posted on 18-May-2002 2:50:34 AM
Title: It's Not About You
Author: Meagzie
E-mail: meagzie⊕
Catergory: M/L with the rest of the gang included
Rating: R
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Roswell and its characters belong to Melinda Metz, UPN, and whoever else wants them. I also do not own any of the lyrics used throughout the story.
Summary: Liz endures a painful childhood with haunting memories that mark her forever. In a break to start over and forget a life she hates, she moves to Roswell, NM to live with her Aunt Nancy, Uncle Jeff, and cousin Michael. Yet will her desperation for keeping her previous life a secret just hurt her even more in the end?

Part 1

I used to be like you. Really. I used to have friends that cared about me and went shopping with on Saturdays. I used to have a family that loved me. I used to have a mom that would cook large dinners on Sundays, and a dad that always asked me about my day. I even had a loyal golden retriever that slept with me at night to keep me safe and secure when I cried about monsters in my closet.

But all that was before my mom left. That was before she died. That was before my dad went to jail and left me alone. That was before I started getting shifted from home to home, feeling in the way of everyone and everything. That was before I was supposedly saved my horrible living conditions. That was even before I hit the climax of puberty.

Now I can proudly say I do have breasts that (somewhat) fill a bra.

When mom first left dad and I, dad was pretty messed up. He started drinking, stopped going to his job and basically sat on his fat ass for days. I had to take over the house duties, cleaning, cooking, and scrubbing that last, hard, crusty speck of leftovers that stuck to the dollar-a-piece Tupperware or the 39-cent plastic cutlery. We couldn’t afford any real plates or cutlery. I had to pawn those in order to pay the bills.

It wasn’t that bad at first. I mean, sure, I had more responsibilities than most 12 year olds, but I was independent. Isn’t that what most kids want? To clean up the beer after your dad burps in your ear repeatedly. Or wiping down the toilet after dad takes a large shit just because he asked you to. Yep. I had it good.

Dad kept out of my way for a few weeks. Hell, all he wanted to do was drown his misery in beer and forget his everyday obligations. I was always there to clean up after him anyways, so it wasn’t so bad for him. Until he started to bring the women around.

The first one was filthy, and I swear she kept beef jerky in her pocket. Otherwise, I don’t know how the hell she could smell like that. And she was hideous. Buckteeth, big, dizzy hair that was way too uneven and eyes that looked like they had been dipped in blue eye shadow 80 times too much. Oh, and her clothes. Well, lets just say that if she had a short skirt, it wouldn’t be much of a skirt. Yup, Garbage girl was pretty disgusting.

She lasted about 3 days, until the redhead came along. Carrot top seemed to be the loudest I ever heard. Even with the hundreds of women following her. I barely slept the whole week my dad fucked her. And for three weeks afterwards, I had nightmares that always included some sort of scream of “Who’s your Mac Mommy?”

So it went on like that for four months. A new flavor/slut/bitch/hoe was ‘entertained’ by my dad every week. Sometimes a new one appeared every few days. Sure, it was disgusting hearing my dad grunt and moan in the room right next to mine, but I never complained. Never. It could have been worse. Of course, it did get worse though.

I don’t remember her name, and I don’t think I even want to. She lasted about a week and a half. The longest one. The third night she spent with my dad, they had both come home drunk. They were home pretty early too, coming in around midnight. I was finishing homework from school at the kitchen table, not expecting my dad home any time soon. Imagine my surprise when he comes strolling in with his ‘lady friend’. My immediate reaction was to scurry up to my room as fast as possible. I really didn’t want to hear my dad fucking his newest bitch out in the living room. (He usually started there and worked his way up to his bedroom. I installed a lock on my door.)

“Your daughter is real disrespectful,” the bitch had screeched suddenly as I tried to make my escape. I knew then that I had better hurry before my dad actually processed the comment. I was too late though, and I knew it. She had grabbed a strand of my hair with one of her impossibly long manicured fingers. She pulled me back harshly and what did I do? What anyone else would do. I screamed and pinched her. Hard.

The slut was not pleased. She turned to my dad, who was staring drunkenly into space. Grabbing his crotch, she slithered towards his body. Snake. She was a snake. A nasty, disgusting, reeking snake that fucked men without a care in the world. Probably had STD’s coming out of her ass and then some.

“You know what would make me really hot?” she whispered fiercely into his waxed filled ear. “If you punished that little shit of yours.”

That’s when it started. The beatings, hitting, strikes, blows, whatever you want to call them. Every night, my dad would hit me for some reason or another. He always found some sort of excuse. And the bitch always got off on it. But even after she left, dad didn’t stop. I think it was some sort of way to let his anger out. I don’t blame him all that much. He got a shitty deal. His wife left him, and all he had left was a no good daughter. Not even a son that he could watch porn with and drink beer with. I can’t stand beer.

I always hid the bruises and cuts really well. I had discovered make-up by then, so it became a cinch. It’s scary how nonchalant I became about putting make-up over my bruises. I bought a first-aid book for the times when my dad actually sprained or broke something. But it was my life and how I had to live with it. I just accepted it.

We lived that way for almost 3 years. Him bringing a new slut into the house, me getting beat, then cleaning up the mess afterwards.

Then the news came. The horrible, life-altering news that will forever haunt me, in my reality and in my dreams.

Dad was fucking his newest broad upstairs and I was cleaning up the mess that had been made when he hit me just a few minutes earlier. The phone rang shrilly into the air and I ran to get it. For some reason, dad hated the sound of the phone. Probably made him lose his concentration. God forbid he be too drunk and lose his concentration to actually shove his cock into his newest hole.

Letting a small, timid greeting into the phone, I waited for an answer. Too tired to play mind games, I was about to hang up when I heard a small squeak. Pulling the phone back to my ear, I repeated my hello.

“Liz, darling?” Aunt Nancy’s voice called out. Well, that was different. I hadn’t heard from her since before mom left.

“Aunt Nancy,” I had replied. I remember the conversation exactly; down to every moment I took a breath.

“Hi sweetie, where’s your dad?” Aunt Nancy was a really nice woman. She was the kind of aunt that was still young, but always wanted to pinch your cheeks. She gave great hugs though, and made really good cookies.

“He’s, uh, busy. What can I do for you?” No one knew about our, uh, lifestyle, so telling Aunt Nancy was a big no-no. Besides, as dad always said, it was none of anyone’s business.

“Oh, well…” Aunt Nancy’s voice sounded unsure and upset. I was still too shocked at the moment that my mother’s sister had called to notice her delay.

“Honey, I think you better sit down,” she said softly. I complied with her direction, as I never disobeyed anyone.

“What is it, Aunt Nancy?” I had asked meekly. She was sort of scaring me. I wasn’t sure as to what she wanted to tell me, but I knew in my gut it was bad.

“Liz, baby, your mom… y-you… y-our mommy. She, uh… she died tonight, sweetie. I’m so sorry, baby. I’m so sorry.” My own soft cries were drowned out by Aunt Nancy’s sobs.

Every kid wishes his or her parents would stay together. Whether the parents are married, separated, or divorced, every kid has some sort of hope that their parents will be together forever. I guess I always believed my mom would come back one day and make everything all right. Eventually one day my mom would come back to me, to us, and things would go back to the way it used to be. Delusion. Yes. But I still believed. It was the only thing that kept me going for so long.

When I told my dad the news the next morning when his fuck toy had left, he was really quiet at first. He had a calm look over his face… that lasted about 30 seconds. Then he attacked. After the first few hits, I just felt numb all over. I closed my eyes and let him do whatever he wanted. He needed to get his anger out, and I was just there. Bad luck for me, probably. That must have been it. Just plain old bad luck.

But that was the last time he hit me for a long time. The last time I would see him for a long time. I was so banged up by the time he was done that I had no other choice than to call an ambulance. I couldn’t feel anything except the exceptionally numbing pain all over my body. I remember my dad screaming and yelling at me for being so stupid when he found out about my call. He hit me again, and didn’t stop until the paramedics literally had to drag him off me.

I spent about 8 months in different homes. The Woolies were really nice. They were my fifth home. Mrs. Woolie always made dinners that tickled my nose and stuffed my stomach endlessly. She kind of reminded me of my mom. Always caring, always wanting to talk. But I could never open up. Not to anyone. I had a door up that refused anyone access. And that was the way it was.

Aunt Nancy wasn’t really informed of my ‘situation’ until about a month ago. She screamed and hollered at everyone who had anything to do with my placements. She decided the moment that she found out about my being moved around that I would come and live with her in Roswell. I didn’t have any arguments. I liked Roswell. Mom used to take me to Roswell every summer to visit Aunt Nancy, Uncle Jeff and cousin Michael.

Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jeff had adopted Michael when I was about five or six. Michael was really cool and a year older than me. A bit shy, and kind of reserved but he always entertained me. He became the big brother I always wanted. Whenever I came to visit, Michael, our friend Alex and I would spend everyday together. I hadn’t been back since I was 12. I hadn’t kept in contact with them since my mother left.

So here I am, on my way to my newest home. Aunt Nancy keeps reassuring me that things are going to work out and life is going to better. Every once in awhile she adds in quiet mutters about what a prick my dad is. I tend to ignore it. I just want to focus on my new life. I want to start over. At least I think I do. I don’t know any more. I don’t know anything any more. I just do what I’m told. That’s what I’ve always done.

So, Liz Parker, welcome to Roswell, New Mexico.

Part 2

Aunt Nancy keeps telling me it’ll be all right. That I’ll love it here in Roswell. Small, quiet and peaceful, it’ll make me feel relaxed. It’ll help me forget about everything that’s happened in the past few years. But what she doesn’t realize is that I’ll never forget. You just don’t forget something like that. You can’t forget your life.

As we pull up to the Crashdown Café, the small restaurant she and Uncle Jeff own, she says Michael was excited to hear I was coming to live with them. Of course, Aunt Nancy said in a stuttering voice, “I-I, uh… didn’t tell Michael about y-your… well, what happened... your situation. If you want him to know, you can, ah, tell him yourself. He just knows about your… um, your mother’s passing.” With that, she added her sugary sweet smile.

Passing. I don’t get it when someone dies, people say they’ve “passed on”. What the hell does that mean? When I think of passing on, I think of a bunch of teenagers passing around a doobie or a can of beer.

I know Aunt Nancy means well, but I can’t understand why people continue to skirt around me. Don’t they realize after all the pain I’ve been through in the past years, both physical and emotional, that their words aren’t going to hurt me? And yet they insist on not “making it awkward” for me. That’s what Ms. Cheu said to me.

Ms. Cheu was really friendly, always flashing me a great big smile and rubbing my hand in comfort every time a family got rid of me. When I told her that one of the families just didn’t like me, she gave me one of those sad, sympathetic smiles. You know, when they roll their head to the side and heave a sigh. Then she told me, “It’s not that they don’t like you, it just wasn’t the right environment and situation for you.” Yeah, whatever you say.

It wasn’t because I was bad kid that I kept getting moved around. It was the exact opposite, actually. I stayed quiet pretty much all the time. I know that’s why the Prichards got rid of me. They took in a lot of teens and kids who needed a foster home. All the families that I went to did. That’s why they could accept and reject kids so easily.

When I was staying there, the Prichards already had seven kids in the house. I can’t even remember any of their names. Nameless faces, ageless ages, wordless conversations. But the Prichards were high on family traditions. Like saying grace before dinner, playing Monopoly on Friday nights, and telling stories about our day at the dinner table. They didn’t like that I kept my mouth shut the whole time. Push of the reject button, and I got the boot.

Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.

Ms. Cheu never complained about me though. Every time I saw her, she did that rolling head thing, smiled, and told me that the next place would be better. The first couple of times I believed her, but I learned quickly. Hope lies in the people who have nothing better to do.

When Ms. Cheu discovered about Aunt Nancy wanting to take me in, she nearly jumped for joy. She kept telling me I was lucky girl because a lot of the kids who get moved around never find a home. A home. That’s what she said. Home? I would never know home again. I haven’t known home since my mother left.

As I was saying, we’re pulling up the Crashdown Café. It’s cute, really. Sort of. Maybe. Ok, maybe not. I don’t understand this alien obsession that this town seems to be fixated on. Sure, I’ve had plenty of years to dwell on this, but why aliens? Ok, so a weather balloon crashed here like, what? Fifty years ago. That’s like an old geezer age. If aliens really exist wouldn’t they have made their move by now? Besides, the government told the whole world it was just a weather balloon.

Wait, good point. Maybe aliens really do exist.

I’m kind of nervous now. Aunt Nancy said that Michael and Uncle Jeff would be waiting for us with a big surprise. I hate surprises. I guess its fear of the unknown. But when was the last time a surprise worked out for me? Surprise, your mom left. Surprise, your dad found a new love in hating you. Surprise, your mom is dead and your dad is in jail for beating the shit out of you. Yup, those surprises just can not be beat.

“Lizzie, sweetie,” Aunt Nancy called from beside me. I turned to her and gave her a serene appearance. If she thinks I’m calm, she won’t ask questions. I hate questions. I hate talking in general. Someone always lies at least once during a conversation. It’s kind of funny. I hate being lied to, but I do it so easily and so often.

“C’mon, Liz, lets get inside, all right? I’ll get your things.” My things. Right. My ‘things’ was an old, tattered suitcase that held maybe two or three outfits and a few pictures. That summed up all of my ‘things’.

So this is it. A new, unknown life marked by a grand entrance made by yours truly. It shouldn’t be this hard, right? Especially with my past, I should be pushing away everything I’ve ever known and embracing this great new world. But I can’t. Instead I find myself holding a steady grip on what I used to know and producing an overwhelming desire to throw up all over this new opportunity.

“Sweetie, you all right?” Aunt Nancy, always caring and supportive. It’s going to get annoying. I can tell now. I’m used to being responsible for me and someone else, not someone else being responsible and supportive of me. I don’t know if I can get used to this. I don’t think I can.

“Yes, Aunt Nancy,” I reply, giving her a smile that I’ve practiced so often. “I’m fine. Shall we?” I gesture towards the door, so she can enter before me. Ever since my mom left, I hate being in the spotlight. I can feel people scrutinizing me. I hate it. It feels like a thousand, dirty, filthy hands not only stripping me painfully slowly but also groping me in the most private and dreadful places a person could think of. I hate it. I absolutely fucking despise it.

Before I can take a full step in the door a bright light shines in my face and a huge roar that screams, “Surprise”, takes me aback. Oh goody. A freaking surprise party. The end all of surprises… a surprise party.

I, of course, smile that sweet smile. Can’t let anyone think I’m not happy and oh-so-grateful for the surprise. I want to actually try to make it in this place. Being sent back to Ms. Cheu with her sympathetic smile by your own aunt was pretty pitiful.

“Liz! Look at what a beautiful young woman you’ve turned into!” Uncle Jeff enfolds me in a hug, and I respond. I know how to do this. You just wrap your arms back around the person.

“Thanks, Uncle Jeff.” I flashed him another shy smile.

“Uncle Jeff? Makes me sound so old. Just call me, Jeff, kiddo.” Wrapping an arm around my shoulder, he places a small kiss on my forehead, gives a quick half hug and walks off to go yell at one of the cooks. Definitely Uncle Jeff. Always on the move.

“Hey beautiful,” a voice calls out from behind me. I turn and find a very tall, and a very handsome Michael. Damn, that boy’s grown.

“Well, well, well,” I reply, giving him a quick once over. “Aren’t you just the belle of the ball? You better watch out though. My cousin might beat you up if you keep hitting on me.” Michael reveals a smirk to me. I bet he’s a real heartbreaker. Loves them and leaves them.

Michael wraps his arms around me and gives me one of those hug things again. God, I’ve only had two hugs so far and I’m already despising them.

“How you doing, kiddo?” Michael asks me, with real interest in his eyes. But it doesn’t fool me. He doesn’t really care, he’s just putting up a front for his parents. The minute they’re out of sight, he’ll be out the door breaking more hearts and cruising with his football buddies. I should really advise him not to drink and drive. An indifferent cousin is better than a dead one. I should know because an imaginative mother made life more livable than a dead mother.

“Kiddo, huh? You really are your father’s son.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. I have a hankering to pick up old Jeffy’s sayings.” Michael wraps an arm around my shoulder and leads me towards a group of teenagers near the back. Oh, I so see where this heading.

“I thought you should meet some of my friends. They’re all a bit odd, but we’re a tight group,” Michael tells me. Bingo. I bet the real story was that Aunt Nancy told him to introduce me to some of his friends so I wouldn’t be such a loner. Sorry Nancy, but it’s in my blood. Liz Parker, international loner and loser.

Although, the moment I lay eyes on this group, I can feel the jealousy and loneliness blaze up in me. They look so… normal. Teenagers just laughing, talking, crying and smiling. I missed out on this. On being normal, on being safe, on being happy. On just being.

“You know, if I didn’t know you were Michael’s cousin, I’d be bitching you out.” I turn to see a medium-sized blonde with a skinny waist. I could tell from her electric smile that she held the key to much laughter and happiness. She holds her hand out to me, and introduces herself. “Maria Deluca at your service.” I take her hand and shake it graciously.

“Liz Parker.” She seems friendly enough. But like I said before, this was just all a plot set up by Nancy to get me to open up. I know Ms. Cheu told her about my closed off personality.

Michael and Maria seemed to be, ah… friendly would be the word. Michael left my side and immediately curled Maria up to him. He places a soft, endearing kiss on her temple, and just smiles with her in his arms. How adorable. How fucking adorable.

“Liz Parker, now I didn’t know you was going to be in town. If I did, I would have brought my gee-tar.” I turn around towards the drawling voice and find a tall, skinny young boy.

“Alex!” I scream. I run to him and curl my arms around his neck. I know, you’re thinking how out of character this is for me after all these thoughts of mine that you’ve heard. But Alex, he was definitely a silver lining in my cloud. Sure I haven’t talked to him in years, but the guy was such a charmer.

When we were kids, Michael, Alex and I spent our summer days together just hanging out, usually swimming in the lake that was on the west side of town. Michael and I had to hang out together because we were cousins. But Alex and I, we shared a special connection. Maybe it was our music that united us. Since the first day I met him, Alex had such a knack for music. The last two summers that I visited he always had his guitar strung around his body. It had been a gift from his dad, and Alex told me he spent seven months trying to learn how to play. Whenever Michael didn’t join us on our exploits, Alex and I would head up to Old Man’s Hill. He’d play his music for me and I’d sing along for him. He always told me I had a beautiful voice.

I haven’t sung since that last summer. I have nothing to sing about.

“Lizzie Parker, how’s my favorite girl?” Alex asks me as he crushes our bodies together. “And just why in hell didn’t you keep in touch with me? I called, you know.”

I give him a weak smile. I really don’t have an excuse. At least not one I want to share with the class.

“I know. I’m sorry. But, uh, things kind of got hectic.” And there goes my hope for a normal life. Cocking his head to the side, he gave me the sympathetic smile.

“I heard about your mom. I’m so sorry, Liz.” Squashing me into another hug, I just mumbled something. I’ve been avoiding this topic for almost 8 months now. And I will continue to avoid it. Denial. It’s a great tool.

“So what’s new with you, Alex? Still playing?” Changing subjects definitely did its job and his eyes light up.

“Of course, madam. We must jam in the near future. I have songs that I would love to hear you sing. I actually play a few gigs around town and it’d be great if you want to-”

“Look, Alex, I don’t think so.” Lay it out on the line, Liz. “I don’t sing. I haven’t sung in years.” Alex acquired another sympathetic look. Tilt and smile.

“I’m sorry, Liz, I didn’t mean to… you know.” No, I don’t know. Why don’t you tell me?

“It’s fine, Alex.” Another smile and we’re good to go. Ooo, and now Alex looks awkward. He’s glancing around the room for some sort of distraction. Bingo. He’s looked behind him and found some petite blonde. Whoa, lay off the bleach, girl.

“Liz! You haven’t met Tess! My sister.” Anxiously grabbing the blonde’s arm, who is apparently named Tess, he places her between him and I. Nervous much? Alex, have a chill pill. Seriously.

“Uh, hi,” the blonde says awkwardly to me. Pushing Alex roughly, and smoothing her shirt out, she gives me a smile. “You must be Liz.”

“That would be me,” I reply, eyeing her. Alex doesn’t have a sister. At least he didn’t before.

“I’m Tess. Tess Whitman, Alex’s sister.” Another twinkle of the blue eyes and grin of the pearly whites. Whoa, I must be trapped in Pleasantville or something.

“Liz Parker. I didn’t know Alex had a sister.”

“Oh, the Whitman’s adopted me just a few years ago.” Uh huh. Well then. I guess I did miss out on a lot of stuff during the years.

“Oh… that’s, uh, great. You like them?” Ok, so I didn’t know what else to say. I don’t know the chick.

“Yeah,” Tess responds. She doesn’t seem to notice my uneasiness since she keeps her pearly whites in check. “Roswell has been real good to me.”

“That’s nice.” Real nice. Maybe you can shove those fake tits and bleached hair-

“I hope you like Roswell. Maybe we can go shopping together or something!” Right. And we can share lip-gloss and halter-tops. Oh wait, is this before or after you find out about the scars up and down my body? Or maybe when you find out I have no clothes, and the only thing I have to my name is a grimy piece of cloth I use as a suitcase.

“Yeah. That’d be nice.”

“Oh, you just have to meet Isabel!” Tess leans over to me and whispers in my ear, “She can be a real bitch, but she’s got great fashion. Loyal once you break down her walls.” Well, Tess, maybe I don’t want to break down her walls.

Tess grabs my wrist to lead me to whoever Isabel is, and I can’t help but flinch. I violently yank my arm away and stare at her in panic. Whoa, Liz, get a grip. She wasn’t going to hurt you.

“I-I… I’m sorry, Tess, maybe we can do this another time. I’m really tired. I think I’m just going to ask Aunt Nancy or Jeff if I can go to bed.” I smile like rehearsed and quickly turn away. Without stopping to talk to anyone, I rush to the backroom of the Crashdown. Nancy and Jeff still live in the apartment above the restaurant so without a thought, I rushed up the stairs and propel myself into the apartment. Flinging myself into the first room, I fall onto the bed and break out into loud sobs. I haven’t cried since the last time my dad hit me. I hate crying. It makes me feel weak. I hate feeling weak. I hate feeling.

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 15-Jul-2002 8:31:55 PM ]
posted on 18-May-2002 2:57:35 AM
Part 3

So maybe I’m being punished for something. For what, you ask? I don’t know. But what I do know is that when I woke up from my tear-induced sleep I was not in what’s supposed to be my room. Rather, the room I am to occupy during my stay.

I think it’s the pictures of Maria that litter the bedside table. But the Metallica posters are a pretty good hint too. Or even just the stench of manliness (you know… dirty laundry) could have tipped me off.

I also realize by the darkness in the room that seems to be only highlighted by the light from the moon (which is how I saw the posters), that it must be nighttime. I had to flick on the lamp that sat on the bedside table just so I could be reminded, yet again, that I’m in Michael’s room.

And I feel like shit. Not the kind you crap out in the toilet. The dog kind. You know, the one where everyone steps on you and when they realize they’ve stepped on you, they scream and shudder, because, well, you’re a pile of dog shit.

I feel kind of bad, since my aunt and uncle threw a party for me and I left without saying anything. And what's more, I feel even worse about running away from Tess like that. She was just trying to be nice and introduce me to… what’s her face. The shopper. But I had to be a pecker and freak out. I’m starting to think that it’s harder than I thought to live in this society of ours. What’s worse is that I’m not even sure why I want to live in society.

Ah, getting off track. So I wake up, right? Nothing too surprising, I do it all the time.

Being the good, courteous niece that I am, I decide, ‘Hey, Liz, you should go and tell your aunt and uncle that you’re still alive’. Who knows what they could have thought when they found out I wasn’t at the party anymore.

I stumble out the bed, almost crashing onto the floor completely. Great, Liz, all you need is a brand spankin’ new bruise on your forehead to complete your collection.

I glance at myself in the mirror that rests just above Michael’s dresser. My shirt must have been rumpled and shifted during my sleep so that part of my right shoulder became bare. A long, purplish scar marks its territory on the shoulder, staring me straight in the eye. I remember getting that one.

I had gone to the mall the day before so I could buy a new shirt. Most of mine were ripped or had holes. Usually I just sewed them up with my thread and needle, but I had made fifteen extra dollars from mowing lawns, walking dogs, helping elderly with groceries, things like that. I did that every day after school and on the weekends. I didn’t have anytime for anything else. It just barely paid our bills, and bought me enough groceries so I didn’t starve. I knew everybody in town. It was sort of like a monopoly I had going on. If anyone ever needed anything done, they’d call Liz Parker. She needs the money because her dad is a drunken fool. It always made everyone pay me five times as much.

I would usually come home around eleven at night and start on my homework after doing work for everyone in town. I never really got much sleep, but I was so used to it, it never was a big deal to me. Nothing was a big deal to me other than surviving day to day.

I spent a good two hours in the mall trying to find a new shirt. Let’s face it, with fifteen dollars you’re not going to find a great shirt. Personally I wanted a sweater. They tend to hide my bruises better and wouldn’t make it so visible if one of my cuts opened and started to bleed. I bought band-aids like crazy.

Finally, after much shopping, which I wasn’t used to, I found a shirt. It had a boat neck (you know… the wide necks) and really long sleeves. Perfect. Somewhat stylish (Mrs. Peterson always let me read her Cosmo’s after she was done with them… but, uh, I only read some of the articles) and the top still hid my arms. Dad usually only hit me above the neck, or below my shoulders. The shirt was a safe bet. And only ten dollars. I could buy some more make-up with that. I tend to run out of it faster than most girls.

So, like most teenage girls, I wore my new shirt the next day. I felt somewhat… normal. Not like it really mattered though. I didn’t have friends anyways. I couldn’t afford anyone to stumble upon my life.

My dad came home late that night, as usual. I was sitting at the kitchen table again, finishing homework. I think I had a paper due the next day.

For once, in who knows how long, it was just dad and a bottle of vodka that came stumbling through the door. I don’t know how he got to and from the bar every night and I don’t really care either.

He took one look at me that night and started screaming incoherently. He was completely drunk, like always, and reeked of alcohol. I don’t really remember exactly what he slurred to me but I do know the words “slut”, “good for nothing” and “never wear again” were included.

I concluded later on that he didn’t really like the idea of my neck and shoulders being exposed so much. I haven’t worn anything without thick, long sleeves and a closed neck since. Every time I think about wearing something other than that, I can actually feel the harsh strike of a fake leather belt striking me on the shoulder. I can also smell the belt too. I don’t wear belts. I hate belts. And any sort of kitchen utensil that makes a loud smacking sound when hits against something (or someone). But that’s a whole other experience.

Shaking my head, I pull myself out the nothingness that is my past life.

Adjusting my shirt so that it hides my scar, I look at myself in the mirror. My shirt looks a little stretched. I hope I’m not getting fat. That would kind of suck. I’m going to have to get myself a job so I can buy some new clothes. Maybe I’ll even take Tess up on her shopping trip. Maybe.

Taking more time to peek at the top of Michael’s dresser, I find it layered in picture frames and cologne bottles. But the pictures catch my eye first, so I inspect each one. There’s plenty of him and Maria. Maybe I had him pegged wrong. He and Maria look pretty cozy with each other. Must be one of those high school, first love, smoochie smoochie, together forever, and such and such loves. I have to admit they make a pretty cute couple.

There are a few pictures of a big group. Some of his friends that I met today are in the picture, and some of them I haven’t met are too. I pick up a picture of the large group sitting in a park. Must have been a picnic, because everyone’s stretched out over three blankets. There’s Michael and Maria, him with his legs propped up, knees apart and Maria sitting between. Then there’s Alex with his guitar strapped around his shoulder, leaning against his sister, with an arm around her shoulder. Tess and him are both smiling, and their heads are tilted towards each other.

Then there are three others that I don’t recognize. A tall, leggy blonde with her hair swept in one of those messy but beautiful hairstyles. She’s probably a model. Or is going to become one. I stare at her thoughtfully, wondering if she knows the feel of a sharp bite of a hand against her skin. Probably not. Her large smile seems to indicate that.

The other two, who are both guys, are on each end of the picture. The buff, short one with the letterman jacket is beside Alex, baring a goofy grin and flashing two thumbs-up signs. On the other side of the photo, beside Michael and Maria, is the other boy. He’s got his arms wrapped around his bent legs with a smile, but no teeth. You know what they say about men who don’t smile with teeth. Because I sure don’t.

His smile doesn’t seem to reach his eyes. No teeth boy I’m talking about. I look at him for a while, trying to think of the possibilities for the loss of light in his eyes. Maybe the leggy blonde just dumped him for the jock, who is, as luck would have it, hung like a donkey. Or perhaps no teeth boy’s dad beats the shit out of him too.

Either way, I know the feeling, buddy.

I put the picture back in its place. That must be the eccentric group Michael was speaking of because there’s a few more pictures of the whole group.

I look back up in the mirror, for the first time realizing more pictures surround the edges. Not many, just a few. I recognize Maria in a full-length picture, posing teasingly for the camera. She’s dressed in what must be the Crashdown’s uniform. A bluish green button-up dress outfit underneath a bright silver alien shaped apron. Of course, topped off with springy alien antennas. I find myself praying that Nancy and Jeff won’t ask me to work for them. Those things could poke an eye out.

Glancing at the other pictures adorning Michael’s mirror, I see a picture of him, Alex and I from the last summer we spent together. We all have our arms around each other, posing outside in Alex’s backyard. Each one of us has our teeth exposed and our eyes are dazzling with unmistakable happiness. I miss that.

Above that picture is a picture of just Alex and me. But we’re lying in the middle of a grassy hill with Alex strumming away on his guitar. My eyes are closed and I’m obviously singing along. How did Michael get this picture? I thought he never saw us. He never came with us to Old Man’s Hill. I know that for sure.

I peel the picture off the mirror and take a closer examination of it. My lips are curved up in a grin as I sing to my heart’s content. Alex is carefully strumming his guitar, his eyes closed and wearing his own smile. God, the innocence and contentment captured in this one picture is… breathtaking. I don’t even remember feeling like that. I’m not even sure I could ever feel like that again.

I touch the picture softly, outlining the curve of the smiles that play on Alex’s lips and mine.

“I missed you, Lizzie.” I whirl around to the doorway, accidentally dropping the picture from my shock. Michael is leaning against the doorway, smiling at me. He looks so genuine, like he really cares about me. But so did my mom when she said she loved me and would never leave me. That didn’t work out so well, now did it? Not only did she leave me, she died too.

“Michael. I’m sorry. I, uh, didn’t mean to, well, you know, I’m, uh…” Good job, Liz. Glad you passed third grade.

I bend over to pick up the picture, but Michael beats me to the punch. He’s already looking at the picture, analyzing it steadily. He looks back up me. I avoid his eyes, nervously brushing my hair behind my ear. I hate being caught off guard. Those beatings were always the worst. I couldn’t prepare myself.

“You and Alex never knew I took that picture. I came to get you guys after I finished chores for my mom, but you guys looked so content that I just couldn’t interrupt. So I ran home, grabbed my mom’s camera, and came back,” Michael said, wistfully staring at the picture. He cocked his head up and grinned at me. “I slithered through the long grass, pretending I was a spy who needed a picture for my ‘superiors’.” Glancing at the picture one more time before putting it back on his mirror, he added, “It’s one of my favorite pictures.” Like a dumbass, I just smile and nod, hoping that he doesn’t expect anymore than that.

I can feel his eyes pouring all over me, inspecting me, dissecting my every action. Didn’t I mention that I hate people staring at me? Sure, Michael thinks I’ve changed, but who hasn’t? He’s changed. Alex’s changed. I’ve changed. Whether it is for better or for worse is really not up to him.

“I’m sorry for crashing your room. If you don’t mind, could you just point me to my room? I think I’m just going to rest for the night.” Good job, Liz. You can speak.

“It’s all right, Liz,” Michael says to me. Uh huh, sure. You’re really not bothered that your younger cousin has come barging into your life, is living with you, is forced to be friends with your friends, and now has crashed in your own, personal room staring at your personal belongings.

“Liz, look at me.” Shit. What do I do? I look at the floor.

“Liz, what’s going on?” Michael sounds concerned. But I can see through it, the facade. I can see that he just wants to play the good little son so his ma and pa can pat him on the head later.

God, when did I become so cynical?

“Michael, I’m fine,” I reply to him. Finally daring to look up, I give him a big smile. A great, big, look-at-me-I’m-great smile.

And he sees right through it.

But unlike Ms. Cheu, he doesn’t question me. He just nods slightly, like he understands.

But he doesn’t. No one can.

“Hey, well, I was just coming to get some CD’s. A bunch of my friends and I are hanging out downstairs in the Crashdown. You should come hang with us.”


Come hang with us.

You should come hang with us.

Holy schmoly. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever heard those words. But these people are his friends. I’m just the kid cousin.

“Michael, thanks, but I just think I should-”

“I won’t take no for answer, Liz. Besides, Alex will want to catch up with you. I know he’s been itching to play his guitar for you.” He places his hand out in front of me, pleading with his eyes for me to take it. Tess must have told him about my freak out. Doesn’t want to touch me without my consent. Or maybe he’s afraid I’m infested with some sort of STD? Maybe a virus?

God, I’m such a loser.

Admitting defeat, I put my hand in his. Besides, I’m not really tired. Maybe a night of just “hanging” will do me good. But then again, what is “hanging”? What does it mean? To hang. Monkey’s hang on trees. Pictures hang on walls. Dad hangs on to the bottle. But friends? What do friends hang on to, over, in, with, or whatever else?

I realize as Michael leads me down the steps to the Crashdown that I have never, ever “hanged” with anyone. Well, besides Alex and Michael but that was years ago and we were too young to realize we were “hanging”. And Alex and I never “hanged”, we “jammed”. Then again, I haven’t “jammed” in a long time, so maybe it doesn’t count any more. I don’t know. I’m quite far behind in the politics of “hanging” and “jamming”.

I hear Michael clear his throat. Holy shit. We’re in the Crashdown already. That didn’t take long. Oh, and they’re staring. All his friends, looking at me, looking at my hair, my eyes, my nose, my lips, my arms, my waist, my legs, my feet, even my small yet perky breasts. (Didn’t I say I could fill a bra? Ah, the joys of underwire.)

There are six of them altogether including the four sitting at a booth with another table attached. Music is floating around in the air, and obviously Maria and Tess were dancing before I walked in. Their flushed, giggling faces smile at me. I smile back. It’s only polite.

“Guys, this is Liz. Liz, these are the guys.” Michael gestures to everyone. Maria puts her hands on her hips though, and gives him a hard glance before bouncing over to me.

“I’m sorry, Liz, this dimwit that calls himself my boyfriend is a bit on the slow side. Let me introduce you to everyone! The guys and the ladies.” Maria glares at Michael after the last part. I can’t help but smirk. I have a feeling Maria and I just might get along. What a spitfire.

Maria walks over to the table, and I instantly recognize everyone from the picture on Michael’s desk.

Maria points to the jock. “That’s Kyle. My brother. I wouldn’t admit it to anyone other than the people in this room though. Unfortunately, our parents married when we were younglings.” Kyle waves to me then sticks his finger up at Maria. Wow. And they’re not related by blood? You sure?

“Those two,” Maria points to the leggy blonde and no teeth boy who’re on opposite sides of the table. “They’re the Evans’. Isabel and Max, sister and brother.” I smile politely, but the leggy one, Isabel, seems to be eyeing me. What the hell is your problem? Did I ask you to gawk at me? Because I could of just flashed everyone if I really wanted you to stare at me.

“And I’m pretty sure we know each other,” Alex piped up from beside Isabel. I let a real smile be thrown Alex’s way.

And now it’s awkward. Because I don’t know these people, and they don’t know me so everything they say from this point on has to be sugarcoated. I mean, lets face it, every group, family, friend, sister, brother, mother, father and so forth, all have secrets. Inside jokes. Personal moments. Nicknames. Even special smiles. You know, the ones that you reserve for certain people.

And I am not included in this group’s treasure box of personals.

“So, Liz,” Tess jumps in, breaking the silence. She, Maria and Michael all take a seat around the large table. I follow suit, sitting in the chair next to Alex with Tess on my other side. Maria and Michael are all gift wrapped together across from me. I bet they don’t even need tape either.

“You start school with us on Monday, huh?” No, Tess, I’m just going to sit here and stare at the wall for a few weeks.

“Yeah, I am. West Roswell High… should I be scared?” Conversation. Good job, Liz. You deserve a treat. Ruff.

Maria laughed lightly. “No, not with us on your side. I’m pretty sure the school’s biggest bitches are sitting at this very table.” Maria pointed to Isabel, Tess and herself.

“I second that motion!” Kyle agreed, earning him three hard glares of irritation. I thought it was kind of funny actually.

“So you’re in your senior year then?” Maria continued, now completely ignoring Kyle.

“Uh, no. I’m a year younger than Michael, which puts me in the grade below.”

“Oh, Maxie, Alex! Look! We have another youngling,” Maria squealed. I looked at her confusedly, not quite sure what the hell she was blabbering about. She turned to me, with a great big grin and explained.

“Max, Alex and I are all a year younger than the rest. The OLDIES,” Maria stressed. Michael patted her lightly and she grinned, kissing him on the cheek. Well then, there goes the hope for concealment of public affection. Then again that went out the window the first time I saw them together.

“Oh! I hope you have English with us. It’s the only class Alex, Max and I have together. Alex and I share a bunch of classes together, but Max here is a big smarty. He’s in a bunch of AP classes. We’re hoping one day he’ll do us proud.” Max blushed at Maria’s comment. Cute.

“AP classes?” I asked, befuddled.

“Advanced placement. You know? The smart kids. Not dumb like Alex and me here.”

“Speak for yourself, Deluca,” Alex whipped back. I can’t help but grin at the scene in front of me. These people are so… friendly.

“Well, actually,” I started quietly. I’m not used to actually conversing with people a lot. This is going to take some practice. “I’m in a few advanced placement classes.” And then the stares come. Right. This is the very reason why I never conversed much.

“Wow,” Tess stated. “Two brainiacs in the group.”

Wait. Did she just say two brainiacs in the group? Ok. One is Max because he’s in AP classes. One is me because I’m in AP classes. That’s two. In the group. Group? I’m in the group? Whoa, wait, hold up, and back the train!

“What AP classes do you have? Maybe you and Max here are in a class together!” Maria continues, making me forget my muddled mind. Her feistiness is a tad weird. It takes some getting used to.

“Uh, all of my sciences. Chemistry, Biology and Physics, and then my math too.”

“Another science geek,” Michael says dully. He rolls his eyes while Alex chuckls. Laughter and sarcasm seemed to be the signature mark of this group. I liked it. I could even get used to this. Maybe.

Maria completely disregards Michael’s comment. Instead she smiles and speaks directly to me with that certain charm of hers.

“Well, Liz Parker, I think everyone here agrees with me when I say welcome to Roswell. It’s a hell of a ride.”

If this is punishment, then bring it on.

Part 4

So here I am. West Roswell High. Person after person, either knocking me over with their overstuffed backpacks, or ignoring me completely. Not that it’s a big surprise. I’m just another faceless face in the never-ending crowd.

Michael was bugging me this morning as we waited for the Evans kids to pick us up. (Michael said his truck was in the shop… uh huh, whatever, Michael.) He kept making a big deal about me being ready at the exact same time he was, fully prepared for school. He went on about something regarding women and never being ready. I partially tuned him out. I already knew that I’m a pretty quick dresser in the morning. Another one of those habits I had to pick up during the years. Being afraid that your dad would awake from his drunken slumber and give you a new batch of bruises before school made you paranoid. I could do without it, thank you very much, but the habit seems to be permanently embedded in my brain.

Although, I have to admit, my new room is pretty sweet. It’s complete with its very own bathroom, shower included. Probably one of the best factors included in this whole damn deal that I seem to call my life. That and the balcony. The balcony is pretty sweet too. It’s got this window that I can just pop open and hop out on to the balcony. It’s pretty bare right now though. I’m thinking maybe I could dress it up with some retro decorations. Maybe I’ll buy some Christmas lights after I get a job. Oh! I always loved the Winnie the Pooh ones. You know, the ones with the various character heads that light up. They’re so cute.

