|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:05:48 PM|
Distribution: If you want it, take it, just let me know
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue
This is a challenge by Shelly2.
1. The story must be called "Stoned"
2. It takes place a few months after Destiny. Everyone is heartbroken. The aliens are frustrated because there are no new development. They decide to experiment with the healing stones. The four aliens sit in a circle in the cave, etc. Max is conflicted about Liz, etc. During the experiment Max goes into seizures. When he comes out of it, his personality has changed. His balance has shifted. His more agressive and self-gratuitous side has taken over.
3. The new Max kidnaps Liz and continually seduces her. Liz tries to resist, but can't. He refuses to let her go. Max and Liz go on a road trip with Max robbing ATMs along the way for money.
4. Isabel tries to dreamwalk into Max's head to find the location. In Max's dream the "good" Max is tied up in a chair while the "bad" Max is having sex with Liz. Isabel tries to get info from "good" Max, but he doesn't give it because at least now he's around Liz. Isabel mentions that the "bad" Max may hurt Liz. The "good" Max says that the "bad" Max wouldn't do that because the "bad" Max loves Liz too. Max loves Liz with every part of him.
5. Basically, the gang finally catches up to them and re-balances Max. Tess give up on Max. Happy ending.
"Max, we have to do something!"
Max tore his gaze away from Liz who was sitting outside the biology room window and shifted it to Michael. "What?" he asked, hearing the sharpness in his own voice. He pondered where the agitation came from but then again, he already knew the answer. He, along with the others, had been wound pretty tightly all summer and they were all feeling a big on edge all because there had been no new developments since that day in the pod chamber three months ago.
"He said we need to do something," Isabel repeated for Michael, her voice sounding just as agitated. "And I agree with him."
"Me too," Tess said.
"About what?" Max snapped in disgust, turning his gaze back to Liz. He felt a pang in his heart. Even as she talked with Maria, she wore the same lifeless, wounded expression she had been wearing all summer. That expression haunted him in his dreams and nightmares because of one simple fact; he was the one who caused it. His once vibrant Liz was now an lifeless shell.
They talked occasionally but to say nothing more than an awkward "Hi. How are you? That's good. Well, bye." The tangible tension between them made him miserable. It suffocated him. Just looking at her made his hands itch to touch her soft hair and his lips to tingle from the memories of the sweet kisses they used to share. What he wouldn't give to feel those soft lips again, to taste her sweet mouth with his and to wrap her in his arms and never make the mistake of letting her go again.
"Hey!" Michael snapped his finger and waved his hand over Max's face. "I'm sorry to disturb your precious broken heart but we're talking about something important here, which you would know about if you were paying attention instead of drooling after Liz!"
Max gritted his teeth and focused his narrow lidded eyes on Michael once again. "I know what we're talking about but I don't know what you expect me to do about it."
"Oh, I don't know. Take charge perhaps?" Michael suggested, the loathing evident in his voice. "Maybe, get off your ass and be the fearless leader you were born to be?"
Max stood and stalked up to Michael, getting right in his face. "Just because I'm supposed to be this fearless leader doesn't mean that I automatically have all the answers! I know nothing more than any of the rest of you do and I'm sick to death of you acting like I'm holding out on you. What the hell do you expect me to do, Michael?"
"I don't know but we have to do something! We can't keep waiting around for our enemies to come to us. We need to be prepared and right now, the only thing I feel prepared to do is kick your ass!"
"Oh, is that so?" Max asked, his temper boiling as it often did around Michael lately.
"Yeah, that's so."
"Well, here I am. Go ahead, take the first swing but I promise it will be your last."
"Stop it! Both of you!" Isabel cried, edging between them and pushing them apart. "God, this isn't about just the two of you! There are four of us here and we all have to work together. You're recurring displays of macho bullshit is getting us nowhere!"
Max and Michael held each others steely gazes for a moment before simultaneously stepping backwards.
"Thank you," Isabel muttered. "Now, do any of you have any useful suggestions?"
Michael shook his head and looked away. He was the most frustrated of all of them but Max knew that it wasn't his usual deviant behavior that fueled it. When it came down to it, Michael was terrified. They all were. Their enemies could be around them right now, planning a massacre right in front of their faces and there would be no way for them to know. Their mother had said that they would recognize their enemies from the evil within but none of them knew what was supposed to constitute this so-called evil.
As the days passed, not only was their frustration growing but their paranoia. It was tearing them apart, both individually and as a group.
"What about the healing stones?" Tess suggested.
Michael put his hands on his hips, his expression cynical. "What about them?"
Tess' brow furrowed and she glanced down, self-conscious. "Well, we already know that the stones contain the power to bring the dead back to life. I was thinking that maybe they can do other things as well. Like maybe give us some information or give us a clue as to what we are supposed to be up against? I don't know."
"Who knows?" Max sighed. It wasn't likely that the stones designed to heal their people would be any help in finding out information but what did he know? What did any of them know?
"Certainly not us and we won't know until we actually try," Michael challenged.
"I say we do it," Isabel agreed, raising her eyebrows at Max. "Unless you have a better suggestion?"
"Three against one," Michael gloated.
"And since when is this a democracy?" Max asked. "As leader I have the final say in everything we do."
"Oh, so now you're our leader? That's great. Let's just sit on our asses then and wait for our enemies to pick us off one by one."
"I didn't say that, Michael. I'm just reminding you whose calling the shots." Max sighed, stood. "We'll give it a try after school today but don't get your hopes up. I doubt that playing with those stones will change anything."
"Hi Max," Liz whispered quietly as she took her seat next to him in their A.P. Bio class. She offered him a tight smile and then went about pulling her stuff out of her bag and opening her book, pretending to read the random page in front of her despite the fact that she was overly aware of Max's presence.
How could she not be? It overpowered her senses. His clean, soapy scent filled her nostrils, making her dizzy. She could feel the warmth of his body in every place on her own despite the fact that he was three feet away. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end from the feel of his eyes on her.
Why did they have to be in the same class again? As if seeing him occasionally around town didn't cause enough pain but having to sit next to him during class everyday was pure torture; not to mention a blatant reminder of what she had walked away from and could never have again.
"How are you doing?"
"I'm okay." Liz casually shrugged, barely glancing at him. "And you?"
"Yeah, okay," Max replied. "And you?"
"Oh, right," Max muttered, nodding softly. There was another moment of silence between them before Max let out a long, tired breath of defeat. "I lied. I'm not okay."
"Yeah, well me neither," Liz sighed.
"What a coincidence," Max said playfully. "What do you suggest we do about it?"
Liz opened her mouth, ready to banter back playfully but coming to the conclusion that it wouldn't be right. She knew what he was saying and as much as it killed her, she had to put a stop to it now. "There's nothing to do," she returned. "They say time heals all wounds. I suppose we just have to wait for time to get to work."
Max hesitated for a moment and then in a anguished voice said, "But can time heal a broken heart?"
Liz knew the answer to that question was a firm solid no. Not even a millennia could heal the tattered shards of her heart but she couldn't let him know how much pain she was in. Instead she whispered, "Yes. "I have faith that time will heal all wounds. Even a broken heart."
"I wish I had your confidence," Max muttered in response.
Liz slowly closed her eyes, letting her hair mask the side of her face so that he wouldn't see the single tear trailing down her cheek.
Max nodded at Michael who he had instructed to scan the area for any possible spies and held his hand up to the invisible gateway to the pod chamber. Nudging with his mind, he located the exact place his hand needed to be and emitted a low amount of power.
The action caused an iridescent handprint to appear on the side of the cave wall and was followed by a moderate grinding noise as the door to the pod chamber opened.
Everyone looked at each other for a moment and then slowly began to walk in after Max motioned them forward. It was the first time they had been to the pod chamber since the day they had found out the truth about their lives. Max had believed that it would be better for them to distance themselves from the chamber in case any of their enemies were able to trace the use of the orbs to that exact location.
But that wasn't the only reason Max had wanted to stay away. The chamber is where it all happened. Where Liz walked out of his life. He knew that being there would re-open all of the wounds he had acquired that fateful day.
Even as he took his first few steps into the cave, his mind began to re-play the entire scene in his head as though he were watching a movie. The five of them, entering the cave with Nacedo's body in their arms and placing him on the ground where he laid motionless, bathed in the pale green lighting of the empty pods. And then he and the three others of his race each taking a stone in their hands and bringing him back to life. He could still see the light glowing from beneath Nacedo's body as he shape shifted before them and the graceful, mysterious new form that appeared silhouetted against the light. The sound of Nacedo's cold voice as he told them that his only purpose for being there was to save them, not to lead them and the expression on his face as he revealed that Max was the leader.
And then, after giving his first order as leader, Max could vividly see Nacedo shape-shifting into the form of Agent Pierce, and remember the violent shiver that the sight of the man sent coursing throughout his body. He could still hear the sweet voice of his mother as she came to them after using the orbs and the shattered look in Liz's eyes that followed. His mouth could still feel the tender kiss that he and Liz had shared and the pain in her voice as she said goodbye and walked out of his life, shattering his heart forever.
As the movie in his head came to an abrupt stop, he looked up to see the others staring at him expectantly.
Isabel answered in an oddly muted voice. "What do we do?"
Max shrugged. "Everyone grab a stone and sit in a circle on the ground."
The others did so and a moment later, they were all sitting on the cool dirt, knee to knee, each cupping a stone in their hand.
"Now," Max continued, "I guess we should all concentrate and see if anything comes to us."
"You guess?" Michael snorted. "Great leadership skills."
Max ignored him and peered down at the stone in his hand. It looked different somehow than when they first used them. The shape was still the same, round and multi-faceted, but it no longer maintained it's brilliant luster, almost as if that day in the cave had taken it's toll on the stones as well.
He also noticed that the stone appeared to have small fractures on the inside that he had never noticed before. He wondered if they had always been there and he had just been too preoccupied to see them.
He gave a small start when an orange light joined the pale green one and looked up to see that the others had already started. Hurriedly, he commanded himself to concentrate on the stone. Instead of closing his eyes, he stared down at the stone and took deep breaths.
Only moments passed before his stone began to glow, more intense than ever before. Even more brilliant than when they saved Nacedo, he noted. The light flickered as he thought about Nacedo and he tried to strengthen his concentration on the stone but it was too late. The movie was replaying in his head again but this time it was more real, more vivid.
He kept his eyes on the stone even though his mind was a million miles away. He would have forgotten the stone entirely if it hadn't been for what came next. It began to pulse in his hand like a strobe, blinding his vision. He ordered himself to avert his eyes but found he couldn't look away, couldn't close his eyes.
He heard a voice cry out but it didn't seem that important. He was too mesmerized by the stone and what was happening inside of it. The fractures were no longer stable but appeared to be moving around like wisps of rainbow colored smoke, almost as if it were liquid contained inside a thin skin. A whirlpool of bright, contrasting colors, spiraled around, mixing and coming together into a brilliant white center. As the seconds passed, that center seemed to grow wider, escaping the confines of the stone.
A sweet and alluring chiming filled his ears as the center grew closer and he realized it was a voice, calling out to him, beckoning to him.
The white light continued to grow larger and any sense of space abandoned him. He hardly noticed. All he could concentrate on was the whimsical voice of Liz.
When the white light enveloped him, he went willingly; allowed himself to be sucked into the spiral. The prospect of joining with Liz took away any fear or disorientation he might have felt as his body was uncontrollably drawn in. In fact, it was almost peaceful.
Or at least he thought so until he realized that something was happening. He began to fall at an alarming rate and the brilliant light was transforming into darkness. He thrashed wildly and reached out in an attempt to clutch on to something, anything that would slow his rapid descent into the black hole around him but his attempt was fruitless. There was nothing to stop it. It was beyond his control.
The voice of his true love had been replaced by a smug, self-satisfied laughter. If it hadn't been for the unnatural delight behind it, he would have thought it his own. He continued to be sucked in deeper and deeper until his fear completely gave way and the new and frightening world around him was nothing but a void.
"Something's wrong!" Isabel cried, dropping her stone and rushing to Max's side. His body was convulsing violently, his eyes rolled into the back of his head.
"What's going on?" Tess shrieked. "What's happening to him?"
"How should we know?" Michael snapped, coming up behind Isabel and slapping Max's face.
"Something's happening to him! He's having a seizure!"
"That's impossible," Tess argued. "Our kind can't have seizures. We don't get sick and nothing like this happens to us."
Michael looked up and shook his head, "Or so we thought. MAX!"
"We have to get him out of here!" Isabel insisted.
"And take him where?" Michael asked. "The hospital? They would do blood tests and somehow I doubt Alex would be willing to cover for him again."
"We have to do something!" Isabel argued pathetically, tears streaming her face. "Let's take him to the jeep! We'll figure out where to take him on the way back to town."
"Fine," Michael sighed. "You two grab his feet and I'll grab his arms. Ready?"
Isabel stood and stepped back towards his feet so she could pick him up when Tess' voice stopped her.
"Wait! Something's happening. It's stopping."
Isabel kneeled back down next to Max and called out for him. "Max? Max! Wake up! Say something!"
"Come on, Max. Talk to us!" Michael urged.
Isabel shook him repeatedly until Max suddenly bolted upright and sucked in a deep breath of air.
"Wow," he gasped. "It worked."
Isabel threw her arms around her brother and hugged him tightly. "Oh Max, you had me so scared!" She held him for a few more moments before pulling back and looking him in the face. "What happened?" she cried. "What worked?"
A wry grin appeared on Max's lips and he shrugged. "Nothing."
"Nothing?" Isabel asked in disbelief. "What do you mean nothing?"
"Exactly what I said, Izzy. Nothing happened."
He shook his head when Isabel continued to stare at him, stunned, and climbed to his feet.
"Nothing happened, my ass," Michael bellowed. "You were having a seizure!"
Max looked at him for a moment, unconvinced and then shrugged. "Whatever you say, buddy."
"Yep, you're my bud! My second in command!" Max beamed.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Tess asked in a meek voice, lightly touching his arm.
The smile died on Max's face almost instantly and he turned a steely gaze on Tess. "Did I say you could touch me?"
Tess jerked her hand back and shook her head with wide eyes. "I was just worried about you, Max."
"Well, don't be," he snapped. "Don't worry about me, don't touch me, don't even look at me. I don't want you, I don't care about you, and I certainly don't love you! Stay away from me! Got it?"
Tess nodded mutely and then burst into tears.
Outraged, Isabel moved to Tess' side and pulled the smaller girl into her arms, comforting her. "What is going on with you, Max?" she demanded. "There is no reason for you to bite her head off. She was just concerned about you, as we all were!"
Max rolled his eyes. "Ooh, I'm so touched."
"This is not you!"
"Yes, Izzy, it is me. It's the real me and to tell you the truth, I don't want to be here any longer. I have someone to go see."
He flashed a dazzling smile at Isabel and then took off from the cave at a fast jog.
"Max!" she called after him but he ignored her.
"I'll get him," Michael said, disappearing from the cave a moment later.
"Are you okay?" Isabel asked Tess when she pulled back.
The smaller girl's mouth was still trembling and her eyes were still puddled with tears. "Not really," she whimpered, choking on a sob. "I always knew he disliked me but I never thought he hated me."
"He doesn't hate you," Isabel assured her, casting a glance around the room, stopping at the entrance. She released the smaller girl and offered a tight grin. "I'll be right back. I want to find out what the hell is going on with him?"
She made her way to the exit at a steady, determined pace. She didn't know what was going on with her brother but something was definitely not right. Max would never be purposely rude to Tess whether he liked her or not. He would never use the word buddy and she had never seen that twisted, smug smile on his face before.
"What?" she suddenly gasped as she heard Michael's outraged voice cry out, followed by the sound of spitting gravel. She quickened her pace and ran outside to see that Michael was laid out on the ground and the truck was nowhere to be found.
"What happened?" she asked. "Where's Max?"
Michael groaned as he stood. "Max hit me and then took off in the jeep."
"What? He ditched us?"
"You got it," he muttered. "I think he's blown a fuse."
"He's blown something," Isabel grumbled. "Where did he go?"
Michael raised an eyebrow and smirked bitterly. "Can't you guess?"
