|posted on 5-Feb-2002 7:39:33 AM|
Rating: NC-17 for sexual content
Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue.
Distribution: Please ask first
Summary: M/L Fic because I don't write anything else. Everyone's in this one.
Liz looked at Max and quickly looked away. "Yes."
They were sitting together in Science class and Liz had just announced her decision.
"I thought maybe you'd stay here and..."
"And what?" Liz interrupted. " Work at the Crashdown for the rest of my life? I can't do that Max. You and the others are moving on now. I'm certain you'll find what you're looking for soon and you'll all be able to go home. I'm moving on too."
Max didn't think about going home very often but when he did Liz was always with him.
"And I've always wanted to go to Harvard," Liz continued, still not looking at him. "You know, head of molecular biology..."
She trailed off and swallowed the huge lump in her throat. God she hated lying to him. But she had made up her mind when she had seen him and Tess kissing after prom. She needed to get out of Roswell.
"I'll be back during the holidays and stuff," she told him brightly. "You and I can hang out then."
"Sure," Max said. "That would be great."
Liz smiled at him vaguely, then turned away to stare out the window. Max looked straight ahead. She wanted him to ask her to stay, he wanted to ask, but neither of them said anything.
Liz looked around one last time but didn't see him. Everyone else was here, her parents, Alex, Kyle, Maria. Even Michael and Isabel had shown up. But no Max.
"He'll be here," Isabel assured her. "I know my brother. He'll be here."
"I have to go," Liz told her. "I'm already holding up the bus. Tell him I said good-bye."
Everyone tried to stall her but she stepped on the bus and the doors closed behind her. She moved up the bus to the back seat and sat down heavily. She waved one last time to everyone and the bus pulled away. As soon as they pulled out of the station the tears fell down her face. She couldn't believe he hadn't come to say goodbye. After everything they had been through, maybe they weren't together anymore but they were still friends. Or at least she had thought they were. Maybe she was wrong. She continued to cry silently. She was so miserable that when the bus stopped she wasn't even aware of it. The bus driver got out and started yelling at someone outside the doors. Liz looked up when someone jumped on the bus and her eyes widened.
"Max!" she gasped.
He walked up to her and smiled a little sheepishly. "Sorry I'm late."
"I thought you weren't coming," Liz admitted.
"Don't be stupid," Max said gently. "I may be a little late but I was always coming."
"Hurry up buddy!" the bus driver yelled. "I've got a schedule to keep here!"
Max turned around and Liz stood up. She threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "I'm going to miss you," she whispered.
"Hey, I'll see you when you come back for holidays," Max said. "It won't be that long."
They pulled apart and Max leaned down to kiss her softly. "I love you," he whispered. "Nothing changes that. Nothing could."
Then he was gone. When he got off the bus, already looking ahead to the first time Liz would come home, Max had no idea that it would be ten years before he would see Liz again, or how much his life would change. And his feelings wouldn't.
"Michael I want my Saturn rings now!" Maria yelled from the other side of the counter. "I no longer work here. I am a paying customer and as such deserve to get my food in a decent time."
"They're coming," Michael yelled back.
"By what pony express?"
Michael's surly face appeared in the window and he handed the fries to the waitress. "Don't get your panties in a twist."
Maria made a rude sound. "As if you could have any affect whatsoever on my panties."
"That's not what you said last night," Michael said smugly. The waitress snorted with laughter while she watched them. She looked up when the bell over the door rung and she saw a young woman walk into the cafe.
"How many times have I told you the whole world is not interested in our sex life!" Maria said to Michael.
"Some things never change," the young woman said with a laugh. "I leave and you two are fighting, I come back your fighting."
Maria spun around and let out a squeal of delight when she spotted Liz. She jumped off her stool and ran over to throw her arms around her.
"Oh my god. You're back! I can't believe you're back. When did you get back?"
Liz laughed and tried to keep up with the happy babble "Yes I'm back."
Michael pulled Maria away from her and leaned over to kiss Liz on the cheek. "Hey you."
Lia smiled up at him, then turned towards Maria again. She was still babbling. "How long are you back for? Have you seen anyone else? Does Alex know you're back?"
Liz took her arm and steered her over to a stool. "I'll answer all your questions Maria just sit down first," Once her friend was settled Liz sat down herself. "I'm back for good. I came straight here so I haven't seen anyone else. And no. I wanted to surprise everyone so I didn't tell anyone I was coming back."
"You should have told me!" Maria scolded her. "You nearly gave me a heart attack."
"I'm sorry. I just decided on the spur of the moment."
"You?" Maria said skeptically. "Miss you-gotta-have-a-plan."
"I've changed," Liz said simply. "Now, I want to hear all the gossip."
"Well," Maria said dramatically. "Alex and Isabel are fine. They just bought their first house and they are in the middle of delicate wallpaper negotiations."
"I'm so happy for them," Liz said sincerely. "I wish I could have made it back for the wedding."
"We missed you. Can you believe they were the first ones to take the plunge?"
Liz shook her head in amazement. "When I left they weren't even going out."
"Isabel changed her mind. No-one knows why but one day they were just together."
"That's great. What about Kyle? Is he really the new sheriff?"
"Oh my god can you believe that?" Maria said with a grin. "After everything he did when we were in school. He took over when his Dad retired last year. He's doing a really good job though. And he watches out for all our not-so-human friends like his Dad did."
Maria fell silent and after a few minutes Liz looked at her. She had to know.
"How is he?" she said quietly.
Maria didn't have to ask who she was talking about. "He's fine."
Liz nodded and smiled. In all the years she had been away she hadn't asked about Max very much and Maria hadn't volunteered a lot of information about him. Liz knew it was easier that way. But now that she was back there were things she needed to know.
"And him and Tess?" she asked.
"There is no him and Tess," Maria told her. Liz let out the breath she had been holding. "Tess tried really hard after you left but eventually she just had to give up. Max wasn't interested."
"He's angry with you Liz," Maria warned her. "He's waited for you to come home just like the rest of us did."
"I know," Liz said. "But I'm home now. And I'm going to fix things."
"You may be too late," Maria told her.
"Why?" Liz cried. She'd come all this way. She had to fix things.
"They know everything they need to know to go home," Maria said, looking at her friend with sympathetic eyes. "They're leaving in two weeks."
Michael listened to the girls talk for a while before he went into the kitchen and picked up the phone.
"Hey Max," he greeted.
"Michael. What's up."
"You should get over to the Crashdown now," Michael told him.
"Is there something wrong?" Max said.
"Depends on your definition of wrong," Michael told him.
"Michael I'm busy," Max said impatiently. "I'm trying to get everything organized before we leave. I don't have time for guessing games."
"She's back," Michael told him bluntly.
"Liz?" Max whispered.
Michael's silence was all the answer Max needed. "I'll be right there."
Liz was in her bedroom unpacking her bags when she heard someone climbing the stairs. She assumed it was Maria and called out to her. "Can you call everyone for me and get them over here tonight? I'll make a grand entrance during dinner."
"You? A grand entrance. The girl I knew was more likely to sneak in the back door."
Liz gasped and spun around, dropping the clothes she was holding. "Max!"
He stood in the doorway, and Liz was worried when he didn't smile at her or make any move towards her.
"Welcome home Liz."
He looked exactly the same. A little older, a lot more wary, but still the same Max. Liz's arms ached with the need to go to him and hug him. "How have you been?"
"Busy," Max said, finally coming into the room and perching on the windowsill. "We're going home."
"Maria told me," Liz said, swallowing the huge lump in her throat. "Congratulations."
"Thank you. It's taken a long time but we've done it."
Max watched her carefully but her face remained calm. He almost yelled at her just to get a reaction. Here he was, his guts tied up in knots, everything in him screaming for him to go to her and kiss her, and she couldn't even crack a frown at the news he was leaving. Mind you it had been ten years. Even though he still dreamed about her every night, she could have moved on, might not care anymore.
"What brings you home?" Max finally asked.
You, Liz thought to herself. I came back for you. But she didn't say it. "I just thought it was time."
"You've been gone ten years," Max reminded her, his anger getting the better of him. "It was time years ago."
Liz lowered her head and stared at the floor. "Maria said you were angry at me."
"You don't think I have a right to be?" Max said.
"When I left we were just friends...."
"Don't give me that bullshit Liz!" Max yelled. "We've never been just friends!"
Liz flinched and closed her eyes, fighting back tears. She had no defense against his accusations.
"You told me you were coming home for the holidays," Max continued. "And I waited like an idiot at the bus stop every time. For four years I did that Liz then I finally had to admit to myself that I was wasting my time. I stopped waiting."
"I'm so sorry," Liz whispered helplessly. "I never meant to hurt you."
Max stood up and strode over to her. "Liz, if you look really hard, if you think about everything we've been through, you'll realize you have more power to hurt me than anyone."
Liz nodded. She knew.
Max made a helpless sound and finally pulled her into his arms for a hug.
"I am sorry Max," Liz told him, relishing being in his arms again.
"It doesn't matter," Max said heavily. "Not now. I'm glad you're back. I'm glad I got to see you before I left."
Liz shivered at the reminder that she may have left it too late. She had to move quickly. She couldn't let Max leave. Or if he did, she wanted to be with him.
Michael paced the floor of the kitchen.
"Stop it," Maria ordered him. "They're up there talking. That's all."
Michael stopped and glared at her. "Who are you trying to kid? She's been gone for ten years and he has stayed here waiting for her. Now she's back, two weeks before we're due to leave."
"Which means nothing," Maria said, although she knew she was lying when she said it. She was worried too.
"It means that after all the work we've done, we might not be going anywhere."
"Max won't do that," Maria tried to assure him. "He knows how badly you want to go home. He won't change his mind."
"Does Liz now you're coming?" Michael asked.
Maria shook her head. "I wanted to give her some time before I tell her."
Michael walked over and put his arms around her. "Promise me you won't let her change your mind."
Maria kissed him softly. "Don't be silly. Where you go, I go. You're not leaving me behind."
Michael hoped Max felt the same way.
Later on that night Liz did indeed make her grand entrance. Alex and Isabel were ecstatic to see her, and they almost made up for the fact that Max had walked out of her bedroom without once letting Liz know how he felt about her now. He had talked about the past, told her what was going on in his life now, but hadn't said a thing about where they might go from here. She was starting to panic.
