|posted on 25-Jul-2002 7:49:08 PM|
Cover art by talena
A Father’s Legacy
Author: Katie (Sugarplum7)
Cover art: talena
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. I am just borrowing them for a while. I promise to return them unharmed when I am done.
Category: AU, Crossover—Spider-man and Roswell
Couples: Max and Liz, CC
Distribution: If you want it please ask me for permission first.
Feedback: Oh, yes please. I love to hear what you all think, especially with this fic since this is the first challenge that I took on, but please be gentle.
Summary: This is in response to Mandy’s splendid, inspiring challenge. There is only one difference, I talked to her about it, and she said it was fine with her. But I guess that might make it based on her challenge but not a response to it.
Jeff and Nancy Parker are not the normal parents that they seem to be. They have a past filled with shadows that have yet to be discovered. Even their teenage daughter, Liz, has no knowledge of their past selves. It will all be discovered when Liz starts to develop certain abilities that normal seventeen year-old girls don’t possess and goes to her parents for answers to her questions.
To make matters worse she needs to keep this secret from the new friends that she made at school. After her parents uproot her entire life, moving to the infamous Roswell, New Mexico. What Liz doesn’t know is that three of her friends are keeping secrets from her too. Max, Michael, and Isabel had always had to hide a certain aspect of themselves from their family and friends in order to keep some semblance of safety in other people’s lives. With Liz’s arrival and friendship, they will have to test their resolve, especially when one member of the group stumbles onto a secret.
What will happen to our beloved characters on this path shrouded in secrets?
A Father’s Legacy
“What happened?! Where were you?” she exclaimed as her husband entered the room. She was talking before she got a good look at him because if she saw what his state was she would not have said it so angrily.
Her vision slipped over the hunched way he was standing, to meet his eyes. Then it traveled to the blood trickling down his cheek and the firm line of his jaw, “Oh my God! What happened? Are you okay?” She got up from her seat on the couch and rushed to his side to shoulder some of his weight. Never before had she ever seen him this beat, this bruised . . . this broken. It was then she noticed the tear in his shirt and the blood slowly oozing from it.
He tried to answer her questions, to alleviate some of her worry, but was unable to. A dry cough broke from his throat, which shook his entire body. They walked together in silence to their room down the hall. But even in this pained state he continued his usual check. With a shaky hand he pressed the door open to reveal the usual sight of their sleeping daughter. Her head peeked out from beneath the covers. Her long lashes swept her cheek like pillow-soft down feathers. And her shiny brown mane of hair covered her pillow like a sea of melted chocolate. The soft, light pink glow from her nightlight washed over her skin with their soft hues, and small slender fingers griped at the blanket wrapped around her small body.
He continued to soak in the sight, smiling at the perfection of their daughter. He could hear her happy voice echo in his ears as their previous conversation, or her curious inquisition, flooded his senses.
He felt the caring, comforting arm of his wife softly pull him away from the door and further down the hall towards their room. He continued to take one painful step after another. He couldn’t stop the sharp intake of breath when she placed her hand over his shoulder. He couldn’t believe what had happened earlier that night. Fighting was something unavoidable, but getting this torn apart by one person had only happened before . . . a long time ago.
A little voice in the back of his mind answered the questions: Why did this happen? How did this happen? He was distracted. Ever since he decided to follow his heart and marry the love of his life things were different. He wasn’t the only one at risk. She was always in danger, even before he was involved with her. She needed saving on more than one occasion before they concretely defined their relationship. Now she and their daughter were on the list. The list his enemies could use against him—the list of the people that he cared for over all else.
He knew that she was smart, intelligent . . . amazing; however, he never thought that she would be able to figure it all out. “Did you think I was stupid? You really thought that I wouldn’t figure it out! How could you think that I wouldn’t understand!” she said to him that night she confronted him with the truth. She put the pieces together and found out his secret. It was after that night that he gave up his fight against her. He found himself longing to be with her, needing her near. She was part of him, knew him in ways that no one ever could. She was the first thing he thought of in the morning and the last thing he thought of at night. Her presence filled his consciousness and spilled into his dreams. Eventually he wasn’t able to fight her.
He told her about the risks. He told her that if anyone found out that she would be in danger because of it. She would be in danger because of him. His enemies would come for him, and one of his weaknesses was his heart. They would know that the easiest way to him was to kill his heart, his love, the people he held dear. She didn’t know at the time all the power she held over him; she still didn’t know.
She was his heart. She completed his soul. She filled him with happiness, with joy . . . with love
Hearing him in pain was never something that she was used to. She had never seen him come home this late before. She had never seen him this hurt before. She tried her hardest to conceal the gasp when her hand came into contact with a warm, sticky substance soaking through his shirt. “What did he do to you?” she said under her breath. She wanted to pull him close, to wrap herself about him. She wanted to comfort him in every way. But how could she when there was this space between them. She had to be sure to keep enough physical space between them, but the more painful space was the emotional space. He was keeping her at a distance all this week. She wanted to know why. Maybe that was the reason for his present appearance.
Together they continued down the hallway. It seemed to be endless. He couldn’t remember it taking such a long time to make his way to his room. His feet felt like lead weights, as he finally was able to see the soft bed he shared with her. He wanted nothing more than to lie on the bed and relax with her in his arms, but he didn’t want to get blood or dirt on the sheets, neither did he want to reveal to her everything that he was keeping hidden. For he knew that as soon as they had the time to talk she would question.
Resisting the urge to relax on the inviting bed, he continued to walk to the bathroom.
Surprised at the gesture, she questioned, “Where are you going?”
“To take a shower,” he replied simply, affectionately, as he continued to slowly make his way to the bathroom.
“But you can barely move.” Her voice held more pain than he ever heard in it before. He paused at the doorway, imagining a pained expression on her features. He didn’t want to walk away from her, but continued to make his way through the door. He was not going to allow her to see the full outcome of his night of fighting.
“I’ll be fine, sweetheart.” With that he closed the door and turned on the water. He peeled out of his clothes and placed them in the hamper in the corner. He chanced a look in the mirror and couldn’t believe the sight that lay before him. A large gash swept across his abdomen with purple outlining its angry path across his flesh. Blood flowed from an unknown wound on his head, possibly located on his scalp as a reminder of the blunt hit he took, and trickled its scarlet path down his cheek. But that wasn’t the full extent of the damage since large bruises covered his back, leaving painful purple, blue, and black marks in the wake of swift, hard blows. The full extent of that damage was mostly hidden from his view, but the pain he felt was clear as crystal.
A gasp filled the bathroom as the hot water pelted his back and washed over his wounds. Piercing pain gouged his senses while he became acclimated to the water. Comfort soon followed the ebbing pain as his tense, taut muscles relaxed under the steady shower of water flowing over his well-toned, body.
In the bedroom his caring wife turned down the bed and sat upon the soft mattress. It was late, and she was afraid that she would fall asleep before she had a chance to talk with him. Worry constantly plagued her every night he left, but quickly fled when he climbed into bed, wrapping his strong arms around her. She didn’t know what happened tonight, but she had a sinking feeling that something was going to happen tonight . . . and it did. She begged him not to go, but he went anyway. He needed to protect the innocent people and this night was no different than the others. When he didn’t arrive home at his usual time she feared the worst, but hoped for the best plausible scenario for his tardiness.
Unable to sit still while he was in the shower, she made her way across the wood floors to make one final check on their daughter. She entered the small room where the most precious treasure lay sleeping. Kneeling next to the bed, she smoothed down the glossy brown tresses that had gotten mussed from sleep. Her slender fingers combed through her hair and swept over the small forehead.
“Do you know what happened to Daddy?” She whispered rhetorically in the still, silent room.
“Mommy?” the little girl asked sleepily while yawning.
“Shhhh,” she said as she lightly pushed her daughter back on the bed, not allowing her to fully sit up. “Go back to sleep.”
“Is Daddy home?” she asked between yawns.
“Yes. You can see him tomorrow morning.”
“Can we make pancakes?”
“Of course, honey. Daddy would like that, but right now it is time for sleep.”
“Good night, Mommy,” she said before letting her heavy lids fall once again, allowing her lashes to sweep her rosy cheeks.
As soon as she heard the water getting shut off she stood, straightened the blankets and pulled the covers up beneath her little angel’s chin. After a soft kiss on her daughter’s forehead she decided to walk back over to the bruised and battered man waiting for her. Maybe she could get him to tell her what happened.
“Sweet dreams, baby,” She said before leaving the room, closing the door, leaving it a crack open. Her head turned to the light at the end of the hallway, which emanated from the master bedroom. She attempted to swallow past the lump that formed in her throat after seeing the result of everything that happened to him this evening.
She pooled together all the strength and courage she could muster before walking back to find out what transpired in the past hours.
“So?” she asked as she closed the door to their room. It made a soft click as the door closed, giving them a feeling that they were in their own world. A world that was independent of all others. A utopia. Their heaven.
“So,” he repeated, pretending to not understand what she was asking. He was afraid that everything would crumble down around him if he talked. As soon as he really said certain things than it would make it true.
“So, what happened?”
He sighed deeply, raising his arm to motion her closer. He needed to feel her close to him to soothe his worries. “It was close.”
“Close. How close?” She said, her voice getting caught in her throat.
“He almost found out.”
“Oh, Tiger, are you okay?” She walked closer to him, kneeling before him, placing her head in his lap. This seemed like the only thing she could do without worrying that she would hurt him. She calmed considerably as she felt his fingers comb through her fiery tresses. There were things about him that she knew. She knew that he was withholding some information, but she let it slide. It looked like too much happened tonight for him to talk about everything.
“Where do we go from here?” she asked. Her wording of the question didn’t pass him. He noticed that she said “we” not “you.” They were in this together.
To tell the truth he didn’t have any real idea about where they go from here. He knew that they needed to decide on what they were going to do, but the words of his uncle reminded him of his lack of options.
“We keep doing the same thing.” He paused. “No one knows. It was close, but Mysterio still doesn’t know.” He knew that this was a touchy subject with her. Ever since that experience she had with Quentin Beck on the picture that she finally landed haunted him. It was another reminder that those he held dear would be in danger. To make the matter worse the picture never made it to screens, or video. That ate at him more than it disturbed her. “We’re safe,” he continued, hiding the true things he was thinking. “You do know that I still . . .”
“I know. You still have a responsibility to the masses. You still have a job to protect them. It is your job to save the world.” She continued to speak in her ‘dramatic tone,’ bringing a smile to his face. He didn’t know how she couldn’t be an actress. She said that with a perfect balance of comedy, dramatics, and seriousness. “I’m glad you are finding humor in this,” she said, looking deep into his eyes.
He smiled down at her face and moved his hands to cradle both her cheeks, brushing his thumb over her lips.
“So we just continue with life as we live it? I can do that.” She smiled widely, giggling at the idea of their normal. She walked over to the top drawer of their dresser and pulled out the first aid kit housed there.
“You have to try to be more careful. I don’t really like using this,” she said as she brought the kit over and placed it on the bed.
“I don’t like you using it either,” he said with a chuckle, and then reclined on the bed. He let her pull his shirt up to reveal his wound. Quiet filled their bedroom as he watched her hands move with grace, collecting the proper sized bandages, tape, and antiseptic. “I love you, you know that, right?” He said, catching one of her hands. She looked at him with complete adoration. “MJ?” he asked when she didn’t answer him.
“Shhhh,” she said quietly as she pushed the hair that fell across his forehead out of his eyes, bending down to lightly kiss his forehead tenderly. Her heart sank when she heard him wince as she put pressure on the menacing wound spread across his abdomen. She lightly nibbled on her lower lip as she bandaged the long gash.
She gently traced her fingers over the familiar lines of his torso, feeling his muscles jump as she gingerly touched him. She didn’t know how he could do it night after night. He pulled her down onto the bed next to him. She gave in and placed her head on his chest and melted into him.
“I love you,” he said as he kissed her forehead, lazily tracing shapes over her bare arm.
“I know,” she replied, taking a deep breath, soaking in every touch, every scent, every feeling she experienced from him. She turned her head to look into his face, waiting for him to look at her. When she was rewarded with his gentle gaze she said, “And I love you.”
He smiled down at her. These moments were one of the things he longed for since high school, feeling her next to him, enjoying her presence . . . loving her. What still blew his mind was the simple fact that he was loved back by her.
“We’ll be alright,” she said smiling. She felt that as long as they loved each other, as long as they were careful and looked out for one another they would be fine.
“Yeah, we will. No one will harm you or Liz because of who I am. She’ll get to have her normal life, a normal childhood. I promise. I’ll keep you two safe.” He inhaled the soft fragrance of her hair and exhaled contentedly.
“How do you know? What if she . . . you know . . . inherits certain traits, umm, abilities from you?”
“Then I’ll just have to teach her how to control them . . . and she’ll just get used to our normal.” He gently squeezed Mary Jane tighter to him in a reflexive manner.
“Yeah,” she said sleepily, simply relaxed by the fact that Peter was safe and with her. “We’ll be fine.” She slowly drifted down the ladder of sleep, believing that as long as they had love they would be safe. Love was strong, but would it be enough to keep them safe should someone discover that Mary Jane Parker and Elizabeth Parker were Spider-man’s Achilles heel because of the special bond they shared with him—they were family.
Would their love be strong enough to combat opposing sources if someone stumbled across the hidden secret—the truth—of Spider-man’s secret identity? That Spider-man’s secret identity was none other than Peter Parker, freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle, husband to the stunning, aspiring actress Mary Jane Parker, and amazing father to a beautiful daughter—Elizabeth Parker.
Why can’t I be somebody else
Somebody who isn’t too cool to believe
It’s okay to be just me . . .
What if I can’t remember who I’m trying to be?
I know it has been a while since I last wrote you, but it isn’t my fault. Things have been really busy lately. The funny thing is that I don’t know why. I don’t know why things are so busy. We are moving. We are moving across the country, and I don’t know why. Mom and Dad haven’t told me anything. All I know is that my life isn’t making sense any more.
I guess that everything started to get really weird a few years ago when Mom and Dad did something really weird. They were doing things that I just didn’t understand. Well, one thing was Dad. He started to cut back on working nights, taking pictures of Spider-man. That was one thing that I didn’t get. His pictures were awesome. I have every single one that he took saved in one of my photo albums. I don’t know how he could just give it up like that. He loved photography. How could he just walk away from something that was such a big part of his life?
Then the really weird thing happened. I have no idea what it was that caused it, but both Mom and Dad changed their names. I don’t know why they did. They never bothered to give me a straight answer. It seemed that they always skirted the question. I finally just gave up and stopped asking. It never really made any difference when I asked it. It isn’t really a big thing for me to overcome though. I still call them Mom and Dad. For others they are now Jeff and Nancy.
I don’t know what happened. I thought that things were going great. I mean, even without the Spider-man pictures things were great: Dad was working in the labs, and Mom was getting auditions. She even got a part in a play. But I won’t ever get to see it because she had to turn it down. Why you ask. We are moving, like I said earlier, moving across the country.
That is one of the bigger changes. The smaller ones are just feelings. It just feels like something is on Dad’s mind. He is always watching over me, making sure that I’m okay. He is treating me differently too, always acting like I am this porcelain doll that will break, or like he is sorry about something. I don’t know. Grandma, I miss you.
You see, Grandma? Things are just really weird at the moment. I don’t know what is going on with Mom and Dad, and they aren’t telling me anything. Nothing is making any sense anymore. Why did they need to change their names? There wasn’t anything wrong with them. I actually liked them. I thought it was fitting. It just . . . Parent’s don’t make any sense.
My last day at school was the worst. It was so hard to say good-bye to my friends. At least I wasn’t the only one in tears. Becky used enough tissues to fill a dumpster the day I left. But don’t worry, Josh used the entire situation to his advantage, cracking every joke he could when it presented itself. He did manage to get Becky out of her sad mood and into an angry one because she could believe that he was “cracking jokes at a time like this.” I know this might be asking a lot, but could you maybe check on Gracie from tome to time. I know that she was putting on a brave face. She was strong for all the good-byes, but I know her, I know that she is hurting the most.
I guess that it might have been a good thing that I don’t have a boyfriend. If I did, I don’t think that I could have left him. I really don’t think that I could have left. I know you understand. I know you do. You always understood when I would come over and tell you that I didn’t have a boyfriend, or that I didn’t go out with just anyone. You knew even when I was too embarrassed to tell you. That is one of the things I loved about you. You understood when I was too afraid to show anyone that part of me that is hidden from view. Do you remember what you told me? I don’t think I will ever forget it. You looked me in the eyes, and you gently took my hand and pulled me a little closer to you. “Every girl wants to find her soul mate, but you need to look in order to find them. I know he’s out there looking for you, too, Lizzie. You just need to find him. When you do, promise me that you’re going to hold on to him tightly and never let go.” Then you brought your hands, that always smelled of lavender to my cheek, smiled brightly, and then kissed my forehead. Did you know that whenever I smell even the smallest scent of lavender I think of you? I do. I think it will always remind me of you.
I haven’t had any luck in New York looking for my soul mate. I’m beginning to wonder if they even really exist. I start to question it, but then I look at Mom and Dad and I know they do. I know that there really are soul mates out there because there isn’t any way that you can look and the way Mom and Dad are together and doubt it. The way they are with each other when they think no one is looking. They are just so incredibly sweet. Do you really think that there is someone out there for me the way that Dad is for Mom?
I know you’ll say, “of course there is, Lizzie! You of all people deserve to be with your soul mate. Everyone deserves to be with their soul mate. Not one should be alone.” If your right Grandma, then I guess if he is in New York then I won’t be meeting him anytime soon. Maybe I’ll find him where we are headed. Dad says that were moving to some small town in New Mexico. I think he said it was Roswell. There was supposed to be some government conspiracy or cover-up about a so-called UFO crashing in 1947. The government says that it was a weather balloon, but many people are trying to dispute it. Hey, maybe I’ll find a soul mate in an alien from another planet. Yeah, like that will happen.
We are moving into the upstairs apartment of some café that fell into Mom’s possession years ago. They just closed it down for about ten years since we didn’t move to keep it in business and now that we are moving it is just too convenient to give up. So I am going to matriculating with next years graduating class at West Roswell High School, and I am also going to be waiting tables to help Mom and Dad get the old café back on it’s feet.
I should be unpacking my stuff so I can help Mom and Dad fix up the restaurant. They wanted to open it as soon as they can. They are “restoring it to what it once was” or at least what the old pictures were. Even the uniforms are reminiscent of what they had when it was first open. One thing that you have to give Dad, when he goes for something, he holds nothing back.
I have already spent too much time writing to you, Grandma. It is with this that I close. I love you. I always will. Even though you aren’t here with me, your words and advice will always be there for me, helping me make decisions. It is nice that I had you. I think you were the only one who actually saw me. You saw everything about me, from the dreamer and romantic to the way I am never happy unless I make someone else happy. “You can’t always please everyone, Lizzie. Sometimes you can’t please anyone. You just have to live life like you want it. You need to be happy with your life. Just be you. Everyone will love you. I do.” That is what you said to me. Remember? You said that when you were really sick. It was one of the last things that you said to me. And just like all the other things you have told me, I will carry it with me, forever.
How did you get so smart, Grandma? There is just this problem with being yourself . . . you are open. You hold your heart out in front of everyone. You wear it on your sleeve. I don’t want to get hurt. If I am what people want of me then they won’t have the opportunity to hurt me. You know?
I really should get started with unpacking I have to get to school tomorrow to start classes. If being the new girl wasn’t bad enough, I need to start in the second week of school, when they have already started class. I’ll write more to you later, Grandma. I love you.
She stood from the desk that was already set up against the wall in her room. She still could not get over that. Her room. This was her room, but it didn’t feel like her room. She was used to her old room in her old home. The home she spent sixteen years of her life growing in. This room didn’t bring any memories to her mind. “Maybe it will. Someday.” Her Mom told her as they started to pack up all her belongings: CDs, picture frames, candles, books, tapes, souvenirs, and photo albums. Liz specifically remembered packing up her photo albums with care.
She walked across the sparsely furnished room to the window that led to the balcony. With the letter in one hand she opened the window. Picking up a lighter and the small, worn can she walked outside where a setting sun on the horizon greeted her. She ignited the lighter and set fire to the letter she just wrote, throwing it in the worn can while she lightly murmured, “I miss you, and I hope you get the letter.” She looked skyward, following the small trail of smoke that drifted higher and higher into the sky that was now filled with oranges and reds and golds as the sun’s journey through the sky slowly made its vibrant descent.
Inhaling the cool desert air, she brought her arms to her chest crossing them in front as she softly hugged herself. This was a ritual that Liz started as a way to communicate to her grandmother. She knew that Aunt May was not her Grandmother in the true sense of the word, but it was her role in Liz’s life. To say she was anything less would be a lie. The love they felt for one another was more that of granddaughter and grandmother than anything else. Aunt May was a Mother to her dad, and that was good enough in Liz’s eyes for Aunt May to be a grandmother to her.
It did not feel right to Liz to turn her back on this sunset, so she sat on the ledge and looked west. She sat there quietly and let the colors and sensations flood her senses. She felt the warm rays of the sun lick at the exposed skin on her arms and legs. It kissed the skin on her face and warmed her before the cool night fell upon the desert. The warm reds and oranges slowly faded into the soft pinks and violets, then transforming, becoming the cool indigoes and blues of evening. Again Liz looked skyward and gasped when her vision was assailed by a thousand twinkling stars that hung above her as the intricately beautiful blanket of night wrapped itself around her.
Softly she crept back into her room, which was now dark since the sun no longer lighted the room with its brilliance. She quietly started putting things in their place, making sure that the box labeled “candles” was placed outside the window. She mentally told her self to arrange them tomorrow.
Sure she could have played music to work to, but after the sunset it just seemed wrong to make any sound. She moved about her room oblivious to the warm eyes that watched from the doorway. She moved with in inner grace, he noticed, believing wholeheartedly that it was something she acquired from her mother. He didn’t know why he did this: watch her. He did it throughout her life, silently watching as she slept, did homework, anything. “Dad.” She would say as she smiled and blushed. “What are you doing?” he never answered, and she just shrugged it off and laughed quietly.
[ edited 5 time(s), last at 26-Oct-2002 4:32:05 AM ]
|posted on 25-Jul-2002 7:53:04 PM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Whispers, murmurs, and soft voices filled the space between people and rooms. They flooded hallways and spilled onto the quad. They floated in the air as thick as molasses. The only thing was that the rumors were spreading faster than a wild fire in August.
“Did you hear?”
“The new girl is coming today.”
“I think she is from New York.”
“Do you think she met Spider-man?”
“I heard that she was expelled. That is why they left the state.”
“I heard that she set fire to the school gym in an attempt for attention.”
“I heard that her life was threatened by one of those costume freak enemies of Spider-man.”
“They are the owners of the Crashdown. That place has been closed for years.”
A tall blond made her way down the halls to meet with her friends. As she walked past rumors filled her senses, but she just ignored them.
“Isabel,” a female voice gasped as she passed. “It looks like your replacement has arrived. I am sure that she will easily fill your shoes. After all, she is from New York.”
Turning to face her, Isabel said, “I’ll wish her luck, Pam. She’s going to need it if she has you clawing at her.” After that and a quick insincere smile Isabel headed down the hall to meet her friends . . . her real friends, who actually cared about her.
Pam just pouted and glared at Isabel’s retreating back. “Who does Isabel Evans think she is? I am the one that ostracized her. I am telling you it is all because of that geek Alex whatever.” She turned quickly and headed in the opposite direction Isabel was heading. Her herd of followers scurried after her.
Pam was too busy seething in anger to notice “the new girl” getting out of her car with a very protective father asking her if she wanted a ride home from school.
“No, Dad. It’s okay. I’ll be fine. I can make it home on my own. I walked home before and I am pretty sure it is not going to be any more difficult from school.”
“Are you sure?” he asked one more time.
“Yes. I’ll be fine.” She leaned over and placed a kiss on his cheek before exiting the car. She looked up into the main building of the campus and with a deep breath she took her first step onto the campus.
Looks flew in her direction as she walked down the halls in the hopes that a sign that said “counselor’s office” would come into view. She did not want to look at people as their gazes fell on her, but she couldn’t help it. Her attention was drawn to the fact that their attention was drawn to her. She was normally one of the people that blended in. There was nothing special about her. She was just a normal girl. Her Dad often told her she was just like her mother, what he called the girl next door.
She wanted to get away from their prying glances. In order to do that she rushed down the halls, trying to get away from them all as fast as she could. Maybe, just maybe, she would not feel anxious, or scared. She did not know what they thought of her. Part of her wanted to know what was being whispered about her. Another part wanted to stay oblivious to what was happening around her. All she knew was that she wanted to get out of the hallways . . . She wanted to get out of the hallways right now.
“Oh! Sorry,” she said as she jolted to a halt in order to stop before she ran into someone. Running into someone was not one of the things Liz wanted to accomplish today. Make a complete fool of herself was never one of the items on her to do list. She was lucky, considering that she was not even thinking about where she was heading or if anyone was in her path.
“It’s okay,” he said as he looked at her, smiling. “You’re new here, right?”
“Yeah,” she said shyly, tucking strands of hair behind her ear. What she didn’t know was how endearing she looked whenever she did it. “Is it that obvious?”
“Well,” he said, not really answering her question.
“I’ll take that as a yes. I am guessing that there have to be some sort of rumors flying around about me by now. That is, if this is just like any other high school.” She quickly looked around the hall and noticed that there were a lot of eyes glancing at her.
“Yeah, I guess you could say that.”
The bell rung shrilly, signaling the beginning of passing period. And just like that all the students ended their gossip and turned to get to class.
“So . . .”
