|posted on 27-Mar-2002 4:23:56 AM|
Author: Liz (aka CanadianRoswellian)
Rating: PG13 (so far), AU
Summery: Liz is a normal British teenage girl. Then one day a horrific accident leads her Roswell, New Mexico.
Disclaimer: I WISH I owned Roswell. But alas no. Can I have Alex? Please? Max too...Oh hell, I want it all!
"Still surprise you when it shatters
But nothing matters
Still surprise you when it shatters
Don’t you know that nothing happens
But a lot goes on
A lot goes on
But nothing happens
A lot goes on
A lot goes on
But nothing happens"
- Nothing Much Happens by Ben Lee
"America?" Elizabeth Parker cried in outrage. She sat upright in the hard wooden chair which she was seated. "You can’t be serious." Her tone was timid, but firm.
"I’m afraid so."
"Can’t she come here? Can’t we find a way which I wouldn’t have to leave?" She played nervously with the sleeve of her black button-up blouse.
He shook his head regretfully from across the sturdy wooden desk. "You’re only seventeen, you need to have a legal guardian."
She stood. "But I have friends, people who knew my family. Who could take me in here."
"In the will she was named the legal guardian. And she has word in this. She doesn’t want you to be alone, or living with a friend. She believes you would best be looked after with her."
"She would," Liz breathed bitterly. She could feel the sting as tears welled up in her eyes. But this was not the way to behave. She was a Parker. Parker’s were composed. They were strong, and they got what they wanted when they wanted.
Her father had been a lawyer, and a good one at that. He’d been a strong man, never overly affectionate, but he’d given his daughter everything she could have possibly wanted. Her mum had mostly raised her alone, because of her father’s business schedule. She’d shared a special bond with her mum, it was if they were sisters over mother and daughter. Though she hadn’t spent much time with her father, she had picked up some of the basic principals of business. He’d sat her down after tea, when she was 14. He’d decided she was old enough to understand everything.
Liz let herself sit in the rose colored love seat in the living room of their prominent London flat. She studied her father’s rough features carefully. They were serious, and business-like. They always were. There was rarely a time when her father would smile, or laugh. Or get angry at that fact. If he disapproved of something she did he would simply raise his eyebrows questionably, expecting her to realize how he felt.
"Elizabeth, dear," he began strongly. Liz felt herself blush, intimidated. She wasn’t used to him sitting her down to talk. Usually they’d have brief, unimportant conversations over tea if he was home by then. He’d ask about school, and she’d give him short answers. Her schooling was always marvelous nevertheless. Liz was a wonderful student, and participated in many of the extracurricular activities the school provided.
"Yes?" She said shyly. She was always afraid of saying something to her father that he would not like or agree with. She’d taken to speaking to him in a soft voice.
"You’re old enough to know this now," he said, sitting down beside her. She slid over slightly, leaving more room for him to occupy if needed. She could smell the scotch on his breath, and she assumed that that might be one of the reasons this conversation they were having came about. He’d come home late, missing supper entirely, and she’d known he had been drinking. He’d kissed her mother hello, making excuses about business, and visiting the pub quite briefly with a few colleagues. Then he’d beckoned Liz into the living room.
"Darling, you’re a teenager, now. Are you not?" He inquired, and she simply nodded. "Well, I believe that at certain age everyone should know the fundamentals of business and law. How to be successful in life." He looked down at her pointedly. "And I do expect you to be successful."
She nodded again, the topic of conversation materializing in her brain. He wanted to talk business. And about how because she was a Parker, she must be perfect and wonderful. Liz resented this. Her family came from money, yes, and they weren’t full of scandals or anything like that. But that did not mean that she would be the one to disgrace them. It always seemed as though he thought she was going to be the downfall of the family, the black sheep. Always disapproving of one thing or another.
"When I was about your age my father, he was a judge, as you know. Well, he sat me down for this very same talk. And I turned out just fine." He chuckled lightly, remembering. "The first thing he told me was that you have to be firm. Honey, the way you talk…So timid and shy. You need to strengthen it up. Demand what you want, don’t ask lightly." He paused. "Next, don’t let your opponent know what you or your client—if you should have one—is feeling. This shows weakness…And when weakness is spotted, its only a step away from total defeat."
She nodded once again, listening intently.
He raised his eyebrows, and Liz sighed inwardly. She cleared her throat, and said, "yes." But this did not satisfy her father, as his eyebrows raised even higher on his face. "Yes," she repeated firmly.
And then he had continued, for quite some time. Telling her all the details on how she would become the heir to their fortune, and he did not expect her to be some ‘weak-willed ninny’ as he’d so cordially put it.
Liz had always tried so hard to please her father, but now it seemed it was all in vain. And she couldn’t even get the sorting of the will done correctly! He would have been especially disappointed in her, had he been there. But he wasn’t. He never would be again, and neither would her mum.
Her mum had loved her madly, always spending time fussing over Liz, asking her questions about everything, always attending important meetings at the school, or just taking Liz out shopping for a date, or a school dance. It was her mum that she would miss the most of the two of them. Liz could never see precisely why her parents had been married at all, especially for all those years. Yet, her mother never complained when her father was at the pub, or when he forgot a special day. She always just smiled and said "it’s all right, darling." Liz didn’t think she’d have the strength to take that for 20 years.
Sometimes her mum would tell her stories of how her and Liz’s father had fallen in love when they went to the same college in Worcester. They’d had a short courtship, and were married the same year. Apparently, Mr. Parker had not always been so unfeeling. He had been a lovesick fool in college, serenading her mum, and doing all sorts of wild things. Supposedly he hadn’t even particularly wanted to be a lawyer. He was going to be a writer intentionally.
Sometimes Liz would sit in bed wondering what happened that changed his mind. Brought him to the state that he was when she was alive. She imagined him as ‘Jeff’, not her father. She would look at photographs and see a handsome, fresh-faced young man smiling back at her. A man which looked nothing like her father, who’s hair was graying, with wrinkles appearing at the sides of his eyes and creasing his forehead. Her dad was a man with an almost permanent frown across his thin lips. What had dramatically changed him so much?
Of course, now Liz would never be able to find out. It’s not as though she would be able to ask him or her mum. The funeral had been on Tuesday. It had been a particularly gray and wet morning, fitting for a funeral. The ground was wet and muddy from the evening shower, and the luminous dark clouds overhead were threatening more rain. She’d wanted to go to the funeral, she had. But when she’d witnessed herself in the full-length mirror in her bedroom, wearing all black, she’d completely crumbled apart.
