posted on 6-Sep-2001 1:49:45 PM

My first ever story LOL...

Disclaimer: As much as I wish I owned Roswell, I don't. I'm not making any profit off of this. I'm just a poor college kid so take pity on me.
Summary: When Max and Liz's life changes suddenly, they have to weather the storm together -- or risk losing not only each other, but their lives.
Category: Max/Liz
Rating: R/NC-17
Spoilers: Thru Sexual Healing


Liz Parker dreamed about Max Evans sometimes.

She supposed it was normal; she was a teenager, after all. Her body was ruled by hormones, the same as every other teen she knew. But she guessed that most teens didn't have dreams like this.

Dreams where her body was exposed, Max, caressing and biting and loving her. Dreams that made her wake up in a sweat, her entire being shuddering.

Then there was the dream about the locker room at school, when she turned around, and there he was. In that particular fantasy, he made love to her against the wall of the shower stall, his clothing strewn around the wet tiles.

Max had seen that one in her mind. He knew all her fantasies, the way she knew his past: the army, the desert, the terror of being alone.

She didn't think it was a very fair deal.

And when she woke up in his arms on the desert floor, her one regret was that she had not fulfilled any of her fantasies; she hadn't gone "all the way," so to speak.

So she made it her new goal.

Liz's life had been filled with goals. Get straight A's, get into a good college, make my parents proud of me.

This one was much more difficult.

Max wasn't cooperating. After several failed attempts, he refused to go any further, saying that he would hurt her. He was afraid of hurting her. Liz wasn't afraid. She was determined to turn seventeen no longer a virgin.

She wanted to ask Maria about it, but chose not to. Maria seemed a bit terrified of what could happen if a human and a Czechoslavakian had sex. She cited pregnancy and unknown diseases like the health worker that taught sex ed in the eighth grade. In fact, Liz began to wonder if Maria hadn't taken notes on that particular school day and then kept them just for this occasion.

So she planned her seduction with no outside help at all.


Liz stayed up late into the night. When her parents went to bed she made the excuse that she still had a ton of homework; they should just go to sleep. Then she had to creep into the hallway to make sure they were asleep. She opened the door to their room, wincing when it squeaked loudly.

They were both there, snoring in synchrony with each other. Liz sighed and tiptoed back to her room. She opened the bottom drawer in her dresser and slipped the package of condoms she had hidden into her coat pocket. Pregnancy and diseases, check.

She opened the window and walked onto the balcony, and then slipped over the edge. Her mind was focused intently on the seduction ahead. Creep into Max's room, and wake him in the night with a big surprise.

Liz, however, got the great shock for now. Max was beside her when she got to the bottom of the ladder.

She shrieked in surprise, and Max's eyes widened. "Ssshhhh," he hissed.

She looked around, and then whispered, "What are you doing here?"

He shrugged. "Waiting for you."

"How did you-- never mind."

"I wanted to ask you something, Liz."

She grabbed his hand, hoping his warmth would seep into her in the cold desert night. "Can we go to your house?"

"No, Michael is there. His apartment's plumbing decided to stop working, so he's staying with us until it's fixed."

"Oh. Well, is there someplace we could go?"

"Ummmm...yes." He led her to his Jeep and helped her in. She shivered in the cold.

"Couldn't you have a car with a top?"

"At least I have a car."

Liz sighed. Nothing was going the way she had planned it. "Where are we going?"

"You'll see."


Max turned the car off the road and shut off the engine. Liz still had no clue where they were, but she could hear the gentle swish of water in the distance. Max took her hand and helped her down, ever the gentleman. She smiled to herself. "Where are we?"

"The reservoir," he said, leading her toward the sounds of water. He stopped suddenly and jerked her back as the ground came to an abrupt halt. Liz could see blurry stars reflected off the water below as the water lapped the shores in the night wind. "There isn't anyplace more private than this."

She supposed he was right. "What did you want to tell me?"

"I...I just wanted to say that I think we should stop."


"Stop...being with each other. Physically. I mean, we were just doing it because of the messages and now that those are gone, maybe we should stop."

Liz swallowed a lump in her throat, half in anger and half in pain. "So in other words, you were just using me to find out about your past. You didn't really care about anything but that."

Max remained silent, not reminding her of when he asked if she wanted to stop. She knew as well as he did.

"Well, I can't stop, Max. Not while I'm still here. I can't look at you every day in school without wanting you. I can't sit next to you in bio. I just...I can't."

He stared at the reservoir below. "I'll leave, then."


"I'll leave town. You won't have to see me anymore. Ever again."

Liz's lower lip quivered and she tried to hide it in the dark. But Max knew. She could do nothing about it; he could sense all her emotions while he held her hand.

"It won't be so bad. I can get a job someplace. Get my GED. It shouldn't be too tough."

"But what about...Michael and Isabel? What will they do?"

"They'll understand."

"But I won't," Liz mumbled.

Max was silent again. He could say much more in silence than most people could say with a thousand words. Finally, he said, "Let's go home, Liz."

Liz shook her head. "No."


"No. We're not going home."

"Liz, it's two o'clock in the morning. We have school tomorrow."

"I am not going home until you tell me that you aren't leaving."


"We can't be together so instead you just leave? You leave everyone here, hanging, wondering what happened to you? You can't do that. There are too many people who love you too much. I love you, Max. I would die if you left."

Max shuddered and wrapped her into his arms. She was crying freely now. "How could you even say that? You can't leave me. You can't."

"I know. I know," he whispered, rubbing her back.

She sniffled and looked up. "You know what?"

"I know that I can't leave. I know that I love you too. That's why I wanted to leave. I can't have that sort of attachment."

"Now you sound like Michael," she muttered into his chest, and he laughed.

"It's true. Liz, just being around you, I can hurt you. I can't hurt you."

"You would hurt me more if you left."

Liz felt him hug her harder, and she reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I love you, Max Evans."

"I love you, Liz Parker," he said, and kissed her gently.

The kiss didn't stay gentle for long. Liz gasped and ran her fingers over his hard chest. He moaned and reached for the edges of her shirt. She let him drag it over her head, and reached back for the clasp of her bra, but suddenly he wasn't there any more. He was crouched on the ground in a ball.

"Max? Max?"

"Liz..." he groaned. "It's Michael and Isabel..."

"What? What about them?" she asked, pulling her shirt back on and kneeling next to him.

"They're...oh God..." he said, and collapsed into her arms.

"What? What's going on?" Liz was nearing hysteria. Max, normally so calm, so placid, was shuddering in her arms, tears running down his face. He sat up abruptly.

"We have to go. Now! We might...we might be able to reach them."

She barely reached the jeep and swung herself in before he put it into gear and swerved out of view of the reservoir.


Liz remained silent the whole way back to town. Max drove like a madman, ignoring stop signs and doing as fast as the junker jeep would go, which was about one hundred miles per hour. She was no fool; something terrible had happened and Max had evidently felt it while it was happening.

