|posted on 25-Jul-2002 4:35:59 PM|
|MerJ asked me to post this for her, since I was already on. Don't know her password, so I couldn't log off....Oh, well, here you go.|
Summary: For years, Max has been dreaming of his soul mate. Someone he could never recognize. And for years, Liz has been denying her true feelings for Max...
Category: M/Serena, M/L, friendly, K/L, M/M, and A/I
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. Don't sue, it's not like you'd get anything anyway...
Spoilers: Nope, no aliens...
Author's Note #1: I extremely hate the fact that they throw in the concept of the mysterious girl Serena and then never got the chance to make something of her. So in thinking of new ideas, mostly if they deal with aliens, I try to throw in Serena, and each time I've seen her with Kyle. But hey, that's just me. I hope you guys like my idea of Serena and Kyle that will happen in the end...
Author's Note #2: Liz's POV is kind of sorta based on the fact that she's writing in her journal.
Title: I Won't Do That
I have to say, that I live the most predictable life ever. Things with my friends and I, just don't change. We do the same thing every single day. We meet at the same place and talk about the same things. I used to kid myself and say that it was just routine. But it can't be routine, not when everything you say is the same way you said it yesterday, right down to the way you enunciated it, and the _expression on your face.
But I'm comfortable with it. Sure, it gets irritating sometimes, but I don't think I'd have it any other way.
I've had the same group of friends since high school. I moved to Roswell, New Mexico when I was fourteen, and was immediately befriended by Alex Whitman. Then, he introduced me to, Michael Guerin, his girlfriend Maria DeLuca, Alex's girlfriend Isabel Evans, and Isabel's brother Max. That instant, we clicked, all of us. The one person I felt closest to was Max. Maybe it was because we were the only ones not dating anyone, I don't know, but he was my best friend. And I didn't know it then, but I had fallen for him. Our relationship was so familiar and comfortable, that the thought of being together romantically, never crossed our minds. Well, not his at least...
I think I started realizing my feelings for him when we were seniors. Over the years, I had watched him flit from girl to girl, he was a heartthrob, no doubt. I told myself that twinge I would get in my gut, was just me acting like a best friend, a sister. It was me being afraid for him, afraid he'd get his heart broken. He was so nice, sweet, so trusting, that anyone could trample him. He was the romantic type. A closet romantic, to be exact. I was the only one who knew about it. He would tell me about how he wanted to find his "soul mate" and all that crock. I humored him by not rolling my eyes.
We all graduated, Max was Valedictorian, and I was Salutatorian. Damn it. I was this close to being in Max's place, but that one case of pneumonia, ruined it. Anyway, we all decided to go to a University in Florida. We ended up sharing this crappy apartment together, until we got on our feet. Max, Michael, and Alex work at a local auto shop, fixing cars and all the great stuff. While Maria, Isabel, and I got jobs as waitress' in the morning and bartenders in the evening at a restaurant/bar downtown.
Maria was kind of stoked, thinking that it would be all Coyote Ugly and crap, but when I so graciously pointed out, that if she started strutting her stuff on some filthy bar top, like it's a catwalk, not only will Michael come in, kick her ass and every other guy ogling her goodies, but she'd probably get raped. That shut her up right quick.
Well, we soon had enough money to split ways and buy our own apartments. Michael and Maria bought theirs on the third floor, Alex and Isabel on the second floor, and it was mutual agreement between Max and I, that the two of us would share the original apartment on the fourth floor.
If it weren't for the fact that I was comfortable enough to trudge around in my pajamas, with bed hair, and morning breath in front of Max, I probably would have gotten my own apartment. And I probably should have, it would have saved me a lot of wondering, but I didn't...
Anyway, my place of employment was our meeting place. It's atmosphere was so comfortable and welcoming. The restaurant downstairs had nice lounge chairs and sofas, comfortable dining booths and tables. The bar was just as relaxed upstairs with it's spacious area for dancing and mingling. Lots of friendly faces around. Of course you had your few obnoxious drunks who were attracted to your breasts like two magnets, but a quick and hard thwack across the head fixed that right away.
And so that's where we are now, Maria, Isabel, and I are working behind the bar, as the rest of them sit across from us in the rotating stools. As predicated, they sit in the same seats, in the same order. Max in the middle, Michael and on his right, Alex on his left.
And this is how my predictable life becomes unpredictable...
Liz turned to Maria on her right, and started to mouth the words that always came from his mouth.
"I had that dream again," he said, unaware of what Liz was doing. "The one with the headless soul mate,"
Liz rolled her eyes, and replied the same way she always did. "Morbid,"
She waited for his brows to furrow together as he stared at his hands. "It's not morbid,"
"Decapitated brides are pretty morbid, Max," Alex said popping a pretzel in his mouth.
Just as he always did, Max told them his dream in great detail. In his dream, he watches as a woman in a wedding gown slowly makes her way towards him. Her white dress sparkling in the sunlight with every step she takes. With a bouquet of white roses clutched loosely in her hands. She finally reaches him and he turns towards her, his hands grasping the ends of her veil, and slowly lifting it above her head. The thing was, she had no head.
"It means, that I haven't found my soul mate yet," Liz mouths. Max finally catches on and throws a pretzel at her, not hiding his amused grin.
She pulled the pretzel from her hair and popped it in her mouth. "But once you do, no more decapitated soulmates, right?" she asks.
He groans and rolls his eyes. "Yes," he answers. "And she is not decapitated, she just doesn't have a head."
Before Liz could reply with her usual retort, Isabel interrupts. "We've had this conversation dozens of times before," she said, looking both Liz and Max in the eye. "Get over it," She walks away to serve a customer.
"Yeah, Max, get over it." Liz says sticking her tongue out.
He did the same but crossed his eyes at the same time, giving Liz the chance to flick him in the nose. Max grabbed her wrist as she pulled away, and started tickling in the ribs with his free hand. Liz's laughter no doubt gathered the attention of the customers, forcing Michael the separate them.
"Children we've talked about this," he said as Max and Liz glared playfully at each other. Michael draped an arm around Max's shoulder. "This is what you have to do, Maxwell," he said, twirling both of them around until they were now facing what used to be behind them. A large mass of people danced and spoke before them, the voices drifting to their ears. "There are plenty of available women right in front of you Max, and you can have anyone of them,"
Liz stared down at the counter as she listened to what Michael was saying. She grabbed a rag from underneath and decided to be productive.
"Look," Michael said and Liz raised her head to see in which direction he was pointing. She saw an attractive red head, laughing with her friends at the corner of the room. She was petite and wore a simple outfit, jeans and a red tank top. Liz was too far away to tell for sure, but her eyes looked green. She looked down at the bar counter. Max's favorite color. The next instant she raised her head, he was heading towards her.
Michael swiveled back around, with a pleased look on his face. His eyes met Liz's angry glare.
"What?" he asked confused. Liz simply shook her head and walked away. "What?" he called after her.
Maria stepped in front of him, her hand placed on her hip in an accusing manner. "Sheesh, what's her problem?" he asked, unaware of Maria's own sweltering glare. Shaking her head, she walked towards Liz.
"Hey, babe," Maria said rubbing her arm soothingly. "Michael's an idiot."
Liz smiled at the man in front of her as she set down a cold beer. "Men are idiots, Maria," she replied, and then looked back at the customer. "No offense."
She pulled out another beer and opened it for herself. Her gaze drifted to where Max was having, what seemed to be, a pleasant conversation with the young woman. She tossed back her head and took a large gulp of the drink.
"He's an idiot, too," Maria said. Everyone knew about Liz's feelings for Max, minus of course Max himself and Michael. She never told anyone, they just knew. Apparently it was obvious or something. Liz shrugged and acted as if it didn't bother her. But it did, it was like an empty feeling in her gut. She finished off her beer as she saw Max approaching her. She smoothed back her hair and put on her best smile.
"So?" she asked when he reached her, trying to seem interested.
He sighed and dropped his elbows on the counter. "I like her,"
She smiled and rolled her eyes. "What's her name?" she pulled the rag she carried with her and started wiping at the spotless countertop.
"Serena Todd," he answered softly. "She's going to be attending our school come fall,"
Liz nodded. "Neat," she answered unenthusiastically.
"I have a date with her this Friday night," he said excitedly.
Liz forced a smile despite the twisting feeling her in gut. "Way to go Slick!"
"But there's a problem."
"She doesn't want to leave without her roommate," he answered.
Liz knew where this was heading. Double Dating. It just wasn't her thing. The last time she went on a double date, in his search for the headless soul mate, she ended up having the worst time of her life.
She smiled sweetly at him and opened another beer. "How do I say this in a way you'd understand?" she asked. "NO."
Two more beers later, Alex and Max were helping Liz to the car. He just kept pestering her! How many times does a girl have to say no before he finally understands that no means no? Each time she'd finish another beer, he'd cause her to open a new one with a, "Please, Liz?"
"You realize you can only have so many beers before you have to pay," Maria had said. Liz's response was to take another long swig of the addicting beverage.
"Max," Liz said as they crossed the parking lot. "You're my friend, my pal, and I would do anything for you. You know that, right?"
He grasped her waist as she started to fall to the ground. "Uh, yeah, Liz, I know that, so -"
She interrupted him before he could ask again. "But I won't do that," she answer as she spun away from his and Alex's grasp. "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that!" she sang into the night.
Alex rolled his eyes. She was destroying his favorite song.
"Liz, please," Max said grasping her arm. She would be much easier to talk to if she weren't so drunk. "I'd do it for you,"
She almost told him that she wouldn't have asked him too, but even she was too in control not to let her true feelings show.
"Max," she said softly as she turned to face him. "Not even in my drunken stupor, would I say yes to such a request,"
Liz walked away as Alex chuckled, and Max stood with his mouth agape.
Liz woke up the next morning to a darkened room. The sheets rustled beneath her as she sat up and looked around. Her curtains were closed. Smiling, she realized that Max must have done it last night, knowing that she hated having the sun creep into her room, especially when a hang over is expected.
But that wasn't what was bothering her right now. Guilt was.
She hated the way she had turned him down last night. Groaning, she threw her legs over the side of the bed and left her room. Walking down the hall, she found him eating Golden Grahams at the kitchen table.
He looked over his shoulder and wiped the milk drizzling from his chin with the back of his hand. "Cereal?" he asked with his mouth full.
Liz could've giggled, if that were her thing. She grabbed the box from him and sat down with a moan. He shoved a bowl towards her and filled it with milk. Then he grabbed the cereal box from her grasp and poured that inside the bowl as well. "There ya go," he said with a grin.
He was sucking up, which only proceeded to make her feel worse.
"Fine," she muttered through a mouthful of cereal. She still saw the sly grin the spread across his face.
"What was that?" he asked.
"You heard me," she mumbled. "I'll do it,"
"Aw, Lizzie, you really shouldn't make it so easy for me," he said, his voice not disguising his happiness. He walked over to her and kissed her temple. "Thank you, Liz,"
"Yeah, yeah," she muttered stuffing another spoonful into her mouth.
"The guy's name is Kyle Valenti," Max said as he put his bowl in the sink. "Serena says he's a really nice guy. Who knows, maybe he's the one for you,"
"Oh I'm sure," she muttered. Liz watched as Max left the kitchen and walked into the bathroom to shower. Her spoon clanged against the bowl once she let it slip through her fingers. She finger combed her hair and wondered how her life got so unpredictable.
Two years ago, I decided to play the role of the perfect best friend, and go on a double date with him. Tess Harding was Max's date, and her brother, Sean, was mine. I hated Tess. She had curly blonde hair, which was obviously bleached. The Clorox that she must have used, had to of sank through her skull resulting in her being a few cans short a of six-pack. I swear, I don't know what it was Max saw in her, and then it hit me. Her eyes. She had the most beautiful green eyes I've ever seen. That was the only thing she had going for her.
Anyway, lets get to the part where my night became a living hell.
Um, on second thought, I don't think I want to go into great detail, like Max tends to do, so let's just say, Tess was a bisexual. Yeah... Just use your imagination.
Max had a blast though, cracking jokes here and there. So, I kicked his ass. He let me, though, cause, I haven't been to the gym since, never.
Sean, he was okay. A pot-head, most definitely, but okay nonetheless. I have fun screwing with his head though. But then, he caressed my leg, so that just kind of, put out my fire.
Anyway, you can understand why I hate double dating. I always get the short end of the stick. Always.
But what can I say? My feelings for Max blind me of my better judgment.
Maybe he's right, maybe this Kyle guy is the one for me....
Then why do I hope he's a bisexual? Just evil, I guess.
"Liz, hurry up!" Max yelled for the second time.
"Max," Liz's voice rang from her room. "I'm a woman! You'll just have to deal that I'm usually late,"
She licked her thumb and flipped the page of the magazine. He's been ready for an hour, they have to leave in fifteen minutes, and she's still waiting for her hair to air dry. She smirked. Tonight was such a special night, she didn't want to risk the chance of harming her hair with the heat of the blow dryer.
Liz shifted an annoyed gaze to her door, where Max was pounding. "Elizabeth!" he whined.
"Max, you know that you will get next to no where by using my full name," she said, flipping another page.
"What are you doing?"
"Putting on my make-up" she lied.
"Why don't you just leave without me," she suggested. Silence. Liz couldn't help but grin. Yes! This was her out! She stood up and crept to the door, and crouched down to look through the key hole.
She jumped back with a shriek when his eyeball came into view. "Liz! Hurry up!"
Liz glared at him through the door and picked herself up from the floor. "Fine!" she yelled and sighed when she heard him retreat. "Stupid, stupid, stupid,"
"Shut up and get ready!" Max called.
"Bite me!" she called back.
"I will!" and he would too. The last time she told him to bite her, was in 10th grade, he bit her right on the calf. She rolled her eyes at the memory. He was such a loser.
Liz didn't bother to comb her hair, instead, she grabbed the banana clip she used for work, and piled her hair on top of her head. Then she crossed the room and pulled her outfit for work down. It was a simple black, mid-thigh length skirt, and a white top, sporting the bar's name across the front. She mentally patted herself on the back for thinking ahead. She decided to work Tracey's shift tonight, which was great, in case the date turned out to be a real drag. Liz trudged to her vanity desk and pulled her black shoes from underneath and slipped them on. Then she sat down and dabbed on some concealer.
