|posted on 6-Dec-2002 8:54:37 AM|
Thank you ChrissyP47 for this beautiful banner!!
Title: Solar Eclipse
Author: Max and Liz believer, a.k.a. Josephin
Disclaimer: You know the drill...I don’t own any of the Roswell characters, I’m just borrowing them for a while and I will return them when I’m finished.
Rating: PG-13 (I think)
Summary: Everything up to ”Max in the City” has happened. Liz is starting to get sick and no one knows what’s wrong. Simultaneously, she is haunted by nightmares - are they premonitions of the future or just dreams?
Author’s note: Okay, after reading tons of Roswell fanfic I decided to give it a try myself. So, I hope you’ll enjoy this fanfic just as much as I’ll enjoy writing it. Oh oh, and I LOVE feedback!
She could feel the distance decreasing between them, the sound of his footsteps growing nearer. He was gaining on her. Her breathing was labored and her chest ached. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep this up. But she couldn’t let him catch her…that would be the end.
He awoke with a startle. Turning on the lamp on the bedside table he worriedly scanned the room. There was nothing there. His room was the same quiet room as ever. Why did he feel like he was in danger?
A stone protruding from the ground put an end to her run and she tumbled to the ground, exhausted. She closed her eyes and waited for the end.
Unsuccessful in trying to push away his feelings of threat, he stood up from his bed and crossed the floor to check on his sister.
Someone, the person following her, turned her around as she was helplessly lying on the ground. She kept her eyes closed. She did not want to look at the man who held the same face as the man she loved more than life itself. The last thing she did in her life would not be to look into the same eyes that otherwise held so much love but now only held malice and hatred. She did not have any energy left to fight him… but she would not go without a fight, if it was the last thing she did. Groping in the dark, her bloody hands came into contact with a nose. “Just a little higher” she thought and found her target. Without a conscious thought, acting merely on survival instinct, she pressed her fingers into his eyes, feeling her nails sink deep into the vitreous body of his eyes. The man wanting her dead let out a cry in pain and released his grip on her, in order to examine the damage she had caused. Seizing the opportunity, she rolled out from underneath him and tried to stand up. But she was too weak. She could feel a numbness spreading in her body. “Nononononono” she thought on the verge on hysterics. She could not pass out know. She had to fight it. It was either that or her life. Then she felt it. The numbness in her body was being replaced with a burning pain, which started in the small of her back and started to spread throughout her whole body. It felt as if she was on fire. Her agonized cry of pain echoed in the black night.
Walking back from his sister’s room he suddenly felt an immense amount of pain in his back. He felt like he was being burned alive and he sunk to his knees with one agonizing cry, “Nooooo… Liiiiizzzz!!”
- one week earlier
“I really think you should tell him, Liz,” Maria said casting a glance in Max’s direction, sitting in his regular booth at the CrashDown Café. He was not looking her way, but was instead staring at the unfinished food at his plate in front of him.
Maria had with sadness followed the withering of Max, of Max’s soul, since Liz left him so he could fulfill his destiny. As if that was not enough, the little hope of getting Liz back that had remained in the core of Max’s heart had finally completely dissolved into nothingness when Liz had (in Max’s eyes) cheated on him with Kyle. Maria had been the closest friend to Max during the summer.
While Michael had tried to come to terms with his own destiny of being a second in command to Max he had slowly started to drift further apart from his friends, especially his human friends. He spent most of his time, when he was not working or sleeping, practicing his powers. To prepare himself for the inevitable future – a future being at war. He did not have time, or more precisely, the patience to try to convince Max that they had a destiny and it was better that he stopped sulking it all away over a girl that had obviously already started to move on.
Isabel had also started to pull away from the others. She had to deal with the fact that she in another life-time had betrayed her brother and in that basically had killed not only her brother but also Michael, Tess and herself. As if that was not enough she was practically also responsible for millions of lives that were lost in the hours, days, months and years after her betrayal to her brother.
Maria had sadly witnessed the process of the dissolving of the once hard-knitted group. Her attention was now on the petite brown-haired girl with the back turned to her behind the counter at the CrashDown, pretending to be very busy with filling the sugar dispensers.
“Liz, are you even listening to me?” Maria asked her long-time friend since Liz had yet to answer her.
“What?” Liz said and turned towards her. When Maria found herself staring into the blank dark-brown eyes of her friend, she wondered (and not for the first time) what had happened to the girl she once knew that appreciated every small thing on earth, always took time to watch out for everyone nearby – even if their intentions weren’t all good. The girl once so full of life, and love. Had she died that day on the floor of the CrashDown Café, when Max had healed her?
“You can’t continue doing this, you know”, Maria said watching Liz’s face grow more suspicious.
“What, Maria?!” she exclaimed, her voice edged with annoyance.
“I think you should talk to him…” Maria said, with her hand drifting out in the direction of Max’s booth.
“Maria…”, Liz sighed, “I talk with him every day. We’re okay, you know!”
“Liz”, Maria said and looked sternly on Liz. “You are NOT okay!”
“Maria, stop it okay! There is nothing left to discuss. He has a destiny…with Tess” Maria saw Liz eyes glaze over with sadness at the mentioning of Max’s destined mate. “We are friends, and I am happy that we can be so much. We cannot be more than that, you know that. So would you just stop it, Maria!” Liz eyes had a warning look in them…telling Maria to back off.
Maria through her hands up into the air clearly giving up.
“Why do I even try?” she said with a dramatic sigh and turned to Michael. “Hey Michael! Where’s my order?”
“You’ll get your order when it’s ready!” Michael grunted without turning to Maria.
“It is sooo revealing that you every day at least can look forward to having such wonderful, happy and optimistic couple of friends when everything else is crap…,” Maria sarcastically announced with a fake smile and turned towards the dining area to serve the new customers that had arrived.
With a tired sigh Liz leaned against the counter and held her hand to her forehead. She had been bothered by this headache all day long and it was really starting to affect her mood. She still felt him in the room. She could feel his eyes burning at the back of her head. Everyday was a torture. She was just going through the emotions, she had lost control of her life. Sure, it was great that she and Max could be friends. But they both knew that they could never just have a normal friendship. Especially not after what she had done to him. She so wanted to tell him about how the future version of him had told her to betray Max. She longed to feel his arms around her again, telling her that everything was going to be okay. As long as they were together they could do anything. But she couldn’t tell him. She would not risk the safety of her friends just so that she could have a relationship.
When she started to fill coffee into the coffee-machine she once again thought about the fact that Max and Tess did not seem to be anymore romantically involved with each other than they had been before future Max decided to pay her a visit. In some way it brought her relief that she did not have to witness Max and Tess making go-go-eyes at each other or even worse – kissing! However, at the same time it felt as if she was doing her sacrifice, living this hell, for nothing. She had succeeded in making Tess stay in Roswell, and was that not the plan…? No, of course, there was that small detail concerning the fact that future Max told her that Max had to fall out of love with her. Some days it felt as if she had succeeded in that as well. Especially when she looked into his eyes – those amber eyes – and saw the hurt, the hurt she knew she had put there, she was convinced that he could no longer love her. But then, when she was working and he sat in his regular booth watching her it was as it had been before the day of the shooting. He was still watching out for her, and the fact that he seemed to still care made her start to question how much success her betrayal really had gained.
A sudden pain in the back of her head disturbed her train of thoughts. She clenched her fists and concentrated not to groan in pain as the feeling as like a knife being inserted in the back of her head and slowly turned washed over her.
Max’s eyes once again drifted to Liz working behind the counter. He could not help himself. Even though she had hurt him more than he ever thought she would, he could not stop himself from always seeking her out. Her mere presence had a calming effect on him. Even though she was the source of most his nightmares, troubled feelings and thoughts, she still remained his sole comfort. With an almost unnoticeable shake of his head he wondered to himself how come he always came crawling back - asking for more. Maria had joined Liz behind the counter, but Liz had yet to face her. With how those two were acting it might to a stranger seem as if Maria and Liz barely knew each other, as if their relationship was purely professional. Maria was going on about something, but Liz didn’t pay her any attention. Max sadly wondered if the whole group was falling apart – collapsing like a pyramid built by a stack of cards. Even the strong friendship between Maria and Liz had started to dwindle.
Maria finally got Liz’s attention but Max sensed Liz’s annoyance more than saw it and soon Maria turned to Michael to finally with a face masked with hopelessness and a fake smile accompanying that, headed out into the dining area to collect orders again. Max continued to watch Liz. How her hair, pulled up into a ponytail, swayed from side to side with her movements. The way she moved around her work place with such easiness that spoke volumes of how well she knew her job. Max sat up a little straighter when he saw Liz lean against the counter, with her hand against her forehead. She had done that all day. Throughout the day her face been strained. Max knew with his mind that it was probably just a headache. However, his heart said that something was wrong. Liz clenched her fists, an act that was so small that it was not notice by anyone else. But it was not unnoticed by Max and he just knew he had to approach her, to see if she was okay. He rose from the booth and quickly strode over to Liz. Just then she straightened up, as if she could sense that he was approaching and stood away from the counter.
Through the pain Liz could feel him getting closer and she focused hard to repress the pain and relax. Then she straightened up and opened her eyes, which she had squeezed shut in an effort to close off the pain. She turned around and was suddenly looking deep into the concerned eyes she knew so well.
“Hay,” Max said softly while looking at her over in an attempt to convince himself that she was okay.
“Oh, hi Max,” Liz said and noticed to her disappointment that her voice trembled. She recognized the consequences of that on Max’s face as the crease of worry in his forehead deepened.
“Liz, are you okay?” Max asked, instinctively reaching over to take her hand. Liz drew her hand away from his just before he touched her and plastered a fake smile on her face.
“Yeah, Max. I’m fine,” she said.
Liz’s smile, that never truly reached her eyes, only increased his worries.
“Maybe you should take a break,” he said. He immediately realized that he had said the wrong thing feeling Liz pull away from him, shutting off her feelings and putting on a stubborn face.
“Max, I’m fine, don’t worry!” she said and as if to further emphasis just that she took the ordering book from the pocket of her apron and swished past Max to take the orders of the incoming customers. Max turned around towards her and watched her.
He could not explain how it was that since he had healed her and a connection had been made, he could sense her feelings. He could not sense her feelings all the time, only the very intense ones. Like anger, sadness…and pain. Liz had been in much pain lately - not physical pain but mostly emotional pain. She was hurt, just like he was. However, he could not thoroughly understand that. Why was she hurt? She had moved on, she had slept with Kyle for God’s sake! If that was not moving on, then what was? That could not stop him from the troubled thoughts that he felt in his heart though. His heart told him that she lied to him, and was still lying. That she was hiding something from him. He had tried to confront her about it, when they were in Copper Summit, but she was even then pulling away from him. He could feel how she was drifting further and further away from him. And the only thing he could do was just to watch it happen. He could not reach her. He had lost control over the situation. That was something that he was not used to – losing control – and he was not sure what to do. Besides, it hurt too much to think about it logically.
“Can I get you anything else?” Liz asked the mother of the family in the booth. The two children in the family were loudly (and in very whining voices) demanding ice-creams from their mother.
“No!” the mother said firmly with an irritated voice, directed at her children. “You have already eaten one ice-cream today. You will not get another one. Peter, you should have eaten more of that hamburger instead, then you would have been too full to want ice-cream!”
“But, Moooom”, the boy called Peter whined.
“I said…NO!” the mother said.
Liz patiently waited by the table for their argument to end, while feeling her headache growing worse by the minute.
“Look”, Liz said, turned to the children. “Instead of ice-cream, you can get these really cool alien dolls, would you like that?”
“I don’t play with dolls”, Peter said and turned up his nose. “That’s a girlie thing to do!”
“But these aliens are really cool”, Liz said again and bit back a cry of pain as the pain at the back of her head intensified and started spreading to other areas of her head - slowly immobilizing her. “I am certain that these aliens, that crashed on Earth – you have heard of the UFO crash, haven’t you?” Peter nodded his head. “Well, these aliens were perhaps coming to Earth in order to prepare for the war…”
“There was a war?” Peter interrupted, interest in his voice now.
“You see, on the aliens’ planet there was a war between two different races of aliens”, Liz continued with a small smile at the boy’s sudden enthusiasm, changing some minor details t the story she knew by heart. “But the king and queen came up with the plan to fly to another planet – Earth – to prepare for the war. With them the king and queen took the head of the army – the king’s second in command – and his wife. But they were followed by some of their enemies and while the king and his men were preparing on Earth, their enemies were waiting for the right opportunity to kill the king and his men.” Liz grew silent when black dots appeared in front of her eyes and the room started to spin.
Max had listened to the story with a small smile on his lips. He could not get rid of the feeling that something was very wrong with Liz and that she needed to rest or something. But seeing her interact so naturally with the boy, even though she was in pain, made him so much prouder of her.
“What happened then?” Peter asked when Liz stopped her story.
Max worriedly observed how Liz closed her eyes and how her chest fell and rose in a fashion that witnessed of labored breathing. When she swayed a little on her place, Max stepped up to her and took her gentle by her upper arm.
“Liz,” he said softly. “I think you better sit down”
When he touched her he could not only feel how unnaturally warm her skin was, but their connection was turned up and he could feel her in pain. He felt this sudden need to cradle her in his arms and carry her to her bed to force her to rest. But with their fragile friendship, he did not want to jeopardize too much of what they had rebuilt in the last couple of weeks by invading her personal space.
Without opening her eyes, she answered him, “Max… I’m soon…finished. I’m just…gonna tell…this story…., okay?” Her voice was very strained and so soft that he almost did not hear her.
“No, Liz,” Max said firmly. Hearing her voice he came to the decision that she was going to rest even if he had to force her. “I’ll go tell Maria, and she can take your customers. You need to rest!”
The mother of the children looked at the girl in front of her. She did not look well. Even her children had grown quiet and looked at the girl. The girl looked like she was ready to faint at any second. The mother was revealed when a dark-haired man had stepped up and told her to get some rest. The mother could see drops of perspiration starting to form on the girl’s forehead and she looked very flustered.
“I think she might have a fever”, the mother informed Max.
But Max did not hear her. His whole attention was focused on Liz, waiting for her reply.
“I just…need….a second….Max,” Liz said. “I…have had…this….eh..eh..headache all…day…I will…be okay…soon.”
“I’m getting Maria”, Max said not believing a word Liz said. He was really worried now. Something was definitely not right here. For two seconds his mind dealt with the conflict of leaving Liz’s side to get Maria or to stay, before he gently let go of his grip on Liz’s arm and went to get Maria.
When Liz felt Max let go of her, she felt the coldness wash over her and the dark dots behind her eyelids grew larger before she drowned in a sea of darkness.
Max sensed Liz fell before he heard her and turned around to the sight of Liz crumbling to the floor. Without a further thought he gathered her in his arms – with a small concerned thought to the fact that she was so light, too light – and quickly walked towards the back of the restaurant, heading towards Liz’s apartment.
“Max, what…” Maria began but Max just brushed past her with the pale unconscious Liz in his arms. Michael left the frying of the hamburger that was at the moment occupying him and followed Maria up to Liz’s apartment.
Max laid Liz gently on the bed and put his hand on her forehead. Before she had lost consciousness, she had been extremely hot. But now she was very cold.
“Max, what happened?” Maria asked as she came into the room.
“She fainted,” Max said without leaving Liz with his eyes. “Has she said anything about being sick?”
“No…,” Maria said. “But honestly Max, she hasn’t been eating right the last couple of weeks.”
Max pushed a strand of hair away from Liz’s forehead and silently punished himself for not noticing anything sooner. Just then Liz’s eyelids started to flutter and she slowly opened her eyes.
Liz slowly pulled herself out of the state of unconsciousness and was met by Max’s face hovering above her.
“Max…what…,” she started but Max hushed her.
“Liz…it’s okay, you fainted,” Max said, trying his best to calm Liz to stop her from making her own condition worse.
Max’s worried face did not go unnoticed by Liz but her attention was quickly diverged to her best friend who pushed Max to the side, demanding to reach Liz.
“Liz, babe… are you okay?” Maria asked
Just then, Michael stormed into the room.
“What’s going on…Max?”
“Liz fainted,” Max answered with his eyes still glued on Liz’s face, which had started to get a little more color. He had been pushed to the side by Maria, but his hand was still placed around Liz’s.
Liz was very aware of the fact that Max held her hand. She did not want him to let go of her hand so she pretended to be ignorant of the fact that Max held her hand ever so tenderly.
“Liz, you almost scared me half to death!” Maria continued. “Tell me everything is okay.”
“I’m fine, Maria” Liz said and managed to produce a small smile. “I guess the headache got the better of me.”
“You don’t faint from a headache, Liz,” Max said.
Liz looked in his direction and was for a second lost in the depths of his eyes. But then she saw the hurt hidden behind his concern for her and she quickly looked away.
“Perhaps I just need to eat something,” Liz said and tried to rise from her bed.
“Oh no you don’t, chica,” Maria said and firmly pushed Liz back. “You have to rest! I can handle the CrashDown by myself. Believe me, we do not have that many customers! Get better okay and we’re gonna have a talk later tonight, all right?”
Too tired to object, Liz weakly nodded.
“Okay…Michael come here, we have a job to take care of,” Maria said and took a strong grip on Michaels arm and half dragged him out of Liz’s room, leaving Max and Liz alone.
“Liz, Maria said you have not been eaten right,” Max said as he scooted back to his previous position, kneeling beside Liz’s bed.
“Yeah…, but you know it’s just that I’ve been so busy, you know, and I sometimes forget to eat…,” Liz said, carefully avoiding looking Max in the eyes.
“Are you sleeping okay?” Max asked, recognizing the signs on Liz from his own insomnia.
“Yes, Max…well, I have had some nightmares, but their just nightmares, you know…,” Liz said, starting to fumble with the ring on her index finger.
“What kind of nightmares,” Max asked sharply.
By the tone of his voice, Liz looked up at Max anxiously afraid he might be angry with her.
“Please don’t be angry,” she said.
Max looked confused.
“Why should I be angry?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Liz said, realizing she had misread him. “I really try to eat, but sometimes I’m just not hungry.”
Her divergence from the subject of nightmares did not work so well.
“Liz, can you tell me…about the nightmares?” Max asked gently.
Liz started to shake her head.
“There just nightmares, Max. And I don’t have them every night,” she said.
Max knew when to not push her anymore and stopped questioning her. Perhaps her nightmares were personal, like the image of Kyle and Liz in bed together that kept haunting him. Without a deliberate thought Max placed his hand on Liz’s cheek and caressed her cheek with his thumb.
When Liz felt Max’s hand she closed her eyes. The act was so full of love that it almost brought tears to her eyes. Max had been so far away since he had seen Kyle and her together and she could never dream that she should feel him like this again. But it was over very quickly, when Max realized what he had done. Liz felt the withdrawal of his hand like a slap in her face. She wrapped her arms around herself in an attempt to stop the feeling of coldness.
Max did not want to take away his hand, but he was afraid that he had crossed an invisible line. It was perhaps not as friendly act as it should have been… He saw Liz wrap her arms around her and he realized that she might be cold. She was still looking pale. He quickly rose from his position and took the blanket that laid at Liz’s feet and spread it over her.
Liz gave him a small smile of gratitude.
“Thanks,” she said.
“You just get some rest now, Liz. You need it,” Max said. Liz nodded her head and her eyes started to drift close again. Max stopped in the doorway and watched his angel fell asleep. Fighting the urge to stay with her, to wrap his arms around her to keep her warm, he left her room.
It was really dark. Even the moon was afraid to show its countenance. She hurried down the street. A cold feeling was spreading down her spine. She was being followed. When she turned the next corner she bumped into a hard body. Frightened she looked up to be met by brown eyes.
“Max,” she exclaimed surprised. But strangely she was not relieved. She still felt that she was in danger. Perhaps even more now than before.
“Liz, what are you doing here? It could be dangerous to be out so late,” Max said.
“I was just heading home,” Liz said and tried to walk past Max but he put out an arm and stopped her. Her heart slammed in her chest, her mouth went dry - all her senses were on high alert now.
“I can walk with you. You shouldn’t walk alone,” Max said.
Without looking at him, just feeling with her heart, Liz was certain that she should be afraid of Max. That he was danger.
“No really, Max I’m fine!” she said and freed herself out of his grip.
“Really Liz, it’s no problem,” Max said and put an arm around her waist.
Liz felt a sudden chilliness spread around her waist along with Max’s arm and her mind was screaming at her to get away from him.
“Okay,” she said slowly and hoped that nothing would happen if she just acted as she suspected nothing wrong.
Max twisted and turned in his bed. He could not find peace. Finally, he gave up trying and rose from his bed. He dragged a pair of jeans on and pulled a sweatshirt over his head. Having tied his shoes he climbed out his window. The night was cool and it was relaxing his senses. He took deep breaths and tried to calm his storming feelings down. As if some invisible rope had dragged him there, he found himself standing outside the CrashDown Café, looking up at Liz’s balcony.
“I’m just gonna see how she is,” Max thought and climbed the ladder to Liz’s balcony.
When he neared her window, his emotions were more and more turned up – like the volume of a radio. He looked inside and saw Liz lying in her bed. Her covers were only partly covering her, leaving her upper body free for exposure. She wore a halter top, which had slid up exposing a part of her stomach. Max thought to himself that he had never seen her anymore beautiful. But then he saw that she was clutching the edges of the covers in her small hands like it was her life-line. She was flipping her head slightly from side to side in an agonizing manner.
Without thinking, Max put his hand over the lock of the window, manipulating its molecular structure to unlock it. He slowly opened the window to not disturb Liz and slid inside as quietly as he could. Turning his back to Liz for a few seconds he closed the window and then made his way towards Liz. When he came closer he observed that she was sweating. The reddish nuance to her cheeks made her look flustered. Max kneeled beside her bed and carefully put his cool hand on her forehead, feeling for her temperature. She was hot again.
“No, please.” The plea came as a whisper over Liz’s lips. Max’s eyes wandered from her lips to her hands and the manner in which she clutched the covers. Rising a little from his kneeling position, Max tried to bend Liz’s left hand free from the grip on the covers.
“Nooo!” Liz wailed.
“Liz, calm down. It’s okay,” Max said softly to not scare her of his presence. However, she made no sign that she knew that he was there. When he got Liz’s hand to let go of the covers, the hand quickly grabbed Max’s hand and held it strongly. Max looked from the grip of her hand on his to her face and then he stretched over her to take away the other hand from the covers. When that grip as well loosened, Liz took a hold of Max’s other hand. Max now found himself in a bit compromising position. He was leaning over Liz while she held both of his hands in a death-grip. Since she was obviously frightened, he had no intention of making her let go of his hands. So he carefully laid himself down beside Liz. Laying on his side, facing Liz’s profile he had one of his arms positioned over her stomach.
Liz turned on her side, still asleep, so that she was now facing Max and in amazement Max saw how all the worried lines in Liz’s face straightened out and her erratic breathing calmed down and steadied. Letting go of one of Max’s hands but still holding the one that had been laying across her stomach she curled up against Max – positioning herself with her face in his chest. Max found himself in heaven – with his angel. Liz still felt a little too warm to be normal but to him it was absolute paradise to have Liz scooting so close to him like she wanted to crawl inside him.
A wave of exhaustion flowed over him, a result of several sleepless nights, and sleep finally claimed him.
Liz had never felt so safe before. She felt completely protected. When the clouds of sleep started to dissipate she became aware of the fact that her pillow felt very warm and it was moving up and down. She slowly opened her eyes. She did not know if she should scream, dance or cry as a response to the sight that greeted her. She had her head on a chest – a warm, secure and strong chest. Letting her eyes drift higher she found what she already suspected – that it was in fact Max (that somehow at this instance slept in her bed). Her legs were tangled with his and she was almost pinning him to the bed, having half of her body on top of Max’s, who was impersonating as her pillow.
As if sensing her sleepless state, Max slowly opened his eyes and found that his dream was in fact not only a dream but reality. He was in a bed with Liz Parker. She was now looking down on him with a sleepy expression on her face - her hair was tousled by sleep. She was the most beautiful sight he thought for himself.
When Liz saw Max opening her eyes she could not help but smile. When he had been sleeping, all the worry and concern, all the responsibilities he normally had to carry on his shoulders were washed away from his face. He looked peaceful. In the moment after he had began to wake and she could look into his eyes and it was the same eyes that she had known so long ago. They were filled with care, warmth, but most of all love. The immense feeling of love washed over her. However, then Max realized where he was and a curtain fell in his eyes. His eyes now once again held that to Liz now familiar hurt in them.
“Good morning,” Max said softly.
“Good morning,” Liz said and smiled again. Friend or not friend, her friend Max did look very sexy in the morning – and the fact that he was in bed with her, under her, did not help the matter very much. “May I ask what you are doing here?” Liz asked in a playing voice.
Max face fell.
“Mmm…I..I… was worried about you…, so I came to watch how you were doing,” Max stuttered.
“Okay…,” Liz said slowly. “How did you end up in my bed?”
Max suddenly realized that Liz was almost laying on top of him and her legs were tangled with his. He started to move about to free himself from Liz. Not that he didn’t want to stay in that position – like forever - but he didn’t want to ruin anything with Liz.
Liz understood what he was trying to do and rolled of him, feeling the coldness and emptiness the second his body left her. Max sat up and looked at the clock on Liz’s bedside table. It was seven a.m. Lucky for him it was Saturday and hopefully no parents would be storming into Liz’s room for a couple of hours yet. Liz also sat up and pulled the covers up around her, trying to warm herself up. Max - misinterpreting her actions as if she was feeling exposed - moved away from the bed and stood up.
“I…you…you had a nightmare…and I just wanted to calm you down,” Max started to explain and saw a small smile spread on Liz’s face. “You were really frightened and I just thought that if I stayed with you, you would calm down.” Max cast down his eyes, waiting for the verdict.
“Thank you,” Liz whispered softly.
Max looked up, searching her eyes.
“You’re not mad?” he asked a little surprised.
“Of course I’m not mad, Max,” Liz said. “It was really kind of you to show up…and…and take care of me, you know.” Looking down at her hands clutching the covers around her she said: “I haven’t slept that well since…since…a very long time ago.” Her mind drifted off to the time she and Max had fallen asleep outside the radio tower after they had found the orb. Even though they had been sleeping on the ground, she had never felt so good and protected as she had that night sleeping with Max’s arms around her.
Max looked away feeling a little uncomfortable. Here he was in Liz’s bedroom and he had just spent the night with her – his friend. Should a person feel this way about a friend? Looking back at Liz as she sat in her bed, nervously playing with the covers wrapped around her, with a sleepy expression on her face and her tousled he realized in that instant that she was his whole world. There would never be any other for him – it was her or no one. Her smile that had greeted him when he had opened his eyes in the morning – the first real smile she had given him in ages – had implanted some new hope in his heart. A hope that things might be okay between them.
“I guess I better get home,” Max said. “Before Isabel or my parents…or you’re parents find out that we have not…slept alone tonight.”
Liz smiled again. “I have really missed that smile,” Max thought.
“Yeah, that would probably be the best thing to do,” Liz said. “I guess I’ll see you in the CrashDown later?”
“Yeah…no wait, I have to work today,” Max said regretfully.
“Was that disappointment?” Max thought, feeling a sense of hope.
“Well, so I see you when I see you then,” Liz said and rose from her bed and started walking towards Max. “What is she doing?” Max thought.
“Thank you,” Liz said softly and rose on the tips of her toes and let her warm lips brush Max’s cheek. “Thank you for being there for me when I needed you.”
“Sure,” Max said, surprised that his voice did not tremble. “Bye Liz.”
“Bye,” Liz said and watched Max open the window, climb through and disappear down the ladder of her balcony.
She closed the window after him and sank down on the edge of her bed. She was feeling good for the first time in months. When she thought about it, she had not felt this good since before Tess came to town. It was with the arrival of Tess that everything had started to fall apart –for obvious reasons. With a sad smile she once again realized that she could never really be happy if she could not be with Max. And being with Max – in any way that was more than a friend – was not even a possibility being with Max. “It would,” she sarcastically thought when she started to prepare herself for yet another day working at the CrashDown, “mean the end of the world.”
[ edited 22time(s), last at 10-Feb-2003 8:11:36 AM ]
|posted on 6-Dec-2002 8:56:19 AM|
It had been a good day. Everything about his work had gone so much easier with the memory of Liz in the morning fresh in his mind. He would probably trade his soul to be able to wake up to that sight every day. The problem was that even though he had tried to make Liz understand that he did not care for Tess romantically, she stubbornly continued to push him towards Tess – away from Liz. Once again, Max thought that something was not right. Liz was hiding something. After this morning, Max was even more keen than ever on finding out just what she was hiding. As he saw it, that was probably the only obstacle in his way of his and Liz’s relationship. He had felt her love for him this morning – especially in the small kiss on his cheek that she had given him. The familiar electricity that had stirred inside his veins and arteries with that small kiss was enough to make him go weak in his legs. Once again, he was amazed over the power that small girl had over him.
With a small smile on his face he crossed the road outside the UFO center and entered the CrashDown. His eyes immediately sought her out. She was sitting on one of the chairs at the counter. As soon as he saw her face his smile faltered. She was pale and her hands were trembling ever so slightly in her lap. She turned her head, as if sensing his presence, and her eyes locked with his. She sent him a weak smile, which did funny things to his stomach. His protective nature kicked in full force and he purposefully strode up to her.
“Hi Liz,” he said.
“Hay Max,” she said and then it was just them in the room. Everything else around them dissolved into unimportant nothingness, becoming a blur of images. The sound around them disappeared and they were all that existed.
“Are you okay?” Max asked and tentatively brought up one of his hands and brushed a strand of hair off Liz’s forehead.
“You seem to be asking that a lot lately,” Liz pointed out.
“You have looked sick a lot lately,” Max countered. “You look pale.”
“Oh…, but I feel a lot better now actually,” Liz said and started to rise from her chair.
She actually looked better, Max noticed and moved a little so that she could stand.
From the back of the counter, Maria watched the whole scene unfold. Something was different. Max seemed to touch Liz more, in a more relaxed way and Liz did not pull away. They even did the whole Liz-and-Max-thing again - loosing themselves in each other’s eyes and completely ignoring the rest of the world. “This is a good sign,” Maria thought. “I wonder what really has happened between them since I left Liz yesterday after our little chat about eating better and looking out for ourselves…”
“Can I help you with anything?” Max asked Liz when she started to wipe off one of the tables.
She smiled at him.
“You know what Max? Me - employer, You - customer. Me – work, You – sit down and order,” she said.
“Yes, ma’am, “ Max said and with a salute and a small chuckle positioned himself at his regular booth.
Maria looked up with a I-cannot-believe-this look in her eyes. “Okay, something is definitely different here!” she thought.
“Liz! You and me babe – out there – now!” Maria ordered pointing at the door of the employers’ only room in the back.
“Maria, we’re working,” Liz started to protest.
“Oh, no no no,” Maria said wiggling her index finger in front of Liz’s face. “Don’t try that on me. We are thirty minutes from closing time and the only customers here are an old man over there and Max. I think Max can handle himself a couple of minutes, don’t you? And that old man – well, let’s just say that he’s been sitting here drinking that same cup of coffee – which by the way must be very cold by know – since three o’clock so I don’t think he is going anywhere soon.”
“Okay, okay,” Liz laughed putting up her hands in a defensive manner in front of her. She let herself be dragged out of the room into the back by Maria, while Max watched with an amused expression on his face. He did sooo not want to be in Liz’s shoes right now.
“Okay, spill!” Maria demanded as soon as they were alone.
“There’s nothing to tell,” Liz said, evasively.
“Oh, yes there is!” Maria said. “Max just chuckled, Liz - he chuckled. Do you understand the impact of that act? I have not seen our oh-so-very-uptight-control-freak Max Evans commit to any act that resembles laughter in any way in the last months. Not even a smile! And then he comes in here, after hours and hours of boring work at the UFO center I might add, and after making goo-goo eyes with you for a few minutes he suddenly chuckles. And, that’s not even the most spectacular thing with this whole phenomenon. You, Liz Parker, princess of depression these last months, makes the joke that makes Max Evans chuckle. So you, girlfriend, have on the opposite very much to tell.”
“Okay, Maria..breathe!” Liz laughed.
“And here we go again,” Maria said unable to stop a smile of her own. “Liz Parker laughs! I am shocked – outraged!”
“Sniff some cedar oil, Maria,” Liz said.
Maria just gave Liz a look that practically said “Spill or die”.
“This morning I woke up to a very strange sight,” Liz said.
“Ahaa,” Maria said a bit confused, her voice prompting Liz to give her some more information to work with than that.
“Guess who I was pinning to the bed,” Liz smiled. Maria’s eyes went so wide that Liz was afraid they might fall out of their orbits.
“You didn’t!” she said shocked to the bones of the images of a naked Max and Liz in bed together flashing through her mind.
“Nono, Maria,” Liz said quickly. “We were both fully dressed.”
“Thank God,” Maria said but she still looked very suspicious. “But what was Max Evans doing in your bedroom acting the role of your pillow?”
“According to Max, he was worried about me so he went to check on me last night,” Liz said. “I was having a nightmare and Max wanted to calm me down…”
“And just HOW did he do that, if I might ask?” Maria asked a bit accusative.
“He just held me throughout the night,” Liz said with a dreamy look on her face.
“Right, of course. It’s Max Evans we’re talking about here. The always in control, cautious Max Evans,” Maria said with a sting of jealousy while she cast a look into the direction of her non-boyfriend Michael Guerin in the act of putting out a fire in the hamburgers on the grill in front of him with his spatula.
“He was just there for me, Maria,” Liz said.
Maria watched her friend and it warmed her heart to see that a small part of that missed sparkle in Liz’s eyes had returned. She put her arms around Liz and gave her a big hug.
“I love you, Liz,” Maria said. “Even if Max decides to hurt you again, don’t forget that I will always be here for you.”
“Thanks Maria,” Liz said. “I love you too. But you know, it was I who hurt Max, not the other way around.”
“You were both hurting, Liz,” Maria said. “All because of a special person which I am not so very fond of… and we both know who I mean.”
Liz smiled at her best friend. Happy to have her support, through thick and thin.
“Now, Maria. If you are finished I have a certain gentleman expecting my service outside,” Liz said walking pass Maria, through the doors into the dining area.
”And what service might that be?” Maria mumbled. Maria observed Liz’s eyes meeting Max’s and Liz was once again lost to the outside world.
With a dreamy smile plastered on her face, Liz made her way over to Max.
“And here we go again,” Maria announced to herself.
“What happened to you?” Michael demanded in the tone of voice that was so characteristically the I-don’t-trust-anyone Michael.
“What?” Max asked confused.
“I think what Michael is trying to tell you is that there is a difference about you, Max,” Isabel said while keeping an eye on the people walking by them in the school yard.
“There’s nothing different with me,” Max said, crawling inside of his shell.
“Oh, come on Max, if even Michael notices something is different, something really is different,” Isabel said.
“Oh, it’s Liz isn’t it?” Michael said. When Max looked up sharply with a bit of …”guilty expression,” Michael thought… on his face Michael had his answer.
“Are you guys getting back together?” Isabel asked, not sure if she should be happy or not.
“No, we’re not. By the way, that’s private,” Max said and poured some more Tabasco sauce on his potato chips.
“Since when do we keep secrets from each other?” Michael asked, unconsciously repeating the exact same phrase he had said when things had gotten so intense between Max and Liz during their search for the orb.
“Michael, back off. Nothing happened, and if it did it would be none of your business,” Max said showing a bit of the latent authority that he had once held as a leader on a far off planet.
“Michael told me Liz was sick,” Isabel said. “Is she sick?”
“I don’t know,” Max said and Isabel saw how his whole face practically transformed in front of her, now becoming etched with worry. “She passed out in the CrashDown, and she told me that she had a headache. That was all. However, Saturday when I came in after work she looked pale. But after a few minutes she seemed fine again. I don’t know what’s going on with her.”
“You haven’t gotten her pregnant, have you Maxwell?” Michael asked suspiciously.
“Michael!!” both Isabel and Max exclaimed simultaneously.
“Okay, okay…wrong question,” Michael said with his hands in front of him.
Liz had felt edgy all day, and if that was not enough her headache had also returned – with full effect. She felt like someone had run over her head with a truck and all that was left was an aching mush. She was now on her way to her biology lesson – with Max. For the first time in a long time, she did not expect the worse. She did actually feel more comfortable around Max know. “Maybe sleeping in his arms does that to you,” she thought. When she neared the classroom she felt his presence getting stronger. She was still amazed by the fact that she could feel him. Like they were connected all the time. When she entered he turned his head towards her. Their eyes met and he gave her a small smile. She smiled back, but due to the pain in her head she only managed a weak one that more looked like a grimace. “Damn,” she thought when Max’s eyes glazed over with worry, “now he’s worried.” She didn’t like to worry him. He was too protective for his own good.
“Hi Max,” she said, taking her place beside him and before he could open his mouth to ask the question she knew he would ask she said, “I’m fine Max, it’s just the headache that has returned.”
“Right”, Max said and blushed a little self-consciously.
“Okay, class,” Mr. Seligman started. “Today we are going to look into the small details of the human body and look at the electric transmission of the nerves in our bodies. How do electrical impulses travel throughout our body and make us react? Well, that’s for me to know and you to find out!” He chuckled a bit at his own joke and Max turned his head towards Liz with a small smile at the lame joke. His smile quickly disappeared when he saw Liz slumped over the table with her head in her hands. Her hair flowed around her face, preventing Max from seeing her face.
“Liz, what’s wrong?” Max whispered while Mr. Seligman in the background went on about post-synaptic transmission and neurotransmitters.
Liz did not seem to hear him and Max’s worry increased.
“Liz, look at me,” Max demanded softly. When she didn’t look at him he placed a hand on her back to get her attention. He was rapidly pulled inside her mind. All around him he felt her pain, it was so intense it almost knocked him out cold. He knew that he had somehow connected with Liz and was inside her mind. But she was nowhere to be found. It was dark and cold and all that pain…
“Liz, where are you?” Max yelled blindly into the darkness.
“Max…,” came a very small reply – so soft that he almost did not hear it. Almost.
“Liz, follow my voice, come to me! I’m here. You just have to follow my voice and I will bring you into safety,” Max said.
“Max, “ her voice called again, but a little stronger this time. “Don’t leave me!”
“I won’t, Liz,” Max said, while frantically starting to search around the dark caverns of Liz’s mind. “Follow my voice, Liz, and you will come home.”
And suddenly she was there before him. But she was walking so slowly, as if every step was causing her pain. Max ran to her and swept her in his arms. She held on to him and started to cry.
“It hurts, Max,” she cried. “It hurts so much. Please, make it stop!”
Her crying almost tore his heart apart but he still remembered where their bodies were – in biology in a room full of students. It was not a good place to become unconscious in.
“Liz, you have to wake up,” Max said. “Then I will make you better, okay?”
Liz nodded and then Max found himself in the biology classroom again.
He felt the loss of the connection to Liz instantly. His loneliness clamped down on him. He looked beside him and saw into the eyes of Liz’s dark-brown. They were a bit reddened by her crying and her cheeks were wet. Max looked up at the teacher to assess the situation. Had anyone noticed that they had practically been unconscious? The teacher was still going on about synaptic transmission, now having his attention on the board where he drew nerve-endings. Looking around the classroom, Max just found the bored faces of regular high school students - staring at the board, not quite registrating what was trying to be taught to them.
“Excuse me, Mr. Seligman,” Max said while raising his hand in the air.
“Yes, Mr. Evans,” Mr. Seligman said turning towards Max.
“Liz is not feeling too well, is it okay if I take her to the nurse?” Max asked.
Mr. Seligman turned his attention to the girl sitting on the left of Max and found that she did in fact not look too well.
“Yeah, I guess that would be okay, Mr. Evans,” Mr. Seligman said.
“Thank you, Mr. Seligman,” Max said and rose from his chair. He took a strong grip around Liz’s waist to steady her when she stood and then pulled her to him to support most of her weight when they started to walk out of the classroom. Max felt all eyes on him and Liz while they walked out. Liz was oblivious to it all, except to the fact that Max’s strong arm was around her waist making her feel better by the second.
When they came out in the hallway, Max propped Liz up against a wall.
“I want to check on you, Liz,” Max said. “To see what’s wrong with you.”
“Okay,” Liz said, still feeling weak from the whole ordeal in the classroom.
“It’s probably better if we go somewhere more private,” Max said. “Like…um, the Eraser room.”
Liz subdued a smile at how cute Max looked when he in a self-conscious and embarrassed manner scratched behind his ear. Those cute ears that were protruding just a little from the sides of his head. “Okay, Liz, focus,” she scolded herself. “He asked you a question. What did he ask you…? Right, the Eraser room. I would LOVE to be in the Eraser room with him. No, stop it Liz Parker. Max is worried about you and wants to help. Nothing more…”
“Liz…,” Max asked slowly, afraid that she was getting worse.
“Oh, we should head towards the Eraser room then,” Liz said and leaned against Max again, signaling that she expected him to hold her close. Very close… “Stop it Parker,” she thought.
Max closed the door to the Eraser room and sealed the lock with his powers.
“So…,” Max walked up to Liz and put his hands under her arms, brushing along the sides of her breasts ever so slightly.
“Max, what…,” But before she could finish that sentence, Max’s strong hands had lifted her off the ground and put her on the table. She was now sitting on the table with her legs dangling in the air. Max was standing between her thighs. Liz’s heart started to pound faster in her chest and her breathing quickening. Max, noticing the change in her breathing, thought Liz’s heavy breathing was due to her health condition.
“Liz, are you all right?” he asked, worried once again.
“Yes, Max…I’m…uhm…fine,” Liz answered.
Max noticed that Liz would not meet his eyes any longer. Had he done something wrong? Then he became aware of the fact that his hands were still cradling Liz’s sides and he quickly removed them – brushing against Liz’s breast once again in the process. Certainly not unnoticed by Liz. Max felt a rush of desire surge through him and he clenched his fists by the sides of his body to calm himself down. He was not here to maul Liz Parker! When calming himself down he looked up and was met by Liz’s eyes. They were a nuance darker than usual – darker with…desire. “Oh God, that is not helping!” Max thought and stepped away from Liz a bit.
“Max…,” Liz tentatively asked.
Hearing her small voice brought him back to the situation. Liz was sick, and he was going to help her.
“Liz, just look into my eyes and let your mind go blank,” Max said. Liz nodded and Max placed both his hands on the sides of Liz’s head, cradling her head in his hands, stepping closer to her in the process.
Just as he was about to enter her mind she pulled away from him.
“What-,” he began confused and then he saw the flicker of fear in her eyes. “What’s wrong, Liz?”
“I’m better now, Max. Really,” Liz said and took up her hands around his and gently pulled them away from her face.
“Yeah, I know that. I can see that. But Liz, you were not okay five minutes ago. You were unconscious, Liz, or something worse and we need to find out what is wrong so I can heal you, so that it doesn’t happen again!” Max said while in confusion watching Liz’s eyes nervously dart around the room, looking everywhere but at him.
“It was probably just the headache, and I haven’t eaten in five hours. I’m probably dehydrated or something,” Liz said and pushed Max away from her to get enough room to slip off the table. When she landed on her feet she swayed a little, feeling that her legs were still weak. To stop herself from falling she reached out and grabbed a hold of Max’s shirt. At the same time Max reached out and steadied her with his hand around her arm.
“We have more classes, Max,” Liz continued talking so that Max wouldn’t get a chance to tell her that she was still weak and still needed to rest.
“But Liz-,” Max started but was interrupted by Liz.
“I’m fine, Max. I promise. Now, would you please unlock the door?”
Still a bit dazed with the quick turn of events, Max hesitated a moment or two before going over to the door and unlocking it. As he watched Liz - scurry out of the room and hurry down the hallway with a “see you later, Max!” - she reminded him of a prisoner that had been locked up for years and was finally set free.
Liz was terrified. Afraid that she had cancer – a tumor growing in her brain causing the headache. The pain was excruciating and it was becoming more frequent now. as if it was warning her of something – something that needed to be stopped before it was too late. Perhaps it was for the best if Max connected to her and saw what was wrong. But in the Eraser room earlier today, she had almost made the mistake of letting him connect to her. She didn’t know what he would see if he connected with her. She definitely didn’t want him to see another version of himself, an older one. She didn’t want him to see that she had faked the whole sleeping-with-Kyle thing. That would destroy everything she had worked so hard to keep in place. She could not allow Max to know. He would perhaps not understand the importance of staying away from her. It was better that she made him dislike her so that he by his own choice stayed away from her. But it felt so good to be his friend. To be close to him. She didn’t know what to do. “I’m sooo confused,” Liz thought while she buttoned up her uniform and stepped down into the diner.
“Hi guys,” Liz greeted her friends sitting in their regular booth. “What can I get you today?”
“Hi Liz,” Isabel said. “How are you feeling? Max said you had been having headaches.”
Liz carefully avoided Max’s stare and looked into Isabel’s eyes.
“Yeah, it’s just headaches, you know. Some are worse than others. It seems to help with rest though.”
“That’s good,” Isabel said while searching Liz’s face for hidden messages. However, Liz did a good job covering up – she did not show anything that she didn’t tell. Her real feelings were very well masked. The only one seeing through it was Max, feeling Liz’s exhaustion through their connection.
“I’ll just have a Men in Black Blueberry Pie,” Isabel said and watched Liz scribble it down.
“I’ll have a cherry coke,” Max said.
“Nothing else?” Liz asked.
“Liz, have you eaten anything today?” Max asked trying desperately to catch Liz’s attention as she seemed to find drawing doodles on her ordering pad of much greater interest.
“Yeah, breakfast…and then…uhmm..well, breakfast…I have eaten breakfast,” she answered without looking up.
“Why don’t you take a break and join us, Liz,” Isabel said, observing the fragile girl. She was already very thin - she probably could not handle getting any thinner.
“Oh, Isabel…I can’t… It’s like hundreds of people here and I can’t leave Maria alone with Agnes,” Liz said and looked over the dining area to confirm her words. The dining area was in fact crammed with people.
“Liz, when Maria finds out you haven’t eaten in all day, I’ll bet that she’ll be the first to force you to sit down and eat,” Max said.
Liz seem to ponder the suggestion to sit down for a while.
“Okay…let me just tell Maria,” Liz said and walked away missing Max’s big smile.
After three bites of her burger she was beginning to feel nauseous. She demonstratively pushed the plate away and began taking sips from her coke instead.
“You have to eat some more, Liz,” Max said.
“I’m feeling nauseous, Max. I can’t get another bite down,” Liz said giving Max a stubborn look that said “back off” loud and clear. “Anyway, I need to get back to work.”
Liz rose and left the booth.
Isabel looked at Max.
“Maybe you did get her pregnant,” she said, referring to what Michael had implied earlier that day.
Fortunately for Isabel, death-ray eyes was not a power possessed by Max.
“Hi, Liz,” a voice behind her said. She turned around and was met by the face of Maria’s cousin Sean.
“Oh, hi Sean,” she said casually and anew turned her look down onto her ordering pad to read the order. Other days her memory was very sharp and she could easily remember her orders, even the large ones. But now she had problem remembering even the smaller ones – like the drinks.
“How’s it going?” Sean asked, while watching how Liz in a very un-Liz-Parker way searched under the counter for the cups to fill the coke in. “Ah, Liz…they are over there by the milkshake machine,” Sean said and pointed towards the milkshake machine.
Liz looked up at him in bewilderment and turned her head towards the milkshake machine. Oh yes, there they were – in the same place as they’ve always been in.
“Oh, right,” Liz mumbled and went to fill a cup of coke.
“Are you all right, Liz?” Sean asked.
“Yeah, yeah…I’m fine,” Liz mumbled but she sounded far away – disconnected.
Sean wrinkled his forehead and took a closer look at Liz and suddenly that Max guy was at her side.
“Liz, let’s sit down for a while,” he said.
Sean observed the couple with suspicion. How did Max know that something was wrong with Liz, when he was sitting at the other end of the restaurant? Liz hadn’t even shown any signs that something was wrong.
Sean watched how Liz let herself be led out through the swinging doors by Max, into the ‘employers only’ area.
“Well, that was weird,” Sean said to himself and left the CrashDown.
“You have to stop doing this to yourself, Liz,” Max said as soon as they were alone. “You have to let me connect with you!”
“No, I can’t Max!” Liz said and with a strained expression on her face she firmly prized Max’s hands off her upper arms.
“What do you mean you can’t…?” Max started but when he saw how she was avoiding meeting his eyes it suddenly struck him what the problem was. “You are hiding something…and you are afraid that I will see what that is if I connect with you. Am I right?”
“Max, I need to get back to the CrashDown,” Liz said and tried to get to the door. But Max blocked her way with his body.
“No, Liz! This has been going on for far too long, it has to stop. And it stops now, right here!” Max said with a hint of anger in his voice.
Liz looked up into his eyes and saw that he was not kidding. He was deadly serious. How was she supposed to get out of this one?
“It’s just so personal, you know Max, and since we’re aren’t, you know,…together…anymore, I don’t feel so comfortable sharing those things with you, you know.” She was babbling and was unwillingly letting Max see her insecurities.
“Liz, this is me…,” Max began a little softer than before.
“Yeah, it’s you Max, and that’s the problem!” Liz said and met Max’s eyes with a stone glare.
“Liz, don’t play stupid! It’s better that you get healthy - even if it means that I might see some personal things,” Max said.
“Nothing’s wrong, Max,” Liz exploded and her voice was now full of anger and annoyance. “I’ve told you! It’s just a headache Max. I can’t eat proper because I’m feeling sick and I can’t sleep too well because I have nightmares! The nightmares and my lack of sleep are probably the source to why I have a headache in the first place and is feeling sick! So, just back off Max! I know that you are only trying to look out for me but it’s really starting to get on my nerves! You don’t have to pretend to care about me and be kind to me anymore! I hurt you, so that you could follow your destiny with Tess! Leave me alone and while you’re at it, just leave all us humans alone, since you are only hurting us with your presence anyway! Because we know that sooner or later we have to say goodbye to you even if you try to convince yourself of otherwise, Max! So leave me alone!”
With that she stormed out of the room, leaving a stunned Max behind her.
One of her sentences echoed in his mind, “’I hurt you, so that you could follow your destiny with Tess.’” Had she intentionally hurt him? “I have to find out what’s going on here,” Max thought and walked back into the CrashDown with a loud sigh.
She could feel his eyes on her, but she didn’t want to look up and meet his. The feeling of panic was increasing the closer they got to the CrashDown. “Max, please help me,” Liz thought. Then she realized that it was in fact Max that walked beside her. But then it hit her. That was not Max. She could not feel his presence and his eyes – those soulful eyes – did not have the same warmth as usual. Her mind reeled when she tried to figure out what was really happening. Nasedo was dead – dead! Max had told her himself that Nasedo had crumpled into dust when they had tried to heal him with the healing stones. Was there another shapeshifter? She was certain that the person beside her, with his arm around her waist, impersonating Max was NOT Max.