"Liz you're going to stare a hole in the back of Max's head," Isabel whispered.
Liz smiled sheepishly, then shrugged. "I've always liked looking at him."
Isabel looked at her friend and couldn't help feeling sorry for both Liz and her brother. It was obvious to everyone in the group that they were desperate to be together.
"Did you come back for him?" Isabel asked Liz.
Liz nodded slowly. "But I think I may have made a mistake."
Isabel put her arm around Liz's shoulder. "You didn't. He's been waiting for you. He just needs a little time."
"We don't have time Isabel. He's leaving."
Isabel didn't know what to tell her to make her feel better. Then Max stood up and walked out of the cafe without even saying goodbye to Liz. Jumping out of her chair she ran outside to catch him. "Max wait!"
Max almost pretended he hadn't heard her. He had watched her tonight and wanted her. He always wanted her. He turned around and watched her walk towards him.
"Liz I'm really tired," he said honestly. "I just wanna go home."
Liz stopped right in front of him. Maybe he did need time. But she needed to know. Taking a deep breath, she cupped his face in her hands and pulled his mouth down to hers.
Max wrapped his arms around Liz and groaned. He was being bombarded with flashes, heart-wrenching images of Liz's time away from him. All the time she'd been away Max had assumed that she was happy, living her life away from him. He couldn't have had any idea how scared she was, how much she longed to just pack it in and come home. How many times she'd picked up the phone to call him and then hung up, terrified he wouldn't want to speak to her. As the kiss went on and on, the flashes kept coming and Max realized that Liz was trying to let him know how much she had missed him, had wanted to come back to him. He groaned again and finally pulled his mouth away from hers.
"Liz..." he whispered.
Liz opened her eyes and wiped at the tears that run down her face as she kissed him.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I shouldn't have...."
Max put his finger over her lips to silence her. Liz remembered when he had done the same thing the night her grandmother died and she smiled.
"Come home with me," Max said softly. "I have so much I need to say to you but I can't do it here."
It didn't occur to either of them that everyone was still back at the Crashdown. Max took Liz's hand and soon they were on their way.
Watching through the doors of the cafe, Isabel smiled. Alex came up behind her and put his arms around her. He watched Max help Liz into the front seat of the jeep.
"I'm so glad she's back," Isabel told him. "Max needs her."
"What happens now?" Alex asked.
"They'll talk. Maybe they'll work things out. Maybe they won't."
Alex had to laugh. Isabel turned around and smiled at him.
"What?" she asked him.
"You," Alex said, still grinning down at her. "You hate being wrong so you always hedge your bets. They might get together they might not." Alex was silent for a moment while he thought about all the time that had passed. "It seems weird that none of us have seen Liz in ten years."
"I know," Isabel said. "I don't know about her parents but Maria only spoke to her on the phone."
"Her parents saw her but they had to go to Massechusetts," Alex told her. "She wouldn't come here."
Isabel just shook her head and watched as her brother and Liz drove away. She sent out a quick prayer to whatever God was listening that it would all work out between them. Then she turned back to the party.
Max and Liz drove in silence most of the way to his home, but eventually the quiet got to Liz and she spoke.
"I thought at least you'd have a new car by the time I got back," she joked.
Max grinned and tapped the dash of the jeep fondly, them kept a close eye on it in case it fell off. "What's wrong with the jeep?"
Liz laughed. "Max this thing shouldn't have been on the road ten years ago."
"Love me, love my car," he said without thinking.
Liz bit her lip and turned to look out the window. She wanted to say sure but it was still unclear what was happening between them. They turned into the driveway of a neat little house and Max shut the engine off. He came around to her side of the car and opened the door. As they walked up the short path to the front door Liz looked around her curiously.
"What do you think?" Max murmured as they climbed the steps to the front door.
"It's lovely," Liz said truthfully.
"It's nothing fancy," Max said. "I just didn't see the point when I realized we wouldn't be here much longer."
Stepping through the front door, Liz felt a moment's hesitation. She would be alone with Max for the first time in ten years. And he had every right to be angry with her. Max turned around and held out his hand to her. She remembered clearly the only other time in her life when anyone had questioned her faith in Max. River Dog, the old indian the group had gone to for help, had told her to make sure Max deserved her trust. He had held his hand out to her just like he was doing now, asking her to trust him. Smiling softly ay him she turned and shut the front door behind her, and turned and placed her hand in his.
Twenty minutes later Max and Liz sat across from each other at his small dining room table and they started to talk.
"Your parents told me the day you were accepted as a molecular biologist," Max told her. "I was really proud of you, we all were. I always knew you could do it."
"I couldn't believe it myself," Liz said with a self-conscious laugh.
"Everyone was certain you'd come back after that. Just for a holiday maybe. It seemed like all your hard work was over."
Liz said nothing.
"Why didn't you come back?" Max asked her bluntly.
Liz looked at the table then back up into his eyes. "Until I asked Maria this afternoon, I didn't know that you and Tess weren't together," Liz told him. "I was always too afraid to ask when I called."
"Why would you think I was with Tess?" Max said in disbelief. "I've always told you there was nothing there."
"I saw you kissing her," Liz said. "At the prom."
Max couldn't even remember it.
"I decided then that I needed to get out of Roswell."
"For ten years?" Max said bitterly. "Without once coming home to see anybody?"
"I know it was cruel but I honestly thought I was doing the right thing!" Liz said desperately. "It's not like I lived the high life Max. I suffered being all by myself. I missed you all so much."
"You could have called me Liz. Anytime. You know that."
"I knew. And I wanted to. So many times. But I didn't know what to say to you."
Max reached across the table and took her hand. "You could have told me you still felt something for me."
Liz closed her eyes and a single tear fell down her face.
"Liz?" Max said softly.
Liz opened her eyes and saw the tears in his. She knew she had to tell him the truth.
"I love you Max," she told him. "I've never stopped. I came back for you."
Max laid his head on the table and Liz squeezed his hand.
"And you?" she said. "Tell me how you feel about me Max."
Max lifted his head and Liz's stomach clenched as she waited for his answer.
Max stood up and paced around the small room. Liz watched him and felt her heart just stop in her chest. He didn't love her anymore. She got up from the table slowly, every part of her aching. She walked past Max towards the door. She was almost there when Max grabbed her arm
"What are you doing?" he cried.
"I'm leaving," Liz said, unable to see him through the tears running down her cheeks. "I'm not stupid Max. I know you don't feel the same way about me."
"Liz you have to be able to see things from where I stand," Max said. "How unfair it is to both of us to start all this up again."
"You're right," Liz said. "Let me go please."
"I can't," Max said hoarsely. He ran his hand down her hair and smiled. It hadn't changed. "I couldn't ten years ago and I can't now. You want to know how I feel about you?"
He cupped her face and kissed her desperately, then laid his forehead on hers and gave her his heart.
"I love you so much I can't breathe without you. Every day you're still my first thought and my last. I've wished for you, dreamed about you. You don't know how many times I almost came to find you."
Liz wrapped her arms around him and lay her head on his chest.
"Why didn't you?" she whispered.
"I thought you were where you needed to be," Max said. "Maria always said you sounded so happy."
"Maria hears what she wants to hear. I was miserable. I missed you."
Max remembered the vision. "Why did you always hang up instead of talking to me? If you'd called, just once, I could have told you about Tess and we could have had so much more time together."
"I know. I'm sorry."
As they stood in each others arms, they both grappled with the future that was coming hurtling towards them. Finally, Max knew they couldn't put it off.
"We still have things to talk about," he murmured.
Liz shook her head and pressed closer. She didn't want to do this. Didn't want to waste whatever time they might have left.
"Can't we just talk about it tomorrow?" Liz asked him urgently. "I just want to leave everything until tomorrow."
Max looked down into her eyes and smiled ruefully.
"Alright," he said. "We'll talk tomorrow."
Liz smiled at him and reached up to pull his mouth down to hers. Ten years apart, waiting for each other, turned the kiss into something more, something deeper. Liz pulled away and Max stood there, his breathing heavy.
"Come upstairs with me Liz," Max said softly. "I've waited ten years to have you. For god's sakes don't make me wait anymore."
Liz kissed him softly again. "You don't have to."
Max bent down and swung her up in his arms. Liz put her arms around his neck and let him carry her into the bedroom. She felt a moments hesitation, thought maybe she should tell him, then decided not to ruin the moment. He would find out soon enough.
Maria came out of the bathroom and stood next to the bed frowning at Michael.
"What have I done now?" Michael said in a resigned tone. It could be a million things, none of which he could ever remember doing.
"What?" Maria said vaguely, blinking her eyes and focusing on him. "What do you mean?"
"You're frowning at me," Michael informed her.
Maria waved her hand in the air and climbed into bed. "I wasn't frowning at you, I was frowning in your general direction."
"That's a relief," Michael said dryly, pulling Maria into his arms.
"I was just thinking," Maria went on. "What do you think Max and Liz are up to?"
"Second base if Max is smart," Michael murmured, nuzzling her neck.
Maria punched him on the arm. "I'm serious. What do you think they're doing?"
"Maria, they've been apart for ten years. He's never even looked at another woman, and despite what Liz might have told you over the years, she hasn't found anyone else either. They took off together leaving us all sitting in the Crashdown. You know what they're doing."
"That's what's got me worried."
Michael propped himself up on his elbow. "Worried? Why?"
Maria gathered the thoughts whirling around her head.
"You know how hard it was for us to make the decision to sleep together that first time Michael. Alex and Isabel went through the same thing."
"That's because we didn't know what could happen," Michael said. "We know now."
"For us yes," Maria said seriously. "But it's always been different for them. They've always been so.....in love. I've never been able to stop wondering how Max took one look at her and knew that she was the only woman he wanted to be with."
Michael rolled over and lay on his back, thinking about what Maria had said. He admitted to himself he'd always wondered the same thing. Why Max threatened their lives by healing Liz in the first place, why he told her about them, why he waited. He didn't have any of the answers though, so he couldn't give Maria any comfort.
"We're just going to have to wait and see," he told her.
If Michael had been standing in Max's room he would have been proud of him. Ten years apart had made him and Liz skip quite a few bases on the way to what they both so desperately wanted. And so they lay together, naked, and Max was taking one last chance to slow things down. He wasn't sure what he was going to do if Liz changed her mind, but he wanted to make sure she thought she was doing the right thing.
"Are you sure?" he asked her.
