Title: A DIFFerent Kind of Reality
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Roswell does not belong to me but this idea is all mine so ha!!!! Yea... thought I wouldn't take my credit.... =P
Summary: The gang spends a fun day together, but a tragic accident helps them realize what they all mean to each other. Now, ten years later, something is threatening to prove that a DIFFerent reality may not be all that bad.
Author's Note: The couples are paired off basically the same... M&M, M/L, but I paired of Isabel and Kyle DIFFerently. Please, let me know if you like!!!

Chapter 1:
"That movie was weird."

"I know. I actually found it kinda scary." Liz held Max's hand as they walked out of the movie theater. Maria walked alongside Michael, who had his arm around her, and Isabel walked side by side with Kyle who was making her laugh every five minutes with his stupid observations.

"I'm telling you, that guy who left or vanished for like ten years... that guy had it planned! I mean think about it! How perfect would it be if you could just disappear when you needed to and then show up ten years later expecting everyone to bend backwards for you because they've missed you all these years!"

"Or have these people kill you for worrying them to death!" Maria rolled her eyes at Kyle's stupid comment and didn't want him giving Michael any ideas.

"I think he was smart. He left when things got rough and decided when he and everyone else was out of danger, then he could come back." Michael looked out in the distance as he said it, avoiding Maria's cold glare.

"If that's the case then he was a wuss, and a loser because he couldn't face his family and friends when he needed them the most." Maria stopped in her tracks and came out from Michael's arms.

"All I'm saying Maria is that if he had to go, he had to go. If he felt that it was the best thing to do, then it probably was, for everyone involved." The group stopped what they were doing and looked back at Michael and Maria who had remained slightly behind, arguing... again.

"And all I'm saying Michael, is that if he were to leave and come back and expect everything to be just as it was before than he has another thing coming, because life is not like that. Things change, people change, and when he comes back, he may just find that everything and everyone he cares about, is no longer who he thought they were. And he is no longer their priority!" Isabel rolled her eyes, feeling another all out Michael vs. Maria war coming on. Kyle laughed, always amused at how much the two could actually argue, and still manage to remain together. Fighting for them was more like a turn on than anything else. Max shook his head and held Liz closer, appreciating every moment they all had together. Things were going to be great. Tess was gone, and they could finally be together. The only problem was finding his son. And they could do that together. It was just sad that Alex was gone because of all of it. The thought saddened Max, but he shook off the feeling. This was not the time or place.

"Maria... I'm just stating a fact from the movie..."

"No Michael! You're just stating this very vague possibility that you might disappear! God! You think I don't think about these things all the time...." Michael pulled Maria in close and held her head on his chest.

"I'm not going anywhere Maria. I can't, remember? The Granolith is gone... and my home is here now. With you. Just, take it easy. Come on, let's grab some Saturn rings at the Crashdown." They all nodded in agreement and walked the 15-minute walk to the Crashdown. Once there, everyone sat down, exhausted from such a busy day. They had taken advantage of the beautiful Saturday and decided to spend the day together. The six of them did everything together; they went shopping in the morning for the girls, went to lunch, and then caught the afternoon movie. Now it was about fifteen minutes to eight and everyone was itching for some solo time. They decided to have dinner together, and then they could part ways. They laughed and talked and for several minutes of the day, Max, Michael, and Isabel felt like normal teenagers. It was a great feeling, knowing now that they would have to stay on the planet, and figure out how to live there like "normal" teenagers. Or as normal as they could get.

"Ok, it's 8:30p.m. I have to start heading home. Dad's expecting me to do some stuff with him tonight. You know, real father/son bonding stuff." Kyle made a sarcastic face then rolled his eyes and laughed. "Sounds like fun huh?" He said goodnight to everyone and made his way out. Isabel looked around at the empty Crashdown and nodded in agreement.

"Yea, I need to get out of here too. I've got things to finish up at home."

"Like what?" Max looked at his sister with honest curiosity. She had been having a lot to do at home all of a sudden.

"Things. Night everyone." Isabel grabbed her purse and left quickly, before any more questions could be asked. Maria got up and hugged Liz.

"I gotta go. Mom's probably worried that I haven't called. I'll call tomorrow morning ok?"

"Yup." Michael got up after Maria and threw down some cash.

"G'night." He ran after Maria who was still slightly angry with him from his earlier comments. Finally, Max and Liz were alone.

"Now what?" Liz smiled shyly at Max, who smiled back at her innocent comment.
"Come on." He grabbed her hand and they walked out to the back of the Crashdown. He helped her climb up her fire escape and climbed up after her. Once on her balcony, she turned around to face Max who without giving her a chance to collect herself kissed her passionately. She drew back a bit, surprised at the kiss and the intensity of it, and then gave in to his strong hands holding her face. Max pulled away for a second, placing his forehead on hers, tenderly lowering his hands to her back.

"I love you Liz Parker." His voice trembled as he said it, his eyes looking into hers so intensely, she was afraid she was looking into his heart.

"I love you too Max." She smiled sweetly as she looked up at him and she softly kissed his lips.

"This is how it should always be. I'm sorry... I never got to apologize for all I put you through. For Alex... for Tess...." Liz held up her hand to his mouth and hushed him.

"Let's not bring up the past."

"Yea. We have to worry about our future." Max smiled and kissed Liz again. But she pulled away, looking slightly troubled.

"What? What's wrong?" Max searched for some problem and saw something in her eyes. Doubt.

"If you hadn't found out about Tess... would you really have left me?" The question had been bothering her since the day Tess was sent away on the Granolith. She knew that it would haunt her unless she asked him. He looked at her and held her close.

"I felt like I had no choice. I had made a stupid mistake, and therefore had to be man enough to go through with my responsibilities. But the thought of leaving you... it was just... too much."

"But you would've left... right?"

"Yes. But not because I loved her. But because I felt I had to. I could never love her the way I love you. What we have... I could never explain. No matter where I go, I always feel you so close to me. Because, you're part of me. I want to breathe your air, and touch your face." Max touched her face and kissed her forehead. "It's getting late. I don't want your parents to hang me. Goodnight Liz."

"Goodnight Max." He walked away and went to climb the stairs, when Liz called his name. She ran to him and kissed him one last time. When they pulled away, he looked into her eyes and kissed her lips softly.

"I love you Liz." It was all he could say to express what he felt. But for some reason, he never felt like he was telling her the whole truth. Love wasn't the word he could use to express what he felt for her. It was too strong, too intense an emotion, that the English language had no words for. As he reached the bottom he called up to her one last time.

"Liz!" She looked over her balcony, and he smiled at the sight of her.

"Will I see you tomorrow?" He looked up expectantly, hoping the answer would be yes.

"Of course. Come to the Crashdown at noon. We'll go out for lunch."

"Ok." He kept his gaze on her deep brown eyes and nodded.

"Goodnight." She went into her room and Max walked away. Tomorrow seemed like too long a time to wait to see her again. As she closed her window to her room, she pulled out the covers, and changed into her nightclothes. Her stomach was still in knots and the butterflies had seemed to take permanent residency in her stomach. That's how she always felt around Max. It was almost like when they'd first opened themselves up to each other. After he'd saved her life. It felt new, exciting, and almost dangerous. But she loved every second of it. And to think she had it for an eternity was probably what made her the happiest of all. With these thoughts, she closed her eyes and drifted into a deep sleep.

Chapter 2:

The bright sunlight coming through the window signaled it was time to wake up. Maria pulled the covers over her head, hoping to catch ten more minutes of sleep. But she knew, she had to wake up and run home. Her mom would be worried sick. She had spent the night at Michael's and told her mom she was spending it with Liz. It was what she had to do to be with him. She reached over to wake Michael, and realized he wasn't there. She looked around, confused, and decided she needed to wake up. She grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around her body. She walked around the house, with no sign of Michael whatsoever. Then she found a note on the counter. "WENT TO GET BREAKFAST WITH MAX AND ISABEL. BE DRESSED WHEN I COME BACK. LOVE, MICHAEL." She smiled and ran into the shower. She could tell by the weather it would be a great morning.
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Kyle opened his eyes when he heard the front door open. He looked around his room and then got up to go into the living room to find out what was going on. His father came in, placed his keys on the table, and held his face in his hands.

"Dad?" Kyle sat next to his father, and Jim looked over at his son with red eyes.

"What's wrong? What happened?" Kyle felt his heart stop. Too much had been happening. Now that things were getting back to normal, some tragedy would ruin everything.

"Dad!" Jim looked at his son and tried to compose himself. Then he spoke the all too familiar words.

"Kyle... there's been an accident."
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Liz felt the sun beaming through her blinds. It was morning! She jumped out of bed and went into the bathroom. In just a few hours she'd get to see Max again. She lived for the moments they spent together. It was frightening actually, how much she waited to see him. How completely dependent she'd gotten on his stare. She almost felt like she couldn't live the same life without him. It was almost like... Romeo & Juliet.

"No!" Liz looked at herself in the mirror trying to forget the image she had just pressed into her mind. The image of star-crossed lovers. The image and words of future Max. She put on lip-gloss and tied up her wet hair. She ran downstairs, enjoying the great sunlight. It was such a beautiful day. She sat at the counter and her mom and dad came out of the kitchen, obviously upset.

"Liz! How long have you been sitting there?" Mrs. Parker looked at her daughter nervously.

"I just got here. What's wrong?" Liz looked at her mom, worried about her expression.

"Lizzie, sit down." Her father looked just as disturbed as her mother, and Liz stared at them feeling almost nervous.

"I am sitting Dad." She looked around, trying to read their expressions, knowing that something had gone horribly wrong.