Isabel nodded slowly. "Yeah, I guess I can."
"What are we supposed to do now?" Michael asked, wiping the trail of blood that had appeared at the corner of his lip with the back of his hand with a grimace.
"I guess we're going to have to call someone to pick us up."
"Eew, that's my other line," Maria told Liz. "Can you hold on for a second?"
"How about I just talk to you tomorrow?" Liz suggested. "I'm tired and I think I'm going to take a nap."
"Tired? It's five o'clock in the evening, Liz."
"I know," Liz sighed. "But I had a long day and I just want to curl up under the blankets and go to sleep."
"Okay. Well, I better get that so I'll see you tomorrow."
"Bye," Liz yawned, hanging up the phone. She stayed in her position on the bed for a few more minutes, blankly staring at the flowery wallpaper on the wall across from her while summoning the energy to get up and remove her jeans.
It took quite a while to find the strength but eventually, she stood and with much difficulty, removed her jeans. She then collapsed on the bed and somehow wiggled her way under the rose colored comforter.
She closed her eyes and almost immediately felt sleep overtaking her body but all that came to a stop when she heard a familiar voice coming from outside her window.
[ edited 2 time(s), last at 18-Apr-2002 1:15:49 AM ]
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:07:26 PM|
"I can't believe you, Isabel," Michael spat the moment that the girl hung up the phone. "Could you have had a worse idea?"
Isabel put her phone back into her backpack and then tossed it on the ground with a cry of frustration. "Who else was I supposed to call? My parents? How would we explain how we got out here and why were even here in the first place without a way home? We can't raise the suspicion. No, it had to be her."
"Why not Alex then?"
Isabel narrowed her eyes and spoke deathly quiet. "You know why."
Michael sneered. "Wait. Let me get this straight. You can't call Alex because it puts you in an awkward situation and would make you feel uncomfortable but calling Maria is okay because it poses no inconvenience to you. That's great, Isabel. Thanks a million."
"No, that's not it," Isabel insisted.
"The hell it isn't! Well what about me, Isabel? Did you ever think about what kind of situation this puts me in? She hates me!"
Isabel shook her head firmly. "No, she loves you."
Michael scowled, looked away.
Tess, who had been standing in the background, stepped forward and spoke for the first time since the cave. "Isabel's right. She loves you and that's why she's coming. Because you need her help. Not us."
Isabel nodded. "Precisely."
Michael couldn't look at them because he knew they was some truth to their words. That's why he felt so guilty. No matter how stubborn Maria was, she would push her pride and anger aside to come to his rescue even though he didn't deserve it. He doubted he could be that strong if situations were reversed.
Liz's eyes opened at the sound of the familiar voice, her body tensing. She knew that voice better than her own. It was the same voice that had brought her so much pleasure for the last year and the one she had been trying to forget ever since; for her own sanity. Instead of sitting up or recognizing his presence, she closed her eyes again and pretended to be asleep in the hopes that he would just turn around and leave. She simply couldn't deal with another heart-wrenching discussion with Max Evans again. It was, after all, the conversation in class that day that left her in her present emotionally-spent condition.
"Liz? Wake up, I need to talk to you."
Still she didn't say anything. Even if she had wanted to, she was unable. Her throat was hot and thick with tears ready to smother her if she didn't allow herself to breath soon.
But still she held her breath until several minutes had passed without Max saying another word. Only after assuming that he was gone did she allow the tears to spill. And once they began, they wouldn't stop. The sound of her sobbing filled the empty room, echoing off the walls. Tears spilled over the bridge of her nose, forming a soggy puddle on her pillow. The bed shook beneath her with every debilitated tremble of her muscles.
Why did he still have this power over her? She had thought that after a few months her wounds would begin to heal and the pain would begin to fade but it only seemed to be getting worse. Every glance her way, every word he spoke, the mere sound of his breathing in class; all of it caused her outer shell of stability to collapse, revealing the miserable and frail young woman inside.
If only there were some kind of switch inside that she could hit to turn off the emotional turmoil inside. It would make going through the normal routine of life and the difficulty of being in the proximity of Max so much easier.
"Here's a tissue," a voice suddenly said, wrenching her from her thoughts and causing her to jump a foot off the bed.
She turned around quickly to see him standing near her bed. "Max!" she gasped. "What are you doing here?"
Max raised an eyebrow and said, "You didn't actually think I'd believe you were asleep, did you? Here."
Liz took the tissue from her hand and dried her eyes. "That still doesn't answer my question," she sniffed. "What are you doing here?"
Max sat down next to her on the bed and grinned, his eyes lighting up. "I had to see you."
"Why?" she blurted, looking at him suspiciously. His smile struck her as odd, sorta out of place. She didn't recognize it but at the same time, she did. She knew that determined, mischievous look, she just couldn't remember how she knew it.
"Because I love you. Why else?"
Liz closed her eyes and rubbed them miserably. "Why are you doing this?" she moaned. "You know that no matter how much we love each other, we still can't be together. It isn't meant to be. I am not your destiny."
"Screw destiny!" he cried, causing Liz to flinch.
"But Max," she argued. "Your people. They're all depending on you."
Max groaned. "Oh yes, all those people depending on me. Or more like trying to run my life for me," he muttered in disgust. "They thought they had my future all mapped out for me. Hide out on Earth, grow up as a human and then become this great leader with my 'bride' at my side. They didn't once have the consideration to think that maybe I wouldn't want to follow their path, that maybe I would want to run my own life. Well, screw them! For once, I am making my own destiny! I am going to do what I want, live how I want and love who I want."
"What are you saying?" Liz asked, stunned. This couldn't be Max. The Max she knew would never blow off something as important as saving an entire planet of people depending on him.
"I'm saying that I don't care! For once, I am making my own choices and I choose you."
Liz couldn't say anything right away. She had selfishly dreamed of this moment every single day for the last three months but now that the moment had come, she couldn't be happy. It just wasn't right. Holding his gaze, she whispered, "And what if I won't let you."
He shook his head, a confident smile on his lips. "I don't think you have much choice in the matter."
"What?" she gasped.
"You see, Liz," he said, reaching out for her hand and trailing a warm finger over her palm. "On the way over here I did quite a bit of thinking about us and I decided that we need a fresh start."
"A fresh start?"
"Yes, Liz. Don't you see? If we stay here, everyone will try to pull us apart and I can't allow that to happen. The only thing we can do is to run away together. Just you and me. We'll go where nobody knows us and live the normal life we've always wanted. As long as we're together, nothing else matters."
That's when it finally dawned on Liz where she had seen that look before. The night of the concert and her ill-fated blind date with that college guy. He had made the exact same speech that very night to her but it had all turned out to be nothing but a loss of inhibitions from the alcohol. "You've been drinking again, haven't you?" she stated flatly, cursing herself for the disappointment she felt. Once again, Max's false promises had made her believe that they could really be together.
"No. I promise."
Liz sighed sadly. "I don't believe you."
"Believe this," he countered and as quick as lightening, brought his mouth to hers, giving her a kiss that made her see stars.
"Thank you for coming and getting us, Maria," Isabel said to break the silence on the way back to Roswell.
Maria hadn't said a word to them since the moment she had arrived and she would hardly look at them.
"You're welcome," she muttered curtly.
"Yes, thank you," Tess added. "We really appreciate it."
"Yep," Maria answered, slightly irritated.
When Michael didn't contribute, Tess, who was sitting next to him in the back seat of Maria's mother's new Blazer, nudged him with her elbow.
"Yeah thanks," he grumbled ungraciously.
This got a reaction out of Maria. "Look at that, he speaks!"
Michael shook his head and continued to look out the window, silently cursing Isabel for bringing Maria into this.
Isabel noticed his behavior and decided to break in. "So, I guess you're wondering what happened? I mean, why we were out there without a car and all."
Maria shrugged. "It's not really any of my business."
"Sure it is," Isabel argued. "You did, after all, drive out to pick us up."
"Hey, whatever," Maria sighed. "If you want to tell me..." She let the statement hang in the air and then glanced back at Michael in the rearview mirror. "Unless that bothers you Michael?"
"Why would it bother me?" he snapped.
"Oh, you know. The whole, me getting too involved in your affairs. I can just imagine how much it killed you to have to admit you needed me to pick you guys up."
"Hey, it wasn't my idea to call you. I would have just assumed walk back to Roswell. I didn't need you for anything."
The car suddenly came to a grinding halt as Maria hit breaks. "Be my guest then."
Michael recognized the challenge for what it was. She was trying to prove a point; that he needed her car ride, that he needed her. Well, if she wanted to play it that way, he'd just refuse to give her the satisfaction. "Fine by me," he stated, fumbling with the door handle. "I'll see you later."
"Michael," Isabel hissed turning to look at him. "What do you think you're doing? Remember Max?"
"What about Max?" Maria asked.
Isabel stared at Michael disapprovingly until he finally stopped fiddling with the handle and his shoulders slumped in defeat.
"What about Max?" Maria repeated.
"I thought you didn't care."
"Just shut up, Michael," Isabel muttered and then turned her attention to Maria. "Start driving and I'll tell you on the way."
When Max finally released Liz, she found that she couldn't open her eyes immediately. She was still too weak and dazed to comprehend that his lips weren't united with hers any longer. No other kiss between them had ever compared to the one he had just given her.
Several moments passed before she finally broke out of her reverie and the world came crashing down around her. How dare he do this to her again! "What the hell was that?" she gasped, hearing the surprised anger in her voice.
Max stared at her wordlessly through lustful eyes, sporting the same devilishly sexy smile that had made her feel uncomfortable just minutes before. This time, however, the effect was completely opposite. Her anger drained away and she stared at him, mystified. A searing heat began in her stomach and then proceeded to spread throughout her entire body as his low-lidded eyes undressed her. Her palms tightly clutched the sheets beneath her and her toes arched. Her body felt like one giant, throbbing heartbeat.
"Max?" she whispered breathlessly, unable to comprehend what was happening to her.
"What do you say, Liz? Do we go?"
"We can't," she breathed, her thoughts sluggish and muddled.
Max wasn't fazed. "Why not?"
"Um...I don't know," Liz paused, biting her lip and trying to think rationally. It was a good question. Roswell held nothing for her but days filled with misery and pain but if they ran away together, she would have the only thing she ever wanted. She and Max would be together. The possibilities were endless. But, she couldn't do it. She couldn't allow him to abandon his destiny because of her own selfishness. She shook her head softly and once again looked up into Max's face to tell him that they couldn't do it but something stopped her.
His eyes were still gazing her with that blatant desire. A new sense of wild possibility washed over her and a new thought glimmered in her head.
But then again, maybe I've earned the right to be selfish for once.
She suddenly smiled for the first time in months and narrowed her eyes determinedly. "Okay, Max. We go. Let's do it."
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:08:25 PM|
"And?" Maria asked in a slightly bored tone.
A frown creased Isabel's eyes. It may have been the first thing Maria had said since she had finished re-telling the story of what happened in the cave but it was the last thing Isabel expected to hear. "And what?"
Maria sighed as she switched lanes on the highway. "Well, does it really surprise you? I mean the boy's been under a lot of pressure for the last few months. He's finally snapped. Frankly, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner."
"Would you get serious?"
Maria glared at Michael in the rearview mirror. "I am serious! Let me reiterate the situation for you all so you can see what I mean. Boy and girl are madly in love and everything seems right in the world until some tramp comes to town and wiggles her way in between them by using creepy mind control. No offense."
"None taken," Tess muttered sarcastically from the back seat, and then under her breath, "bitch."
"Now, boy gets kidnapped by government bad-ass and is experimented on, tortured, etceteras. Boy eventually gets rescued and whisked away by friends but before he even has the chance to engage in some much needed R&R, he has to take control of everything. Like usual. Not twenty-four hours later, he discovers the answers he's been looking for his entire life. But at what a price. The girl he's been madly in love with for years unselfishly leaves him, breaking his heart and hers as well. Now, as I can only imagine because I was abruptly extracted from the entire situation, boy is physically and mentally exhausted and in desperate need of recuperation but he never gets that chance because he's got you three breathing down his neck for the last three months expecting him to deliver you to the promise land. He's traumatized, depressed, miserable...are you seeing the pattern here? With you guys breathing down his neck and not giving him any space, he was bound to snap sooner or later."
"And once again you have managed to boil down the most complex of situations down to the simplest terms," Michael muttered. "Way to go, Maria."
"Eat me, Guerin."
"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" he shot back.
"In your dreams, pal."
"Will you two just shut up!" Isabel cried in exasperation. "You're giving me a friggen headache!"
"She started it."
"Oh, how very kindergarten of you, Michael."
"Enough!" Isabel groaned. "Now, Maria, what you say has some merit but it's more complicated than that. You..."
"Don't even try the 'you wouldn't understand' line with me, Isabel. Nothing shocks or surprises me anymore and I believe I've been pretty understanding about a lot of things."
"No, that's not what I'm saying. Yes, I admit that we've been...hounding Max to do something and he's way over due for a mental breakdown but I really don't believe it's as simple as that. He didn't just snap, he...he turned into a completely different person. Like..." she paused, attempting to find the right words to describe how her brother had been acting.
"Like his alter-ego has slipped out?" Maria provided.
Isabel nodded. "Exactly."
"Then back to my first question. And?"
Isabel looked at her questioningly, once again surprised by Maria's flip attitude.
Maria glanced at Isabel out of the corner of her eye and shrugged. "I'm just saying that it doesn't sound like such a bad thing to me. All I see is that Max has finally decided to think for himself for once instead of playing puppet. He finally got fed up with being the stable link in the group and cleaning up all of your messes for you. The pressure got to him and he's being a little selfish for once. I say, more power to him."
"You've got to be kidding," Isabel exclaimed.
"Not at all."
"Okay, so you're all for the selfish Max, but what about Liz?"
Maria glanced at Isabel slowly. "What about her?"
"Do you think she is? Because as far as we know, he ditched us to go see her. How do you think she'll react to all of this?"
Maria sighed, shrugged. "I don't know. And I'm not really too concerned. She's a big girl and she can take care of herself."
Isabel shook her head softly. "I wish I had your confidence Maria, but I don't. Max was acting...let's just say that he wasn't acting like he'd take no for an answer."
"No to what?"
"Isn't it obvious? Selfish Max wants Liz back and I believe he'd go to any lengths to get her back. And if the way Liz has looked at school the last few days is any indication, I don't think she'd be strong enough to resist him. He might convince her to do something crazy."
"I don't know," Isabel sighed. "Anything."
"Okay, if you're so concerned about Liz then, did you at least call her to give her a heads up that he was coming over?"
"No," Isabel replied slowly. "I figured we'd explain it to her when we saw her."
"But if you think he'd convince her to do something crazy, then didn't it occur to you that you should warn her ahead of time?"
"N-no. I guess I was too worried about how we were going to get out of the middle of nowhere. Maybe I should call her now."
Maria rolled her eyes. "There's a thought."
Max didn't speak immediately. The seconds stretched on in silence with him simply staring at her with the same desire-filled expression. Liz came to wonder if she had only spoken the words in her head?
"Max?" she asked. "Did you hear me?"
"Yeah beautiful, I heard you but I thought it was just in my imagination."
Liz reached up and cupped his cheek. Max closed his eyes and leaned into her palm. "No, it wasn't your imagination. My answer is yes."
Max's larger hand cupped hers and brought it to his mouth where he kissed it lightly. "I didn't think you'd go for it," he murmured finally. "I thought..."
"That I would say no and push you away?"
"Not this time. I just can't do it any longer and I don't want to."
Max closed his eyes again and breathed a sigh of relief, of wonder. Then he released her hand and weaved his own into her hair. His touch was like fire. It seared her scalp and then spread throughout her entire body, consumed her, made her tremble. "Max," she whispered, unconsciously rubbing her legs together.
A barely audible groan on his lips, Max moved in and stole her lips once again. The union was more gentle the second time around but it's affect was no less. A ball of heat settled in her stomach and her eyes fluttered shut as their tongues engaged in an ardent dance.
Bringing her arms around his neck, she pulled him closer so that he was on top of her, pinning her to the bed.