She could now see the CrashDown in front of her. “I’m soon home,” she thought and tried to calm herself down, but she was instead feeling an increasing sense of dread. Just then Max pushed her into one of the narrow allies. He was now standing in front of her, staring down at her with an unreadable expression in his face. That made Liz even more certain that it was not Max in front of her. His eyes were always the windows to his soul and she could always read all his emotions in them. But his eyes now sent a chill down her spine.
“How about a kiss first,” the person in front of her suggested with a wry grin on his face.
“I really need to get home, Max,” Liz said, trying to keep her voice steady. “You know how my mom gets when I’m not home in time.”
“Just one,” Max said and lowered his head towards her.
“No,” Liz said. She put up both her hands and pushed Max away from her. She then started to walk really fast. She didn’t know if she should run or not. Which was safest? To pretend that nothing was wrong and that she just wanted home or run like her life depended on it?
She didn’t have time to act on either of since she was pushed to the ground. She stopped her fall with her hands, and scraped of some of the skin in the process. Then she could feel his hot breath against her ear and she was turned around, now on her back.
“Don’t fuck with me,” the person looking like Max hissed menacingly.
“Let me go,” Liz said forcefully and tried to get his hands of her. But the strength in his body that on more occasions than she could count had made her feel secure, was no working against her. That’s when he hit her. The contact with his palm on her cheek was brief and hot, and tears started to stung her eyes. She bit back the tears threatening to fall, thinking that she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry. Without thinking she forcefully threw up her knee between his legs which made him cry out and fall backwards – away from her. She saw her chance and took it.
“You bitch…,” he mumbled while trying to control his emotions enough to stop her from escaping. She was on her feet now, running down the road. But her legs were short and the Max-look-alike was soon up on his feet taking up the hunting.
“Please…please…,” Liz desperately thought over and over again.
Max sat up in his bed, his dream still fresh in his mind. He was repeatedly haunted with his experience of the White Room. The memory of the torture was still as clear in his mind as if it had happened yesterday. He was startled by a knock on his window. Believing it was Michael he was very surprised to see Liz standing there. The rain was pouring down. She was wearing what looked like a pair of pajama pants and a tank top under a raincoat. But it was her face that caught Max’s attention. She was pale and looked petrified. She appeared to be hunted - her hunter wanting her dead.
“My God, Liz… What are you doing here?” Max said when he opened the window to let her in.
“Max…can I…can you just…can you just hold me?” Liz asked in a small voice. From where Max was standing he could see her shivering.
“Liz, come in. It’s freezing cold outside. You are all wet,” Max said and held out his hand to help her inside. Her hand was cold and wet. But her grip was firm, like she was drowning and he was her anchor. On weak legs she tried to stand, but her shivering was so violent that her legs did not hold her up. She could feel Max warm hands taking a firm grip on her arms stopping her from falling. He carefully led her to his bed.
“Wait her, Liz. I’m getting a towel and some dry clothes. Okay?” Max said and started to walk away from her. The grip of her hand on his stopped him and he turned towards her again. She was so scared.
“Don’t leave me, Max,” Liz said without noticing the tears that had started to silently trickle down her cheeks.
He kneeled in front of her and caressed her cheek with his free hand, stroking some of the tears away with his thumb.
“Liz, listen to me. I’ll be right back, okay? I’m just gonna go into the bathroom and get a towel, okay? Then I’ll be right back.” He looked into her eyes, waiting for her consent. The emotions he saw flickering through her eyes was something he would never forget and that night he promised himself that he would do anything in his power to protect her from now on – even if they only were friends. “Liz, I will not let anything happen to you. You have to trust me.”
With a small nod and the releasing of his hand Liz gave him her answer. He moved as fast as he could. Collecting a large towel from the bathroom and taking one of his T-shirts from the second drawer, he kneeled in front of her and looked her into the eyes.
“We need to get you out of those clothes, Liz” Max said. He didn’t know what had happened to her, what had made her so terrified - how she could be so scared. Whatever the reason, he would do anything in his power to make her feel safe again.
Liz nodded and brought her hands up to free herself from the raincoat. Then she stood up to remove her pajama pants. Max steadied her. Her lips were turning blue from the cold and if possible she had started to shiver even more.
Liz looked up into Max’s eyes. “I know him. This is Max,” she thought. She was so scared. It had only been a dream, but it had been so real. She could still feel how it felt to die. She could still feel the pain in her back, how she had been on fire. She realized that she was scaring Max half to death by coming here like this. But she didn’t want to be alone and she didn’t know where else to go. Max had been the natural choice. Even though it was his face that haunted her nightmare...
She was now standing in front of the boy she loved, dressed only in her underwear and a tank top. The air around her was chilly and it was making goose bumps spread, soon covering her entire body. She didn’t know what to do next. She did not wear a bra so she couldn’t just remove her tank top in front of Max, now could she. She looked up into his eyes and felt a little guilty for putting that worried expression in his eyes.
“Max…,” she said. “Could you please turn around?”
“Wha…,” Max started and then he realized why and blushed. “Yeah, sure.” When Max had turned around Liz pulled the hanker top over her head and then took the T-shirt laying beside her on the bed and pulled it over her head. The fabric was soft and smelled of Max. She closed her eyes and tried to stop the tears from falling.
“Finished?” Max asked.
“Yes,” Liz answered.
Max turned around. There she was. His goddess, sitting on the edge of his bed and wearing his T-shirt - which made her look very small and vulnerable. He took the towel and run it down her arms to take away most of the water. Then he moved the towel and started to dry her legs. His actions were so gentle it made Liz’s efforts to restrain her tears so much more difficult. When he was done, he stood up and sat down behind Liz and ran his fingers through her hair. The warmth radiated from his hands, extending from the top of her head and continuing throughout her body. She could feel how her hair was starting to dry. When he removed his hands and stood up again, Liz whispered a soft ‘Thank you’.
Max removed the covers and signaled for Liz to lie down. She crawled under the covers and watched Max as he got a blanket from his wardrobe and spread it over her. Then he crawled into bed next to her and did what she had earlier begged him to do standing outside his window.
“Come here,” he said and encircled her in his arms. She curled up close to him and felt an immense sense of relief and completion flood over her.
“What happened, Liz?” Max asked slowly, holding her closer in order to stop her shivers.
“It’s…it’s really…stupid, Max,” Liz stuttered.
“Liz…you come here in the middle of the night, in the rain, and you are in shock. Whatever happened cannot be stupid,” Max said softly.
“It was just… a nightmare,” Liz said quietly.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Max asked, while moving his arm up and down Liz’s arm to warm her up.
“Someone was hunting me and he… he…”
“What, Liz?” Max asked when she grew silent.
“He was killing me, Max,” Liz whispered. “I could feel myself dying.”
A sob escaped her throat, indicating that she had reached her breaking point and her tears started to flow freely down her cheeks. She crawled even closer to Max and he could feel her tears wetting his T-shirt.
“Shh, get some sleep, Liz,” Max hushed. “You’re safe now.”
With Max’s arms securely wrapped around her, Liz drifted off to sleep.
During their sleep Liz had turned and was now laying with her back towards Max’s chest, her body snuggled close to Max’s body with her head under his chin. In his sleep Max hands had crept under Liz’s T-shirt. The fingers of one of his hands were spread out over her ribs, while the other hand was positioned just underneath the swell of Liz’s left breast.
Liz was slowly becoming aware of her surroundings and it didn’t take her long to realize the location of one of Max’s hands. His strong grip on her body warmed the very core of her heart. Carefully, in order not to wake him, she moved one of her hands under the T-shirt and took Max’s hand, gently removing it from underneath her breast. Behind her she could feel him awakening.
“Morning,” he mumbled in her ear.
“Morning,” Liz said and lacing her fingers with his.
“I could get used to this,” Max thought as he found himself waking up beside Liz again.
“How are you feeling?” he asked.
“Well, I have a strong urge to kiss you breathless,” Liz thought, but answered, “Great, actually.”
Max, unaware of the trip his hand had taken during their sleep, smiled. He had been so afraid that something terrible had happened to her.
“How are your symptoms?” Max asked.
“My symptoms?” Liz repeated incredulously.
“Yeah, any headaches…?” Max clarified.
“Oh…well, I’m feeling just great now,” Liz said. “Actually, I felt great every since I crawled through your window last night,” Liz thought as the close proximity to Max’s body was starting to effect her body.
Max became aware of the fact that although one of his hands was held by Liz’s hand, his other hand was under her T-shirt sprawled over her ribs, the naked skin of her ribs. About the same place that he had healed her about a year ago. If he just moved his hands some inches higher he would encounter her soft… “NO. Stop it Max!” he scolded himself.
“That’s great,” he said while he stopped himself from groaning when Liz wiggled under his arms to turn to face him.
“You know what, Max?” she said as her eyes met his. “I think we do far too much talking.”
Max could see how her otherwise doe brown eyes were now almost black. He remembered when her face had looked that the last time. It had been…
Before he had time to consult more with his memories Liz’s soft lips were crashing down on his with a fierce urgency that surprised him. He could feel the familiar electricity surge through his body. She was kissing him like he was her last meal. Her tongue demanded entry into his mouth and he gladly gave it to her – deepening their kiss. Their tongues tangled together, exploring, feeling like they couldn’t get enough of each other. Max sought out every deep cavern of her mouth – not a millimeter of her mouth went unexplored. He wanted her all. Everything they had missed and desired during their weeks apart was poured into that kiss. They reluctantly broke apart, feeling the need of oxygen, but only to come crashing down on each other again two seconds and about three heavy breaths later.
When their lips hungrily sought their partner out and their tongues explored each other, their hands went on a little exploring of their own. Liz was lying on top of Max now, and her hands had slipped under his T-shirt moving over his taut muscles – feeling them ripple under her touch. One of Max’s hands were on the back of her head, urging her head closer to his, while his other hand was running up and down her back under her shirt.
Liz had never felt anything like it. This was not even anything like when they had experienced all those heightened feelings at Michael’s place before finding the orb. Up until now that had been the most erotic moment of Liz’s life. Now, she felt as if she was on fire. She was glowing from the inside and she didn’t want to stop. Instinctively she knew that she wanted to go as far with Max as she possibly could. She didn’t listen to reason anymore, she acted completely on emotions, feelings and what her heart told her.
And then the flashes hit them. All their earlier kisses flashed under their eyelids making their wants for each other intensify (if that was possible).
“Max…Max…,” she lightly moaned into his mouth. Her sounds were slowly driving Max insane. He wanted her so badly. All of her. He could feel it with every fiber of his being.
“Max…make love to me.” It was Liz’s plea that dragged him out of his desire-dazed existence. What was he doing? Liz had come and sought comfort and he decides to ravish her?
He pulled out his hand from under her shirt, released her lips and looked up into her face. She really looked ravished. Her hair was tousled, her lips were red and swollen and her breathing was quick.
“Max…what?” she asked confused trying to regain control over her emotions.
“Liz, we can’t do this,” Max said, while he himself struggled with keeping his emotions in check. It was not easy when Liz was leaning over him, straddling his upper body - with her inner thighs touching the sides of his torso and her eyes black with desire.
Liz blinked and tried to clear her mind. Unsuccessful in her task she leaned down again towards Max’s lips to do what her body was screaming at her to do.
“I know..I know,” she panted and started kissing him again.
Max was once again lost in his Liz-world. Max’s lips dropped lower and he started kissing along her neckline. In an effort to get even closer to Max, as close as she could with their pieces of clothing stopping them from becoming really intimate, Liz started to move her hips towards his now obvious arousal in an attempt to fill the void and ache in her abdomen.
“God…Liz,” Max groaned and then the alarm of the alarm clock went off.
Throwing a bucket of cold water over them had about attained the same effect as that alarm did. Startled they tore apart from each other and while the desire started to disperse, they realized where they were and how dangerously closed they were to be caught in the act by Max’s parents. Liz slowly climbed of Max, who tried to calm himself down by thinking of mud. He was highly aware of Liz sitting beside him, straightening out her hair and breathing heavily.
“You okay?” he asked her. “I didn’t mean to…”
“Max, please,” Liz said and smiled. “It’s not your fault. It was I who attacked you, remember?!”
“Right,” Max said and blushed. He looked so cute that Liz wanted to attack him all over again.
Liz cleared her throat. “Uhmm…so I guess we’re okay now?” Liz asked, referring to the fact that their ‘friendship’ had suddenly been transformed into something entirely different.
“Yeah…,” Max said slowly.
It struck Liz that they really hadn’t straightened anything out yet. She had still betrayed him - he still thought she slept with Kyle. Was this the moment to tell him?
“Look, Max. There’s something I think you should kno…”
She was interrupted by a knock on the door. By reflex she dodged under the covers hiding from anyone who decided to enter the room.
“Max, honey. Are you up?” Liz heard Mrs. Evans call.
“Don’t worry,” Liz heard Max whisper to her. “She never opens the door.”
“Yeah, mom. I’m up!” Max called back.
“Breakfast’s ready,” Mrs. Evans said.
“Okay,” Max answered and they heard the retreating sound of her steps.
Max gentle pulled down the cover that Liz had pulled over her face. Liz could feel the cover disappearing and was met by a smiling Max. “He really should smile more,” she thought.
He kissed her gentle on the forehead and the look he had in his eyes held promises of a bright future.
“Maybe you should get home,” he said. “You’re clothes are probably dry by now.”
Liz sat up so fast that she almost knocked Max over.
“Oh God Max!” she exclaimed with a look of terror in her eyes. “My parents! They never wake me up in the morning, but I am sure that they will today because I’m not gonna be there! Oh God, oh God.”
Max could do nothing than watch her with an amused grin on his face while she pulled her pajama pants up over her hips, still chanting ’oh God, oh God’ like a mantra. She left Max’s T-shirt on. She was not ready to be separated from it just yet. She pulled on the coat and run up to Max and gave him a quick kiss on the lips before with a quick ‘see you later’ she left his room through the window.
“Damn, she’s quick,” Max thought
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 6-Dec-2002 8:57:50 AM ]
|posted on 6-Dec-2002 8:58:46 AM|
She felt a prickling sensation down her spine and a feeling of dread was seeping into every cell of her body. Slowly turning her head her eyes searched the hallway. She could not find anything different or unusual. The hallway was slowly starting to fill up with the regular high school students preparing themselves for their first class of the day.
Liz shakily drew inhaled and turned back towards her locker. Setting the feeling that she was being followed apart, she had not felt this good in months. No headaches, no nausea. She had actually been able to eat a steady breakfast for the first time in a very long time. The edges of her mouth started to turn up into a smile when she could feel him coming closer.
“Hi, Max,” she greeted softly with her back still turned against him.
His strong arms encircled her small waist and she automatically leaned back against him – drawing strength and warmth from him. Her heart started to beat faster when she felt his warm moist lips on her neck and she bent her head more to the side to give him more freedom to explore. He was making his way from the top of her neck to the juncture where her neck met her shoulder (where the hem of her shirt became an obstacle). His bottom lip was slightly dragged along her skin leaving it wet from his assault. The cool air hit her skin where his lips had touched her and the contrast of the cool air against his warm lips did the most incredible things to her. She was fast become lost in the feeling and scent of Max Evans. But as fast as it had started, it was over again (at least it seemed too short time to Liz) and Max’s lips left her craving for more. He rested his chin on her shoulder and lightly touched the skin of her stomach where the hem of her shirt had ridden up.
“Hi,” Max said.
“I could really get used to this, you know,” Liz said softly. Both were completely lost to their surroundings, neither noting the fact that they were in fact standing in the middle of a high school with students talking loudly to each other around them.
“Ditto,” Max said breathing in her scent and feeling completely content. Liz was like a drug and he was an addict. She was as important to him as oxygen. They still had some things to discuss, like for instance that he was certain that she was hiding something from him. But for the moment, Max was too happy to be let into Liz’s life again. Every time the thought had struck him that he should talk to her, he had been distracted by the memory of her soft hair, her soft lips, her taste... and yeah. You get the picture. Max Evans had big concentrations issues when it came to Liz Parker.
“Hey guys! What are you up to?”
Maria eyed Max and Liz suspiciously when they broke apart from an embrace that looked…very intimate.
“Oh, hay Maria,” Liz said, her voice a little higher than usual.
“Caught in the act,” Maria thought and started to smile as she saw the guilty antics of her friends. Max stepped away from Liz, but he still held onto her hand. Liz licked her lips and pulled down her shirt to once again completely cover her flat stomach.
“So, did you do that history assignment?” Max asked while he scratched his head.
Maria had now a large smile on her face, silently laughing at them for even trying to cover this up – in such a bad way too!
“Oh, stop it!” Maria said. “You two are sooo bad! Don’t even think for a second that you can fool me that you were not doing what I thought you were doing.”
“Uhmm, what did you think we were doing, Maria?” Liz asked still acting innocent.
“Yeah, like you were not standing here in a very intimate embrace and doing God knows!” Maria said in her best you-most-be-kidding-me voice. Before Max and Liz knew what hit them, Maria squealed and started bouncing up and down, not able to contain herself anymore.
“Oh, this is sooo great! I just knew you couldn’t stay apart from each other too long. You were both so miserable – you just can’t live without each other! Oh, I gotta tell Mi..”
With a shocked expression on his face (and Maria’s babbling in the background) Max met Liz’s eyes. She just shook her head and smiled.
“Maria, Maria…Calm down!” Liz said.
“Oh, Max! I’m so happy for you!” Maria squealed again and attacked Max trapping him in a big bear hug.
Liz could not help but giggle at Max inability to free himself from Maria. Alien king or not - when dealing with Maria Deluca - and especially her over-excited state - one needs all the help one can get. Liz felt a little sorry for Max when his eyes begged her to help him. Maria finally released her poor victim, turning to Liz.
“Liz, babe! You and me. Tonight. Ice-cream.” she said, her voice leaving no room for objections.
“Okay, Maria,” Liz said feeling up to a girls’ night herself.
Maria couldn’t hide her triumphant smile. “See ya!” Maria said and headed off down the corridor.
“Wow,” Max whispered. “What was that?”
“Just Maria...being Maria,” Liz said and stretched up to lightly brush her lips over his. That light kiss did not keep it’s lightness for too long.
A tap on Max’s shoulder (unnoticed by the couple) and then a clearing of a throat (which was noted) broke them apart.
Mr. Seligman, the biology teacher, stood behind Max and eyed them with an amused expression, raising one eyebrow.
“I believe you two should be in my class in about two minutes. Maybe you should get ready.” he pointed out.
Max and Liz’s faces went red and Liz lowered her head to hide her embarrassment in Max’s shoulder.
“Yeah,” Max said and then had to clear his throat. “We’ll be right there.”
“No visits to the Eraser Room instead, okay?” Mr. Seligman said. He witnessed how Max face turned blazing red and chuckled for himself when he began his walk towards his classroom.
“Okay, that was embarrassing,” Max mumbled.
“Uh hu,” Liz nodded and left Max warm embrace.
“We should probably...”
When they started to walk towards the biology classroom their hands were automatically gravitated towards each other and an unseen sparkle was emitted at their touch when their hands were laced together.
Following from a distance was a pair of cold ice-blue eyes.
“You just wait, Your highness. Playing time will soon be over.”
“Do you have the spoons?!” Liz yelled.
“Yup!” Maria called back, grabbing two spoons from the kitchen drawer as she followed Liz up in the apartment.
“Ice-cream?!” Liz yelled and grew silent when Maria stepped out in front of her.
“Don’t worry, Liz. We’re only eating ice-cream – not planning an alien attack.” Maria winked and swished past Liz, dropping down on Liz’s bed.
“Ha ha, very funny.” Liz positioned herself beside Maria, strething out her legs on the bed, crossing them at the ancles.
“So, what do you want to talk about?” Liz asked pulling off the lid of the ice-cream.
“Uh hu, nice try,” Maria laughed. “I suspect that no one in the entire school have missed how you and a certain unearthly Max Evans have been all over each other all day. Well, perhaps my cranky non-boyfriend has missed it. Anyway, don’t think I don’t have my ways to get information. I’ve had hourly updates on the whole Max-and-Liz situation – as it nowadays is referred to, by the way – in our own lovely” Liz giggled at Maria’s sarcastic tone “ladies’ rest-room... So, what happened Liz? Less than a week ago you two were miserable and as I recall you were absolutely convinced that it was completely and utterly wrong to get involved with Max romantically again. God, you even yelled at me over it! So, give me all the tasty details!”
Liz could only laugh at her friend. Maria was so excited and curious you had to be dead not to be smitten by her emotions. Her excitement was coming off her in waves, she was almost bouncing in Liz’s bed – reminding Liz of a child on Christmas Day.
“Well, you know my nightmares...” Liz started.
“Yeah...” Maria prompted.
“They are really scary, Maria,” Liz said her voice becoming low.
At first Maria was about to start accusing her for trying to get away but then she saw how serious Liz turned and Maria became worried for her friend.
“Lizzie, are you okay?” she asked.
“You know, Max is always there for me. I feel safe with him,” Liz continued not noticing the tears sliding down her face. “When I woke up I was so scared and all I could think about was that I had to get to Max. Like my life depended on it or something, isn’t that stupid!”
Maria smiled a sad smile but Liz didn’t notice – she was looking down at the ice-cream in her hand where she absent-mindedly smoothed out the ice-cream with her spoon.
“What happened, Liz. In your dream?” Maria asked. Liz looked up and Maria’s heart broke for her friend. She could see that just thinking about the dream again was scaring her.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to Liz. We can talk about something else,” Maria said, hating to make her friend upset.
“I really think I need to talk about it and you are probably the only person I can talk about it with,” Liz said, her voice thin. Maria reached out and took Liz’s hand and Liz gave her a grateful smile.
“I have been having the same dream...nightmare for about a month now, but last night it was really...horrible,” a small sob ripped through her throat but she continued. When she finally had started talking she had to get it all off her chest. “I am being followed, Maria,” Liz said and looked Maria straight into her eyes. “It is dark and really cold and then suddenly Max is there...”
“Max?” Maria repeats surprised. “It should be a good thing that Max is in her nightmare, right? Maria thought. “He would save her from whatever monster there might be...why do I feel like he is the monster?”
Maria’s suspicions are confirmed when Liz with a trembling voice continues.
“I know that it isn’t Max. I can’t feel him.”
“You can’t feel him?” Maria asked in disbelief.
“You know that Max and I have this...connection,” Liz said.
“Yeah right, the connection,” Maria nodded, thinking that she never really understood just what their connection meant.
“Since Max healed me, or perhaps even before that, I can feel him...sense him...when he’s near. In my dream I couldn’t sense him Maria and I knew it wasn’t Max.” Liz grew quiet, her movements of the spoon growing still. Maria patiently waits for her to continue, without wanting to rush her. When Liz felt ready to continue she would.
“Max...or his look-alike...wants to follow me home,” Liz draws a trembling breath, ”I let him follow me home, because I think that if he believes that I don’t suspect anything he won’t do anything. Suddenly he is dragging me inside this...alley and he tries ki...kissing me. I push him away and then I’m on the ground and he’s trying to... I don’t know what he’s trying to do. But I get away and start running. But he is so fast, Maria, he is so fast,” Liz is openly crying now, “and I fall and then I’m being burned alive. He’s killing me and I’m... dying. I’m dying.”
“Oh my God Liz,” Maria said feeling her own tears start to pool in her eyes. She puts the ice-cream away and put her arms around her best friend to give her the best comfort that she can.
”Perhaps you should tell Max,” Maria whispers softly.
Liz’s head jerks up and to Maria’s surprise Liz looks terrified.
”No Maria! I can’t tell Max. He is already so worried. I probably scared him even more when I showed up outside his window in the middle of the night.”
”You did?” Maria asked softly.
”And he was great... But you know Max. He puts everything on his own shoulders and I don’t want to worry him anymore.”
”But didn’t he want to know what was wrong?” Maria asked.
”I told him....but only the end of the dream. I don’t want him to know that he was in my dream - because it really wasn’t him in my dream.”
”You know, you two are so much alike. You too put far too much responsibility on yourself, Liz - you two are so afraid of hurting everyone else. But when you try to protect the people around you from the horrible naked truth you’re only hurting yourself. Liz, I’m glad you told me, you need to get it off your chest. But Max... I have this feeling that he needs to know, for him to be able to help you. And knowing Max he will probably be more hurt if you don’t tell him because you wanted to spare his feelings, than if you do tell him and make him more worried. Let’s be honest, Liz. It’s Max - he will always worry. We can’t exactly make him stop doing that!”
”But telling him will only add to his worries, Maria!” Liz said with a sigh. She wanted to tell him - not just about her nightmares but also about everything that had kept them apart since she had left him on that cliff with his destiny in May.
”He worries because he cares, Liz,” Maria said. ”He loves you.”
Liz looked down at her hands neatly folded in her knee.
”I know he does,” Liz whispered.
”Good, and you love him. So tell him! It’s as simple as that.”
”Maria, there are more issues to deal with here than my nightmare, you know.”
”You haven’t tol....,” it suddenly dawned on Maria what Liz was imlying, ”Liz, you haven’t told him about future Max yet?” Maria said shocked and watched as Liz shook her head.
”You mean, he still believes you slept with Kyle?”
Liz nodded her head, her facial expression masked with complete misery.
”But-but...you have to tell him, Liz,” Maria said, like doing anything else was out of the question.
”Maria...I can’t tell him. What if everything I have done this last months to keep the end of the world from happening, is gonna happen just because he knows.”
”Liz, I hate to break it to you. But you two are already getting involved with each other again, wasn’t that what you were trying to prevent?”
Liz covered her head in her hands and whispered, agonized. ”I know Maria! I screwed up. I can’t stay away from him and now all those innocent people are going to die and it will all be my fau-”
”Liz, stop it. Stop it!” Maria said, bending Liz’s hands away from the act of covering her face so that she could look at her friend.
”I know that Future Max probably had gone through his options thoroughly before deciding to deprive his younger self from a life with you, a life he got. But I’m certain that you Liz was right there with him, the future version of you, and decided to do it as well. You have to cut yourself some slack! I have never met anyone - and then I mean anyone - who is more right for each other than you and Max. I have not met anyone who is more in love with each other...”
”Maybe it’s just not meant to be,” Liz interrupted.
Maria sighed. Liz was the smarter one of them, that Maria was certain of. But when it came to Max, Liz’s intelligence could really be questioned.
”I mean, first of all we have the basic problem that we are of different species...”
”Which just makes it even more incredible that you work together,” Maria insisted.
”Yeah, if it just have been that easy. But then he happens to be an alien king as well and he is already married. And even if he decides to don’t give a damn about his destiny, like the future version of him did, he will probably marry me and the whole world will come to a screeching halt.”
”God, and I thought I was the drama queen!” Maria said. ”You can’t go saving the world every day, Liz. Not if it’s breaking you down in the process. Think about yourself for a change - I think that would be good for you. And God, tell Max that you didn’t sleep with Kyle. If I know Max at all, he will be more pissed at himself than at you, since it was in fact he that told you to ‘sleep with Kyle’.”
”No, actually. It was my idea to ‘sleep’ with Kyle,” Liz said.
”Whatever,” Maria waved her off. ”You can’t pursue something with him without letting him know the truth. It would be like basing your relationship on a lie.”
Liz nodded. She knew that Maria was right. Even though she feared what she knew she had to do, she would try to talk to Max as soon as possible. Maria watched all the different emotions transpire over Liz’s face and decided that they had had enough of world problems for the night.
”Okay Lizzie, so what do you think about that new guy at school?” Maria’s eyes suddenly glittered with excitement and Liz couldn’t help but giggle. Maria was good - Liz could feel her worries slowly sliding off her (for now anyway) and she settled back against the headboard of her bed, folding her legs in Indian style and with a small smile grazing her beautiful features, she listened to her best friend going on about this and that, leaving all alien-related topics out of it. Liz was grateful to have such good friends. Sometimes the clouds dissipated and the sun shone through.
Her eyes were fixed on the girl’s still figure. That girl, who had stolen her mate, was sleeping in her bed - oblivious to the danger she was in. Vulnerable, just as she liked her. She wasn’t such a bitch unconscious, was she?
Liz shifted under her covers - troubled by the images her nightmare subjected her to. Her watcher closed her eyes and furrowed her forehead in deep concentration, focusing on putting images of Liz’s boyfriend with another girl in Liz’s mind. However, three long minutes later she had to stop from exhaustion. She couldn’t get in - that human girl was strong enough to resist her. That made her furious and with great difficulty she finally calmed down and resisted the urge to open the window to Liz’s bedroom and just kill her in her sleep. ”I have to stick to the plan,” she thought. ”But with her being too stubborn to participate maybe extreme measures must be taken!” With a frustrated sigh she climbed down the ladder - leaving Liz’s balcony behind her.
”We are not making any progress. Why has that Parker girl not left Max yet? It seems as if they are only growing closer!”
The man slammed his fist in the table, making Tess jump.
”Weren’t you the one who always told us that emotions were a weakness?” she asked with a smirk.
”That just proves it - I have been on this fucking planet far too long!” Nasedo said.
”I want to kill her!” Tess said, showing her true self-absorbed brat nature.
”And where would that leave us?” Nasedo asked, his voice once again emotionless. ”Max would never co-operate with us then. He would be grieving that human and would be more difficult to work with. We can’t afford to have that. We have to make her leave him - make him stop caring for her.”
”I can’t get through,” Tess said.
Nasedo stood up, towering over the sitting Tess.
”What do you mean you ‘can’t get through’?”
”That bitch is resisting me - I can’t enter her mind,” Tess answered, shrinking back from his menacing stare.
”She’s just a human,” Nasedo said. ”You have never had problem with humans before, have you?!”
”HAVE YOU?!” Nasedo yelled.
”No, I haven’t,” Tess answered, and then regaining her composure. ”And don’t you dare yell at me. I am your queen!”
Nasedo snorted and smiled - a smile which sent shivers down Tess’s spine.
”You are only queen when Max decides you are his queen. Without him you’re nothing!”
His voice was edged with disgust when he looked at the pitiful alien that was supposed to rule by Max’s side. Too bad that the Liz Parker girl was human - she had more potential to be a queen in her pinkie than Tess would ever have.
”Well,” Nasedo said. ”If we can’t mess with her mind - and we both know that Max have built up some protective wall against your mind warp - I’ll guess we have to do it the human way.” Nasedo’s voice was frightening calm. ”I will actually enjoy this human way. Ms. Parker is actually quite a catch.”
”What are going to do?” Tess asked, narrowing her eyes.
”I’m gonna make Liz Parker hate our leader and it ain’t gonna be beautiful. Well, at least not for her...”
”So he asked you out on a date, huh?” Maria asked.
Liz’s smile was very contagious.
”Yeah,” she said dreamily. ”He is just so sweet.”
”Yeah yeah yeah,” Maria sighed and threw a longing look in Michael’s direction.
Liz followed the detour of Maria’s eyes.
”Why don’t you guys join us?” Liz asked Maria.
Maria looked back at Liz.
”Liz...NO - absolutely not. Have you already forgotten how disastrous our last double date was? And anyway - this is your first date since all hell broke loose and you certainly need it.” Before we all begin climbing the walls.
”Come on, Maria - it’ll be fun,” Liz begged, fluttering her lashes at Maria.
”No, Lizzie,” Maria laughed. ”I’m not going out with spaceboy - if he don’t want a chick waiting for him at home, I will not force him.”
”What?” Liz asked, confused.
Maria shook her hand in front of her as she shook her head.
”Forget it! I’ll show you what I mean, come here!”
Maria put up her index finger in front of her mouth and with a ‘shh’ she silently began to (with a bit exaggerating movements) tiptoe down the stairs to the CrashDown. Liz had to put her hand against her mouth to prevent a giggle from erupting. Maria really looked ridiculous.
”Oh spaceboy!” Maria yelled into Micheal’s ear, after noiselessly having sneaked up behind his back.
Michael almost jumped out of his skin and turned around so quickly that he spilled out the bag of buns on the counter beside the grill. Both Maria and Liz erupted in fits of laughter. Michael’s face went blazing red - first from embarrassment but then to quickly be replaced by anger. That made the girls laugh even harder.
”What the hell are you doing?” Michael cried.
”Oh, aren’t you suppose to be this head of the army guy? Maybe you should practice on watching your back!” Maria laughed.
Michael glared at her. ”Humans,” he thought.
”So, spaceboy. You and me - and Liz and Max of course - tonight. Date. Deal?”
”Eh...no,” Michael said, like Maria was stupid just to come up with the thought.
”It’s just a date, Michael,” Maria said. ”I just got my paycheck so I can pay this time too.”
”Hockey,” Michael said and turned towards the grill again considering the discussion over.
”I’m sorry...what?” Maria said.
”It’s hockey on TV - I don’t have time to sit and socialize at a stupid restaurant with the love birds and you!” Michael explained, like it was a matter of course.
”Oh, and what’s so terrible about spending some time with me, Michael?” Maria asked and Liz hinted a trace of irritation in her voice.
”Okay Maria, I think you’ve made your point now,” Liz said and took a firm grip of Maria’s elbow - trying desperately to stop a fight from arising.
”Yeah, take her away - I can’t work with her constantly chattering in my ear,” Michael said and nonchalantly waved with his spatula in Maria’s direction.
”Chattering, huh...” Maria said, now pissed off. Liz started to drag her out of Michael’s reach before Maria could choke Michael. ”You’re lucky, Michael! But I will remember this!”
”Whatever,” Michael murmured.
”Okay, calm down Maria,” Liz said.
”I’m calm,” Maria lied and prized Liz’s hands off her elbow. As if to further emphasize the small lie she opened her locker and took out a bottle of cedar oil and sniffed it.
”Anyway, how do you think that Michael wants to go out with you after you’ve embarrassed him?” Liz asked, note quite understanding the Maria-logic.
”A girl needs her fun,” Maria said. ”Anyway, we need to get you out of those clothes and turn you into a beauty, babe!”
”Okay,” Liz giggled and let her be led up to her room to get the make-over that would meet Maria’s expectations.
”So, where are the others?” Liz asked Max with a smile.
Max was having great difficulty to get his key into the lock of the door when Liz was seductively leaning against him, nuzzling his ear.
”Uhm...Mom is out to dinner with some co-workers...and Dad is away on a business trip.” Max gave up on the key and used his powers instead to open the door. ”Isabel is out with Alex-”
”She is?” Liz asked, stepping away from Max to allow them to step through the door. ”But I thought Alex had a long-distance thing going with Lena in Sweden...”
Max shrugged his shoulders - not really interested in talking about Alex and his relationship when he had Liz alone for himself in his house. He was really not interested in talking at all.
”I think they are only going out as friends,” Max said.
”That’s really gre-”
”Liz, can we stop talking about Alex now?” Max asked.
”Okay, what do you suggest we do instead?” Liz asked with a twinkle in her eye.
”Well, one or two ideas come to mind..,” Max said lowering his lips towards Liz’s.
His lips lightly brushed against hers and the tip of his tongue began an exploration of her bottom lip. Liz opened her mouth slightly, welcoming him to deepen the kiss. Max stepped closer to her and his hand found its way under her shirt, caressing the warm skin of the back. Liz couldn’t get enough of him. His touches ignited something buried deep inside of her and she wanted more. She angled her head more to give him access to deepen the kiss further, their tongues mimicking the oldest dance of man. Max’s lips left hers to begin its travel down her neck. He quickly found the spots which made the greatest effect on her and stopped there - applying them with just right amount of suction. Liz arched her body against his. Was there anything greater than this? Liz thought to herself.
With one of his hands in a firm grip around her waist, Max moved backwards into the living room and still holding on to Liz, Max collapsed over the armrest of the couch. Max was now on his back in the sofa, with Liz draped over his chest. Liz’s small hands found their way under Max’s shirt, feeling the texture of his firm muscles. It amazed her how he could feel firm, yet soft at the same time. The last time she had explored his chest - that night in February - she had not felt brave enough to freely explore, not as much as she had wanted to. The fire inside of her now made her willing to do anything to him...
Max looked up into Liz’s eyes as they both came up for air. Her eyes had taken on that dark nuance that he recognized fairly well by now. The route that her small hands were taking along his chest awoke things and feelings inside of him - primitive feelings. Her soft lips came crashing down on his again and his hand on the back of her head urged her lips even closer. His Liz-dazed mind vaguely registrated that Liz had started to unbutton his shirt.
Liz unbuttoned the last button and her hands spread the shirt apart. She lifted her lips from Max’s and looked down at the chest in front of her. He was so beautiful, she thought. Looking him over - with Max’s eyes on her every movement - the urge to taste him suddenly overwhelmed her senses.
When Liz lowered her head towards his chest, Max held his breath in anticipation. When her soft, warm lips touched his chest he gasped. God! Liz’s mouth traveled over his chest, imprinting every bundle, every detail of his body in her mind. She fascinated watched his muscles ripple under her assault. She brushed her lips over his dark nipple and he groaned. Liz stopped and looked up at his face. He had his eyes closed and his breathing was heavy. She experimentally brushed over his nipple again to once more earn the same response. His low moans in the back of his throat urged her to take the nipple fully in her mouth.
”God, Liz,” Max gasped. ”What are you doing to me?” he thought. Liz was mesmerized by the fact that she could make him sound like that - that she, Liz Parker, could make Max Evans lose control. It was an alluring feeling to have such power over him. Max couldn’t stand it anymore - he had to feel her, taste her. He rose up in sitting position. Liz confused met his eyes. ”Max, what are yo-”
But before she could answer that question, Max had risen from the couch with Liz in his arms. She wrapped her legs around his waist and while kissing and sucking her neck, Max made his way towards the stairs. Miraculously they reached Max’s room without any accidents and Max lowered Liz onto his bed. He pulled back to look at the goddess in front of him.
”Beautiful,” he murmured. ”You are so beautiful.”
His lips sought out hers, their tongues mimicked the act of lovemaking. Max had settled himself between her thighs and they were pressing their bodies together in an effort to reduce the aching and emptiness they could feeling building inside of them. Max’s hands once again moved under Liz’s shirt. His slow stroking against her ribs and under the swells of her breast was slowly driving Liz crazy and she longed for him to move his hands higher.
Max pulled back, certain that he had heard her inside his mind - urging him to move further. His eyes search hers and with one look she gave him permission to go further. He lowered his hands to the hem of her shirt and started pulling it up. Liz raised her arms to facilitate the removal of her shirt, leaving Liz in only her bra. With one more obstacle out of the way, Liz watched Max as he marveled looked at her chest, which was lowering up and down from the heavy breathing. Liz had always believed that when she would get into this situation she would feel a little exposed and perhaps a little embarrassed. But she didn’t. The love that shone in Max’s eyes was sufficient to wipe away all her insecurities and make her feel completely loved.
Max’s warm fingers gentle brushed along her the curve of her collar bone to rest just above her breast. Liz was ready to fell apart right there if Max didn’t move further. Without knowing it, Max was tormenting Liz with his decision to go slow and not do anything that Liz wasn’t ready to do. But Liz was ready - boy, was she ready!
”Max, please,” Liz pleaded.
Max looked up into her eyes and then gently brushed his lips towards hers, pouring all the love he had for her into that kiss. Liz was amazed that one kiss that gentle could at the same time be so passionate. Liz pressed her lips closer against his and arched her breast up into his hand in the process. Both gasped at the contact. When having recuperated from the jolts of electricity surging through their bodies, Max started kissing Liz again - the gentleness now replaced by a fierce passion. He moved his hand around her body, between the sheets and her back and found the clasp of the bra. After fumbling a while with the clasp the bra was removed. Max released Liz’s lips and looked at her as a little bit of heaven revealed itself to him. She was so beautiful. Her breast was so small, yet so perfect.
”Perfect,” he murmured and gently touched the soft skin of her breast. At the contact Liz arched her body up into his hand with a moan, encouraging him to continue his exploration. Max, for a moment captivated by the fact that her breast fitted perfectly in the palm of his hand - like she was made for him, brushed his hand over the pink nipple. Liz moaned deep in her throat. Liz knew that if she died now, she would die a very happy woman! Then his mouth closed over her nipple and all thoughts were wiped out of her mind as she was lowered in a sea of pleasure.
That’s when destiny decided to take its own turn on things and then phone ringed. Max’s mouth left Liz’s breast and the cold air hit Liz. She felt a feeling of unfulfillment settling over her. Max looked up at her and with a brush of his lips over hers and a soft ‘sorry’, he pulled off her, and took a deep breath to calm himself down and get his mind working. He then reached over and picked up the receiver.
”Hello?” he said, his breathing still strained.
”Max,” Maria’s voice exclaimed at the other side of the line.
”Hi, Maria,” Max said, watching Liz pull her shirt back over her head out of the corner of his eye and silently promised himself that he would make Maria regret that she had decided to call him just tonight.
”I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” Maria said.
”Well, I was kinda busy,” Max answered.
”Okay..I-I just uhm wanted to know what-uhm which of the assignments in English that we were suppose to do,” Maria stuttered.
Max smelled a rat. Liz climbed up in his lap and snuggled close to his chest.
”Max? Helllooo - Max?” Maria said, when she didn’t get an answer. Max had been fairly distracted by having Liz in his lap placing small feather-like kisses over his, still naked, chest.
”Yeah, yeah Maria, I’m here,” Max answered.
”Is Liz there?” Maria asked.
”As a matter of fact, yes she is,” Max said. Liz looked up at him, suspecting that they were now discussing her.
”Put her on,” Maria demanded.
Max put the receiver against Liz’s ear, with a soft ‘she wants to talk to you’.
Liz straightened up and took the receiver from Max.
”Maria! What’s up?” she asked.
”Liz, what are you doing?” Maria scolded.
Liz suddenly felt the need to defend herself.
”What do you mean, Maria?” Liz asked.
”Don’t think I don’t know what you are doing!” Maria said. A light went up for Liz.
”You wanted to interrupt us!” she said.
”No,” Maria said, a bit too quickly. ”I just- uhm wanted to know what assignments we have to do in Eng-”
”Cut the crap, Maria!” Liz said getting irritated. Hearing Liz’s tone of voice Max put two and two together - suspecting that Maria had called to check up on them.
”You have been the number one person to push Max and I together!” Liz said, remembering last time when Maria had walked in on them ”making out” in Michael’s apartment.
”I have never said that you should sleep together!” Maria said, with a twinge of hysterics in her voice. ”You don’t know what can happen! You’re not the same species! We have already had this discuss-”
”Yes Maria, we did have this discussion,” Liz interrupted. ”And I’m telling you the same thing as I did then. I’m going to be with Max and if we go to the next level-”
”Have you?!” Maria cried.
”No, Maria - you decided to check in just then - as usual!”
”Ha, so you were doing something - I hope you were not in the middle of having sex? Oh my God, you were - you were having sex, weren’t you?!”
”Calm down, Maria,” Liz said, starting to get pissed. ”You are not my mother - you are definitely not my father - and I will not defend myself in front of you for doing something that feels completely right! This is my life and I decide on my own what to do with it!”
”No, Maria,” Liz said sternly, fed up with always having to defend her actions. She sighed loudly, searching for control over her feelings. ”I really don’t want to talk to you now, Maria.”
”Liz, have you told him about Kyle and the end of the world yet?”
”No, Maria. I haven’t...I just...I can’t deal with that now.”
”You can’t do anything with him if he don’t knows the whole truth.”
”Maria, don’t tell me what to do...” Liz was letting her anger rule her thinking, not realizing that Maria had made a significant point.
”No Maria,” Liz said, tired. ”We talk about this later, okay?”
”Yeah, okay,” Maria said slowly. What did Liz think she was doing? Had she gone freaking insane? ”Just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
”Well, that doesn’t say much, does it,” Liz said, with a half smirk.
”Oh, no Liz! I didn’t mean it like that,” Maria said quickly.
”Sure you didn’t,” Liz said.
Maria sighed. ”Look Liz, think about it before you do anything. Don’t let your feelings take over too much. I know that I said that you were suppose to do something for yourself for once..but there are limits you know-”
”Yeah Maria, we talk about this later. Bye,” Liz said.
”Okay, bye,” Maria said.
Max watched Liz as she reached over him and hung up the receiver.
”Are you okay?” he asked, searching her eyes.
Liz shook her head. ”It’s just...I’m tired of always listening to logic and when I finally stop, everyone else is trying to do it instead! I makes me mad!”
Max nodded his head. ”I see what you mean! Michael thinks I’m getting too attached to you - that I can’t focus on ‘what’s important’ when I’m with you...”
”Perhaps he’s right,” Liz said and smiled at him.
”Yeah, probably. But it would be good to get his support once in a while!”
”He supports you, Max. He’s just confused himself. You all are. We all are. You really don’t have to be an alien to think that your life is screwed up. And Michael has always had difficulties in showing his feelings.”
”You’re right,” Max said distractedly, all of a sudden being transfixed by the way Liz’s lips moved when she talked.
Liz felt him getting distracted and chuckled softly.
”What?” Max asked, looking up to meet her eyes.
”Are you listening to me?” Liz asked, grinning from ear to ear.
Max realized that he hadn’t really been listening and smiled himself.
”Not really,” he said.
”Well, you know what that calls for,” Liz said, her eyes dancing.
”What?” Max asked, watching her lick her lips seductively.
”You seemingly needs to be punished...,” Liz said in a slow, husky voice.
”Uh huh,” Max said very much focused on Liz now.
Liz nodded, a smile grazing her features. Then she rose from his bed and stood up, slowly smoothening out her short skirt. Her bra had fallen on the floor and she now bent over to pick it up. She had her back to Max and when she bent over the skirt stretched against her behind. Next she pulled up slowly - feeling Max’s hot gaze at her. Liz turned around and calmly said, ”So, I guess I should head home now!”
”She must be kidding me,” Max thought.
She stepped up to him, sitting on the edge of his bed, and brushed her lips over his.
”I had a really great time, Max! See you tomorrow.” Liz turned around but before she could take another step, Max’s arm was around her waist pulling her into his lap.
”Max, I really should be-”
His lips silenced her. ”Don’t talk,” he murmured his lips so close to hers that she could feel the vibration of his every word like a sparkle running through her body. ”It ruins all the fun!”
|posted on 6-Dec-2002 9:00:07 AM|
Maria suspiciously followed Liz around the CrashDown with her eyes. There were something different about her friend. She had a certain glow about her. She had been difficult to contact all day. Either she was standing with a far away look in her eyes or she was cleaning something (not so dreamy) with a dreamy smile on her face. The only time she had come alive had been when she seconds before Max entered the restaurant (like she knew that he was coming, Maria had noticed) had turned towards the doors to see him enter. Maria narrowed her eyes when she saw Liz’s whole face shine up with a glow that seemed to originate from her inside.
Since Max had made his appearance in the restaurant, Liz and Max had not lost eye-contact for more than one minute apart.
Maria caught Liz by the elbow when she returned to place her order.
”You did something!” she accused.
”That’s none of your business,” Liz said. ”Okay, she’s still angry with me,” Maria thought.
”I’m just worried about you, Liz!”
”Don’t! I’m okay. You know Max. He would never intentionally hurt me.”
”Keyword here; intentionally. No, I don’t think he would intentionally hurt you. But listen to me Liz. Fact one: Max didn’t want to be with you in the beginning because he thought he was putting you in danger. He wanted to protect you from getting hurt - but you was hurt anyway. Fact two: When Max and you finally crossed that line and got together, he broke up with you before you even got started. Once again - because he was afraid he was going to hurt you. And, guess what? He hurt you even more because of it.” Liz opened her mouth to protest but Maria put up a finger in front of Liz’s face silencing her. ”Fact three: You two got together again, but Max kissed Tess and he hurt you. You see a pattern here, Liz?” Before Liz had a chance to answer Maria continued.
”Fact four: You found out that Max had a whole other destiny - with his alien bitch Tess. You left him - and you were both hurting. Fact five: Max went on Liz Parker-chase - wanting you back and when you were sort of given the green flag by Madame Vivian a Max from the future decides to drop in and announce to you that your love meant the end of the world in all its pomp and circumstance, something which you probably haven’t told Max yet.” Maria watched a guilty expression flash over Liz’s face, ”Fact six: You make Max believe that you slept with Kyle - hurting him tremendously. Fact seven-”
”Is there a point to all this?” Liz asked, her good mood starting to disappear.
”I’ll get to it,” Maria said. ”As I was saying. Fact seven. You to get together again and this is where we are at the present. You two are once again completely lost in each other - perhaps now more than ever. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m afraid that you’ll get hurt again. You are way into deep this time and I don’t feel like picking up the pieces of your broken heart, when Max decides to do something else to ‘protect’ you!”
Liz stepped up to Maria and enveloped her in a big hug. ”Thank you,” Liz whispered in Maria’s ear. To say that Maria was surprised would be an understatement. She had expected Liz to give her the silence treatment, or even yell at her - but she had never for the world expected this. Liz pulled back and Maria could see that she had tears in her eyes.
”Are you ok-” Maria started, afraid that in her efforts to proving her point to Liz had hurt her feelings.
”Maria,” Liz interrupted, ignoring Maria’s question. ”Thank you...for, you know, looking out for me. And you’re actually right - we have hurt each other. A lot. I don’t expect you to pick up the pieces of my broken heart. But for perhaps the first time in my life I’m following my heart. Grandma Claudia told me that - did I tell you that?” Maria shook her head. ”I promised her to follow my heart. I have a feeling that it’s a good advice...and my heart tells me that I should be with Max. I don’t expect not to be hurt - Grandma told me that that’s how you know he’s your soulmate. ‘If it’s not complicated - then he’s probably not your soulmate’ she said.”
”And it sure is complicated,” Maria said.
”Maria,” Liz said and took Maria’s hand in both of hers. ”I appreciate that you are looking out for me - and I don’t want you to stop doing that - but you need to let me make my own decisions, make my own mistakes.”
”Right, gottcha,” Maria said and brushed away a single tear that had slid down Liz’s cheek. ”And don’t cry - you don’t want to get me started.”
”Deal,” Liz said and smiled.
”So, what do you say about renting a real chick flick and stuffing ourselves full with unhealthy stuff,” Maria said.
”Oh, Max and I...”
”Oh, come on Liz. We need this. I’m telling you. You will soon suffer testosterone overload if you don’t watch out.”
”Okay, okay,” Liz said, laughing.
”Great, my place - sevenish?”
”It’s a date,” Liz said.
Liz was feeling weird and it was not due to what had transpired between her and Max the other night. It was not even due to the fact that Max and she had crossed several levels the other night and she still hadn’t told him the truth about Kyle. No, it was something different today - she was feeling jumpy - paranoid - like something was going to happen, soon. For about the hundredth time that day Liz made her way over to the booth where Max had spent most of his day already. She had a need to see him - or more correctly - to touch him. He followed her approach with his eyes. Liz sat down on his lap and gave him a peck on the cheek.