“Kyle,” he said, giving her the information that she was looking for.
“So, Kyle, I really need to get to the office. I have to get meet with my counselor and make a schedule. Could you point me in the direction of the counselor’s office?” She said looking as lost as she felt.
“It is right down this hall, and make a right where the first hall intersects with it,” he said as he used his hands to illustrate the directions he was supplying. “It is right next to the attendance office. The attendance office will be obvious. Usually there’s a line of students there. You can’t miss it.”
“Thanks,” she said, “Maybe I’ll see you around?” She started to walk backwards down the hall, but waited for an answer.
“Yeah, maybe. See you around.” He called over the sound of the students rushing to class.
It was then that Liz felt it. It was something that she never felt before. It was like a fire that was burning inside of her. It was just starting and the sparks of the flint were showering her. It heated her, warmed her, making her feel comfort in its intoxicating electricity.
A pair of eyes watched her every move, every gesture as she talked with Kyle. Never before had he seen someone who evoked this feeling in him. It was a feeling that took over his every thought. Everything made sense in the world. He was surprised how time stood still, slowing to a stop as soon as he saw her. Her soft smile, and glossy hair were now burned into his memory, as well as her expressive eyes and sweet voice. That voice would forever be in his thoughts, even if he only heard it for a split second.
She slowly turned in a circle. All she knew was that someone was looking at her. It wasn’t an uncomfortable stare. That much she knew. Her search went without avail. There was no one looking at her . . . at least no one that she could see. Then, as soon as she felt the feeling, it vanished. It disappeared which left her feeling cold and empty. It was as though she was . . . incomplete.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Come on, Kyle!”
“Can you wait a minute?”
“Kyle,” she pleaded. “Please? Please?” she said, dragging out the vowel sounds. “Come on. The only reason you did it was because I asked you to.”
“Okay, so I kinda coerced you to.”
“Kinda?” he asked again in exclamation. She really knew how to lie by omission.
“Okay. I get the picture. I did coerce you into it.” She admitted. “But it was for a good cause,” she quickly added.
He glared at her, giving her a withering stare that could push a five hundred pound sumo wrestler to the ground.
“I’m sorry. But you know me. You of all people know that I want to know the truth about people. I am not one to judge on rumors. You are lucky that I don’t, Kyle Valenti.”
His stare quickly faded, becoming a smile.
“That’s the Kyle Valenti I know. Now. What did you find out about the new girl?”
“Geez, Maria, you don’t waste any time.”
“You got that right, now spill. I want to know everything.”
“I don’t have much. All I know is—“
“Mister Valenti. Miss DeLuca. I know that your conversation must be extremely intriguing, but if you want to pass the test scheduled next week it would be wise to listen to the lecture. That is, unless you are an encyclopedia on European history.”
They shook their heads vehemently. One thing that they noticed was that you never verbally respond to Mrs. Feinblum. She will tear you apart. It is best to just do as she said. As soon as she turned back to the board their eyes went to their open books and blank papers.
They stayed like that for about a minute before Maria began the conversation again.
“So?” she said in a whisper out of the corner of her mouth.
“So, what?” he whispered back, looking around the room making sure that their conversation was undetected.
“Come on, Kyle.”
“Can you wait a minute?” He really didn’t want to have Mrs. Feinblum on his case.
“Kyle,” her voice begged.
“Oh, no! We are not starting this same conversation all over again.”
“Then tell me.”
“Can’t it wait until after class? Mrs. Feinblum is going to rip us apart if she catches us talking again.”
“No, it can’t. Now tell me, Valenti. What is her name? Is she nice? Is she annoying?”
“I don’t know her name. She is nice, and no, she is definitely not annoying. If you want anymore than that you will have to go to Isabel.”
She looked at him, shocked. She didn’t think anyone knew about that.
“Yeah. I know that you have Iz on some sort of reconnaissance mission, too. You just really lucked out.”
She pursed her lips together. He was really enjoying that she was getting next to no information from him. “I guess I did since I can’t trust you to get any useful information. I mean do you ever use your brain?”
“You attacked me this morning. I had next to no time to think about what I was going to do. Besides, there isn’t much I can get from a person in thirty seconds. Don’t worry about it. I am sure Iz will get something. I mean she is spending practically all morning with her so show her around the school.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Liz sat in the uncomfortable vinyl chairs in the counseling office. She had already met with her counselor and formed a schedule to fit both the requirements as well as Liz’s specific tastes. As far as Liz was concerned things were going great. She had had a great morning, aside from the attention she got . . . and that weird feeling.
The second hand on the clock seemed to move at the pace of a snail, clicking and ticking as each second past by. She didn’t know why she was waiting here. She had already filled out all the paperwork, signing here and there. When she had to go over it with her parents wasn’t as bad as most people thought. It was enjoyable.
She smiled back on the memory. She really didn’t understand what the big deal was with other teenagers. You were always hearing of these big blown out arguments, yet she had yet to have one that huge. I guess it is all about truth, she thought. As long as everyone is honest then problems can be avoided.
She loved the bond that she had with her Mom and Dad. They always told everything, and she loved the trust they had in each other. There were no secrets.
“Miss Parker,” Liz heard someone say, rather loudly to her. She shook her head and squinted slightly. This person really was yelling. Liz did not know what the reason was. There was no sound to talk over. There was no music, no talking, no noise except the ticking of the clock, which really was not that loud. “This is Isabel Evans. She is going to be showing you around the campus. I suggest that you pay attention. Getting lost is not wise since passing period is not as long as it may seem, and the halls do tend to get rather crowded.”
Liz smiled and then looked at Isabel. At least she wasn’t the only one who was feeling discomfort at the loud yelling in her ears. The ringing slowly faded in her ears and she nodded her acceptance of getting passed along like a holiday fruitcake from one person to another.
“Hi!” Isabel said smiling, her white teeth beaming, as her shinny golden tresses danced about her shoulders. Her eyes sparkled with happiness. She extended her hand to Liz, each nail perfectly manicured and polished to perfection.
“Hi,” Liz said, taking Isabel’s hand.
“So, are you ready to go, Miss Parker?” Isabel asked. She did feel a little awkward calling a fellow student Miss, but that was all she knew.
Liz laughed lightly, “Liz,” she said. “Sorry I didn’t tell you. I guess I forgot that you didn’t know. It is still weird to be here. I am just used to people knowing who I am, you know?”
“Yeah, I guess this would be hard, but it is really nice here, contrary to what you might think. We better get going before Ms. Neil starts to yell at us to get moving.”
“Yeah, what was up with that?” Liz asked as she pulled her now heavy bag off the chair and lugged it onto her back.
“Her hearing aid must have failed or something. It does that a lot. You just have to try to get used to it.”
“Or avoid coming here,” Liz said, joking.
“Yeah, that works too. Let me take a look at your schedule, and before we start walking around we can stop at your locker and drop off your things.” Isabel walked out of the office, holding the door open for a struggling Liz.
“Is it me or do textbooks get bigger and heavier every year?”
“The books,” Isabel supplied as she looked at Liz’s locker assignment. “Your locker’s over here.”
“How do you know? There are so many.”
“Oh, my locker number is 617, only six away from yours. You’re lucky. The odds are the top, evens the bottom.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want one of these books falling on me.”
As Liz looked at the combination of her locker on the slip of paper Isabel studied her schedule.
“We can either tour the entire campus first, or I can show you where your classes are. But the most efficient way would be to point out where your classes are while we are on the campus tour.”
Liz shut the locker door and replied, “I vote for choice number three, and maybe you could tell me about some the rumors that are spreading about me.”
“Only if you tell me which are fact and which are false,” Isabel said as she started to walk with Liz out to the quad. The best place to start was always at the beginning. Just by talking with Liz for a couple minutes she already knew that most of the rumors were going to be false. There was no way, in Isabel’s mind, that this girl could have been expelled or committed arson.
Isabel did hope that Pam Troy wouldn’t get Liz caught up with her false pleasantries. One thing you did not want to happen was get hooked or caught by her. Isabel knew from experience that if Pam Troy got to you, it is highly probable that she would tear you to shreds, that is, if you were on her bad side.
*Note: The lyrics used were from the song “Somebody Else” by Bleu off of the Spider-man soundtrack.
“Hello?” Alex said as he waved his hand in front of Max’s dazed expression. When Max didn’t move or notice Alex’s moving hand he spoke again. “Hey! Max! Max? Are you there?” Again there was no response. Alex, thinking that there must be something important that Max was looking at, he turned to face the direction Max was. He found himself staring at the corner where the white surface of the dry-erase board met with the window. “Apparently you are seeing something that I am just not getting.”
The sun was shinning and the grass on the quad was neatly mowed. The usual tree was still standing in the same place it was earlier, and the usual students were filling the space quickly as they all traveled to their next class. The board was wiped clean of the key points and terms of the lecture and the bright white gleam of the glare was still apparent. There was something Max was looking at, keeping him in rapt attention. What was it?
“Hey Alex,” Maria said, poking her head into the empty classroom. “I am waiting for my two escorts to Math. There is no way that I am going to get there without being pushed around if I’. not flanked by you two.”
She walked in to the room to see that Max was staring out onto the quad, his eyes unblinking, and Alex doing the same thing. Both guys were staring out looking at the ordinary scene pass. Maria, wanting to know what the big deal was, went to look out the window as well. Now there were three, one sitting, two standing, all were looking.
“Okay,” Maria whispered. “Give me a hint. What are we looking at because I am not seeing anything?”
Silence greeted her question as both Alex and Max were looking out the window, not paying attention to anything else. She looked at them once more, and then she looked out the window. When nothing interesting happened she looked at them.
“Am I the only sane one in here?” she asked as she looked at them, not seeing what they were looking at. “Hello?” She exclaimed when no one answered her. She really needed to get to class, and these two looked like they were in their own world. A world that Maria was sure that she was not getting because they were quite content to look out the window . . . at nothing! She swatted Alex’s arm for punctuation about her restlessness.
“Geez, Maria!” Alex said as he sidestepped away from her. She was a little too loud for his ear to be an inch from her mouth. That and she did hit pretty hard for a girl.
“Come on. We need to get to class,” She said while she walked to the door.
“I already tried to get Max, but he was doing this weird space out thing . . .” he said while he extended his arm to point in Max’s direction. When he looked at Max to see that he was still in the same position he was a minute ago. His arm fell to his side in shock that Max was still sitting in the uncomfortable desk. “That he is still doing. I can’t believe your shriek didn’t get him to snap out of it.”
Maria’s expression was pained when she heard him. “I do not shriek.” She stated calmly, but walked back over to Max. “Come on, girlfriend. We have class and I can’t be late.” She grabbed his hand and tried to pull him to his feet.
His prone form still sat in the desk, unaffected by Maria’s futile tugs and pulls. She released his hand and stood directly in front of him. Her hands flanked his cheeks while she smashed them together, giving Max the lips of a blowfish. “I need to get to class or Mr. Chalmbers is going to give me detention,” she stated calmly, succinctly, “and I will have to use the eraser room for what it really is for.” When he didn’t respond to her or even look at her she continued. “Now you are going to get up and get me to class on time or else I will make you over into the ugliest woman you ever saw.”
His eyes blinked and focused on Maria, her hands still squeezing his cheeks. “Mawea,” he said. “Why aw you squishing my pace?”
Hearing Max talk like that put Alex into fits of laughter. Alex had one of those laughs that were infectious. Once he was laughing everyone in the vicinity was laughing as well.
“Why am I squishing your pace?” Maria repeated between bursts of laughter. “Hurry up, let’s get to class.” Together the three of them left the empty classroom, Alex and Maria stumbling on their feet as they tried to run, but their knees buckled from the laughing fits they were in. Max was confused out of his mind while Alex and Maria were complaining of stitches in their sides.
They quickly traveled the halls, trying to make it to their class before the second bell rang. From the opposite side of the corridor Isabel and Liz were running at them.
“Is that Iz?” Maria asked. She was finally partially calm. “Hey, Iz!” She exclaimed.
“Can’t talk now. See you at lunch,” she said speedily as she rushed past the three of them, Liz no more than one stride behind.
It was then that she felt it . . . again. It came and went as fast as lightning and twice as fleeting. She felt it in her heart. She felt it in her blood as it surged through her veins. The thing was that he felt it too. That fleeting feeling of completion washed over them as their paths crossed for no more than a second. It electrified her, making her more alert, extra sensitive. She felt everything. She felt the wind blow through her hair, the movement of every single strand. Internally, she felt the blood pumping through her body, the rise and fall of her chest, the expansion and contraction of her lungs. Every single sensation was magnified for those brief moments.
He responded in the same fashion. His body came alive for one brief moment. His senses grew more acute. And when her hair slipped over his bare arm, it was more luxurious than any other feeling he ever experienced. It felt softer than silk and smoother than stepping into warm, still water. He heard every noise clearer, but didn’t hear anything past his steady breathing and his heart pounding in his ears like a drum.
Then . . . something surprising happened. Liz felt something she had never felt before. Something unknown. Something unfelt. Never before, in all her life, had she ever felt something feel like this before. It was not good. It was not bad. It was . . . different. Her heart fluttered for a second, skipping a beat before continuing its normal cadence. What was that, she wondered as she continued to follow Isabel down the hall. She brought her right hand to cover her heart to feel it’s beat. Nothing out of the ordinary, she thought after observing that the feeling had passed. It must have been nothing then. Or at least that was what she thought.
Liz took a quick glance behind her at the three retreating backs, hoping to find something there even when she knew that nothing was there. She quickly turned her head to face forward. She did not want to run into anyone or anything on her first day. One close call was enough for her. Satisfied that she imagined it for the second time she allowed the feeling to slip from her mind. By the time she turned the corner the electrified feeling was forgotten. Or was it? Was she only fooling herself to think it could—would—disappear with such effortlessness?
Max turned his head to look behind him. He too was hoping to find the culprit for the exponential increase of his senses. He noticed that it, too, was waning, quickly disappearing as soon and as fast as it had made its unexpected appearance. He wanted to see something so he could place where the feeling, the sensation, had come from, but nothing was there. Nothing was behind him other than the regular picture of the hallway. What was that . . . that feeling? Was it—
“What was that about?” Alex asked as they continued to hurry to class, his question interrupting Max’s thoughts.
“I don’t know,” Maria said quickly, “but I don’t have time to think about it now. Was that the new girl?”
“I think so. Iz was assigned as her tour guide,” Alex said.
“Yeah, okay. Bye guys.” Maria quickly turned and ran into the classroom, praying that she beat the bell while Alex pulled Max down the hall towards the boys’ locker room.
“This is just what I need: get tired before PE even begins,” Alex said while they continued to run, maneuvering their way through the halls.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Ah,” he sighed as he looked out the window. The sun was shining through the clouds, brightening the crowded streets. He knew it was premature to be thinking the way he was, but it couldn’t be helped. He was supposed to hear the final word on the matter today, that way he could put a close to this chapter of his life.
There was a quiet rapping on his office door. The messenger has arrived. “Come in,” he said, still not moving from his place.
She noticed the pleased expression on his face mirrored off the glass, while he looked out the window. She walked over with a manila file folder in her hands. The tiny stiletto heels clicked in the normal staccato fashion they usually did when she walked over the marble floor. Her knee-length dress clung to her curves and hugged her thighs seductively. The bright shade of crimson offset the dark hair that cascaded down her back in soft ringlets. She placed the folder on the desk and proceeded to walk over to him, deciding to look at the beautiful skyline too. They stood in perfect silence as her vibrant emerald eyes raked over the massive buildings and crowded streets.
“Pleased?” she asked turning to face him.
“Quite,” he stated clearly. Still he did not look at her.
“Is the view agreeable to you?” she asked as she looked at him. Her double meaning did not pass him.
He looked at her, leering. His eyes sliding over every inch of her exposed toned flesh, lingering on the curves her dress accentuated before he returned his attention to the view of the city below him. “Very much so.”
“May I ask why?”
“Look out the window. What do you see?” he paused to let her examine what was before her. “The city, filled with people going about their everyday lives, but something is missing.”
“I see,” she replied as she continued to look out the window.
“Someone they placed their trust in to protect them from the evils in the world. A person that was to combat their fears and keep them safe from harm. He was there for them for years upon years. Now, look. What don’t you see?” He stopped speaking.
He stepped closer to the window and she did the same. The silence was deafening as they gazed upon the street filled with cars below while people that scurried along the sidewalks. Gigantic buildings jutted out from the pavement below where they were impaled into the foundation.
“Spider-man.” The answer was clear, crisp as the words left his lips. “Isn’t the world a better place with him where he is—dead, nothing but ash swirling in the breeze?”
“Is that what you believe?” she asked. “Is that what pleased you? That Spider-man is gone?”
He nodded his head once. That one nod answered all the questions that she asked.
“Then my news will come as quite a shock.”
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 25-Jul-2002 8:03:55 PM ]
|posted on 25-Jul-2002 7:54:25 PM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Isabel leaned against the wall, her chest heaving as her legs grew weak from their run across the campus. Liz, too, was tired after their vigorous run. Even after all that effort they still didn’t get Liz to class on time.
“Sorry,” Isabel said between gasps for breath.
“It’s okay,” Liz said breathlessly, brushing the stray hair that had fallen over her face. “I needed to go for a jog,” she said smiling.
They laughed as Isabel slowly walked over to sit on the stairs.
“I thought that they said we had two periods to do the tour?” Liz asked.
“They did. It is just that the tour is done. And you are even up to date on the latest teacher gossip. I thought that since we were done you could actually attend your third class instead of missing it for the tour.”
“It’s okay. Besides, I owe you information now. If you remember we had a deal,” Liz said as she, walked to the stairs to sit.
“Now you’re talking,” Isabel said smiling. “I am ready to hear all about which rumors are fiction and which are fact.”
“Okay,” Liz nodded. “Shoot.”
“You’re from New York.”
“Fact. I actually thought that the rumors would be a little more wild than that,” Liz said.
“Believe me. They get weirder,” Isabel said laughing.
“Your parents are the owners for that restaurant, The Crashdown.”
“Oh. Anyway that we could get free food?” Isabel asked joking.
“I’ll see what I can do,” Liz said smiling and laughing at Isabel’s last comment.
“Let’s see. What was another one of the wild ones?” Isabel asked as she started to think to herself. “Oh! Okay. This one was interesting. You were expelled from school.”
“That one is false. I just transferred so Mom and Dad could move here for the restaurant. Next.”
“You met Spider-man.”
“Yes, I did.” Liz’s expression was unclear. It was a constant wavering between a smile and indifference.
“Really?” Isabel eyes sparkled from excitement. “What was he like? Did he seem old?”
Liz giggled at Isabel’s reaction. “Yeah, he was nice. I don’t think he seemed old. I mean . . . I don’t know.”
“Okay. I’ll let that one slide for now,” she replied, her eyes narrowing, showing her seriousness, or mock seriousness as the case may be. “Let’s see. Another one of the rumors was that your life was threatened by one of the nemeses of Spider-man. I really doubt that one is true.”
Liz did not answer at first. Isabel saw the change in Liz’s mood and her eyes widened into the size of saucers. Her mind raced as she thought about what Liz was telling her nonverbally. This seemed unreal.
“You were?” she asked as the air came rushing from her lungs. Isabel wasn’t sure of what she would have done if she were in that situation.
“Yeah. It happened a right before Mom and Dad said that we were moving. It wasn’t something that big. I mean, yeah it happened and everything, but I’m fine.”
“Were you . . . were you scared out of your mind?”
“Truthfully?” Liz asked.
Isabel nodded her reply. Of course she wanted the truth. Things were bad enough that she was withholding a key element about her biology from everyone that knew her. More secrets would only make things worse if they became friends.
“Yeah. It was.”
They were silent for a minute. Each lost in their thoughts. Seconds ticked by while they sat there, suddenly introspective after Liz’s last admission. That was a lot that she just unloaded and Isabel wasn’t sure what to do. It never crossed her mind that something that big happened to Liz. She thought that the reason Liz encountered Spider-man was something small, like him returning her stolen purse or something like that. This was big.
“Uh, let’s start walking to your next class. That way we aren’t rushing to get there.”
“Okay,” Liz said.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Things appeared to be going much better this period for Max and Alex. For starters, Max did not turn into a human vegetable and start to space out in the middle of class. What happened earlier still haunted Alex’s thoughts. It wasn’t like what happened was bad. It just was not the normal everyday Max. They had not been friends that long, but Alex felt that he knew Max long enough to know that he did not space out. He was always levelheaded, introspective, quiet. Whatever happened earlier was different from the norm.
Alex continued his run around the track, his eyes followed Max. Everything right now was normal. Nothing seemed out of place, nothing seemed out of Max Evans’ normal routine. So what happened earlier?
One more lap, Alex thought to himself, and then I’ll ask him about what happened earlier. He did think that it was funny to see a different Max. The way that he just stared at nothing outside a window was more amusing than he thought it would have been. To make it even more amusing was what got Max out of it: Maria threatening to give him a makeover. Alex shook his head as he continued running with his regular pace.
Max continued to race around the track. He was also deep in thought, but his thoughts were about something different than Alex’s. He wanted to know what that weird feeling was that he had today. It wasn’t something he imagined, was it? If it was, how could he have imagined it more than once? But it had to be his imagination. There was no way that it could have been real. The sensations and emotions that feeling evoked were extraordinary, phenomenal. He had never felt something like it before, so it had to be false. There was no way that it could be happening now. It didn’t make any sense.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“What news?” he asked. He was already becoming displeased. Even though he hadn’t heard her news, he was already constructing a plan on how he could efficiently rectify the issue. He did have more information now than he had years ago. The new gadgets and appliances that they had at their disposal were amazing.
She carefully considered her next phrase. Of course she did not wish to lie to him, not in the least, but if she said the wrong thing her job would slip through her fingers. Turning her back to him, she walked to the desk again in order to retrieve the file filled with information, distressing information.
“It appears that the fire was unsuccessful. The search was completed. No charred remains. No scorched skeletons. I am sorry, sir, but there was no trace of Spider-man. He was not killed in the blaze that incinerated the plant.”
With a steady hand she opened the file and flipped through to the information she wished to show to support what she had just stated.
He made no move to face her. He stayed motionless, simply staring out the window at the scenery before him. In order to look at him she concentrated on his reflection, studying his cold, unwavering features, which were frozen in place at the recently spoken news.
Seconds ticked by in the quiet room.
Nothing happened as seconds turned to minutes.
It was enough to suffocate a person. The tension was thick enough to drown in.
“So. Spider-man lives,” he said quietly, his voice gruff.
“Ye-yes,” she said replying. The single word getting caught in her throat and coming out as a stammer, making her sound indecisive.
He, too, utilized the sheen surface of the window to observe her. It was through this window that their gazed met. His eyes were cold enough to freeze the oceans over. This was something she did not expect. She was expecting anger, blind anger. But he was reacting in a different manner.
He was beyond anger. He seethed with refined rage. It bubbled within him, frothy and deadly. His calculating, malicious eyes gored into her. His strong, powerful hands were at his side, clenched into tight fists in a grip that would surely crush rocks into a fine powder.
“How could he escape?” His voice was crisp and clear, sharp as a samurai’s blade. “Octavius was barely able to escape with his life. The only exit collapsed soon after that. There was no time for him to get out.”
“We don’t know. No one knows.”
“Why is it that he has not shown up? It has been weeks without a sighting.”
She did not reply.
“What of the hostage? Have there been any bodies found? There is no way that he could have saved her as well as himself in that short a time.”
The hostage: a young girl who was captured simply because she was chosen on a whim. She was saved by Spider-man on numerous occasions. It was believed that Spider-man had a special fondness for her. That is what everyone thought who worked on this mission. Only one knew her importance. One.
“No remains have been found. The entire premises had been searched. Nothing that could possibly lead to an escape has been found. There were no widows broken in the room they were sealed in.” She was quickly losing her nerve. He was not exploding yet, but she knew that it was only a matter of time before he exploded like a massive rhyolitic volcano, destroying everything in sight. She just knew that she did not want to be there when it happened.
“How . . . is . . . that . . . possible?” He annunciated every word, stressing every syllable. There was no way that escape was possible, they tested that. The fact that there were no windows broken, the only way of escape, proves that they did not leave the building. There was no way they could have escaped. How? How is it that there were no bodies, no remains? How did Spider-man evade his demise yet again?
“I don’t know,” she whispered.
He spun on his heel to face her. His heartless gaze, enough to bring any man to his knees cowering in fear, drilled into her eyes.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The wind was warm as it blew over the heated bodies that lay on the grass. Those who have finished their walk around the track after their mile was finished lay there, relaxing. The sun’s rays shone down on the glistening arms and legs, which were slick with sweat.
Alex spotted Max’s reclining form and strode over with purpose, a rare intensity flashing in his eyes.
“Hey Alex!” Max said, greeting his friend.
“Hey,” was the reply. “So, what was going on?” he asked as he sat down next to him.
“About?” Max asked. He was completely confused about what Alex was asking. Something was going on?
“About? You don’t get to ask the questions right now. Max, Maria really needed to get to class on time, and you almost made her late. You know that Chalmbers has a very strict tardy policy. If Maria’s Mom were called about another she would get grounded. I never thought that you would do something like that, Max.”
“Alex,” Max asked, confused about what Alex was talking about. “What are you talking about? She wasn’t late.”
“I know that, but only because we sprinted to get her there on time. We spent about five minutes trying to get you out of a trans or stupor or something. You spaced out.”
Max laughed. He then saw that Alex was serious. He spaced out? That never happens. What was going on?
Max might have forgotten, but it was someone. A certain someone that captured his attention and awakened his soul from dormancy that caused him to lose track of time.