Somewhere in the back of her mind an alarm was blaring, insisting that she needed air soon or she would smother, but she didn't dare pull back. She wanted to live in this moment forever, to savor it, to hold on with the knowledge that he would never let her go. And if it caused her lungs to burst, then so be it. She could think of worst ways to die than in Max Evan's embrace.
Sadly thought, Max had other ideas. A whimper of loss escaped her lips as he pulled back but to her delight, he didn't go far. He rested his cheek against hers, so close that she could feel the puffs of his breath against her ear as he spoke.
"Swear to me, Liz," he panted, his tongue poking out and tracing the ridge of her earlobe.
Liz's head fell back, a shuddering sigh on her lips. "Hmm?" she breathed.
"Swear to me that you'll never leave me again. That when we go, you'll be mine forever."
"I swear, Max. Oh God, I swear."
"Thank you," he replied, placing a feather light kiss on her cheek bone before pulling back.
Liz shivered at the loss of his warmth, a pout on her lips. "Max? What are you doing?"
He smiled again, extending his hand. "It's time to go, beautiful."
"Yes. We have to seize the moment now, Liz, before the opportunity passes us by."
"Okay. Just let me pack some stuff and then we can go."
Max nodded. "Okay but be quick about it. We may not have much time."
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:09:26 PM|
Tires squeeled as the jeep reached the street, turned left and sped away from the alley of the Crashdown.
Max put more pressure on the accelerator, blowing past stop signs and red lights, shrieking around corners, cutting off the cars around him. He didn't know where he was going, he just knew that he and Liz needed to get out of town as quickly as possible before They came.
He could feel Them growing closer. He had been feeling it since he arrived at Liz's window. They wanted to stop him. They wanted to take Liz away from him and he couldn't allow that to happen. He needed her, almost as much as he needed oxygen. More. Without her, her couldn't breathe. Without her, he would die.
They were the enemy. And if They found him, if They tried to take Liz away from him, he knew what he would have to do.
"Max!" It was Liz's shrill voice. She sat next to him in the passenger seat of the jeep, her hand white knuckling the ridge of the seat beneath her. Max instantly eased his foot of the accelerator.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," he said quickly while silently cursing himself. He was supposed to be comforting her, not terrifying her. He needed to make her see that she'd made the right choice, to never allow her the chance to doubt him. And scaring the daylights out of her by driving like a maniac wouldn't help.
Max looked forward again but watched Liz out of the corner of his eye as she visibly relaxed. He still couldn't believe she had agreed to leave with him. When he had come to her earlier, he had believed she would automatically say no. But she hadn't. She had given it all up, everything she had ever worked for, every plan she had ever made, for him. She had put herself in his hands, trusted him to do right by her. He had made a solemn vow to himself when she had said those magic words to him.
I swear on my life, I'll never let her down.
And if They tried to get in the way of that, he would simply kill Them.
Isabel finally hung up after the fifteenth ring, a sense of dread overshadowing her senses. "No answer," she whispered.
Tess leaned forward and placed her hand on Isabel's shoulder. "You don't think...?"
Isabel shifted her gaze to the window and nodded. "Yes, I do."
"What are you saying?" Maria demanded, not liking Isabel's tone.
Isabel hesitated before answering. "That Max has kidnapped Liz."
"That's crazy!" Maria snorted, feeling laughter bubble up in her throat. "Look, she probably just turned off the ringer on the phone after I got done talking to her. She said she was going to take a nap and she probably didn't want to be interrupted. I'm sure everything is fine." turned towards her, her expression far from amused. "I hope you're right, Maria. For Liz's sake."
When the jeep approached the highway, Max steered north, knowing that the others would be driving north but where they would be turning off when they reached Roswell, he would be driving away. It was getting dark out so he flipped the headlights on and instantly relaxed as he and Liz left Roswell forever.
He glanced at Liz and smiled. "How you doing over there?"
Liz's eyes crinkled in the corners. "I'm doing good. Great, in fact. So, where are we going?"
Max shrugged, glanced forward and then back at her. He couldn't take it anymore. He abruptly pulled the car to the side of the road where it jerked to a stop and then reached for the handle of his door and jumped out. He knew that he should really keep driving until they were way beyond Roswell's city limits but he couldn't help it. Sitting next to her in the jeep without being able to touch her was driven him mad. He had to touch her, to taste her.
"Why did we stop?" Liz inquired, looking around at her surroundings.
Max didn't answer. Instead, he walked around to her door, yanked it open and pulled her into his arms.
Liz tossed her head back and giggled. "You're crazy, do you know that?"
"Crazy about you," he replied before his mouth collided with hers. He held her tightly to his body as his tongue pushed past her teeth and fiercely tangled with hers. Liz melted in his arms, her lips parting in welcome.
"Max," she murmured as his lips melded to hers, so that he tasted the word rather than heard it.
"Hmm?" he purred absently into her mouth as his tongue eddied around hers. She tasted sweet, just as he remembered her. How had he gone so long without that taste?
Liz reluctantly pulled back, her eyes dazed and unseeing, her clean breath puffing against his lips. "Shouldn't we keep going?" she gasped.
Max stared into her eyes as they began to slowly focus and nodded aversely. "Yeah, you're right. I just couldn't help myself." He slowly lowered her feet to the ground but didn't release his hold on her tiny form. He had to hold her, just for another moment, just to make sure that this wasn't all a dream.
His eyes closed as he brought his cheek to hers, her strawberry scented shampoo filling his nostrils. Her gingerly raised a hand to her soft hair and tangled his hand in the silky strands. He nuzzled his face closer, and brushed his lips against her small earlobe. He began to kiss her neck.
Liz trembled in his arms and a blithe sigh passed her lips. "Thank you, Max."
Max pulled back and gazed into her face in confusion, his lips curving. "For what?"
Liz lowered her head to his chest and shook it, chuckling softly. "For rescuing me."
"Rescuing you from what?"
She giggled again. "Well, from myself. I know it sounds stupid but that's what you did tonight. I..."
"Shh," Max replied, placing a finger to her moist lips. "I understand."
Liz gazed back into his eyes and nodded seriously. "I knew you would."
Max released her and opened the door for her. It was all Max could do in that moment not to pull her to the ground and take her right there. "Get in. We should get going."
Liz stepped into her seat and then leaned back towards him before he could walk back to his side of the jeep. She pecked him on the lips and nodded. "Let's go start our new life together."
They continued to drive north for several hours until Max noticed Liz's head bobbing to the side. She was drifting off to sleep and he was getting tired too. That's when he decided it was time to find a place to hold up for the night.
He reached in his back pocket and retrieved his wallet, looking to see how much money he had. He sighed when he found just under a hundred dollars. He reached out and grabbed Liz's tiny hand. "Hey beautiful, do you have any money?"
Liz opened her tired eyes and yawned. "Yeah, lots. Three hundred in cash and about four thousand in my bank account," she said groggily.
Max shook his head. "That money in the bank is useless, Liz. If we take it out, it will be too easy to track and we can't let anyone know where we are. We're also going to have to get rid of the jeep too and find some other transportation. We need to disappear without a trace."
Liz nodded and stretched her hands above her head. "You're right. I didn't think of that. What are we going to do for money?"
Max glanced at her and lowered one eyelid in a wink. "Don't you worry, beautiful. We'll figure something out. But we're okay for now. San Raphael is fifteen miles up the road. We're going to stop and get a hotel room, and get something to eat. We'll talk more about this in the morning. Okay?"
Liz rubbed the sleep from her eyes, coughed and shrugged. She was cold, hungry and tired. "Sounds like a plan to me."
Liz waited in the car while Max checked in to the Holiday Inn Express in San Raphael. The town was small and it was the only hotel they recognized. The price for a room was a little more than they wanted to spend but neither of them were too jazzed about spending the night in a roach motel. For tonight they were going to splurge.
She still couldn't believe she had agreed to do this. Not that she regretted it. She wasn't kidding when she had thanked Max for rescuing her earlier. If he hadn't come to her earlier, she would have spent the rest of the night dying a slow death in her room. The next day would be the same. And the day after that.
The only regret she had was that she never got a chance to say good-bye to her parents or her friends. She knew that they would be worried sick about her when they found out that she had left. But Max was right, no one could know that they were leaving. They wouldn't have understood why she had to do this and they would have tried to talk her out of it. And she probably would have let them. Her choice may have been spontaneous but that didn't mean it wasn't the right thing to do. She just hoped they weren't too worried.
Max reappeared moments later with a room key and a sexy smile on his face. He handed her the key and started the jeep up again. "Our room is around the back," he told her as he drove around the building.
When they pulled to a stop, Max reached out for her, cupping her face with his palms and giving her a soft kiss. "You go upstairs and get things situated and I'll go find us something to eat. The restaurant at the hotel is already closed but the guy at the desk said that there is an all-night diner just up the road."
Liz nodded and then pulled back. "Okay, just let me get my stuff."
Max reached in the back seat and effortlessly picked up the small suitcase she had brought. "Here you go. Make sure you lock the door."
"I will," she promised, looking down at the key to see what number their room was. "Bye."
"I love you."
Liz flushed, a dopey smile on her lips. "I love you too."
"Okay, you better get inside. I'll be right back."
Liz nodded and made her way to the glass door in front of her as the jeep disappeared. She put the key in the slot and was instantly hit with a wave of heat. Inside the door, she saw a sign on the wall that said their room, Room 116, was to the left. She tightened her grip on her suitcase and began to walk in that direction.
When she got to the room marked 116, she slid the key in the hole and pulled it out quickly but nothing happened. Her forehead puckered and she placed her suitcase on the ground, trying again. Still it didn't open.
"Damnit," she sighed.
"You need help with that?" a voice asked from down the hall and Liz turned to see a guy about her age wearing a friendly smile and a name tag that read Mark only a few feet away.
She smiled gratefully and nodded. "Yes, please. Nothing is happening."
She stepped out of the way to make room for him as he approached and watched as he fiddled with the key for a moment. He pulled the door closer to him and tried again and instantly a green light flashed on the mechanical door lock. "There you go. You just need to pull the door towards you."
He handed the key back to her and smiled. "No problem. I'm Mark and I work maintenance here. If you need anything or have any other problems, just dial 00."
"Will do, Mark. I'm Liz." She held out her hand and shook his.
"Nice to meet you, Liz. I hope you enjoy your stay."
"Thanks," Liz said again and then picked up her suitcase and walked inside the room, making sure to lock it behind her like Max instructed.
As she hit the light switch, the room instantly flooded with light and her eyes settled on the single king-size bed in the room. Slight nervousness curled her stomach as it hit her that she would be spending all night in the same bed as Max. She didn't know if she was prepared for what could happen.
She put her suitcase on the floor and then slowly unzipped it. She wanted to take a shower before Max got back. Her body was cold and achy and she thought that a shower would help her relax. She rifled through the suitcase, finally removing a pair of jogging pants, a white tank top, and her toiletries bag.
She went into the bathroom and laid her clothes on the sink. She went to close the door but then decided to leave it open a crack so she would be able to hear when Max returned.
A minute later, she was standing under the spray of the shower, soaking in the hot water. Gradually, the chill in her bones began to disappear and she began to wash her hair. She scrubbed her body from head to toe with the new body soap Maria had bought her for her birthday and soon, the bathroom was filled with a mixed scent of Strawberries and Papaya.
She heard the raping of knuckles on the bathroom door and poked her head out. "Max?"
Max's head appeared at the door. "Yeah, it's me. What are you doing?"
Liz stepped back, glancing at the shower curtain quickly. It was completely transparent and if it hadn't been for all the steam from the shower, she would have been completely revealed to him. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm taking a shower."
He wiggled his eyebrows. "Want me to join you?"
Liz's eyes widened, her face flushing with heat. "Uh...I don't think so," she said, unable to stop grinning. She grinned to hide her nervousness.
Max ventured in further, his smile half-teasing, half-devilish. "No? Are you sure? I thought maybe you'd want help washing your back."
He continued to step closer and Liz stiffened. "What do you think you're doing?" she gasped, pulling the shower curtain closed tighter.
He shrugged, coming closer still. "I don't know."
"Max! I'm serious! Get out of here!" she cried incredulously. "I'll be out in a second."
"Okay," Max sighed, a pout on his precious lips. "I was just teasing, Liz. Lighten up."
Liz rolled her eyes and shook her head. "I'll try to keep that in mind. Now get out. I'll be done in a minute."
Max nodded and Liz watched him leave until, waiting until she heard the click of the door to put her head back in the shower. She went through the rest of the motions of her shower routine quickly and turned the shower off. She furiously dried herself, climbing out of the tub and slipping into her clothes.
She opened the bathroom door. She could smell the distinct scent of greasy food and noticed the Styrofoam cartons on the table in the corner but Max was nowhere to be found. She saw the large drapes by the window were swaying slightly and could feel a slight breeze. She walked over to find him standing on the balcony.
"Hello," Max said, reaching for her as she stepped out. He nudged her between his body and the rail of the balcony and nuzzled her neck. "Mmm, you smell good."
Liz smiled and leaned her head back against him and smiled, her eyes closing. The cool breeze felt nice on her skin after her shower but not nearly as nice as Max's arms.
"We should probably go eat before the food gets cold," Max said a moment later and Liz reluctantly agreed. She had like the feel of Max holding her and didn't want him to let her go just yet but he was right. If she didn't eat soon, she was likely to pass out.
Dinner was breakfast: Eggs, hashbrowns, toast and bacon.
"I'm sorry but it was all the restaurant had that sounded descent," Max said as they sat down at the table.
"Hey, this is perfect," Liz said, her stomach rumbling. "I could eat just about anything right now."
The food was good but a little greasy for Liz's tastes. And salty She didn't complain though because at least she was getting some food in her. It was the first time she had ate with enthusiasm in months. In fact, it was the most she had ate at one sitting. She just hadn't had much of an appetite over the summer and if it hadn't been for her parents force-feeding her, she probably wouldn't have ate at all.
When they were done, Liz fished in her purse and pulled out her wallet. She was thirsty and Max had forgotten to get beverages. "Do you want something to drink?" she asked.
"Okay, I'm going to go to the soda machine."
Max stood abruptly. "I'll go with you."
Liz giggled. "No, it's okay. I can go by myself. The vending machines are just down the hall."
Max didn't look happy but he finally relented. "Okay, but put this on," he instructed, giving her his jacket.
"It's not cold in the hallways Max," she argued.
"No, but your tank top is see through."
Liz looked down and her mouth gaped. She hadn't noticed it before but the material of her white tank top was sheer and she could see her nipples through the top. Mortified, she crossed her arms over her chest and took his jacket. She couldn't believe Max hadn't said anything before. "Thank you," she croaked, feeling heat in her cheeks and moved to the door. "I'll be right back."
When she returned to the room with a cherry coke for Max and a sprite for herself, she paused when she saw Max was lying flat on his back on the bed and staring at the ceiling. He was wearing nothing but his blue jeans, his chest bare, and looked so sexy her legs weakened.
"What's wrong?" he asked, turning to the side and propping himself up on one arm, his muscles flexing.
Liz met his eyes and shook her head. "Nothing," she said quickly and handed him his drink. "Here you go." Max took the drink from her hand, his fingers capturing hers in the process and they both looked down at their hands.
"Thank you," Max whispered, raising his intense eyes to hers.
Liz cleared her throat and released his hand. "You're welcome," she muttered, turning away and placing the cold can of sprite to her face. She didn't understand what was happening to her. She had locked eyes with Max a million times before but she had never seen him look so lascivious. Even more disturbing was the effect it was having on her. She felt like she was ready to burst into a million pieces.
She glanced at him with an embarassed smile on her lips and took off his jacket. She forced a yawn and nibbled on her lower lip. "Well, I'm really...tired so I think I'm going to go to bed."
Max pulled the blankets back on her side of the bed and rubbed the crisp sheet, a devilish smile on his lips. "Well, come here, then. I'll tuck you in."
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:10:04 PM|
Liz hesitantly walked over to the bed, a ball of anxiety curling her stomach. She was nervous about his intentions. What was he going to expect from her? She was reminded of how she had reacted earlier in her bedroom to his devouring gaze, and wondered if she would have the strength to resist him if he wanted things to go farther than she was ready for.