Liz hooked her legs around his waist and kissed his neck. "I'm sure. Max, hurry."
Max closed his mouth over hers and thrust into her. When Liz let out an instinctive cry of pain Max pulled back and looked at her in disbelief. Liz closed her eyes and arched upwards, desperately trying to ease the uncomfortable feeling of having as man inside her for the first time.
"Liz don't!" Max gasped out, but it was too late. His body took over and he pulled out of her to plunge in again. He knew he was hurting her, but ten years of waiting and dreams, combined with the fact that it was actually Liz he was making love to, conspired against him, and he plunged into her again and again until with a groan his orgasm ripped through him. In the hazy aftermath Liz stroked his shaking body gently, calming him down. When Max was sure his arms would hold him, he propped himself up on his elbows and looked at Liz.
"Would you like to explain to me how you slept with Kyle ten years ago and remained a virgin?" he said harshly.
Liz looked up at Max and shrugged. "I didn't sleep with him."
"Clearly," Max said sarcastically. "So why the hell did you tell me you had?"
"Get out of me if you're going to talk to me like that," Liz snapped.
Max wrapped himself around her more securely. "Not a chance. Where you are right now you can't run away."
"I can do some permanent damage though," Liz said sweetly.
"We're getting off the subject. Why did you let me believe you had slept with Kyle?"
Liz considered lying to him again, but she could see the confusion in his eyes, and behind that the hurt. She'd hurt him badly.
"I thought I was doing the right thing," she told him.
"For who?" Max asked.
Max looked even more confused. Liz slowly and quietly told him the truth about the Max of the future and the destruction of everything. She told him about the deaths of Michael and Isabel, and how he had come to beg for her help.
"And this was my great plan?" Max said in disbelief. "To rip my own heart out of my chest by setting it up to look like you slept with Kyle."
"It was my idea," Liz admitted. "The future you didn't like it but nothing else was working."
Max thought back to the time and stiffened. "The day you came to my house, when you told me you didn't want to die for me, he was here wasn't he?"
Liz nodded. "We thought we'd done it but we were wrong. You wouldn't give up."
"I loved you!" Max said passionately. "I could tell that you were scared, so was I! We had no idea what was going to happen to any of us in the future."
"I did!" Liz cried back. "And I had to do what I could to stop it."
Max thought about everything she'd told him and felt sick. "I'd have had nothing to go back to," he whispered achingly, tears forming in his eyes. "With Michael and Isabel gone you were the only person in the world I had left and I had to give you up."
"Yes," Liz said.
"Jesus how the hell did I do that? What happened to us was bad enough for me and I was only 17. I'd had years with you when I came form the future. We'd been married. How the hell did I do it?"
"I don't know Max," Liz told him honestly. "But you did what you thought you had to do. So did I."
"I'm sorry," he breathed as he kissed her. "I'm so sorry you had to make that decision."
"I wanted so badly to tell you," Liz told him. "So many times. But I didn't know what would happen. I couldn't risk Tess leaving."
"It's okay," Max said. "It's in the past. We're together now."
Yeah but for how long? Liz thought to herself.
She woke up and saw it was still dark outside. She rolled over to see him smiling down at her.
"Hi," he said softly, leaning down to kiss her.
Liz stretched and put her arms around his neck. "Hi yourself."
Max jumped out of bed and scooped her up in his arms. Liz flinched a little when the muscles in her thighs protested.
"What's wrong?" Max asked her.
"I'd really rather not discuss it," Liz said primly. She wasn't about to tell Max that there were certain muscles she'd never used before that had got a workout last night.
"Are you sore?" he asked her.
Liz glared at him. What could he read minds now? "I might be a little uncomfortable," she admitted grudgingly.
Max grinned at her and she hit him on the arm. Hard. "You needn't look so smug about it."
"Sorry," he said, clearly not sorry at all. He walked into the bathroom and plopped her on the vanity. He turned around and started running a bath. He turned back to her and started unbuttoning the shirt she'd thrown on last night. When the bath was run he put her in it and climbed in behind her. Liz sighed when the hot water loosened the muscles in her thighs and leaned back against Max.
"Liz? Why noone else?" Max asked her. "I mean there must have been guys in college who wanted to sleep with you."
"They weren't you," Liz said honestly. "I went out with a couple of guys, and I came close a couple of times, then one day I looked at this guy I was seeing and realized that, at least in looks, he resembled you. He didn't have your personality and he didn't look right through me like you do but he looked like you. I stopped dating then."
"You could have told me," he said.
"You know, most guys would be happy that the woman they've always been in love with hasn't been with anyone else," Liz said crossly. "Instead I get yelled at and you expected me to tell you sooner and...."
"I could have hurt you," Max interrupted. "I did hurt you. I could have made things better for you if you'd just said something sooner."
"I didn't want you to have an attack of conscience," Liz told him.
"Liz, an alien invasion couldn't have stopped me last night."
Liz snorted with laughter and Max grinned.
Liz had been wondering something ever since she had come back to town. "Where's Tess?"
"She lives outside of town," Max told her. "We go out and visit her every so often but we don't see her all that much. She likes it that way."
At least she was still in Roswell, Liz thought to herself. That meant the future had to have remained changed through all these years. Nothing was going to happen to change it now.
Isabel woke from a sound sleep, bothered by something she couldn't put her finger on. She got out of bed, careful not to wake Alex. Then obeying the compulsion that drove her she walked outside and looked up into the night sky. Across town Michael was doing the same thing. And so was Tess. The three aliens all looked up into the night sky and gasped. The stars of their home planet were shining brightly as they always did. But something had changed. The five stars lined up in the V shape like they always did, with a new, incredibly bright star shining right in the middle. Isabel ran inside and picked up the phone.
"Max? You'd better take a look outside. There's something you need to see."
|posted on 5-Feb-2002 7:43:56 AM|
"What does it mean?" Isabel asked Max later on that day. They had all gathered at the Crashdown for lunch.
"I don't know," Max admitted. "I've never seen that star there before."
"I hear Liz is back in town," Tess said angrily. "Shall I take a wild guess at what you guys did last night? She hasn't even been back twenty four hours for Christ's sake!"
"Be very careful Tess," Michael said in a dangerous tone. "You don't want to stray in that direction."
Isabel glared at Tess while Maria ran her hand down Michael's back to calm him down, secretly touched that he had jumped so angrily to Liz's defense.
"Fine, whatever," Tess said, waving her hand in the air. "What are we going to do about it?"
"From here?" Isabel said sarcastically. "I'd say nothing."
Tess threw her a evil look, to which Isabel responded by poking out her tongue. It wasn't very mature, but it made her feel better. Everyone at the table besides Tess burst into laughter.
"What are you all laughing at?" Liz asked, looking around for a chair to pull up. Max grabbed her around the waist and sat her on his lap. Liz quickly looked at Tess. When she saw the look on the other girls face she tried to get up but Max held on to her firmly.
"Liz quit wiggling," Alex said. "You're bumping the table."
She gave up and sank back quietly. "What were we all talking about anyway?"
Max shook his head at everyone behind her back. He didn't want her to know yet. He'd only just got her back, he didn't want her running again.
"Uuuuhhhh, we were discussing the finer points of the advantages of pygmy farming," Michael said lamely.
Liz stared at him blankly while everyone else at the table nodded. Max buried his face in her hair and tried to muffle his laughter.
"For Christ's sake Michael just tell me you don't want me to know!" Liz finally cried, fighting laughter of her own. "Pygmy farming. You really need to learn to think better on your feet."
"I thought that just saying mind your own business would be rude!" Michael defended himself.
Liz leaned across the table and hugged him. He returned the gesture gently and whispered in her ear. "I'm glad you're back. I missed you sweetie."
Liz pulled back and kissed him on the cheek. "I missed you too."
She sat back and turned around to whisper in Max's ear. "I'll leave it alone for now but when we leave here you will tell me what's going on."
Max said and did nothing. He wasn't telling her until he absolutely had to.
Zan walked into the brightly lit room and faced the council.
"The situation with the royal four has come to it's conclusion," Rejar, the oldest of the council members, told him. "He has mated with the human. It is time to bring them back."
"I saw the stars," Zan informed them. "Was it supposed to happen like this?"
The council members nodded. "We foresaw this when he first saw the human when he was only a child."
"Liz," Zan told them. "Her name is Elizabeth. Max calls her Liz."
"We knew they would be together, and we have done what we could to ease their path."
Zan raised his eyebrows. "You've kept then apart for ten years."
"That was not our doing," Rejar said frowning. "Nasedo was taken from us before we could tell him of the deception the skins had laid upon them."
"Deception?" Zan asked. "What deception?"
"The book the royal four found, the one they believe tells them of their destiny, means nothing."
"I wasn't aware there was a book," Zan said. "What does it tell them?"
"That Max and the fourth belong together."
"Tess?" Zan said, laughing. "They'd kill each other."
"We were hoping we could avoid that," Rejar said drily. "Perhaps by sending someone down to tell them the truth."
Zan shook his head. "Don't look at me. They don't know that when they die they come back here and continue to live. If I just turn up they're likely to kill me. Their dead stay dead."
"How unfortunate," one of the council members sighed.
"We will of course change your appearance," Rejar assured him.
Zan thought about it and nodded his head. He bowed respectfully and turned around to leave the room. He was looking forward to going back. He liked the speed of life on earth. And he'd missed his wife.
Kyls walked into the Crashdown and stood looking at the group. His eyes lingered on the back of Tess's head and then he moved forward.
"Kyle!" Liz squealed. She launched herself at him and he caught her up in a hug. Max looked at Tess and was interested to see her watching the reunion with a longing expression on her face. Kyle pulled back to hold Liz at arms length and nodded to the rest of the group. Then he looked at Tess.
"Tess," he said softly.
Tess smiled and then quickly looked at the table. Noone else in the group knew about the affair that had been going on for months and Tess preferred to keep it that way. Kyle felt a moment's frustration, then let it go. He looked at Liz again.
"You look great," he told her sincerely.
"You look like the sheriff,"Liz said with a grin. "What happened?"
"Don't even start on me," he said in a stern tone.
Liz laughed and pulled him over to the table. She sat back down on Max's lap and Kyle pulled up a chair.
"So," Kyle said, looking around the table. "What's with the extra star in the constellation?"
Max closed his eyes in resignation, while everyone turned to look at Liz. The secret was out.