“Alex, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened. I remember the beginning of lecture, and then we were running down the halls to get to class.”
Alex looked at him, trying to see if Max was serious. He never knew Max to be anything but sincere and truthful. There would be no reason for him to be lying right now. But it did not seem like Max would ever behave like he was earlier. He already acted differently today, what was to say that he wasn’t lying now?
Max’s eyes held such earnest emotions. It was clear that he was feeling remorse for what had transpired, and Alex knew it. “Don’t tell me your sorry. Tell Maria when she starts in on you with her tirade at lunch.”
“She’s going to be that mad?”
“Yup. Good luck dealing with that.”
“I’m going to need it.” Max stood up, brushing off the sprigs of grass, which clung to his clothing. He extended his hand to Alex, helping him to his feet.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“It’s okay . . . For me to talk about it.”
They had walked through the halls to their lockers, removed the books they would need for their next class, and walked to the seats close to Liz’s next class. Minutes were spent in silence as they tapped their fingers, neither one wanting to make the first move to break the silence. That is until Liz decided to. In one statement she eased the tension.
“It’s not that,” she said as she shook her head. Her long blond locks danced around her shoulders as she did. “I just never thought that it happened, so it came as a shock. If you want to talk about it.”
Liz nodded her head slowly.
“What else was flying around about me?” she asked shyly.
Isabel looked at her. Silently, her eyes questioned. She did not want to continue if Liz was not up to it. She had been pressed for information before and swore afterwards that she would never inflict that on another person.
Liz replied with her own look. Her eyes were confident and warm. There were no tears glistening.
“Well, there was on that said you burnt down the school gym.”
Liz’s eyes widened.
“Does that mean it is true?!” Isabel couldn’t believe this! The most outrageous rumors were turning out to be true. How is it possible? Liz looked like just a regular, normal, average girl.
“Not totally. It was actually more involved than that. It wasn’t a gym, and it wasn’t my fault.”
“Do you want to talk about that?” Isabel asked.
With a small nod, Liz agreed. “This is actually tied into getting held hostage by one of Spider-man’s arch nemeses. It seems like I have the worst luck when it comes to the saying “being at the right place at the right time.” I was always where a reporter would love to be when something happened. It was because of that I tended to be put in the role of the damsel in distress. It was always little things though. I’m not saying they weren’t scary. I was scared, but Spider-man was always there. It didn’t matter if it was Mysterio or Shocker. He was there.
“Someone got the idea that I was special to Spider-man or something like that and decided to hold me hostage. I was taken to this power plant or chemical plant, some sort of plant. I don’t remember. They drugged me with something.”
Isabel was listening to the entire story. Excitement laced her features as she hung off of every word. She leaned forward, towards Liz, barely sitting on her seat. Things like this never happened in Roswell. There were times when it got to be so boring. Sometimes she wished that there were more that happened here, something of interest.
“I was the bait, the fire was the hook. It was some big plot set-up to kill Spider-man. There was no way out. I am still puzzled as to how he got us out. Of course, it would have helped if I weren’t passed out from smoke inhalation. The last thing I remember were the flames. They were everywhere as tall as the ceiling. Somehow Doctor Octopus made his way out of there.”
Isabel’s shocked expression stared at Liz. That was unbelievable. It seemed like something you would see in a movie. It was like one of those Batman movies. But this was different. This was real . . . and Liz actually lived it.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“This is what we are going to do. If he is not dead, then he is still alive. He is out there somewhere. I don’t care as to why he is staying hidden. I just want him dead. He has been a thorn in my side for far too long. When I finally think that he is dead, he isn’t. He has cheated me for the last time.”
“I don’t care how, but you will find out where he is. Get someone to accompany you should anything happen to one of you the other will be able to continue. We have gone about this in the wrong way. I shall squeeze the life out of him with my bare hands if I must. Things have gone wrong when elaborate plans have been set up.”
The intercom on his desk beeped quietly. “I’m sorry to interrupt, but someone is here to see you. A Mister Octavius, sir.”
“I’ll be with him in a minute.”
She began to walk to the door when his voice rent the air, assailing her senses, stopping her a few steps from the door.
“That fire was the last time he foiled my plans,” he said strongly. “There will be no mistakes this time, for when you find him I will be there to get the job done. Get ready to live in a world—my world: a world without hope . . . a world without Spider-man.”
She stiffened before she continued to walk to the door. A shaky hand opened the door that led to the waiting area outside his office. A man standing in a long beige coat and sunglasses stood in a corner and approached as soon as she stepped away from the door, continuing down the hall to the elevators. There was work to be done and research to be started.
The mysterious man entered the room quickly, shutting the door behind him.
“I take it you’ve heard the latest news.”
“Of course. It is all over the first page of the Bugle,” he said, his voice thick with an accent.
“I thought as much. It is actually a good thing that there was no connection between that fire and Spider-man. They are simply elated that there were no fatalities in the blaze.”
“Where do you want to go from here?” the coated man asked.
He didn’t reply.
“What is the next step, King Pin?”
“So? Do you think we’re ready?” Nancy Parker asked her husband as he emerged from the back room, his arms full of heavy boxes.
“I would hope so. We have enough inventory.”
“Oh, Jeff, let me help you with that.” She walked over to him with the intent to take the top box, but when she tried to take it, it was too heavy. “On the other hand maybe you should finish.”
“That was what I was thinking,” he said. She couldn’t see his face, but knew that there was a smile plastered across his features.
“Do you think that is wise?” she asked as she leaned against the counter, next to where he was placing the large boxes. Her arms were crossed and her head tilted to the right as she tried to look deep into his blue eyes.
“Do you think it is wise to use your strength so openly? I don’t think anyone would be able to lift these boxes three at a time.” She smiled at him. His face was smudged with the dust and dirt from the box. It was on his cheek, forehead, and nose.
“I am sure it doesn’t matter. I am just lifting boxes.”
“Okay,” she said giving in. There was no need to start a silly argument on something this trivial. “Go clean your face while I unpack the inventory. We are opening today.”
He walked over to her, to gently touch her cheek before he left, but she evaded. “No! Don’t you touch me with those hands! They are covered in dirt and dust.” Her voice was filled with merriment as she jumped from foot to foot, trying to stay out of his grasp.
“Oh, you don’t really think that is going to work.” He lunged for her, his arms extended with the purpose of pulling her into an embrace.
“Ahh!” she yelped as she jumped back and started to run to the back room.
“Gotcha!” he said as his arms surrounded her, pulling her into his chest. His fingers tickled her stomach relentlessly as tears formed in the corner of her eyes.
Her laughter echoed through the room and brought a smile to his face. “Okay. Okay,” she gasped between bouts of laughter. “Will you let go of me and take a shower? We have a restaurant to open this afternoon,” she said breathlessly.
“Okay,” he said as he released her and went up the back steps, but not before gingerly kissing her temple. For a few seconds she forgot about what they needed to accomplish in the few hours they had left before opening. She pressed her back to him, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of his strong body behind her. She pressed her lips to the strong line of his jaw in a soft kiss.
“Things’ll be okay for us. We’ll be fine. We will,” she said before walking out to the boxes that needed unpacking. She knew that he had been worried about things. She knew that he would always be worried. She felt that there was no need to be worried. They dealt with things before they left. Spider-man was dead. He died in that fire.
Jeff Parker walked down the hall that was starting to look more and more like “their” hall. Pictures were hung on each side of the hall that lead down to their rooms pictures of that depicted each of them during different times in their lives. But the majority of the pictures depicted Liz at different ages of her life. He stopped in front of one specific one and smiled. It was one of his more favorite pictures.
Liz smiled sweetly as she sat on a soft blanket, which was spread over warm golden sand. A book lay open in her lap and her hair blew about her as the soft spring breeze rolled over the beach. Her warm brown eyes danced as she smiled while the picture was taken. The now Nancy Parker, at the time the photo was taken she was still Mary Jane, smiled from her place next to Liz and leaning against her husband while she sat between his legs. A script lay open in her lap with its pages flapping in the wind, and her calm azure eyes, which were the same color as the ocean in the background, glittered while facing the camera. He too smiled for the picture. His right hand rested comfortably on his wife’s bare leg, and his sapphire eyes mirrored the same look of contentment that the females expressed. The crashing surf lay in the background. White foam floated on the blue wave that collided against the massive, jagged rocks on the shore.
In every picture he was reminded of things that he loved and a cause that he hated. It was this cause that he worked for, a cause he sacrificed for. It was also a cause that took the most from him. There was nothing he could do. No matter what he tried to do, he knew it would be pointless. He tried to avoid thinking about it, but as Liz grew older ignoring and avoiding the thought grew harder as well. The question of when plagued his thoughts.
He knew that she had a question about it as well. It didn’t help that she took after him and his love for science. It was easy to walk around the question when she was little. The older she grew, the harder it grew to avoid it.
Even though he ignored it, the thought in the back of his mind still continued to persist. He wanted to believe that what he was told would prove to be false, but there was nothing to support that thought. She was never wrong. In all the time that he had known her there was never a time that she mislead him.
Not believing in her once put him in a tailspin, and he did not want to go through that again. So he was left with only one way to go. He needed to do as she said and be prepared for what would happen.
It all started . . . again . . . that night years ago. When he finally thought he could lead a semi-normal existence she showed up in his life again. And she came with news that he would have never expected. It was something far above what he ever thought about.
“What do you want now? I thought that I was done with . . . that test.”
“Just because I am back does not mean that I am here for you, Spider-man. It seems that another is destined for something greater than the basic life.”
“If I isn’t me that you want, then why did you bring me to you again?”
“It is someone close to you that I am here about. Someone you love.”
“Mary Jane! What happened?!”
“It is not Mary Jane, Spider-man. But that answer is not that far off. It is not your Aunt May either. You don’t know who it is yet . . . but you will, and you will love this person, possibly more than Mary Jane. Keep your eyes open, Spider-man. I will talk with you when the person appears in your life.”
“What are you, who are you talking about? I could never love anyone more than Mary Jane.”
“It simply isn’t my place to say, Spider-man. Everything is part of a plan, and it just so happens that I will need you in another part of another plan. I am just here to tell you that I will require your services once again. Think of this meeting as a prelude to another meeting, a bigger meeting.”
And it was. That encounter was just the beginning of things that were to come. Somehow he knew that things would grow to be more complicated.
A week after that meeting Mary Jane told him that she had news she needed to share with him. He was expecting that it was a part or a callback or an audition. He never imagined that she was pregnant. It was then that he understood. It was the child that Mary Jane safely held inside her nurturing body was the person that he would come to love, a love that could possibly surpass the love he carried for his wife.
It was later that night that the bigger meeting took place. Saying that he was surprised when he found Mary Jane there as well was an understatement.
“I have brought you both here for a reason. I believe it to be advantageous if you both knew what lay ahead. It seems that you are the chosen two. Quite a coincidence considering that I have already used your help in a previous plot, Peter Parker.”
He pushed the thoughts even farther away. He had things to do. Even if what was said was true, none of the precursor’s have occurred. Things were amazing. They were starting anew. His beautiful, loving wife was downstairs, setting the tables in the restaurant. His brilliant daughter was at school. Things were normal . . . more normal than he had ever experienced in a long time. With a spring in his step, he strode to the master bedroom to take a quick shower.
[ edited 2 time(s), last at 25-Jul-2002 8:05:08 PM ]
|posted on 25-Jul-2002 7:59:50 PM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The sun filtered through the trees and onto the tables set outside the cafeteria. The sky was colored a deep, clear, crisp cerulean adding color to the brightness of the hot sun from its place in the sky. Students milled from table to table, from indoors to outdoors, each trying to get their lunch or meet with friends to talk before the period was over. Even though some denied it, they were all thinking about the new girl. She did have quite a past following her, or preceding her as the case may be.
The bright rays of sunshine shone down on two heads, heating up beneath the powerful rays. A light breeze blew through their hair, leaving them with windswept manes. They conversed as they walked into the main building, their lockers holding the books they would need for the classes following the lunch break.
“So?” The blond one said as she tugged on her friends arm. She had been waiting all day to find out some kind of concrete information about this new girl that they had attending Roswell. It isn’t everyday that a girl from New York comes into their town, becoming one of them. “I want to know everything.”
“She was quiet. Didn’t say much.” The friend replied as she started to turn the dial attached to the locker, inputting the combination to open the door.
“I guess she’s normal. I mean she didn’t volunteer any information or anything. Do you think she is smart?”
“I don’t know. Maybe?” She said, opening her locker and removing a few books, closing the door and walking down the hall once more to her friends locker.
“I would think so. I mean . . . from what I heard she has some like really smart classes. Janine said that she saw her schedule.”
“What do you think Pam is going to do?”
“I don’t know. She did say something about bringing her in. I guess we can find out later. Things never stay quiet where Pam is concerned. If she is in or out we will know.”
“Hi Pam,” they said in unison when she came walking down the hall. Her stride was strong and confident.
“Whatever,” she replied while waving her hand, dismissing their comments.
Their smiles slid down their faces at her reaction. Their new look shot knives at her back.
“What a bitch!” one said while the other nodded in agreement.
“God, she deserves everything that is coming to her. Isabel was the guide for the new girl, right?”
“I think so.”
“Well, I hope that Isabel gets her before Pam does. No one deserves to be with that viper.”
They walked together down the hall to a quieter section of the school.
“The quad, the quad,” Liz said as she repeated where Isabel said that she would meet her for lunch. Liz was completely grateful for everything that Isabel was doing. One thing Liz was afraid of was being ostracized and shunned by the other students, being forced to eat alone. But Isabel was there, thinking of everything and planning everything. She said that she was going to introduce her to her friends. Now the only thing Liz had to worry about was remembering all their names.
“Liz!” she heard a familiar voice shout. She looked around and saw Isabel sitting on a table, waving her over. Sitting across from her was another familiar face.
She waved back as she continued to make her way through the crowd of students.
“Hey,” she said as she placed her bag on the ground next to the table.
“Glad you found us.”
“It would have been easier if you met me outside class,” Liz said as she pushed her hair out from around her face.
“Nah. This was better, at least now you know that you can find your way around,” Isabel replied before kissing, who Liz assumed was her boyfriend, a somewhat lanky boy when he sat on the bench next to her.
“I guess this means that you got to the counseling office okay,” Kyle said from his seat across the table.
“Yeah, thanks to your great directions.”
Isabel’s shocked expression went unnoticed by her friends. Kyle’s statement did however manage to bring her out of her fantasy world that comprised of her and Alex. “You know each other?” she asked.
“Yeah. Liz doesn’t know, but I was recruited by Maria to find some things out.”
Isabel nodded knowingly before speaking. “Well, that is one less introduction I have to make. Liz,” she said looking at Liz, “this is my boyfriend Alex. We ran past him in the hallway right before the bell for second rang.”
Liz smiled and nodded as she extended her hand for the customary handshake. “Hi, Alex.”
“Hi Liz. How do you like it here?” He said with gusto.
“It’s nice, so far. The people are really nice,” she said smiling at all three of them.
“Hey, whose the new chick?” a spiky haired guy said as he tossed his bag, which appeared to be empty on the table. His head jerked towards Liz, pointedly stating that she was the “chick” he was referring to. He plopped down at one head of the table, his look of skepticism did not fall from his features as he continued to look at her.
“Isabel!” Liz heard an energetic voice say from behind her. She turned to see a perky blond make her way to the table. Her hair, much the same as Isabel’s, glittered in the sunlight as the different shades of blond reflected the bright light. It fell past her shoulders in waves, while it was pushed out of her face with a headband that matched the orange in her shirt.
“Maria,” Isabel said smiling, almost laughing, as she stood from her seat next to Alex.
The first thing that Maria noticed was the new addition to the familiar faces that surrounded their table during lunch. She saw the petite brunette standing in front of the table and knew that Isabel had invited her.
“You did it!” Maria exclaimed through her smile. She made sure to keep her happiness from affecting the volume of her voice. She didn’t want Liz to hear this. If they became friends then she would learn of her inquisitiveness. Now she might find it a little odd.
“Did you have any doubt in me?” She said as she walked with Maria to the table.
“Liz, this is Maria.”
“Hi!” Liz said, again extending her hand for a shake, but found herself in a hug.
“Hey chica!” Maria said as she released Liz from the hug. The bubbly Maria walked over to the other side of the table to give the guy who called her “the new chick” a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Be nice Michael,” she whispered in his ear after the kiss.
“This polite guy here is my boyfriend Michael.”
Everyone at the table burst into laughter, including Maria, when she referred to him as polite. Liz even cracked a smile. She knew, even after the brief time she knew Michael, that politeness wasn’t something he did that often.
“Hey!” Michael exclaimed. “I can be polite.” That only worked to make the laughter erupt even louder.
“Sure Michael,” was Kyle’s reply. He made sure to dodge the glare that Michael would surely be throwing in his direction. “Keep telling yourself that.”
“Come on Liz, sit down,” Maria said as she took her seat on the next to Kyle, but having Michael at her side as well.
Liz followed what Maria said and took a seat next to Isabel. “Is this everyone?”
“No,” they all said.
“Max is always the last to get here. He has the class that is farthest away,” Alex said, his hand was lost somewhere in Isabel’s hair.
“Oh, I am going to get him so bad,” Maria said, her voice commanded the attention of all that heard it.
“What happened?” Isabel asked as she looked at Maria, seeing that Maria was a little too angry to form a sentence she looked to Alex.
“You weren’t late,” Alex said trying to get Maria in a lighter mood.
“That doesn’t make it better. Do you know how hard it is it run in heels and a skirt that doesn’t stretch with a stride? It is hard buddy, and Max’s weird space out channeling thing is what caused it.”
“He didn’t mean it Maria, telling the truth he doesn’t even remember it.” Alex was trying to calm her down so she wouldn’t explode when Max showed up.
Her face held a scowl a few moments more before she gave in and her customary smile covered her features. “Okay,” she relented. “Who am I kidding? There is no way that I can stay angry at my girlfriend.” That statement resulted in chuckles from the group, but left Liz confused.
“Girlfriend is just this nickname Maria has for Max. None of us know why she thought of it though,” Kyle said leaning to whisper to Liz.
Liz pulled her lunch from her bag, set it on the table, and stood from her seat. “I’m going to get a soda. Anyone else want?”
“Nope,” Kyle said. Liz turned to face each of the new people she met, and with each gaze met they responded in their turn.
“No thanks,” Isabel said.
“Umm,” he said contemplating. “Sure. I’ll have a coke. Let me get . . .” He searched his pockets to try and find a dollar.
“No,” Liz said extending her hand to stop him. “I got it.”
“I’ll have a sprite,” Maria said standing as well, “and I’ll come with.”
“Okay,” Liz said smiling. “Michael, did you want anything?”
“Cherry Coke,” he said curtly.
“Ignore him chica,” Maria replied to keep Liz from feeling hurt at Michael’s response. “He is even like that with me sometimes.” Maria took Liz’s hand and walked with her to the cafeteria. “We’ll be back in a few,” she said to those still seated at the table.
“Okay. I want all the details!” Maria exclaimed while she jumped to face Liz. “I know Isabel probably knows like everything, but I want to know EVERYTHING. You are not from here. Like really not from here, as in like way out there. I mean New York! That must be so different from here. What is it like there? How many friends did you have? Are they going to visit? Oh! I know I am with Michael and everything, but the guys, are they cute? Like really really cute! I want everything, Liz. You might as well just accept that you will never be able to keep anything from me. We are going to be so close, girl. You will have like no secrets from me. None . . .” she started while grinning at Liz, taking a small break from talking.
Liz stared at Maria, dazed at how fast she was talking. It was a wonder that she didn’t pass out from asphyxiation. Did she ever run out of air? It had to take a lot to speak that fast and not take any breaks to breath. Liz smiled broadly, her smile made her eyes twinkle in delight. She already felt like she was getting a comfort zone with this group of friends. Sure she had to meet this mysterious Max and get through what seemed like impenetrable defenses Michael had up, but Maria and Isabel were nice. Kyle was really nice, and she was sure that Alex was sweet. How could he not be with the tenderness he was treating Isabel with?
“So what are you going to start with? Oh! Shopping! I want to hear about all the stores and clothes and everything that you have over there. It has to be so much better that what we have. I mean we are like miles from the nearest mall complex area. Sometimes it can be so hard to find something that you are looking for. Hi Max! So, tell me.”
Liz’s head was spinning with everything that Maria was saying. By the time it registered that she said hi to Max he was already gone. She didn’t even get a look at him since her attention was on Maria’s wild gestures. He must have been a ways away because she did say “Hi Max” louder than the rest of what she said. Liz didn’t know why, but she was intrigued about meeting this Max that they had been talking about for a while.
Max heard Maria’s voice say a hurried “Hi Max” but did not know where she was. It did not matter though. She could be so loud at times that she might have been on the other side of the quad when she said it.
“Hey, Max,” Isabel said with a smile on her face.
“Hey,” he replied still looking down at the notes in his hand.
“Trying to get in some last minute cramming?” Michael asked, jerking his head to the notebook held in Max’s hand.
“Yeah, nothing is making sense.” He pulled the chair at the end of the table out and dropped his notebook on the table.
“So, what’s the big deal?” Michael asked as he pulled the notebook across the wooden surface of the table to him. “This isn’t for a test?”
Max sifted through the contents of his bag to get the two textbooks he needed. A paperback lab book was placed on the table in front of Isabel and the thicker, heavier, hardcover textbook was placed in front of him.
“It’s for the lab, Michael. Mr. Steligman has a big lab planned today. It is also a longer one. If they don’t finish during class then they need to finish after school during assigned lab hours. Max would have it easier if he was smart enough to choose a lab partner, but he decided to go solo since the class has an odd number of students.”
“This is why I am not in AP Bio,” Kyle said, chiming in. He was not afraid to admit that science was not his thing.
“Same here,” Michael said as he tossed the book across the table at Max. “That stuff makes no sense.”
“Whose bag?” Max asked as he looked over the book he clutched in his hand.
“Liz’s” Alex said simply.
Max was confused. He never remembered meeting a Liz before. They were all acting like Liz was someone who had been friends with them all their lives. Everyone but Michael whose attention was rapt to the worn paperback copy of Ulysses he held.
“Liz?” Max asked.
“Yeah, she and Maria are getting drinks,” Kyle supplied.
“Maria better hurry up. I am getting thirsty,” Michael stated.
“And she would be . . .”
“Don’t you ever pay attention to the things I tell you?” Isabel asked as she looked at him. “Remember? Last night? I told you that we needed to get to school on time because I needed to give the new student a tour around campus, make sure they know their way around and won’t get lost.”
“Oh,” Max said, realization just now dawning on him. So Liz was the new student. “What’s she like?” he asked. It seemed like everyone had some sort of information that he didn’t. They were dangling it in front of him, taunting him.
“We all just met her actually, but she seems really nice,” Kyle said before he took a bite of the pizza that was steaming on his plate.
“She’s alright. Offered to get us all sodas,” Michael said, still looking at the printed pages in front of him.
“Oh, you have to be kidding me!” They heard Maria say from afar. All their heads turned to try and see what she was talking about or whom she was talking to.
“What do you think that was about?” Isabel asked. She was greeted by shrugs and their own questioning expressions.
Max, feeling like he didn’t have any time to spare returned to look at the textbook and notes that were in front of him. He flipped through the pages as his finger traced down the smooth paper, trying to find information he needed. The conversation that was occurring around him didn’t even penetrate his concentration. If he wanted to get to the opening of the Crashdown with his friends this evening then he would need to finish the lab in the allotted time. The way things were going he didn’t think that it was going to happen. There go my plans, he thought as he flipped through the notes he took during the last class lecture.
“Kyle, you need to talk to your people,” Maria said as she approached with one bottle in each hand. “Paulie and his fellow jock buddies were or are practically drooling and ogling Liz. It wasn’t a pretty picture. I wouldn’t want their attention at all, especially not when I just started a new school.”
“What is it with them?” Isabel said as she shifted positions, no longer reclining against Alex. “They are like dogs in heat. It is so annoying.”
“That isn’t even the right word.” Maria said as she walked around to give Michael his soda.
“I can’t do anything Maria. They aren’t my puppets.” Kyle said to her as she passed behind him.
Maria and Isabel just shrugged in response.
“Where’s Liz?” Alex asked, curious that she was not there yet.
“Oh! She is on her way. See?” she said pointing to where Liz was coming from.
“Okay, what was that all about,” Liz said as she was approaching. She was looking behind her at the group of guys that were still looking at her.
“Ignore them, Liz,” Maria said.
Liz gave a puzzled look before she just shrugged it off and walked over to give Alex his drink.
“Thanks,” he said in appreciation as he took it from her. Before drinking from it he offered Isabel a sip. She declined with a slight wave of her hand and a small shake of her head. But smiled that he even offered. She remembered all the jerks that she went out with before giving Alex a shot. How could she have not seen what a great person he was earlier? He was so sweet to her, always putting her thoughts above his own. He cared about her, not the popularity that once and in a way still did surround her.
“No problem,” she said. Her gaze fell on the open biology book on the table. “I remember this,” she said as she smiled. “This is the short O. Chem. section of the chapter. I haven’t gone over covalent and ionic bonds in a long time. Who has bio?” she asked.
Every one pointed to the hunched form at the head of the table that was still oblivious to everything going on around him.
“Hey Max!” Kyle said, snapping his fingers in front of Max’s face.
“Hmm,” he said, lifting his gaze to look at Kyle.
“I think we found a tutor for you before class starts,” Kyle said while he gestured to Max to look behind him.