Anyways, here I am, stuck in the middle of West Roswell High. Of course, I’m by myself, looking like a complete idiot, constantly glancing at my map of the school. AP Chemistry first period, hurrah! Really. I’m excited. Sarcasm? Me? What? You’ve got to be kidding me. I am not in the least bit sarcastic.

“Hey chica!” I turn towards the voice. Oh, great, the uncanny Maria Deluca to my rescue. Yippee.

“Hey Maria,” I say back to her, grinding out my nice, perky smile. She’s decked out in what must be designer jeans and a formfitting baby tee. And then there’s me with my big baggy cargo pants, and an anything BUT formfitting shirt. Long sleeves included.

“You look lost, honey! Need some help?” She flashes me a big, welcoming smile. Maria leans in, whispering in my ear. “Nix the map, sweetie.”

“Oh yeah, sorry,” I mumble, pathetically throwing the map to the ground. I feel the hot sweltering of embarrassment creep up into my face, greeting my very visible cheeks. I’m not entirely sure why though. I’ve always been stared at during school. Surely being the newest lost soul in this school wouldn’t really make a difference.

Maybe it’s actually being caught acting like a loser that makes it all the worse.

Maria grabs the schedule that was once in my hand, and she starts taking a peek at my classes. I should be offended by her abrupt, and somewhat rude act, but I’m past caring. That, and I think it’s in Maria’s nature to be forceful when trying to be helpful. Have I mentioned that this girl is extremely odd?

“AP Chemistry, huh? I do know that a certain Maxwell Evans has this exact class right now!” She wiggles her eyebrows at me in a suggestive manner, causing me to decide whether I should puke and aim for her shoes that probably cost twice as much more than my whole wardrobe combined.

Oh wait, right. I like this girl.

But that conspiring glint in her eye is dangerous, I can tell. She’s pure evil.

“He’s a total sweetheart, you know,” Maria continues, ignoring the fact that I’m ignoring her. And that scheming grin on her face is hazardous to my health.

“Really smart, super attractive. He’s got that whole quiet, shy, mucho cute thang going on for him.” Quiet? Maria, I think the word you’re looking for is mute. Unconditionally mute. That boy hasn’t aimed for any sort of conversation with me. I’m still unsure as to whether he has the ability to speak anyways. And hell, I don’t even think I want his sister to try to look at me, much less talk to me.

“…and he is very single!” Maria obviously continued without me. Oh, what a pity. But I can feel myself about to blurt something out, despite my attempt to bite my lip off in protest. I don’t want to say anything, because I know anything I say is going to be bad. That’s how it is. I have horrible social skills. Horrible. Terrible. Severe.

“She’s a real bitch.” God fucking damn it.

Maria has now halted herself in the middle of the hall, staring wide-eyed at me, jaw dropped. Oh crap. She thinks I was talking about her. Great job, Liz.

“Isabel,” I mumble. “Not you.”

And just like that, Maria’s easygoing smile instantly reappears like it was always there and she has an almost amused, comical expression springing on her face. Maria throws her arm around my shoulder and I choke back the immediate, instinctive fear of her arm hitting me. I give her a weak smile

“Oh my dear chica! We’re going to be the best of girlfriends! I just know it.” Maria leans in and starts whispering to me, periodically checking over her shoulder and mine.

“We call her the Ice Bitch, courtesy of Michael. For a while he called her I.B. to her face. Now it’s Ibby or Ibs. She just thinks it’s a nickname we thought up.” Maria lets out a low giggle. I can’t help but grin. The nickname suits Isabel perfectly.

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about Ibby though, she’s a bitch to all newcomers.” Maria gives me a wink and then slows to a stop in front of what obviously is a Chemistry lab/classroom. “This one is your stop. Go get ‘em, tigress.” Maria bounces down the hallway with a quick wave. Odd. That’s only way I can describe her.

I enter the room just as the class bell rings, and I am approached by a short, balding man with pants hiked up way too far, and glasses so thick that they could probably stop a bullet. (You know the one I’m talking about. You all had one of those teachers in high school.)

“Miss Parker, I presume?” the snotty bastard asks, with that nasal tone of his. I just nod as he takes a disapproving up and down glance at me.

“You’re going to be behind most of the class,” the stumpling mutters as he waddles towards the back of the class.

As he continues to ramble on about something or other, I realize that this man reminds me of Porky Pig. The sparkling baldness, the potbelly, the waddling, even the pinkish skin… it makes sense now. This man is the incarnation of everything that is Porky. All hail, Porky!

I notice Porky pointing to a lab table, and he ushers me to sit down beside my new desk and lab buddy. Oh, lookie at who it is!

“Liz Parker, meet your lab partner, Max Evans.”

Yup. None other than mute boy himself. He smiles shyly at me, and then quickly looks back down at the notes that are sprawled in front of him. And I thought I had socializing problems.

“Max here is the top of his class, and probably my top student overall,” Porky gushes proudly as if Max were his own son. “He’ll be able to help you catch up.” Giving me one more disgusted look and Max an admiring gaze, he waddles back to the front of the class.

So. Advanced Chemistry. Max Evans as my lab partner. Porky the freaking Pig as my teacher. Lets see how much better my day can get, shall we?

“All right class, open your books to page one-forty. Now naming ionic and molecular compounds have completely different laws than what laws apply to organic chemistry. You see-”

Click. And you’re on mute as well. Sorry, Porky, I learned this about two years ago.

All right, I’m bit of an overachiever but I’m pretty determined to make a clean breakaway from this hell that is my life. Complete and utter hell.

When I lived with my dad, there were days that I pined for my mother so badly that I… well, lets just say I was pretty extreme in my pining. Then there were days where I couldn’t wait until I got out of the hellhole my father had created for me. Which is why I’m quite the clever cookie. I’m not bragging, I’m just explaining why a trashy girl like me would actually have some intelligence. Lets face it, we all watch Jerry Springer. We all know what kind of stupid people live out in the world.

“Hey Liz,” I hear a voice whisper to my left. Behold, Max speaks. I turn to him, not wanting to miss another word of this miraculous event.

“I, uh… maybe you should, um, you know… t-take notes or something? I mean you don’t have to, just some advice.” God, the boy looks like he’s going to shit himself.

“Thanks,” I reply, meekly of course. Sure, I have these sarcastic remarks in my head, but to voice them? Hah. That’s ball-less Liz Parker for you.

I grab the binder out of my backpack, which is now resting at my feet. Pulling out a pen, I open the new binder and start writing on the impossibly white paper. Ok, so I’m not exactly writing down the notes. But it looks like I am. The lecture that Porky is teaching? I can do this stuff in my sleep.

Like I said, I’m an overachiever. I appear to be cocky too.

My mother used to tell me everyday that I was the most beautiful person she had ever seen. I only partially believed her because, well, like any other kid, I was convinced my mom was lovelier than anything created on this large globe of ours. She would just laugh delicately and kiss my forehead. I loved her so much. I trusted her.

I remember the last time I saw her. She was helping me pack for my friend Tricia’s place. I was, of course, going to indulge in a nightlong party filled with gossiping about what our first kisses were going to be like, who we wanted it to be with, and how we would get married. Naturally crammed with intermissions of buttery popcorn and overflowing glasses of pop.

I was sitting on my bed with my knees curled up to my chest while I rambled on about my day to my mother as she packed my mini suitcase. Those last few weeks she was always tired, and the bags under her eyes outlined the state of the rest of her body. I wasn’t stupid, I heard my parents fighting all the time. I’m sure I could remember what they were fighting about if I wanted to. But I don’t want to.

My mom drove me to Tricia’s, and just as we stopped in the driveway, my mother turned and took a long look at me. She said words to me that I’ll never forget.

“Liz, you are a strong girl. No, a strong woman. Don’t ever give up your dreams, don’t ever stop singing those songs that reside in your heart. Don’t give your heart to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Peace and love only come to those who welcome it. I love you, Liz. I will always be your mother. I’ll always be in your heart and your mind.”

She was gone by the time I got home the next day.

Whoever said it was better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, must have never lost someone who meant the world to them. I bet they never lost someone who was their world.

And here I sit in AP Chemistry beside mute and toothless grin boy.

So Porky goes on and on about atoms and molecules and ions… stuff that should have been taught months ago. But whatever, I’m not the teacher, now am I? Eventually he’s telling us we have some worksheet due tomorrow and that we have some extra time before class ends to start it. Yippee.

After almost an hour of complete silence from my partner and Porky’s useless lecture, I decide I’m feeling daring today and decide to try and strike up a conversation. Hell, half the class is yelling about their weekends to each other anyways now that Porky shut up.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. For the first time in a long time, I feel… well, kind of confident. Sort of. Maybe I’m starting to actually heal. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. But as I’ve said time and time again, this is my new start. My last chance before I really start my life out in the big, bad world. And I quote my father, “being a worthless shit” really won’t do much for me out there.

“So Max,” I say slowly. He turns his head to me, as expected. Good so far.

“Uh, how’s it going?” Smooth. Real, real smooth, Parker.

“Good, you?” he replies back politely. Now I answer.

“Good, good.” I scratch my forehead. What now. At least we both seem to be over our initial awkward and stumbling exchange. Yeah. Right.

“So, Max…” I trail. He looks at me strangely, waiting for me to go on. C’mon, Liz, think of something. Anything.

“How long have you lived in Roswell?” I blurt out. Hmm, not too shabby, Parker.

“Oh. Uh. Not that long.” He smiles then turns back to his work.


Maybe I’m really bad at this. That’s probably it. I can’t even hold a stupid conversation with somebody. Well, that’s it for you, Liz. Pack up your bags, your history. You’ll never make it in the world. Might as well start picking out your creaky rocker and 80 cats because you’re going to be stuck-

“Cousins with Michael, huh?” Whoa. Is mute boy talking to me? Liz, you RULE!

“Yeah,” I respond, smiling at him. “Him, Alex and I were the best of friends for the longest time. We spent our summers together whenever my mom and I came to visit Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jeff. How about you? How’d you meet Michael?” Liz saw the quick, almost undetectable flicker of anxiety float across his face, but it was gone just as fast as it had started.

“The Evans’ adopted me and Isabel a few years ago. It was our first week here and mom told us that we should get to know the town. You know, walk around and stuff. So, of course, the first place we stumble upon is the Crashdown Café. Michael was not so cleverly harassing Maria, who came in everyday with her mom. And, well, you know Maria, she’s the friendliest person you’ll ever meet. She came up and started talking to Iz and me. Michael was furious that Maria stopped talking to him and so he punched me.” Max smiled at the memory.

“A few years later and we’re all best friends.” I couldn’t help but giggle. Michael punched Max because he was jealous of Max stealing Maria’s attention? This could definitely be used against Michael for blackmail.

Before I could respond to Max’s story, the bell rang shrilly. I grab my bag and start throwing my binder and pen back into it.

“So where’s your locker?” Max asked, as I lead the way out of class.

“Next to Maria’s, supposedly. But I have yet to find it. Yours?”

“Next to Michael’s. We’re on the other side of the school from you,” Max replied with a smirk. I give him a questioning look.

Responding, he says, “Last year Maria kept so many vials of oils and perfumes and lord knows what else in her locker, that it drove Michael completely insane. She kept trying to ‘perfume up’ his locker as a gesture of romance. He didn’t find it very romantic. He swore that he’d be on the other side of the school this year otherwise he’d leave a skunk in her locker.” I giggle again. Those two are a match made in heaven.

Seeing Maria bounding down the hall towards us, he quickly whispers in my ear, “I think it’s better that way. Those two bicker like old ladies.” He smiles at me, and then waves as he walks down the hall in the opposite direction than me. I fight the urge to watch him walk away and successfully win.

Maria comes striding up beside me, a silly grin plastered on her face. I have a feeling what’s making her so giddy, but I refuse to let her indulge in it.

“Care to show me where my locker is?” Maria raises an eyebrow at me, but quickly realizes I’m not going to answer any questions that are undoubtedly floating around in her mind. She just nods her head, and I follow behind her quietly.

Her name was Tricia. You know, the best friend of all friends. The one you knew inside out, and vice versa. You went shopping with her, shared every secret with her, and always traded the best gossip in the school together. You both had these little differences that complimented each other perfect. Of course, there were the one or two fights that always got out of hand, but you knew by the end of the day one of you would call, in tears and apologizing profusely.

She was my end all. I loved her like she was my own sister, and never ever stopped being there for her when the newest seventh grade cutie ripped her hearts to pieces. We’d have our sob fest over tubs of ice cream, cans of pop and endless episodes of Southpark. (Ok… we watched it when our parents weren’t around.)

Whenever my life was falling to pieces, or at least I thought it was, she was the first one I called to cry to. Best friends forever. I’ll be there for you. We’ll be each other’s maids of honor and all of that.

She never knew though. When my mom left, I didn’t understand, so I couldn’t share it. I didn’t want to. How could Tricia understand when I couldn’t even explain it to myself? One day I was so sure my mom hated my guts so much that she had to leave. Other days I was sure my mom left because she loved me so much and didn’t want me to get hurt. Not that that would do much.

Tricia started drifting away not long after that. It was time for popularity to grace her life, and I was to have no part in it. I wanted to talk to her, really. I wanted to call her and cry hysterically so she could comfort me. I just needed someone, anyone, to comfort me in my time of misery.

I blamed myself at first. Why couldn’t I be more committed to our friendship? Years of dedication to each other couldn’t be so quickly flushed down the toilet. Why had I been doing everything wrong? Why wasn’t I trying hard enough? Why, why, why?

The questions stopped when the bruises started. I then had the answer to every question in my mind. It was really quite simple now that I think of it.

I was just not good enough.

She noticed my first attempts at covering up the marks. She asked me about it, and of course, I always made up an elaborate story. You know, I was so tired this morning that I fell down the stairs. Oh, clumsy me tripped and hit my head against the table. Dad surprised me and I got spooked, thus hitting my arm/head/eye/wrist/shoulder/any other body part against the wall. Accidentally, of course.

Soon I realized it just didn’t matter any more. She stopped asking anyways. I don’t blame her though, if I couldn’t tell her the truth why should she even ask?

But honestly? It hurt. Because I can still remember every single scoop of ice cream, every sip of pop, and every endless punch line from Southpark. I wanted to hear her beg for me to share what was happening to me with her, not give up after a few attempts and no answers. But alas, it was those small differences that bit me in the ass. She accepted things at face value, I never could.

Of course, I had to learn how to. The policy of not asking thus not mattering was something I discovered I appreciated. But then again, I’m nothing but a shell of my former, carefree child.

She turned on me that year. Eventually her new, fashionable friends asked for the dish on Liz Parker. She ratted me out. Made the whole story ornamental, saying how she used to watch my dad hit me so hard that the blood would splatter on her. But like I said, I don’t blame her. I guess the story sounds more adventurous and fairy tale-ish when you’re watching from the outside. The apparent walls on the outside blocked the pain that erupted from the inside. The burning, searing pain.

Soon I had no friends. None. But life sucks and then you die, right? Right. Yet even after years of her betrayal, the wound is so deep and so raw that I can’t help but feel the puking sensation accompanied by painful tears after thinking about it.

No more of that now.

Maria said she’d meet me at our lockers right when the bell rang so we could head out to the quad for lunch. But alas, it’s been fifteen minutes and she hasn’t shown up. I’ve never been one to wait around. I’ve got impatient tendencies. They are just inclined to happen all the time.

Isabel already came and went from her locker, of course, not saying a thing to me. Also, not leaving my presence without a good, hearty glare.

Maria, Tess, Isabel and I all have our lockers together. I don’t even want to know how they got the extra locker beside them. Supposedly it had been some geeky guy who occupied my locker before. And I know for a fact Maria is evil, but the three of them together? Males of West Roswell High, beware.

Even this morning, I could tell these three girls can and do rule the school. Frighteningly, it reminded me of one of those teen movies. You know, the “popular” group that governs the school? The one all the guys hate to love, and all the girls love to hate? Yeah. Tess, Maria and Isabel are it.

But it doesn’t surprise me, not really. Maria and Tess are almost sickeningly sweet, and friendly. Both are, well, lets face it, incredibly beautiful. Only in my wildest dreams could I ever look like them. But hey, it’s not time for a pity party. Not today, no siree bob.

As for Isabel? She’s gorgeous. Boys would die for her, and girls would die to be her. She has the bitchiest attitude known to man and would probably use and abuse anyone if it benefited her. Thus anyone else who doesn’t matter in her books is subjected to either utter humiliation by her, or complete disregard.

Which doesn’t make sense when I think about it. In the movies, these girls go to the hottest parties, sleep around with the Brad Pitts and Jason Behrs, and never do anything in public that could ruin their reputation in the slightest way.

Maria, Tess and Isabel are nothing like that, from what I’ve gathered so far. Well, at least not Maria and Tess. That and the fact that they have such a wide-range but tight knit group. It’d take an idiot to not to realize that the group I first met at the Crashdown after hours were extremely close.

But investigating this group is not on my priority list right now. And waiting around for Maria isn’t either. It’s time to explore West Roswell High.

Maybe I’ll take a stroll down West Roswell High. Yup, that’s what I’ll do. These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do…

You know what’s really annoying? Those it’s-your-first-day-and-your-a-loser pity looks. I can’t stand them. It’s awkward for the looker and even more awkward for the lookee. Do I even need to remind you how much I hate being in the spotlight? I didn’t think so.

West Roswell High isn’t so bad though- other than the tacky colors and gaudy sketches of Comets drawn on the even nastier walls. And what’s with the Roswell Comets anyways? I thought this was the land of little, phone home ET bastards, not flying pieces of rocks.

Anyways, the school isn’t too bad. I’ve pretty much been left to my own devices, omitting the typical first day greetings.

There’s, of course, as I mentioned earlier, the it’s-your-first-day-and-your-a-loser pity looks. Then there are the few guys that are checking out the newest meat, while their girlfriends check out their newest threat. (Sorry girls, but I’ve got better things to do than play peek-a-boo in bed with your boyfriends, as cute as you might believe they are.)

As I reach the doors that must lead somewhere outside, I can see the scatters of students stretched along the grass through the windowpane. It’s a really nice day. Hmm. I don’t think I ever remember saying that before.

It’s a really nice day.

IT’S a really nice day.

It’s a REALLY nice day.

It’s a really NICE day.

Wow. That’s sort of exhilarating in the whole I’m-a-freak-who-talks-nonstop-in-my-mind type of way. I guess the whole problem is that I’ve never had a really nice day. My days tend to be as dark as the bruises and scars on my not so really nice skin.

New life. C’mon Liz, keep on track here. You don’t need to be wheeled off to a batch of psychiatrists again. Oh man, I hated the Nathan’s so much when they sent me to shrink after shrink. They kept telling me that talking about my problems helps to cleanse the soul. Then, and only then, can we find spiritual and everlasting peace in the world and in our lives.

I flipped them off. The only bold move I’ve made in my whole pathetic life. It felt good though. Then again, within the week, I was visiting my good friend Ms. Cheung again.

I stretch my arms way up, as if touching the sky, letting my muscles escape from its tiring feel. Taking a long glance up at the clouds, I let my body settle back into itself.

“Better?” I turn and find my good buddy Alex. I grin at him, earning one in return. He gives me a great bear hug. I’m really, really, really starting to hate those things. I know they’re meant as a gesture of kindness, but really, do you need to touch me to do that? But it’s Alex, so that’s all right.

“How’s the first day?” he asks me, searching into my eyes for the truth. Damn it.

“Uh, a little rough, but I’m surviving.” Nice job, Parker. Truth without details.

“What are you doing wandering around out here by yourself? It’s lunch!” Alex exclaims, flapping his arms. He must hang around Maria a lot.

“Well, Maria was going to meet me at our lockers and take me out to the quad to have lunch with the rest of you guys, but she never showed. So I went exploring.” Alex rolls his eyes, and sighs.

“First rule, Lizzie, Maria has never been on time for one single event in her whole life. Not work, school, dates, nothing. But for some reason, we still love her.” He grins again. “I have a sneaking suspicion that she and Michael sneaked off for some… alone time. So may I escort you to our table?” He offers me his arm, and I graciously accept it. For some reason, when I’m with Alex I can let myself slacken the anally tight binding I seem to wrap around myself.

I must have an impeccable sense of direction since we’re no more than a few strides away from the table. Liz, you’re a genius.

“Hey everyone,” Alex chirps as he takes a seat beside Isabel, who’s next to Kyle. Kyle waves while Isabel takes a small glance in my direction before returning her eyes to the pile of carrots in front of her.

I take the seat next to Max, across the table from the rest. As I can see, Tess, Maria and Michael are missing from the scene. Ménage a trios perhaps?

Max smiles kindly at me as a sign of his salutation. I smile back of course. You know, I’m starting to wonder where the fake Liz ends, and the real one begins. Not that it matters. I hate being both.

“So Liz, how’s your first day been going?” Kyle asks, biting into his last piece of what must have been his sandwich.

I groan, like what any other respected teenager and student would do. I then roll my eyes. I apparently don’t feel like verbalizing anything else today.

Kyle tosses me a smirk. “Yeah, me too. It’s just I feel like that everyday.”

Max says softly, “First days are always tough.” He gives me a sympathetic smile. I stare at him, not with contempt because well… I’m trying to make friends here, right? But I swear to God if I see that freaking smile one more time today someone is going to lose a body part that my GRANDMOTHER wouldn’t even discuss. For that matter-

“Excuse me.” Isabel stands up abruptly and departs from the table. All right then. I now stare dumbly at her. She doesn’t make sense to me, not at all.

Isabel Evans. Obviously there’s a heart in there somewhere, because otherwise why would these people hang out with her? Then again, like I’ve said, I don’t understand the dynamics of this group. Each person is so diverse… unique from each other. But, ah, I refuse to analyze this.

“Ignore her,” Max leans in and whispers to me. “She gets like that.” I nod and smile at him. Somewhat genuinely. For a man of little words, he sure seems to be talking up a storm with me.

“Max!” The instant his name was called, the remaining members of the table cringe with uncontrollable nausea. I’m quickly scanning each of their faces to find the motive for the outburst of negative emotion, but soon the source of the voice nears our table.

A tall, thin figurine stands at the end of the table with hair that Barbie would cut off Ken’s balls for. Her hair is perfectly piled on top of her perfect head with her perfect face caked in perfect makeup. Her outfit is perfectly fitted to hug her perfect waist, boobs and hips. She’s… well, perfect.

But her body also screams fake. A big sham. My first thoughts of her are that she parties with jocks or college boys every weekend, getting wasted or getting someone else wasted. Then waking up Monday morning with a killer hangover in her best friend’s boyfriend’s bed. Naked, obviously. And possibly covered in whip cream flecks on her perfectly nude body. Perfect.

“Hi Max,” the girl purrs seductively, batting her perfectly mascara eyelashes at him. He gives her a tight smile, not wanting to be rude. I’m actually finding this amusing, because Alex and Kyle are making mute gagging faces across the table.

The girl turns to me, baring to me her fake pearly teeth shining through her fake glossy lips with fake interest in me that dim in her eyes. Perfect but fake. Fake but perfect. Ah, the ideal contrast.

“Liz Parker, right?” the girl bubbles. Huh? Who the hell are you? I just nod.

“Oh! Well I’m Ella! We’re in the same AP Chemistry class together,” she says, and then looks dreamily at my companion to the right. “With Max.” I bite my lip when his face turns completely red and he’s blushing underneath Ella’s desire-filled stare.

So the girl has tits AND brains. Oh, and can’t forget the fake teeth and perfect face. Hur-fucking-rah.

“You’re so lucky, Liz!” the girl squeals. I’m now realizing the curse that makes Alex, Kyle and Max barf their cookies. Then stab themselves in the eye with the dullest pencil in the world and jumble up the eye blobs and hurl together, so they can swallow it down just to escape this girl’s irritating voice.

“Oh? Why’s that?”

“You’re Max’s lab partner!” She winks at Max, which I’m sure makes him want to just puke all over her shoes. “I’d love to switch with you if you want!” Max’s head whips around, pleading with his eyes not to let her come near him. I raise my eyebrow at him, faking deep thought about her request. As much as I’d love to watch Max cry helplessly, I’m not that mean.

“Sorry, no can do. The teacher placed us together, sorry Ella!” I too can fake things. Just like now. She probably thinks I meant it in a sincere way. Uh huh. Whatever.

Maybe not. That slaughtering gleam in her eyes when she looks at me is somewhat unnerving. I think someone forgot to take her medication with her bowl of Fruit Loops this morning.

Ella flips her hair back over her shoulder. Typical teen movie move. Can you feel my shuddering?

“Well, Max,” Ella says sweetly, completely blocking herself from me now that she’s sitting down beside him. “If you’re not doing anything this weekend, I’m free.” Ella trails a lingering finger up the length of his hand.

“You’re also loose.” I turn to see Tess, Michael and Maria standing behind Max and I. Ah, good old Maria, the spitfire pixie returns.

“Maria,” Ella replies, somewhat distastefully. She stands, but not without touching Max again, whom I’ve just realized has stayed silent through the whole encounter.

“Ella,” Tess responds, with an impossibly sugary flavor to her voice. “Run along, little girl.” Giving Ella another sweetened smile, she sits down where Ella had previously situated herself.

“Bye bye,” Maria calls mockingly, waving to her. Ella, thoroughly embarrassed in front of Max, huffs furiously and stomps away. Tess and Maria share a satisfied smile.

Didn’t I tell you they were evil? Pure evil.

posted on 18-May-2002 2:59:29 AM
Part 5

Have you ever really seen the clouds? Like really seen them. Not just glancing on your way to school, or checking to see if it’ll rain. I’m talking about a full-blown examination of the sky and it’s plentiful pillows of clouds. You know, like when you’re a kid and you lie down on your front (or back) lawn and just stare at the clouds, letting life pass you by as if nothing really matters. You even point out shapes of clouds that look like a unicorn or your favorite Disney character.

So have you ever really seen the clouds?

Yeah, me either.

But today is my lucky day. It’s been almost a week since my first day of school, and I have yet to go job searching. Nancy (who has now nixed the Aunt because Jeff nixed the Uncle) and Jeff keep telling me that I should work for them at the Crashdown. Well, more Jeff than Nancy. I really appreciate the offer (ok, at least that’s what I told them) but me in those uniforms? Nuh uh. Not going to happen. Nancy understands because she’s seen some of my scars, but Jeff is as ignorant as a fool. Not that it’s his fault or anything. Not at all. I just don’t want him to know, or anyone else to know for that matter. So I will continue to over myself up and ignore any of Jeff’s protests. Not that I listen to anyone anyways.

So anyways, here I am, lying in the big grassy field of Old Man’s Hill. I love this place. It’s so peaceful, and open. I could scream out every single secret hidden in every single part of my body and still have eternal security. It’s my special place.

Ok, so it’s the first time I’ve been here since coming back to Roswell, but nonetheless, I love it. If I could spend the rest of my life here, I would. Although I don’t think I could survive on green grass for the rest of my life, as hard as I might try.

I suddenly have the urge to sing. I haven’t in years, not even humming to myself. There’s something so sacred and blissful about singing, about music in general. If I could, I would stick the ecstasy of music into a small, tiny bottle that I could carry around with me all the time. It could be like my… salvation.

I’m not bragging or anything, but I really did have a nice voice. Ok, I’m no Madonna, Charlotte Church or Christina Aguilera for that matter, but I won’t make you want to scratch your eyes out either. (C’mon, lets all say it together. Britney Spears.)

When I lost my innocence and youth, I lost something even deeper too. I don’t know how to describe it… it’s like a piece of my soul was torn out with no warning, no consent, nothing. And surprisingly, it hurt like a bitch. It’s a part of me I can never fill, cement over or forget, because it’s just there. Just reminding me over and over of what I’ve lost and what I’ve never gained because of it.

Innocence. Purity. Youthfulness. Childhood. Teenage years. Essence.

Unconditional love.

I was cheated. I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t bother me, that I don’t care, because I do. I’ve been denied a life that’s rightfully mine, and not to be pissed off about it is damn near impossible.

But it’s my routine now. It’s hard to break habits. You’ve all heard that saying. Can’t teach an old dog a new trick. Well, this old dog has succumbed to her habits, however undesirable they may be. I don’t know anything else.

And it’s sad, because it’s so true. And it’s my life. My real, actual, breathing life that I’ve got to suffer day-to-day, minute to minute, second to second.

So singing will become my salvation. This is my newest decision in my new life. At least my mom left me with one piece of worthwhile advice.

Don’t ever give up your dreams, don’t ever stop singing those songs that reside in your heart.

Well, mom, go figure. You actually left me with something other than utter heartbreak and a father with a passion for whipping the shit out of me. Thanks. Really.
Thank you.

Sometimes we get second chances
And sometimes we never make it past the first
It really makes you wonder why some things happen when they do
It really makes me wonder why it wasn't me instead of you

It’s time for me to breathe. For me to live, and be happy, and be the teenager I was meant to be. It’s time for me to dance along with the melody of my life, instead of covering my ears all the time.

And when you say
It doesn't matter well it does
And all it takes
Is a mistake to eat your words
Just one more time I think I'll drive on home tonight

I’ve been screwed enough in my life.

I slip off my shoes and twirl to my luscious tone, letting it seep into my veins and fill me until I can’t breathe. Until I don’t want to breathe in fear I’ll lose the beat of the music.

Sometimes we never see the warning
And the voice in your head tells you not to go
It really makes me wonder why somethings happen when they do
It really makes me wonder why it wasn't me instead of you

It’s so freeing. Dancing wholeheartedly in this dream world that I haven’t been able to escape to since I was twelve. I think I’m really seeing the clouds for the first time.

And when you say
It doesn't matter well it does
And all it takes
Is a mistake to eat your words
Just one more time I think I'll drive on home tonight

“I always said you have a wonderful voice.”

Pop. Burst.

And when you look its gone its too late to turn around
And it's another day facing yourself and the things that you've done

“Alex,” I say, somewhat breathlessly. I was seriously dancing out in the grass. I probably looked like a fool but it was nice to remember something that resembles serenity for a moment.

“Hey Liz,” he replies with a smile. He hooks his fingers on to his jeans, his guitar swung around his shoulder.

“So, uh, what are you up to?” I ask, awkwardly. I’m shifting uncouthly from foot to foot. My private moment isn’t so private any more.

I should have just let my zipper hang low. It’d be just as embarrassing.

“I like to come out here a lot,” Alex replies, somewhat wistfully. He takes a lingering glance at the long stretch of field that lies before us. To one person it would seem drab, almost boring. To Alex and I, it’s just empty space that’s waiting to be filled with endless notes and melodies.

“It’s my thinking place,” Alex says playfully, plopping himself down into the grass, regaining his composure. “I tend to write most of my music here.” He pats the spot next to him, and I’m unsure at first whether I should sit down. I mean, geez, the guy just caught me doing the jig to some tune I was crooning.

“I won’t bite, I promise.” With a grin plastered on his face, he seizes my wrist swiftly to pull me down beside him but I recoil instantly. He too jumps back, filling himself with regret at my reaction but it’s too late. The damage is already done.

He looks at me with those questions floating in his eyes but I shut my own eyes. I don’t want to see him gawking at me with all those damn questions. It’s not any of his goddamn business.

“Liz?” Alex calls hesitantly. I slowly peek an eye up, glancing at him but then quickly finding another focal point.

“Liz,” he states, softer this time. Oh man, here it comes. The sympathetic head roll. I swear I’ll rip your head right off your fucking shoulders if you do it.

“What happened, Liz? You were never like this before. C’mon, Liz, talk to me.” He’s staring at me now. He’s trying to get my attention, wants me to look him straight in the eye and be completely honest.

Sorry, Alex, that one failed a long time ago. When you’re desperate to save your ass a few marks, you pick up the art of lying pretty well.

“Nothing. I’m just adjusting to Roswell, you know?” That and I can’t stop the nightmares that run through my mind the moment my body comes in contact with another person.

“Liz, don’t lie to me. We use to be best buds, remember? You, me and Michael. I just want to help.” He stands up and comes to my side, sticking his face right in mine. Oh yeah?

I raise my eyes to stare directly into his.

“Nothing. Is. Wrong. Ok, Alex? I’m fine. It’s still my first week.”

“You’re a horrible liar.” Excuse me? Excuse ME?

“No, you just ask too many questions.” I turn away from him, planting my feet solidly back into my runners. So much for having a special place.

“Liz, don’t run from your problems. They’ll only get worse.” I stop in my spot, not sure if I want to or even if I can move. I’ve been running from my problems my whole life. If I pause for just a moment, my world tumbles down on me. I tumble down.

“Liz, you’ve got to talk about it. About your mom. I know you haven’t seen her grave since you’ve been here.”

Fucking son of a bitch.

“Alex,” I growl with fierce determination in my voice. “I’m going to tell you this once. Stay out of my business. Don’t mention my mother ever again. You don’t know one fucking thing about my life.” Alex gapes in surprise at my uncharacteristic turn.

“You’re right, Alex,” I continue with venom. “I was never like this before. But I’ve changed. You’ve changed, and so has Michael. So butt out. Got that? Butt out.” Without another word, I run. And not just from Alex.

He’s right. I can’t keep running from my problems. Lets face, eventually I’m going to get old and wrinkled, including my lack of speedy running without an air tank and Matlock as my incentive.

What happens then? When I can’t run any more, and the problem monster, being immortal as ever, finally catches up to me. What do I do? Better yet, what will the monster do? Will it soak me in a terrible shower of guilt? Or, will it let me rot from the inside out with torturous remorse? Maybe it’ll push me over the edge with its powerful finger magic of the “Ha-ha-I-told-you-so” shove.

But for some reason I’m not afraid. Or maybe it’s not that I’m not afraid, it’s I’m too afraid. To stop running, that is. It’s got to do with physics. Any object in motion will remain in motion. C’mon, you know the guy. Sir Isaac Newton! Psycho in his time, genius in ours. Go figure.

Motion. An act, process, or instance of changing place.

I have to keep moving. I can’t seem to stop myself.

Of course, I’m not talking in the literal sense here. No, because, quite frankly, I’m sitting comfortably on my ass in the Crashdown.

So when I don’t want to run anymore, I distract myself. Do homework. Watch television. Take a walk. Listen to music. Change subjects.

I’ve learned over the past few days that Tess and Michael both have jobs here at the Crashdown. Maria, of course, does too. None of them are working right now though. These three have been running around by themselves all week. I’m really starting to think they like that “other lifestyle”. Which is none of business so not a comment will come from my lips. (ALTHOUGH, I bet Michael is thoroughly pleased. I’m sort of shocked though, Tess doesn’t seem like that kind of girl. Maria does. She’s got that whole contemporary thing going.)

It’s really quiet in the restaurant, as expected, at eight o’clock on a Friday night. The grandmas and grandpas are taking out their dentures and getting ready for bed while all the teenagers are getting ready to party.

I came right home after my skirmish with Alex, locking myself solitarily in my room. I heard Michael leave not long after I came in, but he didn’t knock on my door or anything like he has all week. I bet he was anxious to leave the house without me following.

Ok, pity is for losers. Right. Wrong saying. Anyways.

I’m sitting in the Crashdown with my Chemistry book propped up. Porky decided he didn’t like my “lazy and sarcastic” attitude and specifically assigned me another three pages of homework. Not like I have anything better to do anyways. I can’t wait until he sees my homework nicely typed up, wrapped with a bow topped off with a shiny red apple.

No… of course I’m not mocking him. Why would I do that?

As I lazily munch on my space fries, I wonder if this is how it’s going to be until graduation. Doing extra homework for bitchy teachers on Friday nights. Exciting. Really.

Other than that overwhelming urge to just grab anything I can and make the biggest mess known to man in this alien-themed restaurant. Add some ketchup to the counters, a bit of mustard to accentuate the greasy floor, and perhaps a sprinkle of sugar and salt to add the snowed-in affect. To top it all off, a large bowl of strawberries would be thrown aimlessly around the room to create perfectly red strawberry angels on the walls. (I never liked cherries.)

I pull myself out of the daze when I hear the slight jingle of bells coming from the entrance. Look who it is! My savior. My bestest buddy. My hero. The star of my life.

Ok. That’s going too far.

It’s just Max Evans. You remember him. The one Ella wants to smother in chocolate and make her own Max Evans’ angel in bed.

Is it cold in here or am I shivering, no, shuddering for a reason?

“Max!” I yell, a bit too enthusiastically. Then again, when you lose one of your only good friends, you tend to be a bit anxious to keep the rest.

“Hey Liz,” Max says, somewhat awkwardly. He sort of just lingers at the front of my table, shifting uncomfortably. I don’t get this guy. One day he’s chatting it up with me, and the next he’s Super Mute, gawking eye stare included with retractable arms.

“Why don’t you join me, Max?” I offer, gesturing towards the empty bench across from me.

“Uh, sure, thanks. I can’t stay long, I’m waiting for Michael.” I hold back my snicker. I guess Michael forgot to aware Max of his absence.

“He’s gone,” I reply easily, popping a soggy fry into my mouth. I’m wondering how Super Mute is going to react. I’m actually kind of interested in whether he knows how to be infuriated, considering the most facial expressions I’ve ever seen on him is a small laugh. Maybe a smile or two.

Hell, who am I to talk?

I’m quite pleasantly surprised by Max’s response though. He looks really, really… annoyed.

“He left? When? With who?” Max sounds pretty livid.

Aw, what’s wrong, Maxie? Hemorrhoids got you down?

“Yeah, he left quite a while ago. At least two hours ago. Didn’t say anything to me though, just left. Sorry.” Max is surprised by my apology. Ok, I don’t really have anything to apologize for, but it’s only polite. Ok. It’s habit, all right? I really need an emotional crowbar, so I can start breaking those habit things.

“It’s all right, you’ve got nothing to be sorry for. I just can’t believe he left without me.” He gives me a small smile, but I can see that when Michael gets back, he’s going to get an earful. I should feel some kind of sympathy for Michael… but I don’t.

“So what are you doing here on a Friday night?” Max asks, peering over at my Chemistry textbook. “Can’t get enough of Porky, huh?

Max has grown accustomed for the proclaimed name I have for our Chemistry teacher. He agrees with me wholeheartedly.

“Uh, yeah.” Yup, that’s it, Max. Porky’s shiny head… I just can’t get it out of my mind. He’s just so… sexy.

Okay, that’s just too gross. Even for me.

The Crashdown bell rings again, declaring a new customer in the restaurant. I don’t even know where that lazy ass, Agnes, is. Probably having phone sex with her paid lover.

“Hey Max!”

HAHAHA. Oh dear. Excuse me while I laugh in Max’s face. It’s none other than his charming and very exquisite girlfriend, (drum roll, please) Ella!

Man, I don’t know what’s her deal, but something is not right about this girl. This obsession is kind of creepy. She’s just always there. Maybe she’s got a fetish for Super Mutes but, hey, take a hint, will you? Don’t you have a line of jocks and call boys to screw with?

But I can’t help but tease Max. It’s much too tempting.

“Hey Ella,” I reply with mock cheeriness. Max glares at me. Come on, Max, I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing with you.

All right, never mind, you’re right. I’m laughing at you.

“Mind if I join you?” Ella’s squeaky voice asks, already placing herself beside Max. “I hope you don’t mind, Max.” She flutters her eyelashes at Max. Ick.

“So what are you doing?” She asks with a much-too-phony smile. But before I’m given room to answer, Ella continues.

“If you don’t mind, maybe I’ll steal Max for awhile, since you’re studying and all.” Ella smiles shyly at Max, who gives her a tight lipped, smile back.

I’m not sure whether I should laugh or cry.

Laugh because, well, Ella is pathetic.

Cry because… well… again, Ella is pathetic. Very, very pathetic.

“Actually,” I respond, taking pity on the poor guy. “Max is helping me with my Chemistry homework.” Ella’s face falls, and I’m sure if I had a camera, I could have paused at the split second she wished eternal hell on me.

Too late, Ella.

“Well, maybe I can help,” Ella says, with her happy face pasted back on. “We’re all in the same class anyways!” She grins at Max, putting her hand on top of his. That poor caged in animal. I always had a soft spot for endangered species. Especially those extinction by Ella ones.

Slipping his hand out from underneath Ella’s, he lightly shoves his way out of the booth.

“Sorry, Ella, but I’ve already got plans.” He gives her a (to some extent) sympathetic smile. He’s about to leave, but I grab his hand first.