"Honey, I don't know how to tell you this... there's been an accident." The words rung in Liz's head, recognizing them immediately and knowing she had never wanted to hear them again.

"An accident?" Liz felt as if she were staring at herself from outside her body. She felt misplaced. As if in a dream she couldn't get out of. Just as Mr. Parker went to open his mouth, the Crashdown door flew open and Maria came running in, hysterical, crying and screaming for Liz. Liz looked at her frightened and then back at her parents. She held Maria in her arms as she cried, and felt so helpless she wanted to just pinch herself, to see if it was real. But she couldn't.

"Oh my God Liz! Liz... this is... I'm so sorry... I don't...." Liz looked at her father for help and then Maria realized she wasn't crying. She looked up at her friend with red, puffy eyes and saw the complete confusion on Liz's face.

"You don't know?" She said it more like a statement than a question, but Liz shook her head. Her father sat her down again, and held her hand.

"Lizzie, they found Max's car in Hudson Valley this morning." Liz tried to understand, but all she could think about was that something was really wrong.

"Liz? Liz?!" Maria looked into the brown eyes of her best friend, and couldn't see any expression.

"Hudson Valley?" Liz choked out the words that she didn't want to think.

"Yes. The car was on fire when they found it. Seems the car had been on fire for a while, because there was little left of it." Mr. Parker looked at Liz with worried eyes. This was something no parent should have to tell their child.

"Dad... that's impossible. Hudson Valley is... well you can't get to Hudson Valley by car. Do you understand that? Dad? Do you understand that?" Liz tried to control her tears but felt herself slowly spinning out of control. She slouched over the table and ran her fingers through her hair, still trying to put the pieces together. She cried long and hard, as her mother went to hug her.

"No! Just... just leave me alone!" Liz ran to the back room and up the stairs to her room. Maria looked up, startled, and ran after her. She opened the door, and locked it behind her. Liz sat on the floor by the bathroom door crying.

"How can this happen?" Liz looked up, her tears flowing freely as she questioned Maria. Maria felt her own tears begin to fall, and was amazed at her own strength, for Liz's sake.

"I don't know Liz. I wish I knew." Liz began to sob loudly and Maria grabbed her friend into her arms. She sat and rubbed Liz's hair as she cried.

"We were just with them last night. All of us. We were there... you saw us. He was there! He told me we'd meet for lunch! Maria... what about lunch?!" Liz began to panic, losing all sense of logic.

"Liz... Liz! You have to listen to me. We're going to be ok. I swear. We'll be ok." Maria hugged Liz again, but this time it wasn't so that she could comfort her, it was so that Liz couldn't see Maria's tears. There was a soft knock on the door and Maria placed Liz on the bed. She opened the door, and Kyle stood there, eyes puffy and red, three flowers in hand. Maria felt compelled at the sight of Kyle and couldn't resist the urge to hug him. He held her tight, knowing that as much as it hurt him, it hurt them ten times worse. Maria walked him into the room and closed the door behind them. Liz sat pathetic and lost on her bed. Kyle sat next to her and held her hand. It was strange, that in a short time, Kyle had gone from being Liz's ex-boyfriend to being her new best friend. And when Alex died, it was as if Kyle immediately fit the role, no questions asked. The three sat in silence for a while, and finally Liz cried herself to sleep. It was a nightmare. It all had to be some horrible nightmare.
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Maria felt her eyelids too heavy to open. When she finally did, she realized she wasn't at Liz's house anymore. She was home, safe and sound on her own bed. It was hard to tell how and when she'd gotten home, but there she was, opening her heavy eyes that burned from the dried tears. Amy walked in quietly and held a cup of tea out to her daughter.

"Hi sweetie." Amy's sad eyes reminded Maria of what she had been hoping was all a nightmare. She rubbed her eyes, which only made them hurt more and she pulled the covers over her head hoping to fall back asleep. Forever would have been preferable. When she realized she wasn't disappearing or doing anything she had wanted, she pulled the covers off and looked into her mom's eyes once more.

"Why don't you get up? There's only a few hours left before the funeral." Amy walked out and Maria sat up in bed, confused at everything that was happening. Not only did she not remember how she got home, but how many days had passed? The funeral couldn't have been the very next day. Besides, the police hadn't found any bodies yet. It was possible they were still alive. Somewhere. Maria clung to that hope as if her very life depended on it.

"I would feel it. I would feel it if he died." Maria winced at the sound of her voice. It was hoarse and dry, and she sounded as if she'd been grieving forever. She looked into her closet and pulled out the black outfit she'd worn to Alex's funeral. Just the sight of it made her stomach turn. She held it away from her, as if it were repulsive and walked over to her mother's room. Amy looked up from ironing her dress when she spotted Maria at her door. She held the dress out to her mother as tears began to fall from her eyes.

"No one should have to wear this twice in one year. No girl should have to say good-bye to all three men she's ever loved in her life! It's not fair! God, Mom why?" Maria dropped the dress and fell to the floor in tears. Amy dropped what she was doing and ran to her daughter's aid. She picked Maria up and realized how frail she was. She hadn't been eating well the past several days and it seemed she'd been completely out of it. It was understandable, after all, her boyfriend, her best friend, and two of her closest friends had died in the same year. It was unfortunate actually. The glow that had made Maria who she was... the undeniable spontaneity that came with her being had started to fade. Amy hadn't noticed it until recently. After Alex died, Maria had been insecure and DIFFerent. But this was all she could take. Something needed to be done. But not now. This wasn't the time to make any sudden changes. She sat next to Maria on her bed and just held her as she cried.
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Kyle looked at his neatly ironed black suit and quickly turned away from it. He didn't want to look at it. He didn't even want to think that this was possible. That he'd be carrying not just one but four coffins, and all of people he had grown to love. He thought back to the beginning of sophomore year and how superficial he'd been. Of course Liz didn't want to be with him. He was just an all-American football jock who she'd known all her life. Max on the other hand, was the out of this world, deep, dark, mystery man, who had stolen her heart as he saved her life. It made sense of course, but everything after that didn't. The lies, the tricks, the deceit. Then when he did find out what they were all hiding... well, he wished he wouldn't have. There was so much at risk. Like the time he and Alex got stuck in the cave and were almost killed by the evil crystals. Ok so they didn't get killed, but they might have. And now... now he had to see two of the people he cared so much about suffer. As much as he was. He hadn't realized how much this loss would affect him . Max and Michael weren't exactly brotherly to him. But Isabel... how he would miss her. There was so much about her, and things he was just beginning to learn. Tess had betrayed him and broken his heart. Not in any romantic way, but it had hurt just as much, or more. Isabel on the other hand. Well, they could have had something.

He thought back to Saturday night. He had left the Crashdown in order to go home and spend time with his dad. Isabel had come running after him and asked him to walk home with her. She didn't want to wait up for Max who would probably be there until late. He willingly agreed. Why not? He loved her company. She laughed at his corny jokes, complained with him about his dad and Amy DeLuca's love affair, joked about him being Maria's future brother, and reflected on all the alien madness. That night had been special though. He had walked her to her front door, and as he bid her goodnight, she had kissed him. It was short, sweet and innocent. But it was meaningful. He knew how hard it was for Isabel to open up. About anything. He snapped back to reality and noticed the black suit again. He tried to contain his tears, feeling like he needed to be strong for someone. Liz and Maria maybe. Because he certainly couldn't be for himself. With much hesitation, he reached out and grabbed the suit and then reluctantly put it on. He avoided the mirror, knowing he wouldn't want to see his reflection.

Not too many hours had passed when he found himself at the funeral. He actually closed his eyes and prayed. So much had changed in just one year. His newfound faith and spirituality had helped him through many moments that would have been otherwise unbearable. He looked to his left and saw Liz's distant eyes. The tears fell freely and she stared on, obviously not at all aware of what was being said. They might still be alive, of course. And that could've been the glimpse of hope she had in her eyes, but it was very unlikely. He reached over and held her hand, seeming to wake her from a trance. She looked up at him and did something amazing. She smiled. That was a good sign. They'd make it through this. He placed his red flowers on the empty coffins. He saw Liz place a small sized book in there with her flower. It looked like her journal. She was burying Max, and all their memories. Kyle looked at her hands for a second and without thinking held her back before she placed the book down. He couldn't let her do that. She looked at him confused, and he simply smiled and held her hand. She would thank him later. They couldn't bury their souls. The one thing that made them human. And they obviously couldn't bury their bodies either, which meant there was hope. And what Buddhism taught him was... the cycle of life held many surprises. Never underestimate destiny.

"We'll make it through this. I promise." He held his head low, and with his free hand held Maria's tightly.

Chapter 3:

TEN YEARS LATER:

The sun beaming strongly through the window was traitorous. The sun had no right to be shining down so brightly on a day as mournful as this. Maria looked around and slammed down the button to her irritating alarm clock. It would be another long day. She got up from her bed and went into the shower. The warm water was soothing on her skin and she awoke quickly. As she stepped out, she tied her robe on and her wet hair in a towel. She had gone to the closet to look for some clothes, when the phone rang.

"Hello?"

"Maria?"

"Hey Liz. What's up?" The voice on the other line was hesitant, then she spoke abruptly.

"I don't want to go." Maria sat on the bed and sighed. She was expecting this. It had happened five years ago, and it would most likely happen again. But Liz needed to get on with life. She needed to live positively for a change. Her whole life had been this whole depressing ordeal. Maria wasn't going to allow that anymore. If she could move on, so could anyone else who tried. Liz just wasn't trying.

"Liz... come on. It's been ten years. Please. It's my family reunion. How can you abandon me like that? You refused to come for their five year death anniversary...."

"Maria please..."

