posted on 4-Oct-2002 9:18:27 PM
IN YOUR EYES BOOK TWO

AUTHOR: Tazno
RATING: NC-17 parts will be labeled accordingly
DISCLAIMER: Even if I owned part of Roswell (I don’t, don’t sue), after how they destroyed the show, I would never admit it.
SUMMARY: This is Max & Liz's continuing life after the original story, In Your Eyes.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW B4 READING THIS: You don't really have to read the original story to get what's going on, but it would help. It's posted on the repost board. I will say that a)Alex Whitman (Maria's husband) is not the same Alex from the show. I just suck at choosing names, etc. Which is why I could kill myself for naming M&L's son Max Jr. because it's so hard to write & make it clear who I'm referring to...oh well, and b), I live in New Jersey, so the places you'll read about are all real (except Riverton University, which I made up). Hope I'm able to convey what my mind's eye is seeing when I write about different spots.


CHAPTER ONE (posted in 2 parts due to length)

“Max, wait.”

Liz and Max had just left the movie theater and as Max tried to put the car keys in the ignition Liz grabbed them from him. “Liz, what…” his words trailed off as he turned to question her and caught sight of her. The unmistakable look of lust was written across her face and she was licking her lips. She tossed the keys on the dashboard as she crawled onto his lap, causing him to groan as she squirmed to fit between his body and the steering wheel. Before he could speak again she flanked his face with her hands and swiped her tongue over his lips. Pulling back slightly she gazed into his eyes and said the four little words that always made him lose his mind.

“I want you, Max.”

She had sat through the last half of the boring movie thinking of things she’d rather be doing with, or actually, to Max, and was now like a cork ready to burst from the confines of its bottle.

His hands grasped her waist as they began to kiss passionately. She suddenly pulled away and said, “Max, could you do something about that light?” as she pointed to one of the large overhead lights illuminating the parking lot. She could hear the smile in his voice as he raised his arm and said, “you mean like that?” as the light blinked out, leaving them in semi-darkness. “Yeah,” she replied, “just like that.”

They smiled at each other a moment before they became a blur of moving lips and hands, their passion steaming up the car windows. Having been aroused for the last hour or so Liz was desperate for his attentions, so she sandwiched her hands between their bodies to undo the buttons on her sweater. As the last one popped open she sat back and breathed “touch me baby, please.”

He leaned her back against the steering wheel to get a better look before his hands snaked over her torso and up toward her breasts. His thumbs played over her lace-covered nipples until her eyes drifted shut and her head fell back slightly. His mouth soon replaced his fingers and he trailed his hands down and began to unbutton her jeans, drawing an appreciative moan from Liz. They were so caught up in each other they didn’t hear the soft tapping on the car window.

They heard it the second time though, and both froze in place as they heard a voice call out, “roll down the window please.”

Liz sat up too quickly and banged into Max’s head as it was coming up, both wincing momentarily until they heard the voice again.

“Roll down the window NOW.”

Liz held her sweater closed and pressed her lower body hard into Max’s to hide the fact that her jeans were one millimeter away from hanging off of her hips. Max slowly rolled down the window with a shaky hand and looked up at the unwanted intruder. Oh shit, he thought. It was a mall security guard, in his early twenties, standing there with a very bright flashlight shining in Max’s face. The light didn’t prevent Max from seeing the smug look on the guards face, though, as Max said “can I help you officer?”

“Yeah, you can move it to someplace else, the parking lot at Century Mall isn’t a motel- Dr. Parker, is that you?”

Oh. My. GOD. Liz was mortified. She had buried her head in Max’s shoulder after she had caught a glimpse of the mall cop. He was one of her former students.

“Uh, yeah, hi Carl,” she said as she turned her head to look at him, her cheeks flaming red. “Sorry about this.”

Carl the cop was frozen in place. Dr. Parker had been his Biology professor a few semesters ago, and he had had a small crush on her. Surprising her in the middle of a heavy make-out session in her car was possibly the most uncomfortable situation he had ever found himself in. “Oh- Dr. Parker- it’s OK- just, ah, just- I’ll just see you later.”

“We’re leaving now, thank you Carl,” said Liz as she once again hid her face in Max’s neck.

“Yeah, sorry about this, thank you,” said Max as he began to wind the window closed. Then, not being able to help himself, he added “by the way Carl, it’s Dr. Evans now.”

“Oh- well, congratulations Dr. Park- uh, Dr. Evans.”

“Thanks Carl,” came Liz’s muffled reply.
“Bye Carl,” chuckled Max as the window finally closed. Liz pinched him as she climbed off his lap, causing him to yelp. “Liz, it’s no big deal…”

“Max he was one of my students,” she bit out as she quickly fixed her jeans and buttoned her sweater. “I don’t want this to be broadcast around school!”

“Honey,” he said as he brushed his hand over her cheek to calm her, “I think he was as traumatized as you. He didn’t see anything, really; don’t get upset.”

Nervously biting her nails, she looked at him and said, “can we just go home now, please?”

Liz spent the drive home alternately biting her nails and placing her head in her hands, shaking it back and forth, all the while muttering to herself and ignoring Max’s requests for her to calm down. Upon arriving at their home she was so engrossed in her embarrassment that she didn’t hear their son calling down to them from an upstairs window, and walked inside without acknowledging him. Max looked up at their son as he called out “Dad, what’s up with Mom?”

“Uh, I think she had to use the bathroom. What’s up Max?”

“Oh, just tell her Aunt Maria called. She wants Mom to go dress shopping with her tomorrow, something about needing a dress for Valentine’s Day.” Valentine’s Day was a week from tomorrow and Max had big plans for he and Liz.

“OK, thanks Max, goodnight.”

“Nite Dad,” his son said before closing his window.

Max went inside the house to find Liz already on the phone with Maria relating their embarrassing escapade, so he motioned to her that he was going to get ready for bed. After finishing her call and changing, she joined him.

“So I’m sure that Maria got a good laugh when you told her what happened,” he said as she slid in beside him.

“That’s the understatement of the day,” she sighed. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek before turning her back to him and saying “goodnight Max, I love you.”

Max stared at the back of her head a moment before scooting closer and molding himself against her back. He began to run his hand lightly over her arm as he leaned in and whispered, “don’t you want to finish what you started in the car?”

She turned her head and looked at him like he was crazy, then asked him that very question.

“You make me crazy Liz,” he said as he nuzzled her neck.

“Sorry, Max; I’m not in the mood anymore.”

Max sighed as he pulled her body against him tightly. “It’s OK, baby; I just wish you wouldn’t let this upset you so much.”

She sighed and said “I’ll try.” After a few moments she began to chuckle and said “Carl could be used as a very effective birth control method, huh.”

Max lay quietly for several minutes as his mind began to whirl. Birth control. Why hadn’t he thought about this before? ‘Because you’re a guy,’ the little voice in his head told him. They had been sleeping together for nine or ten months now, and they had never even discussed it. He’d never seen her take a pill or anything else. They made love almost every day, with the exception of a few days at the end of each month. How could it be that he had never questioned her about this? He’d often thought about them having another child; he hadn’t broached the subject yet because they were still enjoying being newly married and forming a family bond with their son. Now as he lay with her in his arms, he simultaneously felt like an idiot for this not occurring to him before and anxious at what her answer to his next question might be.

“Liz, can I ask you something?”

“Of course,” she answered as she squeezed his hand.

“What do you use- do you use- birth control?”

Liz turned to face him. “I haven’t been using anything, no.”

“Oh.”

Liz watched him carefully for a moment before continuing. “I have only one fallopian tube, Max. It would be very difficult for me to become pregnant.”

“What do you mean?” His face was puzzled as he rubbed his hands over her back.

“About fifteen years ago, I had an ovarian cyst and it burst. I had to have the tube removed, so I only have one. And because of the scar tissue build-up the doctor told me that it would be nearly impossible for me to become pregnant.” She paused a minute when she saw the alarmed look on his face. She knew he was beating himself up for being away from her when she was in trouble. “It’s OK Max, I’m OK. And don’t feel guilty about not being here; we’ve discussed that to death.”

Max swallowed back a tear as he leaned forward to kiss her forehead, unable to speak for a moment. “Are you OK now?” he whispered.

“Yes, baby, I’m fine.”

After another moment he looked at her with a searching gaze and said, “I could fix it, Liz. If you want me to.”

“Well, there’s no reason to unless I wanted to try to get preg…nant,” she stuttered as she picked up a very strong desire from him. She cocked her head back and her eyes became huge as she said “Max, you want to have a baby?”

“Well, I…haven’t you thought about it?”

“No, because I knew it wasn’t a possibility, I guess. I never thought about you healing it. I don’t know why.”

“Well, if you thought about it, what do you think you’d think? About a baby,” he stammered.

Liz quickly became flustered. “I don’t know, I mean, being pregnant with Max was hard, and I was eighteen; I’m almost thirty-seven now. Maria had to deliver him because I couldn’t go to a hospital and let them take his blood. And Max is finally able to be out on his own, and we are finding our own life together, and a baby would change everything so much…I don’t know Max, there’s just so much to consider.”

Max pulled her into him and tucked her head under his chin. “It’s OK Liz, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you or suggest- we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.” As he stroked her hair he couldn’t help the feeling of disappointment that came upon him, so he quickly blocked their connection so he wouldn’t upset her anymore. They lay in silence while a myriad of thoughts and feelings raced through their minds, both finally falling into an uneasy sleep.

The next day Liz and Maria set out to shop for some Valentine’s gifts. After making no progress they decided to break for some lunch. “I don’t know what to get him, Maria; I have no ideas. You have to help me out!” Liz was exasperated; she had been in half the stores in the mall already and had come up empty handed.

“I told you already- buy some slinky red lingerie and YOU be his gift. You know he’ll be thrilled,” Maria said as she stole a french fry from Liz’s plate.

“No, I need something original. This is the first Valentines Day we’ve been together for in eighteen years. I want to blow his socks off.” Liz blushed as Maria started laughing and she realized what she said. She slapped Maria on the arm playfully and laughingly replied “stop! You know what I mean.”

“Trust me Liz, red lace and garter belts will blow his socks off. Amongst other things,” Maria said with a sly smirk. “And it’s original for you; like you said, you haven’t been together for years.”

Liz’s blush deepened as she pushed the food around on her plate. “Well, uh, it’s not really original because that was kind of his Christmas present. Only trade the garters for some black leather boots and you get the idea.”

Maria’s eyebrows shot up. “Oooh, you go girl! He must have loved it.”

“Let’s just say Max had a very Merry Christmas and leave it at that. Back to the problem at hand- what the hell am I going to do? I just know he’s going to do something really romantic; he told me to buy myself a dress because he wants to take me out and show me off. I’m going to have some lame gift like a tie to give him.”

“Well, how about a nice romantic evening? You could make his favorite dinner, take a bubble bath, give him a massage, etc. etc. etc.”

“No, that wouldn’t be special; we do that all the time.”

“God you two are too much! Bubble baths, massages, next thing you’ll be telling me is that he gives you a foot rub every night.”

A dreamy smile lit up Liz’s face as Maria buried her head in her hand. “You are kidding me, right? He does NOT give you a foot rub every night.”

“We’re still newlyweds Maria, we do lots of things every night,” Liz laughed. “What can I say, I have the perfect husband,” her tone turning somber. Maria naturally picked up on it immediately and asked, “is there something wrong?”

Liz sighed deeply, grateful to have Maria to unload her worries to. Her answer was right to the point: “Max wants to have a baby.”

Maria’s eyes grew large as she simply said “oh.”

“Yeah, OH. He said he can, you know, ‘fix’ me so I’d be able to conceive. He didn’t really say that much, but I know he really wants us to have another child.”

“The question is, do YOU want to have another child.”

“I don’t know Maria; I mean, I’m almost thirty-seven now. There’s a big difference between being pregnant at eighteen and at thirty-seven. And having a teenager when you’re in your fifties. I had so much energy when Max was little. I don’t know if I feel like sitting through all the Little League games, science fairs, and Boy Scout things again. And what about Max? I have to think about how he’d feel about having a sibling. And what about my marriage? We were apart for so long, I’m jealous about my time with Max.” She let out another sigh as she finished her litany.

Maria looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “You’re doing a good job trying to convince yourself this is something you don’t want.”

Liz gave her a surprised look. “You think I should have another baby?”

“No, I’m not saying that; I don’t think you should do anything that huge unless you really want to. What I’m saying is that you didn’t mention one positive thing, and that’s not like you. You loved doing all those things when Max was little. In fact, I seem to remember a conversation we had a few years ago where you told me you were sad that Max was growing up and you weren’t so involved in the minute details of his everyday life anymore. As far as what he’d think about having a brother or sister, personally, I don’t think he’d mind; but the bottom line there is that it’s not his decision to make.” Maria paused to take a sip of her ice tea before continuing. “And your marriage? Liz, you’d be doing all those things with your husband. You can’t possibly believe that you two would spend any less time together; you’re glued together at the hip.”

“I don’t know Maria; it’s just such a huge thing to think about.”

“I know it is Liz; and I’m not trying to tell you what to do, I just think you should calm down a little and then think about all the positives as well as negatives before you make a decision. You know,” her face turning into a smirk, “like you always tell me to do.”

Liz let out a small chuckle. “Nothing is worse than getting your own advice, is it. You’re right; maybe I need to talk this through with Max after I’m less emotional about it.”

“All right, let’s go girlfriend, I have to find a dress to blow my own husband’s socks off,” Maria said as she reached for her wallet to pay the check.


[ edited 16time(s), last at 12-Feb-2003 9:38:29 PM ]
posted on 4-Oct-2002 9:22:29 PM
The ensuing week found Liz preoccupied with thoughts of babies- she couldn’t get away from the topic. It seemed that everywhere she went children, pregnant women, or families surrounded her. Thoughts of the topic were constantly swirling through her mind, and even though she and Max didn’t discuss it again it was constantly between them. They had both been blocking out their connection to the other, and their actions bore the mark of nervousness when they were together. And though they were still affectionate with each other, they hadn’t made love since ‘the question’. It was the longest period of time they’d gone without sex since they’d been reunited.

For his part, Max spent the week kicking himself for upsetting Liz. The most important thing to him in his life was that his wife was happy, and because of him, right now she wasn’t. As much as he thought he’d like to have another child, if Liz didn’t want to, then they wouldn’t. He would never push her into something she wasn’t completely comfortable in doing. He lived to make her happy, and anything that didn’t was quickly moved aside. Even if it was something he wanted. Badly.

And so it was a stressed-out couple that greeted Valentine’s Day that Saturday. Max hadn’t told Liz anything about his plans except that she should pack an overnight bag and bring her new dress also. As they set off in the car that afternoon, Liz resolved to leave her worries at home and enjoy the weekend. It was their first Valentine’s Day together in ages, and she wasn’t going to ruin it for them by continuing to harp on the baby subject in her head. When they entered the town of Cape May about an hour and a half later, both of them were considerably more relaxed and looking forward to the evening.

“I love it here Max, thank you for bringing me.” Cape May, located at the southern tip of New Jersey sitting on the ocean, was home to a large assortment of authentic Victorian homes. The quaint old-time charm of the town was the perfect place for them to enjoy a quiet, romantic weekend.

“Another Alex suggestion,” said Max. “The man is a walking idea machine. He told me about the bed and breakfast we’re staying at so I hope it’s as good as he described.”

“Which one is it- oh, you’re kidding!” Liz exclaimed as they pulled up in front of their residence for the night. The Angel of the Sea was a magnificent Victorian mansion, painstakingly restored to its original beauty. It was on the ocean, and every room had a private balcony with a gorgeous view. “I’ve always wanted to stay here! Oh, thank you honey, this is wonderful!” She gave him a hug after he helped her out of the car.

“Anything for you, my Liz,” he said, before releasing her to grab their bags. “Let’s check in, I’m interested to see this place myself.”

They had arrived just in time to tag along on a tour of the building and grounds that the proprietor gave once daily, and for afternoon tea. They enjoyed learning about the architecture and history of the hotel over what Liz deemed ‘the best scones I’ve ever had’. When they finally entered their own room they were not disappointed in their expectations. It was large, with a fireplace and private bath off to the side. The walls were covered in lovely mauve-toned rose-speckled wallpaper, and beautiful fabrics draped the windows and floors. The king-size bed had a thick down comforter begging to be cuddled in, and the satin sheets under it were luxurious to the touch.

“Oh, it’s so pretty, isn’t it Max?” Liz said as she walked around the room, eyeing the antiques that filled it.

“Yeah, Alex really has great ideas, doesn’t he?” Max was trying to figure out how to work the gas fireplace, one of the few modern alterations the owners had made. Liz laughed as she watched him before walking over and touching a lever under the grate, making the fire come to life. “I guess your way of igniting wood is easier for you than our pathetic technology, huh.”

He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind and kissed her hair. “I’ve just never seen this before. I like it.” They stood together in front of it for a while enjoying the warmth, until Liz turned and asked, “Max, what time is our dinner reservation?”

“Um,” he paused as he looked at his watch, “not for a few hours.”

“Well, if you want, I could give you a tour of the Victorian homes, and then take you to the shopping area. It’s really neat.” He readily agreed, so they set off to view the many restored homes that populated Cape May. They wound their way through the streets on foot, viewing them up close as Liz explained how back in the 1970’s, the town underwent a renaissance of sorts when people began to buy the old but run down homes and restore them. Many were then turned into bed and breakfast establishments, and some turned into quaint restaurants. Along their travels they came upon a gorgeous mansion called The Mainstay. It had a huge, wrap-around porch with large white columns and floor-to-ceiling windows in the entire lower portion of the house. “Oh, we have to go in so you can see the parlor in this one Max,” Liz said excitedly. “It has fifteen foot ceilings with the original moldings and is filled with antiques. At one point in the later 1800’s this was a Gentleman’s Club,” she added with a wink.

“A Gentleman’s Club?” he repeated, not quite sure what that meant.

“You know, a place where gentleman came to gamble and consort with ladies of the evening,” she said as they approached the door.

“You mean this place was a who…” Her hand quickly covered his mouth as she giggled. “The PC term would be bordello, dear. And yes, it was. Now let’s go inside and check out the antiques.”

After their house tour and brief shopping trip they returned to their hotel to get ready for dinner. Max was playing with the fireplace again when Liz finally emerged from the bathroom. Hearing the door open he turned around and smiled widely as he moved toward her. “You look absolutely gorgeous Liz,” he said softly as he reached her and bent to kiss her cheek.

She blushed as she raised her hand to straighten his tie. “You always say that Max; I’m starting not to believe you,” she teased.

“Believe it,” he whispered before he captured her lips in a long, gentle kiss. When he pulled away he said “I want to give you your present before we leave.”

“Oh, OK.” ‘Great,’ she thought; ‘I should probably give him the tie now and get it over with’. “OK, then here’s mine to you,” she said, a little more cheerfully then she felt. They traded boxes and he opened his gift first. Removing the silk necktie he leaned over and kissed her. “Thank you Liz, I love it.”

“No you don’t, and you shouldn’t, because it’s a lame gift,” she said, wringing her hands. “Here you planned this great weekend and I couldn’t even think of a decent gift for you. I’m sorry,” she said, clearly upset.

“No, Liz,” he said as he pulled her into his arms and enveloped her, “it’s not lame, I really like it. Besides, I already have the best Valentine’s gift I could ever have- I have you.”

Liz sniffled a little and turned her head upward to kiss his chin. “I love you so much Max.”

“I love you too.” They remained in their embrace for a few minutes until he asked, “are you going to open your gift?”

“OK,” she said, smiling at him as she tore open the red foil paper covering a long, rectangular velvet box. When she opened it her mouth dropped open and she gasped at the contents. “Oh my God, Max, it’s, it’s absolutely gorgeous.”

“May I put it on you?” She nodded and he smiled as he took the bracelet from its nest in the box and secured it on her wrist. It was a chain of rubies in the shape of a heart, a smaller heart-shaped diamond in between each ruby. He had made it using the jewels bestowed upon him as King of Antar.

Liz stared at her wrist fingering the jewels, then looked at him with a shy smile and said, “now I REALLY feel bad about the tie.”

He kissed the back of her hand and then her forehead as he tucked her arm in his. “Don’t. Now let’s go to dinner so I can show you off.”

They enjoyed a wonderful meal at a fine French restaurant, and sitting by the fire Liz watched as the flames danced in the rubies on her arm. The secret smile that graced her face was not missed by Max. He reached over and began to run his finger lightly up and down her other arm and asked, “what are you smiling about?”

“I was looking at the flames inside the jewels and I was thinking, that’s how you make me feel. Like my heart is on fire.”

He lifted her hand to his lips and placed a soft kiss on each finger as he sent her a wave of love through their connection, relieved that she seemed to have moved past the baby issue and was so happy. “Me too, Liz,” he whispered in between fingers.

“Max,” Liz purred as she closed her hand around his and pulled him close to her face, “let’s go back to the hotel and I’ll give you the rest of your present.” The fire was now in her eyes and his body tightened as she gazed pointedly into his.

“Let’s go,” he said, hastily paying the check and grabbing her hand to lead her out of the restaurant. Arriving at the car, he pressed her body against the door and hungrily kissed her. As he dragged his lips over her cheek toward her ear, he said “so what’s this other gift?” He had a pretty good idea what it would be; and after a week of no physical contact with his wife, he was more than ready to ‘open’ it.

“Well, I’ll give you a hint,” Liz answered in a husky tone as her arms crossed behind his neck and her body folded into his. “It’s red and slinky and small.”

He kissed her hard again and then quickly opened the car door and helped her in. They traveled the short distance to the hotel in silence, holding hands; the desire to be one with each other rolling off them in waves. Upon arriving they both jumped out of the car and quickly made their way into the lobby. Just as they reached the bottom of the stairs, the owner popped out from around a corner. “Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Evans, I’m so glad to see someone. I’m terribly sorry to impose on you Mr. Evans, but a cabinet in the kitchen has just broken away from the wall and I need another man to help me detach it and get it down before it crashes onto the floor. I would never think of bothering you but it’s about to fall and you’re the first people to walk in- I’m so sorry, but would you mind?”

Max looked at Liz who smiled her approval. “Give me your jacket and tie honey; I’ll meet you upstairs.”

“Oh Mrs. Evans, I won’t keep him, thank you both so much.” The owner kept apologizing for inconveniencing them as Max handed her his things and kissed her on the nose. “I won’t be long,” he said as the man led him away and into the kitchen.

Liz took the time she had to get ready for him. She changed into a red silk camisole and red lace thong and dabbed some vanilla musk on strategic points over her body. She lit the fireplace and then the candles in the room, turned down the covers and climbed into the bed to wait for Max.

Over a half hour later he arrived, shirt sleeves rolled up, slightly sweaty and eager to make up for lost time loving his wife. His breath was sucked out of his chest when his eyes landed on her. She had fallen asleep reclined on the pillows, her hair spilling all around her, the candles and firelight dancing amber hues over her skin. He took in the tiny camisole that had ridden up slightly, exposing her navel, and then the lace thong, and he haltingly pulled air into his lungs. She managed to look like an angel and a temptress all at once; sexy, sweet, seductive, scrumptious. He drew another deep breath, clamping his eyes shut to try to get himself under control. He desperately wanted to wake her up and spend hours making love, but seeing her resting so peacefully reminded him that neither one had gotten much sleep over the past week. That, coupled with the 3 glasses of wine she had with dinner must have done her in, he reasoned. He popped open one eye for another look, then shaking his head, turned and went toward the shower.

Max emerged from the bathroom, goosebumps racing over his skin from the cool air hitting his damp flesh. He threw on a pair of black silk boxers he knew Liz liked, extinguished the candles, turned down the fireplace, and crawled in behind her. He molded his body into her back and ran his hand over her hip before coming to rest protectively over the place on her stomach where their journey had begun so many years ago. Lightly kissing the back of her head, he closed his eyes and drifted off, the warm smell of vanilla and candle incense filling the air.

Max’s eyes flew open as they always did whenever he awoke and realized that Liz was not in bed next to him. He made out her silhouette across the room as she stood with her back to him staring out the french doors that opened onto their small balcony. He slipped out of bed quietly and as he made his way over to her he saw her shoulders trembling slightly. “Liz? What’s the matter?” he asked as she turned toward him and he saw tears rolling down her cheeks. He pulled her into his arms and felt her cold skin and said, “honey you’re freezing, come back to bed and tell me what’s wrong.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” she sniffled as she climbed back in the large bed.

“You didn’t wake me,” he said as he pulled her into his body and began to rub his hands over her back to warm her, trying to ignore the sensuous silk sliding over his hands. He turned and placed a kiss on her head which was tucked under his chin and asked, “sweetheart, please tell me why you’re crying.”

“I had a dream,” came her muffled reply.

“Was it a nightmare?” he asked, wanting her to elaborate further.

“No,” she started as she tilted her head up to look at him. “I dreamed of Max when he was little. Alex, Maria, Max and I were at the beach and Max was burying Alex in the sand.”

“Did something bad happen?”

“No, I woke up in the middle of it; Max was covering Alex with the sand and Maria and I were laughing.”

“Then what made you cry?” he asked, still puzzled by her tears.

“Well, I was laying here thinking about when Max was little. When he started walking, his first day of school, when Maria taught him to ride a two-wheeled bicycle, all the baseball games and spelling bees. When I had to give him the ‘sex talk’. All of our Christmas’ and birthdays.”

“They sound like very happy memories,” he said as he kissed her forehead. “I still don’t understand why you were crying.”

More tears sprang forth from her eyes. “Because you don’t have those memories. You didn’t get to experience any of the wonderful things I remember about his childhood.”

“Oh honey, we’ve talked about this, it’s OK,” he said as he tightened his embrace. Whenever one of them would get depressed about the span of time they had been apart the other would try to soothe away the pain by focusing them on the future. “I am so blessed to have been given this second chance to know Max. That’s what’s important, Liz; our future together. We can’t change the past.” They lay quietly until she tilted her head back and looked at him, her eyes huge and vulnerable.

“I want to have another baby, Max.”

He brought one hand up and combed her hair away from her face. “Liz if we have a baby I want it to be because it’s something we both want, that we’re both ready for; not something of an obligation. I don’t want it to be because you feel sorry for me.”

“That’s just it Max. I wasn’t feeling sorry for you. I was feeling sorry for myself.” She gazed into his eyes, willing him to see she was being sincere. “I never got to share all of those things with you. I want us to plan our baby’s first birthday party together. I want to go to his sports games and watch you cheering him on. I want to see your face the first time you hold him.” Another tear trickled down her cheek and her voice dropped. “Our son has given me the greatest joy. I want to experience it all again. With you.”

He stared at her for a few moments unable to speak. He wanted so much to believe her but didn’t want her to make such a monumental, life-altering decision just to placate him. “We don’t have to do this Liz. I love our life; I’ll be perfectly happy leaving things just the way they are now. I only want this if you want it. Please don’t agree to it just for my sake.”

She gave him the sweetest of kisses before making her simple, heart-felt declaration. “With all my heart I want to have another baby with you Max.”

His arms held her in a vice-grip and his tears prevented him from speaking. They held each other for a long while, absorbing the enormity of their decision and enjoying all the feelings flowing through their connection. Liz finally broke their reverie with a gentle kiss and took his hand and placed it on her abdomen. She pulled back and gave him a smile full of love and trust.

“Heal me, Max.”

He drew in a shaky breath at her words, allowing the full meaning of her request to sink in. It not only meant the possibly bringing a new life into their family, but it once again demonstrated how unswerving her trust in him was. When he had healed her at sixteen it had been his decision alone. He had acted on impulse, changing her life irrevocably in an instant. She had no choice in the matter; no choice in deciding if she wanted to be invaded in the most personal way, to have her soul bared for him to see. Now here she was inviting him to do just that. Trusting him to not only to make her whole, but to fathom her very essence. She trusted him the same way he trusted her.

He gently moved her so she lay on her back, then softly caressed her face before whispering “show me where, baby.”

Liz took his hand and led it to the left side of her pelvis, her hand remaining over the top of his as their eyes locked. They smiled at each other before a tingling warmth began under their hands and then spread throughout her body. Flashes of their lives began to assail them both; pictures of joy and sorrow and laughter and longing. The final one took Max’s breath away. It was Maria handing Liz her newborn son and asking her what his name was to be. With tear-filled eyes Liz clearly replied, “Max. So like his father he’ll be strong and loving and beautiful.”

They slowly came back to reality, gently kissing and touching and cherishing each other, not wanting to rush through the wonderful sensations flowing over them. When she brushed her hand over his silk-covered hardness he took her hands, placed a kiss on each, and then lay them on the bed on either side of her hips. His lips moved over her face, kissing her eyes closed, caressing her cheek, before drifting to her ear to whisper “for you, my beloved Liz.”

He made love to her languidly, enjoying the taste and feel of every luscious inch of her and the sounds she made correlating with each precious caress. He finally joined them when he sensed they were both about to burst from the need for him to be inside her, the need for them to be whole once again. With each thrust they became more lost in each other until they reached the crescendo together, cuming with an intensity that left Liz sobbing and clutching onto him for a long time after their bodies had calmed. He accepted her refusal to release him from her body and rolled them over, their limbs tangled and her hair spilling haphazardly over his chest as they succumbed to exhaustion.

Just before she drifted off, Liz softly called out “happy Valentine’s day, baby.”

“Liz,” he whispered, “thank you for the best Valentine’s gift ever.”

She smiled into his chest. “I’m glad you like the tie Max.”

They both managed a soft chuckle before sleep claimed them and sent them off to a dreamland only surpassed by the reality of love they lived every day.

posted on 4-Oct-2002 9:24:10 PM
CHAPTER TWO

Easter fell in late April that year, and Alex’s brother’s family held their annual celebration at their home on the beautiful Navesink River with its breathtaking views of the New York City skyline. Liz and her son always had a standing invitation, as they had spent many holidays over the years with them. After hearing of Liz and Max Sr.’s reunion after so many years (without the alien details, of course,) they had excitedly prodded Maria to invite the whole Evans family to join them again.

On the trip up Max noticed that Liz seemed quiet and pre-occupied, but Maria’s non-stop chatter prevented him from discussing it with her, and before he knew it they were pulling into the Whitman’s driveway. His chuckling roused Liz from her musings and she smiled at him as they climbed out of the car. “What’s so funny, Max?”

“Oh, I was just thinking that there’s no way Alex can ever refute that that man,” he pointed at the couple emerging from the house, “is his brother.”

Alex over heard them giggling and joined in. “Yep, Nick & I are twins separated by three years,” he said as he embraced his brother and his sister-in-law. “Nick, Paula, I’d like you to meet Liz’s husband Max.”

“Max, it’s so nice to meet you. We’ve heard so much about you from Maria,” said Paula as she shook his hand. “Liz! It’s so nice to see you,” she added as she embraced her and then their son. “We’re so happy you could all join us this year. Please, come in. Liz, Maria, I’m so glad you’re both here, I need some help deciding on a dress to wear to a wedding next week…”

Paula’s voice faded away as she led them inside, the men all trailing behind them. Nick led them into the family room, which had a gorgeous view of the river and the skyline. It also had a wide screen television with a basketball game on, immediately drawing all of the male’s attention as they settled on the comfortable furniture. After catching up on family news, Maria laughed as she surveyed the men, all glued to the action on screen. “OK, sister-in-law-dear, use us in the kitchen,” she said as she pointed to Liz, “or my eyes will pop out of my head if I have to watch basketball!” The girls chuckled as they went off to assist Paula, the guys not even noticing their exit as they cheered after another score.

As they worked in the kitchen, Maria picked up on Liz’s distracted behavior. ‘Something’s up,’ she thought to herself just as her niece appeared in the doorway. “Jackie! I was wondering where you were,” she said as she hugged her. “You look wonderful, as always,” she added.

“This is why you’re my favorite aunt, Aunt Maria,” the young girl replied. “Aunt Liz, hi, it’s so nice to see you,” she said to Liz as she walked over to embrace her also.

“Jackie, my goodness, look at you, you’re so grown up!” Liz said. “I haven’t seen you in over two years! You are so beautiful!”

Jackie blushed at Liz’s compliments as her mother wrapped an arm around her shoulder and squeezed. “She turned eighteen a few weeks ago, girls. And her father is trying to figure out how to keep her locked away in her room for another eighteen years, right, honey?”

Jackie rolled her eyes as they all laughed. “Yeah, I think Daddy would be quite happy to see me die an old maid.”

“Have you decided on a college yet, Jackie?” Liz asked when they all finished laughing. “Graduation is just around the corner!”

“Actually, I decided to go to Riverton Aunt Liz. I’m going to live at home and commute to school.”

“Oh, that’s great!” Liz enthused. “I’ll get to see you on campus, hopefully. Max is commuting to RU too; he’s finishing up his second semester. You should talk to him about it.” Liz understood the reason Jackie had decided to stay at home. On September 11, 2001 Nick’s law office was located in the World Trade Center complex, and he had experienced first hand the abject horror of that terrible day. Paula and their kids had been frantic until he had finally been able to contact them and let them know he was OK. In the days that followed, their joy was tempered by the sorrow of losing so many dear friends and neighbors. Many of Jackie’s schoolmates had lost a parent in the disaster, and she had been deeply affected by it. Maria had told Liz how, although always close to her family before, she had become inseparable from them, especially her father. It was only natural that she had chosen a college close enough so she could remain at home.

“Where is Max? I wanted to say hi,” Jackie asked, her cheeks reddening slightly at the thought of seeing the boy she’d had a crush on since she was ten years old.

“Homer’s in the family room. Oh- we have to introduce you to his dad,” said Maria.

“Homer?” said Jackie, looking confused.

Liz chuckled as she explained. “It’s gotten kind of confusing having two Max’s around. Every time I call for one they both answer. So to make it easier for her, Maria decided to call my son Homer after The Simpson’s because that’s been his favorite show forever, and now we all use it because it is actually less confusing.”

“Yeah, now we only call him Max when he’s in trouble,” Maria said, grinning.

“Anyway, come with me sweetie, I’ll do the honors,” Liz said as she grabbed a tray of hors d’oeuvres for the hungry crew. Arriving in front of her husband she said, “Max, I’d like you to meet Jackie, Nick and Paula’s oldest child. Jackie, this is my husband Max.”