”That’s all?” Max murmured, burying his fingers in her soft long hair.
”You want something else?” Liz asked.
”Uh hu,” Max said, using the hand buried in her hair to pull her face closer to his. Their lips locked and the surroundings were immediately forgotten.
They were broken apart by someone clearing his throat and Max was shocked to see Mr. Parker standing there, staring them (or Max more precisely) down.
”Oh, hi Dad,” Liz said.
”Hi Lizzie,” Mr. Parker said. ”Max.”
”Hi, Mr. Parker,” Max said, his face now a crimson red.
”Honey, I think you’re on the clock - customers are waiting to order,” Mr. Parker said, his voice dangerously calm.
Liz looked around the CrashDown - finding no new customers. However, she got the message loud and clear.
”Of course, Dad,” she said, and slipped off Max’s lap.
It was about then that the door jingled - announcing a new customer. Kyle stepped in, with Tess by his side. Liz’s emotions went skyrocket. She eyed Tess suspiciously. Tess was her normal (fake) self - laughing and joking with Kyle.
”Hi Liz,” Kyle greeted and seated himself across from Max. ”Hi Max.”
”Hi Max,” Tess said softly as she positioned herself next to Kyle. ”Still flirting,” Liz thought.
Tess’s eyes left Max and drifted to the girl standing next to him. A surge of jealousy floated through her. Liz was standing far too close to Max. Looking at them more closely they actually looked very comfortable around each other.
”Oh, hi Liz,” Tess said, finally taking notice of her.
”Hi, Tess,” Liz answered, not missing the coldness Tess’s voice was laced with.
Through their connection, Max could feel the change in Liz’s emotions. He resisted the need to look at her. He felt that it would be the wrong thing to do - under Tess’s prying looks.
”So, what are you up to?” Kyle asked.
”Just hanging out,” Max answered.
”Can I get you guys anything,” Liz asked.
”Just a coke for me,” Kyle said.
”Cherry coke,” Tess said.
”I’ll help you,” Max said, stood up and followed Liz towards the counter. When they were out of earshot, Max slipped his hand inside of Liz’s - hiding his actions for whoever might be looking (in other words; Tess) with his body.
”What’s wrong?” he asked in a low voice.
”I have had this feeling all day - that something is going to happen,” Liz said, automatically feeling her desire awakening at Max’s innocent touch. She got the sudden urge to attack him (even if they were in the middle of a restaurant with several people around - eating) and to rip off his clothes and make things to him that-
”Liz?” Max asked, his face masked with concern.
”Let’s get out of here,” Liz said.
”But your father...” Max said.
”He’ll be fine,” Liz said.
”That’s not exactly what I meant.”
”I know what you meant, now come here.” She tugged on his hand and they went out into the employers only area. When the swinging doors closed behind them Liz practically jumped Max.
Max could sense her desperation through the connection and wondered for a brief second what was wrong. But as Liz’s tongue found its way inside his mouth, seeking out all its hidden corners, his desire for her took over. He could feel the possessiveness in her kisses, claiming him as hers and that possessiveness awoke something primal inside of him - a need to protect her against everything. While kissing him fiercely Liz pressed her body up against his, pushing him backwards in the process. Soon Max found himself with his back against the lockers. After last night their connection had grown stronger. When they were touching now they could somehow ‘sense’ the other’s thoughts. The connection flared open and images assailed them. Images of their moments together, mixed with Liz’s and Max’s thoughts and feelings at the moment.
Liz’s feelings of despair slammed into him. Liz was scared, Max noted. Afraid of losing him, afraid of losing everything they had been able to build up during these few days. Then he started seeing images from her nightmares. Shocked of seeing himself do those things to her, he tried to pull away only to have Liz’s grip tightened on him. He felt his own fear take a hold on him as he witnessed Liz being murdered and he could feel all of her feelings - he could feel her dying, slipping away from him. He cradled her head in his hands, wanting her closer to him to reassure himself that she was okay. He could taste her salty tears. She was whimpering in his mouth - slowly falling apart.
Feeling completely powerless, Max pulled his lips away from hers and cradled her closely to his chest. She was crying openly now and Max could feel his own tears starting to pool in his eyes. Weak from their emotions going overload, they sank to the floor holding on to each other. Max was petrified that he was going to lose her. He had felt Liz’s nightmare and the whole atmosphere of Liz’s nightmare was different from ordinary dreams. It felt like it was more than a dream, more like a warning.
Max reached for her through their connection and started sending her reassuring images of people that loved her, that she loved, images of the two of them together, while he gently rocked her sobbing figure in his arms. After a while she started to calm down.
”I’m sorry,” she whispered in a thin voice. ”I didn’t mean to jump you, I just...”
”You needed to,” Max said gently, putting two fingers under her chin, forcing her to look up into his eyes.
”I needed you,” Liz said.
Max’s heart ached. ”God, I can’t lose her - she’s my whole world, my everything,” he thought.
”Don’t apologize Liz,” Max said softly. ”I want you to come to me when you feel like this. Whatever the problem is, we’ll work it out together, okay?”
”Okay,” Max repeated to himself with a sigh. ”You have to be extra careful now, Liz!”
Liz didn’t even smile as Max’s over-protective nature kicked in, the situation was far too serious for that.
”I know,” she said, her voice so thin that Max almost didn’t hear her.
Max gently started to kiss Liz’s tears away, smothering her face with small kisses.
”I guess we should get back out there, before your father decides he wants to punish me with some horrible method for taking his baby girl away from him,” Max said, helping Liz up.
”He would never do that.” Liz smiled.
”I really don’t wanna find out either,” Max said.
The night was very dark. The darkness was so thick that the street lanterns’ attempts to light the dark streets failed, instead casting impenetrable shadows along the menacing buildings. The night was very cold. The air was chilly and the wind that otherwise was too shy to show its power howled. There was no living sounds. The streets of Roswell were dark and abandoned. The wind was full of whispers, foreboding danger. The wind had succeeded in making most people stay in doors this starless night.
In a street corner stood a tall man - dark as the very corner he besieged. His face was emotionless and indifferent - expressionless. His eyes were icy cold.
The man turned towards the insecure whisper.
”No, Nasedo,” he corrected.
”Okay.” All dressed in black, with golden curls sticking out under a dark gray cap on her head, the girl - let’s call her Tess - slumped a little, relaxing her nerves.
”Are you certain that she was going to be here tonight?” the man called Nasedo asked.
”Yeah, they were talking about it today at the CrashDown. She’ll be there,” the girl said.
”It’s getting late - maybe she’s gone home already,” the dark-haired man with the face of another, commented without feeling the need to look at a watch.
”They probably have lost track of time,” the girl said.
”Well, just the better for us, isn’t it? Then the chance that she is alone and no one else is out is so much greater.”
Liz hands were trembling slightly as she buttoned up her jacket.
”Are you sure you don’t want to have a sleep over?” Maria asked, unaware of the dread that had started to fill every space of Liz’s petite body.
Liz shook her head.
”I need to get home - I have to get up early in the morning. I’ll be fine...” Liz’s voice trailed off.
”Okay, babe. Here, you can burrow my cap - it is freezing outside!”
”Thanks Maria.” Liz smiled. She opened the door and the cold air hit her face.
The two watchers could see the door to the house they were watching open.
”See, I told you,” the girl said with a triumphant smile that was lost in the darkness. However, as the person - who for a second appeared in the doorway - disappeared inside again, a loud frustrated sigh was emitted from the blonde girl.
”Oh wait!” Liz said and turned away from the darkness and closed the door again - to prevent the coldness from penetrating the warm house. ”I guess I should call Dad, and he can meet me halfway!”
”Good idea. I know that I would feel much better then,” Maria said.
Liz stepped past Maria and grabbed the receiver. After dialing the number, she hoped that her Dad wouldn’t be asleep yet. She glanced at the kitchen clock. It was half past eleven. A click was heard at the other end of the line, announcing that someone had picked up.
”Hello?” Liz had never been so happy to hear her father’s voice.
”Hi Dad. It’s me. What are you up to?”
”Waiting for you,” Mr. Parker answered and Liz could hear the warm smile in his voice.
”Can you meet me - it’s really cold and dark. And-and I just would feel better if you did.”
”Of course, pumpkin. I was actually thinking about it myself - I’m not so happy about you being out this late. I start walking now.”
”Thanks Dad! See you in a few.”
She hung up the phone and felt that some of the dread that had positioned itself like a knot in the middle of her stomach, lessened some in size.
”Is he meeting you?” Maria asked.
Liz nodded and pulled the jacket closer around her body - already anticipating the cold.
Maria pulled her in a hug. Liz felt like crying and she didn’t even now why.
”Bye, girlfriend. See you tomorrow!”
Liz nodded, not even trying to speak, afraid that her voice was not strong enough.
She opened the door and gazed out into the dark night. With a ”be careful, chica” Maria closed the door behind Liz and Liz was alone.
”There she is,” the man said and smiled. Fortunately for the girl called Tess the night was so dark that she couldn’t see that smile. That smile spoke volumes of the malicious nature of the man.
”You wait here, and only show your face in case something goes wrong.” Without waiting for her reply, the man also known as Nasedo stepped out of the street corner and purposefully strode towards the petite brown-haired girl, which with small but fast steps hurried down the street. In the night the sad cry of an owl could be heard. The only sound from an animal in the whole night.
Liz’s throat constricted, making it harder to breathe. ”Oh, no - this isn’t be happening!” she thought. ”It was only a dream, it was only a dream!” But the footsteps echoing behind her told her a different story. She was being followed.
The man quickened his pace. She sure was quick for being so small. He dived into one of the alleys - planning to intercept her path. She came around a corner and having her head turned, her eyes fixed on something over her shoulder, she didn’t see him before she slammed into him.
In the soft light from the lantern above them, Nasedo saw a brief flash of recognition in her dark eyes. That puzzled him. For some reason he suspected that she already knew that he wasn’t who he was pretending to be.
”Max,” Liz said. Her voice was emotionless - it came out as if she merely stated a fact.
”Liz, what are you doing here? It could be dangerous to be out so late,” Nasedo said with the same voice as Max.
Liz thought quickly. Should she give him the same response as in her dream or should she say something else, and with that action perhaps change the chain of events that were so similar to that of her nightmare?
”I went out for some fresh air,” Liz said.
”I can walk with you. You shouldn’t walk alone.”
Liz’s heart sank like a stone in her chest. It suddenly dawned on her that she was working against destiny - a seemingly well-worked out plan that was going to get its way in one way or the other.
”No really, Max, I’m fine!” Liz said, her voice mechanical and detached as she repeated the same words she knew so well from her dream scenario.
”Really Liz, it’s no problem.”
The chilliness slammed into her as he positioned his arm around her waist. Even though her emotions in her dream world had felt frightening real, what she felt then was nothing compared to what she was feeling now. She was on the verge of panic. The difference was that this was reality and she knew how it was all going to end.
”Please, something has to be different in reality. Let it not be a re-play of my dream,” Liz thought, knowing that this far it has been just that. ”Was I just supposed to see the future and not be able to do anything about it?! Of course, you could have stayed at Maria’s when you sensed that something was wrong. You could even have decided to not go to Maria’s - not tonight! My God, Liz!” She was getting pissed at herself. ”There were signs everywhere - screaming at you to be extremely cautious and stay at home. Not to leave the house today!”
Liz tried to force her feelings of panic to the back of her head. She had to stay focused - she could not let herself be ruled by her emotions, not when it was a matter of life or death. She could probably try to stall him until her Dad arrived, but wouldn’t that make him suspicious? She put on her best ‘oh-stupid-me’ expression and exclaimed: ”Oh, I’m so clumsy! I forgot my history assignment at Maria’s house...”
”I thought you just went for a walk,” Nasedo said smiling smugly.
”Yeah, yeah...I was. I was at Maria’s house earlier today. Anyway, I need to go back and get it. You can go home, Max - I’ll be fine. I’ll call Dad and he will pick me up.”
She was closer to Maria’s house than her own. It would be easier to go to her.
Nasedo narrowed his eyes. ”Does she know?” he thought. He eyed her suspiciously. Although, she seemed genuinely agitated to have forgotten her homework.
”I’ll follow you there,” Nasedo said.
”No...thank you, Max, but I’ll be fine. Go home - you shouldn’t be out at this time either. You don’t want to worry Isabel, right?”
Nasedo scanned his memory for a typical Max behavior that wouldn’t make her suspicious. He didn’t want her to suspect anything too soon, it would make it harder to go trough with the task.
”Liz. I’m worried about you. You know that being with me is putting your in danger and I feel responsible for keeping you safe. You don’t know who is watching us. There could be skins left or..or the FBI. Let me help you home!”
Liz blinked to clear her mind. ”Wow, that was a pretty good imitation of Max,” she thought. He almost convinced her. Almost. Liz’s advantage was that she and Max had a connection and the man in front of her didn’t know about it. Even if Max’s soul would to leave his physical body and enter another body, Liz would probably still recognize him. She would know him anywhere.
”I told you before, Max, and I’m telling you again. I need to feel that I can take care of myself! I want to be independent. I’m not a child and I don’t like being treated like one!” Liz said, clearly seeing the absurdity of the situation as she was calmly discussing her feelings with an evil shapeshifter who was impersonating her alien boyfriend in the middle of a dark abandoned street in the middle of the night.
”I just want you to be safe,” the man said. ”I’m coming with you!”
Liz looked up and saw the coldness in his eyes. ”Okay, it’s no better solution to piss him off,” she thought. ”I’ll have to work something out before we arrive at Maria’s, because he is certainly not going to follow me to Maria’s door step and then leave.”
Liz’s mind had gone into planning mode. She had detached all her feelings and were rationally going through all the facts, logically and systematically trying to work out the best solutions.
”Okay,” Liz agreed, her voice almost a mere whisper. The mouth of the man in front of her produced a very un-Max smile which reminded Liz of the condescending ‘smile’ Nasedo had given her when he had kidnapped her and she had, at the carnival, told him about how much Max and her meant to each other. That smile sent warning bells to go off inside her head. She felt the sudden urge to give into her fears and give into the temptation of hiding in the darkness that threatened to devour her at any moment. But she couldn’t do that. She would not make it easier for him to kill her!
They had started walking down the street - towards Maria and away from the CrashDown. Something caught Liz’s attention out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head slightly, trying her best not to make her movement too conspicuous.
Hidden in the shadows, created by a street lantern, a short person was standing dressed all in black. However, her blonde curls betrayed her. It was Tess. Liz had known even before she had seen Tess that she had the odds against her. It would be very difficult to escape the ‘person’ walking beside her, but escaping him and Tess. Tess could make her see things, make her believe things that wasn’t really there. Tess could trick her into going into the wrong direction - even making her step out in front of a car.
Liz seriously considered if she should make a run for it - even though she knew in her heart that outrunning him hadn’t worked in her nightmare. Liz searched her memory, going over her nightmare in her mind, trying to find Tess in it. She needed to know which part Tess had played in her nightmare. But she couldn’t find her. That made her terrified. She didn’t know what Tess was going to do - Liz hated being in the dark. She focused inwardly and started to gather her energy. She would make one last effort. She would put everything on one last card. Focusing on his face, his love for her, his kisses, his smiles and everything that was him she reached out through their connection and reached for Max. She had to warn him.
Max laid in his bed - sleeping. However, his sleep was troubled by blurry faces, hissed whispers and a girl. Her face was a blur but he would recognize her anywhere. She was in trouble and she was calling for him. With a jerk he was awake. He sat up in his bed. All he could think about was Liz. Something was wrong - something was very wrong. Then he heard her voice, loud and clear in his head.
”Max, can you hear me?”
Max didn’t even waste time on analyzing how Liz could talk to him in his head. He was too concerned about her to even reconsider it.
”Liz, what’s happening? What’s wrong?”
”Max, you have to stay calm. I need you to get Michael and Isabel and go to Maria’s. Look for me on the way.”
”Liz, tell me what’s wrong!” He was being freaked out by the combination of her calm voice, and at the same time feeling her emotions running amok through the connection.
”Max, listen. I’m in danger. You have to hur..I don’t...think it’s Nasedo.”
”Liz, I’m losing you.” Liz’s voice was drifting in and out of the connection - like a bad phone line. The connection was draining Liz of her energy. She wasn’t used to using any ‘powers’ and it took a lot from her. Max felt a tug on his energy and realized that Liz was pulling energy from him. Max focused on feeding the connection with energy.
”Max! Max! Can you hear me?”
”I can’t hold on any longer. I love you.” As soon as she said that Max could feel her presence diminishing back to the usual fluttering at the back of his mind.
”Liz, Liz!” Max yelled out into the air.
Isabel snapped out of her dream world by the sound of Max’s voice.
She looked at her bedside clock and found it to be twelve o’clock. With a sigh, she rose from the bed and walked out of her room, into her brother’s.
Max was wide awake - running around the room with one leg in a pair of pants, while he was evidently searching after something. If Isabel’s hadn’t seen the expression of complete anxiety on Max’s face, she would have found the sight of her brother quite comical.
”Max, what’s wrong?”, she asked, her voice still holding evidence of sleep.
Max looked up, startled. He hadn’t noticed her standing there.
”I can’t find my shirt,” Max said.
”What’s wrong?” Isabel asked again, getting more and more agitated by her brother’s odd behavior by the minute.
”I need to get to Liz,” Max said.
”Max, it’s in the middle of the night. Can’t it wait until tomorrow,” Isabel sighed and rubbed her sleep-induced eyes.
”NO!” Max practically yelled.
His tone almost gave her a jump. Her brother - her always so-in-control, calm brother - was almost hysterical.
”Max, calm down and tell me what’s happening!” Isabel said.
Max found his shirt and pulled it over his head.
”Liz is in danger,” he said and pulled the other leg into the pants. Zipping up as he straightened up he met Isabel’s eyes for the first time since she had entered his room. Isabel shrank back a little from the look in his eyes. His eyes were masked with something she didn’t quite recognize. It was a primal look, an animalistic look. That look reminded Isabel of a lioness protecting her cubs against danger.
Max took some deep breaths, obviously straining to regain control. Isabel could see how some of the old Max came through - Max, the leader.
”Isabel, listen to me. I need you to get Michael and head for Maria’s. Keep an outlook for me on the way...or Liz...if I don’t find her first.” With those final words Max finished tying his shoes and brushed past Isabel.
”Max, what’s ha-.”
”Just do it!” Max’s answered tightly. Isabel stood at the top of the stairs and watched Max’s back disappear down the stairs in a rush.
Liz was suddenly pulled into a dark alley, her mind filling with a weird sense of déja vu.
”Max, what are you doing?” Liz asked, noticing how her voice trembled. She dreaded the answer.
”I just got the sudden urge to kiss you,” the person with the Max mask replied.
Liz felt a cold hand grip around her heart - feeding her body with a coldness and numbness.
”Max,” she whispered. ”I really need to get to Maria and then get home. It’s really late.”
Her enemy leaned closer to her. She could feel his warm breath against her cold face.
”What was that? I didn’t hear you,” he said, the hissing sound of his voice reminding her of vicious snake.
As Liz’s hands automatically pushed him away from her, she felt as if she left her body - becoming an observer from the outside. She observed how his control snapped and he pressed his lips onto hers. She didn’t feel his lips, she didn’t pay any attention to the familiar flashes in black and white displaying death and evil. All she was aware of was the numbness that was filling every cavern of her body, her every limb and cell. She watched as her physical body struggled to free itself, but he was stronger and pushed her to the ground. His hands ripped her blouse open, revealing her bra and pale stomach. As she continued to struggle, his hand flew over her left cheek leaving a red burning mark. Liz didn’t feel that either. She had hidden herself in a place in her mind where she couldn’t feel anything, only observe. In that place was a calmness that calmed her.
Her physical body continued its struggle and threw up a knee into his crotch. He lifted away from her, as he swore over the human body and its physical limitations and weaknesses. Liz’s mind slammed back into place as she saw her chance of escape. She got up on her legs and started to run. A few feet away, she could see Tess stepping out from a street corner running towards her. Liz changed her direction - going into a dark alley. She didn’t see the stone protruding from the ground, before it was too late and she couldn’t stop her legs from moving. She fell over, scraping her hands and her bare stomach against the harsh ground. As her head hit the ground images of her life flashed before her eyes. She knew this was the end - it was here that everything ended in her dream.
Through her labored breathing she could hear his steps coming closer.
”You bitch,” he hissed and his hand was on the small of her back. It was even worse than in the dream. From his hand radiated heat of hundreds of degrees, setting her inside on fire. She could feel how her interiors were practically melting. The numbness in her took over and she welcomed the painless darkness.
|posted on 10-Dec-2002 5:18:55 AM|
|I didn't know they posted feedback here, but thank you guys!! |
Max fervently searched the streets. Where the hell was she? He was going out of his mind with worry. He could only feel calmness from her through the connection, and that didn’t calm him down - it made him even more anxious to get to Liz. Then he felt the heat in his back and the jeep swayed. The pain was excruciating and he knew it came from Liz.
”Noooo!” he breathed and tried to make the jeep go faster.
Tess watched Nasedo with a paralyzed look on her face. He was only going to rape her! What was he doing?! Even though she hated the girl, Liz was someone she knew and she couldn’t stand her agonizing and animalistic cries of pain. When Liz’s cries diminished before finally coming to an end, Tess was awoken from her reveries.
”Nasedo, stop!!” she yelled. ”What are you doing?!”
Nasedo’s head jerked up at the sound of her voice. He looked down at the girl on the ground. She was lying on her stomach and there was a handprint - his handprint - burnt through her blouse and burnt into her skin. When he realized that he had let his control slip he slammed his fist into the ground.
”Damn!” he cried.
They both turned their head towards the road at the sound of a car. Tess peeked around the corner and saw a very familiar jeep approaching.
”Nasedo, Max is coming!” Tess hissed, fear seizing her. Everything had started to fall apart. This plan had gone wrong in all ways possibly. Nasedo thought quickly. The girl’s pulse was life-threatening weak, but she was still alive. He could use her in some way if Max wasn’t willing to voluntarily get them to their home planet.
”Tess! You have to project an image to Max that Liz is dead,” Nasedo ordered.
”But I can’t get into his mind!” Tess said.
”Well, it’s either that or we will never get home! Anyway, he is probably going out of his mind with worry, if he is looking for her - as I suspect he is. I would guess he’s more susceptible to mind warp now - he is weakened by his emotions!”
Tess nodded meekly, closed her eyes and focused on Max.
”Oh no, don’t let that be her,” Max thought when he saw a small figure lying in a dark alley, even though he knew that it must be her since he hadn’t felt her since the excruciating pain had come to an end a few minutes ago. The jeep came to a screeching halt. He didn’t know how he got to her but suddenly he was on his knees beside her still figure. His eyes blurred with tears, he frantically searched after a pulse, his hands becoming bloody in the process. The blood was seeping out of a large cut in her back. He turned her around, barely noticing her open blouse. He slowly pulled her into his lap, as the truth hit him in the face.
”NOOOOOOO!!” his agonized cry echoed in the dark.
It was in that position Michael and Isabel found him ten minutes later. Max was clutching Liz to his chest, rocking them back and forth. His hands and shirt were smeared with her blood and tears were slowly sliding down his cheeks.
”Oh my god,” Isabel gasped.
Michael took Isabel’s hand and they walked towards Max.
”Max...Maxwell...,” Michael said, but got no response.
”Oh my god, Michael. Is she...is she?” Isabel sobbed.
Michael looked Liz over. Her lips were blue, her hands and face deadly pale. Her clothes were dirty and tore, her hair was tousled and there seemed to be blood in it. On the ground beside Max was a dark pool of blood. ”Oh, my god... It looks like she was raped,” Michael thought feeling nauseous. Michael could feel Isabel sliding to the ground beside him - her crying the only sound in the cold starless night. Michael turned around and vomited - emptying his stomach of its content.
In a motel somewhere between Roswell and Santa Fe
One week later
Tess sank down in the worn-out arm-chair with a loud thud. She was exhausted. It had been the worst week of her life. Her energy level had been so low, she had several times been on the verge of passing out. It had been straining, to say the least, to trick everyone in Roswell that Liz Parker was dead. She had thought that it would have been difficult to get Max to believe it, but it had actually been quite easy. Max had been so worried that Liz was dead, that it was easy to push him into actually seeing it and believing it. The difficult part was to make several people simultaneously to believe that they were looking at the dead body of Liz Parker. She was nearly always projecting an image of something to someone. She had to follow her imaginative Liz around. It had been some relief when she had been put in a coffin - people didn’t look at her so much then. Today had been her funeral - and it had almost been the final straw to Tess. She had almost ruined a whole week hard work today. Her energy was almost completely gone already and then she had to make a whole church full of people believe that Liz was lying dead in the open coffin, when the coffin in reality was completely empty.
The only positive thing to come out of all this was that she would be able to be a comfort to Max, now that Liz was out of the way. Tess hadn’t really had the energy or opportunity to ‘comfort’ Max before the funeral because she had to fake the whole Liz-Parker’s-death scenario. Her eyes drifted purposeless around the cheesy motel she found herself sitting in. Her eyes came to rest at the immobile figure in the bed. She came to think about how devastated Max was. Even though she was the one to be around him and comfort him now, it still angered her that Max still hung on to Liz. The little Tess had seen of Max during the week, she had only met his body. Max Evans had not been there. Maria had said something about that Max had died the day Liz did.
”Well, I’m going to see to it that Max lets go of Liz,” Tess murmured. ”She was only a human and he will soon see straight again when the spell Liz Parker had over him breaks. And then he will appreciate to have a female shoulder to cry out on - with other words - mine.”
Neither Tess nor Nasedo had the power of healing and Liz had been pretty bad off the first days. They had (much to Tess’s annoyance) taken care of her, however in the human way. Unfortunately, most of her injuries were internal. Nasedo constantly fed her with his energy by connecting with her, to keep her breathing. She had been in a state of coma the whole time and Tess was surprised that she actually had survived this long. Even though Nasedo kept insisting that they needed her, Tess could not really see why. Even in an unconscious state, Liz Parker was affecting Tess’s life and causing her trouble.
Tess closed her eyes and drew some deep breaths, fighting the unconsciousness from drowning her - like it had done so many times during the week.
”So, you’re back,” she heard Nasedo’s voice state.
With her eyes still closed, Tess murmured, ”Tell me again why I’m going through this hell!”
”Don’t be stupid! It’s our only way to get home. Max has the royal seal and he is the only one who can get the Granolith working,” Nasedo hissed through his teeth.
”Wow, you’re in a good mood,” Tess said and opened her eyes.
”That bitch has been nagging me all day,” Nasedo said, waving his hand into the direction of the unconscious Liz.
”What do you mean?” Tess asked and narrowed her eyes. Had Liz been conscious?
”She constantly stops breathing and I have fed her tons of my energy,” Nasedo said and headed towards the small kitchen.
”Oh,” Tess said, relaxing a bit. ”Why don’t you just kill her?”
Even though they weren’t in the same room anymore, Tess could clearly hear Nasedo gritting his teeth and letting out a loud sigh.
”She’s our insurance. If Max decides that he rather would grieve instead of getting us home, we make him an offer. We trade Liz to him if he promises to follow with us home! And if I have learned anything at all about Max and Liz’s so called relationship, it is that Max would give up his whole life here on Earth, with her, if that would insure Liz’s safety.”
”He will soon get over her. She is not that important to him,” Tess said with a voice mixed with sullenness and jealousy.
Nasedo came back into the bedroom.
”You really are stupid, aren’t you!” he said. ”You can flutter your eyelashes at him - hell, you can even flash him - but he will never think anything remotely close of you that he felt about her.”
Tess slumped back in the arm-chair, her lips formed in a surly pout, resembling a spoiled kid that hadn’t gotten her way. ”You’ll see,” she thought. ”I will make Max desire me more than he could ever desire that mouse. And if I have to kill her to convince you, well...”
Roswell, the Evans’ resident
In the evening of the day of Liz Parker’s funeral
”Isabel. Can you get Max and tell him that dinner’s ready,” Mrs. Evans said.
The air in the Evans’ resident was heavy. The funeral of Liz Parker earlier that day had put an end to the existence of Liz in Roswell and on this Earth. But to some people, she would never disappear. Isabel slowly lifted her feet up the stairs towards Max’s room. The police had declared that Liz had been raped and then murdered. Isabel couldn’t look Max into his eyes anymore. It was no use - her brother wasn’t there anymore. His otherwise so soulful eyes were empty - a complete devoid of emotions. Isabel stopped outside his closed door. Not a sound was heard from inside. She lightly knocked on the door, and without waiting for a reply (because she knew she wouldn’t get one) she opened the door slightly and peeked inside.
Max’s body was lying on his back in his bed. There was no light on in his room and as the sun had already begun its descent outside his window, the room was slowly growing darker. His eyes were fixed on a point in the ceiling, but his eyes were not seeing.
”Max,” Isabel said gently and opened the door more, stepping inside. ”How are you?”
He didn’t answer, he didn’t even flinch. He gave no indication whatsoever that he even was aware that she was in the room. Isabel went over to his bed and sat down on the edge beside him. She took one of his hands in hers. The warmth of his hand were in strong contrast to his cold eyes.
”Max,” Isabel whispered and before she knew it tears had started flowing down her cheeks as she looked into his eyes.
”I’m so sorry, Max,” she sobbed. ”She was just so full of life - I talked with her earlier that day.” A single tear started to run down Max’s cheek - the first of many unshed tears to come. ”Why did it happen to her? Why her? She always saw the good in people. She had such faith in people.” Max’s tears matched Isabel’s now. ”I miss her, Max....I miss you.”
Isabel laid down beside her brother, burying her head in his shirt seeking brotherly comfort.
Max’s control broke and he put his arms around his sister, relishing in the human touch. He cried openly now, clutching Isabel close to him. When Mrs. Evans a few minutes later came up the stairs and stepped into Max’s room in the search of Max and Isabel she found them on Max’s bed together, with their arms around each other - crying and seeking comfort in each other - grieving the loved girl they had both lost.
In a motel somewhere between Roswell and Santa Fe,
Two weeks post Liz Parker’s funeral
Tess slammed the door close with a frustrated scream. Damn that Max Evans! Three weeks had passed since Liz had presumably died and he still hadn’t forgotten about her. He didn’t even want to meet Tess. Tess could not understand why, she was so kind and gentle towards him. But screw him! She was tired of sucking up to him, tired of not getting anything back in return. She could as well talk to a dead fish - maybe she would achieve more response then! Her eyes fell on Liz, lying in the same position as ever in the bed of the motel.
”This is all your fault, bitch!” Tess screamed and attacked the helpless form on the bed, making Liz the target for her anger and frustration. Tess took a hold of Liz’s shoulders and shook her violently.
”Stop messing up my life!!!” Tess screamed, her hands moving to form a firm grip around Liz’s throat with the purpose of squeezing the life out of her once and for all. As Liz’s dry and parched lips were turning blue from the lack of oxygen, Tess was suddenly knocked backwards. Unexpectedly finding herself on the floor, she slowly rose to her feet to see what had happened. What she saw made her gasp.
Liz was covered in a blue light. Tess had seen the same light radiating out of Max’s hand to protect himself - but then it held the color of green. In some way, Liz was now producing a force shield around herself as a protection.
”What the hell...,” Tess murmured perplexed.
|posted on 15-Dec-2002 4:14:14 PM|
In a motel somewhere between Roswell and Santa Fe
Six weeks post Liz Parker’s funeral
”What was that noise?” she wondered dimly. ”Is someone knocking the door...? Can someone open the door?” She slipped down into the mist again. A few minutes later she reached the edges of consciousness again. The thudding sound was still there. She could also feel an ache in her back...in her stomach...in her legs... She ached everywhere. After some consulting, she realized that what she heard was a heartbeat - her heartbeat. Where was she? She focused on getting through the thick mist that covered her. She wanted to open her eyes, but it felt as if someone had taped her eyelids down. She relaxed a little, trying to gather her energy. She slowly opened her eyes. The light was so blinding that she had to blink her eyes repeatedly to get used to it. She could see that she was in a room of some kind but the contours remained blurry, causing her to have difficulties to orient herself.
The soft material pressing up against her sore back told her that she was lying on a bed. She tried to remember where she was and why she was there. She lifted her head slightly and tried to look around the room. She could only lift her head for a few seconds - the motion caused her too much effort and pain. She closed her eyes as she let her head fall back on the pillow and gave into the darkness.
During the following days, Liz continued to drift in and out of consciousness. She could consider herself lucky to have neither Tess nor Nasedo in the room as she came out of the unconsciousness. She was slowly growing stronger. Then one day, approximately five days after she first had came to, she opened her eyes and looked around. She was in what looked like a motel room. There was a large bed, the one she was lying in, and a red worn-out arm-chair across the room. There were three doors - one leading to what appeared to be the kitchen, one leading to a bathroom and the third was the front door. She sat up slowly and fought back the dizziness. She pulled the bed covers off her body and swinged her legs over the edge of the bed. She stopped for a while, gathering her energy, then she tried to stand up. Her legs were so weak. They hadn’t been used in a long time and the deterioration of her muscles had already begun. The constant dull aching in her back didn’t help the situation much either.
She refused to give up, she continued the process of standing up, only to fall back on the bed again - her weak legs not being able to support her weight. However, her efforts soon paid off and she soon found herself standing, swaying on legs that felt as weak as boiled spaghetti. She felt something tug at her arm and as she looked at her arm she saw a needle embedded in the skin at the back of her right hand. Connected to the needle was a long thin tube with its other end in a plastic bag, hanging from a hook at the end of a metal stand. She realized that was what had supplied her with nourishment during her unconscious state. She took a grip of the stand (which was equipped with wheels) and began on shaking legs to walk around the room. Her first trip was over to the front door, which she found to be locked. She visited the toilet and took pleasure in washing her face with cold water. Feeling refreshed she went into the kitchen and started rummaging around the refrigerator after something to eat. She found some bottles of Tabasco sauce, two cans of cherry coke, some carrots, a loaf and a bottle with sour milk. She took the loaf and a can of cherry coke and sat down by the table.
The tabled was covered in newspapers, and she pushed them away to make room. She opened the can and broke a piece of bread from the loaf. The bread was a bit dry, probably as old as everything else in the refrigerator. She relished the feeling of bread in her mouth. Even though it was old, it tasted like heaven to her. She had to put much effort into chewing the hard bread - her muscles not having been used in a while. Ten minutes later, she was full. She put the remaining loaf back into the refrigerator and threw the empty can in the trash can. For some (instinctive) reason, she figured it was best not to leave any traces. She made her way over to the bed and laid down. That’s when she heard the key in the lock. She closed her eyes and pretended to be asleep.
She could hear two voices, a female and a male. They were fighting.
”I’m getting fed up with this,” the male said. ”You have to work faster.”
”I try to, but I have only recently been able to even get through to him,” the female answered, annoyance in her voice. ”But I’m telling you. He will soon fall for me and then we don’t need her anymore.” She got a feeling that they were discussing her. ”Why don’t we kill her right away?”
”We have to be sure. From what I’m seeing, you’re not any closer to him than you were before her faked death.”
She got a feeling that it was her destiny that was being discussed.
”Well, I’m not staying here,” the female said. ”The whole group is going out tonight, and I’m invited. It helps to be buddies with Kyle.”
She flinched at the sound of the name. It sounded familiar. Where had she heard that name before?
”Yeah, yeah. Whatever,” the male said. There was a sound as the front door was opened and then closed. She was alone with the man.
”I’m getting so fed up with this fucking planet,” the male murmured.
During the following week, she memorized their routines. Which times they came back and at which times they left. She slowly regained her strength and she was only waiting for one of them to screw up. She got her chance one morning when the rain was pattering against the roof. After a short phone call, the man left in a hurry. She listened for the sound of the key turning in the lock, but it never came. He had forgotten to lock the door! She laid still for a few minutes - in case he would remember that he had forgotten to lock and come back. When nothing happened she rose from the bed and made her way over to the front door. She slightly opened it and peeked outside. The fresh cool wind, with the smell of rain hit her in the face. She drew a deep breath - breathing in the scent of freedom. Without further hesitation, she opened the door and stepped outside. It was pouring down, but that didn’t matter to her. She was free.
She had walked for hours in the rain. She was exhausted, cold and wet. But she knew that she couldn’t stop. She had to keep going, or they would find her. She was afraid to walk along the road, in case her kidnappers decided to drive by. Instead, she had been forced to cross the rough vegetation out in the middle of the desert. She soon saw a petrol station in the horizon. When she came closer she saw a sign that read ‘Motel - Bed and Breakfast’. She knew that she had not covered as large distance by foot as she could have done if she had hitch-hiked, and that she probably took a big risk stopping to sleep so close to her previous imprisonment. She was hightly aware of the fact that she was making herself an easy target. But it was getting dark and she was hungry, tired, wet and cold. She had to rest. She had found some money in the motel room which she had held hidden under the mattress. Every time the male put some money somewhere, she had taken some of it. Fortunately, he hadn’t noticed that anything was missing.
He was a tall middle aged man. He was not grazed with a handsome appearance, but he was not judged by his exterior by the people that knew him. He was a liked man. A simple man, with a heart of gold. He had his entire life held a dream about some day opening a restaurant. A bed and breakfast was the second best thing. He took much pride of his motel. He looked up from the newspaper he was reading as he heard the door jingle.
There, in front of the door stood a small girl, completely drenched. She reminded him of the kittens his brother used to throw into the lake when they were young - just for the fun of it. Her clothes barely covered her. She had a skirt on, but it was torn in at least three places. What was left of what had earlier probably been a blouse was only rags. Her eyes appeared extremely large in her gaunt face. She slowly made her way over to the counter. The man couldn’t help himself from staring.
His staring made her very uncomfortable and she tried a small smile.
”Hi, I would...” then she had to clear her throat - she had not used her voice in a long time, ”I would like a room.”
”Ahh...yes, of course,” the man stuttered. It was a miracle to him that the girl could still stand up straight. He took out a small notebook and a pencil from under the counter.
”Can I have your name, dear?” he asked.
”Of course,” she smiled but then grew silent. The man watched as the smiled slipped of her face.
”Miss?” he asked tentatively.
”I-I..I can’t remember,” she answered. The man looked at the girl sympathetically. God only knew what she had been through.
”It can wait until the morning,” the man said reassuringly. The girl nodded but he noticed that her mind was somewhere else, perhaps searching the memory, which held her identity. ”How long do you wish to stay?”
The girl looked up. ”Oh..only one night I guess,” Liz said.
”Okay then,” the man said and scribbled something down in his note book before he turned towards a large board with a lot of hooks with keys hanging from them and took one of the keys. ”Room 56. We serve breakfast at seven.” He handed her the key and he noticed her hand trembling as she accepted the key.
”Thanks,” she said and smiled the first real smile since she had arrived. The smile did wonders to her face and the man thought that she must have been beautiful before her life somehow got messed up. ”How much do I owe you?” she asked.
”You can pay when you check out,” he said.
She nodded, turned around and walked up to the door. She opened the door to walk out, shivering as the cold, moist air hit her.
”Miss, wait!” The man cried, and left his place behind the counter stepping up beside her. ”Here, take my umbrella.”
She looked up at the kind man and then down to his hand, which held a blue umbrella.
”Thank you,” she said softly.
The man merely nodded his head with a smile. The girl left the reception, put up the umbrella and headed for the house on the other side of the parking lot which housed the rooms.
She was there the following day at seven o’clock sharp.
”Good morning,” the man greeted her.
”Good morning,” she smiled. The man noticed that she looked much better today. The dark circles under her eyes were not as evident any longer and her hair was washed and combed. However, she still wore the same tags and he realized that she probably didn’t own any more than what she had worn yesterday.
”Let me show you to the dining area,” the man said and led the way.
The dining area was large and bright, with large windows letting in the light of the morning sun. The smell of newly baked bread reached her and her stomach rumbled. A little embarrassed she lowered her gaze to the floor.
”Hungry, huh?” the man asked with a smile. The girl looked up and met his gaze and as she nodded and held his gaze, he could see a piece of the strong girl she had once been.
”Then you’ve come to the right place,” the man said.
In the middle of the dining area a part of the floor was occupied by a large table. The surface of the table was covered by plates filled with new baked loafs and buns, butter, cheese, jam, peanut butter, fresh fruit, pancakes, scrambled eggs, and pots of tea and coffee - yes, you name it and it certainly was on that table! An old woman, about seventy years old walked in, carrying a plate of crackers.
”This is my mother,” the man said to the girl.
”Hi sweety,” the woman said. ”I’m Sarah. You sure look hungry, why don’t you serve yourself and make yourself comfortable.” The girl didn’t see the look that passed between the elderly woman and her son. The man had discussed the girl with his mother the other night. The discussion had concerned if they ought to call the police. There was a large possibility that she was yet another runaway and that she had parents waiting for her somewhere, waiting for her to come home and going out of their minds with worry. However, it seemed kind of weird that she had decided to run away without any change of clothes. And why did she look like she had been in an accident? The thing that had puzzled both Sarah and her son the most was that the girl hadn’t remembered her name. Sure, she could have been faking it - but hadn’t it been more inconspicuous to come up with fake name?
The girl grabbed a plate and started to fill it with food. The smell of food made her mouth water and she could barely wait to put her teeth into thatt bread. Her hands were quick, the movements of a starving woman, as she piled this and that on her plate. She took the plate and sought out a place by the windows. She slowly sat down, her back still aching. Yesterday, when she was about to take a shower, she had found her whole back and stomach from underneath her breast to her waist muffled up in bandage. When she unwound it from her body, and was about to step into the shower, her eyes caught the reflection of her back in the mirror. Her back looked scorched. Stepping closer to the mirror, she was surprised to see that in the middle of the semi-healed burns she thought she saw the contours of a handprint. The much longed shower was not as a nice experience as she had wanted it to be. She was forced to use humid water - almost cold - to lessen the stinging in the flesh of her burnt back.
As she ate, her thoughts once again floated back to the fact that she couldn’t remember who she was or what had happened to her. She had no memory at all. She could not recall any family members, or any names. She didn’t even recognize the girl that looked back at her in the mirror. Although it held some sense of familiarity. Her small stomach was quickly filled and she regretted that she hadn’t had the opportunity to taste it all.
Sarah watched the girl out of the corner of her eye. She had eaten like someone was going to snatch the food away from her at any moment. However, she had not eaten much. Sarah stepped up to the girl, who was now staring out the window - lost in her own thoughts.
”Can I get you anything else, dear?” Sarah asked. The girl jumped, startled by her voice. She looked up and met the woman’s old and wise eyes.
”No, thank you. It was wonderful and I’m completely full,” she said.
”You know,” Sarah said and took the place beside the girl, ”I have a daughter about your size. Would you be willing to accept some clothes?”
She looked down at her clothes. She had winded herself up in the bandage again, more due to the fact that it was an effective warmth insulator than a comfortable article of clothing. Her other clothes, she must admit, was not a beautiful sight. She would gladly accept the old woman’s offer, but she didn’t like the thought of being a charity case.
”That is very kind of you,” she said. ”But then you have to let me pay something for it.”
”No, of course not..,” but stopped when she saw the look in that girl’s eyes. Sarah realized that it was the only piece of honor that the girl had left - to be able to pay for herself - and Sarah wouldn’t let her lose that too.
”Sure,” Sarah said. ”Why don’t yu follow me!”
They were now standing in a bedroom on the second floor and clothes were spread over the bed and floor. Sarah was rummaging through her daughter’s closet. During the course of an hour clothes had been held up in front of the girl only to be removed as the clothes had been labelled to be of the wrong size.
”Elizabeth had a period when she was slightly overweight and I guess these are those clothes...”
But the girl wasn’t listening anymore. Elizabeth. There was something strangely familiar with that name. Sarah looked up to see why she hadn’t gotten any response. The small girl was staring out into the air, her thoughts miles away.
”Are you all right, dear?” Sarah asked.
”Elizabeth,” the girl murmured. ”Was that your daughter’s name?”
”Yes, that is my daughter’s name,” Sarah said proudly. ”She is living in Arizona now - with two of the most beautiful chil...” Sarah’s voice trailed off as she saw that the girl was once again lost to another world.
”I think that was my name,” the girl whispered, almost inaudible.
”What was that, dear?” Sarah asked - her hearing not being what it once was.
”I remember that name Elizabeth...and I think that it was my name,” the girl repeated softly, with a sparkle in her eye that Sarah hadn’t seen before.
”Well, welcome back Elizabeth,” Sarah said, smiling.
The girl seemed to think about it for a moment and then she was smiling from ear to ear.
”Yes, I think I was Elizabeth,” she said.
”Okay then, Elizabeth. If it’s okay with you, I think you have to wear clothes that are slightly too large, since it seems as if I can’t find anything better here.”
”Yes, of course,” the girl now called Elizabeth said, without being able to stop smiling.
”Here, take this,” Sarah said and handed Elizabeth a bra and a pair of underwear. ”See that door over there? That door leads to a bathroom - you can change there.”
”Okay, thanks,” Elizabeth said, took the under garments and disappear in the bathroom.
Elizabeth started to undress and slipped into the soft underwear. She took off her old bra and put on the new one. It smelled of detergent and was soft against her skin. She looked at herself in the mirror and then started to unwind the bandage.
Sarah put down the shirt on the bed and once again let her eyes drift to the closed bathroom door. She wondered once again if everything was all right in there. The girl had been in there for a long time. Then she heard the retching. She left what she was doing and quickly walked up to the door.
”Elizabeth, are you okay, dear?” she asked but got no reply.
She opened the door slightly and peeked inside to find Elizabeth on the floor in front of the toilet. She was kneeling by the toilet, her head resting in her hands. But it wasn’t the fact that she could see the ribs very clearly in Elizabeth’s back or the protruding bones of her spine that showed clear signs of undernourishment that caught Sarah’s attention. It was the scorched skin of her back that caught Sarah’s eyes. The girl had been burnt, very badly. Putting her horror for the girl aside, Sarah walked up to the hunched girl and kneeled beside her.
”Are you all right, Elizabeth?” she asked.
”Yeah, I’m fine...just fine,” Elizabeth said, unknowingly showing signs of the old Liz Parker and her slight inability to ask for help or talk about her feelings.
”Let me help you up,” Sarah said. ”You could catch pneumonia sitting here on this cold floor.” Automatically Sarah put an arm around Elizabeth’s back to support her weight, but pulled it away just as quickly when she saw Elizabeth wince from the touch to her burnt back.
”Oh, I’m so sorry, dear,” Sarah said regretfully, ”I should have thought about that.”
”That’s okay,” Elizabeth said reassuringly, ”You didn’t know.”
Elizabeth put one of her hands in Sarah’s and the other against the cool surface of the toilet and then pulled herself up. Elizabeth straightened up and winced a little as the inelastic skin of her back moved with the motion.
As Elizabeth straightened up - dressed only in a pair of underwear and a bra - Sarah eyes fell on Elizabeth’s stomach and she suddenly understood more why this girl was on her own.
”How far along are you?” she asked Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, puzzled, looked up in Sarah’s face, meeting her eyes.
”Excuse me?” she asked.
”How far along are you?” Sarah repeated and pointed at Elizabeth’s slightly protruding stomach. She couldn’t be far along - but the girl’s overall signs of malnutrition made the small rounding of her belly more prominent.
Elizabeth looked down at her stomach and slowly ran her hands over it.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 15-Dec-2002 4:19:47 PM ]
|posted on 16-Dec-2002 10:22:06 AM|
In a small apartment, somewhere in New Mexico
Four months later, Tuesday- 1.07 p.m.
She felt the pain ripple through her abdomen again. No, it was too soon! She leaned against the house wall and trying to catch her breath. When it had passed, she fished up her keys from her purse. With shaking hands, she placed the key in the lock, turned and opened. She stepped inside, put the keys on the table beside the door and walked towards the kitchen. She caught a look of herself in the mirror hanging on the wall. She had read all the baby books she could get her hands on, and they had informed her that all pregnancies were individual. However, nowhere did it say that she would look like this. Her body was merely skin and bones, with a protruding stomach in the center. Her big eyes were sunken in and her face was gaunt. Her hair had no vitality, no shine - it was thin and hung in wisps. She had a bruise at the side of her neck - she had obtained a lot of bruises during her pregnancy. It was as if her skin was super-sensitive.
She was exhausted all the time. She worked from nine to five as a waitress and then she started her night shift as a waitress in a bar at eleven p.m. She had a constant headache and she could barely keep anything down, she threw up most of it. The only time she felt something close to happiness was when she felt the life inside of her kick or move around. Her baby gave her some hope in her lonely existence. She left the depressive reflection in the mirror and went into the kitchen to unpack the groceries bags. As she was putting two bottles of Tabasco, which she had attained a certain crave for (she had it on about everything) during her pregnancy, she felt the pain explode in her abdomen and she had to grab the edge of the table to stop herself from passing out.
West Roswell High - Roswell, New Mexico
Tuesday - 1.12 p.m.
”Max, are you all right?” Isabel asked when Max once again rubbed his stomach.
Max concentrated on the pain once again, trying to subdue it with his powers - but he was repeatedly unsuccessful in his efforts. For two months he had felt a dull ache in the small of his back. During the last 24 hours, the ache had intensified and now it was also accompanied by the pain in his abdomen.
”I don’t know,” he answered his sister.
”Maybe you’re coming down with something,” Alex, with his hand clasped in Isabel’s, said.
”We don’t get sick,” Max said.
”Right,” Kyle said, not the least surprised.
They were all sitting under a tree in the school yard, eating their lunch. Max had positioned himself with his back leaning against the trunk of a tree. Maria was sitting between Michael’s legs, leaning her weight against his chest. Isabel and Alex, with their fingers laced together, were sitting side by side both in Indian style. Kyle was sitting beside Tess - but there was some distance between them. The pairing was complete - except for the lonesome Max. Nevertheless, Liz’s death had brought something positive to the group. They had realized how short life could be and they had forgotten about their differences and petty arguments. It hadn’t taken long for Maria and Michael to pair up. Isabel and Alex moved a little slower but they were also considered an item nowadays. However, Kyle and Tess were not together, since Tess was still very consisted in her sucking up to Max - trying to get them together. It was obvious to everyone in the group, except to Tess, that Max would never get together with Tess.
”I’ve been having this ache in my back for about two months now,” Max said.
”Maybe you’re getting old,” Michael said.
”And now I have this pain in my stomach,” Max continued, not taking any notice to Michael’s comment.
”Maybe you’ve eaten something weir-” Maria started to say but her voice quieted when Max with pain etched on his face doubled over.
”Max!” Isabel said, dropped Alex’s hand and moved to kneel beside her brother.
During the following long forty seconds, Max focused on decreasing the pain with his powers. When the pain finally subsided he raised his head to be met by seven worried faces.
”Maxwell, what happened?” Michael asked.
”Liz...” Max whispered.
”What?” Maria said, her voice hoarse from the emotions the name of her dead friend brought forward.
Max looked Maria directly in the eyes.
