”
<><><><>

“This is a fabulous lasagna, Jim, isn’t it Maria?” Amy looked at her daughter, eyes hopeful for some kind of encouraging response.

“Fabulous,” Maria echoed dully. She was so not going to contribute to this conversation, in fact sabotaging the whole thing would make her night.

The Sheriff smiled awkwardly. “Old family recipe, it’s about the only thing I can cook without burning. Kyle and I have been living off t.v. dinners and drive-through since…”

Maria’s mom smiled sympathetically. “I know what you mean Jim, but you and Kyle will always have a place at our table if you like.”

Jim blushed. “Well, thank you, Amy. If coconut cream pie’s included we may just have to take you up on that offer.” He gave her a slow smile, making Amy blush and giggle like a sixteen year old.

“Oh, Jim, you’re so funny!”

Maria mocked her mother to her plate and rolled her eyes. This was so sickening, she needed to hurl. A foot brushed up against hers suddenly and she looked up, startled, into the twinkling blue eyes of Kyle Valenti. Stupid jock! she thought.

She glared at Kyle and kicked him under the table. He winced. Hah! That’d teach him to try and play footsie with her! Michael would mutilate him. The thought brought the first smile to her face since the power came back on.

Kyle grinned at her from across the table, thinking he had scored with his latest attempt. Obviously more pain would be needed to get it through that thick football-filled head of his that she was so NOT interested. She glanced at her mom and the Sheriff who were oblivious to their children and then smiled sweetly at the boy.

Moving slightly and unobtrusively, she extended her long leg across the bottom of the table, rubbing it against Kyle’s ankle and up his jean leg a bit. Then, still smiling seductively, she ran her foot the rest of the way up his leg and near his crotch. His own smile grew blissful as she gave him a little rub, trying hard not to show her disgust. His breath started coming in pants and then she moved in for the kill.

“Aargh!”

She swiftly moved her leg back to her and away from his vicinity. “Kyle?” the Sheriff asked, “Are you alright, son?” Maria put a curious expression on her face, so that her mother’s concerned one didn’t become suspicious, and dared Kyle with her eyes.

“S’okay,” he squeaked, “I’m fine.”

“Are you sure, dear?”

“Positive, Ms. DeLuca.” Her mom still looked uncertain.

“Oh, come on Mom, do you think he’d admit it if he weren’t okay?” She gave Kyle a scornful little glance.

“Maria!” Amy scolded disapprovingly.

“What?”

“You know what?” Kyle asked, voice still unnaturally high, “I think I’m going to go to my room.” He stood up, wincing, and started hobbling to the hallway.

“Maria, why don’t you help Kyle?” Ms. DeLuca suggested.

“But Mom-”

“Now, young lady.”

She shoved her chair back and stalked after muscle brain, muttering under her breath. “Horndogs.”

“What was that, Maria?”

“Nothing Mom!” she called back.

She wrinkled her nose. “This is your room?” Michael’s room was so much cooler. This was just like…ugh.

“Hey, I haven’t had any complaints yet. But you’ll never had the chance to find out, not with that stunt you just pulled.”

“Oh, I’m just devastated, believe me.” She gave the room a brief once over and then spotted something peeking out from under his bed. She swooped down and snatched them before Kyle had a chance to register her intent.

“HEY! Those are mine!”

A Beginner’s Guide to Buddhism and Busty Biker Babes?”

“So,” he said defensively, grabbing the magazines out of her hands as she stared at him in disbelief.

“I think you’re a bit confused, dude.”

“Look whose talking Ms. Smell-this-it’ll-make-you-feel-so-much-better. I’ll have you know that Buddhism is very cleansing. Buddha was one smart holy man. Knew some applicable stuff…But again, you’ll never know.”

“Are you trying to make me hurl?”

“Oh, come off it, Blondie. Everyone knows Guerin got some, I just want a share of the wealth.”

“EXCUSE ME!”

“It’d be fun. You’d have a good time, I promise.” He smiled at her beguilingly.

“Are you actually coming on to me?" she demanded.

“Are you really that much of an airhead that you don’t know an offer when you hear one?”

“I don’t believe this. Michael will kill you.”

“Michael? As in Michael Guerin?”

“Yes, Michael Guerin. As in my boyfriend Michael Guerin!”

“Oh that’s a good one DeLuca. Guerin a boyfriend, I don’t think I’ll live to see the day.”

“No, you won’t live past the day! I’m outta here Buddha boy, have fun with yourself!”

She practically ran out of the room, fuming. And rushed past her mom, who was flirting with Jim, and out the door.

“Maria! Where are you going?”

“Away!” she shouted, slamming the door behind her.
<><><><>

Michael grumbled quietly to himself when the knock came at his door. He ignored it and concentrated on the hockey game. And yet, the knock persisted.

“Michael! I know you’re in there!” came the muffled cry.

His ears perked up at the sound of Maria’s voice, but he quickly shoved aside his eagerness for a scowl and got up. “This better be good, Cheesehead,” he told her as he opened the door, “The game’s just getting-”

Angry green eyes stared up at him and the only thing he could think was; What did I do?

“I HATE Kyle Valenti!” And then she stormed into the room.

“What?” What was she blabbing about?

“Kyle Valenti. Mr. Football-for-brains actually had the nerve to try and feel me up…”

Valenti had touched her.

That’s about the only thing he heard during her insane babble and it made him see red. Jock Boy had the nerve to touch the girl Michael wanted. And there was no way in hell he was going to get away with it unscathed.

“…and then he didn’t believe me when I told him you were my boyfriend! Can you believe him?!” She stared at him as if expecting him to march out of the apartment immediately and put Valenti to rights.

“I’ll take care of Kyle, Maria.”

After all, wasn’t it a boyfriend’s duty to protect his girlfriend’s honor?
<><><><>

Yum. Vanilla. She smiled happily as she began to scoop the still slightly melted ice cream into two bowls. Max was rummaging around in the cabinets looking for who knew what.

“Ah-hah!”

“Ah-hah! What?” she asked turning to look at him. He held up two bottles.

“Ah-hah, I found the chocolate syrup and strawberry sauce!”

He brought them over, coming up behind her so that her bottom was rubbing against his front and reached on either side of her to place the condiments on the counter. She giggled at him and leaned back, making his need for her flare up yet again.

She was wearing his flour covered T-shirt, which hung just a bit above mid-thigh, her bra, and nothing else. That overwhelming sense of possession came over him again as he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the top of her head.

“Oh! Max! Look what you made me do!” she cried, startled by his sudden embrace. She tilted her head back and glared at him, holding up her chocolate covered hand. He stared at it silently for a second then gave a devilish grin and brought it to his lips.

Liz turned with it and watched, mesmerized as he proceeded to lick her fingers clean. “Maaax,” she sighed and he grinned again.

“Looks fine to me,” he said. She seemed to break out of her trance and frowned at him.

“Does it?”

“Uh-huh.” He wasn’t paying attention to the conversation anymore, just to the movement of her lips, which definitely had his complete attentiveness. He really wanted to kiss her.

A coolness on his skin made him look down. A splattering of strawberry sauce dripping down his bare chest. He blinked up at her and she smiled innocently. Her tiny little hand reached out and she smeared the sauce around some more adding a dollop of chocolate syrup for good measure.

“My turn,” she said pleasantly and inched closer to him, sucking on his chest. Her tongue ran over him, driving him insane until he finally snapped and picked her up. Placing her gently on the counter, he removed his shirt from her body and stared down at her. She peered back up at him, blushing a rosy pink.

He smiled and grabbed the bottles, pouring a large amount onto his hands and then caressing her legs, moving slowly toward her inner thighs and her heat. This would be good, he knew, she was already wet for him. She was still looking at him cautiously, as if not sure what he was about. When he finally eased one saucy finger into her tight passage she straightened up as if she’d been shot.

“Max!”

“Ssh,” he scolded, placing one hand on her abdomen and pushing her back into a relaxed position, leaving a strawberry and chocolate handprint behind. Then he knelt before her and kissed her folds.

Oh…GOD!! What was he doing to her? She could feel his tongue in her, his hands massaging her legs…She was coming undone, she was going to explode…She couldn’t believe he was doing this…

Her legs involuntarily came around to circle his neck and her hands, under no order from her sane brain, ran through his hair, pulling him even closer to her. “Max,” she pleaded.

He hit her sweet spot, sucking gently, and she screamed softly, wordlessly, and slumped back against the cabinets with a small thump. He stood, her limp legs falling to either side of him and looked at her anxiously. He’d never done that to a girl before, never even had the notion, but he wanted to know absolutely every detail of Liz’s body intimately.

She gazed up at him, blinking rapidly, and then reached out blindly and he stepped into her arms. She rested her forehead against his and blushed embarrassedly, “I can’t believe you did that.”

“Why?”

“Well, Maria told me guys didn’t do stuff like that. She said they think it’s gross.”

He gave her a rueful grin. “Well, I have nothing to compare it to, but you taste like heaven Liz.”

“And you taste like the stars.”

“And how do you know what the stars taste like?” he asked, amused, and he swiftly kissed her.

“How do you know what heaven tastes like?” she countered, deepening the kiss.

“Fair enough.” They kissed some more, the combination of chocolate and strawberry perfect.

“We made a mess,” Liz informed him as the kiss ended. Max looked behind him, surprised to see the amount of ice cream and sauce that covered the linoleum floor.

“Don’t worry about it.” He picked her up again, her legs around his waist this time, and walked toward her bedroom, waving a hand over the floor as he went and picking up their clothes.

“Where are you taking me?”

Max paused mid-stride. Where was he taking her? His previous shower fantasy returned to him and he smiled. “To clean up our mess.”

“But you just did that.”

“Really? ‘Cause we seem like a sticky mess to me.” Liz blinked at him, trying to pick up on his train of thought.

“Oh.”
<><><><>

Her back arched uncontrollably when it came in contact with the cold wall of her bathroom. She gave a little moan as he used her shift to plunge deeper into her, she clung to him as he pounded into her, the warm water and steam making it all seem surreal.

They had climbed into the old-fashioned tub together, drawing the curtain around them after the water was just right. They had then proceeded to lather each other up until the sexual tension was too high.

She could feel his hands on her naked body again, gently making sure each part of her received equal amount of attention, until she had finally turned and returned the favor. He had snapped with another one of those primalistic grunts that made her feel like a cherished possession that he’d risk his life to keep, and lifted her up, supporting her with his body.

“Condom,” she managed to say over the roar of water and the rapid beat of her heart. He reached one hand out of the curtain and made a face as if he were concentrating really hard, then a satisfied grin as the foil wrapper suddenly flew into his grip. In an instant he had it on and surged into her, the force slamming her backward. She’d be bruised up later, but it was so worth it.

She felt herself expand with every thrust, shaping herself to his length and size. It had happened the three times before, but she always seemed to shrink in on herself when he slid out of her, and she no longer felt full and whole. She wanted to keep him in her always and she knew he wanted the same thing.

She’d go on birth control as soon as she could, she decided, as he moved within her, sliding against her walls and creating a pleasant friction. But she really wanted to feel him explode in her, feel his absolute abandonment…

She muttered wordlessly as she shuddered suddenly, reaching that shining height for a brief instant.

He braced himself against the wall, Liz’s form heavy with release against his. It was all he could do to remain standing. His knees were weak and all he could think about was wrapping her safely in warm sheets and sleeping.

Very carefully he turned the shower off and stepped from the tub, clutching his small, delicate angel close to him. The towels were too far away, he decided and headed straight toward the bed, stopping now and then to balance.

They tumbled gracelessly onto their little bed, bodies automatically curling into each other as Max dragged a comforter over their exhausted forms. He nuzzled her gently, one hand cradling her head, as fell asleep.

Mine forever.
<><><><>
posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:14:52 PM
Part Eighteen:

Liz stretched and turned over, cuddling closer to Max. She watched him as he slept, her eyes taking in every detail of his face. From the dark bangs curling on his forehead, his long lashes brushing his cheeks, to his parted lips. She let her eyes travel further down appreciatively over his chest and six-pack, and then pouted when the sheet prevented her from looking further.

Mischievously she reached down, pulling the cloth away from the most tantalizing portion of his anatomy, inch by inch. Max moaned quietly in his sleep and she glanced up at his face. “Liz,” he mumbled, and she suddenly felt her heart swell. He was dreaming about her.

Abandoning her quest to ravish his lower extremities, she planted a soft kiss to his lips. Then another and another, making the deeper each time, until he responded in his sleep and she slowly brought him to wakefulness.

“I could get used to waking up like that,” he whispered, tangling his hands in her hair and bringing her back down to his mouth. The kiss rose in it’s intensity and soon she was lying on her back, Max’s hard member entering her, their hands were everywhere as he penetrated deeper and deeper into her body.

Some small part of her mind screamed out that they didn’t have any protection and that she was too young to get pregnant, but the rest of her, the parts that couldn’t even dream of giving up the sensation of him inside her…Just him, no separation between his skin and hers…Those parts just drown out the voice of reason and demanded more pleasure.

He was growling incoherently, his thrusts wild, deep, and long, reaching up into her womb. He needed her like this always, free to give and take, no barriers between them…nothing but pure love making…

“LIZ! Honey we’re home!”

They froze, breaths shallow and ragged. They looked at each other with wide eyes. Her parents were home! Panic began to set in. “They aren’t supposed to be here until tomorrow!” she whispered frantically, “Max!”

“Ssh,” he warned, and very slowly slid out of her. Getting up, he tiptoed over to her door and put an ear against it. He listened outside, hearing the Parker’s voices.

“Lizzie?” Mr. Parker called. He heard footsteps and closed his eyes and prayed.

“Jeff!” Mrs. Parker screamed/whispered, “She may be asleep, leave her alone!” The footsteps receded and he let out a sigh of relief. He turned to the girl on the bed and stared at her, naked and needy on the bed and he swallowed, aware of what would have happened if Jeff Parker had caught his little girl having sex. Max would be dead.

He grabbed his clothes from the ground and handed Liz pajamas he had found in her drawer, indicating she needed to be as quiet as possible. They dressed silently and then Max headed to the window that led out to the fire escape. Liz followed him, she seemed nervous.

“What’s wrong?” he asked in hushed tones.

“It smells like sex in here,” she told him. He waved one hand over the room, concentrating on the atoms in the air, changing them to something sweeter, fresher, and then looked to her for approval. She nodded and smiled at him gratefully.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“’Kay. Love you,” she murmured shyly.

He smiled happily and kissed her. “I love you, too. Bye.”

“Bye,” she echoed and watched him as he went over the edge of the balcony. His head popped back up a second later and he blew her another kiss before descending the ladder finally.

Liz sighed wistfully and then tugged her pajamas, making them more rumpled. Like she had slept in them instead of nude. Then she took a deep breath and opened her door. She rubbed her eyes sleepily and said, “Mom, Daddy? What are you doing back so early?”
<><><><>

Max couldn’t believe what had almost happened. Looking back it was probably a good thing Liz’s parents had come home when they did, otherwise…

He shook his head, he could not believe he had let himself lose control like that. They could've wound up pregnant. But her body….It had just called to him, ambrosial and appealing…begging for his touch…his kisses…

Max shook his head and pulled into his driveway. He tried to sneak in quietly, but a snort let him know his attempts had been futile. He spun, and came face to face with Isabel. He glanced around quickly.

“Dad stayed in Clovis and Mom is grocery shopping. You’re safe, just stick to the camping story.”

“Thank you.”

“What are you doing back?”

“Liz’s parents came home unexpectedly, I’m lucky to still be living. I’m lucky they trust Liz and I remembered to park the Jeep in the alley, too, but…it was a close one, Izzy.”

She looked at him. “I’m guessing it was worth the risk?” she asked softly. He felt one of those idiotic grins cross his face.

“I’d spend an eternity in Hell for just one night with her, Izzy…It was so-”

“Okay! Okay, I get the picture, I don’t need all the lurid details. Now go take a shower, you smell like sweat. What is that? Flour?”

He looked down at his shirt and saw Liz’s tiny handprints white against the black. “Yeah,” he said, grinning again, “She made me dinner.”

“And dessert too, by the look of you.” A sudden flash of Liz’s chocolate and strawberry smeared body flashed into his head and he felt himself beginning to respond.

“You know, a shower might not be a bad idea.”
<><><><>

Tess listened to the running water and smiled. Max had come home about the time when she was leaving so she had snuck back in his window and was waiting on his bed. Naked. She figured she’d save him the trouble of coming to her when he was done washing away the Parker girl’s stench.

She reclined against the navy blue pillows, and contemplated which position to wait for him in. She finally decided to prop herself up on one elbow, facing the bathroom door, and leave herself open for his inspection.

Hearing the shower turn off she sat up straighter, checked to make sure the door was closed, and then quickly tweaked her nipples, making them harden into points. She smiled, satisfied, and waited for Max.
<><><><>

She was humming lightly under her breath as she helped her parents bring in their luggage and unpack. Her mother had said she was exhausted and had gone to lay down, so Liz decided to be the “good” daughter and do laundry. She was just throwing in the whites load when she heard her father calling to her.

“Yeah, Dad?”

“Isn’t this Max’s?” he asked, holding up a black backpack.

“Yeah, he must of left it here yesterday.” She walked over and took it from him. “We were studying for exams and then Isabel called and he rushed off. I’ll drive it over there in case he needs anything.”

“Liz…”

“I’ll be quick, Daddy. Could you finish laundry for Mom? Thanks.” She gave him a peck on the cheek and left without waiting for a reply. She snatched the keys off the hook by the door and started over to the Evans’ house.

Faith Hill’s “Breathe” was blasting as she pulled into the driveway behind the Jeep, and she sat for a few minutes listening, thinking about the way Max touched her until he was the only thing in her world. She shuddered with delight as she imagined his kisses.

Hopping out of the car she quickly made her way up the walk to the front door, Max’s bag in tow.
<><><><>

Max walked out of the bathroom with nothing but a small towel around his waist and a smile. Tess sucked in her breath at the sight of his rippling body and felt herself grow wet. She smiled welcomingly and straightened up more, making her breasts stick out.

He didn’t notice.

She pouted suddenly, realizing Max wasn’t aware of her presence. Oh well, she’d just enjoy the view for a while. She watched him as he walked over to his dresser and opened the top drawer. His sock and underwear drawer. He rummaged around in it for a moment until he pulled something out.

Tess tried to get a good look at whatever it was he was holding, but got diverted by the large tent forming in the front of his towel. She licked her lips, waiting no longer an option.

“Maaaxx,” she purred, and he whirled around, dropping what looked like a picture. His expression was one of surprise. She smirked slightly and knelt, running her hands along her body, inviting him over.

His expression went from shock to disapproving, and he frowned at her. “Tess,” he stated, “What are you doing here? And why aren’t you wearing any clothes?”

“Max,” she said unbelievingly, “Why do you think I’m over? You just finished with little Lizzie, I thought you’d need a pick-me-up. And I don’t need clothes for what we’re going to do.” She slithered off the bed, walking towards him seductively.

He frowned and sidestepped her. “Tess, I thought you understood when I told you it was over. But obviously I was wrong.” He strode over to the door and opened it partly, as if just remembering she was naked. “Please put on your clothes and leave.”

She stared at him, his face was set, the only emotion a slight sadness. “You’re not serious?”

“I am.”

“But you want me, I can see the regret in your eyes at not taking me here and now.”

“No, Tess, I regret the fact that you can’t accept that I love Liz and that you’re willing to sacrifice a friendship because of that.”

She stalked over to him, a smirk twisting her lips and pressed against him. “Friendship?” she asked, “We were never friends Max. We were lovers, we were man and wife, but we were never just friends.”

“Tess,” he protested, putting his hands on her shoulders and exerting pressure. She didn’t back down, merely pressed closer.

“I’m your destiny, Max, not Liz. Me. And I’ll do what ever I have to, to prove that to you.”

“There is nothing to-” She kissed him, wrapping her arms around him and invading his mind, so that he remembered every time he had fucked her, and she pulled him ruthlessly to the bed, pushing his struggling form down beneath her. She was determined to win this battle.
<><><><>

Liz rang the doorbell, quick smoothed down her shirt and tucked her hair back. She heard the tumblers turning and straightened up, a smile unconsciously spreading across her face.

“Hello?” Isabel said coolly, staring at Liz expectantly. Her smile dimmed, but only for an instant.

“Hi, Isabel! Max left his book bag at my house and I figured he’d need it, you know, if he was going to do anymore studying…”

“I’ll bet,” the blonde stated, and looked Liz up and down. She fidgeted uncomfortably under the scrutiny. “I’ll give it to him,” she finally said, sticking out her hand. Liz clutched the bag to her chest.

“I’d really like to give it to him myself,” she whispered, blushing slightly.

“Whatever.” Isabel shrugged and moved away from the door, heading to where Liz knew was the kitchen. Shutting the door behind her, Liz made her way to the hallway by the stairs. Max’s room was at the far end and she noticed his door was open.

Her heart was thudding in anticipation of seeing him again and she tiptoed over to the door, peeking in.

And suddenly, she felt the urge to vomit. She stared for a moment at the mass of tangled, naked limbs on the bed, and then ran, the bag dropping from her numb fingers in the hallway.
<><><><>

“Liz?” Isabel called, after seeing the other girl run past as if her shoes were made of hot iron. She picked up Max’s backpack and placed it by the coat tree then shut the door. What was that about? she wondered.

Turning back to the kitchen, she mentally prepared herself for another round of Humanities, but was brought up short when her brother came tearing down the hall, tugging on a T-shirt. “Max?”

“Not now, Izzy,” he said shortly, grabbing his leather jacket and storming out. She stared at the wooden door for another minute. What is going on? Shrugging, she told herself to forget about it, to remember that she had a 2-hour essay exam to tie in all twelve books they had read over the course of the year. But again, she was delayed.

“Tess?” The smaller blonde girl was walking stiffly toward her, blue eyes watery. “I thought you went home?” Tess just shook her head and mumbled something under her breath before leaving.

And yet again, Isabel had the feeling she had just missed something major.
<><><><>

Liz swiped tears out of her eyes and tried to concentrate on driving, but she couldn’t shake the mental picture of Max with Tess. She couldn’t believe Max would do something like that to her. He had told her he detested Tess Harding and she had believed him, unwittingly falling right into his arms.

She couldn’t believe he had played her. She wouldn't believe it. He had told her the truth about his origins, he had let her see his soul…

He had loved her.

No, Max wouldn’t ever do that to her. It had to have been Tess, one of her little mind games. Well, Liz wasn’t going to let her manipulate her that easily. Furious now, she whipped out her cell phone and racked her brain for Tess’ phone number.

“Hello?” came the chillingly polite voice of Mr. Edward Harding. Or Nasedo…this alien thing was confusing.

“Mr. Harding? Hi, this is Liz Parker, I was just calling to talk to Tess, is she available?’

“I’m afraid not. Tessy spent the weekend at the Evans’.” Liz felt her herself go numb.

“Oh.”

“Would you like her to call you back?”

“No! That’s okay, I’ll just talk to her tomorrow, it really wasn’t that important. Um…”

“Alright then, good-bye.” And the other end of the line clicked as the receiver was replaced.

“Bye,” Liz whispered, shutting her phone. She sat for a minute or two at the stop sign, unfeeling. And then suddenly it hit her and she was crying her eyes out again. It was true. What she had seen…Oh, God…He had lied to her, used her, played her…And she had gone willingly, trustingly…

She looked at herself in the rearview mirror. She looked awful. Her mascara was running, her eyes were red and puffy, and her face was all bunched up trying to stop sobbing. She couldn’t go home like this, but she needed to talk to somebody. Slowly she let out a deep breath and put her right blinker on. She’d go see Maria. Maria would cheer her up.
<><><><>

Max let out another growl of rage. Just what the hell had Tess been trying to pull back there?! It was bad enough she hadn’t stopped propositioning him, but then she just threw herself on him…

His face twisted in disgust. What he needed was Liz, and maybe another shower. Maybe even Liz in a shower…Best of both worlds. He smiled at the image in his head… Yeah, he’d go see Liz at the Crashdown, she’d make everything better.

He pulled up outside the back entrance and jumped out of the Jeep. The Crashdown was closed that day, so the door was locked, but alien powers often came in handy for that sort of thing. He glanced around the back room, and, not seeing Liz or any of her family, he headed to the stairs.

A bleary-eyed Mrs. Parker opened the door. “Oh, hello Max,” she greeted sleepily.

“Hey, Mrs. Parker. Is Liz home?”

She shook her auburn head and gave him an apologetic smile. “She went out awhile ago, I’m not sure where.”

“Oh. Well could you tell her I stopped by?”

“Of course, Max.”

“Thanks.”

“Um-hmm. Bye now.”

“Bye.” He slumped back down the steps, the door closing behind him. Okay, options one and three are out, let’s try for number two. A nice, scalding hot shower to wash away the germs. Maybe he should burn those sheets too, just for good measure…
<><><><>

Tess slammed the SUV door, then opened it and slammed it again. Fuming, she stamped her way into the large house she shared with Nasedo and slammed that door too.

“Is something the matter, Tess?” She spun in the direction of the icy voice. Her “father” was sitting at the piano.

“No.”

“Really?” he inquired silkily, “Then why are you so upset?” She remained silent. He rose from the piano and walked toward her, doing nothing alarming, but radiating menace. “What is our beloved pacifist king up to now?”
<><><><>

posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:34:28 PM
Part Nineteen:

“I’m sick of this place,” she burst out, “And I’m sick of Max Evans! I didn’t ask to be his mate, and I am tired of sitting around waiting for him to realize his destiny!”

Okay, so she was partly lying, she wasn’t sick of Max, she wanted him, and while she hadn’t asked to be his mate, she still loved the job, and it’s perks…but, she was tired of waiting for him to come to terms with her as his destined Queen. It had all been fine, Max had been hers, but then that Parker girl came around and he suddenly wasn’t happy with her anymore. And she really was sick of Roswell, it was too small for her tastes, and kinda creepy, all those green alien dolls with their big, blank, black eyes staring at her…

“Does this have something to do with the Parker chit?”

“I don’t know what he sees in her! I mean, she’s human! And not even a pretty one at that, but he tails after her like a puppy in heat, it’s disgusting, and I’m sick of it!” She was pacing now, back and forth in front of Nasedo, who was watching her impassively. Suddenly, she just couldn’t take in anymore, her mind replaying these past months like a horror movie. She broke down, weeping onto the floor.

She felt, with surprise, Nasedo kneel down beside her and put his arms around her. “It’s not fair,” she whispered, sniffling, “I did everything I was supposed to do, I was everything he wanted, why wasn’t it enough?”

“He wasn’t enough Tessy, but everything will be all right, you’ll see, I’ve got everything worked out.” He was in his “Ed” phase, she realized, the one where he actually was the loving, doting father he pretended to be.

“What are you saying?” she asked, looking up into his ice blue eyes.

“I’m saying we’re moving, so go pack.”

“Moving? What about exams?”

“Forget them, they don’t matter. Just go and start gathering your things, we’re leaving as soon as we’re able.”

She moved, standing and walking toward the staircase, running through her mind a list of things she’d need. They’d gone through this several times when she was younger, moving around a lot, but then they’d been in Roswell for so long…She hated the place, but it was the closest thing she’d had to home in a long time. Pausing, her hand on the railing, she turned back to him. “Where are we going?”

He looked at her and smiled, making her shiver. “New York.”

“What’s in New York?” she inquired curiously.

Again, that slightly evil twist of his lips appeared on his worn face. “A King worthy of you, my Queen.”
<><><><>

Liz knocked on the front door, still sniffling silently. The door was suddenly flung wide open. “Michael, you’re here early…Liz! What’s the matter, what happened?” Maria pulled her insistently through the door.

“I’m sorry,” Liz said, looking at the pretty green dress Maria was wearing, “I didn’t know you were expecting company…I’ll just go…”

“Don’t even think about it!” Maria exclaimed, she disappeared into the kitchen for a moment and when she came back out she had a tub of ice cream. “One sec. MOM! LIZ AND I ARE GOING TO BE IN MY ROOM, OKAY?”

“OKAY!” was Mrs. DeLuca’s shout from the dining room, “HI LIZ!”

“HI MRS. DELUCA!” she shouted back.

“IT’S AMY, DEAR!” was the reply. Liz turned to Maria, who shrugged and tugged her down the hall to her room.

Maria’s room was a disaster zone, and Liz meant that in a good way. Posters were spread all over the room at haphazard angles, bulletin boards crammed with pictures, her dresser was cluttered with all the essential oils and magazines, he closet was packed full of funky clothes, and discarded outfits lay on the floor. They lay down on the bed, the only clear space in the room, and stared up at the glow-in-the-dark stars pasted on the ceiling.

Liz felt her breath catch in her throat. Stars…Max had shown her the stars, they explored them together, touched them until the light and warmth filed them…She unwillingly began to cry again, the reminder of what he had done slowly destroying her.

“Oh, Lizzie, babe, what’s the matter?” Maria wrapped her arms around her and rocked her gently. “What happened, chica?” Liz looked at her, and she gulped back more sobs. She steeled herself, telling herself she had come over to Maria’s to talk, to think it through, to get a second opinion on what a lying jerk her Max was.

“You know Max spent the weekend, right?” She took a spoon from Maria and dug in, needed the cold comfort.

“Yeah,” Maria said wryly, “That’s why I didn’t inform you right away of the big news.” She waited like a second, “Michael’s my BOYFRIEND!” she shrieked.

Liz smiled, genuinely happy for her, “That’s great.” Maybe Michael would be human enough to stay loyal. Maria calmed down and studied her.

“But that’s not what you’re here to talk about. So, spill, how was it? Is he as good as everyone says he is?”

Liz blushed. “Better,” she whispered.

“Oh, I see stars in your eyes! What happened?”

“Well, the first time…” she blushed again.

“First time? You did it more than once? Wow.” The spoon was hanging from Maria’s mouth, almost ready to drop, Liz raised her eyebrow and tapped the end with her own spoon, until Maria came back down to her plane of existence.

“Anyway, after, you know, he was really sweet. But then, I wanted to do it again-”

“Honey, you should have waited, people are normally sore afterwards,” Maria interrupted.

“I was, a little, but… Anyway, he kept ignoring my hints, so finally I figured he didn’t want me, but then something happened, and, I realized he did, but something was holding him back.” She stopped.

“And?” Maria demanded.

“He only brought one condom,” she whispered embarrassed.

No way,” Maria exclaimed, “There is no way someone with Max’s reputation only had one condom. He must have been trying for sainthood to only carry one..."

Liz giggled at the thought of a “Saint Max”. “So anyway, I whipped out that box you got me for my birthday, and his eyes got so big…”

“And,” Maria prompted again.

“And we used the whole box,” Liz said simply, taking another spoonful. Maria was staring at her expectantly. “What?”

“Details, babe, I need details. Where? How long?”

“Oh, um…first time was on the bed, second also, then the kitchen table, and the shower, all like an hour or two.” She nodded, not looking at Maria.

“Wow, you christened three rooms, and the kitchen…kinky. But, I wasn’t referring to the time length, I was referring to Max.”

Liz looked at her blankly, then, “Oh. OH! Maria!"

“Come on, I mean, Michael’s pretty big-”

Liz gasped, “You and Michael did it?"

“No. Almost, but no, I have way too much self-control to let it get that far. Especially with my Mikey G. If I want to keep him, I gotta make him wait. But don’t get off the subject.” She pointed her spoon at Liz, “Talk.”

“He’s, um, really, really big,” she admitted, remembering how afraid she’d been that he wouldn’t fit her.

Maria squealed, “I knew it!” At Liz’s look she paused, “Continue, please.”

“So this morning, my parents showed up early-”

“Ohmigod, were you caught? Is that what’s wrong? Did they forbid you to see each other?”

“No, Maria, Max got out. But he left his backpack, and I told my parents he had been over studying. So I brought the bag to his house, and when I got there…” she trailed off and took another scoop of ice cream, hoping the brain freeze would distract her tear ducts.

“Liz?” Maria’s voice was cautious, “Liz, what happened?”

“He was with Tess. Naked, on his bed,” she said softly, the tears not stopping.

“Oh my God.” Maria looked at her, eyes wide, “You’re kidding, right?” Liz shook her head. “You’re not kidding. Oh my God.”

“So, what do you think?”

“I don’t know. I cannot believe this. What a jerk!”

“I know. It's like everything I see with my eyes tells me that he's cheating on me. But everything I feel with my heart tells me that he's not, that I’m just missing something. I mean, we have this connection, Maria, and everything in me, heart and soul, believes that he loves me and wouldn’t hurt me, but I saw them…”

Maria sighed and looked at her. “I don't know if Max is cheating or what, Liz, I just... I know that you usually go with your heart, so...”

“I don’t know if I can talk to him, Maria. I mean, what if what I saw was true, what if he tells me that we’re nothing…that we’re over? I don’t know if I could handle that, not after this weekend…”

“You have to figure this out, you have to talk to him. I mean, if you and Max, who have that whole...look-into-my-eyes soulmate thing, can’t make it, what chance is there for me and Michael?”

“No, Maria, do not think like that, you and Michael will be fine.” She looked anxiously at her friend, distressed that she had caused Maria to question her new romance. “Speaking of Michael,” she insinuated, “Were you expecting him tonight?”

The blonde suddenly snapped to life. “Oh shit!” She looked at the clock, 5:56. “Oh no, he’s coming over in four minutes for dinner, shit, shit, shit!”

“Maria, Maria, calm down, I should go anyway.”

“Yeah, okay, alright…” She slowly seemed to stop hyperventilating. Liz slid of the bed and took the tub from Maria and headed to the kitchen, Maria trailing behind. She placed the ice cream back in the freezer and the spoons in the dishwasher, then she turned to Maria.