He sped through Roswell. Astonishingly, no cops followed them.

They soon found out why.

Nearly the entire police and fire fighting force of the city were parked in front of the Evans' home. The flames engulfing it shot towards the night sky like a phoenix rising. Liz moaned, but Max's lips tightened visibly. He accelerated again.

"Max, what are you doing?"

"I have to see about Michael."

The rest of the fire fighters were parked at Michael's apartment complex, half-heartedly fighting a blaze that had already demolished most of the run-down building. Liz looked at the flames, then back at Max, tears streaming down her face. Max began to shake visibly. She put her arms around him, crying onto his shoulder.

"Come on, Max," she murmured. "We need to go tell those cops they don't need to look for your-for your body."

Max shook his head. "No."


"We can't, Liz. Whoever it is that did that, they'll come back. They'll try to kill me too. It's better if I just disappear."

"Max, you can't just assume-"

"I can't assume what? It's not coincidence when the homes of all the resident aliens burn down in one night. That's not coincidence."

His anger shocked her. She expected him to be upset, sobbing, crying like she was, but instead he was mad. She couldn't leave him alone. "I'm going with you."

He looked away. "No, you're not."

"Yes, I am, Max. And I'd like to see you try and stop me."

Chapter 2

They drove west for three hours. When they reached the western side of
Albuquerque, Max pulled the jeep off to the side of the road.

"Do you have any money?"

Liz stirred and blinked, trying to shake herself out of the daze she had been in since they had sped out of Roswell at four a.m.

"I have my ATM card with me. There's about three hundred dollars in that account, and about a thousand in my college account."

"Can you access that account?"

"Yeah. Maybe. If we can find another branch of my bank around."

Max rubbed his eyes. "Good," he said. "I have about two hundred with me and
I could get more. But right now we need to find a place to sleep."

Liz couldn't have agreed more.


They stepped into the "lobby" of the West Desert Motor Inn at six o'clock in the morning. The man at the desk looked up and grinned, like he saw this sort of thing all the time.

"We charge nightly," he told Max before he even reached the desk. "Forty bucks a night."

Max reached for his wallet and pulled out the cash. The man reached under the desk and revealed a room key, but when Max reached for it he said, "Now what are two kiddies like you doing at a motel at six in the morning?"

Max growled. Liz touched his arm lightly. "That's not any of your business," she said, tossing the money at him. She caught the key when he threw it at her.

"I s'pose not," he said, scratching at his yellowed beard. When they were out the door, he reached for the phone and dialed a number from memory. "Jack?" he said, when the man on the other end picked up. "You had any runaways reported lately?"


Liz insisted on unlocking the door with the key, even when it got stuck and she had to wiggle it around in the lock. She was afraid, in some secret part of her brain, that Max's continual defiance of the laws of physics and nature in general would cause irreversible damage to something. It could be this half-rotted old door. It could be something at school. It could be -- and she believed this despite his miraculous healing of her -- it could be the next person he tried to heal. She had seen that picture of William Atherton with the glowing handprint on his chest. Was that alien trying to kill, or to heal?

When she finally worked the lock open, Max had to throw his whole weight against the door in order to get it open. Amazingly, it didn't break or fall off the hinges. Max stumbled into the room, daylight cascading after him. One bed took up most of the room and a tiny bathroom peeked from around the corner. There was no closet, only a tiny bureau that looked even older than the carpet, if that was possible.

She stepped inside and saw Max eyeing the single queen-sized bed unhappily. "So who's going to get the bed?" he asked.

Liz's eyes widened. "I'm not sleeping on the floor," she said, glancing at the moldy-looking 70's shag carpet.

Max grimaced. "It didn't seem like a good idea to me either," he admitted.

"Do you mind..."

"No, not at all."

"Well, I guess that's settled."

"I guess so," Max said.


Liz stepped into the shower, relishing the feel of hot water cascading over her skin, washing away the road grime and desert dust. Just as she washed the cheap hotel shampoo out of her hair, the water turned ice-cold. Liz shrieked and hopped out of the shower. She swiped at the faucet to turn off the water and got shampoo in her eyes.

"Shit," she swore. The room's sink was outside of the "bathroom" that held the toilet and the shower. Her only clothes were the filthy ones lying in a pool of water on the ground. There was a singular towel on the metal tower rack.

Wrapping the towel carefully around herself and trying not to touch her stinging eyes, she crept out of the bathroom. Max was sprawled on the bed, sound asleep, though she could barely see him through the cloud of tears that obscured her vision. She leaned over the sink and turned on the faucet, rinsing the shampoo out of her eyes, then dipping her head in the sink to finish what the shower had interrupted. Max slept on, fully clothed, above the covers.

He had gotten no sleep whatsoever the night before; Liz had gotten at least a little. She was running on pure adrenaline, and wasn't really all that tired any more. She needed clothes, at least one change to bring with them if they were to stay on the road. She didn't really want to put her dirty ones back on, but she didn't seem to have much choice.

She snatched the keys off the night table and crept silently out the door, closing it carefully behind her.

Liz drove a few blocks and discovered a small gas station/tourist trap that neither of them had noticed on the way in. It wasn't the nicest-looking place on the planet, but it did sell clothes. And food.

Liz selected two shirts for herself, and one pair of jeans. Both shirts were rather gaudy with "Welcome to the Home of the Aliens" printed across the fronts.
She wondered briefly what Max would think of that. For him she picked out a T-shirt with a rip-off logo pasted across the front, and another pair of jeans in what she hoped was his size.

She sat her purchases down on the counter, barely noticing the old woman who watched her through thick glasses. She went for the refrigerator in the back, grabbing several bottles of water and some snacks. She took her purchases to the counter.

The old woman raised an eyebrow at her. "Just this?"

Liz had the urge to retort, but instead she grabbed an Albuquerque newspaper off the magazine stand and sat it on top of her clothes. "This, too."


Part 3

Author's Note: Be warned, all ye who have entered here: it gets darker and darker from here on out.

When Liz returned to their cheap room, Max was rubbing his eyes. He winced at the blinding afternoon sunshine that poured through the door. "How long have I been asleep?" he asked.

Liz glanced at her watch. "About five hours, I'd say."

"Wow," he commented. "What did you buy?"

"A change of clothes for both of us, and some food."

"Good idea."

Max looked at the pile of clothes she placed on the bureau and laughed. "Shopping spree?"

"Sort of," Liz said, and went to the bathroom to change.


When she came out, feeling refreshed in her cheap new clothes, Max was curled onto the bed in a position remarkably similar to one from the night before.
She took one look at the paper spread out on the top of the dresser and understood why.

"Local teens, family, killed in fires," the headline read. Before she looked away she read the sub headline, which said, "Police suspect arson in 2000 degree blaze."

"Oh God, Max, I'm so sorry," Liz whispered. She sat down on the bed next to him and touched his shoulder.

He turned slightly to look at her. "They can't be gone, Liz. They can't. Isabel, Michael, my mother and father..." He broke into sobs.