”Liz is alive.” As the shaken group contemplated the meaning of Max’s statement, no one saw the look of horror and hatred that passed over Tess’s face.
In a small apartment, somewhere in New Mexico - 1.20 p.m.
Liz was pacing around the apartment, gathering everything she needed for the birth. Keeping her busy hindered her feelings of fear to take control over her. She was highly aware of the fact that a normal pregnancy lasted about nine months and according to her calculations she had only been pregnant about six. Something was wrong. If she gave birth now, the baby would certainly not survive.
She knew every detail of the process of birth by heart - having memorized the baby books. She had never been to a maternal check up - there was a large risk that something was wrong with the baby. She also knew that she wasn’t healthy, and she was petrified that the baby had suffered from that. She had decided not to give birth in a hospital - she was still afraid that her kidnappers were looking for her and it would be pretty easy to find her in a hospital. She would give birth here - in this apartment - alone.
West Roswell High - Roswell, New Mexico - 1.21 p.m.
”Oh no, he is losing it,” Michael thought as he hugged the crying Maria to him. ”I will hurt him really badly if he is only making this up and upsetting Maria and Isabel over nothing.”
”Max, she’s dead,” Michael said, ”You held her in your arms... I saw her, Isabel saw her - hell, even Liz’s family, relatives and everybody at her funeral saw her. She’s dead Max!”
Max was now standing up, pacing back and forth.
”Don’t you think I know that Michael!” Max said, his voice irritated. He rubbed his forehead with one hand while the other hand rubbed the small of his back. ”I don’t understand it even more than you do. But I’m telling you, I can feel her. She’s in pain - in so much pain.”
Tess was watching the group silently - still trying to get over the fact that Max seemingly had some sort of connection to that bitch.
”Maybe you’re only hoping so much that she’s alive that you’re imagining,” Tess said.
Max looked at her, and Tess shrank back under his stare. ”Bad move, Tess,” Isabel thought seeing Max’s deathly glare, ”don’t mess with Max when it comes Liz.”
”I’m not imagining!” Max said, his voice hard. ”She’s still alive and she’s in pain and I need to get to her.”
”And how do you plan that we do that?” Kyle asked.
Max closed his eyes - his face masked with the sorrow that had become a second nature to him since Liz was taken from him - and sank down with his back leaning against the tree.
”I don’t know,” he whispered, and everyone knew how much it at that moment was eating him up inside to know that Liz was alive and out there somewhere but knowing that he lacked the knowledge that would lead him to her.
Santa Fe, New Mexico - 2.30 a.m.
A middle aged couple, leaving a dinner party with some business associates, passed by a small, shabby apartment and stopped to look up at it in surprise and shock. Agonizing cries pierced through the otherwise quiet neighborhood.
”Should we call someone?” the woman asked her husband.
The man shook his head, believing it was yet another example of a relationship of physical abuse. The police would come, but wouldn’t be able to press charges since the woman would be too terrified to tell what her partner had done.
”Let’s go home,” he said. A few minutes after the couple had left the spot outside the apartment, the cry of a baby pierced through the night, announcing the birth of a little girl.
A small lamp on the bedside table beside the one-sized bed, illuminated the room in a warm light. The covers of the bed was in disarray, smeared with blood and maternal fluids. In the large bed laid a thin figure. Her skin was glittering with sweat and her breathing was still labored from what her body had been put through. In her arms lay a little bundle, wrapped up in a small blanket. The young mother looked in awe at the miracle in her arms. She admired the small hands, with the small fingers and the even smaller finger nails. Her fingers traced the soft chubby cheeks. She was perfect. The baby’s crown was covered in black hair, which still had the oily texture of a new-born. One of the infant’s soft cheeks was resting against the swell of her mother’s breast. She was asleep, with the taste of maternal milk still lingering on her small red lips. She was a blessing - a blessing to her mother’s lonesome existence on the run.
Roswell, New Mexico - 2003
”Anything?” the young man asked.
The man with the sheriff star on his chest shook his head, sympathy in his heart as the young man sank down onto the coach. He looked completely lost, like he had lost his home - all over again.
”I’m sorry, Max. We can’t find any trace of her. Either she’s held in captivity or she doesn’t want to be found.”
Max rubbed his forehead, trying to think of something else they could do, somewhere else they could search. They were missing something - they had to. She was still alive. Since the pain in his abdomen two years ago had reached a climax and then abruptly ended he could merely sense her presence like a small fluttering in the back of his head. But for some reason he couldn’t reach her. It was as if it was an one-way connection. She was either blocking him or she wasn’t aware that he was there. He realized that she had always been there, even when he thought she was dead. He had been too consumed with grief to notice.
”Have you search all the hospitals?” Max asked.
”Yes, we did it two years ago,” Sheriff Valenti said and sighed tiredly.
”But you have searched them after that too, right?” Max asked.
”Max, it’s no use. She can be in Russia for all we know.”
”No, she’s close by.” His voice was determined. He knew that everyone had given up. They had already one year ago started to question how much of what Max claimed he felt through a connection they didn’t know anything about was true. Now they had just gone back to believing the common lie that Liz Parker was dead. Nowadays they felt sorry for Max because he couldn’t let go off her. Max knew all that, but he also knew what his heart told him and the connection he had experienced with Liz had never been wrong before. She was alive - and he was going to find her. Even if he died searching!
|posted on 18-Dec-2002 7:06:32 AM|
Santa Fe, New Mexico - 2005
Elizabeth had tried everything in order to retrieve her memory. She had been put under hypnosis and she had been to a psychologist. From the psychologist she had received the advice that people who suffer from amnesia could get their memory back by coming into contact with objects that meant something to them in the life before the memory loss. However, Elizabeth did not come into contact with something that was even a reminiscent of her former life. She knew that she had been taken, or kidnapped, and had been hurt and suffered the amnesia as a cause of that. That much she had managed to figure out on her own.
No doctor could explain why she was always sick. She had been to countless physicians and they had found nothing wrong with her - that is, nothing except her symptoms. However, the fact that Elizabeth’s interior tissues were slightly burned could be a source to her symptoms. She suffered from headaches, resembling migraine attacks, every day. She had frequent nose bleedings. She could not keep much food down and was very thin as a cause of that. A month ago, her eyes had started to hurt and sting. She often suffered from dizziness and often had to sit down and take a breather. Finding out her past was her number one priority. Perhaps her medical history told of some genetic disease. She had a child to take care of - she did not want to leave her child in a world where someone was after her. Her daughter was no older than four years old, she could not be left alone.
”Mommy, mommy, mommy!”
Elizabeth turned around to find her daughter running towards her - with a drawing in her hand and excitement shining in her eyes. Those eyes. When Elizabeth had looked into those eyes for the first time, she had found them strangely familiar. She couldn’t place them, but she instinctively knew that they were the eyes of her daughter’s father.
”Look what I paint,” Emma exclaimed as she crawled up into her mother’s lap.
Elizabeth looked down at the drawing that Emma was clutching in her hand.
”It’s a pwincess,” Emma explained.
”That’s really beautiful,” Elizabeth said, smiling. But then her smile started to slip off her face as she saw the symbols that Emma had drawn around the princess. They resembled...cave paintings.
”Honey, what’s this?” she asked her daughter.
”Dat I see in Daddy’s dweam,” her daughter answered seriously. Elizabeth flinched when Emma used the word ‘daddy’. She hadn’t even spoken to her daughter about daddies yet, how did she know the word?
”What do you mean, sweety?” Elizabeth asked.
”I’m sleepy,” Emma said.
Elizabeth smiled and stood up, Emma bundled up in her arms. They walked into the bedroom and Emma was asleep before her head hit the pillow. Elizabeth sat still on the bed in the growing darkness for a long time, thinking about what her daughter had said - once again wondering who she was.
Roswell, New Mexico - 2005
Max was thrown out of his dream by a sound outside his window. He laid still and listened for a few minutes, giving Michael a chance to knock on the window before Max decided to go to attack. He could only hear the deafening silence. His alien DNA made his hearing a little better than that of the human. His eye-sight was even a little better at night than at day. He quietly eased up into sitting position, grabbing the baseball bat beside the bed in the movement. His feet softly touched the carpet on the floor and as gracefully as a cat, Max made his way across the cold floor. He unlocked and opened the window with his powers in order to make it as soundlessly as possible. As he climbed over the window-ledge he propped the bat up against the wall at the inside of his room -thinking that his alien powers were probably more effective as a weapon, but wanting to keep the bat close in case he had to defend himself and protect his secret at the same time.
”Max Evans?” a low voice said from the shadows.
Max jumped at the sound of the voice and then tensed up - all his senses directed into the direction of the voice.
”Show yourself,” Max demanded.
The man, walking out from the shadows into the moonlight, recognized the voice of authority and knew instinctually that he had found him.
”Don’t be frightened, I’m not here to do any harm,” the man said and stepped closer to Max.
”Stay where you are,” Max ordered.
Max eyed the man suspiciously. He was tall - about an inch taller than Max. He was quite muscular built, but his stance was not at all intimidating. Max could sense that he meant no evil - that he was one of the ‘good guys’.
”Who are you?” Max asked.
”Can we go some place more private and talk?” the man asked.
”Not before you tell me who you are,” Max demanded.
The man held the human’s gaze, the human body that carried the soul of his latent king.
”I’m your protector,” he answered.
Max looked at him in disbelief.
”Our protector is dead,” Max said.
”The man you believed to be your protector was a fraud. Let’s go somewhere and I’ll tell you more.”
Max hesitated for a few seconds and then came to the decision that he could at least her him out. He had a good feeling about him.
”Okay, I know a place. But I want Michael and Isabel with me.”
”I would be surprised if you didn’t,” the man said.
”So, what’s all the fuss about, Maxwell? You have nothing better to do than to wake slee-”
Michael stopped abruptly as he saw the stranger standing over at one of the walls of the UFO center. He automatically raised his right hand in front of him - prepared to fire if he needed to. There was a stranger standing inside the closed UFO center, at three o’clock in the morning and in the same room as this potential enemy, was his (in another life time) king standing and the king’s sister and Michael knew that his role in this life was to protect them. But on the other hand he was also standing in the same room as Isabel and Max - the only family he had ever known, which he would protect with his life not only out of loyalty but mostly out of love.
”And you most be Rath,” the stranger said.
”Who are you?” Michael said menacingly.
”Michael, this man have something to tell us,” Max said before the man had a chance to answer Michael.
”Max, what are you thinking? He could be mindwarping you, just waiting for the right opportunity to kill you so that he can be a hero at home!” Michael said, getting pissed off at Max, who once again risked their lives.
”Michael, let’s hear him out,” Max said and said a little lower when Michael came closer to him, ”But be prepared to strike, okay?”
Michael nodded and the teenage group fell silent, waiting for the stranger to speak. When he didn’t, Max spoke up, ”I believe you own us an explanation,” he prompted.
”As I told Zan-”
”Max,” Max corrected him.
”Right. As I told Max I am your protector-”
”What?!” Isabel and Michael cried out in unison.
”You cannot be our protector, our protector’s dead,” Michael said.
”The one who called himself your protector...what did you call him...Naeda?”
”Nasedo,” Max corrected.
”Yes, anyway...he was a traitor.” The man expected them to arguing against him, but they were all silent. He didn’t know that it all made some sense to them. Nasedo had always been cruel. Even though he made them believe it was because he was completely alien and they were hybrids - they never felt comfortable with the easiness in which he killed anyone that stood in his way, just in order to protect the royal four.
”So, you’re our protector, huh?” Michael said. ”If you are our protector, then where the hell have you been for the last...I don’t know...sixteen years!”
”I’ve been around,” their protector said calmly.
”You’ve been around...you’ve been around!!!” Michael yelled. ”Where the hell were you when I was being transferred from foster ‘situation’ to foster ‘situation’, to end up with Hank. Where the hell were you when Hank beat the crap out of-”
”Michael,” Max said calmly, putting a hand on Michael’s shoulder to calm him down.
”No, Max! You don’t understand. You had the perfect life - I was left out in the dirt-”
”Michael, stop it!” Isabel said.
Michael turned to look at her, with his mouth open, ready to tell Isabel one thing or two but he didn’t say anything when he saw that Isabel was on the verge of crying. He had made her upset, and he slowly calmed himself down.
”I’m sorry that I wasn’t there, but we couldn’t interfere too much. Firstly, it would have looked suspicious and secondly you had to become a part of the human society. To blend in with the humans was probably your best life insurance. If I had taken you under my wings, you would not have learned the human norms as well as you were able to do on the inside - being part of a human family.”
”Why did you let us believe that Nasedo was our protector?” Max asked. ”He could’ve killed us!”
”We had him under strict surveillance....”
”So you have been watching us the whole time?” Isabel asked, feeling exposed.
”Yes, in order to keep you safe. Although, we were pretty convinced that Nasedo would not hurt you. He would not win anything on killing you.”
”What did Nasedo want?” Max asked.
”He wanted you Max.”
”You’re the only one who can work the Granolith.” ”Not the Granolith again,” Max thought, groaning inwardly.
”What do you mean?” Michael asked.
”The Granolith is a means of transportation between Earth and Antar.”
”Antar, that’s...home?” Michael asked.
Their new protector nodded.
”And Nasedo wanted the Granolith?” Max asked.
”He wanted you to operate it so that he could get to Antar, with you. I guess he had made some deal with our enemies on Antar.”
”And the deal was to...take Max to Antar?” Isabel asked.
”Yes, probably in time for his own public execution,” the protector said.
Isabel instinctively stepped closer to her brother and took his hand.
”So you can understand why Nasedo didn’t kill Max. He neither killed Michael nor Isabel since he wanted to earn Max’s trust so that he would be easier to convince to take him home. Most likely, he kept away from your human friends for the same reason.”
”What do we call you?” Isabel asked.
”Kira,” the protector said and understood by Isabel’s question that she had accepted him.
”Why are you here now?” Michael asked.
”It have come to our knowledge that an heir to the throne has been born,” Kira said.
”What does that mean?” Michael asked and as he and Isabel kept their eyes fixed on Kira for an explanation, they failed to notice how Max seemed to space out - thinking about a night spent with Liz five years ago.
”An heir to Max has been born.” All eyes turned to Max, who met their eyes with an expression they couldn’t quite interpret.
|posted on 20-Dec-2002 8:14:47 AM|
Roswell, New Mexico - 2005
”Did you sleep with her?” Michael asked Max, without even feeling the need to mention her name - everyone knew that Max hadn’t been with anyone else, let alone thought about anyone else, since Liz had disappeared.
”Why didn’t you tell me, Max?” Isabel wondered.
Max was looking at some point behind them, the reality of Kira’s statement starting to sink in.
”Didn’t you even think of using protection?” Michael asked. ”The always so cautious Max Evans didn’t use protection?”
”Max...?” Isabel tentatively asked and put a hand on Max’s shoulder as he didn’t answer them. ”When did this happen?”
Max struggled to keep his voice even as he answered them.
”The night before the night when I held her dead in my arms.”
He was a turmoil of emotions. Sadness that he hadn’t been with Liz when she gave birth, hope that she might actually be alive somewhere, a small sense of panic to be a father...
”Oh Max,” Isabel said, feeling sorry for her brother.
”Did you know about this, Maxwell?” Michael asked, still irritated with Max’s lack of responsibility. Max shook his head, his mind somewhat detached from what was happening around him.
”Do you know where she is?” Max asked, his voice merely a whisper.
Kira looked puzzled.
”No. That’s why we contacted you. We thought she was with you.”
”No, she disappeared five years ago,” Max said.
”If you keep so close watch at us, why haven’t you noticed her missing?” Michael asked.
”But we thought...Isn’t Tess the mother?” Kira asked, confused.
”Tess?” Max asked in disbelief, while Michael had to stop himself from laughing out loud at the absurdity of that statement.
”Max would never be with Tess,” Isabel said.
”But she’s Max’s mate,” Kira said. ”Actually, Max can’t reproduce with a human.”
Isabel, Michael and Max looked at each other.
”Well, it seems as if you were wrong,” Michael informed Kira. ”Max has only been with Liz.”
”Liz Parker?” Kira asked.
Max nodded, starting to feel a bit freaked out about the whole situation. His relationship and his child was being discussed like a missile crisis.
”Wasn’t she murdered?” Kira asked.
”Max doesn’t believe that,” Isabel said. ”He felt her a couple of years ago.”
”He ‘felt’ her?” Kira said.
”Yes, they have this whole connection-thing going,” Michael explained.
”But she’s completely human?” Kira asked and watched all the hybrids in front of him nod their heads.
”This doesn’t make sense,” Kira mumbled.
Max started to get worried. ”Why?” he asked.
”You aren’t suppose to be able to connect with humans and you are absolutely not suppose to be able to reproduce with one,” Kira said.
”Perhaps something happened when you healed her, Max?” Isabel said. ”She was able to reach you that day in New York - of course, I had to help her, but Ava said that you had changed her.”
”What?” Kira said. ”You healed her?”
”She was shot...and...and I couldn’t let her die,” Max said.
Kira sank down onto a bench, his hand rubbing his forehead.
”I have to consider this recent information,” he said. ”But this makes the situation worse.”
”How’s that?” Michael said.
”Your enemies are soon going to find out about your heir too and they will try to get to him.”
”What do you mean?” Max whispered, as dread started to fill him. He knew exactly what Kira meant.
”We have to find Liz and you heir before your enemies do - or they are as good as dead.”
Santa Fe, New Mexico - 2005
”So what do you wanna do today?” Elizabeth asked her daughter. They were standing in the kitchen, making pancakes.
”I wanna see a movie,” Emma answered.
”You wanna go to the cinema?” Elizabeth said and tried to fight of the dizziness that tried to take its claim on her.
”Yes,” Emma said, grinning from ear to ear.
”Then...then we’ll do that,” Elizabeth said, her fists clenched. Emma, who was used to her mother’s symptoms (despite Elizabeth’s thorough efforts to try to hide it from her), watched her intently.
”Mommy, are you awight?” she asked.
”I’m fine, honey,” Elizabeth said, her eyes closed in concentration as she blindly reached out for something to steady herself with. Her hand came into contact with something hot - something really hot. She withdrew her hand with a cry of pain.
”Mommy, you hurt yourself,” Emma said. Elizabeth was looking at her hand - she had put her hand on the hot plate of the stove. Before Elizabeth had time to react, Emma had put her own little hand in Elizabeth’s, which had started to get really red from the burn. Elizabeth looked at her four-year-old, who closed her eyes - a frown of concentration on her forehead - and Elizabeth could feel a small tingling in her hand and the pain gradually decreasing. Elizabeth looked down at their clasped hands and saw for a split second a white glow radiating from between their palms. The glow started a series of flashes in her mind. The flashes were so strong that she had to take a hold of the sink to stop herself from falling. There was naked skin, lips, warmth, passion, love...so much love and that glow. That glow was radiating from the skin. She came crashing down to Earth with a gasp.
”What happened, mommy?” Emma asked. Elizabeth looked down into the frightened eyes of her daughter, her thoughts still on the flashes that she knew in the bottom of her heart were memories from the night Emma was conceived.
Roswell, New Mexico - 2005
The old gang was gathered in the park in Roswell. The old gang - minus Liz Parker. Kyle was at some seminar about buddhism in another part of the country and Tess...well, perhaps she never was part of the gang... They were all going to the same university, but had made an old unspoken tradition of returning to Roswell on the weekends and holidays. In some respects they were still holding on to the past. Max more than anyone else, since he couldn’t let go off Liz -still convinced that she was out there somewhere. Nevertheless, they knew that their enemies were still out there, even though nothing had happened since Liz’s death. Max, Michael and Isabel knew that they would probably be living their whole lives constantly on guard, but they also knew that Maria, Alex, sheriff Valenti and Kyle were just as tangled up in this now as well, so they had to keep together in order to protect each other. Michael and Maria were sharing an apartment close to the university. Max lived on campus, as did Isabel. Alex was sharing an apartment together with Kyle. When they had decided to share an apartment Michael had to contain himself not to laugh out loud. That was just a nice couple!
”Do you really think that it will be easier to find her now?” Michael asked. ”You’ve already looked about everywhere!” They were once again discussing Liz.
”I can’t look everywhere,” Max said. ”I’ve only searched the public institutions - like hospitals, police... I can’t go knocking on every door and she certainly isn’t Liz Parker anymore, because Valenti hasn’t been able to locate her using her name.”
”Well, I hate to break it to you, Maxwell, but perhaps she doesn’t want to be found,” Michael said. Max’s eyes glazed over with sadness and Maria punched Michael on the shoulder.
”Ouch,” Michael shouted out. ”What are you doing?”
”Don’t say that, Michael. She might be hurt, or something even worse. Perhaps she’s held prisoner. But I know that Liz wouldn’t avoid us. She wouldn’t hide from us voluntary...only if she was trying to...protect us,” Maria said and jerked her head up. ”Oh my God, that’s it! Liz is doing her trying-to-protect-everyone-else-at-the-cost-of-her-own-happiness thing again. I’m telling you, she’s probably hiding because she knows that the enemies will come after her baby and she doesn’t want to lead them to Max too. God, it’s just the future Max thing all over again!”
Max’s head jerked up.
”What did you say?!” he asked.
Maria met Max’s gaze while she replayed what she had said in her head. Oh, crap! She had revealed her best friend’s most treasured secret.
”No, no I didn’t say nothing,” Maria stuttered.
Isabel, Alex and Michael all looked at Maria and Max. Max looked like he was on the verge of a breakdown, but simultaneously seemed more determined than they have seen him in years, and Maria looked extremely guilty. Thoughts running through his mind, Max held Maria’s gaze. She knew something and he was gonna make her tell him what it was.
”Yes, you did, Maria. Tell me! Liz was keeping secrets from me, wasn’t she?!”
”I-I-I promised not to tell you Max,” Maria said.
”It might be relevant to the situation,” Isabel said. ”Perhaps it will help us find Liz.”
”No-no, I don’t think it has anything to do with that,” Maria stuttered, inwardly kicking herself for giving Liz’s secret away.
”It can’t hurt now, can it? Liz is gone,” Michael said.
”Liz isn’t gone,” Max said.. ”She’s just...missing. Now, tell us Maria. What was Liz keeping from us?”
”You have to keep in mind that she was doing it for you,” Maria said.
”Spill Maria,” Alex said.
”Okay.” Maria took a deep breath, and held Max’s gaze - focusing only on him. ”Max, you know this whole Liz slept with Kyle thing...” Maria said.
”Like I could ever forget,” Max thought but said, ”Yeah.”
”Okay...I’m just gonna say this...and even though it might sound a bit freaky - it’s actually true...either that or Liz was a whacko-”
”Maria, please. Tell us,” Alex whined with an exaggerated painful expression on his face. ”You’re killing us here, you’re worst than a FBI-agent at giving away information!”
Maria took a deep breath.
”Okay, here goes nothing... The Granolith is very powerful and it could obviously be used for time-traveling,” Maria was met with four sets of mistrusting pairs of eyes, ”Anyway, a future Max - from year 2014 more exactly,” now everyone was looking at her like she had grown antennas, ”decided to pay Liz a visit and ruin all her future hopes! Future Max told Liz that she had to get present Max to fall out of love with her.”
”What?!” Max exclaimed and stood up.
”Max, calm down,” Isabel said.
”Why did he..I...the future version of me-”
”Now you know how I feel,” Maria mumbled.
”Why did he tell Liz to do that?” Max asked.
”Because you, girlfriend, decided to treat Tess like trash while you were making goo-goo eyes with Liz, and Tess got fed up with it and left,” Maria explained.
”So...? What’s the crisis with that?” Michael asked, not really seeing a loss with Tess leaving. Since Liz disappeared she had been an even bigger pain in the ass - which Michael didn’t even think was possible - crawling all over Max.
”As I understood it, you were all part of a complete unit - the royal four, or whatever,” Maria causally waved her hand, indicating how ridiculous she thought that was, ”some sort of fighting unit, and without Tess you were lacking something. In 2014 the enemies arrived to Earth and there was a war and people started dying and your powers weren’t as strong without Tess. So Max comes back from the future to prevent Tess from leaving, so they wouldn’t all be dead in the future. That’s basically it.”
Maria looked around her and was met by one speechless human and three stunned hybrids.
”Welcome to the life of Maria Deluca,” Maria sighed.
Santa Fe, New Mexico - 2005
”Oh, what a cutie!”
Elizabeth turned around to see an old lady leaning over her daughter, sitting in the shopping cart.
”Is she yours?” the old lady asked, looking the young woman over.
”Yes,” Elizabeth answered.
”She’s just adorable,” the lady said and then her voice pitched a level higher as she talked to Emma, ”And what is your name, sweety?”
Emma looked worriedly at her mom. Her mom always told her never to talk to strangers. Elizabeth smiled at her daughter and nodded her head, giving her daughter approval to speak.
”Emma,” Emma answered.
”What a beautiful name,” the old lady said and looked down at the ice-cream box the little girl was clutching to her chest.
”You like ice-cream, huh?”
Emma nodded seriously, but her attention wasn’t really on the old lady any longer. She could feel that her mother wasn’t feeling too well. Emma looked at her mother, but Emma was a smart girl and she knew her mother. She didn’t want to put her mother in a difficult situation, since she knew how hard it was for her mother to ask for help. Emma focused on her mother and tried to send her energy and power.
Elizabeth felt the energy and was not for the first time reminded of the energy surge she had felt when she had given birth to Emma. She had thought about it a lot but she still couldn’t truly understand it. It had felt as if a warm presence had walked into her mind, showering her with encouragement, calm, strength and love. It was the most beautiful, calming and wonderful thing she had ever felt. When she now felt the surge again she wondered where it came from, but it made her feel a little better. The pounding headache was alleviated and the burning in the back - always there to remind her of the scarred skin - came to an end.
”Would you like a lollipop?” the old lady questioned Emma.
Emma once again looked at Elizabeth and Elizabeth felt a sting in her chest. She had
made her daughter that suspicious, so untrusting of people. It was not the childhood Elizabeth wished for Emma. Emma should be able to carefreely play with other children. The reality was that Emma had never met anyone else in her own age, she had never played with another child - only with her mother. She lived a protected life and Elizabeth had on more than one occasion thought about that Emma almost was a prisoner, just because Elizabeth was so anxious to protect her from all harm. More than once had Elizabeth thought that she also ‘protected’ Emma from all the good things in life as well by keeping her away from the real world. Emma wasn’t really living... she had to grow up too fast, worrying about her mother.
”It’s okay, pumpkin,” Elizabeth said.
”Yes, dank you, I-I...would like a lollipop,” Emma said.
The old lady smiled a warm smile. She felt so bad for the child. Her mother was so young and her heart ached as she realized that the young woman looked like a drug-addict. The young woman’s clothes were washed out, she was thin and pale and her hair had no shine. Although, the old woman had to admit that the little girl looked well cared for. It looked as if the mother spend all her money on the girl. The girl had nice clothes, her hair was newly-cut and neatly pulled up into two pig-tails and she looked healthy. And she was just so darn cute!
”Here you go, sweety,” the old lady said and gave Emma a lollipop. Then she opened her handbag and pulled out her purse. Elizabeth realized what she was doing and started to shake her head.
”Oh, no. That’s very kind of you, but you don’t have to pay.”
”Oh, but I want to. It’s no problem,” the old woman said.
”Okay,” Elizabeth agreed, not having the energy to argue over a lollipop with an old woman in the middle of a store, only because she didn’t like being treated as a charity case.
”Here you go,” the old woman mused and pressed some bills into Elizabeth’s hand. To use all of those money, you had to buy at least five hundred lollipops.
”This is too much,” Elizabeth said.
”I’m just trying to help you out,” the old woman said, somewhat offended by the young woman.
”Yes, I understand that, it’s very nice of you,” Elizabeth emphasized, ”But I can take care of myself, I’m sure you have some grandchildren to spend those money on.”
”Yes I do, but you’re child most certainly need it the most!”
Elizabeth shook her head and put the money back in the old lady’s hand.
”Thank you, but no thanks,” Elizabeth said firmly and put her hands back on the handle of the cart and started to push it towards the meat section.
The old woman shook her head, thinking about that poor child who had to live with that stubborn and too proud drug-addict of a mother.
”Hi! My name is Elizabeth Owens,” Elizabeth said in the phone. ”I would like to register my daughter, Emma Owens, at your day-care center.”
Emma walked beside Elizabeth down the street, their hands clasped together.
”Did you have fun today?” Elizabeth asked.
”Yes, we did a rattle, and we had toilet baper...”
”You had toilet paper?” Elizabeth asked softly. ”Do you mean the cardboard roll inside in the middle of the toilet paper?”
Emma nodded excitedly.
”Yes, yes,” she said cheerfully. ”We put peas in the dwoll and Maria put a pea in her nose!” Emma’s pearl laughter tinkled through the air, but was only partly noticed by Elizabeth, who at the mention of the name Maria had experienced a momentary flash of a blonde beautiful girl with green eyes.
”...and then she had to go to the hospidal, but then she had awready pick it out,” Emma continued.
Elizabeth pushed her own thoughts away and focused on her daughter.
”She sure was lucky,” Elizabeth said. It warmed her heart that she had obviously made the right decision to put Emma in day-care so that she could meet other children, and play and not be so alone. She was so much happier now. Emma needed to meet other people so that she could widen her world and her perspective, not only seeing everything from her mother’s point of view. It had also been good for their economy (if one looked beyond the costs of having Emma at the day-care), since Elizabeth had been able to work a longer shift when Emma wasn’t home.
”Mommy, what’s the hosbital?” Emma asked and looked up at Elizabeth with those soulful amber eyes, that pulled at Elizabeth’s heart strings. Elizabeth had never taken Emma to the hospital - there was never any need to go there since Emma had never been sick. She hadn’t even suffered from the normal cold. Elizabeth had always hired a baby-sitter to watch Emma when she had gone to the doctors for her medical problems and when she had gone to therapy in an effort to retrieve her lost memory. So Emma had never been anywhere near doctors or hospitals.
”When you’re sick you go to the hospital,” Elizabeth said. ”There are people there - doctors - that help you feel better.”
”Why don’t you go dere, so you can feel better?” Emma asked.
Elizabeth felt her chest tighten. She sat down on her heels, so that she was on eye-level with Emma.
”Honey, you don’t have to worry about me,” Elizabeth said gently, pushing a strand of Emma’s dark brown hair behind her ear. ”Mommy’s fine.”
”Then why do you hurt?” Emma said, tilting her head to the side desperately trying to understand.
Elizabeth studied her daughter carefully. How did she know that? Elizabeth was always so careful not to give her symptoms or feelings away. She knew her daughter - she took everything on her own shoulders, she worried too much. Emma was too young to worry that much. If Elizabeth had remembered Emma’s father she had understood more where that trait came from. Elizabeth didn’t like keeping things from Emma, she wanted them to have an honest relationship but Elizabeth also wanted Emma to be a kid - a normal kid. Not be worrying about her mother’s health.
”Emma, I just feel that way sometimes, but it’s nothing dangerous.”
Emma studied her mother. Not wanting her mother to feel uncomfortable she gave her a hug and hugged her tightly.
”I love you, mommy,” Emma said.
”I love you too, sweetheart,” Elizabeth said, tears stinging her eyes.
”So, can I have an ice-cream now?” Emma asked, her eyes dancing.
”Uh huh,” Elizabeth laughed. ”I knew there was a catch hidden there somewhere!”
”Okay, come here you!” Elizabeth said, lifting Emma off the ground and turning her upside down in the air. Emma’s warm laughter filled the air.
Twenty minutes later they walked through the door at their home. Emma rushed to the TV and turned it on, and soon the house was filled with the sound of cartoons. Elizabeth shook her head at her daughter and smiling walked into the kitchen to fix them a snack. As she was opening the refrigerator door to take out the milk, the phone rang. It was not many people who called them. The only ones who had their number was the day care, the baby sitter, Elizabeth’s employers and her doctor. Fearing that it was the baby sitter, calling in sick, she answered the phone.
”Hello,” she said.
”Is this Elizabeth Owens?” a dark male voice asked. He didn’t sound friendly at all.
”Yes,” Elizabeth answered warily.
”Do you have a daughter named Emma?” the voice continued.
”Who are you?” Elizabeth demanded, not liking this conversation at all.
”Who I am is not relevant,” the man said.
”Oh yes. It’s very relevant to me,” Elizabeth said.
”How old are your daughter?” the man asked, ignoring Elizabeth.
”Okay, I’m hanging up!”
”You should not be so bitchy, it could be dangerous,” the voice said and Elizabeth hung up the phone. The snack forgotten, Elizabeth walked into the living room, sat down beside Emma and pulled her into her lap, holding her close. Emma was so focused on the cartoon that she didn’t notice her mother’s shivers.
|posted on 23-Dec-2002 4:04:43 AM|
Santa Fe, New Mexico - 2005
”Mommy, mommy. Guess what, guess what!”
Elizabeth captured her bouncy daughter in her arms.
”No, I can’t,” Liz laughed after thinking about it for a few seconds.
”Oh, you have to twy!” Emma wailed dramatically.
Elizabeth pondered it, putting on a broody face.
”You’ve won a beauty contest and will spend your future days petting pets and looking beautiful.”
”No,” Emma giggled.
”You’re...getting married?” she suggested.
”Okay....now I got it! You’re moving to Hollywood to be a very successful actress.”
”You’re hobeless,” Emma giggled. ”We are going on a bield trip!”
”You’re going on a field trip?” Elizabeth asked.
Emma nodded her head feverishly, obviously struggling to contain her excitement.
”Where?” Elizabeth asked.
”We going to see ALIENS!!” Emma shouted and started bouncing up and down, as if seeing aliens was the best experience in the whole world.
”You are?” Elizabeth asked incredulously.
”Yes,” Emma said her eyes sparkling.
”Where?” Elizabeth asked, believing it was someplace in Santa Fe she hadn’t heard of.
”In Rosbell,” Emma said.
”I’m sorry, honey, what was that?” Elizabeth asked, her mind searching for something named Rosbell located in Santa Fe.
”We’re going to Roswell - home of the aliens,” the voice of Emma’s teacher Ms. Harris said, stepping up behind them. If Elizabeth had held a memory that run further than about five years, she would most certainly know what Roswell where - even if it wasn’t for the fact that she actually was born there. But she didn’t know that.
Elizabeth looked at the teacher. She was young to be a teacher - but on the other hand, Elizabeth was young to be a mother. They were possibly at about the same age.
”Really, is it far from here?” Elizabeth asked.
”You’re kidding, right?” Ms. Harris said with a hesitant smile. ”It’s here in New Mexico, just a couple of miles from here.”
Elizabeth realized that she was suppose to know this place and played along.
”Right, Roswell!” she said and put on a wide smile.
Ms. Harris relaxed and gave a more natural smile.
”We’re going to visit a UFO museum. It will be fun. Of course, I need your consent and there is a small fee.”
”I-I have to think about it,” Elizabeth said.
”Sure. But it will not only be me there. There will be other teachers as well. I could not imagine myself alone with twenty one-meters tall rascals,” Ms. Harris laughed.
Elizabeth laughed as well.
”Yeah, I can understand that,” Elizabeth said, even though she couldn’t really understand it since she only had contact with her daughter and her daughter acted like a responsible, calm eight-year-old.
Ms. Harris sat down on her heels.
”I’ll see you tomorrow, darling,” she said to Emma.
”Yes, Ms. Harris,” Emma said.
”Bye,” Ms. Harris said.
”Bye, Ms. Harris,” Emma said and grasped her mother’s hand.
”Bye, Mrs. Owen. It was nice to meet you,” Ms. Harris said.
”Oh, just call me Elizabeth and it was nice to meet you too,” Elizabeth said, not bothering to inform her that she wasn’t married.
”Okay, Elizabeth. Just call me if you have any questions about the field trip, okay? You have my number?”
”Yes, thank you. Bye.”
”Bye,” Ms. Harris said.
Roswell, New Mexico
”Max...Max,” Brody called.
Max turned towards his boss. Max was still working in the UFO center in the weekends. It was not so much for the humble pay, but more to keep himself and the others updated on all alien activities.
”What’s up, Brody?” Max asked.
”We have to make some plans,” Brody said with his English accent, ”We have a whole class of four- and five-year-olds coming from Santa Fe tomorrow.”
”Right,” Max said and his thoughts wandered to his own child. His child would be about the same age as those kids.
”C’mon, Max. Let’s do some planning!”
Santa Fe, New Mexico - the next day
”Now, you be careful, Emma. Stay with the group, okay,” Elizabeth said, her concern for letting her baby ‘on her own’ for the first time, displayed on her face.
”Mom, don’t worry,” Emma said seriously and hugged her worried mom once more. ”I will hold Maria’s hand the whole time.”
Elizabeth nodded. She knew that it was just a field trip. Children went on them all the time. She was just another worried mother. Right, a mother who didn’t know what could come back and hunt her, and maybe even her daughter, from the past she couldn’t remember.
Elizabeth followed her daughter with her eyes as she stepped onto the bus and sat down beside her friends and waved goodbye to her mother, grinning from ear to ear. Elizabeth waved back and looked after the bus until it had disappeared from her sight.
Roswell, New Mexico
”Okay, Max. Here comes the bus, hold your weapons ready,” Brody joked.
”They’re not that bad are they?” Max asked slowly.
”Well, you obviously have never met a couple of four-year-olds,” Brody said and chuckled at Max’s somewhat frightened expression. ”Don’t worry, Max. You’ll handle it!”
That’s when the children started to get off the bus and the sound level more or less shot through the roof. The blurry noise of children’s voices filled the air and they had not even entered the UFO center yet. Two or three were crying. Then the door opened and Max wished he had called in sick.
”Andy...it will be okay,” a young woman comforted a crying child who held a strong grip with both his hands around the woman’s leg. ”There are no aliens here. No one is taking you away.” She stepped up to Brody with an apologetic smile and offered her hand.
”Yes,” Brody answered and took her hand.
”Hi, I’m Anne Harris,” Ms. Harris said and shook Brody’s hand firmly. ”Sorry about this,” she added and waved her hand over the child still clinging to her leg. ”He’s a little afraid, but he will come around.”
”This is Max Ev-” Brody started but stopped as he saw Max kneeling down in front of the boy.
”Hey, what’s your name?” Max asked gently.
”Andy,” the boy piped.
”Hi Andy! Do you wanna see something really cool?” Max asked in a secretive voice.
Andy looked very interested, but he fought very hard to not let his curiosity take the best of him.
”But you have to let go off your teacher’s leg or I can’t show you,” Max said.
After some thorough thinking the boy let go off Ms. Harris leg and took Max’s outstretched hand. Max led the small boy past all the scary alien dolls and alien pictures, past all the autopsy models towards the exhibition of the flying saucers. There was a large flying saucer there, which was large enough to squeeze in a four-year-old into. Keeping one hand hidden on the back of the saucer, Max kept the spacecraft in position as Andy climbed in. The saucer would have fallen down from the strings that was holding it in place under the weight of the child, if it hadn’t been for Max’s ‘assistance’. Soon all the children had gathered around their new playmate and was all very eager to sit in the saucer.
Ten minutes later, Max’s powers were starting to grow a bit weaker - he was getting tired. The high-pitched voices, the laughter and the yelling of the children didn’t make the situation any easier. He was a bit startled by the touch of a little hand on his hip.
”Mister,” a small voice said.
Max turned around and almost fainted. In front of him stood an almost exact replica of the girl he had lost almost five years ago, the girl who he would have traded his life to get one minute more with. But could it be...? He shook his head to clear his mind and focus on the little girl standing in front of him, looking up at him with a concerned look on her face. Her small body was that of a four-year-old, however her beautiful face spoke of a wisdom and maturity that was not only four years old.
”Yes,” he said, his voice a level higher than usual.
”Are you awright?” the girl asked.
Max couldn’t help but stare at her. God, was she....was she Liz’s daughter? Had he been searching so long and so hard for Liz and his child to just have them found him? Max felt drawn to that little girl, and it was not only due to her similarity to his long lost soulmate. It was something else.
”Mister?” the girl asked again, her small hand now having slipped into of Max’s large one.
Emma didn’t know why she had gone up to that man. She felt that he was tired...and lonely. She felt that she should comfort him. She knew that her mother had told her not to talk to strangers, but he didn’t seem like a stranger. He seemed kind.
”I’m Max,” Max said and smiled a little. ”What’s your name?”
”Emma,” the girl answered.
”Hi, Emma,” Max said. ”Now, is there something you wanna see here?”
Emma looked at him. He reminded her of her mother, how she always tried to talk about other things when Emma asked if she was okay.
Emma shook her head and then lowered it a bit in embarrassment.
Max only saw Liz.
”I-I’m hungwy,” she murmured.
”You’re hungry?” Max asked.
”Uh huh,” Emma said, looking up and nodding her head.
”I know a great place where they have great food,” Max said. ”But we should probably talk to your teacher first. Maybe more of your friends are hungry.”
”Yes, my mommy said that I shouldn’t leave the gwoup,” Emma said.
”Your mommy,” Max repeated, mainly to himself.
”Yes,” Emma said, having heard him and smiled a little as she continued. ”She is so worried, she’s worried all the time - ALL the time.”
Max smiled at the little girl, which he already liked. She was so much different from the other kids. She didn’t act her age - she was very mature. She seemed to have a big heart, and seemed to care and look out for the people around her. ”Just like Liz,” Max thought.
Max felt something soft against his palm and looked down to find the girl’s hand tucked in his. It made him all warm inside.
Ms. Harris smiled at the couple approaching them. That cute guy, Max, had not only seen to it that all the children had had a fun time, but now he seemed to have won the trust of the suspicious Emma Owens in only a couple of minutes. Now that she saw them beside each, she noticed that there was a certain resemblance between them. Max’s eyes reminded her a lot of Emma’s.
”That’s a weird coincidence,” Ms. Harris thought.
”There you are, Emma,” Ms. Harris said and looked at Max. ”Thank you for taking care of her.”
”No problem,” Max said, ”Actually, she’s one of the less difficult ones.”
”Yes, she’s a very responsible little lady, aren’t you Emma,” Ms. Harris said.
”Yes, Ms. Harris,” Emma said as on commando.
Ms. Harris and Max smiled in unison at the politeness of the little girl.
”Emma told me that she was hungry, and I know this great place across the street where they have everything from hamburgers to blueberry pies,” Max said.
”Well, I guess most of the others are hungry as well,” Ms. Harris said, ”And we were planning on feeding them anyway so if you say that this place is good then it’s a good finalist.”
”They have this alien theme that I bet the kids will find funny,” Max said.
Ms. Harris chuckled.
”I’m sure they will,” Ms. Harris said.
”Are you eatin’ too, Max?” Emma asked.
Max looked down at the little angel.
”Yes, I guess,” he answered.
”Good,” Emma said.
Max couldn’t stop himself from smiling. There was something about that girl that made him happy. Or maybe it was just that she reminded him so much of Liz.
”Okay everybody,” Ms. Harris said in a little louder voice to be heard over the chattering of the children. ”We’re going eating across the street. Everybody - find a friend and do not let go of that friend’s hand. Do not start walking across the street until I say so and...stay calm!”
Ms. Harris turned to Emma as the other children started to group into two and two.
”Emma, you should go and find a friend,” Ms. Harris said as Emma hadn’t made any indication of any movement in the direction of finding a friend.
”Can I go with Max, Ms. Harris? He’s eatin’ too,” Emma asked. She felt very safe with Max and wanted to stay with him.
Ms. Harris smiled at her and thought it was just so cute how they had bonded so quickly.
”Of course, Emma,” Ms. Harris approved. ”If it’s okay with you, Mr. Evans?”
”Sure,” Max said.
”Oh no! What’s that?!” Isabel asked, sighing dramatically while staring out through the windows of the CrashDown with a frightened look on her face.
Michael turned around in his seat to take a look for himself.
”Shit! You must be kidding me!” he exclaimed as he saw the wild herd of little people approaching, heading for the CrashDown.
”Don’t tell me they’re gonna eat here,” Isabel said under her breath. The doors to the CrashDown flew open and the chatter and laughing of twenty four-year-olds seeped into the restaurant.
”Oh God,” the two aliens heard Maria murmur beside them.
Then Max stepped in. But he wasn’t alone. He was holding hands with a little girl.
”Oh my God,” Isabel whispered, ”Michael!”
Michael looked at Isabel and after seeing her mixed expression he turned into the direction of her gaze. Michael saw that Max was holding one of the four-year-olds hand. The little girl had his back to him, but she had long brown shiny hair...and then she turned and Michael found himself looking at a miniature Liz Parker, with eyes that Michael would recognize anywhere. Brown, deep eyes with flickers of amber - Max’s eyes. The girl holding Max’s hand so tightly was unmistakably Max’s and Liz’s daughter.
Maria gasped at the sight of the girl holding Max’s hand. It couldn’t be. She looked just like... No, how bizarre wouldn’t it be that Liz’s daughter walked into the Crashdown, holding hands with Max Evans. She inhaled deeply and moved towards Max and the little girl, oblivious to the rest of the hungry children crowd.
Max looked up and saw Maria approaching. She looked like she had seen a ghost, and she couldn’t stop staring at Emma.
”Hi...Max,” Maria said slowly, her eyes still glued on Emma.
”Hi, Maria,” Max said. Maria obviously had seen the same resemblance to Liz in that girl as he had.
”Now...aren’t you gonna introduce us,” Maria said, her voice monotone, like she was being hypnotized by the girl with the amber eyes.
Max smiled. He had never seen Maria having such difficulties with speaking before.
”Uhm, Maria - I like you to meet Emma.”
Maria kneeled in front of Emma and put out her hand to the girl.
”Hi, Emma. Nice to meet you.”
Emma held Maria’s gaze, something that reminded her of how Liz had always looked into her eyes - not looking away. Maria had always felt like she couldn’t hide anything from Liz. Liz had always been able to see right through her.
”Hi. My best friend’s name is also Maria,” Emma explained.
Maria smiled. ”Really? Another Maria? Well, you have to introduce us then.”
Emma eyes immediately began searching the restaurant and landed on her blonde friend.
”There she is,” Emma said and pointed. She let go off Max’s hand and went to fetch her friend. Maria looked up at Max.
”Max...” she said.
”I know, I know,” Max said. ”She looks a lot like Liz. I was a bit spooked too.”
Maria stared at him. Was he joking?
”Max, you’re not telling me that you don’t see that she is Liz’s daughter?”
In the seconds to follow, a thousands emotions were displayed in Max’s expressive eyes. Panic, joy, grief, nervousness, denial, disbelief, hope, love...
”What do you mean? That she is Liz’s daughter?” Max asked dumbfounded.
”That’s what I said, didn’t I?” Maria whispered, herself completely shocked by the situation.
That’s when Isabel and Michael decided to join the conversation.
”What’s going on, Max?” Michael demanded.
”I-I...” Max stuttered, his eyes fixed on the little girl who was talking with her friend at the other end of the CrashDown, emphasizing her words with exaggerated movements of her hands.
”Max....she looks just like Liz,” Isabel whispered, her voice not strong enough to speak in a normal conversational tone.
”Is that your daughter, Maxwell?” Michael asked, cutting right to the chase.
”We don’t know,” Maria said as Max wasn’t answering. ”But it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it. I mean, we all see that she looks a lot like Liz and she has Max’s eyes.”
”Has someone taken Max’s eyes?” Emma’s voice questioned. Everyone turned their heads to look at her.
”No, Emma. We were just talking,” Maria said. ”And this is Maria, I presume.”
Emma nodded excitedly, her concern for a possible removal of Max’s eyes quickly replaced by her excitement to show them her friend.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
”Elizabeth, god damnit! Can you get anything right today?!” her boss yelled. Elizabeth closed her eyes and focused on pushing the pain far back in her head.
”I’m sorry, Mr. Manes. It won’t happen again,” Elizabeth apologized.
”So you say. Should I remind you that you said that the last time you messed up an order too - and the time before that and before that. I’m telling you, Miss Owens. There are probably many who would want to have an extra income. You would not be difficult to replace!”
”I’m sorry, I really am,” Elizabeth murmured and swallowed hard, forcing down the nausea.
Roswell, New Mexico
Emma’s stomach churned, and she rubbed her hand over it unconsciously. Max noticed the movement right away.
”Emma, are you hungry?” he asked.
Emma contemplated about that for a few seconds. She had been feeling really hungry just a minute ago, but now she felt sick to her stomach. With a small grimace she shook her head.
”Are you all right, honey?” Maria asked.
They had all settled at one booth. The sight was actually a bit comical. Four adults in their early twenties with one little girl at four - while all other four-year-olds were grouped in adjacent booths with their teachers.
Emma nodded her head - already picking up on her mother’s classical behavior.
”Don’t you wanna eat something?” Isabel asked. ”You probably haven’t eaten anything for hours.”
”I..I want a soda, please,” Emma said hesitant, suddenly feeling uncomfortable sitting there. She wanted to go home. She wanted her mommy.
”I’ll get it,” Maria said and stood up. Maria didn’t work at the CrashDown anymore but she still knew her way around the familiar restaurant and Mr. Parker didn’t mind that she helped herself around the kitchen.
”So, Emma. Did you have a good time at the UFO center?” Isabel asked.
Emma nodded, excitement grazing her features.
”It was weally funny! Max help us climb into space plane!”
Isabel looked at Max and smiled. She couldn’t quite interpret Max’s expression. Max himself couldn’t sort his feelings. He didn’t know what to feel. The others all seemed convinced that the little girl sitting beside him was his daughter - the daughter he had searched after for four years. Instinctually he somehow knew that it was in fact his daughter.
Maria came back with Emma’s soda and put it down in front of her.
”I picked cherry coke, is that okay?” Maria asked.
”That’s my favewit,” Emma said, smiling broadly.
”I guessed that much,” Maria said, unable to not smile.
”Emma, we have to leave now. The bus leaves in ten minutes,” Ms. Harris announced, stepping up to the group.
Fear slammed into Max. He couldn’t let her go now!
Emma rose and took Ms. Harris hand.
The whole group around the table looked at each other - not knowing what to do.
”Uhm, excuse me Ms. Harris,” Max said.
”Yes,” Ms. Harris said and smiled.
”What’s the name of Emma’s mother?” Max asked bluntly, not knowing how to sugar-coat the question so he just blurted it out there.
Ms. Harris looked confused.
”Why do you wanna know?” she asked, thinking of a conversation she’d had with Emma’s mother. Elizabeth had made it absolutely crystal clear that no one was to know Emma’s surname or who her mother was. Ms. Harris had of course wondered why, but Elizabeth had only told her that she couldn’t tell but that it could be dangerous for Emma if someone knew that information. That a strange man now was asking for her name, made her very suspicious of his intentions.
”Eh..eh,” Max stuttered, taken aback by the unfriendly tone of Ms. Harris.
”It’s just that Emma looks exactly like someone we knew growing up,” Maria said. ”We lost touch with each other and it would be incredible to meet her again.”