At the sound of her name, Max Jr. had turned his head to greet her also and froze in place. He couldn’t believe the difference in her appearance since he had seen her a few years before. The tomboy with the short red hair and braces had morphed into an auburn tressed beauty with gray-green eyes and a sweet, shy smile. He saw her shake his father’s hand and then watched as she turned toward him and her lips began to move. It took his brain a few seconds to register that meant she was talking to him. And that meant that he should answer her. But that meant that he would have to know what she said in the first place, and all he could seem to focus on were her pink-painted lips and how soft they looked.

Maria had followed the girls and was standing behind Alex’s chair observing the young man’s reactions to her niece’s arrival. She had never seen him take more than a passing glance at a girl before, and his obvious stare now was intriguing her.

Jackie’s greeting finally sunk in and Max was able to form a coherent reply. At least he thought he did, because at the moment all he could seem to focus on were the soft ringlets of her hair that hung midway down her back. Wait. She was saying something again. That’s what it meant when those soft pink lips were moving, right? “Um, I’m sorry, what did you say Jackie?”

“Your Mom told me that you were in your second semester at Riverton. I was wondering how you liked it?”

Max managed to keep it together and discuss the University with her for awhile. He gladly exchanged email addresses with her at Maria’s suggestion, and he promised to show her around and help her when she was ready to register for her classes.

The day progressed with both Maria and Max Sr. continuing to notice Liz’s distant demeanor. After dinner was finished, the guys went to shoot some pool and the women set about cleaning up the dishes.

“Why is it,” Maria said as she was loading up the dishwasher, “that no matter what occasion, no matter what the location, the men always manage to escape to another room while we are left to do this?”

“I know,” replied Paula. “Things haven’t changed for the last few hundred years, when the men would go to the smoking room and discuss politics, and the women would go to the sitting room and discuss babies. So much for women’s lib, huh? Oh, speaking of babies, Maria did I tell you that my sister is pregnant again?”

“Excuse me,” Liz said suddenly as she dropped a dishtowel and quickly left the room.

“Paula, I’ll be right back,” Maria said as she turned to follow down the hall after Liz. Coming to the bathroom she’d seen Liz go into, she stood by the door before knocking and listened to the muffled sounds of her best friend’s sobs. She turned the knob as she knocked and entered. “Chica, what’s wrong?” she said as she quickly moved to Liz’s side and wrapped her in a hug. “I knew something was wrong with you today. What’s going on?”

Liz got up and grabbed a tissue to blot her eyes. “Nothing, Maria. It’s nothing.”

“Don’t tell me nothing Liz. I’ve known you longer than anyone else. You never cry over nothing. Is everything all right with you and Max?”

At her question Liz began to sob all over again. “Oh, Chica, I’m sorry, I was just trying to get you to talk to me. I never thought anything could be wrong with you guys. I’m sorry, Liz. Talk to me sweetie.” Maria was holding Liz and smoothing her hand over her hair trying to soothe her.

After calming a little, Liz once again reached for a tissue. “It’s not what you think Maria. It’s just…I’m just…I don’t…” She was stumbling over her words, trying to decide if she should share her feelings with Maria. “Maria, I don’t want to hurt your feelings…”

Maria looked at her intensely for a moment before replying. “Liz, the only thing you could ever say to hurt my feelings is that you don’t want to be my friend anymore. Well, that and that you slept with Alex.” They both giggled slightly before she continued. “Talk to me Liz.”

Liz took a deep breath before she began. “Well, you know how Max and I have being trying for a baby since Valentine’s Day. Well, I got my period this morning, and…”

“Oh, sweetie,” Maria whispered as she pulled her into a hug. Maria understood all too well the trauma of infertility, having gone through it herself. “You didn’t want to tell me because of my whole thing?” she asked, and Liz nodded in agreement. “Liz, I accepted that I’ll never have kids a long time ago. Please don’t ever feel you can’t talk to me about it; I mean, who better to understand what you’re feeling?”

“Thanks Maria. I just didn’t want to open any old wounds for you. And I know I’m being ridiculous; we’ve only been trying for two months. It’s just…I know how badly Max wants this baby, and I don’t want to disappoint him. He’s just so wonderful and I just want to make him happy…” Her voice trailed off as tears started to roll down her cheeks once again.

“You do make him happy Liz. All you have to do is look at him to know how happy is being with you and Junior. You have to give this some more time.” As they continued to talk, Maria was able to calm her considerably.

Outside the door, however, was another story. Max sat slumped against the wall, head in hands, quietly crying after having heard the whole episode.

posted on 4-Oct-2002 9:26:09 PM
CHAPTER 3

As soon as Liz had started crying Max had felt it. Although he had taught Liz and their son how to ‘block’ each other from being able to read each other’s thoughts whenever they wanted to, strong emotions were very hard to disguise, and hers had seeped right into him. He had quickly excused himself and honed in on her location in the bathroom, and stood outside listening to her pour her heart out to Maria. And now he felt horrible. Like the biggest heal on the face of the earth. She was stressing out about becoming pregnant because she thought she’d disappoint him; because she knew how badly he wanted to have another child. She was crying because of him. After he’d promised her and their son that they’d never cry because of him again. The guilt crushed him like a grape in a wine press.

He heard them getting themselves together to exit, and thought she might be even more upset if she found him eavesdropping. He decided to talk to her about it later at home, in private, and quietly made his way back to the family room. His son gave him a questioning look but said nothing as he sat down on the couch across from him to watch Alex and Nick play pool.

A short while later the girls brought coffee and dessert to them, and when Liz sat down next to him, Max pulled her tightly against his side and placed a tender kiss on her head. She looked at him and smiled, his heart constricting even more when it didn’t quite make it to her eyes. For the rest of the evening they sat pressed together, appearing to everyone to just be happy newlyweds. Only Maria understood the façade her friend was displaying to hide her melancholy feelings.

They bid goodbye to their hosts later on, Max Jr. double-checking that he had Jackie’s email address written down correctly. Upon arriving home, he kissed his parents goodnight and went upstairs to his apartment, immediately sitting down in front of the computer and sending out a message.

Hi Jackie,

It’s me, Max. Well I guess you know that from my return address, huh. Anyway, just wanted to tell you to write or call anytime you have any questions about Riverton, and about registering for your classes. I learned a lot about how to get in classes that were supposed to be full last semester. Well, that’s all. Bye.

Max.

For the next 30 minutes he re-read what he’d sent to her about 10 times. ‘I can’t believe that’s what I wrote to her’, he thought. ‘She’s going to think I’m a complete dork. Which I am. Cause I’m nineteen and have never had a girlfriend. Cause I’m a dork.’

No, it’s because you’re an alien.

He suppressed that thought quickly. This girl had affected him like no other ever had, and he was more than willing to live in the land of denial, at least for a little while, and not deal with that ‘whole load of crap’, as he referred to it. He’d much rather concentrate on the image of her laughing eyes and wavy hair and…

‘You’ve got mail.’

His head shot up when he heard the familiar announcement. Was it from her? Did she get his message and send him one right back? Did she think it was stupid? That he was a dork? Was she thinking about him right now, like he was thinking about her? Was she wondering how she was going to avoid him on campus now that she knew he was a dork?

Was he ever going to open the email?

Taking a deep breath, he opened his mailbox and saw a reply from her address. ‘Well, here goes nothing,’ he thought as he clicked ‘open’.

Max,

Hi, it’s me, Jackie. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!) Thanks so much for your offer. I will definitely take you up on it, because I’m not really sure what classes I should take and which ones will be easier for me to get into. Also, I’ve only been to the campus once, so I’d love to see it again with you so I can learn where I’m going. I’ll be down to see Aunt Maria & Uncle Alex before graduation. I hope I’ll see you then.

Well, I have to go finish some homework. Thanks again. Write again soon!

Jackie 

The smile spreading across his face could have lit the room on fire. ‘I’ll definitely take you up on it’. She wanted him to write to her again. She hoped she’d see him at Maria and Alex’s! This had to be the best Easter day of his life.

Forty-five minutes north of where he was sitting, Jackie was smiling as she stared at his message, thinking the same thing.

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

Liz turned off the light, crawled into bed and leaned over to kiss Max. “Goodnight sweetheart,” she whispered as she laid her head on his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and began to slowly rub her back with one hand as the other ran through her hair. ‘Well, the shortest distance to a point is a straight line’, he thought as he decided to get right to what he want to tell her. “Liz, I overheard you telling Maria…I heard you two talking in the bathroom this afternoon.”

Liz rose up on her elbow and looked down at him for a second before answering. “What did you hear?”

“I heard you tell her that you’re worried that you might disappoint me because you’re not pregnant yet.” His eyes got cloudy and his voice softer as he caressed her cheek. “I heard you crying, Liz.”

She cast her eyes downward and took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Max, I…”

“No, Liz,” he interrupted. “Please don’t say you’re sorry. I’M sorry. I never meant to make you feel that way. I don’t want you to ever feel that anything you do or don’t do…I don’t ever want you to think that if we don’t have another baby that I’ll be disappointed in you. That could never happen Liz. I love you so much. Please baby, you have to know that…” he swallowed as he rushed on with his thoughts. “You have to know that you and Max have made me happier than I ever imagined was possible. The only thing that matters to me is that you are both safe and happy. Everything else is unimportant to me. Yeah, another child would be wonderful, but if it doesn’t happen, that’s not going to change how I feel about our life. About us. I love you Liz. Nothing is ever going to affect that. Nothing.”

“Thank you,” she whispered as a tear ran down her cheek and rolled over his fingers. “And I, I know that,” she stuttered as she looked up into his eyes and smiled slightly. “I know that you won’t love me any less or anything. I just…I just really want this baby too Max. And this morning, when I knew I still wasn’t…I just let my hormones get the better of me, I guess. “

“Liz, please, I don’t want you to be worrying every month if you’re pregnant or not. If it happens, it happens. It will be like winning the lottery for the second time. And if it doesn’t, we already hit the jackpot once. OK?”

“OK,” she said, a genuine smile lighting her face as she leaned in for a kiss and then settled back into his arms, both of them drifting off to sleep in better spirits.

posted on 12-Oct-2002 12:04:30 AM
CHAPTER 4

Rated R

The ensuing month flew by with all in the Evans household preparing for final exams in one way or another. Jackie and Max had time to email only once, both being very busy with the end of school looming before them. The lack of time helped to keep Liz’s mind on something besides trying to conceive, but it wasn’t enough to lessen her disappointment when she got her period again the beginning of finals week. Max was extremely attentive, trying to make sure she didn’t slip into depression again, and everyone made it through the week intact and glad when the semester finally came to an end.

Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend dawned sunny and beautiful. Max and Liz were helping their son pack his truck for a weekend canoe trip with some of his friends up near the Delaware Water Gap. “Honey, are you sure you have enough food?”

“Mom, me and two armies couldn’t finish all of the food you packed!”

“Well,” his father said as he put his arm around his son’s shoulder, “feel free to leave the cinnamon buns and the chocolate chip peanut butter cookies here if you want.”

“Sorry Dad, I told Bob about the cookies and I’m not allowed on the trip unless they come with me.”

“Nice try Max,” Liz said as she pecked her husband on the cheek. “All right Honey, I think we got everything in there. You’re picking up the lanterns from Alex, right?”

”Yeah, I’m stopping over there on my way to pick up Bob. I’d better get going if I don’t want to be late,” he added as he looked at his watch. “Bye Dad, thanks again for the new tent,” he said as he hugged his father goodbye.

“Have a good time son,” Max said as he returned the hug. “Call us tonight when you make camp.”

“Call us as often as you’d like to. Or as often as you think I’d like you to,” Liz said as she pulled him into a bear hug. “I love you.”

“I love you too Mom. I’ll see you Monday around dinner time, OK?” He kissed them each and then headed off to Maria and Alex’s to borrow some things.

“So,” Max said as he wrapped his arms around Liz’s waist from behind and began to nuzzle her neck with his lips. “What are we going to do with him gone for three whole days?”

“Well I did have a few ideas,” she replied as she turned in his arms and wrapped her own around his neck.

He bent forward to rest his forehead against hers as he smiled. “Care to share them with me?”

“Well, I could tell you, I suppose,” she said, kissing him softly and then wriggling out of his grasp. She grabbed one of his hands and began to tug him along as she walked backwards toward the front door. “But I think a visual demonstration might be a little more interesting.”

“Really…well, I have always been a fan of the visual arts. Especially when you’re the vision.” His last sentence came out as a growl as he reeled her back against his body and then lifted her up in his arms and made his way the final few feet to the door. When it flew open without him laying a hand on it Liz began to giggle. “What’s so funny beautiful?” he asked amusedly.

“Just thinking that those alien powers of yours sure are handy sometimes.”

“Oh yeah? Did I ever show you how I can fly?” Max began running as fast as he could toward their bedroom with Liz laughing all the way. Reaching their bed he tossed her on it, dove on top of her and began tickling her sides.

“Max! Max stop!” she giggled out as she tried to elude his wiggling fingers. Finally able to grab hold of both his hands she said “hey! This is supposed to be MY demonstration, remember?”

“Then I’m all yours. But I’ll warn you Dr. Evans,” he said as he lay back on the bed and watched her climb on top of him, “I’m a bit of a slow learner. You might have to show me a few times before I understand.”

“Don’t worry, Dr. Evans,” she answered as her thighs tightened around his hips and she ground herself down on him. “I’m prepared to do this over and over and over until you get it right.”

“Good,” he breathed out, his eyes rolling shut as she continued rocking on his hardness. “Really, really good.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxx

Meanwhile, as Max was pulling into Maria and Alex’s driveway he noticed another car in front of the house. ‘Wonder who’s here,’ he thought as he made his way through the garage and into the house via the kitchen door. “Aunt Maria, Uncle Alex? I’m here for the lan…terns.” His voice faltered as he turned the corner and came face to face with Jackie.

“Hi Max!” She leaned toward him a bit and added gleefully, “it’s me, Jackie!”

He blushed furiously at her reference to his first email, but more at her surprising presence. “Hi. I didn’t know you were here.”

“Yeah, Mom is borrowing some stuff from Aunt Maria, and I’m staying overnight.” Her voice faded away and he stood staring at her sparkling eyes and soft, wavy hair that framed her face so perfectly. The way the light illuminated the red tones in her brown hair made it seem like she was glowing, he thought. That, coupled with the beautiful soft pink tint in her cheeks…that blended so nicely with her soft pink lips…oh oh. She was looking at him like he was supposed to say something. “Overnight?” he repeated, hoping it would suffice.

“Yeah, for my birthday Aunt Maria is treating the two of us to a day at a spa. Then Uncle Alex and us are going out to dinner and we’re going to go see ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ at the movies. They’ll bring me home tomorrow.”

“That sounds like fun,” he answered, getting lost in her eyes again.

Maria appeared behind her niece and immediately noticed the dreamy look on Max’s face and smiled to herself. She loved this boy like he was her own son, and wanted to see him happy and in love. In her opinion, he couldn’t find a better girl than Jackie. She was smart, funny, loved her family, and was one of the most genuinely compassionate people Maria had ever known. It was the proverbial perfect match, and Maria was more than happy to help inch it along. “Homer! Paula and Jackie just got here. I’m afraid that Alex didn’t have time to pull out the lanterns, but you know where they are. Why don’t you two go and find them?”

“OK,” they replied simultaneously, and then shyly smiled at each other when they realized they’d spoken at the same time. Max moved to the door and held it open so she could go first, and then he followed behind trying to think of something to say without sounding like an idiot. “You know, the Homer thing, that’s not my name…”

Shit. That had idiot written all over it. In capital freakin’ letters.

“Um, yeah, your Mom explained it to me at Easter.”

“Oh.” Say something. ANYTHING! “Yeah, they got tired of my Dad and I always answering together. When they would call. ‘Cause we have the same name.” Shit shit SHIT! Looking like an idiot would be an improvement right about now.

“Yeah, that’s gotta be annoying…” ‘Could he be anymore adorable’, she thought as she noticed his nervousness. “But, Homer? It’s, um, a little strange.”

He ducked his head as he nervously laughed. “Well, Aunt Maria did come up with it…” They softly chuckled as Max moved over to the cabinet where the lanterns were stored. As she helped him remove the boxes she said, “so camping, huh?”

“Yeah, my friends and I are canoeing from the Delaware Water Gap south. My friend Bob has done it with his family before, so he knows where to camp and stuff. It should be fun.”

“Yeah, it sounds fun.” There was some awkward silence as they both tried desperately to think of something to say.

“Oh! Did you register at Riverton yet?” Max asked her. Phew! He thought of something to say!

“I just sent in my acceptance letter; I haven’t registered for any classes, though. I was hoping you might still want to help me,” she said quietly.

“Absolutely!”

His enthusiastic reply made her warm inside. “Great!” she said. The ensuing silence wasn’t quiet as awkward this time around. Just as Max was about to ask her something else, Maria came breezing through the door. “Did you find the lamps Homer? Oh, you did, good. Do you want to come in for a while?”

“No Aunt Maria, I have to get to Bob’s, we’re supposed to leave soon. Thanks for the lanterns.”

“Anytime, anytime. Jackie, would you help him carry them to his truck? Bye Honey, have fun,” she finished as she blew him a kiss and disappeared back inside the house.

Jackie followed him down the driveway and helped him pack them away. “Well, have fun. Email me when you get home and tell me all about it.”

“Yeah, OK,” he said, the calmness in his voice belying the flip-flops his stomach was currently doing. He climbed into the driver’s seat and she pushed the door closed for him. “It was nice to see you Jackie. Again. Nice to see you again.”

Just when had the ability to have a coherent conversation left him?

“I’ll email you when I get back,” he added. Man, her eyes were gorgeous.

“OK, great. Be careful. Don’t fall in, or anything.”

“I’ll try. Bye Jackie.”

“Bye Max.”

They stared at each other for a few moments before he smiled shyly, started the truck and then slowly backed out. He paused at the end of the driveway and waved, and received a bright smile and return wave. When Maria peered out the window, she saw the smiles on both of their faces as he pulled away, and she couldn’t have been happier.

posted on 27-Oct-2002 7:30:51 PM
CHAPTER 5

// means connection //

NC-17

Max’s eyes popped open as he awakened in an empty bed. He lazily yawned and stretched as he remained under the covers, and opened the connection between he and Liz. // Where are you, my beautiful, wonderful wife? //

// Good morning sleepyhead. I’m in the garage working out. Why don’t you get your cute butt out of bed and join me. //

// You think I have a cute butt, huh? // [/]His smirk was evident to her and she smiled.

// Yes, I do, and if you want to keep it that way you should get out here and pump some iron. //

// Are you implying I’m getting soft? //

// I’m not the one who ate half a batch of chocolate chip peanut butter cookies in one sitting last night, am I? // [/]Her giggles filled his head and now it was his turn to smile.

Max raised the sheet and grabbed some skin around his waistline. // Hmm, maybe you’re right. I’ll be right out. //

Max threw on a pair of shorts and trotted out to their garage, which Liz had converted to a workout room a few years prior. She was just finishing up working on the stationary bike as he came in and walked to where she was sitting. “So you decided to come and work off those cookies, huh?” she teased him.

He leaned over and kissed her good morning before replying. “If you weren’t such a great cook I wouldn’t have to come out here at all.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you.”

“Are you going to use this Honey?” he asked as he pointed at a weight bar he wanted to use for bench presses.

“No, it’s all yours, I’m going to work on the small bag.” Liz finished putting on her gloves and began working the small punching bag as Max lay down and began to lift, turning his head so he could watch her. He loved to watch her moving so quickly and gracefully around, expertly pummeling the bag, and watch her body as she worked it hard. He noted happily that right now, she glistened with a slight sheen and her cheeks reddened with her efforts as her tight tank top rode up to reveal her lower abdomen peaking out over the waistband of her shorts. Moving his eyes up again he noticed she was bra-less. His thoughts began straying far from the weight he was effortlessly pressing up and down, and caused a tent to form in his shorts. He was so easy when it came to her.

Liz was able to enjoy a view of her own as she came around the back of the bag, facing him as he lay shirtless lifting the heavy bar up and down, causing the muscles on his stomach to clench and relax, clench and relax. Her eyes drifted down to his growing arousal and her nipples hardened immediately. The evidence of his desire turned her on quickly, and she lost concentration for a moment and had to duck to avoid getting hit by the bag.

Max’s laughter caught in his throat before it escaped and changed into a groan as his eyes landed on her hard peaks, and he turned his head away from her to take a deep breath. When he turned back a moment later, she was standing next to him removing the boxing gloves.

“Need any help working out this muscle down here?” she said huskily as she reached down and stroked him over his clothes.

“It is important to work all of the, aahhh…all of one’s muscle groups…uuhhh…” He wanted to continue to banter with her, but lost the ability when she kneeled down and quickly slid her hand up the leg of his shorts and grasped his length. “Ooohhh, no underwear, I like,” she purred. After a few soft strokes she withdrew her hand, and he groaned as he felt her quickly pull his shorts off leaving him lying naked, face-up on the bench.

“See anything you like?” he breathed out as her heated gaze caused him to harden even more.

“Oh yeah,” she replied as she began to strip off her clothes. His cock twitched in response to her nudity and she felt her nipples tighten again in pleasure, causing him to lick his lips in anticipation. Suddenly feeling a bit wonton she began to run her hands over her body, sliding one up into her hair disheveling it as the other ran down over her stomach and outside over her hip. His eyes widened and then darkened, spurring her on to bring her hands to cup her full breasts and toy with her nipples. After a few moments she dragged one hand down toward her heat, and his eyes narrowed to slits as her fingers passed through her dark curls and entered her passage.

“How ‘bout you Max? Do you see anything you like?” Her voice was like a drug to him- low, thick, sexy; the voice of an aroused woman. But not just any woman. Liz. The love of his life. Who was pleasuring herself as he watched, knowing that she would soon pleasure him also. And she wanted to know if there was anything he liked?

“Everything.”

A feeling of power came over her at the sound of his choked answer. She withdrew her hands and swung a leg over his body so she was straddling him standing up. Bending over slightly, with one hand she grasped the weight bar he was still holding on to, and with the other walked her fingers over his chest. A provocative smile lit her face as her teasing voice spoke to him. “Maybe I should test you to see if you remember all of your lessons from yesterday.”

Not willing to give in too easily, he returned her smile as he answered, “by all means. Would you like me to start here?” His hands immediately let go of the bar and grabbed her around the waist, pulling her down onto his aroused form. He sat halfway up and attached his open mouth to her breast to devour her supple flesh. Her free hand speared into his hair as her hips began to move, rubbing her moistness over his hard member, stoking the fire in her body that was sweeping over her. He began toying with her nipple, sucking it hard while his tongue flicked over it, then holding it in his teeth as his tongue continued its magic. He switched mounds and the bulbous tip of his cock rubbed across her mound of nerves, causing her to moan loudly and constrain her movements to repeat the action over and over.

He released her breast to look at her, glorying in the way her head hung back and her hair was dangling all around her, and in the soft moans escaping her parted lips. Her pleasure gave him pleasure; her desire fed his desire. He had to taste her again and pulled her face toward him to attack her mouth. Liz eagerly returned the assault as she continued to work her clit over his throbbing head, her movements becoming quicker and more intense as the pleasure threatened to drown her. Suddenly he felt her nails dig into his back and he could feel her body shuddering as she wrenched her mouth away from his and he watched, mesmerized as she climaxed. Her whimpering corresponded with each contraction of her body, and as he observed the bliss washing over her, he was once again gripped by his overwhelming love for her. He lay back, cradling her against his heaving chest as she calmed; his body now screaming to be encased in her warmth.

“Liz…I need you…” he breathed out in a needy tone. Immediately he felt her velvet lips kiss his shoulder and begin to work their way to his neck, travel over his jaw, and move up to his ear.

“I need you too baby,” she whispered as she quickly moved over his raging hard-on and sank down on his girth.

“Uuuhhh…Liz…mmmhhh…” he moaned as she rode him, his hands aiding her by moving her hips to slam onto his thrusting cock. They moved together fast and hard, both desperately seeking release in the other. He felt his balls tightening and rasped out “Liz…I’m gonna…cum…”

Not wanting to be left behind, she lifted her torso off him to sit up, and plunged a finger into the top of her slit. She moaned wildly as she worked her clit furiously, and when she finally felt him explode inside of her, her entire body spasmed as she screamed out his name.

They lay together in a clinch, their bodies violently trembling in the aftermath of their orgasms. As their breathing finally began to calm Liz began to giggle.

“What, baby,” Max drawled, still in a bit of a sexual fog.

Liz lifted up, crossed her arms across his chest, and leaned back down. “I was just thinking. We have now officially defiled every single piece of exercise equipment we own.”

His eyes remained closed as a large smile spread over his face. “Well, give me a few minutes, and we could start back at the top of the list.”

“Mmmm,” she murmured, her lips moving over his jaw to his mouth. In between kisses she mumbled “I like…the way…you…think…”

Max sat up, holding her tightly to him, not breaking the kiss. His hand released her body to tunnel through her hair, holding her head immobile as he thoroughly tasted her once more. When they broke apart for oxygen, he panted “ready, Rocky?”

Her answer came via their connection as she hungrily reclaimed his lips.

// Oh yeah. //



[ edited 1 time(s), last at 27-Oct-2002 7:34:04 PM ]
posted on 27-Oct-2002 7:32:14 PM
CHAPTER 6


“Thanks again, Aunt Maria. I really loved my gift,” Jackie said as Maria and Alex climbed into their car to leave after taking their niece home on Sunday.

“Yes, thank you both for such a generous gift to Jackie,” said Nick, as he and his wife kissed them both goodbye.

“Yeah Maria, anytime you want to treat me like Queen for a day, I’m available,” joked Paula.

After thinking a moment, Maria replied “you know what, that’s a great idea. You, Liz and I should go into the City for girl’s day out. We could go to a spa, and a really expensive lunch. How ‘bout it.”

“Are you kidding? Name the date and time and I’m there!” Paula enthused.

“I’ll check what dates are good for Liz, but the next month or so is no good for me. Why don’t we try for the end of July?” Maria said.

“Sure, just remember the third weekend is Jackie’s graduation party, OK?”

“No problem, I’ll try for the weekend after that. We’re having dinner with Liz and Max tonight, so I’ll check with her and let you know. Oh, I’m excited, this will be fun!”

“Great, then call me next week,” said Paula as she stepped back from the car.

“I will. Take care guys, love you,” Maria called out as Alex began to back out of the driveway.

“Love you,” Alex also called out to the people waving to them. As he turned onto the street, he said to Maria “that sounds like fun, you three going to the City.”

“Yeah, it’ll be good for Liz’s nerves, too,” she thought aloud. Alex nodded in understanding, Maria having informed him of the tension Liz was putting herself under while trying to conceive a baby. No one knew better then the two of them the stress of that situation.

“Hey, I have another great idea,” Maria said. “You, Nick, and Max should have a boy’s day out the same day. Go fishing or something.”

“That is a great idea, babe. Let me know the date and I’ll see what’s going on. Maybe get tickets if the Yankees are in town. Max still hasn’t been to a game.”

“Good idea. And if you do go to a game, the six of us could meet somewhere for dinner. We could go to that new place in Chinatown that Sue from work has been talking about. Honey, remind me to bring this up tonight with Liz and Max, in case I forget.”

“OK. I’ll go on the Internet when we get home and see if there’s a ballgame that weekend.” After a moment he asked her, “so, did you decide if you’re going to say anything to Liz about Jackie and their son?” Maria had filled him in on the encounter she had witnessed the day before between them, and also included the scene she observed on Easter.

“I don’t know. On the one hand, I want to, but then I think that maybe I shouldn’t interfere and let her find out on her own. I just don’t know.”

“What are your reasons for not telling her?” Alex asked.

“Because I’m not sure how she’ll react. Max dating a someone- this is going to bring up a lot of issues for both of his parents. As much as I want this to happen, I also very much understand the seriousness of this situation.” She turned and looked at him and asked, “do you think I should tell them?”

Alex scratched his chin for a moment as he gave her question some thought. “As much as I think my niece could handle the whole thing, I don’t think I could honestly gage anyone’s reaction to finding out that there really are aliens among us, and that two of them happen to be our best friends.” He sighed before he continued. “I would love to see the two of them get together, though.”

“Me too,” Maria replied as she turned back to stare out of the windshield. “But I just don’t know.”

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“…and then we spent the rest of the afternoon chasing the frog around the room!” Liz, Max, and Alex all laughed at another of Maria’s stories about the kids at her daycare center as they all enjoyed dinner together at one of their favorite restaurants.

“I keep telling her that one day all of the animals that have been brought in for show-and-tell and have gotten loose are going to come back and exact their revenge, like in a Stephen King novel,” Alex said. “You know, they’ll march in together and throw everyone in a giant cage while they get to eat milk and cookies.”

“Yeah,” Liz piped up, still laughing. “And then they’ll take a nap!”

As their laughter died down Alex looked at Maria and said, “so Honey, are you going to tell them about the brilliant idea you had this morning?”

“Oh oh, Max; this can’t be good,” Liz joked as she looked at Maria.

“Well ye of little faith, how does a Saturday trip to a salon in the City for some well deserved pampering and then a nice expensive lunch, and maybe a little shopping at Sacks or Barney’s sound to you? It would be you, me, and Paula, at the end of July.”

“I stand corrected, that sounds wonderful. I guess you had fun with Jackie yesterday, then, huh?”

“It was great, and when Paula mentioned she’d like to go too, I thought why not? We haven’t done anything like this in a really long time. And not to leave the boys out,” Maria said, turning to her husband and patting him on the shoulder, “Alex found out that the Yankees are playing that afternoon. So we thought that you guys and Nick could go to the game, and then we could all meet up for dinner in Chinatown.”

“Oh, I think that’s a great idea! What do you think Max?” Liz said as she rubbed her hand over his arm.

“Sounds good to me. I’d really like to see a game at Yankee Stadium.”

“Great!” Maria whipped out her pocket calendar and flipped through the pages. “OK, I was thinking of the last Saturday in July, because Jackie’s graduation party is the weekend before- you guys are going to that, right?”

“Yup, we’re going,” answered Liz as she continued to run her hand lightly up and down Max’s arm. As he watched her hand and its innocent movements, he recalled their activity in their gym earlier in the day and the not-so-innocent things she’d done to him with those hands.

“Is it hot in here?” he asked suddenly as his face flushed a bit.

“Actually, I think it’s a little cool,” Maria replied to him before continuing with her plans. “Well, Paula said that the date was good for her also, so I’m going to pencil this in for Saturday, July 30th. I’ll make the reservations for everything tomorrow,” Maria said as she finished writing.

“And as luck would have it, I see Rich Jenkinson from the History Department over there at the bar. His brother gets box seats through his job all of the time, and Rich told me if I ever wanted some tickets to let him know and he’d see what he could do. Let me go talk to him right now,” Alex said as he rose from the table and made his way over toward his colleague.

“While he’s doing that I’m going to the ladies room. Liz?” Maria raised her eyebrow to question if her friend wanted to go along.

“No thanks Maria, I’m fine.”

“OK, you two behave now,” Maria smirked as she left.

Liz giggled as she watched Maria walk away from them. She felt Max’s fingers close over her hand that was still absently stroking his arm, and as she turned back toward him and smiled he lifted her hand to his lips. “You know,” he said as he began to kiss each of her fingers, “if you keep doing that it’s going to be very hard for me to behave.”

“Who said I wanted you to behave?” Liz answered as she leaned in and kissed him. “In fact, I was counting on you not behaving later on when we get home,” she added suggestively.

“Count on it,” he mumbled right before he leaned in and kissed her again. As he pulled away he reached up to tuck her hair behind her ears and then gave her the smile that made her insides turn to goo every time. “Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight, Mrs. Evans?”

It was her turn to take his hand, moving it from her hair to her mouth so she could place a kiss on his palm. She sighed happily before saying “several times, but I never tire of hearing it.” She surrounded his hand with both of hers and brought it to rest in her lap as they gazed at each other, comfortable in the silence of their love, oblivious to the noise and activity of the busy restaurant crowd around them. That was how Alex found them a few moments later when he returned, ending their reverie as he slapped Max on the back and moved back to his seat. “It’s a done deal, my friend. Rich called his brother on his cell and he has a wedding to go to, so he’s not using the seats that day.”

“Great,” Max said as he tore his eyes from Liz’s face and looked at Alex. “Do you know who they’re playing?”

“Yes I do,” Alex replied, looking like the cat that ate the canary.

“You do what, Honey?” Maria asked him as she arrived back at the table.

“I happen to know that on July 30th, Max, my brother and I will be sitting in the box next to Steinbrenner’s box watching the Yankees and the Mets.”

“You’re kidding!” Liz said. “The Subway Series is that weekend? I would love to go to any of those games.”

“Yeah, me too,” Maria said. “Seats next to the owner’s box. That will be a great first game for you to go to, Max.”

“Well, don’t sulk my girls. I knew that you two would want to go, so I asked him if the seats were taken for the next day also, and he said the entire box was still available. So, I grabbed the tickets, and figured we could stay over at Nick and Paula’s that night, and then all of us, including the kids, can go to the Sunday game.”

“Honey that’s fantastic! What do you guys think,” Maria asked their friends.

“Are you kidding? We’re there!” said Liz quickly. “Oh, Max, I’m sorry; I didn’t ask you if that sounded OK to you.”

“I think it’s great. Max will be glad; he was talking about trying to get tickets for one of those games. Sounds like a great weekend all around.”

“Yes it does, thank you,” Maria said dramatically, “if I do say so myself.”

“And we have you to thank for it Sweetie,” Alex said as he leaned over and gave her a peck on the cheek. He looked over at the Evans’s and said, “I took care of the check, so if you are all ready, we can leave.”

“Alex you didn’t have to do that,” Max protested. “It was our turn, you paid the last time.”

“I did?” Alex stood up, looking at him in momentary confusion. “Oh well, you can get it the next couple of times then, Max.”

“I don’t know Alex,” Liz said as she stood also, “you’re starting to forget things, and your fortieth birthday is still almost a year away. Can a bald head and Depends be far behind?”

“Very funny Liz,” he retorted as they all made their way out of the restaurant laughing. “Just remember, forty is not that far away for any of you, either.”