She lay down next to him, unsure of how to proceed. This had hit her instantaneously, last night, but it obviously hadn't sunk in on Max's part until now. She had never seen a man, or even a boy, for that matter, cry like this. She reached out and wiped away a tear. Max reached out for her, and she let him wrap her in his arms. She curled up next to him and held him until they both fell asleep.


When she woke, Max was stroking her arm lightly. She opened her eyes slowly, wanting to see if he would stop, knowing she was awake. "Hi, Liz," he said.

"Are you okay?" she asked, knowing that he couldn't possibly be.

He looked toward the dingy ceiling. "No. But I know now what I have to do."

She waited to see if he would tell her what, exactly, that happened to be. "Thank you for being here with me. I know I didn't want you to come, but if you weren't here, I probably would have killed myself last night."

Liz was shocked. "You couldn't do that."

"It was all I thought about last night. I kept drifting in and out of sleep, and whenever I woke up I would think, I should just kill myself and get it over with. I'm worthless."


He silenced her with a finger to her lips. "But when I woke up, you were there. And I thought, Liz loves me. What would she do if I killed myself?"

Liz sniffled and began to cry. She hadn't stopped holding Max, even when she awakened, but now she hugged him tighter and rolled one leg over his. She felt him jump slightly and smiled to herself. "Max, you are not worthless. And you know it."

"I couldn't save the two people closest to me in the world. The two people who knew exactly where I was coming from."

Liz smiled. "I know where you're coming from. And you saved me."

Max smiled, although Liz couldn't see it, and rolled her underneath him suddenly. She didn't mind it at all; the feeling of being pinned to the bed turned her on in some odd way. He kissed her deeply. "I don't think I can ever thank you for what you've done for me." He kissed her again.

"You just did, Max."

He kissed her again, settling his weight gently on top of her. She ran her hands through his soft, thick mop of hair, smiling when he moaned into her mouth.

"Hello? Hello? Open up!"

They jumped apart with a start. Max ran to the door to open it to the motel clerk, who glared when he saw how disheveled Max was. "Your time is more'n up," the man growled. "You gonna pay, or are you gonna get outta here?"

Max looked back at Liz. She was already throwing their clothes into the brown paper bag she had received at the tourist trap. "We're going," Max assured the man.

"That's good," he said gruffly. "I dunno who the hell you kids are, but there've been more people snoopin' around here in the last five hours than I ever seen before in my life."

Max's mouth opened slowly. "All right. Thank you, sir." And he shut the door in the man's face. "Liz?"

"Almost ready. Good thing we haven't packed much, huh?"

Max winced. "I haven't even taken a shower."

Liz didn't even look up. "You can take one at the next place we stop." She closed the bag and lifted it from the table. "Ready!"

Max opened the door again. The old man was gone, and Max thanked him silently for his warning when he saw a familiar-looking car parked across the lot. Topolsky's car. They crept out of their room as silently as possible. Liz threw the bag in the jeep and climbed into the passenger's seat.

"Keys?" Max hissed.

"Oh, yeah. Here," she said, and tossed them to him.

He caught them in an upraised hand but his attention was focused elsewhere. She saw his head disappear below the edge of the jeep. Then he appeared around her side. He circled the car, pausing at each tire, and then he climbed into the driver's seat.

"Max? What was it?"

"Flats. Two of them. Obvious slashings."


"Maybe. But I don't think that even she would be that dumb." Max started the jeep and sped off toward the main road. As he turned the car toward the highway, he looked in the rearview mirror. "Shit!"

Liz turned to look. Topolsky's car was gaining on them quickly. Liz couldn't quite make out who was in the driver's seat, but it didn't look like the blond FBI agent to her. "Max?"

"What?" he asked, checking the mirror again.

"Go faster!"

posted on 6-Sep-2001 1:50:22 PM
Part 4

Author's Note: Thanks for all the feedback! I knew fanfiction was addictive, but I wasn't aware that feedback was. Keep it coming! I'm going through withdrawal! imfromupnorth⊕

They finally lost Topolsky--or Topolsky's colleagues-- after reaching the Arizona border. Liz looked behind them for about the 5000th time, and sighed with relief. She realized that she had been clutching the fabric on the door of the jeep. She allowed her body to relax and winced at muscle aches caused by remaining stiff for hours. She began to rub at the back of her neck irritably.

Max glanced at her quickly. "Are you okay?"

"No, I'm not okay," Liz snapped. "We're on the run from some FBI agents, your whole family just got killed, and my parents, who are still alive, I might add, are probably panicked. They probably think I was in the fire with you."

Max was silent for a minute, and Liz instantly felt guilty. Nothing that had happened was his fault; she had no right to be taking it out on him. "I understand, Liz. But you know that I can never go back."

"Why not?"

"Because they have to know by now that my body was not in that house. That means that I've disappeared to somewhere. And the FBI, or whoever the hell that was who was following us, seems to know where. They knew before--"

Max fell silent suddenly. "What?" Liz asked. "They knew before what?"

"They knew I wasn't in the house before they had finished finding the bodies.
But no one was following us before Albuquerque."

Liz's mouth fell open in astonishment. " they were inside your house before the fire?"

Max said nothing, but Liz could see the tears that had formed in his eyes. "Pull over," she said firmly.

He obeyed, finding a dirt side road and driving a little ways down it before parking beside the trees. Tears were running freely down his face. Liz looked at him. "If they're still alive, we'll find them," she said. "We'll search forever."

Max began to cry, the second time she had ever seen him do it. She unbuckled her seat belt and crawled over the seats to sit beside him. She wrapped her arms around him and stroked his hair, comforting as best she could.


Max had fallen asleep in her arms again; it seemed to be the alien's form of healing from emotional distress, Liz mused. She was hurting, herself, but she couldn't imagine being Max. Losing both his real, genetic family and his loving adoptive family at the same time was simply beyond her realm of understanding. She had lost two friends, who she would miss dearly and forever. But she didn't even try to compare her pain with the pain Max must be feeling.

Max began to stir. "Hey, you," she said softly into his hair.

He mumbled to himself and then said, "Where are we?"

She shrugged. "Somewhere in the middle of nowhere. In Arizona," she added.

It was nearly nighttime again. The sunset over the desert mountains was breathtaking. Liz sighed as she looked at the scenery, supposing that they were in the middle of the national forest. If you could even call it that; the desert trees were little more than shrubs. She supposed that they would be sleeping here. There wasn't any shelter to protect them from harsh weather, and it was the spring time. Even in Arizona it had to rain occasionally.



"I love you, Liz."

She smiled. "I love you too, Max." She had known it for a while, despite his professions of lack of interest. Even when he told Kyle the answer was 'no' she was hurt not because she believed it but because Max lied, believing it was in both of their best interests.

He sat up, sifting her dark hair through his hands. "I'm sorry I smell bad."

Liz inhaled. "You don't smell bad at all."