Max shot Maria a grateful look.
”I really don’t like handing out that information just to anyone,” Ms. Harris said.
”Sounds like Liz wants to stay hidden,” Michael thought.
”Hey Emma, where did your mother grow up?” Michael asked Emma, thinking that it perhaps was easier to go through the girl.
Emma thought hard and then shook her head.
”I dunno,” she said.
”It’s just that she left without a trace, she never said anything. One morning she was just..gone,” Max said.
”She was my best friend,” Maria said, ”and I would love to know what she has been up to all these years.”
Ms. Harris looked around the faces of the people who had spent about an hour with Emma. They seemed to be about the same age as Emma’s mother. They didn’t seem like bad people, but you never know, right? However, Mr. Evans had been awfully sweet today and helped with the children. He and Emma had sort of hit it off with each other immediately as well.
”Okay...,” Ms. Harris said and sighed, ”she lives in Santa Fe and her surname is Owens. But more information than that I will not give you.”
”Thank you so much, Ms. Harris,” Max said, ”and I’m sorry if we put you in an awful situation here.”
Ms. Harris smiled. He sure was sweet...and cute too.
”No problem,” she said.
There was a pause and everyone looked at Emma, which would be separated from them in just a few minutes. Okay, everybody except Ms. Harris who was checking out Max. He was really cute and he had been so good with the children. And they were about the same age. Well, she knew where he lived. Maybe she would pay him a visit sometime.
”Okay, Emma. Are you ready to leave?” Ms. Harris asked.
Emma nodded. Her nausea had disappeared but that meant that her hunger had returned, and now they had to leave and she didn’t have time to eat.
”Bye, Emma. It was nice meeting you,” Maria said crouching in front of Emma. Before Emma knew what was happening, she found herself wrapped in Maria’s arms. Maria couldn’t help herself. This was Liz’s daughter.
Michael smiled and shook his head at his girlfriend.
Maria pulled back and Emma could see tears in her eyes. Being Max’s daughter Emma wondered why she was crying. Was she hurt?
”Why are you cwying?” she asked.
”Oh, it’s nothing. Just being a bit sentimental,” Maria said.
Emma nodded, not really understanding the word ‘sentimental’.
”You take care of yourself, okay?” Emma nodded again, puzzled by Maria’s tears, ”And take care of your mother.”
”Yes,” Emma said.
”Good girl,” Maria sniffed, quickly wiped the tears away from her face with the back of her hand and straightened up.
Max took Maria’s position in front of Emma and looked into her eyes. To the observers it seemed as if Max and Emma were talking with their eyes, forming a connection so deep it could only be understood by themselves. Max was watching Emma, memorizing her every feature. He didn’t want to let her go, but he had to. He would make sure that they met again.
”You keep safe,” Max said and Emma nodded, and then she got a sense of something familiar and warm. Like she was being wrapped in a blanket of security and she suddenly just knew.
”Are you my daddy?” she asked, her voice so low that only Max was able to hear her.
Max was startled by the question. He nodded his head slowly. Now more certain than ever that she was his child.
Emma smiled and jumped into his arms. She was so soft and so warm...and so small. Max wanted to protect her from everything. His arms went around her and he held her tightly, feeling tears stinging his eyes. His hand went into her hair, the same hair as Liz’s and tears started to run down his face.
Emma was safe. She felt safe. She knew that this was her daddy and she couldn’t wait to tell her mommy that she had found her daddy.
”I’m sorry to interrupt, Mr. Evans, ” Ms. Harris said, deeply touched by the whole scene. ”We have to leave.”
Emma reluctantly left her daddy’s embrace.
”Why are you sad?” she asked, seeing his tears.
Max looked at her and smiled softly.
”I’m not sad, Emma. It’s happy tears,” he answered.
”Bye daddy,” Emma said and took Ms. Harris hand and walked out of the CrashDown, leaving her daddy still crouching on the floor watching after her.
Max felt Isabel lay her hand on his shoulder.
”My God, Max,” Isabel whispered. Max stood up and hugged Isabel to him. His emotions were running overdrive.
”How did she know, Max?” Michael asked, referring to the fact that Emma had called Max ‘daddy’.
”I don’t know, Michael,” Max said and stepped out of Isabel’s hug, ”I don’t know.”
”Come on you guys,” Maria said, having found a napkin to dry the tears that kept running down her cheeks. ”We have a Liz Parker to find!”
|posted on 28-Dec-2002 5:40:48 AM|
Santa Fe, New Mexico
“Mommy, mommy!” cried a familiar voice behind her. Elizabeth turned around and found her daughter running towards her. Elizabeth caught her in a hug and spun her around.
“Thank you,” Elizabeth thought, relieved that she had Emma back into her arms again – safe.
“Hi darling,” Elizabeth said. “Did you have a good time?”
“Yes,” Emma said and was so wild with excitement that Elizabeth had to put her back down on the ground. “First Andy was weally sad ‘cause he was ‘fraid of the aliens, but I wasn’t ‘fraid. And then he was happy again ‘cause he got to fly this space..uhm...plane and all other got to fly too and it was weally fun. And then I met another Maria and we ate at a rest...rest...”
“A restaurant?” Elizabeth asked with a smile at her daughter’s rambling.
“Yes, a rest...rest...,” Elizabeth gave up on that and continued, her words going a mile a minute, “and then guess what, mom?”
“What?” Elizabeth asked.
“No, you have to guess!” Emma scolded.
Elizabeth laughed softly.
“Hmmm...maybe you met an alien?” she guessed, not knowing how correct she actually was.
“Nooo,” Emma sighed, but before her mother could make another guess it was out of Emma’s mouth.
“I found daddy,” she said.
Elizabeth stopped dead in her tracks. Her heart was slamming against her ribs.
“What?” she whispered, her voice not holding up any longer.
“He was at this home where the aliens lived,” Emma continued, referring to the UFO center, “and then we went to eat together. Maria is daddy’s friend and she gave me a soda, but I felt sick to my stomach...”
Emma was already on the next subject, unaware of the fact that she had lost her mother’s attention several sentences ago.
“What’s his name?” Elizabeth whispered, interrupting Emma’s thorough description of how the restaurant looked, with painted aliens and all.
“Whose?” Emma asked, confused.
“Uhm...daddy’s,” Elizabeth said.
“Max,” Emma answered.
“Oh my God,” Elizabeth said, a male face flashing by in her mind. A dark-haired, handsome man with Emma’s eyes. “Come on, Emma. Let’s get home.”
The TV was on, but Elizabeth was neither watching nor listening to it. She was thinking about him. How could Emma know that he was her daddy? Was it Max that was after her? She couldn’t know that, could she? Maybe she had run away to escape him, and he had kidnapped her instead or something like that. No, that didn’t sound realistic. Anyway, he didn’t seem like someone she couldn’t trust. Elizabeth stood up to turn off the TV, and then it hit her. What if he came to look for her and Emma? Oh my God! What if he was to take Emma away from her? She couldn’t let that happen. Emma was her whole life, without her she would die – she wouldn’t have anything left to live for. Nothing! Elizabeth sank down on the couch again and felt like crying. Her eyes burnt and wanted the relief of tears, but she couldn’t cry. She hadn’t cried for as long as she could remember, that is since she had woken up in that motel somwhere out in nowhere, with no idea of who she was.
Roswell, New Mexico
“What’s the big emergency?” Sheriff Valenti asked.
Max had summoned a meeting. It had been a long time since Max had last called a meeting. Everybody was there – Maria, Isabel, Michael, Alex, Kyle, Kira, and Valenti. Of course, Tess had not been invited.
“So, why isn’t Tess here?” Kyle asked, annoyed that Max had once again ignored Tess – who actually was a part of the group.
“I don’t trust her,” Max said simply, as if that explained everything.
“Oh,” Kyle said. “So, it’s like general knowledge just because you think so. What if she needs to hear this?”
”She doesn’t need to hear this,” Michael said, defending Max. If it was something they agreed upon it was Tess.
“Why’s that?” Kyle asked, not letting the subject go. Those aliens shouldn’t think that they could just do what they wanted to, and hurt other people’s feelings in the process.
“It’s about Liz,” Max said.
Kyle looked at Max (all thoughts about Tess forgotten), trying to decide if he was serious or not. Oh yes. He was serious.
“What do you mean? What’s going on?” Kyle asked.
“Kyle! I guess that’s what we are here to find out,” Valenti said, silencing his son. “Who’s that, Max?” Valenti pointed at Kira, who kept himself on the fringes of the group, hidden in the shadows.
“Yeah, that’s what I want to know,” Alex said.
Max sighed and rubbed his forehead. Were they ever gonna get started or was this just how competent he was at running meetings?
“Sit down everybody, and Max will tell you,” Michael said, after having thrown a concerned look in Max’s direction.
Max shot Michael a grateful look before he began.
“Okay, guys. About a week ago this man showed up outside my window. He said we – we the aliens that is – should summon a meeting and talk. He told us that he was our protector-“
“What? I thought Nasedo was your protector,” Alex said, already confused.
Max shook his head.
“No, Nasedo was a traitor-“
“And we don’t think he’s dead,” Kira spoke from the shadows. Everybody turned to look at him as he stepped out of his hidden place.
“What do you mean?” Max asked, adrenaline starting to pump through his veins.
“My men have reported that there have been traces of Nasedo all over Roswell-“
“Of course, he was here for some time,” Kyle interrupted.
“-and they are very fresh,” Kira continued, ignoring the interruption. He was still a little unclear to why Max had invited all these humans.
“What does this mean?” Isabel asked.
“Nasedo is a very dangerous man-“
“Alien,” Kyle mumbled.
”-and when my men find him, he will be prosecuted for his crimes,” Kira said.
“Which means?” Maria prompted.
“He will be executed,” Kira said matter-of-factly.
“Of course,” Maria said, and turning towards the others. “What else would happen to him, right?”
Max was pacing the floor. He did not like the fact that Nasedo was still out there. That he was still out there where Liz and Emma were as well.
“Max, why are we here?” Alex asked, noticing how Max had totally spaced out on them.
Max’s head jerked up.
“Right, right,” he said. “Well, Kira told us that an heir had been born.”
There was a short pause as the others pondered the meaning of Max’s statement.
“What?!” Kyle said, almost yelling, when it became clear to him just what that meant. “Does that mean what I think it means?”
“Shit, Max! Who have you slept with?! I thought you weren’t interested in anyone with breasts since Liz died,” Kyle said.
“I wasn’t,” Max said, his voice calm and even.
“Wha-“ Kyle said, and then it him. “Was it with Liz?”
“Ohhhkkkkaaaayyy,” Kyle sighed and sat down.
“You didn’t think of using...I don’t know – protection?!” Maria scolded.
Max shook his head.
“That’s great. That’s just great,” Kyra mumbled.
“But wait, how can there be a heir if Liz is dead? She would not have gotten the chance to give birth to a child,” Alex said, not getting two and tow together.
“Liz is not dead, that’s what I’ve been telling you,” Max said.
The incident in high school four years ago came to Alex’s mind.
“So you could feel Liz giving birth?” Alex asked.
Max, understanding what Alex was referring to, answered: “Yes, I think so.”
“Okay, that’s really freaky,” Maria said. Maria knew a little more, since she had actually met Liz’s daughter. But she had yet to hear all the background information. When she had seen Emma she had been positive that it was Max’s and Liz’s daugther, but she had never really thought about how that was possible, what really had happened.
“We’ve met her,” Isabel said.
“Met who?” Valenti asked.
“Max’s daughter. She looks just like Liz, but anyone can see that Max is the father,” Isabel said, a proud I’m-an-aunt-to-that-beautiful-girl-smile playing in the corners of her mouth.
“You’ve met her?” Alex asked in disbelief.
“She’s just so adorable,” Maria said, smiling broadly.
“You’ve met her too?” Kyle said accusingly.
Kira quietly watched the whole group interact. They were natural around each other, but when Liz had came up everybody had tensed up – reminded of her absence to the group. However, when Liz’s daughter had started to be discussed, everybody who had met her had a ridiculous smile on their faces. Even Max smiled a little – despite the fact that he was so worked up and worried at the moment.
Maria nodded proudly as an answer to Kyle’s question.
“Well, did you meet Liz too?” Alex asked, wondering why no one had told him about the meeting with his former best friend. Was she dead?
Max smile disappeared and the sadness returned.
“No,” he said, “she wasn’t there.”
“It was a field trip, for kindergarten or something like that,” Isabel explained.
“As in no parents allowed...?” Kyle asked.
“Right,” Max answered. The group grew silent, thinking about a loving, warm and caring gril which they had all lost almost five years ago and the fact that she was alive, with a daugther. Max looked around the faces of the only people he trusted in the world. He realized that the meeting hadn’t gone as he had planned. He wasn’t sure if he had gotten out the most important information or not.
“Look guys, that’s why I called this meeting,” Max said, and everybody looked up at him. “We have to find Liz.”
“You know where she is?” Alex asked, hope of seeing his friend sparkling in his eyes.
“We know her surname and that she lives in Santa Fe,” Max answered.
“Then it’s only a matter of time before we find her,” Valenti said.
Max turned to Valenti, his leader-mode kicking in.
“And I want you to find her,” he said to Valenti.
“Sure, I get right on it,” Valenti said.
“I’ll get my men on it too,” Kira said.
“Good,” Max said, “but don’t approach her if you find her. I don’t want to scare her off. For some reason I think she’s hiding, I mean, she has a different name and has told Emma’s teacher that she’s not to tell anyone anything about them. She might be very suspicious and...afraid...and...and I want to be there when we first approach her, is that clear?”
“Yes, sir!” Kyle said, making a salute in an effort to lighten up the mood.
Max smiled, some of the weights had been lifted from his shoulders. Now they had a plan, now they weren’t only passively sitting by and watching any longer. Now they were going to find Liz. His knees suddenly went weak and he had to sit down. He was going to see Liz.
[ edited 1 time(s), last at 28-Dec-2002 5:42:14 AM ]
|posted on 28-Dec-2002 5:44:19 AM|
”Okay, are you sitting down, Max?” Valenti said in the other end of the line.
Max immediately knew that it had something to do with Liz. Only one day had elapse since their meeting, but finding a person when you had a surname and the name of the daughter was not really hard science. Especially not if you were a Sheriff, with resources.
Max took his advice and sank down on his bed.
”What’s up?” Max asked, trying to sound very casual but failing miserably.
”We’ve found her,” Valenti said.
Max exhaled the breath he wasn’t aware that he had been holding. His hands were suddenly shaking, he felt like he was about to hyperventilate. That three such small words could cause such stir of emotions inside of him.
”Max, Max. Are you there?” Valenti asked, concern etching his voice.
”Yeah, yeah,” Max said and tried to get his emotions back under control and start to breathe. In and out. That’s right. That’s how you breathe!
”Are you okay?” Valenti’s concerned voice asked.
”Yeah,” Max said slowly. ”Have you seen her?”
”No. I don’t know about Kira’s men, maybe they have. Perhaps you should discuss it with him.”
”I’ll do that,” Max said.
”So are we going there?” Valenti asked.
Tomorrow was Saturday, it would be perfect to go there.
”Yeah, I’ll tell Isabel and Michael...and perhaps Maria as well - she was her best friend. Can you fix with the rides, we’re going to need two cars.”
”Consider it done,” Valenti said.
Max stepped out of the car and looked up at the building complex in front of him. This was it. This was where Liz lived, with their daughter. This was where Liz was breathing, sleeping, eating... He felt Isabel’s hand on his shoulder.
”Are you okay, Max?” she asked concerned.
Max nodded, although he was far from ‘okay’. His emotions were running overload, he could not sort out one specific feeling. Name a feeling and he was experiencing it. He even found himself somewhat angry with Liz for hiding from them....from him. He couldn’t understand why she hadn’t contacted him, or told him that he had a child...or even why she just hadn’t come home.
”Are you ready?” Isabel asked her brother.
Max nodded again, he did not trust his voice enough to talk. He was as ready as he ever could be. Maria was almost crawling out of her skin with anticipation. She too had very many emotions. As Max looked calm on the outside, Maria was showing exactly what she was feeling. She was practically jumping up and down, not able to contain herself. Michael, with a frim grip around her waist, was the only one who kept her from running down Liz’s door.
”Let’s go,” Max said.
”About time,” Maria said, and started walking...or running.
”Hey, slow down,” Michael said sternly.
”For your information, I’m not slowing down,” Maria half-shouted, but all stress she had experienced the last couple of hours were finally wearing her down and her anger was slowly turning into sobbing. ”I just found out..where my best...best friend in the whole world is, so...no! I’m not slowing down! I love he-” She broke down sobbing and Michael took her in his arms, soothing her.
”Come on, let’s go,” Isabel said as Maria had calmed down somewhat. They climbed a flight of stairs and found themselves in a hallway that looked like a balcony, lined with several doors.
”Number 23,” Isabel said. Max nodded. Like he would ever forget which number that led to his soulmate.
The seconds it took for them to reach door number 23 were the longest in Max’s life. They all stood in front of the door, time standing still, only Maria’s sobbing was heard.
”So is anybody going to knock, or what?” Michael said bluntly, being his normal self.
”Michael!” Isabel scolded. Michael just shrugged his shoulders.
”Max?” Isabel said dumbfounded, searching her brother’s face. He was staring at the door, his face blank. To an outsider it might seem as if he didn’t feel anything at all, but Isabel knew the turmoil of emotions that were right at this minute going on inside of him.
Max took a deep breath and raised his hand to knock.
”Mommy, wab aw we gwoing to dwo twoday?” Emma asked around a mouth full of cereals, covered in Tabasco sauce.
”Emma, don’t talk with food in your mouth,” Elizabeth said.
”Sworry,” Emma said, still eating. Elizabeth gave her a stern look.
There was a knock on the door. Emma and Elizabeth looked at each other, the surprise evident in their faces. However, Elizabeth’s expression was mixed with slight horror. Who was that? No one ever knocked on their door, no one even visited them. Only the baby-sitters, but they hadn’t hired anyone for today. While thousands of thoughts ran through Elizabeth’s head, Emma was already up - heading for the door.
”No, Emma! Don’t op-”
But she was too late. She heard the sound of the lock being unlocked by her daughter and then she heard a voice.
”Hi Emma,” the voice said.
”MOOOMMMYYY!” Emma yelled, overjoyed about the visit. ”It’s daddy and Maria and...”
”I’m Isabel,” the same voice said again.
”And ISABEL!” Emma continued.
Elizabeth was still in the kitchen, unable to move. They had found them...what was she going to do?
”Is your mom home?” the voice belonging to the woman called Isabel asked.
”Yes,” she heard Emma answer. ”MOOOOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYY!”
She knew that she had to go out there, she couldn’t just leave her daughter there with those strangers. She felt like she was moving in slow-motion. And then she found herself in the living room. There her daughter stood, looking up in admiration on a dark-haired man who stared intently at Elizabeth. Oh my God, it was him! But before she could react on it, a blonde-haired girl was running towards her, encircling Elizabeth in her arms.
Two minutes earlier
The door opened and there Emma was.
”Hi Emma,” Isabel said to the girl who had excitement written all over her face.
”MOOOMMMYYY!” Emma yelled, obviously having forgotten to greet Isabel back in all the excitement. She was so excited to show her new friends to her mother. ”It’s daddy and Maria and...”
Isabel realized that she had never introduced herself.
”I’m Isabel,” she said.
Emma turned around, yelling towards a room in the back which appeared to be the kitchen:
Max now had his eyes fixed on the doorway of the kitchen, waiting for Liz to appear. He knew that she was in there. He could feel her presence.
”Is your mom home?” Max heard his sister ask his daughter. She was the only one sane enough to speak. Maria was a bundle of nervous energy. Michael was busy holding Maria in place, and Max didn’t know what to do. He had dreamt of this moment for so long - it was almost surreal to actually be here.
And then there she was. Max partly registered Isabel’s gasp behind him. She looked so sick. She looked like...like one of those prisoners from the concentration camps in the Second World War that he had seen pictures of in history class. The clothes hung on her body, her cheek bones were extremely prominent and she had dark circles under her eyes. She looked like a ghost, a pale and washed-out version of the former Liz Parker. But Max still thought she was beautiful. It was her - it was really her. In those seconds as he stood there, watching her, he realized how much he had missed her - how much he still loved her, how much he would always love her. He didn’t notice the tears that were running down his cheeks. All he could feel was his heart fluttering to life. Then Maria was out of Michael’s grip and running towards Liz. Liz was staring at him, her eyes vacant and a little contemplating - like she tried to figure out who he was. Maria almost knocked Liz over as she took her long lost friend in her arms. Max saw how Liz closed her eyes, her forehead folded as if in deep concentration. But then Max saw how Liz winced and an expression of pain settled itself over her face.
The images were coming fast. Images of the girl who was hugging her. ”She was my best friend,” Elizabeth thought. The images started to come faster - too fast - and her head hurt. It felt like someone was trying to squeeze something inside her brain - there wasn’t enough room for all the images, feelings and sensations.
”Maria,” she heard his voice and tried to open her eyes. But the light was too bright - it stung her eyes.
Michael looked at Max as he heard him utter his girlfriend’s name. His voice was a desperate plea and when Michael saw the agonized expression on Max’s face, he stepped up to Maria and prized her off Liz.
”Maria, c’mere,” he said. ”Let’s calm down a little.”
As soon as Maria let go off Liz, Liz stumbled backwards ending up with her back against the wall, her eyes remaining closed.
”Liz?” Max whispered.
He could see tears starting to run down her cheeks and noticed that his vision was being blurred by his own tears.
She let go of her and the images stopped. She felt like she was falling and she stumbled backwards, soon feeling the wall push up against her back, supporting her slight weight.
”Liz?” It was his voice. It was so soft. So warm and gentle. So safe. And it was her name. She felt feelings of relief overwhelm her and for the first time in five years tears were filling her eyes, spilling over and running down her cheeks. She couldn’t really place why she was feeling so secure, so relieved and so...loved. It was only instinct - natural.
Max didn’t even know that he had moved his legs until he found himself in front of Liz. She was still keeping her eyes closed. He traced the journey of one of her tears with his eyes and lifted his hand to remove it. He hated seeing her cry. They both felt the jolt of electricty surge through their bodies at the touch, and then she was crying even harder.
”Liz...” Max breathed, mesmerized by the feeling of her skin under his fingertips. She brought up her hand and encircled it around his, which was now caressing her cheek.
”Max,” she sobbed, and stepped into his arms. Max slipped his arms around her and held her tight, her sobs rippling through her whole body. She clenched the front of his shirt in her fists and her salty tears wet his shirt. She was standing so close to him that the next step would be to crawl inside of him. Max buried his face in her hair, his tears wetting her hair. She still smelled the same...a mixture of strawberries and Liz.
Michael held the crying Maria in his arms, while watching the interaction between Max and Liz. It really was Liz, a very much alive Liz. Even if she looked like a living dead. As soon as Liz had stepped into the room, there had only been her and Max - just like old times. The air around them seemed to sparkle, sizzle with electricity. They were now holding onto each other like the other would disappear if they let go. Michael closed his eyes and shook his head and then opened them again. Nope, it was no illusion, it still looked like they were one entity, not two separate individuals. He couldn’t see where Max began and Liz ended. That’s when Liz and Max were being surrounded by a silverish light.
”Michael...” Isabel said slowly.
”I think it’s okay,” Michael said, not wanting to interrupt.
She knew him. She knew his mind, his heart - his soul. She recognized his eyes, his voice, his smell, even the feel of him - his body - was so familiar to her. It felt like coming home. She had been lost for so long, but now she was finally safe. She wanted to stay there in his arms, forever. Images flashed by in her mind, but even though they were overwhelming, she welcomed them. She needed to feel all her old feelings, needed to go through all the old memories that had been kept hidden from her. She felt everything, she was in a sea of warmth and love. Her knees were starting to get weak, her tired body finally giving up. She knew that he wouldn’t let her fall, she knew that her daughter was safe. She could give in. She could finally sleep.
Max felt her slump against him and the now familiar feeling of panic seized him.
”Liz?” He moved his right hand up to her neck, feeling after her pulse. It was there - weak, but there was a pulse. He let out the breath he had been holding. He couldn’t lose her now, not now when he had finally found her again.
”Max, what’s wrong?” he heard Michael ask.
”She fainted,” Max said. ”I guess this was all too much for her.”
”Mommy?” Emma asked in a small voice.
”She’s gonna be all right,” Isabel said, ”she has just fallen asleep. Your mommy was very tired.”
Emma nodded, not really convinced because her mommy didn’t feel asleep to her.
”Daddy will help her?” Emma asked. She had been watching how mommy hugged her daddy and her mommy had cried. But Emma knew that everything was all right. She felt that she had to leave them alone. She was a very smart and mature four-year-old.
Max held Liz close to his body with one of his arms, while he put his other arm in the hollows of her legs, lifting her slack legs off the floor and cradling her limb body against his strong chest.
”Emma,” Max said.
”Yes, daddy,” Emma said, immediately curious to what her daddy wanted.
”Where’s your mommy’s bedroom?” Max asked.
”Oh, oh,” Emma said excitedly and started running into the direction of the kitchen. ”I know, I know. I can show you!!”
”Great,” Max said and smiled.
Emma opened the door at the end of the small hallway and entered with a proud expression on her face.
”Thank you, Emma,” Max said and carried Liz over to the bed, carefully laying her down. She was sleeping so deeply that she didn’t even move as Max reluctantly removed his arms from her body.
Max extended his hand towards Emma and Emma took it without hesitation.
”Let’s leave mommy alone for a while and let her get some rest,” Max said.
”She’s weal twied, huh?” Emma asked.
”Yes, she was really tired,” Max said as they walked out of the room. Max closed the bedroom door slowly, careful not to make a sound.
”Why was she sad?” Emma asked and looked up into her daddy’s eyes, her inquisitive eyes big.
”Uhm...” Max didn’t really know what to answer to that, ”she has been missing all her friends and she was happy to see us again.”
”So they were habby tears?” Emma asked.
”Exactly,” Max said and smiled as Emma grinned because she had been correct. They came out into the living room hand in hand.
Isabel was still standing by the door. Michael was sitting on the couch, with one arm looped around Maria’s shoulder. Maria’s eyes were red and puffy, but she had stopped crying.
”How is she?” Isabel asked as soon as Max and Emma stepped in, straightening up a bit.
”She’s sleeping,” Max answered.
”Mommy was cwying habby tears,” Emma informed them all matter-of-factly.
”She sure was,” Isabel said and smiled.
”Did you daddy also cwy habby tears?” Emma asked and looked up at her father. Max squeezed her hand and nodded.
”What are we gonna do today, daddy?” Emma asked.
Isabel took one look at Max’s worn appearance and decided that he did not have the energy to go anywhere.
”Emma, what do you say about going to the zoo?” Isabel said.
Emma uttered a shout of joy, released Max’s hand and started bouncing her way to the door.
”Come on, daddy. We gonna see anibals!!” Emma said, excitement written all over her face.
Max opened his mouth to answer but Isabel beat him to it.
”Emma, daddy needs to rest too. He is also very tired,” Isabel said and shot Max a warning look, warning him to say otherwise.
Emma’s excitement disappeared and was replaced by disappointment.
”But can’t you come, daddy? Pwwweeeeeeaaaaaaaasssseeeee,” Emma begged, her beautiful small lips formed into a pout.
It was sure diffcult to resist her, but Isabel was too concerned about her brother’s sanity to let herself be convinced by that little lady.
”I-” Max started, having great difficulties in refusing his daughter, alredy showing the typical signs of a daughter-and-father relationship.
”No, Emma. Daddy’s very tired. But I will come with, and Maria and Michael. We can feed the monkeys and we can even buy you an ice-cream if you want to,” Isabel said.
Emma squeled in excitement.
”Jay!” she exclaimed, starting her bouncing all over again. Her disappointment vanished in her babbling about everything they could do at the zoo.
”We’ll be back in a couple of hours, Max,” Isabel said. ”Rest now, okay.” It was no question, but an order.
Max nodded and smiled at the antics of his daughter as she was bouncing around, trying to make everyone hurry up, and with a ‘bye, daddy’ from his daughter, the door slammed shut and Max was alone - with Liz.
|posted on 30-Dec-2002 5:40:10 PM|
Max stood there in the middle of the living room - in Liz’s apartment. He let the silence fill him - flow into him through every pour. He tried to gather his thoughts and his feelings. It all seemed like a sweet dream, and he feared that he would soon wake up. He was not more than six meters away from Liz. He had felt her, he had been able to touch her, he had heard her voice speak to him, and it had been sweet music to his ears. He closed his eyes and listened to the silence, trying to get himself to grasp that the real world had for once given him a break. His feet took him to her bedroom door, and he slowly turned the doorknob and slightly opened the door. It creaked a little and Max winced as the sound ripped through the silence. His eyes sought out her still figure easily. She hadn’t moved since he had left her. She was deeply asleep. He quietly entered the room, carefully closing the door behind him. There she was - like an angel sent from heaven. He moved to the bed, kneeling beside her. She was laying on her side, her legs pulled up into a fetal position.
He traced her face with his eyes, letting her scent envelope him. The last time he had seen her, she had been a teenager, now she was a woman - a mother. A smile couldn’t stop itself from tugging at the corners of his mouth when he thought about the fact that he was a father. That he and Liz had made a daughter together. He knew that she had changed in more than her appearance, that she was probably not exactly the same Liz he had known. He wasn’t the same either. But he still recognized her. He recognized her aura that was uniquely her. He recognized her very essence in how she breathed, how her lips were slightly parted letting in the oxygen to fill her lungs. Nothing could ever changed that.
He slowly lifted his hand to her face, tracing her cheekbone. It was more prominent than what he had remembered it to be. He moved his hand to gently brush over the bruises under her eyes, and sadness filled his heart. She had been all alone all these years - raising a daughter on her own. And something was definitely wrong with her. His eyes drifted over her fragile body. She was so thin - too thin. For not the first time, he wondered what was wrong with her. Was she sick? She looked extremely weak, the exhaustion was infested in every detail of her face. He traced the delicate lines on her forehead - lines of time and hardships - and marveled over the fact that her skin was just as soft as it always had been. How could skin be so silky? He tenderly moved his hand down the back of her nose, to lightly hover over her dry and parched lips. The lips that had been so lucently red and soft. He moved his lips to her forehead, intending only to leave a brief kiss, but his lips lingered at her soft and warm skin. He reluctantly pulled away, the taste of her skin still tingling on his lips.
Liz moaned slightly as he moved away from her, and started to wiggle her body - her body unconsciously trying to seek his out again. Max sat back, watching her - his mind still not fully comprehending that he was here with her. Liz turned around, her back momentarily towards Max, before she turned again to seek out the calmness and familiarity his presence provided. She stopped moving, her body relaxed and peace settle itself over her face as she once again positioned herself facing Max. But Max was already raising from his position, having seen something on Liz’s back, where her shirt had ridden up due to her movements, before she had turned towards him again. He slowly climbed up onto the bed and moved up behind Liz. He gently took a hold of the hem of Liz’s shirt and pulled it upwards.
He inhaled sharply as the appearance of her back revealed itself to him. Her back was not the soft, lean and porcelain texture he remembered. Her skin was whitish, and shiny - the texture inelastic. She had been burnt - badly. Her whole back was merely scarred tissue. But that was not the worst thing. In some areas of her back were water-filled blisters, and in others were open wounds - some as big as three centimeters in length. Max was slowly slipping deeper and deeper into his sea of guilt. He had not been there for her. She was obviously in pain every day, and he hadn’t been there to help her. He swallowed - feeling sick, and pulled down Liz’s shirt again.
Liz started moving about again, and turned towards him. When she found what she was searching for, she sighed contentedly and snuggled closer to him. Max pushed all his feelings of self-blame and guilt away, and concentrated on the fact that Liz was here now. He laced his fingers with hers and pulled her closer. She cuddled up against him, tucking her head under his chin, covering her face in his shirt. Max felt her warmth flow into him, and his body relaxed. Slowly he drifted off to sleep.
”...and he eat the peanubs,” Emma’s voice sifted into the living room as the front door opened.
”The monkey sure did love those peanuts, didn’t he,” Maria said.
Emma nodded fervently. Michael stepped up behind Emma and Maria, shopping bags dangling from his hands. He was never gonna go shopping with Isabel and Maria again. Now he knew why Max always said he had other things to do when Isabel asked if he could take her to the mall. Man! After the visit to the zoo Maria and Isabel had suddenly reached the decision that Emma was in serious need of new clothes. And they had to go into every store. And that was so cute, and that was so sweet, and that was adorable. With a sigh Michael sank down on the couch, not even possessing the energy to remove the shopping bags from his wrists. On top of that, the shopping demons (read Maria and Emma) had both agreed upon that Michael needed some new clothes as well. So against his will - and co-operation - he was now the new owner of one pair of pants and two shirts.
Isabel snuck out of the living room to check on Max and Liz. She lightly knocked on the bedroom door. Hearing no reply, she carefully pushed it opened. She found them both sound asleep. Liz was snuggled close to Max, as if she was trying to crawl inside of him - shielding herself from the harsh and cold reality with his warmth and calmness. Isabel looked at her brother’s peaceful face. He had not slept one entire night since Liz’s disappearance, and Isabel realized that no medication in the world could have helped Max with his insomnia. Liz was his only cure. As Isabel looked at them, together again, she thought that once again everything was right in the world. Sure, they probably still had some issues to discuss, but as long as they were together again, there was hope.
”Are they still sleeping?” Maria asked Isabel as she came back into the living room after having checked up on Liz and Max for the second time. Emma had joined them in the bedroom too. Somehow Emma had been able to snuggle herself in between Max and Liz, and Isabel admired that little girl for being able to break the hold Liz and Max had on each other in their sleep. Max and Liz were now sleeping on their sides, facing each other and Emma laying on her back sandwiched between them - looking very content to have it like that. Max’s and Liz’s hands were clasped together, resting on Emma’s belly.
”Yeah, both must have been really exhausted,” Isabel said.
”Liz looks really sick,” Maria commented, concern and fear evident in her voice.
Isabel nodded, and turned to look at Michael who had positioned himself on the couch - the TV on.
”I think we’re going to have to think about the sleeping arrangements. It looks as if we’re gonna have to stay here for tonight,” Isabel said to Maria.
”I’ll take the couch,” Michael said quickly.
”Hey,” Maria protested. ”Who gave you that right?”
”I said it first,” Michael said simply.
”Well, the last time I checked we were not in Kindergarten...but I begin to wonder,” Maria retorted.
”I deserve it ‘cause I had to be a pack-ass against my will,” Michael said.
”Oh, how noble of you,” Isabel said sarcastically.
”Yeah, you’re a true gentleman, Michael,” Maria said.
”Well, I try,” Michael said and shrugged his shoulders. ”Besides, I’m a man, and I need to get a proper night of sleep in a proper bed to be able to regain all my powers in order to save your asses if it’s required, remember?”
Isabel could practically see the steam coming out of Maria’s ears.
”Well, if you are such a man, then I think you should go and buy some sleeping bags,” Isabel said, before Maria had the chance to start a fight with Michael.
”I’m watching TV,” Michael said, as if that was reason enough.
”Michael...” Michael heard the warning note to Isabel’s voice and looked up in time to see a small hint of the Christmas Nazi returning. Michael was quickly on his feet.
”Okay then, I’ll get those stupid sleeping bags. But then you have to do the woman thing, fix something to eat!” The door was closed behind him before neither of the women was able to yell at him for that sexist statement.
Maria picked up the phone and threw it to Isabel.
”Pizza?” Isabel asked.
”Yes, and extra cheese for space-pig,” Maria said.
Isabel ordered the pizzas and then the women sank down on the couch, changed canal and waited for the food to arrive - ready to be eaten - like any other modern woman.
Max slowly drifted up to the fringes of consciousness. He felt a warm body pressed up against his. It all came rushing back to him as he noticed the small hand that was entwined with his. He slowly opened his eyes. The light of the morning sun was sifting through the window. He turned his head and his eyes fell on the two persons that meant more than life itself to him. Liz was facing him, her body close to their daughter who was positioned between them. They were both sound asleep. The covers were only partly covering Liz, since Emma evidently had tried to kick the covers off. Emma’s cheeks were flustered, having been heated up by her parents’ warmth. However, Liz looked cold. Due to the alien blood that flowed through his veins, Max was less receptive to cold than humans - and Emma probably had some of that as well. But as he cupped Liz’s cheek with his hand he felt how icing cold her skin was. If he hadn’t heard her soft and even breathing he would have feared the worst. He pulled up the covers over his two girls and rose to retrieve a blanket. If Liz was anything like the Liz he had known, she would have a blanket in the closet. On the top shelf of the closet, he found a blue and green blanket which he draped over Liz’s body. With one last look at his sleeping family, he left the bedroom - closing the door quietly behind him.
Isabel looked up at him as he entered the kitchen.
”Morning, Max,” she said with a smile. Max looked really relaxed, thoroughly rested. Some of the worry and sadness, that had became like an integrated part of him during the years of separation from Liz, had vanished.
”Morning, Izzie,” Max said and rubbed his hand over his eyes. ”How long have I’ve been asleep?”
”Well, dear brother...about twenty hours,” Isabel answered, casting a quick glance at the kitchen clock. ”You must have been really exhausted.”
Max just nodded - a little absent-mindedly - and sat down in one of the kitchen chairs.
”You want coffee?” Isabel asked.
”Sure,” Max answered. He watched his sister as she poured coffee in a cup and placed it in front of him. She sat down across from him and searched his face.
”Is Liz still sleeping?”
”Yes,” Max answered.
”She looks really sick,” Isabel said.
Max guilty avoided her eyes.
”What’s wrong with her?” Isabel asked.
”I don’t know,” Max whispered, the guilt and self-blame extremely prominent in his voice.
Isabel worriedly searched his face.
”Max, it’s not your fault,” she said.
”I haven’t been there for her,” Max said.
”You had no chance to do so,” Isabel said. ”She hasn’t contacted you - you didn’t know where she was.”
”But she’s in so much pain,” Max said. ”Her-her whole back is burnt.”
Isabel’s thoughts went back to what Max had told her about that night of Liz’s ‘death’. He had experienced an intense pain in the back, but Isabel had dismissed it to be the cause of the knife Liz’s body had been penetrated with.
”Is that what you felt?” Isabel asked.
”I think so,” he said.
”But you can just heal her, right?” Isabel asked.
Max nodded again, but Isabel could see that his mind was elsewhere. Something was really eating him up inside, and Isabel had a feeling that it was just not Liz’s health condition.
”Max, what’s really bugging you?” she asked.
”Nothing,” Max said - starting to fiddle with his spoon in the cup of coffee.
”I know you, Max. There’s something else.”
Max took a deep breath, and then he looked up into her eyes.
”She’s blocking me,” he said. ”She’s blocking our connection.”
”What do you mean?” Isabel asked.
”I can’t feel her,” Max said. ”I’ve always told myself that it was probably because she wasn’t close to me - that there was too great of a distance between us. But that doesn’t make sense any longer. I’ve been...close to her now for hours and I still is unable to feel her.”
They both jerked out of their reveries as they heard the bedroom door open.
They looked expectantly at the entrance to the kitchen to see who was to appear. It was Liz, and she too looked as if some hours of sleep had been good for her.
”Morning, Liz,” Isabel said. Liz smiled softly, which warmed Max’s heart.
”Morning,,” she said and walked into the kitchen.
”You want some breakfast? Pancakes, cereals, coffee, tea...”
Liz smiled at Isabel’s enumeration.
”Coffee would be great,” she said.
”Coffee it is,” Isabel said and turned to pour another cup of coffee. Liz sat down on the chair next to Max. She looked up into his face, and she instantly was lost in his warm eyes. She timidly reached out and put her hand over his on the table. She had this need to constantly touch him.
Isabel put down the cup in front of her.
”There you go, Liz,” Isabel said and sat down again.
”Thanks,” Liz said. ”Why do you call me Liz?”
Isabel’s hand froze in the movement of taking a slice of bread and she stared at Liz.
”That’s your name,” Max said, confusion in his voice as he looked at Liz.
”I thought my name was Elizabeth,” Liz said.
”I guess it is,” Max said, ”but we’ve always called you Liz. Don’t you remember?”
Liz shook her head.
Isabel felt lost.
”What do you mean?” she asked.
”I don’t remember that my name used to be Liz, and I don’t remember who you are,” Liz answered, and Max felt unable to breathe.
”You don’t remember us?” he whispered. Liz squeezed his hand, and looked deep in his eyes - her eyes so familiar to him. She had always been able to look at him as if she saw right through him - saw him as the person he really was.
”I remember you,” she said in a low voice to Max.
Isabel slowly lowered her hand, staring at the girl who Max had searched for so many years - and realizing that she hadn’t really hid from him, she simply hadn’t remembered him.
”I think we have to talk,” Max said.
Max closed the bedroom door to Emma’s room behind him and watched Liz as she nervously walked around the room, picking up toys here and there - organizing them.
”Liz, calm down,” he said.
Liz looked at him, and nodded.
”Right,” she said and inhaled deeply before she positioned herself on the edge of Emma’s bed.
Max looked at her, as she was nervously twitching her hands in her lap - staring down at the floor. She had no memory of them, which meant that she didn’t know about his, Isabel’s and Michael’s true origin. She didn’t know that her daughter was half-alien. He wasn’t really feeling up to telling her once again that he was an alien. Been there - done that. It had not been the most pleasurable experience.
”Do you remember anything at all?” Max asked.
”I remember you,” Liz said so softly that Max barely didn’t hear her. ”But only you as a person...not anything we’ve done or said.”
”You haven’t remembered anything during these years?” Max asked.
”I have gotten some glimpses...but it’s only if I come into contact with something that reminds me of the past,” Liz answered.
”You don’t remember anything...uhm...special about me..and Isabel and Michael?” Max asked, hoping that she would remember, so he didn’t have to give her the shock of being a mother to an alien child.
Liz looked up at him, confusion in her face. Max could see how she was searching her mind in order to truthfully answer his question.
”No,” she said honestly.
”Okay,” Max breathed. ”Has anything...out of the ordinary..happened with Emma? Has she done anything that you couldn’t quite explain?”
Liz looked down at the floor again, and Max understood that Emma had done something.
She couldn’t tell him, could she? He would think that she was crazy...
”Liz, just tell me,” Max said, as if he could read her thoughts. Liz looked up into his eyes and the love and reassurance she found there gave her the courage to tell him. To tell him anything and everything.
”One day she said that she had been in daddy’s dream,” Liz said, keeping her eyes locked with his. To her surprise he didn’t even flinch - he didn’t show any sign of being surprise by what she said or even thinking that she was delirious.
”Anything else?” Max asked.
”She....healed me,” Liz said.
”She healed you?” Max asked.
”It’s really stupi-”
”No,” Max interrupted. ”It’s not stupid - nothing about you could ever be stupid.”
A feeling of familiarity surged through her.
”Have you said that to me before?” she asked.
”I...I don’t know,” Max answered. ”Maybe I have. Did you remember that?”
”It was like that when Emma healed my hand....there was this bright light and I remembered-”
She stopped as she realized what she was about to say.
”What?” Max asked.
”Uhm...the night...of Emma’s..uhm...conception,” Liz answered.
Max couldn’t help but blush and he lowered his gaze to the floor.
”I want to try something,” he said slowly and raised his eyes to hers again.
She nodded slowly. Max went up to the bed and sat down next to her.
”I have to touch you,” Max said. Liz felt the strangest feeling of déja vu and she nodded her permission. Max tenderly cupped her face between his hands. They both tried to ignore the electricity that momentarily cursed through their bodies at the contact.
”Take some deep breaths, and let your mind go blank,” Max instructed her.
Liz calmed down her breathing, drawing deep breaths in and out. She felt her whole body relax, and then she felt as if she was falling. She felt herself being wrapped up in Max - in everything that was Max. She could feel all his feelings. Most of all happiness, relief and love. She felt as if her whole heart was beginning to warm up - thaw - returning to life. That’s when the images started to flow through her mind. Max’s memories. She saw a small brown-haired girl playing with a friend, and she realized that she was looking at herself. She saw herself growing up from a little girl, to a young woman through Max’s eyes. Every flash was etched with admiration and love. The images changed and she saw herself laying on her back on the tile floor, bleeding from a gunshot wound in her stomach. She felt Max’s panic as he watched her gradually lose hold of life. Liz watched him put his hand over the wound, and there was a bright light. When Max removed his hand the wound was healed. Then she saw the fear on her own face as Max told her that he was an alien, and she felt Max’s sadness. Then the images started to come faster. Max and her kissing, Max telling her that they shouldn’t be together - that it wasn’t meant to be, Max kissing Liz the night he had been drunk. She experienced all the heightened feelings that they both had felt during those days in February before they found the orb. She re-experienced the desire that had surged through Max as she had lightly moved her fingers over his bare chest in Michael’s apartment.
Then there was fear...so much fear and panic as Max realized that Liz had been abducted by Nasedo. She relived his emotions during his captivity. She felt his confusion, his panic, his fear - fear for himself but mostly of anyone hurting any of his friends. She felt the pang of utter misery as Pierce had shown him an engineered image of her death. Then she was looking at herself in the van, feelings his longing for her. His love. The first time he had told her that he loved her. She found herself in the cave after Max, Isabel, Tess and Michael had received the message of their purpose here on Earth through the hologram. She felt Max’s confusion and anxiety as she watched herself run away from him. She felt Max’s loneliness when she was away during the summer in Florida. She felt how much he missed her. She experienced his pure joy and happiness as she returned to Roswell. But then she saw herself laying half-naked in her bed with Kyle, and she felt how his heart broke. That’s when the feelings changed.
She felt Max’s suspicion towards Liz - initially not wanting to believe what his eyes told him was true. She felt Max’s alienation as she was pulling further and further away from her. The flashes were penetrated with betrayal, and anger. But she could still feel the constant love in the background, but it was buried under all the dark confusing emotions. Then she felt him feeling worried about her as she was getting paler. She felt his love for her start to come up to the surface again as she saw herself standing outside his window in the middle of the night - in the pouring rain. And she gasped as the intense feelings of joy, happiness, gratitude, and love filled her when she accepted him back into her life.
Then everything became a large blur of dark emotions. The feelings of agonizing grief and desperation devoured her. She could feel herself being pulled into a world so dark, so lonely - and she witness the cause to the gradual dying of his soul. She saw herself laying pale and cold in his arms. She saw his tears fall on her still body. She saw blood - on the ground, on his hands, in her hair. Then the images were coming faster again, but there was a lack of emotions attached to the images. It was as if there were no emotions left to experience. She only felt an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. Next she was in a church, surrounded with people she’d known more or less her whole life. Her parents, relatives, neighbors, people from high school...people she didn’t even recognize. She was witnessing her own funeral. Then the images changed and she saw Emma. Several images of Emma started to flash through her mind, and they started to mix with images of her. With a gasp he pulled out of her mind.
He leaned his forehead against hers, gathering his strength. It had taken a lot to send all those images and to keep the connection open for so long.
”Max...” he heard Liz whisper, her voice cracking with emotion.
He leaned back and looked into her eyes, and he knew. He knew that it had worked.
”I remember,” she said and wrapped her arms around him, holding him as close as she could. ”God, Max. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
”It wasn’t your fault,” Max murmured, feeling how Liz was returning to him. The Liz he knew. His Liz.
”I love you, I love you so much,” Liz whispered, her voice filled with thousands of emotions.
”I was dead without you,” Max murmured, closing his eyes and let his senses be filled by her. Everything that was her. ”I’ve missed you so much.”
He could feel her tears soaking through the front side of his shirt.
”Liz? I need to heal you,” Max said. He could feel her nod against his chest. She knew how much it meant for him to be able to do that for her. She knew that he was withering away under his own guilt, being devoured by his conscience for not being there for her....or Emma.
Still in his arms, she began to take deep breaths, trying to calm herself down again from the intense trip on the emotional roller-coaster. She felt how he too started to relax against her. Then he was inside of her mind again.
He felt her blood flow through his veins, her heart beating in unison with his. He felt the air flow into her lungs as if it was his, and then all the pain hit him. The wind was knocked out of him, and he had to concentrate really hard to push the excruciating pain far back in his mind and instead focus on her - on their body. He searched her internal organs, finding the liver, the kidneys, the stomach, the heart, the lungs and the lympathic system to be damaged - slightly burnt. He continued to move to heal the external traces of her ill-health. He healed the bruises of her skin, and the open cuts that hadn’t been able to heal properly on their own. Next he moved to the skin of her back. He started to heal the blisters and the open wounds - melding the skin together. He focused on the damaged epidermal cell layer of her skin, repairing it - repairing the damaged cell functions. He continued to look over the neural pathways connecting her brain to the rest of her body. He traced the nerves, seeing to it that they were not damaged. Finally, he checked her over and then he pulled out of her.
They both shivered from the cold the withdrawal of the other’s soul left them with. Liz put her arms around her body, in an effort to fight of the cold that was penetrating into her very bone.
”Did it work?” Max asked, fearing the answer from the sad look in her eyes.
She shook her head.
Max closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply. What was wrong? He had healed her, he knew he had.
”I’m still having a headache, and the nausea is still there,” Liz whispered.
”I don’t understand,” Max murmured, and then he looked into her eyes.
”Liz, pull up your shirt,” he almost ordered her.
”What?” Liz asked, confusion written all over her face.
Max rose and sat down behind her instead, and she realized what he was doing. She took a hold of the hem of her shirt and pulled it upwards. Even though she anticipated his touch, she still inhaled sharply as he gently brushed his finger over the naked skin of her back. His hand was lightly moving across her skin, and she could feel the desire that had been buried deep inside of her for so long - awakening inside of her. A desire only his touch could bring forward.
”Max?” she asked, as he didn’t say anything. ”How does it look?”
”Fine....perfect,” Max whispered, pain in his voice.
”What’s wrong?” Liz asked slowly. There was something he wasn’t telling her. He pulled the shirt down again, covering up her now flawless skin and Liz turned towards him. He was staring at his hands positioned in his lap.
”Why are you blocking me, Liz?” he asked, hurt etching his voice.
”What do you mean?” Liz asked.
Max looked up, and Liz was somewhat taken aback by the amount of emotion in his eyes. Especially the hurt.
”I can’t feel you through the connection,” Max said.
”Oh God, Max,” Liz said slowly. ”I haven’t even thought about that. I can’t feel you... I had no memory of the connection before...so that’s probably why I blocked it.”
Max nodded, her words sinking in and the hurt in his eyes gradually vanishing.
”Try to unblock it,” he said, his voice encouraging.
”I-I don’t know how to,” Liz said insecurely. ”I never had to do anything to get the connection - one day it was just there.”
”Try to reach out for me,” Max suggested, having no clue to what to do himself.