“Honey I told you, Liz and I made a pact. At thirty-nine we start subtracting a year from our age, so we’ll never turn forty,” Maria said as she looped her arm through Alex’s. She turned to look back at Max and Liz, who were lagging behind them, arms around each other and giggling as they stole quick kisses while they walked through the parking lot. “Do you two want to go somewhere for a drink or coffee, or do you want to get home so you can make like bunnies,” she teasingly asked.

“Maria…” Liz was blushing as they arrived at the car.

// Bunnies. Tell her we want to do the bunny thing. //

Liz’s cheeks flamed at Max’s thoughts. As she tilted her face up to retort, she found him smiling innocently down at her, belying the words and images he was projecting to her. Without turning her head she answered Maria’s question.

“We’ll be going home, thanks.”

Maria laughed quietly as they all settled in their seats and Alex started the car.

“Some things never change.”

posted on 5-Nov-2002 2:59:49 PM
CHAPTER 7

NC-17

“Good night, I’ll call you tomorrow Maria,” Liz called out as Alex and Maria waved goodbye after dropping Max and Liz home. She turned to Max and squeezed his hand as he pulled her along to their front door. As he held it open for her she stepped inside and pulled him in behind her and said with a large smile, “so, bunnies, huh?”

Max’s smile matched hers as they made their way through the house toward the bedroom. “Well, you know I’ve always been partial to small, soft things with great big eyes.”

Reaching their room she turned to him and playfully put her hands on her hips. “Are you telling me I have big ears and a big fluffy butt?”

“No,” he said as he slid an arm around her waist and pulled her against him. His other hand combed through her hair as he stared at her a moment before a smirk appeared on his face. “Your ears aren’t that big.”

Her eyebrow arched but her smile did not fade when she reached up to grasp both of his ears. “Excuse me, if you want to talk about ear size…”

“No, I really don’t,” he interrupted as he swooped down upon her lips. Her hands moved into his hair and she enjoyed the feeling of the soft strands falling through her fingers. He had grown it longer again, the way it was when he had first returned from Antar to find her, after having cut it after their wedding. Though she said nothing, he had known immediately when he had walked in the door that she was not pleased with the shorter length. He had to tickle the truth out of her, and when she finally admitted that she preferred ‘cool, ponytail dude Max’, he knew he wouldn’t be letting anyone with scissors near his head for a long time. He’d shave his head bald and paint it purple if that’s what she liked.

Liz ended the kiss and said a little breathlessly, “I’m going to go get ready for bed. Why don’t you do the same?” and then stepped away from him.

Max watched her go into the bathroom and shut the door. He turned down the bed covers and then stripped naked, folding his clothes and placing them neatly on a chair. Just as he was about to slide under the sheets, an idea popped into his head, and he headed over to his clothes dresser instead. He pulled open a small drawer and pulled out a pile of his socks, and with an impish grin began placing them all around their room- on top of the furniture, on the floor, on the chairs, everywhere. When finished, he waived his hand over each one, and when he heard the bathroom door opening he grabbed the last sock, worked some more magic, and jumped into the bed.

Liz couldn’t help humming as she brushed her hair in the mirror. They were having a wonderful weekend, spending every minute together laughing and talking and touching and loving. Now she was hurrying through her nightly regime, eager to return to his arms, to feel his skin, to taste his lips. ‘It’s amazing’, she thought as she pulled off all of her clothing and slipped into a short silk robe; ‘the more we make love the more I want him. He’s turned me into a nympho!’ She blushed slightly at the thought and wondered if there would ever come a time in the future when she wouldn’t be consumed by desire for him. ‘I hope not!’ she giggled to herself as she shut off the light and opened the door.

Upon entering their bedroom she gasped “Max!” and raised her hand to her mouth as she surveyed the scene. He had filled the room with stuffed animals. Bunnies, to be exact. They were perched on every available space in all sizes and colors; peering at her from the top of the furniture, hanging out of open drawers, looking up at her from the carpet. Tall bunnies, short bunnies, fat bunnies, skinny bunnies, brown bunnies, white bunnies, bunnies, bunnies, bunnies!

She finally looked over at him, sitting up in bed with a twinkle in his eye. “You’ve been busy!” she said laughingly as she picked up one rabbit and walked toward him.

“Well, I didn’t want you to forget our theme tonight,” he said.

She sat on the bed facing him, one leg tucked under her, the other hanging over the side. “So you decided to turn our bedroom into a stuffed animal zoo?” she asked as she tickled his nose with the toy in her hand.

“Well, just for a little while. I thought this might be a little more romantic.” As he finished speaking he raised his arm and slowly waived his hand in a circular motion. One by one the bunnies changed into large vases of deep red roses, filling the room with their heavenly scent. She turned her head to see what he was doing and gasped at the multitude of flowers throughout the room. When he was finished he snapped his fingers and the bedside lamp went out and all of the candles Liz kept in the room were lit, bathing them in a lovely, soft light. She turned back to him, her eyes glowing.

“I know white roses are your favorite,” he said quietly, “but red stands for love, and I wanted to fill the room with love the way you fill my heart.”

“Oh Max,” she whispered as tears began to form. Liz thought if it was possible, her heart would literally melt at that moment with the love she felt for this wonderful man, her perfect husband who never ceased to amaze her. “You…you…” Unable to speak further she leaned in to kiss him while moving her hand down to the bed beside his thigh, to lean on it for balance. She stopped short and looked down when she felt a large lump under the sheets. “What’s that?” she asked, her voice still thick with emotion.

“Oh,” he said, “just another little friend for you.” He pulled out a large stuffed bunny and grinned sheepishly. “I thought you might like to keep one.”

“Why don’t we put these,” she said as she took the toy from his hand and the one she was still holding and leaned over the side of the bed, “down here.” She propped them up on the floor next to the nightstand and then turned back to him and smiled. “Now where were we?”

Max placed a hand on each sleeve of her robe and slowly began to move them up over the soft silk as he sat up more fully to bring his body closer to hers. He let them slide over her shoulders and up her neck until they moved into her hair and were cupping the back of her head. Staring at her lips he said with a smile, “I believe we were here,” and then he connected them with a kiss.

Liz’s head was swimming instantly under the power of his kiss, and she let her hands wander over his back to enjoy the feeling of his smooth, warm skin. As they moved down lower a thrill went through her as she realized he was completely naked. She pulled away from his lips and slid her hands up to his shoulders and then down his arms before standing. She untied the sash holding her robe closed, leaving the garment to drape open and reveal a tantalizing view of her body to him. She remained that way for a few moments, keeping her eyes locked on his before reaching up to gently push the robe from her shoulders, the silky material slithering down her body to pool around her feet. She continued to stand before him as he drank in the sight of her, her body flushing with desire as she observed his obvious reaction to her nudity.

Max could barely breathe. While he enjoyed it anytime she was naked, watching her undress for him always brought forth the strongest reaction from him. Beside the fact that he thought she was absolutely gorgeous, to know that she had never done this for anyone else, had never wanted to do it for anyone else, and that she was baring herself to him, was mind blowing. He would always feel unworthy of her love, and to receive the gift of herself would always be beyond anything he could ever express to her. But he knew that he’d die trying.

Liz placed her knee on the bed next to him and said in a low voice, “are you going to move over so I can join you?”

He reached out to take her hand and brought it to his lips. Placing a reverent kiss on it, he held on to it as he replied in an equally husky tone, “in a minute.”

Her temperature elevated another few degrees as he continued his perusal of her body, appreciating every hill and valley; eyes lingering in one area before moving on to relish another. When she finally could wait no longer, she whimpered “Max,” and he slid over, pulling her in after him. Before she had a chance to settle, he was wrapping his arms around her, seeking out her lips and pressing her down onto the bed with the weight of his body. Her arms rose to rest around his shoulders, remaining there as he began to kiss his way down her throat to taste her pulse point. A soft moan escaped her lips as her neck arched, giving him more skin to move his mouth over, and her eyes rolled shut at the feeling of his tongue tracing the path his lips had just descended.

At the loss of his touch her eyes opened to find him gazing at her. “Do you know,” he said in tone filled with awe, “I mean really know, just how happy you’ve made me?” He paused a moment as he brushed a few strands of hair off of her face. “I wake up every morning and go to bed every night amazed that after our separation, after everything, you still want to be with me. You’ve taught me the true meaning of love. Without you and Max, my life wouldn’t be worth living.” He paused again to swallow the lump forming in his throat. “You’re my sun and moon. My breath and heartbeat. You’re my everything. I love you Liz.” His last sentence was whispered against her lips right before he kissed her gently, trying to convey to her the depth of his feelings.

He pulled away when he tasted the wetness of her tears as they rolled down her face. As he began to kiss them away, her emotion-choked voice filled his heart. “My Max, my love.”

“I love you Liz,” he said again as he took her lips once more.

Their hands roamed reverently over each other’s bodies, their lips following the same trail when they could bear to interrupt their kissing. They were content to take their time, delighting in the soft sounds and warmth of emotion flowing over them; reveling in a love so rare it had traveled across the galaxies to be.

When Max’s mouth finally found her breast Liz’s entire body bowed off of the bed. He did not hurry his pace though; his mouth leisurely licked and sucked her nipples as his hands continued playing over her body, eventually finding their way to her very wet center. As his finger slid inside he moved back up to kiss her passionately, and when he added two more fingers a moment later he felt an intense rush of love and desire surge from her as their connection fell completely open.

He pulled away panting for air, and remained hovering above her as the sight of her as she tossed her head to and fro and gyrated her hips against his hand captivated him. It was at these times, when their connection was unimpeded and she gave him free reign over her mind and body, that he felt both powerful and humble, mighty and meek; like the king he was and the shy, wide-eyed boy he had once been. Her complete and total trust in him when she was at her most vulnerable helped to heal a deep pain in his soul, born from a time when he and his two young companions could not afford the luxury of trusting anyone. Being ‘different’ had made Max feel unworthy of trust, friendship, love. Until Liz. Every good and decent thing in his life could be traced back to her.

He could not wait a moment longer to be joined with her, and so he withdrew his fingers and moved between her legs. A desperate moan of “noooo…” was torn from her at the loss of his touch, and he quickly kissed her hard as his hands tunneled into her hair. He broke apart from her to breathe out, “don’t worry baby, I’ve got you,” as he slid inside of her warmth.

Loud groans accompanied their coupling as Max set a slow pace, their eyes locking together, both trying to drown in the other, breaking their gazes only long enough to drop kisses over the other’s body. As the exquisite moments flowed together passion began to overtake her, and Liz clutched at his back as her legs reflexively tightened around his waist and her hips moved faster. Unable to speak, he heard her heated voice beating through their connection.

//Max…harder…faster…more…yes, yes…Oh Max, yes…//

Her whole body throbbed in sexual pleasure as he thrust into her at a rapid pace, and when she came he was rewarded with the sweetest sound he knew. The love of his life moaning his name over and over as her orgasm engulfed her. It was enough to drive him to the edge, and at the familiar tightening in his sac his movements became frantic until finally his release flooded into her. It was him who was now unable to speak, but she could hear him clearly.

// Liz…Liz…Liz…I love you…Liz…//

It was a while before they were able to separate, and when they did Max didn’t go far, moving his body to her side but still laying partially across her, his head resting on her chest. His hand lazily drew circles over her belly as she threaded her fingers through his hair, both of them quietly reveling in the afterglow; a faint, intangible current still humming between them and absently going unnoticed by the lovers.

As sleep began to overtake them, Max muttered “Liz?”

“Yeah, baby,” she sleepily replied.

“I’m gonna need some new socks.”

A faint giggle could be heard before they both drifted off, still wrapped in each other’s arms.

Still oblivious to the soft, happy tone whispering through their love.


posted on 16-Nov-2002 3:11:14 PM
CHAPTER 8A

“Man it’s hot!”

“Dad, you’re from New Mexico, this weather shouldn’t bother you,” Max said to his father as the Evans family walked to their car.

“It’s hot there, but this humidity is worse than any heat I remember,” his father answered. “Don’t you think so Honey?”

“Yeah, as hot as it would get out west, at least you could breathe,” Liz said in reply as she stretched up to kiss her son on the cheek. “I’ll see you two later.” She turned to kiss her husband goodbye also. They were going over to Maria’s to help Alex set up for the annual Fourth of July party being held later that day. Every year, they would invite family and friends to enjoy a barbecue at their house on the water, where the small fireworks display run by a town across the river from them could be seen at night.

// Do you have enough cash, babe? // Max asked through their connection as she kissed him.

// Yeah, I should have plenty, and if not, I’ll just use the debit card, // Liz signaled back. While her husband and son were busy with Alex, she and Maria were going to purchase life vests for the three of them. After much debate between the two of them, Max and Liz had purchased a Waverunner as a surprise for their son as a reward for achieving a 4.0 average in both semesters of his first year at Riverton University. Liz had initially been opposed to the idea, saying it was an expensive item and she didn’t agree with spoiling children with lavish material gifts. After all, Max had to pay for half of the price of his car and foot the bill for his car insurance and ‘entertainment’ expenses, she reasoned. What kind of signal would this be sending? After much cajoling and then outright begging, his father had finally won her over, saying that the price of it was probably far less than what he would have spent over the seventeen years of their son’s life he had been absent for, and that they could more than afford to pay cash for it. When he played the guilt card by adding that Max deserved it for not only his efforts at school but just for being an amazing son, and then threw in how he hadn’t had a chance to spoil him all those years (‘not that I would have, of course, but you know, just that I couldn’t, Liz’), Liz reluctantly consented. The marina they had ordered it from had called the previous evening with the news that the machine had been delivered, and now she too was excited. They were going to give it to him at Maria’s party in the afternoon.

“OK sweetheart, we’ll see you later,” Max said as he kissed his wife goodbye and then climbed into the car. Liz waived goodbye to them and then hurried back into the house. There was something she had to do before Maria arrived. Something important. Something almost too exciting for her to hope for.

-----------------------------------------

“Hey guys! How are you?” Maria asked as the two Evans males walked through her kitchen door.

“Good Aunt Maria. Oh, is that your famous potato salad you’re working on there?” Max said as he quickly stuck a finger in the bowl for a taste.

“How is it?” she asked him.

“Mmm, needs Tabasco, but otherwise, it’s perfect,” he replied.

“Well, the bottle will be out on the table so you’ll just have to add it on your own later. Why don’t you go out back and start helping Alex move the tables before you eat it all,” she said as she playfully slapped his hand away as he was stealing another taste.

“OK. Are you coming Dad?”

“Yeah, I’ll be there in a second. I want a taste too,” his father said as he winked at Maria. They watched as Max opened the French doors and walked out onto the deck. When the door shut Maria quickly asked, “so what time are you bringing it here?”

“It’s already in the water and tied up at the marina, which is right around the bend up the river. I thought I’d disappear at some point and just come riding up to your dock on it. What do you think?"

“I think he’s going to faint! Liz and I are picking up a giant bow for you to put on it. We’ll put it in the trunk of my car, so take that one so you’ll have the bow. I’ll leave the keys under the floor mat.”

“OK, that’ll work. Listen, are you sure you and Alex don’t mind us docking it here? I don’t want to impose on you guys,” Max asked.

“Do I have to slap you for asking such a stupid question? We have the extra slip, and besides, it will keep our Jet Ski company,” she teased. “Seriously Max, it will be safer here than at the marina were hundreds of strangers come and go. We don’t mind at all.”

“Thanks Maria. You guys are the best,” Max said as he kissed her on the cheek.

“Yes, we are,” she joked. “OK, this salad is done; I’m gong to clean up here and go pick up Liz. I can’t wait to see his face. Oh, I’d better pick up some extra film; I want to catch his expression when you tell him. I’m so excited!”

“Yeah, I am too. He is such a great kid. I’d better get out there before he thinks something’s up in here. Catch you later Maria, thanks again,” he said as he pecked her other cheek.

Maria quickly washed her dishes, grabbed her purse and headed off to Liz’s. The door was open when she arrived, so she let herself in and called out to her friend. “Liz? You ready? Liz? Where are you?”

“I’m in the bathroom, I’ll be out in a minute,” came a faint reply.

Maria walked toward the bathroom door as she started speaking. “I’m really excited about this Waverunner for Max. I can’t wait to see his reaction. We have to get vests for all three of you so you can all go out on it today.” When she stopped talking, she thought she heard a muffled sob, and then definitely heard the water go on and off quickly, and a muffled “oh God.” She tapped on the door and asked, “Liz, are you OK?”

After a moment the door slowly opened and her appearance both alarmed and bewildered Maria. Liz was as white as a ghost and tears were rolling down her cheeks, but a beaming smile shone on her face.

“What’s going on, are you OK?” Maria asked again as she took hold of one of her friend’s arms.

Liz held up a blue and white stick and said, “I’m pregnant Maria,” just before fainting into Maria’s arms.

“Oh God! Liz! What’s wrong!” Maria tried to grapple with the dead weight of the petite girl, and finally managed to loop her arms around Liz’s chest from behind and drag her the short distance into her bedroom. She fell back onto the bed and then maneuvered Liz off of her until she was lying on the bed. “Liz!” she began calling as she gently slapped her in the face. “Liz, wake up, wake up. Liz, sweetie, wake up.” Maria was getting nervous. Her friend had rarely ever been ill, and the few times she was, one of the Max’s was there to fix her up. Just as that thought occurred to her the telephone started ringing, which seemed to cause Liz to stir a little. Maria concentrated on bringing Liz around while she listened to the answering machine pick up and record a very nervous sounding husband.

“Liz! Are you there? I felt something and neither of us can connect with you. Are you there? Liz??”

“Liz, sweetie, come on, wake up,” Maria said as Liz’s eyes began to flutter open.

“Wh…what…what happened?” she asked confusedly.

“You fainted and I dragged you in here. Do you feel OK? Can you try to get up?” Maria supported Liz’s back with her arm as she assisted her to sit up.

“I’m kinda dizzy. Could you get me a glass of water please?”

“Yeah, don’t move, OK?” Maria said as she hurried out of the room.

// LIZ!! Liz are you there, are you OK? //

// Mom, are you all right? What’s going on?
//

She clearly heard her husband and son’s psychic calls. // I’m fine guys. //

// Liz, what happened, we both felt something from you, are you OK? Where are you?
// Her husband sounded frantic, and she immediately felt bad for upsetting them.

// I’m at home and I’m fine. Maria startled me when I came out of the bathroom and I tripped and fell. I’m sorry you were worried. //

Maria returned with the glass of water and saw Liz holding her head in her hands. “Do you have a headache? Do you want some aspirin?”

“No, Max and Max are freaking out in my head and I’m trying to calm them down.” She returned to concentrate on sending them both feelings of calmness. // Really guys, I’m fine. Maria and I are getting ready to leave as we speak. //

// Are you sure? We could be home in two minutes Mom.
// Her son was no less troubled by what they had felt.

// Really, everything’s all right. You guys help Alex and we’ll be there in a little while. I love you both. // If possible, more than ever at this moment, she added silently.

// All right babe. ‘Call’ if anything’s wrong, OK? // Max would never learn to be calm when it came to His Liz.

“OK, Maria, I think I’ve got them calmed down. Thanks for the water,” she said as she took a long drink.

“Your color looks much better and your temperature seems to be fine,” she said as she felt Liz’s forehead.

“Yeah, I feel much better, actually. Thanks Maria, I’m glad you were here.”

“So am I.” After a pause, a smile spread across her face and Maria asked, “so, am I allowed to be happy about that little stick you were waving around before you fainted yet?”

The look on Liz’s face warmed Maria’s heart, and she couldn’t help the tears that came as her friend threw her arms around her neck and exclaimed, “oh Maria! I’m going to have another baby!” The two friends laughed and cried as they hugged the stuffing out of each other.

“I’m so happy for you Liz. Oh, I’m going to be an Aunt all over again!” She pulled away and suddenly became more serious. “Wait a second, are you really OK? Why do you think you fainted?”

“Well, I felt a little bit nauseous this morning so I didn’t eat anything. And I was really nervous how the test would come out. Maybe the two things combined with the heat and humidity, and then finding out I was pregnant was overwhelming? I don’t really know, but I do feel OK. Actually, I’m kinda hungry now; do you mind if I eat a quick bowl of cereal before we leave?”

“Of course not, in fact it will give me time to calm down,” Maria replied as they rose and made their way to the kitchen. “You sit, I’ll get it,” she told Liz, and set about filling a bowl with cereal and milk. “Here you go. Here’s a banana too, if you want it.”

“Thanks Maria,” she said as she sliced the fruit into her cereal.

Maria poured them both a large glass of orange juice and then sat down as Liz began to eat. “So, can I assume that Max had no idea you were taking that test this morning, otherwise he would’ve been here?”

“Yeah, I didn’t want to get his hopes up. I really only thought it might be possible since yesterday. I’ve been slightly nauseous for the past few mornings, but it was really no big deal so I didn’t think anything about it. Then yesterday afternoon, I dug out my work calendar to look at something, and it dawned on me that my period was late. I hadn’t realized it because I haven’t looked at that thing since school let out. So I told Max I was running out for some milk last night and bought the test.”

“So then I’m the first to know? Oh, Liz, just like with Max,” Maria said, her eyes fogging up a bit at the memory of Liz’s bittersweet discovery many years ago, after Max had left for Antar and Liz’s parents had been killed.

Liz reached over and squeezed Maria’s hand as the old friends shared a quiet look of understanding. The happiness of the current moment could not be suppressed though, and a smile bloomed on her face once more. “I can’t wait to tell him, Maria.”

“Oh, I wish I could be there. I have a feeling some more fainting may occur! When do you think you’ll tell him?”

“Tonight, I guess after we get home from your house. I don’t want to do it in front of a crowd!”

Maria polished off the rest of her juice before asking, “what about Homer? When will you tell him?”

Liz’s expression sobered a bit. “I don’t know. This is the first I’ve thought about it. Do we tell him right away, or wait a little while to make sure things are going well? I guess Max and I will have to talk it over tonight, too.”

Maria eyed her a moment. “Liz, how do you think he’s going to take the news? Are you prepared for him to be not-so-thrilled?”

Liz looked at her blankly. “I…I…why, do you think he’s going to be really upset?”

“I’m not sure. But you’d better be prepared for the possibility. Not only has he been the only child, he has been the complete and total focus of your life until last year, and then he became the complete and total focus of his mother and father’s lives. He’s never had to compete for any attention, even from me. Not to mention the fact that at his age, he may not be thrilled about thinking about just how you got pregnant, if you get my drift.”

“Come on Maria, we’re married, he knows we make love, he’s not a child.”

“Yes he is, Liz; he’s your child. He will always be your child, and you will always be his mommy whom he has idolized since the day he was born. Don’t you remember being grossed out when you were younger at the realization that your parents had sex? I mean, I’m nearly forty years old, and the thought that my mother and Jim do it still kinda freaks me out. I think you should be prepared for him being a little squeamish at the least, and possibly a lot more than that.”

Liz pondered Maria’s comments a minute. “Well, if you really think so, I’ll bring it up with Max tonight.”

“I’m just saying I think you should be prepared for the possibility. You know that saying Alex’s dad always uses: prepare for the worst, hope for the best. And Liz, even if he does get upset, it will pass. He accepted his father's reappearance in your lives and he’ll deal with this too. I just don’t want you to be blindsided if he’s less than enthusiastic when you tell him the news.”

“You’re right, as usual. You have no idea how much those words scare me,” she teased her friend as she rose from the table to rinse out her empty bowl. “OK, now I feel much better. Let’s go get those life jackets! At least I know he’s going to love that surprise.”

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 16-Nov-2002 3:17:17 PM ]
posted on 16-Nov-2002 3:16:36 PM
Part 8B

An hour and a half later the girls pulled into Maria’s driveway. They were barely out of the car when Max came trotting out the front door toward his wife. “There you are! I’ve been worried.”

“Max, you knew we were going to the grocery store to pick up the steaks for the party after we got the vests,” Liz said as he pulled her into a hug.

“I know, but I didn’t see you after you fell before. Are you sure you’re all right?” He had pulled away from her and was looking her up and down, checking for any damage.

“Max, I told you, I’m fine. Now stop eyeballing me and grab a bag; we bought a lot of stuff.”

Maria shook her head and laughed to herself at the scene. ‘Oh, he is not going to let her breathe while she’s pregnant,’ she thought. Alex appeared at the door then, and she called out to him “Honey there’s two more bags in the back seat, would you mind getting them?”

“Sure,” he replied as he held the door open for the three of them and then went to the car. When he joined them in the kitchen he found them looking outside at Max as he was attempting to get some umbrellas set up around the deck. “So, did you get the life jackets?” he asked as he put the bags down on the counter.

“Yes. They’re in the trunk of my car. Before Max leaves to bring the Waverunner here, he’s going to put them in the garage,” Maria answered.

“I can’t wait to see his face, he’s going to be totally blown away,” said Alex.

‘He’s not the only one who will be blown away today,’ thought Liz happily. “I know. After how much I was against this, I have to say that I can’t wait to give it to him now.” They ceased talking as he entered the house.

“Hi Mom. What did you get at the food store?”

Maria laughed out loud as she finished emptying the packages. “Homer, you have a one-track mind. We bought steaks, some sausages, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Why don’t you be a good boy and help me make up the burgers, and Alex can start the charcoal and we’ll do up a few before everybody else gets here.”

He dutifully assisted her while Alex went out to the grill, and Max and Liz began stocking the buffet table with all of the paper goods that would be needed for the day. Maria watched them through the glass doors and smiled. When a small pang of envy interrupted her thoughts, she chastised herself immediately. She was so happy for her friends, she genuinely was. Any feelings of jealousy would not be tolerated. She wouldn’t allow it.

“Aunt Maria, am I making these the right size?” Max said as he held up a hamburger for her inspection.

“What? Oh, um, actually they’re a little too big. Make them about this size,” she said as she refocused her thoughts on the task at hand. “Yeah, that’s better. This way the outsides won’t burn before the insides are cooked.” They continued on in silence a few minutes, Maria watching him out of the corner of her eye, wondering if Alex had told him who was coming over that afternoon. “So, did Alex fill you in on today’s guest list?”

“No, is it the usual crowd?”

“Yeah, pretty much. A few neighbors, two girls that work for me and their families, Professor Jenkins, the guy that got the baseball tickets for us, with his family. Oh, and Nick and Paula of course.” She conveniently left out who would be tagging along with them, wondering if he would take the bait.

“Oh.” One, two three… “So, will, uh, Jackie be with them?”

Maria couldn’t help but smile as she looked over at him as he nervously mangled some meat. “Sure, all three girls are coming, too. Why did you want to know?”

“Just, ah, just curious. OK, looks like we’re finished,” he said, quickly trying to change the subject.

Maria threw away the meat wrappers and joined him at the sink to wash her hands. “Just curious, huh?” she said in a teasing tone.

He blushed profusely and began stuttering through what he thought was an explanation. “Yeah, uh, well, she wanted to know about classes, you know, at Riverton, and we, um, we’ve, uh, been emailing each other, you know, so I can help her out.”

“So, did you email each other while they were in Seattle?” Paula’s sister lived in the city, and after all three of their daughter’s finished out the school year they had gone out for a three week visit, and had just recently returned. Maria’s smile grew even wider as she watched his face redden even more. “I’m going to take that pretty shade of red on your cheeks as a yes,” she teased.

As he opened his mouth to answer her, a voice called out “hello, anyone home?” from the direction of her garage. A moment later, the door opened and the subjects of their conversation walked in. “Maria, Max, how are you?” Nick asked as he hugged his sister-in-law and then shook Max’s hand. “I hope you don’t mind us showing up early. I left early, thinking there’d be a lot of traffic, and no one was on the road!”

“Of course not,” Maria replied as she hugged them all. “You guys know you’re the real reason I married your brother,” she joked. She couldn’t help but notice her niece’s eyes trained on something, make that someone, over her shoulder. She turned around to find Max still red as a beet, staring at Jackie. Oh yeah, she thought; they have it bad. As she hugged her she whispered in her ear, “go say hi before he faints.” She pulled away and almost laughed out loud. Jackie was now even redder than Max. “Come on guys,” she said to the others, “Alex, Max, and Liz are out on the deck. Let’s go say hi and you can regale us with tales of the Pacific Northwest.” Maria led them outside, leaving the two blushing young adults alone in the kitchen.

Jackie couldn’t speak. Why did her Aunt say that? Did she know something? Had Max told her something? Like maybe he liked her? Could that be at all possible, a gorgeous, smart, sweet guy like Max, attracted to her?

Max was trying to untie his tongue. It seemed to have swelled to some gargantuan proportions in three seconds flat and it was keeping him from properly greeting the pretty girl in front of him. They both stood there staring at each other, nervously twisting their hands, trying to choke out a ‘hello’. Max finally managed to calm down enough to stutter out “ha…hi Jackie.”

Hearing his voice gave her a little confidence and she replied, “hi Max; it’s nice to see you.”

“It’s great to see you.” Ok, Max, calm down, try and act like a normal human-alien hybrid.

He said great. Great to see you. Like he thought it was great to see me. Could that mean he thinks it’s great to see me??

They stared at each other another few moments before he found his voice again and continued. “Oh, um, how was your trip? Your emails sounded like you were having fun.”

“Yeah, it was. My cousins took us all over Seattle. I think if I never have another cup of coffee it will be too soon.”

More silence.

“Burgers,” Max suddenly spit out, and then stopped.

“Burgers?” Jackie repeated after he didn’t elaborate.

“Uh, I mean, are you hungry, cause Aunt Maria and I made burgers. To grill. And eat.” Well, that ought to kill any chance I had of impressing her with my command of the English language.

“Not really,” Jackie replied. She didn’t think she could get any food past the knot in her stomach. “But we could go outside. If you’re hungry. To get a burger.” Com-plete sen-ten-ces, Jackie.

“Um, OK.” Max held the door open for her, and as she scooted past him he caught a whiff of her perfume. Vanilla musk. Yum.

“Jackie, hi sweetheart,” Alex said as he spotted his niece and walked over to give her a hug. “Would you like a hot dog or a hamburger?”

“No thanks Uncle Alex,” she said as she sat down at the table making sure to choose a seat that had an empty chair next to it.

“I’ll take a burger Uncle Alex,” Max said as he wandered over to the grill. He looked around the deck as Alex put the hamburger on a roll and finally looked at his mother. “Where’s Dad, Mom?”

“Oh he’s around somewhere,” she said vaguely as she stood and turned away from him, not wanting to betray her excitement at what was about to happen.

“Here you go Max,” Alex quickly said to divert his attention. “The Tabasco sauce is on the table over there,” he added while he pointed toward another table.

“Thanks Uncle Alex,” he said, and then made his way to fix his burger. When he was done he walked over to the table where everyone was seated and deposited himself in the available chair next to Jackie, wondering just how he was going to concentrate on his food and not her long, tan, shapely legs peaking out from her shorts.

“You like hot and spicy, huh,” she said as she watched him bite into the fat sandwich. When he looked at with a questioning look, she added, “Tabasco. You put it on your burger.”

“Oh, yeah,” he said as he wiped his face with a napkin, not wanting to embarrass himself by looking like a pig while he ate. “Yeah, I do. So does my Dad.”

“Speaking of your Dad, I do believe I see him now,” Maria interrupted as she stood and looked out toward the water. Everyone quickly followed her lead, having been filled in on what was to happen while Max and Jackie had still been inside.

Max turned around to see what they were all looking at. “Where? Why would Dad be in the water?”

“He’s not exactly in the water Honey,” Liz said as she grabbed his hand and pulled him over to the dock. A few seconds later the Waverunner they were all staring at made its way closer to them, and Max squinted his eyes to get a better look.

“That guy looks like Dad,” he said to Liz.

“That guy is Dad, Honey,” she replied as she squeezed his hand tighter and began waving to her husband wildly with the other.

“Whose Jet Ski is he on, Aunt Maria’s is right here.”

His father pulled up to the dock and threw a line up to Alex who quickly tied up the craft. He grinned up at his son, who was looking at him with a very confused expression on his face. “Dad whose Jet Ski is that and why are you riding around with a bow on it?”

Max climbed up onto the dock and grabbed Liz’s other hand as they shared a secret look. He reached over and handed the key to his son as he said, “it’s got a bow on it because it’s a gift. For you.”

They all stood there grinning at him as he looked at the machine, then at his parents, then back at the Jet Ski, still obviously confused. “What?”

“It’s yours Max,” Liz said. “From Dad and I, for your great grades. And for being one amazing son.”

Max’s eyes almost popped out of his head as he stared at her, then his father, then the Waverunner, and finally back to his mother with his mouth hanging open. “For me?”

FLASH! Maria started snapping pictures a mile a minute. “I knew he’d be speechless!” she said. “Oh, Alex, would you go get the other life vests out of the garage Honey?” Alex jogged away, leaving Max still flummoxed.

“Are you being serious?” Max said as he pointed at the Jet Ski. “This is for me?”

“It sure is. Of course, it represents your birthday, Christmas, and graduation gifts for the next ten years,” joked his father. “We decided you had earned the right to be spoiled a little bit.”

“Very spoiled,” Liz added with a smile.

“I…I…don’t know what to say…this is unbelievable. Thank you. So much!” He finally started to snap out of his stupor and he threw his arms around his mother and then his father. “I can’t believe this.”

“Get on it Max, so I can take your picture,” Maria said.

He climbed down onto the craft, surveying it as he sat, and then looked up at his parents with a beaming smile covering his face. “Thank you,” he said again.

Maria caught sight of Jackie out of the corner of her eye as the young girl watched him, obviously very happy for him, and just as obviously smitten with him. Right then Alex returned with the jackets, which gave her an idea. As Liz was handing Max his new life preserver, Maria said “Max you can’t go out by yourself on your maiden voyage, you have to take a passenger.” She took the smallest life vest from Alex and said, “Jackie, you’re the only one who’ll fit in this besides Liz. Why don’t you climb down there with Captain Max.”

‘Thank you Aunt Maria,’ Max thought to himself.

“Oh, um, well, don’t you want to go Aunt Liz?” Jackie said, a bit embarrassed. She didn’t want Max to feel pressured into having to take her for a ride if he didn’t want to.

“Oh Sweetie, I don’t feel like getting wet right now, and I didn’t bring my bathing suit. You go ahead,” an oblivious Liz said to her.