He didn't believe her. "I haven't had a shower in two and a half days. I beg to differ, Liz."

"You really don't," she insisted, and he kissed her, as though to prove he had terrible breath. "Tastes good and fresh," she said with a smile. He kissed her harder, and they both fell onto the hard seats.

He interrupted her explorations of his mouth to say, "Liz, is this what you really want? Because I don't think I can stop."

"I want it," she assured him.

He kissed her breasts through her shirt, making her moan. She reached down and pulled it over her head, tossing it away, not caring where it went. Max reached for his own shirt and they were almost skin to skin, and the feeling was wonderful. Liz wanted more. She unhooked the clasp of her bra and removed it slowly, suddenly feeling shy. Was she good enough for him?

Max's sharp intake of breath was her answer. "Beautiful," he mumbled as he began to kiss his way down her chest. Wherever he touched burned when he left. When he reached her shorts, he looked up questioningly. Her hands removed themselves from his hair and hurried to help him. She removed her shorts, and then his jeans and boxers.

Liz sucked in a breath; she had no idea if this would work. Could they even fit? He was so big and she was so tiny. She felt Max tug at her panties and lifted her hips to help him.

Max kissed her again, tangling his tongue with hers and then mimicking the act they were positioning themselves for.

Max sighed and entered her slowly. She clenched her fingernails into his back at the sudden feelings that washed over her; the feelings of fullness, the sharp pain because it was her first time, and an all-around general amazement.

"Is it okay?"

Overwhelmed and unable to speak, she simply nodded. It was more than okay, it was fantastic, and she wished she could tell him that. But it would have to wait for later.

He pulled partway out of her and then thrust back in with agonizing slowness. "Is that okay?"

She squirmed. "No."

He froze like a deer before a hunter. "Am it..."

"No, you're just...don't go so slow!"

"Okay," he mumbled, sounding like a little boy. A part of her somewhere inside was amazed that he hadn’t sprouted horns or something equally ridiculous. Instead this beautiful boy...beautiful man, she corrected herself, was thrusting into her for all he was worth. She watched his face clench and knew that he was about to come.

"Liz?" he moaned.

"It's okay," she assured him. "Girls never come the first time."

", I want..." He showed her quickly what he wanted by finding her center and thumbing it sharply. It was too much. She screamed and dissolved into a supernova. Before she had managed to float back to earth, he had come too, finishing and filling her with warmth.

When she became aware again, Max was laying half on top of her, seemingly exhausted. "Max?"

"Sorry," he mumbled, rolling off of her.

She sat up and scooted over to cuddle next to him. "That wasn't it, Max. I just wanted to tell you that that was wonderful."

Max blushed. "Well, um, you're welcome." She had never seen him quite so flustered before.

"Do you want to go find someplace to...spend the night?" she hesitated to say 'sleep.'

In answer Max handed her her clothes.

Part 5

Two days later they stumbled out of their hotel room and into the desert sunshine. They had gone out only for the basic necessities, avoiding the knowing looks of the motel manager, an old woman who made it clear she disapproved of sex outside marriage. They had seen neither hide nor hair of Topolsky or anyone related to the government since reaching Arizona.

They were only about fifty miles from the California border. In bed the night before, they had decided to go north as opposed to south. South, to Mexico, was the obvious option, and the easiest one. Max had a good command of Spanish and they could have survived easily on the funds they had.

Instead, they decided to head toward Yosemite National Park. They could only hope that no one but them knew about the old log cabin just outside the park that Max's parents had just purchased, hoping to fix it up.

Liz was driving, finally; she had insisted. Neither of them had gotten a whole lot of sleep during their two days in the cheap motel, but Liz was far less exhausted than Max. She supposed that what her mother had confided in her during their last "sex talk" was true; guys wore out a lot faster than girls did.

She slowed as they approached the border crossing, an oddity rarely seen inside the US. Max was sound asleep next to her. Occasionally he would snore, making a sort of half-snort, before falling back into restful sleep. Liz looked up, wondering if perhaps there was some sort of toll. She nearly screamed when she saw the second person inside the toll booth.

It was Topolsky. She was pacing worriedly and, it looked like, snapping at the booth worker. Liz scrambled for her sunglasses and her hat, pulling her hair quickly up inside the roomy fisherman's hat. She unbuckled Max's seatbelt and shoved him down onto the floor. He was so worn out he slept on peacefully, totally oblivious. She hoped he couldn't be seen easily.

She pulled up to the booth. The worker leaned out of the window. "Any fruits or vegetables?"

Liz shook her head and mumbled, "No."

That seemed to satisfy the worker and she waved Liz on. Liz couldn't clearly see Topolsky's face to gauge her reaction. So she accelerated as fast as she could, quickly regaining highway speeds.


A few miles after Barstow, and about half an hour before Liz planned to turn on the interstate that would take them north towards Yosemite, Max awakened. He seemed puzzled as to why he was on the floor, but he didn't question it.

"Hey, let me drive," he said, rubbing his face.

"Uh-uh," Liz said, shaking her head. "We have to stop somewhere to change our hair."

"Huh? What are you talking about?"

"We had a run-in with Topolsky at the California border. I was really afraid she was going to recognize us."

Max turned white and nodded. "Why didn't you wake me up?"

"I figured you being all sleepy just when I needed you rational wasn't a good idea. So I shoved you on the floor instead."

Max smiled faintly. "So find a Wal-Mart or something that carries hair dye. I'd like to see you as a redhead, you know."

"You might not look awful as a blond, either."

He grinned. "I could shave my head."

"Don't even think about it!" Liz shrieked.

"Or we could shave your head," he said playfully, reaching for a handful of her thick, dark tresses.

"I don't think so," Liz said.

"So you're open to the idea? At least a little?"

Liz cleared her throat. "Let me rephrase that: when hell freezes over!"


When they actually found a Wal-Mart, it was one of the more run-down ones Liz had seen. It looked older than the hills and apparently hadn't been renovated since its construction. But when she stepped into a cool blast of air-conditioned air, she thanked God for small favors.

Liz grabbed Max's hand and headed straight for the health and beauty section. A whole rack of hair colors in nearly every shade of the rainbow awaited them. The store even carried men's hair color.

Liz squinted in distaste at the half-opened boxes that littered the shelves. People are such slobs, she thought to herself. She passed over the temporary color in favor of permanent shades. She selected a box of strawberry-blonde for herself, knowing it would look unnatural and not caring. At least she wouldn't have her distinctive head of thick, luxurious brown hair.

Max was holding up one of the men's temporary colors. "How about this?" he asked.

Liz could see that it was Just For Men in a dark blonde. She giggled, trying to hold back a smile. She was totally unsuccessful and started to laugh even harder, her eyes watering.

"What's so funny?" Max asked, his ego obviously insulted.

She managed to control herself a little better, and walked up and snatched the box out of his hands. "That's for covering gray," she said, thinking of the moronic television ads. "Plus, it's temporary."