In the window I see Alex striding up to the Crashdown, scanning the dining room, looking for me no doubt. It’s my fight or flight mode again. I can either stay here and take on Ella and Alex at the same time, or I can force Max to take me with him.

Can you all guess what I choose?

“Max! Don’t go without me, you big, silly guy!” I say flirtatiously, something I’ve never done before. Maybe Ella will get the hint and leave before Alex spots me.

Max is stunned though, even more so than Ella. His jaw is dropped and he’s staring at me. Okay, so I’m not Miss Desirable, but you’re going to have to settle for now, Max.

Grabbing the textbook with my free hand, I pull Max towards the back of the restaurant.

“Sorry about this, Ella! Maybe we can all hook up another time. You know, you, me, and Max. We’ll see you in class!” I’m trying to drag Max faster along, but I know it’s a lost cause. Alex already knows I’m here.

But I can outrun him.

Gripping Max’s hand tightly, I haul him quickly through the employees door. Taking only a second to toss my book on the couch back there, I shove Max out the backdoor and we’re heading towards his jeep.

I started running a long time ago, and now I can’t stop. I don’t know if I ever will.

Alex’s POV

It was kind of weird when Tess came to live at the Whitman residence. Things were really tense then. My mom and dad fought nonstop. Something always bothered the other parent and soon family dinners became a thing of the past.

Don’t get me wrong, my family was never perfect, not even close. But the yelling just kept getting louder and more frequent. It’s always hard for a young teenage boy to begin their descent into the hellish world of adulthood.

Mom got this great idea one day that she was convinced would reunite the family and help another person as well. But really, I was the only family left. Mom and dad couldn’t stay in a room long enough not to yell at each other. My room became my solitude and my music was my salvation.

The day mom and dad came home with Tess was, well, to say I was surprised would be a large understatement. My parents were so happy that day and almost everyday afterwards. I mean, I should have been excited about it but I felt so insignificant. What could this new girl do that I couldn’t? Why were my parents so determined to prove themselves worthy to Tess but with me, they could be wrecks all they wanted?

I know I sound bitter, but really, I’m not.

Ok, maybe just a little bit, but I’ve moved on from that. Tess and I are real close now and we share almost everything. Tess had a rough childhood, moving around every few months. Being found naked and alone in the desert had left her with a mess of a human life.

But maybe that was the problem. A human life.

When the four non-human species discovered each other, it was shocking to say the least. But the fact that they all trusted Maria, Kyle and myself with their true identity was beyond amazing. Lets face it, there’s people who would kill to get their hands on four real life aliens, and experiment on them until all that’s left of them are endless tubes of alien blood. To trust actual humans made the world seem a hell of a lot less scary. But then again, they’re pretty much human themselves.

They’re not different from us. They feel the same emotions, enjoy the same movies, trying to strive though the same problems and nonetheless, breathe the exact same air as we do. They need friends and family just as much as anyone else. So, no, they’re not different. Just gifted.

So arises our tight group. I was tied to the four by Tess and Michael, who I don’t even think realized his “gifted” status until Tess, Isabel and Max came around. Maria was attached to group through Michael and I. Kyle came last, brought into our world by Isabel.

A secret brought the seven of us together, but friendship keeps us bonded.

I guess that’s partially why I’m worried about Liz. She’s hiding inside a fragile shell that could crumble with just a gust of wind. She’s got secrets that she’s not willing to deal with. The problem is that she doesn’t realize those secrets will eat her alive. They’ll gnaw at her until darkness consumes every inch of her world.

I want to help her see daylight again.

Michael and I have been friends forever, which undoubtedly links me to Liz. She’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met. She’s got a personality that’s so… welcoming and warm. Well, it was the last time I saw her before she came to live with Michael.

I know I haven’t really been there for her the past few years but believe me when I say I tried. I remember when Michael told me about Liz’s mom leaving, so I called her the moment I got home. She thanked me for my concern and then told me she was busy.

She thanked me for my concern? We were twelve and a half. Kids like us are supposed to be shattered when a parent abandons us. But Liz didn’t freak out, she just withdrew. And that’s all the much worse.

I hadn’t talked to Liz for almost three years, but now she’s in Roswell. I can’t explain my contentment, but like I’ve said. She’s changed. But she was right when she said we’ve all changed. We’ve been forced to grow up because of what our lives have become. I’m not just talking about the seven of us, I’m talking about Liz too. There’s something so familiar in her eyes, pain and agony. And I’ve only seen that much ache in one other person.

Isabel Evans.

Part 6

I always wondered what it would be like to have a boyfriend. If it was like in the movies, where you knew who was “the one” the moment you saw him. Or like it was described in the magazines, if your skin would become clammy and your heart erratic at just the mere thought of him. Even just pointing out little gifts you want to buy him while shopping at the mall with all your girlfriends.

Then I wondered if high school relationships were really what they’re all cracked up to be. The guy loves the teen dream for, like, ever, chases her with the help of some “friends”, just when he’s about to bonk the chick, he winds up falling in love with his best friend who he discovers he’s actually loved all along, then they live happily ever after. At the end of the movie, the best friends, now newly found soul mates, maul each other while all the teenyboppers in the theatre cry and clap. Or drool over the leading man.

I’ve never really had a love interest, much less a boyfriend. No embarrassing first kiss that I’ll never forget. No strolling through the school, hands locked together, as I wear his letterman jacket. Hell, a guy hasn’t even touched me other than my father, and well, after that, I’m not even sure I want someone to touch me. Do you blame me?

I guess that’s why I’m shocked by the instantaneous courage I gathered when I flirted with Max AND grabbed his hand all in the time frame of two seconds. Then again, I was more than eager to escape the claws of Ella and Alex’s prodding. It sounds childish, but I figure, if I don’t face it, it’s not happening.

“So where are we going?” Max asks me. Oh yeah, of course I know since you’re the one driving.

Dumb ass.

“Oh, uh, doesn’t matter to me.” I smile politely at him. I really don’t care, as long as you keep me the hell away from the Crashdown.

“Thanks for doing what you did back there. Ella sort of freaks me out.” He grins at me. Well, a smirky, half grin. What the hell is up with that? Who the hell does that?

“Uh, no problem.” Although the bitch will probably have a death contract out on me by tomorrow. But that’s not a problem, is it?

Max continues to grip the steering wheel with ease, soon driving out of Roswell and out into the big open road. I’ve always had the desire to go on a road trip with absolutely no destination point. The uncertainty and carefree leisure of a road trip sounds so… boundless and adventurous.

Other than Roswell, I’ve never really been anywhere. When I was kid I always figured that when I hit it big in Hollywood, I’d just end up seeing the whole world anyways. People would throw themselves at my fan bus, begging me to sign their CD’s, and of course, I’d have the occasional groupie or two. Alex and I would go on tour together, every concert sold out with me in the limelight.

Now I can’t even step into a vacant room without feeling self-conscious.

Another thing I can thank my parents for.

“So anywhere in mind?” I ask Max, trying to turn my thoughts away from the vicious, painful cycle of my parent’s emotionless abandonment of me.

There I go again.

“Well, actually, I do. It’s really beautiful. There’s a spot out here in the desert where you can see millions of stars. The sky is really clear tonight, so it should be just perfect.” Max takes a quick peek at me out of the corner of his eye. “You look like you could use a quiet night.”

I’m not sure how to respond to this. Do I really look like hell? Or is he just trying to be nice to me because Michael told him what happened to my mom?

Either way, Max, you’re a few too many years late.

Max was right. It is beautiful out here.

He’s laid a spare blanket on the ground so we can lie down and look straight up at the sky.

Max has a spare blanket in his jeep? Maybe Max isn’t the shy chap I figured him out to be. Perhaps that’s why Ella is so gaga over him. Max is a hussy in disguise. Maxie Brown. The guy probably buys condoms in bulk and hides them all in his jeep compartment or in his bedside table. And he’s always got at least two in his wallet, which undoubtedly is never seen out of his back pocket.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, Max, you whore.

“It’s nice out here, huh?” Max asks as he lies down beside me, offering me a cold Coke. Why he has pop in his jeep and it’s still cold is beyond my comprehension. I’m just going to drink my pop like a good girl.

“Yeah, it is, it’s really gorgeous out here. How’d you find it?”

Max crosses his arms behind his head, propping it up.

“Ibby’s always had an interest in astronomy. The first day I got my jeep, she forced me to drive her out to the middle of nowhere to look at the stars. I thought she was crazy at first, but when we found this spot, I knew this was nothing but perfect.”

“You and Ibby… er, Isabel are close?” I turn to my side, so I can face him as we talk. I prop my head up with my arm.

“Yeah, always have been. There was a period of time when it was just me and Ibby at the orphanage before our parents adopted us. All we had was each other.” If I didn’t have the overpowering sensation of wanting to retch, I’d think it was sort of touching. Maybe.

“So you’re adopted, huh?” Wow, Roswell just has to be the candidate for the next “Adopt a child, save a life” campaign.

“Yeah. We lived in Albuquerque for a few years and then we moved here. That’s when we met Michael and the rest of the gang.” I nod my understanding, unconsciously staring at his chiseled jaw, and serious eyes. There’s something about them that I can’t seem to glance away from.

“Have you ever wanted to fly?” Max interrupts my train of thought and I can’t do anything but stare at him strangely. For a moment I’m stuck wondering whether he forgot to take his sane pills this morning.

Max starts blushing under my weird stares so he tries to explain himself.

“When I was a kid, I was terrified of the big bad world out there. I didn’t have any parents for what seemed like forever, other than when the Evans’ adopted me. But I was six, and I mean, what other kid wouldn’t wonder where their real parents were. Why would they abandon my sister and I? Maybe I wasn’t good enough or something.

“Isabel cried almost every night for the first year we lived with the Evans’. They never heard her but I always did. I even felt her fear, sadness and disappointment with the world, but that’s partly because I felt the same. Mom could never figure out why I ended up in Isabel’s room every night.

“So I developed this desire to fly early on. Not just hopping on an airplane but actually gliding though the clouds and watching the world from a far distance with the view of Gods. For a while I had much faith that one day Isabel and I would just leave to live among the stars. I felt… no, I knew I belonged up there more than I belonged down here.”

I don’t know what to say. Whether I should buy him a pair of Tinkerbell wings or to just cry my eyes out. Because, amazingly, I can relate to the craving of “flying” away. It’s the story of my life.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get all serious on you.” He does that little half grin of his again. It’s not so annoying this time. I’m sort of getting accustomed to it.

“Don’t apologize. I think I know what you mean.”

“Do you?” Max asks me. He, too, turns to his side and analyzes my expression. I know he is. And it’s not so torturous as it usually is. I almost like having him stare at me.

“I do. I know there’s a flier in me too.” I sigh and flip onto my back to share part of myself with Max. Something that scares me, but I can’t seem to fight.

“I was the perfect, happy, poster child for the longest time. I had just as many dreams as the next kid. But when my mom left, things really changed for me. It’s sort of like a part of me died but another part of me began. And it was so different from what I’ve ever known. I was so different from what I’ve always known.” Sigh. That wasn’t so bad. Truth without details. My motto.

“It sounds like you had a sucky childhood.” I can’t help but laugh at his bluntness.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that. Always could have been worse though.” I’m beginning to believe that saying “monkey see, monkey do” because I’m find myself cocking that half grin of his. “I guess we’re kindred spirits, huh?”

“I guess so,” Max answers, looking steadily at me with a glazed expression. I can’t tell if he’s high or if I’ve got something insanely gross oozing from my nose. But surprisingly, I don’t feel that insecure about it.

Max Evans, you just may be my cure.

I think it’s his eyes. They’re so… warm. And inviting. The sincerity shining from them makes me feel so protected, just as if I were bundled in my mother’s favourite blanket sitting next to a glowing fire, with the smell of Jergen’s lotion surrounding me. (It was my mother’s scent… don’t ask.)

Perhaps Max is an old soul.

Mom used to tell me about old souls. How they wander from body to body, watching days pass by endlessly and becoming world-weary with the troubles that corrupt our world. It was my favourite bedtime story. (Again, don’t ask.)

“I always wanted to be a singer when I was a kid,” I blurt out. I’m not exactly sure where that came from.

“A singer, huh?” he says, eyeing me. A grin graces his lips, and he nods. “I wanted to be a bus driver.” I burst out laughing.

“What?” Max asks innocently, a playful grin on his face.

“A bus driver? You mean you wouldn’t mind all the bitchy woman, screeching at you for going too fast, or prices being too high, or their husbands cheating on them?”

“Nah. If they were hot, I’d just ask them for their number.” I laugh again. So maybe Max isn’t as predictable as I thought. Max isn’t a lot of things I thought he was.

“You charmer, you. I’m sure they would love to wear your sexy bus driver jacket. Maybe you can have one of those nifty hats too.” Max just smirks at me and for a moment, I see him become silent. He studies me, like he’s trying to figure something out.

“I’d like to hear you sing.”

Well then.

“I, uh, actually don’t sing any more.” He raises his eyebrows in question, but I just shrug my shoulders. “Nothing worth singing about.”

Max eyes me again, but lets me go this time. “That’s too bad. I bet you have a beautiful voice.” I blush slightly, somewhat flattered by his comment. Damn. What is with this blushing thing?

Max rolls onto his back eventually, staring up at the sky with its twinkling stars.

“Do you believe in soul mates?” He asks me without moving his eyes from the sky above us.

“I think love is overrated.” I pause. “Any kind of love. I mean, what is it to love anyways? Nice words and hopeless promises that’ll land both people in the loony bin.” Or my father in jail.

“So you don’t even believe in love?” I shake my head.

“Nope. To love is to lie. They go hand in hand. Like I said, pretty words and ill-fated promises.”

“But that’s not love. Sure, it’s true that nice words and unbelievable promises are exchanged, but it is love that turns those words into beautiful phrases. It’s love that makes those promises faithful.” He looks at me expectantly. I never disappoint.

“Quite the romantic, aren’t you? You use that one on all the girls? It’s pretty slick I’ve got to admit.” I take a sip of my Coke before I notice the confused look on his face.

“All the girls? What are you talking about?”

“Oh, Max, you don’t need to play innocent with me. We’re buddies, remember?”” I hit his arm playfully before turning my head towards him. “The night with the stargazing, the ‘spare’ blanket, the drinks? And that love speech? You must keep the girls crying and their hearts broken. Look at Ella.” Max just shakes his head in protest. He looks kind of… hurt.

“Liz, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I thought you just wanted to hang out. It was you who dragged me out of the Crashdown, if you don’t remember. As for Ella, I don’t know what’s wrong with her. Her obsession is unhealthy but I’m not about to be an asshole to her. That’s not who I am. I thought you would know that.” Max gets up from his spot and starts walking towards the jeep. Woo, boy, Max the sissy.

Ok, I know that’s mean. But what do I say? Actually apologize? Actually say sorry for hurting his little feelings? Actually let him regain his self-confidence?

All right, all right, I get the point.

“Max,” I call out, standing up. I grab his arm, as he hasn’t gotten very far.

“I’m sorry, ok? I just… I don’t know. I don’t have much faith in love. That’s all.” Max turns to look me at me directly again. Those damn eyes. Why are they so captivating?

“Don’t you think that’s kind of sad?” he asks me inquisitively, his hurt expression wiped away.

“Well, so is Dumbo, but it doesn’t mean I like that damn thing.” His jaw drops.

“You don’t like Dumbo? But he’s so cute.”

“It’s an elephant. That flies. What doesn’t creep you out about that? And for god sakes, his best friend is a freakin’ mouse.”

“Liz Parker, I refuse to believe you don’t like Dumbo. His ears are so adorable.”

And so continues our banter with the feelings of lost innocence and damaged hearts behind us. For the time being.

I don’t know how I get sucked into these things. I really hate this. I can’t stand it. I think I’m going to explode. Why do I have to be so submissive, never refusing anything that’s asked of me?

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be like Jem. You know, the chick that was Jerrica Benton by day and Jem by night. She had it all. Jerrica Benton had her own music company AND her own foster care mansion. Then she turns into alter ego Jem, singing extraordinaire, with ultra cool earrings that can make holograms with the help of her buddy Synergy. Uh… anyone know what I’m talking about?

Anyways, she was my idol. Her life was so perfect with all the tidings. Sure, she had her share of problems, but they always worked out. She had the help of her friends whenever she needed them, and she had her very own version of a guardian angel. Sure, Synergy was mostly a hologram, but a damn cool one. She did all these really neat tricks. Like this one time…

Oh, right.

So I’ve been persuaded somehow to venture this shopping thing with Tess, and now Maria and Isabel. I really don’t want to be here. And I know for a fact that Isabel doesn’t want to be here either. She keeps glaring at me, and giving me the “up-down-you-look-like-a-dumb-ass” look. All right, Ibby, I get the point. I’m not a princess like you.

“Oh!” Tess squeals, throwing a hanger with some sort of cloth on it against my body. Oh. It’s supposed to resemble a shirt. I see.

“This is so cute! This would look great on you, Liz!” Tess grins, and hands the hanger to me. I shake my head.

“Nuh uh, I don’t wear anything without long sleeves.” I put the hanger back onto the clothes rack. Tess gives me a funny look.

“Liz, honey!” Maria calls from the other side of the rack. “Sweetie, I bet you’ve got a great figure. No use hiding your fab-o body underneath useless cloth. Let us pick you out an outfit. Or rather, let me pick you out an outfit.” Maria leans over the clothes rack, whispering in a loud voice so Tess will hear, “We don’t want you looking slutty like our good but slutty friend Tess here.”

“Maria!” Tess screeches. “Puh-lease. Look at what you’re wearing. That skirt should be outlawed for indecent exposure!” Maria flashes her eyes at Tess, smoke already pouring from her ears.

And me? I’m just hanging back and watching this unfold. It should be amusing.

I don’t really get these two. One day they act like the closest of sisters, giggling together, and the next they’re at each other’s throats. Maybe sharing Michael is getting to be too stressful. Lets hope it doesn’t interfere during their “rendezvous”. Wouldn’t want Michael to be bitten.

“Will you two calm down?” Ibby remarks. “We’re in public.” And the princess reigns again as her two jackasses quit their squabble. I think that’s the most she’s said all day. It must be in the genes.

The great thing about these girls though, is that no matter how much they fight, they’ll always be there for each other. Which is why I want to be like Jem. I could have my friends at my side (I.e. Maria and Tess) and my fantasized singing career with its perks of helping the helpless.

I can dream, can’t I?

“All right, here we go!” Maria states proudly. She hands me a pile of hangers, complete with polka dots, stripes, frills and zippers. Yippee.

“Uh, this shopping trip wasn’t just for me, you know,” I say in my defense. “You don’t need to keep finding me clothes.” Because that’s all they’ve done all afternoon. More and more clothes for me. I should be taking the hint here, shouldn’t I?

“Babe, we’ve got so many clothes that if we decided to sell them, the Gap would go bankrupt.” Maria points to the direction of dressing rooms. “Now, go, chica.”

I decide not to argue. I really would rather just submit than cause a scene. It’s just clothes anyways. Clothes that I can’t afford, but they don’t seem to realize that or care.

I pop into the first free dressing room, ignoring the saleslady that’s manning the dressing room area. If she really wants to stick a plastic number on my door, then do it. I don’t really care.

I look through the heap of clothes Maria handed me. Skirts, tank tops, halter tops, shorts. What? Am I their newest prostitute? Ok, maybe the get-up works for them, but not for me. I’d rather not have the whole world stare at my endless collection of scars. I’m trying not to frighten people away. I have a hard enough time trying to make friends as it is.

When Max drove me home the other day from our Friday night out, I began to feel sick. How could I let myself get close to someone? Sure, we only talked that night, but that’s how all great… friendships begin. I don’t think I have the courage to make these friends and have to leave them when the time comes. Because the time will come when I’ll split without a second thought. It was good thing that Alex and I haven’t talked in a week. Sure, it hurts now, but it’ll hurt a lot more if I drag it out.

But why am I here then? Shopping with these girls. This has got to end.

But I’ve got nothing better to do.

After this one trip, I’ll never go out again with people. I need to start clean again. I’ve done a good job so far with Alex. I’ve avoided him at all costs for a whole, entire week. One week down, plenty more to go.

Right. Maybe I’ll believe myself this time.

I throw off my shirt and toss it to the side. I take a long glance at my body in the mirror. I know for a fact that my body isn’t nearly as bad as it was the last time I saw my dad. But the awful reminders mark my body, repeating the scene in my head every time I see them.

That last night, I’ll never forget it. I can tell you now that you haven’t felt pain until you see your own father, the man who is supposed to love and care about you endlessly, whip you with a certain momentary pleasure in his eyes. I could have billions of cuts, bruises, scars, and broken limbs, but nothing ever hurt as much as seeing that gleaming of satisfaction in his eyes. Nothing will ever-

“Liz! I found this- oh my god.” Oh, shit.

I whip around to the opened door, finding a very speechless Tess. She’s staring at me, at my body. My imperfections. Her eyes sweep through my body, and eventually find my eyes. She looks… disgusted? Revulsion, perhaps?

“Liz, I-I…” Her words trail off as she takes another long peek at the scars that so pleasantly adorn my body.

“Get out.” I can’t fight the overpowering stench of anger that rises in me.

“Liz, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“Get out!” I scream. I throw a bare hanger at the door, narrowly missing her. She backs away, frightened, her eyes never leaving mine. I slam the door shut in her face.

Why did I agree to this? It was inevitable, wasn’t it? Someone finding out, and now she’s going to share with the whole group. The staring will start again, and it won’t stop until I move again. I feel so dirty again. Used. Soiled. Polluted.

It’s time to start running again. I’ll never let myself slow down again.

Tess’ POV

I know what it’s like to feel loneliness and desolation. That sinking feeling that devours your whole body until you’re not sure you want to even breathe without a promise of better hopes. The desperation that consumes your mind in chance that one person will notice your misery and want to help you, yet never reaching out yourself.

Trust me when I say I’m one of the first people to declare that life sucks. And it does. But to endure life’s practical jokes only proves the strength the human body possesses. Sure, maybe I’m not a human per se, but I have a human body, don’t I? Yup.

So yeah, Liz and I aren’t really all that similar, but then again, we’re so much alike it’s hard to tell us apart. She’s gone through some pretty tough shit in her life, I can tell just by the way she stands, walks and talks. Call it alien intuition, but that girl is hurting yet not willing to let anyone help her.

And I want to. I want to make sure she knows that whatever happened in her past, and whatever devils she’s fighting now, she doesn’t have to go through it alone.

Friends. It’s a remarkable theory. I never thought I would have any when I was growing up. I didn’t even have parents until the Whitmans’ took me in. I love them. So much. Alex is more of a brother to me than Michael could ever be. And I’m not saying Michael’s not a great guy, because he is, but Alex, Alex is a wonderful person and brother. I owe my whole existence to him. He told me about why the Whitmans’ took care of me in the first place, but he’s what made me feel real. Like I was really destined to be part of this marvelous family and even more incredible friendship.

Destiny. A predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.

I looked it up in the dictionary once. My room was in pieces by the end of the night.

How could someone or something predetermine my course of life when they don’t know me, don’t know who I am, don’t even know what I look like? It doesn’t make sense to me, yet it still happened. I was destined.

The moment Max, Isabel, Michael and I all met, we knew there was something more than just a friendship between us. There was a bond, so undeniable that it eventually consumed our whole lives. It still does.

It’s amazing how something you never planned for, something you never ever believed was real, happens right before your eyes. Michael and I never even realized we were “otherworldly” until we met the Evans’ siblings. Dumb, clueless, and melodramatic. That’s what we were, like every other teenager out there.

We had to get our act together quick when the sunset for a naïve human life greeted us cruelly. Pushed into a destiny we didn’t, and still don’t, want, narrowly escaping danger, death and deprivation of life. We wanted to ask why, but we didn’t have time to question it.

Alex, Maria and Kyle balance us. They make us feel human. Something the four of us desire beyond comprehension. But we know, no matter if all our enemies are dead with no hope of returning, we will never be human. It’s hard to face, but nevertheless in attendance. Yet it doesn’t mean we should lose hope and just be pureblooded aliens. Because we’re not aliens either. We’re the in-betweens. The hybrids.

The whole group is based on friendship and letting each other lean on one another. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been. That’s who we’ve had to be because of our forced situations.

And the surprising thing is, the moment Liz came to Roswell, and maybe even before then, our group suddenly felt like it was missing a special and important component. I really like Liz, I really do. I bet she used to be a free spirit, well, actually I know that. Alex told me all about Liz. I hope she knows how much she is actually loved by these people, by all of us. (This excludes a certain Ibby Evans, but that is a totally other story for another day.)

Even if Liz doesn’t want to face it, she does need us and we need her just as much.

Honestly, I don’t know where my life would be without Alex, my parents, and the rest of the gang. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was destined to be this great Queen on some stupid planet, but that’s not what matters to me. Sure, one day my denial will catch up to me, but not today. And that’s what I’m living for. Today. Because in the end, I’m still going to have today embedded in my mind when I’m facing tomorrow’s problems.

posted on 18-May-2002 3:01:27 AM
Part 7

So I slipped out the back.

I know, it’s a wussy thing to do, but I was NOT going to face Maria, Isabel and Tess gawking at me like a new piece of gossip-turkey. Me? Meat? No. My dad butchered me up enough, thanks.

And now Tess has seen proof of it.

How could I have been so stupid? I’ve lived years by myself, only for myself. Friends? Yeah, the concept is definitely overrated along with “love”. Friends pretend they love you, then the moment something better comes along, they don’t love you so much. Hell, they won’t even like you. Again, I’ve had proof of this.

People, listen to me when I tell you that in this world, all that matters is you. No one else cares.

I should be crying, or yelling, or something. But I’m not. I’m just walking, trying to get the hell out of here as fast as my little legs can carry me.

I’m so sick of this bullshit. I’m not going to pretend any more. I’m going to pack up my shit and head out. As much as I appreciate Nancy and Jeff’s hospitality, I’m not going to waste my time or theirs. Maybe I can get a waitress job out at one of those truck spots. Hitching rides town to town from fatty, oily, greasy men. Yeah, I’m finally going to take that road trip I’ve always wanted to.

I’ll just leave Nancy and Jeff a note. They’ll understand. And if they don’t, I’ll be long gone by then.

You know what really pisses me off? Roswell may be a small town, but they could at least have ONE public bus. Sure, it’s easy enough to walk from one side of town to the other side because of the miniscule size of this place. But when you’re on the verge of fleeing, it seems bigger than estimated.

That, and my feet kind of hurt from an afternoon of shopping. I told you I wasn’t a very good example of a girl.

So I think I’ve got another twenty minutes left until I reach the Crashdown. Just freaking great. And it’s really hot out, with me sweating all over my shirt. Yummy. Can’t believe how sexy I am. I bet Max would just-

Who cares what Max would think? I don’t. Nope. This is me not caring.

This is also me in large denial.

But it doesn’t matter. It’s not allowed to matter. I’m on my way out of here and nothing and no one is going to stop me. No one, you hear? Not even Max Evans.


Just freaking great. Liz, don’t look behind you. It’s probably the three chic-ateers wanting to confront you about your “deep, emotional pain”. Fuck that.

I start to run, letting the dull ache fill my legs. I haven’t exerted much physical energy in a long time. I tend to cower more than I run. My harsh breath is drawing some unidentified strength that hasn’t reared its head for a long while.

“Liz!” I halt my movement. That wasn’t a woman’s voice. At least I don’t think so.

I turn my head to see a hot, red car pull to the side of road, right next to me. The passenger’s window is rolled down and a Mr. Kyle Valenti is looking straight at me. Kind of strangely too.

“Hey Kyle,” I say, breathily. Ok, so I’m a lazy bum. My version of a workout is reaching for a Krispy Kreme.

Ohhh… Kripsy Kreme…

Yup, I’ve definitely got to go somewhere with a Krispy Kreme.

“Hey Liz, you headed home? Need a ride?”

Well, Mr. Valenti, you just may be my knight in shining armor. It beats sweating my glands off.

I nod and hop into the front seat. And it’s nice. His car, I mean. Leather interior, pimpin’ stereo, smooth cruiser. Nice.

“So where you coming from? You’re a bit far off from the Crashdown.”

“Oh, I went to the mall.” Truth without details.

“Oh, right, with Maria, Tess and Isabel. Why didn’t they give you a ride?”


Ok, so the whole truth without details isn’t ALWAYS a hundred percent effective. But hey, what is?

“Just felt like walking.” I shrug and give him a weak smile. He just nods and keeps his eyes on the road. He doesn’t believe me, but doesn’t care either. Good boy.

He’s uncomfortable, I can tell. He doesn’t know what to say to me.

“So, uh, Liz, how you liking Roswell?” I shrug again, glancing out the window.

Honestly? I hate Roswell. I think it’s a pathetic attempt for a town. It’s small, disgusting, and repulsive. Roswell is full of bitches and nosy people who have nothing better to do than find something that will fill their dismal little lives.

“It’s all right.” I don’t think Kyle really wants to hear my actual thoughts.

He glances at me, with a slight smirk on his face. “I hate it. Can’t wait to bail out of here.” Oh, well, that’s kind of interesting.

“Why?” I ask, with question in my eyes.

“There’s nothing here. Out there, people are actually doing something for the good of mankind. Not saying I want to be Dr. Doolittle or anything, but this feeling of uselessness gets pretty overwhelming. There’s got to be something more than Roswell.”

Wow. Give the boy a prize. Everyone is just surprising me lately. First Max, and now Kyle with his little speech. He’s not the typical dense jock I thought he was. I think applause is in order here.

“What about you, Miss Parker? What’s in the future for you?” he says, teasingly. I like him already.

“Prostitution. Definitely prostitution.” Kyle laughs loudly, throwing me a big grin.

“Parker, I think we’re going to be great friends.” His statement almost makes me sad.

Sorry, Kyle, I don’t have time. Maybe another time, another life.

The Crashdown is dead, like usual before its dinner rush. Kyle dropped me off in front, and sped off, supposedly having to run some errands for his dad. It’s not like I would have invited him in anyways. I have a schedule of my own.

I quickly make my way through the restaurant, successfully dodging scattered chairs and tables. Pushing the employee’s door open, I thrust myself through the room and up the staircase. The faster I’m out of here, the better.

“Liz.” Damn it. I don’t have time for this. I continue up the stairs, ignoring the pesky voices below.

“Liz, stop.” I halt my progression on the stairs and turn towards a very serious looking Michael and Alex. I raise my eyebrow, wondering what the hell they want.

“Guys, I’m sort of busy right now, so if this isn’t important…” Hopefully they’ll get the message with bright lights and loud horns.


“Well, it is kind of important, so if you don’t mind, can you sit and talk with us for a few?” Michael responds. Stupid.

Boys are so dumb. I could give them the finger, yell obscenities at them (ones even YOU’VE never heard of before), and beat the crap out them, and they would just laugh and be like, “What’s up, buddy?” Dumb. Complete stupidity.

“Fine,” I say with annoyance. Maybe they’ll get the point and make it quick. Then again, I know nothing good will come from this conversation. Maybe I should just bolt.

Nah. Coward. I’m sick of being one. Well, at least for the moment. So I trudge down the steps and place myself firmly on the ratty old couch. Crossing my arms, I look up at them with slight irritation in my eyes.

“Liz, we’re worried about you,” Michael says, sitting down next to me. I inch away from him. I don’t like where this is heading. He’ll probably take my hand and try to bring me peace through his nice words and kind expressions.

Nuh uh. Don’t fucking touch me, Michael.

“Well, don’t be.” I look at Michael beside me, and then at Alex, who’s towering over me. Oh, so scary.

“I guess we’re done then,” I add, standing up. Alex blocks my way though, with his arms crossed.

“Liz, talk to us. What’s going on? We’ve been friends for years. The three of us.” I shake my head, losing my already limited patience.

“No, you’ve got that all mixed up. Years ago, we were friends. But, Alex, you said yourself that I’ve changed. We’ve all changed. A pity but the truth, so I’m just going to go now.” I try to step around Alex, but Michael stands up beside him. I growl in frustration.

“So what? You’re going to just bully me into telling you every aspect of my life? Well, for your information, it’s none of your goddamn business, so move.” Of course, boys being the dumb animals that they are, they stay firmly planted in front of me.

“Liz, we’re not trying to bully you into anything,” Alex says softly. “We just want to help. You can trust us.” He reaches out to touch my arm in a comforting gesture, but I rip my arm away before he can even get close. I can see the hurt in his eyes.


“You know what? Here’s a lesson for you two. Listen up, all right? Trust, love, loyalty, they’re all words some fat guy made up when he had nothing better to do with his time. They’re a waste of time and energy. People are born on to this planet, live miserable lives, and then die. There’s your beginning, middle and end for you.” I turn to walk around Alex’s other side, but he effectively blocks me again. I let out a loud yell in complete aggravation.

“Liz, listen to us. No matter what you think, we do care about you. We’re your friends-” I roll my eyes. I really don’t want to hear Michael’s theory on friendship. I’ve got enough of my own, thanks.

“Liz, listen to me!” Michael yells. He’s obviously frustrated too. I can’t help but put a huge smirk on my face. Ha ha.

“You can’t just wish this away, Liz,” Alex continues for Michael. “You can’t just push us away. We’re going to be here no matter what.”

I grit my teeth and move my face so it’s right in front of his.

“You may be here,” I say in a low, barely controlled voice. “But it doesn’t mean I will be.” With all of the strength I can muster in my puny little body, I break through the barrier of Michael and Alex. Directing myself towards the stairs, I take my first step before Michael reaches out and grabs my left arm with a fierceness that I haven’t felt in nearly a year.

I cry out in horrible anguish, and nearly crumple to the floor. With terrified eyes, I stare up at Michael, who’s just as surprised from my outburst. His eyes dart to my arm, with its sleeve now scrunched up, exposing my bare wrist. He narrows his eyes, and before I can pull away, he grabs my wrist and studies it.

“Liz,” he chokes, realizing what they are. Alex is peeking over his shoulder, and his eyes widened when he discovers what Michael is looking at.

“Did you do this?” Alex asks, quietly. Tears start to present themselves on my face, and I don’t know if I have the strength to pull my wrist away, much less answer Alex.

Boiling anger, and then painful tears. Nice control of your emotions you’ve got there, Liz.

“Why, Liz?” Michael strangles out. With his other hand, he lightly outlines the slashing scars I have on my wrist. They’ve faded since, but are still horribly noticeable when discovered. They’re reminders for me, for what a horrible person I am.

Things are happening way too fast before my eyes. They weren’t supposed to know. No one. Not even Nancy knows about this. Please. Someone make this stop.

The loud creaking of the employee door opening is heard, and the three of us turn to see Maria, Tess, and Isabel staring back at us. They’re scattered in the doorway, and their entering startles me out of my daze. Tess takes a shaky step towards me, but I glare at her with sudden anger I didn’t know I could possess. I’m so angry that I know it won’t be long before I indulge myself in a killing spree. A glorious killing spree that includes the death of everyone presently in the room.

“All of you, listen to me,” I roar with ferocious energy. “Leave me the fuck alone. This is none of your business. I don’t want your pity, your help or your friendship. I don’t want to go on your stupid shopping trips or sing along to your stupid music. I just want to be left alone.” With quick animosity, I gather and straighten myself, running up the stairs before anyone can stop me.

And no one is. Going to stop me, I mean. Not this time. I’ve come to this very simple, and very tangible fact.

There’s just no more of me to stop.

Michael’s POV

Me? A soldier? Hah. I think I’d be better at flipping burgers for the rest of my life rather than being a soldier for two minutes. I’d be killed before I even took a step towards an enemy.

I’ve just never really been a fighter. Ok. I have but not in that military, brains oozing, missing vital body parts, leaking blood type way. It’s just not what I’m into. Ok, again, let me restate that. I’m a man, of course I like that stuff, but not when it’s real. Not when it could be your best friend, or your sister, or your girlfriend, or anyone else for that matter. It’s a matter of choice: their life or yours. And I’m just not ready to make that kind of decision. I don’t even want to.

Then again, life is just one big choice. You make the wrong decision, and then you’re screwed for the rest of your damned life.

But here’s the problem with war. Most of the time, someone else gets to make that decision for you. That life altering decision that could destroy your life, and the lives of people around you.

And I think that’s what happened to Liz. Someone else made a decision for her, unknowingly, that lead Liz down a path of more horrible choices and inevitable self-destruction.

I’ve always considered Liz my little sister. Ok, so I haven’t been that great of a big brother but I love her. I really do. (I’ve been kind of busy the past few years, fighting against evil aliens and all.)

When mom told me that Aunt Katie (Liz’s mom) had died, well, I was pretty worried. I hadn’t talked to Liz in a long while. Actually, it was my mom that kept me linked to her family while school was in session. But as soon as summer came, brining my little Liz with it, things were normal. Alex, Liz, and I: friends and amigos to the very end. That ended the year Liz’s mom left.

There’s only one other thing that can screw your life over like a bitch.


We all have them. I do, you do, and Liz definitely does.

Secret. Something kept hidden or unexplained.

You’ve got only two choices with secrets. (See how the world destroyers are entwined with each other? Figures, huh?)

You can either tell someone. Or you can let it swallow you and your world whole.

Liz, she’s letting it swallow her.

Alex and I didn’t mean to gang up on her. We just wanted to talk to her. Let her know that no matter what happens, she’ll always have the two of us by her side. We love her. I don’t use the word a lot, only for certain people in my life. Maria, my parents, Alex (no, he’s just my best friend), Tess, Max, Ibby, and, of course, Liz. All these people have left a profound mark on my life, and to not love them would simply be a crime of nature.

Yet in our mission to rescue Liz from the hell she’s thrown herself into, we destroyed her just a little more. Without permission, or even knowledge of it on our side, we discovered a secret Liz wasn’t quite willing to share yet. We made a choice for her that she didn’t want made, and because of it, Liz’s world is just a tad more bleaker.

Choices. Secrets. I hate them. They’ll be the ruin of mankind, on your planet and mine.

Part 8

Hitchhiking. I think this is the one theory I really like. Not only do you meet new and different people, but you also get a (sometimes) comfortable, free ride somewhere. Where depends on you and the driver. Some people just end up in a motel on the side of the road, while others actually make it to an inner city hotel.

Ok. I’m joking.


I left through the fire escape on the balcony. I think I’m going to give this whole coward thing another try. I mean, you remember that lion from a Wizard of Oz? He was a coward. A pretty cool coward at that.

I guess that’s a bad example though, because he had friends. Wendy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and little Toto too! The thing he didn’t realize was that when his back was turned Wendy and the Tin Man were getting “jiggy”. Trust me, the Tin Man didn’t need that much oil as he claimed to. Sick bastard.

Anyway, I grabbed my backpack and threw all of my school shit on to the floor. Normally I’m a neat person. Actually, I’m extremely anal about cleanliness, but I don’t live there anymore. I’m a wanderer now. A drifter, if you will. Drifters don’t have many material possessions, if any, thus they don’t need to worry much about cleanliness.

I tossed whatever clothes I had into the empty pack, flung it over my shoulders and escaped out the balcony. Down the fire escape ladder I went. Man… I don’t want to imagine how slippery that ladder would be when it’s raining. I bet I could break my neck on that thing. Hmm. I wonder what would happen if I dropped water balloons off the side and onto unsuspecting people.

Doesn’t matter, I’ll never find out.

I walked down the back alley, careful to avoid anyone and everyone who could recognize me. I’m pretty sure I heard Max’s piece of crap pull up the Crashdown just as I was leaving. I ignored whatever pang of guilt that hit me then, and kept running.

So what if I left? Max has a bunch of other friends. He’s doesn’t need me, he barely even knows me. It’s too bad we had to waste time trying to get to know each other.

No, Max will be fine and live his life. Before anyone realizes it, I’ll be just some distant memory. Max will be making perfect babies with perfect Ella, having the perfect SUV, and working the perfect job. Ella will be making his perfect dinner, and ask her perfect husband if he remembers that poor, pathetic little girl they met when they were teenagers. Max will shake his perfect head and say he doesn’t recall her, but it doesn’t matter because all he needs is his perfect little wife. I bet they’ll even have perfect sex.

And who said that nothing is perfect?

Everything is perfect.

No, don’t worry, I’m actually going somewhere with this.