Liz nodded and closed her eyes in deep concentration. She concentrated on him. The way he was looking at her, the way he softly caressed her cheek, the way he brushed the hair off her forehead, the way he looked into her eyes, the way he kissed her, his smile, his scent - everything that was him. Everything he meant to her. She tried for almost two minutes, but then she had to give up - unsuccessful in her efforts.
”I can’t," she whispered, her voice husky with exhaustion.
He pulled her close up against him and she gratefully sank into his arms. They both held on to each other, both desperately trying to fight off the coldness and loneliness that threatened to overtake them.
|posted on 2-Jan-2003 3:16:01 PM|
”So, where’s Max, Liz and Emma?” Maria asked as she was unpacking the groceries from the paper bag.
”Emma’s sleeping,” Isabel answered as she relieved Michael from one of the bags. He was just standing there, an expression mixed with boredom, irritation, tiredness and hopelessness on his face, in the middle of the kitchen, two grocery bags dangling from one hand and three dangling from the other.
”Maria, what did you do to Michael?” Isabel asked suspiciously.
Maria turned to look at Michael.
”Oh, he’ll just have to get used to it! I guess he never has shopped more than three products at the same time when he has gone shopping. He’ll get over it.”
”O-kaaay,” Isabel said, unable to grin at Michael.
”Don’t start,” Michael said menacingly.
”I haven’t said nothing,” Isabel said, while burying her face in the refrigerator to hide the wide grin on her face.
”Where are Max and Liz?” Maria asked again, while filling the cabinets with sugar, cereals, etc.
”They’ve been in Emma’s room for about an hour - talking,” Isabel answered.
”Talking, huh,” Michael chuckled. Maria turned around and slapped him on the arm.
”Ouch, what are you doing?” Michael cried.
”That’s for you being an insensitive pig,” Maria answered, and when seeing that Michael actually didn’t get it she continued, ”they’ve just found each other, do you think they will jump each other’s bones the first thing they do?”
”Well, yeah,” Michael said as if it was a well-known fact, ”we’re talking Max and Liz here...”
”Yes, we are. The two most controlled people I know,” Maria said.
”As I recall they have a daughter together,” Michael said, ”and I don’t know if you missed those biology lessons, but you have to loose some major control-restrains to make a child, you know.”
”OOOOHHH,” Maria exclaimed.
”There is something I need to tell you,” Isabel interrupted. But it was too late. Maria and Michael was already in one of their bickering contests.
”Hey, quit it!! TIME OUT!” Isabel practically yelled, holding her hands in front of her in the form of a capital T.
”What?” Michael huffed. He was just about to win the argument for once!
”There’s something I need to tell you,” Isabel repeated.
”Okay, shoot,” Maria said casually, having had years of practice to calm herself down from ‘talking’ with her dense boyfriend. She was not as hyper as she once was....okay, she was still hyper but...right, she was about one percent less hyper.
”I think Liz has suffered from amnesia all these years,” Isabel said.
”What?!” Maria said, already getting herself worked up again.
”She didn’t remember us, she didn’t remember her old life, she didn’t even remember her own name,” Isabel said, ”that’s why she hasn’t contacted us. She wasn’t intentionally keeping herself hidden, she only wasn’t aware that there was someone out there to contact.”
”Oh shit,” Michael mumbled - finally putting the grocery bags down on the floor.
”Oh my god, poor Liz,” Maria mumbled. ”What she must have been suffering. She must have been so lost. I can’t even imagine how it would feel like to not remember anything - anything at all !”
Just then they heard a door open, and Liz and Max walked in hand in hand. But as soon as Liz stepped into the kitchen, she was in Maria’s arms.
”God, I’ve missed you,” Liz said, her tears streaming down her cheeks. Even though she actually couldn’t remember Maria, her whole being had unconsciously missed her.
”I’ve missed you too,” Maria said, herself crying, ”I’ve missed your calm and your advice and I missed you! If we hadn’t found you I had probably gone insane sooner or later being around your devastated boyfriend, ice-queen over there, and my oh-so-annoying boyfriend.”
Max watched the interaction between the two former friends with a small smile on his face. It was good to see those two together again. Even though Maria had tried to put up a brave face and act normal after Liz’s disappearance from the group, she had not seemed the same. That fact had not passed Max unnoticed, even though he was pretty much lost to the world without Liz by his side.
Liz left Maria’s warm embrace and turned towards Michael, now sitting on one of the kitchen chairs.
”Michael,” she said, ”c’mere! I’ve missed you to!”
Michael hesitated a bit. After all these years, his ability to show affection hadn’t really improved. Nevertheless, Liz had always been there for him - even though he had been very skeptical of her in the beginning. As he had seen it, she had tried to manipulate Max into leaving him. Michael could not let a simple human do that - he had only put his trust in two people and that was Isabel and Max. After a while he had started to like that small woman with the warm big heart, and when she had died (even though he hadn’t admitted it to anyone) he had grieved just as much as everyone else....well, except Max then - whose grief was something in its own category. Max had done him a favor that day when he had healed Liz. By his decision to tell Liz their secret, Max had opened up their closed-up existence to a real life, with real friends. Friends Michael would now die protecting just as much as he would die protecting Max or Isabel.
Michael rose and stepped up to Liz, capturing her in a big bear hug.
”Thank you for taking care of Maria for me,” Liz whispered in his ear - only for him to hear. Michael swallowed and had to concentrate not to let the emotions get the upper hand. Why did Liz always do that? It was like she could see right through him, and she didn’t care that he put up a tough exterior because somehow she could see the real him.
”I’ll do anything for her,” Michael said, his voice low. The emotional touch to his voice wasn’t unnoticed by Liz. Michael cleared his throat (in order to free himself of all the uncomfortable feelings - uncomfortable because he never knew what to do with them) and stepped out of Liz’s embrace.
”So, where’s Alex?” Liz asked, missing her best male girlfriend.
”He’s in Roswell, holding the forts,” Isabel answered.
”As always,” Liz smiled.
”So, Liz. What’s this I hear that you forgot about us?” Michael said, his mask put back into place quickly, effectively hiding the feelings Liz had felt radiating from him a couple of seconds earlier.
Liz smiled at him. She knew how much Maria had always meant to him, and she had a hunch that she meant more to him now than ever. But in so many respects he was still the Michael she once knew. Somehow she was comforted by that. It was almost as if she could pick up where she left off...no, that wasn’t going to be quite that easy. She had changed a lot. She had a child now and she had lived a hidden life in the dark for five years. Even though it didn’t at the moment seem as if her friends had changed at all, she knew that they too had changed. As she thought about it, her smile faltered. She had missed so much of her friends’ life. In theory they should probably be strangers by now.
Michael watched the emotions play over Liz’s face. She always had such an expressive face - showing almost exactly what she felt.
”Liz...?” Michael asked, worried that he had upset her with bad memories or something.
Liz jerked out of her dream world and found the concern faces of three of her best friends in the world looking at her. ”However,” Liz thought to herself, ”we had something unique, and we were bond in a way that will not be separated by some years of absence. We will survive.”
”Sorry,” Liz said and smiled again, ”I just spaced out, I guess. I’m not used to all this people here. It’s usually only Emma and I here.”
”What really happened five years ago?” Maria asked.
Liz inhaled deeply and sank down on one of the chairs. She knew that the questions would come sooner or later. She had hoped that it would be later.
”Uhmm, well...I’ll just take it from the beginning...But it will be easier if you wouldn’t interrupt me okay?” She was met by three persons nodding their heads in agreement.
Liz took another deep breath.
”Okay...” She hadn’t had the time or opportunity to think this through herself. She had just remembered what had happened. She had never gotten the chance to process it...”I kept having these nightmares...five years ago. They started about two weeks before...uhm..the attack. My nightmares were always about the same thing. I was walking home...and it was night...and dark...and cold...and...and...and then Max was there but I knew that it wasn’t really him. There wasn’t anything Max about him, except his appearance that is. This...uhm...person..wanted to follow me home, but I kept trying to assure him that I was fine, that I could get home on my own. I really didn’t want to walk with him. But he kept insisting and I thought that if I agreed there would perhaps be a pedestrian who would spot us and I could ask for help or something, I hadn’t really thought it through. Then everything happened so fast. He...eh...pushed me into an alley and tried..tried...to k-kiss me and I pushed him away and we...uhm..fought a while and then I got away and started to run and that’s when I fell and he was over me. I felt his hand on my back and then...I was...being burned alive,” Liz swallowed hard to force down the sobs that threatened to come, ”and then I woke up. The dreams felt extremely realistic, more like a warning of the future than a dream-”
”Liz, why didn’t you tell me? I could’ve hel-” Max began, his voice filled with guilt.
Liz held up her hand to silence him.
”Max, please. Don’t interrupt, okay?”
Max just nodded, his thoughts occupied with everything he could’ve done to prevent Liz from being separated from him and her best friends in the first place. Liz searched his face and knew that he was beating himself up. He was still her Max - blaming himself for something she had decided not to tell him.
”Anyway,” Liz said, ”the day of my attack I was feeling really jumpy - paranoid. All my feelings were running high and I just knew that something was about to happen and still I messed up. I had all these warning signs going off around me - I even felt weird when Tess stepped in and I’ve never trusted Tess anyway.” Liz felt Max tense up at the mention of Tess.
”What are you saying?” Maria asked. ”Was Tess involved in this somehow?”
”I’ll get to that,” Liz said and tucked a strand of hair that didn’t exist behind her ear (everything that could be tucked behind her hair had already been done so). A classical sign that she was nervous and was getting agitated. ”That night I had been at Maria’s and I was heading home. Maria offered that I could stay the night - but it was as if some weird force dragged me out of that house even though every fiber of my being resisted. I had only walked a few meters when I met him and my dream started to repeat itself-”
”Oh my God,” Maria whispered, putting up a hand in front of her mouth.
”Even though I tried to change what I said and by that hoping that I would change the whole chain of events, nothing was working. We always seemed to get back to the dream-conversation. If I tried something new it was as if the conversation took a detour only to return again. That’s when I reached for Max-”
”Ehh..what?” Michael said, totally confused by the whole story Liz was telling them.
”You know, like I did when Max was in New York,” Liz said.
”But that was with me,” Isabel said.
”I’ve apparently become stronger,” Liz said and shrugged. As she continued she kept her eyes glued on Max’s face. Even though she lacked the connection she knew that it was really difficult for him to hear all this - to go through it again. She had to stay strong, for his sake.
”I told him where I was-”
”Wait. You told him?” Isabel interrupted. ”But last time Max couldn’t hear you.”
”I guess I was strong enough to do that too,” Liz said. ”But it was really difficult and it took a lot of energy. I just wanted to tell him my whereabouts - and the most important things that he needed to know.” Max knew what she was talking about. The fact that she had practically told him goodbye in her final words ‘I love you’.”
”The last thing I-I-I remember is..uhm...falling to th-th-the ground and...dying,” a sob escaped her.
Max was at her side in a fraction of seconds, kneeling by her chair and taking one of her hands in both of his. Liz smiled at him gratefully.
”You don’t have to tell us everything today,” Max said.
Liz shook her head.
”No, I need to tell you this now,” she said.
Max nodded in understanding. He focused on Liz and tried to pour love and support through the connection. But as before he only encountered the stone wall. Liz had felt his love and support - even though she didn’t feel him through any connection. She saw as he slumped together, failure written over his countenance. Liz turned towards him and put her free hand on his cheek.
”Max...thank you,” she said softly.
Max looked up at her surprised.
”How do you think that other couples help each other?” Liz asked, a smile grazing her features. ”Even though I can’t feel you through the connection I can still feel you. I don’t need a connection for that.”
Max smiled at her, his heart swelling from the words from this incredible woman.
”What about Tess?” Maria asked, trying to get Liz’s attention before she lost herself in Max’s eyes. Liz eyes left Max’s face and drifted to hers.
”Tess was there that night...helping Nasedo,” she answered.
”What?!” Isabel and Michael said in unison. Max was taking deep breaths, trying to subdue the anger. This was not the right place to lose it.
”Liz...Nasedo’s dead,” Isabel said. ”He was killed by the skins, remember? And then when we tried to heal him with the healing stones he crumbled to dust.”
”I don’t know how it’s possible,” Liz said. ”I just know that it was Nasedo there that night, trying to kill me.”
”Why didn’t he kill you?” Michael asked bluntly.
Maria shot him a deadly glare, and Michael hurried to explain himself.
”I mean..Nasedo can easily kill in a matter of seconds, why did he fail to kill you?”
Liz looked directly at him and Michael once again felt as if she was looking straight through him.
”I think he didn’t want to kill me...The fact that I knew what was going to happen from my dream sort of ruined their plans,” Liz answered.
”Then what did they want to do?” Max asked.
”I don’t know,” Liz said.
”Perhaps rape her,” Michael said simply, turned towards Max.
Max flinched at the statement and took a tighter grip on Liz’s hand.
”Why?” Liz asked, her voice thin.
”He was impersonating Max, right?” Michael said and continued as Liz nodded. ”And when we found you-”
”Wait. You found me?” Liz asked confused.
”I guess that was a mindwarp that bitch made us believe,” Maria said. ”Max found you dead in the alley and later the coroner said that you had been raped before you was murdered. Perhaps Tess came up with that little fact just because it had been a part of the plan. That gerbil was never known for her imaginative skills.”
Liz looked at Max and found tears pooling in his eyes. She reached over and put her arms around him. He clutched her to him tightly, as if trying to assure himself that she was really there.
”It’s okay, Max. That didn’t happen,” Liz whispered.
”I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” Max murmured repeatedly.
”No, Max,” Liz hushed. ”It wasn’t your fault. Tess and Nasedo pulled a number on all of us.”
”At least we can be happy that their plan didn’t quite work out,” Maria said.
Liz nodded against Max shoulder.
”But what happened later...when you woke up?” Michael asked. Liz reluctantly pulled away from Max. Everything was slowly catching up on Max. Everything that had happened the last couple of days, everything that had happened the last time he had seen Liz. Liz softly smothered the tears away from his cheeks and laced her fingers with his, squeezing his hand. Then she turned to Michael, ready to tell them all about what her life had been like since they were separated.
|posted on 6-Jan-2003 4:47:43 PM|
Liz clasped Max hand more firmly. They were both holding onto each other for support.
”The next thing I remember since becoming unconscious was waking up in what seemed to be a motel room. At first I was really weak, so I just laid there and tried to gather my strength. Occasionally Nasedo and Tess would come in and talk. I couldn’t figure anything out since I couldn’t remember anything of what had happened. But now I’m certain that they were talking about you, Max.” Liz looked at the love of her life. ”Obviously Tess was trying to take my place.”
”No kidding,” Maria said and snorted. ”She must have consumed lip balm like an addict as an effect of her lips getting completely parched from all the ass-kissing.”
”She’s been on Max’s back ever since...well, your funeral,” Isabel clarified.
”But too bad for her, Max wasn’t the least bit interested,” Maria said.
”I remember how frustrated Tess was that things weren’t going her way. I’m not quite sure why they wanted you though.”
”Isn’t that obvious,” Maria said. ”That bitch has always had some problems taking rejections and she probably just wanted Max to herself as her personal sex slave or something.”
”Maria, please,” Isabel pleaded. ”That’s my brother you’re talking about.”
”So? It’s not like there’s any chance of that happening now, is there?” Maria asked casually, shrugging her shoulders.
”No, but that doesn’t keep me from getting those really weird images in my head of Tess and Max ‘playing’ together,” Isabel said, the disgust evident in her voice.
”Okay, I’m I the only one a little uncomfortable with this subject?” Max asked.
Liz smiled at him.
”Anyway,” she said, in order to save Max from the present conversation. ”One day they left the door unlocked-”
”They did?” Maria asked incredulously. ”Some nerds they are!”
”-and I escaped,” Liz continued. ”I was so tired, but I was afraid that they would come after me. I didn’t have the courage to walk along the road, where it would’ve been easier to walk, so I walked across the desert until I saw a bed and breakfast a mile away. The man there and his mother took really good care of me. I got food, but I still paid for it-”
”How did you do that?” Michael asked.
”I had stolen some cash from Nasedo at times, and fortunately he never noticed,” Liz answered.
Maria shook her head.
”Wow, leaving the door unlocked and leaving money without noticing some of it disappeared...They really weren’t professionals, right,” Maria said sarcastically.
”The mother of the man who owned the bed and breakfast was really sweet,” Liz said and smiled at the memory. ”She gave me some clothes which once belonged to her daughter. That’s how I found out that my name was Elizabeth. Her daughter’s name was Elizabeth and when she told me I just knew that Elizabeth was my name. That’s what I’ve called myself since then. It was also that old woman who told me that I was-I was pregnant.”
”You didn’t know?” Isabel asked incredulously.
Liz shook her head.
”I couldn’t remember anything and I was just the same feeling sick every hour of the day,” Liz answered. ”I never suspected anything. If I had...uhm...remember some things...,” referring to the night of Emma’s conception, ”...I would perhaps have suspected it, but I didn’t. I couldn’t remember where I was from, how my parents looked like, how my...friends looked like. I didn’t even know if I had any friends or family. For all I knew, I could’ve been a wanted criminal, kidnapped by enemies when trying to flee.”
”But you weren’t - you had friends waiting for you, missing you like hell,” Maria said, her voice filled with sadness and hurt.
”I’m sorry, Maria. I would’ve come home immediately if I had remembered. I’ve always known that I was safe as long as I was with you.”
”But you weren’t,” Max said, ”we let you get hurt. We let them rip you away from us.”
”Even you can’t prevent everything bad from happening,” Liz said. ”Stop beating yourself up, Max. That’s in the past...and it’s more important to see what we are going to do now. Now I’ve found you again - or you found me more precisely - and we will get through this.”
Maria watched her best friend and was amazed by the fact that even though Liz looked completely shattered to the exterior, the stubborn strong willed Liz Parker shone through brightly. That streak was probably what had saved her from laying down and dying.
”How did you find me?” Liz asked. ”I’ve taken so many precautions to keep anyone from finding me...and it scares me that it was so easy to find me. I was lucky enough that it was you who found me first.”
”It was Emma,” Maria said. ”You had to be blind to not see that she’s a splitting image of her mother, with her father’s eyes.”
Liz nodded, a smile spreading in her face - a mother’s pride of her daughter shining through.
”Those eyes always held a certain meaning to me. From the first time Emma opened her eyes they struck a cord inside of me - it’s weird that I didn’t know right then, that I didn’t remember you, Max.”
Max squeezed her hand, assuring her that it was okay.
”We sort of got some information out of the teacher,” Michael said, turning back to the previous topic at hand.
”You did?” Liz said, her voice hinting some trace of fear. ”I specifically told her not to give out any information.”
”Well, it was not good at all that she did,” Isabel said. ”But it was pretty good for us that she did, wasn’t it?”
Liz nodded - she had to admit that even though the teacher had broken her trust, she felt more like thanking her than punishing her.
”After that it was easy,” Max said. ”We only had your surname, but we also knew Emma’s name.” Liz momentarily closed her eyes to repress the dizziness that was putting its claws in her.
”Liz?” Max asked, worried.
Liz gathered her strength and opened her eyes.
”I’m fine,” she said. ”I just need to...lie down for a while.”
”What’s wrong?” Max asked.
Liz drew her hand out of Max’s grip and stood up. The room spun and she put her hand on Max’s shoulder for support.
”Liz?” Maria asked. Liz didn’t look so good. She was pale...well, paler than before.
”I’m fine, I’m fine...I just....Max, can you help me?” Liz asked, but Max had already decided to help her even if she wanted it or not.
”Sure,” he said, rising from his kneeling position beside Liz’s chair and putting an arm around her small waist. Liz felt her body instinctively relaxing as she felt the side of Max’s body and his strong arm around her waist. She leaned into him, letting him support most of her weight - which Max didn’t mind at all.
”I’m sorry, guys,” Liz said.
”Stop it, Liz,” Maria said. ”You need to rest, and you don’t need to apologize because of it!”
Liz smiled weakly.
With the kitchen behind them, Max spoke to Liz:
”You’re feeling sick, right?” he asked.
Liz hesitated for a few seconds and then nodded.
”I’m feeling dizzy...but it’s pretty normal-”
”That’s not normal,” Max said as he slowly opened the bedroom door.
”It’s normal to me,” Liz said, her voice a little lower as they stepped into the bedroom, where Emma was still sleeping in the bed.
”I’m so sorry that I couldn’t heal yo-”
”Max, stop it! If you apologize one more time, I’m going to yell at you,” Liz said. ”Nothing of this is you’re fault. You did everything you could. I’ve learned to live with this sickness. But now you’re here - supporting me, and it can never be that bad as it has been ever again.”
Max smiled warmly at her and reluctantly released the grip around her waist to allow her to lay down on the bed. Emma instantaneously curled up to her mother and Liz put an arm around her daughter, holding her close. Max took the blanket (which Emma in her sleep had kicked to the floor) and spread it out over his small family. He leaned down and kissed Liz lightly on the forehead. At the contact of his lips on her skin, Liz closed her eyes as thousands of emotions rushed through her. It felt as if time stretched out, and then his lips left her skin.
”Get some sleep,” Max said softly.
Liz opened her eyes and the turmoil of emotions inside of her only allowed her to nod.
Max couldn’t stop himself from tucking a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. He had this deep need to touch her. His fingers lingered at the side of the soft skin of her cheek. The touch of his fingers left a warm tingling feeling where they had touched, when Max removed them. Max smiled a little self-consciously.
”I’m just gonna...” Max said as he pointed at the bedroom door and Liz smiled.
”Yeah, you do that,” she said.
”Okay,” Max said and had to gather all his strength to get his feet to leave the room.
”What do we do about Tess?” Michael asked. ”She hopefully doesn’t know that we know.”
Max clenched his fists tightly at the side of his body. ”I know exactly what I wanna do with her,” Max thought.
”Should I kill her for you?” Michael asked, not being completely serious. But as Max looked up in his face and Michael found himself staring into Max eyes, he doubted that his humorous touch to the statement had fulfilled its purpose. Michael had seen a lot of emotions in Max’s eyes - but he had never seen what he saw there now. Max’s eyes were dark with hatred - pure hatred and anger for the people who had made Liz suffer.
”Uhm..Max, I was sort of joking,” Michael said.
Max flinched, seemingly jerking out of his thoughts.
”Yeah Michael, I know,” he said and the intense emotions were deliberately removed from his eyes. But Max’s stance still held much anger. Max took a deep breath in order to be able to think rationally again.
”I guess the best thing is to act normal. That would make us one step in front of her. She would not be suspicious of us, and we can monitor her and find out what her intentions are. We have to be very careful what we say to her - she’s dangerous.”
”Sooner or later, she messes up,” Michael said. ”And that’s when we get back at her, right?”
”I don’t want neither Liz nor Emma anywhere near her,” Max said, his voice determined.
Michael nodded. He watched as Max rubbed his forehead - a movement that he had done millions of times since all hell broke out, namely since Liz was taken from him. ”Maybe we should keep you away from her as well,” Michael thought, as he watched how Max obviously was trying to get his iron control back. Michael didn’t trust that Max wouldn’t strangle Tess the moment he saw her.
Emma yawned and blinked with her eyes in the bright light. She turned her head and saw that mommy was sleeping beside her. Emma was just about to wake her mother as she heard voices outside the bedroom door and the events of the previous day came rushing back to her.
She pulled the blanket off her, accidentally pulling some of the blanket off her mother as well. But she was already too excited to get out to the living room to notice. She climbed out of the bed and stretched up on the tips of her toes to be able to reach the door handle and open the door.
”But something is wrong with her,” she heard Max’s voice - her daddy - say.
She found her daddy standing beside the couch in the living room, speaking into the telephone. She didn’t see that funny blonde girl...uhm...Maria or..uhm... Isabel anywhere. Not even Michael who she had gotten to give her a piggy-ride at the zoo.
”I’m sorry, your Highness,” Kira said at the other end of the line.
”Max...it’s only Max,” Max said tiredly. Why did they keep calling him that?!
”Max,” Kira said apologetically. ”We don’t know why she’s ill - we don’t know much about human diseases.”
Max rubbed his forehead and sighed. This was leading nowhere! As he let his hand fall to his side again something soft and warm captured it. He turned his head and saw Emma standing there - her face etched with concern, his hand clutched in hers. He felt a feeling of calmness flow into him, and he relaxed remarkably.
”Uhm..can’t you find anything? Don’t you have men in health facilities or something?” Max asked as he smiled at his daughter.
”As we never get sick we haven’t felt the need to infest ourselves in health compartments and organizations,” Kira answered.
”Of course,” Max sighed. ”But perhaps it’s not human, perhaps it’s alien.”
”But you said that she was one hundred percent human,” Kira said.
”Well, maybe she’s not one hundred percent human any longer,” Max said.
”Daddy?” Emma’s small voice made Max turn his head towards her again.
”Not now, Emma,” Max said softly.
Emma started biting on her bottom lip somewhat nervously.
”Who was that?” Kira asked suspiciously.
”That was...my daughter,” Max answered.
”The heir?” Kira asked, his voice a little warmer.
”No, my daughter and she has a name. Her name is Emma,” Max said.
”Yes, Emma,” Kira said.
”Daddy?” Emma said again, now tugging on the bottom of his shirt.
Max covered the speaker with his hand and kneeled in front of Emma.
”What is it, Emma?” Max asked.
”I-I need to pee,” Emma said.
Max just stared at her. Had she just said what he thought she said?
”Uhm..can’t you do that on your own?” Max asked.
Emma shook her head.
Max took a deep breath.
”Okaaay,” he said as he exhaled and removed the hand from the speaker.
”Look, Kira. I need to go.”
”What’s going on?” Kira asked.
”Uhmm..nothing- nothing important,” Max said. ”I’ll call you later!”
”Okay, sir,” Kira said and Max couldn’t help to roll his eyes as he put down the receiver. This ‘your Highness’-thing was really starting to get on his nerves.
Max put the receiver down and turned to his daughter, who was clutching her knees together, bouncing a little on the place.
”Uhmm...let’s see if we can find your aunt Isabel here somewhere,” Max said and took Emma’s hand, leading her to the kitchen. To his horror, the kitchen was empty.
”Where is everyone?” Max mumbled. They had been here a minute ago.
”Daddy? I weally need to go potty,” Emma said.
”I know, honey,” Max said. ”Just hold on a second.”
Just then Maria stepped into the room.
”Maria!” Max exclaimed, his voice not being able to hide the relief.
Maria eyed the scene in front of her. Max looked nervous and scared, while Emma was holding his hand looking very much in the need...of a toilet.
”Emma needs to-to use the toilet, could you take her?” Max said.
Maria grinned broadly.
”Actually Max, I have other things to do,” Maria said, feeling up to see Max beg.
”Please Maria. I-I-I need to call-call Alex,” Max said and winced at his own lame excuse.
”You can’t do that later?” Maria asked, arching her eye-brow.
”It’s really important,” Max said meekly.
”It will probably only take thirty seconds or so,” Maria said.
”Daddy, please hurry,” Emma said, her small voice strained.
Max helplessly looked from his daughter to the gloating Maria.
”Maria, please,” he practically begged.
Maria made a big deal out of showing how much she was contemplating the whole thing.
”All right,” she said and took Emma’s other hand, ”but you, girlfriend, owe me big time.”
Max nodded, relieved, and released Emma’s hand.
”Okay, honey. Let’s go on the potty,” Maria said and let herself be led away by a very-much-in-hurry four-year-old towards the bathroom.
Max sank down on the couch. Wow, this fatherhood was really..tricky. He would definitely let Liz take care of those...tricky situations...
He lifted the receiver again and pressed the re-dial button.
”Yes?” Kira answered after the second ring.
”It’s me,” Max said.
”The situation taken care of?” Kira asked.
”Yes,” Max said. ”Have you found something out?”
”None of my men know anything,” Kira answered. ”But you said that Liz wasn’t completely human.”
”Well, something might have changed in her when I healed her,” Max explained.
”Right, the healing,” Kira said slowly, as he contemplated this. ”Maybe that’s what’s making her sick.”
A feeling of cold spread inside Max. That was one of his worst fears. That who he was could hurt her....even kill her.
”What do you mean?” Max asked, his voice strained.
”We don’t know the effects of a healing on a human. Actually, healers - of your ability - are very rare.”
”We all have different abilities - gifts.”
”But aren’t all our gifts completely human?” Max asked confused.
”Did Nasedo tell you that?” Kira answered.
”Yes,” Max answered.
”He didn’t tell you the whole truth. Your gifts are human, but they all have an alien basis.”
”Please elaborate,” Max said, once again rubbing his forehead.
”In your other life, you were a healer, Michael was a warrior, Isabel was a dreamwalker, and Tess was a mindwarper. The human mind has an immense capacity, that humans haven’t even begun to comprehend yet. You were able to plug in on the right areas of the human mind to be able to use your natural gifts again.”
”Okay,” Max said, slowly digesting the information. ”What does this have to do with Liz?”
”As I was saying, we don’t know much about the consequences of the healing of a human - actually, we don’t know anything about it. You might have changed the molecular structure of specialized cell functions. Cells might start to send out false signals in her body, causing the breakdown of her health that you mentioned.”
Max was feeling nauseous. When he had thought that he was saving Liz from that gunshot-wound he had in fact started a process inside of her that was slowly killing her.
”I-I have to go,” Max said into the receiver.
”Well...okay,” Kira said, his voice etched with insecurity.
Max put down the receiver and sank back in the couch.
”Daddy, daddy,” Emma cried and jumped up onto the couch, bouncing beside Max. ”I’m finished.”
”That’s good, honey,” Max said, his voice emotionless.
Maria, walking in behind Emma, took one look at Max and knew that something was wrong.
”Emma, why don’t you go and see if you can find some ice-cream in the freezer,” Maria said.
”Yay!!” Emma yelled and bounced up and down on the couch before hopping down and running towards the kitchen.
Maria kneeled in front of Max.
”Max, what’s wrong?” Maria tentatively asked. ”Oh no, is something wrong with Liz?”
Max looked at Maria and slowly - like a zombie - nodded his head.
”What?” Maria said, fear spreading throughout her whole body.
”I’ve killed her,” Max murmured, oblivious to how that really sounded.
”Max...” Maria said slowly, her voice slightly trembling, ”what are you saying?”
”When I healed her, I probably triggered the process that is going to be her death,” Max said, his voice empty.
”Who told you this?” Maria asked.
”Is he sure?” Maria asked.
Max shook his head.
”But then you can’t blame yourself,” Maria said.
”She’s sick and I couldn’t heal her,” Max said. ”I can heal all human diseases.”
”You couldn’t heal grandma Claudia,” Maria pointed out.
Max sadly nodded his head.
”Yes I could, but it wasn’t meant to be.”
”But we don’t know for sure what’s wrong with her,” Maria said. ”Maybe Nasedo did something to her.”
”She was sick already before Nasedo attacked her, remember,” Max said.
”But that was nothing like now. She only had headaches...and dizziness.”
”Right, the same symptoms as she suffers from now - they are merely heightened.”
Just then Liz stepped into the living room. Max and Maria looked up at her and Liz eyed them suspiciously. She had heard them discussing her and the tone of their voices didn’t bode good.
”What’s up?” she asked, trying her best to act casual.
”Nothing,” Maria said quickly and rose. ”I’m just going to see what your daughter is doing.”
Maria disappeared into the kitchen and Max and Liz were left alone.
Max was avoiding Liz’s eyes and Liz felt fear building inside of her. He was pulling away from her again.
”What were you talking about?” Liz asked suspiciously. Liz stepped closer to Max and were just about to sit down on the couch beside Max when Max quickly rose and walked away from her. It was almost as if he was afraid of her. Liz stared at him, trying to control her emotions.
”What are you doing, Max?” she asked.
”I’ll just...uhm...go and see what Emma is up to,” Max stuttered and started for the kitchen.
”Maria has already taken care of that,” Liz pointed out to Max’s back and his body came to a halt. Not turning around, Liz could feel the tension in the air. This was not good. Not good at all.
”Max, you’re going to tell me what’s wrong and you’re going to do it right now,” Liz said, unconsciously stepping closer to him. As her hand touched his shoulder he practically jumped and stepped away from her turning towards her in the process. Liz wrinkled her forehead. What the hell was he doing?
”Stay away, Liz,” Max said warningly.
Liz tried to catch his eyes that kept darting around the room.
”Max, look at me,” she demanded. Max didn’t obey. ”Max...Look. at. me.”
Max slowly rose his eyes and meet hers. Liz flinched back at how much hurt and guilt she could see in his eyes. Instinctively she stepped closer to him, intending to comfort him.
”No, Liz,” Max said, his voice a little harder. ”Don’t touch me. I’m only hurting you.”
”What are you talking about?” Liz asked, hurt.
”Look what I’ve done to you. You’re sick, Liz and you’re probably going to die,” Max said.
Cold infested itself in her heart. She had known for a long time that she didn’t have a long time left of this life - but to hear someone else say it made it more real. To hear Max say it, the one person she thought would be the last to give up on her, made her heart stop.
”What do you mean?” she whispered.
”I couldn’t heal you-”
”Max, I’ve already told you,” Liz said, her voice mechanical since she knew that Max knew something that she didn’t know, ”you did your best.”
Max shook his head.
”When I healed you the first time, I killed you.”
With Max’s words hanging in the thick air, Liz sank down on the couch.
”I don’t understand,” she said.
”I’m so sorry, Liz,” Max said, his voice filled with hurt and guilt. ”I never meant to hurt you. I couldn’t just let you die.”
”You don’t make any sense, Max,” Liz said, her voice stronger now.
”I asked Kira what was wrong with you,” Liz didn’t even care who the hell Kira was, she only wanted to know what the heck was going on, ” and he said that I had probably changed molecular structures inside of you, damaging the normal functions of your cells and that’s what’s making you sick. That’s what killing you.”
Liz closed her eyes and leaned her back against the couch. That frightened her. That frightened her so much because it made more sense to her than any of the expert opinions that the professional doctors had ever given her on her condition. Of course it had to be something alien.
”I’m so sorry, Liz,” Max whispered. ”I’m so sorry.”
She didn’t blame him. He had no chance of knowing what healing her would result in. The only thing she could blame him for was saving her life - and that she could never hold against him. By saving her he had showed her true love, he had given her a daughter. She couldn’t blame him - she loved him so much. She needed him. She rose and stepped up to Max, and flung her arms around him.
It all happened so fast that Max hadn’t the chance to pull away from her. As he felt her body pressed up against his and her smell surrounding him, all fears and insecurities were washed away. This was Liz - his Liz.... But then it hit him again, he had signed her death-note. He was going to lose her again - this time for good - and it was all his fault. He couldn’t live without her. He would rather kill himself. He could feel Liz small, yet so strong, arms clutching him to her. She had trusted him. She had trusted him with her life and he had blown it. And still, here she was, hugging him, still trusting him. Not screaming at him, not hitting him, not running away, not crying. However, he wished that she had done all of the above. Perhaps then he wouldn’t have felt like such a low scum. Max’s arms naturally encircled Liz’s body, pulling her even closer to him. His heart and body was pulling her towards him, while his mind was pushing her away.
Liz felt the conflict Max was experiencing.
”Max,” she whispered and stroke the nape of his neck. That’s when she realized he was crying. Soon his whole body shook with sobs. She had never seen Max cry like that - she had never seen any man cry like that. She released her grip on him and tugged on his hand, while leading him towards the couch. Max was sobbing, his hand repeatedly running over his face to take away the tears. But they were falling too fast. She pulled him down on the couch beside her and pulled him towards her. He folded his arms around her and rested his head on her chest - crying for her. Crying for the loss and grief he had experienced when he had thought that she had died, crying because he had finally found her again, crying because he was going to lose her again. Liz slowly stroked his hair. She couldn’t cry, she didn’t know what she felt. She was afraid that all her emotions would suffocate her, so she pushed them away - focusing all her energy on Max. As she sat there, Max holding on to her for dear life, she felt the feeling of nausea coming over her again. ”No, not now,” she thought as she was suddenly hit with the overwhelming need to vomit. She swallowed hard, trying to push the nausea back. If she could just concentrate, she would be able to stop it from happening, right?
Even though Max was on the verge of a breakdown, he was still so in tune with her that he immediately noticed when she tensed up.
”Liz?” he whispered against her chest.
”Shh, don’t talk, Max,” Liz said.
Max rose his head and looked at her. His eyes were read and puffy and his cheeks were wet.
”What’s wr-” but Max never got the chance to finish that sentence, because before he knew it Liz had effectively released herself from his grip and was running towards the bathroom. Seconds later her retching could be heard in the house.
Maria poked her head out from the kitchen. Her concern was immediately peaked as she saw Max’s distraught appearance and found that Liz was nowhere in sight. Max sobbed as he looked at her.
”What’s happening?” Maria asked, not sure she even wanted to know.
Max buried his head in his hands and didn’t answer.
”Oh my God,” Maria murmured as she made her way to the bathroom. ”This is not good. This is not good.”
She opened the door and found Liz kneeling on the floor hunching over the toilet. Maria kneeled down beside her and pulled away Liz’s hair from her face.
”Babe, are you all right?”
”I’m fine,” Liz said as she slowly rose. ”I have to take care of Max.”
Liz opened the tap in the sink and splashed water in her face.
Maria watched Liz in confusion. She couldn’t really say that she was surprised that Liz’s first thought after she had emptied her entire stomach content was of Max and his well being.
”Maybe you should sit down a bit...or drink some water,” Maria said.
Liz turned around and looked Maria straight in the face.
”I have to take care of Max. He needs me. He’s always there when I need him, and I’m not going to disappoint him. I’ve probably messed everything up now because I once again confirmed to him that I’m sick.”
What that she brushed past Maria and left the bathroom.
Liz was right. Max’s conscience was slowly devouring him. Liz kneeled in front of Max and prized his hands off his face. He had stopped crying, but he still looked bad - really bad.
”Max,” Liz said, her heart breaking at the sight of him. ”Thank you...for saving my life. Thank you for giving me at least six more years to live. Thank you for giving me the best friendships in the world. Thank you...for giving me you... Don’t you understand, Max? You’re everything to me. I’ve loved you for so long...I still love you. Nothing can ever change that. What you did...healing me...was amazing and I’m grateful everyday that you did it. If you hadn’t done it I might never have known you. I’m even in some way grateful for the men shooting me. If they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have seen the real you. The real Max Evans. It’s always been you, Max. Even when I wasn’t consciously aware of it myself...it has always been you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to raise our daughter with you. I want to die in your arms - even if it means that I might die tomorrow.”
At this Max closed his arms around her and pulled her to him.
”I love you so much,” he murmured. ”I don’t know what I’ll do without you.”
”You have to promise me that you’ll live on Max,” Liz said. ”You have to promise me. You can’t leave our daughter alone. You have to take care of her, be there for her. Promise me, Max.”
Max heart was falling apart. She was saying goodbye to him. This proved that she knew that she was going to die.
”I don’t know if I can live without you..not again,” Max whispered.
”You have to, Max. Please, take care of our daughter.”
Max loved Emma already - with all his heart. He didn’t want to leave her alone in this world - where someone probably sooner or later would put a price on her head. If it wasn’t their alien enemies it would be the FBI or some other nutcase wanting fame and fortune - ignoring the lives he destroyed in the process. But did Max possess the strength to go on without Liz? Without the love of his life. Without his soulmate? Well, he just had to. If that was what Liz needed, he would do it.
”I promise,” he said. With that promise Liz’s barrier broke and she started crying.
|posted on 8-Jan-2003 8:12:01 AM|
”What did Kira say to him?” Michael demanded. Maria had called him on his cell, on the verge of hysterics. She had been rambling something about Kira making Max believe that Max had made Liz sick and that Liz was going to die. And then Maria had been going on about Max crying and Liz vomiting, but that hadn’t made any sense to Michael at all.
”I don’t know,” Maria answered truthfully. ”Max only told me that he was killing Liz, that it was his fault that she was dying.”
”Damnit!” Michael said and frustrated pulled his hands through his hair. Why did that alien dude have to mess everything up? Wasn’t Liz and Max bad of as it was already? He looked at the couple sleeping on the couch. Maria had told him that they had fallen asleep about twenty minutes ago. Probably, all the emotions had worn them out. Max was laying on his back and Liz was draped over his chest, one of her legs between Max’s. Michael shook his head at the sight - somehow Max and Liz made such an uncomfortable position look comfortable.
”I’m calling Kira,” Michael said, taking control over the situation.
”Is that so wise?” Isabel asked. She was sitting on the floor, laying puzzle with Emma. Maria never thought she would live to see the day when the ice-queen played with kids - sitting on the floor. But wonders never ceased...
”He has created this mess, and he’s gonna clean it up,” Michael said firmly. ”I’m calling him.”
Maria gave him the phone and he dialed.
”Yes?” Kira answered.
”This is Michael. Get your ass over here now!” Michael said, his voice remorseless.
”Michael?” Kira asked, confusion in his voice.
”We’re at Liz’s place,” Michael said.
”What’s going on?” Kira asked, but no one was listening. Michael had already hung up.
Michael’s angry voice had woken Max up. He looked at Michael, pacing the room (Michael never paced the room!), while he threaded his fingers through Liz’s dark hair.
”Michael, what’s wrong?” Max asked, his voice low and calm.
Michael turned towards Max’s voice, and found him awake. He had not moved at all from his position, since Liz was still sleeping, but Michael knew that Max’s brain was already put into highest gear.
”I’ve just summoned a meeting,” Michael declared simply.
”You did?” Max asked, disbelief in his voice.
”Michael wants to teach Kira one thing and another about how to treat the king,” Maria said.
Max narrowed his eyes, but Michael beat him to it and spoke before Max had even the chance to open his mouth.
”No one gets you and Liz that worked up and expects not to deal with the consequences.”
”Aha,” Max said slowly and nodded. ”Michael, there’s nothing wrong here, Kira told me the truth - that’s all I ever asked for.”
”He could have done it a little smoother,” Michael said sulkily. Max was once again disapproving of his decisions.
Max eyed Michael. He could feel the tension radiating off Michael, so he backed off. It was not a good idea to push this any further.
”When should he arrive?” Max asked.
”In about half an hour,” Michael said.
Max nodded and closed his eyes again, clutching Liz closer to his chest.
By the time Kira arrived, Max and Liz were sitting on the couch, fully awake. Maria was now playing ‘house’ with Emma on the floor, while Isabel sat in one of the armchairs. At Kira’s knock Michael crossed the floor and opened the door.
Kira stepped in, giving off a somewhat breathless appearance.
”So, what’s up?” Kira asked casually. Isabel was sitting in one of the armchairs, looking a bit...angry. Michael was standing in front of him....looking pissed. He saw his former king sitting on the couch, holding an unhealthy-looking girl tightly by the hand. There was something different about his king. Even though he seemed tired and sad, his aura had changed. He was calmer, more self-confident - more like a king.
”You must be the famous Liz Parker, I presume,” Kira said and nodded towards Liz.
Liz looked him straight in the eye. No one had ever dare to meet his look that way, except Max Evans. He knew instinctively that he had a brave and strong-willed girl in front of him.
”And you must be Kira,” Liz stated.
”Why have I been summoned, your Hi-...Max?”
”You can’t just blurt out whatever you feel like,” Michael answered in Max’s place. ”What you say have great ramifications.”
Kira turned to the second-in-command.
”What are you talking about?” he asked.
”You telling Max that he is making Liz sick,” Isabel explained.
”Oh that,” Kira said, thinking that it was not such a big deal. However, he didn’t know Max Evans as well as he thought he did. If he had, he would have known that Max would kill himself rather than see Liz suffer from something he had caused. Max wasn’t only the king of a far-away planet, but also the master of self-guilt.
As Kira looked around the room, the ramifications of what he had told Max started to sink in.
”Ehh, I wanted to talk to you about something anyway,” Kira said, effectively side-tracking the conversation away from the accusations against him.
”About what?” Max asked.
”About Liz’s condition,” Kira answered. It only took the mentioning of Liz’s name in a sentence and you had Max’s fullest attention.
”I’m listening,” Max prompted, when Kira didn’t continue right away.
”As I was driving here, one of my men told me something that got me thinking. I haven’t thought of it since I automatically didn’t see it as a reality, because she was human.”
”Go on,” Isabel said when he quieted.
”Right. You mentioned this connection that you had with Liz.”
”On our planet those kind of connections existed. When a man had connected with a woman they were bound together forever.”
”Like a marriage?” Maria asked from her corner. She was keeping thirty percent of her attention on the play with Emma, while the other seventy percent were focused on Kira.
”Well, no. If your marriages had worked I guess you could say that. But your marriages here on Earth are treated far too casually. A connection is forever - it binds two people together forever.” Liz leaned further into Max, seeking his warmth. Max took her hand with his other hand and draped an arm around her shoulder instead, pulling her closer to him.
”What has this to do with anything?” Michael asked impatiently.
”When a man connect with a woman, he’s giving her a part of him...of his heart if you like. When they are together they feel complete. When apart, they feel like they are missing something. I have never been connected to anyone, so I’m not really sure how that feels like,” Liz and Max knew exactly what that felt like, ”and connections are not as common in our world as you might think.”
”Would you consider them rare?” Isabel asked.
”I would consider them special,” Kira answered. ”You see, just like on Earth, we want to find the right one to spend our lives with. However, if we make a mistake, here on Earth that is, we can solve it by divorce. When you have connected with someone you can’t make it undone. The two persons are, as you would say it, ‘stuck with each other’. Therefore I hope that you understands the importance of making the right decision in our world. Not many people dare to do that.”
”Wow, sounds heavy,” Maria murmured, thinking that she would probably never be able to give a part of herself to anyone - and then have to be stuck with that person for like...eternity.
”If two people have connected,” Kira continued, ”they feel empty if separated.”
”But are they sick?” Max asked.
Kira shook his head.
”I cannot remember any connection where that was the case. The most serious is that they don’t feel whole. How would they otherwise survive the death of the....’soulmate’ as you call it. But I was thinking....The circumstances are different here. She’s a human. Perhaps her body can’t handle a connection...”
”Or being separated,” Maria pointed out.
Kira seemed to consider that for about thirty seconds before he uttered himself again.
”Have you’ve been separated after the connection?” Kira asked.
”Of course they have, they were separated for five years,” Michael said.
Kira shook his head. ”No, I mean before that. Were you ever separate then?”
Liz squeezed Max’s hand, sending him comfort.
”Yes,” Max said. ”We were separated.” He was very careful not to go into the specifics.
He didn’t really want to relive everything that had happened with him and Liz and the whole Kyle incident.
”How did Liz feel then?” Kira asked.
”Liz did not feel so good,” Liz answered, somewhat annoyed that Kira was acting like she wasn’t even in the room. Kira looked at the strong girl with the weak-looking exterior.
”Which were you’re symptoms?” Kira asked.
”Dizziness, headaches...” Liz said.
”Did they get any better when you were with Max?” Kira asked.
Liz thought about that for a fraction of a second and then her eyes widened.
”Yes. Yes, I did,” she said.
”But why aren’t you feeling better now?” Kira said, mostly to himself.
”Well,” Max said and Kira looked at him. ”Liz is blocking the connection.”
”Why would you do that?” Kira asked, a hint of accusation in his voice.
”She isn’t doing it on purpose,” Max said, immediately stepping into defensive mode. ”We’ve tried to remove it, but we can’t...”
The disappointment was evident in Max’s voice.
”Wait here a minute,” Isabel said. ”Max have connected with Kyle too - he have healed him too. Does that mean that Kyle and Max are connected as well?” Maria looked disgusted, while Michael grinned - totally enjoying the embarrassed look on Max’s face.
”No,” Kira answered, and Max seemingly relaxed. ”There must be the want to connect with someone. Otherwise Max wouldn’t be able to heal anyone without being afraid that he bonded with more people.”
”You mean Max claimed Liz as his?” Maria said, somewhat offended by the caveman vision her mind conjured at Kira’s words.
”You can say that,” Kira said. ”As I explained earlier. When someone connected with another, that person must give a part of himself. Max possibly did that when he healed Liz - but not when he healed Kyle.”
”That makes sense,” Liz murmured.
”Now that I think about it, it’s very likely that it is the connection that is the root to the problem here. Max and Liz’s inability to reach each other through the connection might be what’s causing the sickness,” Kira said.
Liz looked up at Max. Could it be that simple? But it was better than that Max had changed vital functions inside of her. Perhaps they could do something about this.
Max met Liz’s eyes, and hugged her closer to him.
”What have you done in order to lift the blocking?” Kira asked.
”I have connected with her,” Max said. ”But I couldn’t enter her mind, I couldn’t reach her. It’s like she’s put up a wall, making it impossible to enter.”
”It seems as if she have put up the block in order to protect herself,” Kira said, thoughtfully.
”Why would Liz want to protect herself from Max?” Maria asked.
”No, not from Max,” Kira said. ”Liz, what really happened when everyone else thought you were dead?”
”I was attacked by Nasedo and Tess. Nasedo put his hand on me...and my interior started to heat up and then I lost consciousness,” Liz said.
”Have you used any of the powers through the connection?” Kira asked.
”What do you mean?” Max asked.
”Doesn’t Liz have any powers on her own?” Isabel asked.
”No...she’s still human. The only possibility I can come up with is that she can tap in on Max’s powers through the connection and use them. Max probably changed her so that she was able to use Max’s powers. People who are connected on our planet, can often utilize each other’s powers through the connection.”
”Cool,” Maria said. ”Hey, Michael! Why haven’t you shared any cool powers with me?”
”You’re not seriously suggesting that I shall be bonded with you?!” Michael snorted.
Maria looked offended.
”And why - Mickey G - wouldn’t you want to be bonded with me?” Maria asked.
”Okay, here we go again,” Isabel murmured.
”Guys, stop it!” Liz demanded. Both Michael and Maria quieted at the authority in her voice. Kira looked at Liz in amazement. She certainly was bonded to Max, she was already acting like a real queen.
”So how would me tapping in on Max’s powers cause me to block the connection - isn’t that a bit illogical. To use powers through the connection to close the very same connection?” Liz asked.
”Maybe something backfired...or you were trying to protect Max from getting hurt,” Kira said.
”How would she do that?” Max asked.
”You can feel her feelings through the connection, right?” Kira asked.
”Perhaps she wanted to protect you from experiencing all that pain too,” Kira said.
Max turned to Liz.
”Did you do that?” he asked her.
Liz shook her head.
”I don’t know, Max. I don’t remember exactly what I did during the...uhm..burning. The pain was too..consuming for me to be able to have any clear thoughts.”
”But she can have done it unconsciously, right?” Isabel asked.
”The connection between Max and Liz must be very strong if she is to be able to do that without focusing...but yes, it’s possible,” Kira answered.
There were some minutes of silence as everyone pondered the information. The only sound around them, was the low and soft voice coming from Emma’s playing with the dolls beside Maria.
”In the beginning, did you connect with each other easily?” Kira asked. When Max and Liz looked a little confused, he elaborated. ”By connecting I mean, did you get images, feelings and thoughts from each other already in the beginning?”