Five minutes. It was all it took. She rolled her eyes when she heard Max marching down the hall.
"Elizabeth Ja-" he started when Liz threw open the door.
"Well, what are we waiting for?" She asked. "Let's get this show on the road."
He followed her down the hall. "Were you ready the whole time?" he asked.
"No," she replied and opened the front door. "Keys?"
He patted his jean pocket. "Great," she muttered. "Let's go."
"There she is," he whispered.
Max had stopped them once they reached the top of the steps. In the corner of the room, where Liz had spotted her a couple of nights ago. Sitting across from her, was Liz's date. Oh joy. She only saw his back, but from his hunched position, she could tell he didn't want to be there either.
"Well, are we going? Or are we just going to stand here all night?" she asked. That instant, Serena spotted them and waved. Liz gave her a sarcastic smile and waved back. "Let's go, I want to get this over with."
They approached the table, and Serena stood, forcing her friend up as well. He turned around and faced them, and Liz couldn't deny it. He was very nice to look at. Nice build, obviously he was a jock. He gave her a smile that said how unbelievably bored he was.
"Hi, I'm Kyle Valenti," he said, extending his hand.
"Liz Parker," she replied. She saw Max smile at the introduction.
"Liz, this is Serena Todd," he said. "Serena, this is my best friend Liz,"
"It's nice to meet you," Serena said sweetly.
She couldn't help but be nice, this girl didn't do anything to her. Except, steal the love of her life right from under her. Ergh.
"Likewise," Liz managed. She shrugged at Max, who seemed displeased by her remark.
"Well, let's sit," he finally said, and pulled the chair out for Serena.
Kyle gave her a look silently saying, "I hope you don't expect me to do that,"
Liz shrugged meaning, "I can pull my chair out all by myself, thank you,"
They sit down, and the silence at the table is deafening.
"So, Liz," Serena starts. "You work here,"
"5.15 an hour," she muttered. "I actually have to fill in for a friend in about an hour, sorry,"
Max glared at her, and Kyle smirked.
"Where do you work?" Max asked Serena.
As their conversation continued, Liz and Kyle sat in silence. "I wish I would have thought of that," Kyle said a moment later.
"Excuse me?" Liz asked with a raised eyebrow.
He leaned towards her. "Filling in for a friend? In case this date is a total drag, right?"
As much as she tried to hide it, Liz couldn't help her grin. "Pretty smart, huh?" she asked.
And then the silence came back, between Liz and Kyle at least. While, Max and Serena were talking up a storm. Liz stared at the way there were interacting with each other, and that pang of jealousy formed in her gut.
"You're in love with the best friend too, huh?" Kyle asked her.
She was taken back by he question, but she didn't answer. Kyle sighed. "Me too," he said and then chuckled. "Do you want to pry her eyes out with this fork?"
She shook her head, unable to prevent the smile that was slowly creeping upon her face. "I was thinking more along the lines of peeling her brains out with a potato peeler," she answered.
Kyle nodded. "I'll take the fork then,"
Liz laughed and gave him a genuine smile.
The next forty-five minutes with by quicker than she was ready for. As Serena and Max lived in there own world Kyle and Liz complained about the many flaws of double dating. Afterwards they would stare longingly at their clueless best friends.
"Max," Liz said causing him to tear his gaze away from Serena.
"Yeah, Liz?" he asked with a smile on his face. She hadn't seen him this happy around a girl in a long time. Sure, he had been with many girls and always treated them with respect, but none of them had ever made him smile like that.
"I have to get to work," she said after a moment.
She had expected him to be angry with her, instead he said, "Okay, I'll see you later," and then continued on with his conversation with Serena.
She rolled her eyes and stood from the table, Kyle grasped tightly to her wrist and stared up at her, his eyes pleading. "Take me with you,"
She laughed and tugged him up, gesturing for him to follow. He followed her over to the bar table, where she relieved Tracey, and tied on a black apron. "Can I get you anything, Kyle?" she asked.
"Just a beer," he said in a defeated tone. "And keep them coming."
"I hear you," Liz said, her own misery sounding in her voice. "So, how'd you meet Serena?"
He grinned and took a sip of his beer. "She was a one night stand," he answered, lifting his head to see her quirked eyebrow. "Yeah, I know, I'm an ass. So, I left early that morning and when I got to my apartment I felt really bad. She was really nice and sweet, and I was beginning to realize my mistake. So, I go back to her apartment, not knowing what to say...To make a long story short, she told me, something along the lines of how it really meant something to her that I felt bad for what I did....Or something. I can't remember."
Liz nodded anyway. "When did you realize you were in love with her?"
"Same day," he took another drink. "Subconsciously, at least. The feeling was so new to me that I didn't know how to go about with it. So I played the friendship card, and we moved in together. I'm not even sure how we came to it, one night we stayed up watching movies on her couch, and I never left,"
"That's kind of, corny," she said with a grin.
"Don't I know it?" he chuckled. "How about you? When did you realize you loved Mac over there?"
"Max," she corrected. "We were seniors in high school and I listened to him give his Valedictorian speech, when it just hit me, I love him, ya know?"
"Now that's corny," Kyle muttered, when Liz didn't respond, he asked. "Does it always happen this way?"
She shrugged and grabbed herself a beer. Max was a responsible guy, he can drive.
"I think I was always in love with him. You know, like you said, subconsciously. I moved to Roswell during my 9th grade year, and he instantly became my best friend,"
"You're from New Mexico?" Kyle asked. When she nodded, he pointed to himself. "I'm from Albuquerque,"
"Really?" she asked. "That's pretty cool,"
"Yeah, so isn't Serena, we attended UNM together, and then moved down here when summer started,"
Liz nodded again and drained her beer just as Kyle finished his. Grabbing two more, she handed on to him.
"Shouldn't you be working?" he asked her.
Liz looked over her shoulder to see the rest of the employees working. She shrugged. "They can handle it,"
Kyle grinned at her and Liz grinned back. This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Max drove them back to the apartment, talking nonstop about how great the date was. Serena this and Serena that, was all Liz heard the whole ride home.
Tonight, had sucked. Granted, Kyle was great to hang with, but they were both miserable watching them. Torn between their love for them and having to play the best friend roles.
Liz entered the apartment and trudged to her room without a word to Max. She stripped to her pajamas and fell onto her bed and into a less the peaceful slumber.
Sometime during the night, Liz was awakened by Max. He was shaking her out of her slumber, calling her name.
"What?" she called as she swatted his hands from her. "What do you want?"
Still half asleep, Liz propped up on one arm and glared the best she could at Max. He was hovering over her, his bare chest heaving, with his hair messed up from sleep, and his eyes wide with worry.
"I still had the dream," he said worriedly. "It wasn't Serena's body!"
Liz groaned and fell back onto the bed. She pulled the covered over her and tried to go back to sleep. "Liz!" he called.
"Max," she groaned, throwing over the covers and looking at him. "Do you like the girl?"
"This was your first date, Max," she told him. "I don't think your subconscious is ready to let you believe that she's the headless soulmate, okay? Now go to sleep."
He stared at her a moment, before nodding. "You're right," he said. "We don't even know each other that well yet. There is plenty of time for my subconscious to....What you said,"
"Of course I'm right," she tried to fight back a yawn and she pushed him off her bed. "Now go away,"
"Thanks, Liz," he told her from her door way. "Night,"
Liz mumbled something in response, before laying her head on the pillow and closing her eyes, ready to sleep. When she opened her eyes again, she realized what she had just done.
Groaning she grabbed her other pillow and mashed it against her face. "Stupid, stupid, stupid,"
I found a new friend in Kyle, which didn't surprise me. He's a very funny guy, and it's always a plus to know someone who is in the same boat as you are. Before we parted ways on our first "date", if you will, we exchanged phone numbers, knowing for a fact that we'd be calling each other with complaints. I like having him around, especially when I know things are going to change between Max and I.
Max. I can already feel us drifting apart. He'll to be going out on more dates with Serena, and of course, he won't want to leave me behind, at least not yet. So, they'll invite Kyle and I, and we'll feel all awkward and all this crap. It's just not worth it. I'm dreading the nights when he'll bring Serena home with him. We share the same wall, Max and I, and they aren't all that thick. So, you know, I'll hear things....Nope, not anticipating that at all.
I don't know why I don't just tell him. I guess it's because I know he will never feel the same way. In fact, if I tell him, I know exactly what he'd do. Good ole, Max would pat me on the head, pull me in a hug, and tell me that I'll find my soulmate one day. Gag me.
This is what I have to say about that:
I found mine. This is it for me.
"No, Liz, you're doing it wrong!" Alex said and placed his hands firmly on her shoulder, preventing her from bopping around.
"Well, how am I supposed to do it then?" she asked. She then proceeded to do as she had been. "This, is what you look like when you do it,"
He stared at her. That was not what he looked like.
"That is not what I look like," he declared. "This," he demonstrated, "is what I look like,"
"You have to drag your feet, Liz," he told her. "Watch,"
"No, no, no," Liz shook her head. "How do you know you're even doing it right?"
"Because, I, Liz, have been watching all the music videos with this type of dancing and -"
"That's what it looks like?" she scoffed. "I quit,"
He stared at her in shock. "What? You can't quit!" he called after her retreating figure. "No one quits the running man!"
She rolled her eyes and leaned against the counter where Maria was wiping away the traces of the breakfast rush. "Hey Mia,"
"Hey Babe, what's up?" she asked.
She shrugged. "Are you going to tell me about your date with, what's that guys name?" Maria asked. "Wyle?"
"Kyle," Liz corrected.
"Kyle, right," she leaned onto the counter as well. A smirk creeping on her face. "What did your gaydar say about Kyle?"
Liz rolled her eyes. Ever since the Tess the Bisexual incident, all of her friends have been asking her what her "gaydar" reading was.
"He's straight," she answered anyway.
She puffed air through her cheeks and mulled over the thought. "Yeah, he's pretty cute,"
"Ugh, why not?" Maria asked exasperated. "Play the field, make him jealous,"
Liz quirked an eyebrow. "Is that what you would have done, Maria?" she asked. "If I recall, when you and Michael broke up, instead of 'playing the field' you begged for him to take you back,"
"Now that's different," she said, pointing a finger at her. "We broke up, you and Max were never together,"
Okay so she was right. "I'm not going to try and make him jealous,"
Liz didn't even think about it, she simply shrugged. "It's not my thing. If he doesn't have any romantic feelings towards me, then so be it,"
Liz spun around and stared at Max, "Hey!" she exclaimed.
"Hey!" he said back. "Now who?"
"Oh um," Liz struggled to think of something.
"Kyle!" Maria inserted, ignoring Liz's murderous gaze. "Yeah, Kyle, he...He doesn't like Liz....Like that,"
"Aw, Liz," Max said as he patted her head. "I'm sorry,"
Liz swatted his hand away. "It's okay, really," she managed. "I'm over it,"
He frowned and stuffed his hands in his pocket. "So, that pretty much cancels another double date, huh?"
"Yeah pretty much," she said as she grabbed some dishes and headed towards the back.
"Maybe I should talk to him," he said, following her. "To see what the problem is,"
"Uh, no, Max," Liz said quickly, dumping the dishes into the sink with a clatter. "I mean, we like each other, just not that way,"
"You seemed kind of distressed about it though,"
"No, Max, really, I'm fine," she said. She could see the wheels in his head turning. "Max, no,"
"Why not?" he asked, blocking her way when she tried to leave. "Friends can go out on dates, right?"
"C'mon, Liz. I really want to see Serena again, but I don't want to go alone yet,"
She thought that was the most pathetic thing she had ever heard. "Max, you are going to have to learn to go on dates without me there to hold your hand," she told him. She dove under his arm and out of back room.
"Liiiz," he whined.
"Liiiz," she mocked.
Max flicked her in the back of head. Liz whirled around and twisted his ear.
"Ow!" he yelped. He went for her sides just as Isabel intervened.
"Children!" she barked. "We have customers," She glared at both of them before turning away.
"Party pooper," Liz and Max said in unison. She glanced over her shoulder, the smile on her face unveiled.
Max opened his mouth to speak again, but Liz stopped him with a pointed finger at his nose. "No, Max," she said. "And that's final,"
"Liz!" Max called. "We're going to be late again!"
"I don't want to go!" Liz whined.
"You made me!"
"Liz!" he called after her.
"I'm coming!" she yelled as she threw open her door. There was no escaping it this time. Max had made her promise not to schedule any back up shifts. Those dang eyes, always so pleading. Gets her every time.
Tonight, they were going to a movie and if Liz had this Serena girl correct, she'd probably successfully get Max to choose a chick flick. He hates chick flicks.
"I bet Kyle has a back up shift," she muttered as she stomped down the hall.
"Finally," he said in an exasperated tone.
"Bite me," she mumbled under her breath.
Max heard her anyway. When Liz tried to stop him with her hand on his chest, he sank his teeth into her.
"Ow!" Liz swatted him on the side of the head. "Idiot,"
He smirked and went to open the door. "Shall we?"
Oh he did so not just stand her up.
Max, Serena, and Liz were standing in the lobby of a movie theater, waiting for Kyle.
"He said he'd be here," Serena said, a confused _expression passing over her face. "He's not the kind of guy to stand people up,"
Liz gave Serena a smile. "It's fine, let's go," I'll kick his ass later, she added silently.
They started to heard towards the movie, when Kyle's voice sounded. "Hey guys, wait up!"
She heaved in a sigh of relief. She didn't have to sit and watch Serena and Max cuddle alone.
"I brought pop corn," he added as he walked up to Liz. "Sorry I'm late,"
She glared at him a moment before shrugging. "You're here now it's all good,"
They vaguely heard Serena's comment on how cute they looked together. She turned to catch the expressions on their faces. While Serena's beamed with happiness, Max's was unreadable.
"Right," she muttered and turned to Kyle. "We're just so cute," she pinched his cheek.
Kyle swatted her hands away and rubbed his face. "C'mon, let's go,"
Instead of filing into the same row, Kyle suggested he and Liz sit a few rows back. Without waiting for a response, he grabbed Liz's wrist and tugged her along with him. Once they were seated, Liz reached for some popcorn, only to have her hand slapped.
"Huh uh, we can't waste ammo," he told her.