"Why can't we get temporary?" he asked, noting the permanent label on the box she had selected.

"It doesn't change your color much, and it washes out quickly," Liz said.

"How do you have so much experience with hair color?"

She blushed a little, remembering times past, even though Max couldn't have known what she was feeling. "I, uh, used to experiment with it in junior high."

"Oh," Max said. Liz could see him trying to picture her with purple hair.

"Also," she said, trying to change the subject, "We're probably going to be on the road for long enough that we'll need to change hair colors once a week or so."

She selected a box of permanent white-blond for him. "No way," Max protested.

She shrugged. "Dying your hair later will be a lot easier if you do this stuff first."


Liz didn't answer. Instead she handed him the two boxes and cut across aisles until she found the makeup section. She had to look around before she found what she sought. Then she selected one pair of beauty scissors, a comb and a brush. When she handed them to Max, he looked worried. "Who's getting their hair cut?" he asked.

"Both of us," she responded without blinking an eye.


About an hour later, she was ready to reconsider her careful disguise plans. The gas station bathroom had been easy enough to find, but nothing else was going according to plan.

They had done Max first; he was easier. Bleaching his near-black hair to a shade on the opposite side of the spectrum took longer than she had thought. Then she took her scissors out of their neat plastic package and stepped around in front of him.

"Ready?" she asked.

He winced. "What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to clip your eyebrows," she said with a perfectly straight face.

He looked astonished. "Why?"

Liz started to laugh again. "Max, you're funny today."

He frowned at her and closed his eyes. Liz held the scissors to his bangs, trying to figure length. She'd prefer to brush them back, but they weren't long enough. They had to go. She pulled one lock of newly blonde hair into her fingers and clipped it neatly.

Liz was relieved. This wasn't as hard as she thought. She continued her pattern around his head, giving him a punk-style cut. He kept his eyes closed the whole time like a little kid, squeezing them tighter whenever the scissors neared his face.

"How does it look?" he asked finally when she stopped.

"Pretty weird," she admitted.

He opened his eyes and looked at the dingy mirror. "Holy mother of God!"

Liz giggled. "Well, at least you look different."

"I'm going to get you for this," he swore.

Part 6

Three hours later they were done. The gas station attendant had knocked on the door twice, demanding to know what the hell they were doing in there. Each time they yelled simultaneously for her to go away. They were paying customers, after all. They had filled up the gas tank of the jeep.

Liz was only amused by the butcher job Max had done on her hair. She now had a pixie cut, in a strawberry blonde shade that looked just a little fake. Max hadn't used the scissors. In a show of talent she would have expected from his sister, Max had manipulated her hair into a cute, fashionable style. It was the first time he had used his powers since healing the pain he caused when he took her virginity.

Max ran his hands through Liz's newly spiky hair, feeling it pinprick his skin.
He sighed. "I never thought I'd see you without your hair, Liz," he said sadly.

She shrugged. "Whatever has to be done. It grows back."

"You did this for me, though. I still think you should have stayed in Roswell."

"Max, we've been through this a thousand--"

"Sshhhh," he said, placing a finger to her lips. "But I never would have made it without you."

Liz smiled, and on sudden impulse sucked his finger into her mouth. She wrapped her tongue around it and Max groaned. "Oh God Liz, not here."

Liz looked around. "What's wrong with here?"

"It's a gas station restroom, for God's sake."

"Hey," she said, pointing to a dispenser in the corner. "They keep these things here on purpose, you know."

He shrugged, lifting her onto the sink. "I thought you said we didn't need them."

"We will, soon. I'm almost out of pills. It was pure luck that I got my prescription refilled last week and still had them in my purse."

"Mmmmm," Max said, kissing his way to the edge of her T-shirt. "I like the bare feeling, personally."

"Well, have you ever had it any other way?" she asked, gasping out the last word as he kissed her breast through her shirt.

"Well, no," he admitted. "But I'm with you. I want to feel all of you,always."

"Well, do it, then."

He complied, lifting her shirt over her head. She had given up on bras after they made love for the first time. She was small enough in the bust that she didn't really need one, and she had only had one with her anyways. Max cupped her breast in his palm and ran his tongue over the nipple. She moaned, trying to lift his shirt over his head. He shifted to help her.

Before she could do anything else, he had pressed her backwards on top of the counter. Max unbuttoned her shorts and slipped her panties down, and they tangled around her ankles. Max didn't care.

"Max, come on," Liz urged, trying to unbutton his jeans.

He shook his head. "No, I want to do this for you."

"Do..." Her eyes widened suddenly in shock. "It's okay, really, Max."

"No, I want to."

Without another word he leaned down and began to explore her warm wetness with his mouth. He didn't know anything about technique, so he listened to Liz. Whatever caused her to make the loudest noises was what he kept doing. Experimentally, he slipped a finger inside her and began to pump gently with it. She moaned, and he slipped another inside her, pumping furiously while kissing her most sensitive areas with his mouth.

She cried out and arched off the counter, nearly falling off entirely. Max was there to catch her and did, holding her tight while she breathed heavily. "Max, that was amazing," she said breathlessly.

"You ain't seen nothin' yet," he said, mimicking the old movie line.

She helped him remove his jeans and boxers, and slipped her hand around his erection. "Oh, Liz, don't do that, or I'll have to take that last thing I said back."

She sat back on the counter, pulling his mouth up to hers for a kiss. The dirty porcelain ledge wasn't exactly comfortable under her bare behind, but she didn't care. She wrapped her legs around Max's waist, trying to get him closer. He adjusted for the angle, and slipped into her smoothly.

Liz groaned, trying to match his thrusts. She couldn't get any leverage with the sink. It was immensely frustrating. She shoved Max backwards a little, and kept her legs wrapped around his waist. He wound up standing, with her wrapped around him. He moved for the nearest place her could see, the wall next to the condom dispenser. Liz found herself pushed up against the cold tiles, her skin forming goose bumps.

Max pounded into her from underneath while she rolled her hips to meet him, stroke for stroke. It was the first time they had made love that she had not felt any pain at all, and she took advantage of it fully.

"Liz--I think I'm gonna--are you--"

"Yes," she moaned. "Yes, Max, definitely."


Back on the road again, Liz decided she could live with her new haircut. Her hair no longer blew continually in her face. She definitely understood why guys preferred short cuts.

Liz was happy and content. She could have been any other girl, on any other road trip with a boyfriend that she loved. Then her thoughts began to gradually darken, straying toward the past and the road they had left behind them.

"Max," she said suddenly, "I think we need to find a place to stay."

"We are," he said without looking at her. "My parent's place at Yosemite will be fine."

"That'll be okay for a while. But we need to find someplace to stay, permanently. We can't stay on the road forever. We're already short on cash."

Max sighed to himself and wondered when Liz had become the sensible one. "Do you have any suggestions?"

She opened the atlas they had purchased in Arizona and flipped through the pages to the maps of California. "How about Claremont? Five colleges in town. We'd blend in really well."