She was still sobbing hysterically when her grandmother had discovered her in her bedroom, sitting on her bed hugging her favorite teddy. Instead of the funeral, the doctor had given her a sedative, to help her rest. The doctor had told the others that she was in no condition to attend. But how she wanted to, to say her last farewell.
She’d never officially gotten to say goodbye. Her father had a three-day seminar in Liverpool, and asked her mum to come along. They’d left early in the morning, and Liz had woken herself, and gone off to school. When she arrived home that afternoon she found a message on the answering machine from her father’s best friend Edward Harding asking her to call him back immediately.
"Hello?" Came the bubbly answer.
"Hi, Tess, it’s Liz Parker," she had greeted Ed’s daughter. Liz had never particularly cared for Tess. She was a year younger than Liz, and seemed to spend most of her time either ordering people about, or gossiping. That was just not the type of person Liz liked to associate with.
"Lizzie!" Tess squeaked. Strange, it was usually a squeal. "How are you doing, sweetheart?" She gushed sweetly. This didn’t seem strange to Liz. She always was full of insincerity. But for reasons unknown Tess had it in her mind that Liz was one of her best friends. She was always inviting her out. Reluctantly, Liz usually agreed, but just to appease her father.
"I’m fine, Tess, but I’ve got to talk to your father, he left me an urgent message," Liz said politely, praying that the girl wouldn’t keep her talking for long.
There was a silence at the other end of the phone. Now this was what concerned Liz. Usually Tess would be halfway through a story about people that Liz didn’t even know. "Tess?" She asked uncertainly.
"Right," Tess said somberly. "He’s right here."
Liz’s stomach twisted. Something defiantly was going on. She tucked a loose strand of silken deep brown hair behind her ear. It had fallen out of the loose bun she had it in. "Liz," came Ed’s strong baritone voice.
"Hey, Ed," she greeted him. "So, what’s going on?"
The phone was quiet again, and Liz’s concern elevated. She heard a rough sigh, and then he spoke, telling her the hardest thing she’d had to hear in her entire life. "At 9:15 this morning there was a head-on collision. The doctors tried everything they could, but…"He cleared his throat laboriously. "I’m sorry, Liz, your parents are dead."
Dead. The words struck her like a punch in the gut. If she were looking the mirror she would have seen her face contort in a look of pure shock. And then she froze, dropping the cordless phone to the floor. She was breathing heavily, as she sank to her knees, hugging them to herself in a fetal position as Edward Harding’s voice kept calling from the phone. But she didn’t hear it. She didn’t hear anything except her grief, and those arduous breaths she was taking.
"Elizabeth?" Came the his voice, snapping her out of her thoughts. "Are you listening?" He asked.
She nodded solemnly, offering Edward a small apologetic smile. "What about you? Would you take me in? It would only be for a year."
Ed brought a hand to his temple, and smiled at her lightly, the crow’s feet at his eyes wrinkling. He was always a light-hearted man, the complete opposite to her father. She never quite understood how they could be friends. But like her mum, Ed and her father had met in college. In fact, roommates to be exact. "Liz, I wish I could. But we wouldn’t have anywhere to put you," his face was sincere.
Liz chided herself for even asking. Of course he wouldn’t. After all, Mr. and Mrs. Harding had four children. It’s not as though it’s easy for him to just take on a fifth, even for the expanse of a year. And unlike her family, he was not made out of money, so to speak. He’d worked hard for all he’d accomplished in life. She would have offered to pay a sizable rent. Unfortunately, her assets were not going to be available to her until she was 18, according to Ed. All she had was the remaining 300 pounds in her bank account.
"Right," she said simply. "I’m sorry, I should have thought."
He shook his head. "Don’t apologize. I can sympathize with how you feel. I lost my father to lung cancer when I was around your age." He smiled lightly. "And it gets better, I promise."
"Thank you," she said softly. And she realized she was being completely inconsiderate. After all, she wasn’t the only one who had lost someone. Ed had lost his best friend as well. And her grandmother had lost her mum and her son-in-law.
Liz wished she could live with her grandmother. But that was in no way an option considering her health, and age. She didn’t have the time, nor energy to take in a 17 year old. She was sickly as it was.
Ed rose from his chair, and walked the short expanse around the desk to Liz. Liz rose too, looking him in the eyes. They were both wounded, sharing the same pain. "Come here, kiddo," he said gruffly, letting her fall into his arms.
And Ed held her small frame tight as she let the threatening tears overflow, and fall down her pale cheeks onto his cotton shirt. He held her as the sobs wracked her body. He stroked her soft hair softly, as she let it all out. And he even held her when the tears subsided, and her body no longer shook. He kissed her squarely on the forehead. "I’ll miss you, kiddo," he whispered in her ear, and she nodded her agreement.
She was moving to America.
August 24th Journal Entry One.
I’m Liz Parker, and I’ve just finally realized, it’s amazing how much something can change your outlook on life. It changes you internally, for better or worse. It shatters your entire universe in a moment. It’s also amazing that no matter what is going on in your life, no matter how horrible, or painful, it really doesn’t matter in the big picture. All that you are is this insignificant person with your own petty problems, mixed together with other little people with their own problems.
In the big picture I’m a blip on the radar, and all this happening to me—my parents death, my grief, moving to a whole new country---doesn’t even matter. A lot is going on, but nothing is happening in introspect. And I feel as if I were in a dream. No, not a dream, a dream is a happy thing, a hopeful thing. I am neither happy nor hopeful. This is a nightmare. Not only am alone, an orphan, I have been ripped away from my whole life and plunked down in this whole new world with this relative, an aunt, that I have met a total of four times.
When you’re little, you never really know what you’re going to face in adulthood. You think you’re going to be looked after, loved and sheltered for your entire life, which leaves you to not have a care in the world. And then suddenly you’re this naïve young adult, thrust into a world of big bads, and emotions which you never knew you could have, situations you never imagined.
I’m angry and confused. And I’m still waiting for someone to wake me up.