Her eyebrow quirked again. "Ammo?"
"Ammo," he said, pointing towards them once Max wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
He nodded. Liz rolled her eyes and grabbed popcorn anyway.
Liz was right, Serena had gotten Max to pick a chick flick. She could barely keep her eyes open, until she noticed something. It was popcorn flying through the air. She glanced over at Kyle to see him in mid-throw.
"Kyle!" Liz hissed, relieved that they hadn't noticed. "They're going to know it's you,"
He shook his head and pointed behind them. "I picked the seat where there are bratty kids near by,"
She glanced over her shoulder to see a group of teenage boys behind them. "So you're just going to frame some kids?"
He nodded. "Why not?"
Liz rolled her eyes once again, watching from her peripheral vision as he continued to throw popcorn. He threw his hands up in victory when a kernal hit Max in the back of the head.
Liz grabbed his arms and pulled them roughly to his sides, as they turned to look at him. Kyle pretended to be watching the movie intently as Liz stared at her shoes. She didn't know what else to do.
"Loosen up," Kyle whispered to her. "I do this on all her dates,"
She couldn't prevent the chuckle that escaped her lips. "You're so retarded,"
"Yeah, I know," he replied with a mouthful of popcorn. "But so isn't having to watch Serena fall in love with someone else,"
"Have you ever tried to tell her?" Liz asked.
He nodded. "Yeah, I got pretty far too," he told her. "I got to, 'I have feelings for you', but once she gave me that shocked _expression, I said, 'but it's probably indigestion,'"
She tossed her head back and laughed despite the slightly hurt _expression that crossed his face. She patted him on the shoulder. "That is so sad,"
"Yeah I know," he mumbled. "Well, what about you, have you ever tried?"
She cleared her throat. "Here and there," she answered.
He patted her head. "We're both losers,"
"Ain't it the truth?"
Two lunches, and one movie later, we were fed up. Our friends keep dragging us onto these dates, that we just don't want to be at. We've made it perfectly clear to each other, that it's nothing personal, we just don't like them so happy, when we're so miserable.
So, Kyle and I have successfully developed a "system". We like to call it, "The Get Out of the Date Free Card". It's been done, I know, but we discovered it over a came of Monopoly, so I thought it was appropriate.
One of us will ask when the next date is, acting as if we are oh-so excited! In which, are unsuspecting victims will ask if we'd like to come. Which really means, "What time will you be ready?". Then we would answer with, "I'll have to check my schedule," and then we'd book that week with work.
Hey. It's a win-win situation. No more double dates and extra money.
I'm kind of surprised that they haven't caught on yet, Max especially. Normally he could see right through my less than "master mind" of a plan, but I guess he's just a little preoccupied.
I have to admit though, sometimes our plan seems pointless. I mean, we purposely dodge every chance to go, just so we won't have to see them with each other. However, one of us always calls the other, and together we wonder what they're doing.
We're really pathetic. But what can you do when you fall in love with your best friend?
Liz thanked the delivery boy and grasped the pizza box in her hands. Lifting the pizza to her face she breathed in the smell of the greasy pepperoni and cheese, and the distinct scent of banana peppers. Smiling she sat down on the couch, the pizza placed nicely on the coffee table, and dug in. Alone, she could eat a whole large pizza. Of course, the next morning she felt like she was going to burst, but that didn't matter.
She sighed. Tonight was going to be one of those nights. Just her, the TV, and the pizza. She tried to get the rest of the gang to come and keep her company, but they had dates too. Was it really necessary to go on dates once you're already dating? Alex and Isabel have been dating for seven or eight years, and Michael and Maria, the same. Sort of. They were on-again off-again. Like a light switch, but it was obvious they were in love.
She settled back onto the couch, her pizza resting in her napkin covered hand, as she flipped through the channels on the television.
It wasn't so bad being alone. It's nice a quiet. And plus, she doesn't have to wrestle with Max to get the remote. She smiled. Yeah, this is good.
Soon her peace and quiet turned to persistent knocking on her door. After setting her half eaten pizza slice on the table, Liz walked to the door. She was very surprised to see Kyle standing on the other side.
"They're at my place," he muttered and let himself inside. "Making out on my side of the couch,"
"Ohh," Liz said and patted his shoulder. "Pizza?"
"Yeah," he muttered again.
"Okay can you at least try to enunciate?" she asked.
He glared at her before lifting a grocery bag into the air. "I brought movies and more food," he said with his mouthful. "Banana peppers, yum,"
Liz sat down next to him and reached for her pizza, only to realize something. "Kyle, you ate my pizza,"
Liz glanced at the clock. They had just finished watching Shrek for the second time, and now it was after midnight. She rolled her head over to look at Kyle.
"You think he's coming back?" she asked him.
He shook his head.
"My walls are thin," he added a moment later.
"Promise me I can come over when I hear things," Kyle demanded her.
"Only if I can go to your place," she replied.
They nodded and shook hands.
"I like you, Parker," he said, giving her a friendly shoulder nudge.
She smiled. "Aw, that's too bad. Because I don't like you in the least,"
He grinned and wrapped an arm around her shoulder in a friendly gesture. "We're two peas in a pod, you and I," he told her.
"Really?" she asked. "The same pod?"
"Of course, you see, we know what each other is feeling." He pointed out the obvious to her. "We are going to have a beautiful friendship,"
"Yeah," Liz yawned, settling her head on his shoulder.
Liz awoke when she heard someone whispering her name. She squinted open one eye and saw Max hovering over her, with an amused glint in his eyes.
"Did you have fun?" he asked in a hushed whisper.
Her brows furrowed and she tried to understand what he was talking about. Then she heard Kyle snoring. She lifted her head from his shoulder and saw a glint of drool on the corner of his mouth.
She groaned. "Like a barrel of monkeys," she answered him. "You?"
He grinned, and that was all the answer she needed. "You know, Liz," he said as she started to stand from the couch. "If you and Kyle wanted to be alone, you could've told us instead of blowing us off,"
She stared at him. "How'd you know?"
"I know you,"
She nodded. "Kyle and I aren't -"
"Together, right," he finished. "Should I -" he didn't finish but pointed at Kyle.
She shook her head and waved him off. "I'll get him, you go to bed,"
Max flashed her a smirk before he walked down the hall and to his room. That second, Liz jumped on the couch and woke Kyle up with a jerk.
"Kyle!" she hissed. "Max is home,"
He groaned and tried to stretch out on the couch. She shook him. "Kyle, wake up,"
He swatted at her. "Go away,"
Liz growled in frustration before biting his ear. "Wake up!"
Kyle jumped with a start and held onto his ear. "You bit me," he said in shock. "You really bit me,"
"He thinks we're together," she told him, ignoring his comment.
"So, I don't want him to think we're together," she told him softly. "I mean -"
"I understand, I don't want Serena thinking we're together either," He glanced at the clock which read 3:15. "So I guess they're done,"
She shrugged. "I guess so,"
Kyle patted her shoulder. "Don't worry about it," he told her. "Things will turn out okay in the end,"
"Right," she muttered, and was then surprised when Kyle pulled her into a hug.
"I'll see ya later," he told her, and then slipped out the door.
Liz sighed and started cleaning up their mess. She predicted that there will be more evenings when Kyle would be coming over and vise versa. As she walked towards her room, she listened a moment outside of Max's. His snoring drifted to her ears and she shook her head.
Once she crawled into bed, she started wondering what it would be like to be Serena. To be the one who held Max's affection in the palm of her hand. After cursing her best friends status in all the ways she knew how, Liz finally drifted into a restless sleep.
Liz woke up the next morning, in a slightly better mood. She was already starting to miss Max, even though she knew that this was only the beginning of his absences. However, she wanted to get a head start on spending time with him. Just like in the old days, before girlfriends, and boy - well, the lack of boyfriends. In high school she and Max had been inseparable. People had even thought they were a couple. She never denied it, she just didn't confirm it either. It was kind of fun, pretending to be Max Evans' girlfriend.
Liz smiled. She was going to get those days back.
As she passed his room, she glanced inside to find his bed empty. Without a thought, she headed down the hall and into the kitchen. He wasn't there either. She frowned.
"Max?" she called, only to be met with silence. She noticed his chicken scratch on the refrigerator’s dry-erase board. "Out with Serena," she read.
"Of course," she muttered. "I should have known,"
Well, it taught her not to get her hopes up. Liz stepped into the shower to prepare for a day on her own.
Max sucks. He's mean, and he's cruel. Isabel told me that when they were kids he'd try to burn house flies with her hair dryer. He's a big sucky, mean, cruel bug killer. And I hate him!
He still comes into my room in the mornings, ragging about the decapitated bride. I've gotten to the point where I continually beat him across the head until he falls to the floor with a satisfying thud. That makes me happy. It's actually a funny site. The pillow coming at him with lightning speed. Him trying to block the blows with his arms, and then of course, it's that "thud' you hear when he hits the hardwood floor, that really gets you.
However, Max always catches on. Last night, he snatched the pillow from me before he asked the question, and chuckled cruelly when I grasped at the air. And then he had the nerve to hit me on the head with the pillow.
I don't hate him. I like him really.
I like him a lot.
Maybe too much for my own good.
But then again, it's kind of hard to like someone you never see. You know, the last time Max and I really had a good conversation, was like, two weeks ago. That's along time for me to be away from Max. Am I too clingy? I think I'm too clingy. I'm gonna mark that down.
Yeah, I've started this list of things that I'll have to do to be more like Serena.
So far, I've got: "Get green contact lenses" and "Stop being clingy".
Wait, isn't she clingy? She's always touchy feely on him. Does that count as clingy? Nah, probably not.
I'll never go through with this lis, I know it. It just makes me feel better. I like to pretend that I'm trying.
Does he like her red hair? Better check.
....I hate being in love....
Isabel followed Liz's gaze to where she was staring at Max and Serena, dancing amongst the crowd. Both of them looking very happy in each other's presence.
She took a seat next to her on the stool. "My brother's an idiot," she said.
Liz just smiled and took a drink of her water. No more beer for her.
"You can't call him an idiot for wanting to be in love,"
"Yeah I can," she said. "I'm his sister, I can call him whatever I want,"
Isabel flashed her a grin, in hopes for making her laugh. Liz humored her. She inwardly groaned. Her antics had never really worked in trying to get people to laugh.
"Alex!" she called to her boyfriend. Having gained his attention, she jerked a thumb towards Liz. He nodded and made his way over.
"Liz," he took her hand. "C'mon, they're playing that Ricky Crouton guy, that you like,"
"No, Alex, really. I don't want -" her words fell short, she was already on the dance floor with Alex.
"Do the running man, Liz," he told her over the music. "Just like I taught you,"
She covered her face as Alex started to dance, and prayed to God that Max and Serena didn't see them. Liz felt Alex grasp her hands and then she was being twirled away from him. She let out a strangled screech when he spun her back to him, and then dipped her over his arm. He flashed her a cheesy grin, and Liz couldn't help but laugh. He stood her up, and then started doing the cabbage patch. Now, everyone had their attention as Alex got lost into his world of dancing. She laughed when he tried to break dance. She wasn't the only one laughing though, the whole crowd of people had stopped to watch his embarrassing display. Alex was such a pal.
The song died and everyone started clapping. Alex took a dramatic bow and thanked his audience. "I'm here all week," he got out, before Liz was leading him off the dance floor.
She was still laughing once she met Isabel at the bar. "Isabel, I'm sorry I was being cranky," she told her.
Isabel lifted a slender shoulder. "No problem. If I didn't like you, I wouldn't have bothered anyway," she smiled at Liz and gave her arm a reassuring squeeze. "Hang in there,"
She nodded and then turned to Alex. He grinned at her and gave her his infamous two thumbs up. She laughed and hugged him hard. "Thanks Alex, I love you," she told him.
"I love you too," he told her and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "If that hottie over there," he pointed at Isabel, "Didn't hold my heart in the palm of her hand, Max over there would have some competition,"
She patted his shoulder. "Aw, that's sweet, Alex," she told him and then rolled her eyes. "I have to get back to work,"
"And I have to get back to my audience," he turned to leave, when Isabel grabbed onto his arm.
"No, you don't," she told him. "Really,"
"Come with me Iz," Alex said and started pulling her onto the floor, despite her pleas.
"Great dancer," a voice said from behind Liz. She smiled when she saw Kyle.
"Yeah, ain't he just dandy?"
He mumbled something in reply. "I knew I'd find them here," he commented, pointing to Max and Serena. "I haven't seen her in a while,"
She heard the distress in his voice, and she felt for him. "I know," she said softly.
"I'm going to talk to her," he said. "I'm going to tell her that I'm moving out if she doesn't start hanging out with me,"
He winked at her after seeing her shocked _expression. "Don't worry, I do this all the time too," he told her.
Liz laughed. "Can I get you something?" she asked him, as she walked behind the bar.
"No, I should be going, actually," he replied. "I just came in to see your buddy macking all over my girl,"
"You girl, is the clingy one,"
"Serena's not clingy, she's just affectionate," he stuck his tongue out at her. "Your guy is the one who dreams of headless soulmates,"
Liz laughed. She shouldn't have told him that.
"I gotta go," he told her. "Gotta make a livin',"
Liz waved good-bye to Kyle and wondered if she should have a talk with Max too. She'll see how it turns out.
Liz knocked on his door, and silently prayed that he was home. A moment later, he opened the door.
"So they're at your place now, huh?" Kyle asked as he motioned for her to come in.
"Yeah," she answered gloomily as she followed Kyle down the hall. They entered his room, where he collapsed onto his unmade bed. "So I don't suppose you've talked to her,"
"Oh, on the contrary," Kyle replied. "I did talk to her, I just couldn't get very far when she was making out, quite heavily, with Max,"
Liz's brow's furrowed together, and she sat on the edge of his bed. "Max normally isn't like that,"
"Oh yes, Max is quite the charmer," he told her, shifting on the bed so she could lay next to him. "He mooned me. Not intentionally of course, I just probably walked in at a bad time. But that is more of Max Evans that I ever want to see,"
Liz laughed despite the twisting feeling in her gut, and then she became angry. Kyle noticed the change. "Liz?"
"They're having sex," she said out of no where.
He nodded. "Yes, they are. Did your mom ever teach you about the birds and the bees, Liz?" he asked her.