"Liz, I'm not done. Now I understand how hard that was. I lost someone I loved very much too remember? But this is going to be a fun thing. A week back in Roswell will do wonders for you. Liz, you don't have a choice. If you don't show up... well, I'll be forced to drag you back." Liz actually laughed at the random comment. Maria smiled knowing how good she'd become at making her best friend smile. She sighed in relief, knowing that had done it. Liz would come. Thank God. Another family reunion alone would kill Maria. It was bad enough having to spend time with her family, but to do it alone was just utterly depressing. She had contacted Kyle several years in a row, and although he had never guaranteed anything. He had never gotten around to showing up. She picked up the phone and called him.

"Kyle?"

"Maria... do you realize what time it is here?"

"Yes. It is exactly two hours later than here, which means that it is 10A.M. So get your lazy butt out of bed and WAKE UP!" Kyle laughed with the small amount of awareness he had, and he finally sat up in bed.

"Ok Princess Drama. What do you want?"

"Do you know what day it is?"

"Yes."

"What day is it?" Kyle thought for a second. Then shrugged and sucked his teeth.

"Forget it, I don't know."

"It's July 16th." Maria sat awaiting some sort of response, and realizing she wasn't getting one, she yelled at Kyle into the phone.

"It's the week of our family reunion! Jesus Christ Kyle! Where do you keep your brain in your cup?!" Kyle rolled his eyes and went into the kitchen. He walked around aimlessly and went into the living room to sit on the couch.

"Look. This week is the tenth anniversary of Michael, Max, and Isabel's death. Ok? And it is Mom and Jim's fifth anniversary, which means a family reunion is in order. Do you understand what that means? That means that you will find a way to take a break from your mindless football games and you will make an effort to show up in Roswell by tomorrow night, the latest! Do you understand that?!"

"Yes Maria."

"Great. If you need me, call my cell phone. I'll be in Roswell by tonight." Maria hung up her phone and sighed.

"Now I know why I loved being an only child." She got up and went to dress. This was definitely going to be a long day. Once dressed, Maria grabbed her packed bags and her purse with her airplane tickets. She ran down the stairs of her studio and walked down the Vegas strip. The place was so DIFFerent in the mornings. It was almost dormant. But she loved it. Vegas was everything she had imagined and more. Years ago, when she had performed there for the first time, Michael had been watching, and he was the one who had made it possible. Once he... disappeared, Maria felt she owed it to him to follow through with her dream. She knew he would have wanted her to. And with her undeniable talent, she made it as a nightclub singer in Vegas. She relived her dream every other night. The lights, the crowd, the makeup, the atmosphere always felt absolutely perfect. Like the very first time, every time. She grabbed a taxi and made her way to the main airport. Hopefully, this trip would be all she hoped it would. As long as everyone participates, things should flow smoothly. There was just one thing that kept bothering her. The feeling that something was strange. Maybe because it was the first day of the week of the pod squad's death anniversary. But maybe... maybe it was something else. It wasn't a bad feeling, it was just... DIFFerent. If this trip didn't do something for her mental well-being, she didn't know what would.
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Liz looked out the window of her apartment. The wind was blowing so strongly, she was afraid to walk outside. She looked on her night table and spotted the airplane tickets. She hesitated, and then picked them up. Roswell. It had been such a long time. She couldn't even imagine what it would be like to go back. Since her parents died, she had dreaded ever going back to Roswell... or riding airplanes for that matter. The airplane accident had truly been a tragedy. The worse part was that they were coming to see her. She had blamed herself for so long, she had forgotten that they were the ones with the idea. It seemed that her life had gone from simplicity to catastrophe in a matter of years. She longed for her childhood days. The days when there were no worries except whether or not she'd get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. And whether or not she'd sit next to Max Evans in class. It was weird. She had known him for so long, but she didn't really know a thing about him. That was until sophomore year. That fateful September afternoon...

Liz stopped her thoughts before they went any further. Now was not the time to reminisce on any painful memories. He was gone and had been for years. Any slight hope of him returning had faded along with many dreams she'd had for the future. She looked out her large living room windows to the Chicago horizon. She sat on her couch and closed her eyes. Would she be strong enough to do this? She looked up into the sky, searching for the God she had so pleadingly requested so many things from. Would he help her now? Just as she was asking for a sign the phone rang.

"Liz?"

"Hey Kyle."

"Hey. How you holding up?" His deep voice was so soothing, so familiar.

"Ok, considering the circumstances." She smiled. It was good knowing that after all, she had people to depend on.

"I'm going to see you right? You ARE coming down... aren't you? It would be really wrong for me to cancel games, go cross country, and not see you." He said it with a hint of blame, hoping to work her guilt. She smiled knowingly, the trick had been tried tons of times but had never actually worked. This time, he would glow with pride at his success.

"Actually Kyle, I am going. I'm leaving tonight."

"Really?!" Kyle couldn't contain his excitement. It would be so much fun. He hadn't seen Liz in ten years, and was dying to see her. And although Maria got on his nerves, she was his stepsister, and he loved her. He needed their friendship, it had been too long since they'd been apart. He smiled and laughed aloud.

"Hey Liz. Maybe we can head to the Crashdown, you know, for old times sake." All the great memories flooded his brain and he realized how good it felt for him to think about those times. He had spent too long blocking them out.

"I don't think so Kyle. It's still too painful."

"You need to heal Liz. You'll never heal unless you face what's hurting you the most." Liz crunched herself on the couch.

'I can't Kyle. I can never be healed again, really healed. My heart has been broken for too long, I don't think it can be mended." Kyle felt his heart sink. It was unbelievable how deep the event had sunk in to Liz's heart. He wanted to miraculously heal her. The way Max could. But he never could. He knew that he would never be Max, and didn't particularly want to. He just wanted to be there for her. However he could.

"Maybe in time. You're strong Liz. I know you are. Just give it time."

"Thanks Kyle. I'll see you in a couple of days." Liz hung up the phone and tucked her feet in her large sweat pants. Her long brown hair fell from her ponytail and she untied it, to let it take shape. She looked at the window one more time and saw her reflection. She hadn't changed much in ten years. Maybe because she hadn't let herself change. But they were right. The time had come. Max would never want her to live this way.

"That settles it then." Liz grabbed the airplane tickets from the table and walked into her room to start packing her bags.

Chapter 4:

The atmosphere was a lighthearted one, and Maria smiled at the good result of the hard work she'd put in. The gathering was a small one and she liked it better that way. It was her mom's anniversary party and the only people that needed to be there was immediate family. There were a couple of Amy and Jim's local friends, Kyle, Liz, and Sean. It was great, seeing them all again. She hadn't laughed so much in a long time, maybe because there was no one to laugh with. She went by the desert table and looked at Liz.

"Hungry? We have a variety of foods available for your consumption. There's the extremely unhealthy section especially made for people like Kyle, or people who need to gain a ton of fat and cholesterol. Then there's the all veggie section, made for those picky eaters who don't particularly mind the green stuff. And then there's the snack bar, made for those expert snackers who know just what size sandwich and how many chips to eat without spoiling their dinner." Maria smiled at Liz and she couldn't help but laugh.

"Oh shut up!" Liz put her head down and smiled at Maria's silliness. The party was all ready, and her mom and Jim were expected to arrive any time soon. It seems they suspected nothing, but it wasn't sure yet. And Maria was flipping out at Kyle's absence. Just as the door opened, Maria hushed the crowd, and then waited expectantly for the surprise looks.

"I'm sorry I'm late!" Kyle came rushing in, a huge gift in hand, and his blue eyes looking into Maria's apologetically.

"You dork! Great, you messed up the whole surprise! Now we need to do a second surprise which will never come out as good as the first!" Maria began to go on when Liz heard a car drive up. She listened intently and realized they were home.

"They're here! Hurry, get in place!" Maria looked up and ran to the backyard. Kyle threw the present on the table and turned off the lights. The door slowly opened and the excited vibes filled the room.

"1... 2... 3!" Kyle whispered and everyone yelled unanimously.

"SURPRISE!" Liz laughed feeling like a small child again. Kyle laughed and hugged her.

"Hey Lizzie! What's up?"

"Nothing much! What about you? Mr. Big Shot football star." Kyle rolled his eyes flattered.

"Oh I try..." They laughed and made their way to the back yard. Maria stood out with a small karaoke machine she'd brought and sang for her surprised parents. Amy and Jim smiled in surprise and hugged and thanked all their guests.

"Your love is better than ice cream, better than anything else that I've tried / Your love is better than ice cream, everyone here knows how to fly / It's a long way down, it's a long way down... it's a long way down to the place where we started from."

The mood was festive and Liz smiled and laughed for the first time in years. Maria looked at her friends and the party and knew this had been a good idea. When she finished singing she hugged Amy and Jim and wished them a happy anniversary. They smiled and hugged her and thanked her endlessly for planning this from Nevada. Then they saw Liz. Jim walked over to her first and looked at her sadly. She had been smiling and her smile slowly faded as she saw his expression.

"Don't say it Sheriff..."

"I'm not the sheriff Liz. And you're not sixteen. You can call me Jim." Liz smiled shyly and hugged him.

"Happy Anniversary... Mr. Valenti." He laughed at Liz's manners and thanked her.

"So how have you been doing? You ok? Kinda far out there without any friends."

"It's not too bad." Liz put her head down and looked up shyly at the Jim.

"Why don't you consider moving in with Maria. Or coming back to Roswell, for good."

"I just..." Before she could finish her sentence Amy walked over to her and hugged her tightly.

"LIZ! Sweetie, it's so great to see you, and for my anniversary! Oh! It's been too long! And to think, I didn't even expect for you to come! This is so weird..." Before she could finish her sentence, Maria walked over and interrupted her sentence.