"How big?"

She looked in the back of the book. The index gave populations. "About 20,000."

"Wrong size. We need a town that's big enough for us to get lost, but not so big that we don't know who our enemies are."


In the end they settled on Elk Grove. West of Yosemite, it was a small town within forty miles of the state capital. Maybe they could start a new life there. There didn't seem to be any hope of going back to Roswell. Not if they wanted to live, anyway.

Max seemed to have given up all hope of finding Isabel and Michael. Liz had convinced him that the slim chance that they could be alive wasn't enough to risk his own life to find them. And she was right; it wasn't a risk he could take.

They pulled into the cabin and Liz gasped, amazed. It was right out of a movie; huge logs cemented together, a chimney rising from one side, pine needles covering the ground. A small waterfall ran down the cliff a few feet away.

"We can only stay a few days," Max cautioned her. "They'll find this place eventually."

"They'll find every place we stay eventually," Liz murmured. "Do you want me to go get some food?"

"Yeah, sure," Max said.

posted on 6-Sep-2001 1:51:13 PM
Part 7

While they stayed at the cabin, Liz planned out their new lives. She was Marjorie, now. Max had rolled his eyes in distaste when she told him the name, but she had liked it since childhood when she read it in a book. She christened him Ben. They were Ben and Marjorie, 18-year-old newlyweds from Tucson. Marjorie's parents were divorced and living across the country, and Ben was recently orphaned. Both were only children. Max looked pained when she told him that detail, but she couldn't avoid it. She didn't want people questioning their identity, and why such young kids never had anyone visit them.

They were just about out of money. Liz had spent the last of it on underwear, jackets and food. While she was finally able to cook some decent food, she questioned where their money would be coming from from now on.

The next day Max went into town and brought almost three thousand dollars in cash back. Liz's mouth dropped open. "Where did that come from?"

"Izzy's bank account. I closed it out."

"What-how did you do that?"

"We had co-accounts. One that was officially hers, and one that was officially mine. I figured she won't be using hers anymore, anyway."

"Oh," she said. She would never question his resources again.

That night, she made spaghetti. It was the two-week anniversary of their abandonment of Roswell. Liz made decent spaghetti, although cooking had never been her strong point. Max came home from a long walk to smell the sauce.

"Got any tabasco?"

"Umm-hmm," she said, holding up a small bottle. "But why do you want it on spaghetti?"

"Not on the spaghetti," he said. "On this." He produced a container of strawberry ice cream from the freezer.

She wrinkled her nose in distaste. "Yuck."

"Well, you don't have to have any. But I promise, it's really good."


Two hours later, he was pouring tabasco on her bare stomach and licking it off. She giggled helplessly.

"Why are you laughing?"

"It tickles!"

"Here," he said, handing her the sauce. "Try it. I promise, it's good."

She looked at him, doubting that it would taste all that good to her. "Are you sure?"

"Yes! Trust me!"

Hesitantly, she poured it onto his bare stomach. She turned her head to get closer, and felt the incredible post-coital heat that flowed off him every time they made love. He was on fire.

She touched her tongue to the spicy sauce lightly, feeling it burn her tongue. Combined with the taste of Max's skin, it was an amazingly good feeling. She finished the small patch she had poured on him and reached for the bottle.

Max laughed. "Now do you know why I like it?"

"You're not ticklish," she said, frowning.

"Nope," he said. "Never have been. But you are," he said, reaching for her bare stomach. His fingers brushed it teasingly and she jumped away, laughing helplessly.

"Don't!" she shrieked. She jumped off the bed onto the floor, trying to avoid stepping in the empty ice-cream box.

"You're not getting away," Max said, jumping after her and pouncing. They both fell and he landed heavily on top of her.

"I guess not," Liz admitted, shifting under his weight and noticing a lump pressing against her leg. "Can't outrun an alien with a hard-on. I'll have to mention that to Topolsky."

"Oh, shut up," Max said, and kissed her.


They lay comfortably together on the huge mattress that overwhelmed the master bedroom of the cabin. Max was sleeping, his arm thrown around Liz's waist. Liz couldn't sleep, so she stared at the stars. They were unobscured by the lights of civilization and breathtakingly beautiful.

Suddenly, she saw a flash of bright light soaring through the sky. She almost sat up, and then remembered Max. It was only a shooting star. She had just never seen one that bright before.

Max mumbled something in his sleep that sounded to her like, "Liz, baby..." He moved his hand possessively over her stomach, and she felt a twinge inside of her. It wasn't an aroused twinge, simply a gentle, safe one. One that told her she was home. And reminded her of possibilities.

"Someday, Max," she said softly. "When it's safe."

She turned her head to look at her purse, which contained her container of birth-control pills. They were nearly gone. She wasn't sure where she could get a prescription without seeing a doctor who would question her age and her identity. Marjorie was eighteen, after all, but she didn't have a driver's license or a birth certificate to prove it. Liz reminded herself that she'd have to see about finding some good fake ID. She knew it would be expensive, but the expense would certainly be worth it.


They set out toward Elk Grove the next day. Liz drove.

"All right, so where are we from?"

Max squinted. "Tucson."

"Don't hesitate. You can't think about it. What are my parent's names?"

"Why would I have to know this?"

"Just humor me!"

"Uh...Robin and Joseph Gaines."

"Yup. Hesitation is good one that one. Okay, so repeat our story to me."

"We're Ben and Marjorie Markham. My parents died recently, in a car crash, but yours didn't want us to get married. So we eloped to Nevada. Now we know your parents will kill us if they found out, so we're staying low for a while."

"Good. Ummm...what was your dog's name when you were four?"

"What? Who's going to want to know that?"

"I'm just teasing, Max. You never know."


Max had called ahead, so the real estate agent had several apartments for them to look at. She claimed all of them were within the price range of under three fifty a month. The first one they saw seemed too good to be true. It was shiny-clean, four rooms, and a gorgeous bathroom. Then they discovered why the rent was so low. As they investigated the bedrooms, a train roared by right next door. It didn't stop, but instead continued at full speed straight out of town. The windows rattled and the sound was loud enough to deafen.

Liz gave the real estate agent a dirty look. The agent gulped. "Let's move on to the next one, shall we?"

The next one was unbelievably dirty. Liz estimated that it hadn't been cleaned in a decade. The grime and the cockroaches were positively disgusting. Max refused to even set foot inside.

"No way. We can do better than that."

The agent looked guilty again and they headed to the last apartment on the list. One of the disadvantages of going to a small town was that there was no choice in apartment buildings. "This is the last one," the realtor told them.

Max and Liz looked at each other and shrugged. If there was nothing here, they could always move on.

But when the agent opened the door on the tiny one-room apartment, they knew it was home. Big enough for a bed, a television and a refrigerator, it cost only three hundred a month. It was clean and seemed to be mostly free of large insects.

"So what do you think?"

Max and Liz looked at each other. "We'll take it," they said.