”No,” Max answered. ”I saw images of Liz’s life when I healed her...but it wasn’t until we..uhm..kissed, that I saw images again.”
”And Liz saw these flashes too?” Kira asked.
Max and Liz nodded their heads in unison.
”Then that’s probably it,” Kira said and grew silent, as if that phrase had explained everything.
Michael shook his head in confusion.
”What’s it?” he asked. Kira eyed each member of the group and it dawned on him that they didn’t know what he was talking about.
”Oh, sorry,” he said. ”You have to kiss. You haven’t kissed yet, since you were separated, right?”
With red ears in embarrassment Max shook his head.
”Well, if you kiss then the connection will probably open again, since that’s how you opened the connection in the beginning before it became permanent.”
”Now?” Liz asked, her voice trembling with nervousness.
”Well, why not?” Kira said. Kira, being a man from another planet, didn’t see a problem in that. ”I need to see if it works.”
Michael chuckled, amusement spread over his whole face. This was really funny. Maria was looking pissed. Isabel tried to figure out if Kira was joking or not. Max and Liz had been separated for five years, and now Kira just demanded that they should kiss - just like that. Max and Liz looked...well...
Max cleared his throat.
”Can we at least have some privacy?” he asked, his voice strained.
Now it was Kira’s turn to look confused.
”Ehh, as you wish,” he said.
”Okay,” Liz said, trying to stop herself from laughing. This was really ridiculous, and Max embarrassment was just sooo cute. She stood up, taking a firm grip on Max’s hand and tugging him into the direction of the bedroom. ”Come here, Max.”
|posted on 10-Jan-2003 10:44:16 AM|
|Thank you so much angeleyes. Hope you'll enjoy the next chapter...|
As Liz closed the bedroom door behind them, the humor in the situation had completely vanished.
”So,” Max said.
”So,” Liz repeated.
”Liz, we don’t have to do this if you don’t want to,” Max said, as he scratched himself behind his ear.
”Max, I would gladly kiss you any second of any day of the week,” Liz teased.
Max blushed. He felt the blood flowing through his veins and arteries heating up, as Liz stepped closer to him.
”L-liz, aren’t you afraid,” Max whispered.
Liz stopped in front of Max, her face merely inches from his. She could feel his warm breath on her face. She wrinkled her forehead.
”Why would I be afraid?” she asked.
”I-I-I might hurt you,” Max said.
Liz sighed and rolled her eyes.
”You must be kidding me, Max!” she said.
”Nuhu,” Max said and slowly shook his head.
”No?” Liz asked, arching one eye-brow.
”No, I don’t want to cause you anymore harm,” Max said.
”Max, haven’t you been listening? This might help me. Wouldn’t you want to cure me? Max, are you saying that you don’t want to kiss me?” Liz asked seductively as she traced Max’s jawbone lightly with her index finger. Max closed his eyes at her tingling touch, and tried to control himself. Where had this Liz Parker come from? Liz didn’t know herself how she ended up being such a temptress. All she knew was that she wanted Max to kiss her more than anything else in the world.
”It’s not-not that I don’t want to kiss you,” Max stuttered, the same feelings he had always felt in the close proximity of Liz Parker came rushing back to him. And just as always he was having great difficulties to control his feelings.
”You just don’t want to hurt me,” Liz said, her lips millimeters from his lips. That was it for Max. He closed the distance between them. The feeling of her soft lips, brought tears to his eyes, and his arms went around her pulling her closer. The kiss was soft, tentative at first but as that familiar electricity surged through their bodies the kiss quickly was filled with passion and lust. Their mouths explored each other, trying to make up for all the kisses lost – all the things they’ve gone through without the other by the side. Max buried his hand in Liz’s hair, pulling her lips closer to his. Their tongues tangled together, melting into one. As they came up for air, Max continued the travel of his lips down Liz’s jawbone. Liz moaned lightly at the assault of his lips.
”God, Max,” she breathed. Max relished in the taste of Liz Parker. Liz needed to feel his lips on hers again and guided his lips back to hers. Liz couldn’t get enough of him, she had missed him so much. Even in this passion, Max’s strong hands held Liz protectively to him - careful not to harm her somewhat fragile body.
A knock on the door broke them apart.
Breathing heavily Max and Liz looked at each other.
”We have to stop doing this where people can interrupt us,” Max said with a smile.
”How’s it going? Any flashes yet?!” Michael’s voice seeped through the door, unmistakably etched with the gloating the knowledge of what he had interrupted brought.
Liz smiled at Max.
”Does he got a death wish or what?” she murmured.
That’s when it hit them, at the same time.
”Did you see anything?” Liz asked slowly, anxiety evident in her voice.
”No,” Max said. ”Did you?”
Liz’s face fell and she felt like crying as she shook her head - the disappointment almost suffocating her.
Max pulled her to him again, holding her tightly to his body. She wanted the relief tears could give her, but no tears would come. She clutched Max to her - unconsciously drawing energy and support from him.
”Are you ready to go out?” Max asked softly. He was not sure he was completely ready himself. He wanted to stay in here with Liz - doing whatever it took to make her feel better. He felt Liz nod against his chest.
”Okay,” Max said and released her, taking her hand as he opened the door.
Michael stepped away from the door to let Max and Liz out. By their flustered faces and swollen lips, he was positive that they had experienced some serious face sucking.
”Oh, Max. Liz. Fancy meeting you here,” Michael said.
”Michael...don’t get me started,” Max warned.
”Okaaay, excuuuse meee!” Michael said and headed for the living room.
Maria looked up at the couple as it entered after Michael. They were looking better - both of them. Liz’s face had gotten some color, and then Maria wasn’t referring to the blushed nuance. They looked more...alive. However, she didn’t fail to notice the sadness and disappointment that was coming off Liz in waves.
”Oh, Liz,” Maria said, guessing that they hadn’t succeeded in restoring the connection, ”I’m so sorry.”
Liz stepped into her best friend’s waiting arms - her hand never leaving Max’s for an instant.
Maria hugged Liz closely to her.
”Don’t give up, Liz,” Maria said. ”You hear me? Don’t give up. Not now.”
”I’m gonna die,” Liz stated, longing for tears to come to her to wet her dry eyes.”And I probably don’t have that long time left.”
”This can’t be happening,” Maria thought. ”We finally find her, and we even have alien powers and her boyfriend has freakin’ healing powers and still we are going to lose her!!”
”It didn’t go so well, did it?” Kira asked, his voice breaking Liz and Maria apart.
”No,” Max answered. ”So what do we do now?”
Kira looked at his leader perplexed.
”I’m sorry, Max. I don’t know anymore we can do,” Kira said apologetically.
”But she’s gonna die!!” Max cried.
”Wait, what about the healing stones?” Isabel said.
”Of course, why didn’t we think of that any sooner?” Maria said, hope filling her.
”You have healing stones?” Kira asked.
”Yes, we used them to heal Michael,” Isabel said.
”That can be our only chance,” Kira said, and turned towards one of the two of his men, who had been guarding the front door. ”Nemo, get the healing stones and bring them here.”
”Yes, sir,” Nemo answered.
”Who will go with Nemo to show where the healing stones are?” Kira asked.
”I will,” Michael said. He really felt up to going on a mission. Well, mostly it was a good excuse to get out of this nut house. Too many hours in a restricted area with Isabel and Maria could sooner or later give him a free ticket to the mental institution. He could not leave fast enough.
An hour later, Michael and Nemo were back with the healing stones.
”Okay, let’s get started,” Kira said. ”Liz, you position yourself on your back here on the floor.” They had pushed the furniture away, making room for the healing. As Kira instructed Liz, the others positioned themselves in a circle around Liz. They had carried some sand inside and had used it too make lines of a circle with five lines meeting in the middle. Emma had found this part very funny, and the work had taken twice as long time only because Emma had used the sand to play in. Firstly, she had built houses and then she had gotten her mini toy cars out and had used the lines as roads. Liz had taken her to the bedroom some minutes prior to Michael and Nemo’s return, and she was now napping soundly in her bed. Max gave Liz a kiss on the forehead before he let her go to lay in the middle of the circle.
”So, I guess you know how to do this,” Kira said.
”Okay guys, now focus on Liz,” Max said, as he lifted the bowl of water from the floor. He looked around himself, at the faces of the only people he trusted in the world...and Kira - who he hoped that he could trust just as much. His eyes lastly fell on the girl of his dreams, the love of his life, laying pale on the hard, cold floor. She looked so small and fragile, but he knew that body held an immense amount of strength and will.
Max took a sip from the bowl of water and then passed it on to Maria standing beside him. The bowl continued it’s way round the circle - binding them together with the one thing they all had in common, despite their different origins - water. As the bowl had completed the circle, everybody took one healing stone each, closed their eyes and focused on Liz.
Liz inhaled and exhaled slowly and evenly, trying to remain calm and focused. Then she closed her eyes and immediately felt the warmth spreading inside her body. For one frightened moment her mind returned to the night when Nasedo had burnt her, but just as soon as the panic had flowed through her - it had dissipated again. This warmth was something different. It was something Liz had never experienced before. She was enveloped in feelings of pure love. She had never felt love so pure, so unconditional. She opened her eyes and found herself on a beach. The ocean was turquoise and glittered in the warm sun. She looked down, and noticed that her feet were bare, sinking down in warm, almost completely white sand. She was dressed in a white dress - the soft material billowing around her body in the slight humid ocean breeze. She was filled with an immense sense of calmness and comfort. The beach was deserted - but the loneliness didn’t frighten her. She felt safe here. The beach stretched out for miles. She looked up at the blue cloudless sky. Not a single sound was heard. Everything was so quiet, merely the gentle blowing of the wind was registered by her.
”Liz?” A voice behind her said. She turned around and saw Maria standing there. Maria smiled warmly and walked towards her, embracing her in a warm hug. Maria’s thoughts and feelings flowed into Liz. She relived all their moments together, all their sleep-overs, all their talks about boys, all the times they had been standing in front of the mirror, dancing and miming to some song. Liz experienced her friend’s sorrow when Maria had thought that Liz had died. Liz could feel Maria’s hope as Max had told them Liz was alive. But she could also feel that same hope dwindle to soon sink into hopelessness as the years went by. Liz felt Maria’s deep-rooted fear about losing her best friend. But through it all Liz felt Maria’s love and support.
Maria stepped away, leaving room to Michael. Liz smiled at Michael and Michael hugged Liz to him. Liz could feel all Michael’s insecurities, all his fears of disappointing Max and everyone in the group. But she also felt his admiration of her and his big-brother protectiveness. Michael released her and the next second Liz was hugging Isabel. Isabel - who put up a whole act to prevent herself from getting hurt. Isabel - who admired Liz for having the courage to be herself and don’t let anyone put her down. But also the Isabel who had a large warm heart, just longing to love and be loved. Liz could feel how Isabel was already considering Liz as her sister, being grateful for Liz’s persistence in letting Isabel in. Isabel let go off her and Liz found herself face to face with Kira, who she had merely known for a couple of hours. Kira bowed his head and took her hand and kissed the back of it. In that small gesture Liz could feel the deep respect Kira had already obtained for her, and the loyalty he held towards Max and had already started to feel towards Liz. Kira stepped away. Liz looked at the man standing a few feet away from her. He smiled and stepped up to her. He brought up his hand and caressed her cheek and next he brought his lips down on hers. The kiss was slow, but nonetheless filled with a passion Liz had never felt before. Max’s love flowed through her, making her almost light-headed. His love was pure. She felt that he had not given up on her. He would stand by her till the end. He would never leave her side. Max’s lips slowly parted from hers and with a parting kiss on the forehead, Liz closed her eyes and woke up on the floor in her apartment in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
”Liz, are you okay?” Maria asked, kneeling beside Liz as she slowly pulled herself up in sitting position.
”Yeah, yeah...I’m okay,” Liz said feeling dazed.
Max pulled her into his lap, eyeing her over.
”It didn’t work, did it?” Liz asked Max.
”I still can’t feel you,” Max said, trying his best not to let the hurt shine through, wanting to protect Liz from his feelings of disappointment.
”It didn’t work?” Michael asked.
Liz shook her head.
”Don’t you feel better?” Isabel asked.
”Actually, I feel great,” Liz said.
”So what’s the problem?” Michael asked.
”I still can’t feel Liz,” Max pointed out.
”Maybe it’s just a delayed reaction,” Maria suggested.
”Maybe,” Liz said but she wasn’t convinced. She felt as if she had been reborn, all her symptoms were gone - but the fact remained that the connection was still blocked. She didn’t want to get her hopes up again. She had hoped so much the last hours to just have it slap her in her face over and over again. She might feel good now, but she had a feeling that with the blocking of the connection, her symptoms would soon be returning.
|posted on 12-Jan-2003 12:24:37 PM|
Liz closed the door to her bedroom and paused - relishing in the silence. Max was in the living room, talking to Kira. She had left, not being able to hear the hurt and hopelessness in Max’s voice. She needed time alone, time to think. She had been through so much since Max had decided to make an entrance into her life almost two days ago and she hadn’t even had any time to process it all. She realized that she had not really lived any of all those days. She had been so confused. She had tried to pretend like nothing, accept that she didn’t know her righteous part in this world and that she had to move on and go about her life like any other human being would do. Of course, that was nearly impossible. She was constantly reminded about her lack of memories, as someone mentioned a city and she had no clue where that city was located, or someone mentioned a name and she had no idea that that person had been a president or a famous actress. She had never really been able to accept the fact that she had a child - a beautiful daughter - but no idea who her daddy was, what he looked like, where he lived or what his name was. Now that the memory had returned to her, many things fell in place that had puzzled her earlier.
Like the unexplained phenomena her daughter used to accomplish. Liz remembered one particular event with Emma’s teddy bear, as Emma had been only four months old. Liz had bought Emma a pink teddy bear, and had placed it in Emma’s crib. The next day, the bear had been blue. Liz had discarded the whole thing as temporary insanity on her part - maybe the bear had been blue. But she had never quite been able to forget about it. It was one of those events that had been piled at a place at the back of her mind. Just like when she was giving birth to Emma. She had felt a surge of energy go through her, supporting her throughout the last stages of birth. Now she knew that it had been Max...
”Oh my God,” she gasped and flung the bedroom door open, rushing into the living room.
”Max!” she cried.
Max spun around and looked at her, a flicker of fear passing over his face. So much bad had happened in the last couple of hours that he expected the worst as he saw her agitated face expression. But then he saw a small sparkle of...hope in her eyes.
”Liz...?” he said, almost timidly.
”Max, remember the day when I was giving birth?” Liz asked, her voice masked with excitement.
Max looked at her, wondering if she was finally losing it.
”Liz...I wasn’t with you,” he said carefully.
”No, no, I know,” Liz said, the words pouring out of her. ”Do you remember when I gave birth to Emma?”
Max tried to figure out what she meant. He had a feeling Liz was onto something important.
”You mean- you mean - Yes! I could feel you...” Max said, the realization dawning on him as he too started to get infected with Liz’s excitement.
”You could feel her?” Kira asked. ”Wasn’t this after the connection was blocked?”
Liz nodded excitedly, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth.
”I could feel your pain and your contractions,” Max said, but then slowed down as doubt tried to crawl its way back into his mind. ”But perhaps that was only because-”
”No Max!” Liz said. ”I could feel you!”
”You could?” Max asked slowly, it all starting to sink in.
”You could?” Kira asked too.
”At the last stages of birth...when things were the worst, I could feel you - sending your energy to me through the connection. When I come to think of it, I had probably not been able to live through the birth if you hadn’t reached out for me. I was already so sick. I had no strength left.”
Max pulled her flush against his body and put his strong arms around her waist. He knew that she wasn’t aware of the magnitude her words had on him. She truly was incredible. She had succeeded in lessening his bad conscience - removing some of his demons - and she probably wasn’t even aware of it.
”This is good, right?” Max asked Kira, not letting go off Liz.
Kira wasn’t sure if this changed anything, but he had experienced enough of Max’s misery the last couple of hours to know not to intentionally give him bad news when it came to Liz.
”Well, this does mean that the connection can be opened again. But we don’t know if it was only an one-time occasion.”
”But there’s a possibility that we can restore the connection?” Liz asked.
”Yes,” Kira said. He was not at all convinced, but neither Max nor Liz noted. They were too happy to pay any greater attention to what was transpiring around them.
”Maybe we just haven’t found the right method to open the connection yet,” Max said.
”But why was the connection blocked again after the birth?” Kira said to himself.
Max released Liz and his happy appearance faltered a bit. Liz looked up at him, took his hand and gave it an reassuring squeeze. Max smiled gratefully at her. This was perhaps their last thread of hope and Liz could not let that be crushed so easily.
”I had no memory,” Liz said calmly. ”If I had known I had fought with everything I had to keep the connection open. But I didn’t even know about the connection. How can I keep something open that I didn’t even knew existed?”
”It was easier for you to fall back to having the connection blocked as that was the state your mind recognized in its state of amnesia,” Kira said, contemplating Liz’s words.
Liz nodded. The sound of the ringing of a cell phone ripped through the air. Max jerked his head up at the sound.
”That’s yours,” Kira informed, as he made no inclination as to answer.
Max looked slightly surprised, and then he hauled up the cell phone from his pocket. He looked at the telephone number on the display before he pressed the connect-button.
”Hi Alex!” Max said and had to smile as interest flared up in Liz’s eyes.
Max was quiet for some time as he listened to Alex at the other end of the line.
”That’s good, Alex,” Max said, trying to keep himself from not grinning at Liz’s miserable efforts at hiding her craving to talk to Alex. She was trying her best to pretend to not seem interested at all in what Max was doing.
Alex was just as bad at hiding the real purpose of him calling. Alex was highly conscious of the fact that Max had found Liz and that Max right now was in the very same room as the best friend he had known almost everything single detail about a couple of years ago. The third member of the former Three Musketeers. And now he had to pretend that he had only called to update Max on the situation home in Roswell.
”Alex, hold on for a sec, would ya?” Max asked.
”Uhm..okay,” Alex said.
Max lowered the phone, holding a hand over the speaker.
”Liz...,” Max said.
”Yes,” Liz said, trying her best to sound casual.
”There’s someone here that would like to speak to you,” Max said, smiling.
”Okay,” Liz whispered, not even attempting to hide the tremble in her voice, revealing her nervousness.
Max kissed her gently on the forehead and gave her upper arm a light squeeze, before putting the phone to her ear. Liz shakily put her hand over his on the phone and they both registered the small electrical tingle at the touch before Max withdrew his hand.
”I’ll be in the kitchen,” Max whispered.
Liz nodded weakly and watched as Max disappeared into the kitchen. She drew a shaky breath.
”Hi Alex,” she said into the speaker. Her voice was low but stable, considering the turmoil that was going on inside of her.
”Liz...?” she heard that familiar voice, that she had longed to hear ever since she retrieved her memory, say. ”Is that really you?”
”Yeah,” Liz said.
”God, Liz... I can’t believe it. I thought you were dead,” Alex said.
”Well, in some ways you can say that I was,” Liz said.
”Yeah, Isabel told me that you had amnesia,” Alex said. There was a pause.
”God Liz, I have so many questions - I don’t even know where to begin. There’s so much I wanna know. Isabel has told me a little...but.. so...How are you? Eh...I mean, how have you been?”
Liz couldn’t help but smile at his stuttering, her nervousness gradually sliding off her as she realized that Alex was just as nervous. She grew calmer as his familiar voice enveloped her.
”As good as could be expected,” Liz said.
”Right,” Alex said in disbelief and Liz could by the sound of his voice tell that he was smiling.
”I’ve heard that you were sick.”
”Well, yeah...,” Liz said evasively.
”Someone also informed me that you’re eligible to take part in leading the car-pooling to school now,” Alex said, his voice affectionate.
Liz’s face shone up at the thought of her beautiful daughter.
”Yeah,” she breathed.
”I heard she’s as beautiful as her mother,” Alex said and Liz blushed.
”She’s wonderful,” Liz said proudly. ”I don’t think I would have survived if it wasn’t for her. I would have given up a long time ago.”
”I can’t wait to meet her,” Alex said, ”and thank her.”
Liz smiled, tears stinging her eyes.
”I’ve missed you, Liz,” Alex said.
”I miss you too,” Liz said.
”Are you coming home to Roswell?” Alex asked.
Liz hesitated. She hadn’t really thought about the future yet - a couple of minutes ago she hadn’t thought she even had a future. Was she going back to Roswell? She figured her parents still lived there - she missed her parents so much. She had to meet everyone. But to everyone in Roswell she was dead. How was she going to explain a sudden coming back from the dead? However, it had not been her choice to leave, and she wanted back. But was she ready? She wanted to - but so much had happened and she was afraid that she was getting overloaded - overwhelmed by all her emotions.
”I don’t know,” Liz answered. ”Of course I’m coming back....but there are some practical things to take care of. I have work here and Emma has friends at day care. I need a little more time.”
”Of course you do,” Alex said. ”I completely understand that. But isn’t Max and the others going back tomorrow?”
A blur of emotions bubbled up inside of her. Just the thought of being apart from Max anymore made her feel so many things - the most distinct feeling being fear.
”You know, it’s Monday tomorrow and we all attend the university,” Alex said, a little worried by Liz’s silence.
”Of course,” Liz thought. ”What did you think, Liz? That they were just hanging around doing nothing day after day. They all have their own lives!” She realized that she knew nothing of how Max’s life was like now.
”Liz?” Alex said, bringing Liz back to reality.
”Honestly, Alex. I haven’t talked to them about it yet - but I guess they’re all returning back tomorrow.”
”Well, I’m not so sure Max will leave your side anytime soon,” Alex said. ”We’ll have to chain him to a wall and throw away the key to keep him away from you. And even then I’m not so sure it would stop him - alien powers or not.”
”I can understand that, because I feel the same way,” Liz said.
”We’ll meet each other sooner or later, Liz,” Alex promised. ”Nothing can keep me away either - it’s some kind of power you have on us Liz Parker!”
Liz giggled. She had only spoken to Alex for approximately ten minutes and already she felt like a teenager again, discussing every thing between heaven and Earth (and even beyond Earth) with one of her very oldest best friends.
”Thank you, Alex,” Liz said.
”For what?” Alex asked, confused.
”Just...thank you...for being you,” Liz said.
”Welcome back, Liz,” Alex said, the smile once again evident in his voice.
”I love you, Alex,” Liz said.
”Love you too, girlfriend,” Alex said. ”Talk later, huh?”
”Try stopping me,” Liz said, smiling.
”Bye, Liz,” Alex said, reluctant to hang up.
”Bye, Alex,” Liz said and slowly lowered the phone from her ear and pressed the disconnect-button. She just stood there for a while, listening to the voices coming from the kitchen. Familiar voices - voices of her family. She became aware of the smell that had started to fill every corner of the living room. Her stomach rumbled. For the first time in nearly six years she did not feel nauseous in any way and the rich smell of home made food awoke a welcomed and much longed-for feeling of hunger within her, and with a content smile grazing her lips she made her way to the kitchen.
”Something’s up,” Tess said in the phone.
”Max left Roswell two days ago, taking Isabel, Maria and Michael with him - and they haven’t been back yet.”
”What?!! Why didn’t you go with them?!”
”I-I-I didn’t know they were going to leave. They never told me!”
”Of course they didn’t tell you! They don’t trust you!”
”Yes, they do!!” Tess whined.
”I’m tired of playing games, Tess. You blew it a long time ago and I let you continue anyway because you’re our only direct link to them! But that’s a mistake I won’t make again.”
”Don’t talk to me th-”
”Shut up, Tess! You will still be monitoring them, but you will not do anything. Do you hear me?! You don’t even breathe wrong without my permission! If you screw this up - anymore than you already have - I will personally see through it that you’ll be eliminated.”
Nasedo slammed the receiver down. He had heard some disturbing rumors from his allies back on Antar that an heir to the throne had been born - an heir to Max. The pressure on him was huge. If he was to do one thing incorrectly they probably would have him executed and have his head served as an offer to Khivar on a silver plate.
|posted on 15-Jan-2003 12:19:33 PM|
”Em, you’re tired?” Liz asked with a smile.
Emma firmly shook her head.
”Of course you aren’t,” Liz said. ”So how about getting some sleep before you fall off your chair.”
Emma started to giggle at the visions her head conjured at that statement.
”Yep, she’s tired all right,” Maria stated, watching the little girl giggle uncontrollably.
Liz rose from her chair and lifted Emma from her chair.
”C’mere honey, I’ll read you a book.”
”I want daddy to dwead a book,” Emma said and yawned again.
Liz turned and, with a smile on her face, captured Max’s eyes. Liz arched one of her eyebrows in a questioning expression. Max shrugged.
”Of course, sweety,” Max said and rose. He relieved Liz from her daughter’s weight, placing her on his hip - nestling her small, yet compact, body against his. Emma yawned again and leaned her head on Max’s shoulder, her arms and legs dangling limply in the air from exhaustion. Max held her securely with both hands around her waist. Liz gave Emma a kiss on the cheek, Max stealing a sniff of the smell of her hair as she came close. Strawberry and vanilla.
Liz smothered Emma’s hair.
”Okay honey. You be nice to your daddy. Deal?”
”Uh huh,” Emma nodded with her eyes half open. Max chuckled.
”I don’t think she will be too much of a problem,” he said softly.
”Don’t let her cute appearance fool you,” Liz said with a secretive smile. ”Night, pumpkin.”
”Nite, mommy,” Emma said and she and her daddy was off to bed.
”Okay Liz. We have a lot to talk about,” Maria said. ”You know, in a non-testosterone environment.”
Liz closed the front door after Maria’s departure. Michael had left after dinner, which he had cooked (and it had tasted wonderfully!), leaving only Max, Emma, Liz and Maria. After thirty minutes of girl-talk, Maria reluctantly announced that she probably should get going and she had called for Michael to pick her up. They all had school to go back to in the morning - including Max. But so far, he hadn’t said a word about what he planned on doing about that. Liz didn’t know if he was going back to school tomorrow or was to skip classes or what. She knew that she probably had to work, so it would be of no greater use for him to stick around in the apartment tomorrow anyway. Liz walked back into the kitchen, took her cup of tea and headed for Emma’s room intending to find out the reason to Max’s extended absence. She knew that Emma could suddenly turn into a bundle of energy just when she was about to go to sleep, no matter how tired she might have been earlier, and it was difficult to get her to lay down and relax. And Max had been ‘tucking her in’ for about thirty minutes now. As she approached the door to Emma’s room, which had been left slightly ajar, she heard no voices. It was very quiet. She silently pushed the door open and leaned against the door frame, her cup in her hand, taking in the picture in front of her. Emma was laying in her bed - sound asleep. Max was sitting in Indian style on the floor beside Emma’s bed, watching his daughter with admiration, pride and love shining in his eyes. He was sitting there, watching his daughter as he used to watch Liz hour after hour in the CrashDown. He made no indication of revealing that he knew that Liz was there, until he spoke. His voice soft and tender, yet so full of emotions.
”I can’t believe that we made this wonderful child.”
Liz felt her heart swell and she couldn’t help but smile.
”Well, we did,” she said as she slowly made her way into the room. She put her tea cup on Emma’s chest of drawers and sat down next to Max on the floor. His eyes didn’t leave Emma’s still figure for a second, as his hand reached out and took a hold of Liz’s. Liz laced her fingers with his, placing their entwined hands in her lap.
”We did a good job, huh?” Liz asked.
”You did a good job,” Max corrected, squeezing her hand. ”She’s perfect, Liz. She’s smart, warm, caring and just as beautiful as her mother.”
”Thank you, Liz,” Max said.
Liz nodded, understanding just how much laid behind those simple words.
”Actually, I don’t think I raised her. I think she raised me,” Liz said. ”Without her I would have been six feet under by now.”
”I don’t agree with you,” Max said. Liz looked at him.
”What do you mean, Max Evans?” She asked impishly.
”I’ll never met anyone as strong-willed as you. I’ve never met anyone with a greater will to survive and live. And I don’t think I ever will. I don’t doubt for a second that Emma kept you going - gave you meaning to life. However, I also know that the Liz Parker I knew would not give up without a fight - how long and difficult that fight might ever be.”
Liz felt tears stinging her eyes, moved by his sincere words, but mostly touched by the faith and trust he still had for her. They sat in silence for a while, watching their daughter sleep peacefully. Emma still lived in oblivion to the life she had been given. She was still happily unaware of the fact that she was really an alien princess on a far away planet - even if she wanted it or not.
Liz lovingly stroke Emma’s hair with her right hand, holding Max’s hand in her other. She could feel that Max had something on his mind, but he wasn’t talking. She could still read him, as he could read her - even without the connection.
”What are you thinking?” Liz asked.
”What?” Max asked, pulled out of his thoughts by her gentle voice.
”Would you like to tell me what’s on your mind, Max?” Liz asked.
”It’s just... I wasn’t here,” Max said. Liz closed her eyes, letting his voice fill her - absorbing it, taking his words to her heart. ”I wasn’t here when she was born. I wasn’t here when she got her first tooth. I wasn’t here when she said her first word. I wasn’t here when she took her first steps. I’ve missed out on so many things, Liz.”
Liz took a deep breath. She knew that he was going to feel like this. Max had never chosen to be away from his child. If he had known that he had a child - if he had been able to get to her - he would have. He would do anything to be with his child, to be a part of his child’s successes, accomplishments and failures. And he had tried - he had done everything in his power and even more than that to find his child and the love of his life. But a person who didn’t want to be found was not impossible to find, but very hard.
Liz moved around to face Max. She took his other hand, making him turn towards her. She took both of his hands in hers and looked him deeply in the eyes.
”Max, I’m sorry that you missed so much of your daughter’s life. But Emma and I have managed pretty well anyway, haven’t we?” Max did not look convinced. ”Okay, as well as could be expected under the circumstances. But you didn’t choose to do this Max. If you had known that you had a child and known where that child was you would never abandon it - never. The point here Max is that we have the rest of our lives to spend together. She’s four. She still has so many things left to experience. Her first crush, her first date, her driver’s license, her graduation, her first boyfriend, her wedding. Max, we can’t go back. You’ve missed some big things with her, but there are so many things left to go through.”
Tears were pooling Max’s eyes as he leaned forward and lightly brushed his lips over hers - his lips lingering a bit too long to count as a brief kiss. Liz inhaled deeply as feelings awoke and sizzled through her - feelings only Max’s kisses could awake.
With her eyes still closed, Liz murmured, ”I have something for you.”
Max tried to get his emotions under control, trying very hard not to let his imagination go places it shouldn’t go at Liz’s statement.
”You have something for me?” he asked slowly.
Liz opened her eyes and smiled at him.
”Yes, I do,” she affirmed, her voice secretive as she rose from her sitting position, pulling Max along with her. ”Follow me.”
Max looked at her confused, but complied without any questions.
Liz dragged him out of Emma’s bedroom, into the living room.
”Sit,” she ordered Max and he speechlessly sat down on the couch.
”What are you doing, Liz?” he asked as Liz started removing books from the plain bookshelf.
”Just hold on a sec,” she said. From the bookshelf she started to unload videotapes. They were small - the ones you put in a video camera. She opened a drawer and took out a regular-sized videotape, which had a space for the smaller videotape to be placed in - so that the small videotape could be run in a regular VCR. She placed one of the small videotapes in the big one, plugging it into the VCR. She turned on the TV and took a seat beside Max. Max’s eyes followed her every move, his facial expression a mixture of sheer bewilderment, curiosity and excitement. Without a word, Liz picked up the remote control and pressed ‘play’.
At first the TV screen was black, but then the image shifted to display the legs of a chair. Then a little baby came into view. Liz watched Max’s face the whole time. His eyes were fixed on the TV screen, but his whole face was like an open book. Thousand emotions flickered over his face as he saw the baby sleeping soundly on the screen, her beautiful brown eyes closed and her chubby cheeks rosy. As he realized that he was watching a home video of his daughter as a baby his eyes pooled up with tears, and he reached out and pulled Liz close to his side. Without a word, he affectionately kissed the crown of her head, putting more feeling and emotion in that small act that any words could describe. Liz had documented it all on film. She had been there to film all the things Max regretted missing. She had given him an indirect link to the years he had missed.
Max removed the remote control from Liz’s hand and turned off the VCR and the TV. Liz laid with her head positioned in his lap, her legs pulled up in a fetal position - sound asleep. He wiped away the tears that had silently fallen down his cheeks. Careful not to wake her, he disentangled himself from her warm and comforting weight. It wasn’t easy. She had a handful of his shirt in her hand, and even in her sleep she struggled not to be separated from him. He pried of her hand and took a pillow, which he gently put under her head. He found a blanket and draped it over her. With a kiss on her forehead he left the living room and walked back into Emma’s bedroom. He sat in there into the small hours of the morning, just watching her sleep.
Liz awoke with a feeling of disorientation, and pulled the blanket closer to her body, trying to fight off the morning chill that threatened to invade her body. It was still dark outside, and she looked at her watch and found it to be 4.30 a.m. She clutched the blanket close to her body and rose, feeling a faint feeling resembling headache, a warning of the headache that was gradually returning. Her bare feet made no sound as she made her way towards her bedroom. She was still half asleep, as she made her way inside the complete darkness of her room. She felt her way to the bed and pulled away the covers and with a yawn she crawled into bed. However, she soon discovered that she was not alone, she was not the only one to reach the decision to sleep in that bed tonight. As she crept down under the covers, she felt a small familiar warm body beside her. She inwardly smiled and crept up to the small body, relishing in the warm human contact. As she put her arm around her daughter’s still form, her hand touched skin, which texture was slightly different from her daughter’s, and her sleep-induced brain vaguely came to the conclusion that it was Max before she with a content smile drifted off to sleep again.
|posted on 18-Jan-2003 12:57:03 PM|
BEEP BEEP BEEP
Liz groaned and turned, pulling the covers over her head to block out the annoying sound and the bright morning light.
”Mommy, mommy,” Emma mumbled beside her. ”I want pancakes.”
”Uh huh,” Liz murmured and pulled the covers closer, having no intention of going anytime soon, definitely not to make pancakes. She felt someone snuggle closer to her and then she suddenly had her daughter tucked in under her chin.
”Mommy, pwease wake up! I’m hungwy!” Emma said, letting in the light as she started to pull away the covers. Liz blinked and groaned, as she simultaneously fought Emma for the cover.
”Liz,” a soft voice said and then the owner of that beautiful voice was working as a accomplice to her daughter, pulling the covers away from her head - removing her refuge.
”Liz, it’s morning,” he said again and she felt his hand thread through her hair, gently removing the traces of sleep.
”Uh huh,” Liz said, not feeling too excited about leaving the warm and cozy bed.
Max smiled at her. She was laying on her side, the covers up to her ears with Emma having crawled under the covers, completely vanishing from underneath it. Emma was not the most tranquil child. She was moving around - fully awake and with new energy, removing the covers more and more in the process. However, Liz was not the first to give and she held on to the covers for dear life. Max took away his hand from her hair and reached under the covers to pull out Emma. Emma was as easy to catch as an eel and Max had to put quite some effort in removing her from her mother.
”Emma, c’mere. Let’s leave your mommy alone and we can go and make some breakfast,” Max said temptingly.
Bribes certainly worked.
”Yay!” Emma cried and started bouncing up and down in the bed.
”Emma, please,” Liz mumbled in a pleading voice.
Max caught Emma in mid air and lifted her out of the bed.
”Okay, calm down little lady,” he said.
Liz could hear Emma’s giggles as she and Max left the room. She took a deep breath and rolled on her back, staring at the ceiling - trying to accustom her eyes to the light. Her heart swelled with love as she heard her daughter’s and Max’s voices mixing with the kitchen noises out in the kitchen. That was something she had never thought she would hear. She had given up years ago on ever leading a normal life. She had taken what she had, and tried to make her daughter’s existence as tolerable as possible - but that was about all she could concentrate on. She would have had difficulties going on with her life if she was to start contemplating about her miserable situation. By focusing on her daughter and keeping her daughter happy she found an easy way out of her reality. She lazily stretched her arms out above her head, yawning as her body stretched out. She looked at the time on the bedside clock. She really should get up. It was Monday morning and she had to get Emma to day care and then head off to work. She didn’t really know what she should do. She and Max still hadn’t discussed the future yet. They had somehow left it hanging - perhaps too afraid to discuss it. That discussion would probably bring forward too many emotions. Liz was almost convinced that she didn’t have a future, that she could soon die....and Max was afraid of the very same thing although he didn’t want to face the truth yet - even though it was staring him straight in the eye.
Liz pulled her legs out from underneath the covers and shivered as her bare feet touched the cold floor. She realized that she was still in her regular clothes from yesterday and her whole body screamed for a shower. Retrieving a robe from the closet, she made her way out of the bedroom - the smell of pancakes teasing her sense of smell during her journey to the bathroom.
”Emma, why don’t you sit down and I’ll get the syrup,” Max said as he placed his hands under Emma’s arms and lifted her off the counter she had mounted in order to retrieve the bottle of syrup from one of the cabinets. Max put her down in her chair and got the syrup himself.
”Daddy, will you take me to the day ware today?” Emma asked, trying to cut the pancake into pieces only using a fork as a tool.
”I guess I can go with you and your mommy today as she gets you there,” Max said, pouring coffee into two cups.
”Can we go in your big car?” Emma asked excited.
Max smiled for himself as he pulled out two spoons from one of the drawers.
”Yes, we can go in my car,” he answered.
”Yay!!” Emma cried enthusiastically.
Emma had given up on cutting the pancake into pieces and reached for the syrup, practically drowning the pancake in syrup. With sticky fingers she tried to eat the pancake by biting bits directly off the pancake instead. Perhaps it had been somewhat successful if she had managed to keep the pancake on the plate but this is a four-year-old we’re talking about here. She took the pancake in her small hands, finding her hands a much more useful tool than the fork, and moved it to her mouth, dripping syrup in her lap and over her chin as she took the first bite.
Max turned around just in time to witness his daughter’s imaginative solution to not being able to slice food by herself, and not asking for help.
”Emma,” he sighed, and grimaced as he gently took the sticky pancake from her. ”Haven’t your mommy told you that you’re suppose to eat pancakes with syrup, not syrup with pancakes.”
Emma looked up at him in confusion.
”I lub syrub,” she said with a wide grin, syrup still dripping from her chin.
”Okay,” Max said. ”Let’s get you washed up.”
”I wanna do dat,” Emma said and headed for the bathroom, where she had her own stool to stand on in order to reach up to the sink. Max trotted after her, having learned his homework when it came to leaving Emma alone, oblivious to the fact that Liz was right now in the very same bathroom he was directing his steps towards - taking her morning shower.
”Mommy!” Emma cried as she opened the bathroom door.
Max stopped dead in his tracks.
”We’re gonna go in daddy’s big car and I’m stwicky,” Emma announced in one breath.
Max was still standing outside the bathroom, wondering if he should go in or not.
”What’s that, honey?” Liz said, the running water muffling her voice and all sounds trying to reach her.
”I’m gonna wash!” Emma said a little louder.
”Okay pumpkin,” Liz said.
Max was still trying to decide his next move. Sure, he had seen Liz...uhm..naked before - they had been intimate. The problem was that was five years ago. Emma decided to make the decision ‘easier’ for him.
”Daddy,” she said, her breathing heavy from having pulled out the stool and climbed up on it.
”I need helb! I cannot get the swoab.”
Max took a deep breath and stepped into the bathroom. The bathroom mirror was steamed up from the heat from Liz’s shower. But that was of no interest at all to Max as his attention was caught by the form partly visible through the shower curtain. The curtain partly dimmed the contours of her body, but Max could easily make up for the rest with the use of his imagination.
”Daddy, can you helb me?” Emma asked again, a hint of annoyance in her stance and voice.
Daddy jerked his head away from mommy and tried to re-focus on the daughter. He reached for the soap, but his hand stopped in mid-air as Liz poked her head out from the curtain.
”Emma, can you-” Then she noticed that Max was there too and her voice trailed off.
”Oh..hey Max. I didn’t know you were in here as well,” she said, her face turning beet red - and it was not from the warmth of the showers.
”I-I-I was just gonna..uh..”
”Daddy’s helbing me clean my fingers,” Emma said. Liz pulled her gaze away from Max. God, she had forgotten how good....okay, gorgeous..he looked in the mornings. It didn’t really ease the situation that she was standing stark naked in the same room as him with only a curtain between them - a white curtain that was semi-translucent. Liz looked at her daughter and couldn’t help but giggle as she noticed her appearance.
”What have you done, sweety?” she asked. ”Did you guys have a food fight or something?”
She directed her eyes back to Max - for the moment forgetting about her nudity and the situation they had found themselves in.
”We...uh...we were making pancakes,” Max said, embarrassed at his lack in skills in taking care of one four-year-old.
”You did, huh?” Liz smiled. ”Why don’t you help her with the soap and I’ll be right out. I can’t wait to see the kitchen!”
Max quickly took the soap and handed it to Emma. In the following minutes he learned that syrup sure was sticky and difficult to get rid of, but with some discreet cheating with powers the problem was soon solved. Two minutes later, Emma was as good as new. Well, she certainly needed a change of clothes as well, but Max didn’t want to change her into anything new as long as she had yet to finish her breakfast.
Emma hopped down from the stool and before Max had a chance to react, Emma was out of the bathroom, vanishing from his vision. He was just about to go after her when Liz’s voice reached his ears.
”Max...are you still there?”
”Yeah,” he said. ”But I’ll leave you alone now.”
”No,” Liz quickly said. Max stopped. ”Can you hand me a towel?”
”Sure,” Max said.
”They’re in the cabinet under the sink,” Liz said.
Max crouched in front of the cabinet, opened it and pulled out a large white towel. He went up to the shower.
”Here,” he said and looked the other way as Liz extended her arm out from the shower, taking the towel from him.
”Thanks,” she said.
”No problem,” Max said.
There was a pause.
”Maybe you should go,” Liz said, and Max realized that he was still standing beside the shower curtain, time seemingly having stopped as her wet hand had touched his as she was taking the towel from him.
”Oh, sorry,” Max mumbled and left the bathroom. Liz smiled as she stepped out of the shower. He was just so adorable!
Liz was sitting on the bus, heading home. She had just finished her shift at the first work of the day and she was to take a shower, change clothes and then fetch Emma from the day care. When they came home they were to eat something and have some time together. Later in the evening - after Liz had tucked Emma in bed and gotten some sleep herself, normally the baby-sitter would arrive to take care of Emma as Liz departed for her shift at her night work. However, today Maria had said she would watch Emma as she slept instead. So Maria would be getting there in about four hours.
The bus came to a halt and she stepped off it. The bus station wasn’t located too far away from her apartment, which was really good. She had approximately fifty meters of walking ahead of her. As she walked she thought about the morning. After Max and she had cleaned up after Emma’s syrup adventure (which actually only had taken Max a sweep of his hand to clean up), and Liz had cut Emma’s pancakes into smaller pieces, they had all sat down and enjoyed eating breakfast together - like a normal family. Max had told them a little about what he was doing now and to Emma’s great disappointment he had been forced to inform her that she had to go back to day care and he had to go back to his school because he had lessons to go to. Max had driven Liz and Emma to the day care. Liz didn’t own a car - she didn’t have too much money, and most of the money she made went to Emma, either directly or indirectly. Some went to a fund Liz had put up to be able to give Emma a good education. After saying good-bye to Emma, and Emma had reluctantly released her daddy from the bear hug she had captured him in, Max had taken Liz to her work and with a ‘Call me if you need anything’ he had been off.
Liz walked up to her apartment door and put the key in the lock and turned. She frowned as the key didn’t turn in the lock and unconsciously she pressed down the door handle. The door drifted open and she realized that it hadn’t been locked. Fear gripped her as she slowly pushed the door open. Leading an isolated life and always looking over her shoulder, she would never forget to lock the door. That’s what paranoia did to you. As the door opened up and she was looking into her apartment she gasped and took a step back - her heart slamming in her chest. The living room was a mess. The few books that she had were spread over the floor, the couch was destroyed, its upholstery spread over the floor. Glass had been broken, the content of a trash bin had been scattered over the floor. It seemed as if someone had been searching for something. Liz felt her legs shaking. She felt watched and naked - vulnerable. She hastily backed out from the apartment and without knowing how, she made it around the corner of the house. Leaning against the wall, she pulled out the cell phone Max had bought her the other day and dialed Max’s cell phone.
Max tensed up at the sound of her voice, and he had to take deep breaths to get his anger under control before he turned around and met Tess’s face.
”Oh, hi Tess,” he said, as he closed the door to his dorm room. He was surprised at how calm he managed to sound. Those years of hiding a secret, and controlling his emotions certainly paid off.
”So, what have you’ve been up to this weekend?” Tess said casually. ”All of you guys were just like missing in action.”
Max looked at her, trying to understand how he could ever have considered her as his friend. How he could have turned to her for comfort as he had found Liz in bed with Kyle. Here she stood, the woman who had deliberately planned to destroy his life - and almost succeeding as well. The woman...bitch...who had stolen four years of his daughter’s life from him. He clenched his fist tighter, before he returned his thinking to the plan to act normal and not suspiciously.
”We took a trip to Las Cruces,” Max said, his voice even and calm - not in any way giving away the lie.
”Oh,” Tess said.
”Yeah, Kyle said you were busy,” Max said, tucking his hands in the pockets of his jeans to keep them from strangling Tess.
”Really...he did?” Tess asked.
”Yeah, he did,” Max said as they started walking down the corridor, heading for their next and first lesson which they just ‘happened’ to have together. Another one of Tess’s methods of always ‘being there’ for Max.
”He told me that you had this date with that Billy guy,” Max continued.
Kyle actually had told Max that Tess had a date, but Kyle had also informed Max that Tess had never been the least interested in Billy - she had more or less hated his guts. Hence, Kyle had found it a bit odd that Tess suddenly was dating him.
”Oh...right, I had,” Tess said, inwardly kicking herself for picking such a bad day to make Max jealous on. If she had decided to go out on a date with that moron Billy another day, she would have been free to go with them, or she had a reason to ask why she didn’t get invited if they didn’t ask her to come along. She knew that she wasn’t wanted on whatever they had been up to all weekend. But as she eyed Max out of the corner of her eye, even she noticed that something was different about him. She was certain he was trying his best to act casual and his ordinary self. But some of the sadness in his readable eyes was gone and he seemed more relaxed - some of the regular tension in his body had disappeared.
”So how was it?” Tess said and Max turned his head towards her. Was that suspicion in his eyes? But just as soon as Tess thought she had seen something different in his eyes it was gone, replaced with calmness.
”How was what like?” he asked, slightly confused.
”The trip. To Las Cruces,” Tess clarified, a frown of suspicion settling on her forehead.
”Oh, it was great,” Max said. ”How was your date?”
Tess couldn’t help but smirk at the fact that he had asked about the date. So, he was interested!
”It was just wonderful!” she chirped.
”That’s good,” Max said, his voice more or less indifferent. Tess eyed him sourly. Wasn’t he the least jealous?!
Just then Max’s cell phone rang.
”Excuse me for one sec, Tess,” Max said as he hauled up the cell phone from his pocket and pressed the ‘connect’-button.
”Hello?” he said.
”Max,” a voice sobbed.
Max jerked his head up in Tess’s direction, seeing that he was under strict surveillance. He lowered his voice some, careful not to let his voice reveal how distressed and frightened he was at hearing the state of her voice.
”I-I need you,” she said, her voice shaking. ”Someone broke into the apartment. They might still be there.”
”Stay right where you are. I’ll be there as fast as I can, okay?” Max said.
”Okay,” she whispered. Max wanted to tell her that he loved her, but he knew that he couldn’t do that as long as Tess was listening.
”I’ll be right there,” Max said and disconnected the call.
”Who was that?” Tess asked, trying to sound interested.
Max looked at her, Liz’s frightened and sobbing voice still fresh in his memory, and tried to figure out why he had decided to not make Tess suffer.
”It was Isabel - her car broke down. I’ll have to go and help her,” Max said. ”Can you do me a favor, Tess?”
”Sure,” Tess said and lightened up. She loved when Max asked her to do things. That meant that she could make him happy and if he was happy then maybe he would see how good she was for him and he could turn to her. And then they would get together. Yep, real Tess-logic there.
”Can you tell the professor that I had a family emergency,” which was actually the truth, ”and that I had to leave?”
”Sure,” Tess said.
”Thanks,” Max said. Before Tess had a chance to tell him that she would do anything for him, Max was disappearing down the hallway, his steps hurried. As Tess watched his retreating back she thought she saw some of the old tension settling in his shoulders again. She instinctively knew that something was going on and forgetting all about doing Max any favors, she started walking down the corridor - having her own car as destination.
|posted on 25-Jan-2003 4:53:23 PM|
Max brought the car to a screeching halt and Michael threw forward by the sudden stop. He wasn’t even going to comment on Max’s reckless driving. Max had called him on his cell phone, practically ordering him to get out on the parking lot in front of his apartment complex, and Max would pick him up. Michael knew even before Max told him, that this had something to do with Liz. Nothing else could get him so reeled up. Max was out of the car in a millisecond and Michael reached over and applied the handbrake, to keep the car from wheeling backwards, before he rushed after Max.
Max searched the surroundings frantically. Where was she?
”Michael! Do you see her anywhere?” he said, his voice strained. He didn’t feel comfortable calling after her. If someone was left here, he didn’t want them to know that Liz was here.
”No,” Michael answered.
Max run up the stairs heading for Liz’s apartment. That’s where he found her, in the same place she had made the phone call to him. She was sitting on the ground, her legs pulled up to her stomach. As she heard steps in the stairs she looked up, fear in her big brown eyes. As she saw him she rose to her feet and she didn’t have to wait long to have his protective arms wrapped around her.
”You’re okay?” he asked, pulling her an arm-lengths away from her to look her over.
Liz nodded. ”I am now.”
”I’m not leaving you alone again,” Max murmured, hating that the feeling that he had lost her again had gotten the chance to reclaim its grip on him.
”Max, I don’t know if there’s still someone left,” Liz whispered, the fear still evident in her voice. She felt violated. Someone she didn’t know had been in her home, going through her personal things.
”Michael,” Max said, as Michael came up the stairs. ”Can you go and see if anyone is still in the apartment?”
Michael nodded and disappeared again. Max pulled Liz close to him.
”It’s okay,” he mumbled. He felt Liz nod against his chest. They stood like that, close together, arms around each other until Michael returned a few minutes later.
”There’s no one there,” he said. Max and Liz broke apart, and Max reached down and took Liz’s hand.
”What did they take?” Liz asked.
”I don’t know,” Michael said, shaking his head. Together they walked to Liz’s apartment. ”But something’s not right here, Maxwell.”
”What?” Max asked, not liking the sound of that.
”Whoever broke in wasn’t searching after the regular stuff a burglar would break in for,” Michael said. They stepped into the apartment and Liz realized what Michael was talking about.
”The TV and VCR are still here,” Michael said.