She rolled her eyes. "I don't understand some people, Kyle," she said. "They probably haven't even said 'I love you', yet,"
He shook his head. "Nah, it's too soon to Serena," he looked at her. "Why?"
"I may be a bit old fashioned, but I don't think you should have sex with someone until after you've said those three words - "
"You make me hot?" Liz glared at him.
"What?" he asked, and started to count them on his fingers. "That's - oh wait. Four, my bad,"
She patted his shoulder. "Nice try, Kyle," she said. "But I'm serious, you can't just -"
"Wait," he interrupted as he propped himself up on one elbow and looked at her quizzically. "Are you a-"
She blushed. "Woah," he said. "I've never had a virgin in my bed before,"
Liz pointed her finger at him. "Don't get your scotch on the rocks, cause nothings gonna happen," she told him.
"'Scotch on the rocks'? I think you've been bartending too long, Liz," he told her. "And what's the big deal? Don't you want to be another notch in my belt?"
She rolled her eyes. "Not really, thanks,"
He laid back down and folded his hands behind his head. "Your loss," he told her.
"Right, I bet you're not as good as you think you are," she said with a laugh.
Kyle shrugged. "I've had a few complaints, but it's difficult trying to please two women at once,"
She laughed again. "Okay that is just gross,"
He nudged her with his shoulder. "I'm kidding, I'm not really into that kind of thing,"
"Yeah, I bet,"
"I'm not," he insisted. "I don't like competition,"
Liz shook her head and laughed. After her mirth subsided, she laid in silence, staring up at his ceiling. "I hate being in love," Kyle said.
"I love it and hate it at the same time," Liz whispered. "I hate it because I'm not sharing it with him, but I love it because he's the first person I've ever felt it for,"
"Maybe the only," he mumbled. "I know this is it for me, though. Serena's my last chance at love,"
Liz smirked. "I hardly believe that out of all the notches you've put into the belt of yours, you were looking for Serena,"
"You're right, I wasn't," he turned his head to look at her. "She found me,"
She gave him a sad smile before settling onto the bed some more. Kyle pulled the comforter up and covered them. "It gets kind of chilly,"
Liz wrinkled her nose. "It smells,"
He shrugged again and let his eyes drift shut. "I haven't washed them in a couple of weeks,"
Liz smiled and watched him as he fell asleep. He was right, they really were two peas in a pod, and she was glad he was the one she was sharing this angst with. Kyle made it so much easier for her to deal with, providing her comic relief when her other friend were off with their own loved ones.
With a heavy heart and a sad smile on her lips, Liz fell asleep.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Jul-2002 5:13:33 PM ]
|posted on 25-Jul-2002 4:38:15 PM|
So I'm old fashioned. Sue me. I may not believe in the whole, "there is one person out there for everyone", crock, but I do believe that you should save yourself for the one you love. For the one you can picture yourself marrying. I mean, just because I don't dream of headless soul mates doesn't mean that I don't believe in love.
In fact, I think Max would be a pretty good choice for my first marriage....
Max. Serena. Max and Serena.
I don't hate her, really, I don't. She is this really nice person that, under normal circumstances, I could probably get along with really well. Hell, we'd probably become friends. Good friends. But this isn't normal circumstances.
Normal circumstances would be if I weren't in love with my best friend. If it hadn't hurt me when Max told me his first was Pam Troy. It would be normal, if I could watch him smile and be happy with another girl, and not feel the slightest twinge in my heart. Hell, it would be normal for me to take the plunge and just tell him how I feel.
But I can't. I'm too scared of rejection.
Liz squinted open one eye and was immediately bombarded by the sun light. She shifted until she was facing away from the disturbance. Feeling sure she could open both her eyes, she squinted and looked at her surrounding.
Who the hell messed up her room?
And then the snoring beside her brought her back to reality. She was at Kyle's. In Kyle's bed. With Kyle.
"Oh Gosh," she muttered as the foul scent of his sheets drifted to her nose. "I so hope I don't smell like that,"
She looked over her shoulder to see Kyle sleeping peacefully on his side, facing her. She couldn't help but smile. It would be so easy for her to fall in love with him, but her feelings for Kyle didn't go beyond friendship, and she was sure the feeling was mutual. Any girl would be lucky enough to have Kyle. He really was wonderful.
She crawled out of bed and crept down the silent hall and reached the front door when she heard the floors creak behind her. She slowly turned around to see a sleepy Serena leaning against the hall wall.
"Morning Liz," she said with an amused smile.
She bit her lip, knowing this must look terrible. "Sorry," was all she could say.
Serena laughed and waved her apology away. "It's nothing to be sorry about," she told her. "Kyle's a good guy,"
She nodded. "Yeah he is," she whispered. "Any girl would be lucky to have him,"
Her brows furrowed together. "You two aren't,"
"No," Liz finished for her. "He's in love with someone else,"
Serena straightened, her face changing to an unreadable _expression. "He never told me that," she whispered.
"You're never around,"
She bit her lip and stared at the floor. "Max and I have been spending a lot of time together," she stated and then fixed an apologetic gaze on Liz. "I'm sorry,"
It was Liz's turn to wave off the apology. "You guys can spend all the time you want together," she forced out. "I mean, I see Max all the time at home," she lied.
Serena just nodded her _expression unchanging. Liz reached for the door knob. "I'll see you later, I guess,"
"Bye Liz," Serena said softly, her gaze still resting on the floor.
Shutting the door behind her, Liz rolled her eyes at herself.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid,"
Liz let her keys drop into the bowl on the coffee table and kicked her shoes in the general direction of the closet. She padded down the hallway and into her room. She collapsed onto her bed and buried her face into the pillow. The smell of her fresh clean sheets drifted to her nose, and she breathed in the heavenly scent. Kyle's sheets were just revolting. Who could really know what kind of fungus and germs she had subjected herself to. Liz shivered at the thought and rolled over onto her back. Her ceiling was much prettier than his too. His ceiling had water spots and the paint was peeling, where hers was the exact opposite.
Liz sighed and let her eyes drift shut. She would be able to sleep much better in her own bed....
Shortly after, Liz was awakened by the sound of Max's voice.
"Liz," he said again and shook her shoulders. "Wake up,"
She instinctively grabbed her pillow and swung, meeting empty air. Liz opened her eyes to see Max grinning down at her. "Missed," he teased. Max grabbed the pillow from her and tossed it aside, then he grabbed her wrists and tugged her into a sitting position.
"C'mon, we're leaving," he told her.
"What?" Liz asked and wiped the sleep from her eyes. "Where we going?"
He lifted his bare shoulders. "Out,"
"Why aren't you at Serena's?" she couldn't help but ask.
"After our date, I dropped her off at her place," he told her. After a moment his brows came together. "I didn't know you had stayed the night at Kyle's,"
"Oh yeah," she muttered. "We just hung out,"
"Like the way Serena and I hang out?" he asked her.
Liz rolled her eyes and threw her legs over the edge. "No, Max. There was no groping or spit swapping involved," she gave him an amused smile. "Jealous,"
"No," he scoffed and scratched behind his ear. "Please, I have a girlfriend,"
Liz just smirked and nodded. She loved teasing him.
"I just don't think he's the one for you," he blurted out.
She stared at him a moment, before responding. "Well, Max," she said to him. "You have nothing to worry about, because Kyle is in love with someone else,"
"Oh," he mumbled, and then raised a questioning eyebrow. "Who?"
Liz swallowed and avoided his gaze. "A friend," she answered.
"Oh," he muttered again and then fell silent. Then he swatted her leg. "Well let's go, we've got stuff to do,"
"What? Where we going?" she asked again.
"Just hurry up," he called after he left the room.
Max had decided he was going to take Liz roller blading. Though, she couldn't roller blade worth crap, she was excited, because that meant she would be spending time with Max. Just her and her best friend. Like it used to be.
They sat on the bench and Liz struggled to get her blades on. "Ugh, how can you do this?" she groaned.
When Max didn't say anything, she turned her head to see him looking in the opposite direction. Liz gazed over his shoulder to see Kyle and Serena skating towards them. Her heart fell.
"Hey Serena," Max said and stood steadily on his blades. "I'm glad you could come,"
Kyle sank into the bench next to Liz, both of them ignoring the public display of affection Max and Serena were putting on. Liz was pretending to fiddle with her blades, while Kyle just looked around.
When it was obvious they weren't paying any attention to them, Liz sat up and fixed a glare on Kyle. Somehow this was all his fault.
"Hey," he said holding his hands up in the air. "This wasn't my idea of hanging out either. I thought it would be just Serena and I,"
Liz shook her head and bent back down and played with her skates again. Her hair provided a perfect curtain to keep them from seeing the tears at the rims of her eyes. She felt Kyle lean down next to her, his arm resting across her back and she became tense.
"Hey, don't let them see you like this," he whispered into her hair. "I know it hurts, because I'm feeling it too,"
"I hate them," Liz hissed out. She felt him kiss her temple reassuringly and she squeezed her eyes shut.
"C'mon," he stood up and extended his hands out.
Liz discreetly wiped away the tears before they spilled and smiled up at Kyle. She placed her hands in his and let him pull her up on her less the steady appendages.
He laughed. "Easy does it," he told her and steadied her. "Okay?"
Liz nodded and removed one hand from his, leaving their hands clasped between them. "Haven't you done this before?" she heard him ask.
She laughed and shook her head. "Nope," she looked at him. He grinned at her before they heard their friends calling after her. Serena and Max were a few feet in front of them, waiting.
"Here we go," Kyle said and helped Liz skate towards them.
"I'm going to fall," she yelled and grabbed onto his arm. "Don't let me fall!"
Kyle chuckled and wrapped an arm around her waist. "I've got you," he told her and then leaned down to whisper in her ear, "Want to make them a little jealous?"
Liz laughed and looked towards them. "You think they'd notice?" she asked.
"Nope, but it's worth a shot, right?"
She shrugged. Kyle's arm stayed wrapped around her waist as they skated after their friends
"You're doing pretty good," Kyle told her. They had been skating for a while now, and she was beginning to gain control over her legs.
"Yeah?" she asked. "Just don't let me go, okay?"
He chuckled. "I promise,"
They fell silent and watched as their friends skated arm in arm ahead of them. Kyle's arm had moved from it's place on Liz's waist after they agreed that they'd never notice. Now Liz's arm was looped through his in an attempt to keep herself up right.
Liz glowered at the two of them. Max and his Serena. Serena with her Max. This is a great day. Nothing like seeing the love of your life hang all over some other girl. Not to mention the fact that this is supposed to be a day of Max and Liz only. But of course, Max hadn't said it was going to be just the two of them. Liz had only assumed. Well, a hell of a lot that had done for her, because it had gotten her -
"Liz!" Kyle yelled and reached down to help her up.
"Ow," she muttered. Instead of allowing Kyle to pull her to her feet, she rolled onto her butt and stared at her knee. "Oh gross,"
Kyle crouched down and blew sand particles out of the wound. Max and Serena skated towards them.
"Liz, are you okay?" Max asked with a chuckle. "I wish I could have seen the -"
"Stuff it Max," Liz spat out. She glared at him, despite his shocked and hurt _expression. "Take me home, Kyle,"
This time she allowed Kyle to pull her to her feet, after he had successfully pulled the dangerous roller blades from her feet.
"Oh c'mon Liz," Max called after her. "It's just have a little scratch, don't sulk,"
"Have fun," she called over her shoulder. "Stupid, stupid, stupid," she chanted to herself.
Kyle skated next to Liz, he carried her blades in one hand, while the other rested on her shoulder. "I'm sorry, Liz,"
"What for?" she asked with sigh. "This is your fault,"
"I still feel responsible,"
"Well, don't," she said softly. "I just want to go home and - I don't know, I just don't want to be around Max right now. Or anyone,"
Kyle nodded and pretended not to notice the tears streaming down her face. He had the feeling she didn't like people to see her cry.
"Liz," Kyle glanced over his shoulder to see Max and Serena coming after them. "Liz wait up,"
She stopped and turned to look at him. "I don't really feel like talking right now, Max," she told him, her voice even and calm. "Just leave me alone for a while, and have fun on your date,"
"But we're supposed to be hanging out together,"
Liz took in a breath before she turned and walked away. "You're blind, man," she heard Kyle remark before he headed after her.
She was crying openly now and didn't resist when Kyle wrapped his arms securely around her. "C'mon, Liz," he whispered. "Don't let them see you,"
She sighed and wiped away her tears. Kyle was right, she would need to be strong.
She gave him a smile and continued on her way to her apartment. "Thanks, Kyle," she said softly to him.
"Welcome," he replied just as softly.
After returning home, crawled into bed and slept for a few hours. It had been the worst day of her life. She was foolish enough to believe that Max would want to spend the day with her. They were only friends, after all.
Liz woke up to the sound of the front door shutting. She glanced at her bedroom door to be sure she had shut and locked it upon her entrance. She listened quietly as his footsteps sounded down the hall and stopped in front of her door. A moment later there was a soft knock and then his voice.
"Liz, open up, please?"
She held her breath and hoped he would leave. "I think we should talk about what happened,"
No. She thought stubbornly. She was threw with trying to talk.
He groaned. "Liz, I'm sorry, okay?" he said through the door. "I shouldn't have called Serena to come along with us when it was supposed to be you and me,"
Liz squeezed her eyes and buried her face into the pillow. "If it makes you feel any better," he continued. "She had said that it probably wasn't a good idea for her to come along. I just didn't listen,"
Loads better, thanks.
"Okay, okay, I can take a hint. I'll leave you alone now,"
She listened carefully until the sound of his bedroom closing followed. Then, she scrambled from her bed and crept to her door. She placed her ear flush up against it and listened to be sure he wasn't hiding on the other side. Satisfied, she opened the door and peered out. After seeing nothing she shut the door again and leaned her head against the frame.
"What are you doing?" she whispered harshly to herself. She really wanted to go and talk to Max, he had after all, apologized.
Liz heaved in a breath and opened the door again. She padded down the hall towards his room, peeking inside she noticed him laying on his back, staring at the ceiling. She stepped into his room, her arms crossed defensively over her chest, her shoulder resting against the door jamb.
"You're a real jerk, you know that, right?" Liz said.