Part 8

Liz's new job sucked, to put it lightly.

She had never cared for waitressing, even in her father's café. But with no credentials or even ID, she couldn't get a better job. It paid six bucks an hour plus tips, which was pretty good for a waitress. But the people in the nondescript diner where she worked were so incredibly rude that she was nearly reduced to tears every day.

Max had a job at a factory, which hired him for twice what Liz made without question. She told him to go to the factory with his sleeved rolled up, and he did. It got him the job immediately. It involved mostly heavy lifting, and by the end of the first day his well-muscled arms were extremely sore.

He drove grouchily back to their one-room apartment. After all the bills, they had enough money to buy a mattress, which they laid carefully on the floor. Anything left after the essentials went into savings. They never knew when they might have to run again. Their savings didn't reside in a bank, but instead inside of the crate they used as an underwear drawer. It was unsafe, but no more so than opening a bank account that could be used to track them.

Elk Grove wasn't a bad town, all in all. It was a little dry, but they were used to that. It was also a small community just outside the larger one of Sacramento. Liz had learned a lot of local gossip within a few weeks of arriving. Luckily, she didn't know of any including a young, mysterious couple who appeared out of nowhere.

Max didn't care for it. Liz knew he wanted to be at home, looking for Izzy and Michael. But she wasn't about to let that happen. On this particular night, more than a month after they abandoned Roswell, she stayed late to work some overtime.

Max arrived home to find their singular room cold and empty. He flipped on the light switch and stepped inside, tossing his coat carelessly on the floor.

"Max Evans?"

Max jumped. "Who's there?"

A figure stepped out of the shadows. "It's me."

Max squinted. "Topolsky?"

"I've been searching for you," she said earnestly. "I have to say it didn't take long."

"Gee, thanks." He looked at her, scrutinizing her purpose. "Why are you here?"

She stepped closer. Max reached into his back pocket for the knife he had carried since leaving Roswell. The last thing he needed to do was use his powers around her. "I have something to tell you. You, and Liz."

"Liz isn't here," he said.

She shrugged. "You can tell her later. Both of you are in serious danger," she said ominously.

Max almost laughed. "Why is that? We haven't seen anyone here."

Topolsky shook her head. "They know where you are. They're waiting."

"For what?"

"For Liz to get pregnant, or sick, or both. They've been doing experiments, you know."

Max could feel the color drain from his face. "On whom?"


Meanwhile, Liz was having a terrible time at work. The late shift was her least favorite time to work. Not only that, but she had begun to feel sick. Her head was spinning and she was in a constant state of nausea.

One of her coworkers, and one of the few nice ones, stopped, put her tray down, and touched Liz's shoulder. "Marjorie? Are you okay?"

Liz put a hand on her forehead and rubbed her temples. "I'll be fine."

The woman, whose name was Kandy, smiled faintly. "You're sure?"

Liz nodded silently. Kandy shrugged and went back to waiting tables. Liz felt a little bad; Kandy was about her age and probably the only person here who she could consider a friend. But Liz wasn't sure what was wrong, and she didn't want to say anything.

She stepped into the back room and looked for her boss, a stern woman in her forties. She was near the exit, sorting cans of generic pie filling. "Mrs. Anderson? Can I go home early?"

"No. We're understaffed tonight."

"Well, I think I'm going to throw up all over."

"Then go in the bathroom."

Liz quivered with outrage. Her father never would have treated an employee like this. Ever, no matter what the circumstances. "You know what, Mrs. Anderson? I quit!"

Mrs. Anderson stood up, her huge bulk nearly knocking over one of the shelves. "You little bitch! You can't quit on me!"

"Yes, I can. I am. Goodbye."

Liz turned and walked out, throwing her apron in a heap by the entrance. Several patrons turned to stare at her as she made her way through the parking lot. By the time she reached the bus station, she was in tears. What was she going to do? Sure, she could get another waitressing job, but it would undoubtedly be as bad as the one she just left. Max couldn't support them alone.

Suddenly she doubled over, grasping the edge of the station bench. "Oh, God, what's wrong with me?" she moaned.

She looked around. No one was there. It was terribly cold, and she had forgotten her coat. There was a pharmacy across the street, and the bus wasn't due for another twenty minutes.

She stepped cautiously into the street and entered the family-run pharmacy. Maybe she could find something to suppress the pukey feeling she'd had for the last few hours. There were rows and rows of cheap medications, and expensive ones, but she didn't know what to buy. She stopped at the onset of another wave of nausea, and when she looked up, she saw the sign.

"Think you're pregnant? Find out in just one step!" the sign blared cheerfully. It was a picture of a mother and her baby in a sunny field, with the words emblazoned over them. Liz gasped.

"Oh that what it is?" She touched her stomach, and suddenly remembered. Max, their last night in Yosemite, touching her stomach in his sleep. Had he somehow known? She had felt the twinge inside of her. Had that been what this was?

Part 9

"Who have they been experimenting on?" Max asked again after Topolsky remained silent.

"Your sister. Michael."

Max winced, actually feeling pain inside his chest at the thought of his two best friends being tortured.

"And before them, another alien from the forties."

"Nasedo," Max breathed.

"I don't know what they called him," she admitted. "He escaped a few years ago.
I guess he's a shapeshifter. You could meet him and never even know it."

"That's what I heard," Max admitted grudgingly.

"Anyway, they've been trying to inseminate your sister with seed from a human,” she said. "But it isn't working. That's why they're watching you, and Liz. They want to see if anything will happen, or if it's just impossible."

"Why should I believe you? How do I even know my sister or Michael are really alive?"

"Because I've seen them," Topolsky said simply. "I've talked with your sister. I told her you were alive. She wanted to know if you were okay. I told her yes, and she gave me this to give to you."

From her pocket Topolsky produced a small, fragile-looking ring that Isabel often wore. Max grabbed it from her hands. The impressions he got from it were incredibly strong.

Isabel, awakening to smoke and two strong men who grabbed her and dragged her through the window. Seeing Michael in the back of a windowless van and feeling half joyous and half like screaming. Asking the men if her parents were okay, and receiving no answer.

Then the impressions faded out abruptly, becoming a jungle of pain and sorrow. Max realized that Isabel didn't want him to know what was being done to her.

Then the door opened and Max heard a scream.


He felt Liz grab his arm before he saw her. He turned around and saw her, shivering from the cold, a plastic bag in her other hand. "What is she doing here?" Liz demanded.

"She's...she's seen Isabel and Michael," Max managed. He held out Isabel's ring. He knew Liz had seen her wear it before.

"You don't believe what she's saying, do you? She could have stolen this from her room! She could have gotten it from...from Isabel's..."

"Dead body," Topolsky finished dryly. "But I didn't. You kids need to leave, and now. The sooner the better. Pack up, go east. Catch a plane across the ocean! Just get out of here before something happens."

"Something, like what?" Liz demanded. She couldn't believe the audacity of this woman, that she would just walk into their lives, as though she had the right.