‘Thank you Mom,’ he silently added.

Jackie slipped on the vest and then made her way down the ladder and on to the back of the Waverunner. “OK you two, look at me and wave,” called Maria as she started snapping more photos.

“OK Max, start ‘er up and take her out for a spin,” said his father as he clapped his hands together in anticipation.

“OK,” said Max as he turned the key. The machine roared to life and he called out to Jackie “hold on to me tightly” as he began to maneuver out of the boat slip.

‘Gladly,’ she thought as she wrapped her arms around his waist, making his smile widen even more, and pulled away to the cheers of their families.

Max was standing behind Liz with his arms wrapped around her as they watched their son ride off. “I think he likes it,” he said facetiously.

She turned in his arms and kissed him on the cheek. “That’s an understatement, I’d say. How much do you want to bet that we don’t see him too much for the rest of the afternoon?”

“I’m going to bet you don’t see him much all summer,” joked Maria as they all began to make their way back to the table.

The afternoon passed pleasantly with more friends joining them as the day progressed. Max played tour guide, gladly taking different people for rides to show off his new toy. Jackie joined him again later in the day after dinner had been served. Max purposely took his time on that ride, showing her the waterfront and sharing childhood stories of times spent there learning to swim and water ski with Liz, Maria and Alex. She soaked it all in, enjoying his glibness. He had always been quiet and reserved with her, even in his emails. To listen to him now, easily conversing and laughing with her, was making her happier than she’s been in a long time. Maybe ever.

They returned to the party reluctantly as the sun began to set, knowing that the fireworks would soon begin. Max climbed off first and then held out his hand to assist her. They stood there in silence for a moment, both of them staring down at their joined hands, fireworks going off in their minds. Max finally snapped back to reality and blushed furiously as he dropped her hand, afraid she would think him an idiot for holding on to it for so long.

Jackie quietly sighed as he released his hold on her hand. It had totally enveloped her own small one and had felt soft and warm and wonderful. They made their way across the lawn to the deck where the younger kids were lighting sparklers and everyone was having a good time.

“So Homer did you run out of gas yet?” Maria teased.

“No, but it is down a half tank,” he answered as he sat down next to his mother and kissed her cheek. “Thanks again Mom.”

“Actually it was all your dad’s idea Sweetie. I was against it. He had to do a lot of convincing to get me to change my mind.”

Max looked at his father who was sitting on the other side of his mom. “Dad, not that I’m complaining, but why? I’ve always gotten good grades.”

“I know Max, but I wasn’t here all those times you did,” he quietly replied. “I saw how much you loved using Maria and Alex’s last summer, and I just wanted to give you something I knew you’d enjoy. Besides,” he finished with a smile, “it does have one string attached. Mom and I get to use it too.”

“I think that’s doable,” Max said as he smiled back at his dad. “Seriously Dad, I don’t know how to thank you.”

“Just keep on being the wonderful person you are Max. You’re everything a father could hope for in a son.”

Liz’s eyes teared up as she watched the exchange between the two loves of her life. Her hand unconsciously moved to lay on her stomach as she joyously thought, ‘and soon we’ll all have a new love in our lives.’

“Looks like the show’s starting,” Alex said as they all heard the first ‘boom’ of the fireworks going off. The children all ran to sit along the bulkhead as the adults moved their seats to get a better view down the river toward the area the display was being shot off. After another quiet “thanks again guys,” Max nonchalantly made his way to sit next to Jackie.

“Where do you want to sit babe,” Max asked his wife as they stood up to move.

“Um…oh, how ‘bout we go and sit on Maria’s swing? We’ll have a perfect view,” Liz answered. Alex had given Maria a four-foot wooden bench swing for their last anniversary, and had hung it from a large old oak tree in the far corner of their backyard that looked out over the river.

“Good idea,” he said as he grabbed her hand and they walked away from the rest of the partyers and took their seat. Max tucked her under his arm as she lay her head on his shoulder and they began to gently swing back and forth. “There’s another benefit to this location besides the great view, you know,” he said as he planted a kiss on top of her head.

“What’s that?”

“I can kiss you without an audience,” he said playfully, and then tilted up her chin to demonstrate his point.

He pulled away and they smiled at each other as Liz said, “since when did an audience ever stop us?”

“Nothing, and no one, will ever stop me from showing you how much I love you Liz. Never.” He leaned in to kiss her again, more possessively this time, and as the kiss deepened his free hand moved to rest on her tummy. At his touch a surge of love and excitement coursed from Liz to Max through their connection, and when she pulled away from his lips she knew she couldn’t wait a second longer to tell him.

“Max,” she began as she placed her hand over his that was still on her stomach. “I have to tell you something. Something wonderful.”

Max didn’t know what her news might be, but whatever it was it must be amazing, because he thought she had never looked more beautiful than at that moment. She was glowing, absolutely luminescent; her smile was large and her eyes were glossy as she gazed at him with so much love his heart ached in his chest. “What Liz?”

Her smile grew even brighter as she whispered, “I’m pregnant Max. We’re going to have another baby.”

Max felt like all of the air had been sucked out of his lungs and that his heart had actually stopped beating. All the blood in his body was rushing through his ears like thunder. A baby. A little combination of him and Liz wrapped up in a precious little package. A chance for him to experience all he had missed with their son. Bedtime stories, nursery rhymes, tiny little feet learning to walk. Their baby.

“Max, are you OK?” Liz asked nervously. He had gone pale and wasn’t talking. Had he changed his mind about wanting another child?

He began to find his voice and answered her. “How is it, that every time I think I can’t possibly love you anymore, you prove me wrong?” He paused a moment as he looked down and began to caress her flat belly. “You’re giving me a baby Liz,” he whispered in awe before folding her in his arms and hugging her tightly. “Thank you, my precious, precious love.”

Joy filled her as she remained in the cocoon of his arms, and when she felt his tears fall on to her skin, hers soon followed. They remained locked together, whispering words of love and devotion in between kisses as fireworks burst overhead, an appropriate adornment for their happy celebration.

posted on 26-Nov-2002 6:25:20 PM
CHAPTER 9

Liz emerged from the fog of sleep slowly, the warm memories of the previous night replaying in her mind. Upon their arrival home from the party, Max had carried her inside after having recalled her ‘fall’ in the afternoon. He had predictably freaked out after she admitted that she had actually fainted, and despite her vocal protests he picked her up in the driveway and ferried her inside with their son staring after them, muttering something about PDA’s and young eyes. He had gently laid her on their bed and proceeded to thoroughly check her over while she tried to distract him to no avail. When he was done he climbed into bed, intent on just holding her all night, afraid she might still be weak. After a little bit of convincing using her lips and hands, he finally believed she was fine, and he made love to her which such gentleness, trying to convey to her how precious she was to him, that neither could withhold tears when their climaxes washed over them. She had fallen asleep with him sweetly kissing her tummy, and now she was awakening in the very same fashion.

She finally opened her eyes to see the top of his head as he placed feather-light kisses over her belly while he whispered “hello, baby. I love you.”

“I love you too Daddy,” she responded, and as he raised his head, she thought she had never seen his smile so bright or his eyes so at peace.

He stretched out next to her, drew her into the circle of his arms and leaned his forehead against hers. “Daddy. I like the sound of that.”

Her hand ran through his hair and she smiled back at him, unable to contain the joy bursting from every pore in her being. “I like the sound of it too.”

They lay together quietly savoring the beauty of the moment, being thankful for the blessing God had sent them. After a while, Max couldn’t help himself and asked “do you feel OK? Are you dizzy or anything?”

She smiled at him, knowing that this was just the first time of the million she would be hearing that question from his lips. “I feel fine Darling. Absolutely perfectly fine.”

“Good,” he said, the crease in his brow easing as he smiled again. Suddenly another thought came to him. “Liz? I remember you saying once that you felt connected to Max when you were pregnant with him. Do you feel anything now?”

She placed a hand over her stomach as she concentrated. “Um, I wouldn’t call it a connection yet, but I do feel something. It’s kind of, like, a feeling, an energy. It’s hard to explain. I didn’t really feel a strong connection to Max until about the fourth month or so, so it will probably be a while.”

“What did it feel like? With Max?” he asked.

“A very strong bond. I guess like the energy I feel now but much more personified. It really bloomed after he was born.” A serene smile shone on her face at the fond memories. “When Maria put him in my arms and our eyes met, I knew he recognized me. I could feel it. I felt all of his emotions when he was an infant. It was a great ‘alarm’ system,” she chuckled. “I’d wake up in the middle of the night knowing he was hungry before he did.” Her fingers reached up and traced over his cheek as she continued. “I can’t wait for you to experience it all Max. It’s so wonderful.”

“Me too,” he whispered, obviously in awe of what was to come for them. The sound of the upstairs shower invaded the silence, and reminded Liz they still had to discuss telling their son.

“Honey, when do you want to tell Max about the baby?”

“Um…well, I think we should tell him right away. This is happening to all of us. Besides, I think he’ll figure out something’s going on pretty quickly; both of our emotions are very high, and he’s bound to feel something through the connection. And I doubt that I’ll be able to wipe the smile off of my face very easily,” he added as he kissed her forehead. “When did you want to tell him?”

“Well, I think you’re right, it should be right away. But Maria made some good points yesterday about us being prepared for a cool reception to the news.”

“She thinks he’s going to be upset?”

“Well, what she was stressing was that we needed to be prepared for that possibility. It might be weird for him at first to think about us having sex-“

“Making love,” Max corrected her.

“Making love,” she repeated quietly before kissing him. “And he’s also been an only child for nineteen years. What if he’s jealous of sharing us with a baby? I’m not saying I think he’s definitely going to feel this way, but Maria’s right, we need to be aware that it could happen.”

“OK,” he said, “then we’ll just have to be sure to let him know how much we love him when we tell him.”

“He knows that, and we’ll tell him, of course; just please don’t get upset if he doesn’t jump up and down about it, OK?”

“OK, he said again. “So when do you want to tell him?”

“Well, I’m betting he’ll be heading over to take the Waverunner out shortly, so maybe we should get dressed and do it before he leaves?”

“Sounds good to me,” he answered as he rose and held out his hand to help her up. They washed up and dressed, and were just about to go upstairs when he appeared.

“Hi Mom, Dad. I’m going to take the Waverunner out, do you guys want to come?”

“No Honey, but could we talk to you for a sec?” Liz said as she motioned for him to sit down. “We have something to tell you Max.”

“Well if the smiles on your faces are any indication, it must be good news,” he said.

“It is, the best,” his father replied. He nodded at Liz as he took her hand in his, encouraging her to continue.

“Max, Honey, you know how much we both love you, right?” She was suddenly nervous at what his reaction might be.

“You’re kidding, right?” he joked. “Of course I know that. I love you guys too.”

“OK, well then, here it is. Max, Honey, we…I-I mean me…I mean I..”

“Max, your mom is pregnant. We’re going to have a baby. You’re going to be a brother,” his father announced when Liz couldn’t seem to spit the words out.

They both watched as his eyes grew to large round circles. “A baby?” he repeated as he looked at them. “Wow.” He was pensive as he took in the news, not really sure what to make of it yet.

Liz watched him carefully, trying to discern how he felt. After a few seconds he looked at her with narrowed eyes. “Does this have anything to do with you falling yesterday?”

“No Honey,” Liz said, fibbing slightly. “I am fine. I feel great.”

“OK. Well, congratulations then,” he said as he rose and moved to hug her.

“Thank you Sweetie,” she said, returning his embrace.

“Look at it this way Max,” said his father as they hugged, “at least you won’t have to share your toys.”

“Yeah,” he said as he half-laughed. “Um, OK then, if that’s all I’m going to go take out the Jet Ski, if that’s OK with you guys?”

“Sure Sweetie, we’ll see you later,” Liz said as she rubbed her hand over his arm. They watched him leave the house and then she turned to her husband. “Well I think that went pretty good.”

“Yeah, he seems a little stunned but I don’t think he was upset,” he replied as they watched him drive away.

As Max drove off his head was spinning like crazy. A baby. How was he going to relate to a baby? He had spent very little time in his life around small children. He knew that they needed a lot of attention and care. Would his mom expect him to help take care of it? He didn’t know that his parents had wanted to have a baby. Why did they want more kids at their age? Aren’t they too old to be…having…yuck. YUCK. ‘Don’t go there Max. Don’t go there,’ he thought. He knew his parents were very affectionate; hell you’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to notice all of the kissing, touching, and hugging; the whispered words and secret smiles. But he had prudently never carried his thoughts any further than just seeing it as an acknowledgement of their love. Even though he knew what was happening, he didn’t want to know. “Well, it should be interesting,” he muttered to himself as he pulled in Maria’s driveway.

Inside the house Maria was hanging up the phone after briefly speaking to Liz. She had wanted to alert Maria and Alex to the fact that they had told their son about the baby and that he seemed to be fine. She walked outside to greet him as he walked into the backyard. “Morning Homer. I figured you’d be here bright and early to play with your new toy.”

“Hi Aunt Maria,” he said as he kissed her hello. “Well, I don’t want Mom and Dad to think I don’t like it,” he joked.

“Judging by your reaction yesterday, I don’t think that’s a problem. I’m taking the film to get developed today; I hope the pictures all come out. I think I got some good shots. Especially of you and Jackie,” she said as she nudged his arm with her shoulder as they walked over toward the dock. His face colored immediately at her teasing. “She’s a great girl, Max,” she said a bit more seriously.

“Yeah, she is,” he replied shyly. As close as he was to Maria, he had never discussed girls with her before. Because there hadn’t been any to discuss.

“I think she likes you, too, you know.”

His head whipped around to look at her carefully. “Why? I mean, why do you say that?”

“I can tell by the way she looks at you, the way she acts around you. The same way I can tell that you like her.”

“Oh.” He was quiet while he tried to absorb the fact that the girl who had been occupying his thoughts for awhile now might feel something for him also. “Do you really think she likes me?” he asked, still unsure that it could be possible.

Maria took his face in her hands to force him to look at her. “Yes, I do. Why wouldn’t she? You are handsome, athletic, smart, sweet…you are a very special person Max, and whoever wins your heart is going to be one lucky girl.”

He ducked his head as she release it and blushed at her compliments before she asked him “how do you feel about her?”

His expression soured as his head hung lower. “Does it really matter? I can’t just ask her out and pretend everything’s normal. I can’t just say, ‘hey, you want to go to the movies, and oh by the way, I’m an alien’, can I?”

Pain stabbed through Maria’s heart as he finally admitted out loud what was preventing him from taking a step into the world of romance. “Oh Honey,” she said as she drew him into a hug, “I know that your heritage throws a wrench into things…” She paused as he gave her a look with an eyebrow raised. “OK, a really, really BIG wrench. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Your father and mother went through all of this too. He spent his life staring at her from a distance because he was afraid of the same thing. She dealt with it. I dealt with it; so has Alex, and Kyle, and Jim…I know it’s a huge deal Max, but it’s not insurmountable. Don’t give up on what could be the most wonderful thing that there is to experience. Love.”

He listened to her intently, as he always did. Maria had been his confident and best friend since the day he was born, and he valued her advice as much as he did his parents counsel. As much as he wanted to believe her, his fears gripped him unmercifully. “I…I don’t know Aunt Maria. What if I ended up…you know, falling in love with her, and I told her, and she freaked out. What if she told someone about us. You know what that could mean for us. I…”

“You want to protect your family and you don’t want to get hurt,” she interrupted. “That’s understandable. But if you don’t take chances in life Max, then are you really living? Were you expecting to go through your entire life alone? Never loving someone?”

He didn’t answer her. He couldn’t. That pain was far to personal to share with anyone, even her.

She grasped his face again and said gently, “Max, Jackie is my favorite niece. I think the world of her, of you both, and yes, I would love to see you two get together. So would Alex. How would she react to the alien thing? I don’t know, but knowing the person she is, I don’t believe that she would betray a sacred confidence like that. You wouldn’t cross that bridge alone, either. Your mom, dad, Alex and I would all be there to help explain the gravity of the situation to her. But who’s to say you would even get to the point where you’d have to tell her? You might date for a while and it might not work out. A million different things could happen.”

“I don’t think that would happen Aunt Maria,” he said, referring to them not working out. “I really like her. A lot. A whole lot,” he finished, finally admitting his feelings out loud.

“That’s great Max,” she said with a large smile. “Look, I’m not trying to pressure you into anything…OK maybe I am a little,” she laughed as he looked at her with another raised eyebrow. “I just don’t want you to dismiss the possibility sharing your life with someone. It took a gigantic leap of faith for your father to make that decision, and look at what resulted. Have you ever known a happier man?”

“No, especially now…” he trailed off, not knowing if Maria was aware of Liz’s pregnancy.

“You mean because of the baby,” she stated. “Yeah, I know,” she said to answer his questioning look. “How do you feel about it?”

“OK I guess. I mean, it’s not like I can do anything about it. Not that I would want to…I mean…it just IS. As long as their happy I can deal. What do you think?”

“I’m thrilled I’m going to be an Aunt again, even though you’ll always be my favorite,” she said as she pinched his cheek in jest. “It will be nice for your dad to be able to experience all of the things he missed with you.”

“Yeah,” he said, feeling a twinge of jealously at the thought.

“Babies are a happy thing Max. You’ll see.”

“MARIA! Telephone,” Alex called out from the open kitchen window. “Hey Max.”

“Hi Uncle Alex,” Max replied as he waved.

“OK Sweetiepie, have fun out there, be careful. I love you,” she said as she quickly kissed him before running back to the house.

“Love you too,” he called to her before climbing down the dock to use his Waverunner.

Alex watched him from the window as Maria finished up her call. She joined him and said, “he seems to have taken the baby news pretty well.”

“Good, that’s good,” Alex said as he turned to look at her. A thought had been nagging at him since she’d told him of Liz’s pregnancy the previous night, and he just couldn’t let it go. “You seem to have taken it well too.”

“What? Sure, why wouldn’t I?” she asked in confusion.

Alex studied her a moment, choosing his words carefully. “I just thought that hearing that Liz is having another baby might bring up some old issues for you.”

“No, Alex, that’s not…” she tried to wave him off, but he had seen a brief look of guilt in her eyes before she had turned away from him.

“Maria, you don’t have to be ashamed of your feelings. Especially with me.” He put his arms around her waist and forced her to look at him. “Talk to me babe.”

She looked at him a moment before bursting into tears. “I’m…a terrible…person…” she choked out between sobs.

“No you’re not Honey,” he said as he rubbed her back and tried to calm her. “You are a fantastic person. You are the most amazing woman I’ve ever known. It’s OK to be normal Maria.”

“What do you mean?” she said, wiping her eyes and trying to get herself under control.

“I mean that it would be perfectly normal for you to feel sad or envious of Liz experiencing, for the second time, something that you can’t, and maybe still want. If that’s how you do feel.”

She sighed loudly and wiped at her eyes again. “I really am so happy for them Alex. Really. They both wanted this, and they deserve it after all they’ve been through. Max especially, after having missed out on his sons whole childhood…”

“But…”

“But, I guess I do feel…like you said, Liz is getting to have a second child. We never got to have even one, before my stupid screwed up body ruined our chances,” she said disgustedly.

“Hey,” he said somewhat sternly to make sure she was listening to him. “It is not your fault that you were born with some gynecological problems. Nor is it your fault that you had to have a hysterectomy. We’ve talked about this Maria. I’ve never cared about anything besides your health. Us not having kids is a complete non-issue with me.”

“I know, I know,” she said as she sighed again. “I don’t know why I feel this way; it’s not like I didn’t know they were trying to conceive. It’s not a surprise. I guess it’s like you said, it just brought up old issues. I’ll be fine.”

Alex looked at her a long moment before saying, “really? Are you sure it’s not something else? Something bigger?”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you want us to have kids Maria? I mean, like adopt?”

“What? Do you want to adopt a child?”

“No, I’m asking you if that’s what you want to do. I feel the same way that I did ten years ago. I’m perfectly happy with the way things are now, and I’d be perfectly happy if we adopted a child.” He picked up her hand and placed a kiss on the back of it before he continued. “I just want you to know that I am open to discussing the subject if that’s what you want.”

Maria wound her arms around her husband’s neck and hugged him tightly. “I love you so much,” she said. “I don’t think that’s necessarily what I want to do, at least right now, but thank you so much for saying that.” After a short while she pulled back and smiled at him. “You’re always the calm eye in the middle of my storm.” She kissed him and they hugged again, Maria giving a silent prayer of thanks for the marvelous man she had married.


posted on 1-Dec-2002 9:43:15 PM
CHAPTER 10

Max was painstakingly wrapping the small box which contained his graduation gift to Jackie. Today was her party and he couldn’t wait to see her again. They had been emailing each other almost daily since he’d last seen her and had gotten to know each other much better. Max had told her of the new baby and that he really wasn’t sure how he was going to relate to a brother or sister, especially with the huge age difference between them. She had completely understood his feelings, having twin sisters ten years younger, and she told him how she had been very angry when her parents had told her she was going to have not one but two new siblings. She had all of their attention for ten years and she thought they were probably going to forget all about her when the babies came. But when she had seen how little and cute they were, she couldn’t be mad anymore. She ended up being very attached to them, and was even more so now. He had been relieved to read her thoughts, finding out his feelings were normal. From that topic they had moved on to discuss their childhoods, likes and dislikes, and a million other things. He found it easier to talk about himself when he was typing into the computer then he did in person, and her witty remarks and intelligent comments had made it even easier for him to open up. At least as open as he was able to be. Despite still being torn at the consequences of his feelings, he was, without a doubt, totally enchanted with Alex’s niece.

He had obsessed over her graduation gift, wanting to give her something special that would make her think of him whenever she saw it. He had shopped around and ended up finding the perfect thing in a catalog lying on his mom’s coffee table. It was a silver cuff bracelet engraved with one of his favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson- ‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ His mom used the quote many times in his life when she was trying to illustrate the importance of being a person of strong moral character. Having come to know Jackie was just such a person, he knew as soon as he saw the picture of the bracelet that it would be the perfect gift for her.

He affixed the bow and then turned his attention to the card, debating how he should sign it. ‘Your friend Max’ was too casual, and ‘Love Max’ wasn’t appropriate it either. After much thought he decided that a simple sentiment was best.

Jackie, the quote from Emerson is one of my favorites. I hope you find inspiration in it as I have. I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time together on campus this fall. Happy Graduation, Max

As he slid the card into the envelope he heard his mother’s voice call out in his mind.

// Max, we have to pick up Alex and Maria in about five minutes, are you ready? //

// Yeah Mom, I’ll be right down.
//

He took a quick look in the mirror to double-check his appearance, wanting to look his best when he saw her again. He had made sure to wear a new pair of shorts and shirt, and had gotten his hair cut the previous day. Approving of what he saw, he grabbed his swim trunks and beach towel and shoved them into a backpack, and then carefully added the gift and card. After one more look in the mirror, he made his way down to the car to meet his parents.

About one hour later they arrived at Nick and Paula’s and made their way into the backyard where the party was being held. After accepting their congratulations on the news of the baby, Max immediately found a seat for his wife and then set about making sure she was comfortable and had a drink and something to eat. Maria and Paula laughed as Liz rolled her eyes at them over all of his fussing. “Does he let her do anything for herself?” Paula asked Maria.

“Barely. She called me the other day while she was sitting on the couch eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and watching him vacuum. He won’t let her do any housework. I told her to send him to my house when he was done,” said Maria as they continued chuckling.

“Nick was the same way when I was pregnant with Jackie, and boy did I take advantage. With the twins, though, he knew better. But I managed to get him back with all those late night craving runs to the 7-11!” Paula smiled at Liz as Max finally sat down next to her and held her hand. Suddenly he started gesturing at her feet and pulling over a small ottoman. Maria shook her head and said to her sister-in-law “come on, let’s go rescue her.”

As they neared the couple Liz let out an exasperated “Max!” and they both burst out laughing. Liz looked up at them and said, “would you guys please tell my well-meaning husband that I don’t need to put my feet up every single time I sit down?”

“I think it’s cute,” Paula said as she sat down next to Liz.

“You’re not helping me here Paula,” Liz joked. “Max, why don’t you go talk to Nick and Alex. The girls can babysit me for a while.”

He looked at her sheepishly and then leaned over and placed a kiss on her cheek. “I can tell when I’m not wanted.”

// Who said anything about not wanting you. //

Max’s eyes jumped to meet hers at the suggestive tone of the thought she sent to him, and another part of his anatomy jumped at the look he saw there. He knew that look, and it was dangerous. They had always made love frequently, but lately Liz had become insatiable, seducing him sometimes several times in one day. Their lovemaking had also become more intense and passionate, which considering their track record said a lot. Max certainly wasn’t complaining. Not only did he get to enjoy the pleasures of his wife’s body all of the time, he was sleeping better than he ever had in his life. With the exception of the times he would wake in the middle of the night to find her nude, on top of him, her lips and hands moving over his body…

“Nick! Alex! Good idea!” he exclaimed as he jumped up and moved away from her before they embarrassed themselves and defiled a piece of deck furniture. Maria began laughing harder, all too aware from past experience what was transpiring between her friends, while Paula looked at them with a confused expression. “You don’t want to know, trust me,” Maria said as she wiped at her eyes. “YOU are SO bad,” she said as she poked Liz in her arm.

“What?” Liz said as she giggled too, trying to play it off but knowing they’d been caught.

“So Liz, how are you feeling? Do you have morning sickness or anything?” Paula asked, effectively changing the conversation.

“Not really; a little queasiness sometimes, but it hasn’t been bad. I didn’t really have it when I was pregnant with Max either. I have been craving sweets a lot, but I’m trying hard not to give in too much, because I don’t want to blow up like a balloon.”

“When I was pregnant with Jackie I craved marshmallows. I had bags of them hidden in almost every room in the house. With the twins it was salty stuff. My favorite was chocolate covered pretzels ‘cause they were salty and sweet. I had to stop eating them when the doctor told me that at the rate I was gaining weight I would be the size of house by the time I was ready to deliver, and would probably have gestational diabetes. It scared me straight,” Paula joked.

“Yeah, I’ve been trying to stick with lots of fruit instead.”

“I didn’t realize Ben and Jerry’s sold fruit,” quipped Maria.

“Yeah, well, what can I tell you, the baby likes ice cream,” Liz laughed.

While the adults all visited Max searched for Jackie among the guests. He finally asked Nick if he knew where she was, and he told him to go check inside the house because he thought he heard her say she was going in to change into her swimsuit. Max walked through the house and then started up the stairs toward the bedrooms, stopping at the top of the landing and calling her name, not wanting to startle her or disturb her privacy.

Jackie had just finish changing into a new bathing suit she had purchased for the party, or rather for Max to see on her at the party. It wasn’t too skimpy. Her parents wouldn’t allow her to wear anything sleazy, but it showed off her assets well enough. She was pulling on a pair of jean shorts and a tank top when she heard him calling her name, and her heart skipped a beat. ‘He’s here’ she thought excitedly, and then quickly checked herself in the mirror before opening her bedroom door and calling to him. “Hi Max, I’m in here, come on in.” He made his way down the hall and then stepped inside her room and they exchanged shy, happy smiles as they greeted each other.

Max had to remind himself to breathe when he saw her dressed in shorts and a white tank top, displaying what seemed like miles of smooth tan skin. He looked away quickly, not wanting to embarrass her by gawking, and when he turned his head back to her he repeated to himself ‘just look at her face, just her face.’ That didn’t work out much better though, for as he gazed at her long, wavy hair, her beautiful eyes and bright smile he knew he wouldn’t be able to stop staring.

Jackie was doing some staring of her own; her eyes lingering on his hard chest before moving on to his well defined biceps. She’d been able to feel the muscles of his arms and chest when he had taken her out on the Waverunner that day, and much to her excitement the snug T-shirt he was wearing did nothing to disguise them now. She forced herself to look up and when she did she was blown away by the look in his gorgeous brown eyes. She could stare into those eyes forever, she thought; and they both continued to stare at each other until Max finally remembered that he had come looking for her for a reason.

“Um, I just wanted to give you your graduation present,” he said quietly as he held out the small box and card.

“Max, you didn’t have to get me anything,” she said sincerely as she reached out for the gift. She let her fingers linger as their hands brushed together before she withdrew and began to open the card. Her cheeks pinkened slightly and he could see a smile spreading over her face as she read what he had written to her. “I’m looking forward to that too, Max,” she said shyly. She gingerly unwrapped the box and then slowly opened it, knowing that it didn’t matter what was inside because she’d love it, because it was from him. She removed the silver bracelet and carefully read the engraving, deeply touched at the meaning of the sentiment he had shared with her. “Oh Max, it’s so beautiful, I love it. Thank you so much,” she said as she slipped it on her slim wrist and held it up for his inspection. “How does it look?” she asked.

“Beautiful,” he replied, his eyes remaining locked with hers and never noticing the bracelet. She stepped forward and kissed him on the cheek and then on an impulse wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him. “Thank you” she breathed out, reveling in the feeling of his strong arms which had wrapped themselves around her waist by their own volition.

“You’re welcome” he whispered back. They remained locked in the embrace, Jackie lost in the feel of the hard body pressed against hers; Max frozen at the incredible feeling of her small frame in his arms. He was careful not to move his hands, afraid that if he did he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from letting them roam all over her.

They pulled back slightly from the other but remained in each other’s arms, gazing at each other through heavy lidded eyes. Max could deny his desire no longer and began lowering his lips toward hers, knowing that he couldn’t stop himself from kissing her now if he wanted to. And boy, he didn’t want to.

Jackie let out a small sigh of happiness, thrilled that this moment had finally come. She had wanted to kiss him for so long and now that it was happening nothing could spoil the moment for her.

Nothing that is, except Maria, or a relative of Maria.

Just as their lips brushed together, the door to her room was flung open wide with a loud “JACKIE ARE YOU IN HERE?”

They stepped away from each other abruptly to see one of her young sisters standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips. “There you are! Daddy and Mommy want you to come outside and say hi to all the people that just showed up.” She turned on her heel and left as quickly as she came, leaving the two red as beets and very frustrated.

“Forget what I said about how great little sisters are,” Jackie muttered as she stared at the empty doorway.

“What’s that?” Max asked with a slight chuckle, having heard what she had said.

“Nothing. I guess we should go downstairs now,” she said looking up at him, knowing that the moment was ruined and obviously disappointed in the turn of events.

“Yeah,” he replied, his disappointment equally evident.

“JACKIE!!” Now it was her mother’s voice coming from the bottom of the stairs.

“We’d better go,” she said quietly and then turned to leave. Just before she stepped into the hall she turned back to him. “Thanks again for the bracelet Max. I love it.”

They smiled at each other, and impulsively she reached out and took his hand and led him down the stairs and back outside. No matter what happened for the rest of the day, Max knew one thing was certain.

He was never washing that hand again.

posted on 7-Dec-2002 1:10:14 PM
CHAPTER 11

Liz sat at the kitchen table staring into her empty juice glass thinking about the graduation party the previous day. She had seen Jackie and her son emerge from the house holding hands and then watched as they stayed glued to each other’s side for the remainder of the day. She had been shocked, to say the least, to observe them quietly talking and laughing together and stealing glances at each other- glances that obviously displayed, at least to Liz’s eyes, a strong mutual affection. She knew the look she viewed in her son’s eyes. She’d seen it on his father when they were teenagers and he would sit in the Crashdown for hours and watch her as she worked, or when she would catch him staring at her in science lab. He tried to hide it, and she had trouble believing it could be true, but it was always there in his eyes. Infatuation, longing, desire. It was unmistakably visible in her son’s eyes when he gazed at Jackie.

When had this happened, she wondered to herself. She had no idea Max was interested in anybody. He was like most normal boys in that he didn’t discuss girls with his parents, which suited Liz just fine. He was her baby; nobody would be found worthy of him in her eyes, and as far as she was concerned he could stay with her until he was old and gray. Now sitting alone with her thoughts, she had to admit to herself how ridiculous that idea was. He had a right to live a full life. She certainly couldn’t imagine a life without love, and she chastised herself for being all too quick to sentence her son to that fate because of her fears.

Fear. That was what her real problem was. Liz was terrified that Max’s life could be endangered if his secret was revealed to the wrong person. And not just his life was at risk. His father and their unborn child would be at peril also. Panic began to fill her at the scenarios swirling around in her head.

Her husband bolted upright in bed at the emotions that had awakened him and were bombarding him through their connection. He jumped out of bed and moved quickly through the house calling her name until he found her seated in the kitchen, head in hands, obviously upset. “Liz, baby what’s wrong?” he asked worriedly as he knelt down beside her. “Do you feel OK? Are you sick?”

‘I should’ve known I’d upset him,’ Liz thought to herself. As her connection to her baby intensified, so did the connection between husband and wife. They were virtually unable to block each other anymore, so she realized that he must have felt her distress. She suspected it was also the reason their sex life had been so wild lately. Well that and her raging hormones, of course.

“It’s Max, Max. I think that he and Jackie…um, Honey, would you mind putting on a robe or something?” Liz had looked down at him to tell him what was bothering her and found him stark naked. It would be more of a distraction then she could handle if they were going to have a serious conversation.

“I’ll be right back. Don’t move,” he said as he nervously ran to the bedroom and then quickly returned pulling on a pair of sweat pants. He scooped her up in his arms and sat down in her chair, settling her onto his lap and pressing her against his chest as he said, “now tell me what’s wrong baby. What about Max?”

She leaned her head on his shoulder and sighed. “I think Max and Jackie like each other. Romantically.”

Max pulled away from her slightly so he could see her, his face displaying a perplexed looked. “That’s what has you so upset?”

“Well, yeah,” she replied as she looked at him. “Why, it doesn’t concern you?”

“Um, well, should it?” He was confused and didn’t want to aggravate her further by saying the wrong thing.

Wrong move.

Liz looked at him incredulously. “Did you lose your mind or just forget that you are both ‘different’ Max? You know what that could mean. Isn’t that the reason you all tried to blend into the background, the reason you never asked me out before I was shot? You know what exposing himself could mean for all of us.” She immediately regretted her outburst when she saw the look on his face.