"Hey, how's the party? Oh, Liz, Kyle wants you to go over there." Liz politely excused herself and walked over to Kyle who was 'munching' on everything. Maria looked at her mom and shook her head in disapproval.

"She just got here Mom. If you tell her, she'll go straight back home. Let's just give her some time. Then, we'll break it on her. Let me see if I can make her stay a couple of days longer. Ok?" Amy nodded in agreement and she and Jim walked away as Maria looked around hoping no one had heard.
Chapter 5:

When Liz awoke the next morning she felt strange as she looked around the brightly decorated room with the orange and red comforter and the hippie beads at the door. She recognized it immediately as Maria's room, having slept there so many years. She looked around groggily and then made her way to the bathroom. The strong smell of coffee filled the house. And as Liz went downstairs she saw Maria sitting at the dining room table, waiting and dressed for Liz.

"What's going on?" Liz looked confused and grabbed the cup of coffee waiting for her on the table.

"We're going out! You can't simply expect to be locked up in here until you leave. Go get dressed... we'll go out for breakfast." Liz got up and looked in the refrigerator.

"You've got good food right here..."

"Liz, I'm not cooking. I don't cook for myself, I know you don't expect me to cook for you. Come on... get ready, we're going out." Liz sighed and went upstairs to change. Maria sat, sipping her coffee calmly and then touched her stomach in what looked like nervousness.

"You can do this..." She whispered it as an assurance, but it sounded more like a question. Liz came down about ten minutes later, with some jeans and a tank top, some lip gloss, and her long hair loose, parted to one side. She looked just like the sixteen year old Liz Parker Maria had known. She smiled and got up. Maria looked at her tight halter top and short jean skirt. It was the only wardrobe she had here, and her suitcase clothes were too much of a hassle to unpack just yet. She also felt like she was sixteen again. Her shoulder length bright blonde hair hung loose and straight. They looked like they'd warped through time. Except they looked older too. Like their features had become womanlier, their bodies had filled out, their essence was mature. So the experience was weird. Maria grabbed her purse and she and Liz got in the car. Maria drove the route down the street and felt it all come back do her.

"It's been so long. I don't even recognize this place anymore." Maria looked around at the new condos being built in place of the trees that had once adorned the side of the street. She turned onto the main road and then it became a flashback. Everything looked exactly as it had ten years before. Maria drove past their old high school and Liz avoided looking out the window. Maria smiled and drove right into town, and right in front of the Crashdown Cafe. Maria turned off the car and Liz looked out the window, with an unbelieving face. She looked at Maria, half confused, half angry.

"What are we doing here!?" Maria began to take off her seatbelt and looked at Liz calmly.

"Liz... Mom bought the Crashdown from the state after your parents passed away. She fixed up a bit and just opened it about three days ago. She left the upstairs just as it had been." Maria held her breath, hoping Liz wouldn't smack her. Instead, Liz looked back at the building that had for so long been her home. She felt the memories flood her brain so fast, she almost felt dizzy.

"Ok. Ok, let's go in." She half smiled at Maria, and Maria knew she had done something good. For Liz... and for herself. They got out of the car, and Liz walked in slowly. As she came in the smell of bacon, eggs, and coffee filled the room. The familiar aprons adorned a new set of teenage girls trying to make some money. The blonde one walked up to Liz and Maria and smiled.

"Welcome to the Crashdown Cafe, can I help you?" Maria smiled warmly at her, she was very sweet.

"Those uniforms are just... eccentric." The girl looked down at her alien apron and laughed.

"They're not too bad. Besides, the story goes that the two girls who worked here actually had an alien encounter. So I guess it's worth it. Never know right?" Liz looked wide-eyed at the girl, wondering whether she knew who she and Maria were, or whether that was truly a told story. Maria looked at Liz and knew she was quickly losing her nerve. She looked back at the waitress, and smiled.

"Be careful what you wish for."

"Yea." The waitress then sat them at the counter and Amy turned around from working the drinks.

"Hey girls, glad you could make it! Liz... what do you think? Did I do it justice?" Liz looked around amazed at how similar everything still was, how it still smelled like her parents cooking and how she still expected Max to walk in any second. Her eyes began to water and she placed her hand on her mouth to try and stop herself.

"I'm sorry... excuse me." Liz got up and ran to the back room and up the stairs. Maria looked at her Amy and held her head down feeling bad for bringing Liz.

"Go get her..." Maria got up and ran over to the back and followed her friend. Amy shook her head. It was so sad. Liz had been permanently traumatized by so many of the events of her youth, and had never seemed to recover the same life she had before them. Amy turned to make some milk shakes on the machine and to check on her pies, resting in the little cooler. Maria had also been through so much, with Michael and Max disappearing, and then Liz's parent’s death. They had such a rough teenage years, and although Maria did a great job to get her life back together, she always seemed to only be doing it for everybody else. As Amy dug herself into her thoughts, she heard a deep male voice in the background of reality somewhere. She turned around to face to face a young man, with long hair and a rough face. He looked familiar, something about his eyes that she knew. But she just smiled and asked if she could help him. His eyes grew wide, almost as if in recognition of her.

"Ms. DeLuca?" Amy smiled; surprised she didn't remember this handsome young man.

"Actually, I'm a Valenti know sweetie. Do I know you?" His eyes just remained locked on hers in surprise, and he shook his head no.

"Well, how can I help you?" He seemed to swallow down some big lump in his throat and tried to speak calmly.

"I'm looking for the Parkers." Amy's smile faded and she looked down.

"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid the Parker's died in a plane accident about five years ago. You're obviously an old friend. But you look kind of young. Was it Liz you knew?" The mention of her name seemed to spark something in his eyes, and she figured he was some old high school crush. But of course Amy knew that Max had been Liz's love. And he bared a striking resemblance to.... no. She refused to think it was even possible.

"They... died? Even Liz?"

"No. Liz is fine. But she moved to Chicago and hasn't been back since. Well, except now. She came for my fifth wedding anniversary, she and Maria planned it and surprised me and Jim." Amy smiled and caught herself telling this stranger her life story.
"I'm so sorry, I'm babbling." For the first time, he smiled and she could swear she knew him. She held out a piece of pie and he declined.

"Well, happy anniversary, Ms. DeLu... I mean, Mrs. Valenti. And congratulations. Would you happen to know how I could contact Liz?" His eyes looked into hers pleadingly and she hesitated, not sure what his intentions were or whether she could trust him.

"She might be here tomorrow. You can come and check in there. Can I get your name...?" Before she could finish the sentence he had thanked her and ran out of the Cafe. Amy shrugged her shoulders.

"Weird." Just then, Maria walked down the stairs with Liz.

"We're going out to the movies. We'll be home later on tonight ok?" Amy nodded in agreement and kissed them both on the forehead.

"Be good." The girls walked out and made their way to the car. Liz looked out her passenger side window and saw a very handsome dark haired man walking towards the back of the Crashdown. As Maria drove away, Liz got the strange feeling to go back. But she ignored it, and stayed shut. The dark haired man reached the back balcony and climbed up with ease. He looked around, and opened the window to Liz's room as he climbed in.

Chapter 6:

He looked around and recognized the familiar surroundings. He made his way into Liz's old room and sat on her bed. It was strange that after so many years, the sheets still smelled like her. He went into her dresser and found a bunch of empty drawers. All except the last one. He pulled out a small brown notebook. It looked like Liz's old journal. He laid on the bed and closed his eyes, a distinct memory coming into his mind.

FLASHBACK:

Liz: What I wrote in my journal, it didn't really have anything to do with science. You see, the day that you saved me, I felt something, I just had to put into words. So years from now, if anyone... if anyone ever touches me the way you did, I'll know what it's supposed to feel like.

Max: So can I see it? What you wrote?

Liz: Ummm... yea, I don't think that's such a good idea.

Max: No?

Liz: No.

Max: Why? Cause if I read what you wrote in your journal, I’d realize how you really see me.

Liz: Exactly.

END OF FLASHBACK~

He touched the journal softly and opened to the first page. He read the words, slowly, carefully.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Journal,
This is Liz Parker. It's September 23, and four days ago I died. Then things got really weird....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
He closed his eyes and remembered the day. The shooting. Everything. Finally, he felt like himself again. Liz always had a way of doing that. Finally, he was once again, Max Evans.

He grabbed the journal and put it in his coat pocket. He also found on her night table, the photo booth pictures of them, when they had first started dating. He smiled at how young they looked. How DIFFerent. DIFFerent.... he could only imagine what Liz would look like now. But he didn't care. Liz was always beautiful. There was something about her he had always found... irresistible. He just wanted to hold her. To run his fingers through her silky hair. To kiss her. God it had been too long since he kissed her. It actually hurt him to be away from her. Not just his heart, but it had been a deep, physical pain somewhere in his stomach. Especially at nights. When he wanted to walk to the Crashdown for a meal, but found himself on a DIFFerent planet, no less, a DIFFerent block. He longed for her, like he longed for air. And finally... finally he was getting closer to breathing. He grabbed the pictures, and feeling for the journal in his pocket turned off the light to make his way out to the porch again.

He would wait until later that night. It seemed like an eternity, but it was a safer deal. Under the cover of darkness, he'd find Liz. For now, he jumped over the ledge and onto the fire escape ladder. He walked over to his car, and made his way "home." He looked at the house of his childhood and held his breath, trying to take it in. Ten years is a long time. A lot could have changed. He picked up courage, and walked in. At the dining room table sat his mother, and Isabel holding her hand, crying. They looked up at the same time, and both got up to hug him. Diane was particularly sentimental.