For example, take the tragic story of Titanic. Actually, don’t. I didn’t really like that one. If I were Leo, I would have pushed Kate Winslet’s fat ass off that board and saved myself.

What? Why are you looking at me like that? The water looked cold.

Ok, no example. But things happen for a reason, right? It was perfect that Max and Ibby’s parents left them because then the Evans’ could take care of them. Or it was perfect that my dad nearly killed me that last night because now I don’t have to endure his daily beatings.

It was perfect that Samantha Baker’s family ignored her on her sixteenth birthday because then Jake Ryan could chase after her and make her feel better.

What? Haven’t ANY of you seen Sixteen Candles? It’s a classic, I tell you.

Ok, it’s not so much PERFECTION, but fate. Destiny. That crap. But I don’t believe in that shit, so I’m stick to terming it all perfection.

My life is perfect.

Man, I’m so full of shit. Really. I think I’m talking out of my ass right now.

“So where you going, honey?” I turn to look at the trucker, and I smile at him. He’s not so bad.

After I ran out of the alley, I hightailed it out of Roswell and to the nearest highway. I stuck out my thumb and waited for someone to pick me up.

Hitchhiking. It’s really an art. I was serious when I said I liked hitchhiking. Obviously you can’t just hop into any car that you want because, well, there are sickos out there. You can usually get a pretty good reading on the driver by their cars. Say a red corvette comes speeding down the road and pulls over, with a handsome thirty or forty something year old behind the wheel with leather gloves. He thinks that you’re thinking “gee, must be rich, so he has to be a nice guy”. And some do think that, but not me. A rich guy is probably even more desperate for a piece of meat than fat trailer park trash is.

Your safe bet is usually a fat, balding fifty year old driving a huge delivering truck through the darkest hours at night. They’re usually pretty anxious for conversation, but completely harmless. They want to live a good life as much as you do.

That’s how I met Hardy. My good trucker friend who’s actually forty-six years old with a pregnant wife and two other kids at home. He would rather be at home right now because it’s little Sarah’s birthday tomorrow. Yet somehow he’s got to put bread on the table and pay for the new bicycle they bought for Sarah. He keeps a picture of his glowing wife with her round tummy on his sun visor. A McDonalds toy hangs from his rearview mirror, the one that little Jake put there. Jake didn’t want his daddy to forget him while he was on the road. Hardy promised his son he wouldn’t.

Insert sympathetic sigh here.

Little Sarah should just be happy that she isn’t getting what I’ve gotten for the past few years on my birthday.

Twice the lashing and a new cigarette burn on my arms and on my back. I only got the cigarette burns on special occasions. Lucky me, huh? I bet you could play connect the dots on my back if you wanted to.

“Oh, anywhere but Roswell.” I glance out the window, realizing that night has already fallen. The sun must have dropped when I was walking out to the highway.

“What’s so bad with Roswell? Got probed by an alien?” Hardy lets out a deep, rumbling chuckle. It reminds me of my dad… before my mom left.

“Nothing like that, sir,” I reply, smiling. “Just need a change in scenery.” Hardy glances over at me, raising an eyebrow.

“You seem a little young for needing a change in scenery.”

“Susan Eloise Hinton was sixteen when she wrote the Outsiders.” Another rumbling chuckle erupts from Hardy and he grins at me.

“That she was, that she was.” I smile at him, satisfied with his answer.

“You know the feeling when someone reminds you of someone else, but you just can’t put your finger on who it is they remind you of? Liz, for some reason you’re giving me that feeling.” Hardy glances at me, giving me that friendly smile of his.

“I don’t think we’re ever met, Hardy.”

“No, no, that we haven’t. You just remind me of someone. You got any family?” I cough heavily.

“No. No family.” He smiles sympathetically at me.

“That’s tough, kid. Well, maybe you and I just familiar with each other from ‘nother life or somethin’.”

“That’s probably it.” He nods, content enough with the answer.

I lean back in my seat, trying to find comfort in it. It’s going to be a long haul from here.

I just couldn’t resist it, could I? I couldn’t just keep driving with good ol’ Hardy, and enjoy the scenery that flies by. Nope, I had to stop. I had to get out. I had to wave goodbye to Hardy.

I had to walk out into the middle of the desert so I could eventually starve and die out here.

But at least the view is nice. The stars are really bright tonight.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past… hmm, two hours or so. Lying on the gross, hard ground just staring up at the stars. It’s so peaceful. I know now that if I die, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here, right now.

Well, ok, that’s partially a lie.

Lets face it, a special place is even more special when you have someone to share it with. I think that’s why Max brought me out here that night, and I also think that’s why I don’t feel all that complete out here. I mean, it’s a nice, serene place and it’s better than making small talk with Hardy, as nice as he was, but Max’s openness with me was… comforting. He doesn’t look at me with those sympathetic eyes, or try to analyze everything I say. He doesn’t make me uncomfortable with revealing questions, and he can be completely honest with me without being anal about hurting my feelings. He’s got high morals and innocent ideals without being pathetic or whiny.

And he makes me smile, a real smile.

But that’s all over and done with. I just know that Michael and his little troops are leaning over a table, discussing how pitiful I am and trying to find a way they can reveal my true feelings. They probably already have my life story figured out, and are getting ready to baptize me into their religion of Truth and Details.

Hah. Can you hear me snorting?

So, yes, I would rather be out here with Max. Is that such a crime? I’m just kind of… lonely. I know, I know, I’ve been bitching about how it’s all about me, and I don’t need anyone else in this world. But now I’ve had a small taste of what it’s like to have a real conversation. I want more. Call me greedy if you have to, but long stretches of silence don’t seem so appealing anymore.

I used to be a really chatty kid when my mom was alive. She’d just smile and laugh while I’m bumbled on about my day and other uninteresting topics. She always listened to me. Always. And she sang like an angel. An absolute angel… I was convinced she had a halo hiding somewhere.

Here’s another confession for you. I still love singing. It’s not so much that I don’t have anything to sing about anymore, it’s that everything I sing reminds me of my mother, and that topic alone can send me to the loony bin. She loved singing and I loved singing… it was like a secret language between her and I. Not music in general, just singing. We had this special song that we sang together, just her and me. We would take our hairbrushes and sing along together. It was one of my mom’s favorite songs.

“Don’t go breaking my heart!”
“I couldn’t if I tried!”
“Honey if I get restless…”
“Baby you’re not that kind!”

Yes, Elton John and Kiki Dee. A brilliant duet. Seriously.

I remember this one time my mom and I would were standing around in the kitchen as she was making supper, spaghetti to be exact. She started humming our song, and so I joined along, then we broke out into a full song and dance. Dad had come home from work, and we were so wrapped up in our song that we didn’t even notice. He grabbed the camcorder and taped us. He teased us for weeks afterwards but we didn’t care. Then at Christmas we watched all of our home videos, including the infamous song and dance.

I had to pawn that camcorder two years later so we could pay our electricity bill.

I’m kind of hungry. I haven’t eaten since… before my little shopping excursion. Insert stomach growl here.

Instead I hear the growl of a jeep in the near distance. Twisting my head to look behind me, I see Max’s jeep moving towards me. I bite down the instant urge to run as fast as I can because I know that no matter how crappy that piece of shit is, the jeep will outrun me.

So I just lay my head back down and stare up at the sky. I’m too lazy to get up anyways.

I hear the jeep’s engine cut, and Max’s cursing as he rummages through something. A few moments later I feel a blanket being laid out beside me, and the smell of fast food tickling my nose. I peek over at Max who is sitting comfortably on the blanket, grinning like a fool.

“What?” I mutter.

“Nothing,” he replies, a grin still plastered all over his face.

“You don’t have to act all cocky just because you found me,” I snap back at him. He cocks his head, staring at me.

“I’m not acting all cocky. I’ve barely said two words.” I snort because, well, I don’t know what else to do.

“Feel like eating?” I look at him again and eye him suspiciously. He probably poisoned the food so that I would fall unconscious and he could perform rituals on my body that including sacrificing a goat and a dildo.


“It’s still pretty warm,” he offers, softening. He lies down on his back and stretches out. He gathers his arms behind his head, propping it up, much like he did the other night. He glances over at me and smiles again, but it’s not an arrogant one this time. It’s a genuine, inviting one. How DOES he do that?

I sigh and move onto the blanket. Taking the fast food bag into my hands, I open it cautiously, taking a quick whiff of it before snapping it shut again. Max chuckles from beside me.

“Don’t worry,” he coaxes. “I’m sure Barney’s Burger Barn doesn’t serve anything life threatening. The grease is sometimes debatable though.” I smirk at him. Very funny, Evans.

I pull out the fatty burger and rip off the wrapping, plunging my teeth into the son of a bitch. Didn’t I say I was hungry?

“So where’s your entourage?” I mumble, my mouth overflowing with food.

“My entourage? You mean the group? Still back in Roswell, they’re all freaking out. You’ve given your aunt quite the scare.” He wrinkles his nose at the ketchup dripping from my mouth. “You might want to use that napkin in there, Mikey.” I glare at him before I rip another piece of the burger from my hands and stuff myself.

“So how’d you get rid of them?” There was no way Max just left the group without saying anything, and yet somehow I know Max wouldn’t reveal where I really was. Obviously Max knew where I was, or at least where I’d end up, because he came out here fully prepared.

“Oh, what do you mean?” he replies innocently, fluttering his eyelashes. I roll my eyes at him. I’m not sure whether to hit him for being such a smartass or kiss him for being so cute.

Shit. Where the hell did that come from?

“Maria and Tess are on phone watch at the Crashdown,” Max says. “They’re a bit too high strung to be out looking for you. As for Michael and Alex, well, I’m pretty sure they’ve already called the National Guard. Kyle and Isabel are out searching too, I think. I was trying to calm down Nancy and Jeff, and the first chance I got, I slipped out the back.” He grins proudly at me.

“Oh, Michael and Alex are going to murder you when they find you,” I respond, shoving the last piece of the burger into my mouth. “Knowing where I was and not saying anything? Tsk, tsk, Max Evans.”

“It’s there own fault if they can’t figure it out. Not everyone can be graced with my brilliance.” I laugh at his comment, nearly choking on that last bit of meat.

“Well, Mr. Brilliant, how did you know I’d be out here?”

“Wild guess.”

“Good guess.


Sighing, I lie down on the blanket and prop up my carton of fries beside me. Popping one in at a time, I let my body relax and ease itself from the stress I didn’t realize I was enforcing on it.

“So, you want to talk about it?” Max asks, not turning his head away from his upward gaze at the sky.



“Look, Max, I just don’t want to- wait. What?”

“What?” he repeats, looking at me confused.

“You just said ok.”

“Yeah… and?”

“You’re not going to force me to talk about my ‘feelings’?” Max shakes his head.



“Well, unless you want me to. I know some pretty good torture methods that I’ve been wanting to try out. Kyle always refuses when I ask him if I can experiment on him.” I giggle at the complete absurdity of our conversation.

“I don’t blame him. Who knows what your ‘experiments’ actually involves? You’d probably try to get him naked.”

“Hey! He’d only have to be naked for the last half of the experiment. The last ten minutes to be exact.”

“Oh god, Max! That’s disgusting.”

“But very effective.” He grins at me again. It’s so irresistible.

His grin, I mean. Just his grin. Nothing else.

A comfortable silence falls on us, and I continue my slow munch on the lukewarm fries that are quickly becoming stale. Yum. I seem to have forgotten that I should be fleeing the state by now.

“So what’d they say?” I ask, my quiet curiosity taking over me.

“What did who say?”

“You know. Tess, Michael, Alex, Maria, Isabel?” I let out another tired sigh. I’m a little bit exhausted.

“Nothing really. Maria was pretty pissed at Michael and Alex, so she was basically ignoring them at all costs. Whenever her mind is set, she lets everyone know in a loud way. So even if Michael and Alex wanted to say anything, they couldn’t. And Isabel told me that Tess was upset about something, but wouldn’t say anything.” Max shrugged his shoulders as if it wasn’t a really big deal.

My life had felt like it was ripped and shred to the tiniest pieces today, and here Max was shrugging his shoulders as if it happens everyday.

I loved it.

Max Evans gave me what I’ve been seeking for years.

Normality. Ignorance. Insignificance.

Now granted, my father gave me that… well, at least those last two, but it was different. I could actually have a natural conversation with Max.

“Well, how’d you get dragged into the equation?” I ask. Max rolls his eyes dramatically.

“How do you think? Maria Deluca called me, all frantic and screaming about how men are assholes. She threatened to kill me in my sleep if I didn’t get my ‘stupid, arrogant, brainless male ass over to the Crashdown’. Quickly, of course.” I smile, imagining Maria’s freak out session, completely ignoring the fact that I was the cause of it.

I shiver unexpectedly, and then let out a huge yawn. Max peeks over at me and grins at me with that half smile of his.

Completely irresistible.

“Cold? Tired?” I nod, blushing a bit. It’s kind of embarrassing to reveal my exhaustion through inflated yawns, and cold twitches.

Max sits up and begins to pull his arms out of the sleeves of his leather jacket.

“No, Max, it’s all right,” I say to him, knowing he’s going to offer his jacket to me. Max shakes his head at my refusal, but I’m more stubborn than he is. He holds out his jacket to me, and I just stare at him dumbly. He rolls his eyes and moves closer to me so he can physically put the jacket on me. Realizing what he’s trying to do, I stick out my tongue at him and squirm away from him.

“Liz,” Max growls playfully. “You said you were cold, now just take my jacket.” I shake my head at him, unsuccessfully hiding the smile that plays on my lips.

Without a warning of any kind, Max pounces on me and I find myself in an awkward position lying underneath him. Yet it’s not really all that awkward. Sure in a position type way, but his body feels… nice against mine.

“Max, I’m fine, I don’t need your jacket.” I point my chin upwards defiantly.

“I don’t believe you.” Suddenly I feel his hand grazing down my side, and his finger tickling my stomach.

“MAX!” I squeal, surprised by his actions. I begin to let out gasping giggles, rolling and squirming underneath him. His tickling gets more intense, and my breathing gets rapid, my giggles louder, as I try to escape his monstrous torture. My useless attempts at pushing him off are evident as my puny arms push against his broad chest.

“Maaaax…” I whimper below him, my eyes watering from the amount of giggling and hasty breaths I’m executing.

I feel his fingers cease, and I’m somewhat disappointed.

“Are you going to take my jacket now?” he asks, grinning triumphantly at me. I respond by sticking out my tongue again and giving him the finger.

“Oh, Parker, bad move,” he whispers as his fingers begin to tickle me again. I holler in protest as I feel his fingers invading me with ferocious energy.

“OK! MAX! I GIVE UP!” I yell, anxious to do anything to evade his fingers. I notice the cocky grin appear and I have to fight off the urge to give him the finger again.

“What did you say?” Max asks arrogantly. I stay silent until he threatens me with his fingers.

“I give up! I give up!” I squeal again. Max pulls his body off of mine and hands me his jacket, then stops midway. Instead he crawls behind me and helps me to put the jacket on.

“What? You think I can’t put a jacket on myself?” I drip with sarcasm.

Feigning hurt, he replies, “No, I thought I’d just be polite and help you, but if you don’t want my help, fine.” I roll my eyes at him.

“Whatever, Max Evans.”

Another period of silence descends on us, and we just sit in peaceful hush. I pull my knees us to my chest and wrap the much too large jacket around my whole body.

“You still haven’t sung for me.” Max’s statement catches me off guard and I stare at him for a moment.

“And didn’t I say I wouldn’t sing for you?” I respond. He shrugs his shoulders.

“I haven’t sang since my mom left,” I reply quietly. I feel him gaze at me intently, and I start to blush underneath it.

“What was she like?” Max asks me, his eyes never leaving my body.

“Who? My mom?”

“Yeah. I don’t know who my real mom is, so tell me about yours.” As if he was settling down to watch a movie, he stretches and resumes his original lying down position on the blanket.

I shrug, unsure of what to say.

“She was really beautiful. Her name was Katie, well, Katherine to be exact. She hated that name though, and dad only called her Katherine when they were fighting.” I smile sadly at the memory, and meet Max’s eyes. They’re so full of compassion that I just want to let myself drown in them.

“Did they fight a lot?”

“Not really, not at first. Of course the last few weeks before she left were the worst. I heard them all the time by then, they never hid their anger at each other by that point. Dad never really had a temper before mom left. He was a pretty mellow guy, but mom leaving left us with a lot of holes to mend.”

“What was he like after your mom left?” Uh oh.

I swear I can feel my heart stopping right now. Someone check my pulse.

What do I say? Well, Max. My father nearly tried to kill me.

How’s that?

“Uh… well… he got messed up real bad. Lost his job and drank a lot.”

Truth without details.

“Oh. I’m sorry. That sounds awful.”

“Yeah, it was pretty awful, but I always managed to keep our heads above water.” I sigh, partly because I’m glad Max didn’t press the topic any further and partly because I wish he had.

“So what else about your mom? What was she really like?” I smile wistfully, Max’s questions reminding me of all my good memories of my mother. Almost all of them are good… just that one last memory seems to blacken them all.

“Mom was… well, amazing. I loved her so much, but I guess that’s an unwritten law for all kids. She was actually a writer. Dad had a really prominent job so it wasn’t like mom needed to make a lot of cash. She spent most of her day writing, but she always picked me up after school and I helped her make dinner. After dinner she would always sit with me and watch TV, or help me with my homework, or teach me a new song. She was so brilliant. She could play the piano and guitar, and her voice was amazing.” I let another sigh out. I seem to have a lot of those stored up in me.

“Did she teach you how to sing?” I nod.

“She sounds like she really loved you.” I shrug, fighting back the mounting tears behind my eyes. Fearing my reaction, I stay silent.

“So why did she leave?” I stay quiet for a moment longer, unsure how to answer that. I want to tell Max the truth. Not just about my mom, but about my entire life. For some reason I want him to know the complete and honest truth, but I can’t seem to bring myself to do it. I can at least answer his questions though.

“I-I… well… I don’t know how to answer that, because I don’t know why. One night she’s driving me to a friend’s house, and the next she’s gone, no note or anything.” I lower my head, burying my face against the soft leather of Max’s jacket. It smells so pleasant, a certain masculine aroma flavoring it. Not my dad’s alcohol and sex influenced stench, but more like aftershave and a clean male scent. It’s comforting.

Yes. I am trying to distract myself from the horrible reasons as to why my mother left that I’ve came up with over the years. Distraction good.

But Max’s eyes. They just make me feel like an honest fool, and in some ways I really hate that. It leaves me vulnerable. Yet I just can’t fight it.

“I should be angry with my mom, and for a while I was. She left without a care in the world, without a care for me. She couldn’t even say goodbye properly, she couldn’t take me with her. Well, it wasn’t so much that she couldn’t, it was that she didn’t. She left me with a son of a-” I cease the movement of my lips. Too far. Any farther and my safely guarded secret wouldn’t be so secretive anymore.

“I should be angry,” I repeat slowly this time. “But I’m not. I would readily endure the past four years again if I could spend one day with my mother.”

Then it starts. The tears, the hurt, the ache, the depression, and all the emotions that I’ve tried to bottle up since my mother left. Scars that I’ve been marred with for the rest of my life, all just staring me in the face. I’m not talking about the ones that my dad left on my body, because that is just skin. Just flesh. No, I’m talking about my heart here. It’s been beaten more harshly than my father could ever do with a hand, or a belt, or a cigarette. It hurts. It’s so painful that I can feel myself drowning in remorse and sinking very quickly. I feel like Jack’s fucking bean stock, rising so high into the sky that when I continue up this bean stock of hellish misery, I’ll end up in some foreign world that I don’t want to be in.

Then, so suddenly without any sort of warning, my world becomes a little less dreary. I feel the arms of a man so passionate, so caring, wrap around my fragile body. At the very same time, they’re wrapping around my very fragile heart.

And for once, I don’t resist it.

“I’m sorry, Liz,” Max whispers into my ear, torn by guilt. “I never meant to bring this up. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” I cry a little harder now, not because of what’s happened to me. I cry because of what Max is saying to me. How can I explain to him that he’s not hurting me? That for the first time in a very long stretch, I feel safe again. Right here, right now.

“Max…” I can’t continue between my sobs. I’m too scared. I’m scared of what Max suddenly means to me. I’m scared of suddenly having these ties. I’m scared of losing the walls I’ve built up for so long.

And I’m even more scared of losing what Max’s given to me in a matter of days.

Max pulls me closer to him, his large hand stroking my hair with the softness only a kindhearted man could bring. I continue to weep against his chest, thoroughly soaking his shirt with my insanely wet eyes. Unconsciously, my hands have crept their way to his back and are firmly gripping his shirt in tight wads.

“I’m sorry,” Max says again. I shake my head this time, trying to gather myself enough to at least piece some words together.

“Don’t be sorry, Max,” I mumble against the hardest of his chest. “Thank you for being here. Thank you for being my… friend.” I feel his arms loosen from around me, and I’m afraid I’ve said the wrong thing. I snap my head up at him, staring at him with thick eyes. He smiles at me halfheartedly, and tucks a stray strand of hair behind my ear.

“Maybe we should go back. Everyone is probably-”

“NO!” I shout at him, instantly regretting my over eagerness. I bite my lip, pushing myself against his chest again. It’s safe there. It’s warm there.

“I-I just don’t… I just don’t want to go back. Not yet.” This time I feel his arms tighten around me again, and I can’t ignore the skipping beats in my heart.

“All right, we don’t have to,” Max replies softly. I can’t believe it, but I actually feel a smile tingling on my lips.

What happened to the cynical loner? Who is this clingy teenage girl?

Max Evans, what the hell have you done to me?

“If we’re going to be out here for awhile, at least let me get comfortable,” Max jokes. I pull away slightly and realize he’s kneeling at an awkward angle in order to keep his arms firmly planted around me. I redden at his discomfort, and pull away suddenly.

How could I have been so stupid? This is just a façade. I’m finding false comfort in this. His arms are just flesh, not enchanted materials of protection. Nothing special.

“Sorry,” I mumble, resuming my curled up position. I feel the soft caress of his hand on my knee and I look up at him. Why does he make me feel so weak? How does he do it?

“Don’t be sorry,” Max replies with a smile gracing his gorgeous face. Taking my hand in his, he pulls me apart from my somewhat fetal position. Lying down, he tugs my body along with him, letting me nestle against his side.

“You must think I’m stupid and clingy,” I mutter, resting my head on his shoulder. I can’t seem to drag myself away from him. I don’t want to.

“Contrary to your belief, I do not think you’re stupid and clingy,” he says. His hand makes its way back up to my hair, and I tingle at the sensation of his masculine fingers brushing my scalp.

Liz. Stop it. STOP IT. STOP IT.

Nope. Can’t seem to pull myself away. I’M DOOMED. Another topic, another topic, think of something new…

“So how’d you get out here anyway?” Max asks. I sigh in relief. Anything to get my mind away from… THE topic. As in my feelings for Max, as in the feelings Max seems to kindle inside of me.

“I hitchhiked,” I reply. I turn my body more towards him, so that my arm drapes across his chest. How did we get so close so quickly? This is frightening. I’m frightened.

“Don’t you think that’s dangerous?” I can hear the silent concern in his voice, and it makes me smile. He’s worried about me. But here’s the thing. No one is ever worried about me, and I don’t how to handle this. I’m losing so much control so fast.

“Life is dangerous, Max.” Max nods his head slightly, and I’m glad he agrees with me.

And it is. Life is dangerous. You live your life day to day, never suspecting a thing. You worry about your next bill, or what your date thought of you last night, or how you’re going to break it to your kid that Santa just isn’t going to be able to make it to your house this year because you’re flat broke. Tragedy gets the best of us, and we’re only left with life to help us back up when we’ve fallen down.

What happens when life turns its back on you though? What happens when you just can’t let yourself deal with all the catastrophes you’ve been given? Ignoring or denying your problem only gets you so far. I know this, and yet I’m still doing it. People think that if they can’t see something, then its not there. But it’s always there. It never goes away.

“What are you thinking about?” I ask Max, turning my head towards him.

“Just stuff,” he responds, smiling softly at me. I can feel myself melting all over again.

“What about you?” he asks me. I sigh, burrowing my head into his chest.

“Life, I guess. How I wasn’t a very good daughter to my mom.” I close my eyes for a moment, letting myself savor the playing of Max’s magical fingers in my hair.

“Liz, what are you talking about? I’m sure you were a wonderful daughter.” I shake my head, knowing that I have to get this out before I lock it in my treasure box of regrets.

“No, I’m not. My mom is dead, Max. She’s dead.” The tremor in my voice surprises me, and my resolve is starting to crack again.

“I know,” Max says quietly. “We don’t have to talk about this, Liz.” Always caring, always thinking about me. I need to stop being so selfish one of these days.

“But I do. I do need to talk about this because it’s gnawing me inside until I can’t breathe anymore.” I pause, taking a deep, cleansing breath. “My mom is dead.
She died about eight months ago. I hadn’t talked to her for almost four years. Four years. Max, do you know how long that is? That’s a long time. Forty-eight months. One thousand four hundred sixty long days. I didn’t have a mother for that long.

“I guess I was lying when I said I’m not angry with my mom because I am a little angry. She left me, never came back, never called me, never even sent a damn postcard. I dreamt and imagined all the ways she would come back to me, riding in a long stretch limousine, telling me she was there to take away all my problems. She would tell me she made it in Hollywood, and was nominated for six Grammy’s. She would take my hand and we would leave forever to live a life of luxury. She would say I didn’t need any of my things because she would buy me all new stuff.

“But the best part of the fantasy I had made for myself was when she would tell me that she loves me, and she always had. She’d promise me to never leave again, and that she was so sorry. She would promise me forever.”

My fantasy. Something that I’ve kept so close to my heart that I could never ever let it go. I’ve never shared that with anyone. I haven’t known anyone I wanted to share that with other than Max. It’s so personal that I’m even afraid to let myself remember now.

“Liz…” Max starts, but I interrupt him before he can finish.

“I don’t know how she died. All I know is that the night she died was the most horrible night in my whole wretched life. I never even went to her funeral, I’ve never seen her grave, and I haven’t talked about her since that phone call from Nancy. I never even got to say goodbye. I never told her I loved her.” I ignore the tears that are making their way onto Max’s shirt again. “See? I’m a horrible daughter and a horrible person. I couldn’t even respect my own mother when she died. I’m so horrible that I could drive people to do… bad things. To hurt me.”

“Liz? What do you mean hurt you?” I shake my head. There are still some things he can’t know. There are still some things that I’ve got to keep next to me to remind me.

“I just… I’m just a horrible person.”

“No, oh god no, Liz,” Max cries. “Liz, you are not a horrible person!” Max bolts upright, and grabs me firmly by my arms. Staring me straight in the eyes, he speaks with such certainty that I’m almost forced to believe him.

“Liz Parker, you are not a horrible person. You never were, and never will be. What’s happened to you is not your fault, and you can’t shoulder everything that happens around you. Life sucks, that’s the plain and simple of it, but the fact that you’re still standing after all you’ve been through only proves what an amazing person you actually are! Your mom loved you, and I know that she knew how much you love and adore her. If someone hurts you, it’s their fault, not yours. It could never ever be your fault.”

I can feel my body going into overload, my emotions are bouncing off the wall and I’m about to completely shutdown. But I’m fighting it, I don’t want to shutdown, because out here is someone who really cares about me and I don’t want that to stop.

I collapse against his body, and let myself be absorbed into his arms.

“Thank you,” I whisper to him. Maybe I don’t believe him fully, but its beyond wonderful to feel that sort of compassion directed towards me again.

“No, thank you, Liz Parker, for letting me know someone as remarkable as you.” I feel a small smile tug on my lips, but my eyes are already shutting. My whole body is apparently too tired for any of this.

I faintly feel Max’s arms guiding me back down, and I try to fight off the slumbering world a little longer.

“How can you know I’m remarkable? You barely know me…” I yawn widely, my eyes firmly shut close.

“I know enough, Liz Parker. I know enough.”

Max’s POV

Yes. I’ll admit it. I’m in love with Liz Parker. I’ve fallen deep for her ever since that first day I actually talked to her. It’s astounding how quickly your heart can change when given the right situation. One day I’m trying to cope with being king of some planet, and the next I’m trying to keep my teenage hormones to a minimum over a girl I’ve just met.

Yet it’s not just a teenage crush when it comes to Liz. Of course, I haven’t had many others than that small one on Maria, but Michael quickly put me in my place. That crush lasted about a day in the seventh grade. Now the thought of it just makes me sick to my stomach because Maria is like a sister to me. A spinny, bubbly sister but a sister nonetheless.

And Tess? I don’t think so. She’s like another sister. Incest is not on my priority list, thanks. We both agree that any sort of romantic relationship between us would be strictly for pretend use only. I know we’re destined to be this wonderful Antarian King and Queen who are to come back to the planet and rule justly. I mean, we could always pretend when and if we go back to Antar, but we both are slight on the idea. I know Tess would make a very wonderful queen, but it’s like giving a mouse a cookie. Ever read that book? If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk to go with it. If you give Antar a royal couple, they’ll want a royal heir too.


There are days I wake up and I just want to go back to sleep so I don’t have to face my life. I’m still a teenager. I’m not ready to be a king. I don’t even want to be one. Honestly, I don’t think any of us want to resume our royal titles on Antar. We aren’t those people anymore. We are Max Evans, Isabel Evans, Tess Whitman, and Michael Guerin of planet Earth. I don’t know anything about how to do my own laundry, what makes them think I can run a planet? But if you ask me about cars and Baywatch or any other sort of manly thing, I could tell you in a second.

In reality, we probably should have already left for Antar, but I think we’re still trying to fight the fact that we’re not human. Denial. Yup. It’s great. Yet no matter how much we try to convince ourselves of it, or how many enemies we defeat so we can get back to our human lives, our alien side just fights twice as hard. It’s tiring.

I guess that’s part of the reason why I’ve turned myself towards Liz’s problems lately, and being there for her (aside from the fact that I’ve fallen utterly in love with her). She makes me feel human. She doesn’t treat me like a precious heir to the throne of Antar. I know my friends don’t mean to, but it happens, and I understand it. I really do. If I can pull away from my world of denial for one moment, I can realize that without me, there is no hope for the planet of Antar. It sounds arrogant but its true. I hate it.

But Liz… her problems are so real. She doesn’t have to battle with stupid enemies to keep alive. Instead she has to battle with herself to keep sane, and in a lot of ways, that’s a hell of a lot worse.

I don’t why I’ve been so confident tonight with Liz. Normally I’m clumsy and fumbling around girls, except around Maria, Isabel and Tess, but again, they’re my sisters. I’m really quiet, and so shy it’s frightening, but when I’m around Liz, she makes me feel normal. She jokes around with me, and tonight, she opened up to me. Trust me when I say I know how important this was to her. She’s lost a lot of confidence over the years, I can tell. That’s why I couldn’t let her know that I knew everything all ready.

Yes, lying to her is pretty nauseating, but she would have been a lot more closed off if I told her we figured everything out. I want her to tell me on her own terms, when she’s ready. I don’t want to force anything out of her, because, well, after Alex’s and Michael’s little stunt, we know how it’s all going to end.

I know you’re all thinking what a bastard I am, but hear me out, okay?

The seven of us, we’re a unit. We work as a unit, talk as unit, and walk as a unit, we probably even breathe as a unit. We need each other to survive day to day, and to hold something back from the group is like holding something back from yourself. Does that make sense? We’ve had to be this tight because if we hadn’t, we’d all be dead by now. Hell, Kyle almost died because of it.

When I had gotten to the Crashdown, Liz had just left. Maria was in a huge panic, as she normally is, and was screaming at me. Literally yelling and screaming at me, telling me how angry she was at men and how we were so stupid that even ants are smarter than us. I just nodded, which is the best thing to do when Maria is in that sort of state.

So we all sat down, and shared what information we had about Liz. It’s sickening really, how we talked about her while she was off to hell knows where. Yet we figured it out.

And I still feel like retching from what we’ve discovered.

I swear if her father ever comes near her again, I’ll kill him with my bare hands. Screw alien powers, I’ll break his neck with my fingers.

I don’t think he could ever realize what he’s done to his daughter, his own flesh and blood. He’s hurt and destroyed her in so many ways that he couldn’t ever comprehend. I see the fear in Liz’s eyes when no one’s looking. I hear the fright in her voice when no one’s listening. I feel the panic that rumbles in her body when no one’s paying attention.

And I want to take that away. I want her to feel safe again. I want her to be able to wake up in the morning and love herself like she deserves to be loved. I want to be the one to love her like she deserves to be loved. She doesn’t deserve the hate, pain, and tears she’s been fed for years. She should be able to feel sane and content with life.

Sanity. It’s another one of those funny things.

Sanity. The quality or state of being sane.

Sane. Mentally sound.

I guess we’re all a little insane at times. I know for a fact that I’m not always mentally sound. I can guarantee that. Yet sanity is something very precious to mankind. It’s like a comfort blanket, a security blanket if you will. If you’re sane, than you’re all right. You can continue to live the hell you’ve established as your life. But if you’re not sane, then you’re shipped off to some mentally retarded institute and claimed to be unable to cope with life by some doctor that barely knows you or what you’ve gone through.

But what makes them so capable to determine whether we are sane or not? Wouldn’t the person himself be able to determine that? Why do we rely on someone else’s judging? When do we actually decide something for ourselves? Because, in reality, we are all sane and insane. There is no difference in life.

A security blanket? We’re all looking for one.

Sanity? We’re all sane, in an insane way.

posted on 18-May-2002 3:09:08 AM
Part 9

Just because I avoided the whole group when Max brought me back to the Crashdown the next morning, it doesn’t mean I’m angry.

And just because I have continued to avoid the whole group since then, it doesn’t indicate that I’m still angry.

Even though I still am.

Ok, technically I haven’t been avoiding the whole group. Mainly just people whose name starts with an A and ends with a lex, or perhaps starts with a M and ends with an ichael. Either way, I’ve been ignoring those people. Oh! And people whose name starts with a T and ends with an ess, too.

Isabel, on the other hand, does very well ignoring me all on her own. I’ve let her continue that.

So mainly I’ve been entertained by Max, Kyle, and sporadically Maria, during the week. Maria keeps trying to convince me she had nothing to do with the stupidity of Alex and Michael, and also has decided to ignore the two for a while. She thinks this is her big sacrifice for my friendship.

It means jack shit to me.

And besides, I don’t need any more friends. It’s bad enough that I’ve been hanging out with Max and Kyle. Kyle is just so funny and amusing though, I can’t seem to stay away, and Max… well, he’s Max. The three of us together is beyond cool.

Like for instance, this morning Kyle called me up, insisting he, Max and I all go for pancakes. The bastard called me up at freaking eight o’clock on a Sunday morning to go for pancakes, stupidly mumbling something about Tess and her fucked up diet. Not one to protest much, I rolled out of bed and we rounded up Max.

Who knew Max was a morning person? Now I’ll admit I can be ready in no time if need be, but Max was smiling and all perky as soon as he got in the car. I forced him to sit in the back and made Kyle crank the music to drown out anything Max had to say. What happened to the mute boy we all grew to love?

So due to my persistent refusal to never eat at the Crashdown in fear of running into the rest of the gang, Kyle headed down the highway to the next town. Roswell doesn’t have much to offer in the breakfast department, and apparently Kiverdage (the next town over) doesn’t either. So Max persuaded us just to stop at one of those highway diners.

First of all, these places are just disgustingly sick. Seriously. These types of places have bad reputations for a reason. This diner in particular is on the brink of falling apart completely. The walls are chafing badly… for some reason it reminds me of a grandfather (that I never had) who is so old that every part of his skin is hanging from his body and you wish you could just shoot him to put him out of his misery.

Anyway, we had to seat ourselves because heaven forbid that the fat ass of a waitress actually put out her smoke and ask if we want to sit down. She’s just lounging at a table, looking at us like we’re crazy. Kyle just nods at a table, and we stroll towards it. It’s not like there’s many people in the diner. More like a few straggling truckers in for their morning poison. I’m talking about coffee, not alcohol. Well, I’m sure some put alcohol in their coffee, but that’s a completely different story.

I was terrified to even touch the menus that were already sitting on the tables. Who knew what greasy people took a whiz and never washed their hands, only to come back to their table and look through the menu? Yuck, I’d rather not touch Mr. Random guy’s penis cooties, thank you very much.

“Great place you picked, Evans,” Kyle muttered. He pulled his sleeves over his hands and picked up the menu. See? I’m not the only one paranoid.

“Hey, you were the one driving, Kyle. You could have stopped somewhere else. I just suggested we stop at a diner, not this one specifically.” Max just kind of sat and stared at the menu, probably willing the thing to open without him actually touching it.

Great, hope that works for you, Max.

“Well, I’m sending the bill from my doctor specifically to you if I get herpes from this place.” I laugh because Kyle’s statement was so sick but so true. This place is so disgusting.

After only a moment to glance at the menus, the fat ass waitress saunters over. Surprisingly, she left her cigarette back at her table, which looked like it was going to collapse if anything else was placed upon it. She’s just standing at the head of our table, staring at us. She probably figures the sooner she takes our order, the sooner she can sit back down on her ass.

I take a closer examination of the woman. At least, I think it’s a woman. Ew, is that a ketchup stain on her uniform? That thing has to be at least a week old. Whoa, and this woman REALLY shouldn’t be wearing a uniform like that. Is that flab I see? Oh god, I’m going to hurl.

“What do you want?” Well, ain’t she a friendly one?

“Personally I would like a million dollars, followed by the collapse of the bubble gum pop music industry. Afterwards I’d like to see Kathy Lee Gifford burned at the stake along with her conspirators, Angelina Jolie and those punk kids from the Moffatts. Then I’d like people to join hands all across the world and sing along to the great music of the Barenaked Ladies.” I give her a wide smile but I can see that she’s not amused. Well, at least now I know that if I wasn’t going to get my French toast dropped into the cook’s underwear before, I definitely was now.

What? Road Trip. Ever see that one? Tom Green is the freaking man. Oh, and Seann William Scott is one sexy son of a bitch.

“What about you-” I glance at her name tag “-Ingrid? What would you like?” I give her another wide smile, faking interest. She just huffs and turns away from our table, going back to her cigarette. I’m taking it that she doesn’t want to serve us anymore.

Kyle and Max stare at me, barely containing their bouts of laughter. I just shrug simply at them.

“What? I really do think the Barenaked Ladies could bring peace to our world, that’s all.” Getting up, I wave to my favourite waitress and strut out the front door. Max and Kyle just trail behind me. What now?

I turn around, facing them and give them a huge grin. They both raise their eyebrows.

“What is brewing in that mind of yours, Parker?” Kyle asks me. I just grin evilly and skip back to the car.

“Boys, I’m going to give you the most orgasmic experience of your whole life!”

“This is where you’re going to give us the most orgasmic experience of our whole lives?” Kyle asked incredulously. I nod, grinning dreamily at the marvelous sight before me.

“So we drove two and a half hours just to come here?” Max questions. I just nod again, unable to tear my eyes away from the bright red sign in front of me. I can feel the thrilling pleasure bubbling inside of me already.

“Aren’t you guys excited?” I bounce out of the car before it even comes to a complete stop. I throw myself against the window, staring admiringly up at the glowing sign that could make me smile any day of the week.

Hot doughnuts now,” Max reads. “Krispy Kremes, huh?” I plaster on my little kid smile and nod.

Skipping into one of the most wonderful establishments in the whole world, I sigh with contentment. Taking a moment to myself, I inhale long, delicious breaths of an aroma that could never be replicated.

Oh, Krispy Kreme, my love, how I have missed you!

“Doughnuts. Can you tell me why we drove all the way out here just to get doughnuts?” Kyle mocks. If I weren’t in sure a pleasant mood, I would smack his bitch ass on the floor, but for some odd reason, Krispy Kremes bring out my inner good.

“Krispy Kremes. They are not doughnuts. They are little bits of heaven sent here to Earth just to prove to me that life isn’t complete shit,” I respond, not turning my head away from the delectable pieces of pleasure.

“Right.” Kyle just nods his heads and doesn’t say anymore. Good. I don’t want to hear anymore either. All I want are my Krispy Kremes.

“I’ll get three dozen please,” I order to the lady. She just grins and scurries off to put together my order. Kyle and Max stare at me with their jaws dropped. “What?”