It wasn't that she didn't want to ever experience the ultimate intimacy with Max - she wanted to and had been regretting the fact that things hadn't gone farther that night they spent in the desert - but she didn't think tonight was the right time. Everything seemed to be happening at whirlwind speed and she really needed time to process all that had happened that day before she even considered taking the next step.
When she finally reached the bed, she slipped between the sheet and blanket and looked Max in the eyes, her heart beating like a triphammer. Max pulled the blankets up to her neck and then kissed her softly on the forehead. "Goodnight beautiful," he whispered, his velvety lips fluttering against her skin. "I'm going to go take a shower."
Liz watched in astonishment as Max climbed out of bed with a barely audible grunt, turned off the light and closed the bathroom door behind him. A moment later she heard the shower start. She bolted upright in bed, staring into the dark, not sure if she were relieved or disappointed. Sure, she hadn't wanted to have sex with Max but she had at least expected him to try something. He hadn't even given kissed her on the lips!
Without even thinking about what she was doing, she threw the blanket off of her and marched to the bathroom door. She pushed it open and walked inside. "That's all?" she asked.
Max popped his head out of the curtain, suds running down the side of his face. "Liz? What are you doing in here?"
"Oh, you can come in while I'm taking a shower but I can't?" she challenged.
Max smirked, obviously trying to bite back laughter.
"What's so funny?"
"You're pretty adorable when you're angry," he replied.
"I'm not angry.
"Then what are you?"
"I want a proper goodnight kiss," she replied, her voice wavering as she suddenly realizing how crazy she sounded. She had marched in the bathroom wanting to know why he didn't kiss her the way she had expected when two minutes before, she had been nervous about being in the same bed with him. She must be loosing her mind.
Max reached out for her, obviously trying to keep a straight face. Liz stepped forward until their faces were mere inches apart and looked at him expectantly. "Well?" she prompted.
He placed both of his damp hands on either side of her face and gave her a kiss that almost caused her knees to go out from under her. She got so caught up in the warmth and taste of his mouth that she didn't even realize that he had pulled back.
She opened her eyes to see him smirking at her. "Was that better?" he asked.
Liz nodded curtly. "Yes," she replied breathlessly. "Thank you." She turned on her heel and left the room, collapsing on the bed and burying her head in a blanket. She wanted to scream. She wanted to die. What had possessed her to do that? She didn't even want to think about what was going through his head at that moment.
She angrily climbed back under the covers and covered her head. She was glad it was dark in the room. She wouldn't be able to look him in the face after they spectacle she had just made of herself. She stiffened as she heard the shower stop running a few minutes later and remained motionless as the bathroom door opened. The mattress shifted under her as Max climbed into bed and shifted closer to her so that his front was completely melded to her back.
He pulled the blanket back from her head and rested his own head right behind hers. His fingers gently brushed the hair back from her neck and moments later, she felt his hot mouth replace them. Bolts of fire shot throughout her body and she allowed eyes to flutter shut but that was all the recognition she gave him.
His mouth lowered to the slope of her neck, one of the most sensitive spots on her body, and she sucked in a breath without realizing it, her toes arching. She felt his hand slide in beneath the strap of her tank top and gently pull it aside so that it rested off the side of her arm, revealing more bare skin for him to taste. The rhythm of her breathing changed, growing louder, faster, mingling with the sound of Max's own irregular breath.
Feather-like, his warm fingers trailed down her bare arm, leaving tingles in their midst, until his hand reached hers. He began to move them back up but this time over her side; over the curve of her hip, up her small waist, past her ribs, around the swell of her breast and finally the tender crook of her arm. Liz sucked in another deep breath as his palm once trailed down her arm and circled her wrist, pulling it up around his strong neck.
Then his fingers were on her chin, urging her to turn his way. The moment she turned her head, his lips delicately closed over hers, sucking on them lightly. His tongue poked out and trailed her lower lip before nudging for entrance. Liz honored his request, parting her lips and allowing her tongue to swipe over hers. Her was very thorough, she marveled, for not a crevice of her mouth was left unexplored. A small voice in her head was telling her that she should put a stop to what was happening now but it was just one among many others whose cries of rapture were much more prominent.
It was only when his hand slid towards her breast that she pulled back. "Wait."
In the pale blue light of the moon shining in through the window, she could see a hint of confusion on face. "What's wrong?" he panted.
"Max," she whispered breathlessly. "We shouldn't be doing this."
"I don't think it's right."
"Don't think, Liz," he rasped in a hoarse whisper and then he was kissing her again. Passionate kisses, demanding kisses, hungry kisses.
Her eyes fluttered shut as she began to lose herself in the taste and feel of him once again but that damned voice - why couldn't it leave her alone anyway? - made her resist once again.
"Max," she muttered against his lips because this time, he wasn't prepared to release her. "It's just too fast."
Max pulled back and the unbridled lust she saw in his eyes made her breath catch. "I can be slow, Liz," he whispered, his lips curving. "I can be real slow."
Then as if to demonstrate just how slow he could be, he deliberately moved his mouth to her neck, nipping at her clavicle, lapping the hollow of her throat, placing feathery kisses all the way up to the acute flesh beneath her ear. She shuddered as his breath played over the damp trail his mouth had left, her head falling back.
She could feel him smiling against her ear. "Is that slow enough for you?"
"Max," she moaned, clinging desperately to her last thread of restraint. "You know that's not what I meant."
"Do you really want me to stop?" he asked.
Liz turned her entire body so that they were lying nose to nose and she had a clear view of his eyes. She moved her hand to bring it to his face but on the way she brushed his hip and froze, realizing that he wasn't wearing anything under the blanket. She glanced down in shock even though all she could see was the bedspread hugging his form, and then back into his eyes, hoping to God he couldn't see the blush on her cheeks.
"What do you say, Liz?"
"No comment?" Max asked when she didn't reply. "I don't get an answer?"
An answer? her mind joked. What was the question?
She was still reeling from her recent discovery that he had been lying next to her for the last few minutes without clothing and she hadn't even noticed. He was making this hard on her. Damn hard. But even harder was the fervent response her body was having as a result. The minute her hand had brushed his hip, an insistent throbbing had began in her womb, igniting a fire that rapidly spread outward.
And looking at Max, who now wore that damn amused smile she had always found so adorable, caused her resolve to melt like ice under the flame of a blow torch. She searched her mind for any semblance of a reason as to why she had been saying no, why she should resist but it was quickly evident that she was grasping for straws that simply weren't there.
Swallowing thickly, she parted her lips to answer only to discover that her voice wouldn't work. Her ragged breath had taken over completely, disallowing room for anything else.
Either way, it was clear that Max knew her answer. Her eyes fluttered shut as his lips once again pressed against hers, his tongue slipping past her lips and into her mouth. Liz went up in flames, aching for more as his tongue gently probed her, tasted her. Her arms encircled his neck, pulling him closer until his body was firmly pressed up against hers, nearly boiling over as his hardness brushed the sensitive juncture between her legs.
She moaned softly into his mouth, overwhelmed by the flooding of sensation the feel of him caused.
Max's arms wrapped around her back, his feather-light fingers drifting up and down her spine, searing her skin beneath her clothes. Shuddering, she arched, her chest straining forward, unconsciously pulling her mouth away from his as her head fell back.
He took the opportunity to once again seize her neck, his lips feeling feverish against his skin as they ever so slowly swept over the contours of her throat and then the line of her jaw. His mouth never broke the precious contact of her skin as he shifted his body lower. She sucked in a shaky breath as his fiery tongue played around the ridgeline of her top and she once again arched forward.
He continued his descent and she sucked in a breath, growing dizzy as his hot mouth close over one of her breasts, nipping and teasing her taught nipple through her shirt. Her fingers laced through his hair, holding him in place, his name a raspy whisper on her lips. She felt him chuckle against her and one of his hands reached up and pulled her hand away.
She looked down in confusion as he pulled back and saw that he was staring up at her, his lips twitching in one corner. "Whatever happened to slow?" he asked, amusement glinting in his eyes.
Liz groaned in frustration and threw her head back on the pillow. She could have killed him. After spending the last hour or so trying to resist him, he was going to torture her now that she had given in?
However, her frustration didn't last long. Almost immediately it drained away with the feel of his mouth on her other breast. But it simply wasn't enough to satiate her neediness. Deciding to help the process along, she reached down to the hem of her tank tap and began pull it up.
When she felt his warm hand close over one of hers she sighed, thinking that he was going to stop her, but she was surprised to discover that his intentions weren't to stop her, but to do it for her. She pulled her hand back and closed her eyes, allowing him to do all the work. Her abs contracted as his warm hand encountered her flesh and he slowly inched the material up her torso.
She raised her arms above her head and sat up slightly so he could slide the tank off. She shivered at the draft of cool air that greeted her skin and immediate brought her hands up to cover her chest but Max's hands intercepted hers, slowly pulling them down on either side of her. She nervously raised her eyes, frightened that he would find her repulsive, but all it took was one look to tell her all she needed to know.
After staring down at her in wonder, he swept down to taste one of her exposed nipples properly, his tongue gently swirling and suckling the dark nub. She moaned softly and circled his waist with her legs, unconsciously raising her hips towards him so that her hot center brushed against his abs.
His gaze shifted to hers, a small smile playing on his lips. "Like that, beautiful?" he whispered.
Liz nodded, still unable to speak and then arched as his mouth began to move lower, kissing down her cleavage, her abs, over her trim tummy where it lingered at her belly button before playing along the elastic waistline of her pants.
Liz gasped, the soft lashes of his tongue sending bolts of electricity directly to her already throbbing center. "Ma...Max," she moaned, finally finding her voice.
Abruptly, his mouth pulled back, and she whimpered, looking up to find him shifting his body so that he was sitting on his knees. Her eyes looked into his for just a moment before lowering to his muscular chest, noticing the thin sheen of perspiration glinting in the dim light of the moon.
His eyes locked on hers as his hands gripped the waistband of her pants, slowly sliding them down her hips and legs, tickling her skin in the process. He tossed them over his shoulder and moments later, her panties followed, leaving behind a damp trail on her inner thigh and calves, making her burning desire evident to him. And then he looked down.
The desire reflected in his eyes as he stared at her lower body elicited a violent pang in her center and she rubbed her legs together, willing her body under control.
His hands captured her knees and then slowly eased her legs apart. She heard Max suck in a breath from above her as his eyes fell upon her core and her back instinctively arched. She felt like one giant throbbing pulse aching for his touch.
And touch her he did.
She cried out his name as his fingers tenderly touched the mound of curls at the juncture of her legs and then raised her hips to meet him as he brushed over her clit. She briefly wondered if he knew how sensitive that area was and what effect his actions were having on her but the thought was gone almost as quickly as it came because in that moment, his fingers began to play along the ridges of her lower lips. All coherent thought left her as a gasp of breath exploded from her lips and her hips thrusted up insistently.
She parted her legs further, thrashing beneath him as his fingers circled her pulsing lips, his thumb massaging her swollen nub. She felt herself spiraling out of control, doubting that anything could ever parallel the maelstrom of sensation flooding throughout her body only to find out just how wrong she was when Max plunged two fingers inside her walls.
She almost screamed but couldn't find the breath to do so. She clenched her eyes shut and moaned instead.
She hardly noticed that Max had shifted his position on the bed, but the next instant his mouth was once again suckling her breasts.
Her hips moved in time with his fingers as they slid in and then out again. Her womb began to inflate with each thrust of his hand, swelling...throbbing. She held her breath as it continued to build, unsure what was happening but not going to question it. Why question something that felt so wonderful?
It continued to build as his fingers caressed her inner walls, and then suddenly, her insides clenched around his hand and the pressure that had been building blew like a cork in a bottle, accompanied by an exalted shriek of ecstasy as it spread outward to her limbs with a speed that terrified her.
Her tightened muscles held his hand in place for some time and he stayed with her until the twitching of her body began to slowly subside. Max shifted his body so that he was lying just off to her side, gazing into her face with such passion.
She rested her head against his, speaking between gasps. "My god, Max. I have never...."
Max laughed low in his throat and pulled his head back to once again to look into her eyes. "You're welcome," he murmured. "In fact, thank you."
"For what?" she asked, feeling guilty that she hadn't given him any of the pleasure he had bestowed on her.
He gave her a soft kiss, his mouth floating above hers as he spoke. "For letting me touch you. For letting me do that."
Liz smiled and then shifted, encountering his rock-hard erection. It was just enough to get her going again. Smiling up into his eye, she placed a shaky hand on his damp chest and slowly directed him to his back. She raised her leg and threw it over him, sitting up on top of him, straddling his hips. "You're welcome," she murmured, leaning down and sliding her tongue against his in one teasing, tantalizing swipe, shuddering as her hardened nipples swept over his chest. "But we're not done yet."
He grinned, raised an eyebrow. "Oh no?"
"Uh, uh," she murmured against his lips. "Not even remotely close."
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:10:45 PM|
"Maria, there better be a damn good reason why you called me here because I have a ton of...whoa. What the hell are they doing here?"
Maria glanced between Alex and the three aliens sitting at the counter. "Well..."
Alex sneered. "Screw this, I'm outta here."
"No wait!" Isabel cried, dashing forward and anchoring his arm. "We called you because you should know what's happening. We need you. Please, just stay until you find out what's going on."
A muscle clenched in Alex's jaw as he yanked his arm away and stared hard into her eyes. "Give me one good reason why I should, Isabel."
"Because Liz could be in trouble."
Alex whirled on Maria, his scowl smoothing, his head tilting as if he had forgotten she was even there. "Huh?"
Maria patted the empty table across from her, indicating for him to sit down. Hesitantly, he approached the table, glancing at the others before taking his seat. "What about Liz?"
The mix of Liz's wild eyes and the satiny feel of her raining heat over his groin was nearly enough to cause Max to go over the edge right there. Truth be told, there was enough torturous pleasure in his straining erection to cause him to spontaneously combust but he was holding back and would continue to do so until the time was right.
He wanted to make this night an experience Liz Parker would never forget. He had been completely aware that giving in had been a difficult decision for her. He had heard her say that she didn't think she was ready but he hadn't really heard her - he hadn't allowed himself to. Had he done so, he would have been in bed with her all night and unable to do all the things he had been aching to do since his awakening.
Much like he had predicted, all it would take was a little persuasion on his part and she would relent. Not that he hadn't felt a small amount of guilt for seducing her. He had, but it hadn't been enough to stop him. The guilt had quelled and faded with one look of the ecstasy playing on her face as she reached her precipus. It had been such a beautiful sight. He could still see it in his mind; her body tensing, her shoulders freezing just milliseconds before she violently arched off the bed as if hit by a live wire. Her delicate walls had squeezed tightly around his fingers like a vise, causing an obvious swell to course throughout her entire being where it finally
exited with one righteous cry of rapture from her lips. Even the dark hadn't been able to mask the dark orgasmic flush that crept over her skin. He would never forget how glorious she had looked in that moment. Or the sweet, pungent aroma of her burning passage as it hit his nose at full force.
To this very moment, it lingered in the air, teasing his senses, beckoning to him. A cloud of lustful euphoria had settled over his brain as it occurred to him that if she smelled that amazing, then she would probably taste fantastic. The concept thrilled him so much that he began to salivate like a blood-thirsty hound. The vision of
his head being nestled between her smooth thighs flashed before his eyes, eliciting a severe jolt in his groin. His hips thrusted upwards and Liz's moistened cleft ground down on him in answer, the sound of her soft moaning mingling with the blood rushing in his ears.
So preoccupied with his latest obsession, he gave a surprised jerk as Liz's sharp teeth bit into one of his nipples. He sucked in a breath, feeling her lips turn up against his chest. She proceeded to slowly lave the sting away with her tongue before focusing her eyes on his. "Sorry," she said in a girlish voice, her eyes gleaming with guilty pleasure. "Couldn't resist."
Max smirked as an idea formed in his mind. "I'll forgive you this time but if it happens again, I'm going to have to punish you."