“I’m going to go home now, thank you…you know, for listening.”

“Oh, babe, c’mere.” And then Maria was hugging her. “It’s gonna work out in the end, you’ll see.” Liz was going to reply, but a knock at the door caused Maria to spas out. “Ohmigod! He’s here! I can’t do this! How do I look? Ohmigod!! Liz HELP me!”

“Maria, calm down, just answer the door, okay.”

She took a deep breath, “Okay, I can do that.” But she made no move toward the door. Liz sighed and reached over, revealing Michael.

“Hi,” Michael said.

“Hi,” she replied, “I was just leaving.” She looked again at Maria, who only had eyes for Michael. “Bye, Maria.”

“Uh-huh, bye, Lizzie,” she responded absently.

Liz stepped outside, coming abreast of the alien. She stopped and resolutely went on her tiptoes. “If you hurt her, I will dissect you worse than you ever dreamed the government could,” she whispered in his ear, and then she left, not caring about his reaction.
<><><><>

Michael froze, staring after her retreating form disbelievingly. Max wouldn’t have told her… no, he decided, Max would never endanger them like that, it must just be that was the best threat a science nerd like Liz Parker could come up with. He turned back to step into the DeLuca kitchen, and was suddenly confronted by hundreds of alien head knick-knacks.

He raised his eyebrows, “Do kooks like you actually make this stuff, or do you buy it all the freak shows?”

“Nothing personal, but those freak shows keep my kooky daughter and myself off the streets.” He winced and turned around, coming face-to-face with Maria’s mom.

“Mom, Michael. Michael, mom,” Maria said.

“Nice to meet you.” And then she turned and walked back through the door into the other room.

“That was some guffaw,” his spitfire said, sounding hurt.

“Guffaw?” he asked, trying not to touch on her emotional state.

“Yeah, my mother. Great first impression.”

“Why would I want to make an impression?” He wanted to take that back as soon as he said it, but it was too late, and he watched her expression crumble.

“Because you’re my boyfriend,” she whispered, not looking at him.

“Maria…” He scrubbed his face, no knowing what to say. It was just what Liz had said, and then to be confronted with those gross exaggerations of a species…He shouldn’t have taken it out on her, and he couldn’t explain to her the problem. “I’m sorry,” he said finally, “I just…I’m nervous, that’s all.”

“Really?” she asked, finally looking at him, her eyes shining. He sucked in a breath, the green of her dress really brought out her emerald eyes, and suddenly he knew he could further remedy his mistake.

“And as you’re boyfriend,” he said, taking her in his arms, “I would like to say you look beautiful.”

“Really?” she murmured against his lips.

“Um-hmm, absolutely edible…” He kissed her softly, deepening it until she moaned, and than slacked off, teasing.

“Michael,” she scolded softly, whapping him on the shoulder, and he laughed down at her softly.

“Maria, Michael, dinner is on the table and getting cold,” Mrs. DeLuca called from the dining room.

“Coming, Mom!"
<><><><>

Maria watched, horrified, at Michael’s table manners. She exchanged a glance with her mom over the lobster, and Amy shrugged. “Do something,” she mouthed. Amy rolled her eyes.

“So, Michael?”

He looked up, brown eyes frantic, like a deer caught in a pair of headlights. “Yes, Mrs. DeLuca?” Well, at least he swallowed before talking.

“Did your parents ever teach you how to behave when you’re over at someone’s house for dinner?”

“MOM!” she shrieked.

“I never had any parents.” She looked at him startled, then remembered he had been a foster kid.

“What do you mean?”

“Mom,” Maria said again, her voice warning her mother not to push it.

He shrugged and moved some of the food around on his plate. “I had Hank, and the only time he cared I was around was when he needed something to hit.” He grinned at her reassuringly when she gasped. “When I got emancipated, I never worried about it.”

“Oh,” her mom said, “So, what do you do for fun?”

“I work security detail most nights.”

“No, I meant for actual fun, Michael.” Amy was speaking gently now, as if she had suddenly realized that this wasn’t just some boy from the wrong side of the tracks trying to get into her daughter’s pants.

He thought for a minute, sending Maria a secret suggestive glance and she blushed, making sure her mom hadn’t caught it. “I like to paint,” he admitted.

“Paint?” she perked up, interested. She hadn’t known about this side of Michael.

“Mostly abstract, but I do some landscapes too..."
<><><><>

She walked him out to his moped later that night, standing on the curb while he straddled the seat. He looked at her and then at the front window of her house, waving to her mother, who was watching them.

“You’re mom’s cool.”

“Yeah.” She smiled faintly and then was quiet. “Thank you for coming tonight, Michael, it meant a lot to me.”

“Come here, ‘Ria,” he tugged her until she was sitting on the bike in front of him, wrapped in his arms. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I want to wait.”

“Wait?”

“Yeah, you know, before we have sex.” He started, but she continued. “I just mean that there’s so much we don’t know about each other, and I want to wait, until I know you. Until you know me. I want to be sure you’re as serious about our relationship as I am, you know, I don’t want to jump in the sack with you and wake up the next morning alone. But I also need to know that you won’t cheat on me, I’ve seen what that does to girls, and I don’t want to be the one going to Liz and crying my eyes out about what a jerk you are.”

“Maria-”

But she interrupted his interruption. “And my mom…She, I don’t want her to go through what my grandma went through. I don’t want her worried about whether or not I’m coming home at five in the morning, or if I’m having unprotected sex. She wound up with a baby at sixteen. Sixteen, Michael, with no one to turn to, she was all alone, and I don’t think I could handle that kind of responsibility right now, I don’t-”

He broke the kiss abruptly as he started it. “That was to calm you down.”

“Thanks.”

He stared down at her, her green catlike eyes watching him steadily. Tugging on a strand of her honey blonde hair, he finally smiled. She was the only human he’d ever let into his heart, and he was pretty sure she’d fight to stay there. Heck, he was pretty sure he wanted her to stay there. “Okay.”

“Okay?” she echoed.

“Yeah, okay. We wait, it’s okay.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really!”

“Oh, thank you, Michael!” She bounced up and down slightly.

“Ok, Maria off the bike now, you’re gonna ruin the shocks.” She hopped up and did a little happy dance, before pecking him on the cheek.

“Bye!” she exclaimed and took off, running to the house, where Amy had just turned on the porch light.

He shook his head, her antics proved she was going to be high maintenance. He’d have his work cut out for him trying to protect her. First on his list was Valenti. Jock-boy was going down.
<><><><>

“Shit!” Max shouted, tearing apart his room, frantically looking for his backpack.

“What’s the matter?” Isabel asked, coming to the door. She raised her eyebrows contemptuously as she surveyed the disaster room.

“I can’t find my book bag, and I need to return my books the day of the exam. If I don’t have them… They’re like, fifty bucks a piece Iz, I gotta find-”

“Chill, it’s by the front door, Liz brought it by earlier.”

“She did? Why didn’t she come see me?”

Izzy shrugged, “Like I know what goes on with your geeky little girlfriend.”

“She is not a geek, and look who’s talking. Alex Whitman, Izzy?”

“Shut up!” she screamed, turning red. Then she whirled and glided runway style back to her room. Max stared after her, pleased with his victory, and then went to get his bag. Why hadn’t Liz stayed?
<><><><>




posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:37:10 PM
Interlude Three:

Max was worried. It was Wednesday, and he and Liz hadn’t spoken since he had gone home on Sunday, and he was starting to think she was ignoring him on purpose. He just didn’t know why. Maybe her parents had found out about the weekend and she was grounded? No, she would have found a way to tell him, or the Parker’s would have called his parents. Every time he saw her it was during an exam, and either she or the teacher shushed him. Something was definitely going on.

Liz was feeling horrible. She was avoiding Max at all costs. She wasted time before class and during break so that she made it to class at the last second, if she saw him in the hall, she ran the other way. Maria was scolding her, but she just couldn’t walk up to him and tell her what she’d seen, just so he could break up with her. She’d rather pretend it was a nightmare.

Michael was angry. Valenti seemed to be evading him at every turn, ever since the shocked rumor that Maria and he were going steady swept through the school. One time he had almost caught him, he had yelled “Kyle” and the bastard jock strap had froze, but when he saw it was Michael he had ran like a sissy boy. Michael, of course, pursued, but Kyle had escaped into the men’s room and he had been caught by Mr. Seligman, who had assigned him detention. The last week of school, exam week, half-day week! Valenti was a dead man walking.

Maria was happy. She had Michael and the whole school knew it. The only thing marring her days was the Liz and Max sitch and the exams.

Alex was determined. Isabel had done as he expected and snubbed him this week. So far, he told himself. When he approached her with conversation she cut him down to his face, even though he could see she was sorry. But that just made up his mind, tonight he put his plan into action.

Isabel was frustrated. Couldn’t Alex see that communication between them was faux paux? Didn’t he understand their social rift? Wasn’t he aware of the damage he could cause to her reputation? Why was he doing this to her? Why was he trying to destroy her? But, it was cute the way he wouldn’t give up. And it was sweet that he didn’t mention their rendezvous at the park and for breakfast in front of her “friends”. And he looked so good in his blue button down shirt, it brought out his electrifying eyes. Now, if only he’d unbutton the top button…

The school was speculating. Max Evans and Liz Parker seemed to be on the outs, but whose decision it was seemed to be up for debate. Michael Guerin was actually dating the strange Maria DeLuca. And Alex Whitman seem to think he could dare to contact the Isabel Evans.

No one noticed Tess Harding’s absence.
<><><><>
posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:47:44 PM
Part Twenty:

It was Wednesday night, well…technically it was Thursday morning, and he was seriously considering committing himself into an insane asylum. But no, he was doing this. He had to do this. The part of him that wouldn’t let his irrational hope die was egging him on.

So here he was, outside in the chilly before-dawn hours, in Isabel Evans’ backyard. Screwing up his courage he slung his guitar strap over his head and knock loudly on her window.

After a few moments a light clicked on, nearly making him pee his pants. Shit, Whitman, this was a stupid idea, she’s gonna think you’re an even bigger dork now! A shadowy figure was coming closer to the window and Alex shut his eyes, praying that if he kept them shut she wouldn’t be able to see him either. The lock was being opened…

“Whitman?”

His eyes burst open in shock, and he found himself staring in ridiculously beautiful amber eyes. It was just plain wrong for a guy to have eyes that girly. “Evans.”

Max Evans stared at him quietly, just waiting. “You’re probably wondering what I’m doing here, at this hour, knocking at your window. I have a perfectly logical explanation for it. Just a big mix up, really…”

“I was, yes,” he answered, talking over Alex’s babble, “It’s not every night a guy gets woken up to find another guy at his window with a guitar. I’m assuming you’re not here to serenade me."

“You would assume correctly. That’s my logical explanation, I was actually looking for Isabel’s window. Could you possibly direct me to the right one? Please?”

“Why should I?” Max asked, sounding amused, “I don’t know if Izzy wants a guy with stalkerish tendencies knocking on her window late at night.”

“Because-” he started, “Hey! I am not a stalker!”

“Then what are you?”

“I’m a Whitman.” Max was not looking impressed. “Okay, I just… The other night we ran into each other at the elementary playground, and we talked, like really talked. Then we met up for breakfast and we had fun. She was the girl I knew she could be. She wasn’t acting like the world’s biggest bitch. She was just being Isabel. And I liked that Isabel, and I liked that I was the one who could make her laugh. I want her to keep being that Isabel, and this was the only way I could think of to do it. Music’s the only thing I’m good at, besides computers and chess…”

A sigh ended his monologue. “It’s that one,” Max told him, pointing to a window on the next story, diagonal from his. Alex looked at him suspiciously, skeptical of his easy acquiescence.

“You’re sure?”

“I think I know where my own sister’s bedroom is,” he said, sounding annoyed.

“I wasn’t implying you didn’t, I just want to make sure you weren’t tricking me and I go a’knockin’ and it’s your parents room.”

“I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“Why not?”

“Number one, you’re Liz’s friend. Number two, I want the real Izzy to come back, too.” They stared at each other for a beat, understanding flowing between them. Alex nodded at him and Max shut his window, went to bed, and shut off his light. Alex moved on the Isabel’s window.

He paused, confounded for a moment. He couldn’t very well climb the tree two stories, knock, and then play up there. He sighed heavily, feeling discouraged, maybe this was a sign to give up. He kicked the ground, feeling irritated now, and he hit his tow on a rock. “OW!” he shouted, then clapped a hand over his mouth. “Ow,” he repeated more quietly, “Stupid rock.” He glared at it and then inspiration hit.
<><><><>

Isabel woke to the strangest noise. It sounded like something was hitting her window. There it was again! She sat up in bed, listening intently. Another barrage of sprinkles and she was up out of bed, moving swiftly to her window. She perked her ears for an intruder, and thought she heard a faint “Isabel!”

“What?” she whispered to herself, and then CRACK! She squealed and threw aside her blinds to be confronted with a very large crack in the glass. Furiously, she opened the window, and got ready to ream out Michael, only to be confronted with a red-faced Alex Whitman standing on the lawn.

“Sorry!” he called up to her, “I’ll pay for that.”

“Don’t worry about it,” she said back, smiling, it was nothing a little alien ingenuity couldn’t handle, “What are you doing here?” They were both yelling in a whisper, afraid to wake the parentals.

“I, um, well, you know what happened this weekend? And then at school?” She nodded, ashamed. “Yeah, well, I just wanted to say I don’t accept that Isabel.”

“Alex-”

“NO,” he interrupted, “No, listen to me, please.” She nodded again, biting her lip. “I like you Isabel, and I think you like me, and I just want to say…Screw being popular! You’re better than that Isabel, you’re like this beautiful person, inside and out, and I… I wrote this for you, to try and get you to see that, so… Here goes.”

He strummed the guitar he had brought and then looked up at her, honest in the moonlight, and she felt tears prick her eyes as he began to sing.

They call her a dream,
The untouchable, unattainable supreme…
She’s their beauty queen,
But she’s not all that she seems.

She’s got red pouting lips
With arresting brown eyes
And a body that kills,
But I can see behind the lies…

I see the real girl inside,
Not the beauty queen,
Not the captain of the cheerleading team
Or the head of the popular scene…
But the real girl inside.

Sure, she’s beautiful
But if it’s just the same,
I’d rather see her at a playground
In the middle of the rain…

Instead of up on that stage
In another homecoming crown,
Being made into the Princess again,
But that’s all she’s getting from this town.

I see the real girl inside,
Not the beauty queen,
Not the captain of the cheerleading team
Or the head of the popular scene…
But the real girl inside.

She’s made of passion and fire, not ice
Mixed with laughter and intelligence…
One of those old, loving souls…
And the smile of an angel I haven’t seen since…

That night all alone,
I got lost in her eyes,
And the look on her face
After the final goodbyes…

That’s when I saw the real girl inside,
Not the beauty queen,
Not the captain of the cheerleading team
Or the head of the popular scene…
But the real girl inside.

I see her inner perfection.
I see the sun in my sky.
I see my one ray of light,
There’s no need to hide…

I see the real girl inside.
<><><><>

Max listened from his bed as Whitman serenaded his sister. He knew Izzy would give in, she was so tired of pretending all the time, he just never thought it would be Alex Whitman to be the one to melt the ice. Of, course, he never though Maria would be able to tear down Michael’s stone walls, or for Liz to be the one who brought him back to life.

Liz…

He needed to find out why she was shunning him. He didn’t know what he’d done, but he couldn’t last another day without touching her…kissing her…holding her…breathing her…

Maybe he should take a page out of Whitman’s book and pay a little late night visit…

But first he’d see how today went.
<><><><>

Liz had managed to prolong completing her sixth hour exam, so that Max had no chance to talk to her, but seventh block was her free period, as well as his and Maria’s.

Luckily she had convinced Maria to go to lunch with her, just the girls. Her friend had seen through the diversionary tactic, told her she was being a baby, and then agreed. So now, she was at her locker, getting her stuff ready to go.

“Liz?”

Shit!
<><><><>

“Max.” Her response was hesitant, slightly nervous.

“Can we go to lunch?”

“Sorry.” She shut her locker and gave him a little, apologetic glance. “Maria and I are going out.”

“Well, can I join you?”

“It’s just supposed to be the two of us. You know, girl talk.”

“I can handle it.”

“No. Please Max, just drop it.”

He was stunned at her tone. He reached out to touch her and she pulled back, his hand falling uselessly to his side. “Liz?” She looked up at him, finally meeting his eyes. “What’s going on?”

Her brown eyes grew sad, hurt, and he was alarmed to see tears forming. “Why don’t you tell me Max?” she whispered, and then turned and ran for the double doors leading to the parking lot.

He just stared after her, helpless, not knowing what to do.
<><><><>

“God, Liz, just walk up to him and say, ‘What the hell did you think you were doing!’” Maria advised her friend.

“I can’t, Maria.”

“Want me to do it for you?” she offered, taking a bite of her burrito. They had decided to eat at the taco place just outside town. Michael had suggested it.

“No. I’ll do it. I just have to figure out the right time. Atmosphere wise and such…”

“Sure Lizzie, just try and have the “atmosphere” right
before this Saturday.”

“Why?”

She stared at the small brunette she had adopted. “Liz, honey, Saturday is the beginning of summer break, and for those of us of lesser intelligence, that means fun!"

“I know what summer break means, Maria.”

“Yes, well, I have this summer planned out, and it involves a lot of double dates, so chop-chop. We have a schedule to keep.” Liz seemed disbelieving. “Please, Lizzie, do it tonight.”

“I have to work tonight.”

“Then before school.” Their eyes locked and Maria’s green gaze dominated Liz’s chocolate one, causing the other girl to sigh.

“Fine,” she said dejectedly, and Maria smiled, happy with her victory.

“Good, and here.” Liz looked down at what Maria had placed in her hand and Maria endeavored to keep a straight face.

“MARIA!” she yelped.

“What?” At Liz’s glare she tried her patented “innocent eyes”. Then frowned, because it wasn’t working as well on her best friend as it did on her mom. “It’s just in case “Saint Max” decides to put in another appearance. I’m just looking out for your well-being, chica, you know that.”

She was going to continue justifying her gift, but then she realized Liz wasn’t really offended. They looked at each other again and then burst into a giggle fit, Liz slipping the condom in her back pocket.
<><><><>

Liz brushed her newly dried hair and looked at her reflection in the mirror. “You can do it,” she told herself, “Just like Maria said, walk right up to him and ask what he was doing with Tess. It’s simple, straightforward. It’s like an experiment in Biology, and you kick ass at Biology. You can do it! You’re talking to yourself, Parker. Not a good sign…”

Then she smacked her forehead, the pep talk not gearing her up for a heartrending talk with her boyfriend. If he still is my boyfriend, she thought mournfully. A soft knocking took her from her self-pitying internal war.

She glanced at the door and wondered who it was. Her parents went out for dinner, and she had locked all the doors. Maybe it was Max, he didn’t have to worry about locks… Maybe he had been fed up and was just going to break up with her now… Maybe…

The knock again, and she realized it wasn’t coming from her door. Wide-eyed, she turned to her balcony window and eeped. Max was crouched outside, staring at her with those soulful eyes of his. She rose, making sure her butterfly robe was securely fastened, then moved toward the window.

“What are you doing here?” she asked fearfully, stepping back as he climbed through the tiny window.

“We need to talk,” he said simply, brushing himself off.

“I know.” Sitting down on the bed, she steeled herself for the inevitable. She stiffened when Max sat beside her.

“Liz, talk to me,” he whispered, reaching for her hand.
<><><><>

She seemed so tense, and when his fingertips brushed her hand she sat even straighter up. She was acting as if she were afraid of him, of what he was. But she could handle it, he had seen it in her mind.

What he really wanted now, was to be able to deepen that humming in the back of his brain and be able to feel her feeling and read her thoughts again, but he suspected she wasn’t in a willing mood to make love.

She wasn’t responding, so he tried again. “Are you afraid of me?”

“What?” She looked at him, surprised, and he breathed a sigh of relief. “Of course I’m not afraid of you, whatever gave you that idea?” she demanded.

“Look at yourself, Liz, you’ve been acting as if I carry the plague or something. Every time I get near you you’ve suddenly got someplace else to be, and I didn’t know what was going on. I figured it was some delayed reaction to me being not of this earth-”

“That’s not it,” she interrupted his tirade.

“Then what Liz? Just tell me what’s wrong and I’ll fix it, I promise,” he pleaded, taking up both her hands and turning her body to face his. She still wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Liz,” he urged softly, using one hand to tilt her chin, “Tell me.”

Tears welled up and she looked away. “You were kissing her.”

“What?” he asked, completely lost.

“Tess!” she wailed, jumping up and pacing in front of him, “I went to return your backpack and I got to your room and their she was and there you were… Naked, the both of you, on your bed, kissing… Hands… I-I-I couldn’t handle it. I was afraid maybe you realized I wasn’t the one you wanted, and I was hurt and-and angry and I just couldn’t… I couldn’t…”

“Liz.” He was up at once and had her enfolded in his embrace, not letting her go when she struggled. “Hush, love,” he told her, and he loosened his hold to wipe away her tears. “Nothing happened between me and Tess.”

“It really happened though, what I saw? Because I called the Harding’s house and her father said she was at your house.”

He chuckled, pleased with her quick thinking. She had suspected Tess’ mindwarp first… “Yes, Tess was at my house, and yes, she did come on to me, but I pushed her away. I told her that if she couldn’t accept the fact that I was with you for good then she needed to leave and we weren’t even going to be friends. So she left.”

She was staring up at him adoringly and he grinned down at her. “And you’re not mad at me?”

“No,” he assured her, “A little hurt, but I probably would have done the same thing if I had seen you naked in another guy’s arms.”

“Really?”

“No, I would’ve blasted him into a pile of dust, but it’s basically the same thing.” She giggled and snuggled into his body. He gave the top of her head a kiss. “Where are your parents?”

“Out,” she whispered, pressing a kiss to his neck. He groaned.

“Liz… I didn’t bring-” She cut him off with a kiss.

“Don’t worry,” she whispered, and pressed a small package into his hand, “I have the situation under control.”

He smiled as he gave her a possessive kiss, “Why Liz Parker, you bad girl, you…”

“Shut up, Saint Max, and make love to me!”

“Whatever you say, love.” He picked her up gently deposited her on the bed, her robe parting to reveal smooth legs. She watched him intently as he took of his shirt and pants, leaving him in a pair of red boxers.

“Ooh,” she teased, sitting up on her knees, “Are those new?”

“Isabel bought them for me for Christmas,” he told her, “She bought Michael a pair of sparkly gold ones. I think she should reconsider her perfect gift ideas.” Liz laughed, running her hands over his chest, kissing his neck. He shivered and kissed her back, hands going straight for the tie of the belt and pushing it off of her.

“I like them,” she informed him, tracing the top of the boxers, “You look good in red.”

“You look good naked,” he told her back, tracing the dip of her spine. She gave a breathy little gasp and he felt her nipples harden against his chest.

Max…”

He laughed at her and slid off his boxers, bearing her down onto the bed. “When are your parents coming back?”

“They said they were going to catch a movie at eight, so probably not until ten,” she gasped as hid tongue dropping into the depression at her collarbone.

“We don’t have that much time.” His hands trailed down her body, combing through her curls and slipping into her heat as she clung to him. He was truly amazed at how quickly she responded to him, and at how quickly he became hard at the mere thought of her. Of being lost in her tight, hot, welcoming body.

“Hurry then!”

Again, he chuckled at her urgency. Locker room talk always said make-up sex was the best, but he had never had a chance to find out. And chances are, with Liz, he wouldn’t have very many opportunities.

He slowly began slipping the latex condom on and Liz gave a frustrated moan beneath him. She batted his hands away and finished the job for him, tugging him toward her. “Liz,” he warned her sternly, anxious that her eager little hands would end it all too quickly and the condom would go to waste.

“Max, stop being such a prude,” she ordered him and then turned over, so that she was straddled on top of him. He was surprised at this side of his innocent Liz, but very, very content with it.

He surveyed her with an air of ownership as she slid up and down on top of him, her hands braced against his chest as her hips gyrated. He gazed up at her as she took her pleasure, her eyes closed tight her breath coming in short, uneven gasps, until his own gratification began to rise up.

The pleasant friction between their bodies began to heat up to and overwhelming inferno and Max went up on his elbows, meeting her lower body as it came down. “Liz,” he begged, wanting her to open his eyes.

They opened suddenly as she came down once more and he was rapidly lost in their depths. His breath caught in his throat as their souls joined together again, and his control vanished. He met her, orgasm for orgasm, until they both collapsed down onto her bed.

“Max,” she whispered into his chest as she moved her head to look at him. “We’ve really got to do this more often.” He laughed appreciatively and ran his fingers through her silky hair and then down her slender arm, relishing in her tiny tremble of awareness.

“Definitely,” he agreed, “But maybe we should try my house next time, otherwise you may need a new bed.”

“Um-hmm.” She snuggled closer to him and he listened as her breathing started to even out, she was falling asleep.

“I’ll pick you up tomorrow,” he offered.

“No,” her voice was sleepy, “Maria’s picking me up.”

“Fine,” he grumbled, “I’ll see you at school then.” But she didn’t reply, too deep asleep to be concerned with his tone of voice. He smiled and kissed the top of her head. He’d have to leave soon, but right now, he just wanted to lay there, wrapped up in the girl he loved.
<><><><>

Maria picked her up at 6:30, in order to give her at least twenty minutes to clear things up with Max. She had tried to interrupt the blonde’s “empowering” speech, but Maria wouldn’t be distracted.

“You have to get in there, Lizzie. Don’t take any crap, tell it to him straight and if he won’t answer you dump him. Simple as that, just do it. Oh! And if-“

“Maria STOP!”

“What?”

“Max came over last night, and everything is okay, it was all a big misunderstanding. Tess was being her usual bitchy self and Max finally put his foot down and told her to leave.”

“Oh, well, good.” She was quiet for approximately ten seconds. “Then what the hell am I doing up this early in the morning?!!”

Liz blushed, “I didn’t have time to call you last night, and you wouldn’t let me get a word in this morning.”

“No time? What happened? Ohmigod, did you…” she trailed off, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively.

“Yes, and thank you for the present, it came in handy.”

“He forgot again?” Liz just nodded, smiling reminiscently. “My God, I gotta have a talk with that boy.”

“Maria no!”
<><><><>

The three of them had come to school and meet in the abandoned AV room to discuss the current state of affairs. Isabel tapped her foot impatiently. “So you were right Max. I stopped by the house and there’s a “for sale” sign.”

Her brother just nodded, not answering. Michael kicked his desk. “Something you wanna share with the class, Maxwell?” Isabel rolled her eyes at their childishness, they were so unlike Alex.

“Sorry, I didn’t get much sleep last night. Um…Izzy said Tess mentioned Nasedo had took an unscheduled trip, but she didn’t know where. Now they’re gone. We’re going to assume that either Nasedo came back and took Tess away with him, or the Skins got them.”

“Either way,” Michael added, “They’re out of our hair, and I, for one, am thrilled with that.”

“Really?” Isabel asked, “Weren’t you the one who wanted to find out about our origins? The one who wanted to go home?” He shifted uncomfortably.

“Yeah, well, things change.”

“Michael!” Suddenly Maria bounced in, annoyingly perky. “There you are, Lizzie and I got here early, and the Eraser Room is free, c’mon!” Michael was up in an instant, and then it was he who was tugging Maria out the door. Isabel rolled her eyes when Maria resisted and fixed Max with her bottle green eyes. “And you, Saint Max, get your act together.” She tossed Max a box from her purse and winked. “Buh-bye!”

She looked at him, and noticed he was strawberry red. “What is it?”

“Nothing,” he said quickly, stuffing it in his bag, “So we agree not to speculate about Tess and Nasedo?”

“Yeah, they’re gone, that’s all that counts. Now let’s go, I’m meeting Alex in the quad.”

“You’re really gonna do it?”

She tossed her blonde hair and gave him her most princess-like glare, “If you and Michael can take the plunge, so can I. Besides, I’m tired of pretending I’m a bitch, I just wanna have a normal life as a normal girl.”

“But we’re not normal, Isabel.”

“Alex doesn’t need to know that,” she told him, walking out the door.

“Yes, he does,” drifted out to her, but she ignored it, heading toward the quad. She opened the double doors and scanned the area. Kids were studying, Alex among them. Smiling, she started to make her way over to him, but was stopped half-way there by the Fashion Club.

“Isabel! That is such a cute outfit!” Stacey squealed, “We have to go shopping together-”

“Maybe later,” Isabel replied, “I have to go catch up with my boyfriend.”

"Boyfriend? Izzy, hon, who?” was the demand.

“Alex Whitman.” And she walked through them, aware of their speechlessness, and walked over to Alex. That felt good, she thought.

Sitting down next to him after a hello kiss, a stunned chorus of “WHAT?!” caused the whole quad to look up at the crazy group near the doors, surprised to see it was the Bitch Patrol, but then go back to studying.

She and Alex smiled at each other.
<><><><>

It was break time between eighth and ninth period exams and Liz was clearing out her locker so that she and Max could take off right after class. She hummed under her breath and stared at a picture of them that they had gotten from one of those picture booths at the movies. There were many more of those experiences to come, she thought happily, and put the strip of pictures in her bag.

The locker shut when she was bent down, and she straightened, wondering who had closed it. She came face to face with Kyle Valenti. “Hey, Liz.”

“Um, hi, Kyle. Thanks for, um, shutting my locker.” She started to walk away, but an arm shot out, blocking her. “Kyle…” She turned back to him, and was distressed to find herself trapped against her locker. “What do you want, Kyle?”

“I think that would be obvious, Lizzie. Evans is through playing with you, and it’s time for us regular guys to have a little lovin’. We’re all really curious what it was that kept him around so long, and I got first dibs.” He moved a hand, trailing his fingertips down her arm. She jerked away, reminded of Max’s touch just a few hours before.

“I’m sorry, Kyle, I think you’ve been misinformed on a few points. Number one, I am not a slut, so you can just forget about it, and number two…” she trailed off, focused on a enraged face bearing down on them through the crowd that had gathered.

“What’s number two, Lizzie-” But he was cut off as he was slammed against the locker.
<><><><>

“Keep your filthy hands off my girlfriend, Valenti,” he hissed into the other boy’s ear,

“That’s number two, Kyle,” Liz said, stepping behind him.

“Evans!” Valenti, mumbled against the metal, “Hi! How’s it going?”

“Better for me, than for you,” he replied, letting him go.

“Oh, really?”

“Yeah, Valenti, really.” And Michael had him by the shoulders, Valenti went pale.

“Funny thing,” Max said, “I ran into Michael, and it turns out he’s been looking for you. Have fun.” And Michael dragged the football star away. Max turned to Liz, “You okay?”

She nodded and wrapped her arms around his waist, “Peachy.” Max smiled and gave her a soft kiss.

“I heard what he said,” Max told her, “I just couldn’t get through the crowd that fast.” He raised an eyebrow at the now dispersing students, who were frantically trying to make it to class.

“You made it just in time,” she fluttered her eyelashes at him, “My hero.”

“Liz,” he said seriously, “I am through with playing.”

“No, you’re not,” she said, just as seriously. He was going to protest, but she put a finger to his lips. “It’s just for keeps now.”
<><><><>


[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Feb-2002 6:32:37 AM ]
posted on 31-Jan-2002 8:52:31 PM
Epilogue:

Roswell is just a little bit smaller now. People have graduated, gone off to college, moved, etc. The unattainables aren’t so out of reach, and the nerdy kids aren’t such total geeks.

Amy DeLuca and Jim Valenti eventually got married, but can depend only on Maria for grandchildren. Michael messed Kyle up pretty bad…tee-hee…

Alex Whitman was offered a record contract right out of high school. For a while he traveled with his band, the Whits, with Maria sometimes acting as lead singer. They were famous. Now, he’s married to an international supermodel, has two kids, and is settled down with a formidable solo career in L.A.

Isabel Evans got picked up in a model search during college, she moved to Paris where Isabella Evangelis became her runway name. Five years later she was doing a shoot in Japan, where she got backstage passes to the Whits concert. Isabel Whitman is currently living in L.A. with her husband and two kids. She works part-time as a kindergarten teacher and the rest as homemaker.

Maria DeLuca went to UNM after touring with the Whits, and got a doctorate in psychology. She told her live-in boyfriend this way she could mess with lots of people’s heads instead of just his.

Michael Guerin also went to UNM to study art, then he got an offer from a gallery in Chicago and moved. Maria accepted his invitation to join him there and switched colleges for graduate work. Oh, and they stopped waiting.

Liz Parker went to Harvard and Max Evans came with. Dr. Liz Evans works for the University in the forensics lab and Dr. Max Evans at a hospital a few miles away. They’re still getting used to the cold Boston atmosphere, but they love it there. They’re expecting their first child in December.

Everybody eventually told their significant other about their alien status. Alex took it in stride, a little mad that Isabel had lied to him for years, but he got over it when he saw his daughter the first time. Maria freaked out on Michael and told him he was just projecting his feeling of abandonment, until he used his powers. Then she got really quiet and told him she needed to talk a walk. She came back from her mother’s a week later and everything was okay.

Bet you’re all wondering about what happened to Tess and Nasedo. Let’s just say that Zan wasn’t very welcoming, and they’re not a problem anymore.

The Dupes managed to make it to Antar. Kivar and Nicholas were destroyed and the rebellion disbanded. Lonnie was executed after attempting to assassinate her brother, Rath is happy as Commander of the Armed Forces, and Zan and Ava married amiably and ruled together wisely. Turns out the Granolith wasn’t really needed, the people just wanted their King back.