“Of course I know what it means Liz,” he said quietly as his eyes clouded over. He remembered all too well the loneliness, self-loathing and fear he lived with before he had risked everything for her. His heart grew heavy quickly thinking that his beloved son may be going through that pain now, unbeknownst to them. He wanted Max to be happy and to know the joy of sharing his life with a loving companion. The thought that he may not be able to because his father was a freak was crushing to him.

“You are NOT a freak,” Liz said passionately before kissing him hard, having felt his guilt and heard his shame. “You and our son are the two most wonderful men I have ever known in my life. There is not a single freaky thing about you. Well, except your incredible stamina and recovery abilities,” she said in a teasing, seductive tone meant to lighten him up. “I’m just worried Max. I don’t want him to get hurt.”

Max shook himself out of his self-pitying mode and re-focused on what his wife was saying. “I don’t want him to get hurt either Babe; and of course I realize the implications of telling another person about us. But I don’t expect him to never have any romantic relationships either. I know what it’s like to try to keep your feelings hidden, to feel your heart ache because you think you’ll never…” He trailed off, lost in thought for a moment as he remembered how it had been for him before Liz had entered his life fully. He caressed her cheek and gazed at her lovingly as he spoke in a soft voice. “The most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life has been your love. I don’t want to keep my son from experiencing those feelings. I can’t, Liz. Please don’t ask me to.”

“Are you saying that we should just ignore this then?” she said, alarmed.

“No, absolutely not. I think we should sit him down and talk about it. See just what his feelings toward Jackie are. Talk about the consequences of it all. And I think we should talk to Maria and Alex too. They know Jackie better than we do, and they can tell us how they think she’d deal with the situation if she were to be told about us.”

“Yeah, I’d like to hear what they think too.” Liz contemplated something for a moment and then said, “I wonder if Maria knows something about this already.”

“Why, has she said anything to you?”

“Not directly, but now that I think about it, when she was showing me the pictures she took on the Fourth of July she did comment on the ones with Max and Jackie a lot. ‘Don’t they cute’, stuff like that. Knowing Maria she was trying to subtly alert me to something.”

Max chuckled as he shook his head back and forth a bit.

“What’s so funny?” Liz asked.

“I just never would’ve thought the Maria I knew in high school would know how to do anything subtly. Her nickname was Hurricane De Luca, after all.”

Liz laughed also. “Yeah, she is definitely a different person than she was then.” Liz sobered and spoke quietly. “She had to be, Max. She was just as devastated at Michael leaving as I was at losing you. And then when my parents died and I found out I was pregnant, I was a total basket case. She put aside her own pain and took it upon herself to take care of me. It was her idea for us to come live in Jersey. She thought it would give us a chance to try to move on with life without the physical reminders of Roswell surrounding us every day. She waited on me hand and foot when I was pregnant. There were days when I was so depressed I couldn’t get out of bed, but she wouldn’t let me wallow in self pity.” Liz began chuckling. “I remember once, she used brownies to bait me to get up, and when I did, she grabbed me and stripped my pajamas off and dressed me in street clothes. Then she dragged me outside and drove me to an elementary school near here. We sat in the car watching the kids on the playground and she said ‘this is what is coming Liz. You have to get your shit together because I can’t take care of one of those and you at the same time, capeisch?’ She kind of slapped me back into reality.” Liz looked up at him as she continued. “I owe Maria so much. She took care of Max so I could go to college and then get a job. She has as much to do with the person he has become as I do. She has her own connection with him; not like ours, of course, but they are so close. She can read him like a book. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she at least suspects something between Max and Jackie.”

Max kissed her forehead, hugging her tighter into his body as he thought about what Maria had done for his family. “I owe her so much too. I just wish Michael could have…” As he trailed off and cast his eyes downward Liz felt the sorrow he would always carry from the loss of his best friend.

“I know Baby,” she cooed. “I wish that too.” After a quiet moment she said, “I really do believe that when God closes a door He always opens a window Max. I was never able to get over you, but you came back to me. What if Maria had never allowed herself to love again? She’d be alone now. I think that God gave her the strength to go on with her life and He brought her to Alex, because He knew Michael…” She didn’t need to finish her sentence. “God gave Maria two great loves in her life. And if I’m really honest here, I think she married the right one.”

Max nodded his head in agreement. “Yeah, I think so too. Alex is the perfect guy for her.” He paused a second and sighed deeply before returning to their original subject. “OK, so what do you want to do about Max?”

Liz gave his question some thought before answering. “Well it’s going to be almost impossible to do it this week. He’s working a double shift today, tomorrow, and Tuesday so he can go on that two day fishing trip with Bob and his dad, the one he asked us about last week, on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday he works another double so he can have the weekend off, but Saturday we’re leaving for the City early. Outside of grabbing him early before work or late at night when he gets home exhausted we really won’t see him until Sunday for the ballgame. I don’t think this should be a rushed conversation. Maybe we should talk to Maria and Alex and also wait to see what happens with Max and Jackie at the game. What do you think?”

Max nodded his head. “I agree; I don’t want to talk to him about something as important as this before he goes to work or when he’s dead tired. And since I’m guessing that whatever’s going on between them hasn’t progressed very far or we would’ve known about it by now, I don’t see a reason to jump on him right away. Why don’t we drop by Maria’s later on and start from there.”

“OK,” she replied distractedly. Now that her worries were abated by their plan of action her attention was quickly shifting to the strong arms that were holding her and the sculptured bare chest that lay beneath her hands. Her fingers glided over his smooth skin as she began pressing light kisses down his throat, and she smiled when she heard him groan softly and felt him begin to harden as he shifted her on his lap.

“Liz,” he softly moaned when she simultaneously raked her nails over a nipple and bit down on his neck. He had felt her desire roar to life quickly and he knew what was in store for him. And he knew he was going to love every second of it. “Liz,” he moaned again as she ground her bottom down onto his erection.

“You know,” she breathed out as her hand moved up the side of his face and into his hair, “we didn’t make love last night Baby.” She kissed him passionately and when they finally pulled away they were both panting for air.

“Only because you fell asleep in the car and I didn’t have the heart to wake you so I carried you to bed,” he finally answered. Further comment was made impossible when she attacked his mouth again.

“Mmmm…well what do you think we should do about that,” she purred when they broke apart again. She stared at his lips as her finger traced them, her tongue snaking out over her own lips to steal another taste of him.

“I’m sure we can think of something,” he said as his arms tightened their hold on her body and he stood to carry her into their bedroom, knowing exactly what he planned to do about it.

posted on 13-Dec-2002 7:38:09 AM
CHAPTER 12

Several hours later, after bribing her with a promise to let her lick ice cream off of him later that night to get her out of bed, the two sated lovers made their way to Maria and Alex’s to discuss the Max – Jackie situation. They were also going to ask the couple to be the baby’s godparents, having easily agreed that they wanted their two best friends to have that special honor, just as they already did with their son. When they arrived Alex met them at the door with a “hi guys! Did you come over to take out the Waverunner?”

“Yeah,” Liz snorted as she began to laugh, “like Max would let me go out on it. I’m going to have to sneak over here to use it now.”

Max gave her an alarmed look and said “Liz, that could be dangerous, what if you flipped, or a boat hit you, and what if the baby doesn’t like the vibrations from the engine…”

Alex slapped his hand over his mouth to try to conceal his laughter as Liz let loose a guffaw. “Wouldn’t like the vibrations? What do you think he feels when we make loooff…” The end of her statement was cut off when Max covered her mouth with his hand, his checks flaming red in embarrassment. He valiantly tried to explain his position, which only caused them to laugh harder. Liz finally took pity on him when she saw that their enjoyment at his expense was getting to him. “Oh Honey, I’m sorry” she half laughed as she tried to calm down. She gently grabbed hold of his cheeks and placed kisses all over his face before leaning her forehead against his. “I know you mean well. You just have to try to remember that I can still do normal things. I would never do anything to put our baby in harms way. I promise, Max.”

“I just worry, Liz,” Max said meekly as she pulled him into a hug.

“I know you do Baby,” she replied as she rubbed her hands over his back to soothe him.

Maria walked into the room then and greeted her friends. “Hey you two, keep it clean, Alex and I are virgins after all,” she joked. “What’s up?”

“Actually,” Liz said, remaining nestled in her husband’s arms, “we wanted to talk to you both about something if you’re not busy.”

“No, we’re just sitting out on the deck and I was coming in to bring out some of the leftovers from the party yesterday,” Maria answered.

Liz’s eyes lit up. “Ooohhh, did she give you any of that taco dip? I really liked that. Oh, and what about that teriyaki shrimp? That was good too. And cake. The cake was amazing…what?” she asked as they all began laughing at her.

“You’re just adorable, that’s all,” Max said as he kissed her forehead.

“The baby’s hungry,” she said with a pout.

“Well tell him not to worry because Paula sent me home with a ton of food. I think there’s a little of everything,” Maria said. “Everybody grab a container and let’s go outside.” After they had all fixed themselves a plate, Maria asked “so what did you want to talk to us about?”

“Well,” Liz said as she licked some wayward dip from her finger, “Max and I would be honored if you two would agree to be the baby’s godparents.”

Their friends happily smiled back at them and answered “of course” in unison, knowing that no discussion was needed. They were looking forward to being as much a part of the new baby’s life as they had been with the Evans’ first child.

“I’m glad you mentioned the baby,” Maria said, “because there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you. Do you want me there to help deliver…”

Liz cut her off by replying “of course I do.” She reached over to squeeze Maria’s hand. “I want the most important people in my life with me when our baby makes his debut. Besides,” she added with a gleam in her eye, “I’m going to need someone to revive Max when he passes out on the floor.”

“We’ll leave that up to Alex,” Maria joked.

“Um, guys, no offense here, but I, uh, I don’t want to be around- well I’ll be around but not in the room when you have the baby. I love ya Liz, but there are parts of you that I just don’t need to see,” Alex said, giving them all a good laugh.

Max looked at Maria and said, “who says I’m going to pass out; I bet I’ll surprise you all.”

“Darling,” Liz said with an eyebrow raised, “I think you’re forgetting that you nearly passed out when I cut my hand with that new carving knife last Christmas.”

“That’s ‘cause you were hurt,” he said in defense.

“Max, there’s going to be a whole lot of hurt going on when she goes in to labor. Let me warn you now- your sweet little wife here can curse like a truck driver and has an iron grip. I had bruises all over my arms after she delivered your son,” Maria said.

“Yeah Baby, I think it’s only fair that Maria remains unharmed this time around,” joked Liz, “so be ready for some abuse.”

“I can’t wait,” Max said sweetly as he bent his head and kissed her belly.

“Oh, you two are so cute I’m gonna be sick,” Maria said. “OK, well if I’m going to be delivering the new Evans Junior, I think I will take the midwife course again. It’s been almost twenty years since I took it and I would feel a lot more confident if I went through it again.”

“That’s a great idea Maria, thank you,” Max replied, touched at her thoughtful preparedness.

“I’m glad you think it’s a good idea Max, because I think you should take the class with me,” Maria said.

Liz looked at him and nodded her head in agreement. “I think that’s a great idea Maria. You could be a bigger help to her then, Honey.”

“Well, there’s that, of course,” Maria said. “But I also thought if you understood the stages of labor and what was happening you might not get as freaked out. Not that I’m deluding myself here, I know you will get freaked.” They all chuckled, knowing that nothing was going to be able to keep Max really calm while Liz was in the painful throes of labor. “Also, it would be great to have someone keeping me in check; you know, making sure I’m following the procedures correctly and all. What do you think Max?”

Max didn’t hesitate with his answer. “I love the idea. When are the classes?”

“Well, I checked around and Southern Memorial Hospital is starting a class the week before Labor Day. Since we won’t be actually getting certified, we can audit the class and finish it with plenty of time before Christmas.”

“Since you’re not due to the end of February that will work out perfectly,” Max said as he looked at Liz.

“Well Honey, we really can’t be sure when I’m due. I had just reached the beginning of my eighth month when I had Max. He was six and a half pounds so we figured that maybe that was a full-term alien-human pregnancy,” Liz said.

Max scratched his chin as he thought out loud. “I never actually asked Isabel, but if I’m remembering this correctly, I think she delivered her kids in about that same time frame. Since she’s a hybrid, and our baby is too, I’m guessing you’re right about that being a full-term.”

“That’s why we should be ready by Christmas Max, and this class will finish by the second week of December,” Maria elaborated. “We’ll be a couple weeks early just in case.”

“Fantastic,” Max replied enthusiastically. “Can you email me the dates and times? Oh, and we’re paying for any enrollment or fees for you.”

“Max you don’t have to do that,” Alex said. “We’re happy to be a part of all of this.”

“No, Max is right, we’re paying,” Liz said emphatically. “You guys are always there for us, and that’s all that matters to us. We can more than afford it. We insist.”

“Well, we’ll accept if you promise to name to kid Alexander-the-Great Whitman Evans,” Alex deadpanned.

“What if it’s a girl,” giggled Liz.

“Maria-the-Great Whitman Evans,” Maria retorted quickly, and they all laughed again.

“We’ll take that under consideration,” Max said before he spotted a fork making its way toward his plate from the corner of his eye. A fork that was connected to the hand of his wife. “Uh, Liz? What are you doing?”

“What? Did you want that?” she asked as she poked at a lone shrimp on his plate.

“Well, yeah, kinda. Why don’t you just get your own?”

“There’s no more left,” she said, looking up at him with her best ‘feel sorry for me’ expression on her face.

“How ‘bout I trade you for some of those stuffed mushrooms,” he said as he smirked at her, knowing what her response would be.

“The baby wants them too,” she said, keeping the same pathetic look pasted on.

“Then here,” he said, picking up the shrimp with his fingers and popping it into her mouth. He pecked her on the lips as she chewed happily with the rest of the group chuckling at her. “There is something else we wanted to talk to you about,” Max said, looking at Liz to continue the discussion.

“Yes,” Liz agreed as she set her fork down and dabbed at her mouth with a napkin. “Well, yesterday I noticed that Max and Jackie seem to be, um, they seem to like each other.”

“Took you long enough to notice,” Maria said before taking a drink of lemonade.

“I knew you’d know something about this,” Liz said.

“All I know,” Maria replied as she set her glass down, “is that I observed them together at the last couple of parties and I thought it was obvious that they were attracted to each other.”

“He hasn’t said anything to you then?” Liz knew her friend probably wouldn’t be able to stop herself from interrogating her son.

“Actually, I said something to him about it, and he admitted to me that he liked her. He also told me that he’s afraid to do anything about it because…” She trailed off, immediately feeling bad after catching the look on Max’s face. She knew that he understood exactly what she was talking about.

Liz immediately felt his despair, turned to face him and grabbed hold of his hand. “No Max, don’t do this to yourself again,” she said.

“It’s my fault,” he said in a tortured whisper.

“No Max, don’t say that,” she pleaded.

“What am I saying that’s not the truth? I’m the alien Liz, not you. He has to worry- he has to go through-“ Max could barely get the words out. “You don’t know what it’s like to want to be with someone and believe it can never happen. To hate yourself because of what you are.” His eyes began to fill with tears as he whispered again, “it’s my fault.”

“What’s your fault Max?” Liz stated more than asked. “Was it your fault that God made you half-alien? You had no choice in the matter. Would you rather to have not been born? To not be with me? To not have Max, or this baby?” Her voice broke as her hand moved to rest on her tummy.

Maria moved to sit on the other side of Max and reached out and placed her hand on his arm to lend her support. “I think you’re forgetting something very important here. Being an alien is only a small part of who you and Max are. You are both intelligent, compassionate, generous, loving beings.”

“Thank you, Maria, but that doesn’t change…”

“No, you’re right, it doesn’t change that one thing that makes you both different from all the rest of us,” she interrupted. “Let me ask you something Max. Why do you think I was finally able to accept that you, Michael, and Isabel were aliens? I was totally freaked out when I found out; you know that. It sure wasn’t Michael or Isabel’s warm welcome. I’ll tell you why,” she forged ahead, not giving him a chance to answer. “It was you. When I finally cooled down enough and thought about it, I realized that since the time we met you in what, the third grade? From that time I had only known you to be thoughtful, gentle, sweet and kind. And of course totally besotted with the Lizerd.” She threw in Liz’s childhood nickname and got a slight chuckle out of him. “When I thought about it, about you, that’s what was important to me. Not that you were from ‘up north’. You were still you.”

“Thank you Maria,” he said quietly.

“I’m not finished. I know that you would do anything to save your son from going through the pain you must have lived with before you could let Liz into your life. You’re a parent, you want to spare your child from any pain if possible. But that’s part of growing up, Max. And if you don’t let him experience it, experience this, you just might scare him from ever trying to find love. Is that what you want?”

“No, of course not. I’m not against him dating, Maria; that’s why we came here to talk to you guys.”

“Good. Then get over yourself and let’s talk.”

Alex let out a short laugh as he shook his head. “That’s my wife; subtle as a bulldozer.”

Max leaned over and kissed her cheek as he squeezed her hand. “That’s one of the reasons why I love her, Alex. She doesn’t let anyone get away with anything. Never has.”

“And don’t I know it,” Alex said. “OK, back to the topic at hand. What do you two think about Jackie?” Alex needed to know their feelings toward his beloved niece before he would venture any opinions on the subject.

“We love her, of course,” Liz said immediately. “Please don’t think this has anything to do with Jackie. Honestly, Alex, I couldn’t pick a nicer girl for him if I was trying to. We’re just concerned with how she might react to the alien aspect of things if she were to find out. Very concerned.”

Maria nodded her head in understanding. “Well, as I told your son, no one can be sure of her reaction but I honestly don’t think she would tell anyone else about it. I told him that the four of us would be there with him when the time comes to tell her, to reinforce the importance of complete secrecy. If he wants us there, that is. I also told him that there is always the chance that things between them might not work out and she may never have to know.”

“Sure, there’s always that chance,” Max said.

“Well according to your son it’s a very slim chance. I think he’s in deep, guys. He had that same lost puppy look on his face when we were talking about her that you used to wear in high school when you would talk to me about Liz, Max. And judging by what I witnessed yesterday, my guess is that Jackie feels just the same way,” Maria finished.

Max looked at Alex, wanting to know his opinion also. “Alex, how do you think Jackie would react to the alien news?”

“Well, it’s anybody’s guess, really. It’s a mind-blowing piece of information to learn. But I do have to say that even if she were to be told and she decided not to continue a relationship with Max because of it, I don’t think she’d divulge the secret to anyone. Jackie is a level headed, compassionate kid. I know that she would never do anything that would put anyone she cares about in jeopardy.”

They were all quiet a few minutes as they contemplated what had been discussed. Finally Maria broke the silence. “So what are you going to do?”

Liz looked at Max as she addressed them all. “Let’s face it, as much as I’d like to lock him in a room for the rest of his life, we can’t stop him from doing anything he wants to do. And as much as I am afraid of the possible ramifications of telling another person, I guess I have to accept the fact that whether it happens now, with Jackie, or later with someone else, odds are that it’s going to happen.”

Max nodded in agreement as she spoke. “Then I think we should do what I suggested to you this morning- we let him tell us how he feels about her, and we’ll let him know that we are OK with him pursuing a relationship with her if that’s what he wants. And we’ll tell him that we all discussed it and agreed that if and when the time comes that he wants to tell her the whole story, the four of us think it’s best if we are all there to help her deal with it.”

“OK,” Liz said a bit nervously. Max squeezed her hand, understanding her feelings all too well but knowing that as long as they stuck together they could deal with whatever the future held.

He prayed that for his son’s sake, that future would be a safe one.


posted on 20-Dec-2002 7:51:52 PM
Posted in 2 parts due to length

CHAPTER 13

“Liz, stop.”

Tickle, giggle.

“Liz, cut it out.”

Tickle, giggle.

“Honey…”

Tickle, giggle.

“LIZ!” Max tried to convey a warning to her despite his hushed tone. He grabbed her mischievous hands and held them away from his body. “We’re on a sofa bed in the middle of the family room. Someone could walk in at any moment!”

They had stayed overnight at Nick and Paula’s, along with Maria and Alex, after their big day in the City. The girls had spent the day at a spa and gotten pampered while Max, Nick, and Alex had gone to the Mets vs. Yankees Subway Series game. After a great dinner together they had returned to Alex’s brother’s house, and this day would see the six of them plus their son and Jackie head back to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx for the final game of the series. Max and Liz had taken the pullout sofa in the family room, and now upon awakening Liz was attempting to have a little fun with her husband. Max, on the other hand, was worried that they would get caught in an embarrassing situation. Freeing her hands from his grasp, Liz proceeded to do her best to convince him otherwise.

Tickle, giggle. “No one’s up yet.” Tickle, giggle. “Come on, let’s have some fun.” Tickle, giggle.

“Honey someone could walk…LIZ!! What are you doing? Stop!”

Liz’s emotions shifted suddenly at his last exclamation. Looking at him with large, sad eyes she stated “you don’t want me.”

Max quickly registered her change of feelings and correctly surmised that her abrupt mood swing was hormonally induced. It had happened a few times in the past month, and he was learning how to cope with it. He found that lots of loving and also lots of chocolate helped a great deal. He drew her into his arms and smiled down at her, relishing every aspect of her pregnancy, even the silly ones such as this. “Now do I really have to show you how ridiculous that statement is?”

Her bottom lip quivered slightly as she contemplated his question. “I just…you don’t want…is it because I’m gaining weight? Oh, I’m gonna blow up like a blimp and you won’t want me anymore!” Tears began rolling down her cheeks as she worked herself into a frenzy.

Cupping her face, he brushed his thumbs over her cheeks to dry her tears before leaning in to kiss her. He was gentle at first, building it slowly while he sent her a wave of reassuring love, until he wrenched his lips from hers knowing that he would lose his control if he continued. “My love,” he whispered as he kissed her forehead, “there will never come a time when I don’t want you. Never,” he said again as he kissed the tip of her nose. “And you are not going to get fat. You are carrying our precious little baby in there. And I can’t wait to see your body change as he grows,” he whispered as he brought one hand down to caress her tummy.

The combination of his words, feelings, and gentle touches did the trick and calmed her down. “Well, you should notice right away because of all your exploratory searches,” she said. In almost every one of their countless lovemaking sessions he spent a great deal of time examining the slight changes in her body; the way her breasts seemed a bit fuller, the way her stomach was no longer completely flat and taut. He knew every hill and valley of her beautiful body and he reveled in every chance he got to explore it further. Right now, however, was not the time. At least in his eyes.

“If I promise to make it up to you at home tonight will you stop trying to attack me?” he asked playfully.

“Tonight? You promise?”

“I guarantee it,” he said before kissing her again. As the kiss deepened she couldn’t help herself and ran her hands down his naked back and under the waistband of his boxers.

“Li..” he started to protest, just before a loud voice startled him.

“OK you two, no time for wild monkey love, rise and shine!” Maria bellowed.

Who else could it be.

Max quickly attempted to roll away from his wife to escape her dangerous hands only to fall out of the bed and hit the floor with a loud ‘thud’. He stood up quickly, only to realize too late that Liz’s fingers were still firmly entwined in his underwear, causing them to unceremoniously fall down around his ankles giving Maria a clear view of his butt. He flushed furiously as he yanked them back up, Liz and Maria both hysterically laughing at his predicament.

“Oh Honey, I’m sorry,” Liz choked out between belly laughs.

“I’m not. That’s one hell of a butt you’ve got there Max!” Maria joked.

“What’s this about Max’s butt?” Alex said as he entered the room.

“Oh man,” Max muttered as his blush intensified, sending Liz and Maria into another fit of giggles.

“Oh, nothing, I just got a really good look at it when he fell out of bed,” Maria said to her husband.

“Is it as nice as mine?” Alex said as he twisted his head around, pretending to look at his posterior. “’Cause I have a magnificent butt.” He then proceeded to turn and shake it at them, causing even Max to break down and laugh.

Maria playfully swatted his behind as she said, “put that thing away before Max gets jealous!”

“So it IS better than his! Score!” Alex raised his arms over his head and did a small celebration dance as Max buried his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking with laughter.

“What’s better than who’s?” Jackie said as she appeared in the doorway.

Alex froze in place. “Yeah Honey, tell your niece what’s better than Max’s,” Maria choked out as she gasped for air.

“Uh-I-the-uh” he stuttered as Jackie looked at him innocently and Max grabbed his robe to cover himself.

“Your uncle is just being silly Sweetheart. Come on, show your aunt how to use that new coffee maker,” said Maria as she wrapped an arm around the girl’s shoulder and led her out to the kitchen, Alex tagging along behind them.

“See what you started?” Max asked his wife as he smirked at her. “Now Alex thinks his glutes are better than mine.”

“Don’t you worry, my handsome husband,” Liz answered as she rose up on her knees and scooted across the bed to him. When she got close enough to him that their bodies brushed against each other she reached around, placed her hands on his behind and pulled him tightly against her. “No one comes close to your cute little butt. Except me, of course.”

He chuckled and bent to kiss the top of her head. “I guess we should get dressed and see if we can help with breakfast. What time is Max supposed to get here?”

Their son was driving up to join the group for the baseball game. “I told him to be here by ten,” Liz answered, “but I wouldn’t be surprised if he shows up early.”

“You mean because of…”

“Yeah,” she replied, knowing he understood that she meant it was because of Jackie. “Why don’t you go ahead and wash up and I’ll go in and see if Maria needs a hand.”

“OK,” Max said before dropping another quick kiss on her head and then heading off to the bathroom.

Liz pulled on her robe and made her way into the kitchen to find Maria, Alex, and Jackie busy scrambling eggs, frying bacon, and making coffee. “My goodness what a bunch of busy beavers!” she exclaimed. “What can I do to help?”

Maria looked over at her and smiled. “If your husband will let you, you could set the table.”

Liz chuckled as she grabbed some napkins and started placing them around the table. “I think I’m still capable of doing that. Jackie, could you show me where the plates and silverware are?”

“Sure Aunt Liz,” said the girl as she pulled open a drawer and handed her some forks. “I’ll get the plates.” She brought them over to the table and began setting them at the places Liz was putting the cutlery. After a moment she said, as calmly as possible, “so what time do you think Max will be coming?”

Liz couldn’t help but smile. She could see that the girl was trying to be nonchalant, but to her amusement it wasn’t working out. Jackie was biting her lip, her cheeks were pink, and she was picking at the napkin at the place setting she was standing in front of. Liz flashed back to a time when she had felt the same nervousness about her Max; wondering when she was going to see him again, how he felt about her, if they were ever going to get the chance to fall in love. Her heart suddenly ached for this shy, pretty young woman in front of her, and for her son, hoping that they would find a way to make it work, just as she and Max had done. “He’s supposed to be here no later than ten o’clock. But I’m betting that he’ll be here before that time,” she answered as she gave the young woman a knowing smile.

Jackie glanced at the clock and then looked at the three adults in the room. “If it’s OK with you I’ll just go and take my shower…” she trailed off at the end as she moved toward the door.

“Go ahead Sweetie, Liz can finish the bacon,” Maria said, and watched as her niece bolted from the room.

Alex made note of her quick departure. “She seems in a hurry.”

“Well, I’m guessing that she wants to make sure that she’s presentable when Homer arrives,” said Maria while she looked over at Liz, who was now checking on the bacon. “Have you and Max decided when you’re going to talk to him?”

“Well we drove up with you guys, so it makes sense to drive home with him, and since we’ll all be together with no chance of interruption we thought that we’d tackle it then.”

Maria nodded in agreement. “I think that’s a great idea.” As she finished her sentence Nick and Paula joined them.

“Good morning everyone,” Paula said before kissing her husband goodbye on the cheek. “Drive carefully Honey.”

“Where you headed Nick?” Alex asked.

“I’m going to take the twins over to their friend’s house to spend the day while we’re all at the game. You wanna come?” his brother said.

“Nah, I’m on toast duty now. Will you eat when you get back?”

“Oh yeah, I’ll only be gone a few minutes, they live less than a mile from here.”

“Then we’ll hold off on cooking the eggs til you get back,” said Maria.

“OK, I’ll be back in a flash. Come on girls,” he called out as he exited toward the garage. Two seconds later the twins raced into the kitchen talking a mile a minute.

“Girls!” said Paula, trying to get their attention. “Daddy is waiting for you in the car. Give me a kiss.” As they both pecked her cheek obediently she added, “behave yourselves at the Tomlinson’s. No bickering and don’t get under Mrs. Tomlinson’s feet.”

(Continued in next post)

posted on 20-Dec-2002 7:55:17 PM
Cont'd


“Yes Ma’am,” they replied simultaneously before bidding goodbye to the rest of the people in the room and hurrying off.

“I think I’ll go wash up now and then I’ll be ready for breakfast by the time Nick comes back,” Liz said as she removed the last piece of bacon from the pan and turned off the burner. She made her way to the bathroom and arrived just as Max was exiting. “Perfect timing,” she said, smiling up at him. “Go grab yourself some coffee and I’ll be done in here in a minute.”

“OK babe,” he said.

Nick returned a short time later and the six adults sat down to enjoy breakfast. Nick looked at an empty chair and asked, “where’s Jackie? Doesn’t she want anything to eat?”

“She’s upstairs primping,” answered his wife. She turned to address Max and Liz. “Although she tells me nothing, I have a strong suspicion that my daughter has a crush on your son. And I’m betting that right about now she is trying on everything in her closet and can’t decide what to wear.”

Liz and Max shared a look before Liz spoke up. “Well, we’re pretty sure that Max feels the same way about Jackie.”

“Well, I have to say that I’m glad that she’s interested Max. He’s such a polite, nice young man,” Paula said. “I’ve always loved him.”

“Thank you Paula,” said Liz, clearly touched by her statement. “We feel the same way about Jackie. Max hasn’t really dated much, and I’m relieved that it’s Jackie that’s finally caught his eye. She’s a lovely girl.” As she finished the sound of the doorbell rang out, followed by Jackie’s footsteps scurrying down the stairs as she yelled out “I’ll get it!”

//You were right // Max signaled to Liz. // It’s 9:40 and he’s here already. //

// Of course I’m right, aren’t I always?
//

Max smirked at her answer as Maria said, “speaking of Homer, I’ll bet that’s him at the door.”

Meanwhile Jackie was skidding to a stop at the front door. Taking a moment to compose herself, she took a deep breath and smoothed her hair before opening the door to find Max, who immediately smiled upon seeing her. After greeting each other they continued to stand there smiling at each other until Maria’s voice broke the silence. “Homer don’t stand there like a statue, come in.” Jackie stepped aside and then led him into the kitchen.

“Hi everyone,” he said as he made his way over to kiss his mother hello.

“Hi Sweetie, have you eaten yet?” Liz asked.

“No, actually, I haven’t. I didn’t want to be late.”

“I’ll bet,” Maria said in a teasing tone that made him blush. “Sit down and I’ll get you a plate.”

After breakfast was finally done and cleaned up they got themselves together to leave. As they were all walking down the driveway one by one they donned their baseball hats. Max did a double take when Jackie tugged hers on. “The Muts? You’re a Mut fan?”

“No,” she answered as she pulled on the bill of the hat and pointed at the insignia, “I’m a METs fan. So’s my mom.”

“That’s right Max,” said Paula as she placed her arm around her daughter’s shoulder in a show of solidarity.

“Max, don’t try to argue with them, they have no sense,” teased Nick. “I’ve been the lone Yankees fan in the house since the day I was married.”

“Well you’re among friends now, brother dear,” said Alex as he pointed at the Yankees caps on Liz, both Maxs, Maria, and then his own. “We’ll just have to show them who the better team is.”

“Oh, you mean like yesterday when the Mets kicked your butts?” joked Paula.

“OK, let’s get going before a fist fight breaks out,” said Maria as she climbed into the car. They finally got underway and after a car trip, ferry ride, subway train, and some walking they arrived at Yankee Stadium. When they reached their box seats Maria let out a low whistle. “Wow, these are great, right behind the Yankees dugout.”

“Yeah, and this box,” Alex said as he pointed at the box in front of theirs, “is Steinbrenner’s. Yesterday he got here right before the first pitch.”

“This is unbelievable,” Max said as he and Jackie took seats next to each other. “I’ve never been this close to the field before. This is great!”

“Yeah, a great place to watch your team lose,” Jackie joked as she elbowed him lightly in the side.

“You wish,” Max said as he grinned widely at her, clearly enjoying their easy banter.

“Maaaxxx, I’m hungry,” Liz whined to her husband. “Could you go get me something to eat?”

“The hot dog guy is almost over here Honey,” he said as he pointed at the vendor making his way down the steps slowly.

“Yeah, but I want a hot pretzel too. And some of those big cookies they have. Oh, and a bottle of water.”

“So no hot dog, just the pretzel and cookies?” he asked.

“No no, a hot dog, with cheese- oh wait, they have great chili dogs here. Make it a chilidog. With cheese. And cheese on the pretzel too.”

“Liz we had breakfast three hours ago, how are you going to eat all that?” Maria said.

“The baby’s hungry,” she replied with her patented pout. “Will you get it for me Honey?”

“Of course,” he answered with a wide grin, ready to indulge any adorable craving she might have. “Does anyone else want anything?”

“Yeah, I’ll come with you and get a beer,” Alex said as he rose.

“Sounds good Alex, I’ll go with you too,” Nick said. “Anybody else want something?” They gave them their orders and they left, Liz watching intently as Max disappeared through the passageway.

“OK now that he’s gone I’m going to the bathroom,” she said.

“Now that he’s gone?” questioned Paula.

“Max would’ve gone with me and waited outside the restrooms like I was a child,” Liz explained.

“Oh, so that’s why you told him to get you so much food, you wanted him to be gone a while,” Maria said.

“No,” Liz answered. “I am hungry. I’m just going to take advantage of the time as long as I can.”

“Mom, maybe I should go with you then,” her son said as he stood up.

“Max don’t be ridiculous, I can find the bathroom by myself…”

“No Homer, I’ll go with her. It’s probably a good idea before the game starts anyway,” said Maria. “What? I have to go too,” she said to answer Liz’s annoyed look.

“Actually, now that you mention it, I could go too,” Paula said. “Sorry Liz, looks like you have a couple of escorts anyway.”

The three women left Max and Jackie alone in their seats. Jackie cleared her throat and then said, “Max I got my registration information for Riverton in the mail yesterday. It’s this Friday. It starts at one and it says that I should be done between five and six. Why is it so long?”