“Three dozen?” Max asks, shocked.

“Yeah. I figure I can finish two dozen by myself. You sissy boys can share the last box.” I turn back to watch the joyous wonders be born into my world of delightful consumption.

“How the hell can you eat two dozen doughnuts?” Kyle questions. What? Can he not see the glazed over expression on my face?

“Just watch me,” I reply with a smirk plastered on my face.

The lady hands me my three boxes, and I can just feel the drool dripping down my chin already. I hand her my money, and I realize that money really can buy happiness. Too bad I don’t have that much.

Nancy and Jeff have been really cool about it though. I don’t ever ask them for money, but they’re always stuffing some extra cash into my pockets or leaving money in my room. Hey, I’m not going to complain because no matter how much Jeff bugs me, I refuse to work at the Crashdown.

You know, I have to admit Nancy and Jeff have been really cool to me. Like that night Max and I spent out in the desert and I had fallen asleep (which I still feel like a dumb ass for doing), they didn’t get upset the next day. Nancy just hugged me and told me that if I needed to get away from “life’s miseries”, to just tell her where I’m going and when I’ll be back. Jeff just hugged me and nodded.

“Ok boys,” I call out loudly. Lifting up one of the box’s tops, I angle the doughnuts at Max and Kyle. “Try one.”

They look hesitantly at each other, unsure whether to actually delve into my world. I roll my eyes and push the box closer to them. Max and Kyle let out huge breaths and plunge in, each taking a doughnut in their hand. I know that the moment the doughnuts collide with their mouths, they’re complete goners.

“Holy shit,” Kyle curses. “These are fucking great!” Max ignores us, already stuffing another Krispy Kreme into his mouth. Pig.

Ah, I know my day is complete when I’ve converted two boys to the sweet, Krispy Kreme side.

“All right, boys, we can eat on our way back,” I say. I walk out of the building, Kyle and Max quickly stalking behind me.

“We were eating though,” Kyle whines pathetically.

“It’s called eating and driving. C’mon, lets go,” I encourage, pushing the two boys into the car.

“That’s dangerous you know,” Max says sarcastically.

“Max, take that stick out of your ass and live dangerously.” Ok. Now I’m just being nasty. Max doesn’t seem to notice though, because he’s become too occupied with licking every last bit of his glazed fingers.

“Yeah, Max, live dangerously like our good prostitute friend, Liz.” I laugh at Kyle, knowing he’s just trying to rile me up now.

“What?” Max’s ears perk up. “What’s this about being a prostitute?”

“Nothing,” I reply. “Kyle is just too desperate to be a pimp. My pimp, specifically. I’m sorry, Kyle, but no matter how many retro shirts you buy or how much gaudy gold jewelry you wear, you just can’t be my pimp. Case closed.” Smirking at Kyle, I turn to look out the window.

Yeah, this is what normal feels like. It’s almost as invigorating as Krispy Kremes.

I hate Mondays. Well, mostly. They just seem to symbolize the beginning of another shitty week, filled with tears, screams and so much anger that it’s suffocating.

To the average working Joe, a Monday is the day you go back to work and silently curse at your boss and pointlessly lust after the newest secretary who’s young enough to be your daughter. To parents, a Monday is the day you start rushing around again, rushing to get your kids to school, or to soccer practice, or perhaps ballet lessons. And to students, well, a Monday is the day schools continue their torture of actually implementing educational facts.

My Monday has been just about as eventful as last week’s Monday. So basically, ignoring Alex, Michael, and Tess, occasionally forcing Maria to leave my vicinity as well. Max and Kyle have both tried to talk to me about it, but I effectively tune out their voices anytime I hear any of those names. I continue to stick to my conclusion. It was none of their goddamn business.

Can you tell that Mondays make me tense?

Well, they do.

That and the fact that I’ve been standing around Kyle’s locker for the past twenty minutes waiting for Max. I don’t like to linger around my locker or Max’s for too long, because I know Tess, Maria, Michael or Alex will pounce on me. Luckily, Kyle’s locker is much further away from the rest of the group. I could just hug that guy!

Anyways, Max told me to wait for him here right after school and not to be late. Bastard ends up being late himself.

Lately I’ve been finding myself a lot more aggressive and… mean. Which is weird, because ever since Kyle, Max and I have become close, I’ve really begun to feel normal. Happy almost. Perhaps that’s because I’ve become like every other teenager. I completely ignore any problems I seem to have.

Max keeps trying to bring up that night in the desert, and tries to get me talking about my mom or any other pain spots. I either hang up on him or turn my back. I don’t mean to be callous, but I just don’t want to deal with it. I know, I know. I was on the verge of completely skipping town, so obviously there’s a problem that I need to deal with. Honestly though, I’m going to avoid and deny it as long as I can.

It hurts less then.

But the thing Max doesn’t know is that the night he came to me, it was so special. I’ve spent hours just lying in bed thinking about it, not that I would ever admit that to anyone. I just had so much stuff bottled up in me that night, and Max was there to comfort me without being pushy or demanding. Even now, he doesn’t push the subject, he’ll bring it up but he knows not to ever push it. Which is why I feel even guiltier when I turn away from him.

It’s better this way though, because one day I am going to leave. There’s got to be something more out there than Roswell, NM, and I, Liz Parker, am determined to find it. If I make ties with Max now, pour my whole heart and soul to him, I’m not sure I could gather enough courage to leave him. Even now, I’m not sure I want to leave him.

It’s scary. Having feelings like these for someone. Feelings that make you want to hold on to a person so tightly and never let go. Feelings where just the thought of losing them could reduce you to tears. Feelings that frighten you to the very core while you think deep into the late hours of night.

The last time I felt so attached to someone was my mother. I miss her. I’ll admit it. I love her and I miss her. Since my outburst with Max, I’ve been thinking twice as much about her. I mean, it’s just horrible. How could I just not ask how my mom died or how could I not go see her grave? It’s just so disrespectful, and even though my mom left me, she doesn’t deserve what I’ve done to her.

God, I miss her.

Ah, but putting those thoughts aside now. Where is Max? I’m going to kick his ass when he gets-


Oh, look who it is. My favourite person: Ella.

It must be a Monday.

“Hi Ella,” I reply, attempting to plaster a sugary smile on my face. I’m sort of surprised she’s talking to me though. She hasn’t really said much to Max or me since my little stunt at the Crashdown. Obviously, she’s now over that.

“How’s it going, Liz?” Ella tilts her head, smiling at me with those big, perfect, white teeth of hers. I wonder if it would hurt if I punched them out.

What’d I tell you? Am I aggressive or what?

“Good, good,” I reply. “Just waiting for Max.”

Yes, this is me now inwardly laughing. I saw her flinch when I said Max’s name. She probably saw a flash of Max and I in the Crashdown. For some reason I get a pleasurable shock through my body because of it.

I’m so twisted that I frighten myself.

“Oh really?” Ella asks through somewhat gritted teeth. She’s trying to hide the horrible flaring anger she feels for me right now. It’s amusing. At least I think so.

“Yup. What about you? What are you still doing here?” There’s still a glint of fire left in her eyes as I speak.

“Just, uh, leaving actually. Had to ask a teacher for help on some homework.” I just nod. Whatever. I don’t really care. I just get a kick out of torturing this girl.

“Oh look! There’s my Max now!” I exclaim, a bit too enthusiastic. I see Max running down the hall, oblivious to anything else around him.

Just because he was late, he’s going to have to play along with me.

“Hi Max!” I say with a bounce. He whips his head up, obviously startled by my bubble gum voice. Well, that is until he notices Ella. He narrows his eyes at me, and I can just tell that he’s wondering what I’ve got up my sleeve this time.

I’ve been spending way too much time with this boy. He already knows when I’ve got evil on my mind.

Apparently my possessive appeal towards Max goes right over Ella’s head, because she’s turned on her megawatt smile. In that sweet voice of hers, she calls, “Hey Max!” She flutters her eyelashes at him. I have to hide the noise my snicker makes.

“Uh, hello ladies,” Max greets us with slight unease. Sorry Max, but it’s going to get a lot more uncomfortable.

Gliding towards Max, I slowly slide my hand seductively up his chest and wrap my other arm around his waist. I start toying with one of the buttons on his shirt, not unbuttoning it but not leaving it alone either. I just wink up at him, even with his wide eyes staring at me.

“You’re late,” I pout with a cute lip curl. I’ve seen it done in all of the movies and it works every time. The round, innocent, doe eyes with a slight lip curl and the guy just melts.

“Oh… I’m, uh… sorry?” Max responds. I can still feel the rigid stance of his body against mine, so I begin to rub my hand in circles on his chest. Right where Ella can see. And I’m not enjoying this. It’s all for Ella’s benefit. Honestly. Seriously.

“Oh, Max, I think you still owe me a date,” Ella says provocatively. I find it highly amusing that she still hits on Max while I’ve already completely jumped the guy. Ella is so desperate for Max that it’s pathetic.

Max gulps. “I do?” Ella nods, her right index finger playing on her lips. Oh, she’s a sneaky one, isn’t she?

I giggle flirtatiously, pulling Max closer to me. Nestling my head against his chest, I stare at Ella with feigned sweetness. “Of course you do, Max! Don’t you remember? When we were in the Crashdown? I promised Ella that the three of us would get together! Oh, silly me.” I grin innocently up at Max, who obviously knows I’m acting but doesn’t seem to be annoyed or outraged by it. He’s not even surprised anymore.

Actually, he seems to be getting into the role. He places both arms around my shoulders, pulling me chest to chest with him. Nuzzling my head with his nose, he takes a whiff of my hair before resting my head right underneath his chin.

Damn. He’s a good actor.

“How could I forget?” Max replies, grinning easily. “Ella, you’ve got to call us and set it up. I’m sure it’d be easy to find a time that both Liz and I are free.”

I almost didn’t hear what Max said. His shirt is just so soft and comfortable, and I can smell that manly scent again. The clean aroma that tickles my nose and makes me want to cuddle further into his arms…

NO. Bad! Get back to reality.

I turn my head towards Ella, and I swear if she was teakettle, she’d be whistling and blowing steam like crazy. I can feel her hateful eyes scanning my body, sending me unexpected tremors that freeze me all the way to my heart. But Max’s body is just so warm, and his arms work their magic without even moving.

I catch a glimpse of heartbreak in Ella’s eyes, and for a moment I feel guilt washing over me, but for whatever reason, I just cannot pull myself away. I don’t want to.

“I… I have to go!” Ella cries and she scurries off into the hallway.

Ok, now I feel really guilty. I just broke the poor girls heart. Insert guilty sigh here.

“I feel kind of guilty,” I whisper into Max’s chest. I should be pulling away now that Ella is gone and the act is over. My only reassurance that I’m not making a big ass out of myself is that Max doesn’t seem to be pulling away either.

“Yeah, me too.” And that was the end of that discussion. I don’t think either of us wanted to voice our guilt-ridden consciences.

“So you were late,” I say now, mumbling slightly into his chest. He’s so warm.

Max jumps a bit, something coming to his realization. He pulls away a little, just so he can look down at my face. His eyes are now wide with excitement and enthusiasm. So much so that I can’t help but grin at him.

“I’m sorry I was late, but I’ve got a surprise for you.” I raise my eyebrow in suspicion. A surprise for me? Oh dear lord, I’m debating whether I should be afraid or excited. I hate surprises.

“Max, I hate surprises.” His eyes never falter, just gazing back at me with its innocent eagerness.

“I know you do, but this surprise is the reason I was late, so you have to at least check it out.” He curls his lip, giving me the puppy dog look. “Please?”


I sigh, and just nod. Way too eager, he pulls out of our embrace and takes my hand, bounding down the hall. If the guy weren’t acting like he had taken too many Prozacs this morning, I may have felt the shiver that consumed my body when we broke apart.

“Come on, Liz,” Max calls, pulling me along. I watch as endless classrooms pass my eyes, and with each step, Max seems to be pulling me a bit faster. I just let my little legs keep up as best as they can.

With no warning, Max stops abruptly causing me to crash right into his back. Letting out a hefty ‘oof’, I shake my head and rid it of its clutter. Putting a hand on my hip, I look at Max with a pointed stare. Yet he just stands there with his silly little grin on.

“Ok, blindfold time,” Max says, reaching into his pocket. I take a step back.

“Nuh uh, no way. So not going to happen.” I place both hands on my hips now, trying to tell him that I was totally serious this time.

He didn’t get the hint.

“Too bad. No blindfold, no surprise.” I lift my eyebrows in hope of no surprise. I really, really hate surprises.

“Come on, Liz,” Max says somewhat pathetically. “Play along… for me? Please?” Rolling my eyes, I let out another sigh. Standing up straight, I close my eyes and let Max put on the blindfold.

“You know, I’ve got to have a lot of trust in you if I’m letting you blindfold me. If this surprise involves Kyle coming out and scaring the shit out of me, I swear to the Krispy Kreme gods that I’ll rip off your little Max and feed it to Alex and Michael.” I feel Max cringe for a moment, and then take my hand again.

“Ok, Liz, I promise this surprise won’t result in Kyle scaring you. For the sake of my little man, of course.” He proceeds to walk me down some hallway. As to which one it is, I have no clue. All I do know is that it doesn’t take long to reach our destination.

“Liz, you have to be really quiet, ok? I’ll tell you when to take off your blindfold.” I just nod, knowing I don’t have much of a choice.

That and I don’t want Max to let go of my hand.

I hear heavy doors swing open, and then Max is tugging me through them into some sort of room. Leading me down an angled path, he stops when we reach a very short set of steps.

“One step at a time,” he whispers into my ear. It tickles and I bite my lower lip in fear I was going to let out a really embarrassing moan.

“Ok, stay right here,” Max tells me. I feel the immense loss of his touch, and the even greater loss of his closeness. I hear a large noise, and I’m unable to place what it is. Then through my blindfold, I sense this bright light hitting me. The anticipation of this surprise is starting to get to me, and I’m anxious to see what he’s doing.

“Max?” I call out timidly. My voice seems to echo out through the room. Suddenly I feel his body presence again, standing right behind me. I unconsciously let a smile linger on my lips.

“Ok, now,” Max whispers softly into my ear. I feel his fingers undo the blindfold, and fall to the ground.

Opening and closing my eyes for a moment, I try to adjust to the light again. For some reason a large spotlight is aimed right at me, and I’m squinting against it. I take in my surroundings, trying to figure out where the hell I am exactly.

Wait. Spotlight? On me?

I take a few steps forward, escaping the bright light. I realize I’m in a theatre of some sort. Rows and rows of seats form the audience area, and a string of glowing Christmas lights line each row. Even though the whole room is empty, its normal darkness is missing and instead overflowed with shimmering lights. The walls of the room reach high above. Looking up it feels like the room has its very own sky, calling out to me.

“Max?” I call again. I’m sort of confused as to why he’s brought me here.

Immediately he comes to my side, taking my hands in his. Lately we just can’t stop touching each other.

“What… what is all of this?” I ask him, questioning him with my eyes as well. He smiles again, gentler this time without its overexcited glare.

“Ok, well, you don’t have to agree to anything, but just hear me out, all right?” He takes one hand and reaches into his pocket, pulling out a folded piece of paper. Unfolding it with his one hand, he shows me what it says. My eyes widen and I shake my head.

“No, Max. No.”

“Wait, Liz. Just hear me out. Please? I found this posted up in one of my classrooms, and the moment I read it, you came to my mind. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to enter-”

“Max, I’m not going to.” I jerk my hand away from his, slowly taking retreating steps. I don’t like where this going.

“Liz, I just wanted to let you rediscover your passion. I know you’re talented, and you don’t have to do anything for this talent show. I just wanted to let you know that if you still want to sing, you can, despite whatever’s happened in the past.”

I glance at the piece of paper, its dark, bold letters staring me in the face. TALENT SHOW.

I shake my head, not wanting to talk or listen to this. I take more steps back.

“Liz, please, no!” Max pleads to me. I can’t resist the request in his eyes, but I don’t want to feel that suffocating emotion, that emotion that only this will be able to conjure up.

“I know how important this is to you. I know how important singing is to you. Don’t shut it out. Please don’t shut me out. You don’t have to join the talent show, but just sing once. For me. And if not for me, for her.” I feel a quick thud in my heart. Her. My mother.

“Singing… singing was my mothers thing, not mine,” I whisper. I know he doesn’t believe me, but I say it anyways.

Max takes the steps towards me, quickly pulling me into another tight embrace. I already feel myself getting lost in the overpowering warmth and comfort of his arms.

“You told me you wanted to be a singer when you were a kid,” Max murmurs against my hair. “And that you fantasized your mother would win a Grammy. Singing is part of you. Don’t fight it, Liz.” He pauses for a moment. “Please don’t fight me.”

“I don’t want to,” I whisper even more quietly, but I know he heard. His soft breathing plays against my face, and I revel in it.

“Liz, you have a beautiful singing voice.”

“You’ve never heard my voice.”

“Yes, I have. Right here,” Max says, pointing from my heart to his. “It sings to me. You sing to me.”

Immediately tears sting my eyes, and I can’t believe how quickly Max Evans has found a way into my heart. A heart that has been locked up with endless chains, and has been shoved into the further, darkest corner of my whole body. Max Evans has worked his magic again, and unlocked my heart just by four simple words.

You sing to me.

“Max…” I start, unsure of what to say to him. I’m utterly speechless.

Then he does something so amazing, so stunning that I’m unsure it’s actually happening.

He kisses me.

His soft lips descend on mine, and his warmth starts to spread through my whole body. Not just on the surface, but on the inside as well. I’ve never felt this warm, or this comfortable. Or this loved.

I’m hesitant at first, this being my first actual kiss. Yet I let myself go, and everything just flows naturally. He feels natural to me. He makes me feel so… complete.

And without another warning, the kiss ends. Our lips pull away, lingering just a hair away from each other. My eyes open again and I find myself staring into the most incredible eyes I’ve ever seen. Not just because of their beauty, but also because of the affection I see radiating from them.

“That was…” I trailed out dreamily.

“Amazing,” Max finishes for me, grinning again. He tucks a stray strand of hair behind my ear, letting his fingers toy with it for a moment.

“Thank you,” I say to him. Max chuckles tenderly.

“You’re welcome, I guess.” Our foreheads meet and we stand there, facing each other like a pair of lovers.

“We have a whole auditorium to ourselves. Mr. Fisher let me borrow it as long as everything went back to the way it was before.” Max kisses my cheek softly, and I close my eyes, trying to treasure that feeling forever. His lips travel closer to me ear.

“Sing for me,” Max whispers softly. I can’t deny him. I just can’t. Not after everything he’s done to me, for me, because of me.

But for some reason, I just can’t gain the courage to open my mouth. It’s too scary to leave my dark, secure place.

“Please?” Max whispers again into my ear. His breath tingles on my skin, and I know my breathing has stopped.

Then he surprises me again. He moves his lips against my ear and softly sings to me.

It's amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word
You can light up the dark
Try as you may I could never explain
What I hear when you don't say a thing

I smile softly, because even through his off-key singing and stumbling of words, he sounds beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

So I sing to him. For him. From my heart to his.

The smile on your face let's me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes that saying you'll never leave me
A touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

All day long I can hear people talking out loud
But when you hold me near, you drown out the crowd
Old Mr. Webster could never define
What’s being said between your heart and mine

The smile on your face let's me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes that saying you'll never leave me
A touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

The smile on your face let's me know that you need me
There's a truth in your eyes that saying you'll never leave me
A touch of your hand says you'll catch me if ever I fall
You say it best when you say nothing at all

Ella’s POV

I don’t want your sympathy. That’s not what I’m looking for. I was never looking for that. I’d have to be blind to not realize that people don’t actually like me. Well, at least they don’t like me for who I really am. Then again, no one really knows who I am.

Ella. I am Ella.

But who is Ella?

Since I was little I always craved attention. But who denies the fact that starvation of attention is directly linked to the obsession of being accepted. Acceptation makes our world go around, not money or love. People who are accepted make the rules and force others to follow those rules. It’s the simple law of society. You know, kind of like those who act confident, inspire others to be confident.

But I’m not confident. Far from it, actually.

Here’s the kicker though. I’m determined. Determined to make it in life. Determined to show the world I’m not a failure. Determined to be accepted like I should be.

Determined to win Max Evans over.

I know what you’re thinking. My fixation for Max is a bit too obsessive and I should just leave him alone. I mean I saw with my very own eyes that Liz and Max are… close. Too close for my liking, if you ask me. It’s sickening how quickly Max has taken a fondness to Liz. He doesn’t even know her. I just don’t understand how they can feel for each other when Liz has just moved here and Max… well, he’s not always the most responsive person.

On the other hand, you’re probably wondering as to why I’m so infatuated with Max. I do have a good reason, honestly. I’ll tell you my story.

My parents are rich. Filthy, stinking rich, and all they do is throw parties with their prissy friends. Since I was a tiny baby the only person that showed me affection was my nanny, Kendra. She was the sweetest, most compassionate lady I’ve ever met. She had this special scent that smelled like roses mixed with fresh rain, and her eyes always lit up when she laughed. Although she always made me wear the frilly dresses my mother insisted on, she always sympathized with me. She was the first person to give me a hug. She was the first person to complement me. She was the first person who told me she loved me.

When I was thirteen years old, my mother came home drunk from another one of her social gatherings. Her driver had the night off, my father was out of town, and my mother still drank even though she had to drive home. And that night she hit Kendra. Kendra never saw daylight again.

My parents covered up the whole thing. Heaven forbid that my mother pay for killing my only friend. Well, they did pay. They paid for Kendra’s funeral because my mother felt “guilty”. My mother had one nightmare. One single nightmare. So she did the only thing she could. She bought it away by giving Kendra a nice funeral. Poof, then her guilty conscience was gone.

Ever since then I’ve been searching for affection like the kind Kendra showed me. She never had to be nice to me, either way my parents would have paid her. After her death, my parents didn’t care about me and continued to ignore my existence. Their logic was that if they dropped some money into my bank account every so often, I wouldn’t need them for anything else. And I don’t. I don’t even want them for anything else.

It was about a year ago. I’ll never ever forget that day for as long as I’ll live. It was the anniversary of Kendra’s death and all I wanted to do was go home and lock myself in my room. Now don’t get me wrong, I have billions of friends but it was just one of those days where I just needed to be alone. Of course, as I was on my way back to my million dollar home on the outskirts of Roswell, my car broke down. My parents paid thousands and thousands of dollars for this car, and the piece of shit breaks down on the one day I just didn’t want to deal with anything.

Of course I have no clue as to how cars work, and it’s not like my cell phone would actually be charged enough to be working. No, of course not, its battery just had to be dead.

So here I am, on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle, a dead cell phone, and on the brink of uncontrollable tears. That’s when Max showed up. Max came in all his shining glory, riding in like my very own Prince Charming while other passersby were doing just that. Passing by.

He asked me if I needed help and well, worked his magic. He said I just needed a boost, hooked up some cables, made my car roar again, and off he went with a nod and a smile.

I’ve been smitten ever since.

It wasn’t just that Max had shown up and assisted me on one of the worst days of my life. It was that he acted like it was nothing. Like him stopping and taking time out of his life to aid someone was no big deal. Almost like it was just simple, polite courtesy. That’s when I knew Max Evans was special. More special than I could possibly imagined.

Because on that day, he made me feel accepted within the human race. Something I thought would never, ever happen.

The funny thing is that even though I keep that day in a special part of my heart, I’ve never given up what I’ve known forever. Being fake, being beautiful, and being admired. I go on with my day and smile to all my friends who I know talk about me behind my back. I greet all my teachers even though I know the only reason I’m passing their classes is because my parents pay them. I refuse to eat a single thing at school even though I know one piece of celery won’t hurt my precious figure.

It’s all about being accepted.

But I wonder if I want to be accepted into the right group. I’ve watched Max and all of his friends. They can laugh, cry and smile with each other without having to worry about saying the wrong thing, or not looking their best. I know who Tess, Maria and Isabel are, and I know they don’t like me because of my fakeness. They can be themselves and the school accepts and adores them for it.

So why am I still trying to be someone I’m not? Why do I keep begging people to pay attention to someone I keep pretending to be? Why do I even care?

Because of acceptance. If I’m not accepted, I’m not anyone or anything.

Part 10

You see here’s the thing. People scare me. Some have this amazing ability to see right through me, and my façade. I can continue to build those sky-high brick walls, and superglue those bastards down, but these people can get through without a second thought. They know I’m not as strong and tough as I pretend to be, but they also know I’m not as weak and quiet as others perceive me to be.

But the question is then, who am I?

These people are really special. For example, Alex and Michael. As much as I refuse to admit it, they can get to me. I know they care. I know that deep down they’ve done what they’ve done because they care about me so much. Sometimes it’s overwhelming for a girl like me, a girl who knows life only by pain and hurt, deceit and lies.

They can see that I’ve been broken, and they can tell that I need them. The scary part is that I know that I need them too. Maybe I didn’t realize that before but now I have. I guess you could say my eyes have been opened. These guys accept me for all I am, even without knowing me. I mean really knowing me, and all that I’ve gone through these years. How could I ask for anymore or any less?

I guess that’s part of the problem. I’m not asking for anything. I would rather just grin and bear it rather than have anyone actually help me. Can you blame me? My father made me live this life for years. I don’t know anything else. I don’t even know if I’m capable of change.

Change. It’s a terrifying thing. To know and live a lifestyle for so long, no matter what it is, and then suddenly face something that is completely different. How am I supposed to face change when the ball is entirely in my court? All of my life, change has been decided for me without my permission or even my knowledge. Like my mom leaving, causing me to be stuck living a crummy life with my deadbeat, no-good dad. No one asked me if I wanted any of that. Or how about when my mom died and dad nearly beat me to death? That led to me changing homes again and again, family to family to family for months. Endless, countless months. I didn’t have a choice in that matter either. I had to go to whatever family I was assigned to, and if I disagreed, it didn’t matter.

So what do I do now? It’s like I’ve been sleeping all of these years, and someone finally put smelling salts underneath my nose to wake me up. That someone being, of course, a Mr. Maxwell Evans. I don’t know why he cares so much, or how he can just lighten my day by looking at me. He makes me feel so… special, but extraordinarily normal. Does that make sense?

Anyways, he’s a great kisser.

Like, really great.

But waking up from this long, dreadful sleep isn’t like discovering that the last bit of chocolate milk was saved for you. No, the thing I don’t think you understand is that now that I’ve woken up, or at least opened one eyelid, I don’t know where to go from here. I’m still drowsy with sleep, unable to decide whether I like my dream world or my real world better.

I need answers though. I’ve been asking questions for so long, but never actually dared to ask for an answer. It’s funny though. Wondering things for so long, but never finding out. It’s human nature to be curious and want to find out the truth. But on the flip side, it’s also human nature to lie and deceive in order to protect yourself. Survival of the fittest, isn’t that what they call it?

I’m ready for answers though. Max has brought me to a place where I need to decide whether I’m prepared to keep my eyes closed, or actually open them. And from what he’s shown me, I’m sort of excited to open them. Not everyone needs to always lie, always keep a secret. Look at Max. He’s forever honest with me, always taking my hand and taking steps with me. Not in front of me, or behind me, but with me, beside me.

Thank you, Max. I’m ready to open my eyes as long as you’re right there when I wake up.

“Nancy?” I call out into the quiet, still apartment. It’s Friday night. One of the Crashdown’s busiest nights, so Jeff and Michael are working downstairs. Nancy decided to take the night off, and is curled up on the couch, silently reading a book in the living room. Max said something about having to do something with Isabel and Alex, so I just offered to stay home. It was actually kind of nice to just relax in a nice, quiet environment, especially without Alex and Michael constantly annoying me. I’ll talk to them eventually. I just want a few more days to figure out what I want to say to them.

Ok, yes, I am afraid to say something to them. I have acted like an overdramatic doofus, and I know that. But I don’t like them knowing that.

“Yes honey?” Nancy looked up from her book, smiling at me. She and Jeff have been so totally great. They don’t ask me questions. They just always let me know I can talk to them when I want to. That’s why I’m here.

I bite my lip and make my way towards the couch to sit beside her. She swings her legs out from underneath her and makes space for me next to her. I give her a nervous, but gracious smile.

“I was… uh, wondering if I could, you know… ask you some questions.” I look anywhere but at her face. I know she’s just smiling at me, and I can feel her warmth sucking me in. I’m not going to fight it this time. My eyes are going to be open this time.

“You know you can ask me anything, Liz dear,” Nancy replies with her honest eyes. Yes, I actually looked up at her, but how can I not? She gazes at me with such an interested and sincere expression, and I just can’t fight it.

My hands lay in my lap, and they’re restlessly squirming, noting my already nervous emotion. I look her directly in the eye, trying to communicate that I’m ready and willing.

“What was… what was my mother like?”

Nancy stops breathing for a moment. I can tell she’s surprised by my question, but who can blame her? I’ve repeatedly avoided any topic that concerns my mother. I know Nancy realized that I never found out what actually happened to my mother.

“Well, sweetie, she was a lot like you actually. Strong, smart, beautiful and had the biggest heart you could ever imagine on someone.” Nancy sighs, staring off into the distance. My question obviously struck a memory chord inside of her, but I have to keep asking.

“Why did she… why did she leave me? Why did she leave me with him?

“Oh darling!” Nancy drapes one arm around my shoulders and affectionately pulls me close to her side. I don’t refuse her either because, quite frankly, it feels nice.

“She loved you. She loved you so much and I guarantee you that. But I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for her either. She made some bad choices. Actually, she made a lot of bad choices. She never knew your father could be… the way he was, though. If she had known, she never would have left you there. Believe me when I say that.” Nancy takes the tip of her index finger and tips my chin up so she can look me straight in the eye. “You understand? She would have never left you there with that jerk.” I just nod my head because I don’t know how else to respond.

“She thought about you all the time. She said it was better this way because then you could have a chance at a real life. She wanted to make it big in Hollywood, she said. Always the dreamer she was. She would always smile when she told me that one day you would be proud of her for making it to the big leagues, and that you two would live in a large mansion in Los Angeles.” Nancy’s small smile graced her face, and I could see a twinkle of tears in her eyes.

“Nancy.” I hear the slight tremor in my voice, and I know this question is going to be hard. Not only to ask it, but to also hear the answer.

“How did she… how did she die?”

Nancy suddenly became silent for a few minutes and I wasn’t too sure if she was going to answer me, but then her hand began to rub my shoulder tenderly and I knew I had to brace myself. Now or never.

“She had been staying with us for about two days before the night that she… died. I don’t know what happened. She had gone to bed early that night, saying she was incredibly tired. Being the old folks that we are and having to run the restaurant all day, Jeff and I were retreating to the bedroom as well. The next thing I know, I’m getting a phone call at midnight from the police, telling me that my sister is dead.” Nancy takes her free hand and rubs at her forehead in a tired gesture. I would feel bad for her if I wasn’t trying to hold back a barrel of tears that are threatening to tumble.

“They say she was… she was driving north on highway 285. Her brakes were bad and she… crashed into a semi. They said she was D.O.A.”

I feel numb. This is what I get for wanting answers.

My mother died in a car accident. She died because her brakes sucked ass. My mother lost her life because some slacker in a goddamn car factory couldn’t put quality brakes in my mom’s fucking car.

She was D.O.A. Dead on arrival. They salvaged her mangled body from a piece of shit car only so they could declare her D.O.A. once she reached the fucking hospital. How fucking lovely.

“Where was she going?” I ask Nancy tightly. It’s hard to hold in my anger, especially since I’m not exactly sure what I’m angry at. Perhaps just the whole unfairness of life, and its jackass way of showing me how much it hates me.

“I’m not sure, sweetheart,” Nancy replies softly. I can tell she’s lying to me. I just stare at her, begging her to tell me. She might not know for sure, but she sure has a damn good idea. Nancy obviously doesn’t want to fight me and takes a deep sigh. “I think she may have been coming to see you. We don’t know.”

Oh man. My mom was coming to see me. My mom was coming to see me. My mom was coming to see me.

“She was talking about you ever since she had gotten here. How she missed you, how much she loved you, how sorry she was. I heard her cry all night long that first night she was here, just crying and sobbing and sniffling. She…” Nancy trailed off, bursting into a fit of tears herself.

And again, my emotions change. I’m not angry anymore. My mom was coming to see me.

“She what?” I whisper. I already know I’ve got tears now, but I can’t tell what kind of tears they are. Tears that are sad because I lost my mother, or tears that are happy because she still loved me.

“I think she was coming to get you, Liz.”

Say what?

Oh god. Not only was my mom coming to see me, but also she was coming to get me. To save me from my hell… sure, it may have not been like I’ve always dreamed with a stretch limousine, but it would have been just as nice. My mother. Oh god.

Fate has a cruel way of teasing me. I must have bad karma from a previous life or something. Or maybe the Gods up there in Olympus are watching, pointing and laughing at me. Yeah, that’s it. It must have been good ol’ Zeus and Athena, yakking it up over coffee and Krispy Kremes, trying to decide what would be funny to happen to me next. Those bastards.

What would my life be like if she had come to get me? I’ve dreamt and wished for my mother to save me for so long, but I never actually considered what life would be like afterwards. Like what it would really be. Would she try and take me on the road with her all the time, going town to town? Or would she come back to Roswell and let me have a settled life here? Or maybe she would have stayed with dad and I, trying to work things out again.

Nah. Scratch that. Mom should never have to go through what he put me through.

“Liz honey?” I glance at Nancy, realizing I drifted off for a few moments.

“I think… I think I need to be alone for a while,” I tell Nancy. I quickly stand up, almost as if her once comforting arm was stinging me. I’m going into total brain overload.

Before I can scurry into my bedroom, Nancy’s voice drifts into my ears.

“Liz, no matter what you’re thinking, I want you to know that your mom loved you so much. She just didn’t know that he…” Nancy paused, obviously fighting something within herself. “She just didn’t know.” With my back still towards her, I nod slightly and move into my room. I shut the door tightly behind me, but the sobs that are coming from Nancy still sound through.

“I need music, music… music, come on, music…” I mutter to myself. I browse through all the burned CDs Max had made for me. Come on… music… I need something to drown out Nancy… her cries are deafening.

Then again, my own cries are beginning to overpower Nancy’s. Cries so animalistic and heartbreakingly real that I’m not sure why I wanted answers.

Mom? Can you hear me? Were you coming to get me that night? Were you coming to save me like I always dreamed you would? Did you really love me? But how could you love me and then leave me like that? How could you leave me like this? I’m nothing, mom. I’m nothing but a poor excuse for a human. I needed you, mom. I’ve always needed you, and you left me. How could you leave me, your very own daughter? Your flesh and blood!


I pick up a picture frame of my mother that sits on my bedside table, and I hurl it across the room, watching as the glass shatters into tiny pieces. For a moment I feel relieved because for just that moment, it’s the glass that is shattering, not my life. I pick up a dirty glass cup, and chuck it against the wall, again hearing the shattering of glass pieces.

Too tired to find something else to throw, I slowly fall to the ground. Mom, do you know what it’s like to ache and hurt for so long that you can’t remember when it started or if it’ll ever end? Do you know what it’s like to want something so bad to the point where you can’t remember why you want it so badly anymore? Mom, do you know what it’s like to wake up in a hospital room and start to sob so badly because you just realized you’re still alive? Do you? Huh? Do you?

A strong pair of arms comes around me and I recognize this warmth. I know it from somewhere… I know I do. I need to pull myself out of this misery hole I’ve dug for myself, and I know these arms can help me. Somehow, they have before.

“Shh, Liz, it’s all right.” That rich, masculine voice fills my ears, and suddenly a smile breaks the storm that’s whirlwind my face.

“Max?” I call out. I can smell him, his musky, perfect smell that tickles my nose and flutters my heart. He’s my safe place, my special place.

“I’m right here, Liz.” You’re always here, Max. Always. I don’t know how I can show you how thankful and grateful I am for your warmth, your support.

“How did you know?” My voice sounds shaky, completely unstable. What a deep contrast it is to my now steady body that’s wrapped in his arms.

“I just knew.” I feel his tender lips press against my forehead and I curl up against his chest. He’s what I need. Maybe he’s what I’ve needed all along.

“Good morning, sweetheart,” Nancy says to me as I walk into the kitchen. I’m not all that surprised by Nancy’s calm, collected appearance, nothing like her previous lament expressions. She’s a strong woman. I wish I could be strong like her. Maybe one day I will be, who knows?

“Morning,” I reply with a sleepy nod.

I think Max sneaked out my window earlier this morning and left through the fire escape on my balcony. I think that may have been how he got into my room in the first place. I don’t remember much after throwing things at the wall and then Max winding up in my room. I’m still not sure as to how exactly Max knew I needed someone… that I needed him. I’m just glad that he “just knew” and came to me. I think I passed out with exhaustion some time after that. Who knew that ruining valuable pieces of material could be so tiring?

I remember waking up in the middle of the night and finding myself curled neatly against Max’s body. Max’s very nice, warm, hard body, and an arm slung protectively over me. Blurry at first, I slowly realized that Max had stayed with me and somehow gotten us onto my bed. Perfection, pure perfection. Even in the pale moonlight, Max looked absolutely beautiful in all his perfect ways.

Although it’s only been days since Max and I first… well, got together. Kissed, to be exact. It’s felt like years, it feels so natural. His arms feel like my home, my acceptance. It’s nice. I mean it’s really nice. We’ve spent a lot of time together since, of course, with two nights spent with Kyle as well. Although, I’m not sure why, because all Kyle does is picture Max and I having sex whenever we touch or kiss. He told us so.

Kyle is one sick bastard.

“So what are you going to do today, honey?” I shrug at Nancy. She’s sitting at the table, and I think she’s attending to some of the Crashdown’s bills. Sucks to be her.

“I think I’m going to head downstairs for awhile, get a bite to eat or something.” Nancy nods, and gives me a smile before turning her head back to the scatters of paper in front of her.

I think she’s just as afraid to bring up the topic of my mother anytime soon. I mean it’s not like she couldn’t hear me breaking things in my room last night. Not only that, I think it’s too much of a sore spot for her as well. I wonder if me being here is somewhat hard on her too. I am my mother’s daughter, so maybe I remind Nancy of her. I really hope not. I’m starting to like it here.

I saunter my way towards the door, knowing full well that I’m not going down to the Crashdown just for breakfast. I know that Max is probably down there with Isabel or Kyle, having breakfast too. That’s where he usually is on a Saturday and Sunday morning. Well, that is if Kyle isn’t pulling us out of bed to go to some raunchy diner. (As I let a grumble escape my mouth…)

Just as I’m taking my first steps down the stairs, I hear voices near the bottom. They’re coming from the employee’s backroom in the Crashdown.

“I said no before, and I’m saying no now.”

That was Isabel’s voice. I couldn’t mistake that snobby… er, that voice anywhere. I go back up a few steps, so I can stay out of sight and still be able to hear her conversation.

What? Oh, come on! It’s not like you’ve never eavesdropped before.

“Come on, Isabel, at least think about it.” Kyle’s voice. Hmm, is there a party going on down there and I wasn’t invited?

“We’re all trying here. Isabel, you’re the only one disagreeing.” Oh, and that was Maria. Yep. There is definitely a party going on, and I was excluded. Not that that’s such a bad thing, because I still haven’t talked to these people in a while.

“Use some common sense!” Isabel yells at them. “Max, don’t tell me you agree with this! You know how dangerous it is.”

Max? O-kay. I need to find out what’s going on.

I very quietly take a few steps down, trying my hardest not to make a noise. I peek out the side of the wall, making sure I keep out of sight but I’m able to see a bit of what’s happening.

I’m surprised to see that everyone is in the room. And I mean, everyone. Tess, Kyle, Isabel, Michael, Alex, Maria, and Max. I just can’t seem to figure out what they’re talking about. They all look so serious, and Isabel looks kind of angry. Michael, Tess and Maria are in their uniforms. You’d think that Jeff would be forcing them to be working right now. Perhaps they just like to wear their uniforms around town. Oh! Or maybe the three of them have this kinky fetish with the uniforms. I just knew they were having a threesome!

“It is dangerous,” Max replies with a gentle tone. He’s holding something in his hand. Aw, are those roses? He must have been on his way to come see me. What a sweetheart. Have I told you that I really like this guy?

“But because it’s so dangerous, it’s better that we include her.”