She placed her black ball point pen in the crease, closing the brown leather bound book. Well, not a book really, a journal. She’d purchased it yesterday, on her psychiatrist’s insistence. Apparently writing out your thoughts and feelings like gushing twelve year old girl was considered a great form of therapy. It did seem to make sense, even if a little tedious. The last time Liz had kept a journal was in fact, when she was twelve. Though she had not been very regular with it, and filled it with all her superficial thoughts and feelings. Eventually it was hidden in the back of her closet, or in a box somewhere. She wasn’t sure, not that it really mattered.
She buried the journal in her large black purse which sat at her feet, then luxuriously stretched out her arms in front of her. She bit her lip nervously, then peered out the window slowly. There had been a short layover in New York, but besides that, this was one of Liz’s first looks at the country of America. Over the past seventeen years of her life she’d traveled to many wonderful places. Italy, Spain, Australia, but not America. Before when she’d met her aunt, she’d flown to London with her daughter.
The view below, past the clouds were small fields and highways, all unimportant to her. They seemed to blend together, from all the way up in the sky. It reminded her of what she had written in her new journal, and suddenly wondered when she’d gotten so philosophical. There was still some time when she would reach her intended destination. The plane would land in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then there was to be a short car ride to the town of Roswell.
Of course, Liz had heard of Roswell before. Who hadn’t? After all, it was the basis of all the alien conspiracies and jokes. She’d looked it up on the internet as well, and it seemed like a very…theme-based community. The website had boasted about all the themed locations, that is. Also the fact that it was fairly small, which wasn’t very appealing to Liz. She was used to a big city.
She glanced away from the window, her attention on the balding middle-aged man beside her. Earlier they’d had a conversation about his children, he’d shown her pictures of his twin boys, but eventually he’d fallen asleep, exhausted. He was propped up against a small airplane pillow, snoring softly. Liz sighed, and closed her eyes as well. She supposed it wouldn’t be too bad to take a nap. After all, it wasn’t as if they were landing any time soon.
Liz looked skeptically in the mirror. She was paler than usual, dark rings under her eyes. No one could blame her of course. But for some reason she felt that she had to make the best impression possible for her party.
It wasn’t even a party, really. Her best friend Vicky had announced that there was no way that she was leaving without a proper goodbye. So the night before Liz left, they’d had a gathering at Liz’s house. But it wasn’t really Liz’s house anymore. The house was being sold, along with any other possessions that she didn’t want to, or wasn’t able to take with her to her new home. Ed had promised to take care of it all, and then send the money to Liz as soon as possible.
"Are you okay?" Called Vicky’s impatient voice, accompanied with a knock on the door.
"Yeah, just a moment," Liz replied, giving a sigh. She peered at her reflection closely, unsatisfied. "Well, thats as good as its gonna get," she muttered, then opened the door.
Vicky Lewis sat on the floor beside the bathroom door, nervously twirling a lock of her straight honey blonde hair. She was worried about her friend. Liz and her had met when they were in first form, going to the same school. They’d become fast friends, doing everything together.
Nancy Parker has always considered Vicky as her second daughter, basically because Vicky practically lived at their house half the time. Mrs. Parker didn’t know it, but the reason for such was an alcoholic father. But Liz, Liz did know this and made sure of the fact that Vicky was safely home, and unharmed everyday. And if it looked as though something bad might happen, she’d simply invite her friend to stay the night. Liz would have told the police, or even her mum about Mr. Lewis, if it hadn’t been for her best friend’s insistence to keep it quiet.
Vicky had been struck quite hard by the death of the Parker’s. She’d called Liz up to ask if she could spend the night, her father was down at the pub again, but instead she’d been greeted by a male voice, which she hadn’t recognized. He’d asked her who she was, and when she’d told him there was an uncomfortable pause. She then asked to speak to Liz again, and he had said that Liz was unavailable. And then he’d told her what had happened.
She tried to cry, she did. But instead she found her maternal instincts take over, and rushed to Liz’s house as fast as she could. She’d spent the night with Liz in her arms, sobbing. Only when Liz was out of the room—which wasn’t often---would she cry. She had to stay strong for her life-long friend, it felt impertinent to her.
When Liz came out of the bathroom, she stood quickly, a startled expression on her face. She’d quickly wiped it off, knowing that that would no more help Liz feel any better than anything else. Everyone was treating her like a naïve child, like they were walking on eggshells around her. Liz had confided in her friend that she hated it. She hated being treated like an infant. She’d much rather if people would just come out and say what they had to say instead of sending her stares, and talking in hushed voices behind her back. It wasn’t as though she didn’t know what they were saying anyway.
"Before we go down," Vicky started, looking Liz over to make sure she was doing okay. Liz looked as well as could be expected, maybe even better. Vicky knew how important this gathering was for her friend. She pulled out a small silver box from behind her back, handing it to Liz.
Liz took the box, taking off the top. Inside lay two identical silver rings. "One’s for you, and one’s for me," Vicky explained. "I know we’re too old for all that hokey friendship necklace thing, so I got rings instead. That way, whenever you feel lost, or lonely and I’m not there, you’ll have a little part of me to guide you through your troubles."
Liz grinned, then hugged Vicky in a tightly. She was going to miss her the most out of anyone. Well, anyone that was still alive that is. "Thank you, Vic," she said woefully, wiping a tear from her cheek.
"I’m going to miss you so much," Vicky admitted, placing the ring on Liz’s index finger, then the other on hers.
Liz gave her another hug, and kissed her on the cheek. "I love you," she breathed. "You’re my family now." She lay her head on her friends shoulder, letting the tears flow freely.
Vicky stroked her chocolate brown hair, and nodded. "Always," she said, letting herself cry in front of Liz for the first time. "Always."
Liz wiped away a fresh tear off her face, letting her eyes flutter open. She couldn’t believe that that had only been last night. It seemed like decades ago. But still, it was forever burned in her memory, vividly. It always would be.
She worried for her friend, praying that Vic would be okay by herself. She was more worried for Vicky than she was for herself. After all, she loved Vicky like a sister, and a best friend. It wasn’t fair that she had to just up and leave her. Now, of all times. She knew that her friend was suffering. Suffering not only for her friend, but also for herself. She’d been appreciative of how great Vicky had been over the last few weeks, but she knew that Vicky was hiding her pain from her. She knew how Vicky would crawl out of bed to the balcony and cry until she couldn’t anymore.