Zan looked at himself in the mirror and grimaced.
"If I had to be this age they could have at least made me look like Sean Connery," he muttered bitterly. "I look like Norman Bates on acid."
He turned away from the mirror and picked up his coat. He had a lot of work to do and very little time to do it in. He strode out of the hotel room and headed straight for the observatory.
Liz looked around the table, then turned to Max. "Spill it," she ordered.
"No," Max countered. "We'll talk about it later."
"We'll talk about it now," Liz insisted. "Or there won't be a later. I'll spend the night here. Alone."
"Like hell you will," Max told her. "I'll carry you out of here kicking and screaming if I have to."
"Then I'll have Kyle arrest you for kidnapping," Liz said.
"I'll tell you," Isabel said to Liz.
"Do it and you die," Max yelled at his sister, pointing a finger at her.
"Touch her and I'll kick your balls through your nostrils, "Alex immediately countered.
Maria and Michael just laughed.
"Violence is never a good solution," Kyle intoned. "Remember I'm a Buddhist people."
"Kyle you shut up," Max snapped. "You've already said enough. And you lost Buddha about five seconds after you found him."
"I resent that," Kyle murmured, then wisely shut up when Max just glared at him.
"Okay everybody out," Liz ordered, standing up and walking to the door.
"What did we do?" Alex said in disbelief.
"Nothing," Liz told him. "But I'm going to scream and throw things at Max now and I won't do it with an audience."
"I'd like to see you try and throw anything at me," Max said in a dangerous tone.
Liz looked around and picked up a menu holder from one of the tables. She smiled sweetly at Max and threw it right at him. He barely ducked in time. He spun around and gaped at Liz.
"You threw something at me," he yelled. He looked at everyone else. "We'll see you all tomorrow."
"You know this ordering people around is becoming very unattractive," Tess muttered.
There was a few moments of happy confusion as everyone hugged everyone else, then Max and Liz were alone in the cafe. Liz locked up, then turned around to Max.
"I told my parents I'd open for them in the morning," she said quietly. "I'm really tired so...."
"I told you we're not spending the night apart Liz."
She sighed. "I don't particularly want to spend the night apart either Max but you're already lying to me."
"I'm not lying," Max told her. "I said we'd talk about it later."
"I know you Max Evans. Better than anyone on earth or in space. You had no intention of telling me anything."
Max sighed and walked over to her. He put his arms around her and lay his forehead against hers. "I'll tell you. Just promise me you won't run."
Liz realized then that he wasn't telling her because he didn't want her to know. He was scared of how she would react.
"I'm not going anywhere Max," she assured him. "Just tell me what's going on."
Max sat back down with her in his lap and told her.
Tess walked away from the Crashdown with everyone else, then eventually ducked into an old alleyway. He found her there a few minutes later.
"You know this kind of clandestine meeting was exciting years ago but I'm a bit over it now," Kyle told her as they made their way back to his car. "Don't you think it's about time we told everybody?"
"No," Tess told him.
"Don't you think they're going to be a little suspicious when I show up and ask to hitch a ride to wherever you guys are going?"
Kyle thought they had turned a corner when Tess had asked him to go home with her a few weeks ago. He'd been waiting for her to tell everyone since then.
"I'll tell them before we go but I don't want you rushing me," she said to him. "This is hard."
"If this is about Max, I think you can safely assume he's moved on," Kyle snapped.
Tess was silent and he cursed himself. He very rarely let the Max-is-the-destiny-of-the-woman-I-love situation get his back up, but seeing him with Liz tonight had made Kyle wish he had the freedom to just touch Tess whenever he wanted to, no matter who was around.
"I'll tell them soon," Tess promised. "Until then just come home with me."
Kyle looked at her and smiled. He'd take what he could get. For now.
Zan watched them all from the rooftop of the building across the street and smiled approvingly. They were all stronger then when he had left, all happier. And soon they would be back where they belonged, and things could return to normal on their home planet. As he turned away from the view he saw Tess and Kyle come out of the alleyway. He was about to leave when he felt the familiar pressure in his chest. He spun around in disbelief and stared at Tess hard. This couldn't be right.
Tess slipped quietly out of bed, leaving Kyle sleeping. She quickly got dressed and grabbed the keys to the cruiser as she snuck out the door. She jumped into the car and slowly rolled it out of the driveway so she wouldn't wake Kyle. As soon as she thought it was safe to, she started up the car and sped off. She had woken with a powerful compulsion and, even as she headed to the pod chamber, she wondered what was going on inside her. She'd never felt this kind of burning need before, not to see the pod chamber anyway. She knew something, or someone, must be there. For a moment she allowed herself to hope it was Nasedo, then she dismissed the idea. It was as if the need wasn't hers, as if it belonged to someone else. She was just the person getting it there. And she'd been with Nasedo a long time and never felt this way. It was definitely something else. As she neared the site the feeling grew stronger and stronger, so much so that when she finally stopped the car and jumped out she was gasping for breath. The pressure on her chest was enormous. She slid into the chamber and looked around wildly.
Zan had felt her coming and had quickly conferred with the council. They had agreed to change him back to his former self, and he had stood behind the pods so she wouldn't see him before it happened. When it was done he slowly stepped out from his hiding place.
She could easily have mistaken him for Max. Tess had only ever heard of him, had never seen him, but she recognized him instantly. Whatever, whoever, had control of her took over and she let out a sob of joy as she threw herself into his arms.
Liz sat out on her balcony, staring up at the constellation and wondering about things. Why had the star appeared? What did it mean? Why hadn't Max asked her to go with him yet? She sighed as the last question rang through her head. that was the real reason she was out here in the middle of the night. She couldn't understand why Max was taking so long to ask her. He had to know she was going to say yes. So why the wait? The other alternative was that he had no intention of asking her and that didn't even bear thinking about. Liz heard Max stir and knew he would wake up soon. They'd only slept together for two nights and already they knew whenever the other got out of bed. She'd found that out the hard way last night when she'd got up to go to the toilet and Max had nearly given her a heart attack when she'd opened the door minutes later and he'd been standing there.
"What are you doing out here?" Max said softly, climbing through the window.
Liz turned around and smiled at him. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"You weren't there, that's what woke me," he said simply. "So whatcha doin'."
Liz shrugged. "Just thinking about stuff."
"What kinda stuff?"
Why the hell haven't you asked me to go home with you? Liz thought. "Nothing important."
Max looked up into the sky and stared at the constellation. The sixth star still shone brightly. "Maybe I should go to the observatory today," he murmured. "Look at it a little more closely."
"Wait until my shift is finished and I'll go with you," Liz told him.
Max nodded. "Okay." He looked back into her room and smiled. "I guess I better get going before your parents wake up."
Ten minutes later Liz let him out of the front doors of the cafe. "I'll see you later on," she told him, reaching up and kissing him softly. "Don't go without me."
"I won't," Max promised. He kissed her once more then left. Liz watched him go with a heavy heart. When was he going to ask her?
Tess pulled back from Zan quickly and frowned at him.
"Okay what was that?" she asked him suspiciously. "I've never met you before. And I have a boyfriend! I'm not in the habit of throwing myself at other men."
"You don't know what's happened to you?" Zan asked her.
"All I know is that I'm out here in the middle of the night, I've stolen my boyfriends car, that also happens to be a police vehicle, and I'm having a clandestine meeting with a Max look-alike."
"I didn't make you come here!" Zan said a little defensively. "At least I don't think I did."
"We're getting off the subject," Tess told him. "Which is what the hell has happened to me?"
Zan hesitated, then decided to go with the truth. "You're Ava."
"No I'm Tess," she muttered, misunderstanding him. "I just look like Ava. Or she looked like me. Whatever."
"No you don't just look like her," Zan insisted. "You are her! You've merged!"
"Merged?" Tess said uncertainly. "I haven't merged with anyone."
"You don't remember it happening?"
"If I'd known it was happening, do you think I would have let it?" Tess yelled. "I have another person inside me. This cannot be a good thing."
"Tell me about it," Zan said sourly. "Other than looks you're not anything like her. She's a little more even-tempered."
"Great. I've become one with the alien version of Mother Teresa. How do you know her so well anyway? From what I hear you two didn't exactly spend quality time together."
"I regret that," Zan told her sincerely. "I know I should have been....easier on you. I don't have time to explain it but I will apologize."
"Who is she?" Tess asked him. "I need to know if I'm going to help you. Who's inside me?"
"Then I suggest we do everything we can to get her out," Tess said quickly. "Now. Right now."
"I don't know how," Zan admitted.
"Look, I'm barely managing to hold on to the man I love as it is. I don't need someone inside me who has feelings for someone else. You have to figure out what to do."
"Is it so bad? Having her inside you?"
Tess could see he was hurt, not for himself but on Ava's behalf and she felt guilty.
"It's not bad," Tess assured him. "I didn't even know about her until you told me. But I can't lose Kyle, Zan. I love him. If you feel the way about your wife that I think you do, surely you can understand why I want to fix this. I thought I belonged with Max. Now I'm sure I belong with Kyle. I'll do anything to keep him. Anything you ask me to."
Zan looked at her and couldn't help but admire her. Her devotion to this Kyle guy reminded him so much of Ava.
"I'll have an answer for you by the time you see me tomorrow."
"I wouldn't suggest you just show your face," Tess said prudently. "Humans tend to get a little suspicious when dead people show up."
"I've heard that," Zan joked with her. "Don't worry. I won't look like this. They won't know it's me."
"Then how will I know it's you?" Tess said without thinking. Zan just raised his eyebrows. "Oh right. Whenever I feel like I can't breathe I'll know your around. And you'll figure out what to do?"
"Yes," Zan told her. "Go now. I'll see you soon."
Tess turned to leave, then suddenly turned back. "I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but I know she's missed you."
Zan smiled tenderly at her and nodded his head. "Thank you."
Tess smiled at him and left the cave. She jumped into the car and started hoping Kyle hadn't woken up while she was gone.
Zan pulled the orb out of his bag and closed his eyes tightly. The beam of light shot upwards into the sky and the council members appeared in a ring around the cave.
"What the hell is going on with my wife?" Zan demanded.
For the first time in memory the council members looked completely confused.
"What do you mean?" Rejar asked him.
"I mean that Tess is Ava!" Zan yelled.
"That is impossible!"
"It's her," Zan insisted. "I can't have you lying to me. I need to know what has happened to her since I left."