The End

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Feb-2002 6:31:27 AM ]
posted on 19-Jun-2002 3:49:24 PM
DISTORTED REALITIES

Title: Being Just Friends
Author: Nicole
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: Roswell is not mine.
BeingJustFriendsbanner-vi
**#2- Being Just Friends**

Prologue: The Kiss of the Millennium

It was a stupid argument. Liz and Max had been the best of friends since third grade. They never fought about anything. Totally in sync. That’s what everybody said. So why were they fighting now? Neither one had any idea, besides the fact that neither one liked the person the other person was dating. Neither one had any idea why it bothered them either, but it did.

“Okay, okay. Let me get this straight,” Liz Parker snapped, dark eyes fiery. “It’s okay for you to go out with Tess even though I don’t like it, but I can’t date Kyle because you don’t like it.”

“Exactly,” Max Evans snapped back. An angry flush rose in her cheeks.

“That is the most screwed up logic in the world, and I’m not talking to you until you start making some sense.” She started to stalk away, but Max grabbed her arm, stopping her.

“You don’t like me going out with Tess?”

“No,” she said firmly.

“Why?”

“Because you don’t belong together!” she cried. He grabbed her other arm, making her face him.

“Do you belong with Kyle?”

“No,” she said quietly.

“Then why are you going out with him?” he asked, exasperated with her feminine logic.

“I don’t know,” she whispered. She looked down. “He’s just like this good friend I let kiss me sometimes.”

“And do you let all your good friends kiss you?” he asked, scornful and wondering at the same time. The sharp retort on her lips died when she looked up into his intensely burning brown eyes. She felt an excited shiver run through her body. Max was going to kiss her. Max leaned in, giving her room to pull away, but she didn’t want to. Liz raised her lips to his, and they kissed.

Everything exploded. It was the Fourth of July, fireworks, stars exploding, the universe seemed to just fill them. Liz felt dizzy from the rush of emotions and heat coursing through her. Max released his grip on her arms. His hand traveled upward, tracing her cheekbones, twining in her hair, caressing the sensitive skin on the back of her neck. Liz felt herself losing consciousness. She was having a meltdown. She had to touch him back, so she did. Her arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him closer.

They broke apart, breathing hard, lungs crying out for oxygen. They looked at each other, incredulous. Both not very sure of what had just happened, but both knowing that nothing was ever going to be the same again.
<><><><>

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 1-Sep-2002 8:33:12 PM ]
posted on 19-Jun-2002 3:54:49 PM
Part One: The First Kiss

The year was 1991, the date was August 28th, and it was the dreaded first day of school. Liz Parker was eight years old, and she was not dreading anything about the day. She loved school, she loved to learn, she loved her teachers, and she loved her friends.

Right that very second she was playing with her bestest friend ever, Maria DeLuca. She and Maria had met in kindergarten, when Maria had beat up that awful Kyle Valenti boy for chasing Liz around. Liz had adored her ever since.

They were playing rock-paper-scissors while waiting for school to start. They were both in Ms. Shapiro’s third grade class this year, and the prospect was making them giddy. “Rock beats scissors!” Liz said, smiling.

“Cheater!” Maria exclaimed. Liz laughed and watched as more buses pulled up. Then something, someone actually, caught her eye.

A little boy and girl had come off the newest bus, hand in hand. The girl was blonde, pretty, looking excited, but the boy… He was dark-haired, soft-eyed, and tense. He looked ready to run, as if all the children and noise scared him. The boy looked up and Liz caught his eye, smiling. She wanted to make him feel better.
<><><><>

Max stared back at the little brown-eyed girl. He had noticed her from the window of the bus as they had pulled up. She had been playing some sort of hand game with a blond girl, her long brown hair had been blowing in the wind, laughter had lit up her face, and she had just captivated him.

He hadn’t been able to stop staring at her since he stepped off the bus with Isabel. Which surprised him slightly, all the girls he’d ever known, ‘cept Momma and Izzy, were walking cootie containers. But she was different.

She was smiling now. At him.

Max sucked in a breath and let it out in a whoosh as his sister dragged him away with her as she followed a group of giggling girls with a jump rope. He grumbled silently under his breath and stood back from them, glaring around the playground.

His eyes were caught by the blonde girl she had been playing with, and he looked expectantly for the brown head, but all he saw was the girl and the spiky-haired boy she was chasing.

He sighed in disappointment and then perked up as the bell finally rang. Max enjoyed school, and he missed his old friends, but he could probably make more. Maybe not as fast as Izzy, but girls were so annoyingly talkative it only made sense they got together faster. But he needed to get away from her and her cootie infested friends, otherwise the boys would start making fun of the new guy.

Jebus freezus, being new sucked.
<><><><>

The door to class opened and Liz looked up eagerly. Their teacher, Ms. Shapiro, came in, escorting the boy she had seen earlier. “Class, this is Max Evans. Max, why don’t you tell us something about yourself.”

“Well, um…”

Liz propped her chin up on her hands and peered at him. He was cute for an icky boy. Brown eyes stared at her for a second before they looked away, and then he was blushing. Liz suppressed a giggle.

“I’m Max, my family just moved onto Murray Lane. I have a sister, Isabel, who’s a year older and I like science and basketball. Not necessarily in that order. And that’s about it.”

“Very nice, now, why don’t you take a seat behind Liz and we’ll get class started.”

Max glanced around, looking lost, and Liz raised her hand, showing him the assigned seat. She smiled at him and his ears turned pink. “Hi,” she whispered.

“Hi,” he replied, not looking at her. She frowned slightly, but then noticed his ears were still red. She realized he must be embarrassed, she didn’t actually know what she was doing. Boys and girls did not voluntarily speak to each other unless told to explicitly. Oh, well, if he lived on Murray Lane she’d be talking to him a lot.
<><><><>

Max waited patiently beside his mother. They’d been invited to dinner at their new next-door neighbors house. He was stuck wearing an itchy suit and carrying dessert. Isabel, of course, didn’t have to carry anything. She was on Dad’s back humming off-key, because she had got a new dress to compensate her for leaving her friends.

Girls had so easy. Give them a dress and a Barbie doll and they were set for life. It was so unfair.

The door was suddenly flung open and there stood a flushed, starry-eyed Liz Parker. Max couldn’t talk. “Hi!” she exclaimed, “Welcome to the neighborhood, dinner’s almost ready, please come in and make yourselves comfy. Max, you have to come see my new telescope!” She grabbed his free hand as her father took the plate of cookies, and tugged him into the house.

He barely had time to take anything in as she dragged him up the stairs, leaving his family behind, and to a neatly decorated room upstairs. He gawked at the poster of Earth she had on her wall. He had the same one. And then out a sliding glass door to a balcony.

The balcony was lit up with Christmas lights. There was a chaise lounge chair with a purple blanket draped over it, a little end table with a leather bound book, and then a telescope pointed in the direction of the star-filled sky.

“You said you like science,” Liz said, “I thought you might like the stars too.”

He stared at her, silently, then walked to the telescope and examined it closely (nice model) before looking into it. It was pointed directly at his favorite constellation. He stared at the “V”-shaped formation and then backed away. He stared at Liz, who stared solemnly back at him.

“You’re pretty cool for a girl,” he admitted.
<><><><>

Liz grinned, her fear that he wouldn’t like her insubstantial. “And you’re pretty nice for a boy,” she told him back.

They stood there, smiling at one another for a time, completely in sync with one another.

“You wanna be friends?” Liz asked tentatively.

“Sure,” he responded.

She jumped up form her seat on her chair and hugged him. He stiffened a second and then hugged her back. “Max, Liz! Dinnertime!” her daddy shouted from the first floor.

“Coming Daddy!” she yelled back. Then she mischievously kissed him on the cheek and ran downstairs, giggling uncontrollably. A few seconds later he pounded after her.

They grinned at each other from across the dinner table, ignoring his sister’s disapproving looks at their, what she termed, “childish behavior”. Max didn’t care, Liz didn’t care.

All she knew was that now she had another best friend to love.
<><><><>
posted on 19-Jun-2002 3:59:26 PM
Part Two: The Healing Kiss

“Sit down.”

Max slumped into the chair in front of Principal Shaffer’s desk. He glared over at Kyle as he also sat down.

She frowned at them over her glasses and tapped her fingers on her desk. “Now, Mr. Valenti, you have made a habit of picking fights, but Mr. Evans, this is not something I would have expected of you. Now then, from what I understand from your teacher and helpful comments of your fellow students, this particular incident occurred because of Miss Parker. Is that correct?”

Neither boy said a word.

“Tell me what happened or you both will be serving detention time.”

Still nothing.

He was fuming internally. So what if he and Liz had been playing basketball? Kyle had had no right to insult her like that. He had had no right to call Max a girl either, and Max had made sure he realized that.

In fact, now the whole playground realized it. Max had been made fun of since fifth grade
had started and he had put up with it, not allowing Liz to see how much grief he was put
through just ‘cause they were friends.

Suddenly the door flew open and a small, brown whirlwind entered the room, crying. “Principal Shaffer! It wasn’t Max’s fault! Don’t give him detention, please, please!”

Liz was by Max, hugging him close, and Max felt heat come into his face. He was probably red as a radish. “Liz, it’s all right.” He wiped her tears away gently, “Just calm down, okay?”

She gulped and nodded, but didn’t let go of him.

“Elizabeth, would you tell me what happened?” Principal Shaffer tried again, thinking she’d get more out of the girl than the two boys.

“Liz,” Max muttered rebelliously.

“What, Mr. Evans?”

He cleared his throat. “Her name is Liz, not Elizabeth. She hates being called Elizabeth,” he told her matter of factly.

The principal was blinking at him, obviously starting to get a little angry.

“Way to stick up for your girlfriend, Evans,” Kyle said sarcastically.

That was it, Max was up out of his chair and starting toward him. “That’s it, Valenti!” he exclaimed, trying to take a swing. But a weight on his arm was holding him back.

“Max, he’s not worth it!” Liz was crying again, tugging on his arm.

“Mr. Evans! Sit down now!” Everybody stopped and stared at the principal. “Sit down, now, all of you,” she repeated.

“We’re just friends,” Max pointed out, still trying to defend his honor.

“Mr. Evans that is not the issue. Now then, I can see disciplinary measures will have to be taken. Miss Parker please return to your class, the secretary will give you a pass.”

“But Principal-“

“Go, Miss Parker,” she said again.

“Yes ma’am.” Liz sent him one more glance and then walked out the door, quietly shutting it behind her. Max gazed after her until the principal started talking yet again.

“I’m going to have to call your parents, so just sit back and relax. You’re going to be here for awhile.”

Max sighed and flopped back into the chair, glaring at Kyle through his good eyes. Kyle just returned the glare, smirking at him in an annoying manner. Jebus freezus, what a jerk.
<><><><>

Liz had to stop at the girl’s room on her way back to class. She stared in the mirror and stood on her tiptoes to reach the sink (being short sucked!), and twisted the cold water handle to the “on” position.

She sighed heavily, waiting for the sink to fill slightly. Her eyes were red and puffy and she needed to get them back to normal before she went back to class.

She shouldn’t have cried. Max must be disgusted with her right now. But… He had looked so horrible. Kyle had given him a split lip, black eyes, scrapes up and down his face… He shouldn’t have fought Kyle back, it only made it worse.

But she was proud of him for sticking up for himself, for sticking up for her and their friendship. She knew how hard it was for him to be friends with a girl. All the other boys wouldn’t have anything to do with him. Well, except Alex Whitman and Michael Guerin, but that didn’t really help.

Alex was out-casted because he was Maria’s best friend and because of the fact that he followed Max’s sister, Isabel, around like a puppy. And Michael…he wasn’t friends with anybody, truth be told, the only human contact he had was occasional grunts in class, a few words to Max, and the insults he hurled at Maria when he was chasing her around the playground.

Liz didn’t understand it. It was perfectly acceptable to chase members of the opposite sex around the playground (common knowledge, well, her mom, said it was a form of flirting (eww!)), but you couldn’t be friends with them. Mom said in a couple of years it would be okay, but right now ten-year old minds couldn’t handle it. She thought that was completely immature.

She stuck her hands in the cold water and brought it to face, carefully avoiding the bandage above her left eye. Kyle had struck her with something when she had tried to break up the fight, and now she had a cut. Nurse Betty had said she needed to tell her mother to take her to the hospital so that a doctor could look at it. Liz was deathly afraid she’d need stitches.

Once she had patted her face dry, she checked again to make sure she looked presentable, and then left the girl’s room. She slowly made her way back to Mr. Raddish’s classroom and handed him her note.

“We’re having independent study time, Elizabeth. Take your seat and get out a book.”

“Yes, Mr. Raddish,” she replied quietly. She turned away from him and went to her desk next to Maria.

“Are you okay, Lizzie?” her best girl friend asked.

“I’m fine Maria,” she told her, smiling.

“Is Max okay?”

“I don’t know,” she answered worriedly, “He looked so horrible, Maria! And the principal’s going to call his parents, I just know it!”

“Principal Shaffer calls my mom all the time, don’t worry about it. And Kyle looked way worse off than our Max. He won’t be picking on him anymore.” Liz shook her head at the admiration in her voice. But then she smiled.

“He did look pretty bad, didn’t he?”

“Totally.”
<><><><>

“Max, I just don’t understand what got into you!” his mother exclaimed disappointedly. Max sighed as she took his chin in her hand and stared at him with those imploring blue eyes. “Honey, promise you won’t get into a fight again.” He averted his eyes. “Max…”

“Mom, I can’t promise that,” he complained, “Kyle hurt Liz, I couldn’t just let that slide!”

And he hadn’t. Before that had happened, Max had just lain there, taking the beating, but Kyle had hit Liz. And she had been bleeding and crying, and Max just couldn’t bear to see her like that. So he had started hitting back, and then Kyle had been the one kissing asphalt.

“He hurt Liz?”

Max nodded, and followed his mother out of the office. Liz and Isabel were sitting on a bench outside, waiting for them. School had ended ten minutes ago, and Diane had had the secretary call their classes to inform them they had a ride home.

“Oh! Liz, darling, are you alright?” his mother asked anxiously, taking Liz into her arms.

“I’m fine, Mrs. Evans. It’s just a scratch.”

He snorted. Blood was starting to seep through the white patch of bandage on her forehead. She was really hurt.

“Afraid not, Miss Parker.” It was Nurse Betty.

“Betty? How are you? And what do you mean?”

“Peachy keen, Diane, and Liz needs to see a doctor about stitches.”

“I don’t need stitches!” Liz yelled, squirming away from the older women and hiding behind him. He sighed, Liz hated hospitals.

“Now, Liz, if Nurse Betty says you should go, you should. I’ll call your mother and see if I can take you right now.”

Isabel made sound of disgust and tossed her blond hair. “I’m taking the bus. I’ll see you at home, Mom.” She walked a few feet and then turned around. “Are you coming Max?” she demanded.

Liz’s grip on his shirt tightened and she burrowed her head into his back. He looked at his mother, who was on the phone with Mrs. Parker, and then turned to his sister. “I’m staying with Liz.”

Izzy rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she snapped, then turned on her heel and stalked away.

He turned around to look at Liz. She slipped her hand into his and smiled at him. “Thank you, Max.” He shrugged and squeezed her hand gently. Like he’d leave her alone in a place out of her nightmares. Those white rooms creeped her out.
<><><><>

Isabel sat in the back of the bus, thoroughly disgusted. The entire busload of students couldn’t stop talking about her brother’s fight with Kyle Valenti. God, fifth graders were so juvenile.

“Your brother is so cute, Isabel!”

She stared in horror at her best friend Tish. “Oh, not you too Tish, please don’t tell me you’ve given into this madness!”

“Izzy,” she giggled, “You have to admit, and those eyes of his are to die for. And the way he stood up to Kyle took a lot of guts. Everyone says so. He’s gonna be so popular!”

“Fantastic,” Isabel muttered and stared out the window, wishing she could bang her head against it. Max was such a doofus. She’d been working since she moved here to be the most popular kid in school, and then her dorky brother gets in a fight over his girlfriend, and he steals what she tried so hard to achieve. Ugh!
<><><><>

Liz swung her bare feet back and forth on the cold table/chair thingy in the doctor’s operating room. She fingered her head gently. The anesthetic was wearing off and she was feeling sore. The bandage had been replaced with a fresh one, but she still felt horrible.

Max hadn’t been able to come in with her, so Mrs. Evans had held her hand, but it hadn’t helped. Diane was nice, but she wasn’t Max. The doctor’s had made her put on the open-backed hospital dress and she sat in the white room while they sewed her back up.

She sniffled, feeling wretched. She hated hospitals. They were so disinfected and sterile. There was no feeling to them.

“Liz?” The door opened and she looked up into her best friend’s worried eyes.

“Max!” she cried.

“Ssh!” he scolded, “I’m not supposed to come back here yet.” She clamped a hand to her mouth and peered apprehensively at the door. He closed it, studiously making sure no nurses were coming.

“You doing okay?” he asked, dragging a chair over to her. She nodded, but felt miserable. She didn’t know what her problem was, she was fixed, and everything was all right. Now could she leave, please?

Max tugged on a piece of her hair and she gave him her attention again. “Sorry I couldn’t come in,” he apologized.

“It’s okay,” she dropped her voice, gazing into his honest brown eyes.

“We’re going to go home soon, Mom just has to clear some things at the nurses’ station.”

“Good,” she stated firmly. He grinned at her and then stood up, pressing his lips to the place where her cut was.

“How’s that?” he inquired, blushing.

“Better,” she whispered, blushing too.
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 4:07:10 PM
Part Three: The Kiss of Death

Max admired himself in the mirror. He had been working out lately and his muscles were getting pretty dang big. Oh yeah, he’d get Tish Okabe’s attention for sure.

He smiled goofily when he thought about Tish. She was Isabel’s best friend, and at thirteen was just as developed as girls of sixteen. Since two years ago, when Max had beat Kyle on the playground, she’d been saying hi to him, and having actual conversations.

At first, he’d been like, eww, another icky girl…But now, now it was kinda ego-boosting to know the approval of an older woman. Liz always rolled her eyes at him when he started talking about her, about how pretty and sweet she was… But what did Liz know? She was just a little girl, and a tomboy one at that.

He smiled and grabbed a jacket, heading over to his best friend’s house. He wanted to ask her opinion on his new look before he tried it out on Tish.

Max let himself in the Parker’s front door, knowing Jeff and Nancy were working at the Crashdown. He walked up the stairway and headed down the upper hall to Liz’s room. “Hey Liz,” he called and opened her door.

“MAX!”

In a flash he was back outside the door, barricaded from within. He didn’t attempt to reopen the door. He just stood outside, stunned.

Liz had been wearing a bra!

His best friend had boobs!

Aw, Jebus freezus, he hadn’t expected her to turn into a girl!
<><><><>

Liz could not believe him! She grabbed her robe and wrapped it tightly around her body. Then she snatched up a hair scrunchie and pulled back her wet hair. He was such a boy sometimes, not knocking…

“You’re supposed to knock before you enter a girl’s room, Max Evans!” she told him as she opened her door, glaring at him.

“Yeah, but I don’t think of you as- What?"

“Oh, God!” she gasped, laughing her head off. He looked ridiculous.

“What is your problem?” he demanded. She just shook her head and collapsed onto her bed, rolling with laughter.

“You-you look so funny!” she finally managed.

“I do not!” he exclaimed, “I look manly.”

“Right,” she said, trying to be serious, “You’re a big strong manly man!” Then she dissolved into a fit of giggles.

“Liz!” he complained.

“I’m sorry!” She looked him over again and struggled not to start laughing again. His hair was all spiky, which actually looked okay, but he was wearing leather pants, a white wife-beater, and a leather jacket that was way too big for him. He reminded her of Michael, only more extreme. “What did you want?” There, that sounded normal, no mirth involved at all.
<><><><>

He glared at her. She was still laughing at him, he could see it in those doe-brown eyes of hers. “I wanted your opinion on my new look.”

She started up again.

“Liz! I’m serious!”

“How can you be?” she asked, “I mean, if I looked like that, I wouldn’t be able to take myself seriously.” She pursed her lips and prevented all but a little chuckle to come through.

“Okay, obviously you’re not going to be any help,” he said angrily, getting fed up. He turned to go.

“No, no wait, Max!” she called. He turned around in the doorway and looked at her. She was sitting on her bed, legs sticking out from under the butterfly robe he had gotten her for her birthday last year. (It was a big on her, but she’d grow into it.) He stared at her legs for a moment, hypnotized by the smooth length. “Max? Earth to Max?” He snapped his attention back to her face. “Were you staring at my legs?” she asked suspiciously.

“Did you shave?” he demanded, tangenting from her direct question.

“I’ve been shaving for a year Max.”

“You have?” That was a surprise. She rolled her eyes at him.

“Anyway, what’s with the new…” She waved her hand to encompass him and her lips twitched, “look?”

“I’m trying it out on Tish. You think she’ll be impressed?” He mock posed, and there she went… “Liz!”

“I’m sorry,” she panted, “I can’t help it. I’ll be serious now, I promise.”

“So?” he prompted.

“So, I think you’ll definitely make an impression. I can’t say she’ll be impressed as much as vastly amused.”

“So you don’t think she’ll like it?”

“Max,” Liz sighed and cuddled a pillow in front of her, “It’s not you. You’re not a tough guy. I mean, yes, you can hold your own in a fight, and, according to Maria, you emit “masculine vibes”, but I think you do better as the strong, silent type. You know, just jeans and a T-shirt. Be you, Max, not somebody else.”

“But Tish doesn’t want me. At least, not in a more than friends way.”

“Then she doesn’t deserve you.”

“But-”

“No buts, Maxwell…Besides, there’s something you need to know. About Tish, I mean.”

“What?” he asked sullenly, “Never mind, I’m gonna go home and wallow in self-pity.”

“But Max! It’s important!”

“Bye, Liz.”

“Max!” He tuned her out as he walked back downstairs. She was just gonna try and be sympathetic and understanding. He didn’t need that right now. What he needed were some guy friends, but, lacking those, to go home.

He walked in through the kitchen door, dragging his feet and grabbed a soda from the fridge. Popping it open he turned and froze. Just great, he thought, closing his eyes. That’s just perfect.

For there, sitting at the kitchen table, was his sister and her best friend.
<><><><>

Isabel choked back her laughter as she stared at her brother, but then she couldn’t help it anymore. She and Tish looked at each other and burst out giggling. “Oh, God, Max, do you know how hilarious you look?”

He glowered at her with cold eyes. “Yes, Isabel, Liz has already pointed out that fact already, several times.” She just laughed harder. “That’s right, yuck it up,” he prodded, “Get it all out now so I don’t have to deal with it later.”

“We’re gonna go to my room,” Isabel said, needing to get out of there before she started snorting or something equally humiliating. She and Tish got up and walked past him.

“Oh, Max.” Tish wiped tears from her eyes and kissed his cheek. Isabel rolled her eyes, oh no…He looked amazed, as if she were a goddess to be worshipped or something. He was such a dork.

“Tish.” Isabel tapped her foot impatiently.

“Coming Iz.” She ruffled Max’s spiky hair and laughed again. “You’re so cute Max, Tim never does stuff like this.”

“Tim?” he echoed, sounding dazed.

“My boyfriend.” She smiled at him, “Isabel’s so lucky to have a little brother like you.” Isabel subdued another giggle. Poor Max. For a minute she felt sorry for him. “Bye, Max.” Tish gave him another smile and a wave and then walked out of the kitchen toward Isabel’s room.
<><><><>

Max flung himself onto his bed and picked up his phone, dialing the number by heart. “Hello?”

“Hey, so I think I know what you were going to tell me about Tish.”

“Found out about Tim Watanabe, huh?” Even over the phone she sounded concerned.

“Yeah,” he muttered, “She said I was cute, like in puppy-dog, little kid cute. That’s like the kiss of death.”

“Poor baby,” she commiserated.

“Are you laughing at me?” he questioned.

“Yes.”

“Great, some friend you are.”

“The best,” she told him, laughing openly, “And don’t you forget it Evans.”
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 4:14:28 PM
Part Four: Kiss Off

“Liz, psst!”

“What Max?” she whispered back, covertly checking to make sure Mr. Tollifson was still busy at the blackboard.

“Are you coming to the game tonight?” Liz gave a muffled shriek and glared at him from her seat. He interrupted her in the middle of a test to ask if she was going to his basketball game!

“Of course I’m coming, now shut up!” She bent over her test again and ignored Pam Troy’s annoying little jabs into her back. She probably wanted to know what the answer to number twenty was, well Liz wasn’t going to help her cheat.
<><><><>

Pam frowned and then glanced at Max. Little Lizzie Parker would pay for disregarding her! An evil little smile lit up her face. One that, had Liz seen it, would have changed her mind about helping.

They were fourteen, freshmen at West Roswell High, and the boyfriend/girlfriend thing was starting. The groping of seniors in the halls putting pressure on the underclassmen. Pressure that Ms. Pamela Troy, school gossip extraordinaire, fueled.

By the time Max and Liz left history class, her little rumor had swept through the ninth grade like wildfire. The knowledge was like shock waves to the female population. The thought that cute, popular Max Evans would be interested in geeky little Liz Parker (when he had so many other girls begging to be his girlfriend) like that was absurd.

Everyone knew they were best friends, but Liz was such a tomboy, it was inconceivable that she could get a guy.

Truth be told, Liz wasn’t a tomboy. She was just as fond of skirts as any other girl, and there were several boys who would’ve loved to go out with her. But she always hung out with Max, and none of them thought to compete with him. Except one…
<><><><>

Liz slammed her locker shut as Maria came bounding up to her. “Are you and Max going out?” she asked bluntly.

“No!” Liz exclaimed, “Where on earth would you get an idea like that?"

“Duh! Lizzie, the whole school has the idea. Pammy got her claws out early.” Maria rolled her eyes, she hated Pam Troy as much as Liz did.

“What? That…that total witch! How dare she start rumors about me and Max! We’re just friends! How hard is that to comprehend?” she demanded, practically yelling down the hallway. Several students stopped and stared. “Ugh! I can’t believe people would believe something so…so utterly preposterous!”

She stalked down the hall to catch the bus home, feeling particularly angry and wrathful. Maria stared after her in surprise for a second, muttered, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.” And then skipped after her.

“Lizzie, wait up! We’re going to the game together tonight, right?”
<><><><>

“Just heard, Evans, good going!”

“What?”

“Evans…Very smooth.”

“What?”

“Hey Evans, heard you scored with Parker! Nice job, man!” Doug Highsinger slapped him on the back.

What?"

“Pam Troy said you and Liz were dating.” He turned to the newest voice, trying to sort out the confusion.

“What are you talking about Kyle?” he demanded, hating that Valenti was the one to retrieve him from bewilderment.

They were the only two freshmen to make the Varsity basketball team, and had begrudgingly agreed to work together for the good of the team. But that didn’t mean they liked each other.

Kyle’s blue eyes were cold. “You heard me,” he said.

“You meant it?"

“Yeah,” he said gruffly.

“But that’s ridiculous.” He shook his head. “There’s no way anyone would believe that.”

“Evans!” Rick Montes’ head popped over the lockers from the next row, “Congrats, Parker’s been lookin’ very fine.”

“Hey!” Max exclaimed, standing up on one of the benches as he pulled his jersey on, “That’s my best friend you’re talking about!”

“Sure, Evans.”

“Yeah right, dude.”

The chorus of disbelief went around the boy’s locker room.

“I mean it!” he protested, “Liz and I are just friends, there’s nothing like that going on.” Sympathetic groans went around.

“Too bad, man.”

“Yeah, but you’ll get some soon, she doesn’t look that frigid.”

“Tight,” Montes said, “But not frigid.”

Max snapped, he was up and over the lockers in an instant and Rick was lying on the floor, cupping his bleeding nose. “Take it back, Montes,” he demanded.

“Jeez, man, I’m sorry, okay. I’m sorry.” He got up, glaring at Max and holding his nose upwards to stem the bleeding. Max slowly relaxed out of his fighting stance and returned the older boy’s glare.

“Woo, Evans, nice right hook,” Doug commented, whistling with admiration.

“All right, men, gather round,” Coach said as he came out of his office, “Montes, what happened to you?”

Before Rick could say anything, Doug butted in. “He had an accident Coach.”

“Well get cleaned up.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Everybody, just remember, teamwork, and send any three-pointers Evans’ way. Got it?”

“Got it Coach!” everybody said.

“Then get out there and play!” he roared. Yelling and general guy pumping up ensued, and the team made there way to the gym.

“So you and Liz aren't together?”

Max spun around, looking at Valenti suspiciously. “No.”

“Good.” Kyle shoved past him and Max studied his back for a minute. What did he mean by ‘good’? Shaking it off, Max trotted out, ignoring the cheering for his inner anger. He stored it away, building it up, it would make him more aggressive on the court.

“Max? What’s wrong?”

He looked at the blue and gold clad cheerleader. “Pam Troy started a rumor that me and Liz were together.”

“What?”

“That’s what I said.” He smiled at her. “Go cheer Isabel, I’ve got a game to win.”

“Evans!”

“Coming Coach!”

“Good luck, baby brother,” she called after him.

Max made a face. “Try not to fall off the top of the pyramid!” he yelled back.
<><><><>

Liz clapped frantically as Max made another basket. He was doing great, and West Roswell was up by twelve points. “Go Max!” she cheered from the bleachers. Maria, Alex, and even Michael echoing her cry.

The rest of the bleachers took up the cheer and a wave went through their team’s side, blue and gold pennants and pom-poms waving crazily for their favorite player. Max Evans was the team sweetheart.

He stopped before continuing to the face off, blushing and waving up at the crowd of supporters. Everyone cheered more. He met her eyes through the din and grinned. Then he inclined his head toward the sidelines.

Liz made her face scrunch up, mystified, and he did it again. She looked over and restrained a giggle.

The whole JV cheerleading squad was approaching the freshmen one, Isabel Evans in the lead.
<><><><>

“Oh, Pam?” Isabel asked sweetly.

Pam Troy turned around. “Isabel!” she squealed. She rolled her eyes at Tish, who was looking properly bored. She looked back down at the freshman and gave her a once over, her lip curling up in distaste.

The rest of Pam’s squad saw this and backed away from their leader, not willing to incur the fury of the Isabel Evans. She might only have been a sophomore, but she was head cheerleader of the JV squad, and every girl in the school either adored and envied her or hated her. The freshmen cheerleaders were in the first group.

“I heard you were spreading rumors about my brother and Liz Parker,” she stated frostily. Her squad fanned out behind her, glaring icicles. Pam paled and took a step back. “It stops now,” she continued, “And I expect an apology for trying to ruin my brother’s and his best friend’s reputation.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“I didn’t hear you.”

“I’m sorry!” she repeated, louder this time.

“That’s better.” The whole squad turned in unison, but Isabel paused and turned back, causing the other girls to stop too, intimidating the younger girl. “And Pam, it better not happen again.”

“It won’t” she appeased, “I promise.”

“Good.” Like her word was worth diddly squat. “And Pam…”

She gulped, “What?”

Isabel blew her a kiss, eyes glacial. “Buh-bye,” she said pleasantly.
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 4:19:26 PM
Part Five: The Kissing Game

The party was doing moderately okay, the new girl wouldn’t make it onto West Roswell’s top ten popular list, but she wouldn’t be snubbed. Something was just missing to make it perfectly scandalous. There were no fights, no horribly loud break-ups, no nothing… Just pleasant talking and assorted eating from the well-furnished snack table.

Liz was perched on the arm of a couch, her legs in Max’s lap. Maria was on the other side, with Alex at her feet. Michael was hovering a few inches away, glaring hatefully at everyone. Isabel and Tish were grouped with the cheerleader and the jocks, including Kyle Valenti, and were discussing the new girl’s potential as lackey.

“Okay everyone!” Attention turned to Pam Troy, who was standing in the middle of the room, holding two bowls. “Time for a little fun. I have here boy’s names and girl’s names in these bowls, and we’re going to play ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’, so, let’s let our lovely hostess have the first pick.

“Tish Okabe and Tim Watanabe,” she read in a sugary little voice. Everyone groaned as the couple (five years running) headed for the closet. There was no suspense as to the outcome of that little tête-à-tête.

“Now,” Pam said, locking the closet door, “Someone start timing. The rules are simple. You’re locked in a closet for seven minutes with the picked partner, what you do inside is your business, but everyone’s going to find out anyway. So have fun!”

Seven minutes passed and Tish and Tim came out, clothes awry and make-up smudged. “Next,” Pam picked, “Isabel Evans and Alex Whitman.” Liz and Max joined in the catcalls as Izzy got up regally and stalked to the closet, Alex followed, blushing red as a tomato, and Pam locked them in.

Another seven minutes went by and they were let out, Isabel walked out as serenely as she’d gone in, and Alex came out, looking slightly dazed and staring at Isabel as if she were a deity. Liz and Max exchanged glances, giggling.

“Michael Guerin, and…” She concentrated on picking out a girl name. Liz watched, lips twisting as Michael glowered at the female populace and crossed his arms. “Drum roll please,” Pam asked, smirking as she finally pulled out a name. Jocks obliged her and Pam waved the piece of paper, holding back laughter. “Maria DeLuca!”

There was absolute silence.

Michael and Maria stared at each other in shock, then started yelling. “No way!” Maria shrieked, “No way on earth I’m getting into a closet with him!”

“Same here Blondie, I didn’t even sign on for this game, I’m outta here.” He started walking away, but Pam placed on well-manicured hand on his chest.

“Hold it, Guerin, rules state that once a game is started there is no backing out.”