Suddenly the feeling returned. It crashed into Liz like an awesome tidal wave would. The impact slammed into her chest as the wind was knocked from her chest while the surging water surrounded her, filling her senses. The undertow threatened to pull her under. She heard the rushing sound fill her ears as the cold water enclosed her, contrasting the heat that she felt within her. She felt heated beyond belief. Her cheeks felt red and she was sure that she was. She felt it travel down from her face to her neck.
Max felt it too. He felt himself come alive once more. His heart raced in his chest for no apparent reason. His breathing was shaky at best and all he could hear was the beating of his heart echoing in his ears, the blood rushing through his veins, and the deep breaths he was taking. He lifted his hand from the surface of the book. Quickly, he noticed that it was shaking like the ground in an earthquake. In order to hide it from his friends he pressed his hand to his thigh.
“Meet Liz,” Kyle said.
He slowly rose from his seat and turned around to face the person Kyle was gesturing to. Just when he thought something came over him, he was slapped in the face with another new feeling. He found himself staring into the most beautiful brown eyes he had seen. A small smile formed on his lips as he remembered how to breathe.
He looked into the deep, dark eyes as large as a lake. They were full of feeling and expressed an inner kindness and compassion. There was a feeling of familiarity as he looked into them. A feeling of déjà vu, a surreal feeling over took his senses as he looked into her eyes. There was no explanation for why or how he could feel the way he did. There was no way that he had ever experienced this before.
“Hi,” he said quietly, huskily. The single syllable vibrated in his throat, tickling him. He continued to look on her with rapture as a smile teased the corners of his lips.
Liz on the other hand was having trouble remembering how to speak. She could not get words past her lips for the moment. Whatever she tried to say got stuck in her throat. Her mouth opened slightly. It seemed like she wanted to speak, but instead she flashed a shy smile, lowering her lashes and her face in an attempt to hide her blush. That attempt did not last long, for she had an unknown urge, and unknown want to look once more into his unique eyes.
They were like none that she had ever seen before, yet they were familiar. She did not know how or why, but she felt that she had stared into eyes that gorgeous once before. Their color was as golden as honey, and their richness the flavor of dark chocolate. His gaze was soft and smooth. She felt it caress her face, slipping over her with amazing gentleness.
“Hi,” Liz said in a whisper, inaudible to those seating at the table, but Max heard it. Her voice was sweet and soft. He could imagine listening to that voice for hours on end and never once getting tired of it.
They each stood there. Looking. Staring. Watching. Breathing. Feeling.
“Oookay,” Maria said as she sat there. At first she was just watching Max and Liz, making a mental note to try and throw the two of them together. She had vowed that she would have gotten Kyle and Max with someone, but was currently lacking options. There were a couple girls that she thought of that would work for Kyle, but Max . . . he was an enigma. Now it seems that Maria found the answer to that mystery. It was quite convenient that it happened with such ease.
Maria switched her gaze from the two who appeared to be “deer caught in the headlight” to Isabel. Her look questioned Isabel without words. In reply she shrugged. How was she to know what was going on.
“Is anyone timing this?” Michael asked as he looked around the table.
With a quick swat to his arm she silenced him.
“Ow!” he said, pulling away from her. He did not want to risk being too close in case she was going to swing again. “Was that necessary?” he asked as he rubbed his arm.
“Baby.” She stated simply and rolled her eyes slightly.
“No, Michael’s right. Look. They are still at it. Looking. Not blinking. I am so close to pulling out a watch right now.”
“Isabel!” The three exclaimed at her statement.
“What? They aren’t even noticing us. This conversation. It is not happening for them.”
Isabel gestured to the two people still staring at each other. There was no speaking. No blinking. They weren’t even touching. This was a new side of Max that they have never seen. He looked like he was . . . in love.
They stood there together. The silence went unnoticed to them. She was standing so close to him. She could feel the strong presence of his body inches from hers. She could feel the warmth of his skin emanating from him, soaking through her skin. It felt awesome. It warmed her body . . . her soul in a way she never thought possible. Something about it just felt right. It felt more right than anything had ever felt before.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Nancy Parker stood by the counter while she removed napkins from their plastic casing. With learned expertise she filled the dispensers with ease. It took her a while to get it done, but she did not want any table to run out before it was necessary, so she filled them to their maximum capacity.
Music filled the room of the café, and she danced from table to table, placing condiments and the recently filled napkin dispensers on the tables. She twirled, her skirt floating, suspended in the air, obeying the laws of physics. A smile, which seemed to be branded on her face lately, reached her eyes, making them sparkle with mirth. She sung along while wiping down the counter where the excess grains of sugar fell.
Rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed
You're my survival; you're my living proof
My love is alive and not dead
Her singing stopped abruptly, but the soft music continued to play through the room.
“Oh God,” she said in a whisper. Her breathing changed to short, uneven pants before pain pulled her down from her high perch where happiness had placed her. The dishrag she held in her grasp fell to the floor in what seemed slow motion to Nancy. “It’s beginning.”
Her knuckles blanched white as she gripped the stool in front of her. Her mind spun, creating dizziness when there was none to cause it. With a loud thud she crashed to the cold tile floor where she lay writhing in agony. The strong, unmistakable taste of blood filled her mouth with its heady iron filled flavor, taking control of her senses. A shaky hand covered her trembling stomach as a whisper fell from her lips.
One word tumbled from her mouth. “Liz,” she said, the name getting chocked up in her throat. The pain receded for a second, which gave her a chance to breathe. She gasped for oxygen, her lungs were burning and her muscles grew limp, as if she had just completed a triathlon. She lay on the floor, staring up at the ceiling too tired to close her eyes.
Then it began again. A sharp, blistering pain enveloped her. It consumed her with its overwhelming urgency. She yelped as the pain pulled her under. She felt as if her body was being cut into pieces, every slit and stroke from a sharp blade, slicing her to the bone while fiery flames licked at her flesh, searing with its heat.
A cry was expelled from her mouth as she lay there, thrashing wildly in pain. Hot tears slid down heated, red cheeks, pooling on the floor. Loud sobs drowned out the serene music that had once permeated the space of the café.
The torture ended soon after. Her spent form lay motionless, almost dead, on the ground. She was positioned on her side. Her right arm lay draped on her side while its hand still covered her flat stomach. Her legs precariously placed and bent while her left arm lay to her side. She looked again at the ceiling, her beautiful, soft crimson hair fanned around her head, a few strands lay stuck to damp cheeks. Her eyes were vacant, purged of all emotion. The once vibrant, joyous, cobalt gaze was now dull, listless and pasty-gray.
“Peter.” The name fell of her lips. He was her single thought at the time as she struggled to defeat the darkness pulling her under. “Peter,” she whispered once more, void of emotion. His name fell from her lips. She stared blankly at the fans twirling in circles, circulating the air, and cooling the room.
I'll be your cryin' shoulder
I'll be love suicide
I'll be better when I'm older
I'll be the greatest fan of your life
Note: The song used is “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain.
|posted on 25-Jul-2002 8:11:08 PM|
“You do it.”
“I don’t want to do it. Make him do it.”
“No way. I had to break up Alex and Iz in the eraser room last week. You aren’t giving this to me,” Kyle said. His hands were thrown up before him in a second, showing that he was staying out of this. If they wanted someone to break up the “look into my soul” couple at the other end of the table they were going to have to get another man.
“Come on, Kyle.” Maria said whining with a pretty pout on her face. “Please.”
His face was stern. He was not going to relent this time. He was talked into other things because of Maria’s guilt trips, but this was something he was not going to budge on.
“Yeah, Kyle. Please,” Isabel said joining in.
“Alex,” Maria and Isabel said in synchronization. Their voices held the perfect blend of pleading and desperation.
The only reply that he could muster was shaking his head. He had to deal with Max spacing earlier today. There was no way he was going to get stuck with dealing a spaced out Max and Liz. “Nuh-uh.”
“Michael, please.” They said together. Alex and Kyle just chuckled.
“So I’m the last resort.”
Maria and Isabel looked at each other, discussing how they were going to answer the question without words. This silent talk didn’t help the stitches that Alex and Kyle had growing in their sides. Talking like that had to be a girl thing. They were moving their eyes, raising their eyebrows, moving their hands, and each understood the gesture and the words that went with it.
“It doesn’t matter,” Michael said breaking up the gesturing girls.
“Thank you!” Maria said as she jumped up, encircling his neck with her arms. “That means you’ll do it. Right?”
“No,” he replied simply. “Who said I would? You two are on your own.” He picked up his bag that was on the table and proceeded to walk away from the table. Four shocked expressions followed his every move, not believing that he was doing this. “See ya later, Maxwell. Nice to meet ya, Liz,” he said, and raised a hand in a sort of wave before he started to walk away from the table.
“Michael Guerin, where do you think you are going?” Maria exclaimed as she grabbed her bag and stormed after him. “Hey! Stop walking right now!”
“Michael! Michael! Look at me when I am talking to you!” She said continuing to follow him through the quad, shouting at his back. Her outbursts were earning the attention of the entire student body assembled on the quad. The attention of all students, save two.
“Why do I even try to put up with you? You won’t even look at me when I am talking to you. Do you even listen to me?” she continued to talk . . . shout at him as they walked. Her voice slowly faded into nothing as they traveled farther away. Soon the regular noises of lunch began again.
“I guess it is out of the three of us now,” Isabel said as she brushed a stray hair back into place. “It is only fair.”
“So how do we decide?” Kyle asked, defeated. Why did he have this sinking feeling that he was going to get stuck prying the lovebirds apart? It might take the Jaws of Life to do it, but they weren’t even touching!
“Rock, paper, scissors?” Alex asked.
“Rock, paper, scissors?” Kyle asked. He hoped that he had more luck than he had in the past.
“Rock, paper, scissors.” Isabel said in agreement.
“Okay,” Kyle replied glumly. He always lost when he played this. He hated this game. He hated this situation. He always seemed to get the clean up.
All three nodded before they began counting off. In a matter of seconds it would be decided who had the task of prying apart the gaze that might have lasted the entire lunch period.
They threw down their choices. Fingers flew open while others stayed clenched. Each looked across at the choices, allowing the meaning to set in. The reactions were almost instantaneous. There were two winners and one loser.
“Damn.” Isabel muttered under her breath.
“YES!” Kyle shouted in exclamation. A smile was plastered across his features. He finally won one game. Finally. He danced around in a quick circle before gaining some control and composure over his body and his reaction. “I mean. So sorry Isabel,” he said feigning sympathy and patting her on the back.
“Okay. I’ll do it, but let’s just wait until after lunch. It will be easier to handle them then.”
They both looked at her with skepticism.
“I’ll do it,” she said in defense, throwing her hands up to ward off any comments they might have. “I will. I promise I will. Just let me eat my lunch before. It is lunchtime.”
They each chanced a glance at the couple at the head of the table. Still staring at each other, still kissing with their glances, and still embracing with their stares.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
He turned the dial and shut off the cascade of water that pelted the tense muscles of his back. He stepped out of the shower and dried the droplets of water that covered his body, wrapping the terrycloth towel around his slim hips.
With a steady stride he walked into their bedroom, removing his clothes, blue jeans and a light cotton shirt, from the dresser and peeling them on. Photos were placed around the room, much like they were through the rest of the house. Each picture held memories, joyous occasions, heartbreaking moments, and unforgettable times.
The music that his wife listened to echoed through the halls and rooms in the apartment above. The notes and melodies bounced off floors and ceilings. Suddenly the feeling that he dreaded that would happen for years came. It attacked his senses. Sirens went off in his head, and bright flashes blinded him.
His hands went to his temples, and he tried to quickly get out of the room, get down to the café, to his wife—to his love. If this was happening to him, what was happening to her? He slammed into walls, ignoring the pain that shot through his shoulder and he slammed into the doorway, misjudging the space. His feet slipped from beneath him when he reached the stairs. With gripping fingers and white knuckles, he clung to the banister, keeping him from tumbling down the stairs in a gymnastic feat. Once steady his feet leapt over stairs, skipping every two in a rush to get to the bottom. Five stairs from the bottom he jumped to the landing. He crouched and rolled from momentum of the jump.
He looked around the backroom for a sign of her. His eyes swung from one side to the next scanning, looking, hoping. She wasn’t there. He barreled through the swinging door that leads to the café.
He stopped. His breath caught in his throat and his fingers trembled when he saw her form on the floor. He slowly took a step forward as fear’s cold grip clenched around his heart and tightened his gut. His heart drummed in his chest, its rapid beating the only sound he heard.
“Oh God,” he whispered before he dove to her side. With gentle fingers and smooth strokes he swept his finger over the curves of her face, moving the strands of hair that had been obscuring her face from his sight.
He trailed his fingers over her the smooth hair at her temples, and continued around the planes of her cheeks. He gently pulled her close to his chest, while fear still gripped his heart, growing tighter as he felt how lifeless she was, how cold she was.
Now more than ever he wanted her to cling to him. He wanted her arms encircling his back. He wanted her pressing herself into his chest. He cradled her close to him. Her head rested against his chest as he gently began rocking her. The steady pounding of his heart resonating through her ears.
His fingers fanned over her hair, smoothing it down, soothing her fears. He was there for her when she came to. He wanted to be sure that she knew she was safe, cared for, loved. Melodic tones of his voice blanketed her ears, and the warmth of his body soaked into hers. The heat from his body seeped into her, beginning at her skin, then deeper, making its way into her bones.
His lips descended to her forehead, lightly brushing against her like a feather sweeping over her skin. He brought her even closer, placing her head underneath his chin. With a will of iron he fought the tears that welled in his eyes and threatened to spill.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The loud conversations of teenagers continued to fill the space on the quad despite the heat of the sun that continued to pelt their skin. Small leaves cast their shadow down onto the wooden tabletop. Their dark image appeared to be burnt into the surface, but a strong gust of wind rushed through the leaves, rattling the branches overhead. The wind strongly, quickly blew past Liz. Her hair flew around her as it continued to wash over her. The wind felt refreshing as it danced around Max. It twirled around his body, cooled his heating face, and quietly whispered words unknown in his ears.
He extended his hand to tuck the loose strands of her hair behind her ear, but mistakenly getting tangled with her own fingers. She held his hand, feeling the soft pads of his fingers, the lines of his hand, the smooth skin that covered ever inch of him.
He continued to look into her eyes, never letting go. He did not know why a sudden pain of loss stabbed his senses, nor did he know why a sense of familiarity crept into his mind. He did not care. He could not have lost something he never had. He could not lose something that was right in front of him.
I know you.
The thought echoed through both their minds from an unknown source. The same voice continued to talk to both of them.
I missed you.
Never let go.
Stay with me.
The phrases twirled between their minds on the phantom winds, which broke through their consciousness. They brought no past with them. No recollection of where they were from, if they were from anywhere to begin with.
I know you.
With difficulty he unlaced their fingers. Liz’s hand slowly fell to her side. He extended his thumb, moving it over her cheek, feeling the soft skin beneath it. Moving down her neck, down her arm, he created a tactile memory of her cheek, the side of her neck, the warm skin of her arm.
I know you.
Another gust of wind blew from the opposite direction, blowing Liz’s hair behind her. It too washed over her, bringing with it unknown, unheard, whispers with it.
Stay with me.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Has it begun?”
“Do you think we are ready?”
“I do not know. But regardless of that the time has begun.”
“Something has occurred. Something unexpected.”
“What? Come now. Speak up.”
“The punishment has been breeched.”
“I do not know.”
“What will happen? What have we done?”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
The single word attacked his hearing. Did he just hear that? It sounded like . . .
He looked down into the face of his beloved. He could not help the fear that still clung to him. Would she be there? Would her eyes hold the same sparkle they once did? Would they be the vibrant shade of sapphire they usually were, or would they hold the gray, glazed appearance they once had moments ago? The thoughts continued to gnaw at him as he slowly brought his gaze down to her face.
She pressed her face into him. The fresh smell of his shirt, the clean smell of his skin, surrounded her. His warmth enveloped her. She did not know where she was, but she knew she was where she had yearned to be. Her eyes were shut, fearful of her surroundings, however she reveled in the exact place she was at. She was in the only place that she ever wanted to be. He was here. He was with her.
Chancing a look she opened her eyes to see his eyes lovingly wash over her. A weak smile teased her lips as she struggled to keep the drops of water from falling from her eyes. Reflexively, she clung to him. Her hands pressed into his back as she tried to press herself as close to him as she could. He was her protection. He was the one who was always there to keep her safe.
He swam in elation when he encountered her blue eyes, and the icy grip that encompassed his heart faded when he felt her come alive in his arms. His strength returned to him as she pressed herself to him. With a deep breath he let go of the fear, the terror.
Each knew what was coming, but each was fearful to admit it. To speak it made it seem more evident than it already was. They knew the time had come. They knew the path that lay ahead, and they knew the pain that would eventually have to be endured. To admit aloud that it was going to happen would be the first step down that path. It was this path that has haunted them for over seventeen years with its inevitable outcome.
“Peter?” she asked, breaking the stillness and silence that had surrounded them.
He kissed her gently before replying. He knew what she was going to say. “Hmm.”
“It has begun.”
“I know,” he said while holding her close. “I know,” he repeated into her hair. His lips deftly brushed against the sheen mane of hair that his fingers longed to get lost in.
He looked down at her. In an effort to ease some of her worry he held her tighter, pulling her into his embrace. This was the beginning. They both knew that, and that is what they feared. They feared the path that they now had to take, but not more than its end. The way that it had to end was something that they did not want. They did not know how they were supposed to do what was requested of them.
“What do we do now? Should we tell her? Should we keep it secret longer?” Nancy asked into her husband’s chest. Her tears were chased away by his simple presence. Her fears fled with one touch of his embrace. He simply was—is—all-powerful to her.
“I don’t know. When the time comes we’ll know just what to do.”
She laughed against him, faintly. “You really think that?”
“Why not?” he asked as he looked down into her features.
Her hand went up to cup his cheek. He reveled in the feel of her soft skin against his cheek, pressing against her touch. His eyes were locked on to her gaze, fearful of it becoming the pasty gray color of an overcast sky it once was. His fears went unrealized as she looked at him, still the same cobalt color he knew, and the same color he drowned in when he looked into her eyes.
She smiled at him, that secret smile, the smile that graced her features whenever she thought about the way he was with his daughter and with her. Her face turned into his palm. Her soft lips went to kiss his thumb reverently. Her eyes swept over his face, committing every line, ever cure, every inch to memory. She wanted to remember the exact way that he looked, the precise reason why she felt safe as soon his arms encircled her.
“I love you,” she whispered into the quiet room as she let his watery gaze look down upon her before she sunk deeper into his embrace.
|posted on 25-Jul-2002 8:13:33 PM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“How can this be? It has been written. The prophecy is clear. The punishment was made. It cannot be broken!”
“I . . . Things will be okay. Won’t they? Just because something happened once does not mean it will happen again.”
“That is what we hope. Whether or not it will happen as we want, that is another matter entirely.”
“But . . . the sphere . . .”
“Things are not looking well.”
“All we can do is . . . hope.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Isabel?” Alex said as he looked at her. She was rapidly packing her things together, stacking the notebook and textbook she needed for her next class before brushing her long blond hair behind her shoulder. “What are you doing?”
“Oh, uh, nothing,” she said waving her hand, dismissing his comment.
“Iz,” he said more firmly. He was not about to let her get out of this that easily.
She froze in her place. She did not really know why she even tried. Somewhere inside her, somewhere deep inside of her, she knew that there was no way that she was going to be getting out of this one. She knew it, but in spite of that she did not give in, she tried her best to get out of separating her brother and Liz. She was not sure as to how she was going to do that. You had to admit, what was going on between Max and Liz was weird. Seeing people being with each other in silence was one thing, but watching teenagers spending minutes on end without saying a word and barely touching was downright freaky, especially in high school.
No one knew whether they had gotten into some unknown starring contest, but if they did it was probably going to be going on for a while. They tried everything, waving hands in front of their faces, speaking their name, even yelling, nothing was penetrating the cloud between them. It was as if . . .
“Fine,” Isabel said as she threw her stuff back on the empty table. She slumped over against the tabletop. Her face was sullen at her predicament. If she knew that they would have been acting like this she wouldn’t have introduced them. Isabel was many things, but never a glutton for punishment. Of all the times that Kyle had to get lucky it had to be in a game of rock, paper, scissors.
“You lost the game, Iz. Now you have to break them up.”
“Gee, Kyle, thanks for the reminder. You know if you do it I’ll owe you—”
“Don’t even try, Iz. I have finally won. I am not going to start giving them up because you bat your eyes at me,” Kyle responded and then started to drain the bottle of water he opened earlier. His dismissal brought Isabel back to her hunched over position.
“Next time I am going to just follow Maria. I’ll let you two deal with this if it ever happens again, which I really hope doesn’t. How much time do I have before lunch is over?” Isabel asked, her words muffled with her chin still resting on her arm.
“Let’s see,” Alex said as he started to look at his watch. Just when he began to open his mouth to tell her the time that she had left the bell made its shrill cry throughout campus, ending the lunch hour.
“Now,” Kyle said, jumping from his seat. “Good luck Isabel.” He turned and ran to his next class. There was no way that he was going to get stuck with this in case she found a way to get him to so her job.
“Thanks again, Kyle!” Isabel shouted to his back.
With a quick turn around he replied. “No problem, Iz.” He wore a smile on his face that was as broad as a bus and brighter than the sun itself.
She pouted her lips as she turned to Alex.
“Isabel,” he said in a pleading tone. She knew he was weakening.
“Pretty please,” she asked as she looked up at him with her soft brown eyes, and the look of a saddened cocker spaniel. She took a calculated step close to him. “For me, Alex.”
“Aw, Iz.” He always had a hard time resisting her. He ran a hand through his hair, hoping to relieve some pressure by moving.
She brought her hands to grasp the soft material of his shirt and pulled him closer. “Please, Alex.” She placed a soft kiss on his lips.
“No.” He said pushing her away. He already had to deal with spacey Max today. He was not going to do it again. He had to stand firm, and it was really hard to do when she was as close as she was to him. He took in her sad expression and knew he was going to cave if he did not walk away at that very moment.
“Okay,” she said. “Could you at least help me?”
He released the breath he was holding and looked at her once again. “Fine,” he said giving in.
“I’ll thank you for this later,” she said, followed by a sultry wink. “I am going to take a quick look at Liz’s schedule and then just pull her to her next class. You do the same for Max. He said it was Bio with Steligman right?”
“Okay. No problem.” Isabel quickly looked at the schedule stuck in Liz’s binder. “Damn. This isn’t going to work.” She said and looked at Alex.
Her brown eyes looked deeply into his questioning stare. Her pretty lips curled into a forced smile as she walked over to him with the binder clutched tightly into her hand. With perfectly manicured fingers she handed the binder over to him, trailing a slender finger down the plastic cover. She tapped right on the spot that needed Alex’s attention.
“Liz has AP Bio with Steligman next, too.”
“That’s it!” Alex said, throwing his hands in the air, making Isabel struggle to grasp the binder before it fell to the ground and possibly scattering her papers with it. The gesture he made really punctuated the stress at the moment. “Look at them. They didn’t hear the bell. How are we supposed to get them apart?” His expression was questioning her, breaking down her very cool exterior.
“I don’t know!” She started to pace at the side of the table, Max and Liz stood transfixed at her right. “I can’t think. I have a class that I need to get to also. Just handle Max, get him to class.”
“Wait. What are you going to be doing?”
“Getting Liz to class, but I’m taking the ramp, you take the stairs.” She collected her things and awarded Alex with a soft kiss.
“Hey! What about after school?”
“I’ll call you. I am getting a ride home with Max, and then we are going to the opening of “The Crashdown” tonight with our parents.”
“I’ll see you there,” he stated. He took her hand in his and gave it a firm, reassuring squeeze.
She smiled one of the few bright Isabel smiles she saved for her family, and just recently started gifting him with. He knew how rare they were, and thoroughly enjoyed receiving them. This was the real Isabel. He had spent such a long time trying to get through to her, trying to get her to see that he wanted to get to know her and not just her body.
“Come on, Liz.” Isabel took Liz’s bag in her right hand and hooked Liz’s arm with her left. She pulled with all her strength as she made her way to the restroom. Alex was also determined to get Max out of this daze as well. With Isabel handling Liz as well as she could, he needed to do his part. He could not help where his thoughts headed as he tossed Max’s book and notebook into Max’s bag: How does she always get me wrapped up into these things?
Their eyes stayed connected as they looked out over the space that separated them, the space that continued to keep growing. She strained to look deeply into his eyes. The gorgeous pools of honey-brown, speckled with amber and rimmed with a thin casing of gold. She had never seen such eyes in her life. If that was so, then why was she having a feeling of déjà vu, a feeling that she had done this very same thing before, a feeling that she had spent her life looking into his eyes?
Alex grabbed onto Max and started to drag him away from the table, out of the quad, and up towards the science wing. Even though he was being pulled in the opposite direction he still held fast and strong to the deep brown eyes locked on to his gaze. Another soft breeze blew through the entire campus. It swept past the trees planted, and it tumbled over the clay of the tennis courts, and the buoyant ground of the track. It curled and twirled and danced around the two of them, and it, again, whispered to them unheard—unknown—words in their ears. Different phrases. One, however, stayed the same.
Why are you leaving me?
Please stay with me.
I know you.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Hope? Hope? You can’t tell me that is all we have. Look at us. Really look. How is it that with everything we have at our hands, everything at our disposal, and all that we can do is hope?”
Silence rent the space between the beings. They have been waiting—dreading—the time when they would have to release the lonely soul, and after it was done they waited. Finally after a moment years in the making it has begun. They all knew the lore that surrounded what they had to do.
“We all know what you are feeling because we are feeling it as well.”