The council members looked at each other.
"Something like this has happened before," Zan guessed, looking at their faces. "What exactly is it? And who did it happen to?"
"It is a process known as melding," Rejar told him. "One entity will merge with another. It has only happened twice that we know of."
"And Ava has done this with Tess?" Zan said. "Why?"
"We can only assume she was worried about her survival."
"Yeah well the people she hangs out with are scum," Zan muttered, thinking about his own demise. "You mentioned someone else. Who is it? Is it someone they know?"
The council remained quiet and Zan thought about it. When he figured it out he looked at them with a stunned expression. He shook his head in confusion.
"Yes," Rejar told him, reading his mind. "Do you really think the king would have fallen in love, would have given up his destiny, for a mere human?"
Zan just continued to stare at them. Eventually he found his voice.
"Jesus Christ it's Liz isn't it?"
"I thought I might find you here," Isabel said to Max later that day. She'd taken a chance and dropped by their parents house.
"I just wanted to come and spend some time with them," Max told her. "What about you? What are you doing here?"
"Same thing," Isabel admitted. She looked at her brother closely. "That's not the only reason you're here though. Something else is bothering you."
Max sighed. "It's Liz."
Isabel sat down. "I can't remember a time in our lives when it wasn't Liz," she told him. "What's happened?"
"Nothing. I just......," Max trailed off, frustrated. "Is, how did you ask Alex to go with you? To go home with you?"
"Alex Whitman if you don't come home with me I'll find the first weapon I can when I get there and blow up earth!"
Max laughed softly but quickly sobered.
"You haven't asked her yet," Isabel guessed. Max shook his head "Why?"
"Don't you worry about what's going to happen when we get there?" Max asked her. "I mean, even though I've always felt like I'm meant to be with Liz, and I'm not going to love anyone else as long as I'm alive, back there I'm not supposed to be with her."
Isabel had been having the same worrying thoughts lately.
"We don't know anything about these people Is," Max continued. "I don't know what they could do to Liz if they decide they want me with Tess."
"I think Tess will fight them as well," Isabel said, trying to be reassuring. "And I know I will. And you have to remember Max, you're there king. What you say goes."
"Isabel I can't even get Michael to listen to me," Max said dryly. "I don't like my chances with an entire race of people."
"What are you two laughing about in here?"
Max and Isabel both turned around and smiled at their mother. "Nothin'," Isabel lied.
"No well it never was, was it?" Diane said slyly. She turned her attention on her son. "I heard Liz Parker is back in town."
Max got the same uncomfortable look he always got and the two women laughed.
"Max, you're 27 years old," Diane reminded him. "Don't you think it's time you admitted you're in love with her?"
"Why bother?" Max said sourly. "You've got it all figured out."
"I had it figured out when you were sixteen!" Diane said laughingly. "But a mother likes to hear these things from her son."
"Fine! I'm in love with Liz Parker. There are you happy?"
Diane opened her mouth in surprise. "Really dear, I had no idea!"
Max looked at his watch and stood up. "Mother, you're sense of humor is, as always, way off. I have to go."
"I am meeting Liz as a matter of fact," Max said piously. "We're going to the observatory."
Isabel looked at him and he mouthed the word 'later'. Isabel nodded to show him she understood. She watched him go and hoped he found the answers they needed to make it home
Max unlocked the door to the observatory and ushered Liz in.
"You have keys to the observatory?" Liz said, surprised. "How did you manage that?"
"I work here," Max told her. "It helped me get all the information we needed to get home."
Liz walked around, taking in everything. "I don't think I've ever been in here."
Max stepped up to a huge telescope and looked up into the sky. Liz stepped up beside him. "What do you see?"
Max sighed in frustration. "Nothing new besides that star."
"Can you tell what kind of star it is?" Liz asked him. "Maybe that will explain why it's suddenly here."
Max continued to look at the star as if staring at it was going to bring him the answers he needed. His mind was also working on how he was going to ask Liz the big question.
"So," Max said really casually. "Wanna come with me?"
Liz was busy looking through another telescope. She'd turned it towards town. "Oops."
Liz looked up at Max and grinned. "My parents are making out on my balcony."
Max laughed, then pulled Liz away from the telescope. "So I asked if you wanna come with me."
Liz frowned. "We only just got here."
Max closed his eyes and counted to ten. This was not going well. "I'm not talking about going anywhere today."
"Then what are y.......," Liz trailed off as she realized what he meant. "Oooohhhh."
"I realize it's a big ask, and I'll totally understand if you need time to think about it," Max said quickly. "Just as long as when you're done thinking about it you don't say no."
"And if I do say no?" Liz asked, although she had absolutely no intention of doing so.
"Isabel will kill me," Max said seriously.
"Kill you? Why?"
"Because I'm not going without you," Max said seriously. "If you really won't come, if there's no way I can convince you, then I'm staying."
Liz quickly looked at the floor when tears burned in her eyes. Max watched her anxiously, then sighed when she didn't look at him or say anything. "It's okay Liz. You don't have to say anything. I'll tell everybody tomorrow I'm not going."
Liz launched herself into his arms and Max caught her safely.
"What the hell took you so long?" Liz sobbed.
"You've only been home three days," Max defended himself. "I didn't want to rush you."
"You wouldn't ask me to go home with you because you didn't want to rush me , but you slept with me the first night I was back?" Liz said dryly.
"I have my priorities in order," Max told her. "So you'll be coming then?"
Max let out a huge sigh of relief and kissed her. Liz kissed him back until they were both out of breath. Then Max lifted her up and lay her gently on the carpeted floor.
"Max," Liz said sweetly.
"Mmmhmmm," Max murmured without taking his mouth away from her neck.
"I am not having sex on the floor of the observatory. Not even for you."
"Okay baby," Max agreed. "I'll have sex on the floor of the observatory. You don't have to participate at all. You can just lie there."
Liz laughed. "Max no!" She knew she was fighting a losing battle when Max started unbuttoning her shirt.
"I promise I'll be real quick," Max promised. "You won't feel a thing."
Liz moaned softly when Max's hand covered her breast. "Max, I'm giving you exactly....," she gave up when his mouth replaced his hand. "...two days to stop that."
Max chuckled wickedly. "Liz Parker!. What would your mother think?"
"I'm assuming you're not going to tell her," Liz gasped. His hands were everywhere! "God you're good at that!"
Moments later they were both naked and Max was moving slowly in and out of her. Liz clenched her eyes shut and bit her lip.
"I love you," Max told her.
Liz arched up to him. "I love you too."
They wound themselves around each other and let the wave take them. When they both got their breath back Max lifted his head from where it rested on her shoulder and grinned. "Your parents would be mortified."
"Breathe a word of this to them Max and I'll kill you," Liz threatened. "It's bad enough that I have to look them in the eye knowing I have carpet burn on my back."
Max just laughed and kissed her again.
In town, Tess strode purposely down the street. She was a woman on a mission. She strode into the sheriff's office and walked right past the protesting deputy. She walked into Kyle's office and slammed the door shut. Kyle looked up from his seat behind his desk and arched his eyebrow.
"Something on your mind honey?" he said casually.
"Yes," Tess snapped back. "I have to ask you something. But before I do I want to know that you're absolutely sure you want to come back to my home planet with me. I want to know you weren't just saying it as some post-orgasmic suggestion."
"You're not going without me Tess," Kyle told her. "I'll just handcuff us together."
"That's good," Tess whispered, wringing her hands nervously. "That's really good."
Kyle got up and walked around his desk. He'd never seen Tess this nervous before. "What's wrong?"
Tess looked at him and took a deep breath.
"I love you," she told him.
Kyle sucked in a breath. She'd never told him before. "I love you too."
Tess walked over to him and took his hands in hers. They were big hands, but so unbelievably gentle. "I'm so sorry I haven't told you earlier how much you mean to me."
"Tess what's wrong?" Kyle repeated.
She looked up at him, this man who had waited patiently for her to make up her mind, had waited a lot longer than most men would have. He'd given her more breathing space than she had any right to ask for. God she loved him.
"Marry me," she whispered.
|posted on 5-Feb-2002 7:45:08 AM|
"Where did this come from?" Kyle asked her. He wanted to yell yes, but he really wasn't sure where the idea of marriage had come from.
"No, you're just supposed to say yes," Tess explained to him. She waited. "Now. Now you say yes."
"Not until you tell me what you're up to."
She made a frustrated sound and started pacing. "I love you," she snapped, not sounding very loving at all. "What other reason do you need. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and I'd like us to return home as husband and wife. I'm marrying you..."
"Yes you are," Kyle said.
Tess didn't notice at first. She was on a roll. "....because I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I...."
Then she realized what he'd said. She stopped. "Did you just say yes?"
"Yes I did," Kyle informed her.
"That was a yes," Tess said again just in case.
"Actually it was two of them," Kyle reminded her.
Tess just stared at him blankly for a moment, then let out a squeal of delight and jumped into his arms. The deputy heard the noise out in the front area and came running into the office with his gun drawn. Kyle looked at him, then at Tess.
"Your back-up plan?"
Kyle gestured to the deputy. "If I hadn't said yes was he going to shoot me?"
"Sheriff?" the deputy said questioningly.
"You can relax Deputy. We're fine in here. Actually you can be the first to congratulate us. We're getting married."
Isabel spoke to Max in the Crashdown that evening. "Did you find anything out today?"
Max thought about what he and Liz had done in the observatory. "Uuuhhh, nope. Not a thing."
Isabel looked at him and shook her head. "Did you even look?" she said shrewdly.
He'd looked at a lot of things, all of them situated somewhere on Liz's body, but he wasn't going to tell his sister about any of them.
"I looked," he told her. "But I can't see anything unusual about the star. We'll just have to assume it's nothing."
"Then we have something else we need to discuss."
Isabel looked troubled. "Max we need to tell Mum and Dad something. We all do. We can't just disappear."
"I know," Max sighed. "I've been trying to decide what exactly I'm going to tell them."
"What isn't the problem anymore Max it's when. We are only here for another 11 days. I don't want to leave this until the last minute. It's going to be hard enough on them as it is."
"I know that Isabel."
"Have you even thought about Liz's parents?" Isabel said ruthlessly. "They've only just got their daughter back and now they're going to lose her again. That is if you've worked up the guts to ask her."
"I'm coming," Liz said behind Isabel.