“C’mon, Michael,” Max called, “Don’t be a wuss.” Michael turned his fearsome glare on his friend, but Max just smiled at him.

“Fine,” he grumbled, walking into the closet, “Ya comin’ Cheesehead?”

Maria was trembling with rage and she turned pleading eyes to Liz. She slid off the arm and went to Maria. “It’s okay, Maria, you don’t have to do anything.” Green eyes regarded her seriously and she nodded.

Straightening she stalked to the closet, “Of course I’m coming Dorkbutt, keep you pants on. Please,” she added.

Everyone watched with apprehension as the door was locked. There was peace for about one second and then muffled screams and raised voices erupted from the interior. Knowing grins were exchanged and everyone settled down for a good Michael/Maria argument
(highly entertaining). It was just getting good when suddenly…nothing.

Complete nothing.

Four minutes later Pam cautiously approached the door. “If they killed each other, I assume no responsibility,” she informed them, hand on the knob.

“Just open it!” everyone hissed. She took a deep breath and flung the door open, everyone peered anxiously inside, but was shocked at what they saw.

Michael’s hand came out the door, obviously seeking for support, but, finding none, he tumbled to the floor, Maria beneath him. There was a breathless pause and Liz asked, “Maria?”

She swiped blond hair out of her face and pushed Michael off of her. They both got up, blushing, lips swollen, Maria with a dark patch on her neck. She looked around and responded to everyone’s stunned gazes, “What?”

The hushed crowd didn’t reply.

“Who’s next?” she continued.

“Oh, um…” Pam dazedly pulled the next two names, “Kyle Valenti and Liz Parker.”
<><><><>

There was quiet amid there little group. Alex was still gazing adoredly at Isabel, Michael and Maria wouldn’t look at each other, and Max’s focus was on the closet door. The barrier that held his best friend trapped with his arch nemesis.

He really, really wanted to march over there and rip it open and then tear Valenti to shreds. He knew what that pervert thought about Liz, always smiling at her and asking her questions about her day…The bastard.

He glanced at his watch. Thank God. “Time’s up,” he called.

“No,” Pam said, “Nikolas has to call it.”

“I said, ‘time’s up’,” he repeated, “Open the door now."

She blanched at his stony tone and hurriedly opened the door. Kyle and Liz walked calmly out, smiled at each other, and went to their respective groups. Max watched Valenti closely, noticing the way his gaze lingered on Liz’s hips. He also noticed a smudge on Valenti’s cheek about the same color as Liz’s lipstick.

“Max Evans and…” He snapped his attention to Pam, who was grinning coyly at him. She pulled the name out of the bowl and pouted. “Tess Harding,” she finished, disappointment evident in her voice.

He reluctantly got up as Liz sat down. “Good luck,” she told him cheekily.

“Yeah,” he muttered, staring at her intently, not making a move to leave.

“Max, you have to go,” she told him.

“What happened with you and Kyle?”

“Oh,” she rolled her eyes at him, “We talked, Dad, that’s it. Okay, now get going, you have a bimbo panting for you.”

“Liz,” he whined.

“Shoo, oh god of men.” This time it was he rolling his eyes and she grinned. He walked to the closet and winced as it shut behind him.

Max looked at the girl he was stuck with and gave her a small smile. “So, I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced, you being new and all. I’m Max Evans.” He held out his hand.

“I know who you are,” she told him, laughing, “Everyone knows the star of the basketball team.”

He blushed, “I’m not really the star.”

“Don’t be so modest, I saw the last game. You were awesome.”

“Oh, thanks…Tess.”

“So,” he said.

“So,” she echoed, stepping closer to him. He was up against the door and had nowhere to go. “Aren’t you going to kiss me, Max?”

He studied her. She was cute, blue eyes, bleached blonde hair, big pink lips. Her skin was white like porcelain and she was nicely shaped, a little taller that Liz. He guessed one kiss couldn’t hurt.

Slowly he leaned forward, just brushing his lips over hers. She tilted her chin up, and instigated the second kiss. He responded on instinct, not having a lot of experience, and kissed her back, gently letting his tongue explore her mouth. She giggled and ran her hands up the back of his shirt.

The door opened and Max spun around. Everyone applauded as they took in his disheveled state and lipstick smeared face. Tess wiped her lips and then sucked the lip stuff off his face. More cheering and a chant of “Evans!” from his teammates. He blushed and gave Tess one last glance before going back to his friends.

Alex and Michael were giving him hell and Liz just looked at him, something in her eyes dead. He ignored the boys and sat down beside her. “What’s wrong?” he asked worriedly, “Were you lying to me before about Valenti, because if he did something, Liz-”

“You have lipstick on your ear, Max,” she interrupted, rubbing it away. He blushed again.

“Yeah, Tess went kinda suck-crazy back there.”

“Didn’t look like you minded,” she said coolly. He gave her a strange look and was about to ask her what her problem was when Michael started talking to him.

“Man, she manhandled you worse than Maria did to me.”

“Excuse me!” Maria cried, “I believe I was the one being manhandled you caveman!”

“Oh, yeah right, I only kissed you to shut you up, after that it was all you!”

“Not even!” she shrieked, and went for him. Michael bounded away and Max grabbed Maria before she could get to him.

“Guys!” he shouted, “Quit the schoolyard flirting and just admit you’re hot for each other.” Maria gasped and hit him, Michael gave him a dirty look. They both tread to opposite ends of the room, where Maria started batting her eyelashes at some random guy and Michael glowered at them.

He sighed and flopped back down beside Liz. He glanced between the two and then at Alex, who was still openly staring at his sister. “Aren’t you glad we don’t have that type of problem,” he asked Liz.

“I think you’re about to get one,” she enlightened him, pointing to Tess, who winked at him and licked her lips. He flushed and looked at Liz. Her brown eyes were back to normal, sparkling amusedly.

“Jebus freezus,” he muttered, “Can’t a guy get a break?”

“Not if he looks like you, Max, there’s no chance in hell.” He frowned at her and she just smiled at him, ruffling his hair. “You’re such a sex fiend!” she teased.

“Liz!”
<><><><>

Isabel got her books out of her locker, complaining about her homework load to Tish and Tess, who they had decided to adopt.

“Hey, Isabel!” Alex said, walking by.

“Hi Alex,” she called after him. The girls watched him walk away.

“He’s got it so bad for you,” Tess told her.

“He’s sweet,” Isabel said, looking at Tish, who was staring down the hall, on the prowl for Tim. She turned her attention back to Tess.

“Sweet as in nice guy, or sweet as in potential love connection?”

Isabel shrugged, “Sweet as in I don’t know. What about you? You’ve been here for a couple of weeks, you must have somebody on your radar.”

“Still soaking it all in. Although, I have to admit, I’m a little bummed about your brother being unavailable. I’m sort of into those serious mooded guys.”

“He’s not unavailable.”

“But, what about Liz Parker? They’re always together.”

“They’re just friends,” she told her airily, “They’ve been best friends since they were eight, but it’s nothing more than that.

“So, he’s up for grabs?”

“Most definitely.”

“Good.”
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 4:25:46 PM
Part Six: Kiss and Tell

Liz grabbed her backpack from her locker and started filling it. She had a Science Club meeting in ten minutes and she couldn’t be late.

“Hey, Liz.”

She glanced up and smiled. “Hi Kyle.” They had hung out a few times recently, and Liz considered him a good friend. “What’s up?”

“Actually,” he shuffled his feet, “I was wondering if you were busy tonight. Are you?”

“Nope,” she replied, looking at him curiously, “Why?”

“Liz, we’ve been hanging out, and we’ve had fun right?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, the thing is…I like you Liz, in a more than friends sort of way, and I wanted to know if you would go to the movies with me tonight, and maybe another night…Like a girlfriend/boyfriend thing.”

She was stunned and looked into his hopeful blue eyes, and she couldn’t bring herself to day no. “Sure,” she said.

“Really?” he asked, eyes lighting up.

“Really,” she said, smiling at him. He grinned widely and kissed her lightly on the lips, when he pulled back his grin was even broader.

“Well, I have to get to practice, I’ll pick you up at eight?”

“I’ll be ready,” she told him. And he kissed her again and walked away. She sighed and turned back to her locker. She could do this, it wasn’t like she hated him, and he was a good kisser. She could be his girlfriend. It’s not like there were guys lined up the block for her, she thought wistfully.

“Hey Liz!” Her head shot up again and was faced with her best friend, basketball shoes slung over his shoulder.

“Hi Max,” she responded, feeling an odd sense of déjà vu.

“You wanna hang out tonight?”

“Can’t, I have plans.”

“Plans?” he repeated, sounding skeptical.

“Yup.”

“And these plans are more important than hanging out with me, your bestest friend in the whole world?”

“Yup,” she teased, grinning at him.

“Well, fine,” he huffed and walked away. Liz stared after him, a little shocked at his attitude. But then shook her head, he was probably PMSing or something. Guys were so weird sometimes, Max most of all.

Shit! She needed to go or she’d be late.
<><><><>

Max parked his Jeep in the driveway and climbed out. He had just got home from a make-out session at Tess’. He hadn’t had anything else to do since Liz had ‘plans’. He snorted. What could possibly be more important than her best friend? He shook his head and was about to go in the house when a red Mustang came ripping down the street.

Valenti, Max thought, hands clenching. What was he doing on Max’s street?

The Mustang pulled into the Parker’s driveway, and Max watched slack-jawed as Kyle got out and then went to the passenger side door, opening it. His jaw dropped farther when Liz appeared and walked hand-in-hand with Kyle to her front door.

With growing anger he watched as Valenti touched Liz’s face and kissed her. Kissed Liz! His Liz!

What the hell was she thinking letting Valenti maul her like that?!

The next day after school he confronted her at her locker. “Kyle Valenti?” he demanded, incensed.

“What?”

“Kyle Valenti was more important than me?”

“Max, I went on a date, it’s no big deal.” She shrugged her shoulders and he just snapped, not comprehending how she could brush off such a huge deal.

“It’s Valenti, Liz, Kyle Valenti. You remember, the boy who gave you that scar in elementary school!” He pointed to the mar above her brow.

“That was an accident Max, and we were like ten years old, get over it. Besides,” she continued, “You have no right to talk, what with Ms. Vapid and Shallow…”

“Tess is not vapid,” he protested.

“Right, Max, keep telling yourself that.” She rolled her eyes, and he threw up his hands, frustrated with her obtuseness.

“Liz, you can’t go out with Valenti.”

“And why not, Max?” she inquired, and he heard the anger in her voice, but pressed on anyway.

“Because I don’t like him,” he told her. She rounded on him, eyes wide.

“I don’t like Tess,” she said. He frowned, not expecting that.

“What does that have to do with anything?”
<><><><>

Max lay silently on his bed, pondering the disturbing events of this afternoon. Events that were roiling around in his mind nonstop, events that could change everything he’d ever known for the past nine years.

He had kissed Liz Parker.

He had kissed his best friend!

Max groaned and rolled over onto his back. He glanced to the side to stare at his nightstand, and grabbed the picture resting on it. The image of Liz and himself was all he saw, and he realized, quite suddenly, that they looked good together.

No!

He put the picture back, facedown, and chewed his bottom lip. He had to stop thinking these thoughts. Had to stop thinking about how soft her lips had been, and how perfectly her body had melted against his.

He needed to talk to someone, and since his best friend would only compound the problem, he dialed the number of the only other person he could trust with a crisis like this.

“Hello?”

“Have you ever though about kissing Maria?”

“What? Max is that you?”

“Yes, Alex, it’s me, now have you?”

“Of course not, what kind of question is that?” Alex sounded disturbed. “Besides, Michael would kill me if I even looked at her funny.”

“Alex!” he cried, aggravated, “I didn’t ask if you would, I asked if you’d ever thought about it.”

“Well,” he paused, “I guess, when we were younger, I wondered. I mean, she really has great lips, and she was the only girl who paid attention to me…” he cleared his throat, “Why?”
<><><><>

Isabel grabbed the portable phone, needing to call Tish to find out what she was wearing to Fling, and turned it on. She brought it up to her ear to check the dial tone, and froze as he brother’s voice came over the line.

“I kissed Liz!”

“What?!” That was Alex Whitman.

“I kissed her,” Max repeated, “Just today, after school. We were arguing and I just kissed her.”

“What did she do?”

“Kissed me back-”

Isabel turned the phone off and placed it on the end table, looking at it as if it were a snake set to bite her. She thought of Tess’ obsessive behavior with Max, Liz and Max’s sappy relationship, and then remembered that Tess was one of her best friends.

“I so did not just hear that,” she told herself.
<><><><>

“Max kissed me,” Liz stated quietly.

WHAT?!” Maria screeched.

“He kissed me Maria, on the lips, with tongue and everything.”

“You are so not serious.” Liz just looked at her, serious as could be. She didn’t blame Maria’s reaction. She could barely believe it her self.

Max Evans had kissed her.

It was wrong, best friends kissing was just wrong, especially when said best friends both had a significant other. It was wrong…

But it hadn’t felt wrong. If anything, it had felt right. Right like nothing in her life had felt right before…

She stared at the strip of pictures stuck in the frame of her dresser mirror. It was from her sweet sixteenth. Max had escorted her around the school carnival. Just him and her.

Maria had followed her gaze and she stood up and took the pictures from the mirror, then walked back to Liz’s bed, studying it. “Well chica,” she said, placing them in Liz’s hands, I always thought you two made a picture perfect couple.”

Liz didn’t answer, she just stared down at the picture in her hand. Stared at the laughing couple (or what looked like a couple, but was really two best friends hanging out), who looked like they were on a date.

She sighed, remembering how content she felt that night, and how safe she had been with Max. Then she remembered the kiss that afternoon and her sigh grew deeper. She had felt just as safe and content then, even with all the sizzling emotions that the kiss had stirred up.

Liz just had to face it. She had a mega-huge crush on Max Evans, her best friend in the world. And that was just impossible.
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 5:12:23 PM
Part Seven: The Kissing Booth

The sun was shining brightly, and the wind that swept through offset it so that the people of Roswell were at a stable temperature, neither too hot nor too cold. It was the perfect day for a carnival.

West Roswell High had joined up with the annual carnival that came to Roswell, and were advertising clubs and raising money at provided booths throughout the regular carnival. Liz was stationed at the Science Club’s booth, and Max made his way there without distraction from the amusements.

He spotted her and Alex sitting at their booth, Maria dancing around behind with cotton candy in her hand. He hurried over and ducked into the booth, signaling to Maria to be quiet he slipped his hands over Liz’s eyes. “Guess who?”

She laughed and pretended to think hard. “I have no idea, could it be my bestest friend, Max?”

“Got it in one,” he exclaimed leaning on the booth counter, “Alex told you, didn’t he?” He looked accusingly at Alex.

“Not me, man,” Alex said innocently, turning to his newest customer.

“How’s business?” Max asked, watching as Alex was drawn into a serious lip-lock with some freshman girl.

“Pretty good, we’ve raised a lot of money to fund our field trip to UNM.”

“Great!” He rubbed his hands together in anticipation, “Then let’s go birthday girl, I‘ve got a fun-filled day all mapped out.”

“Max,” she laughed, “I’m not done yet, I’ve still got one more kiss to fill my quota.”

“You have a kissing quota?” he demanded, incredulous.

“Uh-huh,” she nodded, “And I have one more kiss to give before Maria takes over.”

“Where’s Alex’s replacement?” He looked at his friend, who shrugged.

“Don’t have one,” the boy said sadly, “Unfortunately, I’m the only male member of the Science Club kiss worthy.” He sighed and then drew himself up, “It’s a hard burden to bear, but I can handle it.”

“I’ll just bet you can,” he teased, smiling. He turned back to Liz, “C’mon Liz, it’s just one kiss, no one will ever know. Maria and Alex won’t tattle on you, I promise.”

I'll know, Max, and I refuse to shirk my duties. In case you have forgotten, I am club president!”

“Fine,” he muttered, staring out over the crowd. He started randomly calling to guys to come get a kiss, but they just looked at him funny. He realized they must thing he meant from him. He made a face and glared at his laughing friends. “It’s not funny,” he whined.

“Yes it is,” Liz giggled, “Just be patient Max, okay, we’ll be out of here in next to no time.” He nodded acquiescence and leaned against the booth again, idly scanning the crowd. He caught sight of Kyle Valenti striding forcefully through the crowds of people, his eyes on Liz, who was utterly oblivious.

Max frowned and glanced at Liz, and then back at the fast approaching Kyle. He dug into his pocket and pulled out a dollar. “Here,” he said, slamming it down on the counter. Then he pulled Liz up and brushed her lips against his, ignoring the tingling sensation her body caused in his. “Let’s go, kissing quota is reached, tally-ho and all that…” He babbled some more as he pulled her away from the booth as fast as her short legs could go.

Ha glanced back as they stood in line for the Gravitron, and smirked as Kyle looked wildly around, befuddled. Score, he thought, Liz was safe for another day. Valenti had been showing way too much interest in her doings lately, and Max didn’t like it.

He didn’t like it one little bit.
<><><><>

Isabel approached the Science Club’s kissing booth with her usual air of self-importance. She wasn’t sure what was had possessed her, but she was headed there with the intent to kiss Alex Whitman. She was making up suitable excuses for the behavior in her head, the main one was that she was supporting her brother’s best friend’s extracurricular activities.

So lame, she thought, but she didn’t have time to come up with another one as she was standing in front of the booth already.

She fidgeted, waiting for someone to take notice of her. Alex’s attention was on Maria, who was yelling at Michael Guerin. Michael was blocking her side of the booth from customers, glowering at any boy who dared try to make an approach.

“Michael! You dorkbutt! Move! We need the money!” Michael didn’t even look at her, just crossed his arms as Doug Sahn made to walk around him. “Michael!”

“It’s for your own good, Cheesehead,” he finally grumbled in that low voice of his, “You wouldn’t want all the boys to think you were easy, would you?”

Maria turned a brilliant tint of red and tried to leap over the booth counter. “You jerk!” she shouted, reaching for him again, “You take that back now, Guerin! Or else…”

“Or else what?” he taunted.

“Hello Michael.”

He blanched and turned around. “Hi, Mrs. DeLuca,” he squeaked, “I was just…um…going. Bye Maria!” And he ran off.

Isabel could no longer contain her laughter and let it go, peels echoing across the fairgrounds. “Isabel?” She looked into Alex’s surprised face.

“One please,” she said, handing him a dollar. He looked at it and then her, shocked. Then he gulped loudly.

“You want a kiss?” he inquired, as if he couldn’t quite believe it. She giggled some more and fluttered her eyelashes at him flirtingly.

“In the name of science an all,” she told him, glad she had come up with a better excuse.

“Oh…right.” He blushed and leaned forward, lightly teasing her lips with his own, then he found a good position and deepened it slightly. Isabel let him too, in fact, she let the kiss go on longer than she had thought she would let it.

His lips were soft and pliant, not too wet or sloppy either, just kinda perfect. She stepped back slowly, releasing his lips a bit at a time. She smiled at him approvingly and licked her lips. He blushed and rubbed the back of his head, grinning at her goofily.

“Bye Alex,” she whispered, before sauntering away.

“Thank you for your contribution!” he yelled after her. She turned back and he blushed again. She laughed happily and continued on her way.

“What’s so funny?” Tish asked, as she and Tess met up with Isabel.

“Science,” she responded cryptically, and headed toward the lemonade stand. Tess and Tish exchanged glances, shrugged, and followed their leader to cool refreshments and shade.
<><><><>

It was getting late, Max and Liz had done practically every ride in the whole carnival. They were saving the Ferris Wheel for last, as per tradition. Right now Liz was eating a Pronto Pup and following Max as they weaved through the games.

He bypassed the darts and squirt guns, the baseball and football, and headed straight to the basketball game, where he, and she, knew he ruled.

The guy at the booth handed Max three balls, explaining to him the rules as Max adjusted his grip on the unfamiliar equipment. He glanced at Liz, grinned, sized up the distance to the basket, rebound factors, and whatever other sport-type stuff that went though a guy’s mind, and shot.

He sunk one after the other, nothing but net, and grinned at the guy. Then he turned to Liz, “Well, birthday girl, pick your prize.”

She deliberated over all the prizes and Max got bored, so he paid and got another three shots. Again, swoosh, there it was. “Pick a bigger one,” he told her.

She smiled and pointed to the medium-sized prize she had been eyeing and now could get. The carnie handed it to her and she smiled happily, holding the plush toy close. “Thank you, Max!” she exclaimed, hooking her arm into his, “He’s perfect!”

They headed to the Ferris Wheel arm in arm and got on in relatively no time, because it was getting late and the crowds were going home. They settled in comfortably and the ride started. They went around one rotation and were at the top again, when the ride stalled.

Sighing heavily, Liz wrapped her arms around her gift and stared up at the sky. “Why does this happen every year?” she asked.

Max shrugged, “Tradition.”

They waited in silence for a while, looking at the stars, and then Max made a funny sound in his throat. “What?” she asked.

“I can’t believe you picked an alien, that is so redundant,” he said sarcastically.

“Hey!” she exclaimed, cuddling the stuffed animal closer, “He’s adorable, and I love him, so take it back!”

“Liz, look at it!”

She did. He was soft and snuggly, with neon green fur and big, black, oval eyes in his big head. “He reminds me of you,” she said finally, “I think I’m going to name him Lil’ Max.”

“What?!”

“You heard me,” she said, tossing her head.

“What on earth could remind you of me when looking at that?!”

She glared at him, angry that he was insulting her present. “You both have big heads.”

“I do not!” he exploded, “And I look nothing like that…that mockery of a toy.” He crossed his arms and “harrumphed”. Liz hugged Lil’ Max closer and refused to look at Max.

“I’m not speaking to you until you apologize,” she informed him.

“Apologize for what?”

“For making fun of your namesake.”

He made a sound low in his throat, “Fine, I’m sorry.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Liz! It’s a stuffed toy!

“He’s my birthday present,” she said stubbornly, “Now apologize.”

“I’m sorry, Liz. Okay, really, I didn’t know it…he meant so much to you.”

She looked at him seriously and he stared back at her honestly. “Okaay,” she agreed slowly, “Apology accepted.”

“Good.”

“But only if-” she started.

“Oh Jebus freezus, what now?” She giggled at his use of his childhood cry of exasperation.

“You hurt his feelings,” she informed him, “You have to kiss him to make him feel better.”

Max stared at her, “You’re not serious?”

“Do it!” she commanded, holding Lil’ Max up to him. He griped under his breath and leaned forward.

“You tell anyone I did this and you’re a dead woman,” he said, “Remember, I know where you live.”

She giggled some more, “Just do it already!”

He leaned in again, lips puckered, and the ride jerked to a start, causing him to miss the alien completely and graze her cheek. They met each other’s eyes for a surprised instant and then looked away blushing.

When the attendant at the bottom of the ride opened there gate and apologized for the delay, they both had regained their composure and their easy attitudes. “Just warn us next time,” Max told the guy, leading her away.
<><><><>

He led Liz to the parking lot, trying to spot his Jeep. “Max!” and she tugged his hand urgently.

“What now?” he asked, thwarted of his need for a nice, warm bed.

“A picture booth!” she exclaimed, “Let’s go!” He followed her willingly, glad she was having a good time, and put money in the machine. Then he climbed in and pulled the curtain. She maneuvered her way into the tiny booth after him, having to sit on his lap, the alien doll in hers.

A few laughing minutes later they tumbled out and waited for their pictures to develop. The little strip came out and Liz snatched it up happily. “Hey, I paid for them!”

“It’s my birthday,” she retorted, sticking her tongue out at him. Then ran giddily to the parking lot, Max following closely behind her.

The ride home was filled with the sounds of their attempts at singing along with the radio and the occasional “remember when” conversations about birthdays and carnivals past.

They clambered out of the Jeep in the Evans’ driveway and Max stuck his hands in his pockets. “You want me to walk you home?” he asked.

“I think I can handle it,” she teased, “Besides, I’ve got Lil’ Max to protect me.”

He made a face and gave the little alien a fierce glare. Tempted to grab him away from Liz and taunt her a little by holding him out of her reach, but he decided to save that for another time. “So you had a good time?”

“My best birthday ever,” she told him, smiling, “Thank you.”

“Hey,” he shrugged, “I’m your best friend, it’s my job.”

“Lizzie!” Mr. Parker called from next door.

“Coming Daddy!” she called, “Bye, Max, see you tomorrow.” And then she went over to her own home.

“Night, Liz!” he shouted before she went inside. They waved again and then she disappeared indoors and Max headed inside himself. Broke, but happy. Man, being friends with a girl was expensive!
<><><><>
posted on 19-Jun-2002 5:24:15 PM
Part Eight: The Break-Up Kiss

Liz woke up early and just lay in bed for a while, contemplating what she was going to do. She turned over and stared at her clock, Maria would be here in half an hour. She groaned and picked up the phone.

She knew Max wouldn’t be up yet, so she’d just leave him a message saying she had a ride and not to worry about her. It was a diversionary tactic. She knew it, and he would know it. But she couldn’t deal with what had happened yesterday.

True, she had sat up half the night mulling everything over, trying to figure out how it had occurred. So far she got nothing that seemed feasible, just an overemotional outlet. They had been fighting, it was only natural to release that anger in a tangible form, and since kissing was more pleasurable than fisticuffs…That’s what they had done.

But logic had no place when she thought about how his lips had felt on hers…How she had shivered when he had touched her…He had been so gentle, so soft…

NO!

“Max? This is Liz, Maria’s picking me up this morning so don’t wait for me. See ya at school.” Then she hung up and breathed a sigh of relief, glad that that was over.

Slowly making her way out of her bed, she headed to the shower. When she came back out she threw on a pink sundress, a pair of leather sandals, curled her hair, and dabbed on some lip-gloss. Then she packed her book bag, making sure her homework was done, and placed it on her desk table.

Finally she made her bed, smoothing down the lilac sheets and fluffing the matching pillows. Then she grabbed her stuffed alien and positioned him in his place of honor, on top of the pillows, and sighed.

“Well Lil’ Max,” she said, “Wish me luck.” He just stared at her with those black eyes. She smiled, “Thank you.”

Maria was honking in the driveway and Liz seized her backpack, throwing it over her shoulder and running out of her room. She took a strawberry pop-tart from the cabinet, her jean jacket from the coat tree, gave her mom and dad a quick kiss good-bye, and headed out the door to meet Maria.

She caught a glimpse of Max staring at her from his living room window, and then Maria had peeled out of the driveway and was half way down the street, chattering away, and completely unmindful of her friend’s silence.
<><><><>

Max watched her go, not moving a muscle from the window until the Jetta had disappeared completely. Then he sighed and walked to the kitchen, where his mom had made another new breakfast from a recipe out of a Martha Stewart magazine (he could kill Isabel for buying her that subscription).

Luckily, he was oblivious to the disgusting food, and chewed it without thought, his mind on his best friend.

He had played her message this morning and just winced. She was going to avoid the subject, he had guessed that yesterday, but he hadn’t thought she’d completely avoid him. Fortunately, it was impossible to ignore him if he set his mind to making you notice. And Liz was going to have to notice. What had happened yesterday had been…really big.

They had kissed. Not just those little pecks on the cheek, but a full-blown, tongue tangling, tonsil hockey, spit swapping, shivers down your spine, kiss! That’s not something that happened everyday.

Not to best friends, and most definitely not to Max and Liz.

But it had, and he had liked it, a lot.

The conversation with Alex yesterday had made that fact clear to him. He liked kissing Liz. Jebus freezus, he loved kissing her. He loved the way she had sighed, how she had trembled against him, clung to him…

Max sighed and looked up, afraid that if he relived the whole experience he’d need another shower, and he didn’t have time. Time! Shit! He gulped down his orange juice, ran down the hall to his room, grabbed a red and white plaid shirt and threw it on over his white T-shirt. Then he sprinted to the bathroom, gave his teeth a quick brush, the checked his hair. Good.

“Bye, Mom!” he called as he ran for the door.

“Max, wait!” Isabel called, struggling with her backpack and her pom-poms. “Bye, Momma!” And then she pushed past him and jumped in the Jeep.

“Bye, you two,” his mother called from the garage door, “Have a good day at school.”

“We will,” they chorused. And then Max shifted into reverse and they were gone.
<><><><>

She stuffed the blue pom-poms in her lockers, the strands adhering to her hands as she tried to straighten them. Just then Tess came rushing up, the yellow JV pom-poms fluttering at her pace. She came to a stop next to Isabel and opened her locker.

Once she had everything in order she turned to Isabel and sighed heavily. “What’s up?” Izzy asked.

“I called Max last night,” she replied, tugging at the short skirt of her uniform that they had to wear on game day, “And he told me he was too busy to talk, so I just informed him that my Fling dress was going to be black, and what does he do?”

“What?” she inquired, smiling.

“He says, ‘Fling?’ Like I didn’t tell him about it last week! So I said, ‘You know, the dance at school next Friday? The one we’re going to? You said you already had a suit and corsage ordered.’ And then he says, ‘Right, I don’t really want to go to that.’ I tell you Isabel, I just about broke up with him.”

She was laughing at how guy-like Max was sometimes. Most of the time Tess proclaimed him the most romantic boyfriend any girl could ask for, but sporadically…She just ranted. But that last line stopped her giggles, remembering the phone conversation she had overheard yesterday afternoon.

“Izzy? What is it?”

“Nothing, Tess,” she said, but obviously not convincing Tess, who turned concerned blue eyes onto her.

“Isabel, tell me.”

She sighed and bit her lip. “Are you really into my brother?”

Tess gave a laugh, “Of course I am, Izzy, what kind of question is that?” Isabel didn’t say anything, just kinda stared off into space. “Isabel,” Tess sounded anxious, “What happened? Seriously, is Max gonna break up with me? Is that why you’re so quiet?”

“I don’t know,” she admitted, “Just…It’s high school, Tess, you know relationships don’t last. If something does happen, just remember it’s not the end of the world. You’re pretty, popular, and sweet, you’ll never be lacking in the guys department.”

“But-“ she paused, tears coming to her eyes, “You mean he is?”

“No, I’m saying I don’t know Tess, but it’s a possibility. I overheard a phone call to Alex yesterday…Just be prepared.”

“I don’t understand,” she said, lost, “Just two days ago everything was fine, we were making out on my couch! And now…It could be over. Oh, wow…I think I need to go to class now.”

“Tess-“

“No, Isabel, I’m fine, thank you.”

“At least talk to him, to know for sure!” she called down the hall. Tess didn’t turn around, but she did nod and wave as she walked away.

Damn it, she shouldn’t have said anything. She should have kept it to herself or forgotten it. Really, Max and Liz? That was so not happening…
<><><><>

The shot arced perfectly through the air, over the reaching hands of the Guffman Rockets Varsity team, and landed on the rim. The crowd watched, suspense building as the balled rolled around the rim three times and dropped gently through the hoop just as the buzzer went off. Therefore, winning the came for the West Roswell Comets by one point.

Screaming Comet fans came pouring down from the bleachers, the team hoisting Max Evans up onto their shoulders, chanting his name, the cheerleaders started cheering, going into their most difficult routines, and the hero of the game was looking from one place to another, trying to find his best friend.

He spotted her with relief, and gave her a wave. Liz smiled and waved back, her little blue and yellow pennant shaking. Max felt incredibly comforted that their kiss had not disrupted their traditions. She had still come to see him play, to support him…

“I’ll meet you outside!” he shouted to her as the team started towards the locker rooms, placing him back on the ground. He glanced back before he got swept away in the crowd, and saw her nod. Thankful that she wasn’t going to evade him any longer, he allowed his teammates to drag him away.

They had to talk.
<><><><>

Liz waited nervously outside the locker room. Max had told her to, and she had relented, and here she was, waiting.

Her stomach was in knots, butterflies were fluttering under every inch of her skin… She couldn’t believe that all this was happening just because she was waiting for Max. This wasn’t good. Her whole ‘logical progression from anger’ theory was not applying at the moment.

She wasn’t angry at him now. She wanted him now. Wanted him pressing her against the lockers, plundering her lips with his, his hands roaming her wildly, hiking up her skirt as he pushed his knee between her thighs…

The noise of hyper, testosterone charged boys dragged her from the fantasy playing out in her mind. She unclenched her fingers from the skirt, smoothing down the pale fabric. She looked timidly at the door, knowing Max would be one of the last ones out. Carefully she fixed her hair, and pulled her jean jacket tighter, feeling vulnerable.

She looked up as the door opened once again, and everything started going in slow motion. He was walking toward her, his hair wet from the shower, T-shirt clinging to his perfect muscles, and smiling just for her…

She could hardly believe this was her Max. The boy she had grown up with, the boy who had protected her from bullies, kissed her hurts, and took her out for her birthday (making each one more special than anything she’d ever experienced). He had turned into the man of her dreams without her knowledge.

Liz straightened and stepped away from the lockers and towards him. His smile grew and she smiled back shyly, and then a cheerleader came rushing past her and jumped into his arms.

She stood frozen, hurt and confused, as she watched Tess lean up to kiss him deeply. “Liz?”

She looked up, surprised and say Kyle shifting from foot to foot next to her. He must have left the locker room behind Max, but she hadn’t even noticed him. “Hi, Kyle,” she replied, feeling guilty.

“You wanna go for ice cream?” he asked, kicking at invisible dust and peering at her behind his bangs hopefully. She glanced once more at the serious lip action between Max and Tess and smiled.

“Sure.” He grinned back at her and took her hand, leading her away.
<><><><>

Max tried to dislodge himself from Tess’ tight embrace. She backed away, looking at him as if her worst fears had been confirmed. He ignored the look and gazed around, desperately trying to find Liz again.