“Oh, well first you watch an orientation video, and then they have a few speakers explaining which classes you should take first, stuff like that. Then you go on a tour of the campus and then after that is when you actually will register for classes. That part is usually kind of crazy. You wait in a long line to register for a class, and sometimes when you get up to the front, you find out the class you wanted is filled. Then you have to pick something else and go wait in that line. It can take a long time if you’re not lucky.”

“Oh,” she said, trying to get up the nerve to ask her next question. “Well, um, I was wondering if you still, uh, still wanted to go with me, to registration. You don’t have to if you’re busy…”

“Yeah I’ll go,” he interrupted, not able to wait to accept her invitation. “I have Friday off from work so it won’t be a problem. No problem. With Friday.” ‘Here I go again, being Mr. Suave and tongue-tied,’ he thought to himself.

‘He is just the cutest thing,’ Jackie thought to herself. “That’s great,” she said enthusiastically. “We could meet there around 12:30, if that’s good for you.”

“Yeah, that’ll give us plenty of time to park. The auditorium where you go first is on the other side of the campus from the parking lots so it will take a little time to walk over there.” He paused a second and an idea popped into his head. He took a deep breath and decided to plunge ahead before he lost his courage. “Jackie? Maybe we could, if you want to, go to get something to eat, if you’re hungry, after you’re done, if you’re not busy, with registration.” ‘Oh man, what the hell did I just say? She’s gonna need a translator to decipher that. Dork! Dork!!’

“I’d love to go out when we’re done,” she quickly answered. ‘Going out. On a date. Can I consider this a date? What will I wear? Will he care? Maybe he is just being polite.’ Her mind had slipped into overdrive, thrilled at the prospect of them finally going out together. It stilled immediately when she felt him take her hand and enfold it in his.

“Fantastic,” was all he said, his beautiful smile and warm, penetrating gaze causing butterflies to take flight in her stomach. At the same time Max was waging an internal battle between his fears and his desires. Her close proximity to him, her sweet scent, her pretty face, her expressive eyes were too hard to resist one more time, and the desire for what he had dreamed of for the past weeks finally won over. He leaned toward her as his eyes flickered between her lips and her eyes, looking for any indication that she would pull away from him. He needn’t have worried, as she was moving in his direction, pulled in by his magnetic eyes and luscious mouth. They finally connected and shared a soft, sweet kiss.

‘I hope she’s OK with this,’ he thought.

‘He’s an amazing kisser!’ she thought.

“Hey you two are on the Jumbo Tron!” a voice coming from the seat behind them bellowed.

They jerked apart to see their parents, Maria, Alex, and all of the people in Yankee Stadium watching their private moment on the jumbo video screens positioned around the stadium.

‘I don’t believe this,’ they both thought as they flushed a deep red, sunk down in their seats and covered their faces with their hands.

“I guess it’s a good thing you decided to talk to him tonight huh,” Maria said to Liz as the six adults moved back into their seats. Liz shot her a nervous look as they all sat down and distributed the food and drinks amongst themselves, carefully not teasing the two very obviously uncomfortable young people.

The game passed with no further embarrassing incidents, the Yankees winning 4-3. Jackie and Paula tolerated a lot of good-natured ribbing on the way home, and before they all knew it they arrived back at Nick and Paula’s. Jackie and Max stood to the side as the adults bid goodbye to each other, Max giving her one last shot about her losing team. “Well, sorry your team are losers, but I still had fun.”

She rolled her eyes and playfully punched his arm. “OK, OK, we lost, I get it.” After a short pause she added, “I had fun too, Max. I’m glad you came with us.”

“Me too,” he said quietly. He reached out and took her hand and gave it a squeeze as he quickly looked over his shoulder to see if they had an audience. When he saw that the adults were otherwise occupied, he leaned down and kissed her cheek, lingering there a little before pulling back and squeezing her hand again. “So Friday, then,” he said softly.

Jackie felt her insides melting at his sweet gesture. “Yeah, Friday,” she replied just as softly while giving him a shy smile that turned his insides to goo also. “I’ll email you to remind you,” she added.

“I won’t need reminding,” he said, making her smile even more. Just then his father called out “Max, are you ready to go?”

“Yeah Dad,” he answered and then looked at her one last time. “Friday,” he said again, and then turned and climbed in the backseat of the car. Her family remained in the driveway waving at their departing guests.

Just as his father finished backing out and began to drive away Max turned and looked out the back window. A large smile lit his face at seeing her still standing there. He lifted his arm and waved at her and a thrill shot through him as he received an enthusiastic response from her. Turning around in his seat after they turned a corner he couldn’t wipe off the smile that was now an ear-to-ear grin.

Not until he heard his mother say, “Max honey, we need to talk about you and Jackie.”

Oh shit.

posted on 30-Dec-2002 6:10:08 PM
CHAPTER 14A

“Honey did you hear me?”

Liz had turned around to look at her son in the back seat after telling him that she and his father wanted to discuss the situation between he and Jackie. She found him staring back at her looking like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights- eyes wide and shocked, body frozen in place. Max drove down the highway and glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed the surprised look on his son's face as Liz prodded him again. “Max? Can we talk?”

“Uh, yeah,” he finally answered as he began to nervously twist his hands together. What could they want to know? Maybe they don't like her. What if they don’t like her? How could they not like her? She’s perfect. Perfect for him. Didn’t they see that?

“Well,” Liz began, “your dad and I have noticed that you and Jackie…that you guys seem to like each other.”

Her husband couldn’t help chuckling at what she said and threw in, “actually I think everyone in Yankee Stadium figured out they like each other,” referring to the kiss seen on the stadium video screens. “Ouch!”

Liz had reached over and pinched him to warn him not to tease their son too much. She was struggling to find the right words to say to him, not wanting to upset or anger him and cause him to clam up, and didn’t want to embarrass him into shutting down either. She looked back at her son and continued. “Max, there’s a few things we feel should be discussed about the situation.”

“Like what? Don’t you like her?”

“Oh Honey, no, it’s not that. Of course we like her, how could we not? I love all of Paula’s kids, you know that.”

His father spoke up to help his wife get to the point. “Max there are some important issues regarding you dating anyone that you must have at least thought about before. Issues about where you and I come from.” His stomach clenched as he watched his son’s head drop down to his chest as he muttered “yeah, I’ve thought about it.”

As Liz saw and felt the emotions from the two of them she reached over lay a hand on her husband’s arm and gave it a reassuring squeeze while addressing their son. “Max we’re not against you dating Jackie. Not at all. We just want you to know that we’ve spoken to Maria and Alex about this, and we’re all in agreement about some things, and we want to know how you feel about our opinions.”

Max looked up at his Mom with renewed hope. “So it’s OK with you both if I ask her out?”

His father eyed him again in the mirror. “You haven’t already? I thought…well after today…”

“No, we’ve just been emailing and talking on the phone. Today just kind of…happened,” his son answered, somewhat embarrassed.

“Oh, OK,” said his dad in return. “Well, are you going to? Ask her out?”

“Well, Friday we’re meeting at Riverton. She has orientation and registration, then we’re going to go get something to eat.”

“Max, I think your dad means do you want to date her on a regular basis. Do you want a relationship with her,” Liz clarified.

Max felt the heat in his cheeks rising as he said quietly “yeah.”

“OK, great. Have you thought about how you would address the alien issue with her if and when it came up,” Liz pushed on.

Her son gazed out the window a moment before answering her. “No, cause I didn’t actually plan on this ever really happening. It just kinda…I couldn’t…”

His father reached over and took Liz’s hand and kissed it before holding it tightly against his heart as he finished his thought for him. “You couldn’t help yourself. I understand completely son.”

Liz looked adoringly at her husband as understanding dawned on their son. He knew the story of how his dad had healed his mom when she had been shot, risking total exposure of the secret he had carefully kept hidden. Even though his situation with Jackie was drastically different, he could more fully appreciate just what had driven his father to take that huge leap of faith. Matters of the heart trump common sense every time.

“So, um, what did you and Aunt Maria and Uncle Alex think I should do? About telling her?” he asked his parents.

“Well, Maria made the point that it may never be an issue if the relationship doesn’t last long enough that you’d have to tell her,” Max said.

He watched his son’s face carefully as the young man looked at his father steadily via the car mirror. “That’s not gonna happen Dad. At least by me. I have no doubts about what I want.”

Max nodded at his son, accepting his pronouncement immediately. ‘Like father, like son,’ he thought wryly. He had never had a doubt what he had wanted when it had been about Liz. Never once. “Well, the four of us thought that the best tactic would be to leave it up to you as far as when you thought Jackie should be told. When you’re ready, all four of us will be there if you want us to be. We all agreed that it might be helpful to Jackie if her aunt and uncle were there to explain how they’ve dealt with it all, and of course to hear your mom’s experiences too. I think it might help her to see that we’re, you know, as normal as the next person, and if she sees that her own family members are OK with it and all, I think it will make it easier for her to accept it.”

His son nodded in agreement. “That makes sense.” He sighed deeply as he turned his gaze out the window again. “The question is, how do I know when to tell her?”

Liz stretched her arm between the seats and grasped his hand. He turned his head to find her wearing the same reassuring smile that she had given him every time in his life that he had been scared or unsure of a situation. “Your heart will tell you when the time is right Max. And we’ll be right behind you, all the way.”

He squeezed her hand and looked at her with the wide eyes of the small boy he had once been. “What if she decides she can’t handle it and…and doesn’t want to be with me then,” he said in a small voice.

Liz’s heart contracted at even the thought of her little boy being hurt or rejected. ‘I’ll have to kill her then,’ she thought to herself in jest.

//I heard that.//

Her husband’s amusement at her protective stance came through their connection before he addressed his son. “Max, we can’t answer that for you. You have to decide before you take a first step toward a relationship with her if that risk is worth it to you. But son, you’d have to make that same decision even if you were completely human. Whenever you open your heart to someone you’re giving them the power to hurt you. I can only tell you that I’ve been on both sides of that fence, and for me, the risk was more than worth it.”

Max listened carefully to his father before again looking out the car window. The rest of the ride home passed quietly, all three passengers lost deep in their own thoughts about the situation. When they were a few miles from home Liz looked over at her husband. “Max would you mind stopping at the 7-11 at the next light?”

He began to chuckle, believing he knew exactly why she wanted him to stop at the convenience store. “Let me guess- Double Fudge Brownie is calling to you from their freezer.”

“Chunky Monkey,” she corrected him as they pulled into the parking lot and he opened his door. “And don’t forget a spoon!”

“Yes Ma’am!” He gave her a mock salute before jogging inside while their son laughed at her.

“Mom aren’t you getting tired of ice cream yet?”

“Never,” she replied as Max returned quickly and handed her the bag. She fished out the contents and happily dug in to the frozen treat. “Does anybody want some?” she asked.

“Are you kidding?” her son replied. “Last week when I wanted some of your Cherry Garcia you almost bit my hand.”

“There was only a little bit left,” she said, trying to defend herself.

“That kid’s gonna come out weighing 20 pounds and addicted to sugar,” he said as he accepted a taste from her spoon.

“If that were true,” she said in between bites, “then you should’ve been born with chopsticks in your hands because I ate Chinese food four or five times a week when I was pregnant with you. I swear that’s why Maria isn’t that crazy about it now. I drove her nuts eating it so much.” Her husband pulled the car into their driveway and she replaced the lid onto the carton and handed it to her son. “Here, you can finish it if you want, I’m full.”

“Thanks Mom,” he said as he climbed out of the back seat and kissed her cheek. “For everything,” he added, referring to the conversation regarding Jackie.

She wrapped him in a hug and squeezed him hard. “I just want you to be happy Max. I love you.”

“I love you too Mom,” he said before extracting himself from her embrace. “Love you Dad,” he added as his father walked around the car to hug him also. “Goodnight.”

“I love you Max,” his dad replied. “Goodnight, we’ll see you tomorrow.” They watched him disappear up the back stairway to his apartment as they made their way to their own front door. As they entered the house he said to Liz, “well all in all I think that it went pretty good. What do you think?”

“Yeah, I think it went well. I just hope things work out the way he wants them too.”

“Me too,” he said as the phone began to ring. Checking the caller ID he said to her “it’s Maria.”

“She probably wants to know if we talked to him. Would you give her the details babe, I need to use the bathroom,” Liz said as she made her way down the hall.

END PART 14A

posted on 5-Jan-2003 10:12:51 PM
PART 14B

“OK,” he answered as he picked up the phone. “Hey Ria, we just walked in the door.” He filled her in on the conversation and promised to have Liz call her in the morning before hanging up and going to find his wife. She was in the bathroom filling the large tub and she smiled up at him when he entered.

“I thought I’d take a hot bath; my back is sore from the stadium seats, I think.”

“Mind if I join you?” he asked, wagging his eyebrows at her.

“Well,” she replied as she sauntered up to him and ran her hands up his chest and then wrapped them around his neck. “I do seem to recall something about you making up for evading me this morning.”

He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her more tightly against him. “Oh you do, do you?”

“Um hmm,” she said as she began to place kisses up his neck. “In fact, I believe I received a guarantee.”

“Well I certainly can’t refuse then, can I,” he breathed as her lips finally connected with his. They continued kissing as they began to undress each other slowly, enjoying some playful moments until their nakedness indicated it was tub time. Max stepped in first and then held out his hand and helped Liz to settle in comfortably before nestling his body in behind her. He picked up a bath puff, lathered it up and began washing away her aches and pains with the slow massage of his hands. He moved his mouth next to her ear and began to softly speak to her, her eyes drifting shut at the rich tones of his voice and the movements of his hands as they played over every part of her body.

“I love you.”

“You are everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

“You are so beautiful.”

“Your skin is so soft.”

“I want to touch you everywhere.”

She whispered out “yes” after his last statement, needing to feel his amazing fingers touching her intimately, fulfilling the craving that was never completely satisfied.

He abandoned the bath puff and ran his unencumbered fingers up and down her sides as his words became more risqué. Their lovemaking had become more wanton since Liz’s pregnancy, and of late she had become more explicit in her speech and wanted the same in return from him. It turned him on as much as it obviously did her. As his hands snaked over her abdomen and finally engulfed her breasts he breathed out “I love how your breasts fill my hands so perfectly.” His fingers quickly found her sensitive nipples and he began to pinch and roll them between his nimble fingers as his gravely voice continued. “I love to play with your nipples and feel them harden because of my touch.”

“Oh,” was the only reply she could muster as she arched her body into his hands while her hands gripped the edge of the tub for stability, her head on his shoulder with her face pressed into the side of his neck. Her breathing had already become heavy as she tried to rub her thighs together to assuage the ache that was growing with each passing second. They were encased between his thighs though, making her unable to move enough to obtain any relief. She finally sputtered out a frustrated “Max,” making him smile behind her, knowing from her squirming what she wanted. He extended his tongue and let it dance up her neck and around her ear before asking, “what do you want Liz?”

“Touch me.” Her whine quickly turned into a whimper when she felt him release his hold on her legs and begin to move his hands down her body. She whimpered again when he paused at the top of her thighs and said, “touch you where Liz.”

“Inside me. I want your fingers in my pussy.”

A groan escaped him at her choice of words as his fingers moved to speedily do her bidding, and she pressed her body back into his and began to gyrate her hips, moving her heat over his hand. As she became more excited and her moans grew louder he knew he wanted to give her more- and he wanted to do it now. He removed his fingers from her passage and she made her displeasure at his action known immediately. He grabbed her around the waist and quickly turned her small body around to face him. He delighted in the hot look in her eyes, her wet hair clinging to her smoldering skin, her heaving chest before claiming her mouth in a voracious kiss. Their tongues mated as he devoured her and when he broke away they were both panting. He looked her in the eyes as his fingers dug into her hips hard before grinding out “I need to taste you Liz. Now.” He effortlessly lifted her up until her mound was level with his mouth and he buried his tongue inside her as she gasped loudly and struggled to remain standing. She leaned one arm against the tile wall for support as she bent her knees, undulating her hips as his tongue plundered her wet core, his hands still locked onto her hips to support her stance and aid her in her motions. Her other hand played with her nipples as his fire engulfed her, and her moans grew louder and louder with each twitch of his tongue. Her raspy voice suddenly rang out, begging and pleading with him as she rode his face.

“Baby please, please…make me cum…please…”

Max had to gather his own self control when he heard her, afraid he might lose it himself as he quickly looked up to find her head hanging down, eyes closed, mouth open, panting for air as she continued to whimper “make me cum…make me cum…” Seeing her like this was as thrilling to him now as it was the first time he had ever witnessed her abandon herself to sexual pleasure. Maybe even more so, because now he knew a hundred different ways to titillate and tease her, and he loved to practice them by making her lose control as often as possible.

He tunneled his tongue through her folds until he reached her clit and he felt her hand plunge into his hair to hold him fast, letting him know she was pleased with his move. He sucked it into his mouth and toyed with it vigorously until he felt her shaking legs tighten suddenly around his head. His eyes looked upward, wanting to see her in all her glory, and he wasn’t disappointed. Her head suddenly snapped back and her hair flew wildly around her as her back arched sharply, announcing her orgasm. He could feel her entire body spasm as she screamed his name, her hips continuing to grind into his mouth until her legs finally gave out from under her and she quickly slid down his body and landed heavily in his lap. As her head fell against his shoulder he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his chest as he murmured his love and devotion to her.

When he felt her breathing returning to normal he stood and assisted her in climbing out of the tub, delighting in the way she still clung to him, as if not touching him would cause her physical pain. As he reached for a towel and began to gently dry her off, she released one hand that was wound around his neck and let it skate up and down his arm and then over the planes of his chest. He shifted slightly and his hardness brushed over her stomach reminding her of its presence. She moved her hand down, grasped it and began slowly stroking him causing his breathing to quicken as he tried to finish toweling her dry. When he looked at her heavily lidded eyes that were dripping with sexual desire he dropped the towel to the floor and grabbed her ass with both hands and passionately kissed her. All the while her hand did not stop its motion, gliding up and down faster and faster as their hunger escalated. When their lips parted for air she dragged her mouth up over his jaw and upon reaching his ear gave his member a firm stroke down and up before running her thumb over the tip in circles repeatedly, making his eyes roll shut as he drew in a sharp breath. Continuing her ministrations she whispered to him in a sultry tone, “take me to bed and fuck me Max.”

He groaned loudly at her decadent words and returned to devour her mouth as his hands, still attached to her bottom, tightened and lifted her up. She automatically wrapped her legs around his waist and he made their way to the bedroom, bumping into a few walls and doorframes along the way as they refused to part their lips from each other so he could see. They finally crashed onto their bed, a tangle of lips and limbs and moans and groans as his body pressed her firmly into the mattress. His rock-hard cock lay along her soft folds, and as his lips moved down to suck a tight nipple into his hungry mouth she began to move her hips, dragging her wetness over him as she held his head fast to her breast. She closed her eyes and happily swam in the sensations he was causing not only with his body but with his mind. He was consumed with all things Liz, and his total immersion in her head, her heart, and soon her body gave them both the feeling of fulfillment and completion that they could only find in each others arms. His joy at belonging to her was echoed by her joy at belonging to him; their deep mutual love augmenting their physical relationship beyond mere pleasure or release. It was perfection. It was rapturous. It was Max and Liz.

Max’s hands were still on her butt, and when she began to buck against him he squeezed harder as he tried to assist her movements. “Max,” she said as she wrenched her mouth from his, “you’re hurting me.”

He immediately released his grip and his eyes filled with concern. “Oh baby, I’m so sorry.”

She ran her hand over his cheek and smiled at him reassuringly. “It’s OK, no harm done. But,” she added, her voice deepening from a rush of pleasure caused by a naughty idea, “maybe you should check me over to be sure.” She then slowly rolled away from him to lie on her stomach and turned her head to look at him over her shoulder with a lust-laced grin on her face.

He moved over her and gently ran one hand over her bottom to assure himself that he didn’t injure her, then leaned over to place a gentle kiss on each cheek. Her giggles turned to soft moans as he began to massage the sensitive area on her lower back at the end of her tailbone. He spread her legs apart a little more and knelt in between them before bending over to kiss and lick his way up her spine. When he reached her neck he brought his hands up to move her hair over one shoulder, his mouth watering at the beautiful smooth skin revealed there. As he bit down on the silky skin of her shoulder one hand skimmed down over the side of her chest and she immediately raised up slightly, resting on her forearms to allow his hands free access to the front of her body. He immediately took advantage and filled his hands with her breasts, toying with her nipples as he sucked hard along the back of her shoulder blade. Her moans grew as each bite coincided with a pinch or tug on a nipple and her hips began a rhythmic grind into the mattress on their own accord. When his body dipped slightly and his erection brushed over the top of her ass she quickly drew up on her knees and thrust back against him with a loud, low moan. He disengaged his mouth from her neck as his hands moved down to grab her hips to stabilize her and she whipped her head around to give him a definitive command.

“Now Max. Fuck me hard.”

He didn’t need to be told twice. He had been ready in the tub and was now about to explode at just the sight of her hovering low on the mattress on all fours. His hands quickly slid around to the front of her hips to brace her before entering her with a ramming thrust as he called out her name. He rode her fast and furiously, both of them moaning uncontrollably as the pleasure of their union threatened to smother them both; their names and deity’s names and unintelligible sounds filling the room as they savagely slammed into each other. Her wild response and the length of time he had been excited brought him to the brink of orgasm faster than he wanted because he knew she was not there yet. Never willing to allow himself to find satisfaction without her, he extended a finger from its resting place on her hip and found her bundle of nerves engorged and throbbing. Their frantic motion caused his hand to slip a little and his fingers slid down, inadvertently touching his cock as it plunged into her sopping core, pushing him right to the edge. Feeling his balls tighten and realizing he had little time left he pressed his finger down onto her clit and then pulled some alien magic out of his hat, seemingly sending sonic waves of ecstasy pulsing through her body from the juncture of her legs. Her body responded immediately to the intense sensations.

“Mmmmaaaaxxxx,” she wailed, “I’m cum…cumming…I’m cumming…” She continued to cry out his name as she rode out one of the longest and most exquisite climaxes of her life.

“Lizzzzz…uuuhhh…” He slammed into her one last time before flooding her with his seed, moaning in his release as it burst forth like water through a broken damn.

When his body finished convulsing he pulled out of her and fell to her side on his stomach, one arm draped over her back as they both lay nearly paralyzed in the aftermath of their explosive orgasms. A long time passed before either one was able to move, their bodies finally inching slowly toward each other until they were spooned together with his hand laying protectively over their baby.

Liz sighed deeply, completely satiated in mind, heart, and body. Just before drifting off to sleep she breathed out “I love you Max.”

He sighed happily in return as he snuggled into her back, her head tucked under his chin. “Me too,” he whispered, “so much.”


posted on 18-Jan-2003 11:33:31 PM
PART 14B

“OK,” he answered as he picked up the phone. “Hey Ria, we just walked in the door.” He filled her in on the conversation and promised to have Liz call her in the morning before hanging up and going to find his wife. She was in the bathroom filling the large tub and she smiled up at him when he entered.

“I thought I’d take a hot bath; my back is sore from the stadium seats, I think.”

“Mind if I join you?” he asked, wagging his eyebrows at her.

“Well,” she replied as she sauntered up to him and ran her hands up his chest and then wrapped them around his neck. “I do seem to recall something about you making up for evading me this morning.”

He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her more tightly against him. “Oh you do, do you?”

“Um hmm,” she said as she began to place kisses up his neck. “In fact, I believe I received a guarantee.”

“Well I certainly can’t refuse then, can I,” he breathed as her lips finally connected with his. They continued kissing as they began to undress each other slowly, enjoying some playful moments until their nakedness indicated it was tub time. Max stepped in first and then held out his hand and helped Liz to settle in comfortably before nestling his body in behind her. He picked up a bath puff, lathered it up and began washing away her aches and pains with the slow massage of his hands. He moved his mouth next to her ear and began to softly speak to her, her eyes drifting shut at the rich tones of his voice and the movements of his hands as they played over every part of her body.

“I love you.”

“You are everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”

“You are so beautiful.”

“Your skin is so soft.”

“I want to touch you everywhere.”

She whispered out “yes” after his last statement, needing to feel his amazing fingers touching her intimately, fulfilling the craving that was never completely satisfied.

He abandoned the bath puff and ran his unencumbered fingers up and down her sides as his words became more risqué. Their lovemaking had become more wanton since Liz’s pregnancy, and of late she had become more explicit in her speech and wanted the same in return from him. It turned him on as much as it obviously did her. As his hands snaked over her abdomen and finally engulfed her breasts he breathed out “I love how your breasts fill my hands so perfectly.” His fingers quickly found her sensitive nipples and he began to pinch and roll them between his nimble fingers as his gravely voice continued. “I love to play with your nipples and feel them harden because of my touch.”

“Oh,” was the only reply she could muster as she arched her body into his hands while her hands gripped the edge of the tub for stability, her head on his shoulder with her face pressed into the side of his neck. Her breathing had already become heavy as she tried to rub her thighs together to assuage the ache that was growing with each passing second. They were encased between his thighs though, making her unable to move enough to obtain any relief. She finally sputtered out a frustrated “Max,” making him smile behind her, knowing from her squirming what she wanted. He extended his tongue and let it dance up her neck and around her ear before asking, “what do you want Liz?”

“Touch me.” Her whine quickly turned into a whimper when she felt him release his hold on her legs and begin to move his hands down her body. She whimpered again when he paused at the top of her thighs and said, “touch you where Liz.”

“Inside me. I want your fingers in my pussy.”

A groan escaped him at her choice of words as his fingers moved to speedily do her bidding, and she pressed her body back into his and began to gyrate her hips, moving her heat over his hand. As she became more excited and her moans grew louder he knew he wanted to give her more- and he wanted to do it now. He removed his fingers from her passage and she made her displeasure at his action known immediately. He grabbed her around the waist and quickly turned her small body around to face him. He delighted in the hot look in her eyes, her wet hair clinging to her smoldering skin, her heaving chest before claiming her mouth in a voracious kiss. Their tongues mated as he devoured her and when he broke away they were both panting. He looked her in the eyes as his fingers dug into her hips hard before grinding out “I need to taste you Liz. Now.” He effortlessly lifted her up until her mound was level with his mouth and he buried his tongue inside her as she gasped loudly and struggled to remain standing. She leaned one arm against the tile wall for support as she bent her knees, undulating her hips as his tongue plundered her wet core, his hands still locked onto her hips to support her stance and aid her in her motions. Her other hand played with her nipples as his fire engulfed her, and her moans grew louder and louder with each twitch of his tongue. Her raspy voice suddenly rang out, begging and pleading with him as she rode his face.

“Baby please, please…make me cum…please…”

Max had to gather his own self control when he heard her, afraid he might lose it himself as he quickly looked up to find her head hanging down, eyes closed, mouth open, panting for air as she continued to whimper “make me cum…make me cum…” Seeing her like this was as thrilling to him now as it was the first time he had ever witnessed her abandon herself to sexual pleasure. Maybe even more so, because now he knew a hundred different ways to titillate and tease her, and he loved to practice them by making her lose control as often as possible.

He tunneled his tongue through her folds until he reached her clit and he felt her hand plunge into his hair to hold him fast, letting him know she was pleased with his move. He sucked it into his mouth and toyed with it vigorously until he felt her shaking legs tighten suddenly around his head. His eyes looked upward, wanting to see her in all her glory, and he wasn’t disappointed. Her head suddenly snapped back and her hair flew wildly around her as her back arched sharply, announcing her orgasm. He could feel her entire body spasm as she screamed his name, her hips continuing to grind into his mouth until her legs finally gave out from under her and she quickly slid down his body and landed heavily in his lap. As her head fell against his shoulder he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into his chest as he murmured his love and devotion to her.

When he felt her breathing returning to normal he stood and assisted her in climbing out of the tub, delighting in the way she still clung to him, as if not touching him would cause her physical pain. As he reached for a towel and began to gently dry her off, she released one hand that was wound around his neck and let it skate up and down his arm and then over the planes of his chest. He shifted slightly and his hardness brushed over her stomach reminding her of its presence. She moved her hand down, grasped it and began slowly stroking him causing his breathing to quicken as he tried to finish toweling her dry. When he looked at her heavily lidded eyes that were dripping with sexual desire he dropped the towel to the floor and grabbed her ass with both hands and passionately kissed her. All the while her hand did not stop its motion, gliding up and down faster and faster as their hunger escalated. When their lips parted for air she dragged her mouth up over his jaw and upon reaching his ear gave his member a firm stroke down and up before running her thumb over the tip in circles repeatedly, making his eyes roll shut as he drew in a sharp breath. Continuing her ministrations she whispered to him in a sultry tone, “take me to bed and fuck me Max.”

He groaned loudly at her decadent words and returned to devour her mouth as his hands, still attached to her bottom, tightened and lifted her up. She automatically wrapped her legs around his waist and he made their way to the bedroom, bumping into a few walls and doorframes along the way as they refused to part their lips from each other so he could see. They finally crashed onto their bed, a tangle of lips and limbs and moans and groans as his body pressed her firmly into the mattress. His rock-hard cock lay along her soft folds, and as his lips moved down to suck a tight nipple into his hungry mouth she began to move her hips, dragging her wetness over him as she held his head fast to her breast. She closed her eyes and happily swam in the sensations he was causing not only with his body but with his mind. He was consumed with all things Liz, and his total immersion in her head, her heart, and soon her body gave them both the feeling of fulfillment and completion that they could only find in each others arms. His joy at belonging to her was echoed by her joy at belonging to him; their deep mutual love augmenting their physical relationship beyond mere pleasure or release. It was perfection. It was rapturous. It was Max and Liz.

Max’s hands were still on her butt, and when she began to buck against him he squeezed harder as he tried to assist her movements. “Max,” she said as she wrenched her mouth from his, “you’re hurting me.”

He immediately released his grip and his eyes filled with concern. “Oh baby, I’m so sorry.”

She ran her hand over his cheek and smiled at him reassuringly. “It’s OK, no harm done. But,” she added, her voice deepening from a rush of pleasure caused by a naughty idea, “maybe you should check me over to be sure.” She then slowly rolled away from him to lie on her stomach and turned her head to look at him over her shoulder with a lust-laced grin on her face.

He moved over her and gently ran one hand over her bottom to assure himself that he didn’t injure her, then leaned over to place a gentle kiss on each cheek. Her giggles turned to soft moans as he began to massage the sensitive area on her lower back at the end of her tailbone. He spread her legs apart a little more and knelt in between them before bending over to kiss and lick his way up her spine. When he reached her neck he brought his hands up to move her hair over one shoulder, his mouth watering at the beautiful smooth skin revealed there. As he bit down on the silky skin of her shoulder one hand skimmed down over the side of her chest and she immediately raised up slightly, resting on her forearms to allow his hands free access to the front of her body. He immediately took advantage and filled his hands with her breasts, toying with her nipples as he sucked hard along the back of her shoulder blade. Her moans grew as each bite coincided with a pinch or tug on a nipple and her hips began a rhythmic grind into the mattress on their own accord. When his body dipped slightly and his erection brushed over the top of her ass she quickly drew up on her knees and thrust back against him with a loud, low moan. He disengaged his mouth from her neck as his hands moved down to grab her hips to stabilize her and she whipped her head around to give him a definitive command.

“Now Max. Fuck me hard.”

He didn’t need to be told twice. He had been ready in the tub and was now about to explode at just the sight of her hovering low on the mattress on all fours. His hands quickly slid around to the front of her hips to brace her before entering her with a ramming thrust as he called out her name. He rode her fast and furiously, both of them moaning uncontrollably as the pleasure of their union threatened to smother them both; their names and deity’s names and unintelligible sounds filling the room as they savagely slammed into each other. Her wild response and the length of time he had been excited brought him to the brink of orgasm faster than he wanted because he knew she was not there yet. Never willing to allow himself to find satisfaction without her, he extended a finger from its resting place on her hip and found her bundle of nerves engorged and throbbing. Their frantic motion caused his hand to slip a little and his fingers slid down, inadvertently touching his cock as it plunged into her sopping core, pushing him right to the edge. Feeling his balls tighten and realizing he had little time left he pressed his finger down onto her clit and then pulled some alien magic out of his hat, seemingly sending sonic waves of ecstasy pulsing through her body from the juncture of her legs. Her body responded immediately to the intense sensations.

“Mmmmaaaaxxxx,” she wailed, “I’m cum…cumming…I’m cumming…” She continued to cry out his name as she rode out one of the longest and most exquisite climaxes of her life.

“Lizzzzz…uuuhhh…” He slammed into her one last time before flooding her with his seed, moaning in his release as it burst forth like water through a broken damn.

When his body finished convulsing he pulled out of her and fell to her side on his stomach, one arm draped over her back as they both lay nearly paralyzed in the aftermath of their explosive orgasms. A long time passed before either one was able to move, their bodies finally inching slowly toward each other until they were spooned together with his hand laying protectively over their baby.

Liz sighed deeply, completely satiated in mind, heart, and body. Just before drifting off to sleep she breathed out “I love you Max.”

He sighed happily in return as he snuggled into her back, her head tucked under his chin. “Me too,” he whispered, “so much.”


posted on 18-Jan-2003 11:34:33 PM
CHAPTER 15

The sound of the falling rain roused her and a smile lit Liz’s face as she awoke in the same fashion she had every day for the past two months. Max was placing feather-light kisses on her tummy and whispering “good morning baby, Daddy loves you.” As she always did, she ran her hand lovingly through his hair and said, “Mommy loves you too,” alerting him that she was awake.

He moved back to lay even with her on the pillow and they kissed a greeting to each other while their hands began the first of the many caresses they would give each other that day. As Max ran his thumb over her cheek she looked at him like she wanted to say something before looking away shyly. Max smiled at her adoringly, amazed that after all these years she could still embody a sex kitten and a blushing school girl all in one moment. “What?” he asked.

“I…it’s just…last night…was amazing…” His smile deepened as did the blush on her cheeks as she continued. “You were incredible…what…how…did you do that?”

He leaned in and kissed her softly. “I’m glad you liked it.” More blushing. More smiling. More kissing. “Just a little something I pulled out of my magic bag of tricks,” he teased as he placed his pointer finger on the end of her nose and made it vibrate. Her eyes grew wide and she cocked her head back and grasped his hand to study it a moment before looking at him.