Isabel turned around and gave Liz a hug. "I'm so happy for you. I"m glad you're coming. I would have missed you."
"What about the others?" Liz asked. "Who else is going?"
"Alex and Maria," Max told her.
"That cow didn't tell me!" Liz said.
Liz spun on Maria. "When were you planning on telling me you were going to leave the galaxy?"
Maria looked uncomfortable. "Pretty soon?"
Jim Parker came in and looked astounded at all the people standing in the employee area of the cafe.
Liz shooed everybody out into the restaurant. "Sorry Dad. We were just talking about stuff."
"We're closing up now anyway honey so you guys can talk out there."
Liz walked out into the restaurant as Tess and Kyle walked in. They were holding hands and Liz looked at Max but he looked just as surprised as she was. The only one who didn't look surprised was Isabel.
"What's going on here?" Maria demanded.
"Calm down Maria," Kyle said. "Tess and I have an announcement to make."
Tess looked at Kyle, then at the group. "We're getting married!"
There was absolute silence, then Liz stepped forward and hugged Kyle tightly. "Congratulations."
Eventually everybody stepped forward to offer their congratulations, although all of them were a little dubious. Maria, as usual, lead with her mouth.
"How long has this been going on?"
"For a while," Kyle told her.
"And why didn't you tell anyone?"
"Anyone being you?" Kyle said dryly. "We just chose not to. We weren't sure how anyone would react."
Max looked around the group, then back at Kyle. "Man you must do a real good job as a sheriff. Has it escaped your notice that noone in this group are with who they were supposed to be with?"
Tess had been sitting there just listening to the conversation when she felt a tightening in her chest. Zan was nearby. she stood up quickly and excused herself. She went into the toilet and jumped out the window. She landed in the alleyway and ran around the side of the building. She almost ran into an old man standing almost in front of the Crashdown.
"Oh I'm sorry," she gasped, still looking around for Zan.
"This radar thing is cool!" the old guy crowed. Tess stared at him. "Zan?"
"Yeah. How do you like the new me?"
Tess looked him up and down. "You look like a homeless guy and you have old man smell."
"Gee thanks," Zan said.
"Have we worked out my little problem yet?" Tess asked.
"Yes," Zan assured her. "I need you to get to pod chamber as soon as you can. Bring Liz with you."
"Liz?" Tess said in confusion. "Why would I need to bring Liz?"
"Because I'll fix both of you at the same time. That way I can get my wife back and so can Max."
Zan walked off without any idea of what he'd just done. Tess stood where she was, agonized. How the hell was she going to tell Max the woman he had waited ten years for wasn't who he thought she was?
Tess walked back into the Crashdown and sat back down next to Kyle. He looked at the doors, then back at her with a frown of confusion.
"Should I ask how you got outside?" he said. "Or what you were doing out there?"
Tess shook her head. "Probably best you didn't."
Tess watched Max and Liz for the rest of the time the gang sat in the Crashdown. When they got up to leave Tess had made her decision. She was going to the pod chamber alone.
"So....." Liz began slowly as she and Max drove to his house. "Tess and Kyle. Any thoughts?"
"Not really," Max said easily. "I'm happy for them."
Liz glared at him. Max turned to smile at her, took one look at her face and frowned in confusion.
"What'd I do?"
"You're happy for them," Liz repeated grimly.
"I'm not supposed to be happy for them?" Max said, bewildered.
"No you're not," Liz snapped. "You're supposed to be filled with feelings of confusion and jealousy. Your wife is marrying someone else."
"My wife!" Max exclaimed. "Since when did we start thinking of Tess as my wife?"
"Since forever," Liz said, waving her hands around in agitation. "She is your wife. I shouldn't have to remind you of these things Max."
"Forgive me if I'm a little thrown by the fact that the woman I love is sitting there discussing my wife," Max said dryly. "What about you? How do you feel about it?"
"I'm happy for them."
"But I'm not allowed to be?"
"No," Liz said firmly. She looked over at Max to see him watching her with a grin. "It makes perfect sense to me," she said loftily.
Max shook his head and laughed. When they pulled up to the house, they both tensed. An old man sat on the front steps waiting for them.
"Who is he?" Liz asked Max.
"I don't know. I guess we'd better find out."
Zan watched them both walk towards him and couldn't help marveling at the resemblance he had to the king. They really were identical.
"Can I help you?" Max said politely.
Zan looked at Liz. He had known there was a good chance Tess wouldn't bring her to the chamber. He was here to make sure she was there.
"I know who you are," Zan said bluntly.
"Congratulations," Max said. "Now if you could tell me who you are we'll be even."
"I know what you are," Zan continued. "I have important information for you. You need to come with me now."
"Highly unlikely," Max said pleasantly.
"I can help you on your journey home," Zan persisted. "If it is your wish, you can leave tonight with my help. But you must come with me."
"Max maybe you should go with him," Liz suggested tentatively. "It can't hurt. If he doesn't say anything you want to hear you can just leave."
Max debated with himself. It could be a trap. He couldn't go in alone. "If you know about me you know about the others. I want them all to be there."
"Fine," Zan agreed.
Liz turned away to start calling everyone on her cell phone. Max pinned the old man with a hard stare. "She goes where I go. This is not negotiable."
"Of course," Zan said quickly. After all it was precisely what he wanted.
Five minutes later they were on their way. Max thought about what the old man had said.
"We won't be returning tonight," he said. "There are things we need to do before we go. People we need to tell."
"Do you really think that's wise?" Zan questioned. "You can leave this planet and never come back. No-one else needs to know about you."
"Just leaving without the people who care about us is cruel. We want them to know."
"It's your decision of course."
Max drove up to the chamber and saw Maria's Jetta pull up, and Isabel and Alex getting out of their car.
"Where's Tess and Kyle?"
"I couldn't reach them," Liz said. "I'll try again soon."
Zan lead everybody into the chamber.
"What took you so long?" Tess snapped.
Zan hastened to the back of the chamber and began the separation chant. Tess spotted Liz and spun around. "No! Don't do this."
Zan continued chanting and Tess turned to Max.
"Get Liz out of here now!" she screamed at him. "You have to get her out of here."
A brilliant blue light began flickering in the chamber and a strong wind began blowing. Tess fell to her knees, screaming in agony. Max lunged desperately for Liz but couldn't get to her. The light now surrounded the two woman. The others could only look on, amazed, until the light became too bright and they had to cover their eyes. A few seconds later all became silent. Max quickly uncovered his eyes and stared at where Liz was lying. Beside her lay another woman. He turned to look at Tess and saw the same thing. Two women lay in the chamber that hadn't been there before. Alex ran over and started helping Liz up. Michael did the same for Tess. The other women stood up slowly. One of them immediately ran towards the old man, throwing herself into his arms. The other stood staring at Max. He only had eyes for Liz.
"Are you alright?" he asked her urgently, touching her lightly to check for any injuries.
"I'm fine," Liz assured him. They both turned towards the woman.
"Who the hell are you?" Max said dangerously.
The woman stepped forward and smiled at Max. "You don't remember me?"
"No," Max told her. "So I'll say it again. Who the hell are you?"
Zan stepped forward. "She is your wife."
"Oh for Christ's sake," Isabel snapped. Alex just groaned.
"How is it he can get two wives?" Michael asked noone in particular.
"What did you have a harem?" Maria asked Max, going over and punching him on the arm.
"Now I feel really bad," Tess said. "What the hell does that make me?"
The woman continued to stare at Max. Liz had said nothing. From where everyone was standing they couldn't see her and she slowly started backing away from them.
"Okay this is getting ridiculous," Max said firmly. "First of all, I don't remember a thing about this woman. Secondly, she wasn't in our little group of pods. Thirdly, Tess was supposed to be my wife and fourthly....I don't give a rat's ass who she's supposed to be. I'm with Liz."
Zan closed his eyes tightly and the group was forced to cover their eyes again. When they opened them Zan stood there in his original form.
"Okay that's freaky," Maria said, shifting closer to Michael.
"You're supposed to be dead," Michael said.
"Clearly I'm not," Zan told them. "There is a lot you all don't know about the planet you're returning to. I can tell you everything you need to know."
"All we need to know is that we can get back safely," Max said.
"This woman is your wife," Zan told him.
"I've covered that. I don't care."
"Look," Isabel said. "There's nothing we can do about any of this tonight. I suggest we all go home and meet up tomorrow. We can decide what we're doing then."
Everybody agreed, although reluctantly. Max turned around, then looked around slowly. "Where's Liz?"
Everybody else looked, then Max ran out of the chamber. "Liz!"
The Jeep was gone. Max spun around and looked at Isabel, feeling totally helpless.
"We'll find her," Isabel promised him. "She can't have gotten far. We'll follow her home."
Liz drove blindly, tears falling down her face. She couldn't believe this was happening again. She had made it through the Tess experience and her and Max had still found each other. But this was different. She didn't know how, but she knew this woman was actually Max's wife. Maybe it was because she had had the woman inside her, she didn't know. But this was something she couldn't fight. After everything they had been through, she and Max were going to have to go their separate ways. By the time she got home she was surprised she hadn't run herself up a tree. She couldn't see a thing. She jumped out of the Jeep and ran into the house, going straight to her bedroom and throwing herself on the bed where she lay sobbing her heart out. That was how Max found her ten minutes later when he climbed up the ladder and entered her bedroom.
"Liz?" he said softly, sitting down beside her on the bed. "Liz, why'd you run? I told everyone I don't remember that woman."
"She's who she says she is Max," Liz said brokenly. "I can't tell you how I know, I just do. It was never Tess. That woman is your wife."
Max rolled her over and gathered her up in his arms. "I don't care who she is. I don't care what she wants. As soon as we've told our parents we're leaving, and you're coming with me."
Liz said nothing. She wasn't going. But if tonight was all she had left with him, she'd take it. She reached up and kissed him, pulling him down to lie on the bed beside her. And she slowly began unbuttoning his shirt.
The next day, Isabel and Max sat watching their mother make lunch for them in the kitchen.
"Today's not going to be easy for them," Isabel said. "What are we going to do if she doesn't believe us?"
"We have to make her," Max said. "We can use our powers if we have to."
"But to tell them and then just leave," Isabel fretted. "It seems so unfair."
Max put his arm around her. "We can wait," he told her. "As long as you think we have to. We don't need to leave right now."