Max jerked his head to the side. He sat up and stared at her a moment. "Yeah I'm sorry," he told her. "We'll hang out tomorrow, just you and me. Kyle and Serena will be doing the same,"
Liz rolled her eyes. "And we'll just conveniently bump into them, right?" she asked. "Thanks but no thanks, Max. I don't want to have to compete for your attention,"
Max reached out to her when she turned to leave. He grasped her wrist and turned her back around. "You don't have to compete, okay?" he whispered. "I'm sorry, that was stupid and selfish of me to invite Serena like that,"
"Yeah it was, Max," Liz was still angry with him, and was resenting coming into his room. "I don't think I'm up for talking now,"
"Then why'd you come in here?"
"Because I thought I was, but I'm not," she answered him, and turned to leave once again, only to be stopped.
"C'mon, Lizzie," he whispered and poked her in the side, smirking when she jumped. "You wanna forgive me," he lightly flicked her nose. "You're just too prideful,"
He chuckled and poked her sides again. "You are too," he grinned when she started to wiggle away from him. "And ticklish too,"
She jumped away from him, her finger poking in his chest. "Stop Max, I mean it," she told him. The amused look he had on his face told her he wasn't giving up.
"I'm not going to give up until you say you forgive me," he told her and started to advance on her. Liz took a step back, her legs bumping into his bed.
"Max, no," she told him.
Liz turned quickly and jumped onto his bed, arming herself with his pillows. "Stay away from me," she commanded.
Max's smirk stayed planted on his face as he reached out to grab her calf. She banged the pillows against his head without results, when she felt his free hand squeeze around her other calf. She let out a shriek as he tugged causing her to fall flat on her back. He was then attacking her rib cage, digging his fingers into her flesh. Her laughter sounded through out the apartment as she struggled to get free from his grasp.
"Max!" she panted tried swatting his hands away. "Stop, please,"
He grinned at her. "Not until you say it," he told her and watched her with amusement was she tried to squirm away from him. "Say it Lizzie!"
"No!" she yelled and reached out to bite him.
Max jerked his hand back when she came after him and then grabbed her wrists, planting them over her head. With his free hand he continued his attack on her.
"Okay, I forgive you!" she said between laughs.
She said it again, laughing harder when he went for the ticklish spot on her knee. Satisfied, Max stopped fell onto the bed next to her, his own laughter flowing from his lips. For a few minutes, their laughter was the only thing that could be heard, and then they both fell silent. Max turned his head to look at her. Her hair was all tousled, her eyes were closed, and her chest was heaving. He swallowed before he turned his head to stare at his ceiling.
"I'm sorry," he said after a moment.
Liz's hand flopped onto his chest and she gave him a pat. "It's okay," she said between breaths. "We all do stupid things sometimes,"
He turned his head to look at her again. "I made you cry," his voice was soft and low.
She opened her eyes and looked at him. His eyes told him how terrible he felt, but there was something else there, something Liz couldn't place. She took a deep breath before she sat up.
"I've never seen you cry before," she heard him say as he sat up as well. "I didn't mean to,"
She lifted her shoulders. "Well, I'm not as strong as you may have thought, Max," she risked a glance at him. His eyes were lowered.
"I didn't know," he whispered.
Liz sighed before she patted him on the head. "Well, now you do," she said and stood up, when Max grabbed her hand. She looked over her shoulder, watched as he stood, and then he surprised her by pulling her into an embrace.
She stood tense for a moment, and patted him on the back. "It's all good, Max," she told him. He hugged her closer and kissed the top of her head.
Liz didn't know what to do, so she just stood there, thrown completely off guard by his display. She patted his back again. "Okay, Max," she said. "I need to shower,"
He allowed her to pull away and she gave him a smile. "Don't get all mushy on me, Max," she told him. "You know I hate that," she winked at him before leaving his room.
After she entered the bathroom, she stood against the door. What had happened there? That look in his eye...She'd never seen it before and she wasn't sure if she wanted to again, either. She groaned. Was Max becoming another unpredictable part of her life?
Well, things are slowly going back to normal. Eh, as normal as they ever were. Still in love with Max, that hasn't changed. Max is still head over heels for Serena. And Kyle is still my pea pal.
Max has been spending more time with me. I give myself two thumbs up for that. Who says big girls don't cry? He's doing this for me because I cried. Haha. Yeah pathetic, I know, but it really hurt, and I've been letting him know that everyday.
Kyle told me that he and Serena started hanging out like they used too. Before Serena started dating, they shared the flirty kind of friendship. You know the sleeping in the same bed thing, and what not. He also said she was acting a bit weird....
Oh well, 'nuff about her.
Max and I never did that, the whole sleeping in the same bed thing. I mean, once, but that was because I got my first hang over and he stayed with me. But it was just a little cap nap. Two hours, tops. Two hours of me watching him sleep and wondering what I had to do to get him.
Sigh. Oh well. At least he's happy.
"Okay, how hot is Matt Damon?" Liz says from her position on the couch. "I mean look at that body,"
Max rolls his eyes before looking down at his arms. He flexes.
"Max, are you flexing?" she asked him, her eyes still glued on the TV.
"I'm more fit than he is," he muttered.
"Shh," she said. "Their kissing,"
He stared at her like she was nuts. "And what exactly do you listen to when you kiss someone? Their nose whistles?"
She rolled her eyes this time. "You're the only one on earth who has ever kissed someone when they had a nose whistle," she told him. "And you made poor Vicky cry when you told her,"
"She was too sensitive!" he said defending himself. "If I told you had a nose whistle while we were making out, you wouldn't get all teary eyed,"
"I mean," he continued, not noticing her uncomfort. "I remember one time when you had this huge, massive booger -" he was promptly hit the on the head with a pillow.
"Shut up, Max!" she yelled and started hitting him on the head again. "That was embarrassing!"
He laughed. "You didn't act in embarrassed," he said blocking her blows with his arms. "You seemed fine,"
"I stayed in the girls room for an hour, banging my head against the wall!" she confessed, her own laughter building.
"Why?" he asked. "It was just me,"
Yeah it was just him. That's why it was so embarrassing. If it had been any other guy, she wouldn't have gave a damn, but it was Max. And he made all the difference.
Liz stopped and just looked at him a moment. She laid back down on the couch, like she had been before and carried on with watching the movie.
"Lizzie," she heard him say teasingly. "You had a crush on me, didn't you?"
"No!" she said a little to harshly.
His eyes widened. "Sheesh, I was only kidding,"
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
"I don't want to watch this anymore," she says as she stands up from the couch. "I'm going to bed,"
"Night," he calls after her.
"Night," she mumbled back.
Liz shut her bedroom door and leaned back against it. "So stupid," she whispered harshly to herself.
Liz has been have a good time hanging with Max again. It were as if they were friends, real friends. They talked like they used to, before Max's quest to find his headless soulmate. Liz pondered. He hasn't spoke of the dreams, and the last time she heard of him, Serena's head still didn't appear on the body. She would always roll her eyes when he spoke of the dream. Did he really think that because he dreams of a headless bride, that it means he hasn't found his soul mate? Hmph. Soul mates. Other halves. What a load of crock. However, she was still having a good time with Max.
Alas, all good things come to an end...
Max and Serena were back to being coupley. Switch off who stays where. Liz has invested in cotton balls to shove in her ears, to give her a more peaceful nights sleep. Kyle walked in at a bad time again, and got another good look at Max's crack. His remark was:
"You better cover that up before the Feds come,"
Liz had rolled her eyes when he told her about it. Typical remark, but she laughed anyway. Kyle. Her buddy, her pal, her couch buddy. He was becoming her Max, and she his Serena. Yet they still complained.
Now, it was Max's turn to sleep at Serena's, and Liz had the apartment all to herself. She sat on the couch, a blue afghan wrapped around her body pajama clad body, and her dark tresses up in a messy bun. It was time to watch Bourne Identity again. She didn't really get to finish it after she left in the middle of the movie once Max made "if we ever made out" comment. That had really gotten to her and she chastised herself for being such a girl.
Liz lifted her head abruptly when she heard a knock on her door. She knew it was Kyle. Liz stood up, her afghan still wrapped securely around her body, and made her way to the door.
Behind it stood a disgruntle Kyle, his pillow clutched to his chest. "Can I sleep here tonight?" he asked, heartbroken.
Liz took pity on him, and opened the door. When he stepped through, she wrapped her short arm around his broad shoulders and leaned her head against his.
"We really are pathetic," he commented as they collapsed onto the couch. "And it hurts,"
She smiled sadly and kissed his cheek. "For what it's worth," she told him. "I love you,"
She felt his arm go around her back and he pulled her into a hug. "Love you too, Liz,"
Liz was unsure if she felt a single tear slide down his cheek and drop onto her bare shoulder, but she didn't question. His grip around her was so tight, that it told her he was trying to keep his composure. She rubbed his back in a soothing manner.
"Be strong, Kyle," she told him. "We're going to get through this. It's their loss,"
He nodded and kissed her cheek. "Thanks, Liz," he said and pulled back. "I meant it too, I do love you,"
She smiled happily. "Me too," she told him and gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. "And I meant it when I said we'll get through this. I promise, and I don't make promises I don't intend to keep,"
Kyle grinned and turned his head towards the TV. "Bourne Identity, I see,"
"Only the greatest movie ever," she told him, as she cuddled against his side. "What some blankies?"
He chuckled and patted her shoulder. "No, I'm good,"
Liz rested her head against his shoulder and wished that this was what she and Max shared. The closeness. She would never trade what she and Kyle had in for the same thing with Max. What she and Kyle had was something unique. A bond between two friends that could never be broken, and would always be there.
"You going to be my Best Man at my wedding," Kyle told her out of no where.
Liz laughed. "Only if you're my Maid of Honor," she retorted.
He shook his head. "Matron, I plan to be married by then,"
"If she'll take me," he said softly.
Liz fell silent. "Be my back up?"
Kyle knew what she meant. "Sure," he answered.
"And you have to marry me after my first marriage too, okay?" she insisted.
Kyle chuckled again. "Whatever you say," he kissed her head and settled back to watch the movie.
Max and Serena just recently celebrated their anniversary. What anniversary? I don't know, I stopped keeping track weeks ago. All I know is that I've never been in a relationship as long as they have before. My longest relationship was like, 5 minutes. Yeah. This kid, William Starkey, asked me out at a dance in 7th grade, and I was like sure. Until he started saying he loved me and trying to kiss me, while we were dancing. I decided, nuh uh, and never spoke to him again. I never dated again either, but you know, whatever.
Kyle and I practically live together. We have extra clothes at each other's places, he even brought his own towel. Apparently, my towels aren't good enough for him. Oh, well.
Now I'm really curious about those dreams of Max's. I guess he took the hint that I wasn't interested in his morbid dreams, so he hasn't said anything about them....
But I can't help but wonder how he would act if I were the bride in his dream....
Kyle and Liz sat at her kitchen table, eating Ben and Jerry's icecream and making small talk.
"So, this is the food you girls eat when you're depressed," Kyle asked and watched as the ice cream dripped from his spoon.
"Yup," Liz answered and licked the back of hers. "It's like an unwritten law,"
He shrugged his shoulders. "A law I can most definitely abide by. Ice cream's yummy,"
These days were coming more frequently. She and Kyle always together, complaining about how blind that stupid cupid was. Kyle even mentioned wanting to pluck out his wings, while Liz threatened to ram that arrow up his butt. But was it possible for them to be spending too much time together?
Liz belched, and they laughed together. After their mirth subsided, she frowned.
"Oh God," she muttered. "I need a girls night,"
Kyle straightened in his chair. "Do you want me to take you to a strip club, or something?" he asked her.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head. "No, not that kind of girls night,"
"Damn," he muttered. "What kind of girls night?"
"The kind with just girls, spending time together," she informed him.
"That's a strip club," he insisted. "Girls spend time together all the time there,"
Liz rolled her eyes and stuffed another spoonful into her mouth. "You're sick,"
"But you love me," he told her with a grin.
"Ah, my weakness,"
Max entered the apartment then, and Kyle stood up. "That's my cue," he told her and tossed his spoon into the sink with a clatter. "See you around, Parker,"
"Later Kyle," she called after him. She then proceeded to clean up the mess in the kitchen. "How was the date?" she forced herself to ask.
He grunted in response, and Liz turned to look at him. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she heard him mutter. "I'm going to bed,"
Liz's brows furrowed. He looked drained. She debated going down the hall to make him talk to her, but she decided against it. When Max didn't want to talk, that was that. He was a crab if you pressured him.
She bit her lip. Maybe she should talk to him. She nodded and pulled the icecream back out from the freezer, grabbed two spoons, and walked down the hallway. She knocked lightly on the door jamb and stepped in.
"Hey, Max," she said a little to cheery. "What's up,"
"I don't want to talk right now, Liz," came his muffled response.
Liz frowned at him. He had his face buried into his pillow as he laid splayed out on his stomach. She sat on the edge of his bed. "So, don't talk," she told him and spooned out some icecream. "Want some?"
She huffed. "You don't even know what it is,"
"How'd you know?"
"Go away, Liz," he muttered again.
Liz's eyes narrowed. "No," she told him forcefully. "I will not, I just so happen to be in a middle of a crisis here,"
The bed shifted as Max rolled over on his side, his eyes showing a little bit of concern. "What?"
Liz lifted the jugs of ice cream. "Everything except the..... or Cookie Dough," she looked between the two jugs and then back to Max. "Which one?"
He glared at her. "Cookie Dough," his head fell back onto the pillow. "Now go away,"
"Liiiz," he groaned. "I don't really feel like talking,"
"And I said don't," she told him.
"But you keep asking me questions!"
Liz sighed. "Well, I never said you had to answer," she grinned evilly when he groaned again. He was fun to pester. "You got a phone call, today,"
"Who was it?"
"A salesman," she answered and spooned out some ice cream. "I told them you were dead,"
He didn't respond. "I'm a secret stripper," she tried.
"That's nice," Max muttered.
"I get big bucks for letting guys rub their dirty hands all over me," she said and stuffed a spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. "Yeah, they want me,"
She stared at the back of his head, he was tense. He was trying not to laugh. Grin.
"I'm having sexual relations with the President," she forced out and mentally cringed at the thought.
Ewwwwww. Another Monica Lewinsky. She took another spoonful and tried to rid herself of that thought.