Liz slipped the small silver ring off her finger, and held it in her hand, as if inspecting it. She closed her palm, squeezing the ring. It was a reminder of her old life, what she had left behind. And she was never going to forget.
"Excuse me ladies and gentlemen," came the flight attendants voice over the PA system. "We will be soon landing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Please gather all your possessions from the over-head compartments. Thank you for flying with us."
Liz quickly slipped the ring back on her finger, and pulled her purse over her shoulder. This was it. This was the beginning.
Butterflies played in her stomach as she entered the airport, biting her lip nervously, and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. This was it, her new home. She looked around apprehensively for a familiar face. She didn’t clearly remember what her Aunt looked like, considering it had been so long. The last visit had happened when she was a pre-teen, infatuated with pop music, boys and platform shoes. Her Aunt was her father’s sister, and they weren’t particularly close. If they had, perhaps her Aunt would have been able to make it to the funeral. Of course, supposedly her Aunt owned some sort of restaurant, so it seems it was much to busy with the summer rush to fly all the way to London.
Seeing no one she knew, or she didn’t think she did, Liz made her way over to baggage check, scanning the luggage for her own. Whatever had not accompanied her on the flight was going to be sent in the next few days or so. She waited patiently for her bags to arrive, and when they did, she scooped them up with a little difficulty at the weight.
She did another quick scan of the airport, still spotting no one familiar.
"Elizabeth?" asked a voice behind her, and she turned to see a petite blond gazing at her, her hazel eyes questioning. She wore an ample grin painted across her raspberry lips. Beside her stood a boy which Liz assumed was around the same age as herself. He was handsome, wearing a form-fitting black t-shirt and a scruffy pair of dark denim jeans. His mousy brown hair was spiked up, as if it had been electrocuted.
"Liz," Liz corrected her, returning her greeting. "You are…?" She asked cautiously.
"Oh!" The girl cried, her lips forming in an ‘o’ at the word. "I guess you wouldn’t remember me, its been so long. I’m your cousin, Maria."
Liz examined the girl closer, and saw that, yes, this was in fact Maria DeLuca, her Aunt Amy’s only child. The last time she’d seen Maria they’d only been blossoming youths. Even then they’d gotten along fabulously, though, and they had corresponded for a while through mail and email. Eventually both the girls had been caught up with their own lives, and the communication had dwindled to maybe a card at Christmas or on birthdays.
Liz jumped, surprised, when she was assaulted by the girl’s arms, pulling her into a firm hug. "I’m so glad you’re here!" She cried animatedly. Liz chuckled softly. Maria, still the same bubbly, vivacious girl she’d always been. Releasing Liz, Maria took a breath, and started to explain. "My mom was busy with the restaurant, so she sent me to come pick you up, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve got my car and everything, and I’m a great driver---we drive on the other side of the road here, so that will be kind of cool for you. Our place is kind of small, and we haven’t had a chance to set up your room yet, but I promise that in the next week or so it’ll be perfect so don’t you worry. Also we’ve got a---"
"Maria," interrupted the male. "Stop it, you’re scaring her."
Maria turned to the boy and slapped him lightly against the arm. "If anyone’s scaring her its you, Michael," she hissed, a frown across her lips. She returned her attention back to Liz. "Sorry, this is my…" She stopped herself. "This is Michael."
Liz nodded towards him, "it’s nice to meet you," she greeted. He stood beside Maria, their shoulders barely touching, yet somehow Liz could distinguish the connection between the two. And the spark in her cousin’s eyes when she’d turned around to scold him. That mildly amused smirk he’d given her…There was no doubt in her mind that the two were an item. Maybe not one of the mushy type, holding hands, and gushing ‘I love you’s’, but a couple even still.
"You’re going to be fine," he assured her, grinning down at her doubtful face. He leaned in and kissed the crown of her head tenderly. "You’ll make plenty of new friends, and forget about all of us here."
Liz looked up at him her doe eyes wide. "I’ll never forget you. Never," she breathed. And she wouldn’t. They’d known each other all their lives, first as enemies, then friends, then…Something more. They’d experienced pain and joy together, growing stronger each day.
He looked over his shoulder, gazing at Vicky who wore a teary expression, then at Ed and Tess Harding who also looked dire. "I love you," he whispered rawly, his voice dry with emotion.
A salty tear fell down her cheek as she shook her head, taking a step back. "No, no. Don’t say that. Please."
He looked wounded, but he approached her, wrapping her up in an embrace, placing a supple kiss across her lips. Liz felt herself melt reluctantly, as she let him deepen the kiss, enjoying the feel of it, of him. But she couldn’t let him carry on with this charade. She garnered up the strength to break the kiss, by pushing him away. "Marc, please," she pleaded her voice coarse. "You don’t love me."
"I do, Liz," he replied truthfully. "I’ve loved you for as long as I can remember. I loved you the moment I set eyes on you." He looked down at the floor, almost as if he were afraid that his eyes would give away just how much he was hurting at the moment. " Losing you…" He breathed, raising his eyes slowly to meet hers. "Will be the hardest thing in the world. I love you."
"You don’t," she argued, biting her bottom lip which was flushed from their kiss.
"I do," he replied just as quickly.
"I don’t." She replied chastely. "I don’t," she repeated her tone hushed. "I’m sorry."
Now he stepped back, a look of conviction across his handsome features, those blue eyes of his growing stormy. "Alright," he replied sullenly, running a hand roughly through his tousled sandy blonde hair.
As Liz peered into his oceany eyes she could see the pain and betrayal he felt. Never in her life had she caused anyone such pain. But how could she lie to him? How could she tell him she loved him if she didn’t? She loved him, she did, but not in the way expected. She loved him as a friend, a brother with benefits. But not as a lover, not as a mate. How could she explain that to him, make him understand? She couldn’t. There was neither the time or words that would let him understand.
He pulled her into another hug, but this one tight, formal. "Goodbye, Elizabeth," he bid her farewell politely, then studying her one last time.
"Marc!" She cried to his departing figure. He ignored her calls, never looking back, never setting his eyes on her again. Her heart twisted painfully. It wasn’t supposed to end that way. It was supposed to end on good terms, promising letters, and maybe phone calls. Not bitterly, not…This way.
She felt Vicky’s warm hand on her shoulder. "Let him go," she told her friend. "There’s no use now."