“Everything has gone wrong. Horribly wrong. This was supposed to be the last time. After this the higher beings were going to allow her sanctuary with her other half. If this does not go well, does not go as planned, then they will retract their offer. It was supposed to go on without any problems.”
“We know. It looked that way until somehow things were thrown off balance. He was not supposed to be there. He was killed back in his other life, and as a result from that he was supposed to be held here until she was finished.”
“He? She? You two know referring to their current forms is not allowed.”
“I know, but it is better than referring to them as it and it. They are not things. They are souls—beings. And they have current forms and they are humans, more or less. How did he surpass us? The punishment for past crimes—”
“Indulgences!” one exclaimed interjecting.
“Indulgences,” the being corrected, “was clear. The sphere shall know no completeness, no feeling of love with its other half.”
“All we must do is hope for the best. We have to hope that she will do what is right. The sphere knows what is good, what is right. We just need to hope that she does what is right . . . this time. The sphere of light, such a title, such power for such a young woman.”
To be continued . . .
|posted on 5-Oct-2002 3:28:44 AM|
|Chapter Five |
After successfully handing Liz over to Mr. Steligman before class began, Isabel was rushed to get herself to U.S. History before she was marked tardy. Sure she was not one of the usual students that were tardy, but it was never a great time to start. She continuously pounded her feet into pavement as she ran around the campus to get to class.
The sound of her boots echoed through the halls as she pressed forward. Even though she was worried about not being in the classroom when the bell rang, she couldn’t help the way her thoughts roamed to her brother’s strange mood. It seemed to have come from nowhere. There had never been any indication that something like that would ever happen before. It was strange to see him in such a mindset, or, as the case may be, no mindset at all. He was so worried about the lab that he needed to finish in order to keep the plans that both he and Isabel had made with their parents.
How did Alex do with Max? What is going on with Max and Liz? Those two questions were the last on Isabel’s mind before she reached for the handle to open the door and race into the classroom with just enough time to toss her bag on her desk and slump in her seat. She had made it. Just then it hit her. If they decided to do a repeat performance of their show at lunch, if they became lab partners, there was no way that the lab would be finished. God. Having those two in an academic class together was just asking for trouble. Wasn’t it?
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Hello Mr. Steligman,” was Liz’s slightly nervous reply. Her little talk with Isabel had made her fearful of what was happening.
She didn’t even know what was going on. Blanking out on things that happened during lunch? Was that possible? It never happened to her before. Why would it be happening now? She did not have the time to worry about things like this. She needed to get focused on her classes and helping her parents with their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Isabel was telling her that she spent the entire lunch period staring at her brother, motionless. What was that all about? She didn’t even know what Isabel’s brother looked like! She didn’t even know that his name was Max until Isabel told her no more than a minute ago!
“Hello. You must be Miss Elizabeth Parker. I have spoken to Ms. Neil about you. She has passed along some rather impressive information about your scholastic achievements where science is concerned, and I must say that am quite intrigued.”
Liz bowed her head as her cheeks flushed from, what she determined to be, a compliment. “Thank you,” she said quietly. “And if you wouldn’t mind, Liz, as opposed to Elizabeth, would be just fine.”
She moved her hands to the straps of her backpack, reflexively adjusting the straps resting on her shoulders.
The rest of the students continued to sit in their assigned seats at the lab tables that formed lines and columns in the room. Most of them talked in the minutes that remained of their time before the final bell rang, ushering the end of their lunch and the beginning of class. A select few started on the set up for their lab. From the looks of concentration on their faces they did not have any lecture. It looked to be a lab day.
Liz, loving the subject of science, could not stop the smile that lifted the corners of her mouth. It has been a while since she had done a lab. Most of the time had been taken in lectures and homework, all having to do with the textbook. A lab. A real lab, finally!
She loved the return of the feeling of excitement within her. The way butterflies tickled her stomach was a feeling she could not believe. It has been to long. She had gone too long without this.
“Is there a lab today?” Liz asked. The bright smile still very much visible.
“Why, yes there is—a rather large one in fact. I wager that some of my students will not be able to finish it in the allotted time.”
“It has . . . well, you see . . . It has been a while since I have actually done a lab, and I know I haven’t really taken the time to look over the lab, or where you are in the text . . . but I would really . . .”
“You would like to participate in the lab?” He asked her. Even though his ever-present solemn expression was in place he was seeing a student that he knew he would enjoy having in his class. It was not everyday that a teacher came across a student who was willing to learn.
“If you think it would be okay.”
“I think it will. Let me just see if there is anything that I can do.” With that he turned and walked to the other side of his desk. Liz, not knowing where to sit decided that she would just stand to the side until he told her where to go. “I don’t think that it will be a problem allowing you to complete the lab. Besides, if you feel up to it, it would definitely be easier than having to complete it at a later date. Don’t you think?”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Max! Max!” Alex yelled, trying to jostle his friend out of yet another stupor. “Hey! Max! Snap out of it! I have to get to class! You need to finish this lab. Max!”
They stood outside the door of the class that has already filled with students. All the students that would be going to class and planned to get there on time were already in the room.
“God, what am I doing?” Alex mumbled. “The things I do for that girl,” Alex said under his breath.
Yes he loved her. Or at least what he thought was love. He knew that he really liked her. He knew that he like to spend time with her. He knew that he liked the feel of her in his arms. He really liked that last one. There was just something about her that was irresistible. Something that was inside her that just made him want to keep her in his arms, to protect her from everything. There were things that he knew she feared, and he wanted to keep her safe. There was always a feeling that he got when she was near. If that was love then . . . well, then he loved her.
“Come on, Max, don’t make me late for class,” Alex said pleading.
Max may have been there, but his mind was elsewhere. His mind seemed to not be anywhere at all. He wasn’t thinking about anything at all. All he knew was that there was this confusion floating around inside of him. To make matters worse he was confused about where the confusion actually came from. Why was he feeling this way? Where was this coming from?
There had to have been a source for the confusion. There was no reason for his emotions to be warring inside of him.
“Hey, Alex!” Max said as he smiled warmly at his friend while relief washed over his features.
Finally he gets back to normal, Alex thought to himself.
“What’s going on?” he asked as Alex tossed Max’s backpack into Max’s chest. His fingers curled around the bag, crumpling the material, as he held tight to keep it from falling to the floor. “Hey! Alex!” Max shouted, hoping to stop his fast departing friend. Why was he hurrying off?
Alex turned quickly to say, “I have to get to class, Max,” then spun on his heels to continue to run in the direction of his next class. God he was going to be late.
Max was confused. He was in front of his next class. That was interesting, seeing as how lunch had been going on a few seconds ago. Right? He simply scratched his head with his free hand and shrugged lightly. He might as well just take Alex’s example and get into class. He had a rather important lab that he needed to complete if he wanted to keep the rest of the day on the schedule he had. He had a plan, and completing a lab after school just messed things up. He would be late for everything. He needed a miracle.
He was a good student. He just had to work harder at science. He struggled to make the grade he desired. It just happened that AP Biology was kicking his butt and the first semester had only just begun.
He walked through the door and walked to his seat at his table. On his way over he bumped into a petite girl standing at Mr. Steligman’s desk.
“Sorry,” he said quickly before continuing on his way, never really looking at her.
“It’s okay,” Liz replied as her eyes continued to look at the book Mr. Steligman flipped through.
Max opened his lab notebook to the protocol he had worked on last night. He looked over it, quickly remembering what was needed and what needed to be done in the allotted time. Yeah, I am not going to finish, Max thought to himself as he left his table to go to the front to get the materials.
Because he didn’t have a partner all of this was happening. Then again . . . This was a small price to pay compared to what could have happened. Why did he have to volunteer to be the single? He remembered the second day of class, when they were assigning the partners. Pam had made it blatantly clear that she wanted Max to be her partner. Max couldn’t help but wonder how Pam had even gotten into the course. In a quick decision he decided that he didn’t want Pam as a partner, and the only way that he could save himself would be to volunteer to be the single.
The bell rang and as usual all the talking quieted as students took their seats. Lunch was over and now it was time to get to work. That is if they ever wanted to get this done and check out the new diner that was opening tonight. Gossip was that it was totally cheesy, but who cared if the food was good.
As things settled down a hand raised and a voice made an announcement. “Mr. Steligman?” came Pam Troy’s voice. Max needed to try to hide his shudder. That girl grated his nerves down into nothing.
“Yes,” he replied, still consulting his books. He was not trying to seem like he did not care, but he was trying to find out which student would be best for his new pupil.
“Mr. Steligman. I don’t have a partner for today’s lab.”
“Where is your assigned partner Miss Troy?”
“I don’t know. He isn’t here today.”
As much as he would not like to, if Pam was without partner then he might have no other choice than to pair Liz with her. Max had volunteered to be the single. Pam wanted a partner and Max didn’t.
“Well, then in that case I think I might have a resolution. That leads me to the matter at hand. Class, Liz Parker has just joined our class. I know that you all will have questions you would like to ask her, but please keep them until after class. Remember that you have a lab to complete, a rather long one at that.”
He continued to talk and Pam could not help the way her thoughts strayed. It looked like Liz Parker would be her lab partner today. Sure it was just one day, but maybe, if they got along then Mr. Steligman would allow a switch. If things went as she wanted Liz would be part of her entourage in no time. She grinned at the thought of stealing one of Isabel’s new charges from beneath her nose.
“It looks like Liz has chosen quite the day to show up. And in order to even things out today, or to keep them as even as they were previously, Liz will be partnered with—”
He was cut off abruptly as the door to the room was flung open and the light of the afternoon sun filtered in.
“Hey, sorry Steligman,” a boy said as he walked into the classroom and to the table he shared with Pam. He didn’t miss the chance to look at Liz standing next to the desk. It looks like the new girl was in this class, he thought.
“Late again?” Mr. Steligman said as he looked into the classroom. “Please just take your seat, Robert. It looks like your presence has changed things. Liz, we had an uneven number of students, but now, you have made it even. Max Evans volunteered to be the single, but now I don’t see why you can’t pair with him.” He motioned over to the table to his right. It was the third table from the front and it looked like the only possible choice.
Liz, again, adjusted the bag resting on her shoulders and proceeded to walk over to the table with one person seated at it. She made the connection between the names instantly. Evans. This was Isabel’s brother. He must be a good student if he was taking AP Biology throughout the year alone. Liz knew that she was good at science, but she also had her dad to ask questions to for help. She never even thought about taking the class without a lab partner.
Her mind raced with questions. There had to have been a reason for Max to volunteer to be the single. Was there a reason why he did not want a partner? Did he want to be alone? Then maybe he did not want her as his lab partner. If that was the case this will definitely be a long year.
“Hi,” She whispered as she pulled out two lab notebooks, noticing that she had brought both, her old lab book, and a new one for this class, she quickly returned the used book into her bag.
“Hi,” Max said in an equally quiet tone. He made a sideways glance at her, half paying attention to Mr. Steligman as he continued to talk about the lab. The first thing that hit him about her was that she was pretty. He just hoped that she was better at this stuff than he was.
Liz easily set her things on the table and Max accommodated, moving things to the side to allow her the space that she needed. Liz noticed Max’s movement and smiled slightly. He was being rather nice to her, especially since he did not want a partner to begin with.
Pam looked to her right. She continued to look at the way that Max and Liz continued to quietly set up their lab. That could have been her. She could have been the one rubbing elbows with either of them. They were both people that she wanted to sink her well-manicured fingers into. She wanted to get Liz into her small circle, if only to toss Liz aside as soon as it suited her needs. And Max . . . Oh Max. She had made some . . . inventive plans for him. But then he had to screw all of that up by volunteering. And now they were together!
“Why did you have to show up at all today?” Pam snapped out in a low whisper as she elbowed her ex boyfriend. “I was so close at getting Liz as my partner.”
“You? Wanted the new girl as your partner?” He looked over to Liz as she pulled her hair back into a ponytail at the nape of her neck. She asked Max a question before getting the lab book from him. “Her image isn’t one that you usually want around you.”
“And what do you mean by that?”
Her eyes drilled into his as she pressed him to elaborate his last answer. Who did he think he was talking to? Just because he had practically every girl in their school drooling over him did not mean that he can just go around and say things that he did not know. “Well, I . . . I just mean that you don’t usually have . . . Like smart girls in your group.”
“Well, just so you know. It just so happens that she is from New York. That along with the mystery around her makes it my business to find out every detail of her life.”
“Pam, just leave her alone. She shouldn’t have to deal with you.”
“Then I guess that you will just have to stop me when I get to her, won’t you?” She flipped her hair over her shoulder and got up from the table to get the rest of the materials that they would need.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Are you okay?” He asked her while his arms were still wrapped around her torso. “I mean did you want to talk about it or anything?”
She did not reply. She did not even move in his arms. Mary Jane was trying to hold on to her control. Things were going to be happening and soon that would be all that she had. All throughout Liz’s life she was hoping that what Madame Web had told her would not come to pass. She wanted to save her daughter from that. But now, after everything that happened, she knew that it was true. She knew it was bound to happen. The only thing that was still unknown was when.
“MJ?” he asked as he whispered into her hair.
“I heard you,” she said simply. “I just. I don’t really know. I don’t know what to say even if I did want to talk about it.” She moved away from him and shifted her body to face him. Here he was sitting in front of her. The man she fell in love with. The man she shared a child with. The man she shared a destiny with. “I don’t know what to do about Liz. She is going to have to know at one time or another. I just. . .”
“You know that Liz will understand. She always does.”
“Yeah, but she’ll be angry. If we tell her today, tomorrow, next month, next year, she’ll always want to know why we waited to tell her. Just telling her “we thought this would be best” seems like a poor excuse.” Her head fell as she looked down to the floor, not wanting to look into his eyes.
“It is the truth. She might not like it, but it was.” He stopped talking and just looked up at the ceiling. What were they going to do? There was no sure way to predict how Liz was going to take the news. At least they did not have to worry about Liz sticking to things. That was a small consolation. One crisis was averted.
She snapped her head up and looked at Peter. Her eyes were panicked. “Peter, what if she still . . . what if . . . She could develop spider powers. If that happens then what will we do? That would be two secrets we kept from her! She is going to hate me.”
“Sweetheart. She is not going to hate you. I know she’ll be hurt. It may take some time, but she will get over it. If there is one thing I know about our daughter is that she adores you.”
“Me? You think our daughter, our Liz, adores me. Are we talking about the same Liz who preferred to play with a microscope instead of playing with dolls?”
“Yes,” he replied. “I also remembering the same Liz Parker refusing to stop playing house and dress up until she was done. She won’t hate you. Besides, Liz still hasn’t exhibited any signs that she will have any powers. We don’t have to worry about that and the sphere at the same time.”
He stood, brushed off the dust from his jeans, and proceeded to help his wife up from the floor. His fingers twined with hers, the way they often did, and he looked deeply into her face. God, how deep did his love flow for this woman in front of him.
“So?” He asked, raising one of his eyebrows in question.
“Yes?” She knew it was coming. She also knew that there was no way that she could get around it.
“What are the odds of me getting you to just relax and not work on getting the restaurant ready?”
Her eyes looked upward and her lips pursed as she thought about his question. He always worried about her, and after her fall she knew he would ask. Now the only thing was whether she would be able win this argument. “Hmmmm . . .” She looked at him but continued to purse her lips as she continued to think. He was capable of handling the rest of the chores. Leaving the rest to him would make him happy.
“You really should relax. I can handle the rest.”
“Fine,” she relented. “I’ll be upstairs.” She went up on her toes and lightly kissed the tip of his nose. She proceeded to walk through the door that led to the stairs.
“Relax!” He called out to her. “Somehow I don’t think she’ll be relaxing,” he said into the emptiness of the room while looking around. “Well, I can handle this,” his eyes swept over the entire room, “It just might take a while.”
|posted on 5-Oct-2002 3:32:10 AM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“I’m guessing that you are some sort of science prodigy or something,” Liz said as she looked out of the corner of her eye at Max. She was filling in the information needed to complete the table that they just made the measurements for. “I mean, for you to volunteer to be the single person without a partner . . . for AP Bio. It has to be your best subject.”
Liz, suddenly overcome with shyness, looked back to her notebook and proceeded to neatly write the data with her pen. Why did she have to break the silence? Things were fine. Sure the only time that they talked was to ask for materials needed for the lab. Who could blame her? Whenever she looked at him she was afraid she would begin staring. He was gorgeous. As long as they didn’t talk, as long as she stayed busy, she would not be given the chance to stare.
Max laughed at her last statement. Him? A science prodigy? That was like saying Michael was a role model for perfect attendance!
His smile lightened his entire face and Liz found herself trapped in his eyes for a moment. Then she became confused. Why was he laughing?
“What’s so funny?” she asked putting her pen down on the tabletop.
He stopped laughing abruptly, fearing that he may have hurt her feelings. She wouldn’t have thought I was laughing at her, would she, he thought. “Oh, nothing. Nothing is funny.” Her eyes danced and sparkled with the light as she smiled at him. He could not help his thoughts from straying. He saw the way her hair moved when she did, the way her beautiful eyes had shown her happiness when she was working on the lab. She was beautiful.
“Then why were you laughing?” She asked, ending his reverie.
He shook his head, trying to clear the clouds that had recently impaired his thoughts. “Huh?” was all that he could think of. “What did you say?”
“I asked you why were you laughing. You said that nothing was funny, but then you were laughing. I was just wondering why.”
“Oh, that. I . . . uh . . . it was just what you said . . . I mean you thinking I am good at science is funny. It’s not that I think that your thoughts are funny. I’m sure you have great thoughts. But that isn’t to say that I know what you are thinking. Far from it. I have no idea what you are thinking.” He scratched his head. “This isn’t coming out the way I wanted it to.”
Liz smiled brightly again. Something about a flustered Max just brightened her mood. “It’s okay,” she said nodding. “I think I know what you mean.”
“It’s just, I am not that great at science. The only reason I volunteered was to keep from getting paired with . . . someone I don’t want to spent more time with.” He went back to putting the information in his notebook. “You on the other hand look like a science prodigy.”
“Not really,” she shook her head. “I just enjoy science.”
They both sat at the table, writing in their books, and the silence filled the space between. Neither of them really knew what to say. What if they said something to offend the other? If they got on either ones bad side things would be strained the rest of the year.
“Max,” Liz said breaking the silence once again. She looked over to him and waited for his acknowledgement.
“Yeah.” He said looking up from his hands that he was studying intently.
“No, what was it?” He was intrigued by her sudden change. She looked rather curious, but then changed in a split second.
“I was just wondering. I wanted to know who the person was that you didn’t want as your partner. No one could be that bad.”
“No. Believe me they could.”
“You have to be exaggerating.” She turned on her stool to face him. “No person would be worth risking your grade in this class over.”
“Believe me there is. You just haven’t met her yet.” He said seriously as he checked his watch, keeping track of the time.
“So, Max,” she asked as she narrowed her eyes and raised an eyebrow. “Tell me who this girl is that I need to avidly avoid.”
He looked around him at the other tables in the room, checking to see that everyone was occupied with their experiments. He leaned closer to her and she moved closer to him. Apparently he wanted to keep what he said a secret.
“What is so bad about a person that you need to whisper their name, and not have her for a lab partner?” Liz said, whispering as well.
“Apparently you haven’t met with Pam yet,” he said continuing to whisper into her ear.
“No I haven’t, but if I do I’ll remember to run away like she had the bubonic plague if we ever meet.”
“That would be a good idea,” Max said as he checked out of the corner of his eye to see what Pam was doing.
She faltered. Was it wrong of her to like they way her name sounded when spoken from him?
“Why are we still whispering?”
“I don’t know,” he said, laughing afterward.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Look at them . . . Laughing and talking. Who do they think they are, getting along like that? Don’t even think about answering that question! Just keep doing the lab,” she said icily as she continued to file her nails, briefly glancing at the table only a couple feet from hers.
“I wasn’t going to say a thing,” Bobby said as he continued to follow the directions. He looked around at the other tables in the room, checking to see his progress with the rest of the class’. It looked like he was trailing behind while Max and Liz seemed to be blazing ahead of everyone else.
“Oh, come on!” Pam exclaimed, throwing her file on the table. “There is no reason for that! Whispering! Whispering! They hardly know one another and here he is, whispering in her ear. What’s next? Making out on the table? Don’t answer that.”
“I won’t, but would you mind lifting a finger to help me out here? If you don’t hurry up and forget about what they are doing over there we will have to finish the lab on our own time. That means that you won’t get to go out tonight with the rest of ‘the girls’ to the Crashdown’s opening.”
Her head snapped as soon as she heard that. Not go? To the opening? Doing a lab? Now that was just crazy! “No,” she gasped as her jaw dropped.
“Yup,” he said as he began looking for the graduated cylinder.
“No,” she said in a whine. “That means . . .”
“Yup. That means that you actually have to work on the lab. Unless you want to cancel your plans.”
“What was it that you wanted me to do?” She said swiftly. She now had a purpose. There was no way that all her plans for later on would be canceled because of a stupid lab. She still needed to find the right ensemble of clothes for the opening. She couldn’t wear just anything. That would be . . . unspeakable.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Max was amazed. Fifty minutes ago he was positive that the lab would not get finished on time. He knew that he would not be able to get this done by the time the bell rang, but then something happens and everything he thought that would happen changed. It was all flipped on its head. Here he was sitting with one amazing girl. This girl saved his day.
He shook his head once again. Look at him. He was thinking about Liz like she was some kind of superhero who saved his life or stopped the end of the world. What is he thinking? She is just a regular girl.
Liz continued to dry the rest of the equipment that they had used for the lab. With a careful hand Liz placed the glass tubes in the drawer and locked it. With a smile on her face she turned to Max. “We’re done.”
“Yeah,” Max said. He looked over at his wrist to the watch, seconds ticking away. “And we finished with a minute to spare.”
“It wasn’t that hard,” Liz said in her usual pleasant tone. “Besides, your protocol was great. It did help.”
“Yeah, but you actually knew what to expect. You knew what you were doing.”
Liz looked away and blushed at his comment. She moved her hands over the notebook in front of her. “Have you finished your conclusion?”
“No. I have been falling behind on them lately.”
“Oh,” Liz said as she closed the book. Her eyes grew a little wider. She had thought that he had finished the lab, conclusion and all. “Well, yeah. There shouldn’t be any problem working on it, you know, at a later time. I mean . . . I’m sure you’ll have it done in no time.” She removed the band that was holding her hair back. As soon as it was removed her hair swept down her back in a cascade.
Max just stared as her hair swept about her shoulders. He began to wonder if her hair felt as soft as it looked. His fingers itched to be buried in those luxurious locks. In an effort to stop staring at her he decided to pack up the rest of his books and pens.
“So, Liz, what is your next class?” He dropped his packed bag on the tabletop and leaned into the table.
“My next class? I . . . uh . . . I don’t know.” Liz pulled her bag onto her lap and began unzipping it. She continued to bite her bottom lip as she flipped through the pages in her binder until she found the small paper with her schedule on it. “US History.”
An idea popped into Max’s thoughts. Did he dare to act on it? Would it be a good idea? What if she said no? Maybe he should just forget about it. Who would want him to walk them to class? Just because she was new here didn’t mean that she didn’t know where her next class was. Isabel was her “tour guide,” and Isabel never did a bad job.
The bell rang and pandemonium ensued as all the students hurriedly stuffed their things in the backpacks and rushed out the door, but not before Mr. Steligman stopped them all.
“I take it that not all of you were able to complete your lab this afternoon, and in order for you to get credit for this lab you will need to finish it after school. I have a sheet that you need to sign into if you want to use the lab hours after school. Enjoy the rest of your day.” He then sat in his chair and watched as the students flocked to his desk, pen in hand. They scrawled their names on the list and then rushed to the door.
“Yeah, Max?” Liz said over the loud rush of students.
Ask her. He heard his thoughts tell him. Ask her if she wants you to walk her to class. Ask!
“Max? Did you want to ask me something?” she questioned again.
“Uh, No. It’s nothing. Never mind.”
“Oh, okay,” Liz said in a sad tone. She was hoping that they might have asked to walk with her. She had enjoyed the last period more than any other class that she had. She was unsure as to why she felt that he had a calming influence, but she felt it. Something was different when he was with her.
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yeah, tomorrow. Bye, Max,” she said as she continued to smile brightly. Her eyes however did not glitter with merriment.
Liz continued to walk down the hall to the area that Isabel pointed out earlier in the day. She was already halfway down the hall when he finally said something. The only problem was that no one heard it.
“Bye, Liz. It was nice meeting you,” he whispered as he watched her walk down the hall, not moving until he saw her disappear around a corner.
To be continued . . .
|posted on 5-Oct-2002 3:33:11 AM|
The wind was warm as it rushed through the Jeep as Max and Isabel continued to on the well-known route home. They had just dropped off Michael and were on their way home. Their parents had left early that morning to get into the office early. There was some case that they needed to work on. They had two options. They could either stay late or go in early. It was a unanimous vote that they should go in early. Then they would be able to have dinner together at the Crashdown.
Max and Isabel were supposed to get to the café early and get them a table. It was common knowledge for the entire town that the café would be booming with business tonight.
“Max, what is going on with you?” Isabel asked. She looked at her brother with big imploring eyes, hoping that he would give her a straight answer. “I mean that whole thing at lunch with Liz. You know—“
“I know Iz. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what happened. You, Michael, and I all know that we can’t do anything . . . abnormal. It would be a risk that we can’t have.” His fingers gripped the steering wheel as they continued down the street lined with homes and cleanly mowed lawns.
“You have better find out what it is that is going on with you, Max. There nothing normal about what happened at lunch today.”