Isabel seriously considered it, then shook her head. "No. I want to go back. If for no other reason, then to get rid of this woman who claims to be your wife."
Max had to agree. He'd woken up this morning with a very bad feeling that had only intensified when Liz hadn't been lying beside him. She'd written him a note telling him she was working the early shift, and could he please go out the window so her parents wouldn't see him. He felt ridiculous, he thought it was time they came clean, but he'd done as she asked.
"So," Diane said to her two children. "What brings the two of you here?"
Max and Isabel looked at each other, then at their mother. "Mum, could you get Dad in here? There's something we need to talk to you about."
Amy stared at her daughter, looked at Michael, then back at her daughter.
"I know it's a lot to except," Maria said gently.
"My daughter, my only child, has lost her mind," Amy said. "Yes. That is a lot to except."
"Mum I haven't lost my mind," Maria told her. "I'm telling you the truth. Michael is an alien. He and I are returning to his home planet very soon. I need to know you are alright with that before I leave."
Amy just continued to stare at them. Maria heaved a frustrated sigh. She turned to Michael. "I need you to do something to convince her."
Michael focused on a bowl sitting on the coffee table in front of him. He put his hand out, gathered his energy, and sent it flying across the room. Amy stood up quickly and looked again at her daughter.
"He's an alien," she gasped. "You're actually telling the truth. You're sleeping with an alien."
"Let's not get into a discussion about sleeping with aliens," Maria said sarcastically. "I have my doubts about some of the men you've slept with."
"Maria Deluca I am still your mother!"
And having said that she fainted. Michael went over and picked her up, laying her on the couch. "I think that went really well."
Max had left the house and Isabel still comforting their mother. She had taken it as well as they could have hoped for. She had had her suspicions since Max was a child, so he and Isabel had only been confirming what she had long suspected. But she had been upset when she had learned they were leaving. So he'd left Isabel there. He was on his way to the Crashdown in case Liz needed help telling her parents. He walked into the restaurant and was surprised to see Liz still working.
"Hey," he said when he walked up to her.
"Hey," she replied, not meeting his eyes. "How did it go today?"
"Not good," he told her. "But not bad. At least now they know."
"What about you? Have you told your parents yet?"
"No I haven't."
There was that feeling again. Something was going horribly wrong. "Why not?"
Liz finally looked at him, then her eyes shifted to something behind him. "I think they're here to see you."
Max turned around and saw Ava, Zan, disguised again as the old man, and the woman. He turned back to Liz. "They can wait. Why haven't you told your parents yet?"
"Max I'm working here. We can talk about this later."
"No, we're going to talk about it now," Max yelled. "Why haven't you told them Liz?"
"Because I'm not going to tell them," Liz yelled back. "I'm not going!"
Max had wanted to follow Liz upstairs but Zan had waylaid him. So he found himself instead sitting down and listening to what they had to tell him. He stared at his supposed wife and couldn't help comparing her to Liz. There were no similarities. Where Liz's hair was long and soft, hers was in a short style kind of like Meg Ryan's. Only it looked good on Meg Ryan. And she had impossibly pale skin, not at all like the soft tan Liz had. But the thing Max disliked most about her was her eyes. They were a strange combination of ice gray and blue. They looked so cold. Everything about her was cold.
"It would be best for everyone if you leave as soon as possible," Zan told him. "Tonight, possibly tomorrow."
"I'll do what I can, but I can't promise anything. I have to convince Liz to come with me first."
"She is not important," Kira said impatiently. "You must leave her behind."
"Kira, as your husband and the king of your planet, I command you to shut your yap."
"Max, she's just doing what she thought she had to do," Ava said softly.
"I don't care," Max told them. "I'm sick of this! I've loved her my whole life, and every time I think things are going to work out for us something comes along to ruin it!"
"You weren't in love with her," Kira said. "You were in love with me."
"How the hell did you get inside her anyway? And why?"
"When I was sent down to earth I was in our original form. I was told that I must take the form of a human by merging with them. I waited for years for the rest of you to arrive. When you did I followed you for some time, trying to find a suitable human. The day you started school, I was watching. I saw you notice the little girl. When your interest in her didn't go away with time I knew she was the one. So I entered her room one night while she slept and merged with her. I have been with her ever since."
"How old was she when you merged with her?" Max asked.
"She was 11."
Max looked at Zan, then at Ava. He could see they knew where his thoughts were. He turned back to Kira.
"So you merged with Liz after you realized I cared about her?"
"Yes," she confirmed. "She was the perfect choice."
Max stood up, anxious now to speak to Liz. "Zan, prepare everything for us to leave tomorrow afternoon. I'll inform the others."
Kira looked at the other two when Max was gone. "I have convinced him then. He will return to our planet with me?"
"No chance in hell," Ava said bluntly. "What you told him has made him realize Liz is the woman he's supposed to be with."
Kira looked confused. "But this woman, this Liz, was me. It was me he was in love with. I'm his wife."
"No, you're not. You were inside Liz from the time she was 11 but you're not the Liz Max fell in love with. He was in love with her for a long time before that. If you had been merged with Liz from the very beginning Max might have questioned his feelings towards her but you weren't. Whether you were merged with her or not is now irrelevant. He knows he loves Liz."
"I have a question," Ava asked. "If you are so in love with Max, why did you stay away so long? I mean, you've been gone for ten years."
"The girl was working on a way to get us home," Kira explained. "She knew about the granolith, but her knowledge was limited. It amused me to see if she could figure it out."
Max ran up the stairs and banged on Liz's door. "Liz? I need to talk to you. Open the door please."
Liz lay on the bed and, even though it hurt, ignored Max. He continued to pound on the door, but there was no answer. He'd been standing there calling to Liz for 2 hours when Isabel came upstairs. "Max, Mum and Dad want to spend the night with us. I told them we'd be there."
"I can't. I have to talk to Liz."
"Max, Liz is coming with us. Mum and Dad aren't. They deserve to have us there tonight."
"That's just it. I don't know if Liz is coming with me."
"What do you mean?"
Max knocked on the door and called out again. Still no answer. "She's taken this wife thing to heart. She won't come with me because she says Kira is my wife."
"Max, I'm just asking you for a few hours," Isabel begged. "Please. You can come straight back here and start banging her door down again, but for now please do this for me."
Max looked at the door one more time then sighed. "I'll be back Liz," he said fiercely.
He followed Isabel downstairs and walked out of the restaurant without even looking at Kira.
Liz just sighed when there was another knock on the door. She'd thought she might have a little more time.
"Max please! Just leave me alone!"
She watched in amazement when the lock on her bedroom door slowly unlocked itself, and the woman Max was supposed to marry came through the door.
"What do you want?" Liz said bluntly. "Get out of my room."
Kira ignored her in favor of looking around the room. "You know, I do believe I'm actually going to miss this room when I leave. I've spent some very interesting nights in here."
"Get out," Liz repeated. "Now."
"You know, I can't for the life of me figure out how a little human like you is screwing everything up for me. I was supposed to reveal myself to the king and then we would be together. Instead I'm forced to fight for his affections."
"No-one's asking you to fight with anyone," Liz told her. "You can have him. Just go now."
"Oh if only it were that simple. You see, it doesn't seem to matter what you say. Max wants you anyway."
"Then you're talking to the wrong person," Liz said a little desperately. She wanted this woman out of her room. "You need to talk to Max. Tell him I'm not going."
Kira suddenly spun around and struck Liz across the face, hard. Liz's head snapped back and she cried out. "Don't underestimate me!" Kira screamed. "Or you will not leave this room alive!"
Liz lay where she was, stunned. Then without thinking, without knowing why she did it, she started calling out to Max, but only in her mind.
Max was walking away from the table with his empty plate when he suddenly dropped it and turned around to Isabel.
"Max?" Diane asked him.
Isabel stood up slowly. "Max, what's wrong?"
"It's Liz. We have to get over there. Now."
Isabel didn't question her brother. She just collected her car keys and ran for the door.
Once Liz's head had stopped spinning, she jumped up and stood beside the bed, preferring to be standing if the idiot woman took another swing.
"You know, Max isn't exactly going to throw himself at you if he finds out you've been slapping me around," Liz said dryly. "You really should consider another course of action."
Kira circled the room and came at Liz again. This time she sent her flying into the wall on the opposite side of the room.
"Max and I have a destiny," Kira screamed. "Nothing and noone can be allowed to interfere with it."
Liz got up again, barely, and leaned against the wall for support. "You know, I'm sick of all this destiny crap. You know what I think? We make our own destiny. We have to be allowed a choice."
Liz heard a commotion on the stairs then Max's voice. "Liz! Liz are you okay? The doors locked!"
"Then unlock it," Liz yelled back at him. "Now really isn't the time to be respecting my privacy Max."
The door flew open and Max and Isabel came running into the room. Max immediately ran to Liz, while Isabel turned on Kira.
"Listen up wench," Isabel snapped. "Clearly you still have a lot to learn about our quirky little ways. You have made the biggest mistake of your life walking into this room. Now I suggest you leave, go back to the pod chamber, and wait there until we arrive tomorrow. Then we'll beam your sorry ass back home."
"You would defend this girl?" Kira spat.
"To the death," Isabel said simply. "Actually I'm kinda hoping you try something if you want to know the truth. I haven't had the best night. I wouldn't mind taking it out on someone."
"Is," Max said in a warning tone.
"Max," Isabel mimicked. "I can't believe you of all people are playing the peacemaker here. Have you taken a good look at Liz's face?"
There was more commotion on the stairs and then Michael and Maria were in the room.
"What's going on!" Maria yelled.
"What are you doing here?" Isabel asked Michael.
"Maria said she saw Max run in here and take off upstairs. She called me and I decided to come over." He looked slowly around the room and got a look at Liz's face. "Who did that?"
Kira didn't understand what it meant when Michael spoke in that soft voice, and she sidled up to Michael, thinking she had found an allay.
"I knew one of you would have to see things my way," she said in satisfaction.
"You did this?" Michael asked her. "You hurt Liz?"
Isabel recognized the danger and started to speak, but it was already too late. And Kira was too proud of herself.
"I had every intention of killing her before my cheating husband and his whore of a sister ruined my fun."
Michael raised his hand slowly. Isabel tried to stop him but he pushed her gently but firmly aside. He began drawing his energy and Kira began backing away.
"What are you doing?" she shrieked.