Liz's held his eye, looking intrigued. "Oh yeah? So if I do this again..." She leaned hear head lower and opened her mouth just above his left nub. "...then I'll get punished?"
A daring grin on his lips, Max nodded. He held his breath and waited, knowing she would be unable to stop herself from doing it again. Or so he hoped.
The vibration of Liz's throaty chuckle tickled his skin before she took one of his nubs back into her warm mouth. Her eyes stayed focused on his while her tongue ran infuriatingly slow circles over his raised flesh, and then they flashed with delight as she sunk a tooth in him.
That was all it took. Lightening flash, he grabbed her under the arms and pulled her forward so that she was straddling his face. Liz emitted a strangled cry, leaning forward and grabbing the corners of the pillow in front of him for support. Without any trepidation, Max licked her from perineum to clit, groaning blissfully as her juices slid down his tongue, coating his mouth. Liz arched above him and then shuddered, mewling with pleasure. She tasted like heaven on earth.
Unquenchable thirst in tow, Max licked her damp inner thighs in long, languid strokes, not wanting to miss a drop. When positive he hadn't, he brought his hands to her front, using his thumbs to unsheathe her swollen nub before using fast, darting probes of his tongue at the base of her nerve center. Liz's constant unintelligible cries filled the room as he grazed the perfectly shaped pink triangle with his teeth, using his tongue to push, pull and swirl over it.
Max closed his eyes and totally immersed himself in pleasuring her. He simply couldn't get enough of her intoxicating taste. And by the way she was shifting her hips over him to alter the sensation and squeezing his head between her thighs, it was clear that she was loving it everybit as much as he was - if that was even possible.
He continued his ministrations for some time, until he felt her body go deathly still above him, indicating that she was at the periphery of an orgasm. He stopped, clutched her hips, and then gave her the much-overdue push she needed, sending her flying over the edge with one southern drawl of his tongue.
His name came as a shrill cry on her lips and he plunged two fingers into her passage, holding still until her quivering ebbed. He began caressed her inner walls with his fingers while using his other arm to maneuver her to her back. Her hips rose immediately in response and she moaned softly.
Sitting up, he admired the glistening beauty of her naked body. Her magnificent chest rose and fell at a fast pace. Her hips made soft, seductive circles against his hands. Lovely.
Going in for his second assault, he lowered himself on his elbow and once again dropped his head to her delectable core, pumping his fingers more vigorously while making long, horizontal strokes across her folds with his tongue.
She began to squirm, weaving her thin fingers in his hair in an attempt to bring him closer but he was having none of it. He wanted to take his time in continuing his exploration, wanted this orgasm to be built of multiple layers, not merely a hasty eruption of little consequence.
She let out a despairing whimper of loss as he withdrew both mouth and hand so that his eyes could rove her exposed essence. The dark patch of hair on her mons was neatly trimmed into a small triangle, practically pointing the way to heaven. Her lower lips were puffy and parted invitingly, looking like a luscious, exotic fruit just begging to be eaten.
Only when Liz's cry of frustration and agony pervaded his ears did he tear his gaze away. "Max!" she whined. "Please."
He chuckled as he watched her wiggle and writhe, trying to control her urges. "Please what?" he murmured, tickling her inner thigh with his fingers.
"Fuck!" she cried, surprising the hell out of him. "Please, just do...something. You can't just stop."
"Sure I can," he teased. "Remember, this is supposed to be your punishment."
She propped her self up on her elbows and glared at him threateningly. He had never seen her like this. Her face was beaded with sweat and several strands of wispy, damp hair clung to the sides of her face. She looked exquisite but positively wild, almost feral. If the sight of her this way hadn't evoked such an agonizing throbbing in his groin, he might have been a little scared. But there was no room for that now.
He held her eye in a stare down, waiting until she relented with a slump back on the bed before diving in for round two with a groan on his lips.
Liz's frustration quickly turned to elation as Max's lips once again descended on her lower body. Her hips violently upthrusted and a cry that was equal mix ferocious growl and delighted wail.
Smirking against her saturated core, he offered a quick swipe of his tongue over her tumid lips before stopping to kiss his way up her flat stomach. Her nipples stood out like BB's as he flicked his tongue over one and then the other. He couldn't get over how beautiful her breasts were. They were so round and firm and her nipples were a pale pink color, as if they had been dipped in strawberry cream. He suckled the splendid buds of each one before slowly trailing his tongue down the soft, sensitive undersides. She moaned and her chest lifted, straining for more.
He brought the finger he had previously used to bring her to orgasm - still slick with her juices - to her mouth and began to caress her lips as his own mouth lingered at her nipples. Her lips parted immediately and he slid his finger inside, abuzz with anticipation as her tongue curled around that finger, licking and swirling it sensually. Spots danced before his eyes and he imagined having her mouth on him and his erection grew even stiffer, something he thought beyond possible. He shifted his hips to alleviate some of the agony in his groin and pulled both his finger and mouth back, blowing a cool breath over each of her gorgeous mounds.
He kissed his way down her soft stomach, over her gloriously wet core and lower still until he had reached her knees. Enclosing her ankle in his hand, he pulled her leg forward and lightly licked her ankle. Her calf muscle tensed in his grasp. Slowly, he followed the contour of her tightened muscle, dipping his tongue in the soft bend of her knee, lingering around her damp thigh until finally his exploration of her shapely leg brought him back to her moist delta.
Much like a hummingbird sipping nectar, he dipped his tongue in slowly, sighing as her sweet taste filled his mouth. He cupped the supple spheres of her posterior and pulled her closer until his lips were molded to hers. Her legs widened even more and barely audible moaning noises filled the room.
Max stroked every inch of her sweet spot, storming her with an onslaught of quick laps, plunging his tongue full into her drenched canal, waiting until he felt her reach her precipus. That's where he would retreat and slowly suckle her exotic petal lips. He'd continue to slowly tease her until he was sure she had cooled down some and then move in once again.
He persisted with this torment until every inch of her body was quaking with desire and frustration. That's when he left behind the torturous suckling and gave her all he had. She arched off the bed and then began to move her hips in circular motions over his face, arching her hips to give him further access.
He squeezed her pliant cheeks with his hands, grinding his face against her as his tongue worked it's magic. When he felt her velvety walls begin to make slow contractions around his tongue, he clenched his eyes shut and listened to her heavenly sobs.
She began to cry out loudly, telling him to stop, to not stop, mentioning something about God and following it up by uttering several unintelligible words. Her hands clutched wildly at his arms, her sharp nails digging into his shoulders as she bucked wildly against his face.
Not breaking contact, he looked up to see Liz licking her lips as tears formed in the corners of her eyes. He drove his tongue straight into her, pushing it up as far as it could go and caressed her walls until her entire body tensed, stiffened and a tumultuous shriek of his name exited her lips in rapid succession. "Max! Max! Oh God yes, Max!"
Her hips arched high off the bed and she stayed like that, screaming his name as orgasm shook her body.
He placed a hand over her mouth to muffle her screams as he greedily gulped down the torrent of juices that flooded her canal. Even with his hand over her, she came so loud that he was sure the people in the neighboring rooms could hear but he was beyond caring at this point. He did his best to try to suck her dry but it was an impossible task. He drank her down as her soul cascaded down her throat. Only when he was completely sated did he pull his mouth back and watch as Liz collapsed to the bed in exhaustion.
He slowly sat up, tongue licking his lips to catch any remnants of her elixir that might have escaped her mouth. She was staring up at him in a daze, her eyes clouded with contentment.
Max stretched out next to her and took her into his arms, giving her a passionate kiss. She purred into his mouth as she returned his kiss. They were slow kisses, idle kisses and it occurred to him that he might have gone to far. His body was pent up with so much need and frustration that he thought he would die if he didn't have her. But if she didn't want any more tonight, he wasn't going to force her.
She continued to kiss him softly, torturous soft kisses that caused him to wince. But as time grew, her kisses grew more heated and she turned towards him, throwing a leg over his hip so that her center was pushed up against his erection. As their heavy breathing filled the room and their bodies began to rock against one another, she brought one hand up to his neck and slid it into his hair. Her other hand stroked his chest and then glided down between their bodies until her slender fingers had wrapped around his shaft.
Max jumped and his hips drove forward, a tortured groan escaping his lips. He was so rock hard that it was slightly painful but when she ran her hand down from base to tip, his entire body pulsing from sensory overload. As her hand slowly stroked his cock, she led him towards her slit, rubbing him up against her drenched center.
He choked on a groan as his breath hitched in his throat. The spots were dancing before his eyes again but this time they seemed like glitter shimmering in the air. He gritted his teeth and pulled her closer as she pumped him harder. This time it was he who was shaking.
Only when he felt his first pulse of orgasm did he move her hand away. He had to be inside her. Now.
She laid on her back and widened her legs, as if knowing what he needed. Groaning, he rolled on top of her and kissed her hard. Her hand once again clutched him and led him to her core, moving his tip around to lubricate him before pulling him towards her lips. Max wrapped his hand around hers and delicately began to push forward. He almost came as her tight walls squeezed his tip and had to take a deep calming breath to ensure he wouldn't. He only continued to slide inside of her when he was sure that he could control himself.
She laid completely still, her eyes locked on his as he inched forward, stopping periodically to give her room to adjust. She was so tight and he wondered if she were in pain.
"Are you all right?" he asked when he saw her eyes flash and her jaw clench.
"Yes," she replied breathlessly. "Don't stop."
Max smiled and continued to venture inwards. He kept going until he was suddenly forced to an abrupt stop. He frowned and glanced down. He was only halfway in. He tried again but to no avail.
"No," Liz whispered. "It's my...you have to break it." She held his eye for understanding and he nodded. She nodded too, shakily, and reached her arms for his neck. "Kiss me," she instructed.
His mouth crashed into hers, her tongue darting and probing his own until he was completely caught up into their mouth that he forgot what they were doing. That's when she suddenly pulled her hips back and then thrust them forward hard. He slide all the way inside but with little pleasure due to the loud, painful cry on Liz's lips.
"Oh God, Liz!" he cried, cupping her face in his palms. "What's wrong?"
Tears streamed down the sides of her face, collecting in small puddles around her ear which confused him because of the smile on her face. "It's okay," she told him, half sobbing. She giggled. "You obviously know very little about girls. This is what's supposed to happen the first time. I promise."
"But you're crying!" he argued, smoothing her tears off her cheeks. "Should I stop?"
"No!" she said firmly. "Don't you dare."
"No buts, Max. Just give me a minute."
Hesitantly, he nodded and they began to exchange soft kisses while he patiently waited. He could have kissed her like that all night but when her felt her inner muscles loosen and her hips begin to push up, he pulled back.
"Okay," she whispered, giving him the go ahead.
Max kept his eyes on hers as his hips retreated and he began to slowly move in and out of her. She still looked like she was in pain so he began to stop but with one warning of her eyes, he changed his mind. Only seconds passed before that painful look turned to ecstasy and her hips began to thrust up against his.
He pushed a hand between their bodies and began to play over her clit as he dipped into her with shallow strokes. Liz's pain was soon forgotten as she writhed beneath him, making hoarse moaning noises.
"More," she begged. "Please, Max. Deeper."
Max removed his hand from her clit and placed both palms on her hips, raising them so that he had further access. He slid inside to her, deeper than he ever thought possible and then began go faster. Liz moaned like crazy, the heels of her feet digging into the bed as she thrust her hips even higher. She continued to utter encouragement's but Max could no longer hear them.
Their pace was so fast that he was soon on the brink of orgasm. Fire tore throughout his stiff arousal and began to pulse outward like sonar waves. He wanted to slow down but couldn't.The sensations that overwhelmed his body prevented him from doing so. He continued to pump into her, staring at her face which were speckled by the Technicolor dots of before. He wanted to remember this moment forever; to commemorate the look of ecstasy on her face as she met him thrust for thrust.
"Max!" she cried, pushing up so far that she had jumped half off the bed.
He growled at the deep stroke the motion caused and lost control. His fingertips ground into the globes of her ass as he powerfully surged within her. All of his repressed emotions and desires went into that thrust and Liz's response was immediate. Just one second later, her inner walls had twitched and her sheath spasmed around him with an iron grip.
He kept going until her cervix had milked ever last drop from his shaft and then collapsed on top of her. The fog in his ears began to clear and all that could be heard was the combined sounds of their ragged breathing.
She was the first to break the silence. "Max?"
He pulled back and gazed into her eyes. She was staring at him with such a look of love that it choked his throat up. "Yes?"
He smiled and brought a hand to her cheek. "Thank you."
She smiled too and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him down until their lips met. "I love you," she whispered, stealing a quick kiss.
"I love you, Liz," he returned against her lips. "Always."
They kissed softly. When their mouths broke contact, he pulled off of her completely and heard her moan as he withdrew from her sheath. He quickly wrapped her in his arm and buried his head in her neck. She brought her hand to his head and began to stroke the back of his neck.
Drowsiness overtook his body and he closed his eyes, drifting off to sleep. Only the quiet laughter of Liz made him open his eyes again.
"What's so funny?" he mumbled.
"Nothing. I was just thinking that I should be bad more often."
"Well, if that's the kind of punishment I'm going to get..."
She trailed off and they both laughed softly, lulling each other to sleep.
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:11:37 PM|
Alex's expression remained inscrutable as Maria explained what they knew about Max and their assumptions concerning Liz. By the time she was finished, she was almost unnerved by his hollow, penetrating gaze.
"So, what do you think?" she finished in a rush, glad to be done telling it all.
Alex stared at her for a long time before speaking. "So, Max decided he wanted to be with Liz, once and for all. What's the big deal?"
Maria grinned in spite of herself. "My thoughts exactly. Initially, that is."
"Must be a human thing," Tess shrugged.
"No, it's a friend thing," Alex said coolly. "Not that I'd expect any of you to understand that since it's been made quite clear in the past that friendship is an alien concept to you people. No pun intended."
Michael sneered from his stool at the counter. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"Figure it out, Guerin," Maria quipped.
He glanced between the two with a look that Maria assumed was supposed to be intimidating and then rolled his eyes. "Whatever."
Alex shook his head in disgust and then turned his cool gaze on Isabel. "If you're so worried, why haven't you checked it out?"
A frown creased Isabel's forehead. "Huh?"
"You're the one with the power to invade people's heads, right?" he asked matter of factly.
A dawning expression brightened Isabel's face. "Of course! I could dreamwalk Max's head," she said. "Why didn't I think of that before?"
"You have to forgive her," Maria said to Alex. "Isabel's just a little slow today."
Isabel's eyes narrowed to thin slits. "Excuse me?"
Maria crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back in the booth. "Let's just put it this way, princess; if you'd had the brains to call Liz when this all first occured, you could have warned her and we probably wouldn't be in this situation. But of course, you were too worried about how you were going to get out of your own predicament of being stranded that it never occured to you that you could prevent this all by calling Liz and giving her a heads up."
"Always looking out for number one, right guys?" Alex remarked sarcastically.
"Hey," Isabel argued. "It wasn't...
"As far as I'm concerned," Maria interrupted. "This is all your fault and if anything - I mean ANYTHING - happens to her, I am holding you three personally responsible."
"That is so not fair, Maria, and you know it," Isabel gritted.
"Life isn't fair," she returned.
"How very poetic," Michael smarted.
"Yeah guys, keep on fighting. Just keep in mind that while you're hear bickering, Max and Liz are slipping farther and farther out of our grasp," Tess snapped, looking irritated.
"And I bet that's tearing you up inside, isn't it Tess?" Alex pounced. "Knowing that Max and Liz are off enjoying each other's company, doing god knows what with or...to each other and you can't use your mind warp to stop it."
He had obviously stuck a nerve because Tess' china-blue eyes flashed with fire before she turned her aristocratic nose upwards. "Go to hell."
"Couldn't have said it better myself," Maria cheered Alex, once again impressed. He obviously was letting out three months of repressed hurt and anger. "But, all the same," she sighed reluctantly. "She's right. Fighting isn't going to do any of us a damn bit of good getting Liz and Max back."
Alex snorted in agreement and Michael grumbled something unintelligible that Maria interpreted as some irritable form of resignation.