This time, Max scoffed. "Please Liz, you're still a virgin," he muttered. "There's no way in hell you'd sleep with the President,"
Liz sighed dramatically. "He promised me the world, Max. We're getting married in the fall,"
"You can shut up now," he told her.
Liz glared. "You're a weenie," she grabbed her ice cream and stood up from the bed.
Liz exited his room. "Go jump in a hole," she called and awaited his usual response.
"Screw you," his voice muffled.
Liz dumped the spoons in the sink and stuffed the ice cream back in the freezer. When she turned around Max stood in front of her, his hair a bit tousled and an evil glint in his eyes. "What did you say?"
She narrowed her eyes at him, she refused to play this game with him. "You heard me," she answered. When he quirked an eyebrow at her she stuck her tongue out at him. Then she smirked at him.
Liz was about to walk by him when his hands shot up and cupped her face. She stared up at him with confusion in her eyes. Her confusion grew to shock when he bent down and nipped at her bottom lip. He bit her. Her bit her on the lip. She continued to stare at him, wondering what had just happened. The thought left her head when he leaned back down to kiss her bottom lip.
Liz felt his lips continue to brush over hers as his thumbs rubbed her cheeks. It took all of Liz's will power to just stand there and not kiss him back, because God knew she wanted to, but the thought of Serena flashed through her mind. So she did the only thing she could do. She just stood there and let him kiss her.
Max must have noticed her stiff stature and pulled back. His clouded eyes cleared and then he stared at her with confusion. For the life of her, Liz couldn't think of a thing to say. "Thanks" didn't seem to cut it, neither did "What the hell were you thinking", so she stood there and watched as he stumbled out the kitchen.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Liz pounded impatiently on their apartment door. Her fists were beginning to go numb as she relentlessly tried to rouse them of sleep. Finally she heard someone stumbling about on the other side of the door and she stopped.
"For the love of everything holy, what?" came Maria's drowsy voice as she swung open the door. "Liz? It is 12:30 in the morning, what the hell are you doing here?"
"He kissed me," she blurted and walked inside without an invitation. "Max kissed me,"
Maria rubbed at the corner of her eye and suppressed a yawn. "Good for him,"
"No, Maria," she exclaimed and latched onto her shoulders. "Max kissed me, on the lips,"
Her eyes widened as realization dawned on her. "Liz that's gre-" she started but Liz's eyes told her other wise. "What's not so great about it?"
"Serena," she muttered. "I didn't kiss him back, but I still feel like I betrayed her,"
"You can't betray her, you're not even friends,"
"Still, she is a nice person and doesn't deserve this," Liz's voice softened as she remembered the look in Max's eyes.
"What else?" Maria quires, knowing there was more.
Liz sat down on her couch and stared at her hands. "He looked at me like he knew it was a mistake," she said so softly that Maria barely heard her.
"No," she assured Liz. "He was just confused, and he probably felt a hell of a lot of guilt for doing that to Serena,"
Liz sat there, her figure hunched, and a defeated look in her eyes.
"I'm calling an emergency Girl's Night," Maria declared and rushed to the phone.
Liz and Maria arrived at the bar about five til one, and they waited for their friends. Maria was behind the counter collecting beer for each of them, when Isabel and Alex burst through the doors.
"Okay, what's the big emergency?" Boomed Alex's disgruntle voice. "I have a hair appointment early in the morning and I don't have time to play games with you,"
Liz looked up and gave Alex a smile. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and kissed her forehead. "But I'd bump anything back to help out a friend," he whispered to her.
Isabel dumped a bag of ice cream on the table that she and Alex had brought from the apartment. Alex looked around at the girls in front of him, and wondered again how he became an Honorary Female. He grabbed the spoons Isabel was offering him and passed them around. Isabel then proceeded to place single jugs of ice cream in front of everyone, afterwards she crumbled up the bag and tossed it in the general direction of the trash can.
"So he kissed you," Alex says and sits down on the stool next to Liz. "You know, some people would think of that as a sign of affection,"
Liz glared at him and stuffed a spoonful of ice cream in her mouth. She frowned. "I think I've had enough ice cream for today," she said and pushed it away.
"You had an ice cream splurge already?" Isabel asked.
She nodded. "Me and Kyle, down in the dumps as usual," she told them.
"Maybe we could knight him a Honorary Female too," Alex suggested. "That way I won't be the only guy here on these Girl Nights,"
"Nah," Maria said. "He's too masculine,"
Alex dropped his spoon and stared at Maria. "And what's that supposed to mean?"
She gave him a pity look and patted his head. "You're just too feminine,"
"Honey, I can be more of a man than that Michael fellow of yours," he told her in such a voice that it made Liz erupt in giggles.
Maria and Isabel soon joined in and Alex smiled in triumph. He rubbed her back. "Feeling better?"
She nodded. "See this is what true friends are," she told them. "Being able to sit here together and not talk about problems, but it's just as effective as if you are. I wish I had that with, Max,"
Isabel wrapped her arm around her shoulders and dropped her chin on Liz's head. "You guys aren't meant to be friends,"
"You're meant to be more," Maria finished for her.
Liz smiled at the thought, though it didn't stick around long enough for her to believe it.
"Now, back to deeming Kyle an Honorary Female," Alex said.
"Yeah, it was the same thing with Max," Liz told Kyle through the phone. "I tried talking to him, but he wouldn't tell me anything,"
Liz felt sure it would be better if she left out the kissing scene.
"You think they're going to break up?" came Kyle's hopeful voice.
She looked to her right before she pulled out onto the road. Liz was heading to her early morning shift at the diner, Max had gotten a ride with Michael to the garage. Though he didn't avoid her like she had thought he would. He avoided the topic.
"I don't know," she answered honestly. "I would feel terrible if they did,"
"Please, I wouldn't. I've been waiting forever for my chance, and when it comes, I'm not passing it up," Kyle declared. "And I don't think you should either. We deserve to be happy, and you and I both know they are the only ones who can make that happen for us,"
"But they are also the ones who can bring us such misery," she told him. "It's hell,"
She heard him sigh. "Well maybe we have to go through the hell to be grateful for the heaven,"
She cracked a smile. "That doesn't sound like something you would say," she told him.
"Catchy isn't it?" he chuckled. "I gotta go, Parker,"
"Okay, Valenti," she tossed back. "We'll probably see each other later today,"
He laughed. "Yeah,"
They said their good byes and hung up, just as Liz pulled up to the diner. She grabbed her purse and stepped from the car. When she entered the diner, her heart fell to the floor.
Across the room, stood Max and Serena, having what seemed to be a very intimate conversation.
So much for them breaking up...
Needless to say, my buddy Kyle and I were devastated to here that Max and Serena were not breaking up, and now we are pretty much avoiding our sightless friends. I feel terrible for Kyle, the way he looks at Serena when she has her back turned, it makes my heart go out to him. I stopped looking at Max like that months ago. It doesn't get you any where, so I gave up.
I think I've given up on love too. It bites the big one.
I've also been thinking, maybe I should move out. I mean, I'm twenty-two, I think I should be able to live on my own right now, and besides, it's only a matter of time before Max will want his girlfriend to move in. So, I'll just stop all the hurt before it starts.
Good plan, right?
"We're not going to have anymore ice cream, are we?" Kyle asked when Liz entered his apartment with a bag of groceries. "Because, I'm sick of ice cream,"
Liz shook her head and dropped the bag on to his kitchen table. "Just good old fashioned, junk food," she said. "Cheese puffs, cheese curls, Doritos, or chips and cheese dip?"
Kyle quirked an eyebrow. "How about something with cheese?"
"Chips and cheese dip it is," she said and pulled out two cups of dip. "Jalapeño pepper cheese dip, or mild?"
He scrunched his face. "Mild,"
"Pansy," came Liz's response. "It's not hot at all,"
"Right," Kyle muttered and opened the bag of chips.
They sat and ate their junk food in silence, both of their thoughts drifted to Max and Serena. "So you wanted to talk," Liz stated. Kyle had asked her to come over in the first place.
He stared down at his hands, before he let his gaze drift back to hers.
"What's up Kyle?" she asked. "C'mon spill,"
"I want to tell Serena,"
"Oh," she nodded. That was understandable. They have been avoiding their feelings for some time now, it's not a surprise that he would want to get it all out in the open. Whether she could feel the same way or not. "Go for it,"
"I'll tell her that you feel the same way about Max too," he offered, but Liz shook him off.
"No, that's all right," she responded. "Max is looking for someone who believes in soul mates, and forever," she rolled her eyes at "forever". "I don't dream of that, and nor do I believe in it. We'll clash, we're better off friends,"
"I know you don't believe that," Kyle whispered. He ducked his head to meet her gaze when it fell to the table. He grinned. "Just because you don't dream of headless soul mates doesn't mean that you're not destined to be with Max. It means you're more sane than he is,"
Once again, Liz rolled her eyes, but the smile stayed on her face. "You tell her, Kyle, and I'm hoping she feels the same,"
He gave her hand a squeeze before leaning back in his chair. "Have you thought about how you're going to do it?" she asked him.
Another grin crept on to his face. "Yeah. She's the romantic type, so I'm going to make her swoon," he said with male satisfaction.
Liz laughed. "Oh yeah?" she asked. "Fill me in,"
"Well, she comes home from work, every Thursday night at seven. So, I was thinking, I'll have the apartment spotless, and scented candles every where," he started. "She loves candles -"
"It sounds like you're trying to seduce instead of professing your love," Liz said with a laugh.
He grinned again. "No, that's for later," he told her, making her laugh more. "Anyway, I'll have a single red rose on the coffee table, attached to a white envelope. Now, I don't know what I'm going to say yet, but the point will be that she'll have to find two more roses,"
Liz sat back and listened as he proceeded to tell her how he was going to win his best friends heart. She smiled and hoped with all of her love for him, that it would work.
"She has a red BMW, and I somehow want to associate the red rose with her car. Anyway, I'm going to put another rose on the seat of her car, once she enters the apartment. Then, I'm going to head down to her favorite place to get coffee in the morning, and sitting at her favorite table will be me, and another rose," Kyle finished and leaned back again. "And that's how I'm going to get my girl,"
To Liz's horror, tears clouded her vision and her chin started to quiver.
"What?" Kyle asked. "What's wrong?"
She wiped at the tears falling freely from her eyes. "That's so sweet," she answered. "The sweetest thing I've ever heard,"
He gave a laugh before he got up and went to her side. He draped an arm over her shoulder and kissed her temple. "If she doesn't have feelings for you now, then she will after that," Liz told him with a teary laugh.
"That's really nice, Kyle,"
He chuckled again. "You think?"
She nodded and leaned away from him, suddenly feeling foolish. "Anyway, you still need to work out what you're going to say," she told him. "And what you're going to write,"
He gave a shrug. "I'll steal something from a chick flick,"
"Can I get two beers, please?"
"Just a seconds, sir,"
"Miss, another beer?"
"Just one -"
"Liz you need to get that guy -"
"I know!" Liz shouted at Maria. She watched as her friend cowered away, her hands in the air, surrendering. She sighed and swiped her hands through her hair. Tonight was one of the busiest nights of the week, and they were understaffed. Tiffany called off sick, and now it was only the
three of them, running the bar and the customers at the table.
Taking in a breath of air, Liz grabs three beers and rushes to the tables.
"Two for you, and -" she looked over her shoulder to other customer. "One for you,"
"Can I get some pretzels too?"
She inwardly groaned. "Sure thing," and then she was gone. Back behind the bar, getting orders everywhere she turned.
"Liz," she heard over amongst the crowd.
"Not now," she called to whomever it was.
"Liz, I need to talk to you," Liz shut her eyes. The voice seemed familiar, but her mind was buzzing she couldn't place it.
"Not now, I said," she called.
"Miss I've been turned down twice for my beer!" came a man's slurred speech. He's obviously had enough.
She ground her teeth and thrust a beer down in front of him. "Here," she said coolly.
"Liz," it was Kyle. He had been calling her.
"Kyle, now it a really bad time," she told him. Her patience was dwindling. She looked beside her to see her friends having the same difficulty.
"Really, I need to speak with you," he was now in front of her. His eyes wide with shock and excitement.
"Kyle," she brought her hands up to cover her ears and shut her eyes tightly. "Not...now" she enunciated.
She heard Max's voice then, he spoke of headless soul mates. The familiar predictions of before. Before Serena, and before Max found his soul mate.
It means I haven't found my soul mate yet,
She groaned and fisted her hands in her hair for a brief moment. It was normal and predictable, how it used to be. Then she showed up, and Kyle with her.
"Liz," he said.
That wasn't part of her predictable life. She wanted it back.
No. Scratch that, she didn't want it back. She wanted to start over, find a new Liz. A happy Liz, who could deal with all the unpredictable out comes of her, once, predictable life.
"I need a break," she yelled over to Maria, and then she was jogging through the crowd until she reached out side. The cool, night breeze made
goose bumps crawl over her skin. She gave herself a mental shake and wondered what she had been thinking.
Her thoughts were so jumbled, they didn't even make sense.
"Liz," he had followed her. She groaned. God, she loved Kyle, but couldn't he take a hint?
"Kyle, not now,"
"They broke up, Liz," he blurted before she could interrupt again. "Max and Serena, it's over. This is our chance,"
And then her life was back to being predictable. Liz knew what was going to happen when she got home. Max would want his security blanket.
Her eyes opened and she realized that she had been playing the role of his security blanket for all these years. It's been too long. He'd want her
to tell him, that she was there for him, always and forever. And once he got back on his feet, the double dates would come...And more Kyles...and more Serenas.
She avoided his questioning gaze, and focused on what she wanted to do about Max, and his neediness. Liz refused to be his security blanket now. You can't use your best friend, not like that.
She breathed in the night air and smiled. "Help me move out," she said and turned to him.
Kyle's brows furrowed. "You have two pairs of clothes at my place, that's it," he told her confused.
"No," she said and shook her head. "Out of my place, out of the apartment. Away from Max,"
"What?" he asked. "Liz,"
She grabbed his hand and led her to her car. "Max won't be home until later, I know him, we can start packing right now," she insisted.