Her? Wait a damn second.

“No, Max, it’s going to be more dangerous including her. Don’t you remember the last time we included someone in the group?” The handful of teenagers grows silent, each eventually taking a glance at Kyle. Even Kyle becomes hushed and awkward.

Is that even possible?

Kyle takes a step forward, and I think he knows no one else knows what to say.

“Isabel,” Kyle says with the utmost gentleness I’ve ever heard uttered from him. “What happened before wasn’t your fault. It was never your fault. You can’t let that haunt you for the rest of your life. It was an accident.” Isabel’s red eyes glance up at Kyle, and I can see tear tracks on her face.

“An accident? You call that an accident? That was no accident, Kyle! Khivar knew what he was doing and you almost died because of it. If it hadn’t been for Max, you would be lying six feet underground because of me.”

Khivar. Knew what he was doing. Porn ring anyone? Maybe a bondage club? Perhaps this Khivar dude is a pimp. Hmm… I never knew these people were so kinky.

“Isabel, the only reason Kyle got hurt was because he didn’t know the truth. That, and Khivar was willing to hurt anyone who was close to us,” Michael told her. “That’s over with now, though. We don’t have to worry about Khivar, and Kyle is perfectly fine.”

“And Kyle lost his life in a whole other sense too!” Isabel flung her hands up in the air. “Maria? Alex? Kyle? You know you can’t disagree with me. You are not the same person you were before you knew our secret.”

Secret. They. Have. A. Secret.

“You all have had to run for your lives countless times!” Isabel continued. “Are you willing to let Liz go through the same stuff we’ve been through? Huh? I know how much you all admire her. Michael, you think of her as a sister. And Alex! You absolutely adore her. You’ve talked about her for years. Maria and Tess, you both keep telling me she would be such a ‘great addition’ to our girls’ night. Kyle? You’re always boasting about how funny she is.” Isabel took a few steps towards Max so she was standing right in front of him.

“And you,” Isabel said to Max. “You’re so in love with her, you don’t know what you would do without her. Hell, those roses you’re holding are for her, aren’t they? Well, have you given any thought as to what she would think if she knew what you’re hiding? What we’ve all been hiding?” Isabel turned so she could direct her words towards the whole group. “I’m not willing to put Liz’s life on the line, and I don’t see why you guys are.”

They’re hiding something from me. Max is hiding something from me.

“Don’t be dramatic, Isabel,” Tess warned. “You think you’re trying to protect her? You’re more full of shit than you say we are! You’re doing this because you feel guilty for what happened to Kyle, but when will you understand that what happened is in the past? It’s over and done with! It’s time for all of us to move on. Liz has touched us all in ways we didn’t think we could ever be touched again. We need her as much as she needs us.”

“She’s right, Isabel,” Maria piped up. “Especially after what happened with her dad. She’s probably looking for acceptance right now, and we’re just the people to do it. She needs us to make her feel all right again, but how can she trust us when we’re not trusting her?”

My dad. What happened with my dad. They know what happened with my dad. Max knows what happened with my dad.

“Look, we don’t know what happened for sure,” Kyle commented. “Until Liz comes up to one of us and tells us, we don’t have the right to make judgments. Although, I agree with Maria when said we need to trust her first, before she can trust us.”

“ARE YOU ALL INSANE?” Isabel screamed. Even I had to take a step back from her deafening shriek. Her face is all red, and I think she’s on the verge of completely losing it.

“Isabel, calm down,” Max says soothingly. I am not finding his voice so agreeable right now. I am really not finding his voice so agreeable right now.

“Don’t tell me to calm down! You guys are acting like this is just some everyday secret. Like it doesn’t really matter. But if you forget, this secret could kill people. If anyone ever found out… can you imagine what they would do to us? And not just Max, Michael, Tess and I. The rest of you guys too.”

“They? Who’s they?” Alex asked. “Isabel, Khivar is dead. He’s long gone. There are no they.”

“Just because Khivar is dead, it doesn’t mean there’s no one else out there. What about the FBI? Huh? The government would probably just love to sit and have coffee with us too!”

FBI? Ok, what the fuck is going on?

“Look, lets just talk about this later,” Max suggested calmly. “We can have some time to cool off and think about it. As for enemies and the FBI, well, we’ll deal with it when the situation arises. Like we always do.” Max looked at each person in the room, who all just nodded at him and his suggestion, except for Isabel, who huffed and crossed her arms.

“Izzy, we’ll be fine. Everyone is safe. You’ll see, it’ll all work out.” Max offered her a smile, and Isabel closed her eyes to block him out.

Let me get this straight. These people who have been trying to get me to talk to them and befriend them have been lying to me the whole time? Max has been keeping secrets from me? And they kept up their search of my past even when I told them it was none of their fucking business?

“We’ll meet later at our place,” Max says. He turns towards the stairs and starts his way up. I’m too frozen in place, shocked and angered and hurt by all that I’ve overhead. I just turn my head to look at Max as he’s coming up the stairs. He doesn’t notice me at first until he lifts his head when he’s about five steps away from me. His eyes widen in recognition and his jaw sort of drops.

“Liz…” Max whispers. He looks shocked. I think he’s surprised by me, and even more surprised by the annoying tears that are slowly trickling down my face. Hell, I’m even surprised by the tears.

The rest of the group hears Max whisper my name, and they all gradually gather near the bottom of the steps. They all look as surprised at Max does.

Max takes a step up and reaches for me, but I immediately back up. He wants to touch me? He wants to touch me after what I’ve heard?

“Don’t touch me.” My growl sounds vicious and Max sort of stumbles back. “Don’t come near me.” I glare at each of the persons that are standing in front of me.

“Liz, you don’t understand-” Max starts, but I refuse to listen to him or any of his excuses.

“I told you all to leave me the hell alone. I told you that it was none of your fucking business. I don’t want your friendship, all right? I don’t need it. You think you’re so brilliant in finding out what happened to me? Well, hur-fucking-rah for all of you.”

Kyle steps forward, looking at me intently. “I don’t think you understand. We just wanted to help you, Liz.”

I scoff at him. “Help me? By snooping around, and not minding your own business? Or how about keeping your own damn secrets when you’re acting like it’s oh-so-important that you know mine?

“Well, you know what? I don’t care. I don’t want to know your damn secret, and I just don’t fucking care. From now on, stay the hell away from me.” Before anyone can say anything in response, I spin around and march up the stairs, back into the apartment. I dash into my room, angrily swiping away my stupid tears.

How could I have been so dumb? I actually thought they just wanted to be my friends, and that they were actually honest. I did not yearn to leave a life of lying to people just to enter another one. This is it. I need to really make a break from all of this. From my life. I need to start a new life, all on my own.

Grabbing my backpack, I start throwing clothes and shit into it. Wow, déjà vu.

Slinging the bag over my shoulder, I climb out my window. I’m serious this time. I don’t need anyone here. I’m sorry, Nancy, that I didn’t end up strong like you.

Taking one last glance at my room, I heave my body over the balcony ledge, and down the fire escape. Screw having friends, screw feeling loved, screw life. And definitely screw Max and his buddies, and all of their stupid lying and secrets.

posted on 18-May-2002 3:10:31 AM
Part Eleven

Have you ever let something go, whether you gave it away or lost it, and figured you are much better without it? Then, when you saw it again, you realized how much you really did miss it?

What? Oh, come on, that made sense.

Anyways, I was more than happy to move away from Silkone. It was the place where my mother left my family. It was the place where my dad beat me everyday for years. It was the place where my best friend betrayed me, and left me in the dust. It was the place where my dad almost killed me.

The thing I think I’ve been trying to block out is that it’s the very same place where I grew up. It’s the place where my mom and dad would kiss me goodnight and tuck me into bed. It’s the place where I sat in the park with my very best friend in the world, and we watched the clouds above us and licked our ice cream.

I’ve figured out that I can put things on the shelf for the rest of my life, but I am forever damned to remember them. You can’t just forget stuff like it didn’t happen, because everything that has happened to me, has happened. Then again, you can’t drown yourself in your problems for the rest of your life either. Wallowing in self-pity won’t get you anywhere except a one-way ticket to the loony bin.

I think that’s what I’ve been doing. Both trying to forget everything, and trying to immerge myself in all the problems of my life… so technically, I’m trying to cover both sides of the spectrum, which is remarkably stupid.

Then again, that’s me. Captain Stupid. Call me Stu for short.

Anyways, after making my way out of Roswell for what… is this the third time? Who knows? I hiked all the way to the next town. You know, the one with the really shitty pancakes? Kiverdage. It took me awhile. A long while. But at least I know I’ve worked off those Krispy Kreme donuts by now.

And besides, at least it gave me time to think.

I’m in love with Max Evans.

Completely, and utterly in love with him.

I’m so in love with him I think I just might burst.

Oh wait, too late for that. I’ve already burst. Too bad it was the needle of Max’s lies that made me burst. So much for my blissful, lovey dovey balloon of happiness.

So anyhow, Silkone. Not such a bad place, but still haunting in its own illusions of lies.

Lies. Lies, lies, lies.

Is that really all I’ve got to show for my life? A barrel full of lies, and some nice parting gifts before my dad was whisked off to jail? I’m terribly pathetic if this is all my life has amounted to. You might as well bury me six feet underground right now.

I wonder if I can be buried with a box of Krispy Kremes.

What? It’s the one thing that has never failed me, never lies to me, and never ever sucks the second time around.

Yup. Krispy Kreme is the love of my life.

I know. You’re all thinking, ‘This Krispy Kreme obsession is getting old’.

Well you know what?




I’m sick of hearing all the shit people have to say to me. How am I supposed to know whether they’re lying to me, or being completely honest? People are deceptive, you know. Incredibly deceptive. Life. It’s just one big illusion. I don’t matter. You don’t matter. We, the people of Earth, do not matter in the big scheme of things. Lets face it. Within the next fifty years, Earth is going to become the breeding ground for alien life. They going to all extinguish us anyways. I might as well enjoy the days I have left with fully working teeth.

Chocolate milk tastes great with Krispy Kremes.

So I decided to take a bus out of Roswell. It’s not like I didn’t have cash. Nancy and Jeff continued to leave little slips of money around my room, and I never really had anything to spend it on. So I did the geek thing. I saved it. Who knows when you might need a wad of cash? It turned out to be a good idea.

Of course, then again, the only bus leaving Roswell by the time I got to the bus station, without being spotted, was to Silkone. Yippee.

So here I am. It looks the same. I did miss it though. But in another way, I feel sick to the stomach knowing I’m back here.

It makes me wonder. Is my dad in the town jail? Or is he in some penitentiary out in the boonies? Or maybe he’s picking up garbage on the side of the highway. I don’t know. I never wanted to know.

Although, I’m kind of hoping he’s in some maximum prison getting ass raped by his inmates and the burly guards. I hope it hurts too.

Ok, today is obviously one of my ‘must-hate-father’ days.

The weather matches my mood though. Dark, dreary, cloudy with only faint whisperings of long forgotten hope. What happens when you lose faith? What happens when hope just becomes another four-letter word? What happens when the one person you thought you could trust lies to you? Tell me. What do I do now? The one person that made life not so shitty lied to me, kept secrets from me, and abused me. Not in the physical sense, but he abused my heart. He abused the trust I put in him. That fucking asshole.

Ok, scratch what I said earlier. It’s one of my ‘must-hate-anything-with-penis-between-legs’ days.

Here I am, walking along the streets that were once so familiar to me. Now I feel like a stranger, the outsider that was gawked at by all of the townies. But it’s not so bad. Well, it is, but I know I’m not staying long. I know I don’t belong. I know I don’t need to belong. Because belonging is overrated. Seriously. The concept of belonging, and being accepted… all complete bullshit. Why do you need to be accepted? Why is it so important that someone else tolerate the way you are and the person you are? I know who I am. I know what I am. And I know that if you don’t like it, I could just kick your ass.

Ah, Mr. Harner’s Grocery store. I shopped there when I lived here. It’s the only place in town that sells a somewhat sizeable range of products. I remember when some outsiders came to Silkone and tried to establish a larger, more established grocery store. The townies got so pissed off that they had a town meeting about it, and boycotted the place.

How odd. They refuse to let another grocery store come in, but they’ve got a Krispy Kreme. Whatever.

I’m feeling reminiscent. I can’t just not go in. Mom used to give me her change when I was little kid, and I would go in to buy a chocolate bar. My face would be covered in chocolate by the time I got home, but my mother would just laugh and get a washcloth.

I have the sudden urge to buy a chocolate bar.

So I stroll into the shop. It hasn’t changed one bit. Tall, flimsy shelves hold stocks of canned beans, Campbell tomato soup, and boxes of Kraft Dinner. With its rusty ambiance, it adopts the feeling of an aged warehouse of some sort. Even the less than sufficient lighting has not changed one bit in the year that I’ve been gone.

My fingers trail against the cool metal that holds the shelves together, and I almost sigh in the comforting recollection that pierces my senses. How was one to know what she had missed until she was thrust into the world she long lost? Not that it’s such a pity I lost this world. I should be grateful, shouldn’t I? For being able to leave this place. For getting the chance to become more... more than this. For gaining the chance to lose the shell of fear that has plagued me for so long, too long.

But even with all that I should be grateful for, I find myself grieving for the loss I’ve endured. Not just the life of my mother, or the innocence my father stole. No, I grieve for the loss of the small things, like strolling into the local market and not feeling the urge to cry at the touch of plastic grocery basket. Or even the dubious glare the shopkeeper gives me for just being the age that I am, no matter how long I have known him.

I start strolling down one of the aisles, looking at the several selections of canned food with such awe. Is it normal for a girl to be so fascinated by a can of corn? Then again, that Green Giant has always held the key to my heart. What a sexy bitch.

I continue to make my walk down the dusty aisles, my shoes making small squeaky sounds against the freshly mopped floor.

“And then, she was like, oh my god! I just could not, like, believe she had done that!”

Oh no.

“So Mark, like, looked her in the eye, and said, ‘You hoe!’ She was like, so embarrassed and shit. It was so- Liz!”

The flamboyant chestnut of a teenaged girl’s hair came bouncing to a stop in front of me, her round eyes staring at me in shock. A face I could recognize anywhere. Eyes that I could pick out of any crowd. And her clothes. Only she could wear those clothes and pull it off.


I stare at her for a moment, unsure of what to say. I haven’t seen her in so long. I haven’t talked to her for years. To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised to know that she still remembers my name and what I look like. Then again, I haven’t changed much. More like not at all.

“I, uh, didn’t know you moved back,” she says lamely to me. She shifts from foot to foot, awkwardly avoiding the glare from her friend.

“I didn’t.” I feel no need to have a long, drawn out conversation with her.

“Oh, well, it’s nice to see you again.”

“Yeah, you too.” I cross my arms over my chest. She keeps glancing at me, her discomfort evident. She bites her bottom lip, obviously wanting to say something to me.

“I’m so sorry about your mom,” she blurts out. My expression doesn’t change one bit. I don’t need her sympathy. I never have.

“Thanks,” I say with least interest. What does she expect me to say? Gee, thanks! Well, I guess we’re cool now, huh? Maybe we can have dinner together, or go for coffee. I can forgive and forget the years of friendship torture you put me through. Really. It’s not a big deal.

I should be a professor for Sarcasm 101. I wonder how much I could get for a job like that.

“And your dad too,” she adds quietly. I just nod. I’m sick of her now.

“Well, got to go,” I tell her. I glare back at the bitch of the friend she has, and walk around them and continue down the aisle.


I swallow down the bile that has risen up my throat and wants to attack the clean floors.

Slowly turning around, I look at her. “What?”

Tricia walks towards me, looking at me apprehensively.

“I just wanted to say… I’m sorry. For everything.”

I look at her, and I mean, I really look at her. I stare her straight in the eye and try to discover the paralyzing truth hidden somewhere in there. I read her body language, with her arms hanging nervously at her sides, and her continuous shift of body weight. All signs are pointing towards her being genuine about her apology, about her regrets.

Too bad that this does not mean a damn thing to me.

“Well, thanks, but Tricia, you’re a friendship too late.”

With that, I turn back around and venture down towards the cashier. I pick up a Mirage bar, pay for it, and saunter back outside.

Friends. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. Companions. Buddies. Mates.

In the end, it’s all the same. When you take away all formal titles, all you’ve got is one single person. A person who can either love you, or hate you. But that’s only in the general sense, because after that it gets much more detailed, much more specific. For example, you can love someone and still destroy him or her. Or you can hate them so much, and still be willing to do them a favour.

Most of the time though, they end up destroying you. Whether they mean to or not.

Max. Michael. Alex. Dad.

Wait. I’m sensing a pattern here.

Ok, I get it. It must be something related to the penis. It’s just got to be.

Then again, Isabel isn’t too fond of me. And then there’s Tricia. Lets just not go there.

So maybe it’s not a male thing, but either way, it’s a human thing. Which, in its own way, is sad altogether. Are humans just prone to demolish another’s confidence, self-esteem? Is it something in our human genes? Are we destined to bring about our own destruction?

He lied to me. He kept secrets from me. I turned to him and let myself fall completely into his arms. I trusted him.

And he hurt me.

Max Evans hurt me.

The sentence makes me cringe all on its own.

He asked me to open up to him. He asked me to put faith in him. So I did, along with handing him my heart.

But I also have him something else. Something so much more treasured than my heart ever could be. Something so cherished that he is the only one I felt I could trust it with.

I gave him my voice.

And he gave me a slap in the face.

It’s depressing that his slap hurt a lot more than my father’s ever could.

I’m sitting here, watching the little kids play their content hearts out. A creaky, wooden bench is where I’ve resided for the present moment, with a quickly melting chocolate bar coating my fingers. Sand is being splashed around by the mute sounds of children’s feet pitter-pattering.

I used to play in this park. My mom would bring her newest novel, while dad pushed me on the swing set. Permanent memories of my childish giggle sound through my ears, and I know that it’s beauty, though irreplaceable, has long since been misplaced.

What is it like to be innocent? Do you know? Because, for the life of me, I can’t remember. What is it like to wake up in the morning, and not feel the weight of your world pushing you so far down that you’re uncertain whether you’ll drown today, or whether you’ll gasp in enough breath to continue your pointless existence.

And I think Kyle is crazy. He’s not the one pondering life on a rust old bench.

I wonder what it’s like to have a sibling. Of course I always had Tricia, but that was different. She was my best friend. Then there was Michael. Overprotective, overbearing, and the biggest teddy bear in the world. But I never got to see him much. Same goes for Alex.

So what is it like to know you have someone out there that comes from the same gene pool as you? Someone who just might understand you. Is it like that for Isabel and Max? Obviously they’re close, but why? Just because they may share parents, their personalities couldn’t differ more. Kyle and Maria share the typical brother/sister relationship. Bickering and annoying each other to no end, but when it comes down to it, they’ll be there for each other. Then there’s Alex and Tess. They’re not related in any blood sense, but they’re closer than the average brother and sister.

Hell, that whole bloody group is close.

Is it because of this secret that they’ve hidden so well from me?

I can’t say I’m not curious as to what this huge secret is. Thinking of it now, I could tell by the looks on their faces when I heard their conversation that it wasn’t just any old secret. It was important. Maybe even life threatening.

Been there, done that, built the freakin’ amusement park.

I’m more pissed off about them harassing me about my secret though. Really, what gives them the right to interrogate me, corner me, and lie to me all at the same time? I didn’t see any of them wearing nametags that said “God” in bright letters.

And Max. Oh god, he probably thinks he’s so great. Like nothing is better than him. Like he’s the King of a world or something. Stupid, cocky bastard.

I know. Everything that I’m saying is not true. Max cares about me. He was there when I couldn’t find the power to get up. He believed in me. He still believes in me. He never pushed me. He never hounded me about what was wrong. He always knew when to press and when to lie down.

And maybe that’s part of the problem. He knew, he always knew. I didn’t. I still don’t.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if my mother had stayed. Or if my dad was there for me, and became the dad he should have been. What would I be like? How different would I be? Would I still bitch about my life?

I know I would.

It’s like purple ketchup, you see. People are terrified of having purple ketchup because it’s just not normal. For the whole of your life, you’ve eaten red ketchup. It’s always been red. Until they came out with green and purple ketchup. Now people are just detested by the thought of different colours for ketchup. But what if purple ketchup had come first? I bet then people would be freaked out by the red stuff, when in fact, it’s all the same stuff, just different colours. Tastes the same. Smells the same. Just looks different.

So what if my dad had beat the shit out of me before my mom left? Or if my mom died before she got the chance to leave? Or what if my family found its happiness after all of this shit had gone down? It doesn’t really matter, because in the end, it’s all the same. It still happened. I’m still scarred.

But here’s the funny thing.

I’m still breathing too.

And for that, I should be grateful. Besides, if I hadn’t experienced what I have, I would have never gone to Roswell. I would have never have met Max, or Kyle. I would never have seen Alex and Michael again. Hell, I would have never shown Max and Kyle the light. That would have been bad. How sheltered those boys would have been without the excellence of Krispy Kremes.

I know. This obsession is getting really unhealthy.

So here’s my new reasoning. Maybe it’s time for me to stop hiding in my past, and start looking at my future. Sure, ever since I went to Roswell I’ve had to remind myself that this was my new chance. My big break to make things all right. I guess it’s time I actually do that. Roswell actually possesses things, people that I’m not quite sure I want to live without. I’m not even sure if I can live without them.

I love Max Evans.


You know what’s even creepier?

I trust him.

And even creepier than that?

Somehow, somewhere deep inside I trust and love all of them. Maria with her quirky attitude. Alex with his soothing smile, and comforting music. Michael with his loud, but persistent worry. Tess with her sly character, but warm concern. Kyle with his calm exterior, and perverted comments. Even Isabel with her bitchy, absolute hatred for me.

And Max. My Max. Always there, always caring, always looking after me, always knowing. I love him. He loves me. And we all love each other.

Wow, now isn’t this just a happy Brady Bunch moment?

Sure, we’ve got our secrets. I have mine. They have theirs. But I’m ready to take that final step. I just hope they’re ready to take that step with me.

There’s something I have to do first though. If I really plan on moving with my future, it’s time I start to put away my past. And there’s one way I can do that.

Throwing my chocolate bar wrapper into the garbage can, I stand up and start moving my legs. I sling my backpack over my shoulders. Turning my walk into a quick sprint, I escape the childhood innocence of the neighborhood park. The jelly that are my legs begin to sore up, but I ignore the pulsing of it, and keep up their present exercise.

It doesn’t take long. It doesn’t take long at all. This house. It’s sitting there, staring at me mockingly. A house I grew to love and hate, all at the same time. A house that holds memories, pain, and blood stains. Its appearance is such a drastic contrast against the houses beside it. Its lawn is long, losing it green appeal, and I’m sure that weeds are embedded deep within. A large wooden plank covers the tall door, blocking any sort of entrance. I’m not fazed by this blockade, and slowly make my way up the pathway. I should be scared, shouldn’t I? But I’m not. I’m tired, that’s all. I’m just ready to get this over with.

I don’t even try going through the front way, and I walk towards the backyard. I know people would be suspicious if they saw me, but hey, if they want to call the cops, go ahead.

I ignore everything around me, and just focus on what I want to do. Surprisingly, the back door is not boarded up. I shrug my shoulders, not caring to think of reasoning. I quickly make my way to the door, and touch the doorknob. I shiver at the touch, and I feel an overwhelming sensation of upchucking.

Swallowing down whatever threatens to come up, I whip the door open. Amazingly, it’s unlocked. I peek my head inside and take a look. All is clear. Taking a deep breath, I actually put my foot inside this time. Well, I’m not dead yet.

That’s supposed to be a good thing, right?

I take another step, and hear the familiar creaking of aged stairs. I almost grin at the recognizable sound. I begin to creep forward, still not quite ready to let myself go. That is, until I realize that nothing has changed. Everything is where it was when I left. The kitchen table that I spent time doing homework on is still sitting idly in the middle of the room. Taking a full step inside the kitchen, I take a more detailed look around the room. Nothing is different. Just more dustier. Lots and lots of dust. I bet we have a whole family of bunnies in here, plus their distant relatives.

I begin to relax, my surroundings feeling so much more familiar. I walk towards the opening that connects the kitchen to the living room, but not without letting my fingers wipe across the filthy table. I flippantly wipe my hands on my pants and continue into the other room. The cushioned couch sits there lazily, with its own collection of dust gathering. I see the television resting on the floor, and I can just imagine some kid writing “WASH ME” on the grimy screen. I smile at the sight. Television was the one luxury I had while my life had fallen down the shitter.

I swiftly make my way up the stairs, and down the hallway that stores the bedrooms. I go in the first bedroom on the left, and flick on the lights, which of course by now, aren’t working. Oh well. I can see enough.

My bedroom. My small twin bed sits against the far wall, its old, torn blanket sitting quietly. I sigh, and go to sit upon it. Creaky, old, and tough, just the way I remember it. It’s calming in its own disgusting way. Beside the bed is a pile of books that I collected over the span of three years. There’s not that many. On top of the stack is my first aid book.

I kneel down beside the bed, taking a closer look at my books. I touch the plastic cover of my first aid book, praising it silently. This book saved me from a lot of infections, and prolonged pain. I’m serious.

Beneath it is a few old, used books I had bought or people had given to me. The Outsiders, To Kill a Mockingbird, and, of course, A Wrinkle in Time. Classics, I tell you. Classics.

I finger each of the books, smiling at the protected time they had given me. Time where I could live in them, instead of the hellish world that I had actually been living. Good old Atticus, and his great faith in people. Or Ponyboy and his journey into becoming a man, and understanding the hard facts of life. Or even Meg and her discovery of how strong love can be.

I was so engrossed in my recollection of memories that I didn’t feel it. I didn’t expect it. I couldn’t even stop it if I tried.

The cold, hard metal of a gun being pressed up against the back of my head.

“Hello, sweetheart.”

Oh god.


Isabel’s POV


It’s consuming. It’s terrifying. It’s menacing. It’s absolutely vicious.

How does one live with guilt? And what about the point at which the guilt enters your life? What do you do? How do you fight it?

I never meant to bring Kyle into any of this. Never. It was just a fling at first. He was just someone who taught me how to have fun, without watching over my shoulder every second. I could just be Isabel Evans, not some royal princess from far away. It was invigorating. To not be someone I didn’t want to be.

My former life self was, or rather, is the shackle that keeps me from reaching the territory of the sane. I am not her. I will never be her. I don’t even want to be her.

Yet, for some reason, I am her. Does that make sense?

She keeps herself chained and bonded to my new soul, haunting and taunting me at every corner. Every time I think I’ve finally gained my complete independence, she shows up and pulls me in a different direction. Her thoughts, her mind, her conscience.

I don’t want to be guilty anymore. I don’t want her guilt or mine. She brought the downfall of her entire family. Everyone who ever meant anything to her, and she brought them their death. She got her brother and king killed because she fell foolishly in love with Kivar. Her intended was murdered at the hands of her lover. Her sister and friend was crushed by the guards of her lover. She was brought to death by the vicious repercussions of her lover.

Max continually tells me that I’m not her. I will never be her. I’ve apologized for everything Vilandra has done, but he always refuses them, because he says I don’t have anything to apologize for. But I do.

I’m sorry for what she did to him in our past life. I’m sorry for who I’ve become in this life. I’m sorry for ruining everything. I’m sorry for risking lives. I’m sorry for being who I am.

I’m sorry for almost getting Kyle killed.

He didn’t know. Kyle, that is. He didn’t know who or what I really was. And really, there was no reason for him to know. He was just a friend of mine, who soon became a boyfriend. He made me feel human. He made me feel worthy enough to have friends, and have a boyfriend, and just be able to be a normal teenager. He taught me how to love someone and still love yourself.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like we were soul mates or anything. Kyle isn’t one for true love and roses and chocolates and such. Hell, he’s content with sitting on the couch, scratching his ass, and chugging a beer with the football game on. He’s your typical male. Always has been, always will be.

It was a normal night that night. Kyle and I were just going to the movies, probably to make out during Orange County. Nothing big. Sure, we had our alien problems going on, but Kyle was clueless, and I just needed a night to be normal.

That night ended in anything BUT normal.

Because of my naïve wants, Kyle was close to lying in a pool of blood and breathing his last breath.

It was the single, most horrifying moment of my life.

Kyle always acted as if it were no big deal. Sure, he was shocked at first and a little scared, but then he realized what it was like to be us. He felt what we felt. He knew we didn’t want to be any sort of alien royalty. We wanted to be like him. Normal.

So really, I’m not trying to be a bitch. I really am trying to protect Liz. She doesn’t need this. She doesn’t need to look over her shoulder for the rest of her life. She’s got enough problems. Kyle hasn’t watched a football game since he was inducted into our group of alien misfits. Liz deserves more than this. She deserves more than the guilt, the running, and the double-checking.

I let Kyle get hurt last time. I refuse to let another person get hurt this time. Even if she could one day be my very best friend. I can’t handle any more guilt like that. I just can’t.

Part Twelve

“Dad.” My voice is uncertain, and I can feel my heart starting to beat faster than a damn dog chasing after an ill-fated cat.

“Did you miss me, honey?” He whispers sadistically into my ear, and I cringe by the obvious venom in his voice. That, and from the pungent aroma of alcohol that vibrates from his mouth.

“What are you doing?” I whisper back, knowing I would not have been able to speak loudly without cracking.

“Didn’t you miss me, dearest daughter?” I tightly close my eyes, knowing that his bogus affection could lead to the pulling of that trigger.

I’m not ready to die yet.

I haven’t seen the world yet.

I haven’t been able to inform people I want to be buried with a box of Krispy Kremes.

I haven’t gone to Vegas yet and blown my whole vacation money on the card tables.

I haven’t had sex yet. That’s a big one. I don’t want to die a virgin.

I haven’t made amends with two of my best friends. Will they still care about me when I’m dead? Yes. Of course they will. I can’t die without telling them I love them.

I can’t die without telling Max I love him and I need him. I haven’t said I’m sorry yet.

I haven’t read enough Oprah book club novels yet.

I haven’t even tried weed yet.

I’m not ready to die.

“Please, dad…” I plead, unable to continue. What do you say to a father who sticks a gun up against your head? I’ll do anything you want? Too late for that. If he really wants me dead, all it takes is the pull of the trigger. And obviously, I’m completely expendable if he’s willing to point a gun at me, his own fucking daughter.

“You look a lot like your mother, you know,” he states. Slowly I feel the metal hardness of the gun pull away from the back of my head, and I let out a relieved sigh. Sure, he could still kill me, but it’s better than him trying to ram that thing up into my cranium.

“Your mother always said you’d make us proud one day, and how smart you were. She said you were beautiful, and no matter what happened, you’d always be her little baby.” Dad let out a hefty sigh. “Too bad I had to kill her.”


“What?” I whisper quietly, my heart already fluttering into thoroughly broken pieces. Tears quickly gather at the corners of my eyes, and begin to trickle down my cheeks.

He killed my mother.

“Oh don’t cry, my little Lizzie.” His voice is mocking me now, and I wish I had that gun. I wish I could be the one pointing it at him. I wish I could pull the goddamn trigger and make him pay for everything’s he has done to me. For everything he has done to my mother.

“Did you know you had a filthy rich grandmother?” He asks me. I stay motionless, still paralyzed by the scene that has laid itself upon my already troubled shoulders. I can’t even turn to look at him.

“Yup, a rich grandmother, and she died when you were young. You wouldn’t remember her. She hated me, and always told Katie she could do better. She kept putting on the ‘woe is me’ act, telling all of her stuck-up, snob friends that her only daughter married scum.” Dad nearly spit all of his words out with absolute disgust.

“But I showed her. I got myself a well paying job, proved to you and Katie that I could take care of my family like a real man. I paid the bills, went to work everyday, changed your diapers, and still that bitch wouldn’t approve of me.” I feel the bed beside me sink, and I know Dad has sat down.

“She died, thank god. But that stupid slut left all of her money to your mother, with direct orders that she not give me one cent. Katie was to either pass it on to you, or leave me, taking you with her. I couldn’t have anything. I was so pissed off, and Katie did her best to try and calm me down. She kept telling me that the money didn’t matter, and that we were fine by ourselves. So with her reassurance, I went back to work. Kept up the whole family man deal.

“Then she met Brian.” I could sense the hardening of my father’s voice, and I could just imagine the narrowing of his eyes. “He put stupid dreams into her head, dreams of leaving us. He told her she was better of without me. Apparently she was better off without you too.” I cringe at his words. He knows exactly where to hit me.

“So she left us. The funny thing was, she didn’t take any of the money. I didn’t know that, of course, until a few months after. The amazing thing that I found out when I was in jail was that she left it in a nice little bank account, waiting for her precious daughter when she turned eighteen. How fucking sweet.”

“So you killed her?” I cry out, spinning around to glare at him. “You killed her so you get the fucking money? Now you’re going to kill me? That’s what you’re going to do, isn’t it!” My voice is shrill now, screaming at him at the top of my lungs. And he just sits there, dumbly, looking at me. Slowly his lips form a sly smile, and his eyes start to dance.

“Maybe your mother was right. You are smart,” he says to me. The gun is still pointed at me, but loosely. He’s not ready to kill me yet.

What child can say this in their lifetime?

My father wants to kill me.

But not yet, of course. He needs to tell me his story. Heaven forbid that I just rest with some peace.

“You see, Brian owed some people a lot of money. Some very mean people. And I was sick of going to work every fucking day and supporting your mother and you. I never wanted to be that man, but your grandmother was convinced I was a no-good. But when I met Brian, it didn’t matter what she or your mother thought. I wanted that fucking money, and that’s all that there was to it.” He gazed off, as if he were remembering a fond memory.


“We met at a bar, Brian and I. Decided that when we got the money, we would split it evenly. Figured that Katie would just take the money with her when she split, and Brian could convince her to… give it to him.” He waves the gun in the air, indicating he would have held my mother at gunpoint.

“You were just going to leave me, weren’t you?” I spit at him bitterly.

“Aw, darling, don’t be like that,” he chuckled. “I probably would have left you some money. You would have been fine on your own, always the independent type.”

Rage. Pure, fucking, boiling rage.

“I WAS THE FUCKING INDEPENDENT TYPE BECAUSE YOU WERE A BULLSHIT FATHER!” I stand up, with fury burning in my limbs. I ignore the harsh threat of his gun, and stare down at him from his spot on the bed.

“Do you know what you did to me?” I growl at him. “Do you know what I’ve suffered because of you? I almost died because of you. You almost killed me. I’m the most fucked up person because of YOU.” I let out an agonized scream, and grab the first aid book that is lying on the floor. With all of the strength I can muster from my puny body, I chuck the thing across the room, letting the loud thud sound against the wall. My breathing comes out severe and quick, but I’m not willing to let any more tears fall, not for him. Grabbing another book, the work of S.E. Hinton hits the wall.

He begins to clap at me, a mocking grin placed on his face. Soon another chuckle rises from his throat, and he’s looking at me with some sort of sick admiration.

“That was quite the show, kid,” he says to me. I turn my eyes on him, narrowing them with intense fury. “You can put on a performance just like your ol’ mom.”

Continuing my glare at him, I snarl, “Shouldn’t you be rotting away in prison somewhere?”

He waves his free hand in the air, like prison was just another fad. “Brian never went to jail, and he found out that all that dough was in an account for you, he busted me out.”

“Oh fucking great,” I curse to myself. “You’re not only threatening your daughter with an armed weapon, you’re a fucking fugitive.”

“Boy, you sure got lippy over the past year, kid,” dad says with an irritated tone. The gun is now neatly lying on his lap. I wonder if it could suddenly fire and shoot his bloody cock and balls off.

That would be a glorious moment.

“So where’s your partner then?” I ask him, ignoring his previous comment.

“Dead,” he replies nonchalantly, as if it didn’t really matter. “I don’t feel like sharing the money anymore.” He shrugs his shoulders. “I mean, he was a great partner, but extra weight. He’s the one who cut your mom’s brakes, and I don’t want that coming back to haunt me, so I got rid of him.”

Wait a second. This is one of those really bad murder movies, right? Maybe if I click my heels together, or wiggle my nose, or snap my fingers, this will all just disappear.

No? All right.

“So you’re going to kill me,” I say frankly. Dad grins, and then nods at me. I’m not sure if I shudder at the sight or just sigh with frustration. Life sucks.

“Lovely,” I mutter to myself.

“I just need something from you first,” he says to me, standing up. I cringe as I watch his tall figure tower over my petite one. But for some odd reason, I’m not quite that freaked anymore. My dad wants to kill me, fine, whatever. Just another day in the life of Liz Parker.

“Oh yeah? What’s that? And what makes you think I’m going to give it to you?”

“Because,” dad says slyly, “If you don’t, I’ll go back to that piss ass town of Roswell, and off everyone of your little friends.” He brings his hand back up again, the gun basking in his evil glow. “C’mon, Lizzie, you didn’t think I would forget my homework? Of course Brian checked up on you.” He takes a step towards me, and leans down towards my ear. With a frightening breath, he whispers, “Maybe I’ll just start with your friend, Max Evans.”

I quickly draw in a breath. No. Not Max. Not any of them. They’ve got lives to live, and people that love them. Parents who love and need them. I’m expendable, I always will be.

“Fine, what do you want?” I growl. He grins again, and steps back. He grabs one of my arms, and drags me out of the bedroom. With fast steps, he hauls me down the hallway into his old bedroom. On his ancient wood desk, a few sheets of paper are scattered.

“Sign.” He points to the first sheet on the desk, and I lean in to take a closer look at it. It seems to be some sort of legal document. Shit. The bastard wants me to sign over the account my mother left for me. That fucking bastard. The one thing that my mother left for me, and he wants me to hand it over to him.

Well, lets see, what are my options? I either give him the money he so desperately wants and then let him shoot my brains out so they splatter across the grimy wall of his bedroom. OR I cannot sign the form, let him kill me still, and then knife all of my friends, one after the other. Then again, how do I know if he’ll kill them? He could just shoot me and then run off to hide in the woods like a fugitive midget. If midgets were fugitives. Are they?

Anyways, I don’t know what he’ll do. Which scares me, because of the off chance that he DOES go and kill the people who actually mean stuff to me. I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t put Michael, and Alex, and Maria, and Kyle, and Tess, and Max in jeopardy. I couldn’t let Nancy and Jeff get harmed. Hell, I’d feel bad if my dad killed Isabel.

My point is that I can’t take that risk. I won’t. The money doesn’t mean anything to me, anyways. Its just paper. Fuck, he can have all of the money. It really doesn’t matter to me. By the time he has the money, I’ll be too busy getting eaten away by maggots to do anything about it. Perhaps if fate decides not to be entirely cruel, the police’ll shoot him down before he even reaches the money.

So I lean over and pick up the pen to sign it. He can have the money. Every last fucking cent of it.

I just hope he gets so many paper cuts that he bleeds to death.

“What a good daughter you are,” he whispers mockingly in my ear. I cringe in disgust, but fight back the oncoming tears with every muscle in my body. I won’t let him see me broken. He can scar me for the rest of my life, but he’ll never break me. He’ll never break my soul.

My body is merely a vessel.

“I want to say I’ll miss you, but I’m going to be too busy sipping my martini on my yacht. But I do want to say thank you. Couldn’t have done this without you.” I sense the pleased, sadistic grin on his face, and then the soul-freezing pistol pointed against my head.

“Goodbye, Lizzie.”

So lets review.

I’ve just found out my grandmother, whom I’ve never met, was filthy rich, and left all of her money to my mother. My mother met Brian, who was secretly partners with my father to steal my mom’s money, and eventually she left with him. But little did dad know, she didn’t take the money. Brian cuts mom’s breaks, and she dies. Dad finds out she actually left it all in an account for me, but he’s stuck in jail by then. Brian busts him out, dad kills him, and now we’re here. And he’s about to shoot my fucking brains out.


And I have only one thought before he fires his the gun:

I hope he chokes on a Krispy Kreme one day.

posted on 18-May-2002 3:17:05 AM
Part Thirteen

Have you ever woken up from a dream, and wondered if it was really a nightmare? Or have you woken up from a nightmare and wondered if it was really just a dream? What differentiates a dream from a nightmare, and a nightmare from a dream? Are you just supposed to know?