He caught sight of her back, walking hand-in-hand with Kyle Valenti.

Damn.

“Tess, I can’t talk right now, I need to catch up with someone.” He attempted to move away, but she moved in front of him, blocking his path. “Tess!”

“Is it another girl?”

“What?” he asked, stopped in his tracks.

“Another girl? Max, something is wrong, I know it. I can tell. I mean, you didn’t even kiss me back just a second ago!” she exclaimed, “I want to know if it’s another girl.” He looked at her and she sighed. “When?”

“Yesterday,” he admitted, ashamed he hadn’t told her right away, “It wasn’t planned Tess, it just kinda happened.”

She nodded, tears forming. “So, are we breaking up?”

“I guess,” he said, “Don’t cry, Tess, we both knew this wasn’t going to last forever.”

“I know,” she cried, “I know, I didn’t expect it to be the be all and end all…But I did expect it to last longer.”

“Tess.” He hugged her gently. “You were the first girl I really ever kissed, the first girl I ever dated, the first girl I made out with…” She gave a little giggle and he smiled. “And you were my first girlfriend, that’s never gonna change. But yesterday…I don’t know, she just…She took my soul, Tess, and that’s something I never felt with you…I’m sorry, I should have handled this better, but it’s never happened before and I don’t even know if it’s going to work out with her-“

“Max,” Tess interrupted his babble, “It’s okay, I understand.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.” She nodded some more and wiped her eyes. “I’ll cry for a few days, pig out on all things chocolate, and bash you with my friends, but I’ll get over it.”

“That’s the spirit,” he agreed, trying to boost her morale.

“You are going to be a hard act to follow, though,” she insinuated, elbowing him slyly.

“Yeah. I am pretty great.” He smirked at her and she frowned at him mockingly, then slapped him lightly.

“So, we’re breaking up?” she asked, needing closure.

“Yeah, this is it.” He stuck his hands in his pockets, feeling awkward. They stood there for a while longer, people coming and going around them. Finally Tess stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek.

“Good-bye, Max,” she whispered and then walked away.

Max sighed, a little sad, but then he ran to the parking lot doors. His eyes sought out Kyle’s Mustang, Maria’s Jetta, or Alex’s Rabbit, but none of them were there. Feeling dejected he went to his Jeep, knowing he wasn’t going to get the chance to talk Liz tonight. She was out with Kyle.

He frowned and got in beside Isabel, who was doing her nails in the passenger seat, and started the car, trying to figure out a way to get rid of the problem commonly called Kyle.

He really didn’t like Valenti.
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 5:31:13 PM
Part Nine: The Stolen Kiss

Isabel picked up her phone and hit #2 on her speed dial. The phone on the other end rang three times before it was picked up.

“Hello, Harding residence.”

“Hi Mr. Harding, it’s Isabel, is Tess available?”

“One moment, please.” She waited, and rolled her eyes when she heard him call ‘Tessie’, knowing Tess hated that nickname.

“Hello?”

“Hi Tess,” she greeted perkily.

“Oh, hey, Isabel, what’s up?”

“Just wanted to see how you were doing. Do you need anything?”

“No,” Tess replied quietly, “I’m okay. I’ve got comfy sweatpants and my teddy bear, plus chick-flicks, tissues, and chocolate. I’ll be fine by Monday, promise.”

“Monday?” she repeated, “You’re not coming to school today?”

“No, I don’t really want to be the object of gossip and hear it. I’ll lay low for the weekend, that okay?”

“Fine,” Isabel said. “Do you want me and Tish to get your homework?

“Please, we can hang out this weekend too, if you wouldn’t mind…”

“Of course I wouldn’t mind!” she exclaimed, “I’m your best friend, it’s my job to spend girl’s night with you.”

“Thanks, Izzy.”

“So…” Isabel traced the pattern on her comforter. “Have you decided who to ask to Fling now that Max is kinda…”

“I don’t think I’m going to go,” Tess said quickly.

“Oh, come on Tess! You have a dress and a hair appointment, and there are plenty of guys who’d go with you, even this last minute. You can take John Andrews.”

“Isabel, John is your date,” Tess pointed out, giggling.

Izzy smiled, “Don’t worry about it. He’ll be more than willing to go with you…He asked you first if you recall, I was just second best.”

“Isabel…If John wants to go with me, then I guess I’ll go.”

“Good.”

“But what about you?” she inquired curiously.

“I’ve already got it covered,” Isabel assured her.

“Well…”

“Tess!”

“Okay!” she agreed. “I’ll see you tonight?”

“I’ll be there.”

“Cool, bye Izzy.”

“Bye, Tess.” And Isabel hung up her phone. She smiled, now that John was out of the way and Tess was back in the saddle again, she could ask the boy she really wanted to go with. Her smile grew as she predicted his reaction to her question. This was going to be fun!

“Isabel!” Max called from downstairs, “We’re gonna be late!”

“I’m coming!" she shouted back, disgusted with his guy-like impatience.
<><><><>

Max entered the library stealthily (the theme song from Mission Impossible playing in his head), looking around to spot his quarry. Aha! There she was. He stopped behind the card catalog and watched her. She was bent over a book, the French side braids dangling over her shoulders, studying intently.

She was so cute, he thought, and then began to plan his attack. Making his way toward her area of study (ducking behind bookshelves and deftly avoiding civilians), he snuck up behind her, about to surprise her when Kyle Valenti popped up out of nowhere.

What was up with this guy? Did he have some kind of Liz radar or something that let him know when Max was actually going to get a chance to talk to her?! Valenti was such a pain.

“I got a printout from a website, thought it might help.”

“Thank you, Kyle,” Liz whispered, always one to follow library rules. Number 1: Be Quiet, Number 2: No talking, Number 3: No Color Printing, and Number 4: No Food or Drink in the Media Center.

He had always been tempted to see what the book Nazis (commonly called librarians) would do if one of these rules were broken. Sometimes he just wanted to spill some kind of liquid on those keyboards…

But that was off topic. What was on topic was getting Subject A (Liz) away from Subject B (Kyle) permanently, and then get her to hook-up with Subject C (him). Why was he speaking in codes? Jebus freezus, he yelled at his little voice of logic, I’m on a covert operation, that’s why!

“All right.” He observed her through the shelf. She was stacking her note cards together. “I’m going to put this encyclopedia away, I’ll be right back.”

Encyclopedia. Where did they put the encyclopedias? His gaze followed her progress and then his body went along the path of his eyes. Reference section!
<><><><>

Liz crouched down, looking at the row of hardcover books. “A…B…C…D…E…F…”

“G.”

She stood and spun around. “Max!” she gasped.

“Ssh!” one of the librarians hissed at them.

Liz glared at him and smacked his arm, saying ‘Look what you did, you jerk’ with her eyes. He just smiled at her. Her body started tingling, becoming hyperaware of his presence, so close to her own. “What are you doing here Max?” she whispered, clutching her book to her chest like a shield to protect her from these odd feelings he was producing.

“I have free period,” he whispered back, glancing at the librarian, “I came here looking for you. I knew you had independent study.”

“Why were you looking for me?” she asked, frightened of the answer and yet the fact was thrilling her to her very soul. He hadn’t come for her as a best friend, she knew that like she knew the back of her hand.

“Why do you think?” he responded teasingly, then turned serious. “You didn’t wait for me after the game last night.”

“You seemed a little…occupied,” she retorted dryly. She frowned, remembering the hurt she’d felt from watching them together.

He shook his head and braced his arms on either side of her, leaning closer. Liz backed up, into the bookshelf, and looked warily around, but the librarians and Kyle were busy.

“I broke up with Tess.”

Um…What was she supposed to say to that? “I’m sorry,” she offered, her heart soaring.

“Liz…”

“Max.” She gulped as he stepped closer.

“Liz…” he whispered again, breath tickling her skin, his eyes boring into her. She trembled, clutching the encyclopedia harder.

“What Max?”

“When are you breaking up with Kyle?”

“Why should I do that?” she asked, having trouble getting oxygen to her lungs. He smiled, leaning further, his mouth hovering over hers.

“Because you belong with me…” His lips brushed over her softly and she gave a little gasp, shivering yet hot. So hot…

“Max,” she protested, “What, what happened between us Wednesday…It…”

“It what, Liz?” he inquired, his hand tracing her jaw.

“It was a…We were, um, arguing…you know, and…things just escalated…It was just a natural response to high levels of arousal… The theory, not um…bodily, and it…it didn’t mean...anything…” she finished lamely, staring at his lips as they came closer.

Finally they met hers, and she melted, wrapping her arms around him as he devoured her. The book fell from her hands, forgotten as she twined them into his jet-black hair. His tongue caressed hers, and she gave in, loving the feel of him against her.

“Max!” she gasped, wriggling closer to him. He moaned something in response, pulling her harder to him, pressing her back into the bookshelf. His hands wandered up the back of her shirt and she took a quick intake of breath as the coolness met her fevered skin…His mouth drew her back, working her over until she felt as if she’d been turned inside out with need.

When he concluded the kiss, she groaned in frustration, these feelings he invoked in her… She’d never felt anything this intensely before and she realized that was exactly why he had done it, to prove to her she couldn’t just rationalize away their connection.

“Tell me that didn’t mean anything,” he told her, “Tell me and I’ll stop. We’ll just be friends. That’s all. That’s it. Can you live with that?”

She stared at him, knowing the answer was ‘no’. He meant everything to her, he always had. As her best friend, and now…as something else. She didn’t know what yet, but they couldn’t be just friends. Not anymore, not ever again.

He nodded, reading the answer in her eyes, and, smiling, bent down to kiss her again. She stood on tiptoe to meet him, but… “You two!”

Liz started, guiltily as a librarian rounded the corner. “Yes, Ms. Mitshel?”

She scowled at the, “Is that any way to treat library property?” She tapped her foot, glaring at the forgotten encyclopedia.

“No, Ms. Mitshel,” Liz said blushing, “I’m sorry, I’ll pick it right up.”

“Good.” And then she spun on her heel and walked briskly away. Liz picked up the book and bent down to the shelf, placing it between the ‘R’ and the ‘T’.

“There,” she said quietly, “I have to go back to my table.” She blushed, looking up at him.

He smiled, “I should get going too, call you tonight?”

“Around ten,” she agreed. He nodded, brushed a kiss against her forehead, and then disappeared.

She headed back to the table, where Kyle was sitting forlornly, clicking a pen. “Sorry,” she told him as she sat back down.

“It’s okay,” he assured her, “What took so long.”

“The encyclopedias were out of order, Ms. Mitshel asked me to put them back alphabetically.”

“Book Nazi,” he muttered.

“Yeah.”

“So I’ll pick you up at eight for the movie?” She opened her mouth to tell him but the bell rang. “Oh, gotta go. Remedial science class, see ya later!”

She watched him go helplessly. She’d have to explain the situation to him tonight. Liz felt a mix of remorse and excitement. Her and Max? Who woulda thunk it?
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 5:36:24 PM
Part Ten: The Good-Bye Kiss

Kyle walked her to her front door, and they stood there for a minute. “Well, goodnight,” Liz said, looking anywhere but at him.

“Oh, right, right…Listen Liz, you’ve…You’ve been somewhere else all night,” he told her quietly, shuffling his feet.

“I know,” she agreed, hoping to lead the discussion to what she needed to tell him, “And I’m sorry, really, but Kyle, I need to talk to you-”

“Yes,” he interrupted.

“What?”

“Yes,” he said smiling, “I’ll go to the dance with you. It took you long enough to ask.”

“Oh. OH! Kyle, no, that wasn’t what I was going to say,” she corrected him, starting to feel really guilty.

“It wasn’t?” he asked, confused.

“No, I-”

“But do you want to?” he interrupted again.

“Want to what?” she repeated, feeling that the conversation was getting away from her.

“Go to the dance with me?”

“Kyle…” She bit her lip and looked him in the eye. “I can’t go to the dance with you.”

“Why not? Do you not have a dress or something? ‘Cause I don’t care what you wear, I just-”

“Kyle, no," she said firmly, “I can’t go to the dance with you. I can’t go out with you again. I’m sorry, but this, you and me, it’s not working.”

“What?” He stared at her, blue eyes astonished.

“Kyle we have fun, but…I don’t feel about you the way I should feel about a boyfriend.”

“I don’t understand,” he stuttered.

“I…You’re a good friend Kyle, a really good friend, but we can’t be boyfriend/girlfriend. I just…can’t pretend that I feel that way about you.” She was trying to express that she couldn’t feel for him what Max made her feel, without mentioning Max’s name. Because if Kyle found out…he and Max would get into a fight and Kyle would get hurt.

“So you’re saying we can’t go out?’

“No, we can, just as friends. I don’t want to lose you as a friend, Kyle.”

“Um…I don’t really know what to say,” he said.

“Do you hate me?” she inquired in a small voice.

“No!” he said forcefully, “No, I could never hate you Liz. I’m just processing right now, could you give me a minute?”

“Sure.” She looked around, catching the light from Max’s bedroom. She stared hopefully and finally caught a glimpse of him. He was getting ready for bed.

Heat rose in her cheeks as he stripped off his shirt and pants, leaving him in his boxers. She gulped, following the line of his body with her eyes and starting to feel achy. She tore her eyes away as he starting doing pull-ups on his bar in the doorway.

“Okay.” She looked at Kyle. “So, then no more Kyle and Liz?”

“Right.”

“But we can still hang out?”

“Right.”

He nodded, “I can deal with that.”

She smiled, “Thank you.”

He nodded again. “So this is good-bye?”

“Right.” She leaned up and kissed his cheek before cheerfully unlocking her door and walking in. That hadn’t been so bad.
<><><><>

Max looked up in surprise at the slamming of the doors. Kyle walked up, black of mood, and tense. He jerkily went through the motions of opening his locker and grabbing his uniform and smashing the locker shut again. Then he pounded on the red metal a few times, cursing.

“Whoa!” Max said, holding his arm, “You’re gonna hurt yourself, man.”

“Like you care,” Kyle muttered.

“I care if it screws up my starting line-up,” Max replied, speaking as Captain of the Varsity team. “What’s you’re problem anyway?” he asked as other members of the team started pouring in, sleepy.

“Why do we gotta get up this early?” Tommy Hoag complained.

“Because we want to keep our number one position in Nationals,” Max answered, “And I thought I told everybody to go to bed early last night, play-offs start in two weeks, we can’t let our guard down now.”

Everybody grumbled some more, and Kyle snorted. Max rounded on him, “Look Valenti, I don’t know what happened to you, but leave it outside. I don’t need you bringing down the rest of the team with your bad attitude!”

“Yeah right you don’t know,” Kyle said glaring at him, “She probably called you up the minute she shut the door.”

“She?”

“Liz,” he clarified, “She dumped me last night.”

“She did?” Wow. That was quick, he thought pleased, hiding his smile by opening his locker.

“Yeah, she did,” he said glumly, “She said we could be ‘friends’.”

Max didn’t reply, just kept his head in his locker, trying to muffle his laughter. Turning the boyfriend into the friend and the best friend into the boyfriend. Jebus freezus, life was ironic, wasn’t it?
<><><><>

Isabel joined her fellow cheerleaders in celebrating another victory for the Comets. They were doing great this season, mostly due to her brother’s ability to whip the other players into shape.

Sometimes she thought his leadership abilities made him bossy enough that he thought he was king of the world or something, and other times (like being team captain, or group projects…) where his natural domineering self benefited all involved.

Tess hadn’t come to the game this morning, and Isabel and Tish were heading over to her house afterwards. But she had something to do first. She scanned the crowd of fleeing spectators as the rest of the squad headed toward the girl’s locker room.

Aha!

“ALEX!” she called. He froze and started at her in disbelief. She walked quickly to him, but not fast enough that people watching would think she was hurrying. “Hey,” she said, flashing him a dazzling smile.

“Uh…Hi,” he offered.

“I’ve been trying to reach you,” she told him.

“Why?” he asked, “Not that I mind, but…um, why?"

“Well, it seems as if I’m in need of an escort to the Fling dance this Friday, and I was hoping you could take me.”

“Why?!” he exclaimed.

“Did you not want to go?” she asked, alarmed that he would turn down an invitation from her.

“No, no, I want to. I‘d love to,” he assured her, “But, why me? I mean, there are so many other guys, popular guys-”

“Alex!” she giggled, “I asked you because I want to go with you, not some other guy.”

“Really?” he inquired, looking at her suspiciously.

“Really,” she promised, “I gotta go.” Tish was calling her from the doorway to the locker room. “I’ll talk to you Monday at school, okay?”

“Okay,” he said, grinning and looking a bit confused.

“Bye, Alex.” And she sashayed away, aware that he was watching her.
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 5:40:00 PM
Part Eleven: Secret Kisses

Liz stood in front of the open Eraser Room door. Her eyes scanned the hallway for any sign of Max. He was here, she knew, she had seen him leave this morning. She had had a doctor’s appointment, so she hadn’t been able to tell him about Kyle.

He was near though. She could feel it in the way her body had started to hum. But that didn’t stop her cry of surprise as strong hands grabbed her and pulled her into the Eraser Room.

The door closed behind her and she heard it lock. He was holding her hard against him, and her whole body was tingling with the contact.

“Good morning,” he whispered, voice husky.

“Morning,” she whispered back, breaking his grip to turn and face him. He wrapped his arms around her waist and tugged her closer, until her head was resting on his chest. She listened to the even beat noting how it was beginning to pump faster.

She looked up at him and he smiled at her. That tiny, half smile of his. The shy, hesitant, private smile that he’d only ever given her. The smile that was reserved for her. It was a bedroom smile, she realized suddenly, a bedroom smile to go along with those bedroom eyes of his… She blushed and buried her head in his chest.

“I heard you broke up with Kyle,” he said softly, hands running through her hair. She shivered.

“I did.”

“So…”

“So what?” she asked innocently.

“Sew buttons on ice cream and see if they stick, what do you mean ‘so what’?” he rejoined tartly, holding her away to look at her better.

“I don’t actually think they would stick,” she responded calmly, not at all upset by his tone.

“What?”

“Buttons on ice cream. The ice cream would melt and they’d fall off, so it essentially wouldn’t work.” She looked at him seriously and he was looking at her funny. “What?” she asked defensively.

“We weren’t talking about that,” he told her, “We were talking about how you broke up with Valenti.”

“Yes,” she said, “And I told you I did do that.”

“And…” he prompted.

“And…Now I’m a free woman,” she tried hopefully.

“No, you’re not,” he countered, slowly gathering her back into his arms.

“I’m not?” she asked, shivers of happiness running down her spine.

“You’re mine.”

A simple statement. But one that that sent her stomach to her knees, liquidated all her internal organs, and took all the breath out of her lungs. He wasn’t so much claiming possession of her, rather just taking what was his since eternity began.

She was his. She had been since she was eight years old and had caught his eyes across the playground. He had put a force on her and she was finally falling in love, with her best friend.

“Max,” she whimpered, needing him to kiss her like he had in the library last week. He smiled the half smile and reached out, gently touching her cheek. Liz breathed deeply, trying to calm the butterflies in her stomach. She wanted nothing more than to fling herself into his arms and stay there for all time. But she’d wait for him to make the first move, too caught by the way his hand was tracing her features, as if memorizing her.

Finally, she thought, with a rush of giddy excitement as he started leaning down. He tilted her chin up, so that she met his blazing golden eyes. And they were gold at the moment, a liquid molten gold that set her blood boiling.

She felt a blush creep up her skin, the sudden warmth making her shiver. Her heart began beating crazily as he bent closer, his lips just brushing hers. She gave a sigh of frustration and lifted onto her tiptoes, telling him she wanted more.

He laughed, a low, rumbling chuckle that sent lightening to her core, making her wet and achy. “Max, please,” she begged, “don’t tease.”

He laughed again, “I don’t ‘tease’, I foreplay.”

“Foreplay?” she repeated.

“Uh-huh,” he replied, kissing her neck.

“And how often have you done this to label it ‘foreplay’?” she demanded, affecting anger.

“It’s ingrained knowledge,” he assured her.

“Really?” she inquired playfully.

“Oh yeah.” He angled his head to meet her lips and she melted against him. His mouth was warm and soft, tasting of Max and peppermint toothpaste, and she giggled sweetly when he ran his tongue over hers.

He sat her up on the actual eraser cleaner machine and spread her thighs, stepping between them to gain better access. His mouth claimed hers again and his hands began to roam up her back, tracing her spine and making her quiver. Her legs clamped unconsciously around his waist, bringing his arousal close to her heat.

She gasped, breaking the kiss and staring at the bulge in his jeans curiously. “Liz,” he whined, blushing. And then he lifted her face back to his, refusing to let her study him. “Don’t look at me like that,” he told her, “You’ll make me explode.”

“Don’t you want to explode?” she asked, knowing release in males was gratifying. (Reproductive Health had to come in handy on some occasion, right?)

He gave a strained laugh. “Not in my jeans and most definitely not at school.”

School! She had forgotten they were in school. “Oh, Max!” she exclaimed, wriggling against him to reach the door.

“Liz!” She froze, and looked at him, a little hurt by the edge in his voice. “Sorry, but please don’t move.”

She just gazed at him, thinking ‘what?’, and then remembered his problem. “Oh.” She blushed, “Sorry.”

He shook his head. “What’s the matter?”

“We’re gonna be late for A.P. Bio.”

He smiled that smile again and kissed the side of her neck. “Who cares?” he asked. Liz was about to respond that they should, but the things he was doing with his mouth distracted her.

“We could get caught,” she whispered against his lips in a futile last effort. His hands were beginning to discover the buttons of her cardigan, and she wasn’t really caring about academic records anymore.

“Who cares?”
<><><><>

Isabel “accidentally” bumped into Alex as he made his way out of the band room. “Hi!” she exclaimed.

“Hey, Isabel,” he replied, blushing shyly.

“Can we talk?” she asked.

“Oh, um…sure.” He nodded his head to indicate they go back into the band room. “Mr. Pierson has lunch this period, so we’ll be fine in here.”

“Okay,” she said, smiling as she followed him.

He leaned against the band teacher’s desk and looked at her as she stood in front of him. He was frowning a bit, but otherwise inscrutable. Isabel peered at him anxiously, he didn’t seem to want to talk to her, and that surprised her.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“I wanted to talk to you about Fling-“

“Don’t!” he raised his hand and stopped her from continuing. “I know what you’re going to say.”

“You do?” she questioned slowly.

“Yeah, and let me just say I expected better out of you, Isabel. This is just really mean,” he told her self-righteously.

“Wait.” She waved her hand, not understanding him. “How is telling you what color my dress is, mean?”

“It- What?”

“My dress. The color. You know, so you can get me a corsage,” she elaborated.

“Oh. You mean you’re not gonna tell me it was a joke and you would never in a million years actually go out with me?”

“No!” she cried, “I can’t believe you think I would do that!

“Sorry,” he said apologetically, “I just couldn’t believe you actually asked me to the dance.” He looked down at his feet. “I’ll understand if you don’t want to go now.”

Isabel rolled her eyes and started to leave. She paused in the doorway and turned to look at him. He appeared so dismal, that she stifled a giggle. “It’s red,” she called back to him.

“What?” he asked, staring at her with surprise.

“My dress is red.”

He grinned, “You look good in red.”

She smiled back. “I know.” Then she tossed her hair, blew him a kiss, and was gone.
<><><><>

Max slipped through the hedge separating their houses and ran to the side of the house and up the stairs leading to Liz’s balcony.

“Liz!” he cried, pounding on her sliding glass door. No answer, he cupped his hands around his face and pressed against the glass, peering in. She wasn’t there.

Well, darn, where was she? Really, she was gone all weekend visiting Grandma Claudia, it’s not like she had anywhere else to be. And why was the slider locked? It was the middle of the afternoon, and Max was in ‘Romeo-come-to-the-window-and-serenade’ mode. She should be there, Juliet had been there when Romeo came a’callin’ after all. She-

“Liz!”

She jumped in surprise and dropped the towel she had been drying her hair with. “Max!” she exclaimed. She hurried to the door, the gap in her robe showing certain parts of her, and opened it. “What are you doing here?” she asked, not letting him in.

“I had an idea,” he told her, a little distracted by the fact that she had grown into the butterfly robe nicely, and the fact that she was very likely naked underneath it.

“What’s your idea?” she queried coyly.

“We should go on a date.”

“A date,” she repeated, a slow smile coming to her face.

“Uh-huh.” He slipped his hands down to her waist, toying with the belt that was preventing him from ravishing her. It would be so easy to just-

“Where would we go?”

“Probably dinner, movies…bowling…whatever.”

“Whatever?”

“Well…” he blushed, “We have fun no matter what Liz, I’m just saying we should do more things as a couple than as best friends.”

“So… You’re saying we do everything we’ve done before, but this time kissing is involved?”

“Exactly.”

She smiled, “I can live with that.”

“So, test date Wednesday, and then Fling Friday?”

“I’m game.”

“Cool.” He paused, eyeing her puppy-doggily. She laughed and leaned up to kiss him.

“Go home, Max,” she whispered when they broke apart, “I have to get dressed.”

Jebus freezus! Mental picture…very nice… “I…um,” he gulped, “I could stay and help?”

“Thanks for the offer, but no. Now go.” She waved him off, laughing. And he went, though reluctantly, and contented himself with the knowledge that at least he had some self-control when it came to Liz Parker.

Not a lot, but she didn’t know that…
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 5:45:05 PM
Part Twelve: The Good-Night Kiss

The movie theater was crowded, but Max and Liz found two seats in the back row. They settled down next to each other, laughing as they tried to juggle their two jumbo-sized popcorns, large cherry cokes, Liz’s Raisinets, and Max’s Reese’s Pieces.

Luckily they had made it to the movie in time for previews (Max’s favorite part), despite the debating at the concession stands and the half-hour they had spent playing air hockey in the game room. Now, Liz’s attention was locked on the screen as the son of Count Mondago appeared on screen.

“Ooh,” she breathed, “He’s cute.” Max frowned at glared at the screen. Cute? He was scrawny with funny hair and funny outfits and really funny blue eyes. And Liz thought this guy was cute?

He grabbed some popcorn and pouted, feeling ignored. He glanced at Liz out of the corner of his eye, but she was watching the movie with rapt concentration, studying each move of the guy made.

Max didn’t care about this Albert fellow. His mom was pretty hot though… Not as hot as Liz… He glanced at her again, to find her practically drooling. He looked down into his popcorn, and then back up at her, and smiled evilly.
<><><><>

“MAX!” she shrieked and grabbed some of her own popcorn, chucking it at him as he tried to leap over seats. “Evans, you get back here now!”

“No chance Lizzie, if you want me, you have to come get me!”

She grinned happily and danced to the aisle of the empty theater. She tore after him as he ran to the front, throwing popcorn behind him at her pursuing figure. They faced each other across the room, the screen playing D3: The Mighty Ducks ignored.

It was her fifteenth birthday and Max had brought her to the movies. It had been a stroke of luck that they were the only two people who decided to see this particular movie at this time. They had the whole theater to themselves.

“We’re gonna get in trouble,” she whispered to him.

He just shrugged, grinning at her. Then he tossed a few kernels at her. “The ushers need something to do.”

She ran across the front of the theater and then up to him. “What if they kick us out?” He looked at her in disbelief and then wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

That's what you’re worried about?” he demanded, “That we’ll, oh-no, get kicked out? Liz we’re paying customers. We paid like twelve dollars to see this movie, we should get to do whatever we darn well please!”

“But-”

“Besides,” he interrupted, “You should be worried that I’m going to dump this bucket of popcorn on your head…”

“Max!” she cried again, and tried to get away, but he held fast, and down came the jumbo-sized popcorn container onto her beautiful brown hair. She stood, bucket over her eyes, butter dripping down onto her new shirt. For a minute she thought she was going to cry, but then she looked up into Max’s smug face and got an idea. “I can’t believe you just did that!” she said, not feigning the upset tone of her voice.

The smirk left his face and he tilted the bucket up to stare into her flashing eyes. “Jebus freezus,” he breathed, “You really are mad.”

“Max,” she exclaimed mockingly, “You should know by now; I don’t get mad…I get even.” That being said, she poured her soda over his head.

He blinked for a moment, mouthing wordlessly, his expression one of shocked disbelief. Liz giggled, feeling a lot better. Max glared at her. “You think this funny?” he asked with mock indignation.

She nodded, “Yes.”

“Well…” He reached for her and grabbed her before she could get away. “You’re going down Parker!” And then he began tickling her. Liz shrieked some more, and struggled, unable to get up a formidable defense to his onslaught.

A throat clearing paused them in their actions and they stared up at the new source of light. A cute usher stood in the aisle way near the door, looking at them bemusedly. Liz blushed, knowing what a sight they were, an interesting, funny, if slightly frightening tableau. “Um…Hi?” she offered.

“Hi,” he said back, smiling.

“Can we help you?” Max asked the older boy, picking her up off the ground. He stood to his full height, pulling his wet T-shirt away from his body, and trying to look manly. Liz giggled.

“Actually, the management has asked me to intervene and to request, ever so politely, that you exit the premises.”

“We’ll go,” Liz said quickly, blushing, “We’re sorry.”

“I’m not,” Max stated, defiantly staring at the usher.

“Max, the movie’s over anyway, and I need a shower.” She started walking away, got past the usher, and then turned at looked at him impatiently, tapping her foot. He sighed and followed her, dropping the macho act. Liz sent the usher one last smile and then exited.

“Normally I have to worry about teens making out, not having a food fight.” She heard him whisper before the door swung closed. She giggled a bit, thinking how funny it would be to make out with Max. He was her best friend for Pete’s sake!
<><><><>

“Don’t even think about it,” she hissed.

Max froze, arm in mid-toss, and looked at her, surprised she had seen him. “What?” he asked innocently.

“I can see you, you know, don’t give me that crap,” she whispered, “You were gonna chuck popcorn at me!”

“I’m shocked you stopped drooling long enough to acknowledge my existence, and it was only one piece, I swear!” He looked forward, watching the swordfight, pretending he didn’t see her glaring in the dim light.

“I was not drooling!” she said loudly, “And you have a lot of nerve pulling that stunt, Max, we got kicked out last time, remember?”

“Ssh!” the guy beside her shushed.

He grinned, knowing she was blushing, and lowered his voice to talk. “Well,” he said, shrugging, “I had to do something, I mean it’s not like we can make out with all these people around.”

“Max!”

“Ssh!” all the people around them yelled.

Liz slapped him across the chest and then slumped down in her seat, obviously pouting and ignoring him. “I hate you,” she muttered rebelliously.

His grin grew, and he slumped down too, and leaned over her. “No you don’t,” he said, whispering against her ear. He felt her shiver and he turned her head slightly, eyes soft and shy.

“No, I don’t,” she agreed quietly, smiling. He kissed her cheek gently and sat fully into his own seat, taking her hand as he did so, and for the rest of the movie, Liz’s attention was fixated wholly on him.
<><><><>

She was completely elated. For some reason the thought that Max was jealous of a guy she’d never meet, would never even think about after tonight, made her giggle. So she decided to play with him a little. “Wait,” she told him as he began to grab their coats.

“What? Why? The movie’s over,” he said, confused, gesturing to the credits playing on screen.

“We should wait until the crowd thins out a little,” she suggested plausibly. He looked at the blockage of the aisles and she could tell he was picturing the parking lot in his head. Finally he nodded and sat back down next to her, an arm draped proprietarily over the back of her chair, and glaring at some freshman boy who was in Science Club with her. She smiled and leaned closer to him, eyes on the screen.

Presently she said, “Okay, we can go now.”

Max looked at her, confused again. “It’s been less than a minute since you said we should wait, the crowds are still gonna be there.”

She shrugged and walked around his legs, taking her coat and bundling into it. He got up behind her and grabbed his own coat. “Sometimes, Parker, I just don’t get you.”

“You’re a boy, Evans,” she replied, “I’m a girl. You’re not supposed to get me.”

“Well at least I’m doing something right,” he said glumly. She smiled and took his hand, pulling him into the aisle beside her.

“Wasn’t Henry the cutest?” she asked, hiding her smile.

“Who’s Henry?” he demanded, looking around as if to ward off any cute guys.

“The guy in the movie,” she informed him airily.

“I thought his name was Albert!” Max exclaimed, stopping at the door. She rolled her eyes and left him there, tossing her garbage in the can and picking up a mint from the bowl held by an usher. “Liz!” he called, coming after her.

“In the movie it is,” she explained, “But in real life, it’s Henry Cavill.” She sighed dreamily and batted her eyelashes at Max. He frowned, grumbled, and started walking faster. “Max!” she cried, and had to run to catch up (due to the fact that his legs were way longer than hers), “I was just playing with you. He’s not anywhere near your hotness.”

He smirked at her over his shoulder, “I know.”

“You are so egotistical,” she notified him, “I don’t know why I put up with you.” But she belied her words by linking her arm into his and walking closer as they headed to the Jeep. He opened her door for her and she climbed in.

“It’s because you love me,” he said as he shut the door. Liz sat back, knowing he was right, she did love him, and because of that, she’d put up with him. She looked at him as he clambered into driver’s seat.

“You’re right, I do.”

He looked at her and smiled that little half-smile. “Good,” he said infuriatingly.

“Max!”

“What?” he asked, putting the car into gear, “You already know I love you too, what’s the point in saying it again?” Liz sighed and said nothing.

“Liz?”

“Hmm?”

“I love you.”

She smiled and placed her hand over his on the stick shift. “Good.”
<><><><>

Isabel placed the clean clothes on Max’s dresser and switched the phone to her other ear. She glanced out his window and sighed, “Oh God.”