Liz nodded ruefully, placing her hand on top on her friends. "I do love him," she sighed. "I love him as I love you."
Vicky wiped a tear from Liz’s cheek. "I know, I’ll tell him." Liz smiled sadly, offering her thanks.
"Yeah," her cousin’s boyfriend replied simply, snapping Liz out of her trance. Her heart ached violently as she recalled the events of earlier that day. The sad look on Marc’s face as he’d left her in the airport. The way she had hurt him so much.
Maria smirked at her cousin, rolling her sparkling eyes. "Excuse Mikey, here, he doesn’t get out much."
Liz smiled warmly. At least if she had to be stuck in some foreign place, the people she would be living with weren’t going to be scary or hostile. She’d spoken to her Aunt on the phone earlier today, and she’d seemed quite pleasant and happy to accommodate Liz. Perhaps she might even grow to love the place.
|posted on 27-Mar-2002 4:27:40 AM|
An upbeat song blared from the radio of the little red Jetta, it’s owner pounding her palms against the steering wheel as she drove. She sung along the words, bouncing her head back and forth to the beat. She could feel Michael’s smirk, and his eyes burning into the back of her head. In the passenger seat, her cousin was quiet, gazing out the window in a dazed state. Looking a little lost, and probably longing to be anywhere than there. Poor girl, after all, she’d just lost her parents.
Even if Liz wasn’t especially exuberant as to being there, it was quite the opposite for Maria. She was not only happy, but thrilled that her cousin was there. She knew that Liz would love Roswell, and all her friends. And she couldn’t wait to show Liz everything her town had to offer.
"Hey blondie," she could feel his breath on the back of her neck, sending unconscious shivers down her spine. Michael had a way of stimulating her like no one else. "How ‘bout you stop your caterwauling for a minute, and stick on some better tunes."
Maria glared at him through the rear-view mirror. They were always like that, exchanging banter, bickering constantly. To anyone who’d just met them they’d think that the two hated each other. But it wasn’t so—Truthfully, Maria loved Michael with all of her heart. And he….Well, he had said the words.
Michael had surprised her one day after work, sweeping her off into an unknown location, a picnic ready for the both of them when they’d arrived. It was a wonderfully tender act coming from Michael, who seemed to be both a stone wall, and immature little boy at times. She’d kissed him sweetly before they’d feasted, her eyes lighting up animatedly. She loved when he did things like this for her, however few and far between.
The food, shamelessly stolen from the Crashdown’s kitchen had been delicious, and afterwards the very full couple relaxed in silence. Maria sprawled on the grass, the warm sun sweetly kissing her face, accentuating her features. Her soft curls were fanned out below her, wildly and unkept, much like Maria, one arm propping her head up slightly. She wore a sky blue halter shirt, which had ridden up exposing the soft creamy span of her stomach.
Michael lay his head across that expanse, as she stroked his hair maternally. They’d laid in silence like this for some time. Then he’d moved his face into her stomach, leaving delicate little trails of kisses across the smooth naked skin.
Maria giggled as he kissed her, her abdomen moving up and down against his face. She’d taken his face in her hands, pulling his lips to hers, and kissing him roughly. He brought his body over hers, pulling his mouth away for a moment, and when his lips returned they’d kissed her so tenderly it was if he thought she was porcelain, breakable with the slightest touch.
"Ugh. Like Metallica is any better than " Maria groaned. "Christina can run circles around those metal heads any day," she argued.
"C’mon," he said gazing over at Liz, who was immersed in thought, her eyes almost glossed over. Then he ran his finger smoothly up and down his girlfriend’s arm. Her skin was warm, and soft, like he remembered. He could feel her response underneath his finger, goosebumps forming at his touch.
Maria shivered underneath him. Like she’d said, only Michael Guerin could have this affect on her. The stroking was a tease, to something better that would come when her cousin wasn’t a sat away from the both of them. Something that would happen in private. Her stomach turned nervously, and she glanced in the rearview mirror once again.
His eyes were smoldering, looking at her beautiful features via the mirror. He saw her flush as she gazed at him. The music wasn’t even the issue in this at all. When he was with her, he’d be perfectly content with listening to Christina Aguilera for the rest of his life. It was just mindless banter to fill the gap between the two, and lull the silence in the vehicle.
He’d stroked her cheek with his index finger, caressing the skin which had been warmed from the sun. His eyes were locked with hers, as if the two could see into each others souls. She’d pulled him closer, showing him she wasn’t going to crush, kissing him hungrily. Her tongue fought its way into his mouth, teasing and urging with his.
When they’d finished, tired and breathless, the couple returned to their former positions, relaxing under the New Mexico sun. Michael had raised his head warily, looking down at his beautiful goddess. "I love you," he’d gently breathed, his eyes emotional, the look of a man smitten with a woman.
Maria sat up quickly, a looked of surprise painted on her face. "What?" She’d asked, needing to hear it again to believe it was true. "What did you say?"
He cleared his throat. "I love you, Maria."
Maria pulled him close, tears forming in her eyes. Michael was never the type to wear his emotions on his sleeve, nor the type to admit he had these kind of emotions at all. It had taken forever for the two of them to even admit to their friends that they were dating at all. Despite the sexual tension which had been accumulating since they were adolescents. "I love you too," she kissed against his cheek, then pressed her cheek against his, drinking in the scent of him.
She’d known she loved him for a long time now. Of course, because of how tempestuous Michael could be, she’d never let herself admit it anyone but Alex, who she told everything to. They’d had a long talk about the status for her and Michael’s so-called relationship, and she’d admitted to truly loving him with her whole heart and soul.
Maria settled her eyes on the road, glaring at Michael slightly. He couldn’t distract her while driving, they both knew how that turned out. Not that she really liked to remember the story. But at least he’d fixed her fender for her after that mishap.
"Hey Liz," she sang, looking at her cousin briefly. Liz looked up, focusing her eyes. She looked at Maria curiously. The drove by a large green sign with an alien painted on the front. Maria smiled, her eyes sparkling. "Welcome to Roswell, New Mexico."
Her cousin’s words rang in her ears as the drove past the sign. Roswell, her new home. It didn’t look any different than Albuquerque, maybe a little smaller perhaps. As they drove into town suburban houses could be spotted left and right. Great. She was living the American dream, suburbia. Okay, maybe she was a little bitter. Maybe she was wishing that she was anywhere but there at that exact moment. Maybe she was thinking jumping out of the car and running off by herself might be a little less scary then arriving in this foreign place.