“Well, I think I just might need to find out what else you have in that bag of yours, Mr. Evans,” she said with a smile.

His finger quieted as he placed his hand on the back of her head and pulled her toward him for another kiss. “Anytime, Mrs. Evans,” he whispered before kissing her again. When it ended he looked at her a bit more seriously and said, “so you’re OK this morning? I thought I might have been too-“

She cut him off by placing her fingers over his mouth. “I’m fine my love. You could never hurt me Max. And besides,” she paused and her cheeks pinkened a little bit more as she replaced her fingers with her lips for a soft peck, “I like it rough sometimes.”

His eyes darkened as he recorded the heat that was now obvious in her own. “I gathered as much from what you said.”

Her face immediately turned bright red as she averted her eyes from his gaze, supremely embarrassed at his reminder of her explicit sex talk during their encounter.

He felt her shame roll through their connection and rolled her onto her back, moved over her and framed her head in his hands. He tenderly held her still as he began to brush his lips over her face. “Don’t be embarrassed baby. I’ve told you before not to hold back from me. I like it when you go wild.”

He continued to soothe her with words and caresses until he could tell she was turning into putty in his hands. He kissed her forehead, then her nose, before capturing her gaze once again. “I hope you don’t mind, but I don’t really feel like being rough right now,” he murmured before connecting with her lips. He kissed her soft and slow, running his tongue lightly around her mouth until it parted open with a sigh.

// I don’t mind one bit, // came the reply floating through his mind and mixing with the love and desire she was also sending to him.

He began to love her gently and slowly; running his lips and hands softly over her satiny smooth skin, pausing here and there to devote more attention to his favorite areas. He saved her breasts for last, cupping them with his hands and raising them up to his mouth. He took only her nipple between his lips and began to tenderly suck and gently tease it with his tongue. After moving to her other breast and gifting it with the same treatment his lips returned to hers for a long, deep kiss.

Liz’s heart was so full of love, and suddenly out of nowhere she drew an analogy between their love and a geyser- it was always there under the surface, but at any given moment it could bubble and pulsate until it burst forth in spectacular fashion, flooding everything around it. Their untamed lovemaking the previous night had been phenomenal, but his delicate caresses and tender kisses had the exact same effect on her. They filled her whole being with unquenchable love and desire for him.

A lone tear escaped the corner of her eye and its salty flavor as it made contact with his mouth made him stop and look at her to see if something was the matter. Instead he beheld a glowing Liz, her eyes and smile letting him know she was very happy.

“I love the way you love me Max. I love you.”

“Isn’t that a song?” he joked quietly before kissing her lips. “I love loving you Liz.” The sincerity in his tone was surpassed only by the love in his eyes.

They kissed again for a long time as their passion escalated, fed by their bodies continuing to brush against each other in all the right places. When he finally slid inside her they both sighed in delight, feeling the missing puzzle piece of their soul clicking into place as it did each time they joined together. Their movements were slow and deliberate until their inevitable need for completion took over and brought them to dual climaxes, washing over them with intense yet gentle waves that seemed to go on forever.

After separating they lay in each other’s arms for a long time, just listening to the rain as soft-spoken words of love and devotion fell from their lips, as numerous as the drops of water pouring from the summer sky.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

“Max? Max are you in here?” It was mid-morning on Friday and Liz was calling to her son through the apartment’s screen door. “Honey?” She slid the door open and made her way toward his room where she heard some noise. Reaching the bedroom door she was amazed at what she found him doing. Her normally neat-as-a-pin son was standing in front of his open closet pulling clothes off their hangers and inspecting them before throwing them over his shoulder. The floor was littered with his castoffs as he stood with his back to her, hands on his hips, surveying the remainder of clothing left still hanging.

“No. No. Too beachy. Too sloppy. Too dorky. No. No.”

Placing her hand over her mouth to stifle a laugh, she grinned as she watched him trying to prepare for his first real date with Jackie. This was just too cute. After a moment she cleared her throat to alert him to her presence and then said, “I thought only girls did that before a date.”

He turned and looked at her sheepishly. “Mom, I have nothing to wear.”

She allowed her laughter bubble out of her at his remark as she joined him in front of the closet and pretended to study it intently. “Hmm, I see what you mean,” she teased, looking at the empty hangers. “I guess you’ll just have to go naked.”

“Mmmooommm, I’m serious,” he whined. “I have to wear something that is decent enough for Giovanni’s.”

“Giovanni’s, good choice,” she commented on his restaurant selection. It was a small Italian place not far from the University; it wasn’t fancy but he couldn’t wear shorts either, and it was a hot day. “OK, let me see here…hmmm…well your new khaki’s would go great with this white shirt. You’ll look crisp and cool.”

Max surveyed her choices. “You don’t think I’ll look boring?”

“Honey,” she said with a beaming smile at how adorable he was being, “you won’t look boring. You’ll look clean and sleek and cool. Remember, in fashion, when you’re in doubt, less is more.”

“Less is more,” he repeated as he once again looked at the clothing she had selected. “OK, if you really think so,” he said as he looked at her for reassurance once more.

Liz couldn’t help her laughter as she stood on her tip toes and kissed his cheek. “I really think so Sweetie. You’ll look as handsome as you always do. Jackie will be swooning all over you.”

Max ran a hand nervously through his hair. “I don’t know about swooning, Mom. I just don’t want to make a fool of myself.”

Liz rested her hand on his arm as she spoke to him in the voice she always used when she knew he needed soothing. “You’re not going to be a fool Max. You are intelligent and kind and perfect and any girl in the world would be lucky to have you pay attention to her. You and Jackie are already friends- that’s the most important part of a relationship and you already have it. Just be yourself and you’ll be fine. I promise,” she said as she pulled him into a hug.

“If you say so Mom,” he replied as he hugged her back.

“I do say so and we both know I’m always right,” she joked as they pulled apart.

“I thought that was Aunt Maria’s line,” he said with a smile.

“It is but I’m right about this. Just be yourself and pay attention to her and you’ll be OK. Remember to hold the door for her and pull out her chair, and…”

// Remind him to help her in and out of the car. You always seem to like that. //

Liz giggled a little as she heard her husbands beautiful voice giving his opinion. “Your father wants me to tell you to help her in and out of the car. Oh,” she paused as she listened to his internal voice again, “he also says to relax and try to enjoy yourself.”

Her son looked at her with a perplexed expression. “I thought Dad was up at Riverton this morning.” He knew that Max had gone up to the University to obtain permanent teaching status, something he would have received six months earlier if he hadn’t spent his first semester teaching at the school as Professor Tom Lennon. Professor Lennon’s unexpected departure at the end of that semester had left the position open, but much to the University’s good fortune Dr. Elizabeth Evans’ new husband had just become a certified college-level instructor, in, of all things, the very subject they needed to fill. How serendipitous for them all! Now after a few formalities were taken care of, he would officially be a tenured Professor of Astronomy at Riverton University.

“Yeah, he’s there now,” she said, knowing that he was wondering how his father knew just what they were talking about. “Our connection seems to be getting even stronger as the baby develops. We are wide open to each other all the time now.”

“So he can even hear you when you’re talking to someone else?” Max was stunned; he knew how to listen in on thoughts and perceive feelings, but this was beyond anything he was aware they were capable of doing.

“Oh no! Geez, then we’d never get a break from each other!” she joked.

// Oh so now you want a break from me? // came her husband’s teasing retort.

// Oh I think you know better than that, // she signaled back before answering her son more clearly. “I have to concentrate and open a specific connection for him to hear someone else. We’re so open to each other it’s actually pretty easy to do. I didn’t want him to miss how cute you are being so I brought him in with us.”

Her son blushed slightly at her remark about his behavior and then he felt a presence he had come to know was his dad asking for admission to their connection. // Hi Dad. //

// Hey Max, I just wanted to remind you to bring enough money to pay for dinner. //

// I have $75, that should be enough, right? //

// That’ll be more than enough for dinner, but if you want to do anything afterward you might be short. Liz, would you mind giving him some more money? I don’t think I’m going to make it home before he leaves. //

// Dad I can go to the bank…//

// Don’t worry about it Honey, I have some mad money stashed downstairs. We don’t want our son to have to ask his date if she can help pay for dinner like some other Evans’ have done, do we Max?
// Liz’s ribbing of her husband made her son ask the obvious question.

// Dad, did you do that? //

// Not only did I do it, I did it on Valentine’s Day at the most expensive restaurant in Roswell. I was mortified. Trust me Max, it’s not an experience you want to have. Especially when you’re trying to impress a girl you really like. //

// You never needed to buy me a thing to impress me, Darling.
// Liz projected to him, receiving a wave of love and affection in return.

// OK, that’s my signal to end this conversation, // their son said, knowing all to well that his parents were about to start gushing at each other.

// OK son I’ll see you when you get home tonight then. Just try to relax and have a good time. I love you. //

// Thanks Dad. Love you too. //

// I love you too Sweetheart, hurry home,
// Liz said to her husband before turning all of her attention back to her son. “Come downstairs after you change and I’ll give you that money.”

“OK Mom, and thanks for the wardrobe help,” he said as she turned to leave so he could get ready. After about twenty minutes he was ready and went down to say goodbye to his mom, who was waiting for him cash in hand.

“Here Honey, you should have more than enough now. Drive carefully and have fun,” she said as they embraced.

“Thanks a lot Mom, I really appreciate this,” he said as he put the money in his wallet and then kissed her cheek. “OK, I guess I’ll see you later. Love you.”

“Have fun. I love you too Honey,” she said as she watched him exit the house. After fidgeting for a few minutes she found the telephone and dialed Maria’s daycare center. As soon as Maria came to the phone Liz began to babble.

“Maria Max just left to meet Jackie for registration and then he’s taking her to Giovanni’s and I want everything to go perfectly for him but what if she decides she doesn’t like him and breaks his heart I won’t be able to deal Maria he’s my baby and if she hurts him I’ll just die he seems to like her so much they’ve never gone out how does he know if he really likes her oh what do I do if he comes home upset because she’s not interested in a relationship or something I’m so nervous I can’t handle this Maria…”

Maria held the telephone out at arm’s length for a moment and stared at it before bringing it back to her ear to hear her friend still running on.

“…she could meet someone in one of her classes and dump him oh what if it’s some frat boy Max hates frat boys…”

“LIZ! Take a breath for the love of God!” Maria knew her friend wanted everything to work out for her son but lack of oxygen could not be good for the baby! “Listen to me Chica, you have to relax and realize this is not your life. You have to let Max go through all of this, as hard as that is for you. Dreaming up all of these wild scenarios is pointless and is making you a little scary, quite frankly.”

Liz took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. “I know, I’m going off the wall here. My hormones must be going crazy.”

“Well I have just the cure for that,” Maria said. “How ‘bout I take the rest of the day off and we go shopping. Everything’s quiet here so I can leave now and pick you up in twenty minutes. I need a new bathing suit and the Surf Shoppe is having a big sale. Let’s go spend some money.”

“Twenty minutes, I’ll be ready,” Liz said, up for anything that would keep her busy for a while. “Thanks Maria, you’re a Godsend.”

“Yes I am. Now you can pay me back by telling me that my butt doesn’t look huge in everything I try on.”

“You’ve got it babe,” Liz answered with a laugh. “See you soon.”

“OK. Oh and Liz? Jackie hates frat boys too.”

Liz smiled at her best friend’s comment. “Maria, have I told you lately how much I love you?”

“You’ll be doing that every time you tell me how marvelous I look in those swim suits. See you soon.” Maria laughed quietly to herself as she hung up the phone.

Liz pregnant and her son dating.

My how their world’s had changed in the past year and a half!


posted on 18-Jan-2003 11:35:38 PM
CHAPTER 16

Late Friday afternoon Jackie and Max were making their way back to the college’s parking lot after completing Jackie’s registration requirements. “My cars over here,” Max said to her as he pointed at the row in front of them.

“Do you mind if I put my stuff in my car? I don’t want to forget and leave it in yours later,” she said.

“Yeah, sure,” Max replied as he changed direction slightly and headed to where she had parked while carrying all of her orientation paperwork for her. He waited until she popped open her trunk and placed everything inside, then after shutting it he reached for her hand and led her to his own car.

Jackie was walking a half-step behind him so he couldn’t see the huge dopey grin on her face. He had taken her hand without even thinking about it, like it was such a natural thing to do. He had been doing it all day long. They were going out on their first date. After having spent the last four and a half hours together. Alone. She was on cloud nine and totally unable to control her smile muscles.

Max helped her into the car and silently thanked his father when he saw the smile on her face. ‘Guess all women do like that Dad,’ he thought to himself. Little did he know she’d been wearing that same smile all the way across the parking lot. He developed a little smile of his own as he watched her pretty sundress scootch up her leg as she settled into the seat before he closed the door and hurried around to climb in the car.

They made small talk about the University on the way to the restaurant and before they knew it they had arrived and were escorted to their table. Now that all the distractions of the day were over with and it was just the two of them alone and face-to-face, they both became nervous. Both of them hid behind their menus, studying them long enough to be able to recite what they contained from memory. After the waiter took their order they both fidgeted, the silence between them becoming slightly too long. ‘OK Max,’ he said to himself, ‘start a conversation with her. It’s not that hard. You’ve been emailing her for over two months now. Pick a subject and talk to her!’

“So Jack…” his words trailed off as he lifted his head to speak and caught sight of her. The sunlight was streaming in through the window they were seated next to and it was making the redness in her hair really stand out. It reminded him of an old movie he’d once seen where an angel appeared and his head had been surrounded in a warm, bright light. Her whole head seemed to be glowing, as if bathed in some heavenly light.

Jackie nervously wondered what he was staring at that had made him stop mid-sentence like that. Was her make-up smudged? Her clothes a mess? Did she have something between her teeth? When she couldn’t take it anymore she tried to prod him into finishing his thought by saying “yes Max?”

“Huh?”

“You started to say something but you stopped.”

He snapped back to reality and flushed as he realized he’d been caught openly gaping at her like an idiot. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said hurriedly, trying to explain himself. “It’s just…the way the sun is hi-lighting your hair makes it look like a halo. You look like an angel.” He hadn’t meant to say the last part out loud, but was very glad he had when he saw her blush profusely and a beautiful, shy smile spread across her face.

“Thank you,” she said quietly, her insides turning to jelly at his compliment.

“You’re welcome,” he replied just as softly, the two of them staring a moment longer before the waiter broke the moment by delivering the salad course to them. The arrival of the food seemed to loosen Max up somehow, so he decided to take another stab at opening up a conversation. “What I was going to say before was that I’m really glad you were able to get into that history class I’m taking. We’ll be able to study together.”

“Yeah, I am too. I still can’t believe that opening popped up right when I was trying to register. We sure had good timing with that one!”

“Yeah,” he said as a secret smile touched his lips. Little did she know that the opening was due to some alien intervention in the form of deleting one student from the roster after the registrar had informed her the class was filled. “Are you sure? Would you mind terribly checking the computer again?” he had asked sweetly, throwing in a wink to the woman who took the flattery bait hook, line, and sinker. As she checked again with him peering over her shoulder, an opening miraculously appeared. Poor Jeffrey Sales was going to have to find another history class during drop/add this semester. Too bad!

“Yeah, um, I’ve heard that the professor is really good,” Max said, getting back to the subject. “His syllabus has everything you have to read and every assignment, so if you miss a class you’ll know exactly what’s going on. And he only gives a mid-term, a final, and a team research project for grading. My friend Bob had him last semester and really liked him.”

Once the ice had been broken they were able to pass the rest of dinner much more comfortably, talking mostly about school and their families. “So did Aunt Maria tell you my dad’s big surprise?” Jackie inquired.

“No, I haven’t talked to her since last weekend. What surprise?”

“One of the lawyers he works with was supposed to go to Chicago for one of their cases but his wife had a baby six weeks early so he can’t go. My dad has to go instead so he decided to take us all too and make it a working vacation. We’re leaving on Tuesday.”

“Oh,” Max replied. “When will you get back?”

“Three days before school starts.”

“Oh,” he said again.

She smiled to herself at the dejectedness of his tone. “I’m going to take my laptop with me so I’ll email you all the boring details.”

“OK, good,” he said. He had hoped they could go out a few times before school began but this news thwarted his plans. “You should check the Mets game schedule and see if they will be playing the Sox when you’re out there. I think it would be great to see a game at Wrigley Field.”

“Actually my dad already did and they are and he did get us tickets.” She paused a second before she added quietly, “I know it won’t be as fun as last weeks game though.”

They sat smiling at each other in silence until their meal arrived. It was finished much too quickly for both of them, and when Max suggested they go to Red Bank to a cool little coffee house he knew of, Jackie readily accepted. When they arrived at their destination they found the place packed. Apparently a popular local musician was performing and there wasn’t a seat to be found, so they opted for strolling the streets of the hip little town instead. They window shopped and people watched until they found themselves in front of an ice cream shop. “Oh, this is mine and my mom’s favorite ice cream place,” Jackie told him.

“Why, do they serve only Mut fans?” Max teased, making fun of their support of the Mets again.

“No, they serve arrogant Yankee bastards, too,” she replied with wide eyes, and promptly burst into laughter at the surprised look on his face at her comment. “Oh, I’m sorry Max,” she said between giggles as she lay her hand on his arm, “but that was too easy. I couldn’t resist.”

Max looked down at her hand as she gave his forearm a squeeze and just smiled. She could call him anything she wanted to as long as she kept touching him. “Well,” he said after she calmed down, “I was going to ask you if you wanted to get some, but now…”

She looked up into his large chocolate eyes and unconsciously squeezed his arm again as she thought ‘yeah I want some’. She blushed immediately at her thought and quickly removed her hand and turned away from him so he couldn’t see her red face as she answered, “ice cream sounds good.”

“What’s your favorite flavor?” he asked as he held open the door for her, oblivious to her embarrassment.

“They make a chocolate-peanut butter cup here that’s outrageous,” she said as they headed for the counter. “What’s yours?”

“Vanilla,” he replied with a roll of his eyes that said ‘OK, abuse me now’.

“I love vanilla too but peanut butter cups are my favorite candy so I can’t resist this flavor.”

“Well vanilla is kinda a family thing; it’s my mom and dad’s favorite flavor too.” He began to chuckle before he continued. “Aunt Maria calls it a genetic defect that we all like the same boring flavor.”

They ordered their cones and then took them outside and found a park bench to sit on while they ate them and watched the passersby in comfortable silence. They also watched each other, surreptitiously stealing glances when they thought the other wouldn’t take notice. After a while he looked over at her and asked, “how’s your ice cream?”

“Ummm, it’s the best. Wanna try some?” She held out her cone toward him and he leaned over and took a bite.

“Wow, that is really good,” he commented as he sat back up licking his lips. She started giggling and the sparkle in her eyes and lilting sound of her laughter caused tingles to run down his back. Her infectious laughter caused him to start as he asked, “what’s so funny?”

“You got some on your nose,” she answered before laughing harder as she watched him cross his eyes to try to see it. “Here, let me get it,” she offered as she reached up with a napkin and dabbed at the end of his nose.

Her scent filled his senses as she leaned close to him, his eyes drifting shut briefly as he felt her body brush against his arm and he tried to imprint the moment on his memory. When he felt her pull away he opened them again to find her still inclined toward him and smiling up at him. “There, it’s all gone,” she said quietly.

“Thank you,” he murmured, staring into her eyes as his head began tilting closer to hers.

“You’re welcome,” came the soft reply as her eyes fell from his gaze and wandered down to his full lips. ‘Kiss me!’ she screamed to herself, her tongue unconsciously peeking out to moisten her own lips in hopeful anticipation.

Max’s eyes narrowed as he watched her pink tongue swipe along her mouth and he could wait no longer. He closed the short distance between them and connected their lips for a quick, soft kiss. He pulled away slightly, wanting to be sure she was OK with his actions. He saw her eyes still closed and a slight smile lighting her face just before she looked up at him, her widening smile giving him all the invitation he needed to lean back into her for more. They sat that way, holding their ice creams as they got acquainted with each other’s taste and touch until Jackie felt something cold and wet drip onto her leg, making her reluctantly part from his attentions.

“Oh no,” she said as she looked down at the ice cream that had dripped down onto her white dress. “I just bought this dress. I hope the chocolate won’t stain it,” she said as she tried to wipe the sticky mess off with a napkin.

Max watched as she tried to clean the spot knowing he could take care of it with a wave of his hand, but unfortunately he didn’t have that option. An idea occurred to him as he saw someone walk by carrying a beverage. “I’ll be right back,” he said to her as he stood before hurrying back into the ice cream shop. He returned a moment later with a bottle of water and another napkin. “I saw my mom do this once,” he said as he opened the bottle and dampened the napkin. “May I?” he politely asked, not wanting to make her uncomfortable by pawing at her clothes.

“Sure, give it a try,” she said, pleased at his eagerness to assist her. He rubbed at the spot, making a good show of working at the stain while using his powers to quickly erase it. After a moment he lifted his hand and said, “how ‘bout that, it worked.”

Jackie smiled gratefully at his handiwork as she fingered the damp material. “Wow, thanks Max. You can’t see a mark at all! I’ll have to remember that trick.”

“Your welcome. Here, I grabbed us some cups to put the rest of the ice cream in.” They flipped their melting cones over into the containers and then finished off the rest of their desserts. “That was great, thanks for suggesting it,” he said as he stood and took the empty cartons to the trashcan.

“Yeah, well Mom and I kind of have an ice cream fetish. We know every good place within fifty miles of home,” she joked as they began walking again.

Max started laughing as he replied, “sounds like my mom. Since she’s been pregnant Dad has been to the store almost every day for ice cream. And she doesn’t like to share it, either.”

Jackie laughed at the thought of Liz. “How’s your mom doing? She looked great on Sunday.”

“She’s fine as far as I can tell. I mean, I’d know if something was wrong ‘cause my dad would be completely freaking out. The way he’s always fussing over her…”

Jackie looked up at him when his words trailed off. “Does that bother you?” she asked, sensing something in his tone of voice.

“No. I’d be pissed if he wasn’t.”

“But…”

Max paused a moment before answering. “It’s just…well, if he’s paying this much attention before it’s even born…”

Jackie halted her steps and laid her hand on his arm. “Are you thinking he’s not going to have any time for you after the baby’s born?”

He looked at her sheepishly. “Pretty lame, I know. It’s just that I just got to have a father myself this past year.” He looked away from her, a bit embarrassed at his admission. “I’m being ridiculous.”

“No, not at all Max. I felt the same way. But after my sisters were born my parents, especially my dad, made a point of spending time with just me. I’ll bet your dad will do that too. And if he doesn’t you can instigate it. Make arrangements to go to a ballgame or to do something together. Don’t feel guilty about wanting to spend time with him, especially after you just got to know him.”

He looked down at her hand that was still holding on to his arm before smiling up at her gratefully. “Thanks.”

“No problem,” she said jovially, trying to lighten the mood. “And besides, with all the free time you’re going to have you’ll be able to spend more time with me.” The words flew out of her mouth without a thought, and when she realized what she had just said she closed her eyes and started mentally kicking herself for being so presumptive.

Max’s smile spread from ear to ear. “You want to spend more time with me?” he asked hopefully.

Jackie opened her eyes and took a deep breath before softly saying “yes.”

He covered her hand with his own and gave it a gentle squeeze. “That’s good, because I want to spend lots of time with you,” he said before bending down and capturing her lips, hoping to convey to her the conviction of his words.

They parted when someone accidentally bumped into them. After excusing the intruder Max turned back to her and reached out to brush back a long curl of hair that had fallen across her face. He allowed his hand to linger in her hair before cupping her cheek and brushing his thumb over her petal-soft skin, unconsciously emulating the same action he had witnessed between his parents hundreds of times. “I’d like to see you before you leave for Chicago. I have to work tomorrow but I’m off on Sunday. If you’re free maybe you can come down and we could go out on the Waverunner. A bunch of my friends are taking their boats to this little island near the inlet to hang out and barbecue and play volleyball. It should be fun.”

“Sounds great, I’d love to,” she said, her calm tone belying the back-flips she was performing in her head. “Max, what time is it?” she asked suddenly.

Max checked his watch and answered “9:45.”

She sighed disappointedly. “I hate to say this but I have to be heading home. My parents wanted me home before they went to bed so I could tell them what happened at registration. By the time we go back to get my car and I drive home…”

“It’s OK, I understand,” he interrupted, not wanting to get her in trouble and jeopardize their Sunday date. “Come on,” he said, grabbing her hand and leading her back toward where they had parked his car. When they arrived back at the college parking lot he parked behind her car and then jumped out and hurried around to open her door. ‘Score again Dad,’ he thought when he saw her smile at the gesture. He walked her over to her car and they both leaned against the door facing each other, neither wanting the night to end.

“So what time should I be at your house on Sunday,” Jackie asked.

“Um, well everyone’s meeting at Sand Island around noon, it will take us about forty-five minutes to get there on the Jet Ski, a few minutes to get over to Alex and Maria’s…how about 10:30? Is that OK for you?”

“Yeah, that’s fine; I’ll leave my house by 9:30 so I won’t be late. Should I bring anything?”

“No; I’ll put the stuff we need to bring on Bob’s boat in the morning.”

“OK then,” she said reluctantly, knowing she had to leave now. “I guess I’ll see you Sunday morning.”

“OK,” he said as he moved away from the door and closer to her. He reached out and gently placed his hands on her waist. “I had a great time today Jackie.”

“I did too,” she replied as she gazed into his eyes. “Thanks for all of your help at registration, and for dinner. For everything.”

“You’re welcome,” he whispered before allowing the magnetic pull of her lips reel him in. He immediately felt her hands sliding up his arms and then come to rest on his shoulders, encouraging him to slide his own around to her back. He thrilled at the feeling of her being completely enfolded in his arms for the first time. Her small frame seemed to fit perfectly against him, and when their mouths finally parted he leaned his forehead against hers and sighed contentedly. All the time he had spent alone had been worth it, he thought. He had always known it would take an exceptional girl to make him step out of his self-imposed dating exile, and now he had finally found her. Alien identity be damned. This felt so right.

Meanwhile Jackie was trying to control the trembling she felt in her limbs. She felt so warm, so protected in his embrace. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced. She had dated a few boys in high school casually but never had a serious relationship. This was only her first official date with Max and she already knew she felt more for him then all of the guys she had ever dated combined. The way he made her feel…special, like he felt about her the same way she felt about him. It was exciting and exhilarating and she didn’t want it to be over just yet.

“Max,” she breathed as she sought out his lips again, eager to feel the lovely caress of his mouth against hers once more. They continued kissing until a spotlight from the roving security truck shone on them briefly, but it was long enough to break them apart.

“I guess I’d better get going. My parents are waiting for me,” she reluctantly said as she stepped away from him and opened the car door. She rolled down the window as soon as she got in and he squatted down so he was eye level with her.

“So I’ll see you on Sunday,” he said.

“Sunday,” she repeated. “Thanks again for today Max. It was great.”

“Yeah, it was.” He smiled at her before leaning in and stealing one last kiss. “Drive carefully,” he added after standing up.

“You too,” she called out as he returned to his own car. She followed him out of the lot and down the highway until they had to go in separate directions. They waved at each other, both eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sunday when they would be together again.

posted on 31-Jan-2003 8:56:33 PM
CHAPTER 17

“Honey?”

“Sweetheart?”

“Darling?”

LIZ!!!!!

Her husband had been trying to get her attention as she was peering out the front door, completely ignoring him. The emphatic yell of her name finally did the trick and she answered him distractedly without turning around. “Yeah Max?”

“Do you know where the phone book is?” When he received no reply he walked over to stand behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned down to speak conspiratorially in her ear. “If you keep staring at his truck like that it might burst into flames.”

He knew exactly why she had been peeking out the windows and looking out the front door all morning. She had fallen asleep before their son had come home from his date with Jackie the previous night and she wanted to catch him before he left for work this morning. She was dying to know how everything had gone. She had been a nervous wreck all last evening, and Max had thought it was adorable- until she refused her usual 9:00 PM bowl of ice cream. Then he knew she was seriously agitated. He spent the following hour doing his best to distract her in his favorite fashion, and it had worked. She fell asleep with a smile on her face but had missed her son’s return home. Now she was perched like a cat ready to pounce on its prey, waiting for the moment her son set foot in the driveway.

“I don’t want to miss him, Max,” she said, not diverting her eyes from the small truck her son drove.

He kissed the side of her head and said, “you do realize he’s probably not going to tell you too much, right?”

She was just about to answer him when she spotted her son coming down the stairs from his apartment. She swung the door open and stepped outside, her husband tagging along behind to witness the inquisition that was about to begin. “Good morning Sweetie.”

“Hi Mom, Dad. I’m working today,” he explained as he opened his car door and threw some things inside.

“So how did it go last night?”

She wasn’t wasting any time, her husband thought wryly.

“It was good. Dinner was really good; I had that sea bass you’re always talking about and you’re right, it was great.”

“How was the rest of it? Did you have fun? Did she? What else did you do?”

“It was fun, I had a good time.”

“That’s it? A good time?” Max placed his hand on his wife’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze, trying to subtly let her know she needed to back off a bit.

“Yeah,” her son said, “we had fun. I’ve got to run or I’m going to be late. See you guys later.” He hopped into his truck and sped off, leaving a flummoxed mother and smiling father in the driveway.

Liz turned and looked at him with tear-filled eyes. “Why wouldn’t he tell me anything?”

“Oh Baby,” Max said as he enfolded her in his arms, guessing that her emotions may be more about hormones than about their son’s answers. “How much did you really expect him to tell us. How much did you tell your parents when we were dating?”

“That was a very different situation Max; he has nothing to hide from me. We’ve always told each other everything.”

He rubbed his hands up and down her back to try to soothe her. “And how much have you told him about our dating? Or our relationship?” After receiving no answer he continued. “Honey you’ve never had to deal with this situation before. I think it’s very normal for our son not to want to share every detail of his date with his parents. How many kids do you know that would do that?”

“Well…”

“I know this is hard for you Liz, but you’re going to have to give Max the privacy and space he needs if this develops into something serious. He deserves it.”

At that she promptly burst into full-blown sobs. Max tightened his hold, surprised by her outburst. He then led her back in the house to the living room where he sat down and pulled her onto his lap. His arms wrapped securely around her, holding her to his chest while she buried her face in his neck and continued to cry. “Calm down my love,” he murmured.

“How (hiccup) can I (sniffle) calm down when (hiccup) he’s going to leave me? (huge sob).”

He kissed her forehead and then lay his cheek against the top of her head as he rocked her gently. “Baby he’s not leaving you. He just went out on a date. No one is going anywhere.”

“But he will. (Hiccup). He’s going to get married and move away (sob) and I’ll only see him every other holiday (hiccup) and my grandchildren won’t know me because (sniffle) Colorado is so damn far away that I’ll never get to see them (hiccup).”

“Colorado?” he asked, perplexed at her ramblings.

“Colorado, Wyoming, California, what (sniffle) does it matter, he’ll move far away and we’ll never see him.”

Max lifted his head and then took her face in his hands, smiling sweetly at her, knowing better than to laugh at her antics. The last time he did that he swore she sprouted horns and a tail and she made him regret it big time. “Honey, Max has never said he wants to move away from us. In fact, isn’t that why he chose to go to school at Riverton? Because he didn’t want to be far from us?”

“Yeah.” (Sniffle).

“And it was just their first date. We don’t know if this is going to lead to them getting married.”

“Yeah.” (Hiccup).

“And Jackie’s entire family lives here in Jersey. Didn’t you tell me she’s very family oriented?”

“Yeah.” (Sniffle).

“So even if they did get married, the odds are that she would probably want to stay relatively close to them, right?”

“Yeah.” (Deep sigh).

“So maybe we don’t need to be so worried about Max leaving us right now.”

Liz lay her head back down on his shoulder and said in a tiny voice, “OK.”

He continued to coddle and coo to her, trying to lull her into calmness with one hand rubbing over her back as the other ran through her hair. His tender caresses and loving words were the perfect balm to her troubled spirit, and when she finally relaxed she lifted her head to look at him. “I’m sorry I freaked out.”

He leaned his forehead against hers and smiled. “It’s OK Baby. I don’t mind. In fact I kinda like calming you down. It makes me feel needed.”

She bit her lower lip but couldn’t contain her own smile. “I do need you Max. I’m lost without you. I love you.”

“And I love you.” They traded sweet kisses in between more words of adoration until Liz’s stomach announced it was time to eat. Max moved his hand down to rub over her small belly as he placed a kiss on her nose. “How ‘bout I make my two loves some breakfast. How does banana pancakes and sausage sound.”

“Mmmm, yummy. Will you draw a face on the pancakes with whipped cream for me?”

“If that’s what you want, of course,” he said as he chuckled. She was so adorable to him. “So whipped cream instead of syrup.”

“No, whipped cream and syrup please.”

“OK,” he laughed, giving her another kiss before standing them up and taking her hand to lead them into the kitchen. As he got busy making their meal the telephone rang and Liz checked the caller ID before picking it up.

“Hi Maria, how did Alex like the bathing suit?” Maria had purchased a string bikini on their shopping trip the previous day and had been nervous about Alex’s reaction to it.

“Well Chica, I needn’t have worried. I tried it on for him and let’s just say it didn’t stay on long.” They both laughed at her meaning. “He said he doesn’t want me to wear it outside of the backyard though. I think he’s afraid that I may attract too much male attention out in public!”

“Tell him at our age we’re not the ones getting wolf whistles at the beach anymore.”

“I tried that but he’s not buying it. Anyway, I called to see if you’d seen your son yet this morning. I just hung up the phone with Paula.”

“Yes and he didn’t tell me much. All I got was that he had a good time before he ran off to work. What did Paula say?”

“Well Jackie isn’t saying much either but Paula said if her mood is any indication then they had a wonderful time. She is singing to herself and has a smile from ear to ear. Oh, did he tell you that Jackie is supposed to come down here tomorrow and they’re going to spend the day out on the Waverunner?”

“No, he was running late for work so I didn’t get to talk to him much. Not that he was volunteering any information,” Liz said as she twisted the phone cord around her finger.