People say when they face a life-threatening situation they watch their life “pass before their eyes”. But what the hell does that mean? Do images and memories float past them, and they just remember things that meant a lot to them? Or do their favourite song that describes their whole entire life play and make them reminisce over their life? What actually happens? Are these people, in fact, lying?

I don’t think my life “passed before my eyes”. Besides, what would I really have seen or heard or thought? Yay, my mother was rich, but still left me? Hurrah, my dad only did the family act because he wanted to prove my grandmother wrong? Or how about that he’s willing to take my life in order to get some cash?

Parenting. I’m not sure I understand the concept. Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of bond that forms between a parent and a child? One that can’t ever be broken? It’s a responsibility and duty of a parent to love their child, or at least it should be. I think that there should be parent cops. Not parents that are cops, but cops that arrest parents for being assholes. I’m serious here, cause at least then my dad would have been still stuck in jail.

And I’d be bullet less.

Are prison guards really that dense enough to let a man like my father escape? Why didn’t they just shoot him on site? It’d make my life a hell of a lot easier.

Oh, right, getting back to my final moments. It’s surreal, having your own father pointing a gun at your head and actually pull the trigger. I want to tell you that he felt too guilty, dropped the gun, and I’m perfectly okay now. But I can’t. Because he didn’t. And he shot me. Right through the head.





Wait, I guess the “ow” would come after the “bang”.


It’s not like in the movies. It doesn’t happen in slow motion, and your head doesn’t slowly turn from the impact of the bullet. Well, it could of, but I didn’t really feel it. It’s quick. Incredibly quick. It’s so quick, that I don’t know how people think that they have enough time to flash lives before their eyes.

And it’s dark. So terribly, and horrifyingly dark.

Black. Everything turns black, and in some ways, it brought me comfort. It was like I could finally let everything go, and it wouldn’t matter. I could just… rest in peace. It’s what I have wanted for so long.

Isn’t it?

No. I need to stop this compulsive lying thing.

Besides, I’m not really dead.

Or am I?

Perhaps I’m a special type of ghost who can tell stories about her previous life, and warn people not to fall into the same traps I did.

Nah. Sounds like too much effort.

Yup, I’m alive. A-okay. I think. Except for the immense throbbing in my head, which, not surprisingly, won’t go away. Or, at least, not anytime soon.

I’m in the between stage right now, though. The conscious, but not conscious stage. Which is why I ask how I know whether something is a dream or a nightmare? Or how I know I’m actually dreaming at all, or that my reality is actually just playing out in a dreamlike motion?

I remember opening my eyes, and finding my hands tightly grasped by people. Then I remember looking beside me, and finding the carpet soaked in blood. Lots and lots of blood. My blood. Blood that seeped out of my head, onto the carpet, so I could stare at it and realize that, yes, indeed, my father actually tried to kill me.

But hey, I’m dead. I’m not supposed to be seeing this, right?

That’s when I realize I could possibly be in the midst of Ghost 2, just minus the Whoopi Goldberg, and pottery/sex scene.

Damn. That sex probably would have been hot too…

Damn being a virgin.

Oh well.

So after seeing my blood splattered all over the carpet beside me, my stomach began to fight and I started to throw up anything and everything that could have possibly been in my stomach. The smell was repulsive, and absolutely disgusting. I’m pretty sure I passed out from the nauseating stench of my own puke. It was just too much. The blood and the barf and the smell… and the blood again.

Like I said, I’m pretty sure I passed out after that. I remember voices though. Many voices. Whisperings, shouting, screeching, crying, shrieking, screaming… so many voices that just seemed to buzz around. I couldn’t tell if I was dreaming them or not.


“Did it work?”

“I-I don’t know…”

“That took up a lot of energy.”

“Get a cool, damp cloth! Her forehead still feels too warm!”

“She’s got a pulse! Faint, but steady.”

“I need to… sit… down…”

“C’mon, Liz… you can do this…”

“I’m so tired.”

“We’re here for you, Liz, all of us.”

Things just seem like one big fuzzy happening to me. It’s weird, because I’m not sure if I’m hallucinating or if this is really happening. Maybe my whole life is just one big dream/nightmare. Perhaps everything that’s happened to me is all a part of my creative imagination. Maybe I’m in a coma right now, and my parents never split up. Maybe they’re trying to get me to pull through, so we can be a family again. A normal, functioning family.

How could he do this to me?

I’m his own daughter.

Maybe blood isn’t so thick, as morality seems to think it is.

I remember waking up again though. It was hazy, and terribly unorganized, with blurry dots and colours. But I could feel sensations pulsing throughout my whole body, and I almost felt refreshed, but restrained. Restrained by the indistinct view through my eyes.

I could feel them though. The hands. The warm, supportive hands holding my petite ones, hands latched onto my arms, a few resting on my leg. They all were emanating an encouraging, loving vibe through me. It made me smile. It made me smile so much, that I knew I had to open my eyes to see what was touching me, even if just for a moment or two.

My right eyelid peeked open, slowly, cautiously. I tried to regain focus, but it was difficult, and almost painful. But I did it anyways. My eye trailed down the length of my arm, to the resting hand on top of mine. A figure lay beside my hand in a hunched over position, and, by the looks of it, was resting. I mustered up all the strength I could, and gave an exceedingly light squeeze to the hand in mine. I then let my eye focus on the figure again, waiting for him to lift his head. I’m sure I heard a low, exhausted moan, and the figure’s head rose. The moment our eyes met, he smiled at me, though his eyes showed his weary condition. He squeezed my hand back, and rested his head against the palm of my hand.

I don’t remember much after that. My eyes closed and I fell back into this unconscious world

But I remember his voice whispering to me before I fell, his warming words.

“We love you, Liz,” Michael whispered.

I’ve been floating around in this dream world for so long now, I’m not sure if this is actually my reality. Everything is just so… surreal. Blurry, hazy, and indescribable. I have to wake up. I just have to.

So with all the strength I’ve built up in my body, I make my body come to again. My eyes peek open, but this time around, it’s both of my eyes opening. It feels as if I’m just waking up from a long nights sleep, but without that refreshing feeling. It just feels sore, and unused. I feel sore and unused.

There are quiet voices, whispering somewhere out there. I’m afraid to open my eyes, in fear I won’t like what I see. Am I in heaven? Or have I been banished to hell? Or, like stated earlier, is this just one big dream? Maybe there is no Max, or Isabel, or Tess, or Maria, or Kyle. Perhaps they’re just a figment of my imagination, something I created from the memory of my time with Alex and Michael. Who am I really? Maybe I’m not Liz Parker. Maybe she’s just a character I made up in this delusional mind of mine.

What? It could happen.

So I’m waking up. And it sucks, because I don’t know if whatever’s out there is better than what is in here. My father just shot me over money. Shot in the head. Something like that hurts. Really hurts. So what out there could possibly motivate me enough to actually open my eyes and take another breath in this godforsaken planet?

Max, for one.

So I open my eyes, because I know he’s out there. I know my friends are out there. And I know Michael was talking to me. He was. This isn’t a dream. I don’t want to dream. I don’t even like dreams.

My hand, it’s covered. But it’s my left hand this time. I can feel my strength returned to a higher level than previously. Both of my eyes are opened this time, and I take a weary glance around.

I’m still in my father’s old bedroom, but now on his bed.

The same bed he fucked different, stray women in.

The same bed he fucked my mother in.

The same bed that fucker slept in.

So I scream. I scream and wail and cry and begin to thrash around on the bed. I can’t be in this bed. Not when he did what he did. Not when I know what happened so many nights on this bed.

Hands try to hold me down, perhaps even trying to calm me, but they make me even more frantic. Don’t they realize what they’re doing? I can’t touch this bed, I can’t lie here and rest. I can’t rest. Not with him possibly alive, not with him still haunting me.

But he’ll always haunt me. My dreams, my nightmares. They’re all the same now. He’s in them all. Whether it’s pushing me on a swing, or pushing me down a set of stairs, he’s always there, staring at me with his mocking eyes and sardonic laugh.

No more, please.

No more.

I’m really getting sick of this. Being awake, not being awake. Fully conscious, not fully conscious. It’s frustrating.

Time. It’s a funny little bugger. You never realize how much you have left, until you have none left at all. It’s not something you can tell by just reading your watch. It’s not something you can tell by hearing the tick tocks of a wall clock. It’s not something you can tell by the way the sunlight falls. It’s so much more than that.

It’s the hugs you give. The kisses you receive. The quiet whispers from your best friend. The favourite bedtime story you remember from when you were a kid, and repeat it to your son or daughter. The song you dance to with your first crush. The song you leave on repeat after the your first real breakup. The brownies you make with your mom and then eat during a chick flick.

The music you play with your Alex’s.

The rolling of eyes directed towards your Michael’s.

The Krispy Kremes you share with your Kyle’s.

The Maria’s you have to giggle with.

The shopping trips you take with your Tess’s.

The first, soft kiss you share with your Max.

Even the disheartening glares you receive from your Isabel’s.

So, no, time is not measured by the hand of a mechanical being. It’s measured by what’s important to you, and what makes you a better person by simply just being there.

And I have not had enough time. And I won’t let dad take any more time away from me.

So I shake off the sleepiness and the pull out of the dream world. No more. No fucking more.


I moan in response.


And then I wince at the screech. That’s definitely Maria.


More wincing.

“Maria, shut the hell up.” Ok, so I sound bitchy. Do you blame me?

I guess it’s time to open my eyes, huh?

Man, this is really starting to get repetitive. I feel like a damn Britney Spears CD.

“Hey guys,” I croak as people start to fill into the room. I take a look around and realize I’m back in my old bedroom. I let out a drained yawn and snuggle back into my blankets. I’m waking up, but I didn’t say that my bed wasn’t comfortable. Ok, actually, it isn’t, but still, it’s better than a slab of concrete.

My eyes jump from person to person. I can’t conceal the smile that spreads across my face. They’re all here. All of them. They all look… freaked and worried and relieved, all at the same time. It’s amusing. I wonder if I started to recite my ABC’s for no reason, what they would…

Wait a minute.

Back the fucking Costco truck up.

Why the hell are they here?

And why am I alive?

I guess I really should have pondered that last question a little bit earlier.

“Guys?” I squeak with a cracked voice.

I heard and felt that gun go off. I know he killed me. I know he did.

And yet, here I am, living, breathing, blinking.

Holy fucking shit.

“Holy fucking shit.”

Kyle lets out a chuckle, obviously amused by my cursing. I want to smile at him, but I’m too busy frantically searching for an answer in my mind.

“Holy fucking shit.”

Kyle chuckles again, and grins at me. “You care to elaborate, Liz, or is ‘holy fucking shit’ the extent of your vocabulary?”

“I should be dead!” I exclaim loudly at them. Kyle’s back straightens and the joking presence he held before quickly disappears.

“But you’re not, Lizzie,” Alex says softly. I whip my head towards him, and glare.

“Don’t call me that,” I say in a low, growling voice. He looks surprised by my fierceness and unconsciously takes a small step backwards, bumping into Michael. I continue to glare at each of them. I don’t know why, or what, but this picture is not making sense at all.

I slowly make my way out of bed, quick to ensure that I don’t make any swift movements. I don’t know how I plan on making it past seven people, but if I have to jump out the window, I will. Don’t tempt me.

So I guess I don’t trust them so much.

What do I do? What have I been doing? This is my life, and I don’t even know what the fuck is happening.

I can’t fight that scream that engulfs my throat. It’s fighting its way out of my mouth, and soon the room is filled with the strangled cry of my quickly fading sanity. Tears soon fall down my face, and I’m backing away from the whole group, finding a wall soon bumping against my back. They keep staring at me, wide-eyed, and completely unsure of what to do.

“NO! NO MORE!” I scream. Clutching my head in my hands, I slowly sink down against the wall. Damn my hands. They can’t cover my eyes, my ears, and my mouth all at the same time. It’s all too much. This is all too much. Don’t they see that?

“Please… no more…”

I’m crouched against the wall, my head firmly placed against my knees, and I can’t fight the tears pouring down my face. I can’t. I just can’t.

Then that familiar warmth surrounds me again.

The arms of an angel

The love of a man.

The strength of a king.

The comfort of a teddy bear.

“He’s gone, Liz,” the voice whispers into my ear. My body doesn’t stop shaking though. It won’t stop. I wish everything would just stop.

“He won’t ever hurt you again, Liz,” another voice calls out.

“You don’t need to be afraid of us.” It’s a girls voice this time. An Isabel Evans’ voice, but without its usual cruelness.

“I DON’T WANT TO BE DREAMING! STOP IT! STOP TEASING ME!” I shout again, but it comes out muffled, as my mouth was aimed at my knees.

“It’s not a dream.” It’s the voice beside again, with the strong arms. They pull me closer, and I feel myself crumbling in them. I just want this to be real, whether it’s for a second or for a lifetime.

“I’ll never let him hurt you again. I won’t let you get hurt again,” he whispers to me in a broken voice. I just cry. What else can I do? Let myself be sucked into this dream, and just be disappointed when I wake up? No. I won’t let myself do that. So I’m just going to sit here and wallow in my own misery.

One day I’ll wake up, and realize my life is just one big dream.

“Max…” I moan quietly. I try to turn my body, but find it tightly compacted in the muscle of my familiar, comfort arms. The soft touch of a finger against my cheek warms me, and I let out a small sigh.


I moan at the call of my name, knowing that answering would mean having to face consciousness again.

My eyes slowly flutter open and I see Max staring at me with a mix of worry and relief.

“Good morning, beautiful,” he whispers to me, softly.

I groan this time, and snuggle my face farther into the crook of his arm. It’s too early for a damn conversation. My mind isn’t allowed to function at this point in time.

Then again, I have a few questions.

“Shouldn’t I be dead?” I mumbled through the fabric of his evidently long sleeved shirt.

“Yes,” he replies quietly, “but we healed you.”

“Oh? How?”

“With our alien powers.” I nod absentmindedly, curling into his arms even more so.

“Nifty.” I yawn.

“Yeah, I’m an alien king from a solar system totally opposite from this one. I was reincarnated into this life.”

“Cool.” Another yawn.

“Tess was my wife on Antar, Isabel my sister, and Michael my second-in-command.”

“Wonderful.” I rub my eyes tiredly.

“We died in a war, and our people recreated us with our essences, then shipped us off to Earth. We’re the Roswell aliens.”

“Sweet.” I wrap my arms around my pillow, which is presently Max.

“Then our enemy who had killed us on Antar, came to Earth and tried to defeat us. By then, Alex and Maria knew our secret. Our enemy, Kivar, tried to kill Kyle, and we had to let him in on our secret. Kivar went after Kyle because he and Isabel were dating.”

“Interesting.” Another big yawn.

“We had to kill Kivar. He’s dead now, but we still have to hide our identity in case the FBI looks for us, or any other people who don’t want aliens around.”

“Uh huh.” I’m dozing off to dreamland again.

Max becomes quiet for a few minutes, and my body is quickly drifting back into the land of the sleepy. He’s comfortable, you know. Like one big, giant teddy bear. And he smells great.

“I love you.”

Oh no. He did not. He so DID NOT.

My eyes fly open and I turn to look him in the face. “You what-a-what now?”

“I’m in love with you.”

I rub my eyes, and try to bring myself to full awareness.

“No, you’re not.”

“Yes, I am.”

“No. No, you’re not.”

“Yes. Yes, I am.”



“Stop it.”

“Believe me.”







I sigh, and pull myself out of his embrace. I know we both feel the immediate loss of each other’s body.

Wait a second.

“Did you just say you’re an alien?” Max nods at me.

Oh fucking great.

“Oh fucking great.”

Max cocks his head, and looks at me, bewildered. “What?”

“You’re an alien, and you’re in love with me.”

“I’m also a king of another planet.”

“Oh yeah, can’t forget that,” I add sarcastically. He just shrugs his shoulders.

“I don’t see anything wrong about that. I’m just like you, but I have some powers.” I raise my eyebrows.

“Powers?” Max nods again. He waves his hand over the front of his shirt, and the colour goes from a black to an emerald green. When he waves his hand again, it turns back to black.

Holy shit. Max is a fucking alien.

“You’re a fucking alien.”

“I thought we established this fact already, Liz.”

“Yeah… but…. you’re a fucking alien.”

“Well, technically, I’m not a fucking alien-”

“Shut up, Max.”

“Yes ma’am.”

The funny thing is, this alien thing? It doesn’t freak me out. I should be screaming my head off right now, heading for the hills, right? That’s what a normal person would do. They would freak out and call the police ASAP. Or the loony bin, telling them that they just gained a new patient. Or perhaps, two new patients.

But I’m not normal. And I’m not freaked. Hell, I’m not even scared. Max being who he is saved my life. Max saved my life.

“You saved my life, Max,” I whisper quietly. I’m breathing right now, because of him.

“Not just me, Liz.” Max inches closer to me. “Tess, Michael, Isabel and I. All four of us, we healed you.” His hand moves up to my face and he cups the side of my face. I don’t deny him.

“Why?” I whisper.

“Because we love you and need you.” Max leans in even further. “I need you.”

“Oh my god, Max… I was dying. I was dying. My father had gun to my head and he shot me in the head.” I turn my teary eyes towards his, all of this hitting me once again, for probably the millionth time in the past few hours.

“My own father tried to kill me.” Max’s arms surround me again, and he pulls me close to his body. I weep in his arms for everything I’ve lost, and everything that my father has given me.


My life is crap, my father has given me crap, I am crap.

Crap, crap, crap.

I hate crap.

“How did you know?” I ask Max, turning my tear stained face upwards to his.

“I just knew.”

Max. He just knows. He always knows.

Why does he always get to know, and I always get to sit with a big pile of crap and confusion?

Part Fourteen

“So he’s dead.”

The group all looks at me with intense worry that I’m going to just flip out at any moment. Well, except for Max, but that’s because he’s got an arm around my shoulders, in preparation for a sudden freak-fest.

They have such faith in my sanity.

“Yeah…” Michael drawls. “I, uh, saw him with the gun, and I blasted him without another thought.” He bites his lip, as if he is nervous recounting this. “I was too late though. He had already fired the gun.”

“There as a great deal of damage from the bullet,” Tess continues with a more factual tone. “Max has the most capability to heal someone, but we had to help him. Your brain isn’t something to be messed with, which is why I think you were still out of it for awhile. The bullet was aimed right at your head, so Max wouldn’t have been able to repair the damage without some help.”

“A joint effort, if you will,” Alex adds. Tess smiles at him appreciatively.

“And still, it drained a lot of our energy,” Michael says.

“Aliens. Healing gunshot wounds. Dead fathers. Dead parents, in general,” I state with a monotonous tone. I drop my head into my hands and sigh. I can’t remain in the room anymore. It’s like the whole room is mocking me, the living room where so many fond memories I have from my childhood were formed. And killed.

I stand up, and shake off all of the worried looks thrown my way.

“I need air,” I mumble as I make my way out of the room, and out of the house.

Taking a deep breath once I reach outside, I stretch my arms way above my head.

So much to take in. Just so much.

How do I feel about this? How am I supposed to feel about all of this? My father technically killed me, and Michael killed him with alien powers. Then he, and the other three aliens, healed me. I’m alive because of aliens. It’s surreal, really.

My dad is dead. He’s gone. There’s nothing left of him. Michael said he just turned to dust and disappeared when his blast hit dad.

Just like that.

Poof. And he’s gone.

My dad is gone. The root of all my problems and all of my misery, gone and dead.

I should be happy about this, shouldn’t I? He’s dead. He deserves nothing but.

He’s my father though. I tried to protect him for a reason, all of those years that I lived with him. I lied and denied any sort of accusation against him. He’s my father. Because of him, I was born.

Then again, because of him, my mother is dead and I died.

Surreal, I tell you.


I turn around to see a hesitant Isabel Evans’ staring at me cautiously. I raise my eyebrow in question. Taking that as her cue to join me, Isabel comes outside and shuts the door behind her. She stares at me for another moment before taking a seat on the front steps. I follow suit and sit down next to her.

“Was there something you wanted to say to me?” I ask her, not wanting to beat around the bush.

“Yeah,” Isabel says quietly. She turns her body towards me, and looks me right in the eye. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being such a bitch to you and pushing you out.”

I shrug. It never really mattered to me, and it certainly doesn’t matter now.

“It’s just that… well, a lot of stuff has happened that’s turned me away from trusting people.” Isabel smiles weakly at me. “That, and the fact that being an alien enables a fear of trusting any sort of human being at all.”

“But you do trust people,” I say to her. “There’s Maria, Alex, and Kyle. You trust them.”

“I trust them now, yeah.” Isabel twines her fingers together, and gazes out in front of her.

“You didn’t before?” I ask curiously. Isabel shakes her head.

“Not at all. For a very long time, Max was the only person I could fully trust. He’s my brother, and I don’t know what I would do without him.” Isabel sighs, and props one elbow up on her knee, setting her chin down on her palm.

Isabel looks over at me, and gives me a small smile.

“I know what they nickname me. Ibby. Ice bitch, courtesy of your cousin, Michael. I’m not angry about it or anything, because most of the time, the name fits me perfectly. I can be the iciest and bitchiest person you’ll ever meet in the entirety of your life.” Isabel heaves another sigh.

“I’m not a bitch for no good reason though. I swear to you, I’m not the bitch I’m sure you think I am.”

I stare dumbly at her for a moment. What does one say to something like that?

“Isabel,” I start. “I don’t think you’re-”

“Liz, don’t lie to me,” she replies with a smirk. “I know I’ve treated you horribly ever since you arrived in Roswell. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if you hated my guts right now.”

I bite my lip. Hard.

I refuse to comment.

Thumper’s father told him that if he didn’t have anything nice to say, he shouldn’t say anything at all.

Sounds like a good idea right about now.

“Well,” Isabel continues, “I hope you can forgive me. I’d really like us to be friends.”

“Why? Just because I know your secret now? You have to trust me now, so you might as well be nice about it?”

Whoops. So much for the not saying anything at all part.

Isabel is quiet for a few moments, as if she’s contemplating the whole world and it’s meaning. I’m slowly leaning over and trying to take a peek at her roots. I wonder if she’s naturally blonde. And I wonder if it’s naturally wavy like that. Think my hair could do that?

“You know, you and me, Liz, we’re a lot alike.”

Bite down the laughter, bite down the laughter.

“I’m sorry, Isabel, but I don’t think we’re alike at all.”

I have a right to be a bitch. I do.

“But we are. Just hear me out. We’re both aliens, just in different senses of the word. I’m an alien in a more literal sense. I am not human, a fact I’ve had to live with my whole life. I will never be like you. I will never be a human being. It’s just simply a fact. I am not physically able to be human. But you, you are human. You can prove it by any sort of blood test or DNA or whatever else.

“But I bet you don’t feel human. No, let me correct myself. I bet you don’t feel normal. And that’s important. Feeling normal. You can never feel normal, or human, because of what you’ve been through. You think people can figure out what’s happened to you, even though you try and hide as best you can. Maybe even sometimes you can fool yourself and think that nobody knows and will never know your secret.

“However, you and I both know, deep down, we’ll always be exposed to the world, like we’re forever branded by our experiences. It’s unsettling and just downright scary.”

I stare at her. She stares back at me. Am I supposed to say something now?

“I don’t think we’re alike at all.” There. That shows HER who’s the boss.

Yes, I agree with you.

It’s DEFINITELY not me.

“I’m sure you mean well,” I say to Isabel as gently as possible. I really don’t need to be making enemies with an alien right now. Especially when her brother and I-

You know what? I’m just not going to finish that sentence.

“But we’re different, we’ve seen different things, we’ve felt different emotions. And really, you don’t want to be categorized beside me. You know you’re really fucked up when you’re similar to me.” I sigh, and tilt my head to see if she’s absorbed anything I’ve said, not that I’ve said much.

Apparently she hasn’t, because she’s about to say something else.

“All my life, I have wanted to be normal. Just a normal, human, teenaged girl, whose biggest problem was finding a dress to wear on her date on Friday night. I wanted to go shopping with my friends, and I wanted to make out with my boyfriend at the movie theatre. I wanted to spend an evening with my parents, without having to run off in the middle of the night.

“But I couldn’t. Everywhere I turned, I had to fight another enemy and overcome another emotional battle. I couldn’t look towards my future, because my past wouldn’t get out my way. I couldn’t even plan for college, or my career, because, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t even going to be alive long enough to have one.

“Kyle. He changed it all for me. He was just so unexpected. Our group, we had just defeated a whole race of aliens called the Skins. We thought things would be totally calm after that, and we could actually start becoming human. That’s why I went out with Kyle. We dated for three weeks before that one night. I know Kyle just thought I was some buxom beauty when we first went out, but it went both ways. I just thought he was some super jock I could finally date because I didn’t have to worry about an alien killing me in my sleep.

“Kyle made me feel so normal, and the funny thing is, he never realized it. Even now, I don’t think he realizes the effect he has on our whole group. Maria and Alex never really got to feel the same ordinariness that Kyle did, because they were with us from the start, which we could never, ever be more grateful for.

“Kyle and I were just going to the movies. No big deal, all teenagers do it. We were out in the parking lot, and I was sure we were going to be late for the movie. We were sitting in his car, making out in the backseat. I was fully decked out in my wrinkled mini skirt, tousled hair, and flushed cheeks, all from the hands of one Mr. Kyle Valenti. He kept telling me not to worry, but I said that it’d be more fun to ‘enjoy’ ourselves in the movie theatre, rather than in his car.

“So we got out of the car. Kyle, of course, had parked in the far back corner of the parking lot. We had barely made it past his car when I heard Kyle shout. And it wasn’t a scared shout… it was suffering, almost animalistic. He was in pain. He was in so much pain. I just remember hearing him scream, then running to his side, and seeing his body writhing on the ground. And the blood… there was just… so much blood… so much…”

Isabel has her head tucked into her hands, covering her face. It’s too late though, because I already saw those tears. And I know those tears. The guilty, heartbreaking tears, that comes fully equipped with some realization that you could have done something. You should have done something. Anything. Anything just to prevent this.

Isabel looks back up at me, her eyes are red and blotchy, but the once bitchy princess attitude is long gone. The pained expression, the salty tears, the swollen eyes… it’s all real. I know they are. I know it from experience.

“I was so scared, Liz. I thought he was going to die. He was going to lie there and die, because of me. I knew it when I looked at him that a human being could have no way inflicted his injury. He had been burnt and harmed by an energy blast from another alien, but the horrifying part was, he was still burning from the inside out.

“He kept crying, and crying, begging me to do something, to call an ambulance, anything. But I couldn’t call an ambulance. It was the first thing I wanted to do, but the last thing I could do. And I’m not a healer. I couldn’t heal him, even if I wanted to. The damage was too much.

“So I called Max. I called him, sobbing to him to the point of hysterics. He kept telling me, ‘Isabel, calm down’ but I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do. Max finally decoded my sobbing frenzy, and told me he’d come right away. It felt so long, just so damn long. I just sat there, shooing away anyone who tried to help, and kept holding Kyle’s hand, blood staining the pavement, Kyle’s clothes, my skirt, and my hands… there was blood everywhere.

“But you know what the scariest part was? Not when Kyle was crying for my help. It was when he was silent, and just stared at me with pure confusion, like he couldn’t understand why I would want him to die. I was so scared and I didn’t want him to die. That was the last thing I wanted. It was all my fault. They were coming after me. They should have gotten me, not Kyle.”

Isabel buries her head back into her knees, with loud, wracking sobs shaking her whole body. I stare at her, unsure of what to do. She just spilled her heart to me, so I guess getting up and getting something to drink wouldn’t be too nice.

Damn. I’m kind of thirsty too.

“Isabel,” I whisper quietly. What do I say?

Isabel looks back up at me. “I never wanted to be some alien princess. The last thing I want to be is an alien warrior princess, donning leather outfits or something outrageous like that. And god, I never wanted to get anyone hurt. Especially Kyle.”

“So what happened? After Kyle got hurt?” I ask, my curiosity overwhelming. That, and to get Isabel to stop crying and whining… er, I mean…

“Max came,” she sniffled, “and he healed Kyle. But we were all so mad. We had narrowed it down, and we knew that it was the work of Kivar. He was on Earth. I just about left that night to go find Kivar, and kick his ass. If he had a problem with Max, Tess, Michael and I, we could handle that. Hell, we fried a whole race of aliens, but Kyle? Kyle was innocent and he had nothing to do with us. He was just a blameless victim.

“Kyle was dragged into our mess after that. The amazing thing was that he never really felt obligated or angry about it. He always said he was honoured to be part of a large conspiracy, instead of being the dumb jock he used to be.”

Isabel smiles to herself, as if cherishing Kyle’s perception of the whole situation.

You know what I think?

Kyle just said that so he could still get into Isabel’s pants.

But hey, that’s just my opinion.

And Max? Well, ain’t he just the saint? This all sounds like a freakin’ commercial to me.

There are some things medicine can cure, for everything else, there’s King Max.

“I hope you understand now, Liz.”


“Understand what?”

“Why I didn’t want to tell you. I didn’t want you to get hurt like Kyle. I couldn’t let another person be dragged into this. And I couldn’t watch Max get hurt if you didn’t accept… us. What we are. The whole group-”

“Isabel. Shut up. Listen to me. I. Don’t. Care.”

Isabel’s eyes go wide, and her jaw drops.

“Isabel, you could have freaking horns on your head, and I wouldn’t give a shit.” I sigh, and roll my eyes at her still shell-shocked face. “I’ve got enough shit going on in my life that you could tell me you’re an elephant in disguise, who was daughter to a pig with Bill Clinton as your father, and I’d just nod my head. I hate to admit it, but you were right. We are alike. We’re both just trying to survive in this world. I’ve got my shit, and you’ve got your shit, but hey, in the end, it’s all just a big pile of shit.”

Isabel gives me a thoughtful look, before breaking out into a sincere grin.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you sooner, Liz,” she says to me with a smirk, although it quickly fades. She bows her head slightly, and softens her voice. “And I’m sorry about your mom and dad.”

I swallow severely. Yep, me again, motherless, and now, fatherless. Again.

The parentless wonder.

You know, it’s not so harsh knowing my dad’s dead or has disappeared or whatever has happened to him. I guess it’s because I never really had him in my life anyways. Maybe when I was much younger, but even then, his heart wasn’t in it. He was only trying to prove my grandmother wrong. He never really loved me. He kept me around as a pawn in this whole game of money.

But I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt. Because it does. I am now parentless. I won’t have a father to walk me down the aisle. I won’t have a mother to take out for a lunch date. I won’t have a father to call when I’m having troubles with my car. I won’t have a mother to cry with when I lose my first love. I won’t have a father to call when I’m in a tight financial spot.

My children won’t have grandparents.

I’ve been gypped in so many ways, and it’s just not funny anymore.

Here’s the thing:

I’ve been given something different.

I have a whole room full of friends who are willing to be there for me when I need them. I have a whole room full of friends who are willing to lean on me when they need a friend. I have a whole room full of friends who love me for just being me. I have a whole room full of friends who risked their life-threatening secret just to save my life.

I have a whole room full of friends. Period.

And it’s magnificent. Sure, it’s going to take me time to get over this. I may never get over this, but I think I’m ready to try. My mother is dead, and she was probably one of the few people who actually loved me. My father is gone, and he used me for money. My friends are all involved in a large alien conspiracy.

I have an unhealthy obsession with Krispy Kremes.

It’s a crazy world, I tell you.

And surprisingly, I’m ready to face it.

I turn to look at Isabel again, and she’s staring at me.

“Max was right about you,” Isabel states. I raise an eyebrow in question.

“He said you were different. That you wouldn’t tell our secret to anyone, that we would never have to worry about that. He wanted to tell you so badly.” Isabel turns her head, another guilty look taking over her face.

“When you left, he felt so horrible. Max just kept blaming himself, wondering where you went. He kept repeating over and over, “I’ve lost her, I’m never going to get her back”, and every time he would just lose it.”

Yes. Can you hear my heart fluttering? Goddamn it. I really shouldn’t want to encourage this whole loving me thing.

“How did you find me?” I croak. Isabel shrugged her shoulders.

“Max found you. He hopped into his jeep, and we all followed his actions. I kept asking how he knew where you were, and all he would tell me is that he ‘just knew’.”

Max. He just knows.

Yep. That’s my Max.

I cough, and let this slide over me. I’ve got some other questions that need answers.

“So what happened to that Kivar dude?”

Isabel shrugged, but I knew she was fighting herself inside.

“After Max healed Kyle, we all grouped together. Michael and I were ready to jump into battle, and just blast Kivar to pieces, but Max kept telling us we had to wait.”

“Wait? Why?”

“Yeah, Max always was a natural leader. He kept telling us it would do no good rushing into battle. You think Michael and I listened? Hell no. A day later, we sniffed Kivar out and were ready to kick some ass.” Isabel smirks. “But Max knows us, and fortunately, he and gang followed us, otherwise we would be flattened, fried pancakes right now.”

“What? You guys just killed Kivar, and went home?”

“Well, it wasn’t really difficult. He had a few guards, but Michael’s powers were really developed by then. With the four of us working together, Tess, Michael, Max and I, Kivar didn’t have a fight chance.” Isabel cocked her head to the side. “Max was just so furious, and he lost control. Kivar was a crispy piece of alien meat within seconds.”

Max? Killing someone? While I can see why he did and even sort of understand why, I just can’t believe Max would do that. Take a life, when his powers can heal one. But I guess if it were between my life and some creepy alien dude who hurt my friend, I would choose his life.

Wow. Max killed someone.

“We were terrified afterwards. We didn’t know what would happen to us,” Isabel continues. “For the past few years, wherever we turn, there was always some sort of new alien problem. It’s been quiet for months though.” Isabel looks at me. “Until you came to Roswell.”

Oh. I understand.

I strike fear in the hearts of alien royals.

Fear me. Liz Parker. Rar.

I guess it’s my turn to start some confessing.

“Things weren’t always horrible at my place. I really did have a functioning family at one point in time. My parents were happy, I was happy, all of us blissful in the conventional life of delusional living. Then again, my parents kept a lot from me. Supposedly my grandmother was filthy, stinking rich and handed it all over to my mom when she died, as long as mom didn’t give dad any money. Dad hooked up with a buddy he met, so they could con my mom into leaving with the money and his buddy would take it. But Mom didn’t take any of the money, which they didn’t realize until too late. Mom left it a bank account for me. That why dad was here today, and why he wanted to kill me.”

Ah. A nice, condensed version.

Isabel gawks at me, her eyes are round and large, and she looks like she’s going to have a heart attack. I just shrug my shoulders. All this stuff was so five minutes ago.

“I don’t understand how anyone could do something so horrible. It’s just so wrong. He was your father! He hurt you, Liz, to the point of you trying to commit suicide! You’re acting as if it isn’t a big deal. Don’t you think something is wrong with that?”

I wave my hand in the air, indicating that’s a topic I’m not ready to approach with Isabel quite yet. Not yet.

“Dad was just angry at the world. I don’t think he hated me or anything, it was just he didn’t know how to live in our world. He didn’t know what it means to be a parent. I’m not making excuses for him, trust me, I’d be the last to do that. He hurt me. A lot. And I’ve got more than enough proof of it.” I shrug again. “I’m just trying to grasp an understanding of why.”

“Some people are just sick,” Isabel suggests. “You’re strong, Liz, and I think you just need to pull through this. Maybe there are no reasons for why.”

“Maybe.” I twine my hands together, and pull them close. “You know, he did a lot of things to me. Unimaginable things, and tortured me both emotionally and physically.” I sigh. “But he’s my father. And I still love him. I don’t think I can ever forgive him, but I love him.”

Isabel nods. “You can’t deny the way you feel, Liz. You just have to do what’s best for you.” She gives me a warm smile. “I just hope you know we’re all going to be here for you, no matter what. All of us, including Max. Especially Max.”

Ah, yes, Max Evans. The healing alien king who has saved my life and is in love with me. The complications never end in my life, now do they?

How do I feel when I think about Max?

Betrayed, lied to, anger, resentment, jealousy.

Love, loyalty, caring, kindness, comfort, security.

Yep, that would be one fucked up relationship.

Too bad I’m in love with the big lug.

I am Liz “Everything has to be complicated” Parker.

Isabel clears her throat to grab my attention, and I turn to her. Whoops, I guess spacing out when you have company isn’t such a nice thing to do. Not like I care much, but hey, got to start somewhere.

Isabel scrunches her eyebrows, trying to figure something out in her mind. I just wait for her to talk.

“Max really loves you.” Pause. “He could heal you, you know.”

I look at her confused.

“Heal me? I thought he already did.”

Isabel bites her lip, and she looks unsure of herself.

“I mean, heal your scars. He could take them away.”

I stare at her for a second, trying to comprehend what she’s saying, and then I shake my head. It’s time to face reality, right, Liz?

“No, no, he can’t. Max could never heal my scars. Only I can do that.”

Isabel gazes ponderingly at me, before giving me another gentle smile. I smile back at her, knowing that we’ve both reached a place of understanding with each other.

“I think it’s time we go back inside,” I suggest to Isabel. She nods and stands up. I follow suit, but not before grabbing her arm and asking a question.

“So this Kivar dude, is he like your Emperor Zurg?”

Kyle’s POV

Some think that the worst thing that can ever happen to you is death. It’s the end of all things. What’s scarier than losing everything? And I mean everything.

Torture. That’s what scarier. The fact that you know you’re going to die eventually, but it’s going to be long, slow, and very painful. That’s terrifying. I don’t know how anyone can deal with that in a calm motion of any kind.

That’s what it was like, lying there on the ground. I couldn’t understand why Isabel was just standing there crying and blubbering. I was lying on the ground, drowning in blood, and about to die. I just couldn’t understand.

I do now, of course. I don’t blame Isabel for anything. I probably would have done the same thing. And now, it doesn’t even matter, because I’m all right now. Max healed me, I’m still breathing, and all is right in the world. Well, not really, but we can pretend, can’t we?

Nope. Can’t do that either. Because all will never be right in our world. You can get rid of the evil aliens, the threatening FBI, the curious eyes… but you’ll still have your Liz’s. The people that have done nothing to cause dire effect, but still endure the pain of a tormented soul anyways. It doesn’t make sense to me, but that’s our world. For whatever reason, it continues to spin without notice.

I remember lying on that cold, hard pavement, and pondering my life. Is this all it will ever amount to? Shacking it up with a bunch of girls, playing football, drinking on the weekends with some buddies? Is that all I’ll ever be? I can’t even contribute to this world? I remember telling Liz that I want to get out of Roswell, and become something more. Now, I don’t know if I ever will, but it’s the thought of it. I can either sit here in Roswell, NM, and be just another useless civilian, or I can go out into the world and do something for someone else. Then again, this whole alien thing has sort of delayed any future plans.

I knew Isabel was different from the start. I didn’t know she was this different, but I knew she wasn’t the beautiful, ice princess she seemed to think everyone thought she was. When you looked at Isabel, you could see a certain sulking sadness in her eyes, sometimes disguised by feigned happiness, sometimes not. I’m not Prince Charming though, because I have to say, she’s got one sexy bod, thus my dating her in the first place. I know, shallow, but remember, I was the useless jock then.

Now when we started dating, her eyes seemed to light up a little more everyday. Of course at that time, I put the congratulations on the excellent workmanship of my very skillful hands. Oh come on! Don’t snort like that. I’m a teenaged boy! Of course I’m doing things like that. Besides, it’s all about the Golden Rule. Do unto others, what you want done unto you… or something like. Oh yeah, baby. Give and you shall DEFINITELY receive.

Right, moving on.

It was like a fire was ignited inside of my body when I got hurt. And it sucked a big, fat one. It hurt, damn it. I wasn’t expecting it, and the pain was just so blinding. That, and the fact that my girl for the evening wasn’t even making any sort of motion to call an ambulance. No, she called her brother instead. What the fuck would her brother to for me?

Save my life, that’s what.

Not by just letting me breathe and walk and talk and smile and laugh. By letting me feel for the very first time too. I could put away the biggest fear of mine. Being just another nobody, knowing nothing, and simply being a waste of space. This world has way too many of those. I knew something that only a select few knew in the whole entire world. You’d think it’d be overwhelming, knowing that there were large E.T.’s wandering our planet and probably sitting right next to you. But it’s not, well… not for me. It’s exhilarating. Ever since I found out about the Solomon’s actually living on Earth, it’s been quite a ride. Not always a happy one, but a ride nonetheless.