"Okay," Isabel yielded. "You're right. If we're going to accomplish anything, we're going to have to put aside our differences and work together. Is that going to be a problem?"
Everyone with the exception of Michael, who cheered sarcastically from the corner, nodded or shrugged.
"I think it's time for you to get started then," Alex advised. "Let your mind do the walking."
"Right. Just let me see if I have a picture of him," Isabel sighed, walking towards the counter where her backpack lay.
"Oh, I've got one," Tess said quickly, reaching into her backpack and pulling out a blue leather organizer. She unzipped it and quickly retrieved a photo from inside and handed it to Isabel.
"Big surprise," Maria snorted. "Stopped storing them in boxes now, have we?"
Tess' shoulders stiffened but she didn't give any other indication that she had heard Maria's comment.
Photo in hand, Isabel walked to the booth directly behind Maria and sat down. Michael and Tess sat in the booth across from her while moved to the table across from the booth, taking a seat in a chair.
Isabel looked down at the photo in her hands and began to concentrate but suddenly stopped and looked around the room. "Uh...it's a little hard to concentrate with all you staring at me," she intoned.
Maria rolled her eyes and tapped Alex on the shoulder, inclining her head towards the break room. He sighed and stood, following her to the back.
"Now that we're alone," Alex said as the door swung closed behind them. "I wanna know your take on this. What do you really think about all this?"
Sitting down on the couch and crossing a leg beneath her, Maria shrugged. "If you're talking about Liz, I don't think it would have taken much persuasion on Max's part to get her to go somewhere with him. She's held out for as long as she could but she's been hanging by a thread and all it would have taken from Max was a single word to break her resolve."
Alex sat down next to her and nodded. "I guess. So, you really think that they've run away, then?"
"Yeah, I do."
Alex stood and moved over to the door, peering into the restaurant through the diamond shaped glass where he saw Isabel still leaning over the photo of Max and concentrating. Michael and Tess had moved back to the counter and were watching her quietly. "You don't think..." he paused, not sure how to ask his next question. The idea alone was crazy but if things were as the others said, that meant that it was possible. He decided to ask it anyway. "You don't think that Max, in his present state of mind, would hurt her, do you?"
He turned to see Maria's eyes widen. "No, he would never...would he?" she asked, not looking so sure.
"Isabel seems to think so."
"She never said that."
Alex shrugged. "All the same, she does."
"How do you know?"
He looked back through the window, pretending not to hear her. He watched as Isabel suddenly slammed her fist on the table and her lips moved as she cursed. Michael and Tess both stood and were saying something to her but she didn't answer them. She was otherwise engaged in staring at him.
For one quick moment, he felt a palpitation in his heart which was threatening to seize like it always used to when she looked at him, but he tore his gaze away and forced himself to remember what kind of person she really was. "Doesn't look like things are going well," he said to Maria.
Maria sighed loudly and rose to her feet. Sliding past him, she pushed through the door to find out for herself. Alex followed her, careful to avoid Isabel's eyes.
"I can't get through," Isabel said helplessly, her voice full of distress.
"Which, as I was saying before you got here, means that they are probably too far out of range for her to get through," Michael concluded hastily.
"I don't know," Isabel said. "What if he's blocking me out? I'm used to feeling his presence but I can't feel him at all right now."
"Possible, but did it ever occur to you that maybe he's not asleep?" Maria asked, thinking that they were all jumping to some pretty heavy conclusions.
"But it's three in the morning," Tess stated.
"And? If you haven't noticed, we're not asleep either."
"What? Do you think they're still driving?"
"Or doing something else," Maria muttered, smirking meanly at Tess. She thoroughly enjoyed seeing Tess fretting over the notion that Max and Liz might be "cementing" their relationship. Not that she herself believed that Liz would allow things to go that far but Tess didn't know Liz well enough to know what she would be willing to do.
"Like what?" Michael asked. She glanced at him and shook her head, snorting. God, he could be so dense.
"You really want me to answer that?"
"No," several voices said and Maria was relieved to see that the others got what she was hinting at.
"So, what do we do now?" Alex asked. He looked around at the blank faces of the others seeing that they had no idea. "Well, I'm exhausted. I think it's best if we all just go home, go to bed, and regroup in the morning to discuss our next step. We can meet before school."
"Whoa! Wait a minute," Michael said, raising his hands to his head. "You're saying that we should just forget about it and go to sleep and then go to school in the morning? Have you lost your fucking mind?"
"It's not like we have any other options," Alex replied.
"What the hell do you want us to do then, Michael?" Maria cried in frustration. "Go driving blindly in the middle of the night in the hopes that we might just stumble upon them? I don't think so. No, were not going to accomplish anything productive tonight."
"Stop arguing, Michael. You know she's right," Isabel sighed. "Let's just go home and meet in the morning before school."
"We can't go to school! We have to find them!"
"Yes, we have to find them," Isabel said slowly to make sure he understood. "But, we also can't raise the suspicion. Keep everything low key until we figure something out."
"Normal," Michael scoffed.
"I just thought of something," Alex said. "What are we going to say to Liz's parent's? To yours?"
Isabel frowned. "My parents will think he just went camping or something. He's been disappearing all summer for a few days at a time so they won't be too alarmed. As for Liz's parents, I have no clue."
"They don't seem to notice that she's missing, yet," Maria said, forming a plan in her head. "If they had, they probably would have called Sheriff Valenti. They probably thinks she's in bed. Tomorrow, after school, I can call and say that she's going to be spending the night at my house. I've done it before so they won't suspect anything but we can only use that excuse for a day or two. After that, we're screwed. Which means we don't have much time before they begin to ask questions."
"Good. We've got that taken care of," Isabel said. "What about the sheriff?"
"What about him?" Tess asked.
"I think someone should tell him what's going on just in case."
"Why?" Tess blurted. "He doesn't need to know anything about this."
"I disagree," Isabel argued. "If he knows the situation, he may be able to help us out if we can't find them right away."
"Help us out how?"
"He can talk to our parents, calm them down. I think it's just better if he knows."
Everyone else nodded, even Michael to Maria's surprise, seemed to agree.
"Fine," Tess finally grumbled. "Do whatever you want. Where are we meeting in the morning?"
"How about the reservoir?" Alex suggested.
"Fine," Tess said again, grabbing her things and leaving the restaurant in a huff.
That left Isabel, Michael, Maria and Alex alone in the room. There was an awkward silence where no one would speak or even look at each other. Finally, Maria broke it. "Who's going to tell Valenti?"
"I guess I could," Michael proposed.
"Sounds like a plan," Isabel said. "Is that it?"
"Wait," Maria said to Isabel. "I want to ask you something before we leave."
"Do you think that Liz is in any danger? From Max I mean? I know it's crazy but Alex said that he thought you might believe so, and I have to know for myself."
Isabel looked at Alex quickly but he wouldn't meet her gaze.
"Oh, please," Michael growled. "How could you even think that he would ever hurt her?"
"He hit you," Isabel pointed out.
"And? Let me remind you, he's done it before."
"Yeah, but he also was being intentionally rude to Tess and he's never done that before."
She turned her attention back to Maria. "I don't know if he would ever intentionally hurt her, if that's what your asking?"
"So what? You're saying that he might accidentally hurt her?"
"I'm saying that he was showing some violent tendencies that the normal Max doesn't possess," Isabel returned vaguely.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that if he loses his temper and she gets in the way..."
"I get it," Maria interrupted, not wanting to hear anymore. There mere idea of Max ever laying a hand on Liz in violence made her stomach turn, frightened her. "Let's just make sure we find them before that can happen. And fast."
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:12:41 PM|
Though slept had overtaken Max quickly after making love to Liz, he hadn't allowed himself to bask in the luxury longer than he had to. In the throws of sleep he was vulnerable to attack. His mind was open and freed from personal restraint, and that was the same as welcoming foreign influence. It was imperative to be on guards at all time, he knew that as well as anyone. The circumstances he and Liz found themselves in were precarious, and if he did anything to upset the delicate balance so early in the game, his carefully delineated plan would fall to the wind.
He'd been up for only a little while now, allowing himself no more than an hour's rest. Sleep was still a temptation, but he'd survive. Especially if he was able to spend the rest of the midnight hours studying the beautiful angel resting in his arms.
He studied Liz's sleeping form carefully, memorizing her features in the dim moon light that filtered through the curtains. It was early still, not even five in the morning, and the sun still had yet to rise above the horizon.
She was the vision of perfection, even in sleep. Her thick lashes rested softly against her cheekbones like fans of ebony; her even breath passed through slightly parted lips. Like the finest silk, her hair splayed across her pillow, and the compulsion to feel it running though his fingers cramped his palm.
He indulged himself, just for a moment, reveling in it's cornsilk texture; Mmmm... so soft and delicate, and carrying with it a subtle fruity fragrance. Her soft skin beckoned to him, enticed him, and he lowered his hand tentatively to her cheek, loathe to wake her, but yearning to feel it's satiny warmth. Lovely. With one finger, he lightly traced the margin of her lower lip, and then caressed the curve of her upper lip. They felt like satin. Just like her kisses...
A faint contented moan sounded in her throat. In one languid movement, she turned towards him, nuzzling her nose into his chest. One of her legs slid between his thighs, and her bare toes rubbed against the bend of his knee. She snuggled against him, drowsily seeking the most comfortable angle. Then she once again fell still.
The perfume of her hair sharpened under his nose, and the feel of her soft body pressed against the length of his own ignited a tingling sensation in his nerve endings, kindling a fire in his blood. Of their own accord, his hips rocked gently towards the cradle of her own. Spots swam in his vision at the delightful friction the movement incited.
Sucking in a deep breath, he counted to ten, willing some of the blood away from his center of desire. For now he would suppress his desires, subdue the fiery heat coursing through his veins and the cloud of lust infiltrating his brain. For now he would simply gaze upon her as she slept, and enjoy the feel of her flawless body resting in his arms.
Liz's eyes fluttered open at the sound of a lock softly clicking into place. Her head felt a little light and sluggish, and it took an indeterminable amount of strength to force herself into the upright position.
Though it was dark, she could see the black outline of a television set resting on top of a chest of drawers. To her side, she could see the skeleton frame of a wooden table and chairs. A fan of dimmed light sliced in through the heavy drapery at the window, illuminating the mirror above the television. She caught a glimpse of her reflection and smoothed back several strands of hair that had plastered themselves to her forehead.
Blinking slowly, she looked around again in a daze. Where was she? Not in her bedroom, that was for sure. In a dream-like trance, she tried to search her mind for the answer, but it was like trying to wade through a pool of mud.
In the distance she heard a dog barking, followed by the sound of a deep horn honking. Not a normal horn though; not the kind you heard in Roswell. This was more like deep and masculine, like a semi-truck. But that couldn't be right; a semi wouldn't be honking outside her bedroom window.
Then, as if someone had flicked a switch in her head, it all came together with earth-shattering clarity. The events of the past day flooded over her like a tidal wave. Max had come to her earlier that evening and persuaded her to run away with him. They were leaving everything they ever knew behind and following their dreams of starting a new life together. And they had begun it here tonight -- they had made love.
Small coals of fire sparked in her cheeks as the memory of their love making surfaced in her mind. A secretive smile stole over her face and her shoulders rolled backwards on an amatory shudder as she remembered the feel of their bodies coming together for the first time. She never imagined it would be like that. Her mind couldn't even conjure adequate adjectives for the experience.
Chewing on her lower lip, she stole a glance down at her body, confirming that the events of the prior night had been a reality. Not that she had any doubts; the dull ache between her thighs was all the proof she needed.
An almost regretful sigh left her lips. Too bad she was going to have to make him realize it couldn't happen again. Well, not for a while at least.
It shouldn't have happened in the first place. How had she allowed the situation slip so far from her control? What was this power he had over her. One minute she had been so set on making him understand why they couldn't allow things to go too far, and the next, she had been reduced to a shameless wanton under the skillfulness of his caress.
He hadn't listened to her arguments, but he would now. She would make him listen.
She turned to the space beside her on the bed where Max should be, but it was empty. Of course she knew it would be. It had been the sound of the door closing that had woken her from her peaceful sleep. Where had he gotten off to anyhow?
Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, she pushed herself up into the standing position with caution. Fortunately, there was only a slight twinge of protest between her legs. A sickly yellow light flooded the room when she flipped the switch, causing her to blink rapidly. Technicolor spots danced before her eyes, marring her vision. She clenched them shut and counted to three before slowly reopening them. Ah, that was better. The glare wasn't as disturbing now, and the abstract colors around her were slowly shifting and melding into recognizable shapes.
At her feet lay the clothes Max had been wearing when he came to her earlier that night. It was all he owned now. He hadn't wanted to go back to his house to gather his belongings. He had insisted they didn't have time. Rumpled as they were, it was a comfort to see them. But then again, if his clothes were on the floor, and he wasn't in the room, she wondered what he was presently wearing.
A minute passed before she found her own clothing which was scattered around the room, and managed to get dressed. Then, slipping the plastic room key into the single pocket of her sports pants, she shuffled her way to the door.
Her first stop was to the small room where the vending machines were stationed, but she didn't find him there. Not that she expected to. He had been gone for more than ten minutes already.
She continued down the deserted hallway, hearing nothing more than the soft hum of the vending machines behind her. The burgundy carpeting seemed to stretch on forever, and it was difficult to see where the hallway ended in the dim lighting.
A couple hundred yards later, or so it seemed, the end finally came into sight. It was accompanied by a sharp chemical scent that made her nose wrinkle. She sniffed the air suspiciously. Chlorine? It would make sense. This was a hotel, after all, and you didn't find too many hotels in the desert of New Mexico that didn't have a pool.
She could hear the subdued sound of waves lapping against the side of the pool, but as she reached the doors, there was no sign of Max. From her vantage point, though, half of the pool was hidden. She pulled the doors open and stepped inside, just in time to see Max's naked figure climbing out of the pool. In the soft goldish lighting of the room, the water glistened as it ran down his body.
Liz's stopped, her eyes wide.
Although she had been pressed to that body all night long, this was her first glimpse of it in the light. And what a sight it was. Had his chest always been so broad, she wondered as she feasted her eyes upon the muscular curvature of his back and shoulders. Finely tuned muscles rippled beneath his skin as he rolled his shoulders backwards, and his neck swung from side to side.
She slowly lowered her eyes, taking advantage of his current position to peruse the rest of his glorious exposed flesh, to where his chest tapered to a lean, muscled abdomen, rounded into tight hips and buttocks, and stretched down into long, powerful legs.
A wistful sigh passed her lips before she could stop it, drawing his attention. She snapped her gaping lips shut and froze as he turned. A slow and sexy smile curved his lips.
"Good morning." She commanded herself to keep her glued to his face, but the temptation proved too tempting, and before she knew it, her gaze was dropping for a quick tally of his perfection.
She instantly looked back up to his face to find his lips quirking in amusement. Cheeks flaming, she averted her gaze and faltered back a step or two.
"You can look," she heard his humored voice say. "I don't mind."
"I wasn't looking," she protested loudly. Too loudly. She winced. This was not how she planned to start off the day.
"If you say so." The words were followed a splashing noise, and she finally looked ahead to see his wavy form swimming under the surface of the water. His dark head surfaced a moment later as he reached her side of the pool and then he pulled himself out, using his powerful shoulder and arm muscles.
His body glittered with moisture as he stood before her. "Hi," he said in an intimate whisper. His arms wrapped around her waist and he pulled her in close. The cool water seeped from his skin into her clothes.
"Hi," she whispered shyly.
Max's eyes swept over her face before landing on her lips. There was an intensity there, a masculine hunger that unnerved, as well as, excited her. He looked as if he were seconds away from flinging her to the ground and making love to her right by the side of the pool. And god, she wanted him to do just that.
You have to stop this before it starts, Liz, think! It was time to tell him now, she reminded herself. It was time to lay down some ground rules between them before things got out of hand.
"Max," she began with determination, "we..."