"Wait, I don't know where you're going with this," he said, stopping her. "And I'm not entirely sure I want to know, but for Max's sake, don't you think you should give him a heads up? A 'Hey, I'm moving out', at least,"
She thought about it. Yeah, she could tell him that she was tired of being his security blanket, that she wanted to be by herself. "Okay," she nodded.
Kyle grabbed her shoulders and gave them a tiny squeeze. "Are you thinking clearly?" he teased. "I mean, did you hear me when I said they broke up? I didn't say they were getting married,"
She gave him a sad smile. "I heard you all right, and I'm thinking perfectly clear,"
Well, it's final. I am moving out. I think it's about time for me to stretch my roots and allow myself to grow. To pamper and love myself...
God, I sound so pathetic.
Kyle tried to talk me into staying with Max and try to work out whatever problems "may have developed", as he so graciously put it. I declined and proceeded to tell him that, it wasn't the problems that had developed, but the problems that will develop. I'm coming to terms with the fact that Max and I are better off friends. Friends that don't live together. Like I said, I'm tired to being his blankie.
Speaking of which, I successfully maneuvered myself, so I wouldn't have to deal with his neediness. I'm a bit harsh, I know, but know what? You try watching the love of your life looking for someone who doesn't exist. And if they did exist, wishing that it was you.
I'm just really tired of all of this.
Now, on to that kiss. I had the tiniest bit of hope that THAT was the reason as to why Max and Serena broke up, but the way he's looking at me now, convinces me other wise...
Liz closed the cover of her journal and stuffed it into the drawer of her nightstand, making a silent reminder to grab it before she left. Max had been watching her as she wrote down her thoughts, like she did every morning, and Liz finally caved under his scrutiny and looked at her surrounding.
Boxes were strewn carelessly about her room, her mattress lay bare, as well as her walls. Her room now looked lonely. She risked a glance at Max, to see him leaning against the door jam.
"So you're just going to leave?" he asked. Liz heard the disappointment in his voice.
She stood. "Yup," was all she said and grabbed a marker. It was time to mark the boxes.
Open the lid, peer inside, write on box.
"Why?" he asked her.
"I need to grow, Max. I need to be by myself," she answered, lamely.
Liz heard his scoff and she turned to glare at him, to see him staring at the floor.
I don't have time for this, she thought and walked past him. Liz proceeded to do the same routine to the boxes in the living room.
"Well, you know, you picked one hell of a time to leave me," he had followed her. "I need a friend, Liz,"
"You have Michael and Alex," Liz replied. "You have your sister,"
Her back was turned to him, she made herself promise not to look at him through their discussion, other wise she may never leave.
"You've always been there for me,"
Liz straightened. "Yes, I have," she turned and stared at his fore head. "But things change,"
She silently cursed herself. Liz had had her words planned out, but they suddenly disappeared from her mind, putting her on the spot.
"Why do they have to change?" he asked her and crossed his arms across his chest. "In all the years I've known you, things have always been the same,"
"Change is good," was her lame response.
Maybe she had some boxes in the kitchen.
"What's the real reason you're leaving, Liz?" he asked from behind her.
She wished he'd stop following her. Oh look, boxes.
Liz continued to busy herself marking off her boxes, trying her best to avoid Max and his questions.
"Liz, answer me," he commanded.
"I don't need to explain myself to you," she said calmly, though her anger was heightening. She just wanted to get out of here with as little conflict as possible.
"I think, as a friend, I deserve to know," he said bitterly.
Liz sighed heavily, dropped her marker, and turned to face him. He was looking at her expectantly. Ugh, it was so much easier speaking to him in her head. Then, everything she had said made sense, and he had no comebacks for her. But that was Max in her mind, Max in reality would counter her every thought.
This is so retarded.
Just say it!
"Liz, just say it," He told her, exasperated.
Fine. "I'm tired of being your security blanket, Max," she blurted. His shocked and slightly hurt _expression made her inwardly cringe.
"Come again?" he asked.
Okay, Liz, no turning back now. She'd have to tell him...Maybe leave out a couple of emotions, but still, she could step over those mines.
"I've always been there for you, Max. I was there for you with Pam, Vicki, that...that girl with the nose....And the rest of your 'Potential Soul Mates', and to be honest, Max, it gets a bit overwhelming. I've gone on numerous double dates with you, I've been bored out of my mind on every one of them, with the exception of Kyle. I've been hit on by other women for you, and I've...." she trailed off and stared at him in thought.
Running out a things to say here.......
"It's just really overwhelming and I don't want to be your blanket anymore, and you know that's what I've been to you for the past few years. While you are off with your girlfriends, I'm the one stuck here. The only one in our group with out somebody, and to stay up listening to you enjoy Serena's company isn't all that great, there buddy,"
Liz saw a flicker of realization dance in his eyes. "Ohhh," came Max's response. "This is about Serena, isn't it?"
What? No. What made him think this was about Serena?
"No," she answered.
"And the kiss," he added.
Liz shook her head rapidly. "No,"
"And that's why you're moving out, because you feel guilty," he grinned, though Liz could see the bitterness behind it. "Well, you don't have to feel guilty about it any longer, Liz. Our break up had nothing to do with the kiss you and I shared. It was a mistake and we both know it,"
Liz's heart clenched and she was shocked to feel the stinging of tears in her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she nods and then proceeds to finish her task. It was all the more reason for her to leave. Her words had failed her. She had this very convincing speech worked out, but things hadn't her way, now did they? Liz still felt his gaze on her, and she silently hoped he'd leave.
Kyle. Liz turned and rushed out of the kitchen, stopping in front of him.
"Hey," she said and swiped a shaky hand through her hair.
He saw directly through her. He noticed the unshed tears brimming at her eyes. His gaze flitted between Liz and Max "Is this a bad time?" he asked and pointed over his shoulder. "I can go -"
Liz was about to protest, when Max did it for her. "No, I was on my way out," he said coolly. Max tossed one more glance at Liz before he brushed past Kyle and out of the apartment.
Kyle's gaze had followed Max and then drifted back to Liz once he was gone. Her overly straight stance told him that what ever had happened between them, wasn't good. With a sympathetic look, Kyle crossed the room and lifted his arms to engulf her in his embrace. Liz, however, had another plans and ducked under his arms.
"You go ahead and grab the boxes in my room," she told him. "Put them in your truck,"
He watched as she scribbled over, with her black marker, the boxes in the corner of the living room. He watched a moment longer, as the beautiful young woman, who had become his closest friend, closed herself off. Retreating into a shelled version of herself, that he never knew existed. All he was capable of thinking, was that there had to be some mistake, and that he hoped that the two, very stubborn, ex-roomies, would come to their senses...
"Damn it," Liz cursed and hit the nightstand drawer with the palm of her hand. It always gave her trouble! The stupid drawer would never open, and she had to fuss with it just to get her possessions out. "This so isn't worth it,"
She was in mid-tug when the phone rang. She scrambled from her position on the hardwood floor. Grasping the portable phone, she said hello.
"Liz, I'm in a bit of a dilemma, here," Kyle's voice rang from the other side. "I kind of got myself lost,"
"What do you mean you got yourself lost?" she asked. "I wrote down the directions,"
"I know," he said. "I got lost some where between, 'the second left after the first stop sign', and 'the right turn after the strip joint'....You really need to look at street names when you write directions, Liz...Because, I'm pretty sure I've been down this road a thousand times, and I've never seen a strip joint,"
Liz groaned and pressed her thumb and index finger to the bridge of her nose. "Where are you now?" she asked exasperated.
She struggled to get Kyle on the right direction when he finally found her apartment complex.
"Okay, I'll put the boxes in your place and come back for the rest," he told her.
Liz noticed that the few boxes that were left were sitting in the corner of her bedroom. "Great, I'm all finished, I'll be waiting on the side walk, with the boxes, when you get here," she told him.
They said good bye and Liz gathered her boxes and left the apartment.
"Are you sure you brought it?" Kyle asked from Liz's new bed room. He reached inside the potato chip bag and stuffed a handful of the greasy food into his mouth.
"Yes," Liz called from the living room. "Because I remember fussing with the drawer." she was silent a moment. "I probably packed it in one of the boxes instead of putting it in my purse, I'll get it later,"
Liz then returned to Kyle and the ice cream that awaited her. Dropping onto her bed, spoon and ice cream in hand, she shoveled it into her mouth. "So, when are you going to tell Serena?" she asked and watched as Kyle licked at his fingers.
He sighed. "Not for another day or so." he answered. "She's staying with a friend, says she needs to get away from the male species,"
Liz nodded in understanding. "I told her to call me when she's on her way home, so I can get things ready," he added. "And then, I go in for the kill,"
She laughed lightly. "Yeah, and then it's back to Lonely Lizzie," she muttered softly, another spoonful of ice cream filled her mouth.
"Aww, now Lizzie," Kyle said and grabbed her hand, once it was free of the spoon. "You're the first girl I've slept with, with out actually sleeping with," he told her with a sly smile on his face and pressed her hand to his chest. "You'll always hold a special place in my heart,"
Liz laughed and shoved him off her bed. "You are such a guy," she told him.
Kyle looked up at her and smiled. Suddenly, Liz thought of something. She grasped her new pillow in her hand and hit him over the head. "I dubbed thee an Honorary Female," she said happily.
His eyebrow quirked. "Thanks," he said. "And this means..."
"That you get to attend each and every girls night, " she stated where he had trailed off. "And no, there will be no strippers,"
Kyle feigned disappointment before he shrugged his shoulders. "I'm going to be a man in a relationship, there will be no time for strippers,"
She smiled. "Damn straight," she told him, her spoon pointed at him.
He looked at his watch and picked himself up from the floor. "I've got to go," he told her and planted a kiss on her cheek. "If I know Serena, and I do, she'll call me three minutes away from the apartment, and that doesn't give me a lot of time to get the place picked up. So, I need to get a head start,"
Liz smiled again and nodded. "Bye, Kyle,"
"Later," he called back and headed out of her room. He stopped in the doorway and turned around, a small smile playing on his lips. "You know, there could have been something between you and me," he told her. "But, alas, are hearts belong to others,"
She rolled her eyes dramatically. "Good bye, Kyle,"
"Love you, Liz," he says softly, watching as she gave him a tearful smile.
"Love you too, Kyle,"
Max sat with his feet propped up on the coffee table, the television remote hung loosely in his hand, as he propped is head up on his hand, and watched TV. His apartment was eerily silent with out the bickering of Liz, whether it was about the toilet seat being left up, or there being no more ice cream, it just wasn't the same with out her. His gut twisted at the loss he was feeling.
The ringing of the phone brought Max out of his self pity and on to an adventure of finding the phone. After searching relentlessly under the furniture in the room, he found it ringing on Liz's naked bed.
Max let himself sink into her soft mattress. "Hi, Mrs. Parker. Oh, um, no, Liz doesn't live here any more....No, no, not yet....Yes, I'll leave her a message....Let me just get something to write -" he had been fussing with her nightstand drawer the whole time and finally got it open. The drawer fell to the floor, it's contents scattering.
He grabbed a piece of scrap paper and a pen. "Okay, Mrs. Parker,"
After taking the message, he began to stuff Liz's belongings back into the drawer. Her endless supply of pens and loose leaf paper, her journal....
Her open journal. It wasn't invasion of privacy, if it's laying opened on the floor for the whole world to see.
Max leaned down and gently picked up leather bound booklet, and immediately read what was on the page. His intrigue heightened, and he found himself flipping through, what seemed to be an eternity of Liz's most private thoughts. Most of them involving him...
Five hours later, Max had read the journal two and a half times, cover to cover. He now lays on his back on her mattress, as her faint scent drifts to his nose, and he allowed himself to sleep.
And for the first time in Max Evans' life, his bride had a head....
No journal today.
Max has it.
Her eyes brimmed with tears and her heart swelled once she saw him. He was staring down at his hands, that he would periodically rub together. A habit she noticed happened when he was nervous. His ran a steady hand through his hair and picked a single piece of lint off his green t-shirt. She watched as he glanced around, rubbed his hands together, and then adjusting his appearance. She laughed lightly to herself, before she cursed. How could she have ever been so blind? Everything she had been looking for was right in front of her, from the start. She hadn't allowed herself to conjure the thought of them being together, for the fear of his feelings were not the same as her harbored ones.
He picked up the rose from the table and twirled it around his fingers, and she he stared down at the roses in her hand. He had convinced her otherwise.
Taking a deep breath, Serena walks towards Kyle, knowing at that exact moment, that things were going to be okay. Stopping in front of his table, the very table she sat at every morning to enjoy a cup of coffee, she watched as he stood up, the single rose extended out to her.
She smiled and excepted the rose, her hand brushing against his. She could tell he wanted to say something, that he had this whole speech planned out, and she inwardly laughed, that was so like him.
When she noticed he was about to speak, she placed the roses on the table, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed him. His arms instinctively went around her waist as his lips brushed against hers in return.
This is what she had been dreaming of.
Max entered the empty apartment and tossed his keys on to the coffee table. During his entire work shift, he had thought of no one else but Liz. He tried to formulate a way to get her back into his life. Simply knowing that she had been harboring her love for him, for so long, made his heart swell with joy, but then crush at the same time. He had been so blind, so unwilling to allow himself to believe that Liz Parker, his best friend, could ever feel that way about him. The same way he felt about her. Liz was never someone to believe in soul mates or forever, so it was easy for him to believe that she couldn't love him like that.
He had been wrong.
So, the entire time he had been thinking of a way to get her back, he finally came up with...Nothing. He had no idea what he would have to do. Flowers and candy wouldn't do, she wasn't easily romanced. Simply telling her didn't seem good enough. So what was there left to do?
Shower, go to her apartment, and see which way the wind blows.
With a nod to no one, Max entered his shower, and prepared himself for, what may be, the fight of his life.
"Well, what the hell?" Liz asked out loud. Her new apartment was now trashed, with all of her belongings scattered about the living room, the hall way, the kitchen, any where that boxes where occupied, but her journal was no where in site.
Duh. It probably fell out of her purse and was now laying underneath the seat in Kyle's truck. Well, she'll simply call him up, tell him that her journal was some where in that pig sty of a vehicle, and that he needed to get it to her ASAP, for she would soon burst if she didn't get her daily journal entry in. Her thoughts were seeping from her ears! Of course, she would throw in a threat here and there, that if he even thought of reading her most private thoughts, she would serve his balls to Serena, on a silver dish.