“What?” Tish asked on the other side of the phone.

“Max and Liz just got back from their date.”

“Date?”

“Uh-huh,” she said, walking to the window and pulling the curtains. “An actual date.”

“A boyfriend/girlfriend date?”

“Exactly,” she said, “They’ve finally evolved from the ‘just friends’ stage.”

“Can’t say I’m surprised,” Tish commented.

Isabel nodded (even though Tish couldn’t see her), and examined her nails as she headed back to her room. “Me either.”

“Does Tess know?”

“No,” Izzy said, flopping onto her bed, “No one knows except them, our parents, me, and now you.”

She heard Tish’s intake of breath through the line. “How do you think she’s going to take it?”

“I don’t know,” Isabel said, “I mean, she’s been pretty okay about the whole thing. She came over yesterday and she and Max joked around like nothing ever happened between them…”

“How do you think Kyle’s going to take it? He’s been hung up on Liz for awhile…And I heard he was pretty pissed off when Liz dumped him.”

“Who cares? Max is more than capable of dealing with Kyle.” She rolled over so that she was on her back. “Remember when we were in sixth grade?”

“Oh…” Tish giggled, “That was about the biggest thing to happen that year. Max became so popular.”

“It was ridiculous,” Isabel scoffed, “I mean, really, he got in a fight… How immature is that?"

“Izzy,” she laughed, “He was 11, we were 12, and we were immature.”
<><><><>

Max and Liz paused outside Liz’s front door and looked at each other under the porch light. He smiled at her, his girlfriend, his best friend, and leaned down.

“I don’t normally kiss on the first date,” Liz murmured as his lips first came into contact hers.

He kissed her anyway, deeply, wrapping his arms around her tiny waist and drawing her up against him. She gave a little sigh, and opened her mouth to his, letting him access her deepest corners. Slowly, requiring oxygen, he pulled away, resting his forehead against hers.

She was looking up at him, on tiptoe, eyes wide and star-filled, gaze rapt. Max drew in a breath and began to lean down again, needing her…

“But…” Kiss. “I guess…” Kiss. “I could…” Kiss. “Make…” Kiss. “An…” Kiss. “Exception…” Lllooooonnnngggger kiss.

Her small hands worked their way up his chest, finally circling his neck, he tilted his head, lifting her off the ground to get a better angle, delving into her sweetness as if it were everything…

He distantly heard a door open, and a throat clear. Breaking the kiss, he looked up and saw Mr. Parker standing in the doorway, arms crossed, one eyebrow raised.

“Hi, Mr. Parker,” he said, putting Liz down lightly.

“Max.”

“Hi, Daddy.”

He smiled, “Hi sweetie. How about you say good-night, now, okay?”

“Okay,” she said amiably, “Good-night Max.”

“’Night, Liz.” He gave Jeff a glance and then leaned down quickly and gave her a peck on the cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She gave a little wave as he backed down the porch, and then slipped past her father into the house.

“Good-night, Max,” Mr. Parker called after him.

“Good-night Mr. Parker!” he responded, heading for his Jeep. Man, that had not been good. What if Jeff didn’t let him see Liz anymore? Panic swept over him, followed by his logical voice. His logical voice said Jeff couldn't do that. After all, it had only been one date, a simple good night kiss. It wasn’t like Mr. Parker was going to hold that against nine years of friendship.

Right?
<><><><>

posted on 19-Jun-2002 9:07:34 PM
Part Thirteen: Kiss Me Once, Kiss Me Twice…

Max loped up the porch steps and rang the Parker’s doorbell. It was immediately opened by Mr. Parker. He took one look at Jeff’s expression and began to fidget. “Hi, Mr. Parker,” he said squeakily.

“Come in, Max, we need to have a little chat.” He followed Jeff (nervously) into the family room just off the hall. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but Mr. Parker hadn’t said anything yesterday about forbidding Liz to see him.

“What’s up Mr. P?”

“Max, we’ve been neighbors for nine years, and you’ve been my daughter’s best friend for the same amount of time, right?”

“Right,” Max agreed instantaneously.

“And from what I observed on the front porch two nights ago, it’s turned into a more than just friends thing, right?”

“Right,” Max said again, and then he blushed, remembering the kiss Jeff had interrupted.

“I need to know that you’re sure of this working out Max,” Jeff told him.

“What working out?” he inquired, mystified.

“You and Liz.” Max was about to speak, to assure him that he had no doubts about where the relationship was going, but Mr. Parker continued. “You two have been best friends for a long time Max, you’re the person she runs to whenever she has a problem, and I don’t want that taken away from her if you two have a fight and break up. Because that would break her heart Max, and I don’t want to see that happen.”

“I won’t hurt Liz, Mr. Parker, I promise.”

They stared at each other for a moment, Max earnest and willing Jeff to see his sincerity, Jeff measuring the boy who had kept his daughter’s heart for nine years. Finally (to Max it was an eternity), Jeff smiled and offered him his hand. Max took it with relief, and grinned back.

“Daddy? Is Max here? I saw the limo out front…” Max looked up and gulped, eyes glued to the angel descending the steps.

Liz looked fantastic. She was wearing a pink dress, a full skirt, and a bodice that cut sideways over the skirt. Flowers were embroidered in darker and lighter shades of the color, growing up from the hem of both pieces a little ways. The light from the top of the stairs illuminated her from behind, glittering off the pink stones in her upswept hair.

“You…You look…really, really beautiful, Liz,” he finally managed to tell her. She came up next to him, smiling and blushing.

“Thank you. You look very handsome yourself.” She giggled and fingered his tux. He blushed, heat rushing to his ears, and he tugged on the stifling collar. He looked down at her, and she looked up at him.

They stared at each other for a while, eyes soft and loving, until Mr. Parker clapped his hands and told them he needed to take pictures for Nancy and Diane, and they needed to get to the dance before it was over.

Max and Liz rushed into action, he placed the corsage on her slender wrist, they posed, and pictures were snapped. (Max about had a heart attack when he saw Liz’s top was held on by three thin ties.) And they were out the door, Mr. Parker calling after them to behave and he reminding Liz that he and Nancy were going to Clovis later that night, so she needed to lock the house down.

“I thought we were never going to escape,” Liz sighed as they got into the limo. She snuggled up next to him on the seat. “I can’t believe you rented a limo,” she teased, “It’s only Fling.”

“It was Michael’s idea,” Max admitted, “He wanted to show Maria he wasn’t a totally bad boyfriend, but he couldn’t afford it on his own. We have to pick them up, by the way.” She shrugged and kissed his cheek.

“And here I thought you were just trying to sweep me off my feet.”

He grinned and kissed her deeply. “No, that happens later, when we’re not expecting company.” She shivered at his husky tone and leaned forward again for another kiss.
<><><><>

Isabel laughed as Alex twirled her around the gym, not caring if they bumped into other couples. She was having such a good time, and she didn’t care if people were sending them weird looks.

Okay, yes, it was a little odd for the head cheerleader to come to a dance with the head of the Computer Club, but it wasn’t as if Godzilla was attacking Tokyo or anything. People would get over it, accept it, forget it…

Alex dipped her without warning, and they crashed to the floor, tangled up in each other. “Are you all right?” he demanded, looking as if the sky had fallen. She just laughed and laughed, letting him pull her up.

“Isabel!”

The couple glanced up as Tess and Tish hurried over, black and white dresses flying, dates trailing behind, trying to keep up. “Hi guys!” she exclaimed, glowing. They exchanged looks and then turned back to her.

“Are you okay?” Tess asked, “That was a pretty nasty fall.”

“I’m fine,” she told them, “And Alex broke my fall.”

“Luckily I’m very flexible,” Alex piped up. Her friends just smiled and nodded. Just then a slow song came on and Tim asked Tish to dance, and John took Tess away. Izzy looked shyly at Alex, who grinned and took her hand.

She rested her head on his shoulder as they swayed slowly to the music. His hands traced the low back of her dress and she started to relax, feeling very content, and wondering what else he could do with those amazing hands of his…
<><><><>

Max leaned against the drink table and watched Liz. She was really into the music, gyrating her hips and swaying seductively. He took a long drink of his punch, never-taking his eyes of her.

Occasionally she’d glance towards him and smile, blowing him a kiss. He wanted to join her, but he was sweating to much already in this stupid tux. (He couldn’t believe his mom had made him wear it.) And he was more than happy to just watch her, even though it was doing interesting things to his libido.

“Hey…”

He looked away from Liz and into blue eyes. “Hey Tess,” he replied, smiling at her, “Having fun?”

She nodded, “Yeah…John’s really nice. I like him a lot.”

“That’s good.” He trailed off, feeling kinda awkward. “So…”

“So…” she repeated. They turned their attention to the dance floor, well, Max turned his attention to Liz, and Tess followed his eyes. “Liz, huh?”

“Yeah. Liz,” he said, sighing softly. Then, suddenly aware of who he was talking to, “It just kinda happened…”

She shrugged, expression kind of sad. “It’s okay, Max,” she reassured him, “I understand.”

“Tess!” John Andrews came walking up to them. He took Tess’s hand possessively, glaring at Max. “Evans.”

“Andrews.” Max nodded unconcernedly, “How’s it going?”

“Fine,” the other boy said, tone slightly less jealous, but he was still eyeing Max suspiciously.

“Well, it was great talking to you two,” Max said, throwing his cup into a garbage can fifteen feet away. “I’m gonna go find my girl before Valenti gets up the nerve to try and steal her back.”
<><><><>

Liz felt his hands on her, and she moved against him, grinding her lower body into his. She heard his groan and smiled, turning to cuddle into his arms. “You’re gonna be the death of me,” he whispered as she put her arms around his neck.

“But what a way to go,” she teased, her hands toying with the hair at the base of his neck. She gave her own little moan when his large hands crept beneath the strings of her top, tugging the bows. “Max!” she hissed.

He chuckled and pulled her up and closer, so that she was flush up against his body, dancing on tiptoe. She gave a little gasp as she felt his arousal press into her softness. “Don’t tease me right now, Liz,” he growled in her ear, “I might do something drastic.” She shivered against him, his gravel in velvet voice sending frissons of electricity throughout her.

“Max…” she breathed.

“Can I cut in?” a voice asked sharply.

They paused and looked at the intruder. “Hi, Kyle,” she offered weakly, not really liking the look in his eyes. He held out his hand for her to take, and she glanced from him to Max uncertainly. The decision was taken from her however, when Max moved in front of her, blocking Kyle’s advancement.

“We were dancing Valenti. Why don’t you go find your own date?” Max said mockingly. Liz closed her eyes and wished he didn’t have to be such a guy sometimes. She pulled on his jacket sleeve, trying to get him to pay attention to her. Finally he looked back at her and she shook her head.

Max rolled his eyes, but relaxed his stance. “C’mon Valenti, we need to talk.” He started walking and Kyle followed, fists clenched. Liz watched them go anxiously, Maria and Michael behind her.

“Where’d Kyle go?” Vicky DeLaney walked up, punch glasses clutched in her hands. “He said he was going to talk to you for a second.” Liz looked up at the tall, willowy blond, and smiled gently.

“He went to the bathroom, Vicky, he should be back in just a minute.”

Blue eyes looked at her closely, and finally she nodded. “Okay.”
<><><><>

“What did you say to Kyle?” Liz asked him as soon as Michael got out of the limo. Max sighed, knowing she wasn’t going to let it go. She had been too curious when he and Kyle had come back to her and Vicky.

“I just explained to him that it wasn’t anything personal, on either side, and that it just kind of happened.”

“Just kind of?” she mocked, eyebrows raised.

“In a nine years coming kind of way.”

“Oh, that way,” she said sarcastically.

“Liz…” He twirled a strand of hair around his finger, and she looked at him, brown eyes laughing. “I told him I loved you, and you loved me, and nothing he could do was going to change that.” Then there had been a swinging of fists and ducking and then a chokehold in order to get Kyle calmed down enough to listen to his rationale. “He pretty much just accepted that.”

“Really?”

Her tone indicated disbelief. “He wants you to be happy, Liz. And if you’re happy with me, or with him, you’re still happy, and that’s what matters.”

“Max…” She had tears in her eyes, which indicated she knew he had made that last part up. She undid her seatbelt and slid closer to him, kissing his mouth gently. “I’m happiest with you.”

He smiled and pulled her onto his lap so that she was straddled over him. Their mouths fused, and soon he was out of his seat and so was she, and they were lying on the floor of the limo, minutes away from their houses, Max between her thighs, his hands untying the bows of her top, her hands working frantically at the tie and buttons of his shirt.

“Max…” she pleaded, wiggling upward. He sucked in a breath and captured her lips. She shuddered against him, hands caressing his now bare chest. “Should we be doing this?” she asked when they broke apart, “I mean…” she trailed of, groaning as his mouth worked slowly down her throat, “We’ve only been going out for what? Five days? We’ve only had one date… We probably shouldn’t be leaping into this…”

“Liz,” he said, leaning up on his elbows and staring down at her, “We don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

“But I do want to,” she admitted, tracing his abs. He dropped a kiss on her lips, marveling at the softness of her.

“I want to too,” he told her.

“But it’s not right to. I mean…” She flushed, and he waited, knowing she was trying to organize her thoughts. “We just started this relationship. Getting physical this early isn’t the best way to establish life-long bonds…” Her eyes widened as she realized what she had said. “Not that I’m expecting that type of commitment, I just meant I don’t want to break up this weekend or…something…”

He shook his head and kissed her tenderly again. “Liz,” he said, “I know what you mean. But think of it this way; We’ve been friends for nine years. Best friends. We tell each other everything, we’re perfectly comfortable with the other’s little personality quirks, and we can be together forever and not run out of things to talk about, or we can sit in silence and not feel awkward. If you think about it, we’ve basically been dating for nine years, and we’ve achieved what even most married couples can’t. We know each other Liz, inside. And all we’re doing now is finishing that. We’re memorizing the outside.”

He let her think on that, as he lay above her, kinda pleased with his logic. All of which was completely true. They knew each other’s heart, mind, and soul. They just hadn’t bothered getting to know each other’s bodies.

The limo stopped and they looked at each other. Max slowly got off of her, helping her up. He slid his jacket around her shoulders and worked on getting his shirt buttoned. Tiny hands suddenly appeared, making quick work of the task, and then smoothed down the white material.

He trapped her hands in his own and met her eyes as they knelt on the floor. She shifted her hand so that it took his, and then she pulled him toward the door. They stood outside and the limo took off. He looked at her curiously as she stepped closer to him, kissing his cheek. Then she gave him a shy smile.

“My parents aren’t coming home tonight.”
<><><><>
posted on 19-Jun-2002 9:09:56 PM
Part Fourteen: Kissing the Night Away

Liz washed the make-up off her face and then stared at herself in the mirror. She let down her hair, taking the jeweled bobby pins out carefully, and then brushed out the curls until they shone in the light.

She pretended Max wasn’t in the other room (her bedroom!), waiting for her to come out of the bathroom so that he could make love to her. She pretended this was just her, and she wasn’t nervous, or shivering in anticipation, or wondering what Max looked like naked, what he’d feel like…

She shook her head and focused on herself again. She wanted to surprise him. She wanted to be sexy, not plain little Lizzie Parker.

She had discarded Max’s suit jacket on the chair in front of her desk and then left Max there, in her room, to get ready. Well, as ready as she could be. She had retied her top, undid her hair, and washed her face. Now what?

She bit her bottom lip, dabbed some strawberry lip-gloss on, and slipped off her full skirt. She folded it and lay it on the toilet seat, then looked in the full-length mirror on the back of the door, judging her reflection.

What she saw didn’t impress her. A small, brown-haired girl, with big eyes, glossy lips, and an underdeveloped body was what she saw. Tears of frustration welled in her eyes. She wasn’t going to grow anymore. She was stuck with a B-cup for life.

But Max doesn’t care, she reminded herself. He’s known you forever, and he’s never cared about your looks. He just cared about Liz.

She squared her shoulders and decided she didn’t care. This was who she was. She was Liz Parker, with all her mousy looks and innocent pink panties, and Max was just going to have to deal.

She took a deep breath and opened the bathroom door, walking out to confront Max in her four-inch pink FMPs (fuck-me-pumps, as Maria had dubbed them earlier at the dance). He was staring out her sliding glass door, his white shirt unbuttoned, and the moonlight was streaming in, caressing his perfect abs and making his eyes shine like stars.

She sighed a little with the thought that this was her best friend, the man she loved. The man who loved her.

Her sigh drew his attention and he turned to her. “Jebus freezus…” he whispered, jaw hanging open. She blushed and twisted her hands together behind her back, unaware that the act made her chest protrude.

His eyes ran over her body in a way that made her tingle, and suddenly it was obvious that all her fears in the bathroom had no substance. He wanted her. She could read it in his beautiful eyes.

“Say something,” she pleaded, voice no louder than his had been.
<><><><>

Say something? What was he supposed to say? She was a freaking goddess for Jebus’s sake!

He couldn’t really get his vocal cords to work at the moment though. He just stood there, drinking her in. She was still wearing her heels, which laced up her shapely legs, and his gaze traveled further, skimming the line of her panties (he smiled when he saw the cute embroidered flowers), and up to where the curve of her breasts showed from above her bodice, and finally up to her face. She tucked her soft hair back behind her ear and licked her kissable lips, glancing at him shyly.

Max groaned. “Liz…” he rasped, “I can’t…I don’t have…the words…” He shook his head and strode over to her, showing her with his lips and hands what he couldn’t say with his voice.

“Max…”

“You’re perfect,” he told her, finally finding the right words. She gave a little laugh and ran her fingers up the opening in his shirt and moved them up to his shoulders, pushing it off. Her eyes asked for permission and he took one of her hands and kissed it, telling her it was all right to touch him.

Her hands ran along his abs and up his chest, her touch so light it was almost like a feather caressing him. They trailed along his shoulder blades and down his arms, squeezing gently on his lean muscles. When she reached his hands he clasped them, keeping her near him.

“Should we be worried about your parents?” she asked, eyes flicking to the sliding door. He shook his head, leaning down to kiss her.

“Dad’s in Marathon for a case, Izzy’s staying over at Tish’s, and I told Mom not to wait up for me.”

“Did you know you were getting lucky tonight?” she teased.

He smiled, “I told her I’d either get home really late or I’d crash at Michael’s house.”

“Sneaky,” she commented.

He wiggled his eyebrows up and down, hands roaming her body, “Very.”

“Max?” she asked as he directed her toward her bed, placing soft kisses on her lips with every step.

“Hmm?”

“Did…um…” He could feel her blush under his hands.

“What is it, Liz?”

“Did you bring protection?” she blurted out, then clapped a hand over her mouth, staring at him as if she couldn’t believe what she’d just said.

He took his wallet out and pulled out a condom, “It’s covered.”

“Oh…” her attention was now on the thing in his hand. “Do you normally carry that around?” She sounded a little hurt.

“My dad gave it to me after my first date with Tess, I told him I didn’t need it, but he told me to keep it handy, just in case.” They’d both been redder during that conversation than during the sex talk.

“Is it the same one?” she inquired suspiciously.

He rolled his eyes. “No, it’s the fifth,” he said sarcastically. She looked up, alarmed, and he gave her a disbelieving grin. “Of course it’s the same one silly,” he scolded her teasingly, “I’d never make love to a girl I didn't love. You know me better than that.”

She gave him a smack on the arm and bounced backward onto her bed, so that she was looking up at him, her head level with his…um…cough…manhood…Which was doing some very interesting things to said part of body, and he knelt before her before she could see.

“Liz-”

“I thought you were going to make love to me,” she interrupted.

“I am!” he exclaimed, surprised.

“Then why aren’t you!” she retorted, smiling at him.

“Ugh! You are so impossible woman!” She giggled and kissed him, her lips pliant against his. He took control of the kiss, tilting her head to open her mouth. She let him slip his tongue into her mouth, meeting it with her own.

He moaned, wondering that if her mouth were this warm and sweet and welcoming, what would her body be like. Would the rest of her respond like this to him? Max wasn’t sure he could wait to find out. He broke the kiss and met her eyes. Her lips were swollen and even more tempting, but he’d get there soon enough.

Max reached down, taking her tiny foot in his hand. God, she was so small, all of her, she seemed so incredibly fragile…
<><><><>

Liz held her breath as his big hands held her foot gently, as if it were something precious. Then he moved, as if reaching a decision, and unbuckled her shoes, tossing them away. She trembled as he slowly worked his way up her legs, over her knees, to her thighs, and finally, his hands came to rest on the junction where her panty hem met skin.

He rose, towering over her, but not in an overwhelming sense, more like he was protecting her. She reached out and undid the zipper on his pants, and waited while he got out of them. When he came back to her he was wearing only a pair of black boxers and a half-smile.

God, he was huge! She reached out, running a hand over him, eliciting a groan from him. She suddenly found herself hauled up into his arms, wrapped tightly against his body, his mouth devouring her…

And just as quickly his hands were at her back and then her top was gone, and his mouth was on her. She gave a little shriek of surprise and then melted against him, spearing his hair with her fingers and dragging him up to her mouth.

She was aching, as she had been in the Eraser Room and the limo, aching for him, his touch on her. She wanted him in her most intimate places, and she wanted him there now! She leaned back, forcing him to let them fall on the bed, never breaking their lip-lock. His hands moved over her body, making her feel as if fire were tracing over her skin.

“Max!” She wriggled against his hard body, needing the barrier of cloth between them gone. She felt him nod against her neck and he reached down, ripping her panties off. They broke apart, panting, and stared at the scrap of material.

“Sorry,” he apologized, blushing. She took them from him and tossed them to the ground, instead focusing on getting his boxers off of him and him into her. She was feeling a little surprised at her need, at the intensity of it, but most of her didn’t care. She loved him, he loved her, it was all right.
<><><><>

Max’s body had created its own rhythm as he stroked in and out of her tight body, which matched him in every move he made. They had had a few fumbling starts, neither one knowing what they were doing, but they had laughed their way through it and now seemed to have got the situation under control.

Liz’s legs were wrapped around his waist, her lower body thrusting upward as his thrust down, her arms were moving up and down his back in a restless motion, occasionally they’d meet in a kiss, but mostly…

Well, mostly her lips were on his neck and his were on her breasts. He couldn’t get over how sweet they were, and how perfectly they fit in his hands. How perfectly her whole body fit against his.

Their hearts were lined up, and he could hear hers pounding (or was that his…). He could barely tell the difference anymore, whether it was his or hers. They were one right now, one person, one soul…

He felt her walls beginning to clamp down on him, and she whispered his name. He took her lips in his and let his hand wander between them, rubbing her swollen clit until she shuddered against him and screamed his name.

“Liz!” he echoed her cry of ecstasy as he felt his own release come upon him.
<><><><>

They hadn’t talked a lot during the actual act, and they weren’t talking a lot now, but she was perfectly content. She was spooned against his body, his fingers trailing patterns over her arms as the cuddled under the covers together.

“I like this,” she told him quietly, grasping his wandering hand. He chuckled and sat up a little, kissing her cheek.

“I like this too,” he replied. They smiled at each other softly, and the blanket of comfortable silence descended again, letting them soak in each other without distraction.

“It’s three o’clock in the morning,” she told him, feeling sleepy.

“Yeah…” he agreed, “I should probably go home…” he sounded reluctant, and hugged her body closer.

“I’ll see you tomorrow?” she asked hopefully.

“Today,” he corrected her, a smile in his tone.

She smiled too, “Today then.”

He gave a deep sigh and moved away from her. She turned over, watching him possessively as he dressed. “You gotta stop staring at me, Liz,” he told her, “Otherwise I’m not going to be able to zipper my pants.”

She blushed and sat up, holding the lilac-colored sheets to her chest. “Sorry…”

He smiled at her and shrugged into his suit jacket. Then he came over to her and kissed her deeply, tongues tangling, and then he was gone.

She got up, the sheets wrapped around her naked body, and followed his progress through the hedges to his window. He turned at the sill and looked toward her sliding glass door, blowing her a kiss. She blushed and blew him one back, waving until he disappeared completely from her view.

Then she sighed and crawled back into bed, physically exhausted and loving it.
<><><><>
posted on 19-Jun-2002 9:16:21 PM
Part Fifteen: Eskimo Kisses

Max groaned loudly and burrowed farther under his blanket. It had done the unheard of yesterday. It had started snowing. In Roswell! And he was refusing to get out of his bed until it was as warm outside it as it was in it!

He heard a thunk against his window and immediately tossed his covers back, ready to face an intruder. But then the cold air hit him and he shivered, grabbing his sheets and comforter until he was bundled up again. Then he glared at his window, which was covered in snow from a well-aimed snowball.

Laughter echoed from outside his house, and his ears perked up, recognizing the laugh as Liz’s. What was she doing up on a day like this? Oh well, he couldn’t let her freeze to death alone.

Steeling himself he threw away the covers and jumped out of the bed, heading without delay to his closet, which held his warmest (and ugliest) sweaters. He decided being a fashion victim didn’t matter on a horrid day like this.

When he was properly bundled up (which meant four shirts, two sweaters, long underwear, flannel pants, jeans, three pairs of wool socks, boots, a winter (fleece-lined) coat, a scarf Liz had made him when she first learned to knit, and a hat that covered his ears), he trundled outside to find his girlfriend up to her elbows in snow, building a fort.
<><><><>

She stared out the window of her upstairs room, watching her brother and his girlfriend and their juvenile behavior. They were building a fort. Next thing, they’d probably make snow angels or have a snowball fight. It was all so…third grade.

“Izzy?”

Isabel turned away and looked at her mother inquisitively. “Yeah, Mom?”

Her mom came to stand beside her and she watched the wackos outside too. She started chuckling and Isabel glanced at her, her own mouth quirking upward. Her mom’s blue eyes were crinkled with laughter. “I’m surprised your brother managed to make it out of bed the way he was carrying on earlier.”

“I know.” Isabel rolled her eyes. “But Liz was outside, so of course he went. You wouldn’t catch me out in this weather.” She crossed her arms over her pink sweater and tossed her long blond hair.

“Remember when he and Liz were nine and he-”

“Mom!” she interrupted, “Please don’t talk about that! It was so traumatizing to see that!”

“Oh Izzy…” her mother laughed.

“What did you come up here for?” she asked, knowing she was being rude, but wanting to get away from the topic of December 1992. It was still a sore subject for her. She couldn’t believe Max had done that-

“Alex called.”

“What?” she demanded, “When?”

“When you were in the shower,” her mom said, smiling knowingly.

“Well, what did he want?”

“He wanted to know if you might be interested in joining him at the skating rink at 12:00 and then do an early dinner. I told him you’d call him back.”

Isabel shrieked and flew to her portable phone, forgetting about her mom. “Alex?” she asked breathlessly, “Hi! I would absolutely love to go skating with you today! Um-hmm…” She listened to him talk about their plans for the day, smiling happily and feeling very childish and giddy suddenly.
<><><><>

Liz crawled into the fort after Max, and they lay on the snow covered ground, not really feeling the cold and wet at the moment. But then again, body heat was the best kind there was. She giggled and propped herself up, leaning down to kiss him deeply. His warmth welcomed hers and his hand came around to brace the back of her head, making it so that she couldn’t move away from him. Not like she wanted to…

Her long brown hair fell around them like a shield, protecting them from the incoming snow. They hadn’t put a roof on their fort, as they had learned the hard way that that wasn’t a good idea. In fact, they had received a long lecture from their parents about the danger of snow that time in fourth grade.

She giggled, remembering the incident clearly. Isabel had been livid, their mothers had been worried sick (kissing and hugging them until they were blue in the face, and not from the cold), and the fathers had looked at them sternly and explained how if the ceiling had fallen they could have been killed…

“What’s so funny?” Max asked her.

“I was thinking about that one time when we were little, and I just got that new parka and it had just snowed-”

“No!”

“What?”

“Don’t you dare bring that up!” he told her, his face turning red.

“It was cute,” she told him, kissing his cheek.

“I try not to think about it,” he told her seriously, “In fact, I don’t even remember it at all. It’s just a blur.”

“Do you remem-“

“No.”

“Well,” she huffed, staring to move away, “Someone's got ice in their pants.”

“Liz!” he protested, tugging her back down. She pouted, and he caught her bottom lip in a kiss. She soon forgot what they were talking about and kissed him back. “I can assure you, “ he murmured, turning his head to suck on an earlobe that had escaped her headband. She gasped, moaning his name. “There is no ice in my pants, though you may wish there had been…”

He drew her down further, so that he was laying across her, bodies tight against one another. Her eyes widened as she realized he was aroused, and she couldn’t believe she could feel it through what she knew was layers of clothes. “Max…” she whispered.

“Hmm?” he inquired, tugging on the zipper of her jacket, trying to reach her neck.

“My father’s home!” she hissed, “We can’t…”

He stopped kissing her, and his body went limp with defeat. Presently, he rolled over. “I know,” he said, “But you were looking all sexy with that bottom lip, I just couldn’t help myself.” He smiled at her, and she melted, snuggling back up to him.

“You’re forgiven,” she announced. She felt his response as a kiss to the top of her head. They were quiet for awhile, but then Liz decided to provoke him some more. “Some blizzard for March, huh?”

“I’d say,” he grumbled.

“Worse than that December-”

“Jebus freezus!” he shouted, sitting bolt upright, “Can’t you just drop it?”

“Nope,” she replied, grinning.
<><><><>

Max wandered around his yard. He had come to the decision to see Liz. She had been his best friend for a little over a year now, and she was fun. Sometimes, he even managed to forget she was a girl.

“What’cha doin’?” he asked when he spotted her. She was scooping up the good, packing snow (and he knew it was good, because he’d nailed Valenti with it earlier that week), and making something.

“Making an igloo,” she said matter-of-factly, allowing her attention to be distracted for a moment.

“An igloo?” he repeated. Cool, at least she wasn’t doing some stupid girlie thing like making snow angels. “Why?”

“Because Inuits live in them,” she explained to him.

“Inuits?”

She gave a little sigh of exasperation and turned to him, mittened hands on her hips. “They’re an Eskimo tribe, my Grandma Claudia stayed with them. She told me all about it.”

“Cool,” he conceded, “Can I help?”

“No,” she told him.

“And why not?” he challenged.

“Because you’re not dressed properly, duh,” she said.

“Dressed properly?”

“Yeah, you know, you’re not wearing the right clothes.” At his befuddled expression she relented. “See,” she twirled, showing off her fur-lined parka, “My Grandma sent this to me. It’s what Eskimos wear, and you have to be an Eskimo to live in an igloo.”

Max digested this information and was struck by an idea. “I’ll be right back!” he told her, and then rushed back to his house.
<><>

Liz stared after him wondering what he was doing. Did he have to go to the bathroom? Because her mom always said you had to do that before you put on all the winter things…

She gave a little laugh when he came out again, but she didn’t let him hear. He was wearing what looked like Isabel’s coat. It was a bright pink, with white fur lining the hood.

“Will this work?” he asked, face red, whether from the exertion of a quick change or from embarrassment, she wasn’t sure.

“I guess…”

An hour later their igloo was complete and they stared at it, walking around and inspecting every angle, brushing off a little snow there, a little snow here…until they were completely satisfied with their creation.

“What now?” Max asked her.

She shrugged. “Grandma Claudia said they go ice fishing and hunt and stuff.”

“But we can’t do any of that stuff,” he said, wrinkling his nose. They were silent for a little longer, both wondering what they could do.

“Dog races?” Liz suggested, but then shook her head, “No dogs, no sleds…”

“I have a cat,” Max offered, “But she’s not allowed outside.”

Liz shook her head to that too. “No.” She stared at all their hard work. “I suppose we could go in it,” she decided, “We could play house.”

Max rolled his eyes. “House is for girls!”

“I am a girl!” she retorted, “And besides, I don’t see you coming up with any bright ideas!”

He turned red and crossed his arms, glaring at her. “Fine,” he agreed through gritted teeth.

She smiled, assured of victory, and crawled into the igloo, Max following. “You get to be the wife,” she told him.’’

“What?” he questioned loudly, then came an “Ow” as he hit his head on the ceiling, “No way!”

“You’re wearing pink,” she pointed out, “That’s a girl color.”

“But you're a girl!” he cried.

“Fine,” she said, “If you’re going to be such a big baby about it, I'll be the wife.” She lifted her head to his expectantly.

“What are you doing?” he asked suspiciously.

“You’re supposed to kiss me hello,” she told him.

“Eww!” he exclaimed, “No way! I’ll get cooties!”

“Max! We’re husband and wife, our parents don’t have cooties, do they?”

He was quiet, “I never thought of that.”

“And anyway, it’s not even on the lips, it’s just an Eskimo kiss.”

“Eskimo kiss?”

“You rub noses,” she enlightened him.

“Oh.” They looked at each other, then hesitantly leaned forward, brushing their noses together. “Your nose is cold,” he told her when they pulled apart.

She giggled, “Yours is red.” They smiled at each other and leaned forward again.
<><>

Isabel watched furiously as her mother frantically pulled on her boots. She had spotted Max and Liz from the kitchen window and had tattled to her mother. Mainly because Max was wearing her new coat! But her mom had freaked out and started hollering about unstable snow and being buried alive.

He was probably getting snow all over it! Didn’t he know things as nice as that coat weren’t meant to be played in?

She’d give him a harsh talking to when Momma dragged him back into the house. She glared as Momma and Mrs. Parker ran outside all frazzled, trying to save their precious babies, the nerve of him…Ooh…
<><><><>

“You just had to bring that up,” he sighed.

“Of course,” she retorted gleefully, “You just looked so cute in pink!”

“That’s it, Parker,” he growled playfully, pulling her down on top of him.

“And what are you gonna do about it, Evans?” she asked as their lips got closer.