Topolsky looked her over for a second, and then shrugged. "Your boyfriend will fill you in."

Max stopped her as she tried to leave. "Have they...has anyone raped Isabel?"

"I really can't say. Sorry."

She left and Liz yanked Max's arm to get his attention. "Max? What is going on here?"

Max swallowed. "Topolsky...she knows where Isabel and Michael are. She's talked to Izzy."

Liz sighed. "Max, you can't just believe what she says! She lies!"

"I got impressions of Izzy from this ring!"

Liz moaned and rubbed her eyes. "So maybe they stole it from her! Why would she track us down just to warn us?"

"She says that they've been experimenting on Izzy and Michael. They've been..." He shut his eyes, and then opened them after he was flooded with mental images. "They've been trying to make Izzy pregnant by a human, but it hasn't been working. So they're watching you. They want to see if you'll get sick or pregnant."

Liz stumbled a little. "Oh...oh." She walked over to their mattress and sat down heavily.

Max ran his fingers over the carved edges of Isabel's ring. Had it been the only thing they'd allowed her to keep? They couldn't have known its significance. Their parents had given it to Isabel on her thirteenth birthday. It was the only thing she had to remind herself of home. Max felt like crying, all over again.

"I think we should leave, Liz."

"No, Max. Not right now. For all we know it's some kind of trap. And besides, if they're watching us, won't they just try to keep us from leaving?"

Max moaned and buried his face in his hands. "I don't know! I don't know! It's just...I was so used to the idea of them being gone. And now, there's hope! I can't just throw that away!"

Liz got up and wrapped her arms around him, breathing in his scent. "Max, promise me. Promise me that you won't try to find them. At least not now."

"I can't do that, Liz."

"Max, if you go there, they'll probably kill you. And they will torture you, the same as they've supposedly been doing to Isabel and Michael."

"They're my family, Liz."

"I'm your family now, Max."

She felt his muscles turn to jello. "Yes, you are," he whispered, and kissed the top of her head.

"Promise me, Max."

He sighed. "I promise."

"Don't ever leave me. You can't."

"I know, Liz."

Part 10

Author's Note: I know I haven't quoted lyrics before, but this is one of my favorite songs and it's particularly relevant to this last chapter.

This Woman's Work

Kate Bush

Pray God you can cope.
I stand outside this woman's work,
This woman's world.
Ooh, it's hard on the man,
Now his part is over.
Now starts the craft of the father.

I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.
I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

Of all the things I should've said,
That I never said.
All the things we should've done,
That we never did.
All the things I should've given,
But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go,
Make it go away.

Give me these moments back.
Give them back to me.
Give me that little kiss.
Give me your hand.

(I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.
I know you have a little life in you yet.
I know you have a lot of strength left.)

I should be crying, but I just can't let it show.
I should be hoping, but I can't stop thinking

Of all the things we should've said,
That were never said.
All the things we should've done,
That we never did.
All the things that you needed from me.
All the things that you wanted for me.
All the things that I should've given,
But I didn't.

Oh, darling, make it go away.
Just make it go away now.

Liz waited for Max to fall asleep. When his breathing became slow and steady, she found her plastic bag, wincing at the crinkling sound it made, and snuck into the bathroom. She opened the pregnancy test from the pharmacy and read the instructions. Simple enough; pee on a stick and wait.

Liz thought that when she read the + sign on the test she would faint. She didn't. Instead, she methodically cleaned the bathroom of all traces of the test. She didn't know how she was going to tell Max, but she didn't want him to find out until she told him. She opened the bathroom door and closed it as softly as she could.

"Liz? What's wrong?" She had awakened him anyway.

"Nothing." She took off her pants and slipped the bra from under her shirt. Then, after a moment's thought, she began to undress in the moonlight. Then she lifted the covers and slipped in beside Max and wrapped herself around him. "Make love to me? Please?"

Max was awakening quickly from his semi-nocturnal state. He could feel himself becoming hard and he knew Liz could feel it too. He rolled over and pulled her on top of him. She sighed, throwing her head back. She positioned herself and slipped over him.

He filled her perfectly, as usual. Liz dreaded the thought that sex had become something ordinary for them. She began to ride him as hard as she could, flying up and down. All of the last vestiges of sleep slipped from Max's mind. He grasped her hips in his hands and helped as best he could, but he couldn't keep up with her pace. When they came, it was nearly simultaneous. Liz screamed his name.

She finally fell to his side, exhausted. Max turned to her and touched her face gently. Her eyes were already closed. "Liz? What was that?"

She half-shrugged as she pulled the covers around her. "I just needed to feel you." Her voice sounded drowsy. "I'm sorry."

Max sighed and pulled her tight against him. She was already asleep.

"Goodnight, Liz. I love you," Max whispered into her ear. It was the last thing she heard before she drifted into oblivion.


Liz rolled over, but she didn't bump into anyone. Puzzled, she rubbed her eyes and stretched to look at the clock. Almost noon, which would explain why Max was gone. Damn, she had really overslept.

She rolled out of bed, pulling the raggedy Goodwill robe around her. She headed for the kitchenette, still bleary from her sleep. She opened the refrigerator and poured herself a glass of milk, wishing there was food. She was ravenously hungry.

It took her awhile to notice the folded piece of paper that lay on the tiny table.

Her entire body suddenly enveloped by fear, Liz stepped to the table and picked up the note. It was heavy, and when she tipped it the ring Topolsky had given them fell out. She opened it, dreading what it would say.

"My Liz,

I hope you can understand why I had to leave.
There is no way I can ever be happy until I
find out what happened to Michael and Isabel.
You are my life, but they are my family.

I want you to have this ring. I know where
it leads now. Maybe someday you can find
me with it. If I can, I'll find you. If a year
has passed and there's no sign of me, please
go on with your life. I know that it's all I
could possibly ask.

Your Max

Liz's knees collapsed underneath her. When the neighbors heard her scream, they called the police.

When the officer broke his way in, he found Liz crumpled into a ball on the floor, a continual whisper of "Nononononononononononono," emanating from her lips.

"Ma'am?" he said, trying to pull her from the fetal ball she had rolled herself into. "Ma'am, are you okay?"

"No," she whispered. "He'll never know. He'll never know."

She would never be the same again.


Author's Note

Yes, that's really the end! I may be persuaded to write a sequel. (imfromupnorth⊕ Besides, did you REALLY want another ten chapters in this story?

Thanks for staying with me through it all! I know it was a long way to travel. This, by the way, is the first fanfiction I have published. Some of my mistakes are obvious (I.e., the way the story starts as possible smut and then abruptly turns to drama and suspense, with no transition) and some a lot less clear. Any helpful hints anyone could give me would be appreciated.

BTW, the majority of details about New Mexico, Arizona and California are correct. I traveled to the Southwest last summer and I have a good memory.

Also, I have already started a new story called Wonderland. (No, it's not a sequel to this one.) Look for it soon!