Liz was just a bit cranky this morning.
She walked over to her phone, that lay on the floor against a bare wall. She picked it up and dialed.
Five rings later, she got Kyle and Serena's answering machine, equipped with a recording duet. She scoffed and placed the phone back in the cradle, she and Max never had a recording duet for their answering machine.
She rolled her eyes at her immature thought. Such a girl.
Liz shifted her gaze to the door, upon hearing a knock on the door jam. Much to her surprise, Michael Guerin himself stood in front of her.
"Hey Mikey," she said and smirked when she saw his annoyed look. It soon vanished and was replaced with an unreadable _expression. "What's up?" she asked, a bit concerned.
He scratched at his eyebrow, the way he did when he was uncomfortable. "I spoke with Maria," he said. "We had a bit of an argument about how blind and stupid I can be," he rolled his eyes. "And you're name popped up,"
Her breath hitched. "Oh?" she asked. Maria and her big mouth.
"Don't get mad at her, please," he said softly. "She wouldn't have told me if I had forced it out of her,"
When she didn't say anything further, Michael seated himself in the only furniture that occupied her living room, which was a wooden chair. "Um, she told me about you and Max, or the lack thereof," he said. "And I just wanted to say that, if I had known, I would have never introduced him to Serena. I would have told him to ask you out or -"
Liz lifted a hand to silence him. "Stop," she said quietly. A small smile spread on her face. "If you hadn't, I would have found Kyle. He's a wonderful friend, and with out him, I would have been very lonely,"
Michael nodded. He knew she hasn't, and wouldn't, hold a grudge against him for his stupidity. "Know I'm really sorry okay?" he said as he stood from the chair. Satified with her smile and confirming nod, he continued. "And just so you know, I came here to apologize on my own accord,"
Liz laughed at the grin he tossed to her. He had wanted to surprise her and he had. They had never really been close, but Liz had always loved him just like the rest of her friends, and now she had the feeling they were going to be a little bit closer.
"Thank you, Michael," she told him. "It means a lot to me,"
He gave her a half smile and then left, shutting the door behind him.
"Um, with extra cheese, banana peppers, and um -" she stopped. "What? Yes this is she...Oh, okay, thank you,"
Liz shrugged her shoulders and hung up the phone. Apparently all of her and Kyle's mid night pizza fest have paid off. Pizzas 'R Us, now have her order memorized. She glanced at her wrist watch and realized that it was a little past five, and she still had nothing done. All she had accomplished upon moving in was messing the place up in her wild attempt of dig up her journal.
She sighed and glanced around her place, arms crossed over her chest. With the money she had been earning for waitressing and bartending, she should be able to buy some cheap furniture. Her apartment was pretty bare.
Liz couldn't motivate herself to do anything. She leaned against the wall, exhausted, and sank to the ground. She puffed air through her cheeks and wondered what she was going to do next. Liz let her head fall back against the wall and she closed her eyes.
Her eyes fluttered open at the sound of her door opening and then closing quietly. Maybe she should start locking that door.
Max stood in front her. She was surprised, sure, but not enough to stand up. Too tired.
"Hey, Max," she said casually. "What brings you here?"
He lifted his shoulders and looked around her place, before his gaze returned to hers. "You forgot this," he answered and pulled a leather bound booklet from behind his back.
"My journal," she said softly. Liz looked between Max and her journal. The look on his face and the twisting feeling in her gut was all she needed to feel to know that he had read her thoughts.
"Yeah, I read it," he told her.
Liz continued to stare at him as he crouched down in front of her. His hurt _expression registered in her mind.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he whispered.
Her head fell back against the wall again. Her gaze fixed on the ceiling. "And what would you have done, Max?" she asked him, but didn't give him enough time to answer. "You would have patted me on the head, gave me a hug, and told me that I would find my soul mate one day,"
Max stared at her, a bit taken back by her answer. No....
"No," he told her. Liz lifted her head to look at him.
"No?" she asked a bit apprehensively. Her arms crossed over her chest. "And you would have done...." she trailed off, waiting for him to fill her in.
He had said he would see which way the wind blew. Well, the wind is certainly blowing in direction he had wanted it to go, however, he had expected to happen later on.
Max shifted his gaze to her lips. "This," he whispered softly. Cupping her cheeks he brought her face towards his and brushed his lips against hers, just like he had done before.
Liz's lips were still stiff beneath his, but he wasn't going to let that stop him. Not this time. He shifted the angle of the kiss, and gently urged her to open up to him under the brushing of his lips. His breath momentarily caught when he felt a light brush of her lips beneath his.
Finally, was all he could think.
Max felt her lips shift beneath his again and his heart soared. He allowed himself to kiss her a moment longer, before he pulled away, and leaned his forehead against hers. Her eyes were brimming with unshed tears as he stroked her cheeks with the pads of his thumb.
"I dreamt of you last night," he admitted to her.
Her gaze had been resting on his lips, but after his confession, her eyes flew to his. He nodded at her questioning gaze.
"You were the bride, Liz," his voice wasn't above a whisper. "You were my bride,"
Liz did let a tear fall this time, only to have it caught by Max's brushing thumb. She didn't know if this was a dream of not, and if it were, she didn't ever want to wake up.
"You were so beautiful, walking towards me, your hands were clutching nervously to your white roses," he shook his head lightly. "That should have tipped me off right away. Liz, I can't explain to you how I felt when I lifted the veil and so you underneath,"
Liz was silent, her mind racing.
"Liz, say something," Max urged her. He needed to know how she felt.
Liz felt her heart swell at that moment and he gave her a teary smile. Her hands lifted to cup his ears, and gave them a little tug, like she used to do in high school.
"I love you,"
Max's smile brightened her world as he bent his head to take her lips again. Liz didn't know why it happened, but it was at that moment that she realized that there was true love, that was a such thing as soul mates...
And there was forever.
Liz stirred from her sleep to the sound of a ringing phone. She glanced groggily around her room, trying to find the clock that always sat on her nightstand. Giving in to the fact that there was none to be found, she settled for the wrist watch on some guys wrist, that was laying across her stomach.
It was 3:30 in the friggin morning.
The phone was ringing relentlessly and Liz decided she had better get it before waked up the neighbors. When she started to pry herself from the arms that were curled securely around her, they tightened, and she smiled. It was Max, she remembered, and her smile broadened. Finally she was able to sit up in bed and pull his shirt over her nude body.
She stood and made her way out of her darkened room, remembering what had transpired several hours before. Max had insisted on waiting, he wanted their night to be special. Liz had convinced him that it was special, knowing that he loved her had made it that way.
As well as several years of frustration...
The ringing continued and she smiled at the smell of Max that drifted to her nose. She pulled the cuff of his shirt up to her nose and inhaled.
Upon walking out of the room, she ended up running into every box that was in her way. Finally she reached the phone and answered with a sleepy, but content hello.
"I am a very happy man," came Kyle's voice.
Liz smiled and situated herself against the wall, much like she had when Max entered her apartment. "So it seems," she answered with a smile.
"What can I say? I am a regular romancer,"
"What about you, Lizzie, are you happy?" Kyle asked her.
She smiled. "Very. He loves me, Kyle," she told him.
Liz could almost see his grin. "I knew he would," he told her. "Knew it all along, but you're just too freaking stubborn to believe me,"
"Bite me, Kyle,"
He sighed. "I can't babe, I have girl friend in which I only reserve biting for her,"
"That is so.....corny," came Liz's reply. She covered her mouth as she yawned and leaned her head against the wall. "Everything's going to be okay,"
"Yup, things are going to be just great," he told her. "And, I have to go, I don't want to wake Serena, but I just wanted to -"
"See how I'm hanging, I know," she finished for him.
Kyle grinned. "Love ya, Lizzie,"
"Love you too, Kyle," she said back and was about to say good bye, when the phone was gentle pulled from her grasp.
"Valenti," Max said into the phone and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "What the hell do you think you're doing? You've got my ex girl friend, what more do you want?"
Liz watched as Max grinned and then rolled his eyes. "Yeah, well she loves me more," he then turned to her. "Don't you, Liz,"
She quirked an eyebrow at him. "See, right now she can't keep her hands off of me," he muttered into the phone. "Yeah, and don't call back in the middle of the night again,"
Liz rolled her eyes.
"Kyle," he added, his voice serious. He crouched down in front of Liz again and tucked her hair behind he ear. "Thanks for being there for her, when I should've been,"
She smiled and watched as Max hung up the phone then. His hand slide around the back of her neck and brought her face to his. She sighed when his lips brushed softly against hers. Liz pouted when he pulled back.
"I love you," he whispered. Just saying it made him so happy, he needed to say it again. "I love you, Liz,"
Her smile grew wider, if possible, and kissed him that time. "I love you too,"
Max slid his fingers through her hair, the long tresses falling on to her shoulders. She was wearing his shirt. She looked good in it.
"How do you feel?" he asked her.
He watched and Liz heaved in a content sigh, a dreamy sigh on her face, and her eyes a bit glazed. "Wonderful," came her response.
Max grinned and then licked his lips. "I meant..." he trailed off, his gaze flitted to between her legs and then back up.
Liz lifted a shoulder. "A little sore as expected," she answered. "But wonderful none the less,"
Max shifted until he was leaning against the wall beside of her. His arm went around her shoulders and he pulled her to him, allowing her to rest perfectly against his chest. They stayed like that for a while, Max running his fingers up and down her arm, while she did the same to his arm draped over her stomach. Things were most definitely different between them, but a good different. A different that both of them had wanted but never thought they'd get. Max knew that Liz didn't like to be treated like a porcelain doll and he was afraid his tenderness towards her would exasperate her, but he soon found out that she liked how tender he was towards her.
A few more minutes went by, and Max decided they would retire back to the bed room for sleep. Once he spooned her against him, his face buried at the nape of her neck, Max fell asleep. Dreaming again of his bride to be.
Life is sweet. Words can't explain how happy I am. For the second time in my life, my words have failed me, and I don't know what to say. I don't know how to express myself in words. My thoughts are so jumbled that I'm not even sure if they belong to me.
The point is I'm happy.
Liz was jerked from her writing by the commotion in front of her. "Sorry we're late," Serena's voice echoed. "Mr. I-Know-Where-I'm-Going got us lost," she explained and pointed to the annoyed but equally happy Kyle.
They slid into the booth in front of her and Max and beside of Michael and Maria.
"Hey, Lizzie, found your journal," Kyle commented once he noticed her writing away.
Kyle and Serena are now officially part of the group. There are no hard feelings what so ever, Serena apologized to me because - well, she said she felt she had to. Max thanked Kyle again for being my friend and Kyle and I just smiled triumphantly.
Ah, yes, love is most definitely in the air...
"You did too get us lost," Serena once again removed Liz from her thoughts, though she couldn't help but smile. "I told you to turn down Watson Blvd., but you wouldn't listen. I mean what is it with men and not -"
Liz burst into giggles when Kyle hushed her with a kiss. The look of absolute bliss occupied their faces as both were lost in their world.
She felt Max place a tender kiss on her temple. He then shifted and tried to get a better look at her journal. Liz elbowed him lightly in the ribs. He got lucky the first time.
"When do I get to read it again?" Max asked with a groan.
Liz tilted her head and smiled sweetly at him. "On our wedding night," she then went back to writing.
I haven't let Max read my journal since the day he brought it to me. Though, I have been writing specifically to him ever since. I've turned into a hopeless romantic, writing him letters in my journal, telling him my thoughts on us and our future together. There was no denying it, not now. I know now that Max and I will be together, that he his my one and only, and I express that to him everyday in my writing. Which, he will someday read...
"C'mon, chica," Maria said. "You're holding us up,"
"Just a few more," came Liz's response.
There are no more odd men out, in our group. Everyone has their one and only, and everyone is in love.
Alex and Isabel for instance. My buddy popped the question to Isabel, and she of course said yes. I'll never forget the look on her face and the happy tears in her eyes when she boomed into the bar. She waved her hand around for everyone to see and wouldn't stop hugging people until she was exhausted.
Alex of course, sported his goofy grin all evening, and eyed Isabel with all the love he possessed for her.
Maria was jealous and started lighting into Michael about when he's going to pop the question. Much like she's doing now.
Michael eyed Kyle as Maria continued to talk his ear off.
"Hey Valenti, does that hole silencing thing work?" he asked.
Kyle grinned and nodded.
Liz once again giggled when Maria was silenced with Michael's mouth attacking hers. Same blissful look.
She looked to end to the table, where Alex and Isabel sat in two shares. The couple were sharing tender kisses as well, and Liz's heart swelled for them. She felt Max tilt her chin towards him, with the lift of his index finger, and then she two was in heaven when she shared a kiss with him.
Sigh. Back to writing.
I'm sure Maria has nothing to worry about, Michael may be slow, but he loves her. They will get married, they'll probably be that last in the group to do so though...
"Liz time is really wasting," Max told her this time. "If you don't hurry we're going to leave you behind,"
She rolled her eyes, her hand still scribbling in her journal. "Bite me, Max,"
Kyle started whistling when Max captured her bottom lip between his teeth and tugged. He then finished with the light brushing off his lips against hers.
"Well, it's getting a bit hot in here," Kyle called and fanned himself with his shirt. "Things may get naugh-"
Liz kicked Kyle in the shin and smiled evilly against Max's lips.
"I'm almost finished," she said and went back for the finish.
Everything is perfect. Things have changed for the better. Like I said, I am now a hopeless romantic, I'm finding myself wanting to have breakfast in bed with Max, and to get flowers from him "just because". I like sharing my pillow with him at night and just talking until one of us falls asleep. I love waking up in the morning to the feeling of his warmth all around me. I love everything about him, and everything he makes me.
I love that I've found my soul mate in my best friend, and I love that I've found my forever...
Liz sighed and closed her journal. "There," she said happily. She stuffed the booklet into her purse and looked around her.
"Everyone ready?" she asked.
A round of "yes" and "it's about time" were heard and she simply rolled her eyes. She felt Max entwine his fingers with hers and pull her gently from the both. They followed the group out of the restaurant and down the sidewalk. Arms wrapped possessively around each other and tender kisses shared.
A young pair of eyes followed them, scoffing at the thought of love, soul mates, and forever....