Maria put her hand on Michael's arm but he pulled her behind him and carried on holding his hand towards Kira. He might have done it, might have even killed her, if Liz hadn't stepped between the two of them. She was the one person in the room who could stop him.
"Michael please," Liz begged him. "Don't do this. I'm fine."
Michael looked down at her as she came closer to him. "She hurt you Liz."
"Not much," Liz lied. "It looks worse than it really is."
Michael quite clearly didn't believe her but he lowered his hand. Liz stepped up to him and threw her arms around him. She could feel him shaking with the force of his anger, but the arms he slid around her were gentle. Max walked over to Kira and grabbed her roughly by the arm. He marched her to the door and shoved her outside.
"If you come within a hundred feet of Liz between now and when we leave tomorrow, Micheal won't get to do anything. I'll kill you as soon as I set eyes on you."
Isabel walked over and put a firm hand on Kira's back. "I'll make sure she gets to the pod chamber. I'll take her there myself. I'll see you tomorrow Max."
Michael and Maria walked out behind them. "I'm going with Isabel. Maria you go down and cover for Liz."
Maria walked out behind him muttering. "And since when did I just do as I'm told. You and me are going to talk about this habit you have of ordering me around Michael Guerin."
Max closed the door behind everybody and turned around slowly to face Liz. She rubbed her head tiredly and went to sit down on the bed.
"It's been quite a night," she said with a little laugh. "If this is what being your wife does to a girl I'm not volunteering for the position."
Max sat down beside her and put a gentle hand on her face. She felt warmth on the side of her face and knew her bruises were gone.
"It's you or noone Liz," Max told her.
"Max, please. I've made my decision."
"And it's the wrong one!" Max said sharply. "For Christ's sake Liz, have you even considered what's between us! You were gone for ten years, you were back less than 24 hours and we were in bed. I waited ten years for you!! We've lived through the destiny thing before..."
"This is different," Liz yelled back at him. "I know that woman is your wife. And she was inside me!! It may never have been me you were in love with! And what about that star Max? It wasn't you and me that caused that star, it was you and her."
Max shook his head. "Kira told me she merged with you when you were 11. I fell in love with you when you were a little girl. That's why she chose you. She knew how I felt about you."
"Max, can you tell me what's going to happen to me when you return home with the wrong woman? Can you promise me they aren't going to hurt me?"
Max looked at her for a long time. He wasn't going to make promises he couldn't keep. So he kissed her gently, and stood up. "I'm leaving tomorrow Liz. If you want to come with me, be at the pod chamber by 4 o'clock."
"And if I'm not?"
Max didn't even want to think about what he was going to do. "I love you Liz. Good night."
Liz lay back on her bed and sighed. "I love you too Max."
|posted on 5-Feb-2002 7:46:04 AM|
The next day 12.00 noon
"So I need the two of you to finalize the sale of the house," Max told his parents. "Do what you want with the money."
"We'll keep it in a bank account," Diane told her son. "In case the two of you come back one day."
Max nodded even though he knew he wouldn't be back.
"Are you going to tell me what's bothering you?" Diane asked.
"Mum, I'm about to leave earth. Isn't that enough of a reason for me to be a little distracted?"
"Yes," Diane conceded. "But that's not it. It's Liz. What's happened?"
"Nothing," Max admitted. "That's what's worrying me. I honestly expected her to be here by now."
"Why wouldn't she be here?"
Max told his mother about Liz's decision not to return with them. "What am I going to do if she doesn't show up Mum? I can't stand the idea of living without her. Anywhere."
"She'll show up Max," Diane said, injecting as much confidence into her voice as she could muster. "And even if she doesn't, you'll figure out what to do."
1.00pm - 3 hours to go
"Mum, you can't pack me a bag," Maria said for what seemed like the hundredth time. "It's not like I can put it in cargo. I'm going as I am."
Amy looked her over. "Then change that shirt. It's hideous."
Maria knew her mother was just doing what she could to stop herself from having a nervous breakdown, but that one rankled.
"Mum, I've been dressing myself since I figured out how to use my fingers because your dress sense sucks. So I'm going to make an executive decision and say the shirt stays."
Amy suddenly grabbed her daughter and hugged her tightly. Maria hugged her back and felt tears well up in her eyes. "Mum I promise you if there is any way we can get back Michael will find it for me. We'll see each other again."
"Maria, lying to your mother at this point is really........rude."
Maria kissed her mother on the cheek and smiled. "I thought it was kinda sweet."
Liz sat her mother and father down and began pacing in front of them. This wasn't going to be easy.
"Mum? Dad? Uuummm, I have something I need to talk to you about. And I need you not to interrupt me with a lot of questions because I don't have a lot of time. Ok?"
"Fine Lizzy," he Dad said soothingly. "Whatever it is I'm sure it'll be fine."
"Ok," Liz said. She took a deep breath. "Max, Michael and Isabel aren't from around here."
3.00pm - 1 hour to go
Everyone was gathered at the chamber, and Max was watching the road anxiously. Zan came up behind him. "If she's going to make the journey she needs to get here soon Max. If we start the granolith while she is still outside it, she will be hurt if she even goes near it."
"What about if I wait for her and bring her in with me?" Max said, grasping at straws. She had to be here.
Zan shook his head. "You would be fine but she would still be hurt. Remember, their bodies are different to ours."
Max continued to watch the road. Zan gave up and walked over to where Isabel was watching her brother. "What are we going to do if she doesn't show up?" he asked her.
"I have no idea," Isabel said honestly. "He loves her so much. To lose her now would kill him."
"Will he still come?"
"I don't know."
Max continued to watch the road.
Liz looked at her watch again. It was quarter to four. She was never going to make it in time!! She put her foot to the floor and the car hurtled along the road. It had taken too long to convince her parents the outrageous story she was telling them was true. And even longer to convince them to let her go to the chamber. And because of it she had fifteen minutes to get there and she was not even close to the place. She pressed her foot down harder and drove.
Max took one last look down the road, then turned into the chamber. He felt like his heart had just stopped beating. Isabel put her arm around his shoulders and gently ushered him into the granolith. "I'm so sorry Max."
He looked at her and shook his head, bewildered. "I was so sure she would be here."
Zan looked around at the expectant group. "Okay is everybody ready?"
Michael and Alex nodded, as did Kyle, but Maria stood there shaking her head fiercely. Zan arched an eyebrow at Michael, who shrugged. "She's not going to jump ship or anything. She's just a little nervous."
"Who isn't," Kyle said a little tightly. "Listen are you sure this thing is safe?"
"Safe as houses," Zan assured him.
A few seconds later a bright purple light began spinning around the group. Maria gasped loudly and hid her face in Michael's chest. Tess grabbed Kyle's hand in a death grip. Even Isabel moved a lot closer to Alex. This was it. They were going home. Max was still watching the entrance to the chamber when Liz came running through it.
"Max!" she screamed.
"Liz. Don't come near the granolith," he yelled.
Everyone was desperately trying to think of something to do. Liz stood where she was watching Max. She was too late. All she could do was say goodbye.
"I love you Max," she told him. "I'll always love you."
Max thought about what Zan had told him, and knew what he had to do. He turned around to Isabel, hugging her fiercely. She didn't ask what he was doing. She knew. So did Michael. He nodded his head, letting Max know he'd take care of Isabel. Max turned to face Liz, who stood there sobbing, and taking a huge breath, jumped out of the granolith.
One year later
The granolith chamber
Max came up behind Liz and put his arms around her, covering her stomach. He felt the baby kick beneath his hands and smiled.
"He's active today."
Liz heaved an exasperated sigh. "He's kicking the hell out of me."
Max laughed softly and ran one hand around her to rub her back. Liz leaned into his hands and sighed. "You just wait Max Evans. Next time you get to be pregnant."
"It could happen," Liz said sourly.
Liz still couldn't believe he was standing there with her. The last time they had been in this chamber everything had happened so quickly. Liz shivered a little as she remembered the events of that day.
Liz ran into the chamber but could see immediately she was too late.
"Max," she screamed.
Max saw her approaching the spinning column. "Liz. Don't come near the granolith."
Liz stopped where she was and watched him in agony. He was leaving her. "I love you Max," she told him, wanting him to know before he left. "I'll always love you."
Max heard the words and knew he couldn't leave her. He turned to Isabel and hugged her tightly. He loved his sister, but even she wouldn't be able to help him get through everyday without Liz. When he turned to Michael he didn't need to say anything either. He could tell just by looking in his eyes he would take care of Isabel and their planet until he could return. Knowing everything had been taken care of, Max faced the front of the column and, taking a huge breath, jumped out. He hit the ground hard, and in the time it took him to clear his head the others were gone. He sat up and spun around, but everything in the chamber was still. The granolith was empty. He looked around and spotted Liz. She was standing on the opposite side of the chamber staring at him.
"I can't believe you did that," she finally said, walking over to him. "I can't believe you stayed with me."
Max stood up and pulled her into his arms. "I told you I wasn't going without you."
"Yeah but I didn't believe you," Liz said honestly.
Max frowned down at her. "Well that's just nice that is."
Liz suddenly laughed. He was here, with her, and he was staying. "I'm sorry, but some guys will say anything to get into your pants."
Max looked back at the granolith for a moment before turning Liz towards the entrance of the chamber. "Come on. Let's go home."
And so, a year later, they were going to try again. Liz stepped up into the granolith with Max. She held his hand tightly and lay the other hand over her stomach protectively. The light show began and Liz closed her eyes tightly. She suddenly felt as though she was in an elevator, but it was the fastest elevator on the planet. Her stomach dropped straight to her feet and she felt lightheaded. She felt Max wrap his arms around her tightly and she hung on for dear life. She didn't know how long they stood like that, but suddenly the feeling subsided. Liz stood where she was, keeping her eyes closed. She had no idea where they were and she wasn't sure she wanted to know just yet.
"Liz?" Max said softly. Liz shook her head and kept her eyes closed. Max chuckled. "Liz we're here."
"How do you know?" Liz asked him.
"Because there are some people waiting to see us."
Liz opened one eye slowly. Maria stood there, looking radiantly pregnant, smiling at her through the tears streaming down her cheeks. Alex stood with a baby in his arms, and an arm around Isabel, who also held a baby. Tess and Kyle stood arm in arm, smiling happily. Isabel was the first one to break the silence, and what she said was exactly what Liz needed to hear.