There was silence in the jeep as he pulled into the driveway of their home. What Isabel had said was making Max’s thoughts run rampant. Figure it out? How was he supposed to do that when he had no idea what was going on? He hated thinking this, but it was the only plausible answer. He knew that Isabel was thinking the same thing. Both of them were afraid to bring the thought to light. If they did . . .
“Isabel,” he said when they started walking towards the front door.
“Don’t, Max. Not today.”
“We have to talk about this, Iz. It won’t just go away. What if what is happening is because of what we are? Maybe the reason we can’t explain what is happening is because it is . . . not of this Earth.” His hand grabbed hers, the same way he did when they were six. Their eyes met, and that was the first time that he saw it. Fear. Terror. They were not plastered on her face, but hidden deep within her brown eyes.
“I don’t want this,” she whispered as she turned away from him. “I just want to be normal.” She opened the door and the smell of smoke and the shrill cry of the alarm assailed her senses.
“Mom!” Isabel shouted into the house. She was constricted with worry. “Mom! Where are you?!”
Max ran past Isabel and headed toward the kitchen. He had to stop the fire. Then, if she wasn’t in the kitchen, he would search for her. He just hoped that she wasn’t hurt.
Diane Evans was sitting on the couch in the living room. She would usually be in the kitchen, getting ready for dinner. But since they were all going to be going out to dinner she had some time to actually relax. Deciding that she wanted to greet her children when they came home, she sat down with a magazine and started looking at the various ads and articles.
That is when she noticed it. She had always felt that her children were special, even when she and Phillip first adopted them. There was just something about the way they acted. It was different. Her first priority was them, to make sure that they were safe, to make sure that they were loved, to make sure that they knew she loved them unconditionally. She didn’t mean to eavesdrop on their conversation. She just could not stop herself from listening. There was something about Max’s voice when he spoke. It brought you in, no matter what you were doing. It commanded you to listen, though not in a forceful way. It was charismatic. This time it was no different. There was, however, a certain lilt in his voice that had changed, she had never heard it in his tone before.
“We have to talk about this, Iz,” she heard her son say. Talk about what, she asked herself. Wanting to know what was going on with Max and Isabel, she continued to listen. “It won’t just go away.”
It was then that the fire alarm went off in the kitchen. “Oh, God,” she said quietly as she jumped up off the couch to run to the kitchen. How could she have forgotten about the last tray of cookies that were in the oven? With a steady hand she removed the blackened cookies from the oven and placed them on the cooling rack. She grabbed the towel and began to fan the alarm.
The fire alarm sputtered and then stopped right before her son came crashing into the kitchen followed by a frightened Isabel.
“Hi honey,” she said sweetly as Isabel hugged her tightly.
“Hey, Mom,” Isabel whispered as she continued to hold her mother. She was so afraid that something had happened to her.
“Are you okay?” Max asked as he walked closer, inspecting the scene, burnt cookies on the counter, the oven on. He knew what happened.
“Yeah. I just forgot about the last tray of cookies. It looks like those are twenty cookies no one will be eating,” she replied. A bright smile lit up her face as she flipped the tray over with her still-gloved hand. The black, crisp cookies held tight to the pan, not moving even with gravity pulling at them.
“Yeah,” Max replied. “The pan looks dead, too.”
Diane laughed at his comment and put the pan back on the cooling rack and removed the oven mitt. She walked to the kitchen table, and sat down in her usual seat. She had glasses of milk and a plate full of cookies already there.
“How was school today?” she asked her kids as they walked to the table to sit down like she wanted them to.
“It was pretty normal,” Isabel said as she halved her cookie on the napkin in front of her.
“Didn’t you have that tour thing today for the new student?”
“How was she? Is she nice?”
“Yeah,” Isabel said with a smile. “Her name is Liz. She is really nice. Really sweet. Pretty much half the rumors about her are false. Talking to her about things that she used to do where she id from is great. There are so many things that they have over there that we don’t. She might even be wearing down Michael’s stone wall.”
“Really? She must be quite a person then. How did she do it this quickly?” It was common knowledge that Michael liked to keep himself separated from others. He never really wanted to connect with anyone on an emotional level. It took almost a year for Maria to wear him down. The only people he took to naturally in record time were Max and Isabel.
“He wouldn’t actually tell anyone, but I could see it. She offered to get everyone something to drink since it was so hot outside. That and she didn’t force him to talk.”
Diane looked to her side where Max was quietly sitting. “Max, honey, you seem really quiet. Is anything wrong?”
“No,” he said simply before lifting his glass to his lips.
“Well, did you meet this Liz that everyone has been talking about for the past week?”
He looked at his hands before answering, not looking up to meet either his mother’s or his sister’s gaze. “Yeah,” he said without elaboration.
“She is in Max’s AP Biology class,” Isabel supplied for him as she continued to talk with their mother.
“Really, honey, that is great. Now the class has an even number of students. You can have a lab partner now. Who is it?”
She knew that Max was worried about Biology. He stayed up late last night going over the lab continuously. She knew that it was going to be hard on him. She was not expecting him home directly after school with Isabel. He had even told her that he would probably have to try and meet them at the café because there was not enough time in class for him to complete the lab alone. But since he was here, he had to have acquired a partner in order to finish the lab on time. And according to what she had seen of the lab, this partner must have been great in the field of science.
Isabel almost spit out her milk. He did not tell her this. She knew that he probably had a partner, but she just felt that Mr. Steligman would have placed Liz with one of the other students. One of the other students that was receiving a higher mark in the course. But now she supposed it made sense. Why break up the partners after they had already completed a couple of labs?
Diane smiled. There was something different about Max. The way he was constantly looking elsewhere, at other things. Never once did his eyes look into hers. It looked like Liz was a sensitive subject with him. Very interesting, she thought.
“So what did you think of her?”
“Like Iz said, she is nice. She is really great at science.” He shoved another cookie into his mouth, hoping that the rule, no talking with your mouth full, would get him out of talking more about Liz.
“Well, I can’t wait to meet her and her parents,” Diane said as she got up from the table. “Oh! Maybe I can even meet her later tonight. Her parents own the Crashdown. I am sure that she will be there.”
Max’s eyes opened widely as his head jerked upwards. His surprised expression met with his mother’s tender one. She looked at him curiously, but then continued to leave the kitchen.
What? See Liz? Tonight?!
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Michael!” Maria yelled into the receiver clutched in her hand. Her knuckles turning white and anger was swirling in her eyes. The uniform that she would have to wear for her new job laid on her bed. She could not believe that they were really making them wear that. Sure they were going for the “old diner feel” but that? And the antenna tiara headbands? It was just funny.
“Geez! You don’t have to yell in my ear, okay? I am here!” He yelled back at her. “If I didn’t know any better I would think that we didn’t make-up earlier.”
“Michael Guerin, you better be at the Crashdown later tonight with Max and Iz and Alex. If not I am going to . . .” she trailed off, her anger clouding her mind.
“You’re going to what?” he asked, adding to the flames that burned inside her.
“You just don’t get it.” Her voice held a softer tone when she said that, and her head hung low.
“What! What don’t I get!” he demanded. He didn’t pick up on the subtle way her voice changed over the phone. “You are always telling me that I don’t get this, and I don’t get that! I don’t know what you want, Maria!” he said heatedly.
“God! Never mind then! Who needs you? I certainly don’t! I don’t care if you show up tonight or not. You know what Michael? Just when I think that I know you, just when I think that I understand you, you do something like this. It’s like . . . It’s like you keep me at a distance on purpose!” She pressed the disconnect button on her phone and tossed it on her bed. And started wondering, why was she even with him at all? He never did anything right. They were always fighting. If there was a time when they weren’t arguing it was rare. Just look at what happened earlier that day. She continued to think about him as she sat on the corner of her bed, staring out the window at nothing in particular while the anger seethed within her.
“Maria?” Amy said as she entered her daughter’s room. She heard Maria’s part of the conversation and knew that something was up. She was also pretty sure that her daughter would need some time to cool down, and get herself together.
“What?” Maria snapped.
“Nothing,” was Amy’s reply as she set a small brown bottle on her daughter’s bureau. “I just thought that you might want this. You left it in the kitchen this morning.” With that said she slipped back out of the room to continue with the laundry.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
There was a loud thud that echoed in Max’s room as Michael landed on the floor. Max looked up briefly from the homework laid out before him to acknowledge Michael’s presence. He continued to answer the question that he was working on while he asked Michael a question.
“Something happen with Maria again?”
“Why do you always assume that it has to do with Maria?”
“That is usually the only thing that it can be.” Max said calmly as he closed his History book and turned in his seat to face Michael sitting on his bed.
“Very funny, Maxwell,” he said flatly.
“What happened this time?”
“Hey, Max, what was the precal homework?” Isabel said as she started to open his door, notebook and pencil in hand, already writing the word “precal” on the page. “Oh, hey Michael,” she said greeting him. She looked at Max and asked, “Maria again?”
He nodded and tossed her his assignment book.
“What did you do this time Michael?” Isabel asked as she looked at him.
“What I did? What makes you think that it was something that I did?”
“Because it usually is,” she said as she started to copy the assignment in her book. “So, what did you do?”
“How should I know? She stated talking about the Crashdown, and being there for her with everyone else. I said that I would try to get there because there was a game on tonight. Then she just blew up at me.”
“You didn’t.” Max was already putting his history book in his bag, having finished the assignment.
“Michael, how could you do that?” Isabel said as she sat on Max’s bed as well.
“Do what!” He exclaimed standing from his seated position.
“Michael, you know that Maria was working tonight. It is her first day working at The Crashdown,” Max supplied as he looked at his best friend.
“She wanted us all to be there for her,” Isabel said.
“It gets worse.” Michael was pacing the small length of Max’s room before he continued.
“What gets worse, Michael,” Isabel said watching him.
“She thinks I’m hiding something from her.”
Michael and Isabel looked at Max. Now it was two of them that wanted to tell someone. They wanted to, but felt that their pact among each other was stronger, and they couldn’t break it. The pact that they were not going to tell anyone about their . . . differences.
“It’s getting harder, Maxwell. I know that we said we wouldn’t, that we couldn’t, but things have changed.”
“He’s right Max. Why can’t we tell Mom? She’ll be okay with it. She loves us. And Alex and Maria, do you really think that they will look at us differently?”
Silence befell the small room as both Michael’s and Isabel’s eyes were trained on Max as he looked down at his hands.
“I know you want to—we all want to . . . but we can’t. The risk is too great. What if something happens?” He looked at both of them, his eyes looking deeply into each of theirs. “I can’t take that risk.”
Diane was walking through the hallway, making her way to the linen closet to replenish it with the freshly cleaned towels. She was about to enter Isabel’s room to ask her how she was doing on her homework, but found the room empty, her books packed away neatly in the corner of the desk. The only one open was her math book, and clean sheets of binder paper lay on the desktop. Her neat penmanship displayed in the upper right hand corner of the paper.
Assuming that she was in Max’s room she proceeded to head over there. Just to make sure that they were making progress on their homework. They were going to be leaving soon to head over to the Crashdown. And, being the good mother that she was, she wanted their homework to be finished before they left.
“But we can’t.” She heard her son say in that same tone he had earlier at the front door before the alarm went off. “The risk is too great. What if something happens?” There was a pause before he continued talking to, who she could only imagine as being Isabel. “I can’t take that risk.” Her hand was still as it rested on the handle of the door. She was unsure if she should enter. Whatever it was that they were talking about was a secret, and she did not want to invade on her children’s privacy.
When he said “risk” a red flag went up in her mind. She wanted to burst into the room and demand what was going on. What risk were they talking about? They were doing nothing wrong. At least for now they were not. They were talking about avoiding risks, and according to her that was fine.
Quickly she deliberated on the right course of action and left them alone. She went back downstairs. If they needed her they would ask for her help. She knew that she might just be over reacting about everything. She still wanted to be the mother that they needed, the mother that they wanted when they first came to live with her and Phillip. She wanted to be the one who chased all their nightmares away. She wanted to be the one that they went to when they needed to talk.
But something happened to change that. They grew up.
|posted on 5-Oct-2002 3:34:13 AM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Wow!” Liz said breathlessly as she walked into the café from the back room. They did a lot of work while she was gone today. Sure it was a little silly to have a mural of aliens on the wall of the restaurant, but it coincided with the theme that her parents were going for. And even thought it was not the most mature theme she had ever seen it looked great. The lights over the counter were a great touch to the entire place. Everything was clean and in place. Each table had every condiment they were supposed to.
She looked around the room again, thinking that she would find her parents still doing some last minute preparations for the opening. When she did not see either of them she took another step in. “Mom?” she called. “Are you in here?” There was no reply as she continued to walk farther into the diner. “Dad,” she said into the empty room.
“Hey, sweetie,” he said as he, too, swept into the room from the back.
His comment from behind startled Liz as she jumped and turned to face him. Her dad really knew how to sneak up on someone when he wanted to.
“Hi Dad,” she said as she started to take her backpack off and place it on the counter next to her.
“So?” he asked.
“It was okay,” she said, clearly understanding what he wanted to know.
He frowned a little at her comment. “Only okay?” he asked. He could have sworn that from the expression on her face when she greeted him that the day was more than okay.
His blue eyes probed her, making sure she knew that she could not lie to him on this. Sometimes he would allow it, giving her some privacy, knowing that there were some secrets that she just didn’t want to tell him. He allowed her those, knowing that she told Aunt May everything. But with her gone he worried. He worried that she did not have anyone to talk to, anyone to reveal everything to.
He still allowed her secrets now and then, but made her reveal a little more than he used to. She understood why, and never questioned it. She also knew that he could see through anything that she did. One thing she learned early one was there was no way that she could lie to her either of her parents without them knowing for two reasons. One, they would find out, one way or another. Two, she could not look into either or their blue eyes and lie.
Liz looked down to the floor, collecting her thoughts before she answered her father’s question. He knew her. He knew her better than she knew herself at times.
“It was great. Wasn’t it?” he asked as he walked over to sit on the stool next to hers.
She looked up at him and smiled. Her eyes sparkling as she did so.
“I knew it,” he said laughing lightly. “And judging by that smile, there was a lab in your bio class that you participated in.”
Liz looked back down at her hands, and she did not say a word. The blush that crept up her cheeks spoke enough.
“I knew it. Nothing gets you this happy other than science. A girl after my own heart.”
“Dad,” she said as she turned to face him.
“I’m glad your day went well, sweetheart,” he said as he kissed her forehead, and lightly stroked her hair. “I still have some boxes to take to the back. After that we will be ready to open.”
“I can help,” she said as she, too, got to her feet.
“No, it’s okay. Why don’t you go upstairs and tell Mom how things went. I am sure that she is waiting for you.”
“You sure, Dad?” Liz asked.
“I’m sure. I am almost done here, and you still have to finish your homework before your shift,” He said as he picked up a box and started to unfold it to neatly close it. “I’ll see you up there in a few minutes.”
“Okay,” Liz said as she picked up her bag from the counter and walked to the backroom.
He watched her leave while he continued his business with the cardboard. His wife’s words echoed in his mind and brought a smile to his face. Are we talking about the same Liz that preferred to play with a microscope instead of playing with dolls?
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Mom? Are you here?” Liz asked as she walked into the room. She expected to find the boxes that were there this morning to still be there. She suddenly realized how busy her parents were today. Both were getting the Crashdown ready and working on unpacking, no wonder her mother was taking a break. The room was clean and free of any remnant to make it look like they have just arrived at their new home.
Liz walked up to the couch, where her mother was resting, and unfolded the blanket on the back of the couch. She covered her and quietly left the room to start working on her homework. She heard the slight mumblings come from the room as she exited.
“No, it’s not time for the light yet. It’s too soon.” Liz smiled at the incoherent speech. How silly was it for her mom to be talking about lights. It was like she was five years old and didn’t want to waken.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Hello, Spider-man,” a familiar voice said into the quiet room of the café.
“Madame Web,” Peter said as he dropped the box he was picking up from the counter. “It has been awhile since I have heard your voice,” he said as a blanket of smoke curled around him and disoriented his senses.
He soon found himself in her familiar lair. She was seated in her usual chair behind the table placed before her. Her eyes still covered by the colored lenses of her glasses. One thing he was not was surprised. If anything this was all too predictable. From the time that she had chosen to the manner in which she had acquired him. It was almost expected.
“Has it happened?” She asked coolly. She did not look at him, but at the cards that lay on the table. Things were happening and decisions would soon have to be made. She needed to keep her eyes open.
“Yes. I began to wonder if you were still going to show. It has been quite a while. I wasn’t sure if I was still able to stand the disorienting ride of your smoke and mirrors.” He took a brief look around his surroundings and the memory of all the times that it happened before in the past came back to him.
“Obviously you still can,” she said, commenting on his ability to stand before her after the unusual terms of travel, “your powers are still as acute as they ever were.”
“What is the point of all this?” He asked as he walked closer. “I don’t think you are here for the small talk.”
“This is why.” She extended her hand as if offering him a seat, but instead he was lost again in the colored smoke uniquely hers. He hand fell back down to the top of the table and the smoke began to clear.
“What?” He did not understand in the least why this happened. He thought that he was done with that. The suit he had packed away in the back of his closet once again covered his body from head to toe. The material fit as it had the very first time that he put it on; the deep crimson and the vibrant blue fitted to his body as it had when he first donned the suit.
“There is a point to all of this,” she said looking into the mask that covered his eyes from view.
“A point,” he said, the mask still over his head. “A point.” He ripped off the mask and stared at her. “What is the point?” Each word was pressured as it fell from his lips, dripping in an anger rising within him. He had an idea as to why he was once again in the suit that had caused him quite a bit of pain and anguish.
He wanted to leave this all behind. He thought he had. He thought that that chapter of his life ended when he left New York. Never again did he want to see his family hurt because of a secret life that he never could tell to anyone. This suit was supposed to stay folded in the back of the closet never to be opened again. But look at what happened. It was now once again on his body.
“The time of the light is at hand, as you already know. It is time for your role as its protector to be called to action. To keep it safe while in your possession you may have to use powers and abilities that surpass those of the regular mortal men. You will have to become what you once were. Can you bear that burden . . . for your daughter?”
The fog and clouds again surrounded him, bringing him back to the café where things still needed to be done. He was clothed in his normal attire. The suit not covering his skin as it once was, but in the box he sealed it in. One thing echoed through his mind as he forced himself to continue working. The last sentence Madame Web spoke to him continuously played through his thoughts. The voice held the same tone, the same volume it did when he first heard it.
“I guess that is what this all comes down to,” he admitted in the silence.
Can you bear that burden . . . for your daughter?
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“What are you saying? You have come to me before, but I thought it was just a weird dream. This isn’t just a weird dream, is it?”
“I’m afraid not, Mrs. Parker. We are here to act as guidance if you will. You see you are our means of communication.”
“Means of communication. What? I am your cell phone. First you come and tell me that eventually you are going to have to take away my only daughter for the safety of the world, not giving me a lot of information to go on. Then you invade my dreams and tell me that my husband needs to keep her safe, like he is not going to do that anyway. She is his daughter. He would sooner die than let harm come to her.” Her anger was flowing and there was not much that she could do to reign it in. She was more than polite before, but now she couldn’t stand it. Things are happening, and no one was giving her any information to go on.
“Calm down. Your questions will be answered when the time is right,” A voice in the darkness said to her.
“No! I want the answers now. I have been more than patient before. I want to know what is happening. I know from that meeting with Madame Web that the time is approaching, and it is almost upon us. I think that it is your job to let me know what exactly is going on.”
“We cannot,” A different voice answered this time.
She turned abruptly to face the direction of the voice, hoping to see something other than the blackness surrounding her and the bright light shinning down onto her. She felt a hot wind swirl around her as another light in the distance appeared.
“What is that?” she asked in reference to the other light. “What is going on?”
“That is the light. It calls.”
She stayed silent, quietly watching, waiting for something to happen. And then it did. The light that was in the distance moved closer and then vanished without a trace. Snuffed out for some odd unknown reason. Confused about things occurring around her, she blinked her eyes and ran her fingers through her hair.
“The light has been taken.”
“Taken? By whom?” she asked.
“The darkness has overcome the light. The time for the light is at hand. Actions must be calculated or else darkness will fall, taking the light as it has tried for eons. A darkness is after the power of the light, and it will come.”
A figure stepped forward into the light surrounding her. Their face and body concealed in shadow from a hood and cloak. She became the frozen victim as she stared into the dark shadows covering a face hidden from view.
The cloak twirled at the feet of the figure as it turned away. Orders came from the cloaked man, his voice, cold and cruel. “Keep searching for him. I know that the loyalists did not just give up. The prisoner told of the cloning. Their essences survived and were sent somewhere. Look at all of the galaxies with similar lifeforms. The royals are somewhere. When I find them they will be killed. Seer, you are sure that the sphere will be with him.”
Another voice in the darkness of Mary Jane’s dream spoke up. She assumed it was the seer he was referring to. “As I have seen it, the time for the sphere of light is at hand. She will be with him.”
“Good. I never imagined that the legends of the sphere would be true, but they are. I shall possess the power of the sphere, and with it I will have no trouble disposing of him. He thought that leaving would be enough. They are wrong. How can he still have people loyal to him? He left! Our galaxy’s life star is dying and they make plans to live on another planet!”
“You must calm down, my king. You shall get what you deserve. Just give it time. Zan will get what is coming to him,” The seer said. “As will you,” she whispered quietly, menacingly, obviously unheard by the cloaked man.
“What is going on?” Mary Jane called out as the scene playing out before her vanished. “Who was that? Why won’t you answer me?!” she screamed. She stood there in the silent void, waiting for an answer and also trying to calm her own mind. Answers come easier when not in a haze of anger. She knew that whomever that was wished to possess the power of the sphere, Liz. He was also after some other weird named man, this Zan.
“You wish to know who that was? You wish to know who desires the power of the light? You already know. Trust your thoughts.”
“That man . . . the darkness.”
The wind blew once again, and the voices echoed around her, confusing her, angering her. “The time for the light is at hand. Be warned. Be ready.”
“No, it’s not time for the light yet. It’s too soon.” She whispered. She was hoping against all hope that this long period was nothing but a dream. This was not happening and her daughter is still just a normal baby girl. There is nothing otherworldly about her except for the chance that she was more like her father than they thought. This sphere that they speak of is nothing but a figment in her imagination.
This was a hope that would never happen. No matter how much she did not want this to be reality it was. Time was running out and the nightmare that she had seen in the distance was closing in, becoming a near reality.
“The time has come. There is nothing that can stop it. You must try simply to do your job. The light was placed in your protection—in your husband’s protection. We were told that this was the place she would be safe. Do not prove us wrong.”
“Protect her. Love her. She is still your daughter,” a woman’s voice called out.
To be continued . . .
|posted on 5-Oct-2002 3:37:06 AM|
“Oh, honey, isn’t this place cute?” Diane said as she walked through the doors to the café. It took them a while to get seated, but now that she was inside, the rush of the crowd buzzing around her, she got caught up in everything. “Can you imagine that this place was closed down, dusty, and dirty only a few days ago?” The Evans had to change their plans. They wanted to get to the Crashdown early, and beat the crowds, but it was not to happen. Their Dad needed to stay a little longer at the office.
“No, I can’t. It looks like it will be quite the hit with the kids. Isabel seems happy. Max looks, well, Max looks like Max,” he said over the sound of the music that played. “I still can’t believe that you all waited,” Phillip said as they walked over.
“Come on, Dad. Did you really think that we would go out to dinner without you?” Isabel said as she looked at him. “Besides, we just got here a little later. We just will be here around closing. It will be quieter when dessert comes.” Isabel was trying to make sure that her father did not feel bad about making them wait. He was late because he was working.
The four of them seated themselves in the booth. Phillip and Diane took the side facing the window, putting both their kids in view of the restaurant. Max was enjoying himself, but he carried his usual expression on his face. There was no smile, unlike his sister who was beaming. She was grinning like the Cheshire cat out of sheer enjoyment.
“Isabel!” Maria said as she cried out to her friend. She rushed over to her. The antenna on her head bobbed as she moved to greet her friend.
“Maria!” Isabel said. Soon after her jaw dropped while she looked at her friend. The uniform was just something that you could not imagine. The mint green diner dress with a silver fringe, completed with an equally silver antenna and alien apron. She was not kidding when she said it was ‘nothing you could imagine’.
“I told you I was not kidding.”
“Hi Mr. Evans, Mrs. Evans,” she said greeting the parents at the table. “So Max, I hear that you and Liz are lab partners. I also think that Liz totally saved your butt in lab today. You so wouldn’t have finished in time.”
Max just looked at her, smiled shyly and returned his attention to the menu on the table. “Yeah. Tell her thanks for me.”
Isabel sat back down in the booth and looked at the menu as well. She tried to suppress a giggle at the names of the dishes. Will Smith Burger? Blood of Alien Smoothie? Alien Blast? They were hilarious!
“Oh, I won’t have to,” Maria said as she pulled out her order pad. “You can tell her yourself. She is your waitress, and she is coming right over.”
Max dropped the menu on the table and glanced up. Maria had to have been joking. There was no way. She was taking out her order pad. She was their waitress. She was pulling out her pen. And she is walking away to another table. She was not joking. Liz was their waitress! That is when he knew it. He was in trouble.
Isabel heard what Maria had said, but did not even bother to look at Max. She knew what he looked like. He looked like that earlier when their Mom told Max that she would get to meet Liz today. She smiled as she looked down at the plastic covered page, glancing at the options.
“Hi!” Liz’s cheery voice said as she looked at the down turned heads around the table. She looked down at her apron to pick up her pen while she continued with her usual greeting. “My name is Liz and I will be your server today. Is there anything I can get you started off on? Any drinks?”
Isabel looked away from her menu and at her new friend. “Hi, Liz,” she said with a smile.