Liz let go off Max’s hand and stepped into her once peaceful home. She moved to her bedroom and took forward the small box where she put money for groceries. The box wasn’t difficult to find - it wasn’t even locked. It was just an ordinary cookie box. But as she opened it and counted the money she found the amount to correspond to the amount she had left there.
”What have they taken if they haven’t taken the TV, the VCR or any money?” Max asked as he looked at her from the doorway.
”Maybe it’s something alien,” Michael’s voice reached them from the living room. Liz head shoot up and she quickly put the money back in the box and brushed past Max, who quickly moved to the side to let her pass.
”It looks like someone has searched for something,” Michael said, his eyes fixed on Liz as she started rummaging through the bookshelf and then went on to search the piles of books on the floor.
Max went up to stand beside Michael, his eyes also following Liz’s frantic movements.
”What are you looking for?” Michael asked her.
She straightened up, hurt and sadness, mixed with anger in her eyes.
”They’re gone,” she said, her voice hollow.
”What’s gone?” Michael asked.
”The videotapes, they’re all gone,” Liz said and then she seemed to remember something and she crouched down in front of the VCR and pressed the eject button. A videotape was ejected and she slowly took it in her hand, hugging it to her chest - tears trickling down her cheeks.
”All, except this one. The last one you watched, Max.”
Max looked at her, anger seizing him. Last night Liz had made it able for him to experience some of the moments of watching his daughter grow up and now someone had taken that away from him as well.
”What tapes?” Michael asked, completely in the dark.
”I filmed Emma as she was growing up,” Liz said. ”I showed them to Max yesterday, but now whoever has broken in has stolen them.”
”Why would someone steal home videos? That doesn’t make any sense at all!” Michael said.
”No..” Max whispered, fear slamming into him as he realized what had happened here. ”These weren’t regular burglars. They were aliens, they searched for information...and they found it.”
Liz eyes went large with horror.
”Emma,” she gasped and then she was out the door, running towards the parking lot.
”Michael, call Kira and wait here,” Max ordered before he too vanished out the door.
Max and Liz walked quickly down the corridor until they reached Emma’s classroom. Without bothering to knock, Liz ripped the door open. Max quickly assessed the room he found himself in. Children were allocated throughout the room, engrossed in various playing activities. They all turned their heads as the worried parents stormed into the room.
”Elizabeth,” Ms. Harris said and walked up to the guests. She looked at the man holding Elizabeth hand in a death grip and soon recognized him. ”Max, right?”
Max looked at her, and opened his mouth to respond but Liz beat him to it.
Ms. Harris looked at the distressed parents. Something was not right here. Elizabeth seemed scared to death. However, when she looked at Max she was amazed by the dormant power he was emitting. He radiated authority, and self-assertiveness. But she also noticed the worry that etched his features.
”Uh...she’s in the bathroom,” Ms. Harris said.
Liz started walking towards the bathroom, and Max was close behind her - but his steps were hindered as Ms. Harris reached out her hand and stopped him.
”What’s going on?” she asked. She had never seen anyone so worried before. ”And why are you here?”
Max looked at her, and gently removed her hand from his arm.
”We need to take our daughter home,” he said.
”Why?” Ms. Harris said, not even bothering to ask if this man really was Emma Owens long lost father.
”She will not be coming back for a while. We have a little family emergency and we have to go away for some time. We will call you later with further information.”
His determined look told her that she wouldn’t get more out of him than that and that’s when Elizabeth came back - Emma cradled in her arms. Ms. Harris couldn’t help but be amazed by how a silent communication seemed to be going on between Elizabeth and Max. Elizabeth was somehow informing Max that Emma was okay and Max took Emma from her arms and held her tight to his chest. The most amazing thing was that Emma didn’t say a thing. It was as if she could feel her parents distress and she didn’t question it. It was like she knew that the best thing to do was to stay quiet.
”Do me a favor...uhm,” Max began, searching his memory for her name.
”Anne,” Ms. Harris said.
”Anne, if anyone asks for Emma, don’t give them any information,” Max said. Ms. Harris got the strange feeling that he was ordering her, but at the same time she had no problem with that. She somehow knew that they were in danger and she couldn’t let anything happen to little Emma.
”I’ll do whatever I can,” Anne said.
Elizabeth smiled at her gratefully.
”Thank you, you’ve done tons already,” she said, and then the small family was gone - just as quickly as they had arrived.
The light-blue eyes followed the couple as they quickly made their way towards the car in the parking lot.
”What the hell?!” the person hissed as the child, tucked into the familiar man’s arms, came into view. The person waited until the car pulled out of the parking lot outside the day care center before the person turned the car and ignited the engine, pulled out from its hiding place and onto the road - following the car on a distance that wouldn’t cause any suspicions.
”Why didn’t you tell me?!” Liz demanded to know, anger in her voice. She was sitting on the couch in Michael’s and Maria’s apartment, Emma sitting on her lap. Michael was standing in the background, leaning against one of the walls, and Max was pacing the floor. Kira was sitting in one of the arm-chairs facing Liz, and he was just about to witness what Liz Parker was really about. You didn’t keep information from her that could put her loved ones in danger.
”I didn’t want to upset you,” Max said.
”Upset me?!” Liz said in disbelief. ”If this is how you’re going to protect me, Max, I don’t need your protection! Emma and I have been doing just fine for four years without you. We can protect ourselves. But I can’t protect my daughter if I don’t know the whole truth!”
”I’m sorry, Liz-” Max started but Liz interrupted him.
”No, Max. Don’t say you’re sorry. I don’t want you to be sorry - I want you to be honest with me.”
Max nodded, understanding what his effort in keeping Liz safe from the truth could have cost him.
”How long have our enemies known about Emma?” Liz asked.
”They probably found out not so long after Emma’s birth,” Kira answered. Liz nodded sadly, pulling Emma closer to her. Emma, feeling her mother’s distress looked up at her mother’s resolute jaw.
”Mommy, why are you scared?” she asked.
Liz looked down into her daughter’s amber eyes and gave her a tender smile.
”It’s nothing, honey,” Liz said and stroke her dark hair.
Emma smiled at her, a smile that warmed her mother’s heart. Emma knew that her mother wasn’t telling the whole truth, but for the time being she was satisfied with the answer.
”Someone called me,” Liz said.
Everybody looked at her.
”Who called you?” Max asked.
”That’s the problem. I don’t know,” Liz said. ”I was really freaked out about the whole thing. It was a man and he asked questions about Emma. He didn’t want to answer any of my questions and he was threatening me, so I hung up.”
”When was this?” Max asked.
Liz thought about it for awhile.
”Sometime just after I had enrolled Emma at the day care center...about a month ago.”
”Could it have been one of our enemies?” Kira asked.
Without hesitation, Liz nodded.
”Definitely,” she said.
There was a pause, then Liz spoke.
”Is there anything else I should know, to be able to keep my child safe?” Liz asked.
”One thing is clear, you can’t return to your apartment,” Kira said.
”And you can’t return to Roswell,” Michael said.
”Well, that’s just great,” Liz sighed. ”Then where am I and Emma gonna go?”
”You can stay with me,” Max said, not wanting to leave neither Liz nor Emma alone anymore - not when the enemies were so close by.
Liz gave him a weak smile.
”Don’t you live on campus, Max?” Liz asked. ”How are you going to fit me and a four-year-old in your room?”
Max scratched behind his ear with his hand.
”Okay, maybe that’s not the best solution,” he said.
”Well, you cannot stay here,” Michael said bluntly. Max shot him an angry glare.
”What? We don’t have any room left. This is a small apartment you know,” he said, having seen Max’s glare.
”I know, Michael,” Liz said. ”I’m not gonna force myself on you. We have to find something else.”
”Where do you live, Kira?” Max asked Kira.
”Well...I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” Kira said.
”Let us be the judge of that,” Max said.
Kira met his eyes and knew that it would not be wise to argue against him.
”I’m living in a warehouse outside of Roswell,” he said, but added quickly. ”However, it’s absolutely no place for a child.”
”That would work, wouldn’t it?” Max asked Liz, ignoring Kira’s last sentence.
Liz nodded thoughtfully.
”Yes, that sounds really good,” she said, and turned to Kira. ”And don’t worry about Emma, she’ll understand why we have to live there and she will be just fine.” She looked down at her daughter. ”Won’t you, sweetheart?” Emma nodded excitedly. She didn’t know what a warehouse was but it was some place new and she had never lived in any other place than the apartment in Santa Fe.
”We’ll be fine,” Liz said, turning her gaze to Kira.
Kira looked a little uncomfortable. He was here to protect the royal four, and he had been forced to admit that the royal four now included Liz instead of Tess. He would also definitely protect Emma, the heir to the throne, and having them so close by would certainly make it easier. But still, the warehouse was no home. It was just a warehouse, and it was only furnished with a camp-bed and a lamp. He was only there to sleep - nothing else.
”I suggest we head out there now,” Max said. ”But only Kira, Liz, Emma and I. We don’t want to act suspicious and the fewer people that knows about this place the better - for all our sakes.”
”Hey, hold on,” Michael protested. ”You mean, the other of us are not going to be informed of your whereabouts?”
”That’s exactly what I mean,” Max said. ”It will be the safest solution for all of us.”
”No, I want to-”
”Michael, we’ll keep in touch, okay,” Liz said calmly. ”If we need anything you’ll be the first to know. It’s only a precaution and it’s probably only for now.”
Michael grunted, but didn’t object anymore.
”Okay, let’s go,” Max said.
|posted on 1-Feb-2003 7:34:52 AM|
”Okay, we are definitely going to need some things here if this is going to be our home the following months,” Liz said as she put down Emma. They were standing in the middle of the warehouse. Emma started running around the large empty room, her arms out in the air – pretending that she was an airplane, with sound-effects and the whole package. The floor was in concrete, dirty to say the least. The walls were made of sheet-metal, and the room they were standing in now was big enough to hold six cars. In one of the corners were some tires piled, and the room was partly illuminated by the daylight that seeped in through small narrow windows at the top of the walls. That meant that the windows were about three meters above ground, since the ceiling was high. At the north wall were three doors. There was one little area with a sink, a micro-oven and a refrigerator, which probably should be the kitchen. And that was about it.
”Is there even a bathroom here?” Liz asked Kira.
”Yes, actually there is,” Kira said. ”This warehouse were used as a garage before it hit bankruptcy. So there was a small toilet at the back there, and I had a bathtub plus a hand-shower installed as I moved here.”
”Okay,” Liz nodded.
”Are you okay with this?” Max asked. ”Otherwise we can find something else.”
Liz shook her head. She couldn’t deny that it was the perfect hiding place. No one would suspect that she was living in a warehouse. She hadn’t even believed that she would ever live in the warehouse. It was not exactly something you planned. Oh, where are you gonna live when you grow up? I always wanted to live in a warehouse - it’s always been my dream. No, don’t think so.
”It just needs a woman’s touch,” she said.
Max smiled at her, once again amazed by how she just kept going - right over every obstacle.
”Mommy!! Daddy!! Look me spinning!!” Emma screamed. Max and Liz looked at their daughter as she turned round and round over the big surface area. Her long dark hair was whirling around her face as she spun. Emma’s parents’ hearts swelled at the carefree way she was laughing as she spun until she fell on her bottom from dizziness.
”I want to live here,” Emma declared, as she tried to get up again.
”Okay, it’s settled then,” Liz said, her whole face smiling.
”Mommy, look! Look!!” Liz felt Emma tug her shirt and she reluctantly tore herself away from what she was watching. Emma was holding a stone in her hand. It was an ordinary rock but it was unusually beautiful and Emma was so enthused with her discovery.
”Oh, that’s a beautiful rock, Em,” Liz said. ”Where did you find it?”
Emma pointed towards some shrubs growing outside the warehouse.
”There!” she said.
”That’s really nice. Why don’t you take it into our room - it would look nicely there.”
Emma nodded enthusiastically and quickly disappeared inside the warehouse.
Liz turned her eyes back to what she had been watching before her daughter’s interruption. Max, Kira and some of Kira’s men were unloading a double bed from the truck they had rented. It was a really hot day, and Max had been forced to take off his shirt. His upper body glistered with sweat in the sun, his firm and taut muscles rippling and moving under his skin as he, Kira and the other two men carried the bed towards the warehouse. Now that was something Liz could watch all day. As they came closer to the door with the bed, where Liz was standing watching them - or Max more correctly - Max smiled at Liz’s smiling face.
”What are you smiling about?” he asked.
”Oh, nothing,” Liz said innocently and moistened her lips with her tongue. Something Max certainly noticed. The world seemed to go into slow-motion as he saw Liz tongue dart out between her lips and move over her lips. He shook himself out of it before he totally lost control.
”Maybe you should instruct us where to put this?” Max said to Liz.
”Uh huh,” Liz said quickly and moved past Kira and Max, moving into the warehouse. Max’s eyes darkened as he watched her sway her hips from side to side as she walked in front of them. He felt the blood heating up in his veins, and it was not due to the temperature created by the sun. Max was so focused on Liz’s movements that he didn’t see the rock that Emma had placed on the ground, when she had forgotten about taking it into the room. Max stumbled forward, almost bringing the bed along with him. The man walking beside Max almost stumbled over the stone as well – and the whole bed wavered in the air. Kira saved Max from complete humiliation by creating a force field with his powers that caught the bed before it could hit the ground. Liz turned around as she heard the commotion and saw the bed hover in the air.
”Wow!” she heard Emma exclaim behind her, and then Emma was running towards the bed. ”Can I ride on dat? Pwease, purty pwease!!” she begged, bouncing up and down - her arms stretched up over her head towards the floating bed.
Liz couldn’t help but laugh at Max spread out on the floor on his stomach, Kira’s men trying to help Kira with the bed.
”What are you doing?” she laughed.
Max looked up at her, his ears red. He was just about to rise from his uncomfortable position as Liz put her soft hand on his naked arm. He froze, feeling the familiar electricity surge through him, with a mixture of deep desire for her.
It had only been natural for Liz to give Max a hand to help him up, she had not counted on the effect it would have on her body to touch him. Max took a deep breath and while trying to act like nothing had happened he slowly rose - his eyes fixed on a very interesting spot on the ground - and brushed off his pants.
”Are you okay?” Liz asked, and he looked up to meet her eyes. Her eyes had some of the laughter left in them, but they mostly reflected what he felt.
”Yeah, yeah. I’m just clumsy,” Max said, smiling.
Liz smiled too, nodding and pointed towards Emma who was now sitting on the hovering bed, Kira standing beside it looking a bit tired by using his energy so much. After all, a double bed was pretty strenuous to lift on your own - using only your mind. Kira’s men were standing beside the bed, waiting for instructions from Kira on what to do. He had just told them that they could wait to help him out, since Emma obviously found it exciting with a hovering bed.
”You’ve managed to make Emma happy anyway,” Liz said.
”Then it was certainly worth it,” Max said.
Liz gave him a warm smile and felt herself drowning in those deep amber eyes of his.
”Uhm...maybe you should...uhm...help Kira,” Liz managed to say. She wanted nothing less than Max forgetting everything about Kira and the bed and instead take her in his arms and kiss her senseless, but that wouldn’t really be the sensible thing to do.
”Yeah, I probably should,” Max agreed, not making any movement towards fulfilling what he had just said.
”Daddy!! Look how high I can jumb!!” Emma cried, giggling.
Liz and Max tore their eyes away from each other and Max quickly moved towards the bed. It looked pretty dangerous as a four-year-old jumped on a bed levitating one meter above ground.
”Emma, don’t jump so high,” Liz said.
”But it’s funny, mommy!” Emma said, and as if to prove it she jumped even higher.
Liz shook her head at the absurdity of the situation. As other kids in her age were having the best time of their lives on a swinging set, her daughter was bouncing up and down on a double bed that was floating in the air - and she didn’t even think it was weird.
”C’mere, Em,” Max said and lifted Emma off the bed. ”Kira is tired. It’s difficult for him to make the bed fly in the air.”
Emma calmed down in Max’s arms. He sort of had that effect on people.
”Kira, you can put down the bed now,” Max said, and with a grateful sigh Kira lowered the bed to the ground - his energy almost completely depleted.
”Sorry, Kwia,” Emma said, releasing herself from Max’s arms and instead wrapping her small arms as far as they could go around Kira.
Kira eyes opened wide in surprise as he felt the small body in his arms. In that instant he made a promise to himself, with his heart and not due to a duty, that he was going to protect this little bundle of energy to his last breath.
”That bitch is back,” Tess said.
”Please talk so that I can understand you,” Nasedo said tiredly. ”There are many bitches out there.”
Nasedo shot up from his chair so violently that he caused the chair to fall backwards.
”Have you seen her?” he demanded, his voice tight.
Tess nodded, with a smug on her face.
”I’ve seen her and her child,” she said.
Nasedo slammed his fist in the table.
”Damnit! Then the rumors were true!”
The smug was instantly wiped off her face, as Tess realized that she hadn’t come with such a big sensation as she had anticipated.
”What rumors?” she asked.
”That there’s an heir to Max,” Nasedo said.
”But...but..it can’t be Max’s,” Tess said. ”She wasn’t pregnant when we kidnapped her, and if she had slept with Max I would have heard about it. They would have said something about it. No one ever hinted anything about that. No, it has to be someone else’s baby.”
”No, it’s Max’s all right,” Nasedo said. ”The question here is. How could he found her so easily, when we have searched for her for years?”
Tess remained quiet, pouting over the fact that Max had slept with that bitch - and not with her!
”Do you realize that this destroys the whole plan,” Nasedo said. ”I have to cut a new deal in order to get home...but there isn’t any other way than using the Granolith!”
”I want Max! I was suppose to bear the heir to the throne!” Tess whined.
”Get over yourself, Tess!!” Nasedo ordered. ”As your mindwarping doesn’t work on him, you have no chance with him!”
”I want home,” Emma sobbed. Max looked helplessly at Liz as she walked into the room.
”What’s wrong, pumpkin?” she asked.
”I miss my room,” Emma said.
”I thought you liked it here, honey,” Max said, not quite understanding how the mind of a four-year-old worked.
Emma defiantly shook her head.
”I want my tweddy bea,” she said.
”We’ll get your teddy bear in the morning,” Liz said and stroke Emma’s hair. ”We have to live here for a while, okay?”
”But I don’t want to,” Emma said, tears running down her cheeks. Max’s heart broke at her tears. He hated to see her cry.
”It’ll be more fun in the morning,” Liz assured. ”And the quicker you go to bed, the quicker the morning will come and you can play again.”
Emma thought about this for a while and then nodded.
”But I want my tweddy toborrow,” Emma said.
”Of course,” Max said.
”You want me to tell you a story?” Liz asked.
”Okay,” Liz said and sat down on the bed. She felt Max’s arms encircle her waist and pull her towards him. She positioned herself between his legs, and Emma lay her head in Liz’s lap - ready to hear the story.
Max woke up in the middle of the night by Liz coughing. The coughs were hollow and dry. They were all sleeping in the same bed, which they had done ever since Max found Liz. There had never been any discussion about sleeping arrangements or anything like that. It had only been natural to find comfort in each others’ arms. Max had refused to go back to his dorm and he was to call in sick tomorrow, and instead go to Liz’s apartment to get a few things. Liz was laying on her side, her arms around Emma who was tucked in under her chin. Liz’s back was nestled against Max’s chest and he had his arms securely wrapped around both Liz and Emma.
Max closed his eyes and tried to not listen to Liz’s raspy breathing. It was eating him up inside that he wasn’t able to heal her completely and the signs of ill-health were rapidly coming back again after having been gone about a day after the healing with the healing stones. But he couldn’t block her out. Her coughing and labored breathing was like a knife in his heart. He opened his eyes again and stared into the darkness. There must be something he could do. He moved away from the warmth of Liz’s body and then slowly turned her on her back. She groaned a little in her sleep as the warmth of the two bodies that she had been sandwiched between until now was removed and then her raspy coughing filled the silent room.
Max moved his hands to the buttons of her pyjamashirt and slowly unbutton the upper three buttons. He would try to feed her with some of his energy. He knew that when you had a cough you should keep the chest warm, so he figured he could warm her a little. He carefully, in order not to wake her, put his hand under her shirt, on her soft skin. He had to concentrate hard not to react to the feeling of the soft skin of the swell of her breast that was just inches below his palm. He closed his eyes and in the dark room could be seen a bright white light.
|posted on 5-Feb-2003 4:30:09 AM|
|Hey Angeleyes! Thanx again for the feedback!! . If you want to join the rest of the feedbackers we're over at the Dreamer forum . This is the link: viewthread?forum=dreamer-fanfiction&id=290713|
Here's the next chapter...
”Sir, we have retrieved the videotapes,” the man said and put down the videotapes in front of the man with the boyish appearance.
”Excellent,” he said.
As the messenger didn’t immediately leave the room, the man behind the desk annoyed waved him off.
”Yes, sir. Of course, sir.” The messenger bowed his head and disappeared out the door.
The man rose from his seat and plugged one of the videotapes into the VCR.
A little baby girl with brown hair and brown eyes were crawling on the floor, heading for the camera with outstretched arms – repeatedly voicing the two-syllabus word ‘gaga’. Even though the child was only about three months old, the resemblance with her parents was evident.
”So the rumors were true. Zan does have an heir.”
”Morning,” Liz smiled at Max as he walked out from the small bathroom, his hair wet from the shower.
”Morning,” Max answered, unable to not be affected by her contagious smile. ”Where’s Emma?”
”She’s outside, with Kira,” Liz answered. Max took a seat on one of the chairs. The large storage room had now been furnished with a dining table and some chairs. Liz had made breakfast.
”Max, thank you,” Liz said, as Max reached for the cereals. He met her eyes.
”For what?” he asked.
”For what you did tonight,” Liz answered.
”You were awake?” he asked.
”Well, I awoke when I felt you,” Liz said, and what she said next was so softly that Max barely heard her, ”I miss you so much, Max.”
”I miss you too,” Max said. The underlying meaning of her statement was not lost to him. They lost themselves in each others’ eyes for awhile and then Max poured cereals in his bowl, and reached for the milk.
”Did it help?” he asked, referring to the healing.
”Yes, some,” Liz answered truthfully. ”The cough is gone..for now.”
Max smiled as he poured milk over his cereals. He knew that the symptoms would be returning soon, but he was happy that he could ease the pain for now.
”That’s good,” he said.
”So what are you up to today?” Liz asked.
”I’m gonna go and get some things from your apartment, and then I’m gonna do some grocery shopping - well, just take care of some things I guess,” Max said.
”That’s good,” Liz said, feeling a bit sad that she couldn’t go with him. She had only been in this warehouse for less than a day, but the isolation was already creeping up on her. However, as long as Max was with her, she didn’t feel lonely. But Max was not going to be here today, and she was afraid that would be a problem.
”Nothing, sir,” the same man that had given him the videotapes reported.
”What do you mean ‘nothing’! It’s a child and a woman. How difficult can it be to find a child and a woman?!”
”Well, sir. Some of the men claim that they’ve heard that she’s with Zan, sir.”
”She’s with Zan?”
”We can actually use that to our advantage. If Zan have found her, he will insist on keeping them hidden. But he will probably need to go and buy things. Acting like everything is all right. That’s when we’ll follow him - and he will lead us straight to them.”
”The men are wondering what we’re going to do about Lantier and Ava, sir?”
There was a pause as he thought out a decision.
”Have Lantier terminated. For some unknown reason he had already made the royal four believe that he is dead. He’s of no use to us as a living dead.”
”And what about Ava, sir?”
”She is infiltrated in the target group. She can be of some use to us. Check her up. See if the royal four trust her. If they seem to do, contact her and offer her a deal.”
”What deal should she be offered, sir?”
”It doesn’t matter. Make something up. She will not get anything out of it anyway. As soon as we have no use of her any longer she’s worth nothing and she will be terminated as well.”
Max drove around the warehouse and parked the car behind the building.
”Is something the matter?” Kira asked him as he stepped out of the car.
”Take Emma inside,” Max said. ”I don’t want her to play outside any longer.”
”Daddy!!!” he heard his daughter’s voice and saw her running towards him, with a smile from ear to ear. ”You’re back!!!”
Max crouched and caught her as she ran into his open arms. He hugged her close to him, some of the demons in his mind disappearing when he knew that she was all right. He kissed the top of her head and rose with her in his arms.
”What has happened?” Kira asked suspiciously, as he followed Max and Emma inside the warehouse.
”I was followed, but I managed to shake them off - I hope,” Max said. ”The point is, if they ever come out here, they’re suppose to believe that this is an abandoned warehouse.”
Kira nodded. Max put Emma down on the ground and headed for Liz’s and his bedroom.
”Is Liz in here?” he asked.
Kira turned around quickly.
”I don’t think it’s such a good idea to go in there,” Kira said. Liz had certainly put him in an awful situation earlier, when she had made him promise that Max wasn’t to go into the bedroom. Kira was pretty certain that she was to be his future queen and an order was an order. But Max was the king, and his order weighed just as much - if not more.
”Why?” Max asked suspiciously, his hand on the doorknob.
”She doesn’t want anyone to come in,” Kira answered.
Max couldn’t help but feel frightened by that.
”How long has she been in there?” Max asked.
”About five hours,” Kira said.
Max lifted his hand and knocked on the door.
”Liz?” he called through the thick door.
”Don’t come in, Max!” he heard Liz’s muffled voice answer.
”What’s wrong?” Max asked.
”Nothing’s wrong!” Liz said. ”I just wanna be left alone.”
Max paused for a couple of seconds. He didn’t buy it.
”All right, I’m coming in,” he said and opened the door. Liz hadn’t even bothered to lock the door. She considered that act useless when she lived with a bunch of aliens.
Liz was laying on her side on the bed, a blanket spread over her. As Max entered, she pulled the blanket higher over her face.
”Max! Can’t you respect that I want some privacy?” Liz said.
Now when Max didn’t have a door separating them, he noticed that her voice sounded different.
”What’s going on, Liz?” he asked and moved closer.
”Don’t come any closer!” Liz said as she heard him move.
That sure didn’t make Max feel any calmer.
”Liz, please tell me. Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it together,” Max said.
”I don’t want you to see me,” Liz said.
”Why?” Max asked confused.
”I just don’t. Now, can you please leave the room?” Liz begged.
Max looked her over, her small form covered by the green blanket.
”Let me help you,” Max said.
Liz didn’t answer.
Liz inhaled deeply.
”I look terrible, Max,” she said.
Max smiled. What’s that all? She was beautiful to him, didn’t she know that?
”No, you don’t,” Max said.
”You haven’t seen me, Max,” Liz said.
Max grew suspicious and confused again. What was she talking about?
”Can you please stop talking in riddles?” Max said.
Liz took another deep breath.
”Okay, then help me,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.
Max nodded slowly to himself, before he approached the bed. Now he was scared about what had happened. He kneeled beside her bed and she pulled down the blanket from her face. Max couldn’t help but inhale sharply, and Liz grimaced as he did.
”Oh God, what happened?” Max asked, tracing his fingers along her face. Her face was completely swollen up. She couldn’t open her eyes because of the swelling. Her cheeks were swollen, as was her throat.
”I don’t know,” Liz answered and Max understood why her voice sounded different. Her lips were swollen as well, and she probably had swelling on the inside of her throat, affecting her vocal cords. ”It’s probably the blocking.”
Max traced her forehead and noticed that she was burning up - she had a fever. He lowered his hand and softly caressed her cheek with his hand, and Liz leaned into it - needing his strength.
”Maybe it becomes worse when you’re not here,” she continued. ”Maybe I’m addicted to you.”
Max smiled sadly.
”Normally I would be happy to hear that,” he said. ”But not under these circumstances. This means that my absence hurts you.”
”Well, it does. I never like it when you’re away and now I have to suffer these symptoms as well,” Liz tried to joked and made an attempt to smile - but it looked more like a grimace.
Max threaded his fingers through her hair.
”Roll over on your back,” he said softly.
Liz nodded and changed position.
”You don’t have swelling anywhere else?” Max asked.
”No, only my face and my throat,” Liz answered.
”Take some deep breaths and relax,” Max said and he saw the tension in Liz visibly disappear. He put his hands on the sides of her head, burrowing his fingertips in her soft hair - and concentrated on her. It didn’t take long before he was one with her. He found the water that had accumulated in her tissues, unable to drain from her cells. He focused on making an artificial concentration gradient of the solutes in her tissues to make the water leave her cells with her blood and flow to her kidneys. As the water balance was being restored, Max searched the rest of her body. Searching for any other symptoms. Because he knew Liz Parker. And he knew that if she was suffering from something else, she would not tell him until it was serious. To his surprise, he found that her ankle was sprained - she had seemed to walk normally to him. There was some water in her lungs - the signs of early pneumonia. He took care of that as well before he separated from her. They both shivered as the contact was broken. The feeling of loneliness surging through them. Max looked at Liz and saw that she was once again back to the person before the swelling. However, there was still much left to make her look like the old Liz Parker. Even though she slept good every night - in his arms - she had bruises under her eyes, her skin had a grayish tone and her cheek bones were very prominent.
She opened her eyes, and those big beautiful eyes - that seemed even larger in her emaciated face - met his.
”Am I still Quasimodo?” she asked.
Max shook his head. Liz smiled weakly as she rose into sitting position and wrapped her arms around him.
”Thank you,” she said.
He held her close to him, and realized that now was as good as ever to bring up what he had wanted to talk to her about for ages.
”Liz, we need to talk,” Max said gently.
Liz pulled away from him, and her confused eyes searched his face.
”About what?” she asked, her voice even.
”About what really happened five years ago....when I asked you out to that Gomez concert,” Max said, not wanting to say ‘when I saw you in bed with Kyle’.
Liz took a deep breath.
”How much do you know?” she asked, her fingers playing with the buttons of his shirt.
”I know what Maria told me, but I want to hear it from you,” Max said.
”Maria told you?” Liz asked. She knew that she should be hurt, but she was merely happy that Maria had done that. If Liz had died, she wouldn’t have wanted to take that secret into the grave with her - she had always wanted Max to know. And now she finally had her opportunity to tell him...everything.
”You know the night when you sang outside my window?” Liz asked.
Max turned red and looked down at her fingers, still playing with his buttons.
”That was embarrassing, huh?” he said, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth.
”Yes..yes it was,” Liz said, giggling a little at the memory of it, but then turned serious again.
”Anyway, behind me up on the balcony stood another version of you.”
Max looked up into her eyes.
”He said that he was from the future - 2014 - and he wanted to prevent what had happened in that lifetime from happening. So he had the Granolith modified into a time machine, which could be used for time travels.”
Max nodded, not wanting to interrupt her. The biggest shock with this story, he had already gotten through Maria.
”The future version of you practically told me that the future was destroyed because of our love.” Max shook his head at this absurdity. ”He told me that Tess left because of us being together. You treated her badly, Max - and she got fed up with it and one day she left. All the four of you formed a complete unit. Without Tess in it, you weren’t as strong as you should’ve been and everything went downhill as our enemies attacked. That’s why you came back, in order to stop Tess from leaving. And the fantastic solution to that,” Liz couldn’t hide the hint of sarcasm in her voice, ”was to break us up. The future version of you wanted me to help him make you fall out of love with me.”
Max nodded, her words sinking in.
”So I tried...and I tried. But you wouldn’t let go off me. I hated hurting you over and over again, especially since everything I did to make you stay away from me was a lie. So I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t. You wouldn’t give up, so I gave up instead. But that’s when the future version of you told me that Michael had died just before he went through the time machine,” Max flinched at the mention of his best friend’s name, ”and Isabel had died two weeks before that.” Max swallowed deeply, mentally imagining the loss of his sister. Then he nodded, understanding dawning on him. So, that’s why she did it. ”I couldn’t be so selfish to put our love in front of their lives. I couldn’t sacrifice them, Max. I guess that was what pushed me over the edge. That’s also when Maria told me that Michael had cheated on her with Courtney, and I realized what I had to do. The one thing that you wouldn’t forgive me for. So I staged it, so that you would think that I slept with Kyle. And..it worked. Future Max disappeared, because I had changed the future - and I was alone.”
Max put his arms around her and pulled her close to him.
”Why couldn’t you tell me?” Max asked. ”We could’ve come up with something together.”
”I guess I was afraid that if Tess saw us together, she would leave anyway - even if you treated her well or not. She was always out to get you, you know. That was what she had been taught under her whole upbringing - that she was suppose to be with you. She was to come to Roswell, find you and you would instantly fall in love with her. That was the only purpose of her life....and when I stood in the way of that...well, we know how it all ended when we actually got together.... she and Nasedo attacking me.”
Max nodded and hugged her closer to him. They sat there for a while in silence before Liz pulled away from him to look him into his eyes.
”I would never do anything like that to you – never – not on purpose,” Liz said, referring to what his future version had made her do. ”It was the most difficult thing I ever have to do in my whole life...it was even worse than giving birth to Emma - even though it almost killed me. I had nightmares of you watching me with such hatred in your eyes-”
”I could never hate you. I never hated you,” Max said.
Liz brought up her hand to his cheek.
”I know that now,” she whispered. ”But when I saw the hurt in your eyes - and I knew that I had put it there - that I was responsible for your misery - I just wanted to die. So, know this Max. I would never do that intentionally. I only did it because you asked me to. It was a future version of you. But it was still you. I would do anything for you. I would die for you.” With that she refuted all the lies she had told him that night when she had told him that all she ever wanted was a normal life.
Max felt tears sting his eyes and he did the only thing he could do. He cradled her face with his hands and pulled her towards him, their lips meeting in a tender kiss that spoke volumes of their deep love.
|posted on 10-Feb-2003 8:10:58 AM|
He hit the brakes. It felt like the car couldn’t stop fast enough. His heart was slamming against his ribs. No, oh no. Those were the only words running through his head. Over and over again. He could see her in the dark alley. She was all alone, he had left her and they had taken her from him. He ran to her, and kneeled beside her. No, she couldn’t be dead! She couldn’t be dead. But she was so cold. So cold. He turned her around and looked into her face. Her eyes were open, but they held no soul any longer. They were vacant - doors to emptiness. Liz had left her body.
He came out of the dream with a gasp, his body bolting upwards. It took him awhile to orient himself. It was all dark around him - the light of the moon shining through one of the high small windows, but then he realized where he was and he heard her soft breathing and his daughter’s gently, peaceful breathing and he closed his eyes and started to take deep breaths to calm his racing heart. It was only a dream. It was only a dream. He laid down beside her, his eyes mesmerized by how her skin glowed in the moonlight. He gently traced her bare arm with his fingers. She’s alive, she’s alive. He told himself over and over again. He had been living a nightmare for years. He had been so lost without her, and everyday since he had found her again, he was amazed that she actually was with him. That he could once again see her smile, hear her laughter, experience her soft caresses...hold her in his arms. Her skin was so soft, so smooth. Flawless. She had always been perfect to him. Ever since the first time he had laid his eyes on her - stepping out of the schoolbus in third grade.
The memory of that day was still vivid in his mind. Isabel had been all excited to meet new people - to meet kids her own age. She always was so social. He had been terrified. He hadn’t wanted to leave his protected haven, which he had started to consider his home. He didn’t want to socialize. He didn’t want to go out in the real world. The real world scared him. Isabel and he had always known they were different. They had also known that it would be dangerous to tell people that. Isabel dealt with everything through getting as much attention as possible. If she could be liked by other people, she wouldn’t feel rejected - she wouldn’t feel different. And she got what she wanted. She was always one of the most popular girls in school. There were girls admiring her. But she never really let anyone in. Because they both had human feelings. They were both afraid of being rejected - of being looked upon as a horrible disgusting creatures. So Max did the opposite to Isabel. He hid. He became known as a loner. A mystery to most people. Of course, that backfired a bit, since most girls found that so much more interesting - intriguing. However, there was always only one girl that mattered to Max. It was the girl who had calmed him down as he had nervously stepped off that yellow schoolbus that day. It was the girl who had taken his hand during the break, as he stood lonely in a corner of the school-yard - watching. It was the girl who had understood enough not to drag him out on the school-yard to all the people, but instead had sat down with him under a tree, and taught him how to blow bubbles with chewing gums.
Max planted a soft kiss on her shoulder, and Liz stirred. Max held his hand still, waiting to see if he had awakened her.
”Max...?” she murmured, still in her dreamless sleep.
”Shhh, go back to sleep,” he whispered.
She sighed lightly and her breathing evened out, signifying that she had gone back to sleep. Max positioned himself next to her. She was laying on her side, her back towards him. He snuggled as close to her as he could and wrapped one of his arms around her, holding her close to him. Liz, still asleep, took his hand and laced her fingers with his, pressing their clasped hands to her stomach - sighing in content. Max laid his head in the crook of her shoulder and breathed in the scent of her hair. He kissed the side of her throat gently.
”I love you,” he whispered. Feeling like his was truly home, he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
A week later
”Is everything set for tonight?” Max asked Kira. Kira nodded.
”And they can be completely trusted?”
”They’ve been loyal to me since we arrived on Earth, thirty years ago. Don’t worry, I’ve put my best men on it.”
”Be sure not to leave Emma out of your sight for even one second.”
Kira smiled at him. Max was really a true leader, and when it came to his small family he was the king he should have been even in his former life. However, then he had been married to Ava, and in the absence of Liz’s support he had made bad decisions which had resulted in the fall of his kingdom and his own death.
”You can count on me,” Kira said. ”I would rather die than let anything happen to your girl.”
Max nodded, raking his hand through his hair.
”Am I doing the right thing here, Kira?” he asked, letting his insecurities shine through. ”Everything has been cool for a week, but what if something happens... perhaps we should just call this off. Emma is safer with us-”
”Max,” Kira interrupted. ”You’ve been planning this for two days. And as you have been saying, Liz needs this.”
Max nodded. He wanted to do this for Liz. He knew that she was feeling worse. She was slowly deteriorating, and he didn’t want to just stand by and passively watch. He had done everything he could. He had eased every ailment by healing, or feeding her with energy. But as long as she was blocking him, he couldn’t heal her properly. On the outside she was being strong - putting on an optimistic face - but Max knew her too well to know that the outside didn’t reflect the inside. They needed some time alone. Even though Max and Kira tried to take some responsibility and pressure off Liz’s shoulders by taking care of Emma, she was always in some way guarding her daughter - unable to cut loose too much from years of being the only one there for her. Max just hoped that Liz was able to see what he was trying to do and not have her mind on Emma the whole night.
”Okay,” Max said, and with a nod gave Kira the green flag to stick to the plan.
Liz came out from the bathroom, having enjoyed a long hot bath. She stopped, her hand pausing in the movement of pulling her hair into a pony-tail on her head. The big storage room, which was furnished with a dining table, some chairs, a TV, and a couch - together with the small kitchen area of course, was illuminated in the soft and warm light of candle lights. Max was sitting on the couch, eyes locked on her and a small anticipating smile on his face.
”Max....” Liz said slowly, moving towards him. ”What’s going on?”
”I have a surprise for you,” Max said. ”And it’s still not too late.”
”What are you talking about?” Liz asked confused. Although she couldn’t help but smile at him. He was different. Excitement was coming off him in waves. He rose from the couch and took her hand, tugging her towards the front door.
”Max...I’m only wearing a robe,” Liz giggled, as she tried to keep up with Max.
”Oh, that doesn’t matter,” Max said.
”Maybe not to you,” Liz mumbled. The cool air hit her in the face, feeling even cooler as her hair was still wet from the bath.
”I have a blanket for you,” Max said, and came to a stop in front of a ladder pushed up against the house wall.
Liz looked at him with amusement.
”Max, where are we going?” she asked, trying to sound irritated, but her amusement at Max’s behavior shone through in her voice.
”We’re going up on the roof,” Max said. Liz looked at him, trying to figure out who he was and what he had done with her Max.
”Is that so wise, Max?” Liz asked. ”What if someone sees us?”
”I have everything taken care of,” Max said, as he searched her face. His eyes locked with hers. ”Please, Liz. I want you to see something. Besides, the roof is lowered in a hollow, no one will be able to see us once we’re up on the roof.”
Liz felt herself drowning in his deep warm eyes once again.
With a nod she turned and started climbing the ladder. Max was right behind her, ready to catch her if she fell. Even how much Liz tried to put on a charade that she was fine, Max knew better and he wasn’t gonna let her fall if she couldn’t climb. They reached the roof, and Max’s suspicions about Liz’s weak condition were confirmed by her labored breathing. She had climbed a four meter high ladder, and she was almost completely out of breath.
”Liz..you’re okay?” Max asked, his excitement over the surprise he had planned for her momentarily forgotten.
”Max...” Liz breathed, her voice filled with astonishment and admiration. The otherwise not so attractive roof surface had been transformed into the most romantic place Liz had ever seen. A blanket had been spread out, and candle lights were casting their soft light over the blanket. The roof was covered in the soft red color coming from the descending sun, illuminating the white rose petals which were spread out on the roof making them appear slightly pink.
”It’s beautiful,” Liz said breathlessly.
Max felt his heart swam over with his love for her.
”I thought we could watch the sunset,” Max said.
”I can’t believe you did this,” Liz whispered stunned. Max took her hand and guided her to the blanket. She sat down on the blanket and Max took another blanket laying close by and wrapped it around her body. Liz’s eyes followed his every movement. Max sat down beside her, and noticed that she was looking at him.
”What?” he asked, smiling.
”Do you know how amazing you are?” she asked. The red sun was wrapping them up in a warm color, but even with the red light shining on his face Liz could see that he was blushing lightly at her statement.
Liz’s eyes was so full of admiration for him, that he found it difficult to meet her intense gaze. He had always been sort of modest, and he never really knew what to do with compliments.
He took her hand and raised it to his lips and softly placed a kiss on the back of it.
Liz shook her head, still trying to grasp how lucky she was.
”You are always there for me, Max. Taking care of me. You heal me everyday. And am not only talking about your powers - you heal my mind. My heart. But I need to know, Max. Do you ever regret it?”
Max looked at her in confusion.
”What do you mean?”
Liz took both his hands in hers.
”I don’t want you to waste your life away, looking after me...and Emma.”
Max looked at her as if she had just grown a third eye.
”Liz, are you kidding me?” he asked.
Liz shook her head firmly, completely serious.
”Your enemies can use us against you. I know you Max, and you would drop everything - sacrifice everything - if we were in danger-”
”Yes, Liz. I would,” Max said. ”Liz, I love you. I love you more than life itself. Without you..I was as good as dead. And I love Emma. Don’t ever think that you are a burden. You light up my life, Liz.” From anyone else that would probably sound cheesy, but Max spoke from his heart - tried putting words to feelings that no words could really describe. ”Without you I’m nothing.”
Tears were shimmering in Liz’s eyes as she leaned into him, and put her lips on his. His lips were warm, soft and he tasted so good. So much Max.
”I love you,” Liz said against his lips.
”I love you,” Max said and put his arms around her waist - pulling her closer. They were soon lost in each other, the sunset forgotten. They were only feeling. Feeling the texture of the other’s lips, feeling the scent, feeling the bodies under their touching hands.
”Liz...,” Max murmured against her lips.
”Mmm,” Liz said, before she caught his lips again.
”Mmmm,” Liz murmured again, not having any thoughts at all on a sunset. She could feel Max’s mouth turn up into a grin, and she slowly pulled away - smiling back at him.
”What?” she asked.
Max looked at her. Her lips were swollen, her cheeks were rosy and her eyes were vibrant. She looked more alive than he had seen her since they had moved into the warehouse.
”You want to see the sunset?” he asked again, tucking a loose strand of her dark hair behind her ear, his fingers lingering on the silky skin of her cheek.
Liz turned her head and looked out at the sky, as if suddenly noticing that there was actually a sun out there, about to go down in a cascade of colors. She nodded slowly as she turned her head back to him.
”Sure, we can do that,” she said.
Max laid down on his stomach, pulling Liz along with him. He pulled her close to his side, correcting the blanket over her, so that she wouldn’t get cold. Liz snuggled under the arm he had put around her, positioning her head on her hands as she looked out at the beautiful sunset. They watched the sun go down during the next ten minutes, then the darkness started to spread around them - stopped only by the wall of light spread from the candle lights that were surrounding them.
”Max, where’s Emma,” Liz asked softly.
Max was actually surprised that she hadn’t asked earlier.
”She’s at Maria and Michael’s,” Max said.
”Is it safe?” Liz asked.
”Kira is with them, and some of his men are keeping watch outside the apartment complex,” Max answered reassuringly. ”Actually, some of his men are keeping watch here as well.”
Liz wiggled under him and finally managed to turn on her back, Max following her movements with an amused grin. Liz looked him straight in the eye. With a smile on her lips, she arched one of her eyebrows.
”Uh huh,” Max answered, suddenly having a strong urge to feel the texture of the glowing skin of her neck against his lips.
”You have really planned this, haven’t you?” Liz asked amused.
Max gave into the temptation and lowered his mouth to her neck, raining small kisses over her neck. Liz tilted her head backwards, giving him more access and Max moved his body more on top of hers.
”I wanted you...” Max said and then nibbled at the sensitive skin in the crook of her shoulder with his lips, ”....to have a night off.”
Liz cradled his face with her fingers, lifting his face from what he was doing and met his eyes - craving the taste of his lips on hers.
”I love how your mind works,” she said before she attacked his lips with a passion that took Max’s breath away. Their mouths made love to each other, as their hands went on their own discoveries. Liz started to unbutton Max shirt, which went him totally unnoticed in the heat of the moment, and put her hands inside his shirt. As he felt her small, cool hands on his warm chest he buried his hand in her hair, pulling her lips even closer to his. Liz hands traced the firm and hard muscles of his chest. She still remember every single detail of his chest, even though it had been five years since she last had been able to feel him. She moved her hands up and down his chest, as her lips were locked on his. His hands left her hair, and moved downwards, slowly followed the curves of her body to come to rest on her hips. His hands found their way inside her robe and started moving upwards again - now without the clothes hindering him from feeling her bare soft skin under his hands - as his lips left hers and he started kissing a trail down her jawline. Max’s gentle caresses over her stomach and ribs, were doing havoc to her body. His hands heated up her skin and the chilly evening air didn’t bother her any longer. He was setting her body on fire with his touches. The need for him was so intense, she wanted to curl up inside of him, in that warm and protective place inside of him that was the essence of Max Evans. Max’s hands came into contact with her breast and she instinctively arched her body against his hands.
Max paused and searched her face. Her eyes were closed, her lips slightly parted, her breath leaving it in small and quick puffs.
”Liz...” he managed to say, himself struggling with his breathing. Liz opened her eyes, and the second her eyes met his he knew that she was ready.
”Max...don’t stop,” she whispered. She didn’t have to beg him twice. He lowered his head and captured her lips in a heart-searing kiss, as his hands moved the robe aside - his hands finding her breast. Liz moaned deeply in her throat, as he run his hand over her nipple before he let his mouth follow suite. Liz couldn’t think one coherent thought. Her mind was turning into mush under Max’s touches. She could only feel. Feel the feelings that were filled with more pleasure than she ever thought imaginable. Her whole body was tingling from the sensations he caused in her - every nerve ending was reacting with full effect. She could feel her body awakening - springing to life. She needed to feel him. Max was taken by surprised as Liz suddenly rolled them over, positioning herself on top of Max. She quickly removed his shirt, and then her hands went to his jeans, starting to tug down his zipper. Her movements were fast - urgent. There was an emptiness building inside of her, and she needed him. She needed him to fill it.
Max looked at her hovering above him, hot blood racing through his veins. He could feel his heart pounding, going one hundred miles a minute. Her face was shimmering in gentle glow of the candle lights, her cheeks flustered, her eyes chocolate dark, her hair fanning out around her face - teasing him as it brushed against his warm naked chest. God, he wanted her. He wanted her so badly.
Then he felt her hands touch him where his desire for her was the greatest and a tremble went through his body, as a low groan vibrated deep down in his throat. He felt Liz remove his pants, pulling them down his thighs and calves - freeing him of the pressure he was experiencing in the too tight jeans. And then she was over him again. Planting kisses on his bare chest. Max reached his hands to her head and cradled her face, pulling her lips to his - fusing them together. His hands went inside her robe again, that was still preventing him from truly feeling her, and pushed it off her from her shoulders. Liz flushed her body against Max’s, and Max could finally feel her naked skin against his - flesh to flesh. Her nipples were hard, creating pleasurable friction as they moved slightly against him as they continued devouring each other with their mouths. In the still night the only sound that could be heard was the sound of their lips moving against each other and their soft moans of pleasure. The outside world was lost to them in their heaven of pleasure.
”Max,” Liz gasped. Max gently rolled her on her back again, so that he could see her. All of her. He started to untie the band that held her robe together, but finally he tugged the whole robe over her hips, with the knot still tied as he couldn’t concentrate enough to get it loose. He paused as she was now laying in front of her, completely vulnerable to him. She looked different. Some bruises covered her body, that not even the growing darkness could hide, and she was so much skinnier. He suddenly got insecure, and started to question what they were doing.
Her breathing heavy, Liz opened her eyes as Max stopped and she searched his eyes. The desire and passion was still evident in his eyes, but now he also looked....sad.
”Max...what?” she whispered. The chilly breeze was touching her skin and she suddenly felt cold without Max’s touches.
”Are you okay?” Max asked. ”I’m not...I’m not hurting you am I?” She looked so fragile, she looked like she might break.
Liz raised her hand and put it behind his head, drawing him down towards her.
”Never been better,” she whispered, her voice husky, and then she kissed him. ”Max, please make love to me. I need you.”
Max felt her love flow over him, and he basked it in, moving his hands across her body again, caressing it with such gentleness and love that Liz got tears in her eyes.
”Liz...do we- have we?” Max stuttered as he felt Liz tug on his boxers. Liz nodded, with a smile on her face.
”Don’t worry, Max. I’m on the pill,” Liz said. Max smiled too and helped her take his boxers off. Max stopped and looked into her eyes.
”I love you, Liz Parker.”
”I love you,” Liz answered, and he slowly entered her. The couple was unaware of the silverish glow that radiated off their bodies, encircling them as they were filled with the greatest pleasure they had ever felt, as they finally completed each other. Two halves coming together, becoming whole. Their bodies were melting together, becoming one. And as their movements brought them closer to their climax the connection was restored, opening up wide between them. Images, feelings, emotions, thoughts, passions, and an indescribable love floated their senses and tears trickled down their cheeks as they could finally feel each other in every way known. Their union not only melting their bodies together, but also their minds, hearts and souls.
The sun had descended and the darkness was spreading like a blanket over New Mexico. On a roof top on a warehouse somewhere outside of the small town Roswell, the darkness was penetrated by the flicker of ten white candle lights. Positioned in between the candles that were positioned in a circle, was a blanket. The modest lightning was illuminating naked skin, partly covered up by another blanket. Under the blanket, limbs were entwined, arms were embracing, fingers were laced. The light kept the darkness at a safe distance from the sleeping couple, that had finally come home.