She hadn’t really paid much attention to Maria or Michael the whole car ride from the airport. She’d meant to, really, she had. Instead she’d spent it meticulously trying to remember if she’d packed everything she needed, and trying to visualize what life in Roswell might be like. All through the car ride thoughts had plundered her, pushing the practical out of the way. She hadn’t meant to think about London. She hadn’t meant to miss Vicky already, or regret what she had said to Marc. But she did, no matter what she tried, she missed them all.
Her cousin chattered away merrily, pointing out the sites, places where people she knew lived, everything. She was a regular tour guide. Roswell was rather small in size, but it seemed very plentiful in tourist traps. Everywhere you looked you’d see some sort of advertisement about aliens at the very least. Michael remained mostly silent, except for a few sounds of agreement when Maria looked back and asked something like "don’t you agree?"
She didn’t really understand the relationship between Michael and Maria. The two were polar opposites, she was bubbly and sunny and he was dark and silent. They seemed to bicker constantly, about anything and everything. But then again it’s always said that opposites do attraction, and this very well could be an example. Maybe there was something her cousin saw in this boy, something more than the rough exterior. It wasn’t that he was unattractive either. But it was almost as Michael put off an air around him saying "stay away." Maybe he’d let Maria in to experience what was inside that cautious soul. Maybe they were in love.
"This is the Crashdown," Maria cried, as they pulled up in front of a restaurant. There was a prominent sign at the front, showing an alien ship, with the title on the restaurant. "My mom bought it from the previous owners about five years ago. She runs it, and I work as a waitress. Michael here is a cook." She shut off the engine of the little car. Pulling off her seatbelt and hopping out of the car, she stretched luxuriously. "And so ends the tour of Roswell. Cozy little place, isn’t it?" She glanced at Liz for her approval.
Liz nodded, not wanting to waist the energy to argue. It wasn’t as if that would do any good. She was stuck in this place, whether she liked it or not. Of course, even with the slightest nod, Maria’s 100 watt smile grew ten times bigger. She was like a freaking sign on the Vegas strip, she was so damn bright.
Maria reached out and grabbed Liz’s hand, shooting a glance towards Michael. He nodded, knowing exactly what she wanted. Before they had left to go get Liz Maria had given him a lecture. She had sat him down, and talked to him like a kindergarten teacher. She had even made a list of guidelines for him to follow. It would have been comical if it wasn’t so damn annoying.
There was about 10 sacred rules Maria had laid out, including not mentioning death, not talking about why she was going to stay in Roswell, etc, etc. Also the whole ‘be a happy resident of New Mexico’ thing. If you consulted Michael that meant ‘be as cheesy and ditzy as possible’, and he’d told her. That had earned him a firm swat against the chest. Not that he minded, any contact with Maria was good contact in his books.
Eventually Maria had broken him, and he’d sworn on that all-holy list and a 6-pack of Snapple to obey as much as he could. Which basically meant, being half decent and carrying the luggage, which seemed reasonable to him. As long as he didn’t have to tell Liz how much fun she was going to have or something. That would be a laugh. He watched the girls push through the turquoise restaurant doors, then heaved a suitcase out of the trunk with a grunt.
Liz felt overwhelmed as she entered the Crashdown. A lump in her throat, and a churn in her stomach had accompanied her first view of the Crashdown sign outside. Her cousin must have sensed her apprehension, because she had reached out an caught a firm grasp of her hand. Liz knew she was holding on rather hard, almost for dear life, her palms sweating. It was only natural, right?
The DeLuca’s restaurant was brightly painted with that turquoise tone and an orangy-red color. It depicted scenes from the alien crash, and all sorts of other myths and legends. The booths were the same greenish blue, and Liz seemed to sense a color motif. At least the cluttered bunch all matched, which was pretty pinnacle.
Good thing the place was fairly empty, she wouldn’t be able to take all those inquisitive eyes boring into her as she walked through. There was a young man sitting at the counter with an attractive and curvy blonde, which Maria waved to momentarily, but besides that it seemed as though no one really noticed her. Thank god.
Her eyes focused at behind the counter, moving onto the form behind. It was a mousy-brown haired woman, in her late 30’s, early 40’s. And she knew this woman anyway. This was her Aunt. Amy DeLuca. Liz let go of Maria’s hand, not noticing that Maria seemed fairly relieved, and wiped the sweat -soaked palm against her blue jeans. She stood there lamely, looking at Amy in familiarity.
Amy was her fathers sister, never close. Her and her brother had just been so opposite. Amy was a wacky woman, sporadic with her way of life. She was known to do wild things, like, for example, buying this restaurant. That was a completely unexpected thing. Who would have thought her Aunt would take on a venue like that? Another surprise had been Maria.
Amy had been 18, just out of high school when she’d realized she was pregnant. Maria’s father and Amy had had a shot-gun wedding, but when the time came for Amy to give birth, he’d taken off, and hadn’t been heard from for a number of years. Apparently he was a musician, and checked in very infrequently.
"Liz!" Cried Amy, beaming. She abandoned her post at the cash register and ran up to her niece, embracing Liz warmly. "Honey," she said lovingly stroking Liz’s hair, "I am so glad to see you." She kissed her niece’s forehead. "And so sorry."
Liz nodded, nestling her face into Amy’s shoulder. She’d always liked Amy, as little as she’d known her. And right now, she needed someone comforting to hold her in their arms.
|posted on 27-Mar-2002 4:30:55 AM|
Amy pulled back, holding Liz at arm’s length. "Oh my, you’re so big!" She cried, gazing over at her daughter, a bright grin permanently fixed on her face. She turned to a waiting Maria, and repeated herself. "She’s so big."
Maria nodded, humoring her mother. "That she is, mom."
Amy smiled , satisfied, and led Liz over to a padded, turquoise colored booth by the window. From the view you could see Michael struggling with her luggage out by the Jetta. Also, across the street was a weird brick building that prominently read ‘The UFO Center’. "Here—its the best booth in the house." She turned to her daughter who had trailed along behind Liz, "Why don’t you invite your friends over there to come meet your cousin sweetie? I’m sure she’d like that." Maria nodded, excusing herself to go converse with her friends.