“Liz.”

They pulled apart and he groaned. Mr. Parker was giving him the ‘Look’. “Hi Daddy. What’s up?”

“Agnes called in sick, I need you to take her shift. That okay?”

“Fine.” She looked down at him and gave him an Eskimo kiss, her cold nose rubbing against his own. “Bye Max!” she called as she got up and linked arms with her father, walking away.

He lay there for a couple more minutes before getting up himself. His jeans were soaked through and he suspected he was getting a head cold. What on earth had possessed him to go outside on a day like this?

His mom opened the door to let him in, a steaming mug of hot cocoa in her hands. “Here you go, baby,” she said, smiling in that motherly way of hers, “Drink this, get out of those cold clothes, and then you take a nice, long, hot shower and crawl back into bed.”

“Thanks, Momma.”
<><><><>

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 19-Jun-2002 9:23:17 PM ]
posted on 19-Jun-2002 9:31:26 PM
Part Sixteen: Hershey’s Kisses

Liz lay in her bed for a while, toying with the hem of her lavender sheets. She was having a problem with conflicting emotions. One being that she was seventeen today, and she was happy about that. The other one was confusion.

Max hadn’t said anything about her birthday all month. Not even when she’d subtly hinted at it yesterday night when they were making out. She was starting to wonder if maybe he had forgotten. But he’d never do that. Right?

She shook her head fiercely. He was probably planning a big surprise for her. He wouldn’t have forgotten. There was no way.

And with that she threw back her covers decisively. Getting up, she then made her bed and grabbed Lil’ Max from where he had fallen during the night. “It’s our anniversary,” she told him, “I’ve had you for a whole year.” He just stared at her. She shrugged and started getting ready.

In the shower, she meticulously lathered, rinsed, and repeated with her vanilla shampoo and conditioner, then she soaped her body up with strawberry scented body wash, and carefully shaved her legs. She didn’t want any cuts, bumps, or dry skin.

She refused to look anything other than perfect today.

When she was done, she towel-dried herself and let her long hair begin to air-dry. She spread her strawberry moisturizing lotion all over to make her skin soft and smooth, and then began to blow-dry her hair straight. Max liked her hair straight.

Then she went to her closet and stared at her clothes. What did she want to wear on this, her special day? She pulled out a dark, royal blue sweater and held it up in front of her, facing the full-length mirror. Nodding, she set it aside on her bed and searched for the pair of black leather pants Maria had made her buy. She’d never worn them before, but she’d dare losing her patented ‘innocent’ look for just one day.

She pulled her clothes on and started with her make-up. As usual, she went light on the eye shadow and blush, but made sure her lips were shiny and pink and would stay that way for the rest of the day.

Liz brushed out her brown hair, trying to decide what to do with it. Max preferred it down, but did it go with her outfit? Deciding it didn’t matter, she left it down and grabbed her shoes. Maria had also forced her to buy them. Luckily they weren’t too high, but they’d definitely make it so the top of her head reached Max’s nose instead of his chin.

A horn beeped from outside and her father yelled up to her, “Max is here!”

“Coming!” she shouted back. She gave herself a once over, spritzed on some Victoria’s Secret Strawberry & Champagne body spray, found her book bag, tread carefully down the stairs, and kissed her dad’s cheek. “Bye!” she called, before he could protest her pants, and shut the door.

“Don’t you look nice,” Max commented as she joined him in the Jeep, he smiled sexily, “What’s the occasion?” She froze and looked at him. He raised an eyebrow, not comprehending the reason for her sudden sad face. “Hey? You okay?” he asked worriedly. She nodded and meekly accepted his good-morning kiss. Then she slumped into the passenger seat and stared out the window despondently all the way to school.

He hadn’t remembered.
<><><><>

Max slung an arm around his girl as they walked to their lockers. She was stiff, yet slumped, and sad looking, yet incredibly hot. He hadn’t even known she owned a pair of leather pants!

He also didn’t know how she could ever think that he’d forgotten her birthday.

He was a man with a plan, one with collaborators who were more than willing to keep up his charade. Isabel nodded at him as they passed her, Tish, and Tess. He grinned, Phase A complete.

Max looked forward to Maria and Alex, who smiled and winked respectively. “Uh, Liz, I have to use the bathroom. I’ll meet you in class, okay?”

“Okay,” she agreed glumly. He hid a smile and kissed her cheek. Then he headed to the men’s room, leaving his friends to finish Phase B.

“She buyin’ it?”

“Yeah.” He looked at Michael, frowning. “She looks so sad though, I’ve never-”

“Suck it up Maxwell,” Michael told him gruffly, “If you insist on doing all this romantic crap in the name of your energy source, giving the rest of us males bad names in the process by the way, the least you could do is go through with it.”

“I know,” he said, “It’s just we’ve always celebrated her birthday together. Just the two of us. All day, non-stop fun. And now that we’re going out, it’s different. We can’t just go to the movies or the Crashdown. I have to make it special.”

“Did she say you had to?”

“No, but-”

“Stop,” Michael interrupted, “You mean to tell me you’ve put all of us through hell for the past two weeks, caused Maria to start riding ass about ‘proper boyfriend etiquette’ as she terms it, planning your surprise, and you didn’t have to do it?”

Max just stared at him blankly. The warning bell rang. “Gotta go!” he announced quickly, dashing out the door. Whew! Saved by the bell.
<><><><>

“So, Max didn’t say anything?” she asked again. Maria and Alex just shook their heads. Liz sighed and banged her head against her locker. “I can’t believe he forgot.”

“I’m sure he didn’t chica,” Maria soothed, “Maybe he’s just trying to find the right time to say it.”

“Right time?” she scoffed, “How hard is it to say ‘Happy birthday, Liz’?”

Alex and Maria exchanged glances. “Well,” Alex suggested, “Why don’t you hang with us tonight? We’ve never been allowed to have that big party Maria’s always wanted to throw.”

“Yeah!” Maria cried, bouncing up and down and clapping her hands. “Please Lizzie?”

She sighed and opened her locker. “Okay. I guess I could…” she trailed off, taking the gift from her locker. It was a rose. Not a real one, but one of those roses made of Hershey’s kisses with the red foil over it.

“I knew he wouldn’t forget!” Maria crowed.

“It’s not from Max,” she said faintly, “This isn’t his handwriting.” She held out the little card to her friends.

“Ooh,” Maria breathed, “You’ve got a secret admirer Lizzie. I am so jealous.”

The warning bell rang and they all scrambled to their classes. Liz walked to her room in a daze. If not Max, then who?

“Hey,” her boyfriend said, “What’s that?” She gave it to him.

“It was in my locker.”

“Why?”

She shrugged and took it back. At least someone knew what day it was, even if she didn’t know who yet.

“Weird.” He made a face at her present.

“I guess.”
<><><><>

Isabel nodded at Maria, who was chattering away. “I said we’d come, just chill,” she finally demanded. The sprightly blonde recoiled and stared at her, surprised by the harsh tone. Isabel sighed. “Sorry, Maria, I just don’t like sneaking around putting those roses everywhere. God, doesn’t Liz think someone’s stalking her by now?”

Maria shrugged, “I put off her freaking out by suggesting they were from Kyle, trying to win her back. She pretty much just accepted that.”

“Hi ho, ladies,” Alex greeted as slid next to them, lunch tray edging closer to Iz, who smiled at him.

“Hey Alex,” the girls chorused.

“How’s it going?”

“Smoothly,” she told him, opening her water.

“What phase are we on now?” he inquired, scarfing Cosmic Crunch cheese puffs, “I can’t keep track.”

Isabel rolled her eyes. “Who even knows? This whole thing is too “Mission Impossible” for me.” She glanced around to where Tish and Tess were hovering and beckoned them over.

“Max just came in with Liz and Michael, we’re gonna lunch with them.” Isabel nodded and they got up.

“You are com-”

Yes, Maria, yes.”
<><><><>

“I said I was sorry!”

She shook her head. “The one year I have you as my boyfriend, and you forget! It’s ridiculous!”

“Liz-”

“Forget it, Max.” She paused out side the Jeep. “Will you at least come to the party tonight? It’s at the Pizza Pan at eight.”

He winced, “I have to work tonight.”

“That just figures!” she cried, throwing her hands up, “This has been the worst day of my life!”

“We’ll do something tomorrow,” he said, obviously trying to placate her. It wasn’t working. She glared at him violently, promising him hurtful things if he said just one more word about it.

She jerked open the passenger door and stopped. Another rose was lying on her seat. That made four today. The one in her locker, the one in her gym locker, the one on her lab table, and now this one. Who was sending them?

“You got another one?” Max asked, looking at her as she sat down.

“Yeah.”

“Who’s sending them?”

“I don’t know!” she exclaimed, “Obviously someone who cares enough to remember my birthday!”

He eyed her warily, “Are you PMSing or something?” he asked. She screamed and crossed her arms, refusing to even look at him. He was such a boy sometimes, and how insensitive had that comment been? “It better not be Valenti,” he continued darkly, “Or else…”

Liz tuned him out for the rest of the ride. She didn’t want to deal with his macho crap, not today. She didn’t want to cry today either, but she could feel tears pricking. How could he have done this to her?
<><><><>

Max was feeling like a horrible person at the moment. Liz had been crying when he dropped her off at the Crashdown for her shift. He had almost broken down and admitted everything, but he held fast. Knowing he’d make it up to her later.

He hoped.

He was having doubts about the final phase of his master plan. What if his gift wasn’t good enough? Now that he was thinking about it, it wasn’t really anything special…She’d probably give him one of those fake birthday smiles and forced ‘thank you’.

He buried his head under his pillow and let out a scream, the pillow acting as a buffer. Then he pulled out the box containing her present. It was to late to change his mind about giving it to her. Maybe he could offer to buy her something else if she didn’t like it? That would work, right?

He nodded and hid it back under his bed. Then he got up, he had to make sure Maria had everything under control for tonight, phone the Parkers to let them know the finalized plan, and pick up the last part of Liz’s gift.
<><><><>

Liz dragged her bags of presents from Maria’s Jetta and waved good-bye to her friend, then trudged up to her house. That had been her first birthday party since she turned eight years old. Normally it would just be her and Max, and while the party had been a blast, it couldn’t compare.

She had begun to get suspicious when so many people showed up on such short notice, and figured maybe Max had orchestrated this whole affair, but as the night wore on, there was no sign of him.

A dozen Hershey’s roses had been delivered to the party, making that sixteen total, the card attached read ‘I’ll see you tonight.’ She shivered just thinking about it. It hadn’t been Kyle who sent them, and Max obviously had no idea the way he was acting today. It was somebody she didn’t know, and she was a little frightened.

“Hey honey bear,” her dad said, smiling as she walked in the house.

“Hi Daddy.”

“How was your party?”

“Fun,” she told him, forcing a smile, “But I’m kind of wiped, I think I’ll head to bed.” Her father nodded and kissed her head.

“Happy birthday Lizzie,” he whispered, “By the way, you might want to tell your guest good-bye before you go to sleep.”

“Guest?”

“He’s upstairs.”

He. Was it Max? It had to be. Her dad wouldn’t just let some strange guy up in her room. But what was he doing here? Didn’t he say he had to work? She ran up the steps and into her room. She dropped her bags and stared.

A Hershey’s rose lay on her bed.

A noise behind her made her turn and she swung around, confronted by her boyfriend. Max smiled his half smile at her and she turned to mush. He was wearing a plain white, long sleeved, button down, a pair of worn jeans, holding a white rose and a package, and he looked positively scrumptious.

“Did you really think I’d forget?” he asked quietly, walking toward her, present in hand.

She shook her head. “No, but you were being so…horrible today, I didn’t know what to believe anymore.” Tears pricked her eyes.

“I know,” he said, sounding miserable, “I wanted to tell you, but it would’ve ruined everything. And we’ve been working on this for weeks.”

“We?”

“Me, Maria, Alex, even Michael and Isabel pitched in.”

“You started freaking me out with those roses,” she said.

He grinned, “I thought you like flowers in the middle of the day, and Hershey’s kisses are your favorite.”

Your kisses are my favorite,” she enlightened him, moving closer so that their bodies brushed. Max leaned down, placing the box behind them, and met her lips. She kissed him eagerly, having missed his drugging taste all day.

When they broke apart he asked, “Are you going to open your present?” She laughed and went to work on the wrapping paper. “If you don’t like it I’ll understand,” he said anxiously, “It’s not-”

“Oh, Max,” she breathed, taking the letterman’s jacket out and putting it on. “It’s perfect. How do I look?” He had this enchanted look on his face and she blushed, cuddling into the oversized jacket.

“Cute. Very cute, and very mine.”

She rolled her eyes. “Are you claiming me as your property Mr. Evans?” she flirted.

He just smiled and pulled out another gift. This one he opened, revealing his class ring on a thin gold chain. She pulled her hair up obligingly and let him fasten it around her neck. She sat on her bed, gazing up at him shyly. He picked up the real white rose and handed it to her.

“Happy birthday, Liz.”
<><><><>
posted on 20-Jun-2002 9:05:32 AM
Part Seventeen: K-I-S-S-I-N-G

“Max, stop!” Liz shrieked as she nearly went tumbling off her bed. Of course, he didn’t listen to her. She giggled harder as his hands gently swept over her bare sides. “Please,” she gasped, “Please, no, don’t…stop!”

“Don’t stop?” he teased, and gripped her firmly, fingers digging into soft flesh, then running lightly over her back…

The tickles slowly turned into soft, long caresses as they reached her neck. She gave a soft sigh as he leaned forward to kiss the sensitive flesh. “Max…” she breathed.

“What Liz?” His question was low and husky as he went back to kneading the oil into her skin. Liz didn’t reply, just gave a soft moan and arched into his fingers.

Max grinned, he knew this had been a good idea. Massage: the perfect ‘I’m-sorry-I-made-such-a-mess-of-your-birthday’ treat. And using Maria’s essential oils had been a stroke of genius on his part. (He was just sorry it took him a week to come up with it.)

He dripped a few more drops of the jasmine scent onto Liz’s naked back and slowly began to work it into her skin. He studied his girlfriend all the while, making notes to remember all the spots that made her moan and sigh and gasp for later use.

Her skin was smooth, taut, there wasn’t an ounce of fat on her…He found it hard to believe that he had been her best friend for so many years and never managed to notice how beautiful she was. (Chalk it up to general male idiocy, and particular Max denseness in his case.)

Liz wiggled a little as his fingers grazed her most ticklish area, the joint between her thighs and derriere. A wicked little smile crossed his face and he deterred from his strategy to give her a head to toe massage by slipping his hands beneath the one shred of clothing that she was wearing.

“Max!” she exclaimed, “Don’t you dare start again-” She broke of with a muffled breath as he slid the red cotton panties down her legs. “Max, what are you doing?” she asked as she turned over, legs getting tangled around his waist.
<><><><>

She watched him grin, tossing her underwear on the floor and standing on her bed to let her sort herself out. She wanted to laugh at him as he stood there, head almost bumping the ceiling, but she resisted and sat up, knees to her bare chest and he dropped down beside her.

“Thank you for the massage,” she murmured.

A smirk spread on his face and she suddenly had the feeling he was far from finished with her. “I’m not done yet,” he told her, confirming her suspicions. He placed his large hands on her knees and tried to coax them apart.

But Liz would have none of it. “We don’t have time Max!” she scolded, exasperated, “I have to be up to the school at seven!”

“It’s only six Liz, you have plenty of time,” he assured her, his hands traveling further to stroke her thighs. Her legs trembled in response and she felt herself becoming wet again. He leaned over her, his strong body hovering, and he kissed her neck, sucking on the skin gently.

“You’re gonna give me a hickey,” she told him, trying to sound stern, but failing miserably. Her slender arms wrapped around his fully clothed back, fingers raking the cotton-poly blend of his plaid shirt until her nails caught and held.

He chuckled into her neck and moved to the hollow at the base of her throat. She gave a low growl of defeat and allowed her knees to open, his lean body dropping from the loss of obstruction. She felt his arousal through his jeans and suddenly it seemed as if they had all the time in the world.

“Max,” she demanded now, her lower body rising impatiently, “Take your clothes off.”

“No,” he said, and dropped his head to her breasts to continue his tender ministrations.

“We barely have half an hour,” she told him incredulously, “If you want to do this we have to start now, otherwise we won’t finish in time and I’ll be late!”

Max shook his dark head and ran his tongue over her erect nipple. She gasped as he did the same to her other breast causing her to bend upward into his body. “Liz, be patient,” he chided, smirking, and began to travel lower.

“Max what are you doing?” she asked again, alarmed as he started pressing kisses near her curls. Her hands moved from his back to spear through his hair, trying to bring his mouth back to hers, but he held fast, his inner strength winning, and stayed put, pressing a kiss on her folds.

Liz gave a small scream and totally relaxed, her hands flying from his head to her headboard, gripping it tightly as his tongue began to lick the wet channel between her legs. “Max!” she whispered, trembling from the pressure he was building within her, “I don’t think you should be doing that.”

He stopped (making her cry out in protest) and peered up at her, “Do you really want me to stop?” he inquired, surprised, “Cause I don’t really want to.”

“No,” she told him, voice cracking.

“No you do or no you don’t?”

“No, I don’t want you to stop,” she informed him, feeling a little mortified. It was one thing to have him buried in her, but quite another to have him…eat her out…She let out another cry as he sucked on her clitoris. Thrashing, she lifted her hips, her legs wrapping around his neck and holding him fast to her as she exploded.

When she became aware of her surroundings again Max was lying beside her, hand playing with the class ring that hung on a chain between her breasts. She blushed and turned her head from him, surprised when she felt him press kisses on her neck, lifting her hair out of his way.

“Max…”

“We’ll finish this later, love, right now you need to get dressed and get to school.” She shivered with his promise, a plan already forming in her mind as to how exactly they’d finish it. It wasn’t fair for him to just pleasure her after all…
<><><><>

At seven-thirty the curtain rose on a backdrop of New York City. Max sat in the lower deck of the auditorium seats, eyes peeled for Liz, Alex, Isabel, and Maria. Maria was easy to spot, she was playing the lead, Alex and Izzy would come later because they also had main characters, but Liz was playing various roles and right now she was pretending to waitress at a small Brooklyn café.

At nine forty-five the curtain closed on West Roswell’s production of The 10th Kingdom and all the extras bowed, (Max cheered loudly for his shy girlfriend) and then the supporting cast members.

“Can you believe Maria wanted me to try out for the Troll king?” Michael snorted beside him, shaking his head at the poor schmuck in make-up and tights.

“Yeah, actually I can,” Max replied, grinning. Before Michael could respond Alex, Isabel, and Maria came out, still in costume. His sister had made a great Wicked Queen, and Maria and Alex had done well in the parts of Virginia and Prince Wendell.

The house lights came on and everyone rose, giving the cast a standing ovation. Maria kept bowing and smiling until Alex dragged her backstage. “We better go meet them outside,” Max suggested, rising, and Michael followed suit.

Their friends were waiting for them, laughing and hugging as random people came up to congratulate them. “I guess opening night was a success,” Max said as he approached, holding a white rose out to his girlfriend. She took it with a smile and planted herself underneath his arm.

Max then gifted Maria and Isabel with a yellow and purple rose respectively, and Michael produced a slightly wilted pink one to give to Maria, who smiled at him as if it were the most precious thing in the world.

“You two are invited to come to the cast party if you want,” Alex told them, “It’s actually at your house Max.”

“Speaking of,” Isabel exclaimed, “We need to get going.” They took off for the dressing room, but Liz hung behind.

“I’m going to stay and help stage crew clean up, okay? Can you swing by and pick me up after you drop them off?”

“Sure,” he agreed, nodding.

“Thanks.” And she gave him a quick kiss on the lips before disappearing after their friends.

About an hour later, and he hoped Liz wasn’t mad at him for the delay, he was back at school, in the auditorium parking lot. Hurrying into the building, he went backstage, searching for his apparently missing girlfriend. “Liz?” he called.

“On stage,” was the reply. And he walked through one of the door in the revolving stage until he found himself on a darkened one, facing a non-existent audience. The lights suddenly flicked on as he blinked in the rosy glow, staring at the pink, purple, red, and white decorations of the set. “Welcome to Kissing Town,” Liz whispered from right beside him.

He spun to see her smiling at him seductively, still dressed in her costume. “Aren’t you ready to go?” he asked.

She stepped closer to him, draping her arms around his neck and playing with the collar of his shirt. “Not yet,” she murmured, leaning up to suck on his earlobe. Max gulped audibly.

“Liz-”

She cut him off with a deep French kiss and pressed him against the backdrop. “I believe you promised me we’d finish what you started at my house. Didn’t you?”

“Yeah, but…Here?” he questioned. He stared out into the dark seat of the audience, it was like hundreds of eyes were on him, watching them as Liz seduced him on stage. Jebus freezus, he thought, annoyed with himself when the thought of it began to turn him on.

“Yes, here,” she said, laughter in her voice, “It’s payback time Evans.”
<><><><>

She examined his wide-eyed expression innocently, knowing she had thoroughly shocked him with this one. He stared down at her and she saw his eyes run appreciatively over her breasts, the built-in push-up bra sewn in her serving wench’s dress causing them to appear bigger.

Deciding to play with him a little more, she reached up and pulled the pins out of her hair, making it fall down around her bare shoulders. She toyed with a strand, bringing it forward and trailing it across her left breast. He stifled a groan and she took one of his hands, sucking on his finger coyly before resting it on the front of her bodice.

“But-”

“But nothing, Max,” she interrupted, “We’re completely alone. The janitors aren’t even here.”

“H-how?” he queried, voice hoarse as his hand tightened convulsively on her breast.

“The principal trusts me to lock the school up. After all, what could little Lizzie Parker ever do wrong?” She forestalled his response by kissing him again, then she slyly began to undo the button and zipper on his now tight jeans. Her tiny hand slid inside, between his boxers and his skin and she wrapped it around his hard shaft.

“Liz!” he sucked in a labored breath.

“What?” she asked guilelessly, slowly running her fingers along his length. He felt like velvet incased steel, soft and strong.

“I didn’t bring any condoms,” he informed her, as he held himself tense.

“Don’t worry, Max.”

“But we have-Did you go on birth control?”

“No.” She started loosening his jeans, slipping them off his hips.

“Then, we have to stop,” he said, grabbing for her hands. But she was too fast for him. She pulled his pants and boxers down as she knelt in front of him. “Liz!”

“We’re not going to be making love, Max,” she enlightened him, gazing up at him as she slowly tipped forward to touch her tongue to his now fully aroused manhood. A drop of pre-cum came out and he quivered as she again licked it away.

“Liz-You shouldn’t…you can’t-”

“Can’t what Max?” she asked, enveloping him in her warm mouth. He let out a cry and tangled his dexterous hands into her chocolate hair. She released him with a wet pop. “Can’t make you lose control?”
<><><><>

Was she serious? Whenever she looked at him he got a hard-on for Pete’s sake! “No, Liz Parker,” he said, “You can definitely make me lose control.”

“Then what can’t I do, Max?” she inquired again, and again stopped his protests by taking him into her mouth. His grip on her silky hair tightened as she slowly began a rhythm, making him groan with every stroke her tongue made. Her hands were groping his buttocks as she forced his body to move against her.

She couldn’t do this, his mind was saying as his body took command of his reactions. What if she choked or he hurt her or something? But his brain’s arguments were washed away when her fingers drifted from digging into his backside to fondling his front and he came.

His wordless scream died down as he went limp against the set. He gaped openly at Liz, who was still kneeling before him, flushed and gorgeous, her lips swollen. She licked them while she gazed up at him, making him grunt with desire. “Liz…”

She smiled and stood, pulling up his pants as she went. She pressed against him, her lips finding his again in a loving kiss. He enfolded her in his arms not releasing her as she attempted to pull away.

“I can’t believe you just did that,” he whispered.

“Believe it,” she countered, “Payback’s a bitch Evans.” She slipped from his embrace. “I’m going to change, meet you by the Jeep.”

Max watched after her for a moment, trying to get his bearings, because he couldn’t exactly get his legs to work. (But then, if he had been able to walk, he probably would have gone after her and they would never get to the party…) He couldn’t believe she had just done that! But that proved her point, no one ever suspected perfect Liz Parker of anything considered ‘naughty’.

He grinned and shook his head, heading out to his Jeep to wait for his girl. She had gotten so unpredictable since they started going out. But he had to admit, he was liking it. A lot.
<><><><>
posted on 20-Jun-2002 9:09:02 AM
Part Eighteen: Kiss dee Girl

“Sha-la-la-la-la-la, don’t be scared, you got the mood prepared, go on and kiss dee girl…Aw, Jebus freezus,” he muttered to himself, “What’s wrong with you Evans? Singing The Little Mermaid, could you be more of a dork?”

Probably not, he concluded. It was really bad if a seventeen year old guy, a senior in high school, knew every word to every part in a Disney movie and could even do the voices…He shook his head, darkly cursing his inability to resist Liz Parker, even when she had been ten. And it hadn’t helped that Maria and Alex were hooked on the darn things either.

So here he was, setting the mood for a romantic desert picnic, and he had Disney songs in his head! This anniversary thing had him tied up tighter than a sailor’s knot. He couldn’t believe he’d been with her for a whole year.

And what a year it had been…

The cuddling, the kissing, the…um…rapport he and Liz shared. They had evolved together this past year, evolved into something more lasting than even friendship.

He was well aware that a year was nothing to the amount of time he and Liz had been best friends, but a year as boyfriend/girlfriend was serious. It was huge. And considering he was planning on their relationship going on for a long, long time yet, every year was just going to make it even more gargantuan.

This year was the picnic. He had found a secluded spot, protected from the wind, and he laid the large blanket down, placing large candles on each of the corners to weigh it down. He’d light them later, when he brought Liz and the food, which he had yet to order. Though he had made a chocolate silk pie with whip cream and strawberries for dessert, and that was safe in the Evans family refrigerator, covered by Saran wrap and a large sign that read ‘Hands off’ and then in smaller lettering, ‘This means you Isabel!’

There was no doubt in his mind that Isabel would make him pay for that later. In fact, he probably shouldn’t have done it, but he couldn’t resist taunting her. She had started a fruits and veggies fast last week, and actually started running around the town. Just yesterday she’d run three miles. That was probably his fault though, considering he had told her she was getting a little pudgy around the middle (but hey, what are little brothers for?)…

He then sternly commanded himself to forget his sister. Today was not about Isabel, it was about him and Liz. Max rose and wiped his dusty hands on his jeans, leaving behind chalky handprints. Oh well, he’d change later.

Checking his watch, he sighed. He still had hours and hours left. Considering his options, Max decided not to see Liz yet, he didn’t want to blurt out his surprise (and she knew he was planning one this time, she still got sore about her birthday…), and resolved to head home and do some homework. After all, there was a first time for everything, right?
<><><><>

“I am not sick Maria,” Liz protested.

“You’re flushed,” she retorted, prancing around her friend and placing a hand on Liz’s forehead, her lips forming an ‘O’.

Liz rolled her eyes, “I’m just excited. It’s our one year anniversary.” She gave a deep sigh and went dreamy.

“Like I didn’t figure it that out the first fifty times you told me,” Maria teased, and put her hand down, “But you are burning up, chica.” Liz frowned and slapped Maria’s hands away from her.

“I do not have a fever. I am not sick,” she looked Maria dead in the eye, and pulled herself up to her full height, “And I will not miss out on whatever it is my boyfriend has planned for tonight!” She gave a decisive nod, ignoring the way it made her feel light-headed.

“Michael?” Maria purred, leaning on the order-up counter and batting her eyelashes at her boyfriend. He flipped a burger and glanced toward the two girls suspiciously.

“What?” he grunted and turned back to the grill.

“Don’t you think I’m right?” He turned slightly to let them see his raised eyebrow.

“Maria!” Liz objected, “You can’t bring him into this. He doesn’t even know what we’re talking about.”

Her friend opened her mouth to retort, but Michael butted in. “You know Parker, you’re not looking too good,” he pointed to her, “Kinda pale, but you’re cheeks are really red…”

Liz’s mouth fell open and Maria’s closed into a smug smirk. “I told you so.”

Liz glared fiercely at both of them and snatched the plate of food for table six off the counter, dismissing her shaking hands and legs. They didn’t know what they were talking about, she was perfectly fine. Nothing wrong with this girl, no siree!

But she had to pause in her purposeful stride to the table and focus her mind at what she was doing. No, no, no! she griped in her head as the room began to sway and then spin, not tonight… But her pleads went unanswered and green spots began to appear before her eyes. “Maria,” she whimpered as blackness beset her.

Her friend’s scream of “Mr. Parker!” was the last thing she heard as she drifted into oblivion.
<><><><>

“Isabel! You’re just the person I wanted to see!” Isabel froze in her pursuit of happiness in the form of a Mercury Milkshake and a Sigourney Weaver with Saturn Rings. She stifled a groan and figured it was for the best. After all, she was on a diet, one that did not allow for greasy, alien-themed food.

Plus, she didn’t need to give Max another reason to ridicule her…

“You were?” she asked Maria suspiciously. The smaller blonde nodded, green eyes full of innocence that immediately raised Izzy’s hackles. They had never been friends, casual acquaintances yes, but good friends, no, and Maria should not be smiling at her like that if they weren’t friends.

“Uh-huh,” Maria confirmed, putting an arm around the wary cheerleader and leading her towards the back, “You see, we, the employees of the Crashdown, need your help.”

Her eyes widened as the tough spitfire hauled her toward that turquoise door with its diamond-shaped window. Isabel dug her heels in and jerked herself from Maria’s grasp. “Oh no, I know where this is going, and I will not be a party to it. No way.” She shook her head, ponytail swaying from side to side.

“Isabel,” Maria whined, “Liz is sick, her dad had to carry her home. It’s Saturday, the busy night, and we’re short staffed.”

Isabel glanced around wildly, spotting an older lady wearing a uniform and seemingly doing nothing. “What about her? She actually works here!”

“Who? Agnes?” Maria said incredulously, “She doesn’t work. She takes cigarette breaks.”

“But…but, I can’t wait tables!” She wrinkled her nose at the table housing two harried parents and three rowdy kids. “I’m not a service oriented person.” She gave a final nod to end the discussion and turned on her heel to stalk out, but Maria grabbed her arm. The look in Isabel’s eyes when they turned on her could have frozen Hell five times over.

“Please Isabel, I’ll be indebted to you forever if you do this to me.”

She thought it over. “Well, since you put it that way…” Maria’s expression turned hopeful. “No.”

“This isn’t even for me, Isabel, it’s for Liz. Won’t you at least do it for Liz? Your brother’s beloved girlfriend?”

Isabel glared at her, but Maria just clasped her hands together in front of her body and turned puppy eyes on her. “Ugh,” she scoffed and placed her hands on her hips, looking away, but actually thinking it over. It would mean wearing those horrid outfits, and if she did do it, Max would owe her. She’d make him owe her (and maybe she could get some free food…yum). Mind made up, she gave her attention back to Maria, who perked up again. “Fine.”
<><><><>

Max frowned over the Calculus problem and rubbed his eyes. He’d been stuck on this problem for a whole quarter of an hour. That’s fifteen minutes of the same stupid math problem. Why’d he have to know about derivatives anyway? It wasn’t like they’d apply to him in the real world…

“No way!” he exclaimed, his wandering attention caught by the sight of a Crashdown uniform. On his sister.

She put a hand on her hip and sent him a defiant stare. “Shut up. Temporary situation.”

“Why are you...?” he trailed off, gesturing at the ensemble and hiding a smile.

“I covered for Liz. She fainted in the middle of her shift.” Isabel sat on the bed, taking off the antenna headband. Max felt his heart speed up.

“She fainted?” he demanded, feeling like he was going to faint himself.

“Yeah,” Izzy said, studying her nails and not noticing her brother’s strident tone, “Apparently she’s majorly ill or something. Oh! I chipped a nail!”

But Max was already on his way out the door. Liz was sick, Liz was sick, Liz was sick…Jebus freezus let her be okay. He crossed the yard as if he were flying and rapped sharply and repeatedly on the door to the Parker’s house.

It opened and Mrs. Parker looked up at her daughter’s boyfriend. “Max?”

“Is Liz okay?” he blurted, shifting anxiously.

Nancy nodded and gave him a sympathetic smile. “It’s just the flu bug. She’s sleeping now.” Max let out a heaving sigh of relief. “But she won’t be able to go out to dinner with you tonight. I’m sorry Max.”

He looked into her blue eyes and smiled as a new plan began to form. “Maybe she can’t come out, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have dinner.”
<><><><>

Liz woke up groggily, something was off. She moved her head and then let out a groan of pain.

“You all right?”

She opened her eyes and smiled up at worried amber-brown eyes. “What are you doing here?” she inquired, feeling a little happier.

“It’s our anniversary,” he said, looking at her as if she were insane, “Where else would I be?”

“Away from the sick person,” she told him dryly. He gave her that half-smile and helped her sit up. “Seriously,” she said, “I might be contagious.”

“Suck it up Parker,” he teased, “I’m not leaving. Besides, you’re parents had a dinner party to go to and I volunteered to take care of you.”

“Did you?” she teased back and cuddled into him.

“Yeah, and in a little bit, I’ll think about getting up and serving you the soup I made, but right now, I don’t want to move.” He moved his body so that it was under her, and she was resting comfortably, ear above his heart. She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment, listening to the steady beat.

“Mmm,” she murmured and clung closer to his warmth as a chill hit her. He pulled her lilac comforter up over them and wrapped one arm around her to hold her close, then he used the other one to grab her remote and flicked on the t.v. at the end of her bed.