"Oh sweetie. I never thought I'd see you again." She cried as she held Max in her arms. Max who was no longer her little boy, but who always would be. He tried to hold back the tears, but hugged her with the same force if not more.

"I missed you Mom." She pulled away and held Max's face in her hands. She kissed her son's forehead and hugged him again. Her tears were flowing so freely, he was positive she would never run out. He looked around, and realized someone was missing.

"And Dad?" That's when Isabel broke down crying. She looked up at Max with a look he recognized. The look of guilt. The same look she'd had when Alex died. The look that being aliens hurt everyone around them.

"Daddy died Max. He died of a heart attack the year we were kidnapped. Because he was so worried about us. He died because of us Max." Isabel cried and Max went to hug his sister who was bordering on hysterics. This was one tough family reunion. Max sat the girls down, and after everyone calmed down, he cooked dinner. For the first time in years, Diane Evans laughed and enjoyed a dinner at home. She was so thin, because she barely ate. She had gone from mother and wife, to lonely widow. It had been so hard for her the past ten years. All because of some stupid destiny.

Isabel tried to control her anger. She knew the mission had been important. She knew their planet needed saving. But she hadn't been ready. They had no right to take them the way they did. To just snatch them off the face of the Earth... literally. It made her angry to think that so much hurt was caused to her family, the only people she loved so dearly on Earth. Her poor father, sick as he was, died because of worry. No parent should have to die because of that. She ran her fingers through her short brown hair, and held her mother's hand across the dinner table. She felt like she never wanted to let her go. Like if she did, any minute they'd come for her again. Like it had been one huge nightmare. They had no right to take her life away from her. And in a sense, she hated who she was for it. If she were... normal. But she wasn't. Max laughed and joked, obviously trying hard to lighten the mood, and doing a good job at it. He had grown so much in the past ten years. He'd grown into a handsome, wise, charismatic man. One who knew what he wanted and who went after it. She was so proud of his accomplishments. It was just so sad things had to end the way they did. His son... whom he had actually loved, brutally murdered by Kavar. He had only been about nine or ten years old. But because he was heir to the throne and was in the middle of the all out war on Antar, Kavar took it upon himself to eliminate the competition. Max took it upon himself to eliminate Kavar... and Tess, there known as Ava for betraying him and her family. And then he made peace. It was a DIFFicult process... that had taken years, no doubt. But he had done it. His nightmare haunted him for a long time. But he learned to deal with it. Killing people was never easy, no matter what reason there is for it. She knew that herself. They'd been offered the chance to remain on Antar. To recollect their lost years and begin their ruler ship as Kings and Queens. But their mother, she had noticed their sadness. Their obvious loneliness and longing for what they knew as home. Even Isabel was not content with what she had found there... a place where she fit in, where she was most beautiful and known. Instead, she longed for some sort of relationship on Earth. And what it would be like if Alex was still alive. That's when she thought of Kyle, and began to wonder if he was all right.

"Iz... you ok?" Max's voice interrupted her thoughts.

"Oh yea, I'm fine. Look, if you're gonna meet up with Michael, you should do it now. It's getting dark out. I want you back early. So we can spend the night with Mom. OK?" Max shook his head in agreement and kissed both his sister and mother on the forehead. He waved good-bye and grabbed his coat. Diane looked on in worry.

"Don't worry Mom. He'll be back. I promise." Isabel smiled warmly and her mother held her hand tightly.

"My God I missed you so much..." Diane began to cry and Isabel hugged her tightly.

"Me too." She felt a new batch of tears begin to fall, and cursed them to go back where they came. She needed to be strong, at least for her mom. "I love you Mom."

Chapter 7:

Michael and Max stepped out of the car. Michael had gotten a hair cut, but remained with a shaggy, rock and roll kind of look, and some rugged hairs on his face that he refused to shave quite yet. Max had cleaned up a bit too. He had his hair trimmed, and put the little pieces hanging over his face in a ponytail, not knowing that he looked exactly like Future Max. He also looked a little rugged around the face, making him look older. They stood in front of the white door and Michael rang the doorbell. His hand was visibly shaking and Max looked over at his friend.

"You ok?"

"Yea." Michael looked over at Max with worried eyes. "Just wondering what it'll feel like to see her again. That's all." Max smiled at Michael's attempt to be calm and in control. He looked ahead just as the door opened. At the door stood Amy, with a mug of warm tea. Michael took in the familiar sight of the home that hadn't changed at all in ten years.

"Hey, you're the guy from the Crashdown." Amy looked at them confused and a little worried.

"Can I help you gentlemen?" Jim came from the side of the room with a wife beater and another mug of tea. Michael looked at him in surprise.

"Sheriff?!?" The word and tone was so familiar to Jim that he felt like he'd fallen into some sort of time warp.

"I'm sorry do I know you?" Jim looked at the almost familiar faces trying desperately to decipher who they were. Of course in the back of his mind he knew... he refused to believe that his answer was possible.

"Sheriff it's me Michael. And Max. Remember?" Amy dropped her mug of tea and looked terrified at Jim. He held her as she fainted and the boys helped drag her onto the couch. Minutes later, as she awoke, they sat around in the living room.

"How is this possible? I thought you guys were dead?"

"Nope. Kidnapped. You know, another alien thing." Amy awoke only to catch the last two phrases.

"ALIENS!" She looked at Michael's face and he held her glare with his eyes. Jim looked on as she made some sort of connection with him.

"Oh my God... it's really you!" She got up and hugged him tightly. "I can't believe this! You're ok! Wait until Maria... oh my God Maria! She's going to flip out!" Michael smiled and hugged Amy. She looked at him shocked, and Jim hugged him too.

"We're looking for Liz and Maria. It's very important that we find them." Max's voice was deep and sincere. Jim was shocked at how much they'd changed. But their eyes remained the same. Honest, proud, shy, and sometimes even insecure.

"Liz and Maria are gone. They left this afternoon. Liz was a little overwhelmed by her first return to Roswell in ten years. She had just come from your grave sights... oh yea, we buried you. And she was hysterical. So Maria thought it was time for her to leave. And since Maria would be at the airport, she went ahead and left too."

"They left! So they were here!" Michael sounded frustrated.

"Yea. They left just this afternoon. I'm sorry guys."

"I'm sorry?! Look, Ms. DeLuca... or Valenti, or whatever. I haven't seen Maria in ten years ok? I have to see Maria. You have to tell me where I can find her! I can't just sit and wait ten years for her to decide and come back! Do you understand what I'm saying?! This is driving me crazy!" Michael sat down in frustration and Max put his hand on his shoulder.

"I think what he's saying is, he misses her terribly and can't go another day without seeing her again." Amy smiled and took out a phone book.

"You know I always thought you two would get married. You acted as if you were already. But when I saw the way you were with her when Alex died... I knew it. I knew she had found the man she was going to love forever. Your loss really affected her you know. And Liz." Amy looked up worried. "Don't expect just some open arms invitation back into their lives. You guys have been gone for ten years now. They've moved on. Maria has a steady boyfriend and Liz a steady life. Don't go ruining them. Please. If you're going to disappear again... then maybe it's better you stay away." Max looked at Amy shocked.

"I would never hurt Liz on purpose. I love her more than I love my own life. God, if I could just explain what it feels like to be apart from her for more than ten minutes, never mind ten years. I felt dead inside." That was all Amy needed to hear.

"Ok. Ok, fine you've convinced me. Maria is staying in Las Vegas, Nevada. She lives down the main strip in a studio. Here's the address. She performs every other night. And if I'm right, tomorrow is her night. Liz is in Chicago. She's on vacation from work at the biochemical research center and is probably at home trying to comfort herself. She truly needs a friend. So go get them! What are you waiting for!" Amy gave them the addresses and hugged them both. "Go make me proud." Jim hugged them good-bye and wished them good luck. They ran out into the car and headed towards Max's house.

"Ok. We're packing now, and leaving on the first flight to Chicago tonight."

"Wait, why Chicago? Why can't we visit Maria first? She's closer anyway."

"That's the point Michael. Liz is further away, so we'll go get Liz, then we'll visit Maria. Got it?"

"Hold up, I think you just want to see Liz first."

"Michael grow up."

"Don't get on my case Maxwell." They fought all the way to the front door and as Isabel opened it she sighed.

"Geez... some things never change."
Chapter 8:

The wind blew hard and they looked up at the immense skyscraper that shadowed the sidewalks. Max held his breath as he realized he was actually nervous. He looked down at the small paper in his hands. ELIZABETH PARKER- 4578 NORTON LANE /12th Floor, APT. 10E. He looked up to the twelfth floor of the fifteen-story building. It was so unlike Liz to live in a place like that. She was a small home in the country kind of girl. Without a word, Michael began to make his way into the building. The doors were very high tech, a special digit code needed to unlock, or a phone number needed to contact her apartment. Michael looked around and placed his hand on the digital screen. In seconds he removed it and dialed the number that had come up instantly. As soon as he dialed it, the door swung open.

"What did you do?"

"Hacked in and figured out the security code." Max looked at Michael in amazement.

"Can you do that with anything?"

"Yup." Michael walked in nonchalantly and Max walked in quickly afterward.

"You've never actually tried that with things like credit or ATM cards have you?" Michael looked at Max and rolled his eyes sarcastically.

"Maxwell, can we stop procrastinating and get on with the program." Max lowered his eyes, and then looked up at Michael with what looked like fear.

"What now?"

"I'm just worried. What if... what if she's married? Or has children? Or... forgot about me?" The words seemed unbearable to say. Michael walked straight into the shiny copper elevator and once Max walked in, the doors shut. Michael pressed twelve and then turned to face Max.

"I don't think you can easily forget someone who saved your life miraculously from a bullet. Or someone who declares to be an alien and then proves himself so. Or your first love." Everything prior to that had been true. But it was the last sentence that struck Max. It was true of course, Liz and he had loved each other like no teenagers should. Too passionately for their age, too quick. But it had been just right. Like it was meant to be. And for the ten years Max had been gone, he had come to that conclusion. He and Liz were destined to be together. Through all the impossible tasks, he managed to find his way back to her. The fact that he was searching for her out in the middle of Illinois, hoping that ten years after his mysterious disappearance she would take him in as her own, was enough of a statement to that.

The numbers kept counting. 9... 10... 11... 12. Michael looked at Max and nodded. It was time. They stepped out of the elevator and looked down the two dimly lit hallways that were very well rugged and smelled like dried roses. Max walked slightly ahead of Michael, now taking the lead in searching for his long lost love. They reached the door, the fancy, gold numbers and letters showing his reflection. He rang the doorbell and held his breath. Michael leaned up against the wall facing the hallway. They waited... about two minutes... then Max rang again. They waited again... first five minutes, then ten.

"I don't think she's home." Michael got up and began to walk away.

"Oh come on! I came all this way for nothing! No! I'm not leaving until I see Liz. Where the heck is she anyway?! It's like seven thirty at night and this is Chicago! She should be home!"

"Max... it's still light outside. And you're not her husband. Ok so chill." Max looked at Michael frustrated.

"You're sounding more and more like Isabel every day. You really need to cut that out." Max's anger was slightly obvious but Michael just shrugged him off and laughed. Max closed his eyes and in his mind he begged God for a sign... if he really existed. That had been a constant argument with Liz, whether or not God was real. But that Christmas, he remembered learning from the person with the least faith. Michael. So he prayed for a miracle and hoped with all his heart it would come true. As they began to make their way down the hall, a door in the hallway swung open.

"Hey... are you looking for the Parker girl?" A very provocative looking woman came out from the door with her nose and eyebrow rings glowing. Michael turned, startled at the voice. Max turned after and looked in curiosity.

"Yes. Do you know her?"

"Yea. She's new around here... never really talks to anyone, or goes out anywhere. I met her about two weeks ago. She's real cute... real shy. We spoke for a while. She's real easy to talk to. Why you lookin' for her?" The girl looked at them suspiciously, almost protecting her.

"I'm a very old friend..."

"What do you want with her?" She cut him off before he could even finish.

"Look... if you would let him finish he'd tell you." Michael began to catch an attitude with the red head and she raised her eyebrow at him.

"Listen hair boy... she's my friend ok? I ain't letting just some bums get in her way. She's got too much going for her." She began to turn into her house and Max ran to the door and held it open. She and max made eye contact and she almost felt weak at the knees. His eyes were so strong... so powerful.

"Look... I didn't quite get your name..."

"Veronica."

"Veronica... I'm Max Evans. And I'm looking for Liz for very important reasons. Liz was my high school sweetheart. Because of reasons I'm not free to explain we parted ways and I lost her. It's been ten years since I've seen her. I need to find her before anything else happens. I can't bear to lose her now that I'm so close. Please. You have to help me. I love her...." The sincerity in his eyes touched the depths of her heart. She tried to contain her tears, and opened the door.

"She's in Vegas."

"What?! Vegas? Why?"

"She went to visit an old high school buddy of hers named Maria. She was feeling really depressed, she'd just come back from a trip to her hometown. I guess it wasn't going well. She'd visited some old grave sight..."

"Mine...." Max's voice trailed off as he said it.

"What?!"

"We disappeared ten years ago. Our family and friends buried us as if we were dead. I need to find her and show her I'm not. I'm here." Her eyes grew wide in amazement.

"Well, then, get outta here! Here's the name to the nightclub Maria works. It's on the main Vegas strip by the expensive hotel..." Michael broke in without thinking.

"The one with the slide in the shape of a giant flamingo?"

"Yea... you know it?"

"Somewhat..." Michael thought back to their high school days in Vegas. And Laurie Dupri. It'd been years since he spoke to her and he suddenly found himself wondering what she was doing. Max looked expectantly at the girl and she smiled.

"Well, she should be there. Tonight, if I'm not wrong, is her performing night." Max smiled and hugged her. She hugged him back, a sad smile crossing her face.

"Thank you soooo much." He began to walk away and she called to him.

"Yo Max! Good luck." Her perfectly lined blue eyes looked at him sadly, a familiar look in them. For a second, she reminded him of Ava. He shrugged off the feeling and thanked her as he and Michael went down to the elevator.

"Guess it's time to go to Vegas."

"If we woulda gone there first like I said, we woulda saved all this time and money wasted listening to you." Michael shook his head in disagreement and Max laughed.

"But we would've never met this charming young lady..." Michael looked at Max and couldn't help but smile.

"Shut up."

Chapter 9:


The lights were low; the smoke filled the room like a light fog. The stage lights went on, and the band began to play one of the slow tunes.

"My funny valentine. Sweet comic, valentine. You make me smile with my heart. Your looks are laughable, unphotographable, yet you're my favorite work of art. Is your figure less than Greek, is your mouth a little weak, when you open it to speak, are you smart? But don't change your hair for me, not if you care for me, stay, little valentine... stay. Each day is Valentine's Day."

Maria stood on the stage, her body was perfectly shaped by the burgundy dress she had on. The thin straps enhanced her arms and the angled skirt showed off her beautiful burgundy shoes. Her lips were just a hint darker than the dress, looking like a crimson rose. She had never looked quite as beautiful. She sang as two strangers walked into the dining hall. Most people on the strip were regulars, at least at that hour of night, and the ones who were tourists usually stuck out more than the rest. However, these two managed to sneak in and sat in the back, and it was a while before she noticed them. And it was only because one of them was intensely staring at her, that she caught his eye. He held her gaze, and as she sang, she felt a very strong, very strange attraction to him. His deep brown eyes looked into hers like only one man ever had... and she refused to think about that now. It was not the time to think of him. As she finished her song, she went to the back got a drink of water, and came out for a second round. That's when she saw the two guys had moved up closer, and as the light shone on him a little more, she noticed he looked exactly like.... The music began and she stared into his beautiful eyes hoping he would answer the question that was biting on her brain. The sensual rhythm began to fill her soul, and she sang, as she hadn't in years.

"I have been in love and been alone. I have traveled over many miles to find a home. There's that little place inside of me, that I never thought could take control of everything. But now I just spend all my time with anyone who makes me feel the way he does. 'Cause I only feel alive when I dream at night, even though he's not real it's all right. Cause I only feel alive when I dream at night, every move that he makes holds my eyes. And I fall for him, every time."

The mystery man seemed to live the words with her as she sang them and as she looked into his eyes she saw something that scared her. She saw herself, ten years earlier... she saw herself and Michael Guerin, making love in his apartment. The sight gave her shivers and she felt herself grow weak. She continued to sing, hoping her lightheadedness was not visible from the audience. When she closed her eyes, and reopened them, he was gone. So was his friend. Maria finished her song and thanked the audience as she did every night. However, this night she was searching for the missing mystery guests. One in particular, that literally took her breath away. She went to the back of the stage and drank her glass of water. It was only a second that she drank, and when she put the cup down on the small table to the right of the stage, she turned and was face to face with the mystery man. His features were familiar, his eyes even more, and before she could think too much about it, he was wrapping his arms around her in a passionate kiss. Her head spun in disbelief at the way it felt. It felt so familiar, so right. The way his lips kissed hers... he had to be Michael! He pushed her up against the brick wall and kissed her even harder. Max laughed and pulled them apart.

"Ok, Michael. We're in public. Come on, you can do that later." Michael pulled away and looked into Maria's eyes. She searched his face for some sort of sign that it wasn't true. Instead she found every sign that it was.

"Where the heck have you been?!" Maria pulled out of her trance and practically jumped on Michael. He held her and tried to hold himself up so he wouldn't fall backwards. She kissed his lips, his cheeks, his forehead, and his lips again. Max smiled and when she saw him she jumped off.

"Oh my God Max!!!!" She ran over to him and hugged him so tightly; he felt she would never let go. She felt her eyes begin to water as she tried to put together the pieces of the puzzle. It was just too unbelievable. They were alive! All this time, they'd been alive....

"Hey... if you're not really dead... why did you pretend you were! That wasn't even nice! Do you know how pissed that makes me!? I bet you have no idea what I went through... the nights I stayed up crying without a friend in the world. When I had to bury you! Do you know how traumatic that was?!" Maria began to cry hysterically now and Michael just held her tightly. He rocked her gently and whispered in her ears.

"I'm sorry. I never meant to... I love you." Max looked at the reunion and began to long for what he had come to look for.

"Liz... I hear she's staying with you?"

"Yea... how did you know how to find me?" Maria stood up straight and Michael kept his arms tight around her waist. She sniffled and then looked up at Max with watery eyes.

"We saw your mom... and Jim. Kinda weird huh?"

"Yea, I guess." Maria smiled in spite of her anger and she hugged Max one more time.

"You have no idea how good it is to see you again." After several minutes of emotion, they convinced Maria to take them home with her. They walked into the cool night and into the bright lights of the strip.

"It's beautiful here at night." Maria looked around, admiring her surroundings. Michael held her hand and looked up into the sky.

"You can't see the stars." He said it so simply; Maria wasn't sure what to make of it.

"So?"

"You always loved the stars... I just figured maybe you missed them." She looked at Michael in surprise. Her eyes softened as she looked at him. If she had ever doubted her love for him, it was at that instant that she knew, her love for him was eternal. They reached the small building and got into the elevator to Maria's studio. She excused her mess and walked them around the very artistically decorated apartment. But it was silent. There was no sign of Liz anywhere. Max began to worry.

"Where is she?"

"Well, she left the club at like nine thirty. Maybe she went to look around. Or...." Maria stopped to think and it was as if she had an epiphany.

"The Elvis Chapel! She's at the Elvis Chapel!" Without hesitating, Max grabbed his jacket and ran to the door.

"You and Liz got married there in the future! Future Max told her so! So be careful what you say!" Maria shouted out behind him... and he quickly thanked her as he ran out. The room suddenly got quiet and Michael looked at Maria.

"Don't... don't even look at me! I can't believe you would do that! Pretend you're dead! I just...Dios mio, only you! It's unbelievable, esta loco... this boy! You know what? Whatever!" Maria waved her hand at him and just walked away. He grabbed her hand and pulled her close to him, which was the last thing she expected. They were so close to each other; Maria could practically touch his nose with hers. They stared into each other’s eyes and he held her tightly.

"I never wanted to leave you. You need to know it wasn't my choice. They took us away Maria. They kidnapped us and took us home. Tess is dead, Kavar is dead, even Max Jr. is gone. They're all dead... but we're alive and we're here and we're back. I stayed alive for you. Don't just let me wish I had died.... please. Show me that I was right about one thing in my life. My love for you is the only thing that felt real." His words were unlike anything she had ever heard before... from him anyway. She tried to remain intact, but felt her pride crumbling.

"I love you Maria DeLuca. And before anything else happens... I want you to marry me."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The chapel was packed; the couples were running in and out of the place, the smiling, joyous faces expressing their love for each other. Max looked around. No Liz. He looked up at the building next door. It was an abandoned building... but one that looked like it had a good view. He decided he'd go up there to keep his eye out for her. He went around the side of the building and climbed up the fire escape. He ran up the dark stairwell in the old apartment building and found the roof door. He opened it and to his surprise found someone there.

"Oh! I'm sorry I didn't know anyone came up here...." He tried to remain calm, but he was startled and a little nervous now, which was evident in his voice.

"Oh no... I'm not even supposed to be up here. I just... I didn't know anyone else would come up here." The voice struck a chord in Max... the familiar voice that he had been dying to hear for ten years. He looked at the dark hair he was facing.

"Who would want to get married in Vegas anyway?" He stared at her... if he got the response he wanted, he didn't know what he'd do with himself.

"I actually think it's kind of romantic." He sighed disappointed. Maybe his hopes were too high. Maybe he had wanted it too badly. Maybe it was too good to be true. He decided to try one more time.

"Not me. No way. Not in this lifetime anyway. It just kinda gives me the creeps, you know?" He held his breath as he stared at her, waiting for some sort of response. He heard a small noise and then saw her shoulders shake. She began to cry softly and he made his way closer. She was holding her face in her hands trying to be as quiet as possible.

"Liz...?" She looked up, a sight of fear on her face. The fear turned into confused surprise and she slowly stood up. He looked down at her face, dimly lit by the bright Vegas lights. She looked up into his eyes, hers full of turmoil, and began to cry softly. He locked his eyes on hers, refusing to look away. She couldn't believe what she saw. His eyes were... they were Max's eyes.

"Are you ok?" He spoke softly, as if he were whispering it in her ear. Her breathing became heavy and nervous. She shook her head no, and he smiled, a smile that hadn't changed in ten years.

"I can make you feel better. But... well, I have to touch you." The line was so familiar to them that it was as if he had taken her all the way back to sophomore year. She remembered the day as if it were yesterday. She had been on her balcony and Max had called her down. She went down into the Crashdown and let him in.

FLASHBACK:

Max: I can just imagine what you must be feeling right now. I've thought about telling you a thousand times.

Liz: Really? Me?

(Max laughs)

Liz: What.

Max: I just keep picturing you in the dress with the... uh... the cupcakes on it.

Liz: What?

Max: Nothing... forget it, it was a long time ago.

Liz: Oh! I can't believe I actually wore that thing! Wait... I had that dress in kindergarten; I didn't know you until the third grade! What can you like read my mind or something?!

Max: NO! I don't read minds. It's just... when I healed you I made this, this connection. And an image of that dress flashed into my mind and... I knew how you felt about it.

Liz: How did I feel about it?

Max: It was the single supreme embarrassment of your life. But your mom made if for you, and she thought it was so perfect. So you wore it... for her sake. I've never tried this before, but... maybe I can make the connection go the other way. You know, so you can see... that I'm still me. I have to touch you.

END OF FLASHBACK:

Liz's eyes filled with tears as she tried to control her emotions.

"I thought you were dead..."

"I would never leave you like that. I love you Liz." He grabbed her face in his hands and kissed her so that all of their flashes filled their minds. She wrapped her arms around him and he kissed her even harder. He couldn't believe it. He had found her.

"I'm so sorry Liz. I'm sorry I had to do this to you. When you needed me the most. But it's not my fault. I swear, I didn't choose to leave. I had no choice. But I thought about you everyday. And especially when my son died..."

"I'm sorry..."

"No. Don't be. Will you ever forgive me for the torment I've put you through?" Max felt his eyes begin to water and he kissed her soft lips again.

"Just don't ever leave me again!" Max and Liz kissed on the roof, as Elvis announced a couple as man and wife.

Chapter 10:

Isabel felt the bright sun beaming on her face and wiped off the slight gleam with a napkin. She had been in the mall for almost three hours and still hadn't found what she wanted for her mother. She stopped at a concession stand to get a drink when she saw the football highlights on the television.

"And it was another win for the Jets as Kyle Valenti scored the winning touchdown!" Isabel almost spit out her drink at the sound of the announcer's words.

"Wait... wait excuse me sir. Did he just say Kyle Valenti?"

"Darn tootin', he did."

"Kyle Valenti as in Jim Valenti's son? The sheriff's son?"

"That's right! Right here from Roswell." Isabel laughed in amusement.

"Son of a gun. He made it." Isabel shook her head as she looked up at the screen.

"He's not too bad huh?" She laughed and paid the older man the fee for the pretzel.

"Thank you, I try." The voice came from behind her but she knew immediately who it was from. She slowly turned and saw a much older, much manlier Kyle Valenti than she had remembered.

"Kyle?!" Isabel's eyes lit up in excitement.

"Are you a fan?"

"You wish Buddha boy." Kyle's expression went blank. There were only two people who ever called him that. Tess and ....

"Isabel?! No way! What the...? I mean... how did... wow!" She laughed and hugged him tightly.

"I can't believe this! You look... great. I just... I thought you were... you know, gone." Kyle looked at Isabel still uncertain of what to believe.

"Oh, you mean in another realm of existence, passing on to Nirvana, reincarnating into some sort of strange mammal with my qualities."

"Well, I wouldn't put it quite that way." She laughed and hugged him once more.

"It's so good to see you!" He smiled and finally hugged her back.

"Same here! I'm guessing this is an... alien thing." He whispered the words and looked around carefully to make sure no one was watching.

"Good guess." She smiled and without even thinking took his hand into hers. "Come on let's walk." They were in the mall for hours, and Kyle completely forgot why he had gone in the first place. It got late and it started getting dark. They had gone to eat at the Crashdown, to Isabel's house, and finally back to Amy and Jim's house. They were ecstatic to see her again. She was so beautiful and so confident. She had done a lot of growing. Amy offered to make some pies and Isabel and Kyle spent some time watching movies. It was about ten when Amy and Jim went to sleep and finally, they were "alone."

"So... I know this is a weird time to ask you but... when you kissed me that night." Kyle said it as if it had been simply a week ago. Isabel smiled, knowing that she felt the same.

"Kissed you?" Isabel drew near to Kyle and he began to get nervous.

"Uh.. yea... you remember right? Ten long years ago..." Isabel closed her eyes and softly touched his lips with hers. He kissed her back, just as soft, and when he went to kiss her with the passion that was building in him, her cell phone rang. She laughed and picked it up. He hadn't found it quite as funny.

"Hello?"

"Iz..."

"What Max..."

"We're getting married."

"What?!"

"We're getting married. We're coming to pick you up; we'll be there by dawn. Get ready, you're gonna be a bridesmaid."

"Max, isnt' that kind of soon!" Isabel began to get up and take her things.

"It's now or never Iz. Tomorrow may be too late." Isabel sighed and agreed to meet them in front of the Crashdown at dawn. She looked at Kyle with an apologetic smile and kissed him.

"I'm sorry." She began to walk away and Kyle grabbed his jacket.

"I'm coming."

"What! What for?"

"I finally got you back... let's make every moment count. Isabel, will you go out with me?" Isabel felt like she was back in grade school. She smiled shyly and then laughed. This was ridiculous. But it was so special to her; she didn't quite know what to say.

"I'd love to Kyle." He reached out for his hand, and they left together under the cover of darkness.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"This is unbelievable! I don't understand it! Why do we have to take MY car! This is always! I guess some things never change!" Maria was furious as Michael sped down the highway at over eighty miles an hour.

"Maria, the other one was rented. We had to give it back." Michael tried to remain calm. He was used to Maria tantrums, it had just been a while, so he was a little rusty.

"You're gonna get arrested."

"For what stealing your heart?" He incorporated a cockiness to his comment that made her even angrier.

"For stealing my car!" Michael, Max and Liz rolled their eyes.

"Maria we've been down this road before..."

"Yes, and it seems you never learn from your mistakes because you keep making them!!!!" Maria was flipping out and Liz could just laugh. Max smiled and held Liz in his arms. Yes, this would be perfect.

"Look Maria! You're not a minor and this is not Marathon, Texas ok? We're not going to find some dome in the middle of nowhere, we're getting married! So chill out." Maria looked at Michael and sniffled.

"I'm just a little nervous... that's all." The car erupted in laughter and even Maria laughed at her silliness. The time had finally come.

Chapter 11:

Liz opened her eyes at the sound of food sizzling. She rolled around in her bed and hesitated. Then she finally opened them again. She looked around trying to figure out where she was. She slowly began to make out shapes. Her nightstand, her dresser, her closet, her window, her balcony. She was home. She slowly got up and tried to figure out what day it was... actually, what year. She went into the bathroom and when she looked in the mirror, she gasped.

"It's me! I'm seventeen again!" She touched her face and looked into her room. Her alarm read eleven in the morning. She got fixed up and ready and ran downstairs. Her father was cooking the food for the early morning rush and her mom was counting the bills.

"Mom? Dad?" She ran to them and hugged them each as tightly as she could.

"Lizzie sweetie, are you ok?" Her dad touched her forehead and she laughed. It was true! They were alive! It had all been a dream. If that was the case, then Max was coming for breakfast. She ran upstairs and got in the shower. She couldn't believe it!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Maria shot up in bed. She looked around confused.

"What the heck?" She looked at her walls and realized she was home, in Roswell, and it was 2001.

"No way...." Maria shot up out of bed and ran into the bathroom. She showered and when she looked in the mirror, she noticed her face... it was the face of her youth. She was still in high school and Michael was ok.
"That was too weird." She got dressed and ran to the kitchen to see her mother.

"Oh my God! I love you so much! Thank you..." Maria hugged her mother tightly and Amy's eyes widened not sure what to make of the entire situation.

"Umm... Maria sweetie, are you feeling ok?" She placed her hand on Maria's forehead and looked at her worried. "You feel a little feverish."

"Oh Mom..." Maria laughed and sat her mother down so she could finish breakfast before going to work.

"WORK! Liz!" Maria dropped the pan and ran to the phone. She dialed the familiar number and after two rings she heard the voice on the other line.

"Crashdown Cafe, this is Liz Parker speaking, how can I help you?" Liz and Maria hadn't used that line since they were in eight grade. When they first worked there they had been so excited to be working they said that line every day for the whole year... then as they got used to it they simply said: Crashdown.

"LIZ!????"

"MARIA???!!!"

"OH MY GOD!!!! You would not believe, I had the weirdest dream ever and you and Michael and Max and Isabel and Kyle and Mom and Jim and me were all in it...."

"And you lived in Vegas but I lived in Chicago and Kyle was a professional football star and we thought Max and Michael and Isabel had died..."

"So we buried them and they weren't really dead they had just left for a while to finish some Czechoslovakian business..."

"Like getting Max's son back but he died..."

"And we all got married!" Amy looked at Maria with wide eyes and her spoon halfway to her mouth.

"All I heard was dead, Czechoslovakian, and married. So you better start explaining."

Mr. Parker stopped counting and looked at Liz.

"Max's son? Liz, I think we have to talk...." Liz and Maria both laughed and they agreed to talk at the Crashdown.

"Ok, hurry up!"

"Ok. Love ya babe." Maria hadn't said that in a long time, but it was important to say.

"Me too." Liz smiled and hung up the phone just as Kyle walked in.

"You have no idea how good it is to see you!" He hugged Liz tightly and looked at her to make sure it was real.

"You had it to?" Kyle nodded in confused agreement.

"Weird huh? It's like we have some sort of stellar connection that allowed us to all have the same train of mental and emotional thought allowing us to dream about the same thing." Kyle looked at Liz as if he'd just understood some intense new scientific theory.

"Yea whatever. Like we all saw the same movie last night so we all had sort of the same dream about it? Right?"

"Yea basically."

"Oh ok!" They both laughed at their silliness and Kyle hugged her again.

"I'm glad we're friends." Kyle smiled and Liz smiled back. So was she.

Chapter 12:

"LIZ!" Max violently awoke from his dream. He looked around unsure of what or where or when for that matter. He looked at his calendar, it was definitely 2001. He looked at his hands and ran into the bathroom.

"It was a dream..." Max said it unsure of what to make of the entire situation, seeing his youthful, rugged appearance in the bathroom mirror. Just as he looked at himself again in the mirror, Isabel ran in.

"Max?!" She hugged her brother tightly and smiled. "I'm sorry for my many stupidities. God only knows if something were to happen to us, even Liz, Maria or Kyle, I'd just die. I can't take my life for granted anymore..." Max looked at his sister amazed.
"Change of heart?" She smiled as if he'd discovered a secret.

"Change of reality."

"You too?" Isabel went in and closed the bathroom door.

"It was so weird Max... I didn't know what to think. It felt so real. We were all so... DIFFerent."

"Wait... did you have a dream about us going away and we were buried but not dead...."

"And we came back all older and everyone had thought we were dead all along and so on and so forth and then you got married?" Isabel eyed Max who looked pleasantly surprised.

"Yea. That's so weird that we'd have the same dream." They started walking out of the bathroom and into Max's room and as Isabel closed the door behind her, Michael came through the window.

"Ok, I've had a really messed up night." Michael's eyes gave away that he'd just awoken from a deep and dreamful sleep.

"Wait... this has to be some alien thing. Max, is this some sort of sign or something? I mean, why us three? Why the same exact dream?" Isabel sat confused on the bed, but looking very intrigued by the whole thing.

"I honestly don't know." Finally they all decided to disperse and meet in an hour at the Crashdown. As they left Max alone he looked around and sat for a second.

"Me and Liz married...." He smiled at the thought and looked at the picture of her in his drawer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I've never been so happy to wait tables before!" Liz laughed at Maria and rolled her eyes sarcastically.

"Oh yea, it's the biggest thrill of my life." Liz picked up some dirty plates and took them to the back room and into the kitchen. She put them in the dishwasher and the steam made her face moist. She laughed at the warm feeling in her pores and then closed the dishwasher. Some strands of hair fell from her messy ponytail and she walked into the back room. Before she could realize what was going on she was passionately kissing who she could only hope was Max. When he pulled away, she looked into his eyes and smiled.

"A little late for lunch?"

"I love you Liz." She pushed back a bit to look into his face.

"You ok?" She smiled flirtatiously and he kissed her with such force she thought she'd collapse.

"Just had a revelation."

"Good one, I presume."

"DIFFerent. Not really our reality, but... not really a bad one." She looked at him, half understanding, half confused.

"Ok. DIFFerent kind of reality doesn't sound too bad to me. Maybe we could run away and have a little rendezvous in the woods...." Max laughed and he pulled her over to the couch and sat her down.

"That's not quite what I had in mind." He looked into her eyes with a look she'd never seen before. She began to worry but tried to keep it hidden.

"Then what did you have in mind?" Max got on one knee and took out a ring. Liz's eyes widened and she placed her hand on her mouth.

"Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but... well, would you marry me Liz Parker?" Just as he said it, Mr. Parker was coming in the room and dropped the plates in his hands. Both Liz and Max looked at each other and laughed and then ran off out the back door.

"Liz! LIZ!" Maria came running in through the door worried about the commotion.

"Liz? Mr. Parker! Is everything ok?" He stood so shocked Maria began to get concerned.

"Is everything ok? NO! Max Evans just proposed to Liz! MY LIZ! GO GET HER! See if you can smack some sense into that girl! GO!" Maria ran out of the Crashdown with a strong push and felt completely out of it all.

"WHAT?!" She started to walk towards the alley, then she started running towards her car. As she unlocked the door and went to open it, she felt a strong hand reach her arm and pull her strongly around. She looked up doubtful of what she would find, and found herself staring right into the eyes of Michael Guerin.

"What? I have to go stop Liz from getting married so can you make this quick?" Michael looked at Maria slightly confused but ignored her.

"I wanna go out tonight."

"Yea, ok. No prob. Meet me at eight."

"Maria?"

"Yes Michael." She turned frustrated, but softened her voice as she saw his eyes.

"Be careful. I don't want something bad to happen to you, you know?"

"Ok... are you ok? People are just acting real weird lately." Michael laughed and got in the driver's seat. Maria got in to the passenger's seat, not even noticing that she was simply babbling as Michael drove around looking for Max. Michael stopped, and for two seconds Maria stopped as she realized they had been driving around for about ten minutes aimlessly.

"I don't ever want to leave you. And if I ever did, I want you to know it wouldn't be my choice."

"Michael what are you talking about?" Michael reached over and kissed her and as they kissed the radio blasted on to play "Everything" by Michelle Branch. As the music played they got more involved and Michael knew that his place was definitely on Earth. It was a great life... regardless of how he had spent the beginning part of it. He pulled away and looked into her eyes.

"You're crazy!" Maria laughed flirtatiously and when they both sat up, Liz and Max were staring through the window. They all started laughing and Michael threatened to run over them. As Max and Liz got into the car, Kyle and Isabel walked out of the Crashdown, hand in hand.

"Wait a sec, since when are Iz and Kyle an item?" Maria had a mockery in her voice that Michael wanted to ignore.

"Let's find out." Michael stepped on the pedal and almost ran over them. Isabel stood shocked and threatened to blow up the car. They also stepped into Maria's over crowded car.

"So you want to explain?" Max looked at Isabel surprised. Liz nudged Max and gave him a look.

"There's nothing to explain Max. We're dating that's all." Before Max could say something else, Liz and Isabel interrupted.

"Congratulations! Wow. We should all go celebrate. Let's do something..." Liz looked at Max who looked at Michael who looked at Maria who looked at Isabel who looked at Kyle.

"Let's go to the movies." Everyone threw a glance at Kyle.

"Just kidding! Geez..." They all laughed and drove away.

THE END