“Isabel!” Liz, too, smiled. “Hi! How are you doing tonight?”
“Good, I’m waiting to see if I can catch Alex. Has he already come in with his parents?”
“Not that I know of.”
“He would have said hi to you if he did,” Isabel said. She didn’t miss Alex. Her smile doubled in size.
“Hi, Max,” Liz said as she looked past Isabel to the boy sitting next to her examining the menu.
He took a deep breath before looking up. He readied himself, knowing that she was going to have a radiant smile. “Hi,” he said, his voice floated between them and Liz just relaxed as if there was no evening rush. A simple word said by him was enough to relax her.
“This is my Mom and Dad,” Isabel said when she felt the small pause. She needed to keep things moving or else they would become deer caught in the headlights.
“Hello, Liz,” Diane said mirroring the smile on Isabel’s face. She was happy to put a face with the name. She was beginning to understand why Max was keeping information from them about Liz. She was definitely pretty. She wondered if she took more after her mother or her father. “It is so great to meet you. Isabel was telling me about earlier today.”
“I hope everything was good,” Liz said with a smile.
“Of course,” Phillip said, chiming in on the conversation. She did have a pleasant air about her. “Our Izzy was most definitely singing your praises.”
Max continued to listen to the conversation happening at the table. He felt okay while he continued to hide behind his menu. For some reason he was feeling more secure and less vulnerable behind the small menu. As long as he kept his eyes away from hers he would be fine.
“Now about those drinks, my throat is parched,” Phillip announced.
“Oh, mine, too.” Diane looked at the beverages section of the menu and tried to decide on what she felt like drinking tonight. So many looked good she was having a hard time deciding. Her children on the other hand did not have any difficulties. She thought as much. For as long as she could remember they both enjoyed cherry cola, and the oddest addition of Tabasco. She did not understand it, but just thought it was some dietary quirk that they inherited from their parents.
“I’ll have a cherry coke, and Max will have one as well.”
“Is that right Max?” Liz asked to check with Max.
“Uh, yeah. Cherry coke. Do you have any Tabasco?”
Isabel almost slipped out of her seat. She could not understand what he was thinking. He was ordering that with the drinks. She thought they were going to keep a low profile. Ordering a rather spicy condiment with their sweet drink. It was lunacy!
Liz’s eyes opened widely. She thought that he just asked for Tabasco when he ordered his drink. She thought the idea of that was absurd. Why would he want those two together? That combination had to taste . . . gross. “Uhm, I think we do. I just need to check behind the counter.”
“Thanks,” he said, flashing a gracious smile. “I was going to get a burger, and I like Tabasco on burgers. I just wanted to know before I ordered.”
Isabel calmed considerably. That made much more sense. Thank goodness for small favors. She was sure that Liz was going to have a bunch of questions that she would eventually want answered. There was not way to get around that other than telling the truth, which Max had already announced was out of the question.
“It is no problem. What would you two like tonight? Mr. Evans?” Mrs. Evans was still looking at the choices laid out before her. She decided to giver her more time and asked her husband that did not even bother to look at the beverage menu.
“I don’t know what they are called here, but I would really enjoy a chocolate shake.”
“I can do that,” Liz said with another smile. He really was a nice father. No wonder Isabel and Max were so nice. They came from such a nice family. “Mrs. Evans?”
“Oh, dear, I think I’ll have the . . . Alien blast. If that is okay.”
“Yes, that will not be a problem,” Liz said. “I am going to go and put the order in for your drinks and bring over some water for you all. I’ll be right back.” She smiled and backed away from the booth. She continued to walk over to her Dad to place in the drink order, making sure to check below the counter to see if there was any Tabasco there for Max.
“Sweetie,” her father said as he looked at her ducked behind the counter. “What are you doing?”
“Oh, dad. Did we get any Tabasco sauce in the condiment order?”
“Yeah, but we didn’t think anyone would want it, so we kept it in the back stockroom. Does anyone want some?”
“Yeah, Max was asking for some.”
Peter’s attention was peaked at the sound of that. Max. Liz was making friends here. Maybe he would have to pull that bat out to keep the guys away from her daughter. He knew it was unlikely. Liz had pushed away all the offers that she had gotten back in New York and there was no reason it would change. He knew the reason. Liz was a firm believer in soul mates, and did not feel like spending time with any guy that she did not like in that way. She had plenty of friends that were guys, but none of them ever crossed the barrier to be something more.
The reason for her lack of interest in so many guys was because of none other than her status as the Sphere. He and Mary Jane were given much of the information before Liz was even born. One thing that they felt saddened over was the lack of love in her life. It was then that they and their families would shower her with love and attention. She would be well loved, if not in the way every girl dreams of.
“Dad?” Liz looked at him with worry etching her features. He was quiet and still for quite some time. She was afraid that something was going wrong.
“Huh? Oh, sorry about that. I was spacing out a second. Why don’t you go and check in back while I get this order completed?”
She looked at him squarely in the eye. She looked deeply in his beautiful blue eyes and studied them for any hint that was abnormal. She needed to make sure that he was okay before she left. “Okay, but are you sure that you’re fine?”
“Yes,” he said firmly as he looked into his daughter’s large brown eyes. “I’m fine. Now go server your customers. Table six is flagging you.”
“Okay, but if you space out again you’ll take a break.”
“Yes, Doctor Parker,” he said mocking her.
She giggled at his comment. She found it amusing that he was calling her doctor when he was the one with the Degree. She walked over to the table and glanced back at her dad, who was waving her forward.
Max continued to watch Liz as she talked to the table across from theirs. Isabel was not ignoring the entire scene. She looked at her brother and could not help but think that it was about time. She was getting tired of having her brother stay home alone while Michael and Maria, and she and Alex go out on Friday nights and weekends. She wanted him to go out on dates like so many other people, but he never had anyone interest him. That was until Liz came into the picture. He never stared at any girl before, but now he was finding it difficult to take his eyes off her when she was not looking.
The entire time Liz was helping the family at the table she felt like someone was watching her. She knew that it was not crazy. The place was packed and it would continue to be a little longer. Liz was overwhelmed by everything happening around her, but she smiled through it all. Liz was still Liz. She worked well under pressure.
“Uh, Liz,” Maria said to Liz when Liz was assisting her in serving a large party. You might want to prepare yourself.”
“Why?” Liz asked as she looked to the blond server to her left. Maria handed her a plate before answering.
“Because the devil in a blue dress just walked in. Literally.” Maria glanced to Isabel, who, too, saw who had just walked into the restaurant. Isabel looked over her shoulder once again. There was no doubt about it.
“What?” Liz asked as she looked up from the last platter of food after placing it in front of Maria’s customer.
“You’ll see. Believe me.” Maria rolled her eyes when she saw the “devil in a blue dress” sitting in Liz’s section of the diner. She had a feeling that there would be sparking of fire in the near future. It just wasn’t determined on who would be hurt by the explosion.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Diane looked across the table to her daughter’s stiffening figure. Something was going on and she was once again in the dark. She only wished that she knew something about things happening in her daughter’s life. Yes, she knew that her daughter was popular and well liked but something was wrong.
“Someone” continued to walk through the doors to a table. It just so happened to be, to Isabel’s obvious disgust, the table right next to hers. The only thing giving Isabel some comfort was that it would require an amazing feat to get past her to get to Max. She was not about to let that barracuda sink her teeth into her brother.
“Oh, why Isabel,” she said with faux sweetness. It was enough to give you a cavity. “I didn’t think I would see you here tonight.” Her voice dripped with disdain and jealousy as she grinned. Maria thought she was baring her teeth. She could just picture her howling after . . .
“Well, hi, Pam,” Isabel said with her practiced smile and gentile voice. She was not about to let that evil hag beat her in this play. She was going to give the performance of her life. “It is nice to see you. I am glad that you finally finished that remedial science lab. Max said that it was incredibly simple. I felt so bad when he said that you were unable to complete the simple task.” Sure she was pretending to be Miss Sweet, but that did not mean that she couldn’t twist the knife a little. Right?
Max coughed down his water. What was she thinking?
Pam’s smile faded and a fire blazed within her eyes for a second. Knowing that she needed to keep her cool in order to sneak under the “radar,” she masked it quickly. Isabel always knew how to get on her nerves—always. This was definitely a time when she would have to use all her strength and discipline for this to go according to plan.
“Well, I would have finished it in the allotted time, but my partner was absent,” she said. She knew that she was lying, but she did not care in the least. Why would Max even tell her that piece of information.
Isabel looked deeply into the eyes of the venomous snake. “Oh, really,” she said knowingly. Looking at her adversary in an expression that could kill, a look that chilled Pam to the bone. It was in that small instant, that small second, that Isabel broke the warm smile and Pam knew that her lie was exposed.
Isabel’s smile returned and her Miss Congeniality persona came into place. With a practiced gesture she brushed her hair over her shoulder and looked empathic at Pam’s ordeal. “Well, that is just too bad. Maybe next time you won’t have to slave over that alone.”
Maria watched the entire scene unfold before her and she had to smile. Isabel sure knew her stuff. She began to walk over to the Evan’s table, a bounce in her step at Pam’s defeat. “So Iz, I was wondering,” she began as she stopped right next to Pam. “Shopping.”
Isabel’s smile grew wide and her eyes sparkled in delight. “Really,” Isabel said intrigued.
“Yeah. I was thinking a total girl day: shopping, sleep over, movies, manicures, the works. I have been thinking about this and trying to get a totally awesome plan planned, but you know me. That is so not my thing so I thought that there was not a better place to go than the master planner. And that is why I am proposing this to you now you know. So what do you say?”
“Whoa, Maria, you need to slow down a little. Talking that fast can’t be good for you dear,” Diane said as she reached out to touch her arm in a mothering gesture of concern. Her words were kind and the touch calming. She smiled at Isabel’s mother who had some how become a second mother to her own.
“That sounds good,” Isabel said with a smile.
“I’m glad you think so. I was also thinking,” Maria inclined her head to look over where Liz was standing. “That maybe this time we could bring Liz along. Kinda like a getting-to-know-you-we-want-to-be-friends thing.”
Isabel nodded her head. “I think we could definitely think something up. When do you close tonight? Maybe after we can make some plans.” She switched her gaze from her friend to her mother sitting across the table from her. “Mom? Is that okay with you?”
“I am fine with it, as long as you aren’t home late, and you will be getting a ride from someone. Phillip?”
“Sure, princess. It sounds fine. You did finish your homework, right?”
“Yes. So that means I can?”
“Yeah, it does.”
“EEEEHH!” Maria said squealing. She spun on her heel to go over and tell Liz.
In all the commotion and talking that Maria did just made Pam fall into the background. She was no longer the center of their attention even though she was in that killer new dress and standing no more than a foot from the table. What was wrong with these people? They were paying more attention to the babbling idiot blond standing next to her! That was just not possible! Was it?
She huffed loudly and stormed back to the table she was seated at and grumbled and muttered under her breath, “They will pay. Every single one of them! Some of them . . . even tonight.”
“How did things go?” Jamie asked her friend as she stalked her way to their table. She had a feeling things didn’t go well, judging by the way Pam looked and the way that the other table occupants simply ignored her.
Pam fell into the seat, not caring about anything occurring around her and simply ignored the question her friend asked her.
“Okay,” Jamie said as she slouched slightly in her seat and brought the menu up to hide from her fuming friend.
“I mean, who does that Isabel Evans thinks she is? Does she think she is better than me?”
Jamie, unsure of the nature of the question, chose not to answer. Now was not the time to talk back. Pam was in one of her moods as she liked to think of them. Sure she was always in a mood of one kind or another, but this one was just more foul than others.
“Hello! I am talking here! I am not doing this for my own pleasure, you know? I am opening my mouth, words are coming out, and I am speaking. This is usually the time when you acknowledge that!”
Jamie rolled her eyes from behind the menu. Why oh why did she choose to stay here? She had the chance to go with Isabel. She looked over to where Isabel sat with her family, they all looked so happy, and so did Maria when she was there. She could have been there, too. But she felt that she had to stay loyal to the one who brought her in on all of this, so she stayed with Pam. Was that the biggest mistake she had made?
“No, Pam. You are better than Iz. I can’t believe that she would think that she has surpassed you in any way,” she said deadpan. It was her rehearsed reply. It was something that Pam often made her say.
“Thank you. And Jamie, next time sound a little more believable or else you might find yourself in a not so pleasant predicament.” Her eyes blazed with anger as she bore holes into Jamie’s friendly features. She turned her attention to the laminated menu lying on the table and quickly looked through it.
|posted on 5-Oct-2002 3:39:25 AM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Tiger,” Mary Jane called as she stepped down the stairs that led to the employee break room in the back of the café. There was no reply and she was sure that he was in the front room. Even through the closed door she could hear the bustle and music coming from the small restaurant they just opened. And she was quite surprised about it all. The entire town must be out there, she mused as she walked across the room to the small window on the door.
Every table was filled and the waitresses continued to walk from table to table checking on their clients. Most of them, as Mary Jane thought, were about Liz’s age. Some were with their families, others’ with their friends. One caught her interest right off the bat. It sent shivers down her spine the way that she was looking at her daughter. “If looks could kill,” she muttered quietly.
“Oh my God,” she said as she let the breath fall from her lips. Her stomach knotted when she saw it. Liz, standing behind the counter, ringing up one of her other customers, was looking over them to the booth where a family sat. A boy and girl sat across from their parents, each smiling over the conversation. “This can’t be . . . They said it wasn’t going to happen!”
She backed away from the door, her eyes wide with shock. She felt like the room had turned as cold as a freezer as she slowly walked away. Step by step, second by second, she walked away. The door swung open and the love of her life walked through. A smile was on his face as he saw her, but on that changed when he saw the condition she was in. Something was wrong.
“Honey,” he said as he took a step closer to her.
Her gaze was fixed on nothing in particular, but at his word she looked up to meet his worried eyes.
“Sweetheart, what’s wrong?” He said as he took another step closer.
“No!” she said quietly, almost too quiet to be heard. With each step that he took she took another. Her legs hit the soft cushion of the sofa, and knew there was nowhere to go. She was backed into a corner.
He took the opportunity to close the gap between them. All the while his heart was pounding in his chest and he couldn’t stop worrying. Something was wrong and he didn’t know what it was. Something was bothering her to the point of fear and distraction. “MJ, please,” he pleaded. “Please tell me what is going on.”
“It is happening,” she said. A single tear fell down her cheek as her eyes continued to fill with tears. “It is really happening.” She could feel her knees buckling beneath her and her composure slipping.
He lunged for her as she began to fall to the floor with speed he had not used since . . . He pulled her close to his chest, trying to comfort her. He could feel her tears soak through the front of her shirt as well as her trembling. He never thought that she had felt so small or defenseless to him before, even all those times when she needed the occasional rescue because then . . . after he had whisked her away from danger she held on to him that made him feel warm, loved. This was different. This time she gripped at him like she was trying to hold onto a semblance of control, hold on to a piece of her life that was slipping away from them.
That was when it dawned on him. They were losing their daughter . . . a daughter that she had wished for since before she could even remember. She was getting ripped from them in order to keep some cosmic order.
She let the comfort and calm he emoted sink into her and permeate through her. She continued to hold him tight as she said incoherent statements into his chest. She felt the soft pads of his fingers as he combed through her hair. “Shhh,” he said before he kissed her temple. “Everything is going to be fine.”
“No it won’t. It will never be fine. It is happening. There is no way that we can ask them not to. Remember when I said that we might get them to let us keep her, to keep her safe and everything since there was no way that “some all powerful evil” would know about her or she would never have to use that power to save the world, and that they had taken precautions about her soul mate and they would never meet because of the separation and stuff. Well, it is all happening! It is all happening and they are taking my Liz from me. Elizabeth! My baby girl, they are taking her! Someone is coming for her, the separation is breeched, the world may be ending and there is nothing we can do!”
She cried out in all the pain she was feeling. Her baby was getting ripped from her and there was nothing she could do to stop it. She wanted to be a mother. She wanted to be there for her on her wedding day. She wanted to spoil her grandchildren. She wanted so many things that she would never get because things were just not “normal” in their life. Her husband wasn’t, her daughter wasn’t, and not, she had a connection to someone, something, that made her not normal.
He was speechless. Was there anything that he could say to make things right? Deciding that it was best to keep this a silent moment, he continued to hold her close and calm her just by keeping her close.
“It is going to be fine. It will all work out. You’ll see.”
Truth be told, he had no idea if things would be fine. He only hoped that they would. Now was a time when he was just going on pure faith. After everything that he has done for good, everything that he did because of his gift, his curse, and they still required more of him. He had to hope that things would work out in his favor again.
They sat there, their bodies close together, gaining comfort and solace from the other’s simple presence. Her arms held tightly to him. His shirt gripped tightly in her fingers as she pressed her face to his chest. Her cries slowly subsided, but her shivering didn’t. She continued to tremble against him, trying to let some of his strength into her.
His arms encircled her, offering her all the protection he could. His right hand combed through her hair, soothing her. His warm body and the love in his touch wrapped her in a cocoon of safety that she tried to hold onto, to latch onto.
She pushed away slowly to look up into his face. Her eyes still sparkled with tears as he looked at her. A small smile formed on her lips as she whispered, almost inaudible, “Thank you.”
He pulled her close again and held tightly to her. He took a deep breath and replied with his own whisper. “It was nothing. As long as you’re all right . . . as long as you’re all right.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“LIZ!” Maria cried when she saw her possible friend walking into something she was not prepared for. “No. No. No. No. No.” She gripped onto Liz’s hand and pulled her aside. “Just where did you think you were going?”
“Maria,” Liz said a questioning expression on her face. “Where else do you think? I have those two girls on table seven that I need to see to.”
“Yeah, uh, you are not going there yet.”
“I’m not?” Liz asked.
“Listen. There is Pam Troy. In all of West Roswell High, in all of New Mexico, heck lets just tell the truth, in all of the US you will never find a bigger pain in the ass. Her reason for living on this planet is to give people like us something to despise.”
“Oh come on, Maria.” Liz didn’t believe a single word of this. “Are you telling me that that girl with a . . . is she brooding?” Liz was about to say the girl that was happily sitting conversing with her friend, but with one look at the table amended that statement right away. Liz tilted her head to get a view from a slightly different angle to check. Maria followed suit as they looked at the girl.
“I think she is,” She tried to stifle the laughter that was bubbling inside her. She and Isabel did it. They brought Pam to the point where she had the facial expression of brooding! Ha! She loved this. Things could only get better from here, she mused.
“But there is no way that you are going to get me to believe that this girl is capable of all that harm that you mentioned. I mean look at that. It is almost pathetic. She is not the daughter of the devil or Satan or Lucifer or Beelzebub. Whatever you want to call him. She isn’t.
“No, Liz, you haven’t been here. You didn’t go through everything that we all went through. I mean—”
“Maria.” Liz said as she cut off the blonde’s last statement.
“No, Liz, chica. Please. Just listen. You don’t have to hate her or anything like that. Just be careful and cautious and all that stuff. I don’t want to see you hurt.”
Liz sighed heavily. She suddenly knew that there was no way she was going to be getting around this. “Okay. I’ll be careful.”
Maria looked deeply into Liz’s eyes, “Promise.”
“Yes, I promise I’ll be careful around her,” Liz said as she nodded her head, keeping eye contact with Maria the entire time.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Hey. How are you all doing? Sorry about the wait for your drinks. I thought that my Dad was getting the order done, but he seems to have disappeared somewhere,” Liz said as she smiled and began placing the drinks in front of the Evanses.
“Liz, what was Maria telling you just now?” Isabel asked. She wanted to know if Maria had told Liz about the shopping, girl day thing she had proposed. If she knew her friend the entire idea about asking Liz if it was okay with her had slipped her mind.
“Oh, it was nothing. She just wanted me to be careful around someone.”
Isabel inclined her head and nodded slowly. She knew exactly what was going on. That was good Maria, she thought as she looked back to Pam. If it was one thing that they didn’t want was to have Liz fall into the clutches of Pam Troy.
Maria walked past the table on her way to the family seated to the booth behind them. As she passed by she quietly said “Devil in a blue dress is scheming something,” to Isabel, alerting her that something was up.
“I see,” Isabel said to Liz as she looked back to the brunette with bobbing antenna on her head.
“Why do you ask?” Liz said as she placed Max’s drink on the table. She noted how he was busy looking around at other things than paying attention to the conversation.
“Well, Maria had this idea. We usually go on these shopping trips every once in a while, and we have just been dying to get new clothes and other things.” She ran her fingers through her long hair and tucked it behind her ears. “We just thought that maybe, if you weren’t too busy that you would want to come? I was just wondering what Maria said to you because I didn’t want to ask you if she already did, you know?”
Liz’s eyes brightened at the question. The shopping was not what interested her the most. It was the invitation. This was something that the two friends shared, and to be invited into this ritual was something . . . special.
“I would love to join you guys. I do have some make-up work to do, but I am sure I can come close to finishing it before long.”
“Great! We are getting together after Maria’s shift, is that okay with you?” Isabel was pleased that this was all coming together.
Diane watched as her daughter presented the invitation to Liz. Never before had she felt so proud of the girl they had raised. She was kind, generous, loving. She was just about everything to them. Just about because then there was her brother. He held a special place in their heart. Diane knew that when they had first seen him, with those large soulful eyes that she had fallen in love all over again. How could she not have? Her hand tightened around Phillips on the seat of the booth as she continued to watch her daughter with pride.
Phillip was watching everything himself. His heart swelled when he saw Diane being just as proud as he was. His gaze trailed to the often quiet, introspective son he loved. He noticed how he shifted in his seat often and how he hardly spoke to Liz, or even looked at her when he spoke. It was then that something clicked in his mind. He knew it right then . . . His son had fallen in love.
He looked at Diane as her grip tightened around his hand slightly. She was right once again. Phillip was beginning to think that his son’s lack of interest in women had been for . . . other reasons. But Diane knew their son. She knew that he just had not found the right one. She told him not to worry. “When the right girl comes along, and she will, you’ll see what a great son we have raised.” His mind slowly made its way back to the present and he looked at Max once more. He made a mental note to talk to him later tonight. He was not about to let his son miss out on his chance because of shyness.
“Did you want to stay in the diner after close?” Liz asked as she pulled the tray close to her. “We can make the plans and everything then. I’ll even throw in a piece of my Mom’s specialty, Alien Green Lime pie.” Liz couldn’t help but smile at the name her parents gave to the pie. It is just hilarious.
“That is great. Is that fine with you, Mom, Dad?”
“Fine with me,” Diane said as she looked at her husband.
“And with me, too.”
“Great!” Isabel said cheerily.
“Oh! I can’t believe I almost forgot!” Liz reached into the pocket of her apron and retrieved the bottle of Tabasco sauce she had retrieved from the stock room for Max. “Here you go, Max,” She placed it on the table in front of him before looking over her shoulder to check on the other tables.
“Thanks,” he said not looking at her but at the bottle she place in front of her.
Yeah, he definitely has something for her, Phillip thought.
“I’ll give you a few more minutes to decide on your orders and I’ll be right back.”
“Okay, take your time, sweetie. Don’t hurt yourself or burn yourself,” Diane said. She could not stop the motherly part of her from coming out.
Liz smiled to her as she said, “I will.” With that said she turned around and walked down to another table.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“What do you have cooking in that head of yours, Pam,” Jamie asked warily. She knew that expression well. Either Pam had just created plan of action for something really destructive, or she was working on bringing that plan to action. Either of the two did not look like they would benefit Isabel or Maria . . .
“Hi! I’m Liz and I’ll be your server tonight. Can I get you any thing to drink to start off with?”
“Just water,” Pam said snidely as she glared at Liz. Then she turned to look over her shoulder at Isabel and looked over to where Maria talking to another couple seated at another table.
Things don’t look good for either of them at all, Jamie noticed. She ran a hand through her auburn hair before looking at Pam. She could hardly believe the look that she had given Liz. But then again this was Pam. And judging by that look, things did not look too good for Liz either.
To be continued . . .
|posted on 26-Oct-2002 4:28:00 AM|
|A Father’s Legacy|
She had to find it. Everything was depending on it. Mary Jane tore through the dressers in her room, tossing every article of clothing she owned over her shoulder. After calming down slightly she was ushered up to the apartment for more rest. She had argued as best she could against it, but her husband was not going to allow any room for argument.
She gave up and sat on the bed as the clock on their wall ticked seconds away. She was quickly getting antsy as the time ticked by. She needed to do something, and going downstairs to help out was out of the question for at least the next hour. By then it would be close to closing.
She fell onto the bed and decided to just relax, let all her troubles disappear for a while. As soon as she closed her eyes she remembered something. It would allow her to better explain what was happening to Liz if she had it.
Where could it have gone?
Her hair was a mess, fallen strands hung around her face after slipping from the clip holding her hair in place. Her hands shook nervously around her as she stood still, trying to think of where she could have placed it. She brought her left hand to her mouth as she nervously nibbled on the fingernail of her little pinky finger.
She huffed and threw her arms in the air and began to pace in the one small area not littered with clothing.
“Where is it! I couldn’t have lost it. I had it when I was unpacking!” She stopped in her place and her eyes opened widely. Her breath stopped and she almost fell to the floor. Her hands flew to her mouth and she remained still.
“Oh, God,” she said through her hands. Her knees buckled beneath her and she melted to the floor as fear washed over her. She ran her fingers through her hair, pushing it away from her face and haphazardly tucking it behind her ears. “Did I leave it behind?”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“So, there is this amazing sweater that I wanted to get. You saw it Mom. Remember when we were walking through the mall window-shopping when you were picking up the dress you had altered. It is still there. I am ready to add that to my wardrobe! It would go great with—” She was cut off by the familiar, strong hands that covered her eyes.