Liz sat down in the waiting booth, her eyes flicking momentarily at Michael’s strained expression. He noticed and shot her a grin. Or, what might be considered a grin in his mind. It was more of a half smirk, half frown. All the same, he was trying—and Maria probably appreciated that. Amy waved at Michael, smiling brightly. Bright, thats what kind of a woman she was. Bright to every last detail, which sort of explained the decor of the restaurant, actually. Amy took a seat across from Liz. Liz had her hands out on the table, wringing them nervously. "Oh honey," her aunt said softly, placing her hands on top of Liz’s. "I am so sorry. And I want you to feel at home here. Roswell is small, but its a nice place. I think you’ll like it here.
Liz nodded, speechless. What was one to say to a perfectly sweet woman when you had already made up your mind to secretly loathe this places existence? You couldn’t exactly be like ‘thanks for trying, but every time I look at you I think about how much better my life was back in England’. Maybe that was hypocritical. She hadn’t even experienced anything here. And supposing she was being hypocritical…What if she actually grew to like it here? Liz felt rude, and awkward. Her Aunt Amy was so nice to her, and here Liz was, her mouth clamed shut. "Thank you," she whispered shyly.
Amy grinned again, and patted Liz’s hand warmly. "I have to go help that woman over there, but if you need anything, you let me know, mmkay?" Liz nodded, returning the grin. It was the least she could do. Amy literally bounded up out of the booth, and made her way over to the counter to help a customer, every so often sending warm beams her way.
Liz bit her lip, out of habit, and began playing with a strand of hair. Maria was still over at the counter, animatly talking with the two, the boy and girl, she had waved to when she walked in. So she diverted her attention the window. Outside portrayed the perfect little town. There was moderate traffic, with green trees and no litter blemishing the city’s sidewalks. It was perfect. Almost too freaking perfect for Liz to stand. It seemed she was moving on from her grief, now she was just getting extremely analytical and angry. Of course, she found this an improvement, but to most it might be a drawback.
"Lizzie," Maria’s voice called. Liz tore her eyes away from the view, to look to her left. Maria stood in the middle of the boy and girl. They were all beaming. My god, they’re like pod people, Liz thought silently. The only normal one is Michael, who even attempts to join the cult. Her eyes flicked from the sultry looking female, to the jockish male. "This is Isabel Evans and Kyle Valenti," Maria gushed.
The blonde offered her perfectly manicured hand delicately, and Liz shook it. A firm, straight-toothed grin appeared across the girl’s face. "Nice to meet you, Liz."
Then she took the boys hand. It was warm and strong. His eyes sparkled with interest. "Hey," he grinned. "If you ever need a tour guide—" Maria slapped him across the shoulder.
"She’ll ask me." She laughed. "What’s with you and hitting on anything that moves." Then she frowned, shooting a gaze at Liz. "No offense." Liz dismissed it with a shake of her head.
"Please—I just like the ladies’" He cried.
Isabel smiled. "Kyle, I ought to never talk to you again for what you just said." She shot a look at Liz and rolled her eyes. "We were just leaving. Welcome to Roswell—if you want to join anything at all, I’m the girl to ask."
"Thats because you’re neorotic," Kyle said sweetly.
"Come along," she called, starting towards the door with Kyle in tow. "Bye Liz!"
Liz said her goodbyes then turned to Maria curiously. What now? Maria looped her arm through Liz’s. "Alright, so those were some of the gang. You’ll like them. And why don’t we go show you the aparment!" She suggested, as Michael entered the restaurant.
The apartment was of decent size, considering that it was above the restaurant. The smell of french fries and hamburgers wafted through the floor, leaving a permanent greasy scent in the air. Liz crinkled her nose slightly in distaste, but then straightened up when she realized that she was being rude.
The living room had a soft beige carpet, the kind that you could dig your toes into. In the middle of the room there was a futon, decorated in a flower pattern. A sheet was thrown carelessly over top. The apartment was what one person would call…Unique. It was like an artists’ apartment.
The walls were splattered with brilliant splotches of color. Where one wall was a blazing yellow, the other was a vibrant purple. Yet it seemed to compliment the other. On the walls hung framed, black and white photographs. Most were of Maria, but others depicted scenes from all different landscapes and objects.
Everywhere you looked there was something to strike your interest. Like the mosaic coffee table, made completely of broken dishes. Or the black and white tiled kitchen. It was like stepping into a whole new world. One which was free of the quandaries of the outside. A place where you could be free to be yourself.
"I know its not as big as you’re used to honey," Her Aunt supplied. She had followed them up, moments later. Amy’s lips were tight, and turned down at the edges, as she placed comforting hands on Liz’s shoulders. Unlike Liz, her surveillance of the apartment was more critical, pessimistic. "It’s kind of a mess right now," she chuckled to herself, ruffling the hair at the back of her head in a careless manner as she stepped past Liz, entering deeper into her abode. "Maria and I cleaned up a bit, but I spend so much time downstairs, and my work…Sometimes we just get kind of cluttered."
Liz shook her head, "No, no its perfect. Really."
Amy turned, and flashed her a knowing smile. "You’re sweet." She laughed again. "There wasn’t much time, so you’re going to be in Maria’s room for a while, and we’re going to clear out the guest bedroom soon, until then Maria’s on the couch."
"Oh, no, I couldn’t…" Liz started, nibbling at her bottom lip. She felt uneasy just coming in like this, invading their home, and then to take her cousin’s bedroom…
"You can and will," Maria’s voice sang from behind her. She stepped through the open door, and was followed a moment later by Michael who was stumbling under the weight of the luggage.
Amy put a comforting arm around Liz’s shoulder, staring around as if the place were brand new to her. "Welcome home."
The breeze blew lightly through the ajar window, jingling together the rainbow colored plastic curtains slightly. The room was dark and silent with the exception of light breathing from the sleeping form curled up in bed.
A dark masculine form approached the window slowly, easing the frame up a little further before heaving himself into the room, his white, scuffed up Adidas running shoes landing with a small thump against the wooden floorboards. He adjusted his form, then ran a hand through his raven hair, watching the sleeping girl. Her small frame heaved up and down delicately as she slept peacefully.