What? Oh. The Solomon’s? Uh, where the hell have YOU been? Third Rock From the Sun? You know, Dick and Harry and Sally and Tommy? The aliens? Oh god. You uncultured swine.

Isabel and Michael were so angry. I haven’t seen them as angry as they were that night, and I’m sure that if no one had stopped them, they would have gotten themselves killed. On the other hand, they went after Kivar anyways. Max, always on the ball, knew that they were going to go after Kivar anyways. We had to follow them that night. Kivar had his hand up aiming at Isabel, and I could just see the fury pouring out of Max’s ears, as big as they may be. The four of them came together, and with the energy Max’s anger was brewing, Kivar was toast. Seriously. He was just a mountain of crumbs.

It was AWESOME. Seriously. Hell, it was even better than the Matrix.

After that, things died down immediately. We haven’t seen another alien body since, not that it isn’t possible for another group to come after us, but we’ll be ready.

Then Liz came to town, and well, lets just say it’s been a roller coaster since. Not necessarily in a bad way, its just emotions have been bouncing off the walls. She keeps running from us, and Max keeps bringing her back. But it was different this time. Max could tell that Liz wasn’t going to come back right away this time. For whatever reason, he just knew where she was. He just knew where Liz was, and didn’t hesitate to get her. I don’t know how he knew, or why, but he knew. And for that, I’ll be forever grateful, because without him, there would have been one less beautiful being in our world.

Liz. She’s a special girl. She can just light up the whole room with a smile, or make you bust a gut from her sarcastic remarks, or just sit there comfortably in silence when you just don’t feel like talking. She has this special smile, and you just know when she’s happy and when she isn’t. I just wish she knew how special she really is, but you can only tell her so much until she just stops listening.

Max. He’s the one person who can keep that light permanently fixed in her eyes. He makes her so happy, and she makes him… well, completely blissful. Liz is Max’s yin to his yang, and Max is Liz’s sugary glaze to her Krispy Kreme. Even when it was just the three of us hanging out, I could clearly smell the love and lust just melting off their bodies.

One of these days, they’re just going to go crazy and pull off each other’s clothes so they screw the other’s brains out.

Until then though, it’s going to Saint Max and his darling Liz, strolling in a rose garden, and exchanging meaningful glances. Which is all fine and dandy, but not for me. Not that kind of guy, not yet. I may feel better about contributing more to our world, but like I said, I’m still a teenaged boy.

Bring on the T and A!

posted on 18-May-2002 3:19:57 AM
Part Fifteen

Days like these usually make a normal, sane person go stir crazy.

Me, being the abnormal, insane person I am, I feel calm.

I have to do this. I’m angry with myself for not doing it before.

She deserves this. I deserve this. I need this.

The cold, harsh stone of her gravestone feels strange against my small, clammy fingers. I outline the letters delicately, staring at each with an intense gaze. Small specks of dirt find a new home on my hands, but I ignore them, continuing to memorize every single word displayed and the texture of the hard stone. I even memorize the mix of yellowish strands of grass surrounding the grave, almost like they are protecting my mother. If only. If only.

The dark, cloudy sky rests above me, but I’m completely oblivious to it. I’m sure it’s going to rain at some point in the day, but I’m not worried. Hopefully it’ll wash away all the dirt. My mom doesn’t deserve that. The dirt, I mean. Clean. She and I both need to be cleansed.

“How are you doing?”

I feel the caress of a large, warm hand against my back. Sniffling and wiping a few tears off my face, I turn to a crouching Max and give him a small smile. He smiles back, and kisses my forehead. Taking one of my hands in his, he pulls me up so we’re standing again but my eyes never leave the stone marking the ground. It stares at me, so I’m staring right back at it.

I take a deep breath, and finally look at the people surrounding me, all of us standing in a circle around the grave. Nancy, Michael and Jeff are standing across from me. Nancy is tightly clutching a stained Kleenex, and her sniffles are sounding in the air every few seconds. Jeff has his arm around her shoulders, and his head is leaning over, touching hers lightly. Michael is on the other side of Nancy, and holding her hand gently. His eyes keep darting from Nancy to me, as if we’re going to explode any moment. I have to fight an urge to roll my eyes at him.

Kyle and Maria are standing beside each other, with Maria’s arm looped with Kyle’s, and her head leaning on his shoulder. Even Maria has shed a few tears today. She never really even knew my mom, and she’s crying. Maybe not for my mother’s death, but perhaps for her loss. For my loss. For our loss.

Maria is sensitive like that.

Isabel and Tess are next to Max, both bowing their heads and paying their respects to my mother. I feel a light smile touch my lips, and a tug at my heart. These people are so amazing. How would I have ever made it without them? I just simply do not know.

It’s been a month since my fateful day with my father. Things have been really slow but incredibly fast, all at the same time. I’m trying to cope with this, I really am. It’s been sort of like a wave for me. One day I’m perfectly fine, other days I’m not. It’s hard to come face to face with the difficulty that is my life. I keep trying to tell myself there’s nothing that I can do. What happened has happened, and I need to move on with the future. I know my mother loved me, and that’s all that matters.

Easier said than done.

But I’ll get through this, I will. Whether it’s because I want to, or if I just want to prove my son of a bitch father wrong, well… that has yet to be determined. I don’t want to be just trying to prove my father wrong, because then I’d be no better than him. But when I wake up on those days and realize, “Hey! This really IS my life” I can’t help but utter a groan and just go back to sleep.

I feel a nudge at my side, and turn to see Alex giving me a small, light smile. He has his guitar strapped on, and is checking to see if I’m ready. I nod. It’s now or never.

I take a tiny step forward, and exhale slowly. With a calming, deep breath, I look at each of the members of my new family, and then turn my head back down. I feel Max’s hand snake into mine, and I flash him a grateful smile. With one more deep breath, I nod again towards Alex. He begins to strum on his guitar, and I block everything else out, letting the music guide me.

Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.

Would you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand if I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way through night and day,
'Cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven.

Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please.

Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven.

Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven.

A tranquil silence fills the air as the last chords are strummed from Alex’s guitar. I take another few deep breaths, trying to calm my heart down. I hope that wherever she is, she heard me.

This is tough. Really tough. Why is she under there? Why am I not under there? Why was I spared? Why wasn’t she? How could a man, any man, do this to us? I want her back, damn it. I want her back.

Max’s arms come around my body, and I don’t hold back the choking sobs.

It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

My body shakes against Max’s embrace, and he just strokes my hair. I know his shirt is probably soaking from my teary breakdown, but I also know he won’t care. My hands tightly clutch the back of his jacket, and I bury my head into his chest. My sobs begin to slow down to hiccupping whimpers, and Max just leans his head against mine.

“Sometimes, in our lives, we all have pain, we all have sorrow. But, if we are wise, we know that there's always tomorrow…” Maria’s voice starts off as a whisper but gradually strengthens in volume. I turn my head towards her, and smile back at her teary smile.

“Lean on me, when you're not strong. And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on. For, it won't be long, ‘til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on…” Alex’s voice joins in with Maria.

“Please swallow your pride, if I have things you need to borrow. For no one can fill those of your needs that you won't let show…” Kyle, Tess, Michael and Isabel join in on the duo, the melodic tune filling my ears with an undeniable sensation. The rhythmic sound of clapping joins in with the voices.

“You just call on your brother when you need a hand, we all need somebody to lean on. I just might have a problem that you'll understand, we all need some body to lean on…” I hear the shaky voice of Nancy, and the soft voice of Jeff join the rest of the group.

“Lean on me, when your not strong, and I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on. For it won't be long, 'till I'm gonna need somebody to lean on…” I listen with slight ease, unable to keep the small grin off my lips. I lift my head up towards Max’s face, and he’s staring at me, smiling. I smile back, and he leans his mouth towards my ear. His quiet, whispered singing fills my ears, and fills my soul.

“If there is a load, that you have to bear, that you can't carry, I'm right up the road, I'll share your load, if you just call me…”

Maria’s strong voice overlaps the group’s singing of the chorus again, despite a slight shakiness. “Call me, just call me… call us… lean on me, lean on us…”

I turn around, finally facing my friends, my family. My blotchy, tear streaked face confronting them all. Their voices die down and they all just look at me, exposing to me more encouraging smiles, despite some tears. I push down another sob, and look each of them in the eye.

“Thank you,” I say with a small whisper. Although a minimum amount of words, I know that they all know how much it means to be.

They all nod at me, and look at each other, deciding that I need some time alone. They all slowly retreat from the grave, but not without a glance at me. I just give my patent small grin.

Nancy and Jeff approach me first before leaving. Nancy’s hands are tightly wound up in each other, and I’m starting to think she’s afraid to look into my eyes. Nancy clears her throat before reaching for my hand.

“Liz, I loved your mother so much. She was my sister, and she was just…” Nancy sucks in a breath, trying to calm her emotions. She looks up at me for the first time in the past while, and her eyes bore into mine. “I just want to say that… I know I’m not your mother, and I never will be. I could and would never try to take her place. I just want you to know that no matter where you turn, I’ll be there with you.”

“We both will be,” Jeff adds. Nancy turns to him and gives him a smile.

“Yes, both of us.” Nancy sighs again. “We just want to know if you’d want to be a part of our family? Well, you’ve always been a part of our family, but I mean… officially. We’d make sure you’d have all the love you could ever want. We’d love you like a daughter. We already do.”

I look back into Nancy’s eyes, and give her the biggest grin I can offer.

“Nancy, I wouldn’t want anything else.” She smiles, and Jeff nods at me with a smile as well.

“All right, honey… good, good,” Nancy replies shakily. Taking Jeff’s hand in hers, she says to me, “We’ll just let you have a few moments.” She leans in and kisses my cheek, then walks off with Jeff.

So… here I am. Staring down at my mother’s grave.

“God, I miss you,” I whisper to her. I kneel down beside the grave, and let my hand touch it again, lingering on the cool stone.

“I’ve missed you for three years,” I tell my mom through oncoming tears.

“And yet, it doesn’t lessen or get easier.

“I don’t know what to say, mom. I can’t believe he did this to you. I can’t believe he did this to me. Why? How? I’ll admit it, sometimes I have this urge to blame you. How could you marry a man like him? How could you leave me with him? Why did you have to fall into their goddamn trap?

“But then I realize, you were as much of a victim as I was. We both got hurt in the process. There is no blame to be placed, other than on him. This is all his fault. Blame is bad for the soul, but goddamn, I hate him. I hate him so much. I just want to… I don’t know. I just hate him.

“But on the other hand, I love him too. Mom, he was my dad. The man in my life that I’d be forever tied to, in life and death. Whether it’s society’s fault for placing these morals on me, or my own damn fault for still loving him, I do. I can’t escape that. I hope you aren’t angry with me for it.

“I’ll be all right though, mom. I really will be. I’ve got these amazing friends who are there for me no matter what. They’re a bit… eccentric, sure, but I love them. I know I’m going to be all right with them by my side.

“And Max. He loves me, mom. And I love him. It’s scary. I don’t know where we are, or where we’re going to go, but I just know things are going to turn out all right. And whether I marry Max or any other man, I know you’ll be watching me.

“I’ll always think of you, mom. Even if I become a permanent member of the Guerin family. I’ll always be a Parker. Your Parker daughter. You’ll always be my mom, and I’ll always be your daughter and one day we’ll be together again. I promise. It might take a while, but we will be. Until then, I hope you keep the gates open for me.”

I bite my lip as I feel a steady stream of tears fall down the side of my face. Again.

Placing a kiss against my fingers, I touch the solid gravestone. With one last glance at the grave, I say quietly, “I love you, mom.” I stand up, brush the dirt off my pants, and take my steps back to my family. Just one step at a time. That’s all I’m going to need. One step after another.

“Hey, you’re kind of quiet,” Max whispers to me. I shrug, and just snuggle further against him.

Max and I are lying on my bed, and before you even think it, no, we’re not having sex. Not today, not tomorrow, but maybe someday. I’m just not ready for that today, and well, Max… he’ll just learn to deal, won’t he? Or at least get used to masturbating a lot.

Then again… ew. That’s just SO wrong. Different topic!

“Nothing to talk about, I guess,” I reply to him.

Max is leaning against the headboard of my bed, with his legs spread and lying out in front of him. I’m currently situated between his legs, leaning back against his chest. Mmm, nice chest. Strong chest. I just want to pet it. He’s made a point of not letting me go anywhere by wrapping his arms tightly against my waist. I’m not all that bothered by it.

“Well, how are you feeling?” I roll my eyes at his question, and let out an irritated noise.

“I swear to God, Max, if you ask me that one more time, I’m going to kick your ass. Alien powers or not.”

“I’d just like to see you try,” he remarks cockily. I can hear the smirk in his voice. What a bastard.

A sexy bastard, nonetheless.

“Don’t make me open a can of whoop-ass on you, Max. Because I will.” Max chuckles, and I feel his stomach rumble underneath me.

“Why don’t I doubt that?” Max questions. I feel him nuzzle his head against my hair, and I just close my eyes, enjoying the sensation. My hands find his, lying on the flatness of my stretched out tummy. Our fingers weave together, and our hands become fixed to each other.

We haven’t really had much alone time in the past month. Just me and Max. Someone else is usually around, constantly asking me if I’m sane that day or not, wanting to know if I need anything. Maybe a Kleenex? A shoulder to cry on? Perhaps some Prozac?

I know everyone is just trying to be there for me, but holy shit, I’m not a basket case. Well. Not today at least, so I’m allowed to think these things. Other days, I welcome the persistent worry, just so I know I’m still alive. That my body is still death-free.

Max has been there since day one though. Always caring, always worrying, always right beside me. I mean, get this! Two weeks ago, there was a day when I just didn’t feel like going to school. It just was not something I could do that day.

First of all, the boy skips his whole day of classes, much to Nancy and Jeff’s distress, and spends all day with me. He brings me a bouquet of white roses, and tells me that although the roses aren’t as beautiful as I am, they’ll have to do because they’re the only things that come close.

On days like those, I tend to spend the whole day sleeping in my very dark room. Well, either sleeping, or lying in self-loath. Same difference.

So Max lied there with me the whole day and didn’t make a sound. He spent the entire day in the dark, just lying next to me. Well, until nighttime came around and I felt the need to do something somewhat productive. So he read a few chapters of “To Kill a Mockingbird” to me.

I’m starting to think that Max is trying to ring up some sex points.


“You sounded beautiful this morning,” Max whispers into my ear before leaving a kiss on my temple.

“Thank you,” I reply, “But I don’t think your opinion counts. You’d say that even if I had been singing along to Mandy Moore. Which, by the way, is never going to happen.” Max chuckles again.

“Well, if it means I get to keep you here like this forever, I’d rather be biased for the rest of my life.” Max tightens his arms around me again, almost as if he’s afraid that I’ll just go poof one day.

Which, I understand, because… hell… I died a month ago. I’d be right next to my mother if Max hadn’t saved me.

I shiver.

“Are you cold?” Max asks instantly. I bite my lip and shake my head.

“Nope, just thinking.”

“Oh? Care to expand?” His hand starts to play with one of my fingers, grazing the smooth skin on it.

“Not really,” I respond to him.

“Will you anyways?”

“Do I have to?”

“Only if you want to.” His nose nuzzles the side of my neck, and he kisses it lightly. His lips slowly trail up my neck, reaching the top of my jaw, leaving a loving path of kisses.

“Don’t do that,” I complain. He grins.

“And why not?”

“You’re only doing that so I’ll tell you what I was thinking.”

“Yeah, and?” I grunt at him.

“At least you’re honest,” I say in a mocking tone. It doesn’t faze him.

“Well?” He breathes against my jaw again, gradually making his way to my earlobe.


“Yes, Liz?” He says teasingly, his breath hot against my skin.

“Stop thaaaaat…”

“What? You mean this?” His lips find their place on my ear, and gently nibbles on it. I can’t fight the giggle in my throat, and start to squirm in his arms.

“Yes! That!” His warm laugh plays in my ear, and he stops his motions.

“You never could deny me,” Max says arrogantly. I snort.

“In your dreams, Max.”

“Yeah. Definitely in my dreams,” he says in a husky tone. I roll my eyes.

“Max, you’re such a pervert. You spend way too much time with Kyle. I need to put you both on leashes or something. Tie you up in the backyard.”

“Ruff,” Max growls in my ear. I giggle again.

“You big sick-o.”

A comfortable silence passes over us again, and I just try to relax. Tiring day, today. Then again, with Max here, it just might not be so bad.

Now, don’t think I’m delusional or anything. Max can’t make anything and everything better. Life doesn’t work that way. He can heal wounds, but my heart, my mind, my emotions? That I have to work through myself. It’s just nice to have Max next to me when doing so. I don’t have to feel so alone anymore.

“If I were walking along the street, and you didn’t know me at all, would you still pursue me?” I ask Max.

“How could I not pursue the most beautiful woman in the world?” I roll my eyes at the cheesy answer. I swear Max is just a big jar of Cheez Whiz manufactured for my happiness. Or my annoyance. I can’t decide which one.

“Max, I’m being serious here.”

“So am I.”

“So what if you never ever met me? Would you have made it work with Tess?”

“Uh, ew?” I laugh out loud at his response, unable to believe he actually answered like that.

“Er…I-I didn’t mean it… that way!” Max half-shouts. I can imagine his cheeks turning red behind me.

“I meant that she’s like a sister to me. We don’t have feelings like that for each other, alien destiny or not. And I did meet you, so it doesn’t matter. End of story.”

“So you don’t have any attraction to Tess at all? You don’t even think she’s pretty?” I hear Max gulp uneasily.

“Why do I have a feeling that I should answer that very carefully?” I laugh lightly, and ease off.

“Besides,” he adds, “What’s with all the questions?” I shrug.

“Just wondering what life would be like if things had turned out differently.” I pause for a moment, thinking about it. “What if I never came to Roswell? What if my mom were still alive? What if my dad never… you know, hurt me?”

“Well, then life would be a lot different. But it’s not like that, it’s like this.”

“What if I had died that day, a month ago? Or what if I had died long before that? What if my dad killed me the night my mom died?” My mind begins to chase all the questions I hadn’t thought of since… recent developments.

I feel one of Max’s hands moving up the length of my arm, caressing the goose bumps that cover my skin. “You never really told me about your life during those years after your mom left.”

“There’s nothing much to tell,” I reply off-handedly. “My dad did whatever he wanted, screwing random chicks and drinking all the time.”

“I just cannot understand why he would ever hurt you. I just can’t.”

“Well, he was just trying to get his newest girlfriend off the first time. After that, it just became routine.” I bite my lip. I’m not going to let this get me down. It’s in the past. Nothing can be changed now.

“That’s no excuse. There’s not an excuse in the whole fucking world for someone to do that to another person. He was your goddamn father! He had responsibilities and duties! Not going around fucking-” Max stops, his breath coming out a little faster than previously. He takes a deep breath and I feel his body becoming less rigid behind me.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers to me. “I just get angry thinking about it. I don’t understand how anyone could hurt you, and I don’t even want to understand.”

I shrug again, letting myself not be upset about the whole situation.

“It happened,” I tell him. “There’s not much I can change.” I pause for a moment. “I won’t lie to you, Max. It hurt, a lot. I’m not sure which hurt more though, him actually hitting me or knowing that he, of all people, was doing it. I remember days when I would be so bruised that I could barely walk myself to school. But I did it anyways, because I wouldn’t let him break me. School was my one chance to eventually get away from there forever.

“When Nancy called the night that my mom died, my dad just lost it. I don’t know why because it was all part of his sick plan, but he beat the shit out of me. It was just so… surreal. He had hit me before, but he had never been that horrible. It was terrifying, he just kept hitting me and hitting me. My body became like one big bleeding bruise. It was… really painful.” I shiver again, reliving the memory.

“I could barely breathe, it hurt so much. I had to call an ambulance myself, because I knew I was already knocking on death’s door. Dad got so angry. He couldn’t believe I had actually called for help, but I didn’t want to die. Not that day, not from his hands. The paramedics truly had to pull my dad away from my body. There were cops, handcuffing him, but I was so out of it that I barely noticed.

“When I woke up in the hospital, I was really dazed and high from all the meds they gave me. But it still hurt. So much. All I could do was sit there and let the pain engulf me until I was suffocating. I couldn’t bear it. I would lie there in the bed and just think over and over in my head, ‘no one’s coming for me, no one’s coming for me’. I had no one. No one. My mother was dead, and my father was probably in jail. The two people I should have been able to count on for the rest of my life had failed me.

“I should have been in the hospital for only a few days. I was in there for a month.

“I had woken up from a sleep. It was about five days after I had first arrived in the hospital. I was on the brink of losing my mind. The only people I had seen in the past few days were nurses, a doctor, a social worker, and a couple of cops. It was all so formal. No one was actually there just to see me. To see if I was doing all right.

“So I got up, and sneaked out of my room. No one really noticed. It was a hospital, there were tons of other patients. I sneaked down to the cafeteria, and not one person noticed me. I… I grabbed a knife. I went to find a closet of some sort. I think I found the janitors closet because it smelt of cleaners, disinfectants and such. I tried to kill myself. I don’t remember much, I just remember slicing my wrists and passing out.”

The calmness of my voice scares myself, as I try my hardest not to crack. I never told anyone this. I couldn’t even let myself think about it for the longest time.

I turn around to look at Max, and find his face covered in a pale colour. There’s a horrified glaze in his eyes, and I’m sure I see a wall of tears building up. I feel my stomach twist at the sight, and soon I break my promise. I start to crack, tears pouring down my own face.

“Max…” I whisper brokenly to him. I turn my body around, so that I’m lying on top of him, facing him. “Please don’t…. don’t cry for me.” Max’s hand drifts to the side of my face, and he cups my cheek. I close my eyes and lean my cheek into his hand.

“Liz, please don’t ever leave me. Don’t leave. I need you. Michael needs you. Alex needs you. Nancy and Jeff need you. We all need you.” I sense the pleading in his voice, and open my eyes again to find myself staring right into his teary eyes. They beg me, pleading me to not leave him. And I could never. I just could never.

“Max, I’m not going to leave you,” I reply softly. My own hand finds its spot on his chest, resting there. “That… that time, it was just a weak moment. I couldn’t deal with anything, I didn’t even know who I was. They sent me to a psychiatrist for three weeks, but I had no money. My therapy ended there. It helped but only scratched the surface for me. It was off to foster homes after that.”

“Would you…” Max bit his lip hesitantly. Something he must have picked up from me. “Would you be willing to go back?”

“To therapy?” Max nods his head. I wrinkle my eyebrows.

“Well, I never really thought of it. I don’t know, Max. I’d have to- think about it.” He just nods again, accepting my answer. Adding, I say jokingly, “I’ve got to find a way to spend that two million my grandmother left for me anyways. So much for having that big party for all my hooker and pimp friends.” Max lets a small grin slip out.

“You know, my jeep could use a new set of tires,” Max replies. I lift an eyebrow and smirk at him.

“Max, your jeep could use a trip to the dumpster.” His jaw drops and he feigns hurt.

“My jeep is perfectly fine.” He fakes a pout and I just smile at him. I pinch his cheeks and grin at him.

“Aw, Maxie waxie! Don’t pout! Even if I wanted to buy you a set of tires, or a new car for that matter, I can’t. The money is an account until I’m 21.” Max shrugs.

“I guess you’re going to have to live with riding in my jeep then, huh?” I roll my eyes at him, and lay back down on his chest. His hand ventures up to my hair, and he strokes it gently.

I’m surprised how comfortable I am with Max. It’s astounding, really. I never thought I’d let myself feel again. Now, I couldn’t go back even if I wanted to.


“Yeah Liz?”

“How did you know?” I turn my face upwards to his, and he gains a confused expression.

“Know what?”

“Where I was. That I needed you.”

“Oh. That.” Ah. This is my Max. Man of little words.

“I don’t know how I knew. I just did.” Max reaches out with his other hand and traces my lips softly with his fingertip. “Liz, I’ve loved you since the first day you arrived in Roswell. From that moment on, my heart set out to find yours. My heart made a connection with yours before I even realized it. The funny thing about love is that there are no questions. It just happens. It’s what being in love is. You just know.”

I feel myself drowning in his eyes, as they bore deeply into mine. His warmth surrounds my whole existence and I know I’m falling. I know I’ve already fallen and I’ll never be able to get back up again.

“Love is overrated,” I whisper to him, bringing back the words I had told him that first night in the desert. It feels so long ago.

“Don’t you think that’s kind of sad?” He replies back, very quietly. I see his lips leaning closer to mine, his eyes very focused on my lips.

Either I have really great smelling lip-gloss on, or Max is going to kiss me.

“Well, so is Dumbo, but it doesn’t mean I like that damn thing…” I whisper so quietly, it’s almost inaudible. Soon his lips are falling upon mine, and my whole body is wrapped up in the sensation of his tender lips against mine. His essence travels through our body’s meeting, and burns the all through my soul. And I finally understand what he’s been telling me all along. There aren’t any rules or regulations to love. If you really love a person, then you just know. You always just know.

Too quickly, I feel Max’s lips pulling away from mine, and I can’t help but let out a whimper from the loss. He leans his forehead against mine, and stares me straight into the eyes. His hands trail back up to my head and gently cup the sides of my face.

“Liz, I don’t expect anything from you. You don’t have to love me. You don’t even have to like me. I just want to be here with you as long as you’ll let me. Will you let me do that?”

I bite my lip again, trying to keep back the tears this time. The look in his eyes is so genuine and compassionate, and again, I’m falling desperately for this big lug.

“I wouldn’t want anything else,” I tell him. I lean in this time, and let our lips, and our souls, meet again. I could get used to this. I could get very used to this.

Unfortunately, a knock on my bedroom door interrupts. Both Max and I groan at the disruption and hesitantly pull away from each other. Clearing my throat, I ask who’s at my door. And whoever it is better have a good goddamn excuse.

“It’s Michael,” the voice says. “Liz, we’ve got to get going, otherwise you’re going to be late.”

I groan again, and just tell him we’ll be out in a minute. I turn to face Max and find a pleasant smile on his face.

“What?” I asked, irritated.

“Nothing. Just happy and in love with a beautiful girl,” Max says happily. I smirk at his cheesy remarks.

“You’re such a loser, Evans.” He just rolls his eyes and gently pushes me out of his arms so we can get up and off the bed. I stand up and try to smooth out the wrinkles in my outfit. Looking in the mirror, I comb my hair with my fingers and apply a little bit of lip-gloss.

“Ready?” Max asks me. I nod and he makes his way towards the door. I catch his arm before he’s able to grab the knob and open the door. Max stops and looks at me, confused. I look him straight in the eye, and let a gentle smile touch my lips.

“Max, I love you too.”

Maria’s POV

Love, lust, loss.

Are we sensing a pattern here?

That’s what I thought!

Kicking ass, Khivar, kill.

What about this one?

Ok. I just added that one in because… well… Khivar sucks and we kicked his ass. Well, I didn’t necessarily do any of the ass kicking, but I was with them in spirit!

Yeah. Right.

People tell me that endings are it. After that, it’s fini. That’s it. The end. All over. Kaput! That’s all folks!

But really, is anything ever ended? You can burn, bruise, kill things, anything you want, really, but it doesn’t actually mean that’s the end. When you burn paper, it turns to ashes. The paper isn’t necessarily gone. It’s just different. It’s still that same piece of paper, but now just a pile of ash.

And the end all of ends?


But hey, it’s all about reincarnation. I plan on being a butterfly in my next life. No one ever suspects the butterfly.

Oh dear lord, I’ve been watching way too much Simpsons with Michael.

My point here is that nothing is ever ended. It may change or mold or whatever else, but it never ends. There’s new beginnings, exaggerated endings, longer middles, but everything has a cycle. It’ll start out as something, go through changes, and be different in near the end. But it’s still the same thing from the beginning, just with a few alterations.

Take Liz for example.

I know you can’t argue with me when I say she is not the same person she started out to be. She was quiet, and a bit standoffish. She was more than anal about keeping her secrets. And her singing? Don’t even bother. She would have slapped you silly for suggesting anything like that.

But now… now she’s our beautiful flower. She’s grown. A lot. She’s beginning to trust us, and know that she can depend on people. Independence can be useful a lot of the time, but sometimes you just need someone. A friend. And now she has a whole handful of us fun people!

And me? Who wouldn’t need a friend like me?

We’ve changed too. Our group. So scared were we to let Liz completely into our group, especially Isabel. But Liz grew on us. She was everything Alex and Michael said she was, and more. Her slight mute tendencies didn’t hold us back, but more pushed us to discover who Liz Parker really was. We’ve become better people because of her, and we’ve become a closer family because of her.

Isabel. She’s changed the most though. She was hesitant to let Liz in. No, wait, she was just downright terrified to let Liz in, which, I can understand. Sort of. After what happened to Kyle, we all had to be on guard. Who knew what would happen next, or who would get hurt? But through meeting Liz, Isabel has been able to become more open. More willing to trust people. She’s not cured of course, but it’s a long road. It’s always a long road.

None of us are the same people we were when we first started out, but really, we are the same people we were when we first started. We all started out with one single building block, and now we’ve become a whole constructed pyramid of blocks.

Essentially, ends are the beginnings to something new.

So maybe this is just the start to a brand new beginning for us. For all of us.

Part Sixteen

Alex keeps looking at me, giving me these funny glances. Every few seconds, I can feel his eyes drilling tiny holes into the back of my head.

Didn’t his mom ever tell him it’s not polite to stare?

Oh man, I’m going to smack him soon.

“Alex! Stop staring at me like that!”

Alex gives me a half grin and then a rumbling chuckle. “It’s not everyday I see a tiny girl like you chugging down bottles of Frappuccino’s, one after another. Liz, you’re going to be beyond wired.”

I glare at him, but not without an occasional twitch. I’ve found another obsession, although I have yet to try a Mocha Frappuccino with a Krispy Kreme. Oh merciful heaven! Could I even survive an overpowering pleasure I would receive from something like that? I am definitely moving to a big city one day. Or maybe Mississauga, Ontario. They have a Krispy Kreme there, and I’ve heard rumors about them opening a Starbucks across the street.

I’ve decided that I’m going to work at a Krispy Kreme. I’ll quickly climb my way up the ladder, first being a manager, and soon becoming a co-owner, due to my persuasive and charming personality of course. Oh, we’ll join forces with Starbucks and what do you suppose I’ll do then?

The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!

Victory will be mine.

And the perk side of drinking bottle after bottle of Frappuccino?

It’s lowfat! Hallelujah! It just might balance out the calories or fat or whatever I gain from eating Krispy Kremes. Then again, I wonder if that still works after chowing down on three dozen?

“Well, I suggest you start drinking up,” I tell Alex. “Because you’re going to have to stay up with me.”

“What! Why?” Alex exclaims.

“Because you were being a smart ass! Don’t make me come over there, Alex!” Alex pouts and grumbles a little bit. He reaches over to grab one of my bottles but I growl at him.

“No, buy your own, hot shot.” I stick my tongue out at him. He does the same back to me.

We are so M-A-T-U-R-E.

I go back to gulping down my caffeine drink. Mmm. I’m hoping that my nerves will be so completely shot that the moment I step on that stage, I’ll totally forget the fact that billions and trillions of condemning eyes are going to be watching me. Then again, I could end up peeing myself on stage. And that would suck. Majorly.

“Hey, try this.” I see a can of Jolt cola placed in front of me.

Oh sweet merciful God…

“Oh sweet merciful God!” I lunge for the can and end up doing a dive roll onto the floor, with the Jolt firmly tucked in my hands. With a giddy smile, I look up at a smirking Michael. I give him thumbs up before popping the can of Jolt cola open.

“Good thinking, Michael! I give you two thumbs up,” I tell him before taking an extensive gulp of the drink. Oh yeah. If this doesn’t get me wired, nothing will.

“What can I say? I’m your God. Worship me. I own you all,” he replies coolly with a cocky grin in place.

“Michael, you wish. I’ll take my comment back if I have to. I’m more than willing to call you a loser.” Michael glares at me, and I glare back at him.

“Come on, Liz,” he says playfully. “You know you want me. I know you think the world of me. Who wouldn’t? All girls want into my pants.” Alex and I take a look at each other and begin to burst out laughing.

“Oh… god… Guerin!” Alex gasps. “You’re… a fucking… riot!”

Michael stares at us, and puts his hands on his hips. “Don’t be assholes.”

“I wonder what Maria has to say about every girl wanting into Michael’s pants? What do you think, oh faithful Michael, my lord?” Alex laughs at my teasing, and I throw Michael a shiny grin. He puts his middle finger up and shows it to me. I just keep on grinning.

“What girls would these be?” Maria shrieks as she enters our dressing room. Alex and I start bursting into laughter again, while Michael turns bright red. Maria dons the same position Michael had earlier, with her hands firmly placed on her hips. She raises an eyebrow at him, and her lips become tight and thin.

“Uh- Heh- No girls, Maria! Just you!”

“WHAT? Who said I want into your pants?” She screams at him. The hair that is elegantly piled on top of Maria’s head is bobbing with her motions, and her makeup doesn’t hide the flurry behind her eyes.

“NO!” Michael shouts. “I... I didn’t mean it that way!” Michael looks frantically at us for help, but we’re too busy killing ourselves laughing at the poor fool. Michael huffs and turns to Maria. He puts on his most sincere, cheesiest expression and flashes her a trying grin.

“I love you?”

Maria squeals in frustration and walks right back out the door. Alex and I are doubled over by now, both leaning on each other for support otherwise we’d be rolling on the floor. Michael just grunts at us, and mumbles curses under his breath.

“Thanks guys,” he moans. “Maria’s going to kick my ass later.”

“Well, at least you don’t have to worry about her wanting to get into your pants!” Alex hollers. “She made it damn clear how she feels about that!” My laughter turns to a roaring fit of uncontrollable giggles.

“You guys are so harsh,” Michael pouts. He crosses his arms and plops down onto the couch, making an effective “pfft” sound. I take a deep breath and will myself to calm down. It’s the coffee’s fault, I swear.

Moving over to Michael’s side, I sit down beside him. Leaning my head against his shoulder, I look up at him with my innocent, doe eyes. “Michael! You know I love you.” I give him my childish grin. He rolls his eyes, but can’t resist, and pulls me into a hug.

“So how you feeling, Liz?” Michael asks me. I snort.

“Will you guys ever stop asking me that?” I say to him with irritated eyes. He just shrugs.

“Probably not,” Alex adds as he sits on the other side of Michael. “Not until we know you’re telling the truth at least.”

“Fine, fine,” I whine. I know it’s no use arguing with them. I could be perfectly fine, and married with kids, and rich, and whatever else, and they’d still be calling to ask me ‘how are you feeling?’

“Hey Liz,” Michael says gently, turning to me. “There’s something we wanted to say to you.” Alex leans forward in his spot so he can see me.

“Yeah?” I ask hesitantly. They’re going to tell me I’m going to suck the moment I walk on that stage. Insensitive bastards.

“Alex and I are really proud of you,” Michael says to me. “We’ve missed you so much, and, well, we know how hard life has been for you lately. We hope you know that whatever happens, we’re going to be here for you.”

“We just wanted to tell you that we’re sorry,” Alex continues. “We never meant to push you away. We really wanted to be there for you when your mom died. We were just a bit…”

“Preoccupied,” Michael fills in for him. Michael takes my hands in his, and stares me in the eyes. “We’re sorry for hassling you that day in the Crashdown. We shouldn’t have pressed you like that and, well, we just want to say sorry.”

I smile at them, knowing that these are the guys I’ve always loved. My brothers, whether they are of my blood or not, they are my brothers. I spent summers playing with these guys, and I spent these past weeks getting to know them all over again. Maybe not in the best way possible, but by getting to know them, we’re close again. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

These are my boys.

“Guys, you don’t need to apologize. All that happened in the past. We can’t keep looking in the past. The most important thing of all of this is that you were there for me this time, and I can’t even begin to thank you. I owe you my life.” Michael smiles at me, and Alex does a dramatic, weepy sniffle.

“Aww, guys!” Alex cries. “I love you, guys!” He leans forward, capturing both Michael and I in a hug with his long, skinny arms. Michael and I both make “oof” sounds and find ourselves smothered in an awkward embrace.

“Alex, get off of me before I kick your ass,” Michael grumbles somewhere beside me. I giggle at them and wiggle my way out. Alex grins at me, while I watch Michael slowly plotting plans to kill Alex. I smirk. Some things will never change.

“Well, Liz, are you ready?” Alex asks me as he stands up and grabs my arms. In a quick motion, he’s dancing me across the room.

And he thought I was wired.

“It’s too late to turn back now, isn’t it?” I question Alex with a raised eyebrow.

Alex nods his head, dipping me backwards in his arms. “Yup.”

Michael stands up too, and makes his way over to Alex and I. Kissing my forehead, Michael whispers an encouraging “good luck” in my ear and shoots Alex a death glare. Michael soon strides out of the room to go find his seat in the audience with the rest of the group, and leaves me standing there with Alex.

“Liz, you’re so going to nail this talent show!” Alex says excitedly. I just nod. We’ll see.

Maria pops her head back inside of the dressing room and smiles when she sees it just Alex and me. Looking directly at me, she asks, “Are you ready? We’re up.”

I take a deep breath and nod my head.

It’s now or never.

And I choose now.

The light hits me and I’m standing there. The elusive darkness stretches far out into the audience, covering the area with an indescribable tranquility. I find myself fighting to keep from squinting in the midst of the bright light. My hands are shaking with fright, and I’m sure my eye is twitching every so often. I can feel the retching impression of bile rising in my throat, and I swallow, hard, to keep it down. My head starts to spin, and my focus begins to get blurry.

Focus, Liz. Focus.

I shut my eyes for a moment, and let all my memories from the past year wash over me. I started out being a tired, quiet teenage girl, who hid anything and everything from the peeking eyes of the public. I felt the lash of my father’s words and belt, and let my heart fall heavy at the loss of a mother I needed so desperately. From the cuts my father forced on me to the death of a person I loved, I fought and struggled my way through this life.

I found a place that wanted me. In a small town called Roswell, New Mexico. Who would have thought? But with open arms, I was finally shown the light of what it actually is to love, to feel, to live. I found friendship that knows no bounds. I found a family that cares for me the way I’ve never been able to be cared about. I found a love that defies all rules of destiny and fate.

And I found myself.

I open my eyes again, and my whole body feels refreshed. It’s not so bad up here. I know I’m ready now. I’m ready for anything.

Turning my head towards the two bodies behind me, I nod towards Alex, letting him know I’m ready. Both he and Maria smile at me, encouraging me, and loving me with their affection. Alex positions his hands on his guitar as Maria gains her focus, letting her lips reside a small distance from her microphone.

I glance back out at the audience again. Regaining my concentration, I feel the melodious sound of a guitar come from behind me, and then amplified from the surrounding speakers into the silent audience. Maria’s soft voice accompanies the guitar as a gentle hum, and I know it’s my turn soon.

Not anyone else’s.

It’s not about my dad anymore.

It’s not about my mom.

It’s not even about Max.

It’s about me.

And knowing what I know about me, I’ll make it through this time. I’ll make it work.

And not for anyone else but me.
I'll pick up what's left of my broken heart.
Pack it out back in the trunk of my car.
And follow the white line 'till I'm feeling fine again.
I'll let the rain drown my sorrows tonight
But when I wake up I'll let the light.
Try to convince me I'm back on my feet again.
It's not about you
I'm finally walking
I'm singing inside
I can't hear you talking
And you can't believe it's true
It's not about you
I'll do what I can not to turn back now
I've come this far and I know somehow
I'll keep on looking 'till I find me again
It's not about you
I'm finally walking
I'm singing inside
I can't hear you talking
And you can't believe it's true
It's not about you
I'm going to drive all night
Sort through this thing 'till I make it right
You can't believe it
Can't even believe it's true
It's not about you.
It’s not about you.
It's not about you
I'm finally walking
I'm singing inside
I can't hear you talking
And you can't believe it's true
It's not about you

The End

posted on 15-Jul-2002 8:30:53 PM
Just wanna say thanks. *happy* Yes, there will be a sequel. It should be posted within the next two weeks. I'm hoping. It's called "Who I Am". My plan is to finish "Runaway With My Heart" first, and then I have two stories I want to post, the sequel being one of them. Thanks for reading. *big*