He leaned his head down, capturing her mouth in his and smothering her words. She resisted for the span of a nanosecond before she flung her arms around his neck. She could feel the length of his body, his hardness, pushing against her as she gave herself up to the kiss, her lips parting in welcome of his searching tongue. His lips tasted slightly of chlorine, but his tongue tasted like the purest, sweetest fire. His hands wandered across her shoulders, and hers through his wet hair, tugging and pulling his mouth closer, demanding more. More...more...more...
She didn't stop him, even when, with purpose clear in mind, his hands lowered to her hips and began to slide the thin barrier of her pants down her legs. Instead, she rocked against him growing arousal, close to screaming at the exquisite friction the movement caused.
Just one more time, she told herself. Just one more, and that's it. But would that be it? Would one more time ever be enough?
Not allowing herself the time to think about it, she lowered herself to the ground, pulling him down with her.
|posted on 9-Feb-2002 9:13:19 PM|
|Stoned Part 9|
At pool side, Liz shimmied back into her sports pants, refusing to meet Max's eyes. One sexy smile and she'd transformed to a desperate wanton. And in public, no less!
She was absolutely furious at her vulnerability to him. She needed to put an end to this, once an for all. "That can't happen again, Max." He said nothing as he continued to get dressed, and she forced herself to look up. "Did you hear me?"
Soft laughter floated up from his throat. "Whatever you say, beautiful."
She frowned, unable to tell if he was just humoring her. Something told her he was. "I'm serious," she declared, sounding more sure than she felt. "We're not ready for this kind of relationship yet."
"And why not? You were certainly ready a few minutes ago."
She flushed, humiliated with her behavior. "I just wanted one last time before I told you," she said lamely. And then, "Besides, we're not being very safe. What if I get pregnant?"
"Is that all you're worried about?" he asked, laughing again.
"How can you act like it's no big deal?" she cried. "I think it's an extremely valid reason for concern. We sure as hell aren't ready to be parents! Emotionally or physically. We don't have any money, and we don't even know where we're going to sleep tonight. A pregnancy is the last thing we need!"
Max tied the belt on his robe and shrugged. "You won't get pregnant," he said casually.
"That is such a guy thing to say," she said in disgust, unable to believe that Max could be such a pig. What had gotten into him? "Do you honestly think I don't know how babies are conceived? I want to be a..."
Max moved forward and grabbed her hands, cutting her off. "You won't get pregnant unless you want to," he assured her.
"I beg your pardon?"
He smiled, pushing her hair back from her face. "That how it works with my people. The woman can't get pregnant unless she wants to."
"Oh, that's a line if I ever heard one."
"I'm serious, Liz. You have nothing to worry about."
She frowned, wanting to believe him, but the notion was so ridiculous. "How do you even know this?"
He shrugged. "I've learned lots of things over the summer."
"And who told you that? Tess?" she snapped.
Max's face contorted in barely contained rage. "I never want to hear you say that bitch's name again!"
She jumped back in surprise at his vehemence. "I'm sorry."
Immediately, his features softened and he pulled her into his arms. "No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. I just don't want to talk about her, ever again. She's out of our life now, forever."
"O-okay." Liz was confused. Max had never lost control like that before, not in front of her at least. She had to admit, it scared her.
He rubbed his hands up and down her arms again before releasing her. "Come on, let's go shower. Then we'll get some breakfast and work out a plan."
Liz nodded after a second, and turned to leave. He fell in step beside her, wrapping an arm around her waist. She looked to his face to see he was smiling again.
"I'm not showering with you," she said stubbornly. Her resolve hadn't changed. She wasn't falling for the whole "you can only get pregnant if you want to" line.
He winked at her. "Whatever you say, beautiful."
Maria swept a stray hair back from her mouth as she trudged to her second class of the day, depressed beyond belief that the school day was just beginning. Lack of sleep had her utterly exhausted and it took every ounce of energy she possessed to carry her down the hall. She switched her books from her left arm to the right, feeling like she was carrying a stack of bricks.
It had been nearly four in the morning by the time she had arrived home that morning, and since she had to meet the others at 6:45 that morning, she had opted not to sleep at all, knowing full well that it would only make her more tired. During that time, she tried Liz's cell phone several times, with no answer. She'd managed to get ahold of Liz's mother just before she went to pick up Alex, and had told her that her mother was going out of town and she was wondering if Liz could stay with her for the weekend. Nanci Parker had no objections, and fortunately didn't seem at all suspicious.
Not much had been accomplished at the reservoir. All they'd managed to establish was that they had three days to track Max and Liz down -- Congratulations, guys, as if we didn't figure that out last night! Exactly how they were going to do it hadn't been worked out yet. They were planning to re-group after school to go over ideas, something she definitely wasn't looking forward to.
The reason? Michael Guerin.
She'd only seen him in passing during the summer, thanks to the fact that Liz had taken over schedule management at work. Her broken heart had finally began to heal, and she was once again a normal life. She'd stopped dwelling on her pain and even got back in the dating game once or twice. By the time school started, convincing herself that she was completely over the spiky-haired alien was no sweat. But who was she kidding?
After being cooped up in the Crashdown with him the night before, she already felt herself regressing. She'd done her best to ignore him or attack him with her wits, but she'd also also been extremely conscious of his presence. On the way to the reservoir she'd felt a bit of anticipation at seeing him, and as much as she hated to admit it, her thoughts had turned to him several times during the day.
"Hopeless. I am completely and utterly hopeless," she muttered under her breath.
She jumped at the all too familiar sound of Michael's voice. The action caused all one-million pounds of her books to spill to the ground. "Shit!" she cried, stamping her feet like a child before leaning down to collect the scattered books. "Don't you have any manners?" she demanded angrily when he made no move to help. "A gentleman would lend a hand to clean up a mess he created," she added, using her prissiest, most condemning tone.
He glowered down at her. "Good for me, I never claimed to be a gentleman."
"That's for damn sure." She added the last of her scattered books to the pile and then stood upright, meeting his gaze directly. "What do you want?"
"Impromptu meeting in the eraser room."
Eraser room? It was a struggle preventing her breath from catching in her throat as memories of other trips to the eraser room with Michael blossomed in her mind. In an effort to suppress the blush threatening to spark in her cheeks, she narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "Why the eraser room?"
The corner of his mouth twitched. "Hate to disappoint you, sweetheart, but the others are going to be there, too."
"Why, you arrogant..." No! I refuse to rise to that particular bait. "Fine. Let's go."
Isabel, Tess, and Alex were already huddled in the cramped confines when they got there. Maria took her place beside Alex and Michael stood across from her, next to Tess. It was a comic situation, if Maria didn't say so herself. They were all trying so hard to keep their distance from each other, alien versus human, but that was a joke. The figurative battle space between them was only two feet wide. One step forward and Maria's nose would be buried in Michael's neck.
"Okay, why are we here?" Alex asked to break the awkward silence that filled the room.
Michael leaned back against the wall and said, "I just got back from Valenti's office. He made a few phone calls after I explained to him what's going on."
"And?" Maria and Isabel asked at the same time.
"An officer in Desert Hills thinks he might have spotted the jeep going north on 285 last night."
"That explains why we didn't see them on the way back into town last night," Maria said, nodding her head.
"Desert Hills?" Isabel questioned, her brow furrowed. "Where's that?"
"What time was this?" Alex asked at the same time. Maria didn't miss how they looked at each other before quickly averting their eyes.
"Two hours south of the Colorado border," Maria told Isabel. "I have a cousin who lives just north of there. In San Rafael."
Michael nodded grudgingly. "The officer said he saw them at about ten."
"So, we know what direction they were going in," Tess said, speaking for the first time. "What are we going to do about it?"
"Well, here's my plan," Michael said.
|posted on 15-Feb-2002 10:44:58 PM|
Stoned Part 10
One hour and 49 miles later, after the group huddle in the eraser room, Maria began to ponder the similarities between Michael Guerin and cars. To be more specific, her cars.
For starters, they both had low mileage. As far as Maria knew, she was the only one who'd ever put any mileage on Michael Guerin, and if she was being truthful, she hoped, one day, to put on a whole lot more. Next, there was the incredibly great form; a sleek, masculine exterior that could make any normal girl's engine hum. Then there was the vital power that hummed beneath that gorgeous exterior - one that could both thrill and overwhelm if you weren't careful. And boy, if she didn't have first-hand experience at that, she thought wryly.
But the real kicker, and the whole reason she'd begun to make the comparison in the first place, was that they both had an infallible penchant for breaking down at the worst possible moment.
"I swear, Maria, you are a curse," Michael condemned, slamming his fist on the steering column.
It was deja vu - 285 South all over again. Once more, she was traveling down the open road with Michael, and once again, the car - her mother's brand new Blazer, to be exact! - had overheated because Michael couldn't manage to drive it properly.
Maria was beginning to feel as though she'd been trapped in one of those Twilight Zone episodes, one where she was forced to relive the same situation over and over again until she got it right. What exactly she was supposed to be 'getting right', however, she couldn't quite figure out.
She was utterly exhausted, but she still managed to scrounge up a reproachful glare to pass in his direction. "I'm a curse? It's your fault that the car overheated. I told you, you have to switch into 5th gear after 50 miles per hour, or the engine will fry."
Michael flashed her a sardonic expression that sent her temper soaring. "Oh, I forgot, you're the all-knowing guru on cars. Forgive me." An irritated glare flashed on his face, then he was climbing out of the Blazer and slamming the door shut.
"Just make sure it doesn't happen again," she called after him.
"I thought you said you were going to call a truce for the next few days," Tess complained from behind her.
Maria gave a start at the voice, having almost forgotten about her second companion on this trip. More than likely, she'd been trying to block her out. She swung her head around to glare at the petite alien. "We said we'd try," she pointed out rather coldly. "There's a difference."
With a look of disgust, Tess plopped back against the seat and crossed her arms over her chest. "Yeah, I saw how hard you tried."
Maria tossed her head back against the head rest, exhaling with agitation. Tess had a point. She hadn't tried to get along with Michael. It was for the best that they argued as much as possible. It was her shield against everything about Michael Guerin that turned her insides to liquid fire. If she didn't have that, then she'd start to see all the vulnerable layers beneath that thick, stubborn skin. She'd start to see all the things in him that had the potential to be so wonderful. And that couldn't happen. Not ever - ever! - again. It would only give her hope for something that would never again be. She sighed ruefully, ignoring that it was that very same hope that had brought her on this trip in the first place.
"You know," Tess said, "It would really make the next few days easier if you two would stop antagonizing each other. Why can't you just talk it out like normal people, rather than fighting all the time?"
Maria grunted and spoke over her shoulder, unable to find the will or energy to turn. "Like you know the first thing about being normal. Why don't you just go help him so we can get the hell out of here?"
The sigh that came from the back was tinged of frustration. The sound of the rear door opening and slamming shut followed. Maria wiped her sweaty forehead with the back of her hand and closed her eyes, pondering how she had got herself into this situation.
Ironically, she realized with a self-deprecating laugh, she already knew the answer.
Liz's amused laughter carried down the empty hallway as she and Max walked together to their room, both overloaded with plastic bags containing more salty, greasy food from the same dive that dinner had come from the night before. "I think we overdid it."
"Why do you say that?"
"Oh, come on. There's enough food here to feed a family of six, and then some. Like we're ever going to eat all of this."
"I wouldn't be so sure," Max replied, his dark eyes dancing with mischief. "I know I've worked up quite an appetite in the last six hours." He winked.
Liz's cheeks surged with heat at the reference, but that was all the recognition she gave. Obviously, that was enough for him, she thought wryly, as Max chuckled.
They reached the door but he made no move to open it. "We should enjoy it while we can," Max continued, now serious. "We're running low on cash, and what we have, we're going to need for gas."
In other words, this might be the last time they eat for a while. Liz captured her lower lip between her teeth. This was something she'd been worrying about all morning, when she wasn't occupied with the task of fending Max off, that is. Their rapidly depleting funds could only carry them for another day or so. After that, they'd have no way to support themselves. She was beginning to think they'd made a mistake.
As if reading her thoughts, Max wrapped his arm around her shoulder and kissed her head, just above her ear. "Don't worry," he said softly, soothingly. "We'll figure something out. Trust me."
She nodded, but for his benefit alone. She couldn't help worrying. She was a practical person, and practically speaking, there was a whole lot to worry about. They didn't have a place to stay. Without that, they couldn't get jobs. Without jobs, they couldn't eat. "Right about now, that four grand would really be an answer to all our problems," she commented, lamenting her useless savings.
Liz looked up. She wondered at the thoughtful tone of the monosyllable . "What are you thinking?"
Max shrugged. "We'll figure something out," he repeated, his tone noticeably less somber. Had he reconsidered? Would they be able to get her hard-earned savings after all? Oh, how useful it would be. But how would they do it without leaving tracks to their whereabouts? The ATM only allowed her to withdraw $300 a day, and to get it all, that would take a little over 13 days. They'd be sure to leave a trail, and as Max said the day before, they had to disappear without a trace.
"Do you have your key?"
Max's voice tore her from her latest runaway thoughts. "Pardon?"
"Your key? We can't stand out here all day. I don't think the hotel people would appreciate us having a carpet picnic in their hallway."
She laughed. "Probably not." To free her arms, she handed him her bags. Then, she dug in her pockets. "Oh-oh. I must have left it in the room."
The smile he returned clearly said he'd made the same mistake. Not that she was worried. He was Max, after all, and helpful to have around in a situation such as this.
"You can open it, right?"
But she never got to hear what he was going to say. Max's eyes had focused just over her shoulder, and Liz turned to see someone was coming down the hall. Not only that, but she recognized him. It was the maintenance kid that helped her the night before. Perfect!
"Trouble with your door again, Liz?"
"Sort of. We left our keys in the room."
"It's always something with you," Mark teased, shaking his head and chuckling.
"Who the hell are you?"
Liz's head jolted in Max's direction, her smile fading. His narrowed eyes had turned cold, and were focused suspiciously on the new arrival.
Mark's eyes widened marginally, but his tone was still friendly. "Name's Mark. I work here."
Max's lip curled.
"He helped me with the door last night," she told Max, casting an apologetic smile at the blond boy. "I was having trouble getting it open."
"Funny," he said, turning the same suspicious eyes on her. "I didn't have any problems."
Liz blinked in surprise. Max's eyes seemed to be searching her face, as though he believed she could be lying to him. When had she ever given him any reason to doubt her? she wondered, hurt beyond words.
"Did you want me to open your door?"
She nodded at the boy mutely, fighting back the sting of tears. He looked confused. Liz could sympathize.
Master key in hand, he stepped forward, but retreated again when Max made no move to step aside. "Uh...excuse me."
A slow smile spread across Max's face, but it wasn't what Liz would call friendly. In fact, the glint of steel she saw in his eyes made a chill crawl up her spine. "Oh please, be my guest," he said, taking one step back and motioning to the door with exaggerated politeness.
The boy hesitated, looking uneasy. Clearing his throat, he approached the door. Max had him rattled, she realized, when he had trouble getting the key into the slot, but she didn't blame him; she would be too, with the way Max was practically hovering over him. Only five seconds or so passed before the key slid into place, but it felt like hours to Liz.
"There you go," Mark said, stepping back quickly.
Liz gave him a grateful, albeit weak, smile. "Thank you," she said quietly.
He shrugged. "Just doing my job."
Max looked unimpressed. "I thought your job would be more along the lines of fixing broken coolers, and unclogging toilets?"
"That too," he admitted, blushing.
"Probably been elbow deep in shit all day," Max remarked, sneering.
"Max!" Liz gasped, her jaw dropping. "What has gotten into you?"
"What?" he asked innocently. "I was going to shake his hand for helping out, but..." he paused, eyeing Mark in distaste, "can you really blame me for being skeptical about his hygiene?"
The boy's blush spread to the roots of his fair hair. "Really, it's okay."
"Fine," Max said, still speaking to Liz. "If you want me to shake his hand, I'll shake his hand, but don't blame me when I get hepatitis." He turned to Mark and held out his hand. "Here."
Mark eyed Max's hand as if taking it were the last thing he wanted to do. Max's eyebrows raised, as though now daring him to take it - or maybe daring him not to take it. Liz couldn't be sure; either way, she found herself questioning his motivation.