“Hey, gorgeous,” he whispered into her ear as he lightly kissed her temple.
She smiled, knowing it was Alex. She would know his touch anywhere.
“Hey Jackson,” she said as a wicked grin formed on her lips.
“What?” Alex exclaimed. He soon cringed afterwards at the high-pitched tone his voice took. “Jackson! You thought I was Jackson Hatfield!” The looks of amusement went unnoticed by Alex. “Iz! How could you poss . . . I should really shut-up because this is just another one of those jokes again.” Alex’s cheeks took on a distinctive shade of crimson as he scratched his head, looking slightly uncomfortable.
Max took a huge bite of his burger, trying to hide the laugh. Isabel pulled this on Alex so many times and he never grew wiser to her antics. This had to have been the zillionth time she pulled this, and Alex was still falling for it.
Diane simply shook her head and smiled as she took a sip of water from her glass. She did not like it when Isabel toyed with people, but even she had seen her do this to Alex several times before. How this boy could not know that she was joking was beyond her.
“Of course I knew it was you,” Isabel said as she stood from her seat to drape her arms around him and lightly kiss his nose. “Besides,” she whispered to him. “You look so cute when you are embarrassed.” She gave a light tug on his shirt before sitting back down.
“Alex fell for it again?” Maria asked, not at all surprised, as she passed by.
“Yeah,” Isabel said. “But it doesn’t get any less entertaining.”
“Okay, while you guys continue to joke at my embarrassment I am going to head off to the bathroom to talk to myself to get over yet another humiliation. Sound good to you Alex?” He asked himself. “Yeah.” He turned around and walked farther into the dining room of the restaurant.
“How long do you think it will take him before he figures out he doesn’t know where the bathroom is?” Isabel asked, looking at Max and then Maria.
“Three, two, one . . .” Maria said as she placed the re-fills of water for her customers.
“Maria, where’s the restroom?” Alex said as he walked back to them.
“Told you,” she said to Isabel. “See that door to the right?” Maria said pointing in the direction.
“Oh, okay. Thanks.” He turned to go back in the direction he came from.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
She looked up into his face. She could feel his hand pressing her closer to his hard chest. She adored feeling this safe, this loved, this protected. She would have loved to remain like that for the rest of her life, but knew she could not. She needed to stand on her own and face the possibly future in front of them. What had she done to receive a destiny like this?
Hot tears welled in her eyes and soaked into his shirt. She took a deep breath before turning, catching the relaxing scent on him that laced the air she breathed. With a shaky hand she brushed away the remnants of her tears and looked at the woman seated in front of her, wearing a black dress with dark glasses, which covered her eyes.
She took an unsteady step forward and looked down at the small object that held the fate of something so massive. The light fabric of her skirt floated about her knees as the light wind blew around her. She looked intently at the object as it swayed with the wind.
“The choice is yours.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Hey Alex. What are you doing here?” Liz asked as she wiped down the counter. She thought that he would be sitting with Isabel and Max and their parents. She looked at the glum expression on his face and had an inkling of what happened.
“I am here because I put in the performance of a lifetime as ‘the fool’ and I have no need to do an encore performance for Iz’s parents. One humiliation at a time is enough for me.” He took a long sip from the glass of water sitting in front of him and moved a fry through the ocean of ketchup on his plate.
“I am sure it wasn’t that bad. Besides,” She took the stool next to him and turned to face him. “You know Isabel has been watching you all night?”
His head snapped over to look at Liz and she could see the way his eyes lit up. “Really? She was?”
“You bet she was. She was even asking me if you came in when she got here.”
Liz got up from her seat and went behind the counter to put the drinks on her tray. She looked over to where Alex was mumbling something to himself before he turned to look and see if Isabel was still looking at him.
“I was going to bring over a refill for her cherry coke. Did you want to take it to her for me?” She asked as she placed it on the counter before him. The bubbles of carbonation fizzled and popped in the glass.
He smiled and picked it up, bringing it to the table where his girlfriend sat with her family.
“Look at that. She even has that Alex guy liking her.”
“Yeah. Who would want to be friends with her? She is only smart, nice, pleasant, fun, and pretty? Who would want to be around someone like that?” Jamie said as a tone of sarcasm dripped from the comment.
“I know I wouldn’t.”
“Pam, that was a rhetorical question.”
Pam gave her a questioning look. And Jamie looked deeper into her eyes.
“It means a question that isn’t meant to be answered.”
“Oh,” she said as a light bulb lit in her mind. “Sorry if I don’t know what a rhythmical question is or whatever.”
“Rhetorical, Pam. Rhetorical.”
“Like I said, whatever. Anyways. What does Miss Isabel Evans have that makes Liz want to join with those losers? I am so much better. She could be a popular student if she was with us.”
“She is popular,” Jamie said under her breath. She was really getting tired of this. There was only so much alone time she could handle with Pam at once. Janette and Aileen just had to call and cancel. Didn’t they? She could feel the headache beginning at the center of her head. The same headache she got after spending too much alone time with Pam.
“I don’t care if she is or not!” Her eyes narrowed and blazed with fury. “She is getting in with Isabel instead of me and I am not going to do anything about it. I don’t think so.” She turned her gaze from Jamie to the back of Isabel’s head as she leaned her head against Alex’s shoulder. “She will pay. No one leaves me and becomes more successful. No one.”
“Alex,” Isabel said when she saw him approach with the soda in his hand. “Alex, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean.”
“It’s okay,” he said as he placed the cold drink on the tabletop.
“Here!” She said as she moved over on the bench closer to Max. “You can sit here.”
“Hey!” Max said as Isabel moved closer to him. “Hey, hey, hey, hey! I love you Iz, but I don’t need you in my lap when I eat my dinner.” He motioned his head to the opening of the booth. “I’ll pull up a chair to the end of the table. You two can share the bench.”
“Thank you Max,” Isabel said as she moved to the inside of the booth. She passed Max’s plate to her father and he put it at the end of the table for him.
Alex pulled Max’s drink over to Max before he mimicked Isabel’s reply. “Thank you Max,” he said in the very same tone she used.
Max was going to reply, but was distracted by the loud sound of a chair making a loud thud next to him. He turned to his right and saw Michael slid into the chair, straddling it and resting his hands over the back of it.
“So where’s Ria?”
He asked as he pulled a few fries from Max’s plate and shoved them into his mouth.
“It’s nice to see you Michael,” Diane said as she looked at him, silently berating him for not greeting them when he sat down.
With his mouth full he looked sheepishly at the parents on the other side of the table. “Hewwo, Mrs. Ebans,” he said with his mouth full of food, “Mr. Ebans.” He hated it that she could always make him feel like a six year old all over again with a single look.
“Hi Michael,” Phillip said to the young man sitting next to Max.
“Don’t talk with your mouth full, dear,” Diane said as she passed him some napkins. “Would you like something to drink? Cherry Coke?”
He gulped down the food in his mouth before answering this time. “Yes, please.”
Phillip raised his hand and got Liz’s attention, letting her know there was something he wanted to ask for. She looked up and smiled before she nodded in acknowledgment before she returned her attention back to the elderly couple seated at a small table on the other side of the diner.
Isabel turned into Alex’s neck and laughed lightly. Watching Michael be polite was funnier than she ever though. Now she knew why he would always avoid her parents. When she looked back at Michael he was glaring at her.
Max wiped his lips with the napkin before looking at his parents. “I’m just gonna go to the bathroom.”
“First door on the right. You can’t miss it,” Alex said as he pointed to its location.
Max laughed, remembering Alex’s last trip to the bathroom. He never thought he would see someone turn that red before.
“Thanks. Hey, Michael, feel free to have the rest of the fries.”
Liz was writing hurriedly in her order book as she walked through the sea of chairs and tabled in the diner. Her attention on what she was writing and not on what was going on around her.
“Look at her! She isn’t even paying attention.” Pam screeched in a quiet voice to Jamie, who was massaging her temples.
She was hunched over the table, her straight hair falling forward shielding her face from the bright lights of the café. Slowly she moved to look at Pam, but by the time she did it was too late. The jealous girl had taken action and everything was past the point of no return.
Just as Liz was passing by Pam shoved her drink off the table. In Jamie’s eyes it began its slow journey to the floor. The fragile glass would hit the tile floor with such a force it would shatter, spreading glass across the floor in various sized pieces. Diet Coke would spread coating the area around the point of impact with its sticky residue.
“Hey, L—” Maria’s comment stalled on her lips as she looked, open mouthed, at what just took place no more than a couple feet from where she stood.
Jamie’s breath caught in her throat and the combed her fingers through her hair, pulling it away from her face as she looked on. Her eyes grew wide and she could hear small whimpers of disbelief issuing from Pam’s lips. How did she do that?
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Liz walked across the room, and when she was passing Pam’s table she felt this weird feeling. A feeling she had never felt before, and distinctly different from the way she felt earlier that morning. This was similar to an attack on her senses. She could hear sirens going off in her mind and see the flashing lights of red and blue before she acted.
With a sense and reaction she never knew she possessed Liz spun on the ball of her foot, making a quick pencil turn to the table she just past. Her arm shot out and grasped the glass coated in condensation.
A set of cobalt colored eyes went wide as he looked at her. She was still in the crouched position holding the cooled drink. She is not going to like this.
“Liz, that was so cool. Great reflexes. How did you know?” Maria asked. She jumped over to where Liz stood and pulled the drink from the girl’s fingers and placed it on the table.
“Yeah,” was all that Jamie could say as she smiled at the Liz, who looked just as shocked as the rest of them.
“Well, thanks, Liz,” Pam said in a voice that dripped of sweetness.
Maria turned and walked away, she wanted to take Liz with her, but there was no way that she could pull that off without looking overtly rude. She knew she was already on Pam’s bad list, there was nothing that she could do to get off it, but she was not about to put herself at the top by pulling Liz away with her. If things really got bad she would intervene.
“Uh, yeah. No-no problem.”
“We haven’t formally met. I’m Pam,” she lightly touched her collarbone and then with the twist of her wrist she presented the auburn haired girl sitting to her right. “And this is Jamie.”
“I think we have Bio together. Right?”
“Yeah, that’s me. How are you liking things in Roswell?” Pam said as she turned to face her.
“It’s okay so far,” Liz said. She pushed the scene that just took place to the farthest recesses of her mind. She did not have the time right now to think about whatever just happened. Whatever it had been was just a fluke. She must have seen it happening in her peripheral vision. That was how it happened—peripheral vision, not some weird attack of sensation.
I’ll be right back in a few with the rest.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 26-Oct-2002 4:29:03 AM ]
|posted on 26-Oct-2002 4:29:48 AM|
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Her eyes were glassy as she looked on. It was all up to her. She could walk away, taking a chance that her daughter was not this sphere that they were talking about. If she was then this small pendant could save her . . . and end it all.
She turned to look back to where Peter stood, looking on. He gave no sign of what he wanted her to do. This decision was completely hers. He had previously told Madame Web his decision before. Now it was her turn.
She took another step closer and looked at the small pendant that hung from the chain dangling from the woman’s hand. She learned never to doubt this woman, so she knew that whatever power was contained in this small object was what she said it was, if not more. This small item strung on a chain was the one thing that would . . .
Her hand extended as she placed her palm beneath it. She was transfixed as it was lowered into her hand. It was done. She had made her decision. Should the time come, they would be prepared. The decision was complete as soon as the cool, smooth surface of the rounded glass touched the soft skin of her palm.
Madame Web released the chain from her hand and with unimaginable slowness it fell through the air, gracefully falling into the outstretched hand of the soon to be mother.
Peter watched silently as his wife stood unmoving. Never had he imagined this would happen to her. This decision was more than he could ever think of putting her through. Had anyone other than Madame Web told him about it, he would have easily dismissed it, thinking it absolute lunacy. His unborn daughter was the embodiment of a power that had not been gifted the gift of life in half a millennia.
“Her power is innately good but can be easily corrupted and used for evil.”
“If anyone learned of the rebirth of it, there would be no telling what would happen. Just as easily as it could be used to save galaxies it could be used to destroy those same galaxies with ease.”
She continued to study the small object, which looked like nothing more than a piece of jewelry. Her left hand absently went to cover her flat belly where her child lay resting safe and protected within.
He took a deep breath and relaxed a balled fist at his side. Slowly, he walked closer to her. He leaned into her and kissed her temple, inhaling the sweet fragrance of her hair. His hand fell over hers, intertwining her left hand with his left hand before he moved it to cover her flat belly where their daughter lay.
“Tiger, what are we gonna do?” Her voice was breathy and quivered with uncertainty. “How will we ever tell her?”
She leaned into him and presented her right hand to him, slowly releasing her fingers from the small pendant and chain that lay in her hands. She looked up at him with large blue eyes. She then looked back to the small pendant in her hand, her lashes to him looked like a fan as they rested against her smooth skin.
He brought his right hand to her cheek, cupping it as he brushed away the small trail her tears left. He thought her skin hot, but believed it to just be the tears. His fingers revered her with gentleness and love as he looked at her. He closed the distance between them and kissed her forehead. Worry filled him, but he pushed that aside. Her skin was hot beneath his lips. He pulled away to look deep in her eyes. He was about to speak, but she cut him off.
“It’s a teardrop,” she stated, still looking at him.
He looked down into her hand and saw what she was speaking of. The pendant. It was in the shape of a teardrop, its color appeared to be a light aquamarine.
“Here,” he said as he reached for it. He opened the clasp with his nimble fingers and refastened it around her neck. He collected her hair and pulled it out of the circle of the chain. It fell down her back in a cascade.
A thick fog swirled around them and disoriented them both. He held tightly to her, not wanting to lose her just yet. There was no telling how long it would take until he got to hold her again. She might want him to take on some crazy mission before he could ever see her again. Maybe he needed to get something done in order to be with his wife again.
“No!” He shouted when he lost her. He was holding her against his chest and then he was holding nothing. His embraced collapsed against his chest and his breathing stopped in his lungs. “Madame WEB!” He shouted into the desolate darkness surrounding him, soaking through every fiber of his being. “Where is she? MADAME WEB!”
“Whatever is the matter Mister Parker?” Her voice was everywhere.
“Bring her back!” he screamed. After everything that she put him through he was not in the mood for any games. He was at breaking point when she told him about everything that his daughter would have to go through. She would have to go through life without finding the completion of love. She would never be able to live a full life, a long life. She would die young—one way or another—by the hands of an enemy or her own.
He was past anger. He was enraged.
“Bring my wife back.” His words were harsh, each consonant licked with venom. His voice was deep and filled with pain.
“I think this is more in order.”
The smoke swirled once again in its normal fashion, and he found himself shrouded in the familiar clothing of his Spider-suit. The red mask was in place over his head and with a furious hand he ripped it away.
“No. No more game. No more riddles. I want my wife. Now, tell me where she is.”
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
“Pam, I would love to join you all but I really have to catch up with everything in school,” Liz said as she looked around the diner, checking on all her tables.
“I can help out with that,” Pam said. She would love to pull Isabel’s charge right out from under her nose.
Liz looked down at her hands, not wanting to look at Pam’s reaction. “It’s okay. I can ask Isabel. It won’t be a problem.”
A raised hand appeared at one of Liz’s tables and she turned back to Pam. “It was really nice talking, but I have to get back to work. Was there anything that I can get for you?” She pulled out her order pad from the pocket formed by the dark eye of her alien-head apron.
“No, We’re good,” Jamie needed to get Liz out of here before Pam really blew a fuse.
“Can I see you for a sec?” He said as he looked at her from his spot behind the counter. His hand was pointed to the back room.
“Sure,” she said with a smile. “I’ll just be a sec. Is that okay?”
He nodded and she turned back to Pam and Jamie.
“That’s your dad?” Pam asked. Her eyes were wide with surprise.
“He’s so . . .” Pam started.
“Young,” came Jamie’s simple reply.
Liz just looked at them before moving over to Maria. She did not have the time to go into how old her parents were. Then after that it went into the whole, her parents aged really well, and they weren’t as young as they looked. She really had to get to work. And now her dad was calling her into the back room. She had a sinking feeling that it was not going to be good.
“I need to see my dad in back.”
“Okay, how does that pertain to me?”
Liz looked at her and was about to speak. Her mouth opened but she was cut off abruptly. It almost looked like she was preparing for a sneeze that was not coming.
“Wait! I know. You want me to cover your tables while you talk and do whatever it is that he asks you to do.”
“Well, yeah. I would owe you forever, Maria.”
“Eh, just make it a white mocha in the morning before we go to class and we’ll call it even,” She waved her hand, making it seem even more lighthearted.
“Thank you so much!” Liz said as she turned around to get to the backroom where her father was waiting. “Wait.” She made a quick turn to look at Maria.
It took her long enough, Maria thought as she smiled.
“We’re going to Starbucks before school?”
“Well, us and Isabel. That is if you don’t mind riding in a Jetta. I know that they aren’t the greatest cars, but it is the only one at our disposal. Isabel can’t take the Jeep. Max is going to take Michael to school. And there is no way that I am going anywhere with Michael Guerin. He got on my last nerve earlier today. I am so through with him. Okay. Maybe I am only through with him until the beginning of next week. So you will come right?”
Liz was nodding through the entire length of Maria’s rant.
“Good, I’ll take that as a yes. We’ll finalize the plans tonight. And like always we give a little wake up call to make sure that we are all up and getting ready. You better hurry up before your dad calls you again. Go. Go.” Maria pushed Liz over to the door softly as she went over to cover Liz’s tables that were waiting to be served.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Liz walked through the swinging door to where her father stood. He was pulling packages of napkins out of a box and tossing them over to the couch, which stood a few feet away. She could hear him quietly thinking aloud as he worked. He stopped in the middle of one of his tosses and stood there, his back to her. Liz could easily tell that something else was on his mind, other than the restaurant and stocking napkins.
She walked closer to him, coming close behind him and cleared her throat, not wanting to catch him by surprise. “Uh, Dad? You wanted to see me?”
He turned around to see her. He knew when she approached. Just because he was not a practicing superhero did not mean that he didn’t possess his powers any longer. He sensed her when she approached. Much like what he suspected happened earlier in the diner. H wanted to come clean about it now. He wanted so much to tell her who he was, what was happening to her, but everything could and possibly would go wrong. As absurd as it may sound . . . he was afraid of her. He was afraid of his own daughter and what she would think. MJ would have to be there when it happened. If she were not there, he would have two very pissed-off Parker women to deal with.
“Yeah. I have to get some things done back here, in the stockroom, in the office—”
“Where’s Mom?” Liz asked. She just now noticed that she was not in back, where she thought she was, neither was she on the floor.
“She’s upstairs, sleeping. At least that is what she should be doing.”
The two shared a look. Both of them knowing that there was nothing that they could make her do if she did not want to do it already. Liz had a feeling that sleeping was something that “Nancy” was not doing. If her Dad had asked her to rest when she was not sleepy, then there was pretty much no telling what she really was doing.
“So I was just wondering if you and the rest of the girls would be okay on the floor on your own.” He tossed the napkin package he held in his hand to the couch. It sailed through the air similar to the way that a football would soar through the air. “I’ll be back here if any of you need me.”
Liz gave her father a wry smile. “I think we can handle this. The dinner rush seems to be ending soon, things were slowing down, but he still worried. “I think we can handle it, Dad.” She nodded lightly as she walked back over to the door. She stopped as she was going to go through the door and looked out the window. People were talking, laughing, walking around and greeting others they knew. “You’re going to check up on her. Aren’t you?” She turned her head to look at him.
Usually he would look into her eyes when he would reply, but this time he did neither. He did not look at her, nor did he answer her question.
She turned and looked back at the door’s small window. There was no sound between the two other than the music diffusing from the diner and the grill of the kitchen. “You guys are worried about something. Is it about me?”
Again . . . no reply.
Liz took a deep breath as she walked through the door. She was not ready to deal with everything tonight. There was homework that needed to be done, plans on a shopping trip to be made. Besides, there was nothing that she could do. Total confusion about everything plagued her. One question jumped to the front of her mind—what were they up to?
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
He took the steps two at a time as he walked up the stairs. There was not much that he wanted to see, other than his wife sleeping. No matter how much he hoped for that to be the case he knew that was not what she was doing. She went upstairs to make him happy, not to take a nap or go to bed early. Nothing would have prepared him for what she was doing.
They had spent the entire day and most of the previous night unpacking and cleaning things up, moving them to their right location, and now everything was out of place. Lamps were knocked over, drawers open with clothes hanging from it. Other articles of clothing were not so lucky. They were strewn across the floor. A bookshelf was pushed over. The books on its shelves were in stacks that had fallen. Books were open to random pages that continued to turn as the breeze from the window pushed through them.
He was nervous as he looked for her. He worried that she was hurt by something even if she was the one behind the mess. Nothing made sense right now. Nothing. The only thing that he wanted to know was why. Why did she do this?
She was hunched over a pile of papers from the desk. Its drawers were opened, too. The contents of pens, papers, pads, and envelopes were on the floor by the simply wood chair. From her slouched position told him more than her body being tired. She was drained from searching for . . . something. A something that was most likely filling her thoughts.
“I left it behind,” Peter heard her whisper. He skirted the pile of books and stepped over the trail of clothing. He knelt down and collected the pieces of papers, putting them in a neat pile and placing them on the bed, which was also filled with the rest of things they had in their room. He continued his way toward her. She didn’t even look his way or move to face him.
His sneaker-clad feet filled her vision first, then the rest of his legs as he lowered himself to sit before her. She felt his warm hands cover hers and gently squeeze hers.
“Honey,” he said hesitantly.
She looked up from her downcast gaze to stare into his eyes, remembering the first time that she had really done that. She had known him for years. He had lived right next door to her for years—since they were kids—and she had never even taken the time to really get to know him. She had never talked with him until . . . At the time she just thought that it was contacts or something, but it was more . . . much more that a mere cosmetic change. His entire genetic make-up had shifted—advanced. He no longer had a need for glasses, his vision was better than most. “Nice reflexes,” she had said to him when he saved her and her lunch.
That comment was followed by something that she now thought was a stupid. “You have blue eyes.” All those years they knew each other, lived less than a minute from each other, and she had no idea what color his eyes were. He had adored her, watched her. He knew just about everything about her, and she did not even know his eyes. He had such expressive eyes.
And once she realized what she really had in him, the future that she might have had . . . to him it was too late. The risks had been taken and the lessons learned. To him she was in danger with him. He hurt her more in that one moment than she had ever gone through. It might have been over were it not for that kiss. She had known that kiss before. The spark. His lips. His touch. She knew them before . . . but it was not him . . . or so she thought.
“MJ?” He brought his hand to the side of her face, gently brushing her cheek with his thumb. “What is it? What did you lose?”
Her features turned suddenly. There was a flash in her eyes as they became more focused. She had a renewed sense purpose. His hand fell from her cheek as she leapt up. She needed to find it, and just sitting there was getting nothing done. She turned in a small circle as she surveyed the room. There was no way that she would have left something as important as that pendant in New York. She would have made sure she had that before anything else. All she had to do was try to figure out where she had placed it.
“Nothing, just my mind,” she said as she smiled and laughed at the mess of their room. She walked closer to the bed on the other side of the room. “Oh, God, Tiger, I am so sorry. I—I don’t know. I was . . .” She released a breath she was holding and fell onto the bed.
The soft satin nightshirt did not offer enough grip on the comforter of the bed. Her eyes went wide as her feet flew from beneath her. She slid from the bed, and even before she hit the floor she was laughing. “That was something I haven’t done in a while,” she said while she leaned against the side of the bed.
He moved to sit beside her and she placed a hand on his thigh as she leaned in to place her head on his shoulder. “Can we find a park?”
“What?” he asked shocked at the odd question. A smile covered his features while he massaged her scalp. His fingers tangled in her fiery tendrils, and he could have sworn that he heard her purring in his ear.
“A park. Swings, monkey bars, sandbox, green grass, slides, you know . . . a park.”
He stopped the massage of her head and stood. She sat and watched as he silently cleaned a small corner of the room. He put the books, papers, and everything else that was on the desk back on the desk. He tossed the clothes in the area back to the bed, making sure to hit her with a few articles, just to see her smile again.
She was completely puzzled at to what he was doing. Thinking that he was just cleaning the room, she stood to fold the clothes and start to put them in the dresser. She was concentrated on the folding and did not notice what he was doing. They continued to work in silence until he broke it when the area he was working on was clean.
He then formed the first web in months. This was the first time he ever did this, and he did not know why he was doing it now. All he knew was that it felt like the right thing to do. He used a thick strand and followed up with a finer, lattice-like web.
He walked up behind her and whispered in her ear, “Close your eyes.”
She did as he said and was rewarded with a small kiss to her temple. Even with her eyes closed she could see the darkness that filled the room.
“Give me your hands,” he whispered again.
Slowly, she turned to face him, her eyes still closed. She raised her hands and felt his fingers weave between hers.
“Follow me.” It was another whisper in her ear. He led her through the small space between her and his surprise.
She felt his hands release hers. She was wondering what he was doing, but just let go of her thoughts. If she kept thinking she would start to think about anywhere the pendant could be. She sensed his movements as he came behind hers and she relaxed against him.
“I can’t get you to a park right now,” was a light almost gruff whisper into her right ear. He moved to speak into her other ear, “but I can give you this. Open your eyes . . .”
With a flutter of her eyelashes she opened her eyes and adjusted to the darkness in the room. Her lips formed into an awed smile as she took in the entire picture. The moonlight from their window offered its softness to everything in the room . . . including his gift. She was speechless and close to being breathless as she turned back to him.
“What am I going to do with you?”
To be continued . . .