He’d missed seeing her, climbing into her window in the middle of the night for one of their talks, or just sitting in the Crashdown all afternoon on a hot day. All summer he’d worked as a camp counselor at a small private over-night camp in ---. He’d arrived back earlier that evening but, of course, his parents had insisted on having a family barbecue and catching up with each other. They were like that, always involved in their children’s lives. It wasn’t until now, after midnight, that he was able to slip out the window to Maria’s house.
When he’d arrived none of the lights were on, and he assumed that Ms. DeLuca was probably spending the night at the Sheriff’s house as she so often did. He crept over to the bed, and sat down beside her. Her head was buried underneath the covers, something she often did. Maria was one of those people who twisted and turned actively in her sleep.
He leaned over her, and gently pulled back the covers off her face. "Holy shit!" He cried in surprise as he saw Liz’s sleeping face. Her eyes fluttered open in surprise, and she opened her mouth in a scream. He quickly clamped her mouth. Her eyes were wide and wild, as she thrashed at his.
"Shh, its okay," he soothed his voice velvet soft. Pain shot through his hand and her teeth clamped down hard, and he pulled back in shock. She screamed again, jumping up to her feet, onto the bed, ready in fight stance.
"No, wait!" He cried, nursing his injured hand.
She pulled the first sharp object she could find off the nightstand parallel to the bed, a pen. "W-who are you?!" She cried, alarmed.
"Me?" He asked, his eyebrows raising. Who was he? He was surprised to find a stranger sleeping in Maria’s bedroom of all places, but to find a stranger who didn’t know of him was even more peculiar. You’d think someone spending any amount of time in the DeLuca household would know of the girl’s best friend, Max Evans. But apparently, he was assuming his fame proceeded himself.
"Yes," she replied exceedingly, her voice faltering.
He felt himself smiling at her accent. It was distinguished and soft. He enjoyed the sound of it, the soft lilt at the end. And it wasn’t just the accent he was smiling at. As his chocolate eyes warmed to the lighting he drew in the girl.
Her sheen, dark tresses were rumpled roughly from her sleep. Though it didn’t draw anything away from her beauty. In fact, the tousled locks suited her, making the girl seem delightfully sexy, yet innocent at the same time. Her doe eyes were large still with confusion, the dark lashes fanning out. And her pouty strawberry lips were slightly parted in expectation. The girl was a goddess, even in disarray.
His eyes fell then on her body, he found himself unconsciously staring at her petite form. She worn a skin-tight almost see through white tank, and a pair short pajama shorts. The olive expanse of her legs looked so soft to the touch, and he almost found himself overcome with the temptation to take the girl into his arms and ravish her. He decided this was not the best plan of attack. First, a name, then perhaps a friendly seduction.
He extended his hand then, towards the frightened girl atop the mattress, surrounded in crumpled blankets, threatening him meekly with a pen. "Max Evans," he announced, looking directly into her eyes. He felt his stomach flinch for a moment, his attraction almost overcoming.
Liz just stared at the mans hand. It was purely masculine, yet looked amazingly warm. These were not the hands of a hard laborer. These were the hands of a suburban male. She tentatively edged closer, his features excelled in the moonlight. She found that he was not a man, yet not a boy either. He wore a plain and simple navy blue t-shirt and blue jeans, the uniform of an American youth.
This was not a predator, Liz concluded. Yet he was not a friend. Not to her, at least. But to Maria? Her cousin had never mentioned any boys crawling through her window in the middle of the night. Maybe she wasn’t as happy as she seemed with Michael, maybe this was another guy for her cousin to get her sexual urges fulfilled? Funny, Maria didn’t seem the kind to be unfaithful. And this boy didn’t appear to be Maria’s type.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t attractive. He was more than handsome. His lips wore a charming lopsided grin, and there was an amused twinkle in those mesmerizing eyes. They drew you in like a magnet, soulful and kind. Yet there was a charm in there, a spark that could not be disguised. Her eyes followed the curve of his hard jawbone, to the slightly oversized ears. If it weren’t for them she wouldn’t have believed he was real. It wasn’t an imperfection, it in fact added to his appeal, causing her breath to catch.
He was so different from Michael. Michael was attractive as well, but in such a distinct way. Something different than the norm. The way he grinned in a lopsided fashion, or the way he ran his hands through his spiky hair when he started to feel irritated. And the way that he touched Maria, that brung out an even more attractive side of him. He was alternative while this boy, Max, he brought…an All-American, Abercrombie model-type feeling. Not that that was a bad thing, of course.
She surveyed the strong forearms he possessed, biceps revealed against the tee. He couldn’t hide a body as magnificent as that. There was no doubt in her mind that this boy was fit. She had to fight the urge to trail her hands down that broad chest, feeling the hardness of his body. Even the thought of such a sensual act caused her to shiver slightly. She prayed that he did not see this. Especially if this boy was there to see her cousin on a midnight booty call or something.
Something about this boy though, it made her betray her suspicions, and step even closed, her hand outstretching to take his. To introduce herself. As she ascended towards him, her foot caught on the sheet, toppling her frame onto him.
He grabbed her tightly against him, making sure she didn’t hurt herself. Liz flushed madly, her embarrassment apparent. But that wasn’t her only thought. Her brain grew dizzy with the faint musk of his masculinity. A cologne she recognized, but couldn’t quite place in her mind. And the way he felt, strong and hard, the way she knew he would. She wanted to melt right there in his arms, nestling her head into that broad chest.
Instead she pulled away quickly, not letting her features betray her true thoughts. He did not need to know that her mind was in the relm of bad things. "Sorry," she said lamely, chewing down on her lip. "I-I didn’t mean to…" She stammered.
He shook his head, shooting her another dazzling grin. "No worries," Max assured. "So what was your name?"
Liz grinned, she couldn’t help herself. "Liz. Parker. Maria’s cousin. Surely you knew I was coming?"
He shook his head, a frown crossing his features. "I’ve been away all summer. Maria is no good with communication. Especially when she’s all caught up with Michael."
Liz let out an unexpected sigh of relief, then covered her mouth in shock. Her face turned another few shades redder.
"What?" He asked, Max’s eyebrows raising devilishly.
"I thought…" She started, feeling tongue-tied. "Well, I mean…" She paused. "Well, I thought maybe you were here for…Um…"
Max’s grin broke even wider, a chuckle escaping him. "Oh my god, you thought..?" He cried, trying to control his laughter. "No! No, Maria’s my best friend," he exclaimed, amused.
Liz silently rejoiced.