Still looking doubtful, Mark slowly raised his hand. Max met him half-way, clutching it in mid-extension.
Only too late did Liz realize his intentions. "No," she breathed, her throat closing over from disbelief.
The orange-yellow glow appeared immediately, shining through their skins as though they held a light bulb between them. Mark's eyes widened, his teeth clenched.
"Thanks for your generosity," Max told him, his voice ringing with insincerely.
Sweat appeared on Mark's thin upper lip. He was fighting to pull his hand back, but Max's grip was painfully tight.
"Max, stop it!"
"Jesus, man! Get off!"
But he didn't. Eyes aglow, Max maintained his hold, failing to release him even when the sickening sound of cracking bones filled the hall.
Liz thought she may throw up. "Stop it!" she repeated, dropping her bags. She closed the gap between them and slapped Max's arm. "Leave him alone!" But even when the slaps became consistent, he wouldn't let go.
Only when he was on his knees, did Max finally release him.
"Christ! You broke my hand!" Mark gasped, drawing the limp limb to his chest.
Liz whirled on Max. "How could you?" she demanded, feeling tears break free from her eyes. His hard face instantly softened, and he reached out his arms for her.
"No! Don't touch me!" she cried, shoving him away. Then, turning her back on him, she dropped to Mark's side. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry." She reached under his arm. "Come on, we need to call you an ambulance."
Sparing one more pained look in Max's direction, she helped Mark rise to his feet and led him down the hall.
|posted on 15-Feb-2002 10:48:02 PM|
Distribution: If you want it, take it, just let me know
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue
Max hadn't followed Liz to the front desk, and she was glad of it. She was too digusted with him to look him in the face then. Just remembering the cold look in his eyes as he'd brought Mark to his knees was enough to make her want to retch.
She sat with Mark in the lobby of the hotel for over twenty minutes before his brother arrived to take him to the hospital. She'd wanted to call an ambulance, but he had talked her out of it, explaining that he couldn't afford the expense.
"God knows what the hospital bill alone will be." He'd said the words lightly, but Liz had been devastated by the worry she'd seen in his eyes. He'd noticed and was quick to reassure her. "Don't worry, my insurance covers eighty-five percent, but I won't be able to work for a while. A job like mine kinda requires two good hands."
"Are you going to be able to afford that?"
"Well, I've been saving some money so I could get back to school next fall, but I guess I can wait another semester. I'll survive. I always do."
Torn, and a little nervous, her next question had been, "What about the cops? A-are you going to call them?"
He'd given her a long, measuring look. "If I could, I would." And then, after the curiosity in her eye, "I'm on probation for some stupid shit I did a couple of years ago. If my P.O. even gets wind that I was involved in anything, whether it was my fault or not, I go back to jail for three months."
"Oh," she'd replied awkwardly. What other response could she give to his admission? She did feel guilty, though, for the relief that flooded over her. No matter how much he deserved it, the idea of Max going to jail sickened her.
She walked with Mark to his brother's pick-up and watched them drive away. Then, with purposeful strides, she returned to the room she and Max were sharing. The door was slightly ajar when she arrived; good thing, seeing as how she still didn't have her key. Using the balls of both palms, she shoved it all the way open and stalked into the room.
Max, who had been waiting on the corner of the bed, jumped up, a string of apologies instantly spilling forth. "Liz, please, I..."
She flashed him a hard, meaningful look. "Max, I'm only going to say this once: I'm going to pack my things, and then you are going to take me back home."
The horror on his face was immediate. "No, Liz..."
"Fine, you don't want to take me home? Then I'll call my parents and have them come get me." She marched to the nightstand and dialed the hotel operator with her back turned to him.
"Holiday Inn," a man answered.
"Yes, I need to make a collect call. How would I do that?"
"Don't do this," Max pleaded from behind her.
The man gave her another extension to call for their automated service and she hung up the phone without thanking him. Stance rigid, she punched in the new numbers so recklessly that her nail bent backwards and broke. A soundless cry on her lips, she brought the finger to her mouth, sucking on it.
She listened to the computerized message, punching in more numbers when instructed, this time more delicately. She felt Max's presence directly behind her, even before his gentle hand touched on her arm. "Please, Liz. Don't do this," he said more forcefully. "I'm sorry, I fucked up, but..."
Slamming the phone down, she spun around. "You're damn right you did! What the hell were you thinking? Because of you, that poor guy has got a busted hand and could lose his job!"
"I know," he cried, "and I feel absoultely awful about what I've done. I don't know what happened. I was crazed. I just got so jealous..."
"Jealous? Max, there's a whole world of difference between getting jealous and turning into a homicidal maniac. You could go to jail for that little stunt."
"I know," he said miserably, his voice cracking. He sat back on the bed and put his hands in his palms. "D-did he call the police?"
"Not when I was with him," she admitted, but made it clear that it could be a different story at the hospital. There would be no police, Mark had made that clear, but she needed to see if Max still cared about the consequences of his actions.
With an entire body shudder, Max raised his head and pressed the tips of his fingers together. "I don't know what came over me," he said, and he looked scared vulnerable, and confused, like the world had spun on it's axis and he was still trying to catch his bearings. "I saw you talking to him, smiling at him, and I started wondering what it would do to me if I lost you again? Just that split second look inside myself made me go insane."
Liz watched him at length. There was no doubt in her mind that he was truly sorry for his actions, and seeing the raw anguish in his eyes abated some of her anger. But could she still go through with this, after what he'd done?
Her arms wrapped around her chest and she licked her dry lips. When she spoke, it was in a calmer voice. "Do you understand what the real problem is here, Max? You scared me. You've made me feel a lot of things in the last year: happy, loved, pained, betrayed, but never, ever fear. And seeing you out there, intentionally hurting that innocent kid out of jealousy...I was terrified."
The blood drained from Max's face. "Liz, you know I would never hurt you."
"That's the thing," she argued, her head shaking slowly, "for the first time, I didn't know. And that's what terrifies me. For a second back there, I felt like I didn't know you at all. I came on this trip to be with the person I loved, the one I trusted with my life, but after what happened out there," she gestured to the door, "I don't even know if I can feel safe with you anymore."
Max jumped up and appraoched her, desperation shining in his eyes. His warm palms cupped her cheeks, forcing her to look at him. "I know you have your doubts, but I assure you, I would kill myself before ever laying a finger on you. You're my entire life, Liz. You're the reason I get up in the morning, the reason I continue breathing when life seems so unbearable. If I don't have you, I don't have a reason to live."
The moistured that pooled in his eyes tore at her heart-strings, and the solitary tear that managed to slip free was almost her undoing. God, she wanted to believe him, to believe she'd be safe with him, to believe that the stranger she'd glimpsed in the hall was a brief uprising borne from insecurity. But if that were the case, what did that say about his faith in her? The look of suspicion she'd seen in his eyes earlier replayed in her mind, causing her chest to ache.
"I just don't know if it's the best idea, Max. I-I think we should go home."
"That's not a possiblity for me anymore. I've said goodbye to that part of my life forever, and it's time to start over fresh." His hands dropped from her face and reached for her small fingers. His forehead came to rest against hers. "Please," he croaked, "tell me I won't have to do it alone."
Liz's stomach dropped to her feet. The thought never crossed her mind that Max wouldn't return with her. Up until that moment, she'd considered his going back to Roswell with her a given. But if he didn't return...
She swallowed hard as disquieting thoughts began to race through her mind. Could she return to that life? After what they'd shared? Yes, she was angry with him. Yes, for a moment she'd been terrified of what he was capable of. But, she had to ask herself, was she ready to live without him?
And more importantly, did she want to?
TBC in 11B
|posted on 18-Apr-2002 1:13:56 AM|
Distribution: If you want it, take it, just let me know
Disclaimer: I don't own, don't sue
Summary: No, not drugs. lol. After a mishap at the pod camber, Max comes out a changed man. His balance has shifted. He's more agressive and his self-gratuitous side has taken over. And what does he have on his mind? Or should I say who? (This is a challenge by Shelly2)
The day was as hot as it was oppressive.
Liz wiped a bead of sweat off the back of sticky her neck with her free hand, as she and Max sped down the highway in the open-aired jeep. Her other hand was clutched tightly by Max.
Placing her elbow on the door, Liz rest her head on her palm. Her eyes blurred, transforming the barren desert scenery to a wash of tans and occasional greens.
She reflected over the events of the morning, feeling confused, uneasy and mildly ashamed. Why had she caved so easily? She had always thought herself relatively independent, but when faced with the decision to lose Max forever, she'd caved like a paper house under the weight of a book. Was she really so much of a wimp that she'd rather jeopardize her principals than be alone?
She couldn't shake the feeling that a life without Max would be no life at all. If she didn't have him, she spent all her time thinking of him, moping and miserable. She'd had a taste of that during the summer, and couldn't fathom an entire lifetime more, thank you! Been there, done that, would rather ingest insecticide before I doing it again.
"How about we go west?"
Shilding her eyes from the yellow-gold fist of light hovering above Max's head, Liz turned her head towards him. "What?"
Max glanced her way. "I was thinking we should go west. What do you think?"
"Sounds fine," she said blandly, not really caring. Did it really matter as long as she was with him? She glanced down at their locked hands before looking away. Max's grip was tight. Afraid she would change her mind if he let her go, she figured. She snorted, a little disgusted with herself. No chance of that.
"What can we afford?" she asked, struggling for more enthusiasm.
Max's jaw tensed. "Not much," he admitted. "We've got almost two-hundred dollars left over, and like I said earlier, we'll need most of that for gas. The Jeep kind of guzzles it."
"What are we going to do to get more?"
Max glanced in the rearview mirror. "I don't know," he said quietly.
She bit her lip, hesitating. "Uh...there isn't any chance you can change the increments of that money we have, is there?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know, change ones to twenties, fifties, or even hundreds?"
He looked away. "No."
"Oh," she said, disappointed. "It was just an idea. You know, with your ability to manipulate molecular structures it seemed plausible," she mumbled lamely.
Max shifted, seemingly nervous. "Normally, I probably could. I don't really know because I never tried. Can't say I didn't think about it, though."
She raised an eyebrow. "Normally? As opposed to...?"
"My powers are just a little screwed up right now. I can't seem to control them. That's what I was trying to tell you when you asked about me opening the door at the hotel."
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "You sure had no trouble using them with Mark," she said sharply.
Max's head ducked sheepishly. "I know," he said. "But that didn't require control. I already said, I didn't do it because I wanted to, Liz. I lost control. I'm not sure why, but it only seems like I can use them when I'm emotionally charged."
"When did this start?" she said speculatively. It wasn't that she didn't believe him - in fact, she almost wanted to believe him; it would make it easier for her to forgive his actions it it were true he couldn't control his powers - but it didn't make sense. Max had never lost control of his powers before. What could have happened to cause this sudden change? "Max?" she urged, when he failed to respond.
"Yesterday. I didn't tell you this, because it didn't seem important, but before I came to your house last night, I went to the pod chamber with the others."
"We wanted to see if we could find any new developments. We've been so anxious about our enemies coming - expecting it - but nothing seems to have happened so far. We tried using the healing stones to see if they would tell us anything."
"No," Max said, his voice lowering. But," he said, almost as an afterthought, "I felt different afterwards. I think they shifted something inside of me. And with it came this loss of control on my powers."
"Do you think they'll come back?"
He smiled and squeezed her hand. "I'm sure It's just a temporary thing. No worries."
Liz nodded, wondering if he felt as confident as he sounded. It was probably nothing, she told herself, and decided to get back to where the conversation had started.
"Where in the west did you have in mind?"
"That depends. Tell me, beautiful, how do you feel about camping?"
"Mom! I'm home!"
At the sing-song call of her daughter, Diane Evans appeared in the kitchen, wearing a pleased smile. "Hi, honey. How was school?"
Isabel planted a kiss on her mother's cheek, always comforted by the scent of the Tea-Rose perfume that filled her nose. "Same as always, you know."
"That good, huh?" Diane rolled her eyes in amusement, the turned to close the open back door. "Oh, Alex!" she gasped, putting a hand to her chest. "I'm sorry, I didn't see you there."
Isabel waved him in, and he ventured inside the immaculate white kitchen with a polite smile. "Yeah, well I'm pretty easy to overlook," he joked, but there was nothing teasing about the resentful look he flashed in Isabel's direction.
"Don't be ridiculous," Diane replied, shaking her head. "Gosh, it's been so long since the last time I saw you. How have you been? How are your parents?"
"We're all doing great, thank you."
"I'm glad to hear it. So," Diane looked between them, "what have you two got planned? Big Friday night date?" she added hopefully.
Isabel felt heat rise to her cheeks. Her mom loved Alex. She couldn't count on two hands how many times her mother had asked why that "nice Alex boy" wasn't coming around anymore. "No, mom. We're just going to hang out, watch a movie, you know."
"Ah. And Alex, will you be staying for dinner?"
Their eyes met and Isabel gave him a tight, almost imperceptible nod.
He sighed soundlessly. "Yes, that would be great."
"Wonderful!" Diane beamed. She removed a rag from the sink and ran it over the already-spotless counter. "What about your brother?" she asked Isabel nonchalantly. "Will he be making an appearance."
Her stomach fluttered like a hummingbird's wings. Even before Max had run away, she always hated having to answer this question, and witnessing the sound of a mother's broken heart once she had. She forced a neutral expression. "I'm not sure. I think he said something about going camping again."
Diane's actions stilled. "Camping," she repeated quietly, her shoulders slumping fractionally. "Oh, of course."
Isabel bit her lip, her mother's crestfallen expression tearing at her insides. Damn Max, for putting her in this position! He'd been doing it all summer. And now he'd taken off for good, expecting her to pick up the pieces of their mother's shattered heart.
"Well." Diane cleared her throat. She put the rag back in the sink and retrieved her pocketbook from the kitchen table. "I'm off to the market right now," she announced with a forced smile. "Your father should be home soon." She placed a gentle hand on Alex's arm on the way out. "It really is good to see you around again, Alex. You should come by more often."
Not sure how to reply to that, Alex said nothing.
After Isabel's mother had left, an awkward silence descended. Isabel had no idea what they were supposed to do now. The plan was to wait for Maria's call, but until then, they were sitting ducks in what looked like extremely hostile waters. Alex stood with his hands burried in his pockets, scuffing his boots against the floor and taking a fascinating interest in the marble tile. Feeling like she was going to jump out of her skin if she didn't do something, Isabel opened the refrigerator door and pretended to study its contents.
"Um...would you like something to drink?"
She closed the door, and walked to the sink to peer out the window. The brick wall of the neighbor's house was the only view available, but she did her best to be fascinated by it. What to talk about? she thought, racking her brain for something to say to lighten the mood. "You know," she said, coming up with the first thing that came to her, "my mom likes you."
Alex's expression deadpanned. "Mom's usually do," he said. "A boy like me is every mother's dream." A wry smile. "Which instantly means their daughters just want to be friends."
"Alex." She turned completely, wanting to smooth things over, once and for all. "Look, about this summer..."
He held up his hands, halting her. "Hey, you don't owe me an explanation. I told you I'd be waiting if you needed me, and hey, you didn't, so whatever. No hard feelings."
"Right," she scoffed. "There were tons of hard feelings last night."
"Okay, true. But what do you expect?" he said calmly. "We spent the last year risking our lives for you people, people we considered friends, and in thanks, we were conveniently dropped like a bad habit. Until you need something from us, that is. You use us, plain and simple, and I am sick of being taken for granted."
Her mouth dropped. Was that what he really thought of them? Of her? She stood motionless for one long second, then rushed up to him, desperate to make him understand. "It isn't like that, Alex. It's because you've risked so much that we've stayed away! We are more grateful for your help than any of you can ever know. There's no way to repay all you've ever done for us. We just thought we'd start by giving you back the normal lives we robbed you of last year."
She held her breath as he weighed what she had said. Finally she saw some of the tension leave his face. "You mean the boring lives you robbed us of last year."
She smiled lightly. It was a start. "You know, boring is highly underrated. At least when your bored you know what's in store for you - safety, comfort, no unexpected, nasty little surprises. Tell you the truth, I'd give just about anything to be bored right now."