“Well what did you expect Liz? How many times did you come home from a date and tell your parents all about it? I know I never told my mother a damn thing.”

She chuckled as she answered, “my husband told me the same thing.”

“Well at least you know they had a good time. What? Hold on a minute Liz.” Liz waited as Maria replied to something Alex was asking. “I’m sorry to cut you off but Alex needs me to help him with something,” she said when she returned to the phone. “Do you two want to go out for dinner tonight?”

“Let me ask Max,” Liz replied, and when he agreed she said to Maria “sounds good to us. Did you have anything specific in mind, because Max said he’s in the mood for a steak from Heffer’s.”

“No, that sounds good to me and Alex loves that place so let’s go there. How about we pick you up at 6:30?”

“That’s fine, we’ll see you then. Bye Maria.” Liz hung up after Maria said goodbye and turned to Max. “Heffer’s it is Honey. They’ll be here at 6:30.”

“OK, good. Now sit down because your breakfast is ready.”

“Mmmm, it smells so good,” she said as he placed her dish heaped with pancakes in front of her. “What…” Her words trailed off as she looked at the plate. He had made a smiley face in whipped cream as she’d requested, but it was something else that made her beam with happiness. He’d written ‘Max loves Liz’ in syrup in an arc above and below the food. She leaned over gave him a peck on the cheek as he sat down next to her. “You are the sweetest thing. I love you too.”

They polished off their food and then set about their day, which culminated in a very enjoyable dinner with their best friends. When Alex pulled into their driveway to drop Max and Liz home, they found their son playing basketball with some of his friends. “Here’s your chance to find out about tomorrow Liz,” Maria said as all four adults exited the car.

“Maria don’t hound the boy for information,” Alex admonished his wife.

“I’m not hounding I’m discreetly inquiring…hey boys, how’s it going?” she called out to the young men who had paused their play.

“Hi Aunt Maria,” Max called out as he jogged over to kiss her hello.

“Hi Homer. So how was the big date last night?”

Alex rolled his eyes and muttered “she didn’t even wait thirty seconds.”

“It was fun,” Max answered as he looked at Alex, not understanding the meaning of his statement.

“It must’ve been. I talked to Paula this morning and she said Jackie is on cloud nine and very excited about coming down here tomorrow.”

“She is?” he asked hopefully, thrilled to hear that Jackie was as anxious as he to be together again.

“Oh, she is,” Maria said. “Are you going to take her out on the Waverunner?”

“Yeah, to Sand Island. A bunch of us are going for the day. I didn’t have a chance to tell you this morning,” he said as he turned and addressed his parents. “Jackie will be here around 10:30 tomorrow morning.”

“Maybe I’ll make some muffins or something in the morning and the four of us can have breakfast together,” Liz said.

“Thanks Mom, but we’ll have to leave here before eleven so I don’t think we’ll have enough time.”

“Oh, OK,” she replied, disappointed that she was to miss an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with the couple. She felt her husband’s comforting hand run up and down her back before wrapping around her waist.

// Don’t worry Sweetheart, we’re going to have plenty of time to see them together. //

Liz gave him a brief smile before looking back at their son. “Well can I make you sandwiches to take or something?”

“No thanks Mom, we’re going to barbecue. Bob’s already got a bunch of stuff ready to go, and Jim’s bringing his little hibachi grill. We’re all set.”

“OK,” she said quietly, and Max immediately pulled her into his side as he felt her emotions start to get the better of her.

“Alex, Maria, do you want to stay for coffee or a drink?” he said, trying to change the subject before Liz burst into tears for the second time that day.

“No, thanks Max, but I’m beat. I didn’t sleep too well last night. I think we’ll just get going, if that’s OK with you Maria?” Alex said to his wife.

“Of course Honey; I know you’re tired.” Maria turned and stage whispered to the group, “he was up because I made him watch ‘Trilogy of Terror’ on the late movie last night. He was hiding under the blanket for half the film.”

They all chuckled at Alex as he tried to defend himself. “Hey, have you ever seen that little Troll? He looks just like that damn doll she’s got on the bookcase in our bedroom. You try sleeping with that homicidal hairy thing staring at you and see how well you do.”

“I hate that movie too Mr. Whitman,” one of Max’s friends said. “My father has it on video and it gives me nightmares just thinking about it.” One of the other guys started laughing and said “wuss,” causing him to punch him in the arm lightly and say “shut up. That movie is beyond creepy.”

“Thank you Steve,” Alex said as he triumphantly looked at Maria, feeling totally vindicated.

“Don’t worry, I’m not watching anything scary on TV tonight. You kept me awake tossing and turning all night.” Maria turned and gave Max and Liz each a kiss goodbye. “If you guys want come over tomorrow night and we’ll throw something on the grill for dinner.”

“OK, sounds good. See you tomorrow,” they said as they bid the Whitman’s farewell. Liz turned to her son and asked hopefully, “maybe you and Jackie can join us at Maria’s for dinner tomorrow night?”

“I don’t really know what time we’ll be back Mom.”

“Oh,” came another disappointed reply.

// Son, please do me a huge favor here and throw your mom a bone. Tell her you’ll at least be there for dessert or something, OK? //

Perplexed by his father’s request, Max nevertheless said to her “I’m sure we’ll be there in time for dessert Mom. I can’t use the Jet Ski after dark anyway, so we’ll be back at Uncle Alex’s by 8 – 8:30 at the latest. Probably earlier though.”

“That would be great Max” Liz said, finally happy at his reply.

// Thank you son. I’ll explain later. //

// No problem Dad.
//

“OK, well you guys have fun tomorrow,” Max said as he guided Liz toward their front door. “Be careful.” A chorus of goodbyes was heard as they entered the house. “Well, at least you’ll see them tomorrow night,” he said as they made their way into the bedroom to change into their nightclothes.

“Yeah, thank you for that,” she said.

“What?”

“I ‘heard’ you tell him to be there for dessert.”

“You did? That’s strange; I was blocking you.”

Liz wound her arms around his waist and looked up at him. “Maybe we’re unable to block each other at all now. I guess the baby wants to hear everything his mommy and daddy have to say,” she finished as she grinned at him.

“So you’re not mad at me for telling him to do that?”

“No, it got me what I wanted. There was one interesting thing you mentioned though,” she said as she wriggled her body against his and began placing kisses around his neck and throat.

“What would that be,” he answered, quickly getting turned on by the thought of where her kisses would most likely lead.

Her hand slid down and began to caress the bulge in his pants. “Something about throwing someone a bone,” she breathed out.

“Liz…” he moaned as he plunged his hands into her hair and took her mouth in a hungry kiss. When he pulled away for a breath he looked at her in wonder. “How do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Turn me from Mr. Normal to Mr. Horny in one second?”

She giggled and smiled shyly, tickled with his question. “You are a guy Max, and you’re all the same when it comes to that. And besides,” she added as she stood on her tiptoes and tilted his head down so they would be eye-to-eye, “I think I know what pushes your buttons by now.” As she finished speaking she gently squeezed his burgeoning hardness which still lay under her hand. Once again he dove in and took her mouth, and their heated kisses and moans left no doubt in either of their minds that pajamas would be an unneeded item that night.

Just like every other night.

posted on 4-Feb-2003 5:48:31 PM
CHAPTER 18

Max jogged up the stairs to their apartment looking for his son. He found him on the deck pulling together the lifejackets and gear he and Jackie would be needing for the day. “Hey Max, need a hand?”

“Hi Dad. Yeah, you could help me carry this stuff down to the car if you don’t mind. Let me grab the beach towels.”

Max followed his son inside the apartment surveying a towel with a large tear in it. “What happened?” he asked.

“It just caught on that nail that’s sticking out of the molding on the closet door.” He lay the towel on a table and lined the ripped pieces up before waving his hand over them to mend them together. “Good as new,” he said as he looked up at his father. “You know Mom used to have me fix our clothes like this whenever one of us would rip something. And now she can do it herself,” he said, referring to Liz’s refinement of her limited powers.

Max smiled at his son. “Somehow I think she’d rather be able to create ice cream at the snap of her fingers then mend a tear,” he joked as they walked back outside. “Do you have everything you and Jackie will need?”

His son surveyed the pile of items on the picnic table. “Yeah, I think so. Oh, Dad, what was the deal with us being back at Aunt Maria’s for dessert tonight?”

“Ah yes, thanks again,” Max said as he slapped his hand on his son’s back. “Your mom is a bit emotional about you dating and-“

“Why is she upset?” his son interrupted. “I thought she liked Jackie and that this was OK with both of you.”

“She does and we are. It’s just that she realizes that you’re growing up and will eventually move out and have a life of your own and she’s having some trouble dealing with it. You’ve always been so open with each other I think it’s hard for her to accept that you’re not going to share every single thing with her anymore. Especially when it comes to you dating. You are still her little boy in her eyes Max. You always will be.”

“Uh, Dad, I love Mom but I’m not gonna tell her about dates and stuff,” the young man said, looking a bit uncomfortable at the thought.

His father laughed and shook his head. “I told her that Max. Which you can thank me for big time, by the way. I understand, just don’t shut her out of your life completely when it comes to that subject. Jackie is welcome here anytime and I know your mom would love to spend time with the both of you. Do stuff like coming to Maria and Alex’s tonight. Ease her into the idea that someone besides her is going to share your life. She’ll be OK Max, just give her some time. This is all new to her.”

“Me too,” his son muttered as he checked his watch. “Jackie should be here any minute. Would you please help me carry this stuff down?”

“Sure son,” he replied as they gathered up the gear and made their way down the stairs.

Jackie pulled her car over to the side of the road about a block from the Evans’ house to study herself in the rearview mirror. She nervously smoothed her hair and made sure no lipstick had stained her teeth before taking a deep breath to calm her excited stomach down. It had been doing flip-flops all morning long at the prospect of seeing Max again. After finishing a short pep talk with herself she started the car again and turned the corner onto the Evans' street. She parked in front of the house and walked around to the driveway where she found Max and his father loading some things into the back of Max’s truck. “Hi Max, hi Mr. Evans,” she called.

Max immediately turned toward her voice as his stomach started a little dance party of its own. ‘She looks great,’ he thought as he watched her move toward them in a pair of cut-off shorts, Mets T-shirt and a baseball cap, a small bag slung over her arm. Natural and graceful and beautiful, he thought. “Hi Jackie,” he said softly.

“Jackie, what did I tell you about calling me Uncle Max now? Mr. Evans makes me feel old!” his father said to her.

“OK, hi Uncle Max,” she said shyly.

He watched in amusement as the two young people stood stock-still and just stared at each other. ‘This must be what Maria always gives Liz and me a hard time about,’ he thought wryly. “Max, do you want to put Jackie’s bag in the car?” he prodded his son.

“Oh, yeah, I’m sorry,” he said as he reached for the small bag and placed it behind the front seat. “Um, would you like to come in for a drink or something before we go?”

“If you don’t mind I would like use the bathroom,” she replied.

“I know your Aunt Liz wants to say hi too,” Max said, raising his eyebrow at his son as if to say ‘this is the kind of thing I was talking about’. He held the door open for the two young people just as Liz was about to step outside to extend her greetings.

“I was just coming out to say hi,” she said as she kissed the young girl hello.

“Hi Aunt Liz, it’s nice to see you,” Jackie replied.

They all made polite small talk until Max said, “we’d better get going. We’ll see you guys at Aunt Maria’s tonight.” He kissed both parents goodbye and they watched as he escorted Jackie out and held open the car door for her.

“A man after my own heart,” Liz said as she squeezed her husband’s hand which lay on her shoulder.

“The car door thing is the key to a good relationship,” he joked.

“Oh, so that’s your secret, huh?” she teased as she turned and wrapped her arms around his waist.

“That and knowing where the closest ice cream store is, yeah,” he smirked in response.

“There are a few other things you’re not too bad at either,” she said as she began to walk her fingers up his chest.

“Is that so?”

“Um hmm,” she hummed as her fingers found the end of his nose and she began to lightly tap on it. “But if you want to know what they are it’s going to cost you.”

His eyes danced in merriment at her playfulness. “What if I think the price is too high?”

“Oh, I assure you the cost is very reasonable, especially for this type of information,” she said as she wrapped her arms around his neck and snuggled close to his body.

“OK, I’ll bite; what’s the price,” he said huskily, expecting to hear something provocative as an answer.

She smiled at him and slowly placed light kisses up his jaw line until she reached his ear. She paused a moment for added effect before whispering, “I want you to fix the bird fountain, paint the new trellis for the rose bushes, and weed the back garden today.”

Max stood still as he registered what she said as she began to laugh. “I bet you thought I was going to say something else, huh.”

“What makes you say that?” he said, trying to cover himself.

“Well the look on your face is my first hint,” she said as she dropped one hand down to his hardening member and squeezed him gently. “And that would be my second hint.”

“You really want me to work in the garden?” he asked, wanting to be absolutely sure he wasn’t mixing up her signals.

“Yup. Do a good job and I promise I’ll make it worth your while,” she said in a sultry tone as she continued to stroke him through his clothing.

His hand stilled her motion as he said, “then you’d better stop that or I’m not leaving this living room for awhile.”

“Sorry,” she giggled. “I’ll go put on my gardening clothes and help you with the weeding so it’ll go faster.”

“OK,” he said a bit dejectedly.

“Oh, don’t pout Baby,” she cooed. “I promise it will be worth all of your efforts.” She kissed him and added, “why don’t you go get started and I’ll be right out.”

She laughed to herself as she watched him drag himself out of the house like a little kid, clearly not wanting to do chores instead of have some fun in bed with his wife. ‘I’d better hurry up and get out there’ she thought as she quickly made her way to their bedroom to change.

As they spent their day puttering in the yard their son was immensely enjoying his time with Jackie. They had arrived at the party site a little after everyone else, so all of his friends were already there with their girlfriends. Max held her hand tightly as he introduced her to them, unconsciously marking his territory for them all to see.

“Nice to meet you Jackie,” said his friend Steve as he shook her hand. “It’s about time you brought a girl with you Evans, we were starting to think you were gay,” he joked, making Max blush with embarrassment and Jackie flush with delight at hearing that she was the first girl he’d brought around them.

“Shut up,” Max said as he punched his friend in the arm at the same time a girl on the other side of Steve swatted him.

“Shut up Steve,” she said before extending her hand to Jackie. “Hi, I’m Sarah. Please don’t pay any attention to my boyfriend; he was dropped at birth.”

“Hi Sarah, I’m Jackie, it’s nice to meet you,” she said softly as she shook her hand.

“Let me introduce you to the rest of the girls. We were just trying to get the food together while the guys got a fire going and baited the fishing poles.” Jackie looked at Max who smiled in approval and then followed the friendly girl over to the area where several large coolers stood while a group of young women tried to organize the contents. “Jackie, this is Angela, Jim’s girlfriend, and Jeannie, Bob’s girlfriend, and this is Linda, who is engaged to Matt, and this is Tess, Jim’s twin sister. Everyone, this is Max’s friend Jackie.” Jackie greeted each girl with a wave as they were introduced, and they in turn reciprocated with a friendly gesture, except for Tess who looked her up and down and simply nodded. “Here Jackie, you can help me with the drinks if you want,” Sarah said, leading her over to another large cooler. “Don’t pay attention to Tess. She’s a bit of a bitch,” Sarah said quietly with a wink.

“Oh?” Jackie said innocently.

“Yeah, um, the rest of us,” Sarah gestured inconspicuously at the other girls, “call her ‘Tess the Mess’, because she usually leaves one in her wake. We only put up with her because Jim is such a doll. She’s the evil twin. We all swear she had to be hatched ‘cause there’s no way those two came from the same set of parents.”

Jackie just giggled slightly, relieved that the cool reaction she had received wasn’t just something that she had imagined. As she helped Sarah she kept one eye on Max at all times, admiring the way his muscles rippled when he lifted something heavy or the way his cute butt filled out his shorts. She blushed silently at her thoughts and looked away to find Sarah smiling at her. “So, you and Max, huh?”

Jackie’s blush deepened as she stuttered a response. “Uh, we, um, well we’ve known each other for a really long time, uh…”

Sarah reached out to lay her hand on the nervous girl’s arm. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be nosy or make you uncomfortable.”

“No, no, it’s OK,” she replied as she tucked a wayward strand of hair behind her ear. “I just don’t…we’ve known each other for like, ten years, but we only just started…”

“I’m glad he found someone,” Sarah interrupted, trying to make her feel more at ease. “Max is a great guy. We’ve all tried to set him up at one point or another but he never seemed interested. I can tell that’s not the case with you though.”

“Really?”

“Yup. He keeps looking over at you and he has this little smile on his face.” She smiled as she observed Jackie duck her head to hide her own smile.

“So, how long have you known Max?” Jackie asked, trying to change the direction of the conversation.

“It feels like forever! We were in the same class in first grade and went to all the same schools. In high school we had a lot of classes together. He introduced me to Steve when we were juniors.”

“Oh, you two have been together since eleventh grade?”

Sarah chuckled as she answered. “Oh no. I made him wait. I was seeing someone else when we met. As soon as I broke up with him, Steve asked me out but I wouldn’t date him because I wanted my freedom. He was relentless though,” she said as her eyes followed her beau around the beach. “And if I’m honest, I liked that he was chasing after me. It made me feel wanted. It’s what made me finally say yes to a date to the senior homecoming dance. And thank God I did,” she finished, smiling brightly as he caught her eye and waved. “That is the man I’m going to marry someday,” she added dreamily.

Jackie smiled as she listened to the girl, wondering if she and Max would ever progress that far in their relationship. She watched him as he turned and began to make his way across the beach toward her, mesmerized by his graceful stride and beautiful tan body until someone stepped in front of him and blocked him from her sight. That someone was a blonde female in a bikini who reached out her hand and laid it on his chest as she drawled out “hi Max, you’re looking good.”

Still looking down into the cooler Sarah said, “I’m sorry, I’m babbling on like a fifteen year old. What…” Her words hung in the air as she looked up to see a very serious-looking Jackie staring at something. She turned to see what had caught her attention and began to shake her head. “Now you know why we call her a bitch,” she said as she grabbed something and then walked toward Max and Tess, who had her back facing Sarah. When she reached them she quickly pulled on the waistband of Tess’s bikini bottoms and dropped a piece of ice inside.

“Aaaahhh,” Tess screamed as she pulled on her bathing suit and frantically jumped around trying to remove the frigid offender.

“Max, would you help Jackie carry that cooler over by the grill?” she said winking at him as he laughed at the sight before them. When he walked away she turned back to find the heavily made-up blond glaring at her. “What?” she said innocently. “You looked like you needed to cool down Tess.”

“It’s Theresa, Sarah. You know I haven’t been called Tess since we were freshmen. And you did that on purpose.”

“You mean like you purposefully accosted Max in front of his girlfriend?”

The blond just sputtered in indignation and turned on her heel to stalk away, but not before she heard Sarah say “and the only one that doesn’t still call you Tess is you. Get over yourself.”

Sarah shook her head as she watched her leave and then turned back to look at Jackie and gave her a ‘thumb’s up’ sign. Jackie smiled widely in thanks and returned the gesture as Max reached her. “Hey,” he said as he leaned down and stole a quick kiss. “Need help with the cooler?” She could only nod in response, tickled that he felt comfortable enough with her to be affectionate in front of his friends. “So what were you and Sarah talking about?” he asked.

“Oh, she was just telling me about how she and Steve got together. She’s really nice,” Jackie answered as they lifted the cooler.

“Sarah’s the best,” he said. “We’ve known each other since first grade. She and Steve go to Riverton, too. Actually, everyone here goes to Riverton except Linda and Matt. They go to Rutgers.”

“Oh, great, maybe I’ll get to see Sarah at school then.”

“Well we usually all hang out together so I’m sure you will,” he replied, again exciting her by his assumption that they would be spending time together at the University.

The rest of the day was spent playing volleyball, fishing, and teasing Matt for his botched attempt at grilling steak. When it was finally time to leave they helped pack up the boats and then Max secured their own stuff before they said goodbye. Everyone bid them farewell, and as they turned to climb onto the Waverunner a sickeningly sweet voice called out, “Bye Max, hope to see you real soon.” They turned back to see Tess waving, a fake smile plastered on her face. “Bye June,” she added smugly.

Max’s temper flared and he automatically wound an arm around Jackie’s waist, pulling her possessively into his side. “My girlfriend’s name is Jackie, Tess, and I would appreciate you addressing her correctly.”

Jackie was mentally doing back flips around the beach at hearing him call her his girlfriend, and the properly chastised look on the blonde girl’s face made her even happier. She had to bite her lip to keep from laughing when she spied Sarah and the rest of the girls flash her another quick ‘thumb’s up’ as Max easily lifted her up and deposited her onto the seat as he muttered, “I’ve never liked that girl.”

He climbed aboard, brought the engine to life and with a final wave to the group on shore they were off. As he navigated the craft toward home he began to fret about referring to Jackie as his girlfriend. Had he been too presumptive? Would she be alarmed that he was making an assumption and moving their relationship along too quickly? Maybe she wanted to keep it casual and date other guys also. That last speculation caused him to grit his teeth. He knew he was totally enamoured with the auburn-haired beauty behind him and had no intention of sharing her with anyone. After traveling a few more minutes with that thought running through his mind he knew that he had to address the issue with her or he’d end up not being able to sleep that night. He moved the Jet Ski out of the general traffic pattern, and when it was close enough to shore for it to be safe he brought the machine to a halt and cut the engine.

“Max? Is something wrong?” Jackie asked, confused at his actions.

“Yes- no- I mean- no, nothing’s wrong, I just wanted to talk to you for a minute.”

“Oh, OK,” she said, wondering what was so important that it couldn’t wait until later.

He gingerly maneuvered his body around so that he was sitting facing her. “I just…I’m sorry that I called you my girlfriend back there, but that girl always bugs the hell out of me and I let my mouth run away from me and I didn’t want you to think that I thought…” His words trailed off when he saw the look on her face. ‘Oh shit,’ he thought to himself; ‘what did I do now.’

Jackie’s stomach had tied itself in a knot as she listened to him explain why he didn’t want her to be his girlfriend. ‘You idiot,’ she thought; ‘of course he doesn’t want a girlfriend, he can date anyone he wants. He wants to keep it casual. You shouldn’t have assumed he wanted an exclusive relationship with you. Stupid, stupid, stupid.’ Her voice came out soft and shaky and she looked away from him when she finally replied. “That’s OK Max, I understand; you’re not looking for anything serious, you want to see other people, it’s OK.”

“NO!” he exclaimed, realizing he’d given her the wrong impression. He reached out and gripped her by the waist to get her attention. “That’s not what I meant at all. That’s not what I want. I want to see you, only you. I just didn’t want you to feel like I was assuming something you didn’t want me to assume.”

“I was happy when you said that Max,” she said quietly before looking into his eyes. “I want to be your girlfriend. If that’s what you want, that is.”

“That’s exactly what I want,” he said immediately.

“So then you’d be my boyfriend,” she said, a smile blooming at the corners of her mouth.

“”Yeah,” he replied as a smile of his own spread over his face, “I guess I would be.”

“So then I guess it would be OK to do this anytime I wanted to,” she said before leaning in and kissing him soundly. When she parted from him they sat staring at each other, their happy grins saying more than words could convey.

Max finally broke the spell when he said, “I guess we should get going before it starts to get dark.” He stole another kiss before carefully turning around again and restarting the engine. As they began to move Jackie wrapped her arms tightly around his waist and lay her cheek against the back of his shoulder, snuggling against him as close as their life vests would allow.

When they arrived at the Whitman’s dock they found Maria, Alex, Max and Liz sitting on the deck enjoying the beautiful evening. After enduring Maria’s endless questioning about their day and making sure his mom was satisfied with the amount of time they had visited, they made their way back to the Evans’ as Jackie had to be getting home.

“I really wish you weren’t going to Chicago,” Max said in between goodbye kisses as they leaned against her car.

“Me too,” she breathed out before his mouth was once again on hers. It felt heavenly to be wrapped in his embrace after a wonderful day together, and as she sighed in contentment her lips parted and Max took advantage and lightly swiped his tongue over her bottom lip. She gladly granted permission to his unspoken request by doing some tasting of her own, and they began to explore each other’s mouth tentatively. Just as their kisses were growing more intense Jackie’s cell phone began ringing. “I’m sorry, I have to answer it, it might be my mom,” she said apologetically to him as she reached in her purse and pulled out the phone. Sure enough it was, and after promising her mother that she was leaving immediately they hung up. “I have to go; if I’m one minute later than she thinks I should be she’ll call the State Police,” she joked.

“OK,” he replied. “So you’ll email me from Chicago, right?”

“Every day.”

“I’m not going to see you again until school starts,” he lamented.

“I know,” she said, “but just think what a great first day of school it will be.”

He smiled as he brushed some wind-blown hair off of her face. “That’s what I like about you. You’re an optimist. You always find something good in every situation.”

“Thank you,” she said shyly. “I’m going to miss you Max.”

“I’ll miss you too,” he said before kissing her deeply, trying to let her know just how sincere his words really were. The headlights from his parents returning car separated them, and she finally climbed in her car and after a few more quick kisses through the open window she was gone. He watched until her car turned the corner before retreating up the driveway to where his parents were retrieving a large dish from the backseat of their SUV.

“Honey, Maria sent me home with the rest of the cheesecake if you want some more,” Liz said to him as she pointed at the plate in her husband’s hands.

“No thanks Mom, I’m not hungry,” he said in a subdued tone.

His parents exchanged knowing looks, aware that Jackie’s trip precluded them from seeing each other until school began. Liz reached up and caressed his cheek as she said soothingly, “don’t worry Max, the time will pass quickly, and before you know it school will be starting. Look at it this way, it will be the best first day of school ever!”

He looked at her a long moment before leaning over and dropping a kiss on her cheek. “I love you Mom.”

“I love you too, but why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because you always see the bright side of things. It’s one of the things I admire about you most.”

“Thank you Sweetie,” she said, clearly pleased at his compliment.

He kissed both his parents good night before retiring to his room, anxiously awaiting the beginning of the new semester.


posted on 12-Feb-2003 9:37:30 PM
CHAPTER 19A

“Hello Max-times-two!” Maria called out as she and Alex exited their car in the Evans’ driveway. “Why isn’t Liz helping you with that, she loves to get her hands dirty.”

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in late October, and Max and his son were busy removing the dead annuals from the garden. They paused to greet their friends and Max said, “Dad wouldn’t let her dig or lift anything. And since the flowers are in the front of the house, we can’t use any magic tricks to do it, so I got elected.”

Maria laughed at hearing about yet another thing Max wouldn’t allow Liz to do. It was a list that was growing longer by the day. “Where is she?”

“Inside,” her son said. “I’m going to take a break and get a drink, OK Dad?”

“Sounds like a good idea Max,” his father replied. “Let’s go see if your mom made that ice tea yet.”

“Uh, actually, I’m gonna go upstairs…” He didn’t finish his sentence before hurrying off, the three adults left chuckling in his wake.

“One guess what he’s going to do upstairs,” his father said.

“I’m betting it involves a telephone and my niece,” Alex said as Max nodded in agreement, “and plans for tonight.”

“Take that bet,” Max joked, “because he’s on that phone more than he’s off. I think it’s become permanently attached to his hand.”

“Well, I’m just glad it seems to be going so well for them,” Maria said, commenting on the happy state of Max and Jackie’s relationship. “If for no other reason than we get to see her so much more!” Since their happy reunion the first day of school, the two had become as inseparable as the nearly forty miles they lived apart would allow. Many weekends Jackie would stay overnight at Alex and Maria’s so that they would have more time together, and a routine had begun to develop where Max and his parents would bring breakfast over to the Whitman’s for them all to share. Liz especially appreciated the time spent with them, and the more she got to know Jackie the more she liked her. Both she and her husband were very pleased that their son was dating such a lovely young lady.

“Let’s go inside and see what my wife is up to,” Max said as he ushered Maria and Alex in the front door. As soon as they entered the large great room, Max nervously yelled out “LIZ!” and ran to the end of the room where their spacious kitchen was located.

“Oh, she’s going to get it now,” Maria said to Alex with a smirk. They had walked in to find Liz standing on a chair and reaching for a clock that hung over the sink.

“What are you doing?” Max asked as he lifted her and set her feet back down on the floor.

Liz sighed before repeating the words that had become a virtual mantra for the past few months. “I am not going to break Max. I am capable of doing things on my own.”

“You could have fallen.”

“I was just changing the clock battery Max, not dancing on the countertop.”

“The seat of the chair is slippery.”

“Max…”

“Forget it Liz, you’re not gonna win this one; accept defeat now,” Maria joked as she began pouring out four glasses of cold tea. “You’d think after five months you’d be used to it by now.”

“Look at it this way Liz,” Alex said as he accepted a beverage from his wife with a wink, “after the baby is born he’ll be so gaga he’ll probably forget all about you.”

Max leaned his forehead against hers as he rubbed her protruding belly lovingly. “Never,” he whispered.

As she always did, Liz turned to putty in his hands and she forgave him immediately. “Could you put in the new clock battery please?” she asked sweetly.

He kissed the end of her nose before replying “anything for you my love.” As he did her bidding the rest of them deposited themselves around the kitchen table just as their son walked into the kitchen in search of a drink.

“Max, is Jackie coming down tonight?” Maria asked him.

“No, I’m going up there for dinner. She wants to show me the Halloween costumes she wants us to wear to that party at Rutgers we’re going to,” he said as he rolled his eyes.

“You don’t look like you’re too thrilled with what she’s picked out,” his father said as he finished washing up from his chores and joined them.

“Well, you’ve heard of the Blue Angels, right?”

“You mean the elite Air Force fliers? Sure,” his dad answered.

“Well, she said her parents…”

His words were drowned out by Alex and Maria bursting into laughter. Max and Liz looked at them strangely as they howled, Alex beating his fist on the table as Maria fell against him. As the volume quieted Max asked, “just tell me it’s not as bad as she described, please.”

“Oh, it’s worse my boy,” Alex said, trying to calm himself down to no avail.

“I thought those costumes were great,” Maria said. “Nick and Paula won first prize for originality with them.”

“What are they?” Liz asked. “Airplane costumes?”

Her question sent their friends into more gales of laughter. “He wishes!” choked out Alex before Maria answered Liz’s question.

“No, they’re angels, you know, like from heaven, who are the color blue. A blonde, curly wig, wings on their backs, blue face make-up, a blue turtleneck…”

Alex finished her description for them as he gasped for air. “And blue tights and a tutu!”

Liz and Max joined in the giggling at that point. “Aw Honey,” Liz said, “you’ll be so cute!”

“I don’t want to be cute,” her son grumbled. “I wanted to be a vampire or something normal.”

“Welcome to the world of relationships son,” Max said as he slapped his hand on the young man’s back. “You have now officially lost the right to your own opinion.”

“And you’re completely unable to make your own decisions,” Alex threw in.

“Or dress yourself correctly,” Max added.

“Or…” Alex’s next comment was cut short by the icy stares coming from the two women seated at the table.

Max surveyed the four adults and wisely said, “I have to run to work and get my paycheck and then go to the bank before it closes,” and then hurriedly exited the room.

“Since when haven’t you had your own opinion?” Liz queried.

“And whattayamean I don’t let you make a decision,” Maria shot out at Alex.

“Well- ah- Honey…” Both men stuttered a non-response, trying not to dig themselves into an even deeper hole.

“I love you Liz,” Max said sheepishly, hoping to charm his way out of the situation.

“Me too,” Alex chimed in. Maria sat back with her arms folded across her chest and an eyebrow raised, and it took him a moment to realize what he had said. “No Honey, I mean you; I don’t love Liz, I love you.” He looked across the table at Liz and continued. “I mean, I love you Liz, but I don’t love you. I love her. I mean Maria. My wife. I love my wife Maria.”

The other three couldn’t help but laugh as Alex tripped over his words in his attempt to soothe his wife’s ruffled feathers. She reached out to pat his arm and said, “I’ll tell you what big boy, how ‘bout you and Mr. Spaceman over there take us to Shogun for dinner tonight and we’ll call it even.” Shogun was an upscale Japanese hibachi-style steakhouse both Maria and Liz loved.

“OK,” both men immediately replied, knowing when to cut their loses and run.

“We’d better go then, because you’re going to buy me those shoes I’ve been eyeballing at the mall before we go home,” Maria said pointedly.

“Yes dear,” Alex said before shooting a look at Max, who was trying to stifle a chuckle and failing.

“We’ll see you guys later,” Maria said as she pulled her husband up from his chair. “About seven?” They all agreed on the time for dinner and then the Whitman’s departed.

Max looked over at his wife cautiously. “Do you want shoes too?” he timidly joked.

Liz appeared to be deep in thought for a moment before sliding off of her chair and onto his lap, straddling his thighs and facing him. “How ‘bout a back rub instead?”

“Come here,” he said smiling as he gently pulled her forward to lie against his chest. She snuggled into him as he began rubbing her back to soothe away her aches, her sighs of satisfaction spurring him on. After a few minutes she suddenly sat up straight and stared at him with an undecipherable look. “What Babe, what’s wrong?”

Instead of answering she tugged her shirt up over her stomach, took one of his hands in hers and laid it over her exposed skin, her hand lying over the top of his. “Liz wha…” His mouth dropped open and his eyes grew wide as he became unable to speak. Beneath their hands he thought he detected- could it be? “Liz is that…is that our baby?” he whispered.

Liz nodded her head, a brilliant smile blooming as she watched the emotions displayed on her husband’s face as he experienced with her the first movements of their unborn child. The wonder and awe in his eyes thrilled her as much as feeling their baby kick for the first time. He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes, and she could feel his hand tremble as it rubbed back and forth over her tummy. “Is that the first time you’ve felt that?” he asked.

“I’ve felt him moving around a little but that’s the first time it’s been so strong,” she said as she lifted her free hand up to caress the back of his head. “It’s wonderful, isn’t it?”

“It’s…it’s…wow,” he stammered, unable to form a coherent sentence at the moment.

Liz giggled as she kissed his forehead, then his cheeks before pausing at his lips to gaze into his beautifully expressive eyes. “Yeah, it is pretty wow.”

Max fought back tears as their lips joined together in a slow, sweet cadence, celebrating the ever deepening joy that could only ever have one name in his heart.

Liz.