The opening notes of her favorite Disney film made her squeal and she struggled to turn her head so that she could focus all her attention on the red-headed mermaid swimming under the sea. Max chuckled and turned the volume up slightly, singing “Kiss the Girl” under his breath.

Liz smiled, he may claim to hate them, but she knew he secretly watched them all the time. Disney was just not something that could be resisted. She kissed his cheek, distracting him from the scantily clad animated woman. “Thank you.” He gave her a soft smile and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

“Happy anniversary.”
<><><><>
posted on 20-Jun-2002 9:12:47 AM
Part Nineteen: Butterfly Kisses

“Why are you crying?” Max demanded, looking at his best friend with disgust. She was sniffling, and more than likely making wet spots on his pillow. “Don’t cry on my bed!”

Liz glared at him, brown eyes wet, and purposefully buried her head into the pillow. Max let out an exclamation and bolted up from the computer desk, grabbing her around the waist and pulling her off his neatly made bed. “Max!” she shrieked and struggled to hit him.

He let her go abruptly and she landed on his floor with an “oomph”, her glare intensifying. “Jebus freezus, Liz, don’t mess up my bed. I don’t need your girlie tears all over it.”

Her jaw dropped open and she picked herself up off the floor, gave him a look, and then flung his covers back and slide beneath them, cuddling his pillow. She sent him a triumphant smile in response to his horrified face.

He sighed loudly and laid down beside her, on top of the covers. They had just gotten to that age when their moms started worrying about what their precious babies were doing behind closed doors. (They had had a two-hour giggle fit after that lecture, and still would start chuckling if either implied the topic.) Like he was gonna try something on Liz… Yeah right, in some distorted reality maybe…

It wasn’t that he had anything against her as a girl. She was a great one, in fact, he considered her the best girl in the world, and she was pretty, he’d concede to that. But she was his best friend, had been since they were eight. He had stopped thinking of her as a female a long time ago. Now she was just Liz, his best friend, and their parents had nothing to be worried about.

And that was why he ignored the fact that his heart was racing from the sight of her in his bed.

“And now you’ve stopped,” he commented. What was up with that? Were girls just born with the ability to cry at a whim and then turn the waterworks off just like that? He knew Isabel did it (like five times a week to get her way), but he had no idea Liz had the capability also.

“The song’s over,” she informed him, yawning.

“Song? What song?” he asked, completely confused.

Butterfly Kisses," she said simply. He gave her a blank look. She raised her eyebrows. “Michael Bolton?” she elaborated. He shook his head, mystified, and she gave one of those muffled, frustrated shrieks girls were so fond of giving. “It was just on the radio, Max!”

“I was typing up a report Liz, I wasn’t listening to that mooney-eyed crap you turned on,” he replied with dignity. Love songs, humph. He glared at her, “And you better not leave here without switching my station back,” he warned. She giggled, the soft sound a welcome relief from the shrieks and the crying.

They lay there for awhile, Liz starting to doze off and Max in that in-between world, the one in which his superego was informing him he had a paper to finish, his id wanted to sleep, and his ego was blanking out. So he was staring at the screen saver and listening to Liz struggle to stay awake.

“Was it a sad song?” he asked finally, voice barely audible, hesitant to break the Sunday lull permeating the room. He turned his head slightly to look at her.

“Hmm?” she inquired, brown eyes fluttering open, “What? No, it was just sweet.” He hated when she did that; made it so that it seemed like she didn’t hear his question and then he’d get all ready to ask again and she’d go and answer! “It was about a girl growing up and her father remembering her as the little girl who gave him butterfly kisses every night.”

He frowned. “And you cry over this?” He made sure his disbelief was evident.

Her jaw dropped, “Of course, it’s so…” she trailed off, confusion wrinkling her brow, “It just gets to you Max, the music, the words…” She put a hand over her heart, “It’s an in here thing.”

“Or maybe it’s just one of your dumb girlie things,” he concluded, giving a long suffering sigh. It was times like this when he realized Liz was like Isabel and Maria sometimes, random things just set them spinning off in various non-applicable directions.

“I’m going to dance to it at my wedding.”

As shown by that comment.

“What?!” he demanded, “Where did that come from?”

She gave a shrug and sent him a dreamy smile, “Don’t know. All I know is that it’s going to be me and Dad’s dance at my reception.”

He snorted, “You are such a…”

“Such a what, Max?” she challenged, rising up, eyes flashing, “Such a girl?"

Ugh, he knew this would happen. Why, oh why, couldn’t he have taken Michael up on that camping offer? Or went with Alex to see that concert? But no, he had chosen to sit in his room typing while Liz gloated over how she’d had her report done a week ago, and could she please change the station for some good music, and boo-hoo, boo-hoo… He rolled his eyes. “Who would want to marry you anyway?” he mumbled, not looking at her.

“Oh!” she gasped, “You jerk!” She grabbed one of his pillows and started bashing him over the head with it. “You take that back!”

“Never!” he cried as he rolled off the bed, snatching the other pillow for ammo. He stood quickly and started whacking her in retaliation. She shrieked again, making him wince, and stood, battering him back. Soon a full fledged war was going and it continued, insults flying back and forth, until the pillows both burst into a shower of cotton.

Max and Liz stared at each other in shock as the white fluff rained down on them from their battle, neither sure which had come out the victor. Then they burst out laughing, and slowly slid to the floor, clutching their sides and leaning on each other for support.

“My mom’s gonna kill us,” he finally managed to say. They stopped giggling, looking around and blanching at the thought of Diane on the warpath, then they gazed at each other.

“It’s a shame you don’t have alien powers,” Liz said, “Then you could ‘poof!’ and everything would be clean.”

“Yeah,” he whispered back, “But then my mom would probably have them too, and that wouldn’t be so good.” They grinned at each other suddenly.

“Alien death rays!” Liz shouted.

“Yeah,” Max agreed, “She’d take one look at my room and then glare at us and BAM! Death rays shoot out of her eyes and we’re incinerated!”

“Dust!” Liz giggled, Max joined her and then just as suddenly as the laughter started, it stopped, and they were sober, “You know,” Liz told him, “That’s not that funny.”

“Definitely not,” Max concurred, shuddering at the thought of his mother with alien powers. They were silent for about five more minutes and them Max turned his contemplating eyes on Liz, who gazed back at him curiously. “What are butterfly kisses anyway?” he wondered idly.
<><><><>

He grinned as he remembered Liz’s exasperated sigh, and that imperious response: “They’re like Eskimo kisses, ‘cept with eyelashes.”

“You rub eyelashes?”


And then she’d given another exaggerated sigh and turned, taking his face between her tiny hands and leaning toward him. His grip tightened on the steering wheel when the feeling of her soft eyelashes brushing against his skin came back full force. He had turned red, he recalled. She had caused his first conscious erection with that action, not that she’d ever know…

Max shook his head fiercely, staring at the stop sign a beat before turning onto his street. He turned his glare at the radio, where the song that had prompted that episode was still playing. It really was touching, and he could put up with it, but it wasn’t good to recall moments with Liz while driving. He could go into a stupor of sexual fantasies and drive into a ditch, or through an intersection, and then no more Max. Which wasn’t something he wanted, so, driving time was a no Liz time.

Unless he was giving her a ride, or they were at Buckley Point...Or…

He pulled into his driveway shaking his head. He just had to face it, there was no time in his life that wasn’t Liz time.

The house was dark when he entered, his parents had some work to finish up in Clovis, Izzy was on a date with Alex and she was sleeping over at Maria’s after that. He considered taking a shower and heading over to the DeLuca’s, Liz was supposed to be there…But Maria would probably switch into Hurricane mode if he crashed their girl’s night…

He didn’t bother turning on his light when he got to his room. He just stripped his work uniform off and was working on the button of his pants, trying to shake the feeling of someone watching him, when a low laugh echoed around the room.

Max looked up and his jaw dropped. Liz smiled at him from her position on the bed, “Don’t stop on my account,” she informed him, waving one hand to continue, “I was enjoying the show.” She licked her lips and moved forward.

He immediately grew hard and resisted a groan. But it was apparent, by her smug smile, that she was quite aware of what she was doing to him slinking on his bed in a black lace teddy with matching thong and heels.

“I...um…I thought you were supposed to be at Maria’s?” he said lamely, eyes never leaving the curve of her breasts and she crawled a little closer. He instinctively took a step forward, and then another when she stopped at the edge of his bed. When he was close enough she raised her arms and his body gravitated toward her open body, pulling her upwards so that he could sweep his lips across the smooth expanse of her shoulder.

“Do you want me to be at Maria’s?” she asked, nibbling his ear. He sucked in a breath, arms tightening around her. She gave another breathy laugh, “Because, I always thought a girl was supposed to be with her boyfriend on his birthday.” She trailed a wet kiss over his jaw, “Especially when he’s home all alone.”

Max was frozen as she ran her fingers over his chest, her mouth working gently at the hollow between his clavicles. She moved, lips pressing fleeting kisses on his neck before landing on his lips. He snapped out of it as her arms wrapped around his neck and he opened his mouth to her seeking lips, but she pulled away before he could fully respond.

Her brown eyes stared up into his questioningly, then she pursed her lips. “You forgot it was your birthday, didn’t you?” He shrugged. “You’re eighteen Max!” she enlightened him, obviously angered over his lack of caring, “I can’t believe you forgot!”

He smiled, reaching out a hand to unclasp her teddy, and she swatted his hands away, placing them on her hips. “It’s not like I’m the only one Liz,” he reminded her. He pushed the slight feelings of hurt away and gave her puppy eyes. “Can I open my present now?”
<><><><>

She relented with a smile, unable to resist him when he was being cute. His hands stretched eagerly for the bindings of her little dominatrix outfit and she let him take it off her, loving the way his eyes lit up when her skin came into view.

He drew the silk and lace off slowly, gently, and placed it neatly on his nightstand. She watched him lovingly as he touched her softly, making her shiver in response. He gave her a half smile, the amber eyes hooded beneath heavy lashes.

He moved even closer, pulling her body flush against his and feasting on her neck. Liz gave a shuttered sigh and speared her fingers through his dark hair while wrapping her legs around his waist, rubbing against his very obvious arousal. She squirmed against him, “Jeans,” she panted, “off.”

He chuckled and laid her down on the bed, she pouted, staring up at him with need. He still smiled, even as he leisurely started to take off his pants. “You know,” he said, tone indolently musing, as he paused. She stifled a groan of impatience. “This could actually be termed statutory rape,” he told her, “Being as I’m now legally an adult and you’re still a minor,” he raised an eyebrow, smirking, “I could get arrested.”

Oh, he was too much! “Max!” she hissed, reaching for him, but he spun away, still smirking. “Oh, stop being ridiculous,” she ordered, “I’m eighteen in a few months anyway.” He gave a low laugh and took a step back, closer to her. Good. She knew he was just playing, but she wasn’t in the mood, and if reason was the only way to get him into bed, so be it!

She tilted her body to the side, watching him as a predator watches her prey, and suddenly his eyes darkened, and she knew she had won with her deductive logic tactic. He wanted her, and the law wasn’t going to stop him from getting what he wanted. Not tonight.

In an instant he was over her, jeans and boxers gone, her thong half way down her legs, and he was devouring her the way her eyes had promised him he could. But then he stopped again, eyes now black as he stared down at her hungrily. “I don’t know,” he growled, a teasing note still in his voice. He bent his head, long lashes sweeping her sensitive skin in a butterfly kiss. She shuddered and arched up against him.

“Max!” she wailed, not ashamed to beg. (Those damned eyelashes of his…) She didn’t know how he managed, but he had turned her from the seducer into the seduced. It wasn’t fair! Why was he so much better at this than she was? “Max, please?” she whispered, curling her fingers together so that they clasped around his neck.

His lips twisted and he gave her a thoughtful look (ha-ha! It was her turn to give puppy dog eyes and pout!) and then he trailed a hand down her body, smiling as she trembled. “Well…” he stated slowly, “Technically, I’m not eighteen until 11:47, so…” He grinned down at her, “I suppose it would be all right…”

She was on him in a flash, her mouth meeting his in a hot, wet kiss, hands clinging wherever they could reach. He broke away for a second to find a condom and then slid into her welcoming warmth. She clung to him, waiting, but he made no movement. She frowned up at him, “Max!” she cried, demanding to know why the hell he had stilled.

He just gave that low chuckle again, kissed her forehead, and began to gently thrust. Liz sighed, finally! “You know,” he commented as sweat broke out on his forehead, and his movements became more forceful. His big hands moved upward, grasping hers as she shuddered in response to her first climax.

She gazed at him through dazed, euphoria filled eyes. “What?” she queried.

His grin grew, “This is the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten.”
<><><><>

posted on 23-Jun-2002 8:22:30 AM
Part Twenty: True Love’s Kiss

It was Saturday night, Liz was lounging on the couch, playing with Max’s hair. He was sitting before her on the floor, bent over the coffee table, proofreading her valedictorian speech. They were graduating Tuesday, and for some reason she wasn’t all that excited.

She’d miss hanging with the group at lunch, miss the Science Club meetings, miss her teachers (yes, she knew how dorky that was…), but most of all she’d miss Max.

She would miss walking hand-in-hand with him down the halls of West Roswell High. She’d miss skipping class to pull him into the Eraser Room. She’d miss the notes he hid in her locker between classes, miss the way they worked together in lab, the way he waited to drive her home after school…

Everything was going to change after this week. Max would be going to UNM with Michael and Maria. Isabel was returning to UCLA with Alex in tow as well as Tish and Tess, and Liz was going to be all alone at Harvard…

Max dragged her from her pitying reverie by moving. He gave her one of his patented heart-rending, soul-stealing half smiles, and kissed her hand, which was lying limp against the side of the couch since he moved.

“It’s good,” he told her quietly, obviously serious, “Very real.”

She smiled back at him, but she could tell it didn’t reach her eyes by the way he suddenly frowned, scrutinizing her intently. She couldn’t muster up the right expression to convince him she was fine. She was feeling too lost at this stage in her life, so very alone. She was going to be separated from all she’d known her entire life in a matter of weeks, and it all seemed like everything was happening too fast for her to comprehend.

Tears stung her eyes as she looked at her boyfriend, her best friend. Max shifted so that he was kneeling, one hand coming up instinctively to wipe away the tear slowly falling down her cheek. “Liz, what’s wrong?” he demanded, sounding distressed, and more tears came to her eyes as she thought about how wonderful he was to her.

“I don’t want everything to change,” she whispered, ashamed to find that her voice had cracked.

His brow furrowed in that familiar way and she wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. “What do you mean?” He stood and then scooted her over on the couch so he could sit. She wrapped herself around him, resting her head on his thigh and he absentmindedly began to run his fingers through her hair.

What if they never got to be like this again? “After we graduate…” she said, “Everything’s gonna change. We’re going to different colleges Max. What if something happens and you don’t love me anymore? What if you meet some tall blonde with big breasts and killer legs and she fawns all over you? What if we see each other at break and you realize I’m just a little brown mouse and you don’t know why you were ever attracted to me in the first place? What if-”

“Hold it,” Max interrupted, clamping a hand over her mouth. She looked up at him, eyes wide over his hand. “That’s not going to happen.”

“It could.”

“No,” he said, shaking his head, “It couldn’t. First off, I prefer brunettes. Secondly, you resemble a deer more than a mouse, and third, I could never not love you, Liz Parker. I fell in love with my best friend, and she’s always gonna be my best friend, and I’m always gonna love her. Do you hear me, Liz? I’m always, always going to love you.” He cupped her jaw, “Distance isn’t going to change that.”

“You don’t know that for sure.”

He made an exasperated sound in the back of his throat and rolled his eyes. “I do know that for sure.”

“No,” she said, “You don’t.”

Max suddenly frowned, causing his forehead to furrow in the most adorable way. “Why aren’t you sure, Liz?” he asked, “Are you having doubts…about us?”

“No!” she exclaimed, sitting up fast and wrapping her arms around him, “No, Max, not about us.”

“Obviously you do, or going to different colleges wouldn’t be an issue,” he pointed out, “Besides, everything you’re saying could apply to you too. What if you meet some dumb jock or a rocket scientist and suddenly I’m not looking so good, huh? What if you come back on break and you want to be “just friends”?”

“Max,” she laughed, “That’ll never happen.”

“How do you know?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

She shook her head, brown locks flying, “I just do.”

He gave her a triumphant smirk and leaned back, hauling her onto his lap. “See, just like I know I’ll never fall for a bimbo. We’re it, Liz, there’s never gonna be anybody else. If I know it in my heart, and you know it in yours, there’s no reason for all your doubts.”

She smiled and cuddled into him, resting her ear against his chest so that the even beating of his heart could calm her. “You’re right,” she conceded.

“Aren’t I always?” he inquired, sounding miffed, but she could hear the laughter in his voice and his smile grew.

“No,” she replied serenely, “But, back to what I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, I guess it’s going to be weird not seeing you everyday.” She tilted her head up and kissed his neck, “I might go through Max-withdrawal.”

He chuckled, “That won’t happen. We’ll talk everyday on the phone.”

“That could get expensive.”

“Fine, we’ll e-mail each other, and write letters…” he trailed off, “We won’t go through withdrawal.”

“But-”

“Jebus freezus,” he cried, “No buts, Liz. No more insecurities, no withdrawal, the discussion is over.”

Liz rolled her eyes at his tone of finality and opened her mouth to continue her “but”, but Max took advantage and kissed her deeply, his tongue slipping intimately against hers, and she forgot what she was going to say.

She did remember, in the brief moment before she gave herself over to him, that her mom was coming home in about half an hour. “Max,” she whispered.

“No,” he murmured as he pushed her onto her back, “No more talking.” He settled himself between her thighs, she could feel his erection through their jeans, and she wrapped her legs around him.

“But my mom…” she practically purred as his mouth found that spot on her neck that made her tingle. She went limp beneath him, hands tangled uselessly in his hair. He lifted his head to stare down at her, his eyes molten gold, and she moaned in protest.

“What about your mom?” he asked.

“Hmm?”

“You said something about your mom,” he reminded her, and bent his head to kiss the side of her mouth.

“She’s coming home soon,” Liz told him, tugging him back for a kiss, “So we probably shouldn’t do this…right now.” She slid her hands up the back of his T-shirt and pressed a kiss to his throat.

He gave a little groan and kissed her again, pressing her deeper into the couch. “How about we just don’t take out clothes off,” he suggested, “Parents can catch their kids making out, right? I mean,” and his breath hitched as she bit his ear gently, “they expect it. They have lectures all prepared.”

That sounded reasonable to her, “Uh-huh.”

“So,” he continued, “The logical thing would be to give them an opportunity to use those lectures, right?”

Oh, God, his hands… “Right,” she agreed breathlessly, wiggling against him. Liz felt him nod, and then he was unbuttoning her shirt.

“Right.”
<><><><>

Max and Liz were not caught making-out by Mrs. Parker. They heard her car in the driveway, straightened themselves up, and turned on the television. Nancy invited Max to have dinner with them that night, and he agreed, straight-faced.

Graduation came and went, Liz hung her royal blue robe up in her closet (she was so happy they had voted for the blue rather than the gold for the girls, that way everybody had matched and her High Honors cords had shown up), her blue and gold tassel was hanging from her rearview mirror, and her open house had been a success.

The summer was spent going to other open houses, writing thank-yous, going to college orientations, and spending time together. Max was worried about not having enough Liz-time to last him a whole semester, and Liz didn’t want to go through Max-withdrawal.

They did spend time with their other friends, having pool parties and random celebrations, Maria and Michael provided hours of entertainment with their fights, and then there were nights alone…

Everything seemed so much sweeter with the upcoming separation. Every kiss was more passionate, every touch more tender, every look more loving… And when they made love, Liz could see stars the pleasure was so exquisite.

But the day of departure loomed ever more closely as each day passed, until there was only one day left…
<><><><>

Max cut between the hedges separating 6025 Murray Lane and 6023. Liz was leaving for Harvard tomorrow. She had the second part or freshman orientation and then classes on Monday. He, Maria, and Michael would be leaving later that week for the University of New Mexico, but still, that was a whole week without his Liz, and then months…

Truth was Max was having his own set of doubts. He knew he had told Liz not to worry, that nothing was going to happen to them, but as the weeks had worn on, he’d started having anxiety attacks. Liz was an attractive young female, what rocket scientist in his right mind wouldn’t be interested?

He shook his head and clambered up the wooden steps to Liz’s balcony. There she was, curled up in her chaise lounge, writing in the leather-bound journal he had given her years ago after she had filled up her old one. “Hey,” he whispered.

She looked up, surprised, and smiled, “Hey.”

“I’m not interrupting, am I?” he asked. She had been really engrossed in whatever it was she was writing.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. He smiled and walked over, sitting on the end of the chair. She was wearing a red pajama tank and drawstring pajama bottoms with chili peppers all over them. She looked cute. “What’s up?” she inquired as she set her journal aside.

“You’re leaving tomorrow,” he stated.

She gave a confused smile, “I’ll see you in the morning for good-byes, and I’ll call you as soon as I get there.”

“I know, it’s just…I don’t want to say good-bye.”

Her smile softened and she held out her arms. He crawled into them and rested his head on the soft cushion of her breasts. He was more than likely crushing her, but if she couldn’t move, she couldn’t get up, and then she couldn’t leave him…

“Max, tell me what’s wrong,” she urged, stroking her fingers through his hair.

“I just don’t want you to go,” he murmured.

“Weren’t you the one who said we had nothing to worry about?” she asked, sounding amused, “Weren’t you the who said nothing would change?”

“I lied,” he muttered.

“Max,” she sighed, “Sit up.” He didn’t move. She patted him on the back, “Come on.” He stubbornly stayed exactly where he was. “Max!” She whacked him on the shoulder.

“Ow!” he exclaimed, sitting up. He rubbed his arm, “Jebus freezus, Liz, that hurt.”

“Oh,” she said, eyebrows raised, “And you crushing my lungs didn’t?” He didn’t say anything. “Tell me.”

He stood up and shoved his hands through his hair, messing it up, and then looked at her, where she sat staring up at him, brown eyes large and earnest. He reached down and wrapped her ponytail around his hand, letting the feel of her silken hair sooth him for a moment. Then he untangled his hand and let it slide down her arm, taking her hand and hauling her up beside him.

“We’ve been best friends since we were eight years old,” he informed her. Liz gave him a look that said, ‘I know’. “Let me finish,” he insisted, and she nodded, he took a deep breath, “That’s ten years, soon to be eleven, and no matter what happens, I don’t want to lose you as my best friend, Liz.”

“You won’t, Max,” she assured him.

“You promise,” he said, staring at her deeply, “You promise, no matter what happens, we’ll always be best friends.”

“I promise.” She cocked her head to the side, “What’s this all about, Max?”

Another deep breath…He stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out the ring, and then went down on one knee.

“Max!” she gasped.

He licked his lips and prayed for courage. Then he took her right hand and slid the band with the star-shaped diamond onto her ring finger. “It’s a promise ring,” he said and looked up at her, covering her hand with his own, “I saw it and it reminded me of that first night, when you showed me your telescope.”

“Max, I-”

He placed a finger over her lips. “I know, we’re young, things could happen. But I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else, Liz. When the time is right I’ll move it to your other hand, that is, if you want…”

“Max…”

“Will you marry me, Liz?”

There were tears in her eyes, “Yes,” she whispered, and wrapped her arms around him, kissing him thoroughly, “Yes, Max, I’ll marry you.”
<><><><>
posted on 4-Jul-2002 8:30:48 AM
Interlude: Moonlight Kisses...

The study group consisted on four people, Liz Parker, Doug Shellow, Eileen Burrows, and Jesse Ramirez. It was nearing the end of the summer semester, and they were studying for exams. Professor Winnamen had told them if they wanted to help her in the lab in the fall, they needed to get the classes required done before next semester, so Liz had stayed the summer.

She was appropriately bummed. In truth, she was going through the dreaded Max-withdrawal. Summer was the only time they spent together nearly continuously. When they went home for breaks throughout the year there were always relatives to see and tests to study for when they returned to their respective universities, but summer…

Summer was waking up to Max flipping through channels on her TV after he snuck in through her balcony, summer was going for long drives with no set destination, summer was cuddling on the couch talking (before the making out ensued…), summer was lying on the hood of Max’s new car and gazing at the stars over the desert…

Summer was Max and Liz.

True, they e-mailed each other constantly with updates, but it just wasn’t the same as just being together. She missed him.

“It’s getting late,” Doug said, shutting his book with a loud SNAP, “You girls want us to walk you back to your dorm?”

She exchanged a look with Eileen, who was her roommate, and nodded. Both girls hated walking across campus at night. They packed up the books and left, giving the librarian a wave.

The campus was deserted. More people had stayed for summer session this year, but most never hit the books this late. The walk was nice, there was a cool breeze ruffling her hair, and the conversation of her three friends provided a hum of background noise to her thoughts. She hung back, walking leisurely (oblivious to the longing glances Doug was shooting her), staring up at the night sky and wishing on the stars.

The thumb of her right hand was twisting the promise ring on her second finger absently, it had become a habit for her, just as staring at the star-shaped diamond and smiling dreamily had. She couldn’t wait until the day Max switched it to her left ring finger and they could announce their engagement.

“You know…it’s not a good idea for a pretty girl to walk around at night,” a low voice whispered from behind her. Liz froze, left hand flying to the class ring on the chain around her neck, she could hardly breathe, could hardly dare to hope…

The rest of her group had stopped and turned so that they were facing her and the man behind her. Jesse’s face was cautious, Eileen’s a mix of surprise and lust, and Doug’s was threatening, his fists were clenched, and he was tense. Doug took a step forward and she heard an amused chuckle from behind her.

He wasn’t a dream.

“MAX!” she cried and spun, throwing herself into his arms.
<><><><>

He smiled as she flung herself at him, and he captured her lips into a deep kiss, and when they parted, he anchored her firmly to his side. One of the other men was eyeing him with distaste, obviously jealous.

Liz didn’t notice. Max could tell that when he looked down at her and she was staring back at him with rapt attention. “Hey,” he whispered.

An adorable smile crossed her face, and snuggled closer to him. “Hey,” she said back, as if she hadn’t just jumped him.

“Um, Liz?” The two lovers looked over to where the forgotten group of three was still waiting. The jealous man’s voice was mistrustful, “Who is this guy?”

The girl beside him was studying Max closely, and it made him a little uncomfortable, but he had gotten used to it (and by ‘it’, he meant women checking him out) over the past few years, and just ignored it. She made a clucking sound with her tongue. “Is this the famous Max?” she asked, directing her question to Liz.

“Famous?” he inquired, grinning at her before she could answer.

Liz blushed, and nodded. “Eileen Burrows, Max Evans. Max, this is my roommate Eileen and our lab group, Jesse Ramirez and Doug Shellow.” She pointed to each man in turn. Jesse offered Max his hand, but Doug continued to glare. “Jesse, Doug, this is Max Evans, my…um…boyfriend…”

Shallow turned pale. Max grinned, and was about to elaborate by saying ‘fiancee’, but realized they hadn’t made it official yet. He’d have to remedy that situation.

“Nice to meet you,” Eileen said, grinning suggestively, “Liz has told me all about you.” Max felt himself blush, and hoped by ‘all’, Eileen hadn’t meant all all. He looked at Liz again, and she gave him a sheepish smile.

“I was drunk,” she stated.

His blush deepened, she had meant all. “Well,” he stammered, “Um…”

“I’m tired,” Eileen interrupted. She hooked her arms into Jesse and Doug’s. “We’ll just leave you two alone to catch up.” She sent a wink Liz’s way and pulled the boys in the direction they were headed. Max could see Doug about to protest, but the saucy girl stepped on his foot and gave him a hard tug. Max smothered a grin.

Eileen reminded him of Maria. Doug reminded him of Kyle. Max still really didn’t like Kyle, and he suspected he really wouldn’t like Doug that much either.

But they didn’t matter right now. Liz mattered. He met her gaze again and smiled. She was so beautiful. He had missed the way her eyes lit up when she saw him, and the way she smiled at him, and blushed at him… He had missed the way she loved him.

The silence surrounded them as they drunk in the other’s presence. “So,” Liz finally said, “What are you doing here?”

He gave her a wicked grin. “I go here.”

She blinked repeatedly, and he wanted to kiss her again. There was something so alluring about her eyes… “What?”

He gave a shrug. “You know how I’ve been interning at my dad’s office during the summers?” She nodded and then he nodded, and then he continued, “Well, I really like doing that type of stuff, and I had the GPA, extracurriculars, and everything to get into to Harvard, and since it’s one of the best law schools in the country, I figured I might as well join you.”

She was staring at him wide-eyed, mouth working at forming a coherent sentence. She managed to make a few vowel sounds, but couldn’t get out a whole word. His smile grew. “Surprise.”

“You’re serious?” she demanded, “You’re coming to stay? To go to school here? With me?”

He nodded and put his arms around her. “I’m staying. Here. With you,” he confirmed.

Another exclamation of joy squeaked by her, sounding an alarming bit like her girlhood shrieks of exasperation… “I can’t believe it!” she cried, throwing her arms around him and kissing him wildly.

“Believe it,” he assured her, and swung her around, kissing her back gently. “I’ll be matriculating with you for two or three years. And I’ve already rented an apartment, one that’s big enough for two…you know, as a trial run…” (Hopefully there wouldn’t be a shunning for not consulting her…) He set her down and looked at her, serious. “So now there’s only one thing left to do.”

“What?”

He picked up her right hand and slid the promise ring off of it, then he picked up her left hand and slid it on the ring finger of that hand. Liz bit her lip and gazed up at him. He clasped her hands in his and gave her a sweet smile.

“Announce our engagement.”
<><><><>

posted on 5-Jul-2002 2:36:04 PM
Epilogue: “You May Now Kiss The Bride”

The living together thing had worked out well, so they bought a house in Roswell. Of course, this was after graduation, and after they both had jobs, and after the wedding plans had already been set in motion…

Liz had spent the better part of the past year rising in the ranks of scientists at Meta-Chem Industries, planning the wedding, and decorating her new home. Max had become a partner in Mr. Evans’ firm (after proving that he could do his job, and do it well, so that no one could accuse Phillip of nepotism), and spent that same year distracting his fiancée from stressing out over the wedding and their house.

Finally everything was set. The house was ready, Maria, Isabel, and Eileen had their bridesmaid’s dresses (a rich purple shade, and cut so that they flattered all three of them), Max, Michael, and Alex had their tuxes, Liz had her gown, and rehearsals had gone smoothly (which may have been a bad omen if they were actors, but they weren’t, so no worries), and the ‘Big Day’ had finally arrived.
<><><><>

“Max and Liz have written their own vows,” the priest addressed the guests, most of which had tears in their eyes from the beauty of the ceremony already, and then he gestured to the couple pledging their lives to each other.

Max smiled at Liz and clasped her hands tighter. “Liz, when I first saw you, on the first day of third grade, I knew you were special, even if you were just some icky girl.” There was scattered laughter, and Max’s smile grew. “Since then, I’ve fallen in love with you, first as a friend and then as something more. I love you, Liz. I love the way your nose wrinkles when you’re going to sneeze, and the way your eyes light up when you’re talking about science. I love the way you wear your hair down, just for me, and the way you smile, and the fact that today is the only day you haven’t worn my class ring since I gave it to you on your eighteenth birthday. I love the fact that I’m marrying my best friend, and I promise,” he turned serious, “To always honor and cherish that friendship, that love, until the day I die.”

He took the gold band off the ring-bearer’s pillow and slid it tenderly onto her ring finger beside her engagement ring. Liz gave a choked laugh and held his hand tightly. She looked up at him, tears in her eyes, and smiled brilliantly.

“Max,” she started, “Today you’re making me the happiest woman in the universe, because happiness is being married to your best friend, and you’ve been my best friend for forever. I’ve loved you for just as long, and I’ll love you for an eternity longer. I’ll love the way your ears turn red when you blush,” there was more laughter from the crowd, and Max’s ears turned red. Liz’s smile grew. “I’ll love the way you hold me, the way you make me feel like the only woman in the room, the way you save that half-smile of yours just for me. Just for me,” she repeated, her voice dropping to a fierce whisper. It was obvious she was only talking to him. That the rest of the church had faded. And he gave her that slow, infuriatingly sexy, half-smile, so that she faltered in her vow. She sent him a glare and continued primly, “I love you, Max Evans,” she declared, “And I promise to always honor and cherish our friendship, our love, until the day I die.”

She took up the thick gold ring left on the red velvet pillow and placed it onto his finger. Then she looked up at him, and met his smile with one of her own.

“By the power vested in me by the state of New Mexico, I now pronounce you man and wife.” Max and Liz looked at him expectantly and he gestured them together, “You may now kiss the bride.”

Max’s grin would’ve blinded the sun as he leaned down and gave his new wife a very gentle kiss. They parted amid clapping and turned to the people sitting in the pews.

“May I present Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell Evans.”
<><><><>

The reception was a nice affair, the speeches were heartfelt and tearful, dinner was delicious (provided by Michael’s catering service), and there were many glass-clinking kisses by the bride and groom.

After dinner the dancing began. The first song was Sheryl Crow’s “I Shall Believe”, sung by Maria. Max and Liz shared the dance lost in each other’s eyes. Then, Max signaled the DJ and gave Liz up to her father with a grin as Michael Bolton’s “Butterfly Kisses” started playing. Songs also included Angela Via’s “Picture Perfect” and Disney’s “Kiss the Girl” to which the happy couple were seen dancing to, laughing merrily.

Afterwards they left in a limo, bubbles bursting around them, to catch their honeymoon cruise to the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of Bermuda.
<><><><>

The End