posted on 30-Jun-2002 7:38:21 PM
Title:The Wallflower Society
Category: M/L AU PG-13 maybe R for occasional language.
Summary: One of those best friends first fics. The gang, minus Tess and Kyle, are wallflowers but have a close group. Max and Liz have been best friends since they were in 3rd grade. You find out a lot more by just reading it though!
Disclaimer: Don’t own, never will. Sadness.

The Wallflower Society.

Prologue:

Friday Night.

Rick Burns’ post game party.

Naturally we went. We always are present for such social gatherings.

I you look closely, amidst the throng of people, you’ll see us.

Pass the cloud of smoke where Sparky Jones and company are talking philosophically about nothing after lighting up a joint.

We call them the “Junkies.”

Dodge around our wonderful host and the rest of the jocks that are currently picking fights by the keg. Oh and look. Brent Kern just puked. Delightful.

We call them the “Jocks” when they’re sober and “Drunks” when they’re…….well….drunk.

Now, you see Tess Harding and Mindy Fairways orchestrating a game of Spin the bottle on the pea green carpet? Those are the “Populars” and ‘NO’ that’s not us.

Behind them, against the tacky floral wall paper.

Yeh, that’s us.

Present at all events but not quite there.

If you ask anyone on Monday morning if we were there they shake their head.

We are the ones that don’t “mingle”.

We are the ones who don’t smoke or play games.

We might have a drink now and again but mostly we just stand leaning on the wall and look menacing.

We give dirty looks to the passing freshman.

We, my friends, are the Wallflower Society.

Part 1:

“Good party.”

Michaels tone is flat. This is how he starts most of our party conversations.

He rarely says anything otherwise.

He became a part of our society in 5th grade when he was given to new foster parents.

Obviously they liked him because he’s standing next to me right now.

He plays bass in our band.

Interestingly named ‘The Wallflowers.’

Maria said she though of it while getting her right ear pierced for the 7th time.

Then she had wanted to call it ‘Infection’ after her ear went green.

I poked her ear and said “How about ‘Antiseptic’”.

“Yeh it’s just swell.”

I’m not sure Isabel knows how not to be sarcastic.

She started in 6th grade and no one ever bothered to question why. It suits her I think.

Alex glares at a passing freshman who quickly looks down and rushes off to the bathroom.

“That’s 8. Bring a whole new meaning to scared shitless.” Alex grins.

He keeps a tally. It’s sick.

Ironically if they knew how bubbly he actually was they wouldn’t run away.

“Does anyone else think Ed Harding does crack?”

Maria laughs at Isabel’s comment before taking a sip of her lukewarm drink.

Silence returns.

Most of our conversations at parties are like this.

Sporadic.

Best word ever.

I turn to Max beside me.

He’s in his thought provoked mood.

He can sit for hours on end and not say a word then BAM! He comes out with a whole bunch of thoughts and contemplations.

It’s one of the things I love about him.

Wait I didn’t say that. Never mind I’ll get back to that later.

He’s about to say something. Best friends can always tell.

“I think I should have brought my camera.” He makes a small gesture to the Populars where Pam Troy is groping her new boy toy Chad Williams. I didn’t realize Spin the Bottle could get so perverted.

We all stare.

“Yeh it would look great in your portfolio.” Alex agrees.

You see Max is a photographer. A good one so when he says “I wish I’d brought my camera” He’s very serious.

I continue to stare at Max until Maria elbows me in the stomach.

She gives me a weird quizzical look and jerks her head towards Max.

In friend language that means:

“What’s going on with you and Max?”

I bring my eyebrows together like I don’t know what she means and then raise them in alarm and shake my head profusely making a weird scrunched up face.

In friend language that means:

“Huh? Oh my god! Me and Max?? No way! Gross!”

Note to self: Don’t moon over Max when Maria’s around.

She has ‘love radar’ she calls it. It came after she got her heart tattoo weirdly enough.

Part 2:

Here’s a little profile of our ‘society’.

I met Max in 3rd grade along with his sister.

Max and me clicked immediately and have been best friends ever since.

Enter stage left Maria Deluca.

Setting: 4th grade.

She was wacky and bubbly and fit right into our group of misfits as did Michael when he graced the scene in 5th grade.

Alex was the last to arrive in 6th grade.

Both his parents were transferred with their work although none of us can guess why as they are always on business trips anyway.

We are all so different it never ceases to amaze me how we get along so well.

Max is quiet and thoughtful.

He’s my best friend. He’s so compassionate and warm.

He takes amazing photographs that not only capture emotions but the atmosphere as well.

His smile can light up a whole room and……..ok I’ll stop but only because I now feel like a love sick fool.

So anyway, Isabel, his twin, is the complete opposite.

Sarcastic and loud but we wouldn’t have her any other way.

As of yet her only hobby is dancing.

Somehow ballet doesn’t match her personality but she excels in it anyway.

Michael told her she’d do better on the womens rowing team.

Isabel punched him. Hard.

Understandably Michael doesn’t make comments like that around Isabel.

Or Maria for that matter after Isabel taught her how to swing a damn good punch.

Isabel’s main interest is Alex though.

Those two are so in love we often have to get the hose out.

Max and Isabel are the only 2 in our group not in the band.

Maria is our lead singer and most colorful of our group.

No. Seriously. She has a lot of tattoos.

Let’s see, a butterfly on her ankle, an eagle on her right shoulder, a heart on her lower back, a daisy on her hip and a ying yang on her wrist.

Newest one to date.

Alex say’s every band needs and interesting lead singer and Michael, her boyfriend, and our bassist, thinks it’s sexy.

We can’t help but notice he hasn’t ventured to get one himself though.

Plus it makes me nauseous to think of how far they’ve actually gone so I’ll stop.

Personally I don’t know how they manage to stay together.

Maria’s bubbly while Michael is…… stolid.

While Maria is out taking her yoga class or doing her aromatherapy thing Michael rides his motorcycle or paints with me.

The only time I’ve seen him show emotion towards me is when he paints.

Both him and me are artists and often do projects for our art class together.

We are much better friends than he lets on to the rest of the group.

He thinks he’s tough but he has a lot of pain regarding foster care.

His therapist say’s he has abandonment and separation issues.

I say ‘damn straight.’

Alex is the founder of our band and lead guitarist.

He has a tattoo as well.

It’s a ying yang on his wrist to match Maria’s.

They got them together.

Maria say’s they are ‘tattoo buddies’ now.

I say ‘twisted’.

I also think that getting a tattoo on your wrist is in the same league at cutting them but no one listened to me.

Alex is fun to be around. He has a twisted sense of humor which Isabel swears is a result of breathing in to much of Maria’s incense.

Last and probably least is me.

Mousey, plain and quiet.

I don’t have tattoos or multiple piercings.

My claim to fame is that I won first prize in an art fair at school.

And not to put myself down further but it was in 6th grade when the standard is who can drawn the bestest house with the prettiest flowers that are disproportional to the rest of the house.

I’m the drummer for our band and most people probably don’t think I’m that quiet.

I’m a confusing person really.

I can sit at the back of the class and look like I’m about to chew someone’s head off when really I’m thinking about how fun it was to go swimming or something.

You should also know that I need a 12 step program to help me get over Max.

It’s very bad form to fall in love with your best friend of 9 years.

Even worse when your friends catch on.

Part 3:

It’s 12.10am but my creative juices are running high so I’m working on Michaels and my joint art project.

It’s a painting/collage of a photo Max took of Maria on a swing.

It’s blurred a bit so all the colors are meshed in this beautiful way.

We plan to give it to her for her birthday.

It will also double up as an A for art class.

Max is at my window.

I can’t see him because the curtains are drawn but my best friend radar can tell.

I go over to the window, open the curtains and unlock the window before he has time to knock.

He gives me a heart stopping grin before climbing in.

I walk back over to the painting and continue as per usual.

“What brings you over Max?”

I already know but I’m trying to keep my mind off of how amazing he looks.

He shrugs and answers nonchalantly.

“I was bored.”

I smile. He smiles. We both know the reason he came over.

“Couldn’t sleep either huh?”

“Nope.”

I know Max like the back of my hand. Better even considering I don’t spend large amounts of time talking to my hand.

Max always comes to my window when he can’t sleep.

He’s come over so many times since 3rd grade that in 7th my mom bought me a new bed with a pull out mattress for him to sleep on.

It’s weird when a guy sleeps in you bedroom and in the morning your mothers asks:

“Max couldn’t sleep again?”

While smiling.

Quite unnerving.

But our group has had a lot of co-ed sleepovers.

We are close and none of our parents seem to care that there are 2 couples in our group.

They have too much faith in us.

Max’s mom stopped calling to make sure Max was at our house a few years ago.

Nowadays it seems that Max comes to my room more often than not.

4 day’s this week he’s said he ‘couldn’t sleep’.

I’m beginning to doubt the legitimacy of his insomnia because once he’s in my room he falls right to sleep.

He say’s he’s more comfortable in my room than his.

I say ‘Yeh go figure. Maybe that’s because you’re never in your room.’

Watch me roll my eyes.

Tonight he goes down and lies on my bed.

I can tell he wants to talk to so I stop painting and go down and lie with my head on his chest.

Trying in vain to ignore the soft beating of his heart and….STOP!

Ahem. I’m a tough girl. None of this mushy stuff for me thanks.

Anyways I know Max wants to talk because I know Max better than the back of my hand.

But I already explained that.

“Do you think it’s possible to love someone for a long time and then one day just…..realize it?”

We ponder his question for a moment while his hands run through my hair.

I say ‘Yes’ because I think that I loved Max all along but I never knew it until now.

Of course I don’t tell him this.

“Me too.” He smiles.

Then he frowns a bit.

“Liz, whatever happens. Whatever paths we choose to take I just want you to know that you’re my best friend and I love you.”

“I love you too Max.”

Of course I love him too. Just in a different way than he meant it.

“Good. I would never want to lose you as a friend.”

Twist the knife a little deeper why don’t you.

Just in case my heart isn’t mangled enough.

He pulls me in for a horizontal hug and we stay like that for a long time.

A long time being all night.

“Nu-night Liz.”

“Nu-night Max.”

The dialogue we’ve had for years.

9 to be exact.

We never did say a plain ‘Goodnight.’

It was always ‘Nu-night.’

9 years……..We’ve just started our junior year.

My mom say’s people change most this year.

I’m not worried though.

That’s what she said last year.

I know we’ll all be friends at the end of it all.

And Max and I will be just that little bit closer.

I know because it’s happened every year.

But I don’t need to explain myself now.

I just want to enjoy being in Max’s arms.

Shoo!

posted on 30-Jun-2002 7:40:45 PM
Part 4:

Do you ever get the feeling that there’s some conspiracy against you?

I do.

I can’t help but feel that feeling that everyone is standing in my blind spot laughing it up because they know just what I’m thinking.

And if I turn around?

They jump right behind me again.

You know what I’m thinking right now?

I’m thinking I’m such a bloody idiot for getting myself in this situation.

This situation being me and Max lying awake having this in depth conversation about how people are so closed off nowadays.

All I can think about though is how much I wish he’d touch me.

Crazy right?

Totally.

I used to not care that Max was 3 inches away from my face but now since I have these feelings for him I worry that if my other friends find out they’ll join the conspiracy against me.

Maria suggested the sleepover so naturally we are at her house.

She said ‘We haven’t had one for 2 weekends’

We said ‘Yeh and most people our age never have one you dork.’

Mean aren’t we? But it all just flies over our head.

I told Isabel to fuck off yesterday and she didn’t even notice.

The things TV teaches you. Watch me shake my head in mock shame.

At all sleepovers Max and I are the last to go to sleep. Coincidentally we are the only 2 that drink coffee like a drug as well.

Isabel does for “social” purposes. Yeh Isabel and that what my mom said about cigars.

I look over at Maria and then scan the rest of the room.

I shake my head disapprovingly.

“Just as I suspected.” Max’s says.

“Out like a light at midnight.” I say.

I stare for a while at the floral curtains.

I say “I see a rabbit.”

Max say’s “You saw that last time. Find something else.”

“Ok how about that duck right there.”

“Oh yeh. See that motorcycle?”

“Yep. It’s next to the elephant right?”

“Right.”

You’d think I wouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation with Max now that I love him.

Not true though.

You don’t get nervous around someone you’ve known for 9 years.

Even if you do love them. I may be panicked and slightly sweaty but nervous? Not me.

I didn’t just say that did I?

Gah. Next thing you know I’ll be drooling over Max’s muscles.

“I took a picture of Michael and Maria being nice to each other.”

“No way!” I say rolling my eye’s.

He laughs and deep throaty laugh.

“Yep. It’s definitely going in the portfolio.”

“Priceless.”

I suddenly don’t feel like laughing anymore.

I look over at the 2 sleeping couples and sigh.

I want to be them.

Not that I want Michael or Alex. Euw! I just want what they have.

“Feeling a little left out?”

“Yeh a bit.”

If Max and I had a normal relationship I would lie.

But there’s no point in me lying to Max. He’s knows when I do.

“Don’t worry Lizzie. You’ll always have me.”

I roll my eyes in the dark.

“Ooo lucky me! Now I feel better.”

“You should.”

We both laugh knowing Max doesn’t do flirting well. Even if it is pretend.

“Don’t tell them though. It’ll ruin me.” I say.

“Don’t worry I wouldn’t betray you like that.”

And the way he say’s it makes me want to curl up and die because in a way I have betrayed him.

He thought he had a friend not some love sick girl fawning over him.

Maria would say she knew it all along.

Michael would ask if I was joking then tell me I’m an idiot.

Isabel would say ‘Yeh and I’m the Pillsbury dough boy.’ She tends not to believe that Max is desirable in any way.

Alex would tell me to go for it. Risk it and await the outcome.

I say I would rather keep Max as a friend even though I know that if he knew he’d still be my friend.

You don’t just break a 9 year friendship over some school girl crush.

It’s normal that I would have a crush on Max.

I mean he’s always there for me when I’m upset.

He makes me laugh.

He’s everything most girls want in a guy. So it’s normal that I have a crush on him.

Right?

“Do you like reindeer?”

“Sure.”

“Santa Claus is my hero.”

“That’s nice Max.” Add escaped yawn here.

And off we are into the dream world.

Is that a brussel sprout?

Thought so.

Part 5:

This morning I have the feeling that no matter what happened right now all will be fine because I’m with the people I love most I the world.

We are sitting around Maria’s breakfast bar watching in awe as milk dribbles down Alex’s chin.

Michael’s not much better.

He doesn’t become coherent until about midday so he’s only answer in grunts.

“Want eggs Michael?”

Grunt.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

“Good to know Michael has mastered the art short sentences.”

That’s Isabel. The sarcasm is a dead give away. She’s worse in the morning when she’s grumpy.

There is a minor problem though.

Did I say minor? I meant Major.

Maria has kind of noticed that I am hanging onto Max’s every word.

Now I am being drag to the bathroom by a zealous Maria.

I sigh because I know that Maria is like Alex with Angel Food cake once a secret starts to spill.

She’ll pester me until my leaking secret becomes a rushing torrent.

“Ok Spill.”

She say’s with one pierced eyebrow raised.

“Spill what?” I say feigning confusion.

I may as well prolong the inevitable.

“Don’t you play dumb with me Liz Parker. I saw how you were looking at Max. He could have been talking about a piece of lint he spotted one day and you still would have found it interesting.”

I have to say Maria’s a sweetheart most of the time but when a pixie like girl with that many tattoos and piercings gets mad it’s a little frightening.

“I would not!” I say defending myself.

Maria gives me her ‘Oh please’ look.

“O.K The thing is I think I like Max.”

“Honey you’ve been friends with him for like forever. If you didn’t like him it would be kind of strange.”

I wish Maria wasn’t so brain dead. It would make confession a hell of a lot easier.

“No Maria I like him as in love like not like like.”

Her lips curl into an O while she contemplates my news.

The she smiles brightly.

“I always knew you too would get together!”

Didn’t I say this would happen?

“Maria you can’t tell anyone!”

“I won’t I won’t. You know me.” She zips her mouth closed.

“Yeh exactly Maria. I’m serious this time. I can’t lose him.”

“Oh honey don’t worry you won’t. I just might have to give him a little push in the right direction.”

“MARIA!”

“Kidding! This is turning into a repeat of Alex and Isabels “Curvy” incident.”

“It is not! I haven’t knocked you unconscious……Yet.”

I say glaring to get my point across.

“Don’t worry Liz. If it that important to you I won’t say a word.”

“Shhhh.” She whispers putting a finger over her mouth.

I just hope she can keep that promise.

Part 6:

You wouldn’t believe the lack of costumers here.

It’s a Wednesday night.

Our slowest night.

It’s the night everyone realizes it isn’t the weekend anymore.

It’s the night where wives stay in and cook, trying to be the good little homemakers they think they can be and where friends go to other friend’s houses for dinner or emergency study groups.

Apparently my father forgot that Maria and I do actually have other friends or he wouldn’t have sentenced us to the Wednesday shift.

I see and old lady pass by and look in the window.

Maria gives her a pleading look and the lady hurries past with her head down.

“Great Maria you scared another costumer away.”

“I know. I just wish that fat Mr. Johnson would walk in right now with a large group of nomads that have been starved for a few weeks.”

She looks up blissfully as if it were a wonderful daydream.

I stare a fly buzzing near my face.

Is it just me or is he taunting me?

The little bugger. Haha literally.

See how retarded I become with nothing to do?

My brain has atrophied.

“Shoo fly don’t bother me, shoo fly don’t bother me.”

My song is interrupted as the door bell rings and Maria and I look up sharply.

It’s a timid looking man with small round glasses.

“Excuse me but could I have a take out menu.”

“Oh of course! Are you ordering??” Maria asks in her best “I’m a perky waitress” voice.

“No thanks. I just want this for later in the week.”

“Oh come on! You have to be kidding me. The only fucking costumer and he doesn’t want to fucking order! What’s wrong with you man?? Don’t you people fucking eat on Wednesday’s??!”

Oooooookay. Maria gets a little edgy when her energy has no release.

The poor man has gone rather pale and it looks like he might pass out.

“I…I….I’m sorry??”

I take pity on the poor fool. He didn’t know that Maria gets this way on Wednesday’s.

“It’s okay sir. You can leave. I apologize for my colleague. It’s that time of the month you know?”

I raise my eyebrows in a ‘you know what I mean’ kinda way.

It isn’t really her ‘time of the month’ but I can guarantee he’ll be out of here before you can say: ‘Oops am I leaking?’

True to my word his eyes widen. He nods hurriedly, accepting the apology, and just about runs out of the diner.

“That’s just great Maria. People are gonna be swarming in here after they here you cussed out a sweet old man.

“I’m sorry okay? But did you really have to tell him that it was my time of the month?”

“Yes.”

She’s not listening anymore though because the light on the wall just flickered and it’s about the most action we’ve had all night besides Maria bout of Tourettes Syndrome.

“I swear Maria I will kiss the next person who walks into this diner.”

The doorbell rings and guess who it is?

Max & co.

Anyway I never break a ‘swear’ so I rush up and grab the lapels of his jacket and say in a melodramatic voice.

“Thank you Max! You’ve save my life!!!! I could just kiss you!”

He grins at me.

“Please do.”

WHOA! I didn’t mean it seriously.

I let go of his jacket and take a few steps back.

“Come on Liz he’s just messing with ya.” Michael slaps Max before going over to Maria.

“No I’m not.” But he’s still smiling which could mean he is.

In any case I choose to believe Michael because it’s less likely to give me a heart attack.

We are staring at each other, though Max looks like he wants to say something.

Maria rushes in and saves the day however.

“So Max, you bring a starving army?” She asks hopefully. She’d probably be saying something else if she’d seen the scene earlier.

Breathe a sigh of relief…….now.

“No just Alex.” He laughs.

“Yeh bring on the whale blubber.” Alex smiles. Maria looks confused.

Isabel pokes him hard in the chest before saying.

“It’s a good thing you don’t gain any weight honey or I’d dump you quicker than a ton of concrete.”

“Hey! No need for that. I have high metabolism.”

He puffs his chest out proudly and Isabel rolls her eye’s.

“Well sit down sit down.” Maria ushers them over to their regular booth.

“What’ll ya have?”

She really shouldn’t bother asking. They come in here enough for her to know they always order the same thing.

Isabel has a Lunar Tuna Salad with a Blood of Alien Smoothie.

Michael has a Will Smith with extra cheese and a Sprite.

Max has a Comet Burger with fries and a cherry coke.

Alex generally has everything on the menu but mostly he just indulges in an Asteroid Belt with Men in Blackberry pie and a Moon rock Shake.

It’s forever imprinted in my brain.

When I’m hundred (I’ll let you know I’m planning to live that long) and senile that’s gonna be the one thing I remember.

So Maria takes their orders and even though we would normally rush we take our time giving in the order and getting the drinks because they will most likely be our only costumers tonight.

“Shoo fly don’t bother me, shoo fly don’t bother me.”

That pesky fly keeps landing on Alex’s food. Should I tell him that flies puke whenever they land on food?

Nah. I’ll tell him after he’s enjoyed every last bite.

posted on 30-Jun-2002 7:43:19 PM
Part 7:

Thud.

Thud.

Thud.

Yep I’m hitting my head on the table.

Maria say’s I’ll loose more brain cells this way.

I say: Therapeutic.

The whole gang will be arriving in a minute.

Maria overheard Tess Harding talking about a party she was throwing so naturally we are heading over there to spend some quality time with Tess’ mother’s badly wallpapered walls.

Until then I must remain calm and allow myself not to think about Max.

So SHHHHHH I’m busy losing brain cells and you’re disturbing me.

“Lizzie!”

Let the fun begin.

Max is here. Stupid bastard is the only one who ever calls me Lizzie.

He’s not a stupid bastard. I’m just trying to get myself NOT to think about how wonderful he will look.

My door opens and ‘yep’ there he stands

Perfectly ruffled in jeans and a worn out T-shirt and of course no Max Evans original would be complete with a nice set of holes.

Yeh, OK so I know it’s not exactly “fashion icon material” but ‘hey’ the boy could wear a mini skirt and he’d still look gorgeous.

I’m not one to talk. Here I stand in holey baggy grey cords and some maroon ¾ length shirt that I personally don’t remember ever being bought let alone washed.

My mother must have though because the color has severely faded.

Oh well. Us ‘wallflowers’ don’t bother putting on pale blue mini shirts and T-shirts that say “HOTTIE” in fiery letters just because it some party.

And anyway there are a number of reasons why I would never wear that combination in the first place:

A) Baby blue and Orange. Can you say colorblind? One word: Clash.
B) Most of the girls that wear those shirts are butt ugly. It’s just asking for ridicule.
C) I would not be caught dead in whatever store they bought it in so naturally I don’t own such clothes.

Most of my clothes were too big when they were bought and now 3 years later just about fit and have the perfect amount of holes so that I don’t feel uncomfortable.

Oh who am I kidding? I need my “oh so girly” mom to take me shopping and transform me from a badly dressed ugly girl into a well dressed ugly girl.

And she would you know. But I don’t ask her because I would rather be comfortable that fashionable.

So here I am playing Fashion Guru in my head and Max has made himself comfortable on my bed.

I swear. I should just switch rooms with him. He spends more time in my bed anyway.

God I wish that didn’t sound so sexual.

Anyhoo I can hear Maria arguing with Isabel as they come up the stairs so I’m saved.

Not really sure from what. I love being alone with Max. No worries here.

“God Maria I just said that if you wanted a ride you should ask Michael and not me. I didn’t imply anything sexual.”

“Well how was I supposed to know? You’re always being so god damn sarcastic I can’t tell when you aren’t.”

“Or maybe all that Cyprus oil crap was inhaled to quickly causing you to go off the deep end and assume I would ever want to touch your skanky body like that!”

Maria huffs loudly not and glares at me. Maybe because I’m laughing or maybe because I’m giving Isabel the thumbs up.

Max laughs his low rumbly laugh and we sit in silence for a while waiting for the others.

“I’m sorry Maria.”

Max and I exchange glances. It’s normal for us to apologize to each other after arguments but Isabel being the one that is the first?? That’s just plain freaky.

“I’m sorry too Isabel. I’m all PMS-y or something.”

“OOOKKKKK time for me to leave.”

Max pretends to be uncomfortable when in fact he listens to me bitch about periods all the time.

“Oh come on Max. How many times have you gone down to Walgreen’s to buy me tampons huh?” I question.

His face turns bright red and Isabel stares incredulously.

“That’s just fucking great Max! You won’t even buy me a lipstick but you buy Liz fucking TAMPONS!!!!”

Maria is cracking up and I can’t help but agree with her completely. The looks on Max’s face is priceless and I don’t think he’s gonna be able to answer.

“What’s all this about tampons?” Alex comes into my room with Michael looking confused and frightened.

Maria take a deep breathe before saying:

“Isabel was screaming at Max because he won’t buy her lipsticks but he is willing to buy Liz tampons.”

She cracks up again.

I look at Isabel who is still glaring around the room at any males who may challenge her.

Group rule #1? Don’t mess with Izzy.

Michael looks at Max for a really long time before flicking his wrist and making a whip sound.

Alex improvises on that by promptly telling Max that he’s whipped.

Personally I love how cute he looks when he’s embarrassed but he’s throwing me looks of despair so I decide to save his drowning ass.

“Come on guy’s. I know that Alex asked Michael to go buy him condoms yesterday so tampons are really no different.”

It’s wonderful watching them both look desperately at each other and then Maria and Izzy.

Watch them explode.

“Alex. You are either cheating on me or you think by some miracle I will sleep with you. Either way DARLING I’m going to hurt you badly.”

Uh oh cheerios. I don’t want Alex to die and he will by the sounds of things. Izzy only uses her calm voice when she’s really pissed off.

Michael looks to Maria for a reaction but she just shrugs confirming to me that they are indeed sleeping together.

Notice the level of surprise. Those 2 are hornier than horny toads. Hehe great analogy Liz. Keep up the good work.

Alex gives me a look that clearly says: ‘Thanks a WHOLE bunch. I owe you one’.

Funny. I didn’t know looks could be sarcastic.

Well you learn something new everyday.

Plus I think he’s still a tad miffed about the fly thing. Psh…..I don’t know why he’s so mad. It’s not like you can SEE the microscopic piles of puke.

Part 8:

You can hear the throbbing music before you even see Tess’s house.

We walk in a pack making sure not to step on the drunks passed out on the immaculate lawn.

Nice.

Michael kicks one for good measure.

“Michael do you even know that guy?”

He shrugs.

“Nope. Do you?”

Standing in the front doorway you can survey the scene nicely. You have to know where everyone is if you want to be invisible.

Drunks, Jocks, Junkies, Populars. Oh look at Sparky coming my way. It’s a bit early to be stoned but Sparky here doesn’t understand the meaning of “taking it slow.” The drugs have rotted his brain.

Shrug.

“Hey baby, how about you come with me and we can take a trip to the stars!” He looks up a glassy finish appearing on his eyes. Are those tears? Oh god.

He probably thinks he’s being suave.

Everyone else thinks he’s stoned. Oh wait. He IS!

“Not if you were the last weed smoking pimp on earth.”

A dazed and confused look passes over his eyes and then he passes out at my feet.

Watch me swoon.

Max grabs my hand and leads me through the crowd to a nice quiet wall.

Oh Laura Ashley wallpaper. Faaancy!

For some reason I don’t feel like being at a party tonight.

I can’t imagine why. Maybe it’s because Linzi Thomas has been following us flashing Max cute little smiles since we arrived.

“Oh God Max you don’t seriously want in Linzi’s pants do you?”

Don’t you love Maria? He voices exactly what I want to say.

“Please. Linzi Thomas? Do you have no respect for me?”

Well thank you Max for clearing that up.

Everyone’s mouth curl in an ‘O’.

Max puts his arm around me and I lean on his shoulder.

Silence hangs for a while until an unfamiliar voice dissipates it.

“Are you going out with Liz Parker?” Linzi Thomas’ voice is incredulous.

My god Linzi! I know! Like, who would want to go out with me?

If she hadn’t been in my play group I would swear that she was a Valley girl.

“Excuse me but did we invite you to talk to us?” Isabel asks.

Linzi looks taken aback. Bet the poor girl isn’t used to so many people giving her evil glares.

“Ummm well I just came over to ask Max a question.”

“Well you’ve asked now go away.”Max waves his hand in a shooing motion.

Max isn’t being mean. Max is never mean it’s just that these people should know by now that you don’t talk to us.

A sigh of relief is released in my mind. I’m glad that Max doesn’t like Linzi. Not that I would think he would. I mean she’s not his type. What is his type? Am I his type? Should I shut up now?

She giggles.

“But you haven’t answered silly.” She rolls her eyes like it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

Max imitates the giggle.

“And I don’t plan to.”

Fluttering eyelashes from Michael and a few snorts from Alex and Linzi rushes off.

Probably to tell the world what bastards we are. And that Max and I are going out.

But that’s their problem not ours.

“Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts. Mutilated monkey meat chopped up birdies feet. French fried eyeballs rolling up and down the street. Swimmin’ in a pool of blood.”

Isn’t Alex a great singer? I bet Michael regrets teaching him that song.

Yep yep yep. A regular Frank Sinatra.

“That was superb Alex.”

“I heard that Bonny Freeman is going out with that dork Billy Tucker.” Maria is a gossip queen.

It doesn’t matter that none of us know who the hell Bonny Freeman or Billy Tucker is.

“Yeh and Lambchop married that Skunk from Bambie, what’s his name, oh ‘Flower’.” Coming from Isabel that actually makes sense.

We ponder.

We ponder some more.

We ponder a little bit more and 10 minutes later:

“If Lambchop and the Skunk had a baby would it be a Skunkchop?” Maria furrows her eyebrows.

She’s not being funny. She seriously wants to know.

We agreed a while ago that our parents all had a joint “Lets drop our kids on their heads” party when we were small.

It would explain our group general craziness and my state of lust for Max. Or was it love? They’re both so different.

“Probably. It would probably be a black and white stinky sheep too.” Alex adds.

Maria raises her eyebrows.

“Yeh that would be cool.”

A chorus of Yep’s echoes around the group.

1 hour and 3 short conversations later the party is over. And are we disappointed? Maybe. We don’t often get to have meaningless conversations while other people throw up at our feet.

Yep that’s a night to remember alright.

Whew. I’m wiped. Being a party animal is tough.

Part 9:

I would find some way to start this off in an amusing way but the truth is it’s just band practice and whichever way you look at it it’s hard to make fun of something you and 3 other friends are passionate about.

Anyway so the Mr. Jensen, our Principal, allows us to some in twice a week to the band room and practice.

Max and Isabel are watching us like they always do. I have no idea why.

They aren’t in the band. We don’t force them to be here.

Maria keeps looking at me then looking at Max and winking.

I wish she’d stop. She’s gonna get eyelid burn with all that winking.

All they way here she was insisting that the only reason Max comes to watch us is because of me.

All they way here I was thinking I should never have told Maria while hitting my head repeatedly on the window.

I could have strangled myself with the seat belt if I had really wanted but then I remembered Alex wanted to practice our new song so I decided not to.

So that, my friends, is the story of how I found myself to be here sitting on the schools rickety stool behind a well used drum kit.

Alex and Michael can just bring their guitar cases but I can’t very well bring a full drum set to school can I?

I’m currently mesmerized by the twirling of drum sticks in my hand.

Round and round and round and round and round and round and………..

“LIZ!”

“Huh?”

“Sorry if we interrupted you but we are starting now.” Maria gives me a fake smile.

Without even looking I can tell Max is trying not to laugh.

“Shut it talentless boy.” I say with a mock glare.

“I am not talentless! I can do tons of things.”

“Oh yeh? Like what?”

“Ok guy you to can bicker like children later but right now a have a song to play.” Good ol’ Alex. Keeping us on track.

“Yes daddy.” Max bows his head solemnly.

God he’s cute.

Whoa unruly thoughts have escaped. Call back up!

Alex begins to play and I go with the flow. The rhythm that all 3 or them produce in unknown ways.

I could close my eyes and do this. So I do.

And when I open them at the end of the song? I find a pair of eyes looking straight into mine.

A look that goes beyond the cornea and retina. It goes beyond the nerves that send messages through my body. Ordering me what to feel.

It shivers through me down to my soul and beyond that. Whatever is beyond that I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure Max Evans and his stare does because whatever is beyond my soul is what he’s looking at.

You know when you hear the first few keys of a song and suddenly your nose tingles and your eyes water because the frequencies they are hitting are in total sync. That’s kind of what I’m feeling now. That weird sensation of perfect harmony. Everything in balance.

A balance that is rudely torn away when Max blushes and glances down and then pushed to the ground and squished into the gravel when I see Maria’s triumphant ‘I told you so’ look.

And for once I wonder if she is right.

Harmonies can’t be forced. If one key doesn’t want to be harmonized they won’t. You can’t force them.

I look at everyone else in the room.

Oblivious to the life changing moment I just had.

Maria and Alex are conversing about how to improve the song. Michael is eating something and Isabel is reading the Bell Jar.

I look at Max with my eyebrows drawn together.

His staring at his feet obviously in deep thought.

I glance around the room one more time looking for some evidence of what has just occurred.

It’s like in movies where everything is spinning and some melodic tune is playing and then it all just……stops.

Gone as if it had never come.

Maybe I imagined it?

I look at Max and find my eye once again locked with his.

He gives me a small smile with I return.

Nope. I didn’t imagine it.

I’m just not sure Max totally realized it.

posted on 30-Jun-2002 7:46:03 PM
Part 10:

“So are you 2 gonna get together now?”

“God Maria, for the 50th time now. NOTHING has changed!”

She rolls her eyes and waves her hand in dismissal.

“Puh-lease! I saw the whole staring contest. You could just explode with all the sexual tension floating around.” Her eyes bulge at the “explode” part. She looks REALLY creepy.

And anyway it’s not sexual tension. It’s just old fashioned home grown tension.

Excuse me while I ignore her now.

I will busy myself by tying teeny knots in my hair until she shuts up.

Damn. They don’t stay.

Note to self: Stop using conditioner.

“Liz. Let’s face it. He wants you, you want him so just go hump somewhere and leave us in peace.” Her hand gestures are making me want to rip them off.

I wonder when I became such a violent minded person.

Maria say’s she is blunt and direct.

I say she is crude and vile. A direct result of spending too much time with Michael and the “sweet people” down at MoJo’s, the local tattoo parlor.

“God Maria. Do you hear what you’re saying?? You’re telling me to go have sex with my best friend of 9 years because I suddenly need a lobotomy due to my untimely crush on Max.”

Yeh. It makes sense don’t it.

“Yes that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Okay enough of the fun and games.

“Maria. I can’t lose him. Not because of some dumb crush. I can’t lose him. Never.”

She takes her eyes off the road and looks at me.

“You’re serious aren’t you?”

“Yeh.” Nod nod.

At least she understands now.

She nods solemnly and then directs her attention once more to the road.

She doesn’t say anything again until we reach my house.

She was probably thinking of how odd it must be to be me.

I know I think about that everyday.

********
So now I’m in my room spinning around on my desk chair.

I feel sick and dizzy but this is fun.

Michaels here somewhere. Probably battling it out with my mother for reign of the fridge.

We were painting but he got hungry. The boy has the appetite and taste buds of a dump truck.

Anyway I lean back on the chair and look up at the ceiling. Michael and I painted a night time sky on my ceiling a few years ago.

It’s very peaceful.

Spinny spin spin.

Sicky sick sick.

Clicky click click.

Wait? What?

I look over to my window where the sound is coming from.

Oh it’s just Max.

Taking a picture of me.

“What are you doing Max?”

“Taking a picture of you. Duh.”

“Well I knew that Max but why? You’ve finished your portfolio.”

Ok So I’m a bit paranoid or something because he takes pictures of us all the time at lunch, in the park etc but even so………..

“I know. This isn’t for my portfolio and you just looked really beautiful.”

Melty melt melt.

I’m having a hard time breathing but that should be no problem because dying now wouldn’t be so bad.

He gives me compliments like this all the time. Occasionally we lapse into this weird flirting thing that cracks Michael up.

Shake head and pretend you didn’t hear.

“Oh ok.”

We look at each other for a few seconds and I find myself tense awaiting another one of those…..thingys.

It doesn’t come but Michael does. Sipping a juice box.

It paints quite a funny picture.

“Hey Liz you’ve got no more juice.”

“Yeh that’s because you drank it all Mr. Big-tough-juice box drinker.”

“Hey! Oh hi Max. What’s up?”

I flash Max a big smile before saying sarcastically:

“Didn’t you here Michael? Max got amnesia and now thinks my bedroom is his.”

Michael raises his eyebrows at Max.

Max glares back in a warning tone.

Is there something I’m missing?

“Riiiiiiiight Max. Just remember me and Alex are watching you.”

His eyes widen.

“Don’t you dare say a word Michael.”

Now I’m really missing something.

I should probably state my thoughts in the form of a fact finding question. How does that go again? Oh right:

“Guy’s, am I missing something?”

They both snap there attention to me.

Michaels eyes are wide and he takes a looooonng sip of Hi-C whilst looking back and forth between me and Max.

“Nope. Nothings missing. All thoughts accounted for.”

Uh huh sure Max.

Oh well. Our group can’t keep secrets anyway so I’m bound to find out.

Oh maybe there’s a sex scandal involving Maria and Michael. Cool.

Michael goes back to the painting and carries on while taking loud sips of his drink.

Max makes himself comfortable on my bed.

I wonder: Since when did my room becomes the “guys” hang out place.

Then I think: Oh right. 9th grade when I beat Tommy Hardford at burping the alphabet.

Oh well. I find myself more comfortable in the presence of guy’s anyway.

Not more comfortable in the “I’m a slut trying to get in your pants” way but more in the “Hey guy’s. Nice car what kinda engine is that?” way.

Well not exactly like that but you know what I mean.

I’m a guy’s girl.

Insert shrug.

It’s kinda nice everyone just sitting here. Doing there respective things.

Me painting, Michael painting, Max smelling my pillow.

Wait just a damn second. Back up.

Max is smelling my pillow?

Insert incredulous: WHY??!?!?

Appartently Michael has noticed to because:

“Maxwell what the fuck are you doing?” And so elegantly said too.

Max looks up blushing.

Yeh I’d be blushing too if I got caught smelling my best friends pillow.

“Ummmm nothing.”

“We talked about this Max. You can’t keep behaving the way you are.”

2 things are going through my mind write now. The first one being : They’ve talked about pillow smelling before? And the second being: Since when did Michael start being the one in charge?

So for about the 50th time tonight I think: Am I missing something?

And the answer is ‘YES’ in big fat chunky letters glowing in a neon fashion specially designed to catch my attention.

The words have stop but they exchange glares which in friend language tell me they are having some sort of non-verbal fight.

They carry on until I clear my throat and attempt to break the argumentative silence.

“So……..guys…….. Sleepy dust are boogers of the eye.”

They look at me.

For a looooooooong time.

Well, at least I got their attention.

Part 11:

Not only was I confused after last night’s fiasco but it certainly didn’t help that come Monday morning Isabel and Alex kept giving me strange looks.

So lunchtime rolls around and I find myself beginning to worry.

Michael is mad at Max because he smelt my pillow?? It just doesn’t make sense.

And Alex is giving Max warning looks? That doesn’t make sense either.

God why did Max have to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong.

Literally.

“Liz I found THE guy for you.” It’s funny when Isabel say’s it because although she’s smiling her tone is very flat and un-interested.

It’s another new development due to Max’s curious nose.

Isabel has become my personal Cupid.

She prefers to be called Blind Date Coordinator.

She say’s it’s more “professional”.

“Isabel I already told you! There is no guy on campus you could get me to date!”

She waves her hand in the air.

“Oh I know but would you say ‘No’ to a COLLEGE guy?”

Wink wink. Nudge nudge.

“YES!”

“Oh.” Her face falls.

Apparently Isabel doesn’t like associating with people of her own age and began hanging out with a bunch of college intellectuals when we were unavailable.

We sit down at our regular spot under the willow tree.

I eat my fruit roll up and Isabel picks lint off her Metallica shirt.

Max comes to join us with a huge smile on his face. He’s looking right at me.

I’m terrified.

“Max I found THE person for you!” Again with the flatness. And a sympathetic look in my direction.

My heart lurches and I think: Whoa. Déjà vu. Let’s hope it’s not the same guy.

“Isabel we’ve talked about this.”

Fuck! Why has everyone been talking about stuff and how come I don’t know about it!

“I know Max. I know OK? I am reminded everyday. All I’m saying is give her a chance!”

“I don’t WANT to give her a chance Izzy. You know what I want and you’re being inconsiderate by suggesting this!”

I sit and listen in rapt attention.

Ok ok. So my mind keeps drifting off to thoughts of A Muppets Treasure Island but I’m trying really hard to pay attention. Honest.

“Michael and Alex think it’s a good idea too Max! You can’t spend your whole life as some angsty hermit in some gross wet hole. You have 3 choices right now Max. Go for it or spend your life wishing you did OR you can take up my offer with this girl! Right now choice 3 seems best even if you do plan to do the other 2.”

Max sits defeated. He looks at Isabel for a long time who is strangely wearing a softer look on her face.

Sympathy?

Heck I don’t know anymore. My world has been tossed like a salad and it seems I got left on the outside of everything.

I can see him biting the inside of his cheek. A nervous habit.

He looks at me for a second then turns to Isabel again and lets out a sigh.

“Your right Izzy. But just so you know I am planning to do number 1. It just has to be the right time.”

Isabel looks relieved. Max looks sad and I know for a fact I look confused and heart broken.

The man of my dreams is agreeing to go out with another girl. Not that he belongs to me but it hurts.

“So what’s her name?”

Ugh another nail in my coffin.

“Her name is Indigo Delaney, Vicky’s sister and total opposites, and we are meeting her tonight at the park.”

Oh god. Let that be a ‘we’ as in brother sister ‘we’ and not ‘we’ as in group ‘we’.

“You mean our entire group?” Whoa is that me speaking?

Obviously so because suddenly it’s like Isabel realizes I’m here.

“Yeh, You know we were all gonna go to the park tonight. I invited Indigo.”

“I can’t come!” Whoops shouldn’t have sounded so eager.

“Why not? You could 3 hours ago.” Isabel is confused. Join the club.

“Because I ……..um……….have to bake with my mom!”

Max looks at me. He looks upset.

“Why are you lying to me?”

My eyes soften. He’s sad.

Oh god what do I do?

I scoot closer to him mentally banging my head against hard objects.

I lied to my best friend.

Our group is becoming this tangled up bunch of half truths and secrets.

And why? Because Max Phillip Evans smelt my fucking pillow.

“I’m sorry Max. You’re right. I am lying because the truth is I was uncomfortable with you meeting someone because then you won’t spend any more time with us……….ME any more and don’t want that.

There goes me adding another half truth to our rapidly growing pile.

And strangely he looks relieved? Happy? Hopeful?

But Max believes me because it is after all a half truth.

So he half believes me.

“God Liz. That won’t happen. Remember? Whatever paths we choose to take I just want you to know that you’re my best friend…..”

“ and I love you.” I finish for him.

“Don’t worry Max I know.”

He looks pained again.

He pulls me into a fierce hug.

“I’d never abandon you Liz so don’t even think it.”

“Yeh.”

My voice is small and quiet.

Partly because I’m about to cry, partly because I can’t breathe in his death grip and partly because my heart isn’t use to this kind of torture.

Push and pull. Hope and devastation. Joy and sadness.

My life has become this one big heap of confusion and I’m the one left to sort it all out because every has started lying and keeping secrets.

Maybe my mom was right. This is the year everyone changes the most.

I don’t know. Like I said my life is confusion.

One thing is for certain though.

I hope Max doesn’t let go.

Part 12:

The rumor mill is churning like mad.

So I accompanied Maria to MoJo’s because I needed answer and I needed them now.

It’s so weird here.

She hugged this biker dude on her way in. Then he shook my hand.

It’s all very strange. Not what you expect.

Everyone has been really friendly. The head guy is gay.

I think.

With all the “Dahlings!” going around I would think this is a tea party not a tattoo parlor.

So Maria is sitting in this dentist type chair while a man with 8 lip piercings draws a sun/moon thing on the nape of her neck.

“Maria you have to tell me if anything strange is going on! I mean Michael and Isabel sure know and Alex was giving me strange looks all day.”

If I have to stab her with the needle I will.

“Honey I honestly don’t know anything. Isabel gave up telling me secrets AGES ago remember? After that little homecoming situation.”

“Ok but help me figure this out. 1) Michael gets pissed when he catches Max smelling my pillow. 2) Alex is giving me weird looks which I assume are related to Max’s curious nose. 3) Isabel is trying to set max up with this girl Idaho or something and Max expressed resentment and sadness at this. 4) I asked Alex about this and he denied knowing anything about the pillow thing but thought it was funny and wouldn’t stop laughing for 5 minutes. And 5) You and me are the only ones that don’t know. You don’t know because you tend to blab and there would be no reason for me not to know so that means they are trying to keep a secret from me!”

Deep breaths. Don’t forget to breathe. On planet earth it’s nessecary.

“Hey chica slow down!”

That’s Maria right?

No. Actually it’s 8 lip piercings man.

Yeh I’m as shocked as you are.

“Yeh listen to Marco. Hey Marco. What do you think about Liz’s situation?”

“Well honey! First of all it’s pretty damn obvious why they are hiding this from you! This Max kid likes you! It’s as plain as the bolt in my nose! Honey, he smelled your pillow? Walk up and smell the stale drool on that pillow Dahling! It’s a matter of time before he comes and tells you he loves you!”

Maria nods in agreement as if he has just said something very wise.

I know for a fact my nostrils are flared and my eyes are bulging.

This couldn’t get creepier if it tried.

I need to get out of here.

“I need to get out of here Maria. I’ll see you tonight.”

With that I grab my back pack and rush out of there as quickly as possible ignoring the “Ta ta Dahling!” from the guy in leather at the counter.

I shudder and walk quickly towards my house.

A few things are going through my head: That place smelled, they’re all gay and does Max really like me??

The last one is plaguing my mind as I walk down Saturn Blvd.

It kinda makes sense I guess.

I mean there are 2 reasons why I would smell Max’s pillow.

1)Because he smells great

and 2)……….Wait. There’s only one reason.

But does that apply to Max?

Maybe something smelt weird.

But that still doesn’t explain everyone else’s weirdness.

I need to think.

Thinky think think.

**********************

Ok so thinking didn’t really work because my brain pulled a muscle and it hurts.

I figure I may as well just wait and see what happens.

I considered rushing over to Max’s house and asking him if he liked me but that’s not very reasonable.

What if he didn’t?!

Tornadoes would form, earthquakes would shake, volcanoes would erupt and I’d sit there looking like a goon while everyone in the conspiracy laughs at me.

I should be thinking “GIRL POWER! Go for it! Nothing can stop me! I’m a woman hear me roar!”

Instead I sit like a limp noodle thinking “Fuck it. I’ll sit and wait till something happens. I need a juice box.”

I plan the possible scenarios for tonight in my head.

In my head there’s about 3 things that could happen:

1) She’s ugly and smart and Max hates her.

2) She’s pretty but dumb. Max hates her.

3) 1 or 2 but with opposite results.

I’m most terrified about 3.

Duh.

But you have to be prepared right?

Trouble is I don’t know how to prepare to meet someone I never met.

I think about borrowing a skirt from Isabel but then remember she only owns Korn and Metallica shirts.

Damn.

I could borrow one of those floral dresses from Maria and get all dressed up.

Nah. Not an option.

Everyone will know I’m trying to hard to impress Max.

Plus I’ve never worn a dress in my life and I’m not about to start because I’m jealous Max is finally getting a girlfriend.

But god! What if she’s beautiful! It’s most likely she’ll be the opposite of me!

I picture a big busted Tess Harding in my head and cringe.

Don’t want to see that again. Mentally impairing.

But anyway I think I’ll dress up as myself.

If Max doesn’t like me the way I am then he doesn’t like ME.

That is if he even likes me.

So I pull on my battered baggy cords and a scarlet tank top.

Normal me looks pretty horrific but that’s how I look everyday so *shrug*.

Walking downstairs and out the door hoping nothing goes badly and my heart doesn